Proof that the Greek Church accepted papal primacy prior to the Photian Schism? April 16, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Liturgical Year, Papa, Tradition, Virtue.
Another excerpt from Dom Prosper Gueranger, and this one is most interesting. It is from the Greek Menaea for Pope St. Leo the Great, written, according to Dom Gueranger, many centuries before the Great Schism of 1054. The words from this hymn certainly do seem to establish a strong
belief in Papal primacy. They also highlight how the early Church viewed doctrinal orthodoxy/purity/correctness as one of the most vital characteristics of a bishop, especially the Sovereign Pontiff. No bonus points for saying Catholic things 99% of the time……they are demanded 100% of the time. See what you think below:
O happy Pontiff! Glorious Leo, thou hast been made companion of the faithful priests and martyrs; for thou was t most invincible in battle, and immovable as a tower and fortress of religion. Thou dist proclaim, with most prefect orthodoxy and wisdom, the unspeakable generation of Christ.
O ruler of orthodoxy, teacher of religion and holiness, light of the whole earth, divinely inspired glory of true believers, wise Leo! Thou enlightenest all men by thy teachings, O harp of the Holy Ghost!
Heir of the See of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, thou didst preside over the Church: thou hadst his spirit and wast inflamed with zeal for the Faith.
Resplendent with the knowledge of divine truths, thou didst scatter on all sides the brightness of orthodoxy, and dispel the darkness of heresy. Departing this life, thou, O blessed one! now dwellest in the light that knows no setting.
O inspired minister of God’s mysteries, thou didst admirably preach that Christ is the Only Son and Lord, begotten of the Father before all ages, born for us of the Virgin, and dwelling on earth like unto us.
Seated with glory upon the throne of the pontificate, thou didst stop the mouths of lions, and madest to shine upon they flock the light of the knowledge of God, by proclaiming the divine dogma of the adorable Trinity. Therefore hast thou been glorified as a holy Pontiff initiated in the Grace of God.
Thou, as a dazzling sun, didst rise in the West and wisely dispel the error of Eutyches, who mingled and confused the two natures, and that of Nestorius, who divided tehm as though they were tow Persons. Thou taughtest us to adore one Christ in two natures, inseparably, unchangeably, unconfusedly, united.
Inspired of God, thou didst appear to the people of God as another Moses, showing them the Commandments of religion written, as it were, on tables…….
It goes on for some time with such effusive praise. I’d say several of the bits highlighted above, if not conclusive, argue very strongly for an acceptance of the Papal primacy by the Greek Church, and on terms that are pretty close to what the Church believes. As such, it seems pretty damning evidence that, as Dom Gueranger claimed, it was not the Latin Church, but the Greek Church which changed its belief regarding the Primacy of the See of Peter.
“Presiding over the Church” could be a statement open to some interpretation, but it would seem difficult to conflate that with the mere “first among equals” approach the Eastern Orthodox have argued for the past 1000 years. Presiding seems to imply more than a mere “first in honors” position that would leave the Sovereign Pontiff an equal with the other ancient sees, at least, if not the thousands of bishops around the world. Presiding strongly implies governing, but, perhaps the translation is debatable.
What of the claim that he was inspired of God? Is that significant? I guess any Saint or holy bishop could be inspired of God, but again, there is a reference to such a universal teaching and governing office (that of Moses, the clear leader of the Jewish nation and religion) that this seems a pretty strong endorsement of Papal primacy. Moses was the leader of his Church, and claiming that Leo was “another Moses” suggests powerfully to me that he was viewed as the sole leader of the Universal Church, heir to the office Moses first undertook.
What say you?