Fr. Radu Bordeianu

Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae and Communion Ecclesiology:

Ordained Ministers and Faithful Proclaiming

Together the Christian Faith


Orthodox and Roman Catholic theologians who participated to different bilateral dialogues issued important documents on the nature of the Church.[1] One of the aspects they emphasize is the communion character of the Church. Since the Second Vatican Council, there is a re-discovery of this dimension in Roman Catholicism, and it is known as communion ecclesiology.

            In this short study I will try to show that Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae can be considered by extension a “communion ecclesiology” theologian, but also that he can contribute to the improvement of this way of understanding the Church. This is possible especially since “at this time […] no one version of communion ecclesiology has the corner on the market,”[2] and since there are quite a few “reductive distortions”[3] in the way the Church is seen, that need to be corrected. I will begin with some biographical considerations regarding the Romanian theologian, and what communion ecclesiology is. Then, I will present and analyze Fr. Stăniloae’s views on ordained ministers and the faithful, in order to show that they are in a balanced communion, especially as teaching authorities. Since communion ecclesiology is such a large topic, I will refer only to this mentioned aspect in the present paper, even though I will also relate it to the other sides of the broader theme.

            I am aware that, on the one hand, “communion ecclesiology” is a kind of approach to understanding the Church to which the Romanian theologian was not exposed. On the other hand, Fr. Stăniloae presented a very similar model for the Church, and this is worthy to be explored and used in an ecumenical dialogue.

The Romanian theologian dedicated a lot of energy to the study of ecclesiology and ecumenism,[4] but, due to the space limits of this study, I will mainly use his Orthodox Dogmatic Theology,[5] second volume, fourth part, chapter I.B.2. Of course, I will also refer to other parts of his work, especially to the book published in English Theology and the Church.[6] Actually, it would have been easier and maybe better to use this book as the main source for this study, since Fr. Stăniloae addresses in it issues very much related to communion ecclesiology. But I assume that it is known already, so other aspects of the Romanian theologian’s thinking need to be presented to the English speaking theological world.


            Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae (1903-1993) was an Orthodox Romanian theologian who, even though is very important for theological thought, is not known enough outside Romania.[7] This is due to the fact that he wrote mainly during the communist regime that tried to isolate church personages from the rest of the world, so his most representative writings could not be translated in the Western languages. The beginning is made: some of his writings are already translated and hopefully, this effort will not cease. The words of Olivier Clément are welcome here: "Father Dumitru Stăniloae is certainly the greatest Orthodox theologian of the present day. When it will be translated in the Western languages, his work will prove to be one of the major creations of the Christian thought of the second half of our century."[8]

In Romanian Theology it is possible to talk about a 'Stăniloae generation.' This does not include only his colleagues of the same age. It also designates his apprentices and students, those who are shaped by his thinking, those who learned from him, those who continue his ideas and orientations.[9]


Many books have been written on what is known in Catholic theology as communion ecclesiology. It is hard to concentrate them all in a short definition, but Dennis M. Doyle takes this risk:

Communion ecclesiology is an approach to understanding the Church. It represents an attempt to move beyond the merely juridical and institutional understandings by emphasizing the mystical, sacramental, and historical dimensions of the Church. It focuses on relationships, whether among the persons of the Trinity, among human beings and God, among the members of the Communion of Saints, among members of a parish, or among the bishops dispersed throughout the world. It emphasizes the dynamic interplay between the Church universal and the local churches [, between diversity and unity]. Communion ecclesiology stresses that the Church is not simply the receiver of revelation, but as the Mystical Body of Christ is bound up with revelation itself. [… It] places a high value on the need for visible unity as symbolically realized through shared participation in the Eucharist.[10]


            Fr. Stăniloae’s work is a great resource for most of the aspects to which communion ecclesiology refers, especially the intra-Trinitarian relations, the mystical communion between humans and God, and the sacramental dimension of the Church. But, for the moment, it is important to see what the Romanian theologian has to say about the ordained ministers who are in communion with the faithful.


Ordained ministers

            Before making the differentiation between ordained and non-ordained ministers, Fr. Stăniloae speaks about Christ’s priesthood, which he entrusted to his whole Church. The latter participates actively in Christ’s teaching, sacrificial, and kingly offices, and thus, there is a continuous dialogue between the Church and its Head. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ enlightens the members of the Church to teach each other, but he remains the supreme Teacher. He urged the Apostles to teach the nations, the missionaries of every epoch to make him known to the world, the parents to educate their children as Christians, and the faithful to communicate to each other their faith in him and to clarify the meanings of his person and saving work.[11] Thus, the entire Church, clergy and faithful alike are continuing Christ’s priesthood and collaborate with him.

Still, Fr. Stăniloae makes a differentiation between the clergy and the faithful. Even though he acknowledges that the faithful can teach among themselves, he says that the teaching responsibility belongs to the ordained ministers, and they enlighten the community with Christ’s teaching. Of course, following the example of the Holy Fathers, the Romanian theologian ascribes to the clergy the responsibility of the other two offices, sacrificial and kingly aspects of priesthood, and relates them to the teaching office,[12] in order to prove what he first said.

I would add that this is not only an administrative responsibility, but that there is a sacramental difference between the clergy and the faithful in this matter. It is very difficult to present this aspect so that, on the one hand, this affirmation does not diminish the role of the non-ordained faithful and their teaching authority, and, on the other hand, the special charism of preaching that is received at Ordination is not understood as working by itself.

Priesthood is not a “magical power” received at ordination that enables a certain person to preach the truth of faith. Like Sts. John Chrysostom and Gregory of Nazianzen who insist on the spiritual and intellectual education of the priest, Fr. Stăniloae says that the priest should have knowledge about human beings and love for them. This would make his teaching effective and would lead the faithful to communion of love with God.[13]

In his book on Theology and the Church, Fr. Stăniloae goes further and analyzes the communion between humans and the Triune God in its depths, and not as a side-issue on what the official teaching of the Church should lead to. He dedicates two chapters to speak about “Trinitarian Relations and the Life of the Church” and about “The Holy Trinity: Structure of Supreme Love.” This is very similar to the emphasis that communion ecclesiology places on relationships. Thus, to “live in Christian community is to share in the life and love of the three persons in one God.”[14]

Continuing to speak about priesthood, Fr. Stăniloae says that we are not merely souls, but also bodies, so we need visible signs of God’s presence in the Church, otherwise we would be the slaves of our own subjectivity. Thus, as Christ made himself visible in his body, after his ascension into heaven, and mediated the divine power through his body, he makes himself visible through mediating visible organs, namely the priests. But they do not have this power in themselves, as Christ’s power was not coming from his human nature either; they receive it from the second person of the Trinity.[15]

But a very important point that Fr. Stăniloae makes, is that those entrusted with this authority/responsibility/capacity, especially the bishops, who have the priesthood at its fullness, are in communion with one another. This communion involves the bishops living in a certain period, but also their predecessors. It is a communion in space and time. The reason for that is the fact that the same Christ works in the Ordination of the bishops in the past and in the present, and the same Christ will work in their actions as bishops.[16]

Referring to Fr. Florovsky and to I. Karmiris, Fr. Stăniloae says that every local community is represented by its bishop, who is in communion with the other bishops, of course, representing specific local churches. Thus, each particular church is included in the totality of the catholic (lower case) Church and is related to the Pentecost. He continues saying that every bishop is the successor of all the Apostles, since all the Apostles were in communion. Moreover, each bishop is ordained by more than one bishop, in the name of all the bishops, receiving the same teaching that the Apostles handed down to us, and the capacity to share the grace of God to the people of God.[17] It is thus obvious how Fr. Stăniloae emphasizes the importance of being in communion of teaching, sacraments, and structure, typical to communion ecclesiology.[18]

It is also characteristic of communion ecclesiology theologians to emphasize the tension between “a call to a higher vision of Christian unity and something that exists in particular, sometimes contrasting, versions.”  Also, as the document “An Agreed Statement on Conciliarity and Primacy in the Church: U.S. Theological Consultation, 1989”[19] shows, the communion among the bishops in the present times is very important. Fr. Stăniloae insists too on this aspect speaking about the priest who includes himself among the believers for which he prays. Moreover, he asks the other priests to pray for him when they celebrate the Eucharist, which shows the unity among the ordained ministers too.[20] Of course, this is an allusion to the way the pieces of bread are arranged on the disc at the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, and their symbolism of unity in the Church, both militant and triumphant.

The Romanian theologian even has a chapter about the role of the ordained ministers to maintain the unity of the Church, which, of course, does not exclude the faithful from this task. The priest maintains the unity of a specific community by gathering its members and their prayers around the sacrifice of the Lord. The bishop maintains the unity of a local church ordaining priests for it and representing Christ in it. Through the communion of the bishops, the unity of the Church itself is maintained.

Fr. Stăniloae presented this theme in a hierarchical manner, but this does not imply that the task of maintaining the unity belongs exclusively to the hierarchy. This is expressed by what is added immediately after these considerations, namely that the bishops are part of certain communities, and not only mediators of Christ.[21] Thus, he tries to avoid clericalism and to extend this task to the whole people of God, even though the responsibility belongs to the ordained ministers.[22]

Speaking about the communion among bishops, Fr. Stăniloae also alludes to the Papacy when he says that Christ entrusted the leadership of the Church to the community of the Apostles and, after them, to the successors of the Apostles, and not to Peter alone and to his successors. Thus, the bishop is part of the community of bishops, and not only in the community of the Church.[23] He has another reason to think that. Since the teaching, sacramental, and kingly offices are in connection one with the other, it follows that a bishop cannot have jurisdictional or teaching primacy, since he does not have the exclusive right to perform certain sacraments.[24] Synodality, equality, and collegiality are, for the Romanian theologian, the guarantees that maintain a perfect communion in the Church. Of course, they do not exclude the idea that one of the bishops can have a primacy of honor, to be primum inter pares.

            Besides the authority that they have in their own local church, gathered in an Ecumenical Council, the bishops extend their authority to the whole Church. At those synods, they were basing their affirmations on the faith and the sacramental life of their communities. Thus, the bishops were representing the tradition that was lived in the community that they were representing.[25] In this sense, Fr. Stăniloae can say that

the Church in its totality, as body of Christ, is infallible, because it is Christ who is infallible, and he exercises his threefold office in it as one whole. The Church partakes of his infallibility, because it partakes of his three offices. The episcopacy takes doctrinal decisions infallibly because it takes them in the name of the Church and in interior connection with it and taking into account the thinking of the Church related to its life in Christ [italics are mine]. The episcopacy can do this because it decides in communion. And the communion insures not only every bishop, but also all of them together, against the dictatorial tendency in the Church. Everyone and all of them together are limited in exercising the right to decide in matters of faith by their mutual inter-relatedness and because they seek together the accord among themselves and with the tradition of the Church.[26]


            Unfortunately, the Church of Christ is broken today, so the professions of faith of certain denominations do not have the same authority as the Ecumenical Councils of the (relatively) unified Church of the first millenium. An obvious sign of this situation is the fact that those specific decisions are binding just for the faithful belonging to that denomination.

            To further show the un-natural state of Christianity today, one can say that it is now practically impossible to convoke an Ecumenical Council. Against this affirmation, some Roman Catholics would argue that they have 21 such councils, most of them after the schism. Paradoxically, since this refers to the relations with the Catholic Church, some Orthodox theologians might also speak about catholicity[27]. They might say that the others do not matter, since the whole true Church can be concentrated in a group of faithful that maintain the right beliefs. But there is a difference between heresy and schism[28], so this principle of catholicity cannot be applied in the relations between the Orthodox and the Catholic Churches. Moreover, Fr. Stăniloae sees in the right use of the concept of sobornicity a resource for Christian unity.

Orthodox sobornicity, as a true organic unity in plurality, can serve as a model – even as a final goal – for the different Churches in the progress of their ecumenical relations, showing them the possibility of combining a many-sided and real unity together with a mutual recognition of their diversities in other areas and a mutual respect for their freedom in a shared unity.[29]


The situation is even more complicated, once the issue of right use of the concept of catholicity is solved. One very difficult problem that the Orthodox Church needs to face today is that of the envisaged re-union with the Non-Chalcedonian Churches. If there is not dogmatic barrier that would make it impossible, then what can one say about the disunity and the supposed consensus of the faithful that existed until now? Or did the consensus of the faithful need so many centuries to work or to be made heard?

            It needs to be said that Orthodoxy can have now only pan-Orthodox synods, since it is not in unity with the other Christian denominations.[30] A very serious question arises: does the communion between the bishops and faithful go beyond confessional boundaries, or the schism was so serious that the answer is “no”? A further study is necessary in order to answer this question, but there are some things that need to be mentioned here. After 1054, people needed some time to realize what happened, continuing to be just one Church. Moreover, in 1965 the anathemas were lifted up, so, theoretically, the way to communion is open again. The bishops of one denomination recognize the status of the bishops of the other denomination,[31] and their flocks belong to the Church of Christ.[32] It is true, Orthodox and Catholics are in a state of imperfect communion, but the process of unification is started.[33] Thus, in the present situation, there are only two possibilities to reach consensus, namely through the acceptance of certain beliefs by the “scattered Church,”[34] or by joint declarations, but not in an Ecumenical Council.



            History shows that ordained ministers can make doctrinal mistakes sometimes. But who judges that, besides the other clergy that remain right? In Orthodoxy, a very important principle is sensus fidelium. It means that the whole Church has to agree on a certain teaching, in order for it to be considered official. In this sense, it is interesting to observe that the Council of Constantinople (381) did not regard itself as possessing Ecumenical authority. But, with time, the whole Church recognized it as such.[35] Councils like Ferarra-Florence accomplished all the conditions to be considered ecumenical, but the faithful did not agree with its decisions. Thus, this council was not accepted in Orthodoxy as normative. The purpose of these examples is to illustrate that the faithful have the capacity to ultimately decide in matters of faith.

            The reception of the official decisions is easier nowadays than, let’s say, in the era of the Ecumenical Councils, because of the means of communications that we have, so this aspect should be emphasized more by theologians and by ecclesiastical authorities. Especially in regards to the problem of re-unification of Christianity, it needs to be said that the clergy has the duty to preach ecumenism to the faithful, but also to observe their reaction and to take it into account.

             Choosing the clergy was another task of the faithful that strengthened the communion between them and the ordained ministers. This aspect should be more emphasized today, and this also has to do with the reception of the teachings, because the faithful know who can lead them and better represent their beliefs. When Fr. Stăniloae speaks about the fact that the priest cannot receive his priesthood from the community,[36] he makes an allusion to some neo-Protestant denominations that do not administer Ordination properly, but he does not refer to the process of election of the clergy. One needs to say, however, that contemporary Christian communities are sometimes very numerous, so it is very hard to apply this rule, since people do not know among themselves. Still, the principle should not be abandoned, but rather should be applied in a newly created environment that would make it applicable.

As it was previously shown, the believers are in community with their own priest and bishop, but also with the faithful and clergy from other dioceses, since their bishop is in communion with the other bishops. Fr. Stăniloae goes further in explaining how the faithful are in communion with the priests, since they are priests too, just that in a different way. He speaks about the fact that the believers partake of the sacrifice, but also of the one who brings this sacrifice. Thus, we become not only sacrifices, but also priests of our sacrifice in this restricted sense. Moreover, our sacrifice does not happened only in the Church, but it also consists in our pure life, in prayer, in helping our neighbor, and in our renunciation to ourselves in order to enter in communion of love with God.[37]

            This idea that sacramentality refers “to an awareness of the presence and activity of God simultaneously both in the sacraments and in the context of everyday life”[38] is also characteristic to communion ecclesiology. In his Theology and the Church, Fr. Stăniloae dedicates a whole chapter to “The Orthodox Doctrine of Salvation and its Implications for Christian Diakonia in the World.” He will also say

True spirituality implies communion and true communion implies spirituality. […] True spirituality is not individualist in character nor is it realized by taking refuge in the self, and that is certainly not true spirituality which is found wanting in love for the rest of men [and women[39]]. Spirituality does not mean the accumulation of the experiences of a refined spirit, an undisturbed enjoyment of certain insights which can be cherished without reference to the community. […] In future, therefore, Orthodox theology will also be a theology of the Church. For the Church is the communion of the faithful realized in Christ and sustained by the Holy Spirit. It is communion and profound spirituality at one and the same time. And because of this it is life. It is communion in the Holy Spirit. The very existence of the Church is an effect, continually renewed, of action of the Holy Spirit in creating communion.[40]


            In his Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, in the chapter on “Christ’s priesthood in the Church through the general priesthood,” Fr. Stăniloae says that the human is king, priest, and prophet. But he does not insist enough on that, and goes further and says that the faithful do not have “a formal responsibility for the community of the Church,” insisting too soon on the necessity to have ordained priesthood.[41]

            Unfortunately, “priesthood of all believers” sounded “too Protestant,” so that, after the Reformation, it did not receive its deserved attention. Thus, Orthodox theology almost lost what it already had until then. In his Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Fr. Stăniloae falls into this temptation too. He dedicates only two paragraphs to this issue. Moreover, it seems that this topic does not interest him, and this is understandable, since it was not such a problem in the Orthodox Church as it was in other Churches. Orthodoxy accepted two thirds (!!!) laity at the national ecclesial assemblies, and did not have to deal with clericalism. Not that these would be problems now, but, in our times, universal priesthood is a topic that needs to be correctly understood and further developed. This is a critique that I address to myself too, since I ascribed so little space to general priesthood compared to ordained priesthood.

            It is good, however, to give Fr. Stăniloae credit for his important contribution, in these three volumes of Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, to the understanding of the human as a priest for creation. In the chapter at stake in this paper, as it was previously shown, he just refers to the fact that the human is a priest. Still, in the previous pages, following St. Maximus the Confessor, the Romanian theologian gave its merited attention to this subject. The human as a priest for the creation is a constant feature of Fr. Stăniloae’s thinking.[42] Thus, he represents a reliable source for communion ecclesiology, in which the communion between the humans and the rest of the universe is mentioned.[43]

            What is much more emphasized in communion ecclesiology, however, is the communion among all human beings.[44] Fr. Stăniloae also says “Orthodox theology will be increasingly characterized […] not only as an ecumenical theology but as a theology concerned with the aspirations and the problems of mankind as a whole.”[45] Similarly to St. Paul speaking to the Corinthians (first letter, chapter 12) about the different gifts that are in the service of the one Church of Christ, Fr. Stăniloae says that the particularities will be valued correctly in this unity that we seek, since at its basis stays a healthy spirituality.

True spirituality is seen in the efforts of all men [and women] to achieve a common unity, but a unity which respects the specific contribution which each individual can bring to this growth of understanding and to the content of mankind’s common experiences and values.[46]


Equilibrium (Instead of Conclusion)

            It is wrong to think in terms of superiority when speaking about the clergy compared to faithful. None of them is above the other, but there is a perfect harmony. There is communion at all the levels: the Trinitarian persons among themselves, denominations among themselves, Christ with his Church, bishops among themselves, priests with bishops, faithful with clergy, and faithful with other believers. With the exception of the first two aspects, all of the ones mentioned here need to be accomplished more visibly now, on earth, especially the third one. They will all be fully accomplished in the Kingdom of God that is to come.




The New Oxford Annotated Bible, NRSV (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Anghelescu, Gheorghe F., and Ica, Ioan I., “Parintele Prof. Acad. Dumitru Stăniloae: Bibliografie Sistematica,” in Persoană si Comuniune. Prinos de Cinstire Părintelui Profesor Academician Dumitru Stăniloae la implinirea varstei de 90 de ani (Sibiu: Ed. Arhiepiscopiei Ortodoxe Sibiu, 1993).

Borelli, John and Erickson, John H., editors, The Quest for Unity: Orthodox and Catholics in Dialogue (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1996).

Browne, C. G. and Swallow, J. E., “Introduction to the "Theological" Orations,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, second series, edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999), vol.7.

Clément, Olivier, “Le Pčre Dumitru Stăniloae et le génie de l'Orthodoxie Roumaine,” in Persoană si Comuniune. Prinos de Cinstire Părintelui Profesor Academician Dumitru Stăniloae la implinirea varstei de 90 de ani (Sibiu: Ed. Arhiepiscopiei Ortodoxe Sibiu, 1993).

Doyle, Dennis M., Communion Ecclesiology: Vision and Versions (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2000).

Dulles, Avery, “Communion” in Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, edited by N. Lossky, J.M. Bonino, J. Pobee, T. Stransky, G. Wainwright, and P. Webb (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991).

Plămădeală, Antonie, “Generatia Stăniloae,” in Persoană si Comuniune. Prinos de Cinstire Părintelui Profesor Academician Dumitru Stăniloae la implinirea varstei de 90 de ani (Sibiu: Ed. Arhiepiscopiei Ortodoxe Sibiu, 1993).

Roberson, Ronald G., CSP, Contemporary Romanian Orthodox Ecclesiology: The Contribution of Dumitru Stăniloae and Younger Colleagues, (Romae: Typis Pontificiae Universitatis Gregorianae, 1988).

Stăniloae, Dumitru, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology [Teologia Dogmatica Ortodoxa] (Bucuresti: EIBMBOR, 1996).

___, The Experience of God (Brookline, Massachusetts: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998).

___, Theology and the Church, translated by Robert Barringer (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1980).

[1]Some of them are published by John Borelli and John H. Erickson, editors, in The Quest for Unity: Orthodox and Catholics in Dialogue (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1996).

[2] Dennis M. Doyle, Communion Ecclesiology: Vision and Versions (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2000), p.21.

[3] ibid, p.14.

[4] For a complete thematic bibliography see Gheorghe F. Anghelescu and Ioan I. Ica, “Parintele Prof. Acad. Dumitru Stăniloae: Bibliografie Sistematica,” in Persoană si Comuniune. Prinos de Cinstire Părintelui Profesor Academician Dumitru Stăniloae la implinirea varstei de 90 de ani (Sibiu: Ed. Arhiepiscopiei Ortodoxe Sibiu, 1993). In his 65 articles and other references in books on Ecumenism, Fr. Stăniloae contributes towards the unification of the Church with many important insights. He also encourages Orthodox theologians to study the teachings of other Christian Churches in an irenic spirit. (TC, p.121). Still, Ronald G. Roberson, CSP, in his doctoral dissertation Contemporary Romanian Orthodox Ecclesiology: The Contribution of Dumitru Stăniloae and Younger Colleagues, (Romae: Typis Pontificiae Universitatis Gregorianae, 1988, p.49) is right to observe that the Romanian theologian uses sometimes, when speaking about the other Christian denominations, unfair generalizations and that his sources are sometimes hard to trace. It is also important to acknowledge that he is not up to date with the developments in the theologies that he criticizes. One should not forget, however, that, especially after the years spent in prison, Fr. Stăniloae was isolated from the rest of the international theological world. It is very important to note that the main source of this study, his Orthodox Dogmatic Theology was initially published in 1977, and the second edition that I am using is published three years after his death, in 1996. Moreover, as its title shows, the main interest of the author is to present the Orthodox faith, so the references to the other denominations are just fugitive and cannot do justice to those specific theologies.

[5] Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology [Teologia Dogmatica Ortodoxa] (Bucuresti: EIBMBOR, 1996).

[6] Dumitru Stăniloae, Theology and the Church, translated by Robert Barringer (New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1980).

[7] This is why he needs a rather long introduction for such a short study.

[8]Olivier Clément, “Le Pčre Dumitru Stăniloae et le génie de l'Orthodoxie Roumaine,” in Persoană si Comuniune. Prinos de Cinstire Părintelui Profesor Academician Dumitru Stăniloae la implinirea varstei de 90 de ani (Sibiu: Ed. Arhiepiscopiei Ortodoxe Sibiu, 1993), p.82.

[9]Antonie Plămădeală, “Generatia Stăniloae,” in Persoană si Comuniune. Prinos de Cinstire Părintelui Profesor Academician Dumitru Stăniloae la implinirea varstei de 90 de ani (Sibiu: Ed. Arhiepiscopiei Ortodoxe Sibiu, 1993), pp. xi-xii.

[10] Dennis M. Doyle, op. cit., pp.12-13.

[11] Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, p.152.

[12] ibid, p.162.

[13] ibid, p.163.

[14] Dennis M. Doyle, op. cit., p.13.

[15] Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, p. 165.

[16] ibid, p. 158.

[17] ibid, note 65, p.157.

[18] Avery Dulles, “Communion,” in Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, edited by N. Lossky, J.M. Bonino, J. Pobee, T. Stransky, G. Wainwright, and P. Webb (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991), pp. 207-209.

[19] In J. Borelli and J. Erickson, op. cit., p.153.

[20] Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, p.159.

[21] ibid, p.159.

[22] The same idea is suggested by Fr. Stăniloae when he says that the mediation done by the priest should be understood as causing the occasion for Christ to act, and not as if this power would belong to the priest. The power of Christ that works through the priest, or better through his acting, does not belong to the priest, but to the whole Church. Still, the responsibility for this belongs to the ordained minister, and this is why St. Gregory of Nazianzen says that the priest is co-celebrant with Christ. (ibid, p.160).

[23] ibid, p.159.

[24] ibid, p.163.

[25] ibid, p.165. The same thing can be said about every theologian, who’s effort consists “in merging the individual mind with the mind of the community of the Church […] in order to give expression in new terms to what is consonant with the Church’s mind.” (idem, Theology and the Church, p.219).

[26] Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, p.164.

[27] In his Theology and the Church, p.54, Fr. Stăniloae concentrates his understanding of the term “catholicity” in the following words:

Just as the organs of the body have within themselves a force which keeps them all together, so the Holy Spirit, present within the faithful, is the force holding them together in one whole and making them aware of the fact that integration is only possible through the others. This constitutive force of the whole body, the dunamiV tou olou, or synthetic power, exists in each of the parts and everywhere in the unity which together they constitute: paresti en to olw. It is this which gives the Church the nature of a whole, and from all its parts forms one single unity, thereby giving it the character of “sobornicity” which translates the Greek word for this notion of wholeness: catholicity (from kaq˘ olon).

[28] See Avery Dulles, op. cit., p. 206.

[29] Dumitru Stăniloae, Theology and the Church, p.221.

[30] Some people might have another reason to think that, namely that Revelation is closed, so the Church does not need other Ecumenical Councils. Fr. Stăniloae is very clear about that too. Starting from René Voetzel's affirmation that "one of the greatest mistakes committed by the Church is […] to have declared arbitrarily the Revelation closed" (in "Lettre entrouverte ŕ Jean Fourstaié", in D. Stăniloae, The Experience of God, (Brookline, Massachusetts: Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1998) p. 51), Fr. Stăniloae says that

Revelation does not so much consist in a disclosure of a sum of theoretical information about God enclosed within His own transcendence; rather it consists in God's act of descending to the human and of raising human up to Himself so that there might be achieved, in Christ, the deepest possible union and that this achievement might be the basis for extending between God and all the people who believe in Him the same union. (D. Stăniloae, The Experience of God, p.34)

[31] This is the general opinion among the Orthodox Churches, but there are still some national autocephalous Churches who need some more time to further reflect on this issue (“Ordination: Joint Committee of Orthodox and Catholic Bishops, 1988,” in J. Borelli and J. Erickson, op. cit., p.151).

[32] The problem of the degrees of belonging to the Una Sancta needs further clarification too, both from an Orthodox and a Catholic perspective. Still, for this study is important to know that the terms of this kind of discussion would be “Orthodoxy” and “Catholicism,” not “specific members of the Orthodox Church” and “specific members of the Catholic Church.” Each one, from his or her own faith, confesses his or her beliefs, but only God can judge the piety of specific persons.

[33] See Avery Dulles, op. cit., p.207.

[34] Similar idea in “An Agreed Statement on Conciliarity and Primacy in the Church: U.S. Theological Consultation, 1989” in J. Borelli and J. Erickson, op. cit., p.155.

[35]C. G. Browne and J. E. Swallow, “Introduction to the "Theological" Orations,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 7, second series, edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999), p.284.

[36] Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, p.156.

[37] ibid, p.154.

[38] Dennis M. Doyle, op. cit., p.21.

[39] Most probably, this is a deficient translation of the Romanian word “oameni,” which means “human beings” and includes men and women alike.

[40] Dumitru Stăniloae, Theology and the Church, pp.217-218.

[41] idem, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, p.155.

[42] See, for example, Dumitru Stăniloae, Theology and the Church, p.224.

[43] See Dennis M. Doyle, op. cit., p.16.

[44] ibid, p.17.

[45] Dumitru Stăniloae, Theology and the Church, pp.222-223.

[46] ibid, p.218.