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Supersession and continuance: the orthodox church's perspective on supersessionism.

Over the last few decades as Western scholars have developed the term "supersessionism," they have used it with increasing frequency to portray traditional Christian views on the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, between ancient Judaism and Christianity. Yet, it is almost never mentioned in the Orthodox Church, whose traditions focus on the first several centuries of Christianity. The perspective of Orthodox Christians is important for ecumenical relations, since they number 200-300,000,000 worldwide, (1) and it is especially relevant to the Holy Land, where it is the largest Church among Palestinians and Israelis.

This raises the fundamental question of whether Orthodoxy is, in fact, "supersessionist." This essay will show that the Orthodox Church is "supersessionist" in that New Testament concepts take precedence over Old Testament ones, and Christ's coming transforms Israel's spiritual community into the Church. Yet, "supersessionism" does not give the full range of Orthodox thought, since biblical Israel and the Old Testament continue in important ways.

One must begin by reviewing the meanings of "supersessionism," which vary from inclusive to exclusive. "Supersede" itself has a scale of meanings, from full replacement to incorporation without abolition. There are other important considerations: How do Orthodox theologians view the topic? Does Orthodox thinking differ enough from that of Western Christianity that supersessionism is inconceivable? Are there ways in which supersession both occurs and does not occur? What does it mean that the Church is the "New Israel," and does that mean that the nation Israel is simply rejected?

I. Defining "Supersessionism"

Dr. Michael Vlach, a leading Evangelical scholar on "supersessionism," has defined it broadly as "the view that the NT Church is the new and/or true Israel that has forever superseded the nation Israel as the people of God." (2) He explained that supersessionism may encompass the Church, either replacing or fulfilling the nation Israel's role in God's plan. (3) One difficulty is that connotations of "replace" and "fulfill" range from one thing's cancellation of another (replacement) to the creation of fullness or success (fulfillment). Like Vlach, whose work opposes supersessionism, Orthodox Christians do not see the Church as cancelling the nation Israel "forever" from any role in God's plan, because they expect its whole return, (4) but they do see the Church as accomplishing Israel's task of bringing humanity to God.

The 2011 study document of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, One Covenant of Grace, focusing on this idea of fulfillment, portrayed supersessionism sympathetically, stating: "As Presbyterians, we want to affirm Jesus' work and fulfillment of the covenant on our behalf, [so] what [Rabbi] David Novak calls a 'soft supersessionism' may be in view." (5) Believing that in the early Church the New Testament was considered either a replacement or an addition, Novak called the latter idea "soft supersessionism," which, he wrote, "does not assert that God terminated the covenant of Exodus-Sinai with the Jewish people. Rather, it asserts that Jesus came to fulfill the promise of the old covenant." (6) He added that
   it seems to me that Christianity must be generically
   supersessionist. In fact, I question the Christian orthodoxy of any
   Christian who claims he or she is not a supersessionist at all. The
   reason for my suspicion is as follows: If Christianity did not come
   into the world to bring something better.... then why shouldn't
   anyone ... remain within normative Judaism? (7)

In other words, Novak viewed supersessionism in general to mean that Christianity brought something better and that it need only mean a fulfillment, rather than a termination, of the old covenant.

Catholic theologian Fr. Brian W. Harrison did see supersessionism as implying the end of the Mosaic covenant, calling it
   the traditional Christian belief that the covenant between God and
   the People of Israel, established through the mediation of Moses at
   Mount Sinai, has been replaced or superseded by the 'New Covenant'
   of Jesus Christ. This implies that the Mosaic covenant ... is no
   longer valid for the Jewish people, since God's revealed will is
   for Jews, as well as all Gentiles, to enter into the New Covenant
   by means of baptism and faith in Jesus as the promised Messiah. (8)

But, does supersession necessarily imply that an older covenant is invalid? After all, a new agreement generally supersedes or replaces a previous agreement, yet some or all of the latter's provisions may remain in force. Thus, there is a nuance: The old covenant "is no longer valid" by itself as a way of salvation since God points to a new covenant, yet some "old" provisions remain, such as God's promise of protection. Dr. R. Kendall Soulen, a leading Methodist scholar on supersessionism, has taken the concept to mean that "God chose the Jewish people after the fall of Adam in order to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus Christ, the Savior. After Christ came, however, the special role of the Jewish people came to an end and its place was taken by the church, the new Israel." (9)

Opposing supersessionism, Soulen divided it into three interrelated categories that he considered to be part of the "standard canonical narrative." (10) The first is Economic Supersessionism, wherein "carnal Israel's history is providentially ordered from the outset to be taken up into the spiritual church." (11) He concluded that this "logically entails the ontological, historical, and moral obsolescence of Israel's existence after Christ." (12) Soulen's definitions of supersessionism in general and its "economic" variant might fit within Orthodoxy, since Orthodoxy considers the covenantal role no longer unique to the Jewish people in that through the Church it now extends across the human race, which includes the people. (13) Their spiritual history continues within the Church. This may practically entail the obsolescence of the religious need for the nation Israel to remain organizationally distinct from others, once it is in the Church. However, this unity in the Church does not necessarily make secular justifications for the Jewish people's history or existence obsolete any more than it does the history or existence of the Greek or Irish people. How can Christ's coming itself make them completely obsolete if their future coming to Christ is still predicted? (14)

In Soulen's second category, "Punitive Supersessionism," "God has rejected carnal Israel on account of its failure to join the church" and punished it. (15) Hosea predicted that the people's sins would bring God to leave them until they turned to God (Hos. 5:14-15), (16) and the theologian Lactantius (240-320 C.E.) wrote, "On account of these impieties of theirs He cast them off for ever; and so He ceased to send to them prophets." (17) Vlach pointed to this as a key example of punitive supersessionism. (18) Lactantius, however, added that, despite this rejection,
   since God is kind and merciful to His people, He sent [Christ] ...
   that He might not close the way of salvation against them for ever
   ... if they should follow Him (which many of them do, and have
   done) ... He ordered [Christ] therefore to be born again among them
   ... that there might be no nation at all under heaven to which the
   hope of immortality should be denied. (19)

Thus, Lactantius was actually referring to a rejection that preceded Christ, and, like Hosea, he did not really see God's rejection as unconditional or permanent. Additionally, other Orthodox theologians deny that God has rejected the Jewish people. (20)

Further, Orthodoxy certainly does not match Soulen's third category, "Structural Supersessionism," an allegedly pervasive "logic" whereby "the Hebrew Scriptures [are] largely indecisive for shaping Christian convictions about how God's works as Consummator and as Redeemer engage humankind in universal and enduring ways." (21) He considered that the "canonical narrative turns on four key episodes": God's desired consummation of Adam and Eve, "the fall, Christ's incarnation and the inauguration of the church, and final consummation" of humanity. (22) He wrote that this "completely neglects the Hebrew Scriptures, with the exception of Genesis 1-3 [as] God's history with Israel does not form an indispensable narrative element." (23) Yet, not only are half the episodes in the Old Testament, but also an Israelite accomplished the Redemption. The major Orthodox theologian, Fr. Thomas Hopko, commented:
   The human form and fabric of the Christian Faith is that of Israel.
   You can't even understand who Christ is without the Passover
   Exodus, the Temple, the Law, the prophetic utterances, the blood,
   the goats, the priesthood, the prophecy, the kingship, the land,
   Jerusalem and the New Jerusalem, and so on. It's just part of
   Christian totality. (24)

The 1987 study document by the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s General Assembly, A Theological Understanding of the Relationship between Christians and dews, provides and repudiates an extreme definition of supersessionism:
   By the beginning of the third century, this teaching that the
   Christian church had superseded the Jews as God's chosen people
   became the orthodox understanding of God's relationship to the
   church.... Supersessionism maintains that because the Jews refused
   to receive Jesus as Messiah, they were cursed by God, are no longer
   in covenant with God, and that the church alone is the "true
   Israel" or the "spiritual Israel." (25)

This idea of "cursing" goes beyond the simple idea of one thing's supersession of another, since something does not become cursed merely by becoming subordinated or outdated. Additionally, the study document defines Jews broadly: "We understand 'Jews' to include those persons whose selfunderstanding is that they are descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah ... and that there are many Jews who do not practice Judaism at all." (26) This version of supersessionism is ethnic because it applies to those considering themselves Jewish by descent, regardless of their religion, but Orthodoxy cannot consider Jews "cursed" as an ethnicity. (27) Presumably, a curse placed on one's ethnicity would need to be inherited biologically, and, unlike Western Christianity, Orthodoxy follows Judaism in denying the concept of biological inheritance of guilt." (28) Further, Jews as a whole cannot be cursed for rejecting Christ because there have been many Jewish Christians, ranging from the apostles to leading theologians. Thus, Orthodoxy does not perceive one racial group to be "the Church," "superseding" a separate biological group (Abraham's physical descendants), whereby the latter cannot belong in the former. It does not contemplate the possibility that a person could be spiritually "superior" to another due to his or her skin color or genetic makeup. In any case, Orthodox Christians do not call the Jewish people "cursed."

According to Catholic scholar Michael Forrest, "Supersessionism ... has no established, Catholic definition. Not unlike 'proselytism,' it's a loaded term that can and does carry very different connotations, implications and nuances." (29) Likewise, in her own discussion on the topic, Dr. Katherine Sonderegger wrote that she did not "wish to suggest that supersessionism is a uniform concept, referring univocally to a single Christian doctrine and practice." (30) Consequently, one definition might apply to Orthodoxy--such as Vlach's broad definition that includes one thing's fulfillment of another--but another definition, such as that of the Presbyterian Church (USA) cannot, because it describes people as cursed based on their biological self-understanding.

The common denominators in these discussions are the ideas that the New Testament "supersedes" the Old or that the Church "supersedes" Israel. In fact, succinct definitions of "supersessionism" in other materials often define it in those terms. (31) In considering whether either of those is the case, one must first consider the meanings of the word "supersede."

II. "Supersede " and Its Possible Meanings

The word "supersede" comes from the Latin expressions "super" (above) and "sedere" (sit). Thus, "supersedere" in Latin means: (1) to sit above, preside over, or (2) pass, omit. (32) The word in English comes from Scottish law, whereby a judicial order protected a debtor. (33) Along these lines one law dictionary explains that "supersede' means "to set above; to make void or inoperative by a superior authority; to stay, suspend or supplant." (34) It points out that "Supersedeas" is a court order to forbid another order or to stay proceedings. (35) These ideas of protecting a debtor and staying one law with another bring to mind similar expressions by Paul about redemption in Christianity (1 Cor. 6:20; Rom. 8:2).

Consequently, in common speech, "supersede" can mean "to replace in power, authority, effectiveness ... by another person or thing." (36) Synonyms include "overrule" and "override." For example, in describing his nonviolent struggle, Mahatma Gandhi wrote that the British Viceroy of India "will learn by the time the conflict is over that there is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts.... This is a ... conflict between the reign of violence and of public opinion." (37) So, while the British courts imprisoned Gandhi's followers to suppress the revolt, Gandhi was ultimately successful because conscience had greater authority. Conscience "overruled" the British courts in determining the conflict's outcome because it had greater sway over public opinion, which in turn persuaded the British to grant India independence.

To give another example of supersession, a law could demand a punishment, but a merciful king could supersede the law with an amnesty, due to his greater authority. This brings to mind that Jesus' answer as to how his disciples could unlawfully pick grain on the Sabbath was that he was the Lord of the Sabbath (Mt. 12:1-8).

Another meaning is to "replace in function," where one thing "succeeds' another (for example, an older one). (38) The Merriam-Webster Dictionary gives this example: "The new edition supersedes all previous ones." (39) This is also a normal way of saying how laws relate to each other: An amended constitution supersedes an old one; new agreements (or "covenants") supersede old ones.

The most common argument against using the term "supersede" is that it supposedly suggests that the older, "superseded" things--such as Israel and the Old Testament--would be completely separate, destroyed, and made irrelevant in every sense. In fact, that is not necessarily the case when one thing supersedes another. Etymologically, the word "supersede" (literally "sit on") may or may not involve two completely separate things. A house "sits on" a plot of land, and the two are separate. Yet, a house "sits on" its foundation, and the latter is a component of the former.

Bearing in mind the legalistic origins of the word "supersede" and the biblical portrayal of the Testaments as legal agreements or "covenants"(Jeremiah 31), it is helpful to understand how a new law or covenant supersedes previous ones. Depending on its wording, the new rule may remove, partly change, or simply add to the old one. In Naturist Soc. v. Fillyaw, the 11th Federal Circuit Court commented that "a superseding statute or regulation moots a case only to the extent that it removes challenged features of the prior law. To the extent that those features remain in place ... the case is not moot." (40) In other words, a party in a court case may challenge a law that has been superseded by a new one if the challenge is against features of the old law that remain in force. This is possible because, while a new law carries greater authority and overrules any conflicting provisions, it does not necessarily affect every provision in a preceding law.

A report on a discussion by Dr. A. Rashied Omar, a scholar of Islamic studies at the University of Notre Dame, also reflected how something that is superseded may retain its importance. In an interfaith symposium at Marquette University, the report noted that "Justice and compassion are two related core values in Islam. He maintained that compassion must supersede justice; that 'just struggles must occur within the ethos of compassion.'" (41) Believing that compassion should supersede justice in the sense that compassion should have greater authority, Omar still considered justice a core principle and supported "just struggles" within an ideal of compassion. Jesus' teaching in Jn. 8:1-11 was an example of this compassionate "supersession," where he prevented an accused adulteress from being stoned according to the Mosaic Law (Lev. 20:10). In freeing her from her accusers, Jesus did not say that adultery was just. Rather, his greater emphasis on compassion over the penalties of the Old Testament can be understood within teachings such as forgiving one's brother seventy times seven (Mt. 18:22).

In the clearest example of continuation despite supersession, anthropologist Andrew Lang described how pre-Colombian Peruvians worshiped "totems" of animals called "pacarissas" and later shifted their main religious focus to sun worship. Lang pointed out that they continued to worship the artifacts, commenting that "the sun-worship superseded, without abolishing, the tribal pacarissas in Peru, and ... images ... of the sacred animals were admitted under the roof of the temple of the Sun." (42) The case of animal worship in the sun temples differs from the relationship between ancient Judaism and Christianity, since Tertullian wrote that Christ did not call to a newer "worship" (like that of another god) but to a new conduct. (43) Yet, Lang's example shows that religious developments may supersede and incorporate an earlier form of religion that remains completely intact, such that a "supersession" of Judaism need not cancel it.

III. Is Supersessionism Foreign to Orthodox Thinking?

Arthur Goldwag wrote in 'Isms and 'Ologies that "'isms too often substitute for ideas or analysis; they are as likely to obfuscate as illuminate." (44) If "supersessionism" simply means that the New Testament supersedes the Old Testament, perhaps it is misleading to refer to it as an ideology or "-ism." After all, if Orthodox Christians pray in front of religious pictures called "icons," should they be considered to practice "iconism"?

A notable feature of the definitions of "supersessionism" discussed at the outset is that none came from Orthodox sources, which is practically inevitable due to an extreme scarcity of Orthodox materials that use the term. This reflects that "supersessionism" is an expression created in Western scholarly circles towards the end of the twentieth century. (45) Indeed, a word search through millions of books in Google's database revealed none that mentioned "supersessionism" before the 1970's, nine in that decade, forty-one in the 1980's, and 276 in the 1990's.

The word "supersessionism" basically does not exist in the Slavic languages, which a large majority of Orthodox Christians speak. That nonexistence, along with the term's scarce use in Orthodox writing in English, shows that the Orthodox world does not identify "supersessionism" as a special ideological category. Applying the concept to Orthodoxy becomes a matter of outsiders looking in. Even the term "supersede" is rare in Orthodox discussions, especially in patristic writings. Instances of their use of it cited in this essay should not mislead the reader to the contrary. Likewise, an exact translation of "supersede," with its nuances, does not exist in Slavic languages or in Greek. (46) The exact concept of "superseding could be said to be unknown to persons of those nationalities.

Nonetheless, simply because people do not use a word does not mean they are unfamiliar with its concept. A general viewpoint could be laid out in Russian materials without the author's placing a label on it. Dr. Ivan Esaulov's essay, "The Categories of Law and Grace in Dostoevsky's Poetics," illustrates this point in describing The Ethic of Transformed Eros by B. P. Vysheslavtsev, professor at the Saint Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute. Vysheslavtsev described an abstract value system of Law that "divides people into clean and unclean in observing outward forms [for] how and where ... to worship God" and contrasted it with Grace, which he associated with freedom and worshiping God in truth. (47) Vysheslavtsev wrote that "law is put in the past, and grace in the present and future! Two value systems exclude each other in time, one replaces [in Russian, smenyaet] the other." (48) Esaulov translated this in English to mean "they temporally exclude each other, 'the one supersedes the other,'" (49) since "supersede" can mean to succeed chronologically. Vysheslavtsev generalized about the distinction between Law and Grace, since such legal concepts as a New "Covenant" remain in Christianity, yet he correctly pointed for support to Luke's Gospel (Lk. 16:16, KJV: "The law and the prophets were until John") and to Paul (Rom. 6:14-15, KJV: "ye are not under the law, but under grace").

Another problem is the possibility that supersessionism is a mischaracterization of the views it seeks to portray. (50) A review of over 150 books discussing the topic showed that it was frequently portrayed negatively and that only a handful of their authors identified it with their own views. (51) According to Dr. Eugene Fisher, a professor of Catholic-Jewish Studies, in early Christianity
   little reflection was given to the fact that if God could break the
   "everlasting" covenant ... with the Jewish people for alleged moral
   or other failings, God's faithfulness to the Church is also called
   into question because of the sins of Christians.

      So widespread was supersessionism among Christians over the
   centuries that it was virtually never questioned. No ecumenical
   council recognized by Catholicism, Protestantism or Orthodox
   Christianity, therefore, ever took it up as an issue. (52)

It is surprising that supersessionism would not be "questioned," considering the many debates in early Christianity. The fourth-century bishop St. Epiphanius alone counted sixty Christian sects in his Panarion. It is more likely that the issue was discussed in other debates, such as those with the "Judaizers," who wished for Christians to observe the Mosaic Law. Another possibility is that the Church did not present it as some of its detractors do, whereby God destroyed an unconditional covenant, rather than fulfilling a covenant that was unlimited in time but conditioned on obedience. From its own perspective, the Orthodox Church did not question God's faithfulness, because it saw itself as Israel's righteous remnant. Yet, Fisher pointed to a real risk that Christians unfaithful to God could be put outside the spiritual community, as Paul himself described in Rom. 11:20-22. Another possible conclusion from the councils' silence is that it is not an essential doctrine such as those laid out in the creeds (for example, the Trinity, the crucifixion, and the resurrection).

Supersessionism as a concept is part of a legal way of thinking that, while not unknown to Orthodoxy, is less emphasized than in the West. The Rev. Dr. John McGuckin, editor of the Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, commented on debates over it: "Orthodoxy has looked in on this dialogue but is not committed to its terms and parameters. . . Orthodox thought often does not have the categories that are developed in the West (for good and ill). It thinks about things more holistically and often on different premises." (53)

Dr. Ernst Benz's book, The Eastern Orthodox Church, explains this difference in more detail:
   The legalistic way of thinking took root early in the theology of
   the Occident ... The [West's] covenants theology of scholasticism
   regarded the history of salvation in general as a history of
   ever-renewed legal covenants between God and man ... [T]he striking
   feature of Eastern Christianity is its lack of those very features
   that depend on a conception of religion as a legal relationship ...
   Instead, the major themes of the Orthodox faith are the apotheosis,
   sanctification, rebirth, re-creation, resurrection and
   transfiguration of man ... The central theme is not God's justice
   but his love. (54)

Although Benz, a Protestant, was right that the West put greater emphasis on legal concepts, he overstated the case in saying that Orthodoxy lacks legalistic features.

In contrast, the theologian Vladimir Lossky put legal images and thought on a wide spectrum of explanations about salvation in Orthodoxy:
   The very idea of redemption assumes a plainly legal aspect: it is
   the atonement of the slave, the debt paid for those who remained in
   prison because they could not discharge it.... But [such] Pauline
   images, stressed again by the Fathers, must not be allowed to
   harden, for this would be to build an indefensible relationship of
   rights between God and humanity.... Looming large in the Gospel
   [is] the Good Shepherd seeking the lost sheep ... There abound also
   in the Fathers images of a physical order: that of the purifying
   fire, and particularly that of the doctor who heals the wounds of
   the people. (55)

As a result, while legal thinking exists in Orthodoxy, it is not the only way of interpreting the relationship between God and humanity. Instead, ideas of a king's laws and covenants are only aspects of the relationship, alongside ideas of God as a loving shepherd, doctor, and rescuer. Thus, although legal terms are acceptable, they might not fully describe Orthodox thinking by themselves.

Considering these challenges, it is possible to address supersessionism from an Orthodox viewpoint, but the problems remain. We can define this legalistic term very simply (that is, the New Testament's supersession of the Old), noting that legal concepts exist in Orthodoxy. However, we must remember that the label is basically foreign to Orthodoxy and does not give the full range of Orthodox thinking on the issue of God's relationship with humanity.

IV. The New Testament and the Old Testament

A. How the New Testament "Supersedes" the Old Testament

In 2012, the World Council of Churches' journal Current Dialogue reported on an ecumenical consultation that was held in Istanbul in June, 2010, which included Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, Dr. Nicolas Abou-Mrad of the St. John of Damascus Theology Institute, and Fr. Demetrios Tonias of Holy Archangels Greek Orthodox Church. One of the groups in the consultation concluded that, "While 'replacement theology' and 'supersession' carry proper descriptive meanings in some, particularly Orthodox Christian, traditions, these terms are categorically problematic when negatively applied vis-a-vis Judaism." (56) Unfortunately, the report did not explain what it meant by "negatively applied." For example, does this mean that it is problematic for people to see Judaism in a negative light, or to see some aspect of Judaism, such as certain rituals, as "negated" by the New Testament?

The Old Testament is a core focus of Judaism, and the Orthodox Study Bible talks about Christ's supersession of it in the sense of transformation. It translates the prophecy of Is. 28:4-6 thus:
   the flower that fell from the hope of the glory on the top of the
   high mountain shall be like the forerunner of the fig. He who sees
   it wishes to swallow it before he gets it in his hand. In that day,
   the Lord of hosts shall be the crown of hope, woven of glory, to
   the remnant of My people. They shall be left in a spirit of
   judgment upon judgment and for the strength of those who prevent

The "high mountain" and the flower that came down from it may resemble Mount Sinai and the covenant that Moses brought down, respectively. The "flower" is not destroyed but, rather, changed into a delicious fig that attracts people. The people's new spirit is associated with both "judging judgment," resembling the idea of staying or superseding one judgment with another, and with preventing killing, that is, performing mercy. The Orthodox Study Bible interprets this to resemble Christ's relationship to the law, commenting, "Just as the fig replaces the fading flower, Christ will supersede the fading law and become the crown of hope, woven of glory." (57)

Moreover, the Orthodox Study Bible does not see the New Testament as a simple repetition of the Old Testament, and thus Orthodox priests observe a different rite: "In no way is the ordained Christian priesthood seen as a throwback to or a reenacting of the Old Testament priesthood. Rather, joined to Christ who is our High Priest 'according to the order of Melchizedek' (Heb 5:6, 10), the Orthodox priest is likewise a minister of a new covenant that supersedes the old." (58)

In line with the word's Latin etymology, where one thing is above ("super-") or "superior" to another, Professor George Cronk wrote in The Message of the Bible: An Orthodox Christian Perspective: "[Melchizedek's] priesthood is presented in Hebrews as superior to the Aaronic priesthood and as foreshadowing the priesthood of Christ. Thus, the priesthood of Christ, carried on by the bishops and presbyters (priests) of the Orthodox Church, supersedes the priesthood of the Levites." (59)

Similarly, in Why Orthodox Worship Is Liturgical, Robert Arakaki associated the superiority of the new covenant with Christ's supersession of its predecessor: "Hebrews was written in order to convince them of the superiority of Christianity over Judaism." Basically, "the author argues that the new covenant is superior to the old because Jesus Christ is the Messiah who fulfills and supersedes the old covenant." (60)

Like the priesthood, The Orthodox Study Bible describes the biblical tabernacles as superseding each other in succession, leading to Jesus Christ himself:

The tabernacle as a whole prefigures Christ, the eternal Word of God, who "became flesh and tabernacled (the usual English translation is 'dwelt) among us" (Jn 1:14 ...) ...

On the cross, Jesus offers the ultimate sacrifice of His body, which the New Testament calls "the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands" (Heb 9:11). St. John Chrysostom comments that by this greater tabernacle St. Paul "means the flesh [of Christ], And well did he say, 'greater and more perfect,' since God the Word and all the power of the Spirit dwell therein."

In time, the moveable tabernacle of the wilderness is superseded by the permanent temple in Jerusalem. The temple, in turn, is superseded by Christ (Jn 2:18-21) and the Church, which is His Body (Eph 1:22-23). (61)

The Study Bible's editors are referring to Jesus' prophecy that he would show his authority by raising the temple in three days if the people destroyed it. John's Gospel explains that, in fact, "he spake of the temple of his body" (Jn. 2:21, KJV). Since Paul called the Church Christ's "body" (Eph. 1:22-23), whose spiritual significance John's Gospel equates with the ancient temple, the Church plays the spiritual role of the temple in Christianity. Naturally, the editors do not mean that physical temples have no use: Orthodox Churches are intentionally designed to resemble the ancient temple, with an inner sanctuary, etc. Rather, the Church has succeeded the temple as God's unique dwelling place on earth.

Deacon Terry Frazier, an Orthodox scholar now at St. Andrew's Antiochian Orthodox Church in Riverside, California, in A Second Look at the Second Coming, saw Old Testament sacrifices as prophetic images of Christ's. He wrote that "the need to offer animal sacrifices" has "disappeared," pointing to Heb. 7:11-8:6 and 10:1-18. (63) There, Paul called the old sacrifices "a shadow of good things to come," and quoted Jer. 31:34, which promised a new covenant whereby God would no longer remember worshipers' sins. Paul explained: "Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin" (Heb. 10:18, KJV), suggesting that the remission of sins under the New Testament made sacrifices unnecessary. Frazier concluded that "the New Testament is adamant that the Cross has superseded animal sacrifices." (64)

Frazier applied this supersession to the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, explaining:
   The various covenants of the Bible have the practical aim of
   restoring humanity's relationship with God.... Each successive
   covenant between man and God is built upon the previous ones in
   order to overcome sin and to reestablish the divine-human
   relationship. This process finally culminates in the New Covenant
   of Jesus Christ. The Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants have been
   subsumed, and in many respects superseded, by this New Covenant of
   Christ. (65)

By saying that the new covenant supersedes previous ones "in many respects," Frazier showed that in some ways the older covenants continue--for example, they continue to point to Christ--yet in other ways they are superseded, as, for example, in the requirement to perform guilt offerings.

Besides the concept of a prophesied religious element's supersession of an older one, Orthodox sources use the word "supersede" in the functional sense of acting differently than before. In the Recognitions of Pope Clement, Peter described how he woke up late at night and recited Christ's words, whereas before he had slept for the whole night. (66) He concluded: "Thus, in some unaccountable way, when any custom is established, the old custom is changed, provided indeed you do not force it above measure, but as far as the measure of nature admits." (67) Pope Clement replied: You have very well said, O Peter; for one custom is superseded by another." (68)

Tertullian also used the word "supersede" in the functional sense that a new way of acting replaces an older way. The A to Z of the Orthodox Church calls him "the most important pre-Nicene Christian writer in Latin.... His contributions to Latin-speaking Christianity were immense, including ... Against Marcion, which ... argues in defense of both the Old and New Testaments." (69) In Against Marcion, Tertullian pointed to Paul's Epistle to the Galatians and commented:
   Now, if the Creator indeed promised that "the ancient things should
   pass away' [Is. 43:18-19, 65:17; 2 Cor. 5:17], to be superseded by
   a new course of things which should arise, whilst Christ marks the
   period of the separation when He says, "The law and the prophets
   were until John" [Lk 16:16]--thus making the Baptist the limit
   between the two dispensations of the old things then
   terminating--and the new things then beginning, the apostle [Paul]
   cannot of course do otherwise, (coming as he does) in Christ, who
   was revealed after John, than invalidate "the old things" and
   confirm "the new," and yet promote thereby the faith of no other
   god than the Creator, at whose instance it was foretold that the
   ancient things should pass away. (70)

This brings to mind Paul's comment on Jeremiah's prophecy of a new covenant: "In that He (God) says, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:13; Jer. 31:30-33). Nonetheless, Tertullian's point is that, by upholding the Old Testament prophecy of a new covenant, Paul was actually "promoting the religion of the God who predicted this "passing away" in the Old Testament.

As a result, Tertullian concluded: "Therefore the entire purport of this epistle [Galatians] is simply to show us that the supersession (71) of the law comes from the appointment of the Creator.' " He added that he was not talking about a complete replacement in every sense: "Since also he [Paul] makes mention of no other god ..., it is clear enough in what sense he writes, T marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him who hath called you to His grace to another gospel' [Gal. 1:6-7]--He means 'another' as to the conduct it prescribes, not in respect of its worship; ... because it is the office of Christ's gospel to call men from the law to grace." (73)

Fr. Evan Armatas, Chair of the St. Nektarios Education Fund, in his Ancient Faith Radio discussion, "Formation of the New Testament Canon," used the word to express the precedence of one thing over another:
      The New Testament, as we call it, is the last part of the
   Christian Bible, and we accept both Old and New, although we do
   believe that the New Testament supersedes the Old. Within the
   New ... This is important. You might think, "Oh, what's he saying?"
   Trust me. If you do not have the framework that the New Testament
   supersedes the Old, you're going to run into some theological
   problems. People do this all the time. They'll quote something in
   the Old Testament to contradict what the Church teaches, and we
   don't do that in the Church. Even within the New Testament, we
   have a hierarchy....

      In the Church, we keep the hierarchy of the Bible by the way we
   do it liturgically. Where is the Gospel? On the altar table. Where
   [are] the epistles and the Old Testament? Out on the side. (74)

Armatas is referring to the tradition of keeping a large Gospel book at the center of the altar table in every Orthodox church. The Gospel is ceremonially carried out and read in the middle of the liturgy, bringing to mind the presentation of the Torah in synagogue services. Additionally, at the back of the altar rests a seven-branched candle stand resembling a Menorah. While the Gospel's centrality in the service reveals its prominence among biblical texts, the corresponding roles of the Torah and the Menorah in synagogue services reflects Orthodoxy's continuation and interpretation of ancient Israelite elements of worship.

Cronk especially emphasized this continuation, seeing the new covenant as both a necessary supersession and extension of the old covenant. He wrote that the old covenant
   between God and Israel ... insists upon the necessity of steadfast
   faith in and obedience to God. (75) ... [Yet] the Bible testifies
   repeatedly that the people of the old covenant ... [were not]
   consistently obedient to God ..., (76) [However, this] disobedience
   constitute[d] the basis upon which the old covenant with ancient
   Israel was ultimately superseded by "the new and everlasting
   covenant of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (77)

Cronk explained that the repeated disobedience led to the new covenant, because God's promises of freedom, peace, and happiness in Canaan
   were never perfectly fulfilled during Old Testament times....
      The incarnation was necessary to the fulfilment of the covenant
   with Israel, because no man could perfectly obey the divine law
   unless God became man....

      In Christ, then, the covenant with Israel was fulfilled,
   transformed and transcended.... Through the Messiah of Israel, and
   through his fulfilment of the old covenant, a new covenant is
   established between God and the human race. In Christ, God's
   covenant with Abraham is extended, not only to the old Israel, but
   to the entire human race. (78)

It was "in the perfect faith and obedience of the Messiah, Jesus Christ" (79) that the requirements of the "divine law" were perfectly fulfilled. Cronk wrote that Christ extends it to the human race and transcends it by leading them "into the true promised land, the kingdom of heaven." (80) Thus, instead of being completely rejected, "the old covenant is completed in the new covenant in and through Jesus Christ." (81) The new covenant ... established between God and the human race" resembles the old in that both require steadfast faith and an obedient spirit, and, "like all covenants between God and man, the new covenant in Christ is sealed with a sign: the sign of the cross." (82)

B. The Old Testament's Continuing Value

In the Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Professor Eugen Pentiuc of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology mentioned "the position of theological supersessionism attested in some of the New Testament and patristic writings, especially those using the typological imagery of the movement from Old to New as being the passage from shadow to reality." (83) He wrote that this position tended "to fuel . . . anti-Jewish sentiment and negative attitude towards Judaism among the Christians from the 4th century onwards." (84) In a later section, Pentiuc wrote:
   Another early danger, supersessionism, discernible in the
   indictment of the Parable of the Wicked Tenants (Mt. 21.33-46) and
   supported by Paul's teaching that the coming of Christ put an end
   to the custodian role of the Law (Gal. 3.24-5; Rom. 10.4; cf. Heb.
   8.13), led to a premature devaluation of the Old Testament among
   some Christian commentators. The idea that the church and its new
   Scripture ... superseded the old Israel and its Hebrew Scripture is
   attested in many early Christian writings. Even so, the church as a
   whole has been able to keep the two Testaments in a dialectical
   unity, in the main avoiding factual reductionism and
   supersessionism as dangers.

One possibility is that Pentiuc and the W.C.C. could have different perceptions of supersessionism. After all, the group at the W.C.C's ecumenical consultation considered it to be a "proper description" for Orthodoxy, while Pentiuc said that the Church has mainly avoided this "danger." The difference may be one of degree, since the Old Testament, while "foreshadowing" the New, has value beyond a factual prediction. For example, the New Testament does not strictly replace the Old as a source of learning, since Paul wrote: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine [and] for instruction in righteousness" (2 Tim 3:16, KJV). The Psalms continue to serve as a primary source of prayers, and even biblical prefigurements help teach the spiritual meaning of Christ's work.

Maximus the Confessor saw the New Testament as raising humankind to a higher level than the Old, yet he saw the covenants as complementary, writing: "The Old Testament provides to the knowledgeable person the modes of virtues. The New Testament gives the practical person the words of true knowledge." (86) Naturally, these are not mutually exclusive, and Maximus encouraged Christians to learn both.

Professor Gregory Benevitch of the St. Petersburg Institute of Religion and Philosophy, seeing the Testaments to be so complementary and connected that he disagreed with the word "supersede," wrote:
      The Catholic position could be clarified with a help of the
   "Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II".... Take for example
   [its statement]: ... the New Covenant confirmed, renewed and
   transcended the Old, and ... the New Testament fulfilled and
   superseded the Old, but nevertheless did not render it invalid"
   (see v. III, p. 18)....

      Here we find all this set of ideas, connected with such words
   as "supersede", "transcend" and "two covenants", which makes this
   Latin teaching ambiguous and unacceptable to Orthodoxy....

      As for the Orthodox position, it is expressed best of all in
   St. Maximus' words about so-called Old Testament: "The grace is
   completely free of old age" (1.Th.Ec. 89). Which means that after
   Christ the Law and prophets, being given by Grace are still new.
   They were neither superseded by so-called New Testament, nor become
   "old", but, being at one with the Gospel, were revealed anew, as
   being given by the same Grace. (87)

Thus, Benevitch saw formal Catholic use of the word as "unacceptable" to Orthodox thinking, because he considered the Church and New Testament as being a continuation of the Old Testament, for it obscures the real relationship between them, making the teaching ambiguous.

Further, even if one does think in terms of "supersession," some major elements remain unchanged, such as God's promise of salvation to humanity. To understand this, it is important to note that Orthodoxy does not see the Church as superseding Israel in the sense of the replacement of one entity (the Church) by a completely different and separate one (Israel). Instead, it sees the Church as the continuation of Israel. It does not see the Church as branches being grafted into the olive tree of Israel and replacing the olive tree or all its branches. As reflected in Romans 11, the Church sees itself as the olive tree of Israel itself, with some gentile branches being grafted into it and others leaving--yet whose return is desired.

The result of the inclusion of the gentiles into Israel is that, while important Old Testament elements have been superseded, God's ultimate promise of salvation is not one of them. The same promise remains; however, gentile nations are now able to receive its blessings. McGuckin wrote, "In his Epistle to the Romans, St Paul teaches the profound mystery that God's promises to Israel have not been superseded or abrogated by the wonderful inclusion of the gentiles in Christ's salvation." (88) Here, he referred to Paul's description of the gentiles' being grafted into the olive tree of God's people and partaking "with them ... of the root and fatness of the olive tree" (Rom. 10:17, KJV), that is, sharing in the promised salvation. Paul pointed out that God promised Abraham that "In thee shall all nations be blessed," that "to Abraham and his seed were the promises made," and that Christ was Abraham's seed (Gal. 3:8 and 16). He concluded, "[I]f ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29). The nations blessing would not alter the promise, as it was explicit in the promise itself.

McGuckin added that the promise remains, as God has not rejected the Jewish people "because they have not adopted the Gospel, but for a time they have been resistant so that through the mercy shown to the gentile Christians they too will finally come into mercy ... [T]he Jewish people were once the foundation of the Covenant mystery, and ... they still remain invested within it." (89) McGuckin overgeneralized in saying that the Jewish people have not accepted the gospel, since Paul said that the olive tree of Israel lost only some of its natural branches (thus, some Jews did accept the gospel). In any case, God's promise remains outstretched to the Jewish people as a whole, and a higher authority has not overruled or abrogated the promise. While at the moment it does not come into effect for those who resist it, they, too, will come into the promise's blessings when they accept it.

V. The Church as the "New Israel"

The coming of the Messiah and the new covenant transforms not only God's relationship with humanity but Israel itself. Ancient Israel was an organized community called in Hebrew the "qahal" ("called together"), in Greek, "ecclesia," which also means "Church." (90) Fr. Dr. Georges Florovsky called it "the only nation ... that was also (and primarily) a Church of God.... Israel was a divinely constituted community of believers, united by the Law of God, the true faith, sacred rites and hierarchy--we find here all elements of the traditional definition of the Church." (91) Isaiah prophesied that, despite the Israelites' frequent apostasy and sinfulness, this sacred community would continue as a faithful righteous remnant: "the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob" (Is. 59:21, KJV). According to Cronk, "Isaiah prophesied ... a holy remnant with whom God would renew his covenant (see Is 10:20-23)." (92) Further,

Through the remnant of Israel ... "all nations and tongues will be gathered ... (Is 66:18)....

... [T]hese prophecies concerning the remnant of Israel and a "new covenant' between God and mankind are premonitions of ... the foundation of his Church.... The Church, then, is the new Israel, made up of descendants of Abraham and of many other peoples.... [T]he Church is an Israel of the spirit, and not an Israel of the flesh. "For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly ... He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal" (Rm 2:28-29 ...). (93)

Dr. Angelo Nicolaides also traced the Christian Church to the ancient sacred community, explaining, "The church, essentially, was in continuity with the Israel of God. Orthodox belief maintained that the church consisted of the people of God and, essentially, formed the new Israel." He quoted Florovsky: "'The Little Flock' that the community which Jesus had gathered around Himself was, in fact, the faithful 'Remnant' of Israel, a reconstituted People of God." (94)

Like Cronk, Frazier saw the Church as those of "true circumcision," based on Paul's letter to the gentile Philippians who lacked physical circumcision: "The new Israel, the Church, consists of those who have the 'true circumcision' in Christ: 'For it is we who are the circumcision, ... who glory in Christ Jesus." (95) This inner, spiritual "Israel" is "new" in the sense that it is based on a new covenant and extends to all peoples, as the eminent theologian Fr. Alexander Schmemann noted:
   The Church is the New Israel, Judaism renewed in the Messiah and
   spread through all mankind; it is the renewed Covenant of God with
   His people. How well [Anglican theologian Gregory] Dix puts this
   when he writes: Christianity appeared ... as ... a life which could
   really be lived only in the 'Covenant' with God and, therefore, in
   the society instituted through this Covenant by God Himself." (96)

Similarly, Cronk viewed the new covenant as superseding and extending the Abrahamic one to the entire human race" and saw the Church as the "people of God" who are "built into" Israel's Messiah and supersede ancient Israel: "In Christ, the old Israel is superseded by the Christian Church, the new Israel, the body of Christ." (97) Considering that Cronk said the new covenant transformed, extended, and superseded the old one, his use of the word "supersede" in relation to Israel does not mean discontinuation, as that would contradict both himself and other theologians. (98)

Pope Leo the Great counted this change among others under the New Testament when he described the True Sheep (the Church) as superseding their antitype (ancient Israel), in his sermon On the Passion:
   For the things which had long been promised under mysterious
   figures had to be fulfilled in all clearness; for instance, the
   True Sheep had to supersede the sheep which was its antitype, and
   the One Sacrifice to bring to an end the multitude of different
   sacrifices. For all those things which had been divinely ordained
   through Moses about the sacrifice of the lamb had prophesied of
   Christ and truly announced the slaying of Christ. In order,
   therefore, that the shadows should yield to the substance and types
   cease in the presence of the Reality, the ancient observance is
   removed by a new Sacrament, victim passes into Victim, blood is
   wiped away by Blood, and the law-ordained Feast is fulfilled by
   being changed. (99)

The main idea here is that New Testament elements "fulfill" Old Testament ones. Leo discussed various elements as superseding, yielding, ceasing, passing into, fulfilling, and changing. Since these verbs can have shades of meaning (for example, cease vs. passing into) and the Church considers righteous Old Testament people to be saints who will resurrect, this need not mean that the sheep themselves cease. Instead, the spiritual meaning of the sheep changes from members of a faithful national community to a universal one.

Further, none of the above means that those Israelites who do not accept Christ are forgotten, since they were part of a covenant that God has not revoked. Thus, while equating the Church with the new Israel, Frazier wrote that once the full number of Gentiles has been grafted onto true Israel, the unbelieving Jews will be grafted back on, 'so all Israel will be saved.'" (100)

In "Sharing the Inheritance; An Orthodox Christian View of the Church as New Israel," Fr. Demetrios Tonias of the W.C.C.'s ecumenical consultation associated the Church's teaching with supersessionism. Fie pointed to Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho, in which the Trypho asked Justin Martyr, "What, then? Are you Israel?" (101) In particular, Tonias focused on this part of Justin Martyr's response: "As therefore from the one man Jacob, who was surnamed Israel, all your nation has been called Jacob and Israel; so we from Christ, who begat us unto God, like Jacob, and Israel, and Judah, and Joseph, and David, are called and are the true sons of God, and keep the commandments of Christ." (102) He commented:
   Justin's particular response to Trypho's question and his general
   view of the Church as New Israel are certainly couched in language
   that the contemporary ear would recognize as supersessionist. There
   exists, however, a thread in Justin's response that can be useful
   in contextualizing the Orthodox Christian self-understanding as the
   New Israel in light of the contemporary Jewish-Christian
   conversation. (103)

Tonias considered the "thread" that puts this belief into context to be Justin Martyr's appeal to the ancient Israelite righteous. He explained that the Bible's admiration for them is a common point between Judaism and Orthodoxy, allowing for mutual theological affirmation." (104) Next, he said that, in contemporary Jewish-Christian dialogue,
   the discussion is often centred on ways to interpret New Testament
   supersessionist language (e.g.. Acts 15:14, 1 Pet. 2:10) in a
   sympathetic light. The more refined replacement theology of the
   apostolic and postapostolic church is seen to originate solely from
   those early church apologetics and polemics contained in Scripture,
   and thus the present discussion often assumes that, if the
   scriptural language can be explained away, the later patristic
   language is itself automatically dealt with as well. Although
   various Orthodox theologians come down on either side of these
   interpretative debates regarding the language of the New Testament,
   it must be remembered that, for Orthodox Christian thought, the
   patristic tradition is as formative and normative as is the
   apostolic and scriptural tradition. As a result, the Orthodox
   Christian theologian cannot so easily dismiss supersessionist
   language in the writings of authors like Justin Martyr and Melito
   of Sardis as simply polemics born out of historical differences
   that have since lost their relevance. (105)

In other words, Tonias's writings view the New Testament and important Church Fathers' writings as containing "supersessionist language" and the Church both during and after the apostolic era as having "Replacement Theology," which he associated with supersessionism. He concluded that the Church Fathers' words cannot be easily dismissed.

For another example, he pointed to Gregory of Nyssa's words that "Moses ... teaches us by his own example to take our stand with virtue as with a kinsman" and commented that Gregory saw "Moses and other figures of the Jewish Bible as kinsmen, fellow members of Israel, after which the members of the New Covenant should pattern their lives." (106) He commented, "Certainly, in the contemporary context, Gregory of Nyssa would be considered a supersessionist." (107) Yet, there is a common space here with rabbinical ideas, in that the twentieth-century Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik described worship as a "stretching forth," (108) in a way that closely resembled Gregory's description of Moses' encounter with God.

In the absence of further explicit statements by the Church's hierarchy, one may give special consideration to the views of the laity. As an Encyclical of the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Antioch declared in 1848: "neither Patriarchs nor Councils could ... have [successfully] introduced novelties amongst us, because the protector of religion is the very body of the Church, even the people themselves, who desire their religious worship to be ever unchanged and of the same kind as that of their fathers." (109) Two out of four discussions, covering three major Orthodox internet forums and twenty-seven participants, generally saw Orthodoxy as supersessionist, with those in one discussion tending to oppose the term. (110)

Non-Orthodox writers also tend to consider Orthodoxy "supersessionist." For example, Richard Lux wrote in The Jewish People, The Holy Land.
   Eastern Orthodoxy has been reluctant to change its supersessionist
   view. Father George Makhlour of St George's Greek Orthodox Church
   in Ramallah has said: "The church has inherited the promises of
   Israel. The church is actually the new Israel. What Abraham was
   promised, Christians now possess because they are Abraham's true
   spiritual children just as the New Testament teaches." (111)

Note that Lux labeled Makhlour's explanation "supersessionist," rather than Makhlour's using the term himself. Thus, while Lux considered this supersessionist, Makhlour may not have, because the term is rarely discussed in Orthodoxy.

Objections to supersessionism among Orthodox often take it to mean God's complete rejection of the Jewish people. For example, Fr. Sergei Hackel, editor of the journal Sobornost, connected supersessionism with the Orthodox concept of the "New Israel." He wrote with approval that, in the last few decades,
   the Catholic Church was enabled ... to reconsider--even to
   reject--supersessionism. Formerly, it would have been accepted that
   the Christian Church is the New Israel, which overshadows or
   displaces the Israel of old. More and more is it realised now that
   this theory was long ago rejected by its supposed originator, St
   Paul. 'Has God cast away his people?' asked the apostle
   rhetorically in Romans 11:1, and straightaway dismissed the
   thought, 'Of course not!'. For ultimately, as Paul argued, 'the
   gracious gifts of God and his call are irrevocable' (Romans 11:29).
   Judaism thus has its own integrity, holiness and promise....

      ... [But] ... in the Russian Orthodox Church ... the Catholic
   developments of which I have spoken remain distant and indistinct
   for many of its members. (112)

In fact, the Orthodox Church agrees that God has not cast away the Israelites' descendants. In the passage, Paul expected that even those of the Jews who opposed Christianity would be "grafted" back into God's spiritual community and receive those gifts. He commented that their breaking away indirectly led to the gentiles' salvation, and this would cause their own return, concluding that "blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved" (Rom. 11:25-26, Orthodox Study Bible). The Church Father John Chrysostom commented on vv. 30-32: "However, they will not perish forever. For God has concluded them all in unbelief ... that He may save the one by the captiousness of the other, these by those and those by these." (113)

One possibility is that Hackel thought of "supersessionism" in the sense of the replacement by one group (the Church) of a completely separate group (Israel), in contrast to Tonias's use of the word "supersessionism," since the latter saw them as the same, continuous organization. This continuity is seen in Tonias's discussion of Gregory of Nyssa's kinship with Moses as a "fellow member of Israel."

In "An Orthodox Perspective," Fr. Yves Dubois of St. John Kronstadt Church in Bath, England, called supersessionism the "idea that God made promises to Israel, then substituted the Gentile Church for the people of Israel." (114) He added: "This doctrine, nowadays referred to as 'supersessionism', because it sees Israel as superseded by the Church, is theologically untenable because it questions God's consistency. It also contradicts some Gospel texts, like the Song of Zechariah in Luke 1.68-75. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people.'" (115) Dubois wrote further that: "Supersessionism means the belief that, once Christ became incarnate, there was no room in the world any longer for Judaism or Jews. One day, they were the chosen people, then suddenly they had become the people who no longer have an excuse for existing." (116) In contrast to the Church's idea that God chooses all nations to become Christian, this definition negates Jews, not only as being chosen but even as a "people."

Like Hackel, Dubois saw the concept of the New Israel as supersessionist, focusing on how the service of the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord praises Christ as "the glory of thy newly-chosen Israel." He wrote that the term makes "Judaism and the Jewish community redundant, substituting the Gentile Church for Israel." (117)

However, Fr. Feodor Lyudogovsky, a professor at Moscow Orthodox Theological Academy, gave a more inclusive explanation for the "New Israel" in the Feast: "in the work of the Christian songwriter we see the perspective that is opened with the Incarnation--Christ's Church, the newly chosen Israel, in which yesterday's gentiles and believing Jews became, in the Savior's words (Jn 10:16), one flock." (118) Similarly, Benevitch wrote that, actually, "The Christian Church is not a Church of the Gentiles," because Christ destroyed "the dividing wall" between Israel and gentiles (Eph. 2:14). (119) Therefore, the concept of the New Israel does not really substitute a "gentile" Church for Israel.

Dubois also commented: "Supersessionism was inevitable in the Patristic Texts of the first millennium and also after." He mentioned John Chrysostom's Homilies against the Judaizers as an example of supersessionism and added, "More recently, a number of Orthodox Saints have taken a strong stand against antisemitism, supersessionism etc." (120) He gave the following saints as examples: "St. M. Skobtsova, St. D. Klepinin, St. A. Schmorell, St. Luke of Simferopol. Not canonised but prominent: Met. Anthony Khrapovitsky (first sermon by any Bishop praising Judaism), Pat. Bartholomew, Met. Kallistos, and Jim Forrest." (121) (Neither Chrysostom, nor these saints appear to have referred to "supersessionism" by name, but those modern saints did oppose Antisemitism.)

If these major twentieth-century hierarchs and saints took an opposite position on the topic, it could suggest a major change in Orthodox Christians' way of thinking. But, as Tonias pointed out, Orthodoxy cannot easily discard its patristic writings. One explanation for the apparent shift could be that ancient philosophers discussed peoples mainly in terms of political or religious communities with set customs. For example, Josephus referred to "the tribe of Christians," (122) and Peter apparently referred to Christians as a "people" (1 Pet. 2:9-10). Today, however, we think of peoples as biological ethnicities.

Second, ancient religious rhetoric had an uncompromising style, as reflected in the language of Israelite prophets who called the people to repentance. Religious organizations today, however, seek respectful interfaith relations and tolerance. Among Dubois's examples, John Chrysostom's Homilies against the Judaizers (against non-Jews who obey non-Christian Judaic practices) and Khrapovitsky's Sermon against the Pogroms (against mob attacks on Jews) would naturally emphasize opposite attitudes, even if they shared the same perspective on those questions. Despite his harsh rhetoric, it is doubtful that John Chrysostom fully negated the Jewish people, because, as mentioned earlier, he predicted their salvation, too.

Thus, rather than changing their fundamental understanding of Christianity and Judaism, modern generations could have changed what they mean by "peoples," as well as their attitudes about religious differences.


This essay shows that the simplest meaning of supersessionism, whereby the Church or the New Testament "supersedes" Israel or the Old Testament, is part of Orthodox thinking, yet scholars' descriptions of supersessionism often vary and portray it negatively. Orthodoxy can accept Novak's inclusive definition whereby Christianity brings an improvement, but it cannot accept completely such exclusive concepts as "Structural Supersessionism," whereby theology would neglect the Old Testament. Thus, it is not surprising that the W.C.C. consultation that included Orthodox theologians found that supersessionism could properly describe Orthodoxy; it was "categorically problematic when negatively applied vis-a-vis Judaism." (123)

The reader may be surprised to find that the word "supersede" can apply in a range of ways from removal to full incorporation. Lang gave a striking example of the latter, wherein sun worship "superseded" animal worship in Peruvian temples, which was not abolished. (124) While proving that "superseding" stages need not mean abolition, the example is not a correct analogy to Orthodoxy, which sees Christianity as the same faith as that of Abraham and Moses.

Other paradoxes are that, despite the claim that "supersessionism" is a longstanding view in the Church, Orthodox writers rarely speak of "supersession," and they see other seemingly contradictory forces at work, including full continuation, replacement, nullification, and transformation. Thus, Crank wrote that the old covenant is transformed, transcended, fulfilled, superseded, and extended to humanity, while Frazier commented that the new covenant subsumes and "in many respects" supersedes the old. New Testament teachings supersede Old Testament ones in a combined liturgical hierarchy. As a succession, Christ and the Church supersede the temple, which in turn supersedes the moveable tabernacle in the wilderness. The cross supersedes animal sacrifice, and the Orthodox priesthood supersedes the Levitical one. Tertullian wrote that the new course of things under Christ's gospel supersedes the old and that they differ in "conduct," but not in "worship." (125)

Yet, Orthodox theologians also write that there are Old Testament elements that are not superseded, such as God's promise to Abraham. The Old Testament remains an important source of prayers, learning, and insight into Christianity. Taking the view that the covenants form a unity wherein the old covenant is "revealed anew," Benevitch did not accept the word "supersession." To resolve these contradictions, one must harmonize these views. In fact, Orthodoxy allows for ways to look at God's relationship with and redemption of humanity, beyond legal concepts. So, while one writer may perceive one covenant as superseding another, another writer can emphasize the Bible's unity.

The focus on continuation is even stronger when it comes to the Orthodox idea that the Church is the New Israel. This is based on the interpretation that ancient Israel was both a nation and a congregation ("qahal" or "ecclesia"), and that the Church is the latter's righteous remnant. In this idea the gentiles are adopted into the Church through adoption by faith in Israel's Messiah, while those Israelites who do not accept him will eventually do so and return to the congregation. It is in this sense that the Church both extends and supersedes Israel, and so Orthodox writings emphasize the continuity between them rather than replacement. One objection is that seeing the Church as Israel's spiritual community could mean that God fully rejected non-Christian Jews; however, this is incorrect as the Church Fathers in fact expected their eventual return. God did not abolish God's promises but extended them across humanity.

This analysis throws down several challenges. First, how should Orthodox theologians address this debate? If we believe that there are ways the New Testament takes precedence over or "supersedes" the Old Testament, the fact that there are ways in which supersession does not occur does not obviate that process. Orthodoxy is committed to the Church Fathers' basic understanding of Christianity, so denouncing "supersessionism" would mean rejecting an aspect of its teaching. Yet, since the Church is not legalistic, perhaps it need not focus on the debate, as it has largely avoided doing thus far.

Second, if supersessionism is the Church's longstanding view that goes back to early Christianity, how should scholars relate to it in an ecumenical context? Should their writings portray it as negative and exclusionary, or instead approach it with an open understanding?

Finally, Western scholars can take on the challenge of engaging the question in a deep, comprehensive, and nuanced way that reflects and reveals the full range of its meanings. Such a review could result in a more standard definition or reveal that, at its core, Christianity includes supersessionism--and many other concepts, too.

(1) Elizabeth Taylor, ed., Religion: A Clinical Guide for Nurses (New York: Springer Publishing, 2012), p. 221.

(2) Michael Vlach, Has the Church Replaced Israel? (Nashville, TN: B. & H Publishing Group 2010), p. 12.

(3) Ibid., pp. 1 and 11.

(4) Paul even saw unbelief among Israel of the flesh as having a role in God's plan (Rom 1114 and 30).

(5) One Covenant of Grace, Committee on Church Doctrine Recommendation No. 2, Presbyterian Church of Canada, 2011: available at covenant_of_grace_study_document_re_engagement_withJewish_people.pdf.

(6) David Novak, "The Covenant in Rabbinic Thought," in Eugene B. Korn and John T. Pawlikowski, eds., Two Faiths, One Covenant? Jewish and Christian Identity in the Presence of the Other, A Sheed & Ward Book (Lanham, MD; and Oxford, U.K.: Rowman & Littlefield 2005) p. 66.

(7) Ibid., p. 67.

(8) Brian W. Harrison, "The Liturgy and 'Supersessionism,'" Homiletic & Pastoral Review, June, 2009; available at (the quote is from the third paragraph of the article).

(9) R. Kendall Soulen, The Cod of Israel and Christian Theology (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1996), pp. 1-2.

(10) Ibid., pp. 25-28. The same could be said about any nation's spiritual history, since all nations are expected to join the Church.

(11) Ibid., p. 181, n. 6.

(12) Ibid., p. 30.

(13) George Crank, The Message of the Bible: An Orthodox Christian Perspective (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1982), p. 80 (according to Crank, the covenant was extended to the human race).

(14) John Chrysostom, Homily 19 on Romans; available at 210219.htm.

(15) Soulen, God of Israel pp. 30 and 181, n. 6.

(16) The Divine Presence's leaving the First Temple is another vivid example of God's departure.

(17) Lactantius, Divine Institutes, Book 4, chap. 11, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 7; available at http://

(18) Vlach, Has the Church Replaced Israel? p. 13.

(19) See note 17, above.

(20) See John Anthony McGuckin, The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture (Malden, MA; and Oxford, U.K.: Blackwell Publishing, 2008), p. 428.

(21) Soulen, God of Israel, p. 181, n. 6.

(22) Ibid., p. 31.

(23) Ibid., pp. 31-32.

(24) Thomas Hopko, "The Fountain of Israel," Again Magazine 19 (December, 1996/January, 1997).

(25) By "orthodox understanding," the document means the view that the Church considers correct. See A Theological Understanding of the Relationship between Christians and Jews (Genera! Assembly of the Presbyterian Church [USA], 1987); available at; under "Explication" of "Affirmation 2."

(26) Ibid., under "Definitions and Language."

(27) It is true that, in Gal. 3:10-13, Paul wrote that those living under the Law were under a curse because they were not able to follow all of it and that Christ redeemed people from the Law. However, this "curse" was not limited to Jews, since Paul considered that gentiles' conscience would serve as a law to them (Rom. 2:14-15). When the Church Fathers did polemicize against Jews, they referred to their religious community, since "peoples" were not necessarily thought of biologically. E.g., the Latin-derived word "populous" means a nation, polity, or organized community. Thus, e.g., Middle Eastern Orthodox still call themselves "Roman Orthodox," yet they are hardly ethnic "Romans."

(28) Thus, e.g., Orthodoxy does not accept the idea in Catholicism and Protestantism that people inherit the guilt of Original Sin.

(29) Michael Forrest and David Palm, "A Response to Robert Sungenis' Critique of our Lay Witness Article," March 1, 2010; available at

(30) Katherine Sonderegger, "The People of God in Christian Theology," in Bruce L. McCormack and Kimlyn J. Bender, eds., Theology as Conversation: The Significance of Dialogue in Historical and Contemporary Theology--A Festschrift for Darnel L Migliore (Grand Rapids, MI; and Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009), p. 218.

(31) See, e.g., Walter Brueggemann, Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1997), p. 15, n. 36, calling it "the claim that the Old Testament text is superseded by the New Testament"; Edward Kessler and Neil Wenborn, A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations (Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 322, calling it "the belief that the New Testament has superseded the 'Old'"; and Donald G. Bloesch, The Last Things: Resurrection, Judgment, Glory, Christian Foundations (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), p. 44, saying it "holds that the church supersedes Israel as the covenantal community of faith."

(32) Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary (Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon Press, 1879); available at

(33) See Sir Thomas Edlyne Tomlins, The Law-dictionary, Explaining the Rise, Progress, and Present State of the British Law (Oxford, U.K.: J. and W. T. Clarke, 1835), p. ccxlvii; and Online Etymology Dictionary, available at

(34) J. Kendrick Kinney, A Law Dictionary and Glossary (Chicago: Callaghan and Co 1893) p 642

(35) Ibid.

(36) Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary (New York; Random House, 2010; available at aryEntry=Supersede&SearchMode=Entry.

(37) M. K. Gandhi, "A Puzzle and Its Solution," in Homer A. Jack, ed., The Gandhi Reader: A Source Book of His Life and Writings (Bloomington, IN; Indiana University Press, 1956; New York: Grove Press, 1994), pp. 194-195.

(38) Collins Dictionary, available at

(39) Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: Eleventh Edition (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 2004), p. 1056 (as a synonym for "replaceable").

(40) Naturist Soc., Inc. v. Fillyaw, 958 F. 2d. 151--Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, 1992.

(41) Nicole Campbell, "Interfaith Symposium on Peace Service in the Abrahamic Traditions," J.E.S. 41 (Summer-Fall, 2004): 472.

(42) Andrew Lang, The Origins of Religion, and Other Essays (London: Watts, 1908), p. 31.

(43) Tertullian, Against Marcton, Book 3, chap. 2; available at 0030448.html.

(44) Arthur Goldwag, Isms and Ologies: All the Movements, Ideologies, and Doctrines That Have Shaped Our World (New York: Random House, 2007), p. xv.

(45) The most common designation used in recent scholarly literature to identify this position is 'supersessionism'" (Michael Vlach, "Defining Supersessionism," from his blog; available at http://www.

(46) The author of the present essay is a Russian translator. The closest words in Russian mean replace, cancel, substitute, outweigh, surpass, or consider inoperative. These have different meanings and connotations. Russian writers have mixed opinions on whether the Russian word for replace (zamenit) applies.

(47) B. P. Vysheslavtsev, Elika Preobrazhennogo Erosa (Moscow, 1994); my translation.

(48) Ibid. "Smenyaet" means, literally, "changes fully."

(49) Ivan A. Esaulov, "The Categories of Law and Grace in Dostoevsky's Poetics," in George Pattison and Diane Oenning Thompson, eds., Dostoevsky and the Christian Tradition (Cambridge, U.K.; and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), p. 119.

(50) According to eminent Protestant theologian N. T. Wright, there is so much stigma attached to supersessionism in scholarly circles that "the mere mention of [it] is enough to drive otherwise clear-headed exegetes into abject apology and hasty backtracking" (N. T. Wright, Paul: In Fresh Perspective [Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2005], p. 126). Wright went on to reject supersessionism himself.

(51) This is based on a search for the expression in Google Books, conducted in September, 2013.

(52) Eugene J. Fisher, Visions of the Other: Jewish and Christian Theologians Assess the Dialogue, A Stimulus Book, Studies in Judaism and Christianity (New York and Mahwah NJ--Paulist Press 19941 pp. 1-2.

(53) John McGuckin, private correspondence with author, March 18, 2013.

(54) Ernst Benz, The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life (New Brunswick NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2008), pp. 46 and 48; emphasis added.

(55) Vladimir Lossky, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, tr. Ian and Ihita Kesarcodi-Watson (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1978), pp. 111-112.

(56) Shanta Premawardhana, "A Report of the Intra-Christian Consultation on Christian Self-Understanding in Relation to Judaism," Current Dialogue, Special Issue no. 53 (December, 2012), p. 5; available at

(57) The Orthodox Study Bible (Nashville. TN: Thomas Nelson, 2008; O.T. is [c]Elk Grove, CA: St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology, 2008; N.T. is New K.J. V., Thomas Nelson, 1982), p. 1078, note to vv. 4-6.

(58) Ibid., p. 1635.

(59) Cronk, Message of the Bible, p. 282, n. 12 in chap, 3.

(60) Robert K. Arakaki, Why Orthodox Worship Is Liturgical: The Biblical Basis for Ritual in Christian Worship (Blue Vergina Sun, 2005), p. 9; available (by subscription) at doc/51156926/Why-Orthodox-Worship-is-Liturgical-The-Biblicai-Basis-for-Ritual-in-Christian-Worship -Robert-K-Arakaki; or see doc/51156926/Why-Orthodox-Worship-is-Liturgical-The-Biblicai-Basis-for-Ritual-in-Christian-Worship- Robert-K.-Arakaki+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a.

(61) Orthodox Study Bible, p. 111.

(62) The editors back up their claim by commenting: "In his vision of the kingdom of heaven, St. John writes, 'But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple (Rev 21.22). All earthly types vanish as the redeemed behold God and the Lamb in unmediated glory' (2 Pt 1:4)" (ibid.).

(63) T[erry] L. Frazier, A Second Look at the Second Coming: Sorting through the Speculations (Ben Lomond, CA: Conciliar Press, 1999), p. 116.

(64) Ibid., p. 283. The Orthodox Study Bible comments: "Calling Christ the 'Mediator of a better covenant' (Heb 8:6), the Book of Hebrews dramatically demonstrates how He fulfills and supersedes the old covenant made with the Israelites (3:1-10:22)" (Orthodox Study Bible, p. 361).

(65) Frazier, A Second Look, p, 117.

(66) Recognitions of Clement, Book II, chaps. 1-2; available at 080402.htm.

(67) Ibid., chap. 1.

(68) Ibid., chap. 2.

(69) Michael Prokurat, Alexander Golitzin, and Michael D. Peterson, Vie A to Z of the Orthodox Church, The A to Z Guide Series 175 (Lanham, MD; Toronto; and Plymouth, U.K.: Scarecrow Press, 2010), p. 317. Additionally, to highlight his importance for Orthodox theology, Orthodox writers have often called Tertullian a "Doctor of the Church." The Catholic Church does not list him as a Doctor of the Church due to his later acceptance of the heresy of Montanism. Nevertheless, Tertullian remained a member of the Church, which values his polemic, Against Marcion. See, e g., I. V. Vishev, "L. N. Tolstoy on Religion and Morality, Death, and Immortality of the Person," Philosophy, Sociology, and Culturology, vol. 3, no. 12 (2010), p. 108; Russian original available at http://intell-$page=101. Also see A. I. Sidorov, Course in Patristics (Saratov, Russia: Saratov Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, 1996); original Russian available at

(70) Tertullian, Against Marcion, Book 3, chap. 2 (see note 43, above).

(71) I.e., the "Discessionem" in Latin.

(72) Tertullian, Against Marcion. Book 3, chap. 2.

(73) Ibid.; first emphasis in original, second added.

(74) Evan Armatas, "Formation of the New Testament Canon," Ancient Faith Radio, February 26, 2013; available at _canon; emphasis in original.

(75) Cronk cited Joshua's Farewell Address (Joshua 22-24) to show that faith and obedience were requirements of the old covenant.

(76) Isaiah 59, declaring that the people's iniquities separated it from God, gives examples of the kind of disobedience to which Cronk referred.

(77) Cronk, Message of the Bible, p. 67.

(78) Ibid., pp. 79-80.

(79) Ibid., p. 79.

(80) Ibid., p. 80.

(81) Ibid.

(82) Ibid. This brings to mind how, in order to "make a covenant," "God and Abraham literally 'cut an oath' (Hebrew: b'rith) by sacrificing certain animals," a foreshadowing of Christ's sacrifice (Frazier, A Second Look, p. 118).

(83) Eugen J. Pentiuc, "Judaism, Orthodoxy and," cited in John Anthony McGuckin, ed., The Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), p. 356.

(84) Ibid.

(85) Eugen J. Pentiuc, "Old Testament," in McGuckin, Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, p. 421.

(86) Antonios Galitis, ed., Philokalia of the Neptic Fathers, vol. 2 (Thessaloniki: Garden of the Virgin, 1986), p. 177; original Greek available at; E.T. by Lakis Papas, amended by author.

(87) Benevitch viewed the covenants of Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Christ not as separate covenants but as one covenant and as stages of God's revelation to humanity. While Orthodox writers typically talk about a new covenant and an old covenant, the view that there is in reality one covenant with various stages also exists among some Orthodox writers. See Gregory Benevitch, "The Jewish Question in the Orthodox Church, chap. 3 of his Jewish Question in the Russian Orthodox Church (Rome; Eulogos, 2007); E.T. available at; quotation from paragraphs 21-23 of chap. 3.

(88) McGuckin, The Orthodox Church, p. 428.

(89) Ibid.

(90) Hopko connected the terms: "God himself, the Lord Almighty, has acted to gather, to form, to fashion, to grace his Church, his people. He calls his people. And people respond to the call, and they form a community. And in the Old Covenant, the qahal was the qahal Israel. It was the assembly of Israel. In the New Testament, it's the Church of Jesus the Messiah. And in the New Testament it's still the qahal Israel. How many times St. Paul speaks about that: we the Gentiles are grafted onto Israel" (Thomas Hopko, "The One True Church," Ancient Faith Radio, March 7, 2011; available at http://www.anci

(91) Georges Florovsky, Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View, Collected Works of Georges Florovsky 1 (Belmont, MA: Nordland Publishing, 1972), pp. 32-33.

(92) Cronk, Message of the Bible, p. 109.

(93) Ibid., p. 110.

(94) Angelo Nicolaides, "The Laos tou Theou--An Orthodox View of the 'People of God,'" Hervormde Studies 66 (March. 2010): 3; citing Georges Florovsky, "Worship and Everyday Life: An Eastern Orthodox View," Studia Patristica, vol. 2 (1963), p. 266.

(95) Frazier, A Second Look, p. 98, quoting Phil. 3:3 from the NIV, emphasis added by Frazier.

(96) Alexander Schmemann, Introduction to Liturgical Theology, tr. Asheleigh E. Moorhouse, 3rd ed. (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1986; original E.T.: London: Faith Press Ltd.; and Portland, ME: American Orthodox Press, 1966), p. 60.

(97) Cronk, Message of the Bible, p. 80. Crank's description of Christians as being the "people of God" reflects Peter's words: "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house ... Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient ... the same is made ... a stone of stumbling ... But ye ... in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God" (1 Pet. 2:5-10).

(98) In the same passage, Cronk had just equated the Church with Israel's remnant. According to Hopko, "there is a radical continuity between Israel and the Church ... Spiritually, we are all Jewish We are grafted to their covenant. We have access to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and sociologically speaking, He was the God of those people. And we are in their covenant" (Hopko, "The Fountain of Israel"; emphasis in original).

(99) Leo the Great, On the Passion, VII, I; available at

(100) Frazier, A Second Look, p. 97.

(101) Demetrios E. Tonias, "Sharing the Inheritance: An Orthodox Christian View of the Church as New Israel in the Context of the Contemporary Jewish-Christian Dialogue," Current Dialogue, Special Issue no. 53 (December, 2012), p. 51.

(102) Ibid.

(103) Ibid.

(104) bid.

(105) Ibid., p. 52. With reference to Melito, Soulen's key example of what he called "Punitive Supersessionism" is the statement by the second-century bishop, Melito of Sardis: "[Y]ou did not quake in the presence of the Lord, so you quaked at the assault of foes," likely referring to Rome's conquest of Judea (Soulen, The God of Israel and Christian Theology, p. 30).

(106) Tonias, "Sharing the Inheritance," p. 56; emphasis in original

(107) Ibid., p. 58.

(108) Ibid., p. 61; quoting Joseph Dov Soloveitchik, Worship of the Heart: Essays on Jewish Prayer ed. Shalom Carmy, Meotzar Horav Series (New York: KTAV Publishing House, 2003), p. 24.

(109) Modern History Sourcebook: Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs, 1848; A Reply to the Epistle of Pope Pius IX, "to the Easterns"; available at lical.asp.

(110) See "Israel" at,263.0.html; "Supersessionism" at; "The Ancient Way: Replacement Theology" at; and 'The Orthodox Church and Supersessionism" at sessionism.

(111) Richard C. Lux, The Jewish People, the Holy Land, and the State of Israel: A Catholic View, A Stimulus Book, Studies in Judaism and Christianity (New York and Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2010), pp. 61-62.

(112) Sergei Hackel, "The Relevance of Western Post-Holocaust Theology to the Thought and Practice of the Russian Orthodox Church," Sobornost, vol. 20, no. 1 (1998), pp. 14-15; available at http://www

(113) John Chrysostom, Homily 19 or Romans', available at /210219.htm; emphasis in original.

(114) Fr. Yves Dubois, "An Orthodox Perspective [on Antisemitism]," in Helen P. Fry, Christian-Jewish Dialogue: A Reader (Exeter, Devon, U.K.: University of Exeter Press 1996), p. 34.

(115) Ibid.

(116) Fr. Yves Dubois, correspondence of April 22, 2013.

(117) Ibid.

(118) Feodor Lyudogovsky, "The Lord's Dedication: The Ancient of Days Means Etemal"/"Vetkhiy Dnyami Znachit-Vechnyy," The Untiresome Garden/Neskuchnyy Sad, February 14, 2013; original Russian available at; my translation.

(119) Benevitch, "Anti-Semitism in the Russian Orthodox Church," chap. 1 of Jewish Question; available at; quote is in 15th paragraph.

(120) Dubois, correspondence of April 22, 2013.

(121) Ibid.

(122) Josephus Flavius, The Antiquities of the Jews, tr. William Whiston, Book 18, chap. 3, no. 3; available at

(123) See note 56, above.

(124) See note 42, above.

(125) See note 73, above.

Harold A. Smith (Orthodox Church of America) holds a B.S. in Business Economics from Bloomsburg (PA) University, a B.A. in Russian Language from the University of Pittsburgh (PA), and a J.D. (2010) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. A member of the Russian Speaking Professionals Network, he is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He interned in international corporate arbitration law in Kiev, Ukraine, and in Moscow (Summer, 2008); interned for the Pittsburgh Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center at Jewish Family and Children's Services, working on refugee asylum applications (Summer, 2009); and volunteered at Catholic Charities in Pittsburgh on behalf of refugees (Summer, 2009). In 2011-12, he served as an editor for the Mid-Atlantic-Russian Business Council in Philadelphia. He works on immigration law cases for the South Philadelphia Legal Clinic and represents clients in unemployment and workers' compensation cases. He also serves as a court interpreter for Geneva Worldwide (New York) in workers' compensation hearings. A member of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship, which advocates for interfaith understanding and human rights, he has traveled to Orthodox monasteries in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Greece, and the U.S. As a student, he was active in the Orthodox Christian Fellowship and attended the 2010 OCF College Conference. He has attended annual Parish Life conferences for the Antiochian Orthodox Church and has lectured on Orthodox theology and culture to his parish. A member of Philadelphia's Ecumenical Working Group on Middle East Peace, he attended Churches for Middle East Peace's annual conference in Washington, DC, in 2013. He has published "Prophecies of Christ's Life, Death, and Resurrection in the Old Testament" (The Word, September, 2011) and "Messiya Nash Pravednyy" (Voda Zhivaya, October, 2012).
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