52 Jurist 490 (1992)
The Local Churches and Catholicity: An Orthodox Perspective

handle is hein.journals/juristcu52 and id is 496 raw text is: THE JURIST 52 (1992) 490-508

THE LOCAL CHURCHES AND CATHOLICITY:
AN ORTHODOX PERSPECTIVE
JOHN H. ERICKSON*
Local church and catholicity are not simple, univocal terms.
Their meaning, whether alone or in combination, has shifted from age
to age and from tradition to tradition. Thus, for us in the closing years
of the twentieth century, to speak of the local church as catholic
seems mildly paradoxical, suggesting a challenge and possibly an
agenda. In the closing years of the nineteenth century, the same ex-
pression would have seemed to many an absurdity, a logical contra-
diction. In the third or fourth century, it would have seemed a tautol-
ogy: the Fathers knew that the local church was catholic, and they
probably would have been astonished at the idea of having a collo-
quium on the subject.
To twentieth-century discussion of the subject, Orthodox theologians
have made important contributions, from the seminal essays on cath-
olicity by Florovsky and Lossky and Afanasiev's provocative and in-
fluential presentation of eucharistic ecclesiology to the masterful
synthetic work of John Zizioulas, now Metropolitan of Pergamon, and
of other contemporary writers. ' It would be tempting simply to repeat
* Professor of Canon Law, Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary,
Crestwood, NY.
1 Georges Florovsky, Sobornost: The Catholicity of the Church, in The Church
of God, ed. Eric L. Mascall (London: SPCK, 1934) 53-74, also included in his Col-
lected Works, 1 (Belmont, MA: Nordland, 1972) 37-55; cf. his less often noted
Evkharistiia i sobornost, Put' 19 (1929) 3-22. Vladimir Lossky, Du troisi~me
attribut de l'Iglise, Dieu Vivant 10 (Paris 1948) 78-89, and also La conscience
catholique: Implications anthropologiques du dogme de l'tglise, Contacts 42 (1963)
76-88, both included in A l'image et d la resemblance de Dieu (Paris: Aubier-Mon-
taigne, 1967), English version, In the Image and Likeness of God (Crestwood, NY: St.
Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1974) 169-181 and 183-194 respectively. Nicolas Afa-
nasiev, especially Trapeza Gospodnia (Paris, 1952) and Tserkov' Dukha Sviatago
(Paris: YMCA, 1971), French version L' tglise du Saint-Esprit (Paris: Cerf, 1975);
The Church Which Presides in Love, in The Primacy of Peter, ed. John Meyendorff
(London: Faith Press, 1963) 57-110; and of special ecumenical interest: Una Sancta,

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