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date: 24 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Following the method of the most important Russian Orthodox theologian of the twentieth century, Sergius Bulgakov, this chapter reviews the “dogmatic theology” (rather than “dogmatic declarations” as such) of orders in the Roman Catholic, Byzantine and Oriental Orthodox Churches, and the Assyrian Church of the East. Changes in this theology are noted, especially in the West from 1947 under Pope Pius XII through the liturgical changes of Vatican II. What emerges from this survey is that any dogmatic understanding of orders is intimately tied to ecclesiology, which has itself been deeply influenced by ecumenical scholarship in the twentieth century. As a result of this we find greater and greater convergence in understanding orders as being important not only for their practical-pastoral role in “ordering” the life of the church, but especially also because they maintain the church in communion with the apostles, and ultimately and most importantly with God.

Keywords: minor orders, major orders, Byzantine Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Assyrian Church of the East, ecclesiology, Eucharist, communion

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