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Primacy, synodality, and collegiality in orthodoxy: a liturgical model.

Catholic and Orthodox Christians continue to meet on the national and international levels to work toward the reconciliation of the churches, which will be realized when Catholic and Orthodox are again able to share eucharistic communion. (1) Collaboration between the two churches toward reunion is a result of the positive results of the twentieth-century ecumenical movement. In Ut unum sint, his renowned encyclical seeking universal Christian reconciliation, Pope John Paul II affirmed the Catholic Church's strong commitment to ecumenical dialogue and acknowledged the "remarkable progress" in ecumenical dialogue evidenced by the statements of bilateral dialogues. (2) A staple of John Paul II's vision for unity is his encouragement of all communities to "help one another to look at themselves together in the light of the Apostolic Tradition," (3) an authentically dialogical approach to working toward reconciliation. In Ut unum sint, he referenced his apostolic letter commemorating the millennium of the Baptism of Rus', Euntes in mundum, in which he called upon Orthodox and Catholics to follow the examples of their Fathers and seek eucharistic union, also affirming the Eastern churches' canonical right to govern themselves. (4) John Paul II's invitation to Church leaders and theologians to engage him in a dialogue to articulate the function of the Petrine ministry in a "new situation" was another step in attempting to reconcile the separated churches of Christianity. In his recent monograph on Orthodoxy and the papacy, Adam DeVille stated that John Paul II's willingness to invite other Christians to help him recast the papacy for a new situation is "the central and most important part of the encyclical." (5)

Unfortunately, few Orthodox have responded to Ut unum sint. DeVille has explained the background underpinning the paucity of Orthodox responses to John Paul II's invitation. (6) Among the many explanations for the absence of an Orthodox response, two of DeVille's assertions are particularly notable: that Orthodoxy lacks an intemal mechanism that would create a unified response, and that many Orthodox have a deep "mistrust of ecumenism in general and of Rome in particular." (7) Orthodox mistrust of the papacy largely centers on the exercise of primacy, as honestly stated by the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation at Georgetown University in 2010. (8) Primacy has several derivative issues, three of which are particularly pertinent to the future trajectory of Orthodox-Catholic dialogue: synodality, collegiality, and reception of teaching by the laity. (9)

In this essay, I engage John Paul II's invitation to look at the Orthodox tradition on primacy, synodality, collegiality, and reception by the laity in dialogue with Roman Catholics. In the sections below, I demonstrate how select Orthodox theologians have focused on the eucharist as the locus for articulating Orthodox ecclesiology, particularly concerning primacy, synodality, collegiality, and reception, with special attention to authority in teaching. A close examination of the rite of ordination of a bishop at the eucharist follows. The analysis will explain how the Orthodox liturgies of ordination and eucharist offer a theological model for primacy, synodality, collegiality, and reception. As conflicts frequently arise on authority in proclaiming and verifying teaching, the analysis will often refer to this central ministry. (10) In the conclusion, I will reflect on how an Orthodox ecclesiological model rooted in liturgical theology can contribute to the advancement of progress in Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical dialogue. I will also demonstrate the need for an innovative model that has the capacity to impact significantly the dynamics of ecclesiological authority in both Orthodoxy and Catholicism by allowing diocesan bishops, presbyters, deacons, and laity to take their rightful places in every aspect of Church life.

I. Orthodox Ecclesiology

Several Orthodox theologians have attempted to articulate how Orthodox understand the perichoretic ministries of primacy, synodality, collegiality, and reception. Ecclesiologists tend to converge on the eucharist as the source for expressing this theology. The following section summarizes the contributions of key Orthodox theologians to the eucharistic ecclesiological model.

A. Nicholas Afanasiev

Nicholas Afanasiev taught church history and canon law at St. Sergius Theological Institute in Paris, beginning in 1930. (11) His study on the eucharistic assembly in the Second Testament period and the early church yielded an intriguing assertion that the presider's authentic concelebrant is the laity. (12) In Afanasiev's model, laity and bishop are always together, since the bishop is not outside of the Church, and the laity have always had the bishop as the presider over the assembly. At the eucharist, the bishop presides and offers thanksgiving with and in the presence of the assembled laity. Afanasiev noted a distinction in degree between presider and people in the assigned seating at the meal, which affirms the dignity of the laity. (13) In summary, for Afanasiev, the whole assembly offers the eucharist, led by the bishop-presider, with the laity concelebrating. One cannot speak of degree concerning this celebration, as the offering comes from the whole Church as a community of apostles, including the laity.

Afanasiev further developed the role of the laity in describing a reciprocity of charisms between laity and bishops, wherein the laity receive Church teaching. Having established the office of teaching as belonging to bishops, Afanasiev asserted that the laity are active, not passive, in receiving and clarifying Orthodox teaching:
      The people listen to the teachers and receive instruction from
   their didaskaloi, but at the same time they listen as the bearers
   of their royal and priestly dignity. That they listen to the
   teachers does not mean that they remain passive in the process of
   instruction. Just as in the area of administration, the people
   possess the right of examination and witness with respect to the
   instruction which is being offered to them.... [T]he people of the
   Church who bear the charism of examination also must witness
   whether the teaching expounded by the didaskaloi agrees with that
   of the Church. The testimony of the people is the judgment of the
   Church rather than a judgment of some of its members. (14)


Afanasiev's summary on the laity's role in receiving teaching upholds the bishops as teachers while broadening the paradigm to include the crucial lay ministry of examining, judging, and confirming. The dialogical quality of expressing and receiving teaching exchanged between the bishop and the laity follows the pattern of eucharistic concelebration, where the laity offer the eucharist with the presiding bishop. In Afanasiev's eucharistic ecclesiology, concelebration reveals an Orthodox notion of collegiality, and the laity are the bishops' colleagues in pastoral ministry.

B. Kallistos Ware

Like Afanasiev, Kallistos Ware also refers to the eucharist as the locus of articulating Orthodox ecclesiology, especially when an ordination is also celebrated. In the eucharistic/eschatological paradigm, the bishop's authority is a gift that comes directly from Christ at ordination, along with the gifts of casting out evil spirits, teaching, and forgiving sins. (15) When the Church accepts Christ as the source and giver of authority in the Church, the bishop cannot be viewed as a feudal lord or representative of parliament. (16) Concerning authority in teaching, Ware asserted that the gift of discernment does not belong to any particular individual but to the entire royal priesthood by virtue of sacramental character received at Chrismation. (17) The Church as the assembly of believers possesses the power of discernment and interpretation and shares this authority with the episcopate, to the extent that the Church as a whole can be considered infallible. (18) Ware has emphasized an interdependence of lay and clerical charisms, hesitating to attribute infallibility to an individual or group of bishops. (19) He has presented the laity as defending the faith, while the episcopate speaks for the Church, the organ by which the Church's infallibility is manifested. (20) His insistence on reciprocity of charisms in the Church characterizes his ecclesial paradigm; the bishop is a divinely ordained teacher, and the laity are the guardians of the Church's faith. Most importantly, Ware explained how the Orthodox mechanism for expressing and receiving faith operates: "[T]he bishops recognize what the truth is and proclaim it; this proclamation is then verified by the assent of the whole Christian people, an assent which is not, as a rule, expressed formally and explicitly, but lived." (21) Implicit in Ware's noble attempt to demonstrate how reception works is the living quality of Orthodox theology, manifested by the eucharistic assembly, the visible presence of the whole Church, bishops and laity included.

C. John Zizioulas

John Zizioulas is often mentioned together with Afanasiev as one of the two Orthodox pioneers of eucharistic ecclesiology. Zizioulas has interpreted the development of the episcopacy in the early church as a ministry of representation of the community's faith. In this paradigm, Zizioulas refused to separate the bishop from the ecclesial community (22) but asserted that the bishop represents the whole community in offering the eucharist to God:
      A fundamental function of this "one bishop" was to express in
   himself the "multitude" ... of the faithful in that place. He was
   the one who would offer the Eucharist to God in the name of the
   Church, thus bringing up to the throne of God the whole body of
   Christ. He was the one in whom the "many" united would become
   "one," being brought back to him who had made them ... Thus the
   bishop would become the one through whose hands the whole community
   would have to pass in its being offered up to God in Christ, i.e.
   in the highest moment of the Church's unity. (23)


Like Ware's and Afanasiev's, Zizioulas's eucharistic ecclesiology is based on the inseparable episcopal and lay ministries. Zizioulas also has asserted that apostolic continuity occurs not in bishops but in apostolic communities, where the bishop carries the same succession inherent in the community over which he presides. (24)

Zizioulas explained his understanding of an Orthodox notion of primacy in an essay addressing the role of the Petrine ministry, (25) in which he again referred to the reciprocal relationship between bishop and laity as the "one" and the "many." (26) He stated that, while the bishop exercises primacy within the local Church, his ministry requires the participation of the laity by necessity. Zizioulas used a liturgical reference to illustrate his point: "Just as he (the bishop) cannot perform the Eucharist without the synaxis of the people, his entire ministry requires the consensus fidelium, the 'Amen' of the community." (27) His explication of the bishop's "entire" ministry is revealing: The laity must receive it in each pastoral application, so if the liturgical "Amen" establishes reception, such lay reception must be present in every aspect of ecclesial life. Zizioulas also insisted on the absolute necessity of synodality in the Church, defining "primacy" as belonging to the local bishop in various defined regions, with the bishop as primus at the local level, the metropolitan as primus at the regional level, and a special primacy extended to a patriarch. (28) Zizioulas's model attempts to hold together the necessary dialogical character of the one (bishop) and the many (laity) rooted in the eucharist and the Trinity, while insisting on synodality and various levels of primacy exercised by local bishops in communion with one another. (29)

In summary, Afanasiev, Ware, and Zizioulas have all referred to the local eucharistic assembly as the locus for exercising Church ministries, with some divergences in the interpretation of the roles of the specific offices, with Ware and Afanasiev seeing the bishop undertaking this task with the participation of the laity--a group of people united in their priestly mission of serving God who share the responsibility for ecclesial communion together with the bishop and the other ordained officers of the Church. The most notable implication from this model of reciprocity between clergy and laity is the active participation of the laity in the work of the Church. The laity's active participation as the eucharistic concelebrant and guardian of the Church's life is an Orthodox notion of collegiality, where the bishops work together with the laity at every level.

The significance of the laity is underscored by the necessity of their ministry of guardianship. While Ware agreed with Zizioulas and Afanasiev in guarding against the isolation of the bishop from the community he leads, even in his teaching, he also qualified this teaching by insisting that the laity are not the final authority. For Ware, primacy belongs to Christ, whose presence is promised and never isolated from his Church. Ware's model has implications for Catholic-Orthodox dialogue, for verification of conciliar theology by the pope is impossible, since this would isolate the pope from his brother bishops, and the laity would have no role in the process. (30)

The contributions of Ware, Afanasiev, and Zizioulas elevate the ministry of the laity while attempting to preserve the bishop's teaching function as belonging to the whole community. They have insisted on the principle of collegiality and the integrity of the local church without approval from an external source and have affirmed the validity of the laity's ministry of examining and defending doctrine (sensus fidelium), where the laity are quite literally colleagues in ministry. Because the laity are usually the final group of people to learn of a ruling or teaching, their role in receiving teaching and other pastoral initiatives is particularly important.

As for the final ecclesial authority, Ware identified Christ as the absolute criterion of the true faith. With the exception of Zizioulas, there is a notable lacuna for Orthodox in defining the place of the Petrine ministry. The local Church grounds the Orthodox notion of eucharistic ecclesiology, and this could result in congregationalism. (31) The common Orthodox employment of terms such as "autocephalous" and "independent" augments the potential for isolation, which could pose a threat to the unity of the Church and to the Orthodox understanding of the relational ministry of the local bishop. (32) The late Orthodox lay theologian Olivier Clement distinguished independence from interdependence by elaborating the latter as a "flexible hierarchy of primacies," a paradigm from the pre-schism Church wherein each church was self-governing, with Rome enjoying a ministry of affirmation as a servant of the communion of churches. (33) Interdependence appears to be an essential element of ecclesiology that has been compromised by nationalization and polarization of the Orthodox churches of the East.

D. Toward a Model of Ecclesial Authority: Ordination in the Eucharistic Assembly

The Orthodox notion of eucharistic ecclesiology summarized above is coherent with the liturgical theology of the rite of ordination of a bishop at the eucharist. A close examination of this rite illuminates the nuances of Orthodox eucharistic ecclesiology because it constitutes a unified Orthodox expression of the exercise of primacy, synodality, collegiality, and reception by the laity. The intricacies of the rites of ordination and the respective roles exercised by the bishops and laity throughout the process illuminate a dynamic harmony of symbol and euchology revealing Orthodox eucharistic ecclesiology. The liturgy speaks, as it were, for all Eastern Orthodox because their common adherence to the rite is in itself an expression of lived unity.

A bishop's ministry begins when he is ordained at the eucharistic assembly, where all of the orders of the Church have gathered together, in one place, to participate in the bishop's ordination. The bishop's rite of ordination contains several liturgical components, such as confessions of faith, prayers, litanic biddings, gestures, and acclamations, which together define the nature of his ministry. Furthermore, the celebration of the ordination rite in the presence of and with the participation of the rest of the Church's orders (bishops, presbyters, deacons, and laity) provides a living context for demonstrating how the eucharist reveals an Orthodox ecclesiology of primacy, synodality, collegiality, and reception by the laity. The rite of ordination of a bishop at the eucharist can serve as a hermeneutic for analyzing Orthodox ecclesiological notions of primacy, synodality, collegiality, and reception because its ritual context informs us on how the ordered assembly understands the bishop's ministry. For Orthodox, the eucharist is the hermeneutic for interpreting a bishop's ministry, and the following analysis will show that the eucharist envisions the exercise of episcopal ministry as collegial with the whole church, including laity, revealing a reciprocity of ministries that find their roots in the eucharistic liturgy.

II. The Liturgical Process of Ordaining Bishops

This section investigates and analyzes the liturgical theology of the rite of ordination of a bishop, beginning with the confessions of faith and continuing with the "Divine Grace" call to prayer and the holding of the Gospel book over the head of the bishop-elect. (34) With the exception of the opening confessions of faith recited by the candidate, the structure and orations of the rite of the ordination of a bishop have remained remarkably stable since the eighth century. (35)

On the evening prior to ordination at a eucharistic liturgy, the naming and proclamation of the bishop occurs. The rite of ordination commences the following morning with the candidate's confessions of faith, immediately prior to the eucharistic liturgy, The call to prayer and laying-on of hands occur after the Trisagion hymn and before the proclamation of assigned readings and responsorial psalmody. Table 1 contains a basic description of the ordination rite:
Table 1. Order of Rite

Morning at Eucharistic Liturgy
Calling and response of bishop-elect. (36)
First Confession: Bishop-elect recites text of
  Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.
Second Confession: Bishop-elect recites Confession that reflects
  the christological doctrines of the seven ecumenical councils
  recognized by the Orthodox Church.
Third Confession: Bishop-elect promises to be faithful to the
  canons of the Holy
Apostles, the seven ecumenical councils, and the pious provincial
  councils.
After Trisagion Hymn, before Readings
Prayer of Divine Grace, Gospel over head of bishop-elect.
Prayer and laying-on of hands. (37)
Litany and second prayer.
Vesting with ecclesial acclamation, "Axios!"


A. The Confessions of Faith

Newly elected bishops often demonstrated their orthodoxy to their brother bishops of the Church in the form of a statement elucidating their confession of faith. These epistles, called "synodika," were sent by newly installed patriarchs to the other patriarchs, including the bishop of Rome. (38) Sophronius (d. 639 C.E.), elected patriarch of Jerusalem in 634 C.E., distributed a celebrated synodikon to his fellow bishops upon his installation as patriarch. (39) His work was foundational for the Christology of the sixth ecumenical council in Constantinople (680-81 C.E.), which clarified the confusion resulting from monothelitism and monenergism. One could argue that his work is an exception, given the contested theological climate of his time, which was influenced by imperial ambitions. (40) Even though his synodikon expresses sophisticated Christology, the practice of distributing confessional synodika to fellow bishops reveals the need for bishops outside the local church to affirm a newly installed prelate's orthodoxy, which accentuates episcopal collegiality and ecclesial interdependence of the patristic epoch. The synodikon thus serves as the immediate forerunner to the liturgical confessions of faith preceding the ordination of a bishop, with no corresponding liturgical form.

The process of ordaining candidates for the episcopacy reached its final form in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. (41) In a study on the evolution of the confessions of faith in the ordination of a bishop, Olivier Raquez, a Benedictine scholar of Eastern Christianity, has asserted that Patriarch Nicephorus of Constantinople complained that certain iconoclast bishops had betrayed the faith they had expressed at their ordinations in 814 C.E. (42) Patriarch Photius (ninth century) proclaimed that bishops must recite the symbol of faith before their ordination in a liturgical context. Symeon of Thessalonike (fifteenth century) indicated that new components appear before the ordination and are eventually conjoined with the rite of ordination of the liturgy. (43)

The ninth-century ordinances identify an important clue to the appearance of confessions of faith in general, as the Church was still embroiled in the iconoclast crisis, and insistence on adherence to the doctrine of the seven ecumenical councils emerged. (44) Raquez has asserted that the particular forms of the confessions of faith were adapted to the circumstances of the time and place. (45) According to Raquez, the works of Gregory of Cyprus, Patriarch of Constantinople, 1283-89, include a variant of the third confession of faith, part of which also appears in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Cypriot manuscripts. The third confession in these later manuscripts recounts the anathemas against the heretics Arius, Macedonius, and Nestorius. Gregory's earlier confession proceeds in a different direction, as he continued the refutation of heresies by rejecting the peace concluded at the Council of Lyons in 1274 and asserted that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone. (46) Thus, the third confession of faith recounted by Gregory II was shaped by the theological disputes of the time and place.

B. Theological Analysis of Bishop's Confessions of Faith

At first glance, the bishop-elect's contemporary liturgical recitation of the confessions of faith, like the synodikon, would seem to confirm his orthodoxy and ability to fulfill his duty of maintaining communion through correct teaching in the gospel. Currently, the confessions of faith occur before the eucharistic liturgy with the ordination rite. (47) Following a formal introductory dialogue, the presiding bishop asks the bishop-elect, "How do you believe?" and the candidate responds by reciting the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. (48) The second dialogue begins with the following question from the presider: "Reveal unto us yet more how you confess concerning the properties of the three Hypostases of the incomprehensible Godhead, and concerning the Incarnation of the Hypostatic Son and Word of God." (49) The candidate then recites the second confession, a lengthy text containing several core teachings from the seven ecumenical councils. (50)

The third confession of faith responds to the request from the presider to "[m]ake manifest unto us, also, what you hold concerning the Canons of the Holy Apostles and the Holy Fathers, and the traditions and statutes of the Church." (51) The candidate's response is particularly germane to his teaching ministry. The bishop-elect makes many promises with reference to the specific duties enumerated in his ministry. Several of these promises refer to true or false teaching and to the role of the bishop as the guardian, defender, and promoter of the apostolic faith:
      I promise ... to preserve the peace of the Church, and firmly to
   hold, and not to devise anything whatsoever which is contrary to,
   the Orthodox Catholic Eastern Christian Faith all the days of my
   life ...

      And I promise to rule the flock entrusted to me in the fear of God
   and in devoutness of life, and fervently to teach it, striving with
   all zeal to guard it against all heresies.
   ...

      I promise to visit the flock entrusted to me, after the manner
   of the Apostles, and watch over it, whether they remain faithful to
   the Faith, and in the exercise of good works, but, especially the
   Priests; and to inspect with diligence, to instruct and prohibit,
   that no schisms, superstitions, and heresies are increased, and
   that no customs contrary to Christian piety and a good character
   may bring harm to a Christian way of life. (52)


In summary, it is clear that the confessions of faith were introduced into the rite of ordination of a bishop because of theological controversies involving bishops who were perceived as having betrayed the faith. In this instance, the lex credendi has clearly shaped the lex orandi of the Orthodox Church, as the confessions of faith were gradually added to the Church's ritual celebration as a public and official means of guarding doctrinal orthodoxy. The candidate's public recitation of confessions of faith before the whole assembly is a strong expression of Orthodox synodality and collegiality. Most of the liturgical dialogue occurs between the presiding bishop and the candidate, echoing synodality, yet the ritual occurs in the presence of the entire gathered assembly. The laity also observe and affirm the candidate at this point, under the leadership of the presiding bishops. The context of the rite of a bishop's ordination is important, as the liturgical dialogues between the candidate and the bishops in the presence of the laity establish the pattern of dialogical ministry that the bishop will exercise after his ordination. The bishop will discuss theological and pastoral matters and establish his agenda with his fellow bishops (synodality), and the laity will witness to the exercise of his ministry. The structure of the rite thus establishes that collegiality is shared not merely among ordained bishops but is also extended to the laity, since they actively participate in his ordination.

In the first confession, the candidate's orthodoxy is affirmed in his recitation of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. This basic confession of faith reiterates his good standing in the Church. His affirmation of the Church's conciliar Christology in the second profession of faith buttresses his role as the guardian of the apostolic faith, as the councils have clarified all questions and misconceptions concerning the person of Jesus Christ.

The second confession evidences the problem of apostate bishops. In the second confession, the candidate promises to "venerate, relatively, but not in the way of worship, the divine icons, worthy of veneration, of Christ Himself and of the Most-pure Mother of God and of all the Saints," and to "reject and anathematize [those] proclaiming strange teachings," language that could only have materialized from the iconoclast crisis of the eighth and ninth centuries (53) The confessions obviously have multiple functions, both affirmative and preventative. The presence of theological and disciplinary issues in the confessions evidences an effort to prevent new bishops from falling into error.

The third confession covers a variety of pastoral and theological issues. First, the candidate promises to be of "one mind" with the ruling bishop and all of his brother bishops. (54) The language of the confession is carefully couched, however, in that primacy is reserved for "the divine laws, and to the sacred Canons of the Holy Apostles and Holy Fathers." (55) The new bishop, together with the ruling bishop and his brother bishops, is submissive to the divine law, not to a particular patriarch. This section of the third confession of faith illustrates the Orthodox notions of synodality and primacy by identifying the body of bishops as collectively submitting to the guidance and instruction of the primacy of divine law. In this instance, the theology of the third confession of faith coheres with Ware's attribution of primacy to Jesus Christ himself.

The remainder of the third confession hinges on the bishop's maintenance of his personal dignity, his respect for the order of the Church (especially the jurisdiction of his neighboring bishops), and his constant vigilance in rooting out heresy and safeguarding the true apostolic faith for the preservation of communion within his flock. The third confession retains the general sense of fighting heresy and safeguarding the truth without proclaiming anathemas or castigating other churches. The multiple references to the presence of the Holy Spirit's abiding with the candidate suggest the need to sustain him when he exercises his teaching ministry, which is an implicit but important affirmation of the primacy of divine law in the bishop's ministry. (56) There is also an emphasis on safeguarding the truth for the purpose of maintaining the communion of the Church. In this case, the bishop shares in exercising the ministry of primacy within the local Church. The primacy still belongs to Christ, but the bishop has the responsibility to exercise it so that the "many" of the Church would be "one" communion.

The preliminary rites of the ordination of a bishop examine the orthodoxy and stability of a candidate against the background of previous bishops who had fallen into error. The texts of the confessions equally emphasize the bishop's own surety in the orthodox faith and his duty to preserve the communion of his Church from the intrusion of questionable theological ideas. This underlines the bishop's responsibility for orthodox teaching within his flock. While he is never identified as the only or even primary teacher, he is the guardian of apostolic faith and the one who has the authority to correct false teaching for the sake of preserving communion. The bishop shares the responsibility to uphold the true faith together with the presiding bishop and his fellow bishops, who are collectively responsible before the primacy of the divine law of the gospel, a manifestation of the Orthodox view of synodality and collegiality. The celebration of this ritual in the presence of the laity serves as a reminder that the laity make an essential contribution to the exercise of ministry in collegiality.

C. The Ordination Rites

In the Byzantine rite, ordinations for bishops, presbyters, deacons, and deaconesses all begin with the "Divine Grace" call to prayer. (57) Because the formula applies to these different orders, no particular theological concept can be gleaned from its function in the ordination of a bishop. The determinative motif of the formula is that the Holy Spirit elects and elevates the candidate to the office of bishop. The text from BAR follows: "The divine grace, which always heals that which is infirm and supplies what is lacking, appoints the presbyter N., beloved by God, as bishop. Let us pray therefore that the grace of the Holy Spirit may come upon him." (58) The formula indicates that the Holy Spirit is the chief elector and active agent of the ordination, which means that the whole process begins with divine initiative--another example of the primacy of divine activity in the Church. (59)

The concelebrating bishops hold the book of the Holy Gospels (opened) over the head of the bishop-elect with the writing facing downward, while the presider proclaims the "Divine Grace" formula. (60) The text of the first prayer of the ordination rite elaborates the meaning of the gesture of holding the book over the candidate's head:
      O Master, Lord our God, Who through the All-praised Apostle Paul
   hast established for us an ordinance of degrees and ranks, for the
   serving and liturgizing of Thine Honorable and Most-pure Mysteries
   upon Thy Holy Altar; first, Apostles, secondly, Prophets, thirdly,
   Teachers: Do Thou Thyself, O Master of all, by the infusion, power,
   and grace of Thy Holy Spirit strengthen this elect person who has
   been counted worthy to come under the yoke of the Gospel and the
   dignity of a Bishop through the Laying-on of Hands of us, his
   fellow Bishops here present, as Thou didst strengthen Thy Holy
   Apostles and Prophets' as Thou didst anoint Kings; as Thou hast
   consecrated Bishops. And show his Episcopacy to be blameless; and
   adorning him with all honor, present him holy, that he may be
   worthy to entreat those things which are for the salvation of the
   people, and that Thou mayest give ear unto him. For sanctified is
   Thy Name, and glorified is Thy Kingdom: of the Father, and of the
   Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of
   ages. Amen. (61)


The prayer continues the theme of the "Divine Grace" call to prayer by emphasizing God's ordination of the candidate to a specific office that follows the tradition of other offices. The gospel functions as the center of the new bishop's ministry, a theme that the second prayer develops. This first section of the rite demonstrates that God has elected and promoted the new bishop and that he has many pastoral responsibilities. While the prayer mentions the order of ecclesial offices established by God, the episcopal function appears to be defined primarily by the celebration of the mysteries at the altar and the shepherding of the flock. Thus, the prayer expounds a theology that includes the apostolic, prophetic, and teaching ministries within a collection of functions that the bishop exercises in his ministry. The holding of the open Gospel book over the head of the bishop-elect, a ritual gesture also performed in the Roman rite, breaks open the rich symbolism of primacy. (62) The gospel, or divine law, provides the content for the bishop's ministry. Again, the entire assembly, including the laity, witnesses the bishop's obedience to and carrying out of Christ's primacy in the gospel. (63)

The second prayer follows a series of litanic biddings that ask God to protect and save the candidate and the city he will serve, and it outlines the chief duties he must exercise in his ministry:
      O Lord our God, Who, inasmuch as it is impossible for the nature
   of man to endure the divine Essence, in Thine Economy hast
   instituted for us teachers of like nature with ourselves, to
   maintain Thine Altar, that they may offer unto Thee sacrifice and
   oblation for all Thy people: Do Thou Thyself, O Lord, make this man
   also, who hast been revealed a Steward of the episcopal grace, to
   be an imitator of Thee, the True Shepherd, Who didst lay down Thy
   life for Thy sheep; to be a leader of the blind, a light to them
   that are in darkness, a chastiser of the foolish, a teacher of the
   young, a lamp to the world; that, having perfected the souls
   entrusted unto him in this present life, he may stand unashamed
   before Thy throne, and receive the great recompense which Thou hast
   prepared for them that have endured sufferings for the preaching of
   Thy Gospel. (64)


The presiding bishop asks God to make the new bishop an imitator of Christ by laying down his life for his flock, offering "sacrifice and oblations" for God's people, and teaching to maintain God's altar. The teaching function of the bishop is further elaborated, as he is to be "a leader of the blind, a light to those in darkness, a reprover of the unwise, a teacher of the young, a lamp to the world." The prayer ends by asking God to grant that the bishop stand "unashamed" before God's house, as he has "perfected the souls entrusted to him" by properly preaching the gospel. The inclusion of teaching and maintaining the altar and the teacher's liturgical role of offering sacrifices and oblations on behalf of the people in the same opening sentence of the prayer signifies their inseparability in a bishop's ministry. This harmonizes with the collection of ministries mentioned by the first prayer noted above. The second prayer thus broadens, expounds, and confirms the themes introduced in the first, further developing what it means to come under the yoke of the gospel.

The bishop's ministry includes the teaching function, but it is qualified by the broad scope of the totality of his duties, clearly suggesting that the teaching function is intimately related to the ministry of the altar. The metaphors in the latter portion of the prayer illuminate the particular function of the bishop's teaching. In offering sacrifices and oblations at the holy altar, the bishop is responsible for maintaining communion within his flock and with the Church shepherded by his brother bishops. His teaching function provides guidance to all who are misguided or not yet fully developed. The teaching emanates from the preaching of the gospel, leading the blind, nurturing the young, and providing light for those in darkness and in the world. The first prayer distinguishes the bishop's office as one ordained by God like those of apostle, prophet, and teacher, and identifies the gospel as the center and source of the bishop's ministry. The second prayer further develops this by maintaining the centrality of the gospel and linking its teaching to the sacrifices and oblations of the altar. So, the bishop holds the responsibility for maintaining true teaching, in congruence with the gospel, for the sake of the unity of the Church, manifested and sealed in the liturgy over which he presides. The functions of teaching and shepherding the flock are perichoretic and should not be interpreted as separate, because his exercise of Christ's primacy (the "one") is meant to preserve the communion of the "many," manifested in the eucharistic assembly. (65)

The rite of ordination ends with the vesting of the bishop. In BAR, he vests in the "omophorion," the distinguishing vestment of bishops in the Byzantine tradition. (66) As the presider vests the newly ordained bishop, he proclaims "Axios!"--an acclamation repeated by the clergy and the people. (67) This acclamation is absent from BAR; it first appears in Par& Coislin 213, an eleventh-century euchologion representing the cathedral liturgy tradition of Constantinople. (68) The "Axios!" acclamation originally appeared in the rite of the ordination of a bishop and eventually migrated into presbyteral and diaconal ordinations. (69) The acclamation constitutes the laity's reception of the new bishop, as they proclaim his worthiness.

The Orthodox rite of the ordination of a bishop is a primary source for articulating the ecclesiology of the bishop's ministry, especially the notions of primacy, synodality, collegiality, and reception by the laity. First, the euchological witnesses assume the presence of multiple bishops, who participate in the rite. (70) Their participation manifests synodality and collegiality, as they also offer their own reception of the candidate in the form of the "Axios!" acclamation and participate in the imposition of the Gospel book. The necessity of multiple bishops emerged early in the Church's history, as evidenced by the canonical corpus. Canon 4 of the Council of Nicea asserted that all local bishops should be invited for the ordination of a new bishop, with a minimum of three attending and the remainder rendering their approval in writing. (71)

Episcopal collegiality emerges as a priority from this important witness, as the process of election and ordination occurs within the context of episcopal cooperation without submitting the candidate to an external bishop for approval. (72) The ordination of a bishop is celebrated only in the eucharistic assembly, among the "many," which includes the laity. The presence and participation of the laity, who are given the final "Axios!" in the liturgical rites, again demonstrates their essential role in ecclesial collegiality. The eucharistic context and necessary participation of the laity through every step of the process affirms that an Orthodox notion of collegiality is not reserved for the episcopacy but is extended to all the orders of the Church, including presbyters, deacons, and laity. Thus, the rite of a bishop's ordination shows that the ministry of primacy is always exercised in dialogue with fellow bishops (the synod) and the laity (ecclesial collegiality).

The rite of a bishop's ordination emphasizes the local aspect of the Church and trust in the collegiality of local synods. The presence of the universal Church in the local tends to be blurred in this model, especially in the contemporary context of heavily nationalized Orthodox churches throughout the world. The absence of references to the participation of bishops from sibling Orthodox churches in the rite of a bishop's ordination accentuates the local quality of ecclesial independence rather than interdependence with others. The interpretation of new theological challenges absent from the issues covered in the confessions poses an intriguing problem for the contemporary Orthodox Church. What if an entire local synod were indeed of "one mind" on a crucial issue requiring teaching, in contradistinction to their sibling churches? Who has the final authority in such a situation? For such hypothetical situations, the liturgy's strong accentuation on the local nature of the Church reveals the glaring absence of a universal ecclesial synod equipped to assemble and address issues of common concern, not to mention a place for the exercise of the Petrine ministry. (73)

D. Implications for Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue

The analysis of the rite of the ordination of a bishop in the Orthodox Church illuminates the Orthodox perspective on ecclesial collegiality by demonstrating the essential and active participation of the laity. This ecclesiological exercise creates an intriguing point of reference for engaging Catholics in dialogue. For Orthodox, the process of electing, examining, and ordaining new bishops must be interpreted through the hermeneutic of the eucharist. Although episcopal synods select candidates, all the orders of the assembly gather to receive Christ at the eucharist, including the royal priesthood of the laity, and to participate in the official ordination of a bishop. The entire assembly gathers to examine the candidate as he presents his faith by proclaiming the confessions of faith. With the assembly actively witnessing and examining, he promises his obedience to the gospel, professes his shared ministry with his fellow bishops, and affirms his upholding of the canons and traditions of the Church by the authority of Christ's gospel. His confessions of faith in the midst of the assembly illustrate that his teaching always draws from the deposit of the Church's faith and is likewise accountable to the ordered assembly, which is gathered to witness his confession.

E. "Axios!" and Reception by the Laity

The ordered assembly, laity included, affirms God's selection of the candidate to exercise his episcopal teaching ministry, vividly punctuated by their repeated acclamations of "Axios!" The repeated "Axios!" acclamations express the Orthodox ecclesiological notions of primacy, synodality, and collegiality. "Axios!" does not constitute the laity's vote; rather, it is an acclamation repeated several times by each order of the Church in response to the primacy of God's initiative in selecting the candidate for ordination to ministry. (74) The bishops proclaim "Axios!" as a liturgical expression of their synodality, and the laity exclaim "Axios!" as their reception of a candidate's ordination to episcopal ministry.

The ecclesiological implications of the "Axios!" acclamation are broad. The acclamation anticipates and echoes the dialogical nature of ecclesial ministry on both the vertical and the horizontal dimensions. The participation of clergy and laity in exclaiming "Axios!" assumes their active reception of divine activity in the Church (vertical) and demands their cooperation in the exercise of Church ministry (horizontal). One can apply the churchwide acclamation of "Axios!" to the process of selecting candidates. (75) For Orthodox, this is a reminder that the laity should partner with the bishops in discerning God's will for selecting and calling candidates to ordained ministry at the beginning of the process, not waiting until it is completed. We also suggest that Orthodox should apply this liturgical model of co-ministry to related aspects of Church ministry, including teaching, canonical discipline, and administration of pastoral initiatives. For the purposes of Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, the "Axios!" acclamation resembles the Catholic notion of the sensus fidei, a strong consensus among the whole body of the Church, clergy and laity, on issues of faith and morals. (76) The Orthodox ecclesiological model of dialogical reciprocity revealed by the rite of a bishop's ordination could facilitate constructive ecumenical dialogue on the dynamics of the laity's participation in and contribution to important matters of faith and morals.

The rite of a bishop's ordination clearly demonstrates the necessary contribution of the laity to the bishop's election and subsequent ministry in the Church. Just as the laity actively participate in his ordination by affirming him and witnessing to his stewardship over the faith, the liturgical theology of the rite implies their co-ministry with him in expressing, clarifying, and developing the Church's faith, especially when circumstances emerge that require response. Church teaching is inseparable from the altar, and, if the eucharist is the source of Church teaching, as I argue here, then each order of the assembly must always participate in its articulation.

The Orthodox inclusion of the laity in collegiality occurs in select aspects of Catholic magisterial teaching. Lumen gentium expresses the sacramental inseparability of ministerial and royal priesthoods, and the laity are called to cooperate with priests and bishops in Apostolicam actuositatem, the Second Vatican Council's teaching on the lay apostolate. (77) Orthodox ecclesiology more firmly roots the teaching ministry in the eucharist as its primary source, and the reciprocity of charisms exercised by the constituents of all the orders who assemble at the eucharist is a uniquely Orthodox notion of testing teaching that could be useful for Catholics as they address pastoral issues in the Church.

However, the Orthodox adherence to synodal interdependence cannot guarantee ecclesial unity. Among Orthodox ecclesiologists, only Kallistos Ware has consistently identified the primacy of Christ and the gospel as the highest authorities in clarifying faith, and the rite of a bishop's ordination confirms this acknowledgement of divine primacy. Zizioulas assigned the ministry of exercising Christ's primacy to the bishop, with specific bishops maintaining communion at various levels of the Church. This analysis has established the necessary participation of the "many," the laity; both the rite of ordination and the theological traditions of East and West establish the necessary co-ministry of the laity with the bishop and synods of bishops. The work of clarification and subsequent reception belongs to Christ's body, clergy and laity, but there is no consensus within Orthodoxy on who has the final authority to issue teachings on faith and morals.

Orthodox tend to emphasize the pneumatic quality of ecclesiology, where the Spirit constitutes the Church, and Catholics have recovered this theological dimension in Lumen gentium. (78) In practice, Orthodox point to an ecumenical council or the highest-ranking bishop on a local synod as the final authority, but the recent failure of Orthodox to agree on who has the authority to confer a Tomos of autocephaly to a local Church illustrates a deficiency in the Orthodox authoritative mechanisms. (79) Certainly, historical circumstances provided obstacles to legitimate and free Orthodox gatherings in contemporary contexts of suppression and persecution, but Orthodox have been unable to convoke an ecumenical council due to a lack of consensus. In the spirit of dialogue, Orthodox could likewise benefit from further engagement with Catholics on the Roman exercise of the Petrine ministry in attending to the episcopal college and its unity by identifying a leader who acts decisively to address crises of faith and morals.

An essential first step for Orthodox is to address creatively the serious fissure between the inclusive ecclesiology revealed by the liturgical theology developed above and the pastoral reality that reserves almost all serious deliberation for bishops. The creation of such an ecclesiological bridge, where the liturgical theology would actually shape practice, must begin with the liturgy itself. Given the implications of the laity's reception of newly ordained bishops, particularly through the ritual moments of the Confessions of Faith, the eucharistic context, and in the "Axios!" acclamation, more concrete steps should be added to the process of vetting and electing candidates for the episcopacy to ensure that lay participation occurs in each step of the process. Laity and parish clergy should be allowed to nominate candidates for episcopal vacancies before the vetting process begins, so that their preferred candidates would be considered alongside those selected by synods of bishops. The laity should be allowed to participate actively in the vetting process, which could include video interviews and town hall meetings. (80) Last, lay representatives of a diocese should participate in an initial election that includes an option for "willingness to elect." In instances where the Church clearly expresses rejection of a proposed candidate, that candidate's name will be removed from the ballot. Such steps would require additional modifying and polishing, and this example is presented as an initial model wherein the laity's organic theological contribution to a bishop's ordination shapes the entire process, beginning with election.

A second equally important and parallel step must occur at the level of Church pastoral ministry, where structures are created that invite laity to contribute to the Church's ministries of teaching and clarifying faith and morals. In their own versions of aggiornamento, some Orthodox churches have modified their structures to include a much broader representation of contributions from people in the Church. One example of such an arrangement is the presence and role of the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America. (81) The Metropolitan Council composition includes clerical and lay representatives from each Church diocese, who consult the synod of bishops and execute many of the Church's business affairs. The participation of priest and lay delegates in Church ministry employs the Orthodox principle of conciliarity envisioned by the Moscow Sobor of 1917-18, which was unable to conclude its business due to the Bolshevik Revolution. (82) The Orthodox Churches would create their own versions of such conciliar structures that facilitate lay inclusion in participation in every aspect of Church governance. Such governance would not be limited to financial issues but would allow the laity to engage bishops in meaningful conversation about crucial issues of faith and morals that impact Christianity today. This initial proposal calling for the creation of such structures is designed to bridge the current fissure between liturgical theology and pastoral practice. In the new systems, the laity would have the capacity truly to function as the colleagues of the bishops. Furthermore, the creation and authentic operation of such structures would illuminate the laity's existing prominent role of concelebration and collegiality in the liturgy itself.

The final step of this initial process would be for Orthodox to overcome their most formidable initial obstacle by convening an ecumenical Orthodox synod of all bishops to discuss longstanding issues impacting Orthodoxy, including the calendar, the meaning and granting of autocephaly, the Church, politics and culture, and Orthodoxy's future in ecumenical dialogues. The initial synod of all bishops would approve of an annual ecumenical synod of Orthodox primates. Local churches would take turns hosting the synod on a rotating schedule, with the possibility of participating via videoconferencing in extenuating circumstances. Each annual Orthodox synod would include several agenda items submitted by the laity through the local Church councils to ensure that the issues raised by laity are heard. An implementation of this model process or some variant would capacitate the creation of a bridge so that the liturgical theology expressed by the rite of a bishop's ordination would begin to be experienced in practice. In other words, the collegiality of the laity inherent in the Church's rites of eucharist and ordination would be manifest in its pastoral ministry and administration. It would also illuminate a potentially reciprocal consequence, such that one's experience of active contribution to and participation in every aspect in the life of the Church would prepare one to recognize the meaning and implications of affirming a bishop at his consecration by liturgical rituals such as the "Axios!" acclamation.

After the initiation and refinement of this layered process, Orthodox might then be prepared to enter the ecumenical arena with consensus by considering DeVille's call for the establishment of a Roman patriarchate and articulation of the exercise of the papacy as the chairperson of an ecumenical synod effectively, which coheres with the Orthodox preference for local autonomy and synodality. (83) An essential component of such a dialogue is an analysis of how the Petrine ministry would engage a new definition of collegiality that now includes the necessary contribution of the laity.

Last, it would be helpful in such dialogues to acknowledge that Orthodox have not defined categories of authority in the same manner or employing the same nomenclature as Catholics have. Orthodox often use multiple terms that can be synonymous, and, while they typically refer to ecumenical councils as expressing and preserving the deposit of apostolic faith, they do not define various levels of magisterium. Thus, one cannot rigidly interpret Orthodox statements on authority without acknowledging the fissure between Orthodox and Catholics in employing a structured vocabulary that defines ecclesial teaching. Constructive dialogue on developing a common vocabulary on primacy, synodality, and collegiality for Orthodox and Catholics could prove fruitful for advancing toward agreement on ecclesial authority in the two churches.

III. Conclusion

This essay began by reviewing the need for an Orthodox response to John Paul II's invitation in Ut unum sint to join him in ascertaining how the Petrine ministry can work toward the unification of the Orthodox and Catholic churches. My intention is to offer conclusions and suggestions that are the product of an honest self-analysis of Orthodox ecclesiology rooted in the rite of a bishop's ordination at the eucharist. My hope is that this look within the Orthodox tradition might contribute to renewed dialogue with Catholics interested in looking deeper within their own tradition to understand better its articulation of primacy, synodality, collegiality, and reception by the laity. This analysis offers an ecclesiology of dialogical ministry shared by all the orders of the Church by affirming the venerable traditions of divine primacy and episcopal synodality and by calling for serious consideration of increased and active lay participation in collegial ministry.

For Orthodox, the rite of a bishop's ordination reveals a core ecclesiological model rooted in the eucharistic assembly that illustrates the leadership of bishops in dialogue with the laity. The rite of the ordination of a bishop is a primary source for interpreting the Orthodox notions of primacy, synodality, and collegiality, because candidates for the office of bishop have their faith examined in the presence and context of the eucharistic assembly. The bishop receives the authority to teach from Christ (through the Gospel book) and through the Holy Spirit (the epicletic prayers), with everything confirmed by the assembly. Thus, the rite of the ordination of a bishop shows that the newly ordained bishop's ministry, including his teaching, is inseparable from the assembly, and also from his ministry as presider at the eucharistic liturgy. The exchange between bishop and assembly is dialogical, a representation of the laity's essential contribution to ecclesial collegiality.

This analysis suggests that one can apply this model to several layers of Church teaching and administration and that Orthodox and Catholics can mutually benefit from a dialogue on how they might apply the model to address significant pastoral issues. The analysis also suggests that the exercise of the Petrine ministry by the bishop of Rome can be enriched by a refreshed consideration of an Orthodox notion of collegiality, which includes the autonomy of local synods of bishops and is extended to include the active contribution of the laity. An examination of Catholic tradition will yield a magisterial view of the laity as the eucharist's concelebrant; bishops will only benefit by consistently consulting with the laity in addressing issues and implementing pastoral initiatives. I call for the modification of the process of electing bishops to allow for more vigorous lay participation, so that the liturgical theology of the rite of ordaining bishops would shape the entire process of election and ordination. Furthermore, I call for the creation of new local and ecumenical Orthodox structures that would facilitate lay contributions to episcopal deliberation on issues of faith and morals in the spirit of collegiality. I suggest that an increase in such internal communication of all orders within the Orthodox Church could result in increased consensus on crucial issues confronting the Orthodox churches, thus preparing them for more meaningful ecumenical dialogue.

My presentation of this model comes during a period of serious tensions between laity and the hierarchy of both the Catholic and Orthodox churches. The so-called "liturgy wars" in the Catholic Church came to a head with the inevitable implementation of the third edition of the Roman Missal in English-speaking countries on the first Sunday of Advent in 2011. These tensions exist not only between laity and hierarchy; diocesan bishops have also expressed angst, as they found little room to contribute to the formative process resulting in what appears to be an imposition, not implementation, of the revised Missal. Orthodoxy in America has suffered from similar tensions, especially the Orthodox Church in America, which has endured hierarchical abuse of authority, a lack of transparency, and a crisis in authority--manifested in similar tensions between the hierarchy and laity and also among the hierarchy. In truth, these crises are but instances of recurring flare-ups in exercising ecclesiastical authority in both churches. Indeed, both Catholics and Orthodox continue to struggle to retrieve an ecclesiological model that meets their respective needs.

My hypothesis is that the exercise of ecclesiological primacy requires the kind of dialogical reciprocity that occurs on synods and between clergy and laity, as manifested by the Orthodox rite of the ordination of a bishop at the eucharist. The liturgical theology of this ordination rite has the capacity to change significantly the dynamics of Church authority if the principles of the liturgical model are applied in practice. Theological models are potent when accompanied by mechanisms that facilitate each component of the model to permeate the lived experience of Church participants. In the absence of such mechanisms, there are significant fissures between theory and practice, and it is evident that a mechanism allowing the ecclesiology of this liturgical model to shape the exercise of authority in practice is currently sorely lacking in both the Catholic and Orthodox churches. The consequences of this fissure are manifold, and none are more profoundly negative than the apathy and anger steadily growing among many laity and some clergy of both churches.

While this essay has employed the Orthodox rite of a bishop's ordination as the primary source for retrieving the ecclesiology that I assert belongs to both Orthodoxy and Catholicism, both traditions could learn something from contemporary Catholic magisterial teaching. Given the primacy that Vatican II gave to liturgy as the source and summit of the Catholic Church's life in Sacrosancturn concilium, both churches should use their shared value of the primacy of liturgical theology as the catalyst to create a mechanism that holds both traditions accountable to their ecclesiological tenets revealed by the liturgy. When diocesan bishops, presbyters, deacons, and laity find themselves welcome as dialogue partners at every level of church life, their active presence at Christ's table will have been manifested as an extension in the lived experience of the church, and only then will both church traditions benefit from the potential of this liturgical model.

(1) For clarity, all references to "Orthodox" in this essay pertain to Eastern Orthodox churches adhering to the Byzantine tradition. This analysis does not include Oriental Orthodox, such as Armenians, Copts, and Ethiopians.

(2) Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint (May 25, 1995), in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 87 (November 10, 1995): 921-982; available at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/ encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25051995_ut-unum-sint_en.html.

(3) Ibid., no. 16.

(4) Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Euntes in mundum (January 25, 1988), in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 80 (July 25, 1988): 935-956; available at http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john paul_ii/ apost letters/documents/hf ip-ii_apl_25011988_euntes-in-rnundum-universum_it.html.

(5) Adam A. J. DeVille, Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East-West Unity (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2011), p. 1 I.

(6) Ibid., pp. 12-16.

(7) Ibid., p. 14.

(8) "At the heart of our differences stands the way each of our traditions understands the proper exercise of primacy in the leadership of the Church, both within the various regions of the Christian world and within Christianity as a whole. In order to be the Body of Christ in its fullness--to be both 'Orthodox' and 'Catholic'--does a local community, gathered to celebrate the Eucharist[,] have to be united with the other Churches that share the Apostolic faith, not only through Scripture, doctrine, and tradition, but also through common worldwide structures of authority--particularly through the practice of a universal synodality in union with the bishop of Rome?" (The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, "Steps towards a Reunited Church: A Sketch of an Orthodox-Catholic Vision for the Future" [October 2, 2010], no. 2); available at http://www.usccb.org/ beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/ecumenical/orthodox/steps-towards-reunitedchurch.cfm). Also see a 1989 statement on conciliarity and primacy by the U.S. Orthodox-Catholic Consultation: "An Agreed Statement on Conciliarity and Primacy in the Church," in John Borelli and John H. Erickson, eds., The Quest for Unity. Orthodox and Catholics in Dialogue--Documents of the Joint International Commission and Official Dialogues in the United States, 1965-1995 (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press; and Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 1996), p. 154.

(9) In Roman Catholic doctrine, the responsibility for preaching and teaching the faith belongs to bishops, who exercise this charismatic ministry in communion with the Roman pontiff, especially when they are gathered together in council. See the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium (November 21, 1964), no. 25, in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 57 (January 30, 1965): 1-67; available at http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist-councils/ii-vatican-council/documents/vat-ii-const_1964 1121_lumen-gentium_en.html.

(10) Canon 64 of the Council in Trullo (692 C.E.) is often invoked as authoritative: "That no layman is to pursue the office of teacher. [That] no layman is to hold a public lecture on dogma, nor to teach, thus arrogating to himself the office of teacher, but is to follow the order handed down by the Lord, and to lend an ear to those who have received the grace of teaching" (quoted in George Nedungatt and Michael Featherstone, eds., The Council in Trullo Revisited, Kanonika 6 [Rome: Pontificio Istituto Orientale, 1995], p. 145).

(11) Michael Plekon, Living Icons: Persons of Faith in the Eastern Church (Notre Dame, IN; University of Notre Dame Press, 2002), pp. 152-156.

(12) "The concelebration by the laity is effective and real, not ceremonial. In the liturgy the laity are not passive--for those whom God has appointed to the ministry of the royal priesthood cannot be passive. On the contrary, they participate actively; the liturgical acts are performed by the head of the Church with the con-celebration of the laity" (Nicholas Afanasiev, "The Ministry of Laity in the Church," in William C. Mills, ed., Called to Serve: Readings on Ministry from the Orthodox Church [Rollinsford, NH: Orthodox Research Institute, 2010], pp. 8-9). Also see Nicholas Afanasiev, Trapeza Gospodnia (Kiev: Khram Prepodobnogo Agapita Pecherskogo, 2003).

(13) Afanasiev, Trapeza Gospodnia, pp. 76-78.

(14) Nicholas Afanasiev, The Church of the Holy Spirit, ed. and intro. Michael Plekon, tr. Vitaly Permiakov (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2007 [orig. Tserkov Dukha Sviatogo [Paris: YMCA Press, 1971]), p. 75.

(15) Kallistos Ware, "L'exercice de I'autorite dans I'Eglise orthodoxe," Irdnikon 54 (December, 1981): 452-453.

(16) Ibid., pp. 451-454.

(17) Ibid., pp. 457-460.

(18) Ibid., p. 460.

(19) Ibid., p. 461.

(20) Ibid. Ware explicitly stated this in his dated work on the Orthodox Church: "infallibility belongs to the whole Church, not just to the episcopate in isolation" (Timothy Ware [Bishop Kallistos of Diokleia], The Orthodox Church [London: Penguin Books, 1963; rev., 1993], p. 251).

(21) Ware, The Orthodox Church, p. 253; emphasis in original.

(22) See also John D. Zizioulas, Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church, Contemporary Greek Theologians 4 (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1985), pp. 209-214.

(23) Ibid., p. 153; emphasis in original. Benjamin Durheim has recently applied Zizioulas's eucharistic ecclesiology to argue for eucharistic sharing between Christian denominations, drawing upon Zizioulas's emphasis on the eucharist as an eschatological event that constitutes communion (see Benjamin Durheim, "The Possibility of Eucharistic Sharing: An Application of John Zizioulas's Theology," Worship 85 [July, 2011]: 290-305).

(24) "[A]ll the orders of the Church are partakers of the apostolic continuity which is realized through an act of ordination. Whereas the historical scheme of continuity can lead to a sacramentalism in ordination by limiting apostolic continuity to the so-called ordained ministry, the eschatological approach leads to the conclusion that, for apostolic continuity to take place, the order of the baptized layman is indispensable. The Church, therefore, relates to the apostles not only through ordination hut also through baptism" (Zizioulas, Being as Communion, p. 195).

(25) John Zizioulas, "Primacy in the Church: An Orthodox Approach," in James F. Puglisi, cd., Petrine Ministry and the Unity of the Church: "Toward a Patient and Fraternal Dialogue "--A Symposium Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Society of the Atonement, A Michael Glazier Book (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999), pp. 115-125.

(26) Ibid., pp. 119-120.

(27) Ibid., p. 119.

(28) Zizioulas described synodality and primacy as "'sine qua non conditio,'" in ibid., pp. 121-123.

(29) Zizioulas has rejected a primacy of jurisdiction for the Petrine ministry, arguing that it lacks a theological basis and cannot be sustained through historical argument; see ibid., p. 124.

(30) Ware, "L'exercice de l'autorite," pp. 467-470.

(31) Zizioulas criticized Afanasiev for prioritizing the local church over the universal (Zizioulas, Being as Communion, p. 133), but Zizioulas's own theology seems to carry the same emphasis.

(32) Nicholas Ferencz has argued that a lack of consistently strong episcopal leadership resulted in rampant congregationalism in the early history of the Orthodox Church in America (see Nicholas Ferencz, American Orthodoxy and Parish Congregationalism, Gorgias Dissertations 18, Religion [Piscataway, N J; Gorgias Press, 2006], pp. 185-202).

(33) Olivier Clement, You Are Peter: An Orthodox Theologian's Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy, tr. M. S. Laird (New York, London, and Manila: New City Press, 2003 [orig.: Rome autrement (Paris: Desclee de Brouwer, 1997)]), pp. 72-73 and 76.

(34) For the purposes of this essay, we will employ the English text of "The Office of Confession and Answering of a Bishop (and the Laying-on of Hands)" from The Great Book of Needs, vol. 1 : The Holy Mysteries, tr. and notes St. Tikhon's Monastery (South Canaan, PA: St. Tikhon's Seminary Press, 1998), pp. 270-281 (hereafter, GBN).

(35) For the rite of the ordination of a bishop celebrated in eighth-century Constantinople, see the critical edition of the euchologion, Codex Barbermi 336, in Stefano Parenti and Elena Velkovska, eds., L 'Eucologio Barberini Gr. 336, Bibliotheca "Ephemerides liturgicae" 80, 2nd ed. (Rome: CLV-Edizioni Liturgiche, 2000), pp. 175-176 (hereafter, BAR). On the dating of the manuscripts, see Stefano Parenti and Elena Velkovska, lntroduzione, BAR, pp. 1%20. BAR contains formularies for the ordinations of bishops, presbyters, deacons, deaconesses, and subdeacons, along with the prayers for the setting aside of readers and hegumens, the ordained superiors of monastic communities. BAR comes from southern Italy on the periphery of the Byzantine realm, and its references to the ordaining hierarch as archbishop and similar references to "patriarch" authenticate its correspondence to Constantinopolitan liturgy. Also see Stefano Parenti, "Ordinations in the East," in Anscar J. Chupungco, ed., Handbook for Liturgical Studies, vol. 4: Sacraments and Sacramentals, A Pueblo Book (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000), pp. 207-208.

(36) GBN, p. 270. The protodeacon announces the bringing forth of the bishop-elect, who says that he has come for the laying-on of hands.

(37) GBN, p. 277. All the bishops present lay their right hands on the head of the bishop while the presiding bishop prays.

(38) See The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, vol. 3, at "Synodikon." "Synodikon" also refers to conciliar doctrinal teaching, illustrated best by the Synodikon of Orthodoxy still proclaimed on the first Sunday of Lent in the churches of the Byzantine rite.

(39) For a thorough background on Sophronius and portions of his synodikon, see Christoph von Schonborn, Sophrone de Jerusalem: vie monastique et confession dogmatique, Theologic Historique 20 (Paris: Beauchesne, 1972), pp. 83-95 and 199-220.

(40) For a good background on imperial and ecclesial cooperation that resulted in the monothelite and monenergite controversies, see Pauline Allen and Bronwen Neil, ed. and tr., Maximus the Confessor and His Companions: Documents from Exile (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 3-15 of the introduction.

(41) The rest of this section follows the important work of Olivier Raquez in "Les Confessions de foi de la chirotonie episcopale des eglises Grecques," in Giustino Famedi, ed., Traditio et progressio: Studi liturgici in onore del Prof Adrien Nocent OSB, Studia Anselmiana: Analecta liturgica 12 (Rome: Pontificio Ateneo S. Anselmo, 1988), pp. 469-485. An examination of the extant euchology supports Raquez's chronology. Saba 362, a euchologion dating to the fourteenth century from the patriarchal library of Jerusalem, attributes the liturgical contents to St. Sophronius of the seventh century. In the description of the office of the ordination of a bishop of Saba 362, the candidate must read one single confession prior to the intonation of "The Divine Grace." Saba 362 does not provide the text of the confession, though it is possible that the candidate himself composed the text. It is difficult to draw conclusions on Saba 362 since it has not been studied critically. However, we can assert that one confession of faith is recited by candidates for the episcopate by the fourteenth century, probably in Jerusalem. The unedited contents of this euchologion are published in Aleksel Dmitrievskit, ed., Opisante Liturgicheskikh" Rukopisei (Kiev: Typographia G. T. Korchak-Novitskago, 1895; repr., Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1965), p. 299; and in Panagiotis Trempelas, Mikron Euchologion, Tomos A. Akolouthiai kai taxeis Mnestron kai Gamou, Euchelaiou, Cheirotonion kai baptismatos (Athens: n.p., 1950), pp. 253-254.

(42) Raquez, "Les Confessions," p. 471.

(43) Ibid., p. 470.

(44) Ibid., pp. 471-472.

(45) "The witnesses of tradition show us, however, that the contents of this Confession evolved and were adapted to problems of time and place" (ibid., p. 472; my translation).

(46) Raquez, "Les confessions," p. 478.

(47) The English text for the entire Office of the Confession of Faith is found in GBN, pp. 270-276.

(48) Symbol of faith in GBN, p. 271.

(49) GBN, p. 272.

(50) E.g., "I venerate also two wills, in that each nature retains its own will and its own action.... I venerate, relatively, but not in the way of worship, the divine icons, worthy of veneration, of Christ himself, and of the Most-pure Mother of God, and of all the Saints, transferring the honor manifested before them to the prototype" (GBN, pp. 272-273).

(51) GBN, p. 273.

(52) Ibid., p. 274.

(53) See note 50, above.

(54) Ibid., p. 274.

(55) Ibid.

(56) Ibid., p. 271. The presiding bishop blesses the bishop-elect after the first confession, saying, "The grace of God the Father, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, be with you." The blessing occurs after the second confession (ibid., p. 273): "The grace of the Holy Spirit be with you, enlightening, strengthening, and endowing you with understanding all the days of your life." Two additional blessings with the "grace of the Holy Spirit" occur after the third confession (ibid., p. 275).

(57) See BAR, no. 157.3, for bishops, where the full text of the formula appears. Only the incipit for the formula is provided for presbyters (no. 159.2), deacons (no. 161.3), and deaconesses (no. 163.2). Liturgical manuscripts commonly provide the incipit for stock prayers and formulas repeated in different rites or offices.

(58) BAR, no. 157.3. Translation is based on Paul F. Bradshaw's in his Ordination Rites of the Ancient Churches of East and West (New York: Pueblo Publishing Co., 1990), p. 133.

(59) See BAR, pp. 21-23.

(60) GBN, p. 276.

(61) GBN, p. 277.

(62) For a description of this ritual gesture in the Roman rite, see Rites of Ordination of a Bishop, of Priests, and of Deacons (The Roman Pontifical), 2nd ed. (Washington, DC: USCCB, 2003), p. 26. The only difference in the performance of this gesture between the Roman and Byzantine rites is that the deacons hold the Gospel book over the head of the candidate in the Roman rite, whereas the participating bishops hold it in the Byzantine rite.

(63) For a discussion of the multiple interpretations of this ritual gesture in Christian history, see Bradshaw, Ordination Rites, pp. 38-44.

(64) GBN, p. 278.

(65) For a thorough analysis of the relationships between ordination prayers of different traditions, see Jean Michel Hanssens, "Les oraisons sacramentelles des ordinations orientales," Orientalia Christiana Periodica, vol. 18, nos. 3-4 (1952), pp. 297-318. Hanssens remarked that the Byzantine prayers appear to be somewhat isolated, enjoying only occasional concordance with Syrian or Coptic parallels.

(66) Byzantine bishops began to wear additional vestments when they assumed a more pronounced role in the imperial court. Any theological significance attributed to each vestment is secondary. The "sakkos" and other vestments were granted only to the Patriarch of Constantinople in the eleventh century, and other bishops assumed the vestment as late as the mid-seventeenth century. See Robert Taft, "The Pontifical Liturgy of the Great Church according to a Twelfth- Century Diataxis in Codex British Museum Add. 34060,'" Orientalia Christiana Periodica, vol. 46, no. 1 (1980), pp. 102-105.

(67) GBN, p. 280.

(68) Paris Coislin 213, an important eleventh-century testimony to Constantinopolitan patriarchal liturgy, provides evidence for post-iconoclast Byzantine worship. See Miguel Arranz, L'eucologio Costantinopolitano agli inizi del secolo xi: hagiasmateron & archieratikon (Rome: Editrice Pontiffcia Universita Gregoriana, 1996), pp. 147-150.

(69) The ordination of a bishop seems to have served as a model for other ordinations. The "Axios!" acclamation seems to make its first appearance in presbyteral ordinations in Saba 362 in Aleksel Dmitrievskil, ed., Opisanie Liturgicheskikh" Rukopiset, vol. 2, Euchologia (Kiev: Typographia G. T. Korchak-Novitskago, 1901; repr., Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1965), pp. 295-301.

(70) BAR, no. 157.6; GBN, p. 276.

(71) Bradshaw, Ordination Rites, p. 39. See the text of the canon: "It is by all means desirable that a bishop should be appointed by all the bishops of a province. But if this is difficult because of some pressing necessity or the length of the journey involved, let at least three come together and perform the ordination, but only after the absent bishops have taken part in the vote and given their written consent. But in each province the right of confirming the proceedings belongs to the metropolitan bishop" (Norman P. Tanner, ed., Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, vol. 1 : Nicaea 1 to Lateran V [London: Sheed & Ward; and Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1990], p. 7).

(72) Rome provides an exception to this practice of the early church; see Bradshaw, Ordination Rites, p. 24.

(73) On this topic, see Zizioulas, "Primacy in the Church," pp. 122-125; and DeVille, Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy, pp. 150-160.

(74) The assembly's agreement is expressed by the "Amen!" it exclaims at the conclusion of the prayers of ordination.

(75) Occasionally, people in the assembly exclaim "Anaxios!" ("He is not worthy!") at ordinations. Presumably, when this happens, the ordination should not proceed, and this possibility elevates the urgency of including the entire Church in the process of discerning the selection and calling of candidates for ordained ministry.

(76) "The holy people of God shares also in Christ's prophetic office; it spreads abroad a living witness to Him, especially by means of a life of faith and charity and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise, the tribute of lips which give praise to His name. The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples' supernatural discernment in matters of faith when 'from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful' they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth. It is exercised under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful obedience to which the people of God accepts that which is not just the word of men but truly the word of God. Through it, the people of God adheres unwaveringly to the faith given once and for all to the saints, penetrates it more deeply with right thinking, and applies it more fully in its life" (Lumen gentium, no. 12; available at http://www.vatican.vajarchive/hist-councils/ii-vatican-council/documents/vat-ii-const-1964-1121_lumen-gentium_en.html).

(77) "Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. The ministerial priest, by the sacred power he enjoys, teaches and rules the priestly people; acting in the person of Christ, he makes present the Eucharistic sacrifice, and offers it to God in the name of all the people. But the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist" (Lumen gentium, no. 10). "The laity should accustom themselves to working in the parish in union with their priests, bringing to the Church community their own and the world's problems as well as questions concerning human salvation, all of which they should examine and resolve by deliberating in common. As far as possible the laity ought to provide helpful collaboration for every apostolic and missionary undertaking sponsored by their local parish. They should develop an ever-increasing appreciation of their own diocese, of which the parish is a kind of cell, ever ready at their pastor's invitation to participate in diocesan projects. Indeed, to fulfill the needs of cities and rural areas, they should not limit their cooperation to the parochial or diocesan boundaries but strive to extend it to interparochial, interdiocesan, national, and international fields" (dpostolicam actuositatem, no. 10; available at http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree _19651118_apostolicamctuositatem_en.html.

(78) See note 76, above. On the Orthodox notion of pneumatology's constituting the Church, see Zizioulas, Being as Communion, pp. 130-139.

(79) See "Meeting of the Inter-Orthodox Preparatory Commission in Chambesy Adjourns on Saturday" (February 26, 2011), at http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/44994.htm.

(80) The Orthodox Church in America has posted video interviews and parish meeting with nominees for episcopal vacancies in recent years.

(81) See "Metropolitan Council," at the Orthodox Church in America Web site, http://oca.org/about/metropolitan-council.

(82) For a comprehensive presentation of the Moscow Council, see Hyacinthe Destivelle, Le concile de Moscou: 1917-1918-la creation des institutions conciliaires de I'eglise orthodoxe russe, foreword by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), preface by Hevre Legrand (Paris: Cerf, 2006; E.T.: The Moscow Council (1917-1918): The Creation of the Conciliar Institutions of the Russian Orthodox Church, foreword by Metropolitan Hilarion [Alfeyev], preface by Hevre Legrand, tr. Jerry Ryan, ed. Michael Plekon and Vitaly Permiakov [Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, forthcoming]). Also see Paul Valliere, Conciliarism: A History of Decision-Makmg in the Church (Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

(83) On a Roman patriarchate and on the specific role of the pope in the new situation, ostensibly acceptable to Orthodox, see DeVille, Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy, pp. 47-77 and 147-160, respectively.

Nicholas E. Denysenko (Orthodox Church of America) has been director of the Huffington Ecumenical Institute at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, since 2011, and an assistant professor of theological studies at the University since 2010. He previously taught in the Catholic University of America's School of Theology and Religious Studies (2009, 2010) and at George Washington University's Religion Department (2007-09)--both in Washington, DC; as well as at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Brookline, MA, summers of 2009 and 2010. He holds a B.S. in Business (marketing) from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; an M.Div. from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, Crestwood, NY; and a Ph.D. (2008) in liturgical studies and sacramental theology from Catholic. His Chrismation: A Primer for Western Christians is expected from Liturgical Press in 2014. He has published The Blessmg of Waters and Epiphany: The Eastern Liturgical Tradition (Ashgate, 2012), as well as a dozen articles and several reviews in such journals as Studia Liturgica, Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies, St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly, and Worship, with several more articles forthcoming. He has made presentations at numerous professional meetings, conferences, and congregations. The Huffington Ecumenical Institute has received major grants from the Henry Luce Foundation and the Virginia Farah Foundation for ecumenical dialogue between Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Denysenko was ordained a deacon of the Orthodox Church of America in 2003 and served as a consultant for the Dept. of Liturgical Music and Translations of the Orthodox Church in America in 2005. He has been a soloist and contracted singer for the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York, 1999-2000, and previously sang with the Minnesota Chorale and directed the Minnesota Eastern Orthodox Clergy Association Choir (1993-97, 2000-01). He also served as director of music (200001) and adult education leader (2000-02) for Christ the Savior Orthodox Mission in Anoka, MN.
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