Monday, March 21, 2011


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Dear readers, pray for me and forgive me for misleading you by my errors of scholarship.

Nicephorus the Hesychast of Mt. Athos (†1300)
I don't think the anti-Catholic monk Nicephorus the Hesychast (†1300?), an Italian who converted from Catholicism to Eastern Orthodoxy and was famous for his anti-union activities in the wake of the 14th Ecumenical Council (Lyons II in 1274), is the "Our Venerable Father Nicephor, Hegumen of the Medikion Monastery (14th Century)" for May 5 of the "official calendar of saints and commemorations for the Byzantine Ruthenian Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh is taken from The Divine Liturgy of our Holy Father John Chrysostom (2006)." The calendar seems to list the wrong century; Nicephorus the Hesychast was an Athonite, whereas there is a St. Nicephorus of the Medikion Monastery, which is in Bithynia and not Athos, who reposed in the 815. On this St. Nicephorus see the Acta Sanctorum for May 4 from the year 1680: 5:I:500-501E (628-629). St. Gregory Palamas praised Nicephorus the Hesychast for his anti-Catholicism, yet Josyf Cardinal Slipyj must have led the Magisterium to moral certainty that Palamas died a Catholic, thought it seems that Slipyj's specific arguments are not a matter of public knowledge (though Fr. Serge Keleher of Dublin might know). Here is a rough translation of what Palamas says in Triads II:2:2, from the French translation of Fr. John Meyendorff, p. 320: "Nicephorus who confessed the true faith and therefore was condemned to banishment by the first emperor Palaeologus who adopted the thinking of the Latins, Nicephorus was of Italian origin, but acknowledged the heresy of these people, so he joined our Orthodox Church, and with the customs of his fathers, he rejects their heritage and prefers our empire to his own country..."

Did Photius die in communion with the Holy See? Previously I answered with a resounding yes, and I hope this is the case. Yet I can't really be enthusiastic about Photius anymore, in light of the observations of Fr. Venance Grumel, A.A. of happy memory in "New Light on the Photian Schism," Unitas 5 (1953), 147-148.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Did Photius die in communion with the Holy See?

Mirror link

Hail Joseph the just, Wisdom is with you; blessed are you among all men and blessed is Jesus, the fruit of Mary, your faithful spouse. Holy Joseph, worthy foster-father of Jesus Christ, pray for us sinners and obtain divine Wisdom for us from God, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. -- St. Louis de Montfort


Note: Photius is a "saint" of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church; see February Menaion (Diocese of Newton: Sophia Press, 2000), 69-84 <>.

Previously I answered with a resounding yes, and I hope this is the case. Yet I can't really be enthusiastic about Photius anymore, in light of the following observations of Fr. Venance Grumel, A.A. of happy memory in "New Light on the Photian Schism," Unitas 5 (1953), 147-148.

Did Photius die in communion with the Holy See?
The most striking result of this recent research on the Photian question is the disappearance of the presumed second Photian schism. For many people this conclusion takes the concrete form: Photius died in communion with the Holy See. Is the conclusion justified? To respond we must avoid hasty conclusions, and distinguish between the position in the eyes of the law and the conduct or personal conscience of the deposed patriarch.

We cannot pass over in silence the fact that the Council of 869 was omitted from official lists of ecumenical councils, even in the West, until the second half of the eleventh century. Dvornik has established this with great erudition, and concludes that this silence is equivalent to the annulment of the Council. But we claim that it is more reasonable to suppose that since the Council concerned itself only with a personal issue and not with any question of dogma there was no great reason for emphasizing its importance at the time, and that also it seemed diplomatic in the West to remain silent after the Photian affair was settled in 899.

If it is a question of the position of Photius in the eyes of the law, all that we can say is that Photius died in communion with the Church of Byzantium. If this was in communion with Rome at the time, the former patriarch died in communion with Rome; if it was in schism, he died in schism. We are faced with two uncertainties here—the date of Photius's death and the situation of the two Churches from the time of Formosus until the reunion council held under John IX in 899. We cannot give a reply to the main question until we can answer these two.

In regard to the personal attitude and the conscience of the ex-patriarch we are on even more difficult ground. Photius composed his two principal works against the doctrine of the Filioque after his re-establishment as patriarch under John VIII, his letter to the Archbishop of Aquilea and his Mystagoge. He was not manifesting a desire for reconciliation, and he even avoids the expression through the Son, used by the Second Council of Nicaea and current among the Greek Fathers. Would this latter have embarrassed him just as later it was to embarrass the adversaries of Johannes Beccos?

What of the genuine attitude of Photius towards the Roman Church? It is argued that he had different attitudes, and many of them, not so much against the Roman Church as against those who headed it. He spurned St. Nicholas I, he admired John VIII and Adrian III; the one had eyed him with disfavor, the other two with forgiveness. He measured the merit of those who occupied the Apostolic See by their treatment of himself. With this in mind we conclude that the question: "Did Photius die a Catholic?" is a strange one. We are even more fully convinced that in seeking a patron for works of Unity, we should not pause to consider the possibility of choosing Photius, as some others would suggest (19).

(19) Fr. Dvornik, "Photius, père du schisme ou apôtre de l’union" in Vie intellectuelle, Dec. 1945, pp. 16-28.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Heretical and schismatic false martyrs (Fr. René Hedde, O.P.)

Whether a non-Catholic can be a martyr?
Answer: In the negative.

"The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church" -- Pope Eugene IV at the Ecumenical Council of Florence, Bull "Cantate Domino"

"No Christian shall forsake the martyrs of Christ, and turn to false martyrs, that is, to those of the heretics, or those who formerly were heretics; for they are aliens from God. Let those who go after them be anathema." -- Local Council of Laodicea, Canon 34 (363)

This is a very rough translation of a section of the article "Martyre" by Fr. René Hedde, O.P. in the 1928 Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 10.1:233.

9. Heretical and schismatic false martyrs (c. XX). – We can distinguish two cases, one in which the heretic dies to defend his heresy, or one in which he dies for a doctrine common with the true faith.

The second case is more interesting, but even then the victim will not be considered a martyr, for, says Benedict XIV, though he died for the truth, he did not die for the truth given by faith, since he has no faith. At the same time he admitted in a heretic who denies a point of faith, a supernatural habitus, but informed by faith; this view is widely rejected by theologians. He who has no faith, cannot die for the faith. Benedict XIV then speaks of the heretic invincibiliter, that is to say, of he who is in his error "in good faith" and if he dies for a true point [article] of faith, can he regarded as a martyr? Benedict XIV responds with an important distinction: he will be coram Deo, but not coram Ecclesia. He will be coram Deo, provided he is habitually disposed to believe anything that would be proposed by the legitimate authority, because he is not culpable according to the word of St. John: "Si non venissem et locutus fuissem eis, peccatum non haberent," XV, 22; he would not be a martyr coram Ecclesia, which judges from the outside, and which, noting his external heresy, is reduced to speculate his internal heresy. We see how this distinction proposed by the eminent canon lawyer can give satisfaction to the most difficult [questions]. But once it is admissible to recognize as a martyr coram Deo the heretic invincibiliter who dies to defend a doctrine common with Catholic truth, does she not need to recognize him even if he dies with the same sincerity to defend an erroneous assertion that he believes belong to the Christian Credo? We see from these examples how the concept of martyrdom that, at first sight, seems very clear and sharply defined, in reality poses many questions that are difficult to answer with certainty.

Editor's Comment on the Above:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Post-Schism Orthodox Saints (Bollandists)

I hope everyone's Lent is going well! Pray for me, a sinner.

Click here for an incomplete catalog of freely downloadable volumes of the Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists.

Regarding the Holy Fathers of the Kiev Caves (cf. 10:XI:209 [245]) and their loyalty to Rome, and concerning Catholic veneration of post-schism Orthodox saints, see the Bollandists' learned comments in the following volumes (from authors like Frs. Ivan Martynov and Daniel Papebroch of pious memory, etc; the format is Month, Tome, Page, PDF file page # from Documenta Catholica Omnia):
*10:X:863-883 (891-911)
*10:XI:i-vii (30-37), 27 (63)

Eastern Catholics celebrate "the Synaxis of the Venerable Fathers of the Monastery of the Caves" on August 28 and/or September 28.

See also the venerable Fr. John Stilting, S.J.'s "Dissertation on the Conversion and Faith of the Russians," which talks about which Metropolitans of Kiev were Catholic and which ones were Orthodox: Acta Sanctorum 9:II:i-xxvii (25-51). Fr. Stilting, in the same volume, talks about Sts. Boris and Gleb on pp. 633-639 (741-747), and annotates their "Acts" on pp. 639-644 (747-752).

The Bollandists explicitly list the following as "Saints" (I'll include more after I get my homework done) in the columns next to their biographical entries, or as saints/blessed in their biographical entries themselves, in Acta Sanctorum, October, t. XI:

11th century
*St. Abraham of Rostov (October 29) [†1073]: 10:XI:265 (301); 10:XIII:36-51 (104-119), 926-927 (994-995)
*St. Agapetus of the Kiev Near Caves (June 1) [†1095]: 6:I:135 (221); 10:XI:144 (180)
*St. Anthony of the Kiev Far Caves (July 10) [983-1073]: 7:III:3 (53); 10:XI:174 (210)
*Sts. Damian [†1071], Jeremiah [†1070], and Matthew the Clairvoyant [†1085] of the Kiev Caves (October 5): 10:XI:242 (278)
*St. Eustratius the Martyr of the Kiev Near Caves (March 28) [†1096]: 10:XI:99 (135)
Editor: Not under AASS March 28 in 3:III:709-711D (759-761) from the year 1668.
*Bishop St. Isaiah the Wonderworker of Rostov (May 15) [†1090]: 10:XI:129 (165)
Editor: St. Isaiah not under AASS for May 15 from the year 1680 in 5:III:438-441 (532-535).
*Bishop St. Leontius the Wonderworker of Rostov (May 23) [†1073]: 10:XI:137-138 (173-174)
Editor: Not under AASS May 23: 5:V:233-235 (475-477) from year 1685.
*Abbot St. Nikon of the Kiev Far Caves (March 23) [†1088]: 10:XI:96 (132)
Editor: Not under AASS March 23 in 3:III:440-442 (490-492) from the year 1668.
*St. Parasceva Petca the New of Tarnovo (October 14) [†11th. c.]: 10:VI:62(90),66(94),68(96); 10:XI:246-247 (282-283)
*Philothea of Tarnovo (December 7) [†1060], "whose relics are in Arges, Romania": 10:XI:301-302 (337-338)
*St. Stephen, abbot of the Kiev Caves and Bishop of Vladimir in Volhynia (April 27) [†4/27/1094]: 10:X:875A (893), 880B (908), 883A (911); 10:XI:116 (152)
Editor: Not under AASS April 27 in 4:III:473C-475F (511-513) from the year 1675, and not listed as saint (with †) in 10:X:956 (984) from year 1861.
*Sts. Theodore and Basil the Martyrs of the Kiev Near Caves (August 11) [†1098]: 8:II:607C (635); 10:XI:198 (234)
*St. Theodosius of the Kiev Far Caves (May 3) [†1074]: 5:I:360 (486); 10:XI:121-122 (157-158), 200-201 (236-237)
Editor: On the loyalty of St. Theodosius of the Kiev Far Caves to the Apostolic See, consult 10:X:880E (908), from the year 1861. Fr. Mauricio Gordillo, S.J. of happy memory says in the 1938 DTC 14.1:218: St. Theodosius Pechersky did not write against the Latins because he "remained faithful to Iziaslav when he displayed his Catholic faith by sending his son Yaropolk to implore the aid of Pope Gregory VII in Rome and put Russia under the protection of Saint Peter."

12th century
*St. Anastasius the Monk-Martyr of the Kiev Near Caves (January 22) [†late 12th century]: 10:XI:50 (86)
Editor: Not under AASS for January 22, from the year 1643: 1:II:388-389 (418-419).
*Anthony the Roman of Novgorod (August 3) [1067-1147]: 10:XI:46 (82), 193 (229)
Editor: Abbot Anthony, whom Orthodox hagiographers portray as fleeing persecutions of Roman Catholics, is not under AASS August 3 in 8:I:196-198 (498-500) from the year 1733. On Anthony being Catholic, see Fr. Joseph Koncevicius, Russia's Attitude Towards Union with Rome (9th-16th Centuries) (Cleveland, OH: John T. Zubal, Inc. Publishers and Booksellers, 1983), 48.
*St. Arethas of the Recluse of the Kiev Near Caves (October 24) [†1190]: 10:X:xi (13), 863-877 (891-905); 10:XI:259-260 (295-296)
*King David III of Georgia (January 26) [1089-1125]: 10:XI:53-54 (89-90)
Editor: Not under AASS January 26 in 1:II:690-691 (720-731) from the year 1643.
*Dionysius of Kiev (June 26) [†1182]: 6:V:246-247 (462-463)
*St. Erasmus of the Kiev Near Caves (February 24) [†1160]: 10:X:866D (894), 874D (902); 10:XI:79-80 (115-116)
Editor: Not under AASS February 24 in 2:III:428-430F (466-468) from the year 1658, and not listed as saint (with †) in 10:X:933 (961) from year 1861.
*St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk (May 23) [†1173]: 5:V:234 (476); 10:XI:138 (174), 244 (280)
*Bishop Hilarion of Meglin, Bulgaria (October 21) [†1164]: 10:IX:405-408 (447-450); 10:XI:253-257 (289-293)
*St. John the Long-Suffering of the Kiev Near Caves (July 18) [†1160]: 7:IV:346F-347A (530-531); 10:XI:181 (217)
*Archbishop John of Novgorod (September 7) [†1186]: 10:XI:219 (255)
Editor: Not under AASS September 7 in 9:III:1-5E (73-77) from the year 1750.
*St. Nestor the Chronicler of the Kiev Near Caves (October 27) [1050-1114]: 10:XI:261-262 (297-298)
Editor: In AASS October 27 in 10:XII:181 (215) from the year 1867.
*St. Nicetas the Stylite, Wonderworker of Pereyaslavl (May 24) [†1186]: 10:XI:139 (175)
Editor: Not under AASS May 24: 5:V:269-272 (511-514) from year 1685, and not listed as saint (with †) in 10:X:948 (976) from year 1861.
*St. Pimen the Much-Ailing of the Kiev Near Caves [†1139]: 10:XI:195 (231)
Editor: Not under AASS August 7 in 8:II:180C-184E (208-212) from the year 1733.
*St. Prochorus of the Kiev Near Caves (February 10) [†1103]: 10:XI:67 (103)
Editor: Not under AASS February 10 in 2:II:377-379F (415-417) from the year 1658.
*Sts. Spyridon and Nicodemus the Prosphora-Bakers of the Kiev Near Caves (October 31) [†1148]: 10:X:864 (892), 874 (902); 10:XI:267 (303)
Editor: Not under AASS October 31 in 10:XIII:683-687 (751-755) from the year 1883.
*Stephen Nemanya of Serbia, a.k.a. Simeon the Myrrh-Gusher of Mt. Athos (February 13) [†1200]: 10:XI:71-73 (107-109)
Editor: Not under AASS February 13 in 2:II:642-644 (680-682) from the year 1658.
*St. Titus the Presbyter of the Kiev Near Caves (February 27) [†1190]: 10:XI:81 (117)
Editor: St. Titus is not under AASS February 27 from year 1658: 2:III:671-673E (709-711).

13th century
*Abbess St. Parasceva of Polotsk (October 28) [†1239]: 10:XI:262-264 (298-300), 277 (313); 10:XII:420 (454)
Editor: In 1273 Bl. Pope Gregory X of Rome (1271-1276) canonized St. Parasceva of Polotsk, who reposed in Rome in 1239; cf. Fr. Koncevicius 53 citing Msgr. Pelesz I:420.
*Peter (David) and Febronia (Euphrosyne), Wonderworkers of Murom (June 25) [†1228]: 10:XI:158-159 (194-195)
Editor: In AASS June 25 in 6:V:2E (218), 111 (327) from the year 1709.
*Archbishop St. Saba I of Serbia (January 14) [1169-1234]: 1:I:979-983 (1063-1067); 10:XI:39 (75), 42-44 (78-80)
*Bishop Simon of Vladimir and Suzdal (May 10) [†1226]: 10:X:956 (984); 10:XI:125 (161)
Editor: Not under AASS May 10 in 5:II:490C-494E (536-540) from the year 1680.

14th century
*Metropolitan Alexis of Kiev and Moscow (February 12) [r. 1354-1378; omitted from Russian Catholic calendar in 1940]: 2:II:639-641 (677-679); 10:XI:70-71 (106-107)
*Sts. Anthony, John, and Eustace of Vilnius (April 14) [†1342]: 4:II:265 et seq. (?); 10:XI:109 (145), 310 (346)
*Bishop James of Rostov (November 27) [†1392]: 10:XI:290 (326)
*John the New of Suceava (June 2) [†1330]: 6:I:263-264 (349-350); 10:XI:145 (181)
Editor: Gregory Tsamblak (Metropolitan of Kiev 1414-1420), who attended the 16th Ecumenical Council (Constance 1414-1418) and was Catholic according to AASS 9:II:xxii:E, §94 (47), described the martyrdom of John.
*Peter of Korish, a mid-14th century hermit of Serbia (November 25): 10:XI:289 (325)
*Metropolitan Peter of Kiev (December 21) [r. 1308-1326; omitted from Russian Catholic calendar in 1940]: 10:XI:313-314 (349-350)
*St. Sergius the Wonderworker of Radonezh (September 25) [1314-1392]: 9:VII:3-4 (39-40); 10:XI:234-235 (268-269)
*St. Stephen the Enlightener of Perm (April 26) [1340-1396]: 10:XI:115 (151)
Editor: Cf. the brief notice in AASS April 26 in 4:III:408C (446) from the year 1675.

15th century
*Andrew the New Martyr of Chios (May 29) [†1465]: 5:VII:184-188 (294-298); 10:XI:143 (179)
*Abbot Dionysius of Glushitsa, Vologda (June 1) [†1437]: 6:I:135 (221)
Editor: Not listed as saint in 10:XI:145 (181) from the year 1864.
*Monk Joannicius of Devich (November 4) [†1430]: 10:XI:270 (306)
*Metropolitan Macarius the Hieromartyr of Kiev (May 1) [r. 1495-1497]: 10:XI:118-119 (154-155)
Editor: Not under AASS May 1 from the year 1680.

16th Century
*Despotina (Princess) Angelina Brancovich of Serbia (July 30) [†7/30/1520]: 10:XI:226 (190)
Editor: Not under AASS July 30 in 7:VII:127-130D (159-162) from the year 1731.

17th century
*Luarsab II of Georgia (June 21) [†1622]: 10:XI:157 (193)
Editor: Not under AASS June 21 in 6:IV:64-66 (98-100) from year 1707.

*Nestor the Silent (April 26) [?]: 4:III:424 (462)

The Bollandists mention St. Michael of Chernigov in 10:XI:71 (107), 85 (121). In 9:VI:105E (from the year 1757) they say: "Michael, princeps Zernichoviensis, aut Czernioviensis, et Theodorus ejus famulus memorantur hodie in Ephemeridibus Moscorum figuratis. At non conflat nobis, Catholici ne fuerint an schismatici. Non coli tamen apud Catholicos, habemus ex notitiis Polonicis." See also 5:I:xxxxiv (60), from the year 1680.

Friday, March 11, 2011 Forums

O infinitely merciful Lord, promptly take into your Heavenly Kingdom the souls of all the recently departed, including the victims of the earthquakes in China and Japan, and the victims of the terrorist car bomb attack in Faisalabad, Pakistan. We pray, O Lord our God, that they died within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church. Sts. Mary, Joseph, Raphael, and Pionius the Hieromartyr, pray to God for us.

Dear readers, please pray for me, and please join me in praying for the members of the forums. These forums are one place in which I am trying to find out the answer to the following question: "What led the saintly Josyf Slipyj to the requisite (for liturgical veneration) moral certainty that Palamas--who died in 1359 and is not recorded as becoming Catholic in 1355 when Pope Innocent VI of Rome (1352-1362) sent Paul of Smyrna (Titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople 1366-1370) to the Palamas-Gregoras debate--did not die before accepting the truth of the dogma of Filioque?"

I have trouble not characterizing the responses I have gotten (in addition to other posts) from people identifying as Catholics (and Orthodox in communion with Rome) as follows. These scandalous propositions are either explicit statements from forum members or the direct logical result of their statements:
1. The teachings on "no salvation outside the Church" in Denzinger are not dogmatic; they are outdated and have been corrected and replaced with a different teaching by Vatican II.
2. How dare you correct "Catholics" who say that (1) despite real, objective dogmatic differences, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church subsists in both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church; or both Churches are parts of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Churches; and (2) Catholicism and Orthodoxy are equally certain paths to salvation.
3. I'm an Eastern Catholic, but Filioque is not a dogma, I don't believe Filioque is true.
4. Someone who dies in the state of willful and knowing "obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the reception of Baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and Catholic faith" and willful and knowing "refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him" (CIC 751) can be saved.
5. St. Gregory Palamas never attacked the dogmas of the Catholic Church.

Remember CCEO 905: "In fulfilling ecumenical work especially through open and frank dialogue and common undertakings with other Christians, due prudence has to be kept avoiding the dangers of false irenicism, indifferentism and immoderate zeal."

I hope that, in combating false irenicism and indifferentism, I am not guilty of immoderate zeal.