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  1. St. Gaspare del Bufalo Founder of the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood (C.P.P.S.); b. at Rome on the feast of the Epiphany, 1786; d. 28 December, 1837. His parents were Antonio del Bufalo, chief cook of the princely family of Altieri, and his wife Annunziata Quartieroni. Because of his delicate health, his pious mother had him confirmed at the tender age of one and a half years (1787). As he was suffering from an incurable malady of the eyes, which threatened to leave him blind, prayers were offered to St. Francis Xavier for his recovery. In 1787, he was miraculously cured, wherefore he cherished in later life a special devotion to the great Apostle of India, and selected him as the special patron of the congregation which he founded. From his earliest years he had a great horror of even venial sins and showed deep piety, a spirit of mortification, remarkable control over his evil inclinations (especially his innate irascibility and strong self-will), and also heroic love for the poor and the miserable. Having entered the Collegium Romanum at the age of twelve he received in 1800 first tonsure, and one year later the four minor orders. As catechetical instructor at St. Mark's, his zeal won for him the name "The Little Apostle of Rome", and when but nineteen years old, he was appointed president of the newly instituted catechetical school of Santa Maria del Pianto. After his ordination (31 July, 1808), he obtained a canonry at St. Mark's, and soon instituted with Gaetano Bonani a nocturnal oratory. He assisted Francesco Albertini in founding the Archconfraternity of the Most Precious Blood, and worked with great zeal in the poorer districts of Rome, preaching frequently in the market-places. In 1810 he was summoned before General Miollis to swear allegiance to Napoleon. But neither threats nor promises could induce him to do so, because Pius VII had forbidden it. The words with which he announced his final decision have become famous: "Non posso, non debbo, non voglio" (I cannot, I ought not; I will not). In consequence he suffered banishment, and later on imprisonment in the foul dungeons of Imola and Rocca (1810-1814). After Napoleon's fall he returned to Rome, intending to enter the re-established Jesuit Order. But obeying his spiritual adviser, Albertini, he founded a congregation of secular priests to give missions and spread devotion to the Most Precious Blood. Through Cardinal Cristaldi he obtained the pope's sanction and, as a mother-house, the former convent of San Felice in Giano. Of this he took solemn possession, 11 August, 1815. The Bull of beatification says, "Through Umbria, Aemilia, Picenum, Tuscany, Campania, Samnium, in short all the provinces ot Middle Italy he wandered, giving missions". The very titles accorded to him by his contemporaries speak volumes: "II Santo", "Apostle of Rome", "Il martello dei Carbonari" (Hammer of Italian Freemasonry). How arduous some of his missions were may be gleaned from the fact that he frequently preached five times daily, sometimes even oftener. At Sanseverino fifty priests were not sufficient to hear confessions after his sermons. Though idolized by the people, he was not without enemies. His activity in converting the "briganti", who came in crowds and laid their guns at his feet after he had preached to them in their mountain hiding-places, excited the ire of the officials who profited from brigandage through bribes and in other ways. These enemies almost induced Leo XII to suspend del Bufalo. But after a personal conference, the pope dismissed him, remarking to his courtiers, "Del Bufalo is an angel". His enemies next tried to remove him from his post by procuring his promotion as "internuncio to Brazil". In vain, however, for his humility triumphed. A last attempt under Pius VIII (1830) met with temporary success. Del Bufalo was deprived of faculties for a short time, and his congregation threatened with extinction. But his wonderful humility again manifested itself, and, though himself misjudged and his life-work menaced by the very authority that should have supported him, he showed no signs of resentment, forgave his enenies, and excused his unmerited condemnation. The storm soon passed, Gaspare was restored to honour, and resumed his work with renewed zeal. In 1836 his strength began to fail. Although fatally ill, he hastened to Rome, where the cholera was raging, to administer to the spiritual wants of the plague-stricken. It proved too much for him, and he succumbed in the midst of his labours on 28 Dec., 1837. He was beatified by Pius X on 29 Aug., 1904. He was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1954. CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Gaspare Del Bufalo WWW.NEWADVENT.ORG Founder of the Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood, died 1837
  2. -Saint Basil of Ostrog - a wonderworker who has been pouring out the living grace of God for three and a half centuries- Author's text of His Grace Kiril (Bojovic), Diocesan Bishop of Buenos Aires and South-Central America, written on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of repose of this great wonderworker of Ostrog, with a review of the program "St. Basil of Ostrog – a witness of the Resurrection", the author of which is catechist Branislav Ilic from Novi Sad, broadcast by the Diocese of Backa Radio “Beseda” Christ is Risen! “1I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love . 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (Jn. 15, 1-10) Christ is Risen! New people are constantly being born on this planet of ours; these people are being born in different peoples, in different cultures, in different environments, ethical, religious, climatic, economic ... But there are few people whose birth represents not only an appearance of one person on this world, but represents a place or a moment in time where and when whole peoples are born, generations of personalities ... Such people become, in accordance with the above words of the Gospel-writer John, those fertile branches of vineyards that are planted, grafted, cultivated on the only life-giving vine, the root of life, the corner-stone that merged human nature with divine nature, that breathed into human nature the breath of eternal life. From that root which is Christ the Lord, these people, like fertile branches, draw life and give it to all those who approach them with faith, and so they produce many fruits in the Vineyard of the Heavenly Father. Such was indeed the birth of Stojan Jovanovic in the rocky place of Herzegovina, from pious parents Petar and Ana. Our God is independent on His creation and its forms, He has a nature that radiates the light of the eternal life of its substance, and which is most deeply and best received and kept in a pure heart. That life-giving light is not kept in a golden jar or a golden palace, or in great city or beautiful place on the sea; that light does not depend on the creation, it is not received and given or exchanged with silver and gold and precious stones. That light of God is received and kept in a pure heart. Thus, a young shepherd, from a modest stone house, from economic misery from the harsh climate of the rocky place of Herzegovina, but with a pure heart filled with love, managed to become a fruit-bearing branch in the Lord's Vineyard, to become Saint Basil of Ostrog the Wonderworker. "Glory and mercy to him", each of us listened to our grandmother or mother whispering the name of Saint Basil, standing up abruptly and making a sign of cross with awe. Each of us grew up in the ambience of that magical name. And so for three and a half centuries. Stojan Jovanovic, i.e. monk Basil, heard Christ's words, "Stay in me and I will be in you" and walked straight along the path of Christ, from his parents' home to the monastery of Zavala, then via the monastery of Tvrdosh to the Cetinje monastery, to Russian Empire for aid, and then and to the monasteries of Chilandar and Mount Athos for vigil services until late at night. Then back to the Patriarchate of Pech, our patriarchate, the hub where the fruit-bearing branches of our vineyard branch out in our share in the Vineyard of Christ. No philosophy of this world, no Turkish tyrants, no Latin inquisitors , no demonic power, no substance could separate Stojan from that path, because he knew the Holy Scriptures and the words of the Apostles: “38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 38, 39). Both that and such knowledge of the Holy Scripture, knowledge of the Word of God which he stored in his pure heart, brought Stojan into a state of pure prayer, a state of pure service to God as the hierarch of the Church of God, which led him into a state of holiness, to St. Basil. What did the monk Basil so important that God chose him to be archpastor of his Church? He had good intentions, as it is said in his troparion, he had a good disposition in his mind and heart which he supported with hard labor, fasting, prayer and good deeds. And He had both a motive and a reason: "Basil, by the grace of God, Metropolitan of Zahumlje and Herzegovina, I am writing to confirm the truth, so that Christians know how I was in Ostrog, in the wasteland, for a while. And I have voluntarily contributed my spiritual labors here. And I did not spare my property for the sake of the mercy of the Holy Mother of God. Many have hurt me, but God has been my spporter in every good deed. In Ostrog, in the cold rocks of heat for God's sake,… God sees it and the Most Holy Mother of God. ” And so for three and a half centuries. The masses of the Hagarenes, wanting to abolish the visible presence of Christ in our people of Saint Sava, burned the relics of Saint Sava, which were the refuge of our people in those difficult times. And God did not let us wander for long without a lighthouse. From the seventeenth century, the relics of St. Basil have been a beacon and a source of miraculous power, which showed the way and fed our people and all the people who came to him regardless of nationality or religion, by the power of Christ's Resurrection at all times and in joy or in a trouble. One should not go far into history; it is enough to remember that miraculous visitation of the hierarch of St. Basil in 1996. to Herzegovina and back where many people were born in the faith. Or that miraculous visitation of the Saint, but now together with all his people in the cross processions of 2019 and 2020. And so for three and a half centuries. (My father held my hand, I remember, while I was reaching somewhere up to his waist, we were on a plateau, deep down you could see the valley where the river meanders, everything around it was green, the river feeding the whole plain with water giving it life; the sun was shining very brightly illuminating the white edifice up a little above but as if nailed to the sky, it was the edifice of an ancient monastery, which was shining in the sun and seemed to radiate light itself. A huge line of people seemed to be waiting for someone, but somehow serenely, without haste, as if that Someone had already been there, as if that Someone was waiting for the people, while a pious whisper, “Saint Basil, glory and mercy to him!” could be heard everywhere. Mu father was making a sign of cross ...) And so for three and a half centuries, each of us has stood in line knowing that St. Basil will receive and reward him, that he will understand and forgive, that he will heel our soul and body. Standing in line before the Holy One, I am reminded of the words of a psalm, “Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness; let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers.”(Ps 140, 5). Each of us presents to the Saint what he can, some of us tears, some sighs from the soul, some wine and oil, some woolen socks, some a soap, some coffee or sugar, some salt and a flour, some a shirt, some honey, some money, someone promises that he will not sin any more, someone says a prayer, but it is always deep from the soul with full confidence that the Saint will hear and that he will respond. We welcome it that Radio-Beseda (Diocese of Backa) and Television Hram produced such wonderful broadcasts about Saint Basil on the occasion of his jubilee. May St. Basil reward all those who have worked hard in this project, and may he bless all those who will listen and watch the broadcasts with a pious heart. In the future, it would be nice to present to the audience - if the financial means and conditions allow – personal testimonies and words of bishops, priests, believers about the living grace that St. Basil has been granting for three and a half centuries. Glory and mercy to him! Christ is Risen Indeed! On the feast-day of Saint Basil of Ostrog, 12th May, 2021, in Buenos Aires. + Bishop KIRIL Translated into English by Sanja Simic de Graaf
  3. Edith Stein (religious name Teresia Benedicta a Cruce OCD; also known as St. Edith Stein or St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross; 12 October 1891 – 9 August 1942), was a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She is canonized as a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church, and she is one of six co-patron saints of Europe. She was born into an observant Jewish family, but was an atheist by her teenage years. Moved by the tragedies of World War I, in 1915 she took lessons to become a nursing assistant and worked in an infectious diseases hospital. After completing her doctoral thesis from the University of Göttingen in 1916, she obtained an assistantship at the University of Freiburg. From reading the works of the reformer of the Carmelite Order, Teresa of Ávila, she was drawn to the Catholic faith. She was baptized on 1 January 1922 into the Roman Catholic Church. At that point, she wanted to become a Discalced Carmelite nun, but was dissuaded by her spiritual mentors. She then taught at a Catholic school of education in Speyer. As a result of the requirement of an "Aryan certificate" for civil servants promulgated by the Nazi government in April 1933 as part of its Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, she had to quit her teaching position. She was admitted to the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Cologne the following October. She received the religious habit of the Order as a novice in April 1934, taking the religious name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. In 1938, she and her sister Rosa, by then also a convert and an extern sister (tertiaries of the Order, who would handle the community′s needs outside the monastery), were sent to the Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands, for their safety. Despite the Nazi invasion of that state in 1940, they remained undisturbed until they were arrested by the Nazis on 2 August 1942 and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they died in the gas chamber on 9 August 1942. Stein was born in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland), Lower Silesia, into an observant Jewish family. She was the youngest of 11 children and was born on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Hebrew calendar, which combined to make her a favorite of her mother.[4] She was a very gifted child who enjoyed learning, in a home where her mother encouraged critical thinking, and she greatly admired her mother's strong religious faith. By her teenage years, however, Stein had become an atheist. Though her father died while she was young, her widowed mother was determined to give her children a thorough education and consequently sent Stein to study at the University of Breslau (also known as "Schlesische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität"). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Stein
  4. As many readers know, the Monothelite controversy occupied the Church’s attention in the 7th century, and it was concluded by a firm condemnation of the belief that in Christ there is only one single will or that his acts were from one theanadric operation. This evil which inflicted the Church was partly attributable to Pope Honorius I, who’s letters to Sergius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, seemed to have supported the idea that Christ had two natures but one will. Shortly after the reception of these letters, the Eastern Emperor, Heraclius, upon the composition of the Patriarch, released an edict called the Ecthesis ( εκθεσις , literally “statement of faith”), wherein Christ is taught to have one will. This was also accepted by the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch , and Jerusalem. It is reported that the successor of Honorius, Severinus, had time before his death to reject it. The successor of Severinus, John IV, clearly condemned it flat out. Now, on the Roman side, no one read Honorius as an advocate for this one-will doctrine. His successors, up until at least St. Leo II, denied that such was the meaning of his letter. However, the Council of Constantinople III held in 681 was to unashamedly convict Honorius of heresy (though he was already long dead), and put the conciliar anathema upon him and his memory. To our surprise, at least one Eastern saint of repute, St. Maximus the Confessor, agreed with the immediate successors of Honorius and claimed Honorius’s intention was orthodox. Anyhow, the purpose here isn’t to investigate whether Honorius was a heretic or not, but rather whether Maximus believed in the divine origin of Papal supremacy or infallibility. In the scholarship of Maximus, some have called into question the authenticity of the more Papalist writings of Maximus, many of which exist today only in the Latin. However, the most recent Orthodox scholarship has not ventured to maintain such skepticism. For example, Orthodox scholars such as Dr. Jean-Claude Larchet, Dr. A. Edward Sciecienski, Fr. Andrew Louth , and Andrew J. Ekonomou have all attempted to interpret the texts in Maximus which favor of Roman primacy in their “proper” context. Not surprisingly, they all arrive at conclusions which do not include Maximus as a witness to the dogma of the contemporary Vatican on supremacy, nor infallibility. In the course of this article, I will be interacting with Larchet and Sciecienski, since it is their assessments which deserve the most attention. Nevertheless how interesting it is to see that, in contrast to former times, Orthodox scholars are recognizing that, for Maximus, Rome is certainly the universal primate who even, by their own admission, had even a certain kind of universal jurisdiction when properly qualified and conditioned. That, in and of itself, is a far step away from the equal-pentarchism or equal-episcopalism with which the East may have given off. That is not to say that there is a consensus on the meaning of primacy in the Orthodox Church, since we know that the greatest minds on the subject have to this very day strongly asserted otherwise. But it is to say that there has been more serious attention given to the historical sources which may have been passed over as spurious by earlier Orthodox historians. On the view of Roman primacy, Siecienski gravitates to the fact that when Maximus was put under trial in Constantinople and told that the Roman see had plans to unite with the Monophysite Patriarchs, the Saint replied by saying: “The Holy Ghost anathematizes even angels, should they command us to give up the faith“, clearly insinuating that if Rome were to engage in those plans, the Pope would be excommunicated from the body of Christ. This, we are told, is clear evidence that whatever strong Papal theory that Maximus held to, it was one that was confined by the very same conditions put upon all churches for their communion with the true Church, and thus he doesn’t serve to be a witness to the Catholic dogma in the slightest. In fact, when seen in this light, the Roman See can’t be said to possess anything intrinsically different, when it comes to preserving the Apostolic deposit of faith, than any other church, since Rome’s membership in the Church is just as contingent upon holding to the orthodox faith as any other church’s membership depends on it. If this is true, it would remove the force of Maximus from the list of historical witnesses to the divine Papal supremacy and infallibility. Perhaps a strong administrative primacy conditioned upon a true and orthodox faith, but, for the Orthodox, no special protection against error is therein claimed by Maximus. Before I get into the relevant commentary of what St. Maximus has to say about Rome, I will provide a quick refresher on the sequence of events: (1) After Sergius of Constantinople receives the letters of Pope Honorius, he composes the Ecthesis, teaching Christ had one will, and Emperor Heraclius has it published it throughout Byzantium ; (2) Upon Honorius’s death, envoys from Rome travel to Constantinople to obtain the Emperor’s confirmation of Severinus to Papal office, but the clergy of Constantinople would provide no assistance in confirming Severinus unless he accepted the Ecthesis; (3) Severinus held office for about 2 months, and was succeeded by John IV, who convened a Synod condemning the Ecthesis; (4) Pope John IV wrote a letter to Emperor Heraclius and the Church of Constantinople, now presided over by Pyrrhus, that the Ecthesis, and therefore monotheletism, has been condemned; (5) Pyrrhus, who maintained support of the Ecthesis, was exiled to Africa where he eventually debated the issue of one vs twowills in Christ with St. Maximus the Confessor, and publicly recanted of holding to the one will position (only, as we shall see, to later revert to his heretical position once again); (6) The man installed as Patriarch of Constantinople, without a lawful deposition of Pyrrhus, was named Paul, who was excommunicated by Pope Theodore for holding to the Ecthesis; (7) In response to this, Paul and Constans, the successor to Heraclius, trashed the Ecthesis, but installed the Typus in its place, which forbade any discussion on whether Christ had one or two wills, or one or two operations; (8) Pope Theodore convened a Council in the Lateran Basilica in 649 condemning the Ecthesis and the Typus together; (9) Theodore dies, and Pope St. Martin takes his place, and he and St. Maximus hold up Dyotheletism (two wills and operations in Christ) against the East; (10) Both Sts Martin and Maximus are forced into Imperial captivity, and suffer martyrdom for their belief that, in Christ Jesus, there is two wills and operations, both which appertain to the respective natures of God and humanity. This article will mainly cover the events surrounding the captivity of Maximus and his trial. When the envoys from Rome traveled to Constantinople in order to receive confirmation of the election of Severinus to Papal office, but were told that no such thing would happen unless the newly elected Pope signed off on the Ecthesis, St. Maximus records the following description of this event as it was reported to him: “Having discovered the tenor of the document [Ecthesis], since by refusing [to sign] they [the legates] would have caused the first and mother of Churches and the city [ecclesiarum principem et matrem et urbem] to remain so long a time in widowhood [i.e. without a confirmed Bishop], they replied quietly: ‘We cannot act with authority in this matter, for we have received a commission to execute, not an order to make a profession of faith. But we assure you that we will relate all that you have put forward, and we will show the document itself to him who is to be consecrated, and if he should judge it to be correct, we will ask him to append his signature to it. But do not therefore place any obstacle in our way now and do violence to us by delaying us and keeping us here. For none has a right to use violence, especially when faith is in question. For herein even the weakest waxes mighty, and the meek becomes a warrior, and by comforting his soul with the divine word, is hardened against the greatest attacks. How much more in the case of the clergy and Church of the Romans, which from old until now, as the elder of all the Churches which are under the sun, presides over all? Having surely received this canonically, as well from councils and apostles, as from the princes of the latter [Peter & Paul], and being numbered in their company, she is subject to no writings or issues of synodical documents, on account of the eminence of her pontificate, even as in all these things all are equally subject to her according to sacerdotal law‘. And so when, without fear, but with all holy and becoming confidence, those ministers of the truly firm and immovable rock that is of the most great and Apostolic church at Rome, had so applied to the clergy of the royal city [Constantinople] it was seen that they had conciliated them and had acted prudently, that the others might be humble and modest, while they themselves made known the orthodoxy and purity of their own faith from the beginning. But those of Constantinople, admiring their piety, thought that such a deed ought rightly to be recompensed; and ceasing from offering them the document, they promised to produce by their own care the issue of the Emperor’s order with regard to the episcopal election. When this was accomplished, the apocrisiarii [representative of Rome in Constantinople] dear to God thankfully returned home’.” (Ex Epistola Sancti Maximi Scripta ad Abbatem Thalassium, PL 129.585-6, taken from Chapman 5) Here, Maximus quotes what he was told was the statement made by the Papal legates in his letter to Thalassium. Notice that the legates say that the Church of the Romans: (1) Presides over all churches under the sun (global church) (2) Received (1) from canons, councils, and the princes of the Apostles (Peter & Paul) (3) On account of her authority, is subject to no synodal documents (4) and holds all in subjection to her according to sacerdotal law Maximus does not diminish any of this, and appears to go along with it by referencing Rome as the “firm and immovable rock“. The basic message of his is that the clergy of Constantinople should have never given the posture that it did towards the Church of Rome, since that Church is the head of all churches, is not subject to any authoritative measures from any other church or council in the world, and holds all in subjection to her own authority. Now, this text is only preserved in Latin, and so would be one of those texts whose authenticity has been doubted. When Pyrrhus had returned to his former error, after having publicly recanted the Monotheletism after debating Maximus in Africa, the latter wrote to a certain Eastern official named Peter on the terms of which the twice heretical Pyrrhus could return to the Church and find pardon: “If the Roman See recognizes Pyrrhus to be not only a reprobate but a heretic, it is certainly plain that everyone who anathematizes those who have rejected Pyrrhus, anathematizes the See of Rome, that is, he anathematizes the Catholic Church. I need hardly add that he excommunicates himself also, if indeed he is in communion with the Roman See and the Catholic Church of God…It is not right that one who has been condemned and cast out by the Apostolic See of the city of Rome for his wrong opinions should be named with any kind of honour, until he be received by her, having returned to her, and to our Lord, by a pious confession and orthodox faith, by which he can receive holiness and the title of holy…Let him [sc. Pyrrhus] hasten before all things to satisfy the Roman See, for if it is satisfied, all will agree in calling him pious and orthodox. [For] he is only wasting words who thinks he must convince or lure such people as myself, instead of satisfying or entreating the blessed Pope of the most holy Catholic Church of Rome, that is, the Apostolic trone, which is from the incanrate Son Himself and which, in accordance with the holy canons and the definitions of faith, received from all the holy councils universal and suprem dominion, authority, and power of binding and loosing over all the holy churches of God which are in the whole world. For with it the Word who is above the celestial powers binds and looses in heaven also. For if he thinks he must satisfy others, and fails to implore the most blessed Roman Pope, he is acting like a man who, when accused of murder or some other crime, does not hasten to prove his innocence to the judge appointed by law, but only uselessly and without profit does his best to demonstrate his innocence to private individuals, who have no power to acquit him from the accusation. Wherefore, my blessed Lord, extend yet further the precept which it is known that you have made well and according to God’s will, by which Pyrrhus is not allowed to speak or misspeak with regard to dogma. But discover clearly his intention by further inquiry , whether he will altogether agree to the truth. And if he is careful to do this, exhort him to make a becoming statement to the Roman Pope, so that by his command the matter concerning Pyrrhus may be canonically and suitably ordered for the glory of God and the praise of your sublimity…” (Opuscula 12, Patrologia Graeca 91.141-146, taken from Chapman 8 and The Oxford Handbook of Maximus the Confessor, page 553) It is without any doubt that Maximus understood the Roman See to have been possessed of universal supremacy by divine right. In particular, the comparison of making satisfaction and proving innocence before a Judge appointed by divine law and who has power to acquit with Pyrrhus’s obligation to satisfy the Roman See would put to rest any further objection to this. But notice the grounds upon which Maximus saw the Roman primacy to have rested on. The “Incarnate God Himself” ordained the supremacy of the Roman Church. Even if, as Siecienski interpreted, Maximus did not believe in the permanent and invincible infallibility of the Roman See forever, he certainly believed that the Roman See held supreme jurisdiction over the whole universal Church *if she was orthodox*, that, not by man’s design, but by God’s. And if there was any further doubt, one could also read Maximus’s letter from Rome to the East which says: “For the very ends of the earth and those in every part of the world who purely and rightly confess the Lord, look directly to the most holy Church of the Romans and its confession and faith as though it were a sun of unfailing light, expecting from it the illuminating splendour of the Fathers and sacred dogmas…For ever since the Incarnate Word of God came down to us, all the churches of Christians everywhere have held that greatest Church there to be their sole base and foundation, since on the one hand, it is in no way overcome by the gates of Hades, according to the very promise of the Saviour , but holds the keys of the orthodox confession and faith in him and opens the only true and real religion to those who approach with godliness, and on the other hand, it shuts up and locks every heretical mouth that speaks unrighteousness against the most High“. (Opuscula 11, PG 91.137-140; trans. Cooper 2005:181; taken from Oxford Handbook, 552) St. Sophronius of Jerusalem Patriarch St. Sophronius of Jerusalem had commissioned St. Stephen of Dor, bishop in the Jerusalem Patriarch, to appeal to the Roman See in order to procure the condemnation of the Monothelites. Stephen, who traveled to Rome, describes this aloud at the Council of Lateran 649, of which Maximus took part. This Council was held as Ecumenical by Maximus, and so this open statement at the Council carries some significance: “And for this cause, sometimes we asked for water to our head and to our eyes a fountain of tears, sometimes the wings of a dove, according to holy David, that we might fly away and announce these things to the Chair which rules and presides over all, I mean to yours, the Head and Highest, for the healing of the whole wound. For this it has been accustomed to do from of old and from the beginning with power by its canonical and apostolical authority, because the truly great Peter , head of the Apostles, was clearly thought worthy not only to be entrusted with the keys of heaven, alone apart from the rest, to open it worthily to believers, or to close it justly to those who disbelieve the gospel of grace, but because he was also first commissioned to feed the sheep of the whole Catholic Church; for ‘Peter’, said He, ‘Do you love me? Feed my sheep’, and again , because he had in a manner peculiar and special, a faith in the Lord stronger than all and unchangeable, to be converted and to confirm his fellows and spiritual brethren when tossed about, as having been adorned by God himself, incarnate for us, with power and sacerdotal authority…I was urged by the requests of almost all the pious bishops of the East in agreement with the departed Sophronius…Without delay I made this journey for this purpose alone; and since then thrice have I run to you Apostolic Feet, urging and beseeching the prayer of Sophronius and of all, that is, that you will assist the imperiled faith of Christians” (Acts of Lateran Synod 649, pg. 143-44) Fr. Andrew Louth, in his The Ecclesiology of Saint Maximus the Confessor , attempts to undermine the witness of Maximus to contemporary Catholic teaching by saying that Maximus is referring to the “church” of Rome, and not the Papal office. I thought this rather odd since even the Council of Vatican 1870 speaks of the prerogatives of the Roman “See” (it comes up no less than 8 times). There is an internal relationship between the bishopric and the church of which it is committed, and thus the authoritative prerogatives of the church would be subsumed by the bishopric. Louth goes on to say that Maximus was saying this all out of gratitude, thus implying that there was fanciful though unrealistic hyperbole being utilized. However, I could not help but recall that when Maximus could have spared his life in the face of Theodosius and the Imperial consuls by simply being willing to communicate with the Eastern Patriarchs on the condition that they had revoked the Typus (which had been the source of doctrinal contention), he refused to comply unless both they and the Eastern Patriarchs had formally submitted to Rome and the decrees of the Lateran synod of 649. If all he had was a flowery commitment to the Papal institution, then why further risk his life ? I think the answer is put forth very clearly in Maximus’ own words which, in sum, is that communion (not just agreement) with the Roman See *is* communion with the holy Catholic Church. Under that premise, one could understand him risking his life at this very crucial point of his trial. This reminds me of what Dom John Chapman writes in his The Condemnation of Pope Honorius : “When St. Jerome spoke tremendous words about the Pope [Damasus], we are asked to believe that he was exaggerating, or even that he was sarcastic. When the Council of Chalcedon wrote in like strain to St. Leo, we are [asked] to put down its words as empty Oriental flattery. Whatever may be thought of such comments, they cannot be applied to the words in which we have heard St. Maximus again and again set forth the privileges of Rome. Men do not shed their blood to blunt a sarcasm or to justify a [flowerly] compliment” (page 70-71). And finally, Louth mentions how Maximus denied an obedient following with a heretical Pope, which I will address more below. I wish to conclude this article by devoting the last section to responding to Siecienski’s scholarship on the Maximian view of Roman Primacy. In his section in the Oxford Handbook on Maximus the Confessor, Siecienski takes clear note of the above statements of Maximus on the authority of the Pope. However, he has some reservations before interpreting this as a support for the contemporary doctrine of Papal supremacy. He writes: “Following the promulgation of Pastor Aeternus (Vatican Council I, 1870), Catholic authors increasingly used Maximus’ writings to support the claim that the pope’s universal jurisdiction and doctrinal infallibility were recognized in the East during the first millennium….Perhaps the most detailed study of Maximus’ views on the papacy come from Jean-Claude Larchet, who examined all the texts in question (Larchet 1998). Larchet tried to contextualize Maximus’ ‘enthusiasim for the papacy in light of the monothelite debates, when Rome was his sole ally against the heretical hierarchs of the East. For Larchet and others, Maximus’ exalted language about the See of Rome manifest ‘the glow of gratitude he must have felt following the Lateran Synod, for the support he had found in Rome’ and besides, it was ‘written about the Church of Rome, not the papacy as such’ (Louth 2004:117). This does not mean that Maximus was being disingenuous, but instead simply recognizes that these texts were written at a time when Rome alone held the line against heresy, and thus had earned the kind of praise Maximus heaped upon her“. (Oxford Handbook, 553-54). When considering the question of whether Maximus understood communion with the Roman See to be absolutely necessary in order to be in the Church, Siecienski takes note from the trial of Maximus where he was told that the Roman See would be entering communion with the 4 Monothelite Patriarchs of the East: “Maximus replied: ‘The God of all pronounced that the catholic church was the correct and saving confession of the faith in him when he called Peter blessed because of the terms in which he had made proper confession of him’ (Ep. Max., Allen-Neil 2002:121)” and Siecienski deduces: “….if communion with the See of Rome was normative, this state of affairs was entirely contingent on Rome’s continued orthodoxy, which remained a necessary precondition for all the praise and powers he had received….In fact, during his trial Maximus accepted at least the theoretical possibility that he might be forced to break communion with Rome should it too fall victim to the monothelite madness” (Oxford, pg. 554-54) However, in the record of the trial, Maximus also says the following when he was told Rome was to enter into communion with the Monothelite patriarchs: “Those [Papal legates] who have come won’t prejudice the See of Rome in any way, even if they do communicate because they haven’t brought a letter to the Patriarch. And I’ll never be convinced that the Romans will be united with the Byzantines, unless they [the Byzantines] confess that our Lord and God by nature wills and works our salvation according to each [of the natures] from which He is, and in which He is, as well as which He is” (ibid, pg. 63) So we see here, even during the midst of this trial, that Maximus was not going to be convinced that Rome would commit heresy. When pressed even further that Rome has certain plans to enter communion with the Monothelites, Maximus concedes: “‘The Holy Spirit, through the apostle, condemns even angels who innovate in some way contrary to what is preached” (ibid pg. 555) Siecienski concludes: “..Maximus, it seems, had not made the logical leap from ‘Rome has not erred’ to ‘Rome could not err’, although the Popes themselves had already begun to think along these lines.” (ibid) I think Siecienski is wrong that Maximus did not confess the supremacy and infallibility of Rome. Here’s why. If you read the citations from above, Maximus refers to Rome as the sun of unfailing light and the sole base and foundation which cannot be overcome by the gates of Hades, according to the promise of the Savior. Quite literally, Rome teaches the Apostolic faith and cannot fail to do so by virtue of the promise of God. So my argument would be this: Maximus understood the teaching ministry of the Church of Rome to be protected from heresy by the power and promise of God. Therefore, he believed in Papal infallibility. I understand there is a way to interpret him as if he were just merely being hyperbolic or overly enthusiastic, seeing as how Rome was the only orthodox church in the oikumene at the time. That is possible, and I will address this, and it will be clear why I don’t prefer that explanation. Moreover, Siecienski thinks this interpretation does not run the risk of making Maximus disingenuous, but I disagree. How can you run claims of supremacy and doctrinal infallibility on the basis of Christ’s own divine intention (in letters not even to Rome) as an enthusiastic artwork just to bolster one’s argument? If Maximus’s argument depends on the cogency of his arguments from the church fathers, then it would be redundant to appeal to the divine status of Rome. If anything, by falsely insinuating Rome is infallible, Maximus runs the risk of undermining himself. Were the Popes themselves hyperbolic when they claimed the infallibility of the Roman See (Formula of Hormisdas, Letter of Agatho to Constantinople III)? It is far more likely that Maximus’ claims about Rome are just as genuine as those made by others, regardless if he was wrong or right on the matter. I see no compelling reason to read him any other way. But what about his statements during his trial? Did not Maximus just come out and say that Rome could fall into heresy? Well, I would argue there is more in between the lines here. Just like some interpreters would take the clear attributions of supremacy and infallibility in Maximus and then fudge them (i.e. make them mere enthusiastic hype) in light of the latter’s willingness to possibly endure separation from Rome if it meant being faithful to the truth, a Catholic is doing nothing different when he interprets the clear admissions of Maximus when under trial and fudges them based on the clear statements of supremacy and infallibility in his other writings. In other words, Maximus could have answered his accusers under trial in such a way that he is willing to concede, as a matter of possibility for the sake of argument, that Rome could fall by the wayside, for which case he would remain faithful to the truth even if it meant he alone was the only orthodox Christian left on the planet, but not actually believe this would ever materialize. On that level, both interpretations are fair and square. But there is more. As we saw, the record of his trial includes a push-back from Maximus that he would not be convinced of Rome’s concession to heresy. When he was pressed on what he would do if Rome really did commune with the Monothelites, it is quite possible Maximus thought, in his head, “alright, let me concede to what would happen if the impossible actually did happen, hypothetically”. That might sound like a far-fetched interpretation which only reveals my own bias. However, we have objective reasons to interpret it this way. After his trial, where he gave the answers he did, Maximus wrote to Anastasius, his disciple, informing him that he had been told that Rome would be entering into communion with the Monothelite patriarchs, and requested that he and others are to pray for holy mother Church, and to send his letter of concern out for others to read. At the end of this letter is an additional text which was added by a compiler as a set of instructions given to him by either Maximus or Anastasius (some scholars say it was Anastasius himself who added it): “…in order that, when you have found out about the trial from these, you might all bring a common prayer to the Lord on behalf of our common mother, that is the Catholic Church, and on behalf of us your unworthy servants , for strengthening everyone and us also, persevering with you in it, according to the orthodox faith rightly preached in it by the holy fathers. For there is great fear in the whole world because this [church] endures persecution by everyone at the same time, unless He [God] offers aid by his customary grace, He who always come to aid, leaving the seed of piety at least in older Rome, confirming the promise He made to the prince of Apostles, which does not deceive us” (Maximus the Confessor and His Companions, Page 123) Even if this additional Latin schola (for it does not exist in the Greek) was added by Anastasius or a contemporary compiler, the person is doubtless connected to the same spirit of Maximus, and the compilers’ statement on the divine promise to Peter and Rome would surely serve as corroborative evidence that Maximus’s contemporaries held to precisely the same view about the Roman See. The compiler who added this states the whole catholic church is threatened by this monstrous evil of monotheletism, and it will take no less than God Himself to come and fulfill His own promise to Saint Peter which includes, at least, the preservation of “seed of piety” in the Roman See. And then to put it on par with the preservation of the Catholic Church herself? Even if the compiler is Theodore Spoudaeus, and not Anastasius the disciple of Maximus himself, it would still be a contemporary witness. I am convinced it is Anastasius who added this to the end of Maximus’s letter, since a similar message exist in the latter’s letter to the monks of Cagliari (see below). In a letter of the same Anastasius to the Monks of Cagliari, we read of the following: “Therefore, because the affairs of almost the whole church of God, which has been established as catholic and apostolic, are in great danger on account of these things, we pray on behalf of her and we beseech you, most holy people, that you do not despise her being in danger, but that you help her while she is labouring in the tempests, knowing that love which is in the Holy Spirit grows in the time of tribulation. And if it is possible, [we ask] that you go across more swiftly, as if for some other reason, to the pious men of older Rome, who are solid as a rock, who clearly always protect us as you do, and are most fervent fighters for the truth , to beseech them with supplicatory words and tears n behalf of all Christians , in order that they may gain reward from the Lord, preserving for all, as for themselves, the orthodox faith without newly-invented innovation, and taking up nothing more or less beyond those things, nor approving anything beyond that which has been defined by the holy fathers and synods“. (ibid, 124) Finally, even if Maximus had come to a point of doubt where he thought about giving up his belief in the supremacy and infallibility of the See of Peter, that does not necessarily mean he did not believe that the whole entire time. He could have very well believed it when he wrote it, but then changed his mind later on. There are Catholics today who go from being ardent Papalists to becoming Orthodox or Protestant, and then give up on their belief in Papal infallibility. Nevertheless, for the reasons I’ve given, I think the best interpretation is that Maximus conceded the fallibility of Rome for the sake of argument, together with some fear that this might actually be true, in which case he wrote his sincere letter to Anastasius. Now, lest I prove to be the only one who sees this in Maximus, I give you a quote from a Lutheran Scholar on Maximus, Dr. Lars Thuberg, and he explains our Saints view of Roman primacy: “In a somewhat fragmentary letter to Peter the Illustrious (from 643 or 644), which is preserved only in a Latin version, we find some explicit expressions of a very advanced theology about the position of the bishop of Rome. Maximus simply identified the see of Rome with the Catholic Church and he spoke of ‘the very holy Church of Rome, the apostolic see, which God the Word [Jesus] Himself and likewise all the holy Synods, according to the holy canons and the sacred definitions, have received, and which owns the power in all things and for all, over all the saints who are there for the whole inhabited earth, and likewise the power to unite and to dissolve….’ (Patr. Gr. 91, 144 C). Finally, in a letter written later in Rome, he made himself even more clear in the following maner: ‘...she [the Church of Rome] has the keys of the faith and of the orthodox confession; whoever approaches her humbly, to him is opened the real and unique piety, but she closes her moouth to any heretic who speaks against [divine] justice’ (Patr Gr 91, 140). This invites us to evaluate what Maximus had to say about the primacy of the pope. As Fr Garrigues has clearly shown (in an article in Istina, 1976), Maximus was convinced that Rome would never give way to the pressures of Constantinople. Once more forced to consider the possibility that in the case of Monotheletism the Romans might accept a union with the Byzantines, he answered through the paradoxical words of St. Paul, and said: ‘The Holy Spirit condemns… even the angels that would proclaim anything which is contrary to the Gospel’. (Patr Gr 90, 121). This implies that he did not want to discuss an improbable hypothesis, but would rather declare that he was prepared to die for the truth. This statement is a good starting point for a clarification of his own attitude. His personal experience of the doctrinal position of Rome confirmed his conviction that the promises of our Lord to Peter were applicable to the Church that preserved his relics. Thus, for him the communion of the Churches expressed itself as ‘a Roman communion’, a communion with the bishop of Rome. One must remember that for Maximus there existed only one alternative, represented by Imperial policy with its linke between Church and State, and that alternative could not enjoy the same promises. Even sacramental signs were missing in the latter case.”(The Vision of St Maximus the Confessor: Man and the Cosmos- Lars Thunberg, Page 25-26) Sources: “The Eastern Churches and the Papacy” by S. Herbert Scott “The Condemnation of Pope Honorius” by Dom John Chapman “The Building of Christendom” by Dr. Warren Carrol “Catholicism and Papacy : Some Anglican and Russian Difficulties” by Mgr. Peter Batiffol “The Ecclesiology of Saint Maximus the Confessor” Fr Andrew Louth (International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church Vol. 4, no 2, July 2004, 109-120) “Church and Papacy” Trevor Jalland “The Oxford Handbook o Maximus the Confessor, Edited by Pauline Allen & Bronwen Neil “The Papacy and the Orthodox” A. Edward Siecienski “The Acts of the Lateran Synod 649” Richard Price “Maximus the Confessor and His Companions: Documents from Exile” – Pauline allen & Bronwen Neil https://erickybarra.org/2017/02/28/st-maximos-the-confessor-580-662-divine-primacy-universal-jurisdiction-of-rome-from-jesus-christ/?fbclid=IwAR1UtX8oC_rLw2UYWh1jJMORXeVU1QwvQHoXEdZXtS6rs3VUMGXNzgEuOtg
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