The recent declaration of Gregory of Narek as a Doctor of the Church universal raises important questions about ecclesial unity, ecumenism, papal authority, and the very nature of Christ. As one blogger* described the quandary:
The [Armenian Orthodox Church], the body to which Gregory belonged, has formally and persistently rejected the authority of the Council of Chalcedon, was not in communion with Rome during Gregory’s life, and highly venerates Gregory, who was (as Ann Barnhardt strongly emphasizes) a miaphysite. … So, a saint venerated in a fellowship that has for centuries rejected Chalcedon–a council universally binding on the Catholic Church–is considered a Doctor of the Catholic Church. Are there any other councils that one might reject while still enjoying exemplary ecclesial status–say, Trent or Vatican II?
*Full Disclosure: I am “one blogger,” but I want to open this discussion up to a wider audience. What does this portend for ecumenical relations? Were you already familiar with Gregory of Narek? (I was not.) Does this declaration deepen your sense of the word “Catholic”–or complicate it? What does this tell us about Pope Francis’s passion for the “ecumenism of blood” and how should we understand that phrase as Catholics?
I’d especially like to hear from Eastern Catholics or Eastern and Oriental Orthodox readers, if such there be.
We need to get this hammered out quickly, by the way, since Gregory’s memorial will be upon us February 27! 🙂
Elliot Bougis (Florida Man™) is a convert from the Reformed tradition. After a decade of teaching in Taiwan, Elliot returned to America and is now a freelance translator, interpreter, marketer, and writer. He is a happily married, multilingual father of three and occasionally a fitness nut. Find out more at ebougis.wordpress.com.