The Franciscan Disputes, Leuenberg Concord, and Florentine Union

Lessons for Divided Christianity
  • Vladimir Latinovic
Part of the Pathways for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue book series (PEID)

Abstract

Collective historical memory can be both burdensome and liberating; it can halt the progress of individuals or entire nations by keeping them trapped in the past or it can help prevent them from repeating their past errors in the future.1 This rule can also be applied to the churches. Those of us who come from the so-called traditional Christian churches, such as Orthodox or Roman Catholic, or even some of the older Protestant churches, for example Lutheran, Reformed, or Anglican, are not lacking in this historical memory—quite the opposite! The Orthodox Church, for example, to which the author of these lines belongs, sifts its every statement, opinion, and dogma through this memory in order to confirm its validity. If a new concept proves to be incompatible with historical experience, it is rejected as alien to the Church’s tradition. Now and then, these Churches run into a problem that cannot be solved by relying on historical memory, in which case they tend to (mis)interpret—not to say to manipulate—the historical memory in order to make it compatible with their modern solution to the problem. Instead of admitting that they have decided to change in order to acclimatize themselves to the modern world, these Churches claim continuity with the past. The past is, for us, as relevant as the present and sometimes even more relevant because it influences our present decisions to such a degree.

Keywords

Europe Egypt Reformer 

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Notes

  1. 2.
    On this topic, see Duncan Nimmo, Reform and Division in the Medieval Franciscan Order: From Saint Francis to the Foundation of the Capuchins (Rome: Capuchin Historical Institute, 1995).Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    See Maurice Carmody, The Leonine Union of the Order of Friars Minor, 1897 (New York: Franciscan, 1994).Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Leonhard Goppelt, “Auf dem Weg zur Kirchengemeinschaft der reformatorischen Kirchen in Europa: Die Voraussetzung der Konferenz in Leuenberg 1971,” Die Zeichen der Zeit: Evangelische Monatsschrift für Mitarbeiter der Kirche 26 (1972): 305.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    Cf. Reinhard Zintl, “On the Rationality and Stability of a Minimal Consensus,” in: Political Legitimization without Morality?, ed. Jörg Kühnelt (Berlin: Springer, 2008); and interview with the GEKE president Dr. Thomas Wipf, “Die Synodalen sind hoch motiviert etwas zu bewegen,” Focus 15, no. 1 (2012).Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    At this council, papal primacy was discussed only as a secondary question. At that time, this teaching was still not connected with the doctrine of infallibility, which got its final shape at the First Vatican Council. See August Bernhard Hasler, Pius IX. (1846–1878), Päpstliche Unfehlbarkeit und 1.Vatikanisches Konzil (Stuttgart: Anton Hiersmann, 1977).Google Scholar
  6. 12.
    For more on the history of the council, see Deno J. Geanakoplos, “The Council of Florence (1438–1439) and the Problem of Union between the Greek and Latin Churches,” Church History 24, no. 4 (1955): 324–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 13.
    David B. Barrett, George T. Kurian, and Todd M. Johnson, eds., World Christian Encyclopedia, vol. 1, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 16.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    See Johannes Roldanus, The Church in the Age of Constantine: The Theological Challenges (Oxford: Routledge, 2006), 180.Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    Some historians date it even further in the past, but this is very hard to prove. For a good history of Filioque, see A. Edward Siecienski, The Filioque—History of a Doctrinal Controversy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 16.
    Eph. 5:21–33. Note that family is considered to be ecclesiola within the ecclesia (a little church within the church). See Christine Firer Hinze, “Catholic: Family Unity and Diversity within the Body of Christ,” in Faith Traditions and the Family, ed. Phyllis D. Airhart and Margaret Lamberts Bendroth (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996), 64.Google Scholar

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© Vladimir Latinovic 2016

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  • Vladimir Latinovic

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