Unity is the categorical imperative of the Church. It is not just the Church's bene esse, but its esse. In addition to being a theological concept, unity has become a raison d' tre of various structures that the Church has established and developed. All of these structures are supposed to serve the end of unity.
However, from time to time some of them deviate from their initial purpose and contribute to disunity. This happens because the structures of the Church are not a part of its nature and can therefore turn against it. They are like scaffolding, which facilitates the construction and maintenance of a building without actually being part of it. Likewise, ecclesial structures help the Church function in accordance with its nature but should not be identified with the Church proper.
Scaffolds of the Church considers the evolution of some of these structures and evaluates their correspondence to their initial rationale. It focusses on particular structures that have developed in the eastern part of the Christian oecumene, such as patriarchates, canonical territory, and autocephaly, all of which are explored in the more general frame of hierarchy and primacy. They were selected because they are most neuralgic in the life of the Orthodox Churches today and bear in them the greatest potential to divide.
Cyril Hovorun is a senior lecturer at Sankt Ignatios Academy / StockholmSchool of Theology in Sweden.
List of Pictures, Maps, and Figures Acknowledgments List of Abbreviations Introduction 1 1. Fine Pencil Lines: Distinctions The Church as an historical phenomenon and as an object of faith The Church for Everyone and the Church for Some The Dualism of the Sacred and Profane The Church Universal and Particular 2. Partition Walls: Territory and Administration 3. Ditches: Sovereignty 4. Strongholds: Autocephaly The Case of Bulgaria The Case of Serbia The Case of Greece The Case of Bulgaria II The Case of Ukraine The Case of the Orthodox Church in America 5. Pyramids: Primacy 6. Strata: Ministry 7. Frontiers: The Boundaries of the Church Conclusions: From Structuralism to Poststructuralism and Beyond Appendix 1: The Structure of the Roman Empire in the Fourth Century Appendix 2: Rulers Appendix 3: Bishops of Constantinople Appendix 4: Bishops of Rome Scaffolds of the Church Bibliography Index