Metropolitans of Kiev

March 27, 2011

Originally posted 2/22/2011.

Which Metropolitans of Kiev were Catholic and which ones were Orthodox?

We consult, among other sources, the venerable Bollandist Fr. John Stilting, S.J.’s “Dissertation on the Conversion and Faith of the Russians” in Acta Sanctorum 9:II:i-xxvii (PDF file pages 25-51). Page numbers in parentheses indicate the page of the downloaded PDF document.

St. Michael I of Kiev (988-992): Catholic
-see Bollandists 10:XI:237 (October, tome XI, page 237)
-Pope was John XV (XVI) of Rome (985-996)
-Patriarch of Constantinople was the Catholic St. Nicholas II Chrysoberges (984-996) [AASS 8:I:120F-121D (146-147); 10:XI:310 (346); Siméon Vailhé in 1907 DTC 3.2:1359]
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Did Photius die in communion with the Holy See?

March 19, 2011

Originally posted 3/19/2011.

Hail Joseph the just, Wisdom is with you; blessed are you among all men and blessed is Jesus, the fruit of Mary, your faithful spouse. Holy Joseph, worthy foster-father of Jesus Christ, pray for us sinners and obtain divine Wisdom for us from God, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.


Previously I answered with a resounding yes, and I hope this is the case. Yet I can’t really be enthusiastic about Photius anymore, in light of the following observations of Fr. Venance Grumel, A.A. of happy memory in “New Light on the Photian Schism,” Unitas 5 (1953), 147-148.

Did Photius die in communion with the Holy See?
The most striking result of this recent research on the Photian question is the disappearance of the presumed second Photian schism. For many people this conclusion takes the concrete form: Photius died in communion with the Holy See. Is the conclusion justified? To respond we must avoid hasty conclusions, and distinguish between the position in the eyes of the law and the conduct or personal conscience of the deposed patriarch.

We cannot pass over in silence the fact that the Council of 869 was omitted from official lists of ecumenical councils, even in the West, until the second half of the eleventh century. Dvornik has established this with great erudition, and concludes that this silence is equivalent to the annulment of the Council. But we claim that it is more reasonable to suppose that since the Council concerned itself only with a personal issue and not with any question of dogma there was no great reason for emphasizing its importance at the time, and that also it seemed diplomatic in the West to remain silent after the Photian affair was settled in 899.

If it is a question of the position of Photius in the eyes of the law, all that we can say is that Photius died in communion with the Church of Byzantium. If this was in communion with Rome at the time, the former patriarch died in communion with Rome; if it was in schism, he died in schism. We are faced with two uncertainties here—the date of Photius’s death and the situation of the two Churches from the time of Formosus until the reunion council held under John IX in 899. We cannot give a reply to the main question until we can answer these two.

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Blog Fast

February 23, 2011

Originally posted 2/23/2011.

Dear readers, I am sorry for leaving you with many unfinished posts (e.g., the Fr. Divry posts and the Aurelio Palmieri post), but this blog is taking up way too much of my time, to the detriment of my grades. I am taking a break until I get my priorities straight (i.e., school first) and get my grades back up, and I will probably post no more than a few times between now and mid-May. Sts. Mary, Joseph, Raphael, Augustine the Great, Thomas Aquinas, and Rita of Cascia pray for me, a sinner!

Dear readers, pray the Rosary for me, a sinner. Thank you and God bless you and yours. Happy feast day of Bishop St. Polycarp the Martyr of Smyrna; St. Polycarp, pray to God for us!

The commemoration of Saint Polycarp, bishop and martyr, who is honored as a disciple of the blessed John and the last witness of apostolic times and, under the emperors Mark Anthony and Lucius Aurelius Commodus and in the presence of the proconsul and all the people, was delivered up to fire in the amphitheater at Smyrna when he was nearly ninety years of age, giving thanks to God that he had been deemed worthy to be numbered among the martyrs and receive a share in the cup of Christ. — USCCB website

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Post-Schism Orthodox Saints (Dictionnaire de Spiritualité)

February 21, 2011

Originally posted 2/21/2011.

The 1995 Tables Generales of the Dictionnaire de Spiritualité puts (SAINT) or (SAINTE) next to the name of men and women who are recognized as saints by the Catholic Church.

Column numbers are in parentheses.

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Was Alexander Nevsky Catholic?

February 21, 2011

Originally posted 2/20/2011.

Alexander Nevsky (1220-1263), Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir, was anti-Catholic his whole life

1. Did Alexander Nevsky, canonized by the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow and All Russia (1542-1563) in 1547,{1} convert to Catholicism? The conventional wisdom is that he did not; this is the “unanimous” consensus of “Russian writers,”, according to the expert Aurelio Palmieri (1870-1926).{2} His Life asserts that he said in 1248 to visiting papal legates that Russian Orthodox are members of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and that they adhere firmly to the Seven Ecumenical Councils: “These we know very well, but we do not accept your teaching.”{3}

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Fr. Divry’s Explanation of the Tabor Light 2

February 17, 2011

Originally posted 2/16/2011.

The following is VERY roughly translated from pp. 503-505 of Fr. Édouard Divry, O.P., La Transfiguration selon l’Orient et l’Occident:
8. Is the hypostatic property, defined above, created or uncreated?
Applied to Christ, the question offers an inept alternative response. In fact, “created” and “uncreated” qualify the natures, human and divine respectively, of Christ. A created personal property, and thus driven by the human nature alone, pertains to the Person of Christ; it is therefore defined as hypostatic. A personal property, innate in the divinity of Christ, also belongs to His Person, and is therefore also hypostatic. By the theological axiom of the communication of idioms, the prime unity of the Person with His divine or human properties that exist in the unity of one ontological subject.1518 In other words, these concrete properties all depend on the same supposit, the Person of the Incarnate Word.

In the case of Christ’s illumination on Tabor, the Orthodox see in this light an uncreated energy, the Latins a light created by a miracle. However, the two sides, Latins and Greeks, could recognize in this light a certain hypostatic property of Christ.

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Fr. Divry’s Explanation of the Tabor Light 1

February 17, 2011

Originally posted 2/1/2011.

VERY Roughly translated from the French in pp. 425-426 of Fr. Édouard Divry, O.P., La Transfiguration selon l’Orient et l’Occident:

Our solution adopted in order to explain the Light of Tabor
In his Seven Canonical Epistles, Nicholas of Gorran (†1295), in a text very close to the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas but posterior to it, carefully posed to us the problem of the Light seen in the Transfiguration, considered in its twofold intelligibility: “I believe that this light was glorious by an analogical similitude, not univocally. Indeed, this was a light formed (formata) in the body by the divinity (a divinitate) that the Apostles apprehended by their external senses. Through this light that their eyes were seeing, they understood by their intellect (intellexerunt) the light of glory that they, however, did not see with their fleshly eyes.”1309 We will continue to comment on these two levels perceived by Nicholas of Gorran: the visible light witnessed by the senses, and the light of glory that is invisible but grasped by the intellect.

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