Metropolitan Silas
Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland
Chairmen


At their last two meetings (Milwaukee, November 10-11, 1987, and Boston, September 6-8, 1988), members of the Joint committee of Orthodox and Roman Catholic Bishops have heard presentations and discussed in several sessions the perpetuity of the effects of Ordination. They also reviewed the recently released statement of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church--"The Sacrament of Order in the Sacramental Structure of the Church with particular reference to the importance of Apostolic Succession for the Sanctification and Unity of the People of God." The Joint Committee of Orthodox and Roman Catholic Bishops now issues this summary of its discussions:

Three general points of agreement on Orders were noted:

  1. the three sacred orders of Diaconate, Presbyterate, and Episcopate have a sacramental nature;

  2. these orders are exclusively conferred by Bishops with unquestionable apostolic succession; and

  3. Ordination implies a setting apart. Roman Catholic theology has emphasized an indelible sacramental character to explain this distinctive status as a special configuration to Christ the High Priest. Thus the Sacrament of Orders adds an essential specification to the indelible characters resulting from Baptism and Confirmation--sacraments more recently described as relating all the faithful to the mission and witness of Christ.
From the Orthodox point of view, the distinctive status resulting from Ordination is intended to last permanently. A cleric, however, may be the subject of deposition because of serious sin which creates a permanent canonical hindrance to performing his sacred function. In such a case, even though he may be penitent, he cannot be restored to clerical status. On the other hand, there are some offenses of a canonical nature for which the penalty of deposition is foreseen but that are not necessarily an obstacle to canonical reintegration to Holy Orders, if they are not an impediment to ordination itself.

With either the Roman Catholic understanding of character or the Orthodox understanding of the creation of a permanent hindrance due to sin, "reordination" is impossible. Even in cases when a Roman Catholic cleric may lose clerical status either through cause or petition, the sacred Ordination never becomes invalid. For both Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics, when a member of the clergy who has been ordained in a church that shares with them an understanding of the Priesthood and by a Bishop in an unquestionable apostolic succession is received into either the Orthodox or the Roman Catholic Church, his ordination should be recognized. It should be noted, however, that until such time when the practice of the Orthodox Church will be unified, these cases will be decided by each Autocephalous Orthodox Church.


Following the 7th Meeting in Boston
October 1, 1988

Christ is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Teachings of Christ

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." (Proverbs 3:11,12 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

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

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

When you are praying, watch over yourself so that not only your outward man prays, but your inward one also. Though you be sinful beyond measure, still pray. Do not heed the devil's provocation, craftiness, and despair, but overcome and conquer his wiles. Remember the abyss of the Saviour's mercy and love to mankind. The devil will represent the Lord's fact to you as terrible and unmerciful, rejecting your prayer and repentance; but remember the Saviour's own words, full of every hope and boldness for us: `Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out'; and `Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden' - with sins and iniquities, and wiles and calumnies of the devil - and I will give you rest.'

St. John of Kronstadt, My Life in Christ