Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Questions and Answers 53 - 57

On the Name "Skevos"

Question 53: Would you have any idea why the name “Skevos” is so common on the island of K├ílymnos? Especially, since there does not seem to be a “Saint Skevofilax”.

Answer: The name Skevos is short for the ecclesiastical office known as Skevophylax, which means "keeper of the vessels." This office was usually held by a cleric. As far as the modern popularity of the name in Kalymnos, from what I read, it is due to Skevos Zervos (1875–1966), who was a prominent Greek Professor; a pioneer surgeon in Transplants and Telemedicine, and who became a local and national benefactor in Greece. Though he may not have been the first to be named Skevophylax, it seems that he was the first to be called Skevos, and seeing that he was a hero from Kalymnos, the shortened name became popular.

The Authority of the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672

Question 54: Does the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672 have the universal authority of an Ecumenical Synod?

Answer: At the time it received universal acceptance as an expression of the Orthodox faith, but eventually Orthodox became more reserved about the dogmatic authority of this Synod, mainly because it sought to refute much of Calvinistic influences in Orthodoxy by using Roman Catholic terms and arguments, which was due to the fact that most educated Orthodox theologians at the time were usually educated in the West. It therefore is no longer considered as having universal authority. For example, if it did have binding universal authority, then very few would be allowed to even read the Bible, and we would be open to using the word "transubstantiation". This was a Roman Catholic influence no longer acceptable to Orthodox theologians. If it has any universal authority, it is more of a universal condemnation of Calvinism.

Interpreting an Article from the Encyclical of 1848

Question 55: How should we understand the article in the Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs from 1848, which says: "But that Faith has long ago been sealed in completeness, not to admit of diminution or increase, or any change whatever; and he who dares to do, or advise, or think of such a thing has already denied the faith of Christ, has already of his own accord been struck with an eternal anathema, for blaspheming the Holy Ghost as not having spoken fully in the Scriptures and through the Ecumenical Councils."

Answer: The "Faith" mentioned here is that which was proclaimed by the Apostles and handed down through their successors, which was ratified in the Ecumenical Synods. The article in context specifically is responding to the Roman Catholic teaching of the Filioque, which is in opposition to what we have been taught in Scripture and the Ecumenical Synods.

Information About Saint Stylianos

Question 56: I am trying to find out where/who I can talk to in an attempt to find out more about St. Stylianos. There doesn't seem to be much information readily available other than he was in the area of Pathlagonia and was a hermit and protector/healer of children. There also seems to be a suspicion that St. Alypios may be the same person. I was hoping someone out there may have some archaeological or ancestral information beyond what is found by doing a simple internet search.

Answer: If you read what is on my site, then you will probably read the most that can be found on him. But there is nothing in archaeology about him, nor ancestral information.

Should a Wife Obey her Husband?

Question 57: My godson, who grew up in the church, found a job in a neighboring state, met a very nice (non-Orthodox) young woman and got engaged. Unfortunately the wedding will not be in church because they are so opposed to the reading about wives obeying their husbands. Both parents have spoken to him as well as his priest. They still are opposed to it. Is there anything you could recommend to me, his godmother, to say? I am of course praying for them. My fear is that he does not realize that cutting himself from the sacraments will hinder his growth in the Lord.

Answer: Your godchild seems to be misreading the passage of Saint Paul. First of all, he says that wives are to submit to their husbands. This does not mean violating her dignity as a human being! Ephesians 5:22-33 in context is merely saying that a husband and wife must be in a harmony of love with one another, just as there is a harmony of love between Christ and the Church. This harmony requires mutual love and respect. The Church does not submit to Christ out of compulsion, but out of love. Christ does not view the Church as a slave to be abused, but he loves her to the point that he became like her in order to die for her and raise her to a glorious existence with him. If a wife is to submit herself to her husband, a husband must sacrifice himself for his wife. Anyone who reads more into this passage misreads the text. The key word in the text is not "obey", but "love". This love is about not following our own will and selfishness in a marriage, but it is a mutual harmonious selfless love - from both the wife and the husband. The same is implied in Titus 2 and 1 Peter 3.

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