Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dinner with the Bishop


I enjoyed myself last night, I had dinner with Bishop Kyrillos Katerelos, who was a Greek Orthodox parish priest in Stuttgart until recently, German websites refer to him as "Dr Dr Prof". He is now Professor of Dogmatic Theology in Athens, he was consecrated Bishop at the Phanar earlier this year by the Ecumenical Patriarch. I met another priest a few years ago in Thessalonica, a professor of musicology, who was just about to be consecrated a bishop, interesting if this is deliberate trend in Orthodoxy.

When you meet a Catholic theologian you tend to ask which "school" they belong to, I mean Thomist, Augustinian, Rahnerian or Balthasarian. I asked him, his reply, "I am Orthodox". I find it refreshing talking to Orthodox theologians, who always start from basics, "God became man", it gives a vigour to their theology.

I asked him about what he felt Orthodoxy could learn from Catholicism, he said "Unity" and spoke about the difficulty of having so many different Orthodox communities, with their own hierarchies in many European cities, in Berlin for example there are at least four or five different Bishops and congregations who have little to do with one another.

He was very approving of Benedictine reforms and the looking to the common ground of the first millennium.

On Anglicanism he said, "There is little Orthodoxy has in common with Anglicanism now".

He was curious about Catholic attitudes to the ordination of women, and the possibility of an end to compulsory clerical celibacy.
He is returning before Christmas and wants to visit one of the monasteries in our diocese, I think the Charterhouse rather than Worth.

8 comments:

Hieromonk Gregory said...

Father,

I am curious as to the Bishop's view of the ordination of women in the Orthodox Church. I am sure he is not opposed to deaconesses since the order was never repudiated but rather passed over to Nuns in some instances.

Rubricarius said...

It sounds a most interesting dinner, I wish I had been there.

Despite the internal differences between Orthodox jurisdictions one would be hard pressed to find a bad or sickening liturgy in an Orthodox church whilst such traversties abound in Roman and Anglican ones.

The late Archbiship of Athens ordained some deaconesses a few years ago. I understand they wear their stoles crossed - someone suggested this symbolises that they cannot be ordained to a higher order.

Moretben said...

I saw Bishop Kyrillos three weeks ago in Brighton, preaching very simply and humbly during a Liturgy he concelebrated as a simple priest. We didn't know he was a bishop until he came out to preach with his pectoral cross and his big hat with the veil.

When you meet a Catholic theologian you tend to ask which "school" they belong to, I mean Thomist, Augustinian, Rahnerian or Balthasarian. I asked him, his reply, "I am Orthodox". I find it refreshing talking to Orthodox theologians, who always start from basics, "God became man", it gives a vigour to their theology.

This is exactly right. There are no "schools" or "spiritualities" in Orthodoxy - it's all Orthodoxy: everything is the common patrimony of every bishop, layman, monk, hermit, saint and sinner. That's real unity, IMO; the rest is just administrative stuff. The theology always begins with "Who do you say that I am?", in contrast with the classical "western" approach insofar as it follows the scholastic scheme of beginning with the One God, then the Trinity, then the Incarnation, then the Church, then the Last Things.

Orthodox theology always starts with Jesus, looking simultaneously backwards with the Apostles and the Fathers through the Old Testament (which now speaks always and everywhere of Jesus), and forward with the Apostles and the Fathers to the Last Things, from the perspective of the Mysteries and the living Tradition of the Apostolic Church. The "order" (taxis) of doing theology in Orthodoxy is always therefore that of the Apostles themselves, as opposed to reading subsequent definitions back into the "Who do you say that I am?"

Pope Benedict is very highly regarded among many Orthodox, who recognise someone who seems really to understand us, being himself very deep in the Fathers (and not just the Latins).

Francis said...

Fr. Ray,

"I asked him about what he felt Orthodoxy could learn from Catholicism, he said 'Unity'."

Did you happen to discuss what Catholicism can learn from Orthodoxy?

I know what I would have answered: liturgy!

Moretben said...

Dear Francis

Did you happen to discuss what Catholicism can learn from Orthodoxy?

I know what I would have answered: liturgy!


...is the wrong answer (IMO)! The Latin Church has a glorious liturgical Tradition of its own which has been marred successively by over-clericalisation, subsequent "democratisation" and continual bureaucratic tinkering. What you could learn from Orthodoxy therefore are the reasons underlying our relative freedom from all of that, which are essentially ecclesiolgical.

Transcendent liturgy is the incarnation of living Tradition; it's not (as a friend recently put it)a "halo surrounding a corpse".

TheCrankyProfessor said...

You know, it's nice to think there are no schools or spiritualities in Orthodoxy, but in terms of history that's not true. They've had their schools and approaches, and run some of them out of the church as heresies and made others of them part of orthodoxy.

Moretben said...

Cranky Prof,

Isn't that simply another way of saying the same thing? Whatever isn't Orthodox is excluded; whatever is Orthodox is the common patrimony, equally, of all Orthodox Christians. One doesn't, for example, join a special religious order with its own distinctive rule and spirituality, in order to practice Hesychasm (the most obvious example of what I think you're getting at). Hesychasm is for all the Orthodox, whoever or wherever they are. There is great interest today in the "spirituality" of Saints Silouan and Sophrony of Essex, and their disciple Archimandrite Zacharias - but St Silouan could equally have been a fourth-century desert Father, a fourteenth-century Athonite or a nineteenth-century Russian. He's Orthodox - that's what he is.

In any case, there is nothing in Orthodoxy equivalent to the remoteness of the Neocatechumenate from the Institute of Christ the King, or a modern Jesuit from a Benedictine of Le Barroux, or of this parish liturgy from that one.

The Glossary in the Orthodox Study Bible defines "Sprituality" as follows:

The ascetic and pious struggle against sin through Repentance, Prayer, Fasting and participation in the sacramental life of the Church

- Orthodoxy, in other words.

Ελένη Λιντζαροπούλου said...

Oh, my Professor. I am very pleased that I read this article and your discussions. We all have to learn from everyone, as long as there is love. "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life" ... the Lord said. You did it here in practice. May you always have love. Helen Lintzaropoulos, theologian.