Common Ground


Jordan Bajis



The Meaning and Importance of
Catholicity and the Local Church

In this chapter we will press for a clearer image of the Church by examining the Local Church. In order to grasp the early Christian meaning of the Local Church, however, we must first understand another commonly misunderstood term: catholicity. The concept of catholicity holds a great deal of importance for the Church today because a proper understanding of catholicity can erase many popular misconceptions regarding the Church's nature.


Beyond "Universal"

To many Fundamentalists-Evangelicals, the word catholic is simply an abbreviation for Roman Catholic. The term catholic, however, can never be the property of a denomination. In fact, as I shall show in a moment, those who use it to segregate Christians from each other are actually contradicting its very meaning! The ancient Church understood catholicity to mean wholeness, fullness, integrity, and "totality." This is the primary meaning of the Greek word katholou (kaqolou), catholic.1

Another popular misunderstanding of the word catholic is "universal," as in, the church which exists throughout the world. This was not at all the early Christian understanding. The Church of the first centuries used the term as a synonym for the fullness of Truth, not as a geographical description. For example, Ignatius of Antioch (the first Christian father to use the word to explain the Church) states that the Church is catholic because in her assembly, the faithful welcome the presence of Christ in all His Truth. The idea of a universal Church, understood as being constituted by all "churches" throughout the world, never occurred to Ignatius.2

Actually, it was not until the Fifth Century – and then only in the West – that catholicity began to take on a geographic emphasis.3 For centuries, "catholicity" never implied the sum total of all individual local churches, but rather was a reference to the Church's inner being.4 Catholicity is a matter of the Church's inward unity in wholeness, not her outward administrative structure throughout the world. Indeed, if "catholic" meant universal, even the first Church in the Upper Room could not be considered catholic.5

Catholicity Means Identical Faith, Not Identical Form

If the Church is catholic in its very being, and not because of its existence as a world-wide structure,6 then it follows that the unity of the Church is realized through a shared Faith, and a shared life, not just a shared administration.7 The early Church did not believe that its doctrine was catholic because it existed everywhere, but because the very nature of Truth is catholic.8 Its unity was based on Truth, not on form or politics. The Church was one by virtue of its possessing the one, identical, and whole Faith of the Church, not because each Local Church submitted to a central bureaucratic structure.

Oftentimes many modern day Christians tend to think that doctrine is divisive, unnecessary, or even an obstacle to true Christian unity. But a catholic understanding of doctrine leads us to the exact opposite conclusion. Ignorance of the Truth and false beliefs are the hindrances to unity, not encouragements to it. Catholic Truth is whole and entire, and the unity of the church must reflect this reality. "Fundamentally ... there can never be any unity without truth or any truth without unity."9 As the presence of Christ in the Church is indivisible, so the Truth which He embodies within her is likewise indivisible. The Church is catholic precisely because it embodies all Truth and stands "opposed to all forms of particularism and sectarian separatism or heresy which would compromise the Truth." 10 "Unity is realized through participation in the one truth ... in Christ. "11



Catholicity cannot be squeezed into a denominational mold. The Church (not one particular denomination) sees and attests to what is of God, and bears witness to the Truth wherever it may be. The Spirit blows where He wills and He blows wherever a true witness of God's life is evident (1 Cor. 12: 3; 1 John 4: 2-6). Thus, a religious body that refuses to recognize the Spirit outside of its administrative borders is not a catholic expression of the Church: it is a denomination. Or even worse: it is a sect.12

This compels us to again recognize the fundamental truth that the Church is not many, but One. There are no flavors of Christianity. No different shades of truth can co-exist in the Church. Denominations do not represent a "cereal assortment pack" of the Church, each one emphasizing its own special truth (e.g., the Baptists represent "Missionary Christianity," the Pentecostals the "Christianity of Spiritual Gifts," the "sacramental" Churches offer "Liturgical Christianity," etc.). Christianity is Christianity. Truth is Truth. And the Church is the (one) Church.13

It is a contradiction to God's presence and love within the Church to say Christianity can be cut up or denominated according to particular tastes or functions. We may see the Church as divided, but our perception does not always accurately reflect the true nature of the Church. Certainly Christ does not see His Body this way! He has one Body, not many.

All this is not to say that Truth cannot be expressed in a diversity of cultures, styles of worship, or even theological systems, for it certainly can be, and in fact is. But this does not mean that Truth is relative to culture or anything else, only that various cultures can be used of God to speak the one same Truth to a variety of peoples. The catholicity of the Church encourages both the unity of faith, and at the same time, Spirit-inspired diversity. Catholic diversity, however, neither contradicts the one Truth nor divides the one Church. Denominationalism, on the other hand, gives the impression that the Church could be divided and that contradictory doctrines are acceptable in the Church, thus denominationalism encourages neither unity nor diversity !14

Catholicity refuses to restrict the life of the Church to any one time or place in history (i.e. New Testament times, the Middle Ages, Reformation Europe, the Counter-reformation, etc.). Catholicity implies a unity with the past (in the Faith of the Apostles) and a unity with the future (the Second Coming).15 To fragment the Church's life and experience as if the real Church were only in the past (30 - 100 A.D.), in heaven, or found on the Last Day, is to deny the Church's intrinsic catholicity (wholeness).16 As Christ is both within and beyond time, so is His Church. "The catholic nature of the Church is seen most vividly in the fact that the experience of the Church belongs to all times."17

Christ's Catholicity and Our Task

Plainly stated, the Church is catholic because Christ is catholic. "The Church is catholic, because it is the one Body of Christ; it is union in Christ, oneness in the Holy Ghost–and this unity is the highest wholeness and fullness."18 St. Ignatius wrote "Wherever Christ is, there is the catholic Church"19 because Christ's presence within His Body will– and does now – unite us and all creation into wholeness and totality (Eph. 1:9, 10). By His uniting everything and all peoples in His Church, the fragmenting power of sin, satan, and the Fall are overcome in Christ's catholic nature. In Jesus Christ, all will be re-united and healed. When Jesus gathered and united a people from the diversity of humanity and culture, He performed a truly "catholic act." No longer is there any "distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman." Now, in the Church's catholicism, "Christ is all, and in all" (Col. 3:11).20

Christ's presence in the Church, however, does not automatically manifest the Church's catholic nature among us. "Catholicity has been given to the Church; [but] its achievement is the Church's task."21 We have a necessary part to play. Although the Church's inherent catholicity is founded in Christ and is not dependent upon our behavior, our experience and participation in His catholicity does demand our active co-operation. What does this mean?

Each is called to reveal Christ's wholeness, love, and redemption within the Church, and then to bring that catholicity into the world by loving as Christ loves. This inner "catholic consciousness" of the Church will only be revealed when her members take steps of faith, and when they open their lives to one another in heart and mind. Such an active Catholic Community will have no "barriers," whether they be national, regional, racial, sexual, economic, cultural, or social. All these divisions will be overcome by God's love.

There is another aspect of living a catholic life, and that is committing oneself to follow the Truth wherever it might lead. Within the catholic Church, in fellowship with one's brethren, each must take the responsibility to experience Truth in spirit, mind, and action. It is not possible for "someone else" to know the Truth for us (i.e. a Sunday School teacher, our pastor, a professional theologian). Each must make the Truth his own to be consciously catholic. Each must study, each must pursue Truth, each must give his heart in Christian discipleship.

It is the same with the responsibility to love. Catholic unity will be demonstrated only when each person works both to give and to receive love. This personal, responsible love manifests the Church's catholicity as nothing else can. In this love, Truth will be perceived, shared and lived in a catholic manner (Eph. 3: 17-20).22 This again reiterates the truth that love and doctrine are inseparable, for one's experience of God's Truth directly corresponds to his ability to give and receive love in catholic communion.23 Christ does not disclose Himself in one's self-imposed isolation, but in an environment of giving, sharing, receiving, and communion. In this context alone is the character of God revealed.24



To more fully understand what we mean by the Catholic Church, let us now define exactly what we mean by the term "Church." The word originates from the Greek word ekklesia (ekklhsia), those who have been "called out" from among others to form a union. The word is also often used synonymously for our English word gathering. In ancient Greece, the ekklesia was descriptive of the political assembly where all full citizens were called out to decide upon fundamental political and juridical issues.25 In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament), the word was used as a rendering of the Hebrew word Qahal (Judges 20:2; Deut 18:16; Num. 1:16). The Qahal was the gathering which represented the whole nation of Israel (Deut 9:10; Ex. 19:20; Acts 7:38), placing "a special emphasis on the ultimate unity of the Chosen People, conceived as a sacred wholeŠ".26

The authors of the New Testament adopted aspects of each of these meanings, but it was primarily the Old Testamental understanding of Qahal that they favored in their depiction of the Christian Church. It was this emphasis which led the first Christians to see the Church as "first of all the organic continuity of the two Covenants."27 The Qahal, as a community of people united to God and one another in the Old Testament, was understood as a type for the ekklesia in the New (1 Pet. 2:9).28 It was this covenanted community of God's people that the Lord Himself had in mind when He spoke of the Ekklesia - the Church.29

The Ekklesia As a Gathering In "The Name"

The revelation of God's Name in the Old Testament as YHWH revealed something distinctly "personal" about the character of God. Chiefly it disclosed the Lord's intimate identification with Israel as a people ... as Qahal. God's relationship with Israel was unique; only Israel personally knew the Lord as YHWH; His Name was the special property of God's covenant people, for God bound Himself to Israel in a way which no other nation knew.

The covenantal significance of His name has not passed away with time. The Name of YHWH - the name which reveals that God gives Himself to a people - still holds a great deal of importance for the New Covenant Christian. Each believer's identification with Jesus (Aramaic for "YHWH is salvation") designates him or her as a member of God's people, those who personally know God in covenant. Like his or her counterpart in the Old Testament, a Christian knows God within a covenanted people (Eph. 2:12, 13), just as the individual Jew was known in Israel. The New Testament Christian is now part of "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession " (1 Peter 2:9).?

It would have been a contradiction for an Old Testament believer to say he had committed his life to YHWH but was aloof from Israel (The Qahal). Likewise it would have been inconsistent for a Christian in New Testament times to affirm his commitment to Christ yet refuse membership within the Church (ekklesia) of his town. A person did not "come to Christ" (know the Name of Jesus), by merely making a private decision. The nature of covenant was constant in both Old and New Testaments in this respect: it was never something which existed solely between God and the individual believer. If one was covenanted to God in the Name (YHWH/Jesus), he was also covenanted to his fellow covenantors - and joined himself to a covenant people.

This leads us to a stunning conclusion. If one wants to be a Christian and yet does not want to be a part of an ekklesia a people, i.e. the Church – he cannot be one. Christianity is, in its very nature, covenantal and communal.30 Christ established the Church in the covenant of His blood and we accept what He offered in His covenant (Heb. 12:24). To ignore the ramifications of Christ's covenant is to build on a different foundation than Christ (1 Cor. 3:11).

What is most significant for a right understanding of Jesus' view of the church is that God dealt with a community rather than with isolated individuals.31 We can neither separate ourselves from others, nor casually gather together as an uncommitted body of individuals, and still say that we are living New Covenant Christianity. To gather "in the Name" necessitates that we gather as a covenanted people.

The Ekklesia and The Significance of Covenant

We can better understand the impossibility of "Christian individualism" by taking a closer look at the meaning of covenant. Both Old and New Testament senses of the word communicate the idea of "binding together." The word for covenant in the Hebrew, beriut means "to fetter." The Greek New Testament equivalent is diatheeke (diaqhkh), the word is often translated testament. Diatheeke connotes the idea of a "contract" or "a pledge to another upon one's death." This latter conception is perhaps the best of all translations of the word.

In the Old Testament we see a foreshadowing of what Christ has done for us through covenant. A covenant was the vehicle used to establish "family-like" relationships between agreeing parties.32 Similarly, in the covenant given to us by Christ, we have been made a family. We have become brothers with Christ and one another, joint members of "God's household."33 In the early years of the Church it was this brotherhood which was most observable in the Local Church, and it attracted many to Christ's love and peace. The unbeliever saw that it was in covenant brotherhood that the peace of God's family could be known.34

Ignatius rightly discerned each Christian gathering (the Local Church) as a focus of covenant solidarity. He expressed this most powerfully in his seeing the Eucharist as the central feature of each local church. In his letters, Ignatius uses the Greek phrase epi to afto (epi to auto) as an equivalent for "assembly", or "unite" (as "to unite in prayer").35 In each usage he refers to the Eucharistic assembly. From this we can surmise that his usage of the phrase, and the meaning it held for him–the Eucharistic-covanental gathering of the Church–was that of the Christians in the New Testament period (After all, their era was his era [30-107 AD].). With this background, it becomes all the more clear that when the New Testament uses the Greek phrase epi to afto (which literally translates to come together "on the same place"), it also bears Eucharistic significance.36 The implications of this will be more fully discussed in the chapter on the Eucharist, but our major point here is that the Eucharist was the expression of Christ's covenant and as such was the "gathering in the Name."

This insight gives us a clearer understanding of the nature of the Church. The issue is not just coming together,37 but "when you come together as a church " (1 Cor. 11: 18). As Israel was God's people because Yahweh was present among them in the covenanted Qahal, so now Christ's covenant makes Him present in a unique manner within the ekklesia, the gathered people of God.38 In this respect, each Local Church reflects the whole (Catholic) Church.


Given this background of catholicity, let us now look into the last statement more fully: the whole Church resides within one specific Local body. Many are puzzled by such a statement because they see the Church as a composite, administrative string of "churches," not as the united spiritual organism she actually is. The Eastern minded Christian maintains that "the Church in its fullest manifestation is not found in some distant and exalted state of existence, but rather in the Local Church."39 The Scriptures make it plain that the Local and the 'universal' Church represent the same spiritual reality (Phil. 3:6; 1 Cor. 10:32; Eph. 5:23, 27, 29). How can this be? Just as an individual person is not "a slice" of humanity but a full expression of it, so also the Local Church is not a slice of the Church, but her fullness. Let me illustrate this by focusing in on six ways the Local Church demonstrates to us what it means to be the Church.

(1) The Nature of The Church's Catholicity

The Local Church is a true representation and manifestation of the one Church which exists in many places because each Local Church is catholic in its full expression of the Faith, teaching, life, and communion. In fact, the phrase "catholic Church" was applied almost exclusively to the Local Church within the first three centuries.40 The notion of a mystical (i.e. invisible) Body of Christ as the Church was far from the New Testament writers' minds. Their usage of the term "Church" was primarily a reference to a specific, local, concrete, and visible assembly.41

The synagogue of New Testament times even mirrored this aspect of the Church's catholicity. Each one looked upon itself as a miniature of Judaism as a whole.42 Paul perceived the synagogue residing within each city as the local manifestation of the whole congregation of Israel. The Apostle, seeing each Christian Assembly as a microcosm of the whole ekklesia,43 naturally transferred this perspective to the Local Church.44 He did not get drawn into a frame of reference which falsely divided the Church into Local and Universal.45 Paul saw each Local Church like a full circle within a circle, every community being a concrete, specific expression of the whole Church. His salutations stand as revealing commentaries to this: 'the church of God which is at Corinth,' 'to the church of the Thessalonians'; 'the church in your house'..."46

(2) The Church As The Body of Christ

To ascribe anything less than wholeness to the Local Church would be to deny that the Body of Christ is present in each assembly. The Local Church is "catholic" by virtue of each Local Community being Christ's Body existentially. EACH assembly shares in HIS unity. EACH assembly shares in HIS catholicity. As we stated before, when St. Ignatius wrote in 100 A.D. to the Church of Smyrna that "Wherever Christ Jesus is, there is the catholic Church", he was making a reference to the fullness of Christ's indivisible Body as it existed within each Local Church.47 The Body of Christ is in, with, and among each assembly.48 This truth creates no tension between local and universal in the Church's catholicity.

(3) The EUCHARIST Makes The LOCAL Church Truly Church

Although I will take up the subject more extensively in later chapters, the meaning and significance of the Eucharist is so central an understanding of the Church that I must briefly mention some things about it now. The third reason each local community is the whole (catholic) Body of Christ, is that each community celebrates the Eucharist. In this celebration, the Body of Christ is revealed, not just by "symbols" of Bread and Wine, but, by that people of God, that particular gathering. Wherever the Eucharist is, there is the "whole" (catholic) Christ with the "whole" (catholic) Church. For this reason - that Christ is present within the specified assembly - all theology about the Church in the East is rooted in the Local Church.

The Church exists universally only because it exists Locally. The "universal" Church can only be manifest in the Local Church,49 because the Eucharist can only be celebrated Locally. And it is the Eucharistic assembly, as the Body of Christ, which makes the Local Church transcend its geographical limitations. The foundation for this is seen in Paul's very description of the Church as "the body of Christ" (1 Cor. 12:27).50 In fact, it is reasonable to assume that the very phrase "body of Christ" had its origin in the Eucharistic assembly: "In the Eucharist the body of Christians (to svma tvn Kristianwn) becomes the body of Christ (to swma tou Kristou)."51

The Local Assembly cannot be only a "part" of the Body of Christ. The Eastern Orthodox Churches of today emphasize this truth in a pattern of worship they still maintain. No more than one Eucharist can be celebrated in the same parish each day, and no minister can celebrate more than once each day. The purpose of this practice is to make it clear that the entire body of the Local Church (not just a segment of it) must be present in the gathering. A fragment of the body cannot manifest the reality of the one, whole Church gathered in the Eucharist. If this were the case, Christ would not be fully present within each celebration of the Eucharist–only parts of Him would be. And how can you have just a part of Christ's presence? We, as the Church, are the members of His Body, not members of His parts! Each Assembly manifests the whole Christ because each is united to the whole Christ. Paul did not greet "a part of the Church" that met in Aquila and Priscila's home, but "the Church" gathered there (Rom. 16:5). That local Body was just as much the Church as The Gathering of the Christians in Rome, or Thessalonika,52 or any other city where believers were assembled.

(4) The LOCAL Church's Equality With Every Other LOCAL Church

As can be concluded from the above, no Local Church or group of Local Churches could legitimately claim any right of rulership over other Local Churches. Just as no one Local Church can have more of the Eucharist, more of Christ, more of the covenant, or be more catholic than any other, so no one Local Church can be more Church than the others.53 Since Christ is equally present within each assembly, each sister Church equals all the others. The Eucharist shows each Local Church to be the embodiment of the all-encompassing Christ,54 and, therefore, it is impossible for any Local Church to be "governed" by anything or anyone else but Christ.55 Because Christ is within each Church, the primacy of the Church must be located within each Local Church.56

The Church councils in early Church history are powerful illustrations of the equality and unity which each Local Church shared. In these councils, the heads of each Christian community (as representatives of their respective assemblies), protected their Catholicity by making sure that they stood in harmony with the other Local Churches. Nothing could be concluded in a council without the unanimous consent of each overseer. Each bishop was understood to be each other bishop's peer.57 These councils were a demonstration of each Community's catholic expression of the Faith.

These Church councils were not standing bureaucratic structures of power, nor a religious board of directors. They were spontaneous events convened only when the Local Churches sensed a crucial need for them. Here, in the Church council, was the practical out-working of the Church which sees its existence both in the Local context and beyond. In essence, the council represented "the most official negation of the division between Local and universal...".58

(5) The LOCAL Church's Communion With The Church Elsewhere

The Local Church is not fully dependent upon another Local Church for its identity; however, neither can it ever be completely independent of it, for although the Local Church is the complete Church, it is only this because it is mutually joined and inseparable from the Church as it exists elsewhere in the world.59 No truly catholic Local Church can rightly see itself as "independent" from the others. Among them stands a relationship of inter - dependence. Alexander Schmemann, a professor of Eastern Orthodox theology, sums up the catholicity and inter-communion of the Church, and their manifestation among the Local Churches in this way:

...the Church manifests itself as a plurality of churches, each one of which is a part and a whole. It is because only in unity with all churches and in obedience to the universal Truth can it be the Church; yet it is also a whole because in each church by virtue of her unity with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church [i.e. catholicity], the whole Christ is present...60

This vision of the Local Churches being "part" yet "whole" – "many" but "one" – is reflected well in the life of the Trinity:

...we can thus say that, as the Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are not parts or portions of the Holy Trinity, as in each of them the entire Godhead is fully manifested, as each of them is true God and as neither Person is the Holy Trinity or identical with it, so in some similar way the fullness of the Catholic Church is manifested in all Local Churches which can be neither understood as 'portion' of the Universal nor simply identified with it.61

No One Person of the Trinity exists without the others. Similarly, the Local Church, like any Person of the Trinity, cannot exist unless it exists in relationship with the other Local Churches throughout the world. The Father is Father because of His relationship with the Son, and the Spirit; the Son is the Son because of His relationship with the Father and the Spirit; and the Spirit is the Spirit only because of His relationship with the Father and the Son. The Local Church exists as Church only because of its communal relationship with every other genuine Local Assembly which manifests Christ. As Each Divine Person's very being is communal so the Church is called to be a people of communion.62

Although the same intensity of communion cannot be realized by us, the Local Church is nevertheless called to somehow reflect the union of the Trinity with all other truly Catholic Churches (John 17:20-23). The Trinity, though Three Persons, is Unity because of their love for each other, in the same way each Local Church, though found in many different locations, is called to express its inherent "indivisibility" by love, interdependence, and selflessness.

Each Local Church is Church because each shares a unity in the one Christ and in the life of each other¹s local Community. If a Local Church begins to see herself exclusively and cuts herself off from the rest, she ceases to be the Church, and to break off her relationship with the complete body of Christ is to become mutated, to become only a "piece" of Christ, i.e. to become something which does not exist! ?

(6) The LOCAL Church As The Church In Identity of Faith

Finally, the Local Church is one and the same with every other local Body because of the common relationship each shares in Christ's Body. The Local Church as the Church means each "can and... must recognize in each other the same faith, the same fullness, and the same divine life."63 This identity is observable in the identical Faith which all genuine Churches demonstrate in life and in their communion in the Truth. It was for this reason Bishop Cyprian of Carthage (220-258 A.D) taught that each Local Church was identical with the other Local Churches, each local bishop being able to make Peter's confession of faith (Matt. 16:16).64

In the early centuries, the faith of one Local Church was identical with all the others, and only in this oneness of faith – not through some over-arching structure – was each united. A further illustration of "the identical faith" manifesting "the identical Church" was seen in the practice of each Local Church's refusal to consecrate any candidate for bishop unless other bishops from nearby local Communities also approved of his candidacy. This exercise is not to be misunderstood as saying that these ordaining bishops had power over the newly ordained, but merely that their testimony (again, as representatives of their respective Communities) witnessed to the fact that the faith of both the new overseer and the Community was identical with theirs, like testifying to like. If the Community's leadership, life, and witness were not in conformity with Apostolic practice, the Local Churches on its borders would not recognize it as one of theirs.


The Church is whole; it defies "denominating" and cannot be delineated in purely administrative terms. Christ's presence within the Local Assembly underscores the Church's innate wholeness. The Church is whole because Christ is whole. Its call to be catholic leads the Church both to embrace all Truth and to refuse all falsehood. The Church is fullness in Life, Love, and Communion, and is open to all who would be whole. It can not accommodate those who live in isolation and prejudice. In conclusion, every Christian has a mandate to discover and embrace the Church's oneness in her fulness and completeness. Only in this soil can the true unity of the Church be displayed.

The experience of Church takes place not at an evangelistic crusade or in a Bible study group (as good as these may be), but when Christians come together as an assembled people. The Church is communion with God and one's brethren, a reality which is to be realized and experienced in the Local Church. Here, in the the Covenant Assembly, believers are gathered in Jesus' Name and manifest their union with Christ and each other as His body. Here – in a specific place at a specific time with specific people – God's love is demonstrated in a way that is impossible universally or invisibly. When this vision of the Local Church is regained, the Church will once more be "the light of the world, a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden" (Matt. 5:14).

Common Ground: An Introduction to Eastern Christianity for the American Christian. Chapter 10.
Light and Life Publishing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1991


  1. "In the West, it [the word 'catholic'] was generally understood as 'universal.' However, if this was the meaning of the word, it is not quite clear..why the early Latin translators of the creeds [like the Nicean where it reads "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church"] kept in the text the Greek form catholica ecclesia instead of using universalis.....The reason for this phenomenon is that the various translators were aware of the difficulty of translating katholike by a single word in any language. If katholikos is ever to be translated by 'universal' it still does not have a geographical, but a philosophical, connotation [where it would mean "all-inclusive"]. As applied to the Church, 'catholic' first of all implies the idea of fullness : etymologically, it derives from the adverb katholon, "on the whole," opposed to kata meros, 'partially'." John Meyendorff, "The Orthodox Concept of the Church," St. Vladimir's Quarterly (Crestwood, New York, St. Vladimir's Press, 1962) Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 61

  2. "On the contrary, an identification of the whole Christ and the whole Church with the Local episcopal community constitutes a key idea in his thought." John Meyendorff, Joseph McLelland, eds., "The Eucharistic Community and the Catholicity of the Church, John D. Zizioulas, The New Man: An Orthodox and Reformed Dialogue, (New Jersey, Standard Press, 1973) p. 108 italics mine.

  3. "Only... during the struggle against the Donatists was the word 'catholica' used in the sense of 'universality' in opposition to the geographical provincialism of the Donatists." Georges Florovsky, Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View ( Belmont, MA., Nordland Publishing Company, 1972) p. 41

  4. "The term derived from the Greek kaq olou = kaqoliko meaning primarily wholeness, fullness, integrity not on the empirical but on the ontological plane." David Neiman and Margret Schatkin, eds., "Some Aspects of the Ecclesiology of Father Georges Vasilievich Florovsky," Peter A. Chamberas, The Heritage of the Early Church (Roma, Pont. Institutum Studiorum Orientalium) p. 423 ftnte 6

  5. "Ecumenical" is perhaps the closest concept to a universalistic understanding of catholicity, though it is still very distinct in that it is not referring to the "jurisdictional" or "administrative" manifestation of the Church. The word comes from the Greek oikoumene and means 'the inhabited earth' or 'the world community'. The oikoumene will one day realize the Kingdom of God in her being through Christ's redemptive power. He through whom God made all worlds will gather all things to Himself in His Body and offer it back to the Father so God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:25-28; Rom. 8: 19-23; Eph. 1:9,10, 22, 23).

  6. "When... the emphasis is placed on unity [and]... based upon the dogma of the Body of Christ, the result is Christocentrism in ecclesiology. The catholicity of the Church becomes a function of her unity, becomes a universal doctrine that absorbs in imposing itself, instead of being a tradition evident to everyone, affirmed by all, at all times and in all places, in an infinite richness of living witness. On the other hand, when the emphasis is placed on diversity at the expense of unity, there is a tendency to base catholicity exclusively on Pentecost, forgetting that the Holy Spirit was communicated in unity of the Body of Christ. The result is the disaggregation of the Church: the truth that is attributed to individual inspirations becomes multiple and therefore relative..." Vladimir Lossky, In The Image and Likeness of God, (Crestwood, New York, St. Vladimir's Press, 1974) p. 179

  7. "The idea of the visible Church and its unity has been prominent in the East since the time of Victor of Rome (A. D. 190) when, having attempted to excommunicate the Churches of Asia for keeping Easter after their own reckoning, he was reproved by Irenaeus for introducing into the Church the idea that a rigid uniformity, rather than a common faith, was the bond of union. In the West, however, Cyprian's conception of the Church was dominant. Although he regarded the church as a spiritual entity, he approached it with a practical and legalistic attitude, 'owing much to analogies borrowed from Roman Law and conditioned by the problems created by the Novatianist schism'." Methodios Fouyas, Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism (Oxford University Press, 1972) p. 117 citing J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, p. 294

  8. Vladimir Lossky, In The Image and Likeness of God, (Crestwood, New York, St. Vladimir's Press, 1974) p. 172

  9. Reinhard Slenczka, "Unity in the Truth or Truth in Unity?: The Significance and Purpose of Theological Discussion with the Eastern Church," WCC paper, 1975, p. 71

  10. David Neiman and Margret Schatkin, eds., "Some Aspects of the Ecclesiology of Father Georges Vasilievich Florovsky," Peter A. Chamberas, The Heritage of the Early Church (Roma, Pont. Institutum Studiorum Orientalium) p. 424 citing G. Florovsky, "Sobornost: the Catholicity of the Church," p. 53, italics mine.

  11. Georges Florovsky, Creation and Redemption, (Belmont, MA., Nordland Publishing Company, 1976) p. 39. Italics mine.

  12. "When it faces the present, the Church... has two very concrete dangers to avoid. (1) It must not consider itself a 'denomination,' and (2) it must not consider itself a sect....Now a denomination and a sect have this in common, that both are exclusive : the first because it is relativistic by definition, since it considers itself as one of the possible forms of Christianity, and the second because it finds pleasure–a demonic pleasure indeed–in isolation, in separation, in distinctiveness and in feelings of superiority." John Meyendorff, Living Tradition, (Crestwood, New York, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1978) p. 185, 186
  13. Professor T. F. Torrence in his excellent book, Theology in Reconciliation, gives a good summary of catholicity in the following:

    ...the term, catholic; developed through reference both to the fulness of the Gospel in contrast to what is partial and divisive and to the integral content of the truth found in the whole historical Church in contrast to what is defective and heretical. The Catholic Church is the Church which retains in every time and place throughout the world a wholeness of life, worship and doctrine grounded in the original datum of divine revelation and embodying the permanent substance of the faith once and for all delivered to the Apostles. It is the Church which everywhere remains entire through an intrinsic relation in the Holy Spirit to its divine origin, which everywhere remains one and the same through continuous fidelity to the apostolic foundation of the Church in Jesus Christ, and is therefore the Church which everywhere remains 'orthodox', that is, 'rightly related' to the truth of the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, common to the universal Church.

    T. F. Torrance, Theology in Reconciliation: Essays Toward Evangelical and Catholic Unity In East and West, (Grand Rapids, MI., William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975) p. 17
  14. Pretending as if denominations did not exist, yet at the same time subscribing to a confessional view of the Church (whether it be adherence to only a "few" or "many" doctrines), is certainly no different– i.e. a "non-denominational" Church is merely another name for a body which denominates itself on the basis of "confession" – (even if it be the lack of one).

  15. John Meyendorff, The Catholicity and the Church, "The Significance of the Reformation in the History of Christendom" (Crestwood, New York, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1983) p. 56

  16. A "universal" definition of catholicity would surely not be an adequate depiction of the Church, as the Church can never be limited only to the earth. The Church is eternal, and any understanding of the Church must include all believers of all time.

  17. Georges Florovsky, Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View ( Belmont, MA., Nordland Publishing Company, 1972) p. 45, italics mine.

  18. Georges Florovsky, Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View ( Belmont, MA., Nordland Publishing Company, 1972) p. 41

  19. Ignatius, Smyrnaens, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, (Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1973) VIII, p. 90. Italics mine.

  20. It is for this reason that "a eucharist which discriminates between races, sexes, ages, professions, social classes, etc. violates not certain ethical principles but its eschatological nature. For that reason such a eucharist is not a 'bad' –i.e. morally deficient –eucharist but no eucharist at all. It cannot be said to be the body of the One who sums up all into Himself." John D. Zizioulas, Being As Communion (Crestwood, N.Y., St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1985) ftnte. 11, p. 255

  21. Georges Florovsky, Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View (Belmont, MA., Nordland Publishing Company, 1972) p. 55, italics mine.

  22. The external witness of catholicity is always illustrated in "a call for expression and practice rather than a quality to be claimed as a possession" – and every effort to express the meaning of catholicity must be read as a reference to "wholeness in Christ," i.e. relationships of love with Him and the brethren.Carnegie Samuel Calian, Icon and Pulpit (Philadelphia, PA., The Westminster Press, 1968) p. 61 citing C. Welch, "Catholicity", Ecumenical Review, Vol. XVI, No. I. (October, 1963), p. 38

  23. "If this opening of consciousness on the interior evidence of Truth is brought about by the Holy Spirit in each Christian person, it is nevertheless not uniform, for there is no measure common to all where persons are concerned....that does not mean that there is one single consciousness of the Church, which is imposed uniformly on all, as a 'supra-consciousness' belonging to a 'collective person.' If one must recognize in ecclesial reality not only unity of nature [the Church consisting of "human beings"] but also multiplicity of hypostases [i.e. personal identities, persons, "egos"], there necessarily will be a multiplicity of consciousnesses, with different degrees of actualization in different persons..." Vladimir Lossky, In The Image and Likeness of God, (Crestwood, New York, St. Vladimir's Press, 1974) p. 192

  24. "Christ reveals Himself to us not in our isolation, but in our mutual catholicity, in our union." Georges Florovsky, Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View ( Belmont, MA., Nordland Publishing Company, 1972) p.55

  25. Colin Brown, ed., Dictionary of New Testament Theology Vol. 1, "Church," L. Coenen (Grand Rapids, MI., Zondervan Publishing House, 1975) p. 291 A New Testament example where this secular use of ekklesia appears is Acts 19:38,39.

  26. Georges Florovsky, Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View ( Belmont, MA., Nordland Publishing Company, 1972) p. 59

  27. ibid., p. 58

    It is important to note that the English word "assembly" which appears in our translations for the New Testament is actually the translation of three Greek words, only one of which is properly the Church, "ekklesia:" (1) paneegeris (
    panhguri) which denotes a gathering of any or all kinds; inclusive of parades, processions or any crowd where a large number of people for any purpose are all gathered together (e.g. "...myriads of angels, to the general assembly and the Church of the first-born" Heb. 12:22,23), (2) pleethos (plhqo ), which means a multitude, the whole number, overabundance, excess, too full, mass crowding beyond capacity, large number, throng, host, we get the English word 'plethora' from this, (e.g. "... a great multitude from Galilee followed..." Mark 3:7, "... the whole body of them arose and brought Him before Pilate" Luke 23:1; "And as He said this, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees; and the assembly was divided" Acts 23:7) and (3) the word we are here discussing ekklesia (ekklhsia: ek - "out of", klhsi - "a calling, summoning" ) e.g."...when you come together as an assembly [Church]..." 1 Cor. 11:18).

  28. The only difference between the two is that the members of the New Testament Church can, in Christ, know a more intimate communion with God and one.s fellow believers than was ever possible before His advent.

  29. "What did Jesus mean by ekklesia? In view of the widespread use of the word in the LXX for the congregation of Israel, it should be noted that ekklesia represents a Hebrew word, qahal, but never 'edâ. Both of these are used of the community of God's people. If the word used by Jesus is used in the LXX sense of qahal, ekklesia refers to God's people conceived as a new community especially related to the Messiah (hence the expression 'my church' used by Jesus)." Donald Guthrie, New Testament Theology, (Downers Grove, IL., Inter-Varsity Press, 1981) p. 711

  30. The Scriptures make it clear that the idea of salvation is indivisible from one's membership in the Local Church; fellowship with God and with one another are always understood by the New Testament Christian as things that go "hand in hand" with each other.

    "Šwhat we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:3,4)

    "For He has delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col. 1:12) [A kingdom which is to be experienced on earth as well as in heaven (Matt. 6:10)]

    "I [Jesus] do not ask in behalf of these alone [the Disciples], but for those also who believe in Me through their word [Christians of all generations]; that they may all be one ; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us..." (John 17:21)

    "...the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father." (Gal. 1:4)

    The only way to escape that "present evil age," was to enter into another Kingdom. The Church is the environment of this deliverance..

    "And with many other words he [Peter] solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, 'Be saved from this perverse generation!" (Acts 2:40)

    And then those who responded to Peter's invitation were baptized, "added" to their assembly, and devoted themselves to the fellowship (Acts 2:41, 42).

  31. Donald Guthrie, New Testament Theology, (Downers Grove, IL., Inter-Varsity Press, 1981) p. 707, italics mine.

  32. Such as Abraham and his descendants with God (Gen 15:18) between Laban's family and Jacob's (31: 43-54), David and Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:8), man and wife (Mal. 2:14).

  33. Indeed, our Christian faith and sense of brotherhood is so intertwined that one who does not love his brother cannot possibly love his brother's Lord (1 John 4: 20). See also Matt. 28: 10; Rom. 8:16, 17; Eph. 2:19.

  34. Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, especially communicates how God's peace is inseparable from its covenantal realization in community. "Shalom is a broad concept, essential to the Hebrew understanding of relationship between people and God. It covers human welfare, health, and well-being in both spiritual and material aspects. [Shalom was not] mere tranquility of spirit or serenity of mind, peace had to do with harmonious relationships between God and His people.... Unfortunately, this communal social dimension for the gospel of peace continues to evade many Christians who conceive of peace with God in individual and inward terms." John Driver, Community and Commitment, (Scottdale, PA., 1976) pp. 70, 74

  35. This is found in his letters to the Churches of Ephesus and Magnesia (Ephesians 5:3; Magnesians 7:1)

  36. Lk. 17:35; Acts 1: 15; Acts 2:1, 44; 1 Cor. 11:20; 14: 23.

  37. Bible studies, "fellowship" nights, prayer meetings, etc. may be expressions of the Church, but they are not the Church. The word ekklesia is used only twice in the gospels (Matt 16:16-19; 18:17); in the first instance ("upon this rock I will build my church") it is a reference to the "faith" upon which the Church is built, in the second (" and if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church") it is in the context of a court similar to the Jewish synagogue which had the authority to decide and settle disputes and exercise discipline. It is this second quotation which makes it very clear that the Church is not just an occasional gathering of a few random Christians in their living room.

    Certainly, a "reflection" of the Church is seen in Matt. 18: 20 where Christ states that in the gathering of two or three in His name, there He is in the midst, but the idea that this is the same thing as the Church (ekklesia ) is countered in the statement that if a brother is not sufficiently corrected by "two or three witnesses" (Matt. 18: 16) " tell it to the church. " If the Church were merely the grouping of two or three brothers, why would there be need to report it "to the Church?" To borrow from Paul's description, the Church as the Body of Christ is not merely two or three members but the entire body assembled. It is the whole Body of Christ which makes the Church (again the significance of the Eucharistic celebration can again be seen here).

    Going back to the image of the Qahal, a couple of Jews together celebrating the Sabbath did not constitute the nation of Israel (i.e. the Qahal). They expressed Israel, they belonged to Israel but those few gathered were not Israel. It is the same with the membership within the ekklesia. Two or three Christians in prayer may testify and demonstrate their membership in the Church, but these few gathered are not the Church. Besides, as we have explained, to merely gather with Christians is different than to gather in Jesus' name, for to gather in Christ's name is to signify the covenantal and organic understanding of God's bond with His people; – this is the Church.

  38. In this covenant relationship constituting His body, the significance of the Eucharistic celebration is seen once again; the covenant being represented and actualized visibly in the Eucharist – "the Covenant meal" par excellence. "A careful study of I Cor. 11 reveals that the term ekklhsia is used in a dynamic sense: 'when you come together into, i.e. when you become, ekklhsia,' v 9, 18). This implies clearly what in the following verses becomes explicit, namely that the eucharistic terms 'coming together,' epi to auto ["on this place," Acts 2: 44], "Lord's Supper,' etc., are identified with the ecclesiological terms 'ekklhsia or ekklhsia of God.'...this local community is called the whole Church... (Rom. 16:23)." John D. Zizioulas, Being As Communion (Crestwood, N.Y., St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1985) p. 148

  39. Stanley Harakas, "The Local Church-An Eastern Orthodox Perspective," The Ecumenical Review (April, 1977) p. 141

  40. "It is clear from Ignatian ecclesiology as a whole that not only does a 'universal Church' not exist in Ignatius' mind but, on the contrary, an identification of the whole Christ and the whole Church with the local episcopal community constitutes a key idea in his thought..." John D. Zizioulas, Being As Communion (Crestwood, N.Y., St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1985) ftnte 3, pp. 143, 144

  41. And in those places where it is a designation of the Church "at large" (i.e. in Ephesians) whatever is said is also applicable to the local gathering. As Paul uses the term in the generally accepted epistles, ekklesia appears fifty times. In twenty instances the term is in the plural. In the thirty occurrences of the singular it is generally evident that the term refers to a particular meeting or gathering of a small number of believers in a given locale. In only five instances (1 Cor. 15:9; Gal. 1:13; Phil. 3:6; and 1 Cor. 10:32 and 12:28) is it apparent that the primary referent may be the entire aggregate of believers in the whole world. The first three of these five instances all have to do with Paul as a persecutor of the gathering; 1 Cor 10:32 speaks of 'Jews or Greeks, or God's gathering'; Ephesians 4 says that God has appointed in the Gathering apostles, prophets, teachers, et al. It is evident that Paul finds it easy and congenial to use the plural and that it is the exception rather than the rule for him to speak of the ekklesia as the totality of believers." John Meyendorff, Joseph McLelland, eds., "The Christian Community in the Second Century", Stuart D. Currie, The New Man: An Orthodox and Reformed Dialogue, (New Jersey, Standard Press, 1973) p. 94

  42. Donald Guthrie, New Testament Theology, (Downers Grove, IL., Inter-Varsity Press, 1981) p.

  43. "...not that all churches together constitute one vast, unique organism, but that each Church–in the identity of order, faith and the gifts of the Holy Spirit– is the same Church, the same body of Christ, indivisibly present wherever is the 'ecclesia.' It is thus the same organic unity of the church herself, the 'Churches' being not complementary to each other, as parts or members, but each one and all of them together being nothing else but the One, Holy, catholic and Apostolic Church. It is this ontological [real and actual] identity of all Churches with the Church of God that establish the connecting link between Churches, making them the Church universal." John Meyendorff et. al., "The Idea of Primacy in Orthodox Ecclesiology," Alexander Schmemann,The Primacy of Peter, (Bedfordshire, England, The Faith Press, 1963) p. 40

  44. "It was natural that Paul should think in the same way of the new community [i.e. the Church]..." F. F. Bruce, The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon and to the Ephesians (Grand rapids, MI., Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984) pp. 237, 238

  45. For example, Paul felt no contradiction in praising Gaius for being a host to him "and to the whole church" (Rom. 16:23). Here he gives a direct ascription of "wholeness" (catholicity) to the local Church which gathered there.

  46. Robert Webber, Donald Bloesch, eds., The Orthodox Evangelicals, "A Call to Church Unity" F. Burton Nelson, (New York, Thomas Nelson, 1977) p. 195 Rom. 1:7, I Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1; Philp. 1:1; Col 1:2; I Thess. 1:1; II Thess 1:1, etc.

  47. John Meyendorff, "The Orthodox Concept of the Church," St. Vladimir's Quarterly (Crestwood, New York, St. Vladimir's Press, 1962) Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 60, 61

  48. "The Church is not simply inspired or animated or led by the Spirit; she is constituted by him as the body of Christ....this constitutive function of the Spirit transcends fully the dilemma between locality and catholicity: the two exist in each other in the very roots of the Church's existence. This is what allowed the early Church ever since the time of Paul to use the word ekklesia for both the totality of the Church and the local Church without any difficulty." J. D. Zizioulas, "The Pneumatological Dimension of the Church," International Catholic Review, Vol. II, No. 2, 1973, italics mine.

  49. One cannot celebrate the eucharist "universally," at least not until Christ comes back and His Kingdom is fully actualized on the earth.

  50. Jerome J. Holtzman, "Eucharistic Ecclesiology of the Orthodox Theologians," Diakonia (1973) Vol. 8, p. 10

  51. Veselin Kesich, "Unity and Diversity In New Testament Ecclesiology," St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly (Crestwood, New York, New York, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1975) Volume 19, No. 2, pp. 119,120 citing (respectively) A. E. J. Rawlinson, "Corpus Christi," in Mysterium Christi, G.K. A. Bell and A. Deissmann eds., pp. 226,230 an Hans Conzelmann, An Outline of the Theology of the New Testament (New York: Harper and Row, 1969) p. 262

  52. Hal Miller, Christian Community: Biblical or Optional, (Ann Arbor, MI., Servant Books, 1979) p. 68?

    "The word ekklesia is predominantly used for a local church in the New Testament. However, in the letters of Paul to the Ephesians and Colossians and in some other New Testament documents, the term expresses not a local but the universal catholic church (Matt. 16:18, Acts 20:28). The same term is used for both. The local church as the eucharistic community manifests the fulness of Christ. Each of them are related to each other, and their distinctive characteristics can be seen in terms of the eucharist. The local church as the eucharistic commute manifests the fulness of Christ. Each of them represents the whole Christ, and hence incarnates the catholic church." Veselin Kesich, "Unity and Diversity In New Testament Ecclesiology," St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly (Crestwood, New York, New York, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1975) Volume 19, No. 2, p. 111

  53. This image of the Church is referred to as "eucharistic ecclesiology", and by its nature excludes any Local Church from exercising control over another Local Church. See Jerome J. Holtzman, "Eucharistic Ecclesiology of the Orthodox Theologians," Diakonia (1973) Vol. 8, p. 11 citing "Das Hirtenamt der Kirche: in der Liebe der Germeinde vorstehen," N. Affanassief, Der Primat des Petrus in der orthodoxen Kirche (Zurich: EVZ Verlag, 1961) p. 34

  54. Such a eucharistic insight into the nature of the Church justifies asking the question, "Is a universal structure of the Church really necessary, although it is obviously not determined directly by the Eucharist...?" John Meyendorff, Living Tradition, (Crestwood, New York, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1978) p. 146

  55. "Power over a Local church would mean power over a eucharistic assembly, or in other words, over Christ himself." Emilianos Timiadis, "'Consensus in the Formulation of Doctrine," The Greek Orthodox Theological Review (Brookline, MA., Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1980) Spring, Vol. XXV, No. 1, p. 31

  56. "The moment they [the Local Churches] would admit a supra-local structure over the local eucharistic community, be it a synod or another office, the eucharistic community would cease to be in itself and by virtue of its eucharistic nature a 'catholic Church." John D. Zizioulas, Being As Communion (Crestwood, N.Y., St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1985) pp. 156, 157

  57. "Orthodox ecclesiology does not know any divinely appointed, institutional power of one local church over the other local churches and their bishops. It recognizes the existence of local primacies, and it always accepted the idea that one Church, that of Jerusalem, that of Rome, later that of Constantinople, may play the role of a universal arbiter, may enjoy the right to receive appeals, a right established and regulated by the Councils, and in fact may preside over the universal episcopate. But this 'primacy' does not confer on the bishop of Rome or of Constantinople either infallibility or universal jurisdiction, but as kind of 'priority' in settling controversial matters for the common good." Such is a position to be gained by respect, it is not an "assigned" office, nor are the judgements rendered by those in this position either guaranteed as infallible or demand obedience in the juridical sense. John Meyendorff, "The Orthodox Concept of the Church," St. Vladimir's Quarterly (Crestwood, New York, St. Vladimir's Press, 1962) Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 70

  58. John D. Zizioulas, Being As Communion (Crestwood, N.y., St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1985) pp. 156, 157

  59. This perspective, of course, is much more similar to the Reformed view of the Church than it is to the Roman Catholic view: "...Orthodox and Reformed should find a basis for encounter and perhaps even for solid agreement if for no other reason than the fact that both traditions have an ecclesiology governed by the conviction that while a local church may not be the whole church, it is wholly Church." Joseph C. McLelland, "The Orthodox Church and the Churches of the Reformation: A Survey of Orthodox - Protestant Dialogues," (Geneva, WCC Faith and Order Commission, 1975) Faith and Order Paper No. 76, p. 92

  60. Elmer O' Brien, S. J., ed., The Convergence of Traditions, "The Orthodox Tradition," Alexander Schmemann, (New York, Herder and Herder, 1967) pp. 14, 15

  61. Archbishop Basil of Brussels, "Catholicity and the Structures of the Church," St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly (Crestwood, N.Y., St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1973) vol. 17, No. 1-2, p. 46

    "'As in God each one of the Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is not a part of the Trinity, but fully God in virtue of His ineffable identity with the One [Divine] Nature, so the Church is not a federation of her parts: she is catholic in each of her parts, since each part in her is identified with the whole, expresses the whole, has the value which the whole has, does not exist outside the whole.'" Dumitru Staniloae, Theology and the Church (Crestwood, N.Y., St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1980) p. 65 citing V. Lossky, "Concerning the Third Mark of the Church: Catholicity," One Church 19 (1965) p. 181-187

  62. Each Person inter-dwells within the Other without commingling, coalescing or ceasing to be distinct. Despite its divine characteristics, the Church's human limitation prevent it from ever attaining the perfection of union existing in the Godhead.

  63. John Meyendorff, "The Orthodox Concept of the Church," St. Vladimir's Quarterly (Crestwood, New York, St. Vladimir's Press, 1962) Vol. 6, No. 2, p. 61

  64. See Cyprian's The Unity of the Catholic Church

To Top

Chapter 9
Chapter 11

Back to
Book Excerpts
Back to Resources