On Eastern Orthodox Miracles

Originally posted 7/20/2008.

Eastern Orthodox miracles falsify the Catholic Church’s claim to be the only One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ

1. The issue of Eastern Orthodox miracles is an issue that, based upon my extensive research, is rarely mentioned or addressed by us Catholic apologists. That both Catholic and Orthodox persons have worked genuine miracles is not open to question,{1} but the fullness of truth subsists in only one of these churches, viz., the Catholic Church.{2} Members of both churches have to account for reports of miracles, during the earthly life and posthumously, worked by persons who consciously reject certain tenets of the other communion.

2. There are sometimes genuine miracles outside of the visible confines of the Church. The only true miracles of this sort are worked by and through persons of good faith (e.g., St. Sergius of Radonezh){3}–as opposed to loud formal schismatics and heretics–and in support of Catholic truth that the separated churches have maintained to varying degrees.{4} There are certain Eastern Orthodox individuals, who in the Church’s words, despite being “outside the visible boundaries of the Church,” nonetheless retain an “imperfect communion with the Catholic Church” because they value and practice “the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements, all of these coming from Christ and leading back to Him.”{5} On 10/1/2009 I discovered that Fr. Martin Jugie reasons in the same basic way when he discusses the manifestation of fruits of holiness in the Eastern Orthodox Church.{6}

3. God never works miracles that justify and sanctify error/heresy and schism.{7} Thus, any Orthodox “miracles” of this breed are not real miracles by God, but the product of (1) demons; (2) imagination; (3) hallucination; (4) exaggeration; (5) legendary accretion; or (6) outright fabrication.{8}

4. There have been many true miracles in support of doctrines that the Orthodox have (but not via an ecumenical council) forsaken: e.g., Eucharistic miracles with unleavened as opposed to leavened bread,{9} God endorsing the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas,{10} and the Θεοτόκος proclaiming her Immaculate Conception to St. Bernadette Soubirous.{11}

Notes & References
{2} Huysman, Will R. “Why God Led Me to Rome Instead of Constantinople.” The Banana Republican. 31 July 2009. 21 Sept. 2009 <http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2009/07/why-god-led-me-to-rome-instead-of.html>.
{3} St. Sergius the Wonderworker of Radonezh (Сергий Радонежский, b. Bartholomew: abbot) [5/3/1314-9/25/1392] is officially a saint of the Catholic Church. St. Sergius of Radonezh is on the Roman Martyrology for 9/25. For documentation of official sanction of other post-1054 Orthodox saints, see my post “Post-1054 Common Saints.” In his encyclical Ut Unum Sint §84, the saintly Pope John Paul II the Great affirmed, in harmony with the proper and authentic magisterial understanding of EENS, that there have been saints outside of visible communion with the Catholic Church. In the main body of the post and in n. 5 I try to shed light on how such individuals were mysteriously united to the Catholic Church, thereby sharing in many of the fruits of the sole ark of salvation.
{4} Personal communication with Mr. James Likoudis. Cf. Jugie 448, referenced below in n. 6.
{5} UR (Unitatis redintegratio) 3. Cf. In Dominus Iesus, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger) says, For those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, ‘salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of His sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit;’81 it has a relationship with the Church, which ‘according to the plan of the Father, has her origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit.’82

(81) JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 10.
Decree Ad gentes, 2. The famous formula extra Ecclesiam nullus omnino salvatur is to be interpreted in this sense (cf. FOURTH LATERAN COUNCIL, Cap. 1. De fide catholica: DS 802). Cf. also the Letter of the Holy Office to the Archbishop of Boston: DS 3866-3872.”
{6} See especially p. 448 of Jugie, Martin, A.A. Le Schisme Byzantin: Aperçu historique et doctrinal. Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1941.
{7} Aquinas, St. Thomas (Angelic Doctor). Summa Theologica II-II, q. 178, art. 2, ad 3.
{8} The Catholic Church has the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to rule out cases that belong to one or more of those categories. Historically, the Catholic Church has been much more rigorous than the Orthodox Church in this regard (Jugie 450).
{9} Huysman, Will. “List of Catholic Miracles.” The Banana Republican. 30 July 2008. 21 Sept. 2009 <http://thebananarepublican.blogspot.com/2008/07/list-of-catholic-miracles.html>. On the Eastern Orthodox dogmatic rejection of the use of unleavened bread, see the following: Two Epistles of Patriarch Michael I Cerularios of Constantinople to Patriarch Peter III of Antioch; Encyclical of Metropolitan Mark Eugenikos of Ephesus (1440); Council of Constantinople with Patriarchs Jeremiah II Tranos of Constantinople, Silvester of Alexandria, and Sophronios IV of Jerusalem (1583); Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs Anthimos VI of Constantinople, Hierotheos II of Alexandria, Methodios of Antioch, and Cyril II of Jerusalem to Pope Pius IX of Rome (1848); Encyclical of Patriarch Anthimos VII of Constantinople to Pope Leo XIII of Rome (1895).
{10} Kennedy, Daniel. “St. Thomas Aquinas.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 21 Sept. 2009 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14663b.htm>.
{11} “Biography of Bernadette Soubirous.” Biography Online. 2 Oct. 2009 <http://www.biographyonline.net/spiritual/bernadette-soubirious.html>.


2 Responses to On Eastern Orthodox Miracles

  1. […] some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and…: the written word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, with the other interior gifts […]

  2. […] Miracles *Catholic and Orthodox Wonderworkers 11th Century to the Present *On Eastern Orthodox Miracles […]

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