Fr. George Dragas|
The Manner of Reception of Roman Catholic Converts into the Orthodox Church
with Special Reference to the Decisions of the Synods of 1484 (Constantinople),1755 (Constantinople) and 1667 (Moscow) *
The above review of events and documents clearly shows that using baptism or chrismation in order to accept Latins into the Orthodox Church has been a matter that was determined by different applications of the ancient canons due to the variety of historical circumstances in the relations between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism and to the wavering practices of Latins concerning the administration of baptism. This, Ι believe, in no way minimizes or jeopardizes the canonical integrity or consistency of the Orthodox Church. The two principles of akribeia and oikonomia, which clearly lie behind the different applications, are not inconsistent with each other Ι suggest that they are asymmetric to each other, although the result they produce is one and the same. The decision for the employment of the one, or the other, rests with the Church of each time, which acts through its lawful structures of authority. Metropolitan Chrysostom of Ephesus has recently focused on these two canonical principles of akribeia and oikonomia in dealing with the recognition of the sacraments of the heterodox in the diachronic relations between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.(59) These are the two canonical lungs of orthodox practice, which have been and are being used by the ruling authority of the Church. Το illustrate this he cites Dositheos of Jerusalem, Cyril IV of Constantinople and St Nikodemos the Hagiorite. Dositheos wrote: "the ecclesiastical affairs are seeing in two ways, in the way of akribeia and in the way of oikonomia; whenever they cannot be dealt with in the way of the akribeia they are dealt with in the way of oikonomia".(60) Cyril IV, writing to the Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem, specified more clearly that "oikonomia is used from time to time ... in an obvious manner ... whenever, that is, loss or danger of soul is to follow by necessity." Finally St. Nikodemos points out in his Pedalion "that two kinds of administration and correction are kept in the Church of Christ, the one is called akribeia and the other oikonomia and condescension; it is by these two that the ministers (oikonomoi) of the Spirit regulate the salvation of the souls, using sometimes the one and sometimes the other."(61)
* This paper was prepared for and read at the Orthodox/Roman Catholic Dialogue (USA) in 1998.
59. See my review of this book: Τhe Recognition of the Sacraments of the heterodox in the diachronic relations of Οrthodoxy αnd Roman Catholicism, Editions Epektasi, Katerini 1995, which was written for the Intemational Orthodox Roman Catholic Dialogue, in the Greek Οrthodox Theological Review, 42:3-4 (1997), 569-572.
60. See his recent book, p. 222.
61. See, Πηδάλιον (The Rudder) ...:Aγαπίου και Νικοδήμου, έκδ. 2, Αθήναι 1841, σ.30.