Talk:John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon

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  • Archive 1 - from Creation to Protection (Mar 6).
  • Archive 2 - from Protection to Unprotection (Apr 30).


I've rolled back Cebactokpatop's recent major changes (essentially for reasons detailed throughout this Talk page)—perhaps it was a mistake to unprotect the article again so soon. I'll leave it unprotected for now, hoping that Agenda-driven edits won't take over again. If they do, and especially if they're from Cebactokpatop, it may be necessary to introduce a ban on that editor for a time. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:07, April 30, 2008 (UTC)

Your revert without even reading the changes I put in is another proof that this website has no interest in expressing the reality that exists in The Church, but rather fictitious visions of several individuals claiming to be "fr". Cebactokpatop 18:30, April 30, 2008 (UTC)
Oh, trust me—I read them. Anyway, w:Talk:John Zizioulas, along with your Agenda here, demonstrate that you're not interested in pursuing the editing of an encyclopedia in a calm manner. Indeed, your above condemnation of our many thousands of editors en masse is a pretty clear indication that you're not interested in good faith editing. As noted on your Talk page, your account has been banned. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:33, April 30, 2008 (UTC)
Your action against my account was illegal. It represented misjudgment on your side, which resulted in misuse of your sysops powers. Consequently, your error was reverted by Fr. John. Cebactokpatop 18:21, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
Illegal? Are you planning to sue me now? (In what court?) —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:25, May 2, 2008 (UTC)


This is an Orthodox Website which for many people is a valuable source of knowledge. The attacks against His Eminence Metropolitan John of Pergamon, or any other hierarch of the Holy Orthodox Church, are not necessary on this forum. Whilst I don't share the same ecclesiological opinions as His Eminence, I have no right as a member of the Church to criticise him. Please, for the sake of those young people who use this website for edification, cease these attacks on the hierachy of the One, Holy Orthodox Church. - Peter Mav

I also agree Peter, it would be a good idea if the discussion around this Father of the church is put on hold and indeed perhaps we should pray for the poor dear's soul as the amount of negativity emitted towards him is very unfair! I say, lets all work towards continuing to build Orthodox articles not critical defences to be used in a court of law. I dont even know why he is controversial :-) Like Mother Molania said in her talk from Ancient Faith Radio, Insane people associating with insane people can not become sane ...only the Saints are "sane"! Chit chatting, keeps US in INSANITY! Vasiliki 09:32, May 1, 2008 (UTC)
That is precisely why all over the article of Metropolitan John and other contemporary Orthodox theologians we should print in big bold letters: “DO NOT BASE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE ORTHODOXY ON WIRITINGS OF THIS CONTEMPORARIES WHOSE THEOLOGY IS NOT VERIFIED BY THE HISTORY YET. USE THEOLOGY OF THE HOLY FATHERS INSTEAD.”
We do not want to educate young people with the thought of the potentially problematic theologians like m. John (and fr. Schmmemmann, fr. Mayendorff, fr. Afanasiev, etc. – students of the “Paris school of Orthodoxy”). If you want to discuss it further, and you know more appropriate place (e.g. private forum), we can go there and continue.
Cebactokpatop 14:59, May 1, 2008 (UTC)
This is an encyclopedia, not a catechism. We're not in the business of putting big warning labels on articles about modern writers, especially those who are generally quite well-regarded throughout the Orthodox world, such as nearly everyone you mention.
That they are criticized by certain minority sectors of Orthodoxy is certainly a viable element for their respective articles, but that criticism should not be the dominant theme of the article, which would be undue weight. The impression a reader should get ought to be based on how the writer is regarded throughout the Orthodox Church, not on the idiosyncratic criticisms of a few, especially not regarding someone who's never even been accused by the proper authorities (much less condemned by them).
In any event, any general overview of Orthodoxy makes it plain that our theological emphasis is on the Scriptures and the Holy Fathers, not on any modern writer. If someone gets his entire impression of Orthodoxy or education in the faith from a single article on OrthodoxWiki, well, he's going about it wrong. One would hope that common sense would make that clear. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:31, May 1, 2008 (UTC)

I agree with some points raised by all who have responded. I am still concerned however, because I know a lot of youths use this website for introductory information and not having extensive knowledge or sometimes even the spiritual grounding can be scandalised. Obviously, mentioning that this hierarch's teachings are not accepted by some is good, encyclopaedic knowledge but some of the criticisms prior to their removal were not beneficial to the soul of anyone. I apologise if I have offended anyone. - Peter Mav

In the above response of user Andrew we find the basis for the entire dispute. He is saying that Metropolitan John is "regarded throughout the Orthodox Church" and being "criticized by certain minority sectors of Orthodoxy", which is completely untrue/false/wrong/misguiding/misleading/etc. Vast majority of Orthodoxy exists beyond US shoreline, and even beyond English speaking world. Sooner that group of the individuals realize that, sooner we will get synergy in our actions. Such a fringe and perverted view of position of m. John in Orthodoxy is what user Andrew and couple of other individuals kept promoting, constantly trying to minimize the number and extent of the critics. It is best evident in the current version of the article, when in the criticism section they put reference to Bishop Ignjatije, who praises his work. What is that reference doing there? Cebactokpatop 12:54, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

I think that the user Fr Andrew is correct in his assessment. Lest anyone get the impression that the Serbian Church has somehow made a judgement that Metropolitan John is heterodox, I thought it worthwhile to note that a bishop and professor of theology in Serbia is a strong supporter of Metropolitan John's work. Anytime anyone disagrees with Cebactokpatop, he resorts to personal attack (both here and in the Wikipedia article). He has attacked and dismissed not only the other editors and Metropolitan John, but also:

  • Bishop Kallistos Ware ("Ecumenist buddy of JZ")
  • Christos Yannaras ("Ecumenist buddy of JZ")
  • Fr John Meyendorff ("Heterodox", along with Schmmemann and Afanasiev)
  • Fr Boris Bobrinskoy ("never heard of this guy"): I can't help it if Cebactokpatop hasn't heard of the dean of the St Sergius Institute in Paris, but then again, he dismisses the Paris school as "heterodox."
  • Bishop Ignjatije Midić ("ecumenist... who can hardly be called a theologian, as he is almost not writing anything"): Well, in addition to being bishop of Branicevo, he is professor of dogmatics and ethics at the Serbian theological institute in Belgrade and is the author of a new book on dogmatics.
  • Aristotle Papanikolaou ("Another buddy of JZ"), etc.

When I mentioned Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, his only response was "Are you sure?" The answer to that is, Yes. If one checks the several references to Metropolitan John in Metropolitan Hierotheos' book on the person, one finds they are all very positive. On a personal note, having just finished reading Communion and Otherness and looking through Being as Communion again, I do not see how anyone who carefully read them could give any credence to the charges Cebactokpatop has made, not least of which is the absurd charge of heterodoxy. Aprt from the Serbian text he cites by Lazic and the interview with Archbishop Stylianos, NONE of the sources he cites as criticisms draw his conclusions. --Fr Lev 13:51, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

You are certainly entitled to support JZ and other individuals from Paris school of "orthodoxy". However, you are not entitled to personally dismiss me for providing valid academic resources that criticize JZ or any other product of mentioned school in Paris. From the list of the articles you contributed to, we can clearly see that your faith is in Paris. Orthodox who prefer to have their faith elswhere (e.g. Cappadocia), have a right to express their dissatisfaction with the innovations of Paris' school as well. You have done a great job in prizing JZ's work in the article. Now it is a time to balance it with the concerns of the Traditional Orthodox, Mr. Puhalo. Cebactokpatop 17:43, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
Methinks you have Fr. Lev confused with Abp. Lazar (Puhalo) of Ottawa. They're not the same person. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:02, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
Are you sure about that my friend? I am beyond reasonable doubts... they are the same person. Cebactokpatop 18:10, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
Based on what? The name "Lev"? —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 18:31, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

ROTFL! I have been accused of many things in my life, but never of being an archbishop! --Fr Lev 19:12, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

You are right. You are not an Archbishop. To become the one, it would require valid canonical ordination. Cebactokpatop 19:14, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

Another personal attack -- quelle surprise! I was "canonically" ordained, BTW, by a "canonical" bishop of a "canonical" patriarchal Church. I know who I am, but I have no idea who Cebactokpatop is. --Fr Lev 19:30, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

Whatever. I am not interested in "canonicity" of your ordination (if any). What I am interested in, is making sure you understand that current version of the article is not balanced, as you intentionally (or not) tried to minimize criticisms of JZ. Do you understand that? If you do, it would be easier for me to go in and try to balance it so that readers do not get an impression that they have before them, article about some "saint". Cebactokpatop 20:12, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
Ok, enough everyone with the personal back and forth. I agree that the article should also present criticisms fairly and rationally. Cebactokpatop, I am concerned by your personal attacks, which at least in some cases are totally unfounded, and to my mind, crazy (e.g. Fr Lev is not Archbp Lazar!). If this kind of stuff continues, I'm going to freeze this page. I've just edited the article to incorporate some of the material present in earlier drafts. — FrJohn (talk) 21:17, May 2, 2008 (UTC)
I agree. While I normally say very little on Orthodoxwiki (I'm not a scholar of complex dogma or theology, nor do I wish or claim to be), I've been lurking around this discussion and reading what everyone has said. Cebactokpatop, I think it would behoove you to take a leaf from Frs. Andrew and John, as well as the other sysops and users here on Orthodoxwiki. They've been extremely charitable with you when they have received so very little from you in these discussions. When they indulge your vitriol, you reward them with ad hominem attacks, questioning their identities, and even going so far as to question the canonicity of people's ordinations with temerity (although you deny this, it is clearly evident that you do so). You ask readers and writers to address your edits with "proper academic attire." Yet, I have to ask the physician to heal himself with respect to your paranoia and derision. Fr. Andrew, specifically, has not only responded to you in a very Christ-like manner, but has been nothing short of a gentleman in dealing with you.
I ask, in the future, when you are a guest of other wikis and forums, you try to act in a similar manner.Mike 21:55, May 3, 2008 (UTC)

Material for Inclusion

  • Fr. John Behr in the aticle "The Trinitarian Being of the Church", argues that Zizioulas' use of The Three as an archetype for The Church, when he establishes communion of The Church as an image of the communion od The Three, ends up dismissing both - The Three and The Church. (St Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 48:1 (2004), 67-88) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Cebactokpatop (talkcontribs) .

In reviewing Fr John Behr's essay, I don't see it saying anything to suggest that Metropolitan John's view ends us "dismissing" the Trinity and the Church. I'd like to see the quote and page number that is alleged to say that. --Fr Lev 22:54, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

Any suggestions on how to reword Fr. Behr's criticism? Isn't this dismissal of The Church: "What is said of the Church is certainly based upon what is said of the Trinity, but the effect of speaking in this manner, paradoxically, is that the Church is separated from God, as a distinct entity reflecting the divine being." (page 68) Church without ties to God does not exist, even though, it may perfectly mimic the Three. At the same time, we do not know The Three without Their Church. It is The Church that is left behind to proclaim The Three. Disconnect JZ creates, dismisses The Church, and conequenly blind us from The Three, which equates to dismissal. Cebactokpatop 03:43, May 3, 2008 (UTC)

What counts as "academic criticism"?

Fr John, I find your floowing edit problematic: "Peter J. Leithart's article, Divine Energies and Orthodox Soteriology, cites the work of Papanikolaou, and points out where Vladimir Lossky and Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) differ on the issue of divine energies. His article implies criticism, based on understanding of the certain Orthodox, who see work of Prof. Lossky as contemporary synthesis of the patristic theology. Thus, to differ from Prof. Lossky, is to differ from patristic theology."

(1) Leithart in no way understands hie article to be critical of Metropolitan John. Not only is that clear from actually reading the article, but he has confirmed that in personal correspondence. (2) There is nothing here to indicate there is any substantive problem with what Metropolitan John says about the essence/energies distinction. (3) If an undergraduate wrote in an academic paper the sentence, "Thus, to differ from Prof. Lossky, is to differ from patristic theology", there wouldn't get a very good grade. Lossky is a personal theological hereo of mine, but I don't know any serious theologian who would judge him to be the sole criterion of Orthodoxy. --Fr Lev 23:13, May 2, 2008 (UTC)

Indeed, no. Lossky himself has been criticized by major figures in the 20th century, e.g., Staniloae, who's no theological slouch himself. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 02:42, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
Zizioulas and Meyendorff fell into the pit trying to criticise either Lossky or St. Gregory Palamas, as both of them are not capable of grasping what those two champions were writing about. Area related to the Holy Spirit is unknown and incomprehensible to these "eucharistic ecclesiologians" who understand bodily portion only, based on instructions from RCC theologians Mr. Congar and Mr. Lubac. In order to understand The Spirit, one has to now The Spirit of Orthodoxy. Paris school is so far from that Spirit that their theology consequently, can not be in the Spirit of Orthodoxy. In order to "bring closer" Orthodoxy to Rome (ecumenists), they have to introduce some other spirit - that is spirit of Rome. Orthodox Spirit can never get any closer to Rome than in past 1000 years. Cebactokpatop 02:59, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
An interesting analysis, but I fail to see how this is relevant to the task at hand, which is summarizing reliable secondary sources into an encyclopedia entry which represents the mainstream Chalcedonian viewpoint and takes minor note of other relevant viewpoints. Personal attacks are not really germane—how do you know what Meyendorff or Metr. John are "capable of grasping"? —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 03:08, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
That was my response on your assertion: "Lossky himself has been criticized" with my addition of Meyendorff and St. Gregory as another example of the same failure. JZ in his bible Being as Commununion "showed" how Lossky "was wrong". Cebactokpatop 03:15, May 3, 2008 (UTC)

Should criticism be 'mainstream'?

I have read repeatedly that OrthoWiki is about "mainstream" Orthodoxy. Some of the criticism included here is, e.g., from Old Calendarists, who condemn most of the Churches represented here for using the Revised Julian calendar or for ecumenism. Nothing against Old Calendarist "resistance" synods and hyper-traditionalists, but what relevance should their criticism have in a minstream venue such as this? Given that they make the same criticisms of Bishop Kallistos, Fr Alexander Schmemann, Fr John Meyendorff, Christos Yannaras, etc., as they do of Metropolitan John, why should this be included? And all to satisfy one editor whose personal animus is clear? What will come next? When he became convinced "beyond reasonable doubts" that I am Abp Lazar Puhalo, he immediately went to the page on the Archbishop to write negative comments. I am waiting for him to add "criticism" sections to the articles on Bishop Kallistos, Fr Alexander Schmemann, et al., in which they, too, are denounced as heterodox ecumenists of the Paris School. What is to stop him? After all, he can find a blog or an online article by or quoting Heiromonk Patapios or Archbishop Chrysostomos casting aspersions on the orthodoxy of them all. He has dismissed Bishop Ignatije (Midic) of Pozarevac and Branicevo. Look what passes for "criticism" in the link he provided on that page -- a blog entry with a paragraph of Bishop Ignatije. No argument. Even the priest who wrote the blog wasn't sure that the paragraph was a true representation of Bishop Ignatije. This is the "criticism" that should be included in an encyclopedia article? --Fr Lev 00:59, May 3, 2008 (UTC)

I think your point is well made. The so-called "Traditionalist Orthodox" are explicitly not given a soapbox here, as per the MCB. If there seems to be a united front against the subject of an article from those sectors, it is enough to mention it briefly, but not to allow it to dominate an article.
In any event, what is clear is that Metr. John is generally quite highly regarded throughout the Orthodox Church, which is explicitly defined on OrthodoxWiki as this list, i.e., the Mainstream Chalcedonian churches. Metr. John is not a controversial figure by any means, and the article should reflect that. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 02:37, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
I dod not provide any link to Bishop Ignjatije. Please stop telling false stories. Also, "resistance" Orthodox are in dogmatics same as Orthodox, which makes them valid in their criticisms. What they differ about is heresy over all heresies - ecumenism, and masonic infux into Orthodoxy - Meletios IV (Metaxakis) of Constantinople. It appears that those who praise Paris school of "orthodoxy" support ecumenism, and logically, regard "reistance" Orthodox as lesser Orthodox than Vatican! Cebactokpatop 02:47, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
If I am mistaken in how I read the OrthoWiki history page on the article, my apology. But it seems to say you created that link at 21:53 on May 2, 2008:

--Fr Lev 02:54, May 3, 2008 (UTC)

Cebactokpatop, all of this is essentially irrelevant. The do-it-yourself "Celtic Orthodox" gent who lives near here and visits our church every so often is also quite likely "in dogmatics same as Orthodox," but I'm not about to interview him for this article.
The point is that what the "resistance/True/Genuine/Traditionalist/etc." groups think is only of relatively small importance on most OrthodoxWiki articles. Whatever one may think of the so-called "Paris School" (whatever that may mean—does that simply mean St. Sergius Institute?), it currently is part of and accepted by mainstream Orthodoxy, while by comparison the "resistance/True/Genuine/Traditionalist/etc." groups are fringe. Their opinions on Metr. John are irrelevant. Perhaps if one of them had engaged in some major debate with him, they might be relevant.
One doesn't have to be an "ecumenist" or a Freemason or an Ultramontanist sympathizer in order to see that giving undue weight to the opinions of such folks is essentially a violation of the explicit bias of OrthodoxWiki. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 02:57, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
I repeat - I did not produce any link related to Bishop Ignjatije. All I did on his page was to convert section listing his writings from latin into cyrillic.
It appears to me that both of you want to minimize amount and extent of the criticisms for some reason. Can you provide a valid reason for your attempts to blind the public? Cebactokpatop 03:08, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
It's not a question of eliminating criticism (OrthodoxWiki articles are replete with descriptions of criticism, which is clear from even a cursory browsing of the site)—it's where it's coming from and how much is actually appropriate to represent the mainstream view on the subject matter. Piling an article high with criticisms from fringe sources is not consistent with the policies of OrthodoxWiki, nor does it do anyone a service. "The public" are not "blinded" by an attempt to write balanced articles consistent with OrthodoxWiki policies. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 03:11, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
I have a problem with your statements simply because all of the disputes I had here were about same thing - constant denial of the criticisms from several individuals who disguise their denial under the mask of "policies", "encyclopedia", "POV/NPOV", etc. What is balanced for you? To praise his work on two pages, and then mention critics in a mild form just to satisfy annoyances like myself? Cebactokpatop 03:20, May 3, 2008 (UTC)

Just a thought

It seems to me that this article is basically supposed to be a biographical introduction to Metr. John. While mention of the variety of opinions expressed about his work can, and probably should, be mentioned, it seems to me that this is not the proper forum for a detailed discussion (and listing) of these opinions. Half of the article, as it stands, is concerned with criticism and responses to that criticism and that seems rather unbalanced for something that is trying to be an encyclopedic entry.

I am not sure where a discussion of all these opinions should take place, or even whether OrthodoxWiki is the right forum for such a discussion. It just seems to me that this particular page is not the place for it.

Just my two cents, and with this I leave this debate.

In the risen Christ, Fr. Peter

Hi Fr. Peter, Thanks for your comments on this. It is indeed a hard call, but I do think that part of the role OrthodoxWiki plays is precisely in pushing for an articulation of controversial issues in church life. Obviously, so many of the criticisms of Metropolitan John's work are not just about him, but are about a particular movement or trend within Orthodox theology. I really want to see as precise and accurate overview of this debate as possible. Again, I do think this itself is a good service to the community. I'm not interested in personal attacks or blanket condemnations, etc. but am very interested in thoughtful criticisms or defenses. I'm curious about what others think. — FrJohn (talk) 09:27, May 3, 2008 (UTC)
Hello, Fr. John. I apologize for the lack of clarity in my original post, so I will try to briefly clarify what I was trying to say. First off, having thought about it and read your reply, it does make sense that the wiki is a good place to articulate controversial issues. In which case I meant to suggest following a Wikipedia approach: having a mention of the controversial issue on the biographical page with a link to an article specifically dedicated to the issue being debated (e.g., "Theology of John Zizioulas"). That way we can avoid the contentious section being longer than the rest of the article. We also get another page where all the relevant references can be quoted and noted (hopefully...), rather than simply having somewhat vague mentions in the vein of "Metr. John has addressed this criticism." Fr. Peter

I notice a minor edit "struggle" over the sentence someone wrote and I restored: "His article implies criticism, based on understanding of the certain Orthodox, who see work of Prof. Lossky as contemporary synthesis of the patristic theology. Thus, to differ from Prof. Lossky, is to differ from patristic theology." This had been changed to "This article would be critical if seen through the ideology of Prof. Lossky's work as being a contemporary synthesis of patristic theology." I think I understand the reason for this change -- the original sentence is rather vague and difficult to make sense of (it may be that the original author's primary language was not English), but I'm not sure the cleanup help makes the meaning any clearer. Perhaps somehow can expain this better, but for now I going to revert this again. — FrJohn (talk) 09:27, May 3, 2008 (UTC)