Fr. Thomas Hopko has an interesting article about the nature and role of the bishop as described in the Roman Church’s Second Vatican Council and about how that understanding of the episcopate relates to current ecclesial affairs in the Orthodox Churches: “Vatican II and the Orthodox Bishops.” I wonder if Fr. Thomas might be inferring too much ecclesiological content in the recent development of “episcopal assemblies.” I suspect that practical considerations and the canonically unprecedented situation of the contemporary ecumene are the driving forces behind the episcopal assemblies rather than borrowed ecclesiological musings from Rome. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of creeping influences. The Russians experienced their Babylonian Captivity of the mind due to a lack of caution. It is possible, however, to become overly xenophobic when it comes to doctrinal influences, and we should avoid such.
I found an interesting article yesterday on Orthodox Answers: “Clerical Celibacy,” by Fr. Laurence Cleenewerck. Fr. Laurence notes the movement in the Roman Church to defend the apostolic origin of clerical celibacy, and then he reviews the history and reasons underlying clerical celibacy in the East and in the West. It is relatively brief, given the subject matter, and quite informative. Most interesting to me was the parallel that early Christians saw between the ordained ranks of the new covenant and the Levitical system. The development of Christian doctrine and vocabulary seem to unfold quite dramatically within the scriptural imagination.