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Talk:John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon/Archive 2

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Revising the bibliography

Suggested additions to bibliography:

  • Lectures in Christian Dogmatics. T&T Clark, 2009. ISBN 978-0567033154.
  • Remembering the Future: An Eschatological Ontology. T&T Clark, 2008. ISBN 978-0567032355.

--Fr Lev 18:41, April 15, 2008 (UTC)

Recommeded changes on Turcescu reference

The title of the article by Turcescu should be in quotation marks, rather than italics, as the latter suggests a book instead of an article. The summary of his aricle is not informative. I'd suggest, using Turcescu's own words, the following re-write:

Lucian Turcescu argues in "'Person' versus 'Individual' and Other Modern Misreadings of Gregory of Nyssa" that "Zizioulas is ... in error when he contends that the Cappadocians did not understand a person as an individual or when he credits them with having had the same concerns we moderns have when combating individualism today" (Turcescu, 537). These criticisms have been answered by Aristotle Papanikolaou in the same journal ("Is John Zizioulas an Existentialist in Disguise? Response to Lucian Turcescu," Modern Theology 20:4, October 2004, pp. 601-607), and by Metropolitan John himself in Communion and Otherness, pp. 171-177. --Fr Lev 20:07, April 16, 2008 (UTC)

Change accepted. — FrJohn (talk) 02:49, May 21, 2008 (UTC)

Objection to entry under heading of academic criticism

The text cites, under the heading of "Academic and Theological" criticism: "In a letter, Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna states that Fr John Meyendorff and Metr. John (Zizioulas) were Westernized theologians, in contrast with Fr Georges Florovsky (a teacher of Metr. John's)."

I object and request that the entire reference be stricken. First, in the entire letter, it is the only sentence that mentions Metropolitan John. Second, it offers no argument, academic or theological, as to why the Archbishop would consider Metropolitan John to be "Westernized." --Fr Lev 20:33, April 16, 2008 (UTC)

Objection to entry under "Regarding Ecumenical Relations"

I object to and request the removal of the entry under “Regarding Ecumenical Relations” to a polemical article by Hieromonk Patapios. The article mentions Metropolitan John only twice – once to express the author’s personal opinion (“the lamentable Metropolitan John”) and once in a reference to a polemical article in Greek by an Archimandrite Cyprian. The latter reference, however, is not to any informative content about the Metropolitan but to a caption of a photograph of a Protestant baptism: “According to John of Pergamon, the ‘baptism’ performed by this woman minister brings a child into the ‘domain’ of the Church!” There is no text referenced to support this interpretation of the Metropolitan’s theology. Unsubstantiated opining isn't in keeping with an encyclopedia. --Fr Lev 20:49, April 16, 2008 (UTC)

Request to remove Leithart reference

Under "Studies," we read: "Peter J. Leithart's article, Divine Energies and Orthodox Soteriology, cites this work, noting Papanikolaou points out where Vladimir Lossky and Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) differ on the issue of divine energies." I recommend deleting this reference. First, it is a brief article and not a real study of Metropolitan John. Second, while Leithart does mention that Metropolitan John and Vladimir Lossky have different views on the divine energies, this is no more informative than saying Lossky's views on the energies are different than Staniloae's, Yannaras', Romanides', etc. --Fr Lev 20:58, April 16, 2008 (UTC)

See previous comments on this - description updated. — FrJohn (talk) 02:52, May 21, 2008 (UTC)

Recommended addition to "Studies"

Under "Studies," I would recommend strongly the addition of Paul McPartlan, The Eucharist Makes the Church: Henri du Lubac and John Zizioulas in Dialogue. Eastern Christian Publications, 2006. ISBN 978-1892278616.

Recommended Addition to Section on Metr. John's Books

John Zizioulas, L'Être ecclésial (Paris: Labor et Fides, 1981). ISBN 978-2830901801. Seminarist 02:38, April 18, 2008 (UTC)

Lazic, 'Innovatory Theology' - not a book, surely?

I'd like to suggest a change to the description of the Lazic's 'Innovatory Theology'. If the link in the article is to a complete version of the work, then it is surely not long enough to be described as a 'book'. Would it be possible to change the description to 'booklet' or 'pamphlet'? Seminarist 23:24, April 18, 2008 (UTC)

I am checking with some folks who speak Serbian to determine what I can about the format. --Fr Lev 00:11, April 19, 2008 (UTC)

Please let me know what you find out. I'm presuming from the bibliographical reference that it's an independent publication. If so, it must be similar in size to, e.g. those pamphlets of Motovilov's conversation with St Seraphim of Sarov (although possibly somewhat less edifying). Seminarist 00:49, April 19, 2008 (UTC)
It is a book. Text you can find on following address: internet website is part of the book, as clearly stated on the list page: (Serb: део књиге - part of the book).


I've rolled back Cebactokpatop's recent major changes (essentially for reasons detailed throughout this Talk page)—perhaps it was a mistake to unprotect the article again so soon. I'll leave it unprotected for now, hoping that Agenda-driven edits won't take over again. If they do, and especially if they're from Cebactokpatop, it may be necessary to introduce a ban on that editor for a time. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:07, April 30, 2008 (UTC)

Your revert without even reading the changes I put in is another proof that this website has no interest in expressing the reality that exists in The Church, but rather fictitious visions of several individuals claiming to be "fr". Cebactokpatop 18:30, April 30, 2008 (UTC)
Oh, trust me—I read them. Anyway, w:Talk:John Zizioulas, along with your Agenda here, demonstrate that you're not interested in pursuing the editing of an encyclopedia in a calm manner. Indeed, your above condemnation of our many thousands of editors en masse is a pretty clear indication that you're not interested in good faith editing. As noted on your Talk page, your account has been banned. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:33, April 30, 2008 (UTC)
Your action against my account was illegal. It represented misjudgment on your side, which resulted in misuse of your sysops powers. Consequently, your error was reverted by Fr. John. Cebactokpatop 18:21, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
Illegal? Are you planning to sue me now? (In what court?) —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:25, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
I did already. Fact that I am still here tells you what the judgment of the judge was. Cebactokpatop 19:44, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
Honestly, sir, it is really not wise to interpret being unbanned and given a second chance as license to continue the uncivil tone which you continue to display. Many sysops, including FrJohn (see below) have warned you to cease such behavior. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 21:23, May 9, 2008 (UTC)


This is an Orthodox Website which for many people is a valuable source of knowledge. The attacks against His Eminence Metropolitan John of Pergamon, or any other hierarch of the Holy Orthodox Church, are not necessary on this forum. Whilst I don't share the same ecclesiological opinions as His Eminence, I have no right as a member of the Church to criticise him. Please, for the sake of those young people who use this website for edification, cease these attacks on the hierachy of the One, Holy Orthodox Church. - Peter Mav

I also agree Peter, it would be a good idea if the discussion around this Father of the church is put on hold and indeed perhaps we should pray for the poor dear's soul as the amount of negativity emitted towards him is very unfair! I say, lets all work towards continuing to build Orthodox articles not critical defences to be used in a court of law. I dont even know why he is controversial :-) Like Mother Molania said in her talk from Ancient Faith Radio, Insane people associating with insane people can not become sane ...only the Saints are "sane"! Chit chatting, keeps US in INSANITY! Vasiliki 09:32, May 1, 2008 (UTC)
That is precisely why all over the article of Metropolitan John and other contemporary Orthodox theologians we should print in big bold letters: “DO NOT BASE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE ORTHODOXY ON WIRITINGS OF THIS CONTEMPORARIES WHOSE THEOLOGY IS NOT VERIFIED BY THE HISTORY YET. USE THEOLOGY OF THE HOLY FATHERS INSTEAD.”
We do not want to educate young people with the thought of the potentially problematic theologians like m. John (and fr. Schmmemmann, fr. Mayendorff, fr. Afanasiev, etc. – students of the “Paris school of Orthodoxy”). If you want to discuss it further, and you know more appropriate place (e.g. private forum), we can go there and continue.
Cebactokpatop 14:59, May 1, 2008 (UTC)
This is an encyclopedia, not a catechism. We're not in the business of putting big warning labels on articles about modern writers, especially those who are generally quite well-regarded throughout the Orthodox world, such as nearly everyone you mention.
That they are criticized by certain minority sectors of Orthodoxy is certainly a viable element for their respective articles, but that criticism should not be the dominant theme of the article, which would be undue weight. The impression a reader should get ought to be based on how the writer is regarded throughout the Orthodox Church, not on the idiosyncratic criticisms of a few, especially not regarding someone who's never even been accused by the proper authorities (much less condemned by them).
In any event, any general overview of Orthodoxy makes it plain that our theological emphasis is on the Scriptures and the Holy Fathers, not on any modern writer. If someone gets his entire impression of Orthodoxy or education in the faith from a single article on OrthodoxWiki, well, he's going about it wrong. One would hope that common sense would make that clear. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:31, May 1, 2008 (UTC)

I agree with some points raised by all who have responded. I am still concerned however, because I know a lot of youths use this website for introductory information and not having extensive knowledge or sometimes even the spiritual grounding can be scandalised. Obviously, mentioning that this hierarch's teachings are not accepted by some is good, encyclopaedic knowledge but some of the criticisms prior to their removal were not beneficial to the soul of anyone. I apologise if I have offended anyone. - Peter Mav

In the above response of user Andrew we find the basis for the entire dispute. He is saying that Metropolitan John is "regarded throughout the Orthodox Church" and being "criticized by certain minority sectors of Orthodoxy", which is completely untrue/false/wrong/misguiding/misleading/etc. Vast majority of Orthodoxy exists beyond US shoreline, and even beyond English speaking world. Sooner that group of the individuals realize that, sooner we will get synergy in our actions. Such a fringe and perverted view of position of m. John in Orthodoxy is what user Andrew and couple of other individuals kept promoting, constantly trying to minimize the number and extent of the critics. It is best evident in the current version of the article, when in the criticism section they put reference to Bishop Ignjatije, who praises his work. What is that reference doing there? Cebactokpatop 12:54, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

I think that the user Fr Andrew is correct in his assessment. Lest anyone get the impression that the Serbian Church has somehow made a judgement that Metropolitan John is heterodox, I thought it worthwhile to note that a bishop and professor of theology in Serbia is a strong supporter of Metropolitan John's work. Anytime anyone disagrees with Cebactokpatop, he resorts to personal attack (both here and in the Wikipedia article). He has attacked and dismissed not only the other editors and Metropolitan John, but also:

  • Bishop Kallistos Ware ("Ecumenist buddy of JZ")
  • Christos Yannaras ("Ecumenist buddy of JZ")
  • Fr John Meyendorff ("Heterodox", along with Schmmemann and Afanasiev)
  • Fr Boris Bobrinskoy ("never heard of this guy"): I can't help it if Cebactokpatop hasn't heard of the dean of the St Sergius Institute in Paris, but then again, he dismisses the Paris school as "heterodox."
  • Bishop Ignjatije Midić ("ecumenist... who can hardly be called a theologian, as he is almost not writing anything"): Well, in addition to being bishop of Branicevo, he is professor of dogmatics and ethics at the Serbian theological institute in Belgrade and is the author of a new book on dogmatics.
  • Aristotle Papanikolaou ("Another buddy of JZ"), etc.

When I mentioned Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, his only response was "Are you sure?" The answer to that is, Yes. If one checks the several references to Metropolitan John in Metropolitan Hierotheos' book on the person, one finds they are all very positive. On a personal note, having just finished reading Communion and Otherness and looking through Being as Communion again, I do not see how anyone who carefully read them could give any credence to the charges Cebactokpatop has made, not least of which is the absurd charge of heterodoxy. Aprt from the Serbian text he cites by Lazic and the interview with Archbishop Stylianos, NONE of the sources he cites as criticisms draw his conclusions. --Fr Lev 13:51, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

You are certainly entitled to support JZ and other individuals from Paris school of "orthodoxy". However, you are not entitled to personally dismiss me for providing valid academic resources that criticize JZ or any other product of mentioned school in Paris. From the list of the articles you contributed to, we can clearly see that your faith is in Paris. Orthodox who prefer to have their faith elswhere (e.g. Cappadocia), have a right to express their dissatisfaction with the innovations of Paris' school as well. You have done a great job in prizing JZ's work in the article. Now it is a time to balance it with the concerns of the Traditional Orthodox, Mr. Puhalo. Cebactokpatop 17:43, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
Methinks you have Fr. Lev confused with Abp. Lazar (Puhalo) of Ottawa. They're not the same person. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:02, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
Are you sure about that my friend? I am beyond reasonable doubts... they are the same person. Cebactokpatop 18:10, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
Based on what? The name "Lev"? —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:31, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

ROTFL! I have been accused of many things in my life, but never of being an archbishop! --Fr Lev 19:12, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

You are right. You are not an Archbishop. To become the one, it would require valid canonical ordination. Cebactokpatop 19:14, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

Another personal attack -- quelle surprise! I was "canonically" ordained, BTW, by a "canonical" bishop of a "canonical" patriarchal Church. I know who I am, but I have no idea who Cebactokpatop is. --Fr Lev 19:30, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

Whatever. I am not interested in "canonicity" of your ordination (if any). What I am interested in, is making sure you understand that current version of the article is not balanced, as you intentionally (or not) tried to minimize criticisms of JZ. Do you understand that? If you do, it would be easier for me to go in and try to balance it so that readers do not get an impression that they have before them, article about some "saint". Cebactokpatop 20:12, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
Ok, enough everyone with the personal back and forth. I agree that the article should also present criticisms fairly and rationally. Cebactokpatop, I am concerned by your personal attacks, which at least in some cases are totally unfounded, and to my mind, crazy (e.g. Fr Lev is not Archbp Lazar!). If this kind of stuff continues, I'm going to freeze this page. I've just edited the article to incorporate some of the material present in earlier drafts. — FrJohn (talk) 21:17, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
I agree. While I normally say very little on Orthodoxwiki (I'm not a scholar of complex dogma or theology, nor do I wish or claim to be), I've been lurking around this discussion and reading what everyone has said. Cebactokpatop, I think it would behoove you to take a leaf from Frs. Andrew and John, as well as the other sysops and users here on Orthodoxwiki. They've been extremely charitable with you when they have received so very little from you in these discussions. When they indulge your vitriol, you reward them with ad hominem attacks, questioning their identities, and even going so far as to question the canonicity of people's ordinations with temerity (although you deny this, it is clearly evident that you do so). You ask readers and writers to address your edits with "proper academic attire." Yet, I have to ask the physician to heal himself with respect to your paranoia and derision. Fr. Andrew, specifically, has not only responded to you in a very Christ-like manner, but has been nothing short of a gentleman in dealing with you.
I ask, in the future, when you are a guest of other wikis and forums, you try to act in a similar manner.Mike 21:55, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for your comments, Mike. — FrJohn (talk) 02:55, May 21, 2008 (UTC)

Material for Inclusion

  • Fr. John Behr in the aticle "The Trinitarian Being of the Church", argues that Zizioulas' use of The Three as an archetype for The Church, when he establishes communion of The Church as an image of the communion od The Three, ends up dismissing both - The Three and The Church. (St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 48:1 (2004), 67-88) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Cebactokpatop (talkcontribs) .

In reviewing Fr John Behr's essay, I don't see it saying anything to suggest that Metropolitan John's view ends us "dismissing" the Trinity and the Church. I'd like to see the quote and page number that is alleged to say that. --Fr Lev 22:54, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

Any suggestions on how to reword Fr. Behr's criticism? Isn't this dismissal of The Church: "What is said of the Church is certainly based upon what is said of the Trinity, but the effect of speaking in this manner, paradoxically, is that the Church is separated from God, as a distinct entity reflecting the divine being." (page 68) Church without ties to God does not exist, even though, it may perfectly mimic the Three. At the same time, we do not know The Three without Their Church. It is The Church that is left behind to proclaim The Three. Disconnect JZ creates, dismisses The Church, and conequenly blind us from The Three, which equates to dismissal. Cebactokpatop 03:43, May 3, 2008 (UTC)

What counts as "academic criticism"?

Fr John, I find your floowing edit problematic: "Peter J. Leithart's article, Divine Energies and Orthodox Soteriology, cites the work of Papanikolaou, and points out where Vladimir Lossky and Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) differ on the issue of divine energies. His article implies criticism, based on understanding of the certain Orthodox, who see work of Prof. Lossky as contemporary synthesis of the patristic theology. Thus, to differ from Prof. Lossky, is to differ from patristic theology."

(1) Leithart in no way understands hie article to be critical of Metropolitan John. Not only is that clear from actually reading the article, but he has confirmed that in personal correspondence. (2) There is nothing here to indicate there is any substantive problem with what Metropolitan John says about the essence/energies distinction. (3) If an undergraduate wrote in an academic paper the sentence, "Thus, to differ from Prof. Lossky, is to differ from patristic theology", there wouldn't get a very good grade. Lossky is a personal theological hereo of mine, but I don't know any serious theologian who would judge him to be the sole criterion of Orthodoxy. --Fr Lev 23:13, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

Indeed, no. Lossky himself has been criticized by major figures in the 20th century, e.g., Staniloae, who's no theological slouch himself. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 02:42, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
Zizioulas and Meyendorff fell into the pit trying to criticise either Lossky or St. Gregory Palamas, as both of them are not capable of grasping what those two champions were writing about. Area related to the Holy Spirit is unknown and incomprehensible to these "eucharistic ecclesiologians" who understand bodily portion only, based on instructions from RCC theologians Mr. Congar and Mr. Lubac. In order to understand The Spirit, one has to now The Spirit of Orthodoxy. Paris school is so far from that Spirit that their theology consequently, can not be in the Spirit of Orthodoxy. In order to "bring closer" Orthodoxy to Rome (ecumenists), they have to introduce some other spirit - that is spirit of Rome. Orthodox Spirit can never get any closer to Rome than in past 1000 years. Cebactokpatop 02:59, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
An interesting analysis, but I fail to see how this is relevant to the task at hand, which is summarizing reliable secondary sources into an encyclopedia entry which represents the mainstream Chalcedonian viewpoint and takes minor note of other relevant viewpoints. Personal attacks are not really germane—how do you know what Meyendorff or Metr. John are "capable of grasping"? —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 03:08, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
That was my response on your assertion: "Lossky himself has been criticized" with my addition of Meyendorff and St. Gregory as another example of the same failure. JZ in his bible Being as Commununion "showed" how Lossky "was wrong". Cebactokpatop 03:15, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
See previous comments, this has been updated per Fr. Lev. — FrJohn (talk) 02:56, May 21, 2008 (UTC)

Should criticism be 'mainstream'?

I have read repeatedly that OrthoWiki is about "mainstream" Orthodoxy. Some of the criticism included here is, e.g., from Old Calendarists, who condemn most of the Churches represented here for using the Revised Julian calendar or for ecumenism. Nothing against Old Calendarist "resistance" synods and hyper-traditionalists, but what relevance should their criticism have in a minstream venue such as this? Given that they make the same criticisms of Bishop Kallistos, Fr Alexander Schmemann, Fr John Meyendorff, Christos Yannaras, etc., as they do of Metropolitan John, why should this be included? And all to satisfy one editor whose personal animus is clear? What will come next? When he became convinced "beyond reasonable doubts" that I am Abp Lazar Puhalo, he immediately went to the page on the Archbishop to write negative comments. I am waiting for him to add "criticism" sections to the articles on Bishop Kallistos, Fr Alexander Schmemann, et al., in which they, too, are denounced as heterodox ecumenists of the Paris School. What is to stop him? After all, he can find a blog or an online article by or quoting Heiromonk Patapios or Archbishop Chrysostomos casting aspersions on the orthodoxy of them all. He has dismissed Bishop Ignatije (Midic) of Pozarevac and Branicevo. Look what passes for "criticism" in the link he provided on that page -- a blog entry with a paragraph of Bishop Ignatije. No argument. Even the priest who wrote the blog wasn't sure that the paragraph was a true representation of Bishop Ignatije. This is the "criticism" that should be included in an encyclopedia article? --Fr Lev 00:59, May 3, 2008 (UTC)

I think your point is well made. The so-called "Traditionalist Orthodox" are explicitly not given a soapbox here, as per the MCB. If there seems to be a united front against the subject of an article from those sectors, it is enough to mention it briefly, but not to allow it to dominate an article.
In any event, what is clear is that Metr. John is generally quite highly regarded throughout the Orthodox Church, which is explicitly defined on OrthodoxWiki as this list, i.e., the Mainstream Chalcedonian churches. Metr. John is not a controversial figure by any means, and the article should reflect that. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 02:37, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
I dod not provide any link to Bishop Ignjatije. Please stop telling false stories. Also, "resistance" Orthodox are in dogmatics same as Orthodox, which makes them valid in their criticisms. What they differ about is heresy over all heresies - ecumenism, and masonic infux into Orthodoxy - Meletios IV (Metaxakis) of Constantinople. It appears that those who praise Paris school of "orthodoxy" support ecumenism, and logically, regard "reistance" Orthodox as lesser Orthodox than Vatican! Cebactokpatop 02:47, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
If I am mistaken in how I read the OrthoWiki history page on the article, my apology. But it seems to say you created that link at 21:53 on May 2, 2008:

--Fr Lev 02:54, May 3, 2008 (UTC)

Cebactokpatop, all of this is essentially irrelevant. The do-it-yourself "Celtic Orthodox" gent who lives near here and visits our church every so often is also quite likely "in dogmatics same as Orthodox," but I'm not about to interview him for this article.
The point is that what the "resistance/True/Genuine/Traditionalist/etc." groups think is only of relatively small importance on most OrthodoxWiki articles. Whatever one may think of the so-called "Paris School" (whatever that may mean—does that simply mean St. Sergius Institute?), it currently is part of and accepted by mainstream Orthodoxy, while by comparison the "resistance/True/Genuine/Traditionalist/etc." groups are fringe. Their opinions on Metr. John are irrelevant. Perhaps if one of them had engaged in some major debate with him, they might be relevant.
One doesn't have to be an "ecumenist" or a Freemason or an Ultramontanist sympathizer in order to see that giving undue weight to the opinions of such folks is essentially a violation of the explicit bias of OrthodoxWiki. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 02:57, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
I repeat - I did not produce any link related to Bishop Ignjatije. All I did on his page was to convert section listing his writings from latin into cyrillic.
It appears to me that both of you want to minimize amount and extent of the criticisms for some reason. Can you provide a valid reason for your attempts to blind the public? Cebactokpatop 03:08, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
It's not a question of eliminating criticism (OrthodoxWiki articles are replete with descriptions of criticism, which is clear from even a cursory browsing of the site)—it's where it's coming from and how much is actually appropriate to represent the mainstream view on the subject matter. Piling an article high with criticisms from fringe sources is not consistent with the policies of OrthodoxWiki, nor does it do anyone a service. "The public" are not "blinded" by an attempt to write balanced articles consistent with OrthodoxWiki policies. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 03:11, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
I have a problem with your statements simply because all of the disputes I had here were about same thing - constant denial of the criticisms from several individuals who disguise their denial under the mask of "policies", "encyclopedia", "POV/NPOV", etc. What is balanced for you? To praise his work on two pages, and then mention critics in a mild form just to satisfy annoyances like myself? Cebactokpatop 03:20, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
And you don't see a problem with all disputes being about the same thing? This is (or endeavours to be, either/or) a Mainstream Chalcedonian Orthodox encyclopedia. This is fairly explicit in intent and focus. The scholarly attacks on Metr. John provided have been more attack than scholarly (quite a number of them are mere citations or references to Metr. John, rather than any theological grappling), and the few scholars have willingly placed themselves outside of the Mainstream Chalcedonian Orthodoxy that we are explicitly putting forward.
There have been others who have attempted to browbeat OW into submission for their own agendas - Ben Lomond and Western Rite talk pages are replete with arguments attempting to convince OW that it should not follow it's own explicit bias towards Mainstream Chalcedonian Orthodoxy. It's not like OW is claiming to be something that it's not. — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 01:49, May 5, 2008 (UTC)
I do not know what is "Chalcedonian Orthodoxy". I know what Orthodoxy is vs. heterodoxy, namely: Monophysitism, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, etc. Can you, please, define the term you were using? Thanks. Cebactokpatop 18:30, May 8, 2008 (UTC)
I can do better than that: OrthodoxWiki provides a definition of those terms in the POV section of the Style Manual. You need to read this. In short, the terms are used, not because of the existence or nonexistence of any non-Chalcedonian Orthodoxy (that's not actually the point) - rather, the point is of general usage. Many groups take the term Orthodox onto themselves when they are, at most, little-o orthodox (and usually far less), which pushes OW to be quite explicit in its terms. Hence, Mainstream (i.e. one of the 14/15 autocephalous Churches or their autonomous Churches), Chalcedonian (i.e. accepting of the Fourth Ecumenical Council) Orthodox. Whether the adjectives are tautological or otherwise is neither here nor there, but they serve to explain a concept. — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 12:17, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
But that leads to the affirmation of their self proclaimed "orthodoxy". If you characterize Orthodoxy as "Chalcedonian", immediately, you affirm existence of other "orthodoxies", that are "slightly" different. Mainstream Orthodoxy has never been characterized in any way, at least, not in the East. In the West, we find characterizations like "Eastern Orthodox", that has geographical connotations, and not theological. I would suggest to OW not to try to distinguish itself from the "orthodox" by adding some "names", but rather, through the explanation of the teachings to make sure visitor understands that entire site is about Orthodoxy. Cebactokpatop 12:37, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
It does not, which you would know if you had read the relevant section of the Style Manual. Once again, "you need to read this", so that you know what OW is and how to edit in OW, rather than against it. — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 12:47, May 9, 2008 (UTC)

Just a thought

It seems to me that this article is basically supposed to be a biographical introduction to Metr. John. While mention of the variety of opinions expressed about his work can, and probably should, be mentioned, it seems to me that this is not the proper forum for a detailed discussion (and listing) of these opinions. Half of the article, as it stands, is concerned with criticism and responses to that criticism and that seems rather unbalanced for something that is trying to be an encyclopedic entry.

I am not sure where a discussion of all these opinions should take place, or even whether OrthodoxWiki is the right forum for such a discussion. It just seems to me that this particular page is not the place for it.

Just my two cents, and with this I leave this debate.

In the risen Christ, Fr. Peter

Hi Fr. Peter, Thanks for your comments on this. It is indeed a hard call, but I do think that part of the role OrthodoxWiki plays is precisely in pushing for an articulation of controversial issues in church life. Obviously, so many of the criticisms of Metropolitan John's work are not just about him, but are about a particular movement or trend within Orthodox theology. I really want to see as precise and accurate overview of this debate as possible. Again, I do think this itself is a good service to the community. I'm not interested in personal attacks or blanket condemnations, etc. but am very interested in thoughtful criticisms or defenses. I'm curious about what others think. — FrJohn (talk) 09:27, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
Hello, Fr. John. I apologize for the lack of clarity in my original post, so I will try to briefly clarify what I was trying to say. First off, having thought about it and read your reply, it does make sense that the wiki is a good place to articulate controversial issues. In which case I meant to suggest following a Wikipedia approach: having a mention of the controversial issue on the biographical page with a link to an article specifically dedicated to the issue being debated (e.g., "Theology of John Zizioulas"). That way we can avoid the contentious section being longer than the rest of the article. We also get another page where all the relevant references can be quoted and noted (hopefully...), rather than simply having somewhat vague mentions in the vein of "Metr. John has addressed this criticism." Fr. Peter

I notice a minor edit "struggle" over the sentence someone wrote and I restored: "His article implies criticism, based on understanding of the certain Orthodox, who see work of Prof. Lossky as contemporary synthesis of the patristic theology. Thus, to differ from Prof. Lossky, is to differ from patristic theology." This had been changed to "This article would be critical if seen through the ideology of Prof. Lossky's work as being a contemporary synthesis of patristic theology." I think I understand the reason for this change -- the original sentence is rather vague and difficult to make sense of (it may be that the original author's primary language was not English), but I'm not sure the cleanup help makes the meaning any clearer. Perhaps somehow can expain this better, but for now I going to revert this again. — FrJohn (talk) 09:27, May 3, 2008 (UTC)

Because the article is only a critical article if Lossky is held up as a synthesis of patristic theology. If the Lossky=Theology standpoint is not taken, the article is not critical at all, merely comparative. As I don't know how one would even go about justifying the Lossky=Theology standpoint, I don't think that the article is criticism at all, and shouldn't be there. — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 01:37, May 5, 2008 (UTC)
For that reason, sentence states: "based on understanding of the certain Orthodox, who see work of Prof. Lossky as contemporary synthesis of the patristic theology". I think it is clearly explained, why and under what condition, article of Mr. Leithart is seen by "certain Orthodox" as criticism, unintentional though, but, still criticism. Cebactokpatop 13:14, May 5, 2008 (UTC)
Sad irony: such a viewpoint of Lossky isn't Orthodox. We do not take any one author as being perfect, theologically or otherwise - which explains how Staniloae can disagree with Lossky and yet not be thrown out of the Church. The question is whether the article is critical, not whether it can be misinterpreted into criticism. — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 19:30, May 5, 2008 (UTC)

Selective reading of Papankolaou

Cebactokpatop has attempted to make hay of Papanikolaou's statement (in a footnote) that Metropolitan John has acknowledged in a private converstion that the Metropolitan was "influenced" by some secular philosophers, as if this is a "proof text" of some sort. The first thing to say is that this is something the Metropolitan has acknowledged in his own writing. I somehow get the impression that Cebactokpatop saw Papanikolaou's statement as a "smoking gun." But if one reads the text of the page (159) that is footnoted, one sees Papanikolaou saying a couple of things that Cebactokpatop is intentionally ignoring. The ironic one is that fact that Papanikolaou notes that the same charge of being influenced by modern personalism has been made against Lossky, as well as Metropolitan John. Thus he cherry-picks a charge that Papanikolaou points out is made against Lossky, his sine qua non of Orthodoxy. And, of course, Papanikolaou acquits both theologians. He goes on to cite the differences between the Metropolitan and those modern philosophers and that, for the Metropolitan, only a Trinitarian theology that affirms the monarchy of the Father can provide an adequate theology of personhood. As Papanikolaou says, "[Zizioulas} and Lossky are no more superimposing a philosophical system on the Eastern patristic writers than did these same writers Hellenize the teachings of Jesus" (160). Metropolitan John and Lossky simply have done what the Fathers did -- "thinking about the authoritative texts of the tradition in light of the questions, challenges, and prevailing philosophical currents of their time" (ibid). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Fr Lev (talkcontribs) .

The influence of Buber

I have forgotten to mention that I've read in several places that Martin Buber, not to mention other Western philosophers, were important influences on the theology of Dumitru Staniloae. Turcescu mentions elsewhere that "In Dogmatics, Staniloae tried to blend in a very creative fashion patristic insights with contemporary theology, both Western and Eastern" (in The Teachings of Modern Orthodox Christianity on Law, Politics, & Human Nature, p. 300). --Fr Lev 12:08, May 6, 2008 (UTC)

I honestly don't see what's so damning about having non-Orthodox influence on one's thinking, particularly since it's obvious from even a cursory reading of the ancient Fathers that their thinking was profoundly influenced by not just heterodox, but pagan sources. In any event, it's pretty hard even to function in the world without some sort of non-Orthodox influence on one's thinking.
The question is whether one's teaching is Orthodox or not (not who or what influenced it), and in our Tradition no ruling can be made on this question without episcopal (synodal, in the case of a bishop being in question) authority. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 12:28, May 6, 2008 (UTC)
I think that we can not separate the two. One's heterodox influences bring up next logical question - Has one's theology escaped from the captivity of the influences (sources)? Very good example of this question can be found in the criticism of Fr. Schmmemmann by Fr. Pomazansky. Answer to that question is decisive on whether one's theology is Orthodox or heterodox. In the book Being as Communion, there are numerous references to heterodox writings and many assertions of JZ are based on them. For example, on pages 164-165, JZ talks about "individualities" and "persons" referring to the M. Buber... who made clear distinction between the two, making them antonyms. However, as Turcescu already provided in his article, St. Gregory of Nyssa used both terms as synonyms. In this example, heterodox influence prevailed in the thought of JZ over the Orthodox, resulting in his thought being heterodox as well. If he were to follow Orthodox thought od St. Gregory, we would not have this dispute over his work. Cebactokpatop 12:55, May 8, 2008 (UTC)
From the fact that Zizioulas borrows a conceptual distinction between persons and individuals from Martin Buber, it does not follow that his thought is heterodox. It is logically fallacious to argue that 'Since X borrows from Y; and since Y is heterodox; therefore X is heterodox.' At most, Turcescu's article establishes that Zizioulas uses some words in different ways than St Gregory of Nyssa. But that does not make Zizioulas heterodox.
Also, the claims made by Turscescu have been challenged (both by Zizioulas and others); as such, they cannot be appealed to as authoritative.
Moreover, as far as I can see, there is no dispute over the thought of Metropolitan John. All that exists is Cebactokpatop trying to insert anti-Zizioulas polemic into the article, with everyone else telling him that he is being unreasonable and incivil. Seminarist 13:46, May 8, 2008 (UTC)
It wouldn't follow under one condition - if it was not contrary to Orthodox. Since JZ adapted his thought to Buber's, whose definitions of terms "individual" and "person" are contrary to those of St. Gregory, his thought, consequently is based on foundations contrary to Orthodoxy. His direct adoption of heterodox definitions without revising them and providing content that is in line with Orthodoxy, pushed his thought outside to the sea of heterodoxy... Cebactokpatop 14:39, May 8, 2008 (UTC)
Again you fail to understand the point. Zizioulas found a particular way of speaking (the distinction between person and individual) helpful in articulating Orthodox theology in dialogue with the concerns of existentialist thinking. He uses 'individual' as a shorthand for a human being whose mode of existence is selfish and in rejection of the love of God; he uses 'person' as a shorthand for a human being whose mode of existence is ecclesial. It is not heterodox to distinguish between these different modes of existence. Your failure to grasp this suggests that you do not understand Zizioulas' thought. Seminarist 21:20, May 8, 2008 (UTC)
"Shorthands" for various "modes of existence" he uses he calls "hypostases": biological, ecclesial, eucharistic, etc. If you were to read his bible Being as Communion, you could have possibly noted that. In his thought, hypostases come and go depending on the mood of the individual (person) in the morning. Does anyone know any patristic reference to "modes of existence" being called "hypostases"? So... Consequently, as per his thought, in the Holy Three, we have three "modes of existence". How was this historical Trinitarian heresy being called? Please remind me... Cebactokpatop 12:50, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
Yes, in St Maximus Confessor. Taking up language first used by the Cappadocians in discussing the person (hypostasis), human or divine, the Confessor distinguishes between what a person is and how he is. He employs a distinction between logos (which is unchangeable) and the tropos (his hypostasis, which is changeable). To acknowledge that the Persons are modes of existence is not the same thing as Modalism. No one who read the Metropolitan and his vigorous argument against Sabellianism could imagine him to be saying that! But if one wishes to say that this makes the Metropolitan a heretic, then that entails saying St Maximus is a heretic. Ignorance – even invincible ignorance – is not an excuse for throwing around charges of heresy. --Fr Lev 14:34, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
Quote: "To acknowledge that the Persons are modes of existence is not the same thing as Modalism." Show me how it isn't. Also, show me where St. Maximus equates "modes of existence" with hypostases. Thank you. Cebactokpatop 17:37, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
Cebactokpatop, according to Metropolitan John, one enters the ecclesial mode of being through baptism into Christ (see Being as Communion, p. 53). And a person does not come to be or cease to be baptized into Christ 'depending on the mood of the individual (person) in the morning'. It looks to me like you are deliberately mischaracterizing Zizioulas' position here.
I just wonder why someone who clearly knows as little about Orthodox theology are you do would spend as much time as you do trying (very unsuccessfully, I may add) to vilify an Orthodox Metropolitan whose thought you clearly do not understand? I wonder what motivates you? It is certainly not love for the truth. Seminarist 21:35, May 9, 2008 (UTC)

The Neopatristic Revival

One of the great ironies of this back and forth has been the characterization of a number of important Orthodox theologians in the West as “modernist” or under the influence of Jewish or Western philosophers. Perhaps the most important commonality of Lossky, Zizioulas, Yannaras, Meyendorff, Schmemann, Florovksy, Romanides, and Staniloae was/is their commitment to a “return to the Fathers.” For a great deal of time, Greek and Russian theology languished under a “western captivity” in which Orthodox theologians abandoned patristics in favor of Roman scholasticism. Of these, the most influential has always been Lossky, in whom I was initiated thirty years ago when I first read The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. (BTW, ‘Eastern’ was not part of Lossky’s original title but was inserted at the insistence of an editor.) As it has been described by Aidan Nichols, “This study, with its identification an existentialist and personalist slant to the patristic dogmatics of, especially, Gregory of Nyssa and Maximus Confessor, soon acquired the status of a classic.” --Fr Lev 17:50, May 6, 2008 (UTC)

Please do not mix Fr. Florovsky with the reas to of the "team". Although, several of his stances were problematic, he was Orthodox theologian, apart and far from those that came out of Paris school. The "team" misused him, and now many think how he is part of the "team". He is not. Cebactokpatop 20:12, May 7, 2008 (UTC)
On the contrary, Florovsky is united with Lossky, Schmemann, Meyendorff, Romanides, Yannaras and Zizioulas in calling for a return to patristic theology, rather than to continue with the religious philosophy of Bulgakov and Berdiaev, or to acquiesce in the redundant repetition of nineteenth-century Russian seminary theology (cf. Pomazansky's Orthodox Dogmatic Theology). Seminarist 13:52, May 8, 2008 (UTC)
It is well known that names you mentioned (except Fr. Florovsky) use such "call" to disguise their inventions and parade them as patristic. Cebactokpatop 14:32, May 8, 2008 (UTC)
It is not well known, becuase it is not correct. Anyway, it is clear that you do not understand Orthodox theology well enough to be making such claims. Seminarist 21:22, May 8, 2008 (UTC)

revising the Lossky sentence

Clearly, Fr John was not himself claiming that "to differ from Lossky" is to differ from the Fathers; he was trying to state what the reviser believes. The statement before was ambiguous, so I have edited it to make clear Fr John's intent. --Fr Lev 18:57, May 8, 2008 (UTC)

Oh Lord... He can read Fr. John's mind! Cebactokpatop 20:09, May 8, 2008 (UTC)
Cebactokpatop, please don't remove a citation needed tag without providing the reference. Seminarist 21:09, May 8, 2008 (UTC)

I assume that Fr John is monitoring this page and that he will correct me if I have drawn a bad inference from his comments. --Fr Lev 23:16, May 8, 2008 (UTC)

Turcescu's Misreading of Zizioulas

Turcescu criticizes the Metropolitan on the question of person versus individual by indicating that St Gregory of Nyssa sometime uses ἄτομον (atomon) “to express the notion of the person.” Of the Cappadocians, only St Gregory uses atomon as equivalent to hypostasis or prosopon. So one could stop here and say that only one of the Cappadocians followed a usage contrary to the Metropolitan’s reading. But that would still leave a misimpression. For if one thought that St Gregory was saying atomon as predicated of human persons could be predicated of divine persons simpliciter, we would be left with the heresy of tritheism. But St Gregory was not foolish, which is why he never said any such thing. The other Fathers (Cappadocian or otherwise) never run the risk of confusing someone (such as Turcescu and his fervent disciple, Cebactokpatop) by using atomon as equivalent to person. While we find the Orthodox confession of three hypostaseis or three prosopa, nowhere in Orthodox theology do we find the confession of three atoma. Thus Turcescu’s criticism of the Metropolitan’s refusal to equate atomon with either prosopon or hypostasis can only by employed in a defense of tritheism. While at no point on these pages has Cebactokpatop ever read someone else’s posts charitably, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and not infer that he is arguing for tritheism. And if I am right about his intent (I am no mind reader, as he pointed out), then he needs to consider revising his support of Turcescu’s argument. --Fr Lev 00:40, May 9, 2008 (UTC)

Fr. Lev, please feel free to expand on the content of the responses to Turcescu's article. It would be nice to see a summary of Behr's criticism there as well. — FrJohn (talk) 02:59, May 21, 2008 (UTC)

Who believes that 'to differ from Lossky is to differ from patristic theology'???

Could someone please provide references of some individual or group within Orthodoxy who believes that to differ from Lossky's theology is to differ from patristic theology??? I am not aware of anyone who holds this ridiculous position except Cebactokpatop. If no-one except Cebactokpatop holds this view then this sentence should be struck from the article, as Orthodoxwiki is not about providing a platform for the idiosyncratic views of one editor. Seminarist 21:14, May 8, 2008 (UTC)

It would be benfitial if you would stop turning the article back into the state before the intervention of Fr. John. Since he has last word in any dispute, your constant "little-by-little" changes are annoying and childish. Cebactokpatop 17:46, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
The original, and the new edit, is ungrammatical as well as misleading. --Fr Lev 18:28, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
You are welcome to turn "ungrammatical" into "grammatical" without changing the meaning. However, your assertion that it is "misleading" tells me you are not capable of doing it. So better don't. Thank you. Cebactokpatop 19:40, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
Friends, I'm sorry for not monitoring this better. I think Fr. Lev's edits are helpful here -- I was really confused by what "implies criticism" meant - and I couldn't be the one to clarify this, not having read the article. If the article is merely pointing out differences in understanding, I think it deserves a place in the footnotes here, but I'm not sure it's really significant that some people are using it to roundly condemn Zizioulas unless we can really cite references for the academic dialogue.
Cebactokpatop, I also want to warn you that your comments are unnecessarily strident and aggressive. We need to have some trust in the editing process and try to give other editors the benefit of the doubt. Please tone down the rhetoric.
About Lossky, it is interesting to see the influence of existentialism here too. I don't see him (not nec. for this reason) as representing a canonical interpretation of patristic theology. — FrJohn (talk) 19:51, May 9, 2008 (UTC)

Consensus straw poll

Who here believes that it can be clearly shown that the Mainstream Chalcedonian churches (the explicit bias of OrthodoxWiki) regard Metr. John as heterodox (i.e., a heretic)? —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 21:11, May 9, 2008 (UTC)

  • You can place my vote firmly against such an idea. --Fr Lev 21:31, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
  • I must also resolutely vote against a notion so ridiculous. Seminarist 21:37, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
  • So far against that, IMHO, the question borders on being rhetorical (albeit a necessary question, given the circumstances). — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 21:58, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
Friends, I'm not sure this is really necessary. It is often said that the Church is not a democracy. For our purposes (re: bias), I suspect it is enough to ask questions such as "Has such a person or such ideas been formally condemned by a local or ecumenical synod?"
Many theologians are (every theologian is?) controversial. The intensity of debate shows, in my mind, the deep sense of responsibility people have in the engagement and can be a useful tool for diagnosing the larger patterns of tension within the Orthodox world. OrthodoxWiki certainly should not (except perhaps in extreme circumstances) label any Orthodox bishop "heterodox" or a "heretic," but neither do we need to defend his theology against all critics. I would like to continue to push simply toward "objective" statements rather than evaluative statements -- the who, what, where, when, and why which befits an encyclopedic undertaking. — FrJohn (talk)

Oh, Father, how we have tried! The point has been made ad nauseum that no synod has sugested, much less concluded, that Metropolitan John's teaching is heterodox. Since creating the article, I've tried to edit it with encylopedic neutrality. The trouble has been one person's irresistible urge to villify the Metropolitan, and to twist sources that are praising the Metropolitan (such as Leithart and Papanikolaou) into negative criticism. The choir appreciates the sermon, but I think only one chorister is flat! --Fr Lev 23:52, May 9, 2008 (UTC)

The Church is of course not a democracy, but I do think that straw polls are useful in terms of trying to analyze and establish consensus on OrthodoxWiki articles. I don't think anyone here is arguing that this article should be utterly free from mention of criticism, but I do think there's generally a consensus that the way one editor has been going about adding it has been 1) unacceptable in its approach to collaboration (i.e., essentially none), 2) reflecting a basic lack of understanding of Orthodox theology and terminology, and 3) reflecting a lack of willingness to respect the official OrthodoxWiki bias. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 00:01, May 10, 2008 (UTC)

If I may add a point here: Just as the Church is not a democracy, neither is OrthodoxWiki an anarchy. Cebactokpatop is destroying the environment necessary for constructive and collaborative editing through his rude, ignorant and disruptive editing. I am shocked that a blind eye has been turned to the gravely insulting remarks Cebactokpatop has made to clergy contributing on OrthodoxWiki. He is an editor who has been repeatedly warned, yet shows absolutely no change in behaviour. Having a collaborative environment is not only about permitting a variety of viewpoints; it is also about protecting that environment from abuse. At present, Cebactokpatop has single-handedly destroyed the collaborative environment of OrthodoxWiki (at least as far as the John Zizioulas article is concerned): constructive edits are blocked and reverted, whilst the talk-page is filled up with incivil discourse, peppered with Cebactokpatop's beligerent theological illiteracy. Cebactokpatop has made it clear that he is not interested (or capable?) of constructive editing here. As such, there is only one way to restore the collaborative environment necessary for OrthodoxWiki to flourish, and that is to ban Cebactokpatop. Seminarist 00:19, May 10, 2008 (UTC)

Just to respond to a small point in that message - I don't think I would be terribly out of line by putting forward that a blind eye hasn't been turned to insulting remarks, whether against clergy or otherwise, particularly since at least half of those remarks have been made towards various sysops. — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 03:11, May 10, 2008 (UTC)
Well, Cebactokpatop is a thug, and the sysops should be putting a stop to his thuggery, instead of continuing to allow him to disrupt constructive editing on OrthodoxWiki. Seminarist 14:39, May 10, 2008 (UTC)

Italia Ortodossa

In a link to an article in the Italian journal being cited as a source of criticism, we find the following claim: "This explains why orthodox people cannot help defining western Christianity as 'Arian'." This does not represent mainstream Orthodox criticism of the West. There are many things to say about deficiencies in Western theology, but this wholesale condemnation of the West as "Arian" is an expression of a fringe belief. The same article claims, "The same concept of 'Church - Eucharist' is also found in the Russian theologian Afanasieff, but it is typically western." This betrays an almost complete ignorance of the history of Western ecclesiology, which in fact has not focused on the Eucharist. Moreover, the style of the magazine is polemical and vicious. An example from the same article: "we must state that Zizioulas’ s theological style and argumentation can be proven deceitful, as he often stands too far from the truth/" Calling the Metropolitan deceitful is not criticism, academic or otherwise. It is libelous. As such, it has no place in this encyclopedia article. --Fr Lev 17:04, May 13, 2008 (UTC)

I've addressed part of this in an archived part of this talk page: it is impossible to describe the West as being 'Arian' - the filioque clause alone forbids it! As unsound as it may be for other reasons, it does ensure that arianism is entirely rejected. — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 21:14, May 13, 2008 (UTC)
I've reverted the re-addition of the link—as noted multiple times elsewhere, it's essentially just polemical screed. It doesn't qualify by our research standard for controversial issues, i.e., it is not a "reliable, third-party source." —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 12:45, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Just because you do not share opinions expressed in the article of that magazine, it does not justify your unauthorized removal of that valid academic criticism. Orthodox criticism of the West is not always expressed in such an openly manner, as in the subject article, but, one who knows the state of the faith in the West would agree with the magazine. Fact that Westerners have difficulties with so common Orthodox confession of The Faith: "Christ our God", and most of the time replace it with "Christ our Lord" speaks for itself. Besides, the magazine editorial staff live in the West, surrounded by the Western Christianity, and are on that basis fully eligible to provide their stance on the matter. Cebactokpatop 12:49, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with whether we agree with the contents of the link or not—it's that the link is essentially unreliable polemic. If it were a reasoned, reliable source, then it might warrant inclusion, no matter what opinions it expressed. There are many such links and sources cited on OrthodoxWiki—content with which we may disagree but is of the requisite quality and notability as to be included.
I am somewhat amazed at the argument you present here for the Italia Ortodossa depiction of Western Christianity as "Arian," namely that they live in the West! Living in the West does not make one educated in Western theology. In any event, the overwhelming majority of Western Christians I know have no problem whatsoever with the phrase "Christ our God" and believe in it wholeheartedly. I have lived my whole life in Western culture and in the company of Western Christians (with the exception of 5 years on Guam). That doesn't make me an expert, either, of course, but I think it should be enough to debunk the notion that the West is entirely Arian. In fact, only a tiny minority could be said to be Arian, e.g., Jehovah's Witnesses.
It's precisely that sort of unwarranted and quite frankly ignorant assertion which shows that Italia Ortodossa is an unreliable source. Please do not keep reverting the article in defiance of pretty much all the other editors' clear consensus. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 13:01, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Details about "theological education" of the editorial staff of that magazine was provided earlier, and you have no grounds for removal on that basis. It is your private disagreement with the article that is putting you on this unjustified quest. Cebactokpatop 13:08, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
One could have a dozen Ph.D.s and twice as many D.D.s, but it doesn't mean that what one writes is worthy of being quoted in an encyclopedia. I know of no serious, reliable theologian, East or West, who contends that Western Christianity is Arian. Confirmations of Jesus Christ as God are replete in their Creeds and doctrinal statements.
This really is going nowhere. The consensus on this matter is clear—the link should not be included. (By the way, one could just as easily say that it is your own agreement with the contents of the link which has, in the face of overwhelming opposition from sysops and other longstanding editors, across multiple wikis, set you on a quest to discredit Metr. John!)
I'm protecting the article once again. All changes for the time being will have to be discussed here on the Talk page, consensus determined, and then added in by a sysop. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 13:12, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
You are abusing your sysop's powers. We have seen that before. Nothing new. And even worse, you are going to do it again, and again, until revoked from your account.
What consensus you are talking about? We do not have consensus on the magazine. If you think that you and other followers of JZ can "vote" (as you already did) and call that "consensus", you are badly mistaken. That is not consensus. Cebactokpatop 13:22, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Consensus is not equal to unanimity. Should one editor (i.e., you) be allowed to dominate an article even in the face of nearly universal opposition, despite being shown repeatedly how your edits and behavior on the wiki do not conform to established standards? You've been shown again and again how your attempts to discredit Metr. John in this article are ill-founded and baseless, yet instead of working to provide reliable, third-party sources, you repeatedly restore a link to a badly written, undocumented screed which makes such ridiculous assertions as claiming that all of Western Christianity is Arian.
No one is claiming that we all must agree with what Metr. John writes or that this article should include no mention of criticism of his works. Rather, what is being called for is that inclusion of criticism be done in the correct manner—reflecting the correct balance of how he is actually regarded in the mainstream Orthodox world and where criticism is mentioned, that it be cited from appropriately reliable, third-party sources.
Yet you will revert or otherwise change any edit which does not agree with your basic assumption that a bishop who has never even been formally accused of heresy (much less declared one) is in fact a heretic. On top of all that, I have seldom encountered a more persistently uncivil editor as yourself, willing to level all sorts of accusations against anyone who does not facilitate your quest. Having your editing privileges restored by FrJohn does not make any edit you make worthy of retention in the wiki.
The article has been protected to prevent an edit war—this affects all users, whether they agree with you or not. It is standard practice to protect an article when it is being subject to an edit war. You are of course free to accuse me of abuse of my sysop privileges if you like. As always, I leave that to FrJohn to determine. I will note that I am not the first sysop to protect this article because of an edit war which you incited, which is why I strongly suspect that, even if I were not exercising my duties as a sysop, one of the other sysops would. In the meantime, the article is protected as before. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 13:40, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
You are forgetting that it is Fr. John who has put the article up, and I was preventing your unauthorized edits only. Thus, your whole story above is in deep err, and further portrays your inability to successfully act as sysop. Your lacking of skills to properly assess the situation can't be more obvious. Cebactokpatop 13:49, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Oh, it can always be more obvious!  :) I make no special claim to wisdom or skill, but it is standard procedure to protect an article subject to an edit war. Anyway, Fr. John did not "put the article up." He's simply attempting to mediate its contents, though he's also made it clear that his ability to dedicate time to doing so is limited. That a particular portion was included in an edit he made does not mean that he wrote that portion or approves of everything in it. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 13:53, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Even IF he does not approve everything in it, he allows it in the article, out of his understanding of the validity of other opinions, while you obviously do NOT. You created edit war and you "protected" article from that edit war. How do we call this? Cebactokpatop 14:20, May 15, 2008 (UTC)

Here's the actual sequence of events for those observing:

  1. The link was much discussed and generally disapproved of, except by you.
  2. Fr. Lev posted a more detailed criticism of the link's inclusion.
  3. Pistevo agreed with it.
  4. Fr. Lev removed the link and the text surrounding it.
  5. You reverted Fr. Lev's edit, restoring the link, claiming that it was approved of by Fr. John.
  6. I reverted your reversion, returning to the version as edited by Fr. Lev.
  7. You again reverted the edit, restoring the link, claiming that it was approved of by Fr. John.
  8. I returned the article to the state as edited by Fr. Lev and attempted to convince you not to revert it again.
  9. You again reverted the edit, restoring the link, claiming that it was approved of by Fr. John (totaling 3 reverts in about 31 minutes).
  10. I again returned the article to the state as edited by Fr. Lev and then protected it, noting why on this talk page and noting that all changes would need to be discussed and brought to a consensus first.
  11. You accuse me of abusing my powers as a sysop and everyone who disagrees with you of being a "follower" of Metr. John.

So, that's how I would characterize what occurred and what is essentially recorded in all the relevant logs. I'm not going to bother attempting to argue with you further, since I'm well past the point of being convinced that it's futile. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 15:22, May 15, 2008 (UTC)

You are misleading the readers again. Nothing new from your side. What you numbered above is your biased private opinion, and nothing more than that. Cebactokpatop 15:28, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Far from it. The numbered list is clearly an accurate summary of events.
It is clear that Cebactokpatop is utterly incapabe of responding rationally and constructively to anyone who expresses disagreement with his positions and/or actions. Instead, time after time, he resorts to abuse, insult and general thuggery. He does not understand the issues (e.g. he does not understand why someone who claims that Western Christianity is Arian cannot be considered a reliable academic source), and yet it too brutish and pig-ignorant to heed the advice of others. There is something poisonous and devilish in his incessant desire to discredit Metropolitan John. (After all, why does someone who clearly doesn't understand Metropolitan John's theology want so much to discredit him on bogus grounds???) It is inappropriate OrthodoxWiki to allow him to continue to abuse both OrthodoxWiki itself and its other contributors. Time after time we have seen that Cebactokpatop is an ignorant thug, who should be banned. Seminarist 20:45, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Just as a note: When engaged in disagreement on the wiki, it's fine to characterize the behavior of others in a negative fashion without characterizing the person himself in that way. We do not know whether Cebactokpatop is incapable of responding rationally and constructively or whether he is "an ignorant thug." So please, let's keep things civil, even when strongly tempted otherwise. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 11:11, May 16, 2008 (UTC)
You are, of course, entirely correct. I was, upon the basis of the principle that it is out of the heart that the mouth speaks, simply drawing an inference from Cebactokpatop's many displays of ignorance, thuggishness and inability to respond rationally and constructively. Of course, should he in the future display a dramatic change of learning, civility and rational-constructive response, then I will be very happy to modify my judgement. But in the meantime (and I have every reason to believe that the mean will be a long time), let me retract my previous comment and say instead: Cebactokpatop has consistently behaved in an ignorantly thuggish manner; he has shown abolutely no sign of changing his attitude, and accordingly should be banned. The longer it is until he is banned, the more damage is done to OrthodoxWiki, since he is preventing constructive edits and the constructive development of articles. Seminarist 15:24, May 16, 2008 (UTC)
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