Friday, September 19, 2008

Sources of Eastern Orthodox Dogma

It is tough to find at least a semi-comprehensive enumeration of the sources of distinctively Eastern Orthodox teaching. Here I will try to imitate Dr. Ludwig Ott and list what I believe to be the more or less authoritative sources of the teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church, i.e., I will name the original sources and the authorities, including individuals, who, according to the Eastern Orthodox Church, restate and present the proper interpretation of these sources.

The Holy Bible.{1}

Patristic Consensus
The consensus of the Church Fathers.{2}

Ecumenical Councils
First Ecumenical Council a.k.a. Nicaea I (325).
Second Ecumenical Council a.k.a. Constantinople I (381).
Third Ecumenical Council a.k.a. Council of Ephesus (431).
Fourth Ecumenical Council a.k.a. Council of Chalcedon (451).
Fifth Ecumenical Council a.k.a. Constantinople II (553).
Sixth Ecumenical Council a.k.a. Constantinople III (680-681).
Quinisext Ecumenical Council a.k.a. Council of Trullo (692).{3}
Seventh Ecumenical Council a.k.a. Nicaea II (787).
Eighth Ecumenical Council a.k.a. Constantinople IV (879-880).{4}
Ninth Ecumenical Council a.k.a. Constantinople V (1341, 1347, 1351).{5}

Local Councils
Local Council of Constantinople (1722): Encyclical to the Orthodox Antiochians.
Local Council of Constantinople (1727): Confessions of Faith.
Local Council of Constantinople (1836): Encyclical Against the Protestant Missionaries.
Local Council of Constantinople (1838): Encyclical Against the Latin Innovations.
Local Council of Jassy (1662).
Local Council of Jerusalem (1672).
Local Council of Constantinople (1691): Minutes.
Patriarch Jeremiah III of Constantinople (1716-1725): Answer to the Anglican Anomots.
Local Council of Constantinople (1895): Answer to Pope Leo XIII of Rome.
Local Orthodox Conference in Moscow (1948): Decree Against Papism.

Athanasian Creed (400).

Prominent Individuals
Hieromonk St. John of Damascus (pre-749): An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith.
Patriarch St. Photius I the Great of Constantinople (866): Encyclical to the Eastern Patriarchs.{6}
Patriarch Michael Cerularius of Constantinople (1054): Two Epistles to Patriarch Peter III of Antioch.{7}
Patriarch Gregory II of Cyprus (1285): Exposition of the Tomus of Faith Against Beccus.{8}
Bishop Mark Eugenikos of Ephesus (1440): Encyclical.{9}
Patriarch Gennadius II Scholarius of Constantinople (1455): Confession of Faith.
Patriarch Jeremiah II Tranos of Constantinople (1576-1582): Three Answers to the Augsburg Confession.
Patriarch Metrophanis Kritopoulos of Alexandria (1625): Confession of Faith.
Metropolitan Peter Mogila of Kiev and Halych (1638): Confession of Faith.
Orthodox Patriarchs of the East (1848): Reply to the Letter of Pope Pius IX of Rome.
Patriarch Gregory VI of Constantinople (1868): Rejection of the Pope's Invitation to the Latin Council in Vatican.
Patriarchate of Constantinople (1920): Encyclical on Ecumenical Movement of the Churches.
Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople (1952): Encyclical on Ecumenical Movement of the Churches.

Notes and References
{1} The Eastern Orthodox misinterpret the Bible in several of their dogmatic stances, e.g. they mistakenly conclude from John 15:26 that the Holy Spirit proceeds ontologically from the Father alone.
{2} As you can see from the Patristic collections on this blog, the consensus of the Fathers is against what Eastern Orthodox are dogmatically committed to, e.g. Filioque and papal primacy.
{3} The Council of Trullo, Canon 13, taught the novel doctrine, contrary to the First Ecumenical Council and several local councils as well as Scripture and the Church Fathers, that married priests could have sex with their wives. See "Priestly Celibacy" @
{4} In their 1848 Encyclical which is an apology for Eastern Orthodoxy and a rebuttal of Catholicism, the Patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem agree that the Photian synod of 879-880 is ecumenical and refer to it as such.
{8} This is the most detailed Eastern Orthodox conciliar response to the Latin exposition of the Filioque clause. Some key statements by Patriarch Gregory II of Cyprus are:
"the all-Holy Spirit's existence is not 'through the Son' and 'from the Son' as they who hasten toward their destruction and separation from God understand and teach."
It does not, however, mean that it subsists through the Son and from the Son, and that it receives its being through Him and from Him. For this would mean that the Spirit has the Son as cause and source (exactly as it has the Father), not to say that it has its cause and source more so from the Son than from the Father; for it is said that that from which existence is derived likewise is believed to enrich the source and to be the cause of being. To those who believe and say such things, we pronounce the above resolution and judgment, we cut them off from the membership of the Orthodox, and we banish them from the flock of the Church of God.
For a refutation of the heretical poison of Patriarch Gregory II of Cyprus, see:
a. (8/2/2008), "As From One Principle and the Monarchy of the Father" @
b. (7/25/2008). "Filioque: Fathers, Popes, and Councils." The Banana Republican. Retrieved September 19, 2008:
c. (8/5/2008), "Summa Pro Filioque" @


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