Tag Archives: Alexander Rentel

The Synaxis of Primates: A Prelude to Conciliarity and Unity

by Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, with Rev Dr. Alexander Rentel

Amid a great storm of words and clouds of recriminations, first His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and then the other venerable presidents of the autocephalous Churches, landed at airports in Crete and stepped off their planes to clear and sunny days typical of this Greek island that enjoys apostolic roots. The words of His All-Holiness upon arrival, echoed by the other primates, expressed “joy of fulfillment of our historical mission.” The “our” he referenced are all the other autocephalous Orthodox Churches from around the world, both those Churches who have come, and the four who have stayed home. With this call he also urged the Churches to move from what they call their own individually, to what the whole Church can call its own collectively, from the local to the universal, to manifest not only the fourteen Churches united in mind and heart, but the one holy Orthodox Church, which is the essence of a conciliar vision. Continue Reading…

On Consensus: A Canonical Appraisal

by Very Rev. Dr. Alexander Rentel

A key component of the document “Organization and Working Procedureis the requirement for unanimity for the approval of any texts or amendments. The primates of the Churches can adopt procedures for the running of the council; nothing in the canonical tradition forbids the adoption of such rules, and consensus as a rule for decision making has a long history in the Church. While it would be anachronistic to claim that the Council of Jerusalem described in Acts was a council like subsequent councils, the description there provided a paradigm for later conciliar activity. The phrasing of the Apostolic decree, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us (Acts 15.28),” expresses the two-fold requirement that anything the conciliar process arrives at must be consistent with the revelation, manifested in the consensus of those in the Church. These seemingly practical requirements emerge from the conviction that the Church is the body of Christ, where humans are united with Jesus Christ and each other by the grace of the Spirit. Continue Reading…

Reflections on the Document “The Sacrament of Marriage and Its Impediments”

by Rev. Dr. Patrick Viscuso, Perry T. Hamalis, David Heith-Stade, Rev. Dr. Chrysostom Nassis, Rev. Dr. Alexander Rentel, and Christos Tsironis

According to the theological vision of the Church, the bond of love is to be found at the core of marital life. Marriage is viewed within the framework of love, which is the core “quality” of the Church’s theological anthropology. Marriage is not only a rational choice, but also a “harvest” of holiness and the “fullness” of the life of faith.

One of the most complicated challenges for the Church is to express the evangelical premises of Christianity on marriage in a manner that serves contemporary societies and families. The Church is called to illustrate the meaning and scope of marriage in social, cultural, and legal contexts, while remaining true to the Scriptures and her theological, canonical, and pastoral tradition. Continue Reading…

A Perspective on Marriage from the Canonical Tradition

by Fr. Alexander Rentel

(This essay was originally delivered as a public talk at the June 2015 Fordham/OTSA conference on the upcoming Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church. It was part of a panel on canonical impediments to marriage.)

When examining marriage, starting with the liturgy provides an antidote from a legalistic affliction, which is easy to succumb to when applying the canons. Liturgy is the ultimate pastoral resource, and pastoralia is the goal of the canons, matters concerning our life in Christ. Throughout the liturgical rite, the Church presents its vision of Christian marriage: marriage is done not for something in and of itself, but by the design of God, who has ordained it as a holy act, done in order that a man and a woman come together in unity for a life with God. Continue Reading…