An examination of how the ecclesial structures of Eastern Church evolved and how they contributed, or failed to contribute, to Church unity.
Trade Information: JPOD
Available as: Paperback (eBook edition available soon)
Specifications: 229x153mm (9x6in), 274pp
Illustrations: b&w maps and figures
Published: July 2018
Unity is the categorical imperative of the Church. It is not just the Church's bene esse, but its esse. In addition to being a theological concept, unity has become a raison d'être of various structures that the Church has established and developed. All of these structures are supposed to serve the end of unity.
However, from time to time some of them deviate from their initial purpose and contribute to disunity. This happens because the structures of the Church are not a part of its nature and can therefore turn against it. They are like scaffolding, which facilitates the construction and maintenance of a building without actually being part of it. Likewise, ecclesial structures help the Church function in accordance with its nature but should not be identified with the Church proper.
Scaffolds of the Church considers the evolution of some of these structures and evaluates their correspondence to their initial rationale. It focusses on particular structures that have developed in the eastern part of the Christian oecumene, such as patriarchates, canonical territory, and autocephaly, all of which are explored in the more general frame of hierarchy and primacy. They were selected because they are most neuralgic in the life of the Orthodox Churches today and bear in them the greatest potential to divide.
List of Pictures, Maps, and Figures
List of Abbreviations
1. Fine Pencil Lines: Distinctions
The Church as an historical phenomenon and as an object of faith
The Church for Everyone and the Church for Some
The Dualism of the Sacred and Profane
The Church Universal and Particular
2. Partition Walls: Territory and Administration
3. Ditches: Sovereignty
4. Strongholds: Autocephaly
The Case of Bulgaria
The Case of Serbia
The Case of Greece
The Case of Bulgaria II
The Case of Ukraine
The Case of the Orthodox Church in America
5. Pyramids: Primacy
6. Strata: Ministry
7. Frontiers: The Boundaries of the Church
Conclusions: From Structuralism to Poststructuralism and Beyond
Appendix 1: The Structure of the Roman Empire in the Fourth Century
Appendix 2: Rulers
Appendix 3: Bishops of Constantinople
Appendix 4: Bishops of Rome
Cyril Hovorun is a senior lecturer at Sankt Ignatios Academy / Stockholm School of Theology in Sweden.
Hovorun is emerging as one of the foremost ecclesiologists of modern times. His analysis has profound insights for ecumenism, as well as for the struggle for some practical coherence within the Orthodox Churches themselves. Andrew Louth, Durham University
Hovorun offers a refreshing analysis of the various structures of the church as they developed over time. ... [He] convincingly argues that the nature of the church should not lead to reified structures, and points the way to faithful reform in the face of new problems and challenges facing the church. Aristotle Papanikolau, Fordham University