Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Cyril Lucaris - Orthodox and Calvinistic
Sometime ago I read Bob Letham's book Through Western Eyes about the Eastern Orthodox church and blogged on it here. One character in the OC that I find fascinating is Cyril Lucaris (1572-1638) who was a Calvinistic Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople. He wrote an interesting confession of faith that gives one pause for thought on how Calvinism can be expressed in eastern language. Less we get too excited, I would point out that Cyril's positions were opposed at the 1672 Jerusalem Synod with the Confession of Dositheus which doesn't hold back on the polemics!
Is there any hope for a Reformed-Orthodox reapproachment? Well, Anglicanism might be the best conduit in town for that dialogue. I note that Nashotah House (an Anglo-Catholic Seminary) and St. Vladamir's Seminary in the USA have a formal agreement to work towards unity. At the ACNA assembly this year metropolitan Bishop Jonah called for full communion with the new Anglican province (though he did call Calvinism a heresy along the way). I also note, with due understanding but with genuine disappointment all the same, that NT scholar Edith Humphrey has left the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh and been received into the Orthodox Church (see her explanation here). Hopefully she'll be involved in Anglican/Orthodox discussion somewhere along the line. Michael Horton suggested possible eastern influences on Calvin's view of the eucharist in his excellent book, People and Place. I would also draw attention to a piece written by Jack D. Kinneer called A Calvinist Looks at Orthodoxy, which is significant because Kinneer is an OPC member and he studied at St. Vladamir seminary. How do you get John Calvin and John Chrysostom to sit at the one table and what would they agree on?