Eucharist Theology, and a bit more

Discussion in 'Sacraments, Sacred Rites, and Holy Orders' started by Botolph, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    1 Corinthians 11.23-25
    Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’​

    It is very clear that from the very early in the life of the Church the Eucharistic Assembly was a key part of the life of the followers of the way, soon to be called Christians.

    There is a discussion as to whether or not the group that gathered in the upper room were there for the traditional Passover Seder meal or not. On the surface the account bears a strong resemblance, however the Gospel of John asks a question about this.

    John 18.28
    Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate’s headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. ​

    Central to the Seder meal is the question from the youngest "Why is this night different from all other nights?" which leads to the account of the Exodus, and the journey from slavery into freedom, and about God's faithfullness to his people. This account ends with the statement "Tonight we have come out of Egypt". The word used to describe this statement was anamnesis. In one sense it represented a recalling of the mighty acts of old, but more specifically it was a calling of those acts into our present reality.

    It is, to my mind at least, not insignificant that this was the word that Christ used, and was recounted in the acount of the last supper. I suspect that rendereing as we have in English "in rememberance" we have failed to do justice to the concept and the force if the original.

    The Eucharist is not just any meal. So why is the meal different from other meals? Because here Jesus joins us in the upper room, on the cross and passion, in the resurrection and ascension. We do not simply remember these events, we call them into our present reality.

    Matthew 18.20
    For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.

    Luke 24.34-35
    They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.​

    The present tense of the reality of the presence of Jesus in the breaking of the bread is part of the authentic expression of Church and the Chritian Life. I take this to be the utmost force of Article XXVIII.

    The liturgy has developed and and been shaped over the years. The first part of the liturgy we often call the Ministry of the Word (I think the EO see this as the liturgy of the Catechumens), which includes readings and prayers, and perhaps a homily, and in the west since the Synod of Friuli 796 under Charlmagne - The Nicene Creed, and concluding with the Peace. The second part of the liturgy we often call the Communion (I think the EO see this as the liturgy of the faithful), which includes (in the East the Nicene Symbol in its original position) The Preparation of the Table, the Sursum Corda (the lifting up of hearts), The Great Thanksgiving for the mighty acts of our redemption, The Words of Institution, A clear reference to the involvement of the Holy Spirit (Epiclesis), the Amen of the people, the Fraction, the sharing of the most holy sacrament of the altar, The ablutions, and the dismissal of the people. Sometimes this is simplified to Take, Bless, Break and Share - and in this is seen the model of a Christian life.

    The liturgy of the Anglican Church has been through several iterations. The Sarum Rite was generally thought to be elaborate, and quite likely strongly influenced by Eastern Christianity, Augustine no doubt brought the more simplified Western Influence, and almost certainly from 1067 and the coming of Lanfranc as ArchBishop of Canterbury following the Norman Conquest a more uniform Latin rite. In the flurry of the events following the Act of Supremacy, no doubt heavily influenced by Cranmer saw the intruction of liturgy in the vulgar tongue. First a litany and the the 1549 Prayer Book, the 1552 Prayer Book, The retuirn to the Latin Mass in 1553, and a slightly modified 1552 Prayer Book in 1559. From the Death of Elizabeth there seems to have been a variety of options, ultimately leading to the prayer book passed by the Convocations of Yourk and Canterbury in 1661 and by the House of Commons in 1662, generally referred to to this day as The Book of Common Prayer. This book served most of the communion faithfully for the next 400 years, or thereabouts, which some variations, 1928 been one that many will be familiar with.

    Since the 1960's there has been a plethora of liturgies in the various parts of the communion, and in various Dioceses within the member Churches of the Communion, and indeed in various Parishes within various Dioceses within various Churches within the Communion. A wit once said that the Anglican Communion is a divers group of people loosely held together by a prayer book. That no longer seems to be the case.

    One of the things that has changed is represented by scholarship. The Canons of Hippolytus, the Didache, and other ancient manuscripts have informed our discussion, and there has been a sense of striving to return to the historic origins of Christianity reflected in contemporary liturgy of many of the western Churches, including the Church in Rome. This has meant that there ahas been a convergance in much of the liturgical shape and form over the last 50 years, mainly because we are all looking at the same ancient texts. I know a friend of mine attending an Anglican Church was totally unaware that his Vicar was using the Roman Missal with modest adjustments.

    There is without doubt a string connection between theopraxis and theology. There is no doubt that there are times when people have pushed theological agendas through the bounds of academic scholarship, and that some of the liturgies foistered on some parts of the Church have been intended to force theological change. Some of that reflects social change. When 1662 came to pass, The Anglican Church was the Church of all the People - and a child presented for baptism was baptised. I know in many parts of the communion today there are numbers of barriers raised, from Church attendance, to Marital state of the parents, requirements to attend courses and the like, because we now live within a pluralist society and incraesing we are pressured to become a membership church so we (they) can define the lines. Sadly some of it represents a determination on the oart of some to have their particular position validated over and against others.

    For many of us we lament the loss of beauty and dignity in the language of the liturgy. I recall attending Benediction and as the monstrance was raised aloft I prepared my ears to hear 'Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world' but actually heard 'This is Jesus your best friend'. I had to mark that 'CDB' (could do better).

    There are many things to love about a prayer book that can hold a people together for 400 years (I know the EO probably see that as a day and a half). One of the great principles of the 39 articles is the use of the common tongue. In hanging on to the Book of Common Prayer for 400 years we did perhaps drive it past the flag of article XXIV.

    Article XXIV
    Of speaking in the Congregation in such a tongue as the people understandeth
    It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, to have publick Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments in a tongue not understanded of the people.​

    Sadly however we also recognise that a lot of our language today has lost much of the depth and texture it once had. I for one can't imagine the liturgy reduced to SMS textual abberations. TLBWY aawy. Neither to I want the liturgy to begin 'Gooday' and the response 'whatever'. We have also moved past the need for everything to be bulk printed, or printed at all, (I hate liturgy on the screen by the way), however it does aqlso run the risk taht we are out of control liturgically when each priest makes up their own rules. I think the Church of England's 'Common Worship' has been a valient effort to try and find a balance, whilst still maintaining some central input. I understand that there are things there I do not wish to use, however there is enough there for most Angicans to work with.
     
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  2. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    You write "The first part of the liturgy we often call the Ministry of the Word (I think the EO see this as the liturgy of the Catechumens)"

    I think it is called the liturgy of the word iirc.

    " The second part of the liturgy we often call the Communion (I think the EO see this as the liturgy of the faithful), "
    I think it's called the liturgy of the Eucharist iirc. But it's also true catechumens were to be absent.

    Over the years I had 3 different Anglican colleagues who were into theology tell me how close they feel in their theology to the EOs. One was my high school English teacher IIRC. The similarity is especially strong when you consider the pre Norman period as you have.

    That's a surprising story, because while I know It's sensible to call Jesus our best friend, what are we to make of the EO-style raising aloft of the monstrance in violation of Art 28?



    Nice op.
    :)
     
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  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    from article 28

    The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped.

    I don't have any problem with this statement in the articles. It is quite clear that there is no biblical injunction to mandate these things.

    The Blessed sacrament is reserved for the communion of the sick - and from memory I think even John Calvin supported this

    If you are going to take the Blessed Sacrament to the Sick, you clearly are going to carry it about.

    Jesus said 'I, when I am lifted up will draw all people to myself' so the action of elevation would seem within the context of Scripture to be entirely consistent with the evangelical purpose of the Church.

    And consistent with Christians in many traditions I would understand not that we worship the Blessed Sacrament in itself, but rather that we worship Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
    Clearly I read that sentence in article 28 as an observation of their being no particular warrant or biblical authority, but not as a prohibition. I know I am not the first Anglican to understand it this way.
     
  4. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    First, It says that the Sacrament was not carried or lifted by Christ's ordinance. And I would agree that the Bible does not specify Christ as explicitly stating to do this.

    Second, how can we know whether at some point Christ made an ordinance to reserve one of the pieces of bread for someone not present, to carry it about to someone, or whether he lifted it up or another did so on his instruction, with such actions simply remaining unrecorded?

    Doesn't such a negative assertion as you put in bold depend on the premise that Christ never gave such an ordinance because it would be wrong to do such things as worship the host, etc.?

    Third, wasn't the statement that you put in bold part of a discussion about what actions fell under the Eucharistic ritual as Christ ordained it, with those who opposed the carrying of the Eucharist taking the position that the carrying was not part of Christ's ordinance of the Eucharist, and therefore should be abandoned in favor of what Christ ordained, ie a ritual with no mention of carrying the Eucharist? In other words, what else is the point of the quote that you put in bold, other than to imply that we should not perform these actions as part of the ritual that Christ ordained? No Catholic theologians have been asserting that Christ explicitly said to carry the Eucharist, etc., but rather there was a debate about which actions would fall under Christ's ordinance.
     
  5. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    1st. OK

    2nd. No. You are assuming it is negative. I would suggest that it simply reminds us that Scripture is silent about some of the practices of the Church.

    3rd. No. I put it in bold rather to differentiate it from what I had written. This is simply the final paragraph in the article. I don't see it as part of a discussion. I think you are trying to make it say more than it does.

    The articles are not a confession of faith, in the sense of a Westminster Confession, and they are not a set of chains to allow others to tie us up, but rather a springboard to allow Anglicans to move forward in grace.
     
  6. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    # 2
    When I said negative, I was referring to the word NOT. "It was done" is positive, "It was not done" is negative.

    Plus, it says that it was not done by Christ's ordinance, not " Christ's ordinance in the Bible". And how do we know whether Christ gave an ordinance for this other than the Bible's silence on the question? It seems in making this assertion they have certain premises.

    Maybe when he said This is my body, he held it up for them to look at?

    Further, how can we say that carrying the Eucharist is not covered by Christ's ordinance saying Take? In order for others to Eat it per Christ's ordinance of Eat, wouldn't host reservation be covered by said ordinance?

    Does it seem as if what is under discussion is what practices are covered by Christ's ordinance or institution?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
  7. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Hi Rakovsky

    I think you are trying to drive this part of the article further than it was meant to go. The presumption of the articles is that we can know no more of Our Lord's specific instruction than that which has been revealed within Holy Scripture. The articles simply state some things that were not specifically mandated. I do not the this article as saying that it should not or that in can not be done.

    I think Article XXXIV makes it plain that many things may be done beyond that which is specifically commanded in scripture which I take to be the force of the phrase 'by Christ's ordinance'.
    I try not to read scripture in a harsh and legalistic way, and in trying to understand it, I know I need to understand something of the context. The old saying 'a text out of context is a con' is true, and that context includes historical context and social context. I think that the articles need to be read more in the broader context.

    That is probably some of what I was ineptly trying to say at the beginning of the thread. The Institution narrative takes place in a context, and that context is conjunction of the old Passover and the new Passover. When Jesus said 'Do this in remembrance (anamnesis) of me' He was highlighting that context, as I think the Easter Anthems also make that connection.
     
  8. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    "I think you are trying to drive this part of the article further than it was meant to go."
    My guess is that stating the host was not worshiped by Christ's ordinance was meant to imply that the host should not be worshiped.

    " The articles simply state some things that were not specifically mandated." How does it know that Christ never mandated this. Take for example Peter or Paul's teaching that Christians are "priests" in the NT. Even if the NT never quotes Jesus as saying this, can we declare that "Christians are not called priests by Christ's ordinance"?

    "The presumption of the articles is that we can know no more of Our Lord's specific instruction than that which has been revealed within Holy Scripture."
    Just because we can't know it, does that mean we can state with certainty that Christ never ordained it?

    " I think Article XXXIV makes it plain that many things may be done beyond that which is specifically commanded in scripture which I take to be the force of the phrase 'by Christ's ordinance'."

    What is the point in the Article of asserting that the Host was not worshiped "by Christ's ordinance" if Catholics never claimed that Christ explicitly declared a need to worship the ritual bread anyway? It seems they are asserting that Christ never said to do these things like preserving the host for others to eat, and that the actions are not covered by phrases like TAKE, EAT.

    I do see what you mean that the Article is not an explicit prohibition.

    "I try not to read scripture in a harsh and legalistic way, and in trying to understand it, I know I need to understand something of the context."

    I understand. The context was that the English Reformation at the time these words were written was demolishing ikons en masses and closing monastries. There was a common criticism that the ikons were idolatrous and that it was likewise wrong to lift and adore the host.
    I am not being harsh, and I recognize that a number of ikons were not erased.
     
  9. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    A highway to nowhere.

    Good.

    An interesting phrase. I have never thought about the English Church having a Reformation, rather more simply in terms of the working out who it was following the shaking off of the shackles it took on with Lanfranc (the Italian born Abbot of Bec made Archbishop of Canterbury following the unjust deposing of Stigand by the Papal authorised conquest of England led by William of Normandy), the Church had to rediscover who she was, and in that process there were a number of influences including, but not limited to, the Continental Reformation. It is those influences, and the limitation of those influences which allows the Anglican Church to conclude that it both Catholic and Reformed.

    Perhaps it would be different if Stigand and Michael I Cerularius had been in better communication! But we will never know.
     
  10. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Perhaps instead let the Catholics be Catholic and the Calvinists and Zwinglians be Reformed?

    You write: "Perhaps it would be different if Stigand and Michael I Cerularius had been in better communication!"

    You would have had to have England in 1054 to 1154 or so leave papal rule and become independent or else join the EOs at that time. So long as England stayed under the pope, in the course of 500 years or so, ie in 1100 to 1600 AD, it would have arrived at a non EO theology just as the COE and England's RCs have today.
     
  11. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    In 1052 Stigand was excommunicated, and remained Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1054 the dead Pope excommunicated Michael I Cerularius and Michael I Cerularius excommunicated the dead Pope - so establishing the Great Schism. Stigand was deposed immediately post Norman conquest. Lanfranc, formerly Abbot of Bec was the Popes choice. One of the results of the Norman conquest was the the English Church was returned to Papal control.

    I am yet to see any evidence that the filioque was used in England broadly before the Norman Conquest. The Synod of Hatfield 680 becomes very unconvincing when you read the Ven Bede, and the argument is based on the Third Synod of Toledo which certainly did not introduce the filioque.

    Don't be too harsh on us brother, we are not the enemy.
     
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  12. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    My understanding is that generally in the years 500 to 1000 AD the COE considered the Pope to be it's superior. Stigand received a palm from Rome IIRC. You would have to have the COE be independent from Rome or under the EOS in 1000 to 1500 AD (which is what it sounds like you are proposing), as otherwise by staying under Rome, I suppose the COE's theological history in those centuries under Rome would gave stayed similar. Sweden did not undergo a Norman conquest, but all the same they ended up RC in 1000 to 1500 AD and the Protestant in 1500 to the present.

    This is why unfortunately I am skeptical that it would be enough to hope ""Perhaps it would be different if Stigand and Michael I Cerularius had been in better communication!"
    You would just need more than better communication but major independence ecclesiologically. I am sympathetic to your argument that in 200 to 1000 ad the COE had alot of autonomy or independence from Rome. And I think there were independent churches in byzantine times not under a pope or patriarch. But my guess is that in some sense the COE still acknowledged the pope as their superior.

    I do not think of the COE as an "enemy" of Orthodoxy. Even if people have theological disputes, being an "enemy" seems to have much more to do with violence and aggression. If you were to look for such cases, you could ask why the Western Crusaders severely attacked the Orthodox countries, as in the sack oF Constantinople. It really does not make sense why they did this, since their common enemy was the invading Islamic forces. Supposedly the Crusaders came to the Orthodox countries to help fight the turks, but once they arrived, the Crusaders found an attack on them to be opportune.

    Then you have the fact that the western churches including the COE previously has led conversion efforts in impoverished societies, including Christians', that traditionally had been under the EOs' purview but came under Britain's sphere oF influence. More conservative EOs might find it to be a sore issue, but it is not a big issue for me. It is nice that the COE cares for people in the third world to help them. If you want I can tell you more specifically what I mean.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  13. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The sack of Constantinople in 1204 is one of the great blots on the history of Western Christianity. As I understand the matter the Venetian traders did some odd deals that may well have contributed to this, and from the assault they gained a number of beautiful artefacts that they retain possession of. I believe the west was so far wrong on this, and it remains the the most devastation wracked by the crusades was on a Christian City dedicated to the Virgin Mother of God. The Pope called it a disgrace at the time. I have no doubt that the City of Constantinople never recovered from this and that this was a significant contributing factor to the Fall of the City and of the Byzantine Empire in 1453.

    Loosely the English Church was probably virtually autonomous till the period of the Augustinian Mission C597. The tyranny of distance and the independent mood of the English almost certainly reduced Papal Input. The period of the Saeculum obscurum represent another 150 years where England did not matter. I think Lanfranc marks the beginning of a tighter connection to the Italian Church, which I think concluded in 1534. I think until 1534 you have to speak of the English Church and from 1534 the Church of England, I know it is a nicety but it helps keep things clear.

    I think it is to the shame of Western Christians that we care so little for Eastern Christians. I was embarrassed by the predominance of silence from the western Church when the Copts were martyred on the Beach in Libya. We need to open doors on much greater respect and trust. I was very pleased to see that the Prince of Wales made a contribution to the welfare of the families of the slain Coptic Christians.

    The table at which we all sit, is set in heaven and on earth. If we plan to sit together on that side, then we should be prepared to sit together on this side.

    1 Church. 1 Faith. 1 God and Father of us all.

    kyrie eleison
     
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  14. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    I agree with what you are saying, Philip, namely, by being attacked from both Crusaders and Muslims, the Byzantine capitol and state were severely weakened and eventually fell. If the Crusaders' goal was just to defeat Islam and return the land to Christian power, it does not make sense why they would sack the capitol. The mistake can help explain the failure of the Crusades.
    In Cyprus, Richard the Lionhearted conquered the island from a Greek ruler who had promised not to fight the Turks and Richard refused to return the island to the Byzantines.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_I_of_England

    In Jerusalem, the Crusaders set up a Latin Patriarch to rival the EO one, expelled the EO Patriarch, and they put the ownership of EO holy places in Crusader hands. As a result of the conquest, to this day most of Palestine/Israel's Christians are Catholic or Protestant. As I understand it, this was a result of conversion of EOs to the Latin Catholic church by the Crusaders, as there are many Christian villages with pre-Crusader churches that are Catholic villages there.
    Due to mistreatment by Crusaders, Eastern Christian Palestinians fought on the side of the Muslims in later Crusades. It was in fact the Muslim victory over Crusader Jerusalem that brought back the EO Patriarch. That is, soon after expelling the Latin one, the Muslims returned the EO one.

    The end result is that today, 46% of Pal.Christians are EOs, about 40% are Catholic, and 6 1/4 % are Anglican:
    [​IMG]

    Currently in the Holy Land,
    according to Palestinian EOs, Catholics, and Anglicans, there is a major problem in the form of Christians' difficult status because they are Palestinians under Israeli rule. Anglicans worldwide have serious efforts to raise awareness about this issue, such as Kairos Britain and Sabeel Australia:
    http://www.kairosbritain.org.uk/
    https://www.facebook.com/friendsofsabeelaustralia

    One of the most famous Palestinian Anglicans worldwide is Edward Said, who advocated for Palestinian Christians' rights. Due to the Israel-Palestine conflict, it can be a very contentious issue in political discussions, reflected in this article:

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/aug/23/israel

    Another famous Anglican who has advocated for Palestinian Christians is Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
    Desmond Tutu Names "Palestine's Mandela" for Nobel Peace Prize
    theantimedia.org/desmond-tutu-nobel-peace-prize

    So it's not as if I have hostility to the COE as an "enemy". In the Crusades, 800 years ago, the English Church, as you call it, was an "enemy" to the Eastern Christian societies. It was a long time ago, although it's true that it has had lasting major effects as you said, with the fall of Constantinople. But nowadays there are Anglican groups and figures with major concern for the Christians in the Holy Land.
     
  15. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The chart is a summary of the 1922 census. I think it is fair to say, that since the rise of the Oxford Movement there has been a much fairer assessment of the Orthodox positions in many spheres. One of the key failings, then as now, was to think that Eastern Problems can be fixed with Western Solutions. As we pray for these trouble spots week by week, I often reflect that these are areas where the west has manipulated or played. Once it was the English and the French, and more recently of course the USA.

    One reason why the 4th crusade didn't make it to the Holy Land was because the Venetians wanted the full fare up front. The crusade almost certainly wanted to go through Egypt, as they were a dominating influence on the Holy Land at the time, and the Venetians had trading deals in Egypt that made that fairly unattractive. The Venetians had historically had a strong position in Constantinople but there was a lot of stress in that relationship, and there was a leadership struggle inside Constantinople. The whole thing was a disastrous mess, and somehow the Venetians get the booty and none of the blame. Pope Innocent III, who had called for the Crusade, was quite angry and rebuked the Crusaders for loosing their true purpose. So began the Latin period of the Byzantine Empire, which was of little value, save that there was a goodly exchange of artisans from Constantinople, and Italian Cities like Rome, Venice and Florence were greatly influenced in this period with glory from the East to this day.

    But let us not rub new salt into old wounds. Let us not ignore our history, and let us not be prisoners of it. We are the people of the way, of the new day, we have been invited to sit at table with the King of Kings and Lord or Lords, let us resolve side by side to listen and learn from one another, and together affirm for all the world to hear that Christ is Risen from the dead and he is Lord.

    1 Corinthians 10.14-17
    Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.​
     
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  16. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Philip, I agree with what you are saying.
    I think that the COE does not have the same impact, responsibility and power in British politics like it may have 100 years ago or so.
    One might complain that the English Christian community was attacking the Eastern Christians in the Crusades, but can we really complain about the COE as responsible for other policy issues like, say, the Bombing of Yugoslavia?

    Take for example the essay on politics.co.uk:
    Orthodox Serbs feel a lot of sorrow due to the destruction of Serbia and the fate of Orthodox Serbs living now under Bosnian and Kosovo Albanian rule. But whichever side one takes on the conflict, can we really ascribe our compliments or criticisms about Britain's role to the COE? It seems that the COE has less power in British politics than it did a century ago, so it seems hard to call the COE some kind of "enemy" of the Serbs, even if the NATO planes hitting civilian targets were.
     
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  17. rakovsky

    rakovsky Active Member

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    Philip, for a positive, constructive example of Anglican efforts aimed at helping Eastern Christians, I recommend you have a look at the two sites I recommended: Kairos Britain and Sabeel Australia. I look forward to hear your opinion!