Talk:John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon

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  • Archive 1 - from article creation (2007) to end of March 2008.
  • Archive 2 - from April 1 to May 9, 2008.

Consensus straw poll

Who here believes that it can be clearly shown that the Mainstream Chalcedonian churches (the explicit bias of OrthodoxWiki) regard Metr. John as heterodox (i.e., a heretic)? —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 21:11, May 9, 2008 (UTC)

  • You can place my vote firmly against such an idea. --Fr Lev 21:31, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
  • I must also resolutely vote against a notion so ridiculous. Seminarist 21:37, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
  • So far against that, IMHO, the question borders on being rhetorical (albeit a necessary question, given the circumstances). — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 21:58, May 9, 2008 (UTC)
Friends, I'm not sure this is really necessary. It is often said that the Church is not a democracy. For our purposes (re: bias), I suspect it is enough to ask questions such as "Has such a person or such ideas been formally condemned by a local or ecumenical synod?"
Many theologians are (every theologian is?) controversial. The intensity of debate shows, in my mind, the deep sense of responsibility people have in the engagement and can be a useful tool for diagnosing the larger patterns of tension within the Orthodox world. OrthodoxWiki certainly should not (except perhaps in extreme circumstances) label any Orthodox bishop "heterodox" or a "heretic," but neither do we need to defend his theology against all critics. I would like to continue to push simply toward "objective" statements rather than evaluative statements -- the who, what, where, when, and why which befits an encyclopedic undertaking. — FrJohn (talk)

Oh, Father, how we have tried! The point has been made ad nauseum that no synod has sugested, much less concluded, that Metropolitan John's teaching is heterodox. Since creating the article, I've tried to edit it with encylopedic neutrality. The trouble has been one person's irresistible urge to villify the Metropolitan, and to twist sources that are praising the Metropolitan (such as Leithart and Papanikolaou) into negative criticism. The choir appreciates the sermon, but I think only one chorister is flat! --Fr Lev 23:52, May 9, 2008 (UTC)

The Church is of course not a democracy, but I do think that straw polls are useful in terms of trying to analyze and establish consensus on OrthodoxWiki articles. I don't think anyone here is arguing that this article should be utterly free from mention of criticism, but I do think there's generally a consensus that the way one editor has been going about adding it has been 1) unacceptable in its approach to collaboration (i.e., essentially none), 2) reflecting a basic lack of understanding of Orthodox theology and terminology, and 3) reflecting a lack of willingness to respect the official OrthodoxWiki bias. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 00:01, May 10, 2008 (UTC)

If I may add a point here: Just as the Church is not a democracy, neither is OrthodoxWiki an anarchy. Cebactokpatop is destroying the environment necessary for constructive and collaborative editing through his rude, ignorant and disruptive editing. I am shocked that a blind eye has been turned to the gravely insulting remarks Cebactokpatop has made to clergy contributing on OrthodoxWiki. He is an editor who has been repeatedly warned, yet shows absolutely no change in behaviour. Having a collaborative environment is not only about permitting a variety of viewpoints; it is also about protecting that environment from abuse. At present, Cebactokpatop has single-handedly destroyed the collaborative environment of OrthodoxWiki (at least as far as the John Zizioulas article is concerned): constructive edits are blocked and reverted, whilst the talk-page is filled up with incivil discourse, peppered with Cebactokpatop's beligerent theological illiteracy. Cebactokpatop has made it clear that he is not interested (or capable?) of constructive editing here. As such, there is only one way to restore the collaborative environment necessary for OrthodoxWiki to flourish, and that is to ban Cebactokpatop. Seminarist 00:19, May 10, 2008 (UTC)

Just to respond to a small point in that message - I don't think I would be terribly out of line by putting forward that a blind eye hasn't been turned to insulting remarks, whether against clergy or otherwise, particularly since at least half of those remarks have been made towards various sysops. — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 03:11, May 10, 2008 (UTC)
Well, Cebactokpatop is a thug, and the sysops should be putting a stop to his thuggery, instead of continuing to allow him to disrupt constructive editing on OrthodoxWiki. Seminarist 14:39, May 10, 2008 (UTC)

Italia Ortodossa

In a link to an article in the Italian journal being cited as a source of criticism, we find the following claim: "This explains why orthodox people cannot help defining western Christianity as 'Arian'." This does not represent mainstream Orthodox criticism of the West. There are many things to say about deficiencies in Western theology, but this wholesale condemnation of the West as "Arian" is an expression of a fringe belief. The same article claims, "The same concept of 'Church - Eucharist' is also found in the Russian theologian Afanasieff, but it is typically western." This betrays an almost complete ignorance of the history of Western ecclesiology, which in fact has not focused on the Eucharist. Moreover, the style of the magazine is polemical and vicious. An example from the same article: "we must state that Zizioulas’ s theological style and argumentation can be proven deceitful, as he often stands too far from the truth/" Calling the Metropolitan deceitful is not criticism, academic or otherwise. It is libelous. As such, it has no place in this encyclopedia article. --Fr Lev 17:04, May 13, 2008 (UTC)

I've addressed part of this in an archived part of this talk page: it is impossible to describe the West as being 'Arian' - the filioque clause alone forbids it! As unsound as it may be for other reasons, it does ensure that arianism is entirely rejected. — by Pιsτévο talk complaints at 21:14, May 13, 2008 (UTC)
I've reverted the re-addition of the link—as noted multiple times elsewhere, it's essentially just polemical screed. It doesn't qualify by our research standard for controversial issues, i.e., it is not a "reliable, third-party source." —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 12:45, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Just because you do not share opinions expressed in the article of that magazine, it does not justify your unauthorized removal of that valid academic criticism. Orthodox criticism of the West is not always expressed in such an openly manner, as in the subject article, but, one who knows the state of the faith in the West would agree with the magazine. Fact that Westerners have difficulties with so common Orthodox confession of The Faith: "Christ our God", and most of the time replace it with "Christ our Lord" speaks for itself. Besides, the magazine editorial staff live in the West, surrounded by the Western Christianity, and are on that basis fully eligible to provide their stance on the matter. Cebactokpatop 12:49, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with whether we agree with the contents of the link or not—it's that the link is essentially unreliable polemic. If it were a reasoned, reliable source, then it might warrant inclusion, no matter what opinions it expressed. There are many such links and sources cited on OrthodoxWiki—content with which we may disagree but is of the requisite quality and notability as to be included.
I am somewhat amazed at the argument you present here for the Italia Ortodossa depiction of Western Christianity as "Arian," namely that they live in the West! Living in the West does not make one educated in Western theology. In any event, the overwhelming majority of Western Christians I know have no problem whatsoever with the phrase "Christ our God" and believe in it wholeheartedly. I have lived my whole life in Western culture and in the company of Western Christians (with the exception of 5 years on Guam). That doesn't make me an expert, either, of course, but I think it should be enough to debunk the notion that the West is entirely Arian. In fact, only a tiny minority could be said to be Arian, e.g., Jehovah's Witnesses.
It's precisely that sort of unwarranted and quite frankly ignorant assertion which shows that Italia Ortodossa is an unreliable source. Please do not keep reverting the article in defiance of pretty much all the other editors' clear consensus. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 13:01, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Details about "theological education" of the editorial staff of that magazine was provided earlier, and you have no grounds for removal on that basis. It is your private disagreement with the article that is putting you on this unjustified quest. Cebactokpatop 13:08, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
One could have a dozen Ph.D.s and twice as many D.D.s, but it doesn't mean that what one writes is worthy of being quoted in an encyclopedia. I know of no serious, reliable theologian, East or West, who contends that Western Christianity is Arian. Confirmations of Jesus Christ as God are replete in their Creeds and doctrinal statements.
This really is going nowhere. The consensus on this matter is clear—the link should not be included. (By the way, one could just as easily say that it is your own agreement with the contents of the link which has, in the face of overwhelming opposition from sysops and other longstanding editors, across multiple wikis, set you on a quest to discredit Metr. John!)
I'm protecting the article once again. All changes for the time being will have to be discussed here on the Talk page, consensus determined, and then added in by a sysop. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 13:12, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
You are abusing your sysop's powers. We have seen that before. Nothing new. And even worse, you are going to do it again, and again, until revoked from your account.
What consensus you are talking about? We do not have consensus on the magazine. If you think that you and other followers of JZ can "vote" (as you already did) and call that "consensus", you are badly mistaken. That is not consensus. Cebactokpatop 13:22, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Consensus is not equal to unanimity. Should one editor (i.e., you) be allowed to dominate an article even in the face of nearly universal opposition, despite being shown repeatedly how your edits and behavior on the wiki do not conform to established standards? You've been shown again and again how your attempts to discredit Metr. John in this article are ill-founded and baseless, yet instead of working to provide reliable, third-party sources, you repeatedly restore a link to a badly written, undocumented screed which makes such ridiculous assertions as claiming that all of Western Christianity is Arian.
No one is claiming that we all must agree with what Metr. John writes or that this article should include no mention of criticism of his works. Rather, what is being called for is that inclusion of criticism be done in the correct manner—reflecting the correct balance of how he is actually regarded in the mainstream Orthodox world and where criticism is mentioned, that it be cited from appropriately reliable, third-party sources.
Yet you will revert or otherwise change any edit which does not agree with your basic assumption that a bishop who has never even been formally accused of heresy (much less declared one) is in fact a heretic. On top of all that, I have seldom encountered a more persistently uncivil editor as yourself, willing to level all sorts of accusations against anyone who does not facilitate your quest. Having your editing privileges restored by FrJohn does not make any edit you make worthy of retention in the wiki.
The article has been protected to prevent an edit war—this affects all users, whether they agree with you or not. It is standard practice to protect an article when it is being subject to an edit war. You are of course free to accuse me of abuse of my sysop privileges if you like. As always, I leave that to FrJohn to determine. I will note that I am not the first sysop to protect this article because of an edit war which you incited, which is why I strongly suspect that, even if I were not exercising my duties as a sysop, one of the other sysops would. In the meantime, the article is protected as before. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 13:40, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
You are forgetting that it is Fr. John who has put the article up, and I was preventing your unauthorized edits only. Thus, your whole story above is in deep err, and further portrays your inability to successfully act as sysop. Your lacking of skills to properly assess the situation can't be more obvious. Cebactokpatop 13:49, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Oh, it can always be more obvious!  :) I make no special claim to wisdom or skill, but it is standard procedure to protect an article subject to an edit war. Anyway, Fr. John did not "put the article up." He's simply attempting to mediate its contents, though he's also made it clear that his ability to dedicate time to doing so is limited. That a particular portion was included in an edit he made does not mean that he wrote that portion or approves of everything in it. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 13:53, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Even IF he does not approve everything in it, he allows it in the article, out of his understanding of the validity of other opinions, while you obviously do NOT. You created edit war and you "protected" article from that edit war. How do we call this? Cebactokpatop 14:20, May 15, 2008 (UTC)

Here's the actual sequence of events for those observing:

  1. The link was much discussed and generally disapproved of, except by you.
  2. Fr. Lev posted a more detailed criticism of the link's inclusion.
  3. Pistevo agreed with it.
  4. Fr. Lev removed the link and the text surrounding it.
  5. You reverted Fr. Lev's edit, restoring the link, claiming that it was approved of by Fr. John.
  6. I reverted your reversion, returning to the version as edited by Fr. Lev.
  7. You again reverted the edit, restoring the link, claiming that it was approved of by Fr. John.
  8. I returned the article to the state as edited by Fr. Lev and attempted to convince you not to revert it again.
  9. You again reverted the edit, restoring the link, claiming that it was approved of by Fr. John (totaling 3 reverts in about 31 minutes).
  10. I again returned the article to the state as edited by Fr. Lev and then protected it, noting why on this talk page and noting that all changes would need to be discussed and brought to a consensus first.
  11. You accuse me of abusing my powers as a sysop and everyone who disagrees with you of being a "follower" of Metr. John.

So, that's how I would characterize what occurred and what is essentially recorded in all the relevant logs. I'm not going to bother attempting to argue with you further, since I'm well past the point of being convinced that it's futile. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 15:22, May 15, 2008 (UTC)

You are misleading the readers again. Nothing new from your side. What you numbered above is your biased private opinion, and nothing more than that. Cebactokpatop 15:28, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Far from it. The numbered list is clearly an accurate summary of events.
It is clear that Cebactokpatop is utterly incapabe of responding rationally and constructively to anyone who expresses disagreement with his positions and/or actions. Instead, time after time, he resorts to abuse, insult and general thuggery. He does not understand the issues (e.g. he does not understand why someone who claims that Western Christianity is Arian cannot be considered a reliable academic source), and yet it too brutish and pig-ignorant to heed the advice of others. There is something poisonous and devilish in his incessant desire to discredit Metropolitan John. (After all, why does someone who clearly doesn't understand Metropolitan John's theology want so much to discredit him on bogus grounds???) It is inappropriate OrthodoxWiki to allow him to continue to abuse both OrthodoxWiki itself and its other contributors. Time after time we have seen that Cebactokpatop is an ignorant thug, who should be banned. Seminarist 20:45, May 15, 2008 (UTC)
Just as a note: When engaged in disagreement on the wiki, it's fine to characterize the behavior of others in a negative fashion without characterizing the person himself in that way. We do not know whether Cebactokpatop is incapable of responding rationally and constructively or whether he is "an ignorant thug." So please, let's keep things civil, even when strongly tempted otherwise. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 11:11, May 16, 2008 (UTC)
You are, of course, entirely correct. I was, upon the basis of the principle that it is out of the heart that the mouth speaks, simply drawing an inference from Cebactokpatop's many displays of ignorance, thuggishness and inability to respond rationally and constructively. Of course, should he in the future display a dramatic change of learning, civility and rational-constructive response, then I will be very happy to modify my judgement. But in the meantime (and I have every reason to believe that the mean will be a long time), let me retract my previous comment and say instead: Cebactokpatop has consistently behaved in an ignorantly thuggish manner; he has shown abolutely no sign of changing his attitude, and accordingly should be banned. The longer it is until he is banned, the more damage is done to OrthodoxWiki, since he is preventing constructive edits and the constructive development of articles. Seminarist 15:24, May 16, 2008 (UTC)