Our Lady of the Rosary
ON THIS PAGE:
and Andrew - Are Rome and Constantinople Co-equals?
Supplying Ceremonies, Conditional Confirmation?
[ Q&A ARCHIVES ]
Peter and Andrew - Are Rome and Constantinople Co-equals?
My Russian friend says that Saint Andrew and Saint Peter were brothers, that
they founded the sees of Constantinople and Rome, making the later bishops of
those two sees equals—but both Rome and Constantinople fell to the barbarians,
making Moscow the primatial see of Christianity. Is there any truth in
We will come back to the history in a moment, but the fact that Saints Peter and
Andrew were brothers did not make them ecclesiastical equals. While the
Scriptures give Andrew as the first Apostle to be called by our Lord, they
clearly portray Peter as the leader of the Apostles. In Matthew 16, our
Lord said: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church,” not
“You are Andrew and Peter, and upon these rocks....” In John 21, it
was Peter alone whom He directed to “Feed My lambs ... Feed my sheep.”
Church history bears out the universal understanding that Rome was the first see
of Christendom, with appeals of all sorts being directed from other sees to the
Pope in Rome.
historical perspective, we are not really sure where Saint Andrew exercised his
apostolate, except to say that he very likely died in Patræ, a city in the
southwest of modern day Greece, on the other side of the Aegean from
Constantinople. Eusebius says he worked in Sythia, the region on the
northeast side of the Black sea (modern day Moldavia or Ukraine). Saint
Gregory Nazianzen puts him in Epirus, still on the wrong side of Aegean.
Saint Jerome placed him in Achaia, where he died. Theodoret says Hellas,
or modern Greece.
century historian Nicephoras (who wrote in Constantinople) make the claim
that Saint Andrew had been in a multitude of places, including Byzantium, where
he appointed Saint Stachys as its first bishop before moving on. (A
Stachys is mentioned by Saint Paul in Romans 16:9, but that would put him in
Rome). A fifth century forgery attributed to “Dorotheus, Bishop of Tyre”
seems to be the source of the name Stachys, and suggests that
Byzantium-Constantinople is superior to Rome, as Andrew was called to the
Apostolate before Peter.
Andrew’s lifetime the Greek colony of Byzantium occupied the place where the
Bosporus meets the Sea of Marmora, later known as Constantinople or modern day
Istanbul. The colony had been decimated a few times, but was rebuilt
between 324 and 330 by the Emperor Constantine who named it for himself.
Byzantium was a suffragan see of Heraclea in Thrace. In 381 the
Emperor Theodosius called an Ecumenical Council (Constantinople I), which, among
other things, raised the bishop of Constantinople (new Rome) to a dignity just
below that of the bishop of old Rome, the Pope.
indeed, all of Western Europe suffered greatly during the Barbarian invasions.
In the fifth century, uncivilized peoples from the north pushed into the Empire,
conquering and sometimes destroying. The Huns also came from far away
Mongolia in about the same period. Vikings came in the ninth century,
plundering coastal cities and towns. Moslems conquered all of North Africa
(640-698), pushed into Spain (711), and had to be expelled from France
(721-737), and later Vienna (1683)—Moslem pirates controlled the Mediterranean
until the late sixteenth century (1571) and were not completely eliminated until
the nineteenth century (1827). Magyars invaded Germany and Italy in the
Barbarian invasions overthrew the Empire, the Church remained more or less
intact over these centuries. Indeed, in many cases it was the leadership
of abbots, bishops, and Popes that held western Europe together. Many of
the Barbarians adopted the Catholic Faith in the long run.
had a similar history of invasions. A request by the Eastern Emperor
brought Western troops—the Crusades—to protect his territory and into the
Holy Land to attempt the expulsion of the Moslems. The Crusaders were only
temporarily successful in Palestine, and actually sacked Constantinople and
occupied it from 1204 until 1261. Constantinople fell to the Turks in
1453, but continues to be the First See of the Eastern Orthodox. As with
Rome, the decline in political influence was not matched by a decline in
religious prestige. Yet it can be said that the Church at Constantinople
operated under far greater duress than the Church of Rome.
With the fall
of Constantinople, first Serbia, and then Bulgaria made claims to being the
successors to the Roman Empire. Ottoman invasion cut their claims short,
and Russia asserted her own. In 1510, the Russian monk Philoteus wrote to the Grand Duke Vasili III, proclaiming, “Two Romes have
fallen. The third stands. And there will not be a fourth. No one
will replace your Christian Tsardom!”
The Empire of the Czar played an important role in European and Asiatic affairs,
but came to an abrupt end with the Russian Revolution. As with Rome and
Constantinople, the influence of the Moscow Patriarchate ought to be viewed from
its religious perspective, rather than any accidental political importance.
there will be no suggestion of a fourth Rome at Salt Lake City id Mr. Romney is
elected President in 2008—nor a fifth Rome in New York City if the United
Nations get any more powerful.
If has long
been the contention of this writer that the underlying causes of the
Eastern-Western Schism were political rather than religions. People in
Rome and Constantinople, anxious for political prestige managed to find
differences in the religious practice of the two patriarchates, and to elevate
those differences to the level of heresies through sheer posturing.
Whether the Communion Hosts should be leavened or not; whether priests should
wear beards or not; and the exact manner of the Procession of the Holy Ghost
would not have led to such a disastrous rupture of the Church had Christian
charity outweighed political pretense.
A few references for further
Supplying Ceremonies, Conditional Confirmation?
The Angelus for June 2007 [page 39] mentions a
traditional priest in Malaysia “supplying ceremonies” missing from the Novus
Ordo rite of Baptism, and arranging for conditional Confirmation. Were
they saying that Novus Ordo Baptisms and Confirmations are invalid or at
That was a bit of a surprise. For a year or so, the publishers of The
Angelus seemed to be trying to curry favor with Rome in hopes of arranging
some sort of compromise. They printed a few articles trying to assure the
faithful that the Novus Ordo rite of Ordination of Bishops is valid in
spite of some very serious defects. Perhaps the priests who actually have
to work in the real world of the missions are now trumping the theoreticians.
But let us look more closely at the question.
To begin with,
the Novus Ordo rite of Baptism contains the appropriate matter and form
for valid Baptism—assuming, of course that the minister actually follows the
prescribed rite. In practice we have seen a number of abuses—e.g. the
minister pronouncing the form while someone else pours the water; the
minister immersing the child’s buttocks in water rather than pouring it on his
head; changing the names of the Persons of the Trinity; changing the form
Parents and God-parents beware!
The issue of
“supplying ceremonies” deals not with the essential validity of the
Sacrament, but with peripheral ceremonies which place the Sacrament in proper
context. In some cases these are preserved in the Novus Ordo rite
(e.g. anointing with Holy Chrism); in some cases they are optional (e.g.
anointing with Oil of Catechumens and the “ephphetha” opening of the
ears and mouth); in some cases the options are ambiguous (e.g. some
of the optional forms of exorcism); in some cases they are missing
altogether (e.g. the tasting of blessed salt). The baptismal promises and
Profession of Faith, formerly made by the God-parents in the name of the child,
have been replaced with a “renewal” of the parents’ and God-parents’ own
promises and Profession—an interesting notion if they were themselves baptized
in the new rite and have nothing to “renew.”
There is also
some concern with the anointings. Instead of olive oil, the Novus Ordo
allows “any plant oil” to be blessed and used as Chrism, and as the Oils of
Catechumens and of the Sick. Going back as far as the Exodus, olive oil
has been required for the lamps which burned before God and the anointing of
priests and kings and the bodies of the dead.
For all the centuries Catholic theology has required it for the validity of the
three Holy Oils, and for the validity of the Sacraments dependent on them.
Anticipating the modern argument of necessity in mission lands (long before
modern transportation) Saint Thomas says:
Oil is appointed (James 5:14) as the matter of this sacrament [Extreme
Unction]. Now, properly speaking, oil is none but olive oil.
Therefore this is the matter of this sacrament.... Though olive oil is not
produced everywhere, yet it can easily be transported from one place to
another. Moreover this sacrament is not so necessary that the dying
cannot obtain salvation without it.
Chrism is the fitting matter of this sacrament [Confirmation]. For, as
stated above (1), in this sacrament the fullness of the Holy Ghost is given for
the spiritual strength which belongs to the perfect age ... Now the grace of the
Holy Ghost is signified by oil; hence Christ is said to be "anointed with
the oil of gladness" (Psalm 44:8), by reason of His being gifted with the
fullness of the Holy Ghost. Consequently oil is a suitable matter of this
sacrament. And balm is mixed with the oil, by reason of its fragrant odor, which
spreads about: hence the Apostle says (2 Corinthians 2:15): "We are the
good odor of Christ," etc.
These properties of oil, by reason of which it symbolizes the Holy
Ghost, are to be found in olive oil rather than in any other oil. In
fact, the olive-tree itself, through being an evergreen, signifies the
refreshing and merciful operation of the Holy Ghost.
Moreover, this oil is called oil properly, and is very much in use,
wherever it is to be had. And whatever other liquid is so called, derives its
name from its likeness to this oil: nor are the latter commonly used, unless it
be to supply the want of olive oil. Therefore it is that this oil alone is
used for this and certain other sacraments.
there is a problem in using invalid oils for the peripheral ceremonies of
Baptism, the problem is far worse when considering the Sacrament of Confirmation
where Chrism is the essential matter of the Sacrament (together with the
imposition of the bishop’s hand).
There is also
a concern with the new rite of Confirmation—changed like just about everything
else in the New Order, for the sake of change. The claim is made that the
new form of the Sacrament is taken from the Eastern Church, and therefore
equally as valid as the form traditionally used by Rome. This may be true,
but the Eastern rites are generally not structured with the Roman passion for a
clearly defined essential form. They tend to think of the whole
rite as conferring the Sacrament. It gets a bit chancy, then, when one extracts a sentence
from an Eastern rite and uses it to serve as the essential form of a Western
This same issue arises concerning the Novus Ordo rite for ordaining the
bishops necessary to Confirm (and Ordain). Pope Paul VI more or less
copied an Eastern ceremony for the consecration of bishops, but then took the
additional step of “highlighting” a single sentence within it, claiming that
it was the essential form of the Sacrament. Unfortunately, the sentence
says nothing about the fullness of the priesthood, or anything else to specify
the Sacrament it is supposed to confer:
So now pour out upon this chosen one the power that is from you, the
governing Spirit whom you gave to your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the Spirit
given by him to his holy apostles, who founded the Church in every place to be
your temple for the unceasing glory and praise of your name.
Leo XIII pointed to precisely this defect of form in ruling that Anglican
Orders are invalid in Apostolicæ Curæ:
24. ... Although the
signification ought to be found in the whole essential rite, that is to say, in
the "matter and form", it still pertains chiefly to the
"form"; since the "matter" is the part which is not
determined by itself, but which is determined by the "form". And this
appears still more clearly in the Sacrament of Order, the "matter" of
which, in so far as we have to consider it in this case, is the imposition of
hands, which, indeed, by itself signifies nothing definite, and is equally used
for several Orders and for Confirmation.
25. But the words which until
recently were commonly held by Anglicans to constitute the proper form of
priestly ordination namely, "Receive the Holy Ghost," certainly do not
in the least definitely express the sacred Order of Priesthood (sacerdotium)
or its grace and power, which is chiefly the power "of consecrating and of
offering the true Body and Blood of the Lord"....
28. The same holds good of [Anglican] episcopal consecration ... in like
manner, has been stripped of the words which denote the summum sacerdotium
[the fullness of the priesthood].
We have assembled the various pronouncements and the
opinions on new rite—pro and con—on the Parish Website. The publishers
of the Angelus have been very liberal about this last matter, but perhaps the
faithful who are on the receiving end of the new rites are more cautious and
demanding of their priests. The new rites may be valid—but “may be”
or even “probably” are not good enough.