Note from the Senior Editor
The beginning of the Roman Catholic/Orthodox Theological dialogue during the 20th century raised to some high hopes for an imminent canonical unity between the two Denominations, and this, though premature, is not of course to be blamed; it is impossible for any contemporary Christian theologian not to suffer from the division within this very womb of the ontological unification of all things, which is the Church of Christ—precisely because this division gives to many the impression of a fragmentation of the Church’s very being and subsequently weakens her witness. However, indeed, it is the Church that matters, beyond any political, sociological or historical ‘necessity’, which perhaps has ensouled some Church leaders’ wishful thinking, over the centuries, for such an imminent canonical unity. And that means that the unity is a matter of Theology. I think that this was precisely the underlying motive of the organisers of the Syros Conference, the fruits of which are published in this two-volume publication of Analogia. As the Senior Editor of this Journal, but also as a participant in the Syros Conference, and in the ongoing academic dialogue between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics, I wish to thank both the organisers, and the two Guest Editors, who did their best and put significant work into this enterprise; I hope that this publication will be a particular opportunity for this theological communication, which wishes to build a wiser reciprocal dialogue upon a deeper mutual fathoming.
– Nikolaos Loudovikos, Senior Editor
We are overjoyed that Analogia’s issues 9 and 10 are dedicated to Ecclesial Dialogues: East and West—that is, to peer-reviewed and revised versions of papers first presented at the international conference exploring this subject and convened in the island of Syros, from the 10th to the 14th of June 2019. This conference would not have materialised without the generous support of Loyola Marymount University’s Revd Professor Cyril Hovorun and the generous support of the University of Winchester (which provided the conference’s academic aegis) and our co-convenor, Revd Reader Andreas Andreopoulos; we extend our cordial gratitude to these individuals and institutions, as we remain with the hope that a particular vision (or rather, perspective) was articulated during those days in Syros, rather than merely yet another ecumenically-oriented scholarly gathering.
The guest editors deem it important that this conference (and the Analogia issues stemming therefrom) did not form part of any level of official ecclesial dialogue and exchange but consisted in a bottom-up scholarly endeavour at ecclesial enquiry, exploration and discovery. The reader shall be spared the guest editors’ theological musings in this editorial note (yet these musings shall return vengefully in the guest editors’ respective papers). We have opted for one introduction to both issues, so that the interested reader will be made aware of the contents of the other issue, apart from the one you are currently holding in your hands.
Ecclesial Dialogues: East and West I (i.e., Analogia 9) opens with Dr Sotiris Mitralexis’ (Orthodox, University of Winchester & University of Athens) ‘A Spectre Is Haunting Intercommunion’, an introduction to the conference’s problematic. Professor Edward Siecienski’s (Orthodox, Stockton University) paper follows, entitled ‘Unity of the Churches—An Actual Possibility: The Rahner-Fries Theses and Contemporary Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue’, highlighting from a contemporary perspective the eight theses that Karl Rahner, SJ and Heinrich Fries proposed in 1983, in the hope of healing Christianity’s many divisions. Revd Professor Thomas O’Loughlin (Catholic, University of Nottingham) then proceeds in his ‘The Origins of an Ecumenical Church: Links, Borrowings, and Inter-dependencies’ to examine the ecclesiology of early churches as nodes within a network, established and maintained by constant contact and by those who saw it as part of their service/vocation to travel between the churches; this culture of links, of sharing and borrowing, could perhaps form a model for a practical way forward today towards a renewed sense of our oneness in Christ. In ‘Crusades, Colonialism, and the Future Possibility of Christian Unity’, Professor George Demacopoulos (Orthodox, Fordham University) presents the historical conditions more extensively laid out in his recent monograph Colonizing Christianity: Greek and Latin Religious Identity in the Era of the Fourth Crusade (New York: Fordham University Press, 2019) in order to develop a more constructive theological argument regarding the ecumenical implications of that historical work. Revd Professor Andrew Louth (Orthodox, Durham University) focuses in his ‘Eucharistic Doctrine and Eucharistic Devotion’ on comparing the Western Rite of Benediction, Exposition of the Host and adoration, with the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts in the East; the nature of Eucharistic devotion expressed in these two rites is in most ways strikingly different, and this leads Revd Professor Louth to highlight differences that are rather rarely discussed in ecumenical discussions. Revd Dr Manuel Gonçalves Sumares (Orthodox, Catholic University of Portugal, Braga) centres on the late Fr Alexander Schmemann (and Sergius Bulgakov, among many others) in his ‘Schmemann’s Approach to the Sacramental Life of the Church: its Orthodox Positioning, its Catholic Intent’. Revd Professor Adam AJ DeVille (Catholic, University of Saint Francis) offers an Eastern Catholic perspective in his ‘Approaching the Future as a Friend Without a Wardrobe of Excuses’, including moral questions around marriage and divorce, historiographical and liturgical-hagiographical questions centred on the canonization and commemoration of saints in one communion who left and/or were used in conciliar debates and liturgical texts to condemn the sister communion; and questions of synodal organization and structures in both Catholicism and Orthodoxy in the face of centralizing tendencies. The first issue concludes with a rich Anglican perspective presented by the Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall, Bishop of Ebbsfleet and Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Orthodox Church: in his ‘Anglicans and the Una Sancta’, Bishop Jonathan stresses the Anglican self-understanding as ‘part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church’.
Ecclesial Dialogues: East and West II (i.e., Analogia 10) starts with the Senior Editor of Analogia, Revd Professor Nicholas Loudovikos (Orthodox, University Ecclesiastical Academy of Thessaloniki, University of Winchester, IOCS Cambridge, Orthodox Secretary of the ‘St Irenaeus’ Joint Catholic-Orthodox International Working Group) and his paper on ‘Christological or Analogical Primacy: Ecclesial Unity and Universal Primacy in the Orthodox Church’, according to which ‘the only way Christ makes himself analogically present as the head of his Church, through a universal Primate, is as manifestation of a consubstantializing Synodality’. Professor Andrew TJ Kaethler (Catholic, Catholic Pacific College), in his ‘Manifesting Persons: A Church in Tension’, begins from a theological notion of personhood in order to provide a broad framework or an imaginative construct to conceive of Church unity, in light of Joseph Ratzinger’s and Romano Guardini’s respective theologies. Kaethler suggests that the East and West will, perhaps, most flourish in a united tension, a coming together of difference rather than a complete dissolving of our respective distinctions. Following this, Professor Jared Schumacher (Catholic, University of Mary) formulates ‘An Ignatian-MacIntyrean Proposal for Overcoming Historical and Political-Theological Difficulties in Ecumenical Dialogue’, focusing on three difficulties in achieving practical unity: the recognition of plurality, the problem of synthesis or integration, and the problem of orientation implicit in any synthesis.
Returning ad fontes, Professor Christos Karakolis (Orthodox, University of Athens) examines the character of Simon Peter in the narrative of John’s Gospel in his ‘Simon Peter in the Gospel According to John: His Historical Significance according to the Johannine Community’s Narrative’, in order to help us better understand the biblical foundations of the theological debate on the papal office. Fast-forward to the 6th century with Professor Anna Zhyrkova’s (Catholic, Akademia Ignatianum, Krakow) ‘The Scythian Monks’ Latin-cum-Eastern Approach to Tradition: A Paradigm for Reunifying Doctrines and Overcoming Schism’, which presents the historical case study of the Scythian monks, who united Western and Eastern traditions, seeing both traditions as one and not hesitating to address problems simultaneously of concern to both Rome and Constantinople, putting forward a solution based on a synthesis of Augustine’s and Cyril’s theologies. Escaping doctrinal differences per se and turning our attention to aesthetics —a perspective rarely addressed in East-West dialogues—, Professor Norm Klassen (Catholic, University of Waterloo) offers in his ‘Beauty is the Church’s Unity: Supernatural Finality, Aesthetics, and Catholic–Orthodox Dialogue’ an understanding of beauty vis-à-vis the nature/ grace question, inter alia via a reference to Rowan Williams’ thought. The con- ference’s co-convener Revd Reader Andreas Andreopoulos (Orthodox, University of Winchester) proposes in his ‘Ecumenism and Trust: A Pope on Mount Athos’ a hypothetical scenario, an exercise in imagination, an ecumenical Christian-fi in the manner of sci-fi, according to which a particularly humble Pope of Rome visits Mount Athos, the bastion of Orthodox asceticism, in search of unity and in an ecclesial version of the famous 1971-72 dictum ‘only Nixon could go to China’; the point is that it is necessary to recognize the multitude of levels and dimensions of dialogue and the question of the reunification of the East and the West, well beyond the remit of joint theological commissions, and that establishment of mutual trust among clergy, monastics and laity on both sides is the first necessary step. Remaining on Mount Athos and its attempted Catholic equivalent, Dr Marcin Podbielski (Catholic, Akademia Ignatianum, Krakow) shares in his philosophically-informed ‘God’s Silence and Its Icons: A Catholic’s Experiences at Mount Athos and Mount Jamna’ his ‘bewilderment [that] there seems to be almost no room in contemporary Catholic spirituality for silence and isolation’ and presents Athos and Jamna as two different realizations of an icon given to us by Christ himself, as human instruments which we create to point to true participation in the Divine presence of the New Jerusalem. Whereas the Catholic experience tries to bring everyone into participation in the life of the New Jerusalem, the Orthodox Athos, in its silent uniqueness, testifies to a unique and ineffable transcendence. Returning to more mainstream themes in East-West dialogue, Revd Dr Johannes Börjesson (University of Cambridge) offers in his ‘Councils and Canons’ a Lutheran perspective on the Great Schism and the ‘Eighth Council’ via Lutheran ecclesiology. From a ‘Radical Orthodox’ perspective within Anglicanism and beyond, Professor John Milbank (University of Nottingham) argues in his ‘Ecumenism done otherwise: Christian unity and global crisis’ for a connection of ecumenism to politics, and suggests that any relevant dialogue should theologically assume that Church unity already exists but has been obscured and obfuscated—with our task being to recover and disclose this unity. Completing our Analogia issues, Professor Marcello La Matina (Catholic, University of Macerata) offers the closing thoughts of this collective endeavour from the perspective of a scholar of the philosophy of language in his paper ‘Concluding Reflections on Mapping the Una Sancta: An Orthodox-Catholic Ecclesiology Today’, proposing an understanding of the schism as the stage of the mirror, as Jacques Lacan would have it.
In closing this editorial note, we would like to thank the following institutions and sponsors: again, Loyola Marymount University and the University of Winchester, for making the conference possible; Catholic Pacific College and the Municipality of Syros for their support, as well as His Excellency J. Michael Miller, CSB, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Vancouver. We are filially grateful to His All- Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, His Beatitude Ieronymos II, Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, to His Eminence Dorotheos, Orthodox Metropolitan of Syros, Tinos, Andros, Kea and Milos, and to His Excellency Petros Stephanou, Catholic Bishop of Syros, Milos, Santorini and Apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Crete, for their kind permission and blessing of the conference. Revd Professor Nikolaos Loudovikos has kindly proposed the publication of the Syros papers in Analogia following successful peer-review; we are most thankful to him for this invitation. We remain with the hope that this collective endeavour forms the beginning, rather than the completion, of an attempt at seeing ecclesial dialogues between East and West from a particular and hopefully fresh perspective.
– Dr Sotiris Mitralexis & Dr Andrew Kaethler, Guest Editors