A Canonical Analysis of the Most Controversial Phrase of the Holy and Great Council: “The Orthodox Church Accepts the Historical Name of Other Non‐Orthodox Christian Churches and Confessions that Are Not in Communion with Her”
In this paper I will try to emphasise the genesis and the development of the phrase: “the Orthodox Church accepts the historical name of other non‐Orthodox Christian Churches and Confessions ”, by finding how this highly controversial formulation emerged and who were its promoters. Surprisingly, the direct promoter of this formulation of the final document of the Third Preconciliar Pan‐orthodox Conference is none other than Theodoros Zisis, at that time a consultant member of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The main question that we have addressed is the following: is there in the patristic, synodal and canonical Tradition of the Church any example where certain heterodox communities were called “Churches” without recognizing their ecclesiality or an ecclesial status? I have emphasised the diachronic development of the use of the word “church/ἐκκλησία” applied to other Christian communities in some synodal decisions and works of the Holy Fathers in order to designate certain communities that ceased the communion with the Orthodox Church and departed from it, but by the use of the word “Church” they did not give an ontological ecclesial status to other Christian communities.
Keywords: historical name, Church, confessions, reception, contestation, Theodoros Zisis, Hierotheos Vlachos, Holy and Great Council.
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