What is Oiconomia - Economia?

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nick cobb

Sep 25, 2007, 11:24:04 AM9/25/07
Etymology: Greek oikonomia, management of a household.

When used in the church, this is the principle for "managing the church"
to provide order. Many people believe and use this terminology as a
"bad" term in the church as if providing a "dispensation" or
"exemption." What economia IS, is the recognition that all things within
the church and with its people are not just "black & white." Many say
and believe, "either accept all the canons 100% or you are a heretic."
Well, this is a very rigorist approach and not in itself even Orthodox.

There are different canons of the church. Some are absolute such as the
canons defining the doctrines of the church (God is three persons of one
essence). These canons are unchangeable. Most other canons are "guides"
and written to provide "good church order." HOWEVER, the Church
recognizes that people and life itself is not just "black & white." For
this reason, the Church gives bishops the flexibility of using the
principle of "economia" to address situations in the life of the church
where black & white decisions can't always be made. An example of this
may be seen in second or third marriages. The church believes in a
marriage of one man & one woman, but human weakness and life situations
do not always lend themselves to this.

In the recent discussion regarding married bishops - there is nothing
theologically wrong with this. In respect to "good church order" married
bishops can be re-instated; along with deaconesses if the church desires.


Sep 26, 2007, 12:51:07 AM9/26/07
There is really no point in discussing any of this publicly. The only
people this would affect would be the married senior priests who would
be elevated to the episcopate. It is obvious the congregation wants a
married bishop on the throne but we are not a congregationalist church.
It is good that the priests and the bishops are thinking about this and
talking about it amongst themselves. They are going to be the ones to
affect the change, Nick, not us. Does it really matter? I don't know.
Sometimes it seems trivial to me, but I am not a bishop, and we must
keep their well being in mind. It matters to them. I am shocked I am
using this kind of language. Who would have ever thought. I didn't grow
up like this, with these kind of words in my mouth. Far from it. The
church is the last place I thought I would end up.

Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


Sep 29, 2007, 2:56:22 AM9/29/07
nick cobb wrote:
> Etymology: Greek oikonomia, management of a household.

Thank you for this nice text, Nick. I brought it here to French.
Théologie : Qu'est-ce que l'économie / oikonomia?

I added, in another colour of course, my own reflexions on the matter. Here's a fast
translation of it, take it please "as is", I have absolutely no time to rework it.

"I'll start with the end, married bishops. The fact is that the Orthodox East, for his
own reasons, had closed the very long line of maried bishops (like saint Gregory of
Nyssa, among others) [and I would have added "like saint Peter" but he was Apostle, not
bishop!], and that this stopping happened in a Councile that they proclaimed, onsidedly,
to be "Ecumenical", even thought they hadn't guested the Orthodox West. And even thought
the Orthodox West continued to have some married bishops. Today, facing a big problem
with its episcopate, the East is finding himself tied by his own Canons, and has in lots
of monasteries where we can find "candidates for episcopacy" lots who wants these Canons
to be considered as of same value as Christological doctrines. Private hunting grounds vs.
good pastoral sense.. But that's not the most interesting in the reflexion of Nick.

Because it's a very worthy remembrance he has posted : it's the bishops who are
RESPONSIBLES of what we call "economy" in the Church. No higumen / abbot, no monk, no
priest, no deacon, no layman - be it an official "theologian" - has the right to decide
for this. And that reflexion is perfectly inline with what I recently posted to a reader
who had commented my article on saint Lambert, see here below the article
http://stmaterne.blogspot.com/2007/09/saint-lambert-de-lige-hraut-de-la-foi.html They are
much too much people giving themselves that "allowance." In name of what? In most cases,
it's due to pathetic ignorance of the very nature of the Church, of a total lack of
"sensus Ecclesiae" - or even worse, of "sensus Fidei", also in some of the clergy. This
has to be clearly rejected, because it's to the bishop that God will ask accountance of
the management of the sheeps. And it's to the bishop to become a good father for his
people, if he is not yet one. And to the faithfull to pray so that he becomes one, if he
is not yet one. And not to adulate and to idolize him, as so often the case. Because
that, it's not loving / helping his bishop!

Nevertheless, it seems required to me to go a little further in the reflexion. Does a
bishop, be it auxiliary one, diocesan bishop of a modest diocese, or of a metropolitan
see, or even a patriarcal see - that last function being, in the eyes and spirit of the
Undivided Church who has developped that system, nothing more than a purely
administrative and contingential function, strictly nothing more - thus, whatever be his
administrative rank, may he change the rules of functionning of the WHOLE, him alone? In
the Church, the answer is clear, it's NO.

Since the holy Apostles of Christ (cfr. Acts 15), ecclesial responsibles are taking the
decisions about all that is important for the whole of the Church in an exclusively
collegial maner. And with the assent of the people of God, of which they are part of,
above which they stand [epi-skopos] thus not in an absolute maner. Thus, if there must be
"economy" done by a bishop, it could never ever happen with anything that matters the
wholeness of the Body of Christ. For that last point, only an Ecumenical Council could.
And that's exactly what are waiting for with impatience all those among the Orthodox
Christians born in the West or living in the West and having at least a little ecclesial
awareness : that the famous and so long promised Pan-Orthodox Council, that will
necessarily be Ecumenical as we only are the One Church http://stmaterne.blogspot.
com/2007/09/oecumnisme-lunit-vue-par-la-commission.html that this Councile be AT LAST
gathered, and AT LAST takes the decision of refoundation of the Church here, where it
vanished already one millenium ago. And give it canonical grounding elsewhere on earth
where no Canon has ever given provision for anything, as at the time of their
composition, when they were thought, prayed and inspired by God the Holy Spirit, the
bearers of the Good News of Salvation in Jesus-Christ hadn't yet reached all the parts of
this planet earth. As conclusion, I'd say that this very Councile, we would not be able
to .. save the costs of it..


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