Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Ecclesial Symphonia

Symphonia is the name of a certain Byzantine understanding of how the political authority and the ecclesial authority work together, collaborate, for the glory of God. But I think maybe symphonia can be used to name a model of how the Christian faithful and their clergy act together, not with respect to evangelization or the sacramental life or witnessing to the world, but to ensure mutual accountability. We don't have to take it as far as the German synod seems to want to go, but enough that respects the sensus fidelium of the laity so that they can defend orthodoxy in their communities.

Ultimately, using symphonia to describe the life of the Church, especially with regards to the interaction between the Christian faithful with their presbyters and bishops, may ultimately be no longer necessary. Perhaps some day we will understand that this is what κοινωνία, communio entails in this world. Then again, maybe there is a better word for mutual accountability than symphonia.

"St. Joseph the Hesychast and the Jesus Prayer"

Latins Should Rediscover Their Iconographic Traditions

NLM: The Roman Basilica of St Pudentiana by Gregory DiPippo

A commentor notes that the title "episcopa" is given to Pope St Paschal I's mother in one of the mosaics. The pope's sisters are also depicted in the mosaic, but they must have already passed away when the mosaic was made. Was the mosaic commissioned by the pope? This is evidence of female ordination, when there are no historical documents to back up the claim? More likely than not, someone, perhaps the pope, was exercising filial piety towards his mother, though some may think he went too far and put her on a pedestal. Or it may have been a joke.

The author of the post writes in the combox:
[T]he names of the orders with the feminine termination (“episcopa”, “presbytera”) were and still are used as honorifics for the female relatives of clergymen. I have a number of friends who are married Greek-Catholic priests, and their wives are often called “presbytera.” At the time this mosaic was made, it was the custom that if the Pope’s mother were alive, she would have a special seat in the place where the women of the nobilty sat at the solemn Masses on certain feast days, and preside, so to speak, over the women’s court.

Adam DeVille