"Rome, Constantinople and Canterbury, Mother Churches?"

Here are some really interesting podcasts from a conference held at St. Vladimir’s Seminary entitled, “Rome, Constantinople and Canterbury. Mother Churches?” As you can see, the program is packed with good speakers. I have only listened to Hilarion Alfeyev’s presentation so far, but it goes to the heart of the matter. For more on the subject, I also recommend a paper which I have just put up (with permission) on our Commission website by Adam DeVille called “Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Primacy: A Plea for a New Common Approach”.

Thursday June 5, 2008
Metropolitan Philip-Canon 28 of the Fourth Ecumenical Council
Bishop Keith Ackerman-Authority:Magisterial, Confessional or Conciliar?
Rev. J. Robert Wright (paper read by Fr. Paul Clayton)-Primacy in the Anglican Tradition
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon-Holy Scripture and the Evangelization of America
Friday June 6, 2008
Fr. John H. Erickson-Primacy and Primacies in the Orthodox Church
Fr. Richard John Neuhaus-Reconciliation Between East and West
Bishop Hilarion (Alfeyev)-Primacy and Catholicity in the Orthodox Tradition
Fr. Warren Tanghe-Primacy, Authority and Communion
Panel Discussion – Where Are We So Far?
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Fellowship announcement by Fr. Stephen Platt and a greeting and remarks from Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury (delivered by Canon Jonathan Goodall from the office of the Archbishop
Metropolitan Kallistos-Primacy and the Pope
Igumen Jonah Paffhausen-Primacy and Eccesiology

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14 Responses to "Rome, Constantinople and Canterbury, Mother Churches?"

  1. Past Elder says:

    Rome and Constantinople, maybe.

    By which I mean, not maybe it’s true, but they can at least make a good case for it.

    But Canterbury, you gotta be kidding me!

  2. William Tighe says:

    I agree with you, Past Elder — but I think that the reason for including Canterbury may have been that this conference at St. Vladimir’s was also the annual meeting of the Fellowship of SS Alban & Sergius, the first time that this old Anglican/Orthodox society has had its annual meeting outside the UK.

    I was somewhat disconcerted to be “summoned higher” to be a panelist at the “Panel Discussion — Where Are We So Far?” at the conference.

  3. Schütz says:


    I remember you saying that you were going to this conference (green with jealousy), but I didn’t realise you were a “speaker”. I look forward to listening to that one.


    Canterbury at least makes more sense than Missouri, no?

  4. William Tighe says:

    Or Wittenberg or even Uppsala.

  5. Schütz says:

    Or, and this is really courting disfavour in some quarters, Moscow?

  6. Anonymous says:

    The only way that you could include Canterbury is to accept non-celibate homosexual and bishops and priests.

  7. Past Elder says:

    Well don’t fret Dave — surely you haven’t forgotten Lutheranism so much as to think a Lutheran church would speak of itself as “Mother Church” in the sense that Rome does, since there ain’t no such thing.

    Our point isn’t that we belong too at a convention of “Mother Churches”, it’s that no-one does.

    Hey why not Moscow — isn’t that the “third” Rome or some such?

    There is a mother church. There is a catholic church. The Roman Catholic Church is neither.

  8. Past Elder says:

    Hey, how about those Anglicans at Jerusalem I think it was last week.

    Now if I were Anglican, those would be my guys!

    Soldier on, brothers!

  9. Schütz says:

    “There is a mother church. There is a catholic church.”

    Where, PE? As the old song goes, “Show me the way to go home” – if you really reckon I am not there already!

  10. Lucian says:

    THE Mother Church, par excellence, is Jersalem.

  11. Past Elder says:

    As long as you keep looking for it in the same sense you would look for an earthly institution, you will only find it in earthly institutions such as the Roman church.

  12. William Tighe says:

    Any Anabaptist or Quaker might say as much — but, then, they are all cut from the same cloth.

  13. Mike says:

    Thankyou David, it’s quite an interesting listen.
    There is a lot of talk about Canon 28 of Chalcedon. Am I right in recalling the Catholic position that that canon was rejected by the Pope, and so is not valid?

  14. William Tighe says:


    Yes. Canon 28 was rejected by Leo the Great in the immediate aftermath of the council, and despite letters and pleas from the Eastern Emperor Marician and the Constantinopolitan Patriarch Anatolius that he accept it because it didn’t threaten Rome’s primacy over the whole church (they actually wrote that!), he rejected it again — and they both acquiesced in his rejection of it. How and when it got accepted as part of Eastern canon law is a confused and obscure story — but Rome didn’t accept it until centuries later, at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215.

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