Friday, June 18, 2010

The Catholic Cult of St. Gregory Palamas: Answer to a Friend

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Note: As of 11/25/2016 the author needs to read the Irénikon literature cited by Fr. Aidan Nichols, O.P. in Rome and the Eastern Churches: A Study in Schism, 2nd ed. (Ignatius Press, 2010), 313 n. 27: "It is interesting to note that Rome did not object to the (re)introduction of a liturgical feast of Saint Gregory Palamas into the Melchite calendar in 1971: see Irén. 45 (1972): 104."

(1) Is there any reliable evidence that Gregory Palamas showed signs of repentance of his formal schism and heresy before he died?
(2) If a person who was non-Catholic for virtually his entire life "at the hour of death ... see[s] the truth of the Catholic faith, [is] truly sorry for his sins, and sincerely desire[s] to die a good Catholic" [Fr. Michael Müller, Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine 108] and goes to Heaven, on what basis does the Church know this?
(3) Can such a person whose last-minute repentance, unlike that of e.g., St. Dismas (March 25), was not publicly known (cf. Wisdom 4:7; 1 Samuel 16:7), be said to meet the Church's standards for canonization?
(4) Are the alleged posthumous miracles of Gregory Palamas major miracles? Cf. Fr. Martin Jugie, A.A. and Fr. Louis Monden, S.J.
(5) Does the permission to venerate Gregory Palamas constitute an equivalent or equipollent canonization by Rome?
(6) Are equivalent canonizations infallible?
(7) If not, is the permission to venerate Palamas a temporary toleration of an abuse?
(8) Are Catholics therefore free to respectfully disagree with the permission to venerate Palamas?

1. Catholic Veneration of Post-Schism Orthodox Saints in General
There are several post-schism Orthodox saints whom Catholics venerate.{1} The saints in the post in endnote one are all on *official* Catholic calendars (Roman Martyrology; Ruthenian, Melkite Greek Catholic, and Ukrainian Greek Catholic) or Liturgies (Russian Catholic Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom), or mentioned as ecclesiastically approved in reliable print sources.

2. Making Theological Sense of This
We must properly understand the dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church; we must understand it in the same sense in which Holy Mother Church understands it:
(1) No adult who dies without being received into the Catholic Church or explicitly desiring to be received into the Catholic Church can be saved [Denzinger 247, 423, 430, 468-469, 570b, 714].
(2) God can give natural enlightenment (e.g., by a missionary) or supernatural enlightenment (e.g., illumination) to people who through fault of their own are ignorant of the Catholic Church (e.g, they are in a remote forest and cannot find out about the only true Church through study) who sincerely seek truth and do the will of God to the best of their ability by following the dictates of their conscience so that they do not perish without first being received into the Church or explicitly desiring to be received into the Church; "if someone [who] is brought up in the forest or among wild beasts ... followed the direction of natural reason in seeking good and avoiding evil, we must most certainly hold that God would either reveal to him through internal inspiration what had to be believed, or would send some preacher of the faith to him as He sent Peter to Cornelius (Acts 10:20)" [St. Thomas Aquinas, The Disputed Questions on Truth, Vol. II , Q. 14, a. 2; trans. Robert W. Mulligan, S.J. (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1952, 262)" and"God may enlighten, at the hour of death, one who is not yet a Catholic, so that he may see the truth of the Catholic faith, be truly sorry for his sins, and sincerely desire to die a good Catholic" [Fr. Michael Müller, Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine 108; cf. Denzinger 1647-1648, 1677-1678].

A. Some post-1054 saints common to Orthodox and Catholic calendars were, in fact, in communion with the Apostolic See, such as many 11th- and 12th-century holy monks from Kiev, according to Fr. Yves Congar, O.P. "A propos des saints canonisés dans les Eglises orthodoxes," Revue des sciences religieuses, 22 (1948), 246. Many were probably never posed the question "for or against Rome?" (cf. art. cit., 254-255). We may well think that they took unity with Rome for granted. See Joseph B. Koncevicius, Russia's Attitude Towards Union with Rome (9th-16th Centuries) (Cleveland, OH: John T. Zubal, Inc. Publishers and Booksellers, 1983), for many instances of Kievan saints, prelates, and princes who where in union with the Church through the early 13th century.

B. Any other saints who are known to have expressed anti-Catholic sentiments (and were guilty of formal schism and formal heresy) must have repented before they died.

3. Literature on Catholic Veneration of Post-Schism Orthodox Saints
*Fr. Yves Congar, O.P.: "A propos des saints canonisés dans les Eglises orthodoxes," Revue des sciences religieuses, 22 (1948): 240-259 <>
*Fr. Alphonse Raes, S.J. "La première édition romaine de la liturgie de S. Jean Chrysostome en staroslave," Orientalia christiana periodica 7 (1941): 518-526.
*Fr. Joseph Schweigl, "Menologio graeco-slavico post annum 1054," Periodica de re morali, canonica, liturgica 3 (Rome 1941): 221-228.
Editor: As of 2/21/2011, I have accessed the above three articles and incorporated some of their important points in my blog entries.

*M. Petrovych, "The Recensio Ruthena Slavic Sanctoral Reform: Principles, Results, Perspectives," Bollettino della Badia Greca di Grottaferrata III:5 (2008): 283-298.
Editor: I can't access this without buying it from Europe.
*Stefano Parenti, "Anno liturgico come locus ideologico: Commentando una recente proposta del Sinodo di Lungro," Rivista Liturgica 87 (2000): 305-325.
Update Bright Friday 4/1/2016, thanks to the University of Princeton, I have pages 322-323 of this article. However, I need to translate it as of 10/2/2016-stay tuned.

4. The Formal Restoration of the Catholic Cult of St. Gregory Palamas
Despite my best efforts, which involved typing in myriad possible keywords (including the roots of the keywords, just in case I got the Latin/whatever language conjugation wrong), I could not find information on the Catholic cult of St. Sergius of Radonezh (September 25) in AAS 1940-1941, nor could I find information on the Catholic cult of St. Gregory Palamas in AAS 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1980, 1999, 2000, 2001, or 2004. I don't think it's in there, but if any of you, my good and faithful readers, can find it, God's blessings be upon you.

Frs. Alphonse Raes, S.J., Georges Gharib, and Olivier Raquez, O.S.B. were in charge of inserting the service to St. Gregory Palamas into the Greek Anthologion.{3} The service in the book published by a Roman dicastery with the Vatican's approval is to be found in Anthologion, vol. II, Sacred Oriental Congregation, Rome 1974, pp. 1607-1616.{4}

5. The Reasons for the Formal Restoration
+Josyf Cardinal Slipyj the Confessor of blessed memory convinced +Francis Cardinal Seper of happy memory that St. Gregory Palamas died in the odor of sanctity and that the mystical theology of St. Gregory Palamas is indispensable to the Eastern Catholic tradition and Eastern Catholic piety, rather than antithetical to Catholic theology.{5} Because the learned Cardinal +Slipyj was unfailingly loyal to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, he must have had reliable evidence leading to moral certainty that St. Gregory abandoned his schismatic, anti-Filioque, anti-papacy stances before he died, or else Palamas could not be a saint,{6} since he had, for a time, knowingly and deliberately rejected the Catholic dogma of Filioque.{7} While this might not seem plausible to the Orthodox, I trust in the scholarship of righteous Cardinal +Slipyj and the acceptance of his findings by the Magisterium.

6. The Assent Due to the Restoration of the Cult of St. Gregory Palamas
The formal restoration seems to be a case of equivalent (not formal) canonization. Since the canonization of saints belongs to the second added paragraph of the Profession of Faith,{8} dissent is not optional,{9} and so I am content to submit to the judgment of the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church, lest I fail to be in full communion with the Catholic Church.{10}

Sanctus Gregorius Palamas, ora pro nobis! Amen.

Notes & References
{1} Huysman, Will R. "Post-1054 Common Saints." The Banana Republican. 25 Sep. 2009. 18 Jun. 2010 <>.
{2} Huysman, Will R. "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, Part 4." The Banana Republican. 2 Feb. 2010 <>.
{3} Gharib, Georges. Testi Mariani del Secondo Millennio: Autori orientali (secc. XI-XX). <>.
{4} Most Rev. +Basil H. Losten, Eparch of Stamford. Our Paschal Pilgrimage: On the Journey of the Great Fast. Eastern Christian Publications, 1996. p. 43.
{5} Huysman, "Cardinal Josyf Slipyj of Blessed Memory on the Appropriateness of Catholic Veneration of St. Gregory Palamas." The Banana Republican. 26 Sep. 2009. 18 Jun. 2010 <>.
{6} See note {2} above.
{7} Siecienski, A. Edward, Ph.D. The Filioque: History of a Doctrinal Controversy. Oxford University Press, 2010. p. 147 <>.
{8} Huysman, "Authority of Magisterial Pronouncements." The Banana Republican. 29 May. 2010. 18 Jun. 2010 <>. Is this restricted to formal canonization or does equivalent canonization belong to the second added paragraph as well? Canon lawyers, help me out!
{9} Ibid.
{10} Ibid.

Revised 10/29/2016

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