Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Orthodox Anglicanism for Today

A helpful reminder from the Affirmation of Saint Louis (1977). If one might be tempted to think that the Affirmation is dated or not useful to the present theological and moral formation of orthodox Christians and Traditional Anglicans, please read on...


The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, the Holy Eucharist, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, Penance and Unction of the Sick, as objective and effective signs of the continued presence and saving activity of Christ our Lord among His people and as His covenanted means for conveying His grace... 


The conscience, as the inherent knowledge of right and wrong, cannot stand alone as a sovereign arbiter of morals. Every Christian is obligated to form his conscience by the Divine Moral Law and the Mind of Christ as revealed in Holy Scriptures, and by the teaching and Tradition of the Church. We hold that when the Christian conscience is thus properly informed and ruled, it must affirm the following moral principles:

Individual Responsibility

All people, individually and collectively, are responsible to their Creator for their acts, motives, thoughts and words, since "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ . . ."

Man's Duty to God

All people are bound by the dictates of the Natural Law and by the revealed Will of God, insofar as they can discern them.

Family Life

The God-given sacramental bond in marriage between one man and one woman is God's loving provision for procreation and family life, and sexual activity is to be practiced only within the bonds of Holy Matrimony.

Christian's Duty to be Moral

We believe, therefore, it is the duty of the Church and her members to bear witness to Christian Morality, to follow it in their lives, and to reject the false standards of the world.

The Church as Witness to Truth

We recognize also that, as keepers of God's will and truth for man, we can and ought to witness to that will and truth against all manifest evils, remembering that we are as servants in the world, but God's servants first.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Anglicans and the Filioque

Most interesting news from the Anglican Church in North America as recorded in its Provincial Meeting Journal of June 2013...

In it, this footnote is placed within the provided liturgical texts:
The filioque clause “and the Son” may be added here. It is not included in the text above for ecumenical purposes, in accordance with the 1978 Lambeth Conference, though the ACNA does not disagree with the theology of the filioque.
The following statement is recorded in the minutes of the Journal:
Bishop Dobbs asked about the Filioque clause and whether it is wise for us to be the Province to champion this issue at this point in our new history. This is a fairly significant change to a historic document of the church. The Archbishop stated that this is the agreed position of our joint dialogue with the Orthodox Church in America. It is their recommendation to the College of Bishops and will be reviewed at their January 2013 meeting. In October, when he next gathers with the GAFCON primates, he will approach the subject. There has been no official decision made and he noted that the liturgies we
are using at this gathering have not been altered. 
And this Resolution was passed:
Resolution Concerning the Nicene Creed  
Bp. Anderson moves, Bp. Wood seconds,  
The normative form of the Nicene Creed for the Anglican Church in North America
is the original text as adopted by the Councils of Nicaea (325 A.D.) and
Constantinople (381 A.D.). This form shall be rendered in English in the best and
most accurate translation achievable.  
The Anglican Church in North America acknowledges that the form of the Nicene
Creed customary in the West is that of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, including
the words “and the Son” (filioque), which form may be used in worship and for
elucidation of doctrine.  
Because we are committed to the highest level of global unity possible, the College
of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America seeks advice of the Theological
Commission of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans concerning
implementation of the recommendation of the Lambeth Conference of 1978 to use
the normative form of the Nicene Creed at worship.  
Adopted unanimously. 
The ACNA Provincial Council is to be commended for its openness to ecumenical relationships with branches of the wider Church Catholic, and in particular, with those Churches that use the unaltered original version of the Creed of Constantinople (AD 381), the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the orthodox Old Catholic Churches. An Anglican movement to restore the use of the original Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed could, if successful, produce a future breakthrough in ecumenical relationships, as the Western filioque remains an insuperable barrier to communion with the Eastern Churches. The serious difficulties posed by the historically Western (and Latin) insistence of maintaining a phrase in the Ecumenical Creed not sanctioned by the undisputed Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church have been acknowledged and contemplated by many eminent Anglican theologians.

quintessential example is Dr C. B. Moss, in his book The Christian Faith, 1957:
The Anglican Communion has inherited the Filioque clause. Probably the Creed has never been recited here without it. In 1689 a proposal to omit it was part of the abortive Prayer Book put forward as part of the Revolution Settlement. In 1875 after Dollinger and the Old Catholics had been excommunicated by the Pope because they refused to accept the decrees of the Vatican Council of 1870, a conference of Old Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and some Lutheran divines was held at Bonn, and the Filioque clause was the chief subject of discussion.  
The theologians present (who were not sent by their churches but came by Dollinger's invitation) produced a written agreement. Since then Anglican theologians have again and again assured the Orthodox churches that Anglican teaching does not differ from Orthodox teaching on this subject.   
The Old Catholic churches, which are now in full communion with the Church of England, have long since dropped the Filioque clause, which in their books is printed in brackets. The opposition of Dr. Pusey defeated a proposal that the Church of England should drop the Filioque. 
The Orthodox churches, however, continue to regard this question as a serious hindrance to reunion.   
They cannot understand how churches can be in communion with one another while they recite the Creed differently. The Uniat churches (Eastern churches in communion with Rome) are permitted to recite the Creed without the Filioque.  For this reason Orthodox controversialists accuse Rome of inconsistency.   
The late Patriarch Barnabas of Yugoslavia, in a conversation with me, raised the same objection to the union of the Anglican and Old Catholic communions.  "How can they be united," he asked, "when they recite different creeds?" It seems certain that the Anglican Communion, if it is ever to return to union with the Orthodox Eastern churches, will have to drop the Filioque, as the Old Catholics have done.  
There are two questions involved, the doctrinal question and the canonical question.  To the first we have often replied that when we say "from the Father and the Son" we mean what St. John of Damascus and other Greek Fathers meant by "from the Father through the Son".  But the Filioque, with the emphatic "que", does not express this at all well. If we believe what they believe, we ought to use the same words. 
The Orthodox view of the canonical question is that since the Creed was imposed by an Ecumenical Council, it can be altered only by an Ecumenical Council, and therefore the Latins had no right to alter it by adding the Filioque. It is true that Constantinople was for centuries in full communion with the French and Spanish churches that used the Filioque, but in those days the distances were immense.  There was little contact between the Greeks and Latins, and the question had not become sharply controversial.  There is only one real answer to the Orthodox case, and it is an answer that we cannot make: "the Pope is above an Ecumenical Council and can add to its Creed if he wishes." The Filioque clause is inseparably connected with the Papal Supremacy. 
Dr. Liddon opposed the omission of the Filioque for two reasons: it would place a further hindrance to reunion between Rome and Canterbury, and it would weaken the authority of creeds in general.  
The answer to the first is, that since Rome allows the Uniat churches to recite the Creed without the Filioque, we might be allowed to do the same; that the omission of the Filioque would do much more to promote reunion with Constantinople than to hinder reunion with Rome; and that the obstacles to reunion with Rome are so vast already that the addition of this one, even if it were a real obstacle, would make no practical difference.  The answer to Dr. Liddon's second objection is that the omission of the Filioque, if it led to reunion with the Orthodox churches, would enormously strengthen the authority of the Nicene Creed and of Creeds in general.
Therefore I agree with the late Dr. Goudge that the Anglican Communion would do well to omit the Filioque from the Creed. The break with our tradition would be well worthwhile, for it would do more to promote reunion than anything else we could do. The view of some modern Russian theologians, that the Filioque is an error against love rather than against truth, has much in its favour (N. ZernovChurch of the Eastern Christians, p. 96). 
Dr Moss certainly appears to be philorthodox and wants to reconcile Anglicanism to the Eastern Churches, and is willing to give up the filioque to do so. To that degree, so are many Traditional Anglicans today.

He rightly distinguishes between:

A. the theological issues implied by a double procession of the Holy Ghost and
B. the canonical question of the legality and universality/ecumenicity of the filioque clause qua clause.

The filioque is not heretical doctrinally - but is uncanonical, illegal, lacking the consensus fidelium of an undisputed ecumenical council.

Moss also asserts that the Orthodox are right about the intrinsic papalism of the filioque - it was imposed on the Symbol of Constantinople, not by the action of a general council, but by the unilateral authority of the Bishop of Rome. The clause would then be objectionable as an early instalment in history of that usurpation of authority from the conciliar nature of the Church eventually aggregated to the Pope.

I am compelled to agree with him. The Old Catholics removed the filioque in the 19th and 20th centuries to appease the Orthodox; if given the opportunity, at the right time in the right way, I think Anglicanism should do the same, and restore the original Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. 

We recall that in 1716 the Non-Jurors, or as they called themselves, the Catholic Remnant of the British Churches, submitted proposals for communion with the Eastern Churches in which they professed Eastern Orthodox doctrine concerning the Procession of the Holy Ghost: 'They [the Catholic Bishops of Britain] agree that the Holy Ghost is sent forth by the Son from the Father; and when they say in any of their confessions that He is sent forth or proceedeth from the Son, they mean no more than what is and always has been confessed by the Orthodox Oriental Church, that is, from the Father by the Son.' In 1722, the Non-Juring Bishops formally agreed with the Orthodox and consented in principle to remove the filioque from the Creed. After 1732, the Non-Jurors in fact removed the filioque from the Athanasian Creed (although, apparently, not from the Nicene) in order to solidify and promote their negotiations with the Eastern Orthodox. 

It should be noted that the 1874 Bonn Conference (mentioned above), the first major gathering together in modern times of Anglican, Old Catholic and Eastern Orthodox ecumenical delegations and representatives, unanimously adopted the following statement regarding the filioque phrase:
We agree that the way in which the Filioque was inserted into the Nicene Creed was illegal, and that, with a view to future peace and unity, it is much to be desired that the whole Church should set itself seriously to consider whether the Creed could possibly be restored to its primitive form, without sacrifice of any true doctrine which is expressed in the current Western form.
In 1921, Archbishop Randall Davidson of Canterbury approved the following term of intercommunion proposed to the Eastern Churches:
And whereas in the Western Church at some time in the sixth or seventh century the words filioque were added to the Creed, we agree in acknowledging that this addition was not made 'in an ecclesiastically regular manner'; and that in assemblies of Easterns and Westerns the one Creed of the Universal Church ought to be recited without those words...
The 1976 Moscow Agreed Statement of Anglicans and Orthodox says this:

The question of the Filioque is in the first instance a question of the content of the Creed, i.e. the summary of the articles of faith which are to be confessed by all. In the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed (commonly called the Nicene Creed) of 381 the words 'proceeding from the Father' are an assertion of the divine origin and nature of the Holy Spirit, parallel to the assertion of the divine origin and nature of the Son contained in the words 'begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father'. 
The word ekporeuomenon (proceeding), as used in the Creed, denotes the incomprehensible mode of the Spirit's origin from the Father, employing the language of Scripture (John 15.26). It asserts that the Spirit comes from the Father in a manner which is not that of generation. 
The question of the origin of the Holy Spirit is to be distinguished from that of his mission to the world. It is with reference to the mission of the Spirit that we are to understand the biblical texts which speak both of the Father (John 14.26) and of the Son (John 15.26) as sending (pempein) the Holy Spirit. 
The Anglican members therefore agree that: 
(a) because the original form of the Creed referred to the origin of the Holy Spirit from the Father, 
(b) because the Filioque clause was introduced into this Creed without the authority of an Ecumenical Council and without due regard for Catholic consent, and 
(c) because  this  Creed  constitutes the public confession of faith by the People of God in the Eucharist,  the Filioque clause should not be included in this Creed.
The 1984 Dublin Agreed Statement of Anglicans and Orthodox says this:

Further discussions on the Filioque led to the reaffirmation by both Anglicans and Orthodox of the agreement reached in Moscow in 1976 that this phrase should not be included in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. Certain Anglican Churches have already acted upon this recommendation, whilst others are still considering it. 
From the theological point of view the Orthodox stated that the doctrine of the Filioque is unacceptable, although as expressed by Augustine, it is capable of an Orthodox interpretation. According to the Orthodox understanding the Son cannot be considered a cause or co-cause of the existence of the Holy Spirit. In spite of this we find in certain Fathers, for example St Maximus the Confessor (7th cent.), as explained by Anastasius the Librarian (9th cent.), the opinion that the Filioque, as used in early Latin theology, can be understood in an Orthodox way. 
According to this interpretation a distinction should be made between two senses of procession, one by which the Father causes the existence of the Spirit and the other by which the Spirit shines forth from the Father and the Son. This second sense of procession must be clearly differentiated from the later Western use of the Filioque which observed no such distinction but rather confused 'cause of existence' with 'communication of essence'. 
Some Orthodox theologians, while affirming that the doctrine of the Filioque is unacceptable for the Orthodox Church, at the same time, having in mind the position of Professor Bolotov (1854-1900) and his followers, regard the Filioque as a 'theologoumenon' in the West. 
On the Anglican side it was pointed out that the Filioque was not to be regarded as a dogma which would have to be accepted by all Christians. It was emphasized, however, that the following points are important for a correct understanding of its intention: 
1. Although the Western tradition has spoken from time to time of the Son as a 'cause' (causa) of the Spirit, this language has not met with favour and has fallen into disuse; 
2. The Western tradition has continued to maintain that the Father is the sole 'fount of deity' (fons deitatis) at the same time as it has associated the Son with the Father as the 'principle' (principium) of the Spirit; 
3. The Western tradition, in speaking of the Father and the Son as 'one principle', has not meant to imply that the Spirit proceeds from some undifferentiated divine essenceas opposed to the persons of the Father and the Son. 
The Anglicans on the Commission put on record that they do not wish to defend the use of the term 'cause' in this context. 
We agree that the original form of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed referred to the origin of the Holy Spirit from the Father. For this reason, and because the Filioque was introduced into the Creed without the authority of an Ecumenical Council and without due regard to catholic consent, the Anglicans agree with the Orthodox that the Filioque should not be included in the Creed. 
We have discussed how far the doctrine implied by the Filioque (as distinguished from the inclusion of the Filioque in the Creed) is acceptable to our two churches. Here we have failed to reach full agreement. The Anglican delegates regard the Filioque as a valid theological statement, though not as a dogma. The Orthodox delegates regard the doctrine of the Filioque as unacceptable, but they note that according to some Eastern Fathers, the use of the Filioque in early Latin theology can be understood in an Orthodox way.

Let us continue to pray for the reunion of all Christians in the Faith and Fellowship of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church! 

Sunday, June 02, 2013

60th Anniversary of the Coronation

Today marks the actual date of the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The following exquisite prayers were featured in the 2nd June 1953 Coronation Rite, a most remarkable liturgy suffused with the language of Holy Scripture in the Authorised Version and the theology and praxis of the Catholic Faith as expressed in the traditional Book of Common Prayer. The Holy Communion Service from the 1662 Prayer Book was celebrated. 

(Collect) O God,
who providest for thy people by thy power,
and rulest over them in love:
Grant unto this thy servant ELIZABETH, our Queen,
the Spirit of wisdom and government,
that being devoted unto thee with her whole heart,
she may so wisely govern,
that in her time thy Church may be in safety,
and Christian devotion may continue in peace;
that so persevering in good works unto the end,
she may by thy mercy come to thine everlasting kingdom;
through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee
in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.

(Anointing) O Lord and heavenly Father,
the exalter of the humble and the strength of thy chosen,
who by anointing with Oil didst of old
make and consecrate kings, priests, and prophets,
to teach and govern thy people Israel:
Bless and sanctify thy chosen servant ELIZABETH,
who by our office and ministry
is now to be anointed with this Oil,
and consecrated Queen:
Strengthen her, O Lord, with the Holy Ghost the Comforter;
Confirm and stablish her with thy free and princely Spirit,
the Spirit of wisdom and government,
the Spirit of counsel and ghostly strength,
the Spirit of knowledge and true godliness,
and fill her, O Lord, with the Spirit of thy holy fear,
now and for ever;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be thy Hands anointed with holy Oil.
Be thy Breast anointed with holy Oil.
Be thy Head anointed with holy Oil:
as kings, priests, and prophets were anointed:

And as Solomon was anointed king
by Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet,
so be thou anointed, blessed, and consecrated Queen
over the Peoples, whom the Lord thy God
hath given thee to rule and govern,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Son of God,
who by his Father was anointed with the Oil of gladness
above his fellows,
by his holy Anointing pour down upon your Head and Heart
the blessing of the Holy Ghost,
and prosper the works of your Hands:
that by the assistance of his heavenly grace
you may govern and preserve
the Peoples committed to your charge
in wealth, peace, and godliness;
and after a long and glorious course
of ruling a temporal kingdom
wisely, justly, and religiously,
you may at last be made partaker of an eternal kingdom,
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

(Sword) Receive this kingly Sword,
brought now from the Altar of God,
and delivered to you by the hands of us
the Bishops and servants of God, though unworthy.
With this sword do justice,
stop the growth of iniquity,
protect the holy Church of God,
help and defend widows and orphans,
restore the things that are gone to decay,
maintain the things that are restored,
punish and reform what is amiss,
and confirm what is in good order:
that doing these things you may be glorious in all virtue;
and so faithfully serve our Lord Jesus Christ in this life,
that you may reign for ever with him
in the life which is to come. Amen.

(Ring) Receive the Ring of kingly dignity,
and the seal of Catholic Faith:
and as you are this day
consecrated to be our Head and Prince,
so may you continue stedfastly
as the Defender of Christ's Religion;
that being rich in faith
and blessed in all good works,
you may reign with him who is the King of Kings,
to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

(At the Offertory) Bless, O Lord, we beseech thee, these thy gifts,
and sanctify them unto this holy use,
that by them we may be made partakers of the Body and Blood
of thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ,
and fed unto everlasting life of soul and body:
And that thy servant Queen ELIZABETH
may be enabled to the discharge of her weighty office,
whereunto of thy great goodness thou hast called and appointed her.
Grant this, O Lord, for Jesus Christ's sake,
our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

(The Proper Preface) It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty,
that we should at all times, and in all places,
give thanks unto thee,
O Lord, Holy Father,
Almighty, Everlasting God:

Who hast at this time consecrated thy servant
ELIZABETH to be our Queen,
that by the anointing of thy grace she may be
the Defender of thy Faith
and the Protector of thy Church and People.

Therefore with Angels and Archangels,
and with all the company of heaven,
we laud and magnify thy glorious Name;
evermore praising thee, and saying:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God hosts...

May 2024 Comprovincial Newsletter

The Comprovincial Newsletter for May 2024 -