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Author Topic: Ecumencial Councils  (Read 1886 times) Average Rating: 0
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prodromas
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« on: July 25, 2007, 08:21:51 AM »

The OO accept the ecumenical councils up to the 3rd one, what evidence is there to dispute this claim that an ecumenical council could actually be wrong why accept the other 2 and not the 3rd it just seems like some people just didn't agree with the verdict but I thought ecumenical council are meant to be guided by the holy spirit?
This is not meant to be polemical at all its just I'm Greek and things sound to direct so please bear with me.
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2007, 08:31:43 AM »

The Oriental communion accepts the first three councils, prodomas. They reject 4-7.
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2007, 08:41:46 AM »

sorry about that bad research on my part (from my memory banks) but rephrase my questions including the fact that I mean that OO accept 1-3 but reject 4-7
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2007, 09:16:39 AM »

Are there any Nestorians still around who only accept two? I was under the impression that there were, but I could be way off on that. Regarding the original question(s)... well I'll omit the atheist propaganda (Grin) and just say that I'll look forward to reading the responses.
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2007, 09:32:26 AM »

Are there any Nestorians still around who only accept two?

I believe so. I think the Assyrian Church of the East fits your description.

James
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2007, 10:35:51 AM »

The OO accept the ecumenical councils up to the 3rd one, what evidence is there to dispute this claim that an ecumenical council could actually be wrong why accept the other 2 and not the 3rd it just seems like some people just didn't agree with the verdict but I thought ecumenical council are meant to be guided by the holy spirit?
This is not meant to be polemical at all its just I'm Greek and things sound to direct so please bear with me. 

From my limited understanding, there are two aspects to the OO rejection of what the EO call the 4th Ecumenical Council (obviously, they don't think it's ecumenical).

a) Theological: that the language used in the Council moved away from St. Cyril's formula and left the door wide open for the Nestorians to affirm the council without rejecting their heretical beliefs.

b) Administrative/Political: Chalcedon 451 was called partially in response to Ephesus 449 (which is an authoritative council to the OO, IIRC), and rejected some of the most prominent leaders of what would become the Coptic Church (including the OO's prominent St. Dioscorus).  After the synod, the Emperor attempted to enforce the decisions of the council using military force, which led to a severe persecution of anyone who followed St Dioscorus.
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2007, 01:44:13 AM »

prodromas, might I please suggest you read Abba Brahana Selassie's book Towards a Fuller Vision (http://www.amazon.com/Towards-Fuller-Vision-Ethiopian-Orthodox/dp/1844260968/ref=sr_1_2/002-9708132-1028000?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1185514315&sr=8-2) as it spends some time dealing with issues surrounding this topic.
We OOs accept only three ecumenical councils because the word "ecumenical" means that everybody agrees and about 1/3 of the Church at that time did not agree with the Council of Chalcedon so it could hardly be called ecumenical. On the other hand, when Nestorius was ex-communicated he only managed to convince two other bishops to agree with him and it took quite some time before his heresy spread to the Assyrians. As far as I'm aware, whilst there were once more Nestorians than Christians, there are now only about 100,000 people left in the so-called 'Assyrian Church of the East' and many are reconsidering there position and converting to Orthodox Christianity.

cleveland replied very well so I'll leave you to consider his words and discuss matters further.

Might I also please recommend HH Pope Shenouda III's work on The Nature of Christ.
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2007, 02:23:47 AM »

We OOs accept only three ecumenical councils because the word "ecumenical" means that everybody agrees and about 1/3 of the Church at that time did not agree with the Council of Chalcedon so it could hardly be called ecumenical. On the other hand, when Nestorius was ex-communicated he only managed to convince two other bishops to agree with him and it took quite some time before his heresy spread to the Assyrians.

This is a grossly erroneous over-simplification as to the reason why the OO do not consider Chalcedon an Ecumenical Council, and yet why we, on the other hand, accept Ephesus as Ecumenical in spite of the resistance to that particular council...
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2007, 02:56:06 AM »

This is a grossly erroneous over-simplification as to the reason why the OO do not consider Chalcedon an Ecumenical Council, and yet why we, on the other hand, accept Ephesus as Ecumenical in spite of the resistance to that particular council...

Forgive me please but I must disagree that it is erroneous. I just answered the question in the simplest way. When about 1/3rd of The Church does not agree then by definition it is not ecumenical as everybody (ie the entire Church) has to agree in order for a council to be ecumenical. This does not mean that they have to agree immediately but at the least they must come to agree as was the case with Ephesus.

There are many reasons why OOs do not accept the Council of Chalcedon but the question was not why we don't accept it but rather why we don't accept it as ecumenical. As such, I just replied to the question.
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2007, 03:02:35 AM »

Dear Dydimus,

The problem is that your argument is self-refuting, in light of your very own observation of the fact that we consider Ephesus 431 to be Ecumenical in spite of its continued rejection by the Assyrian Church of the East. I insist that defining an Ecumenical Council as "a Council that everyone accepts" is erroneously reductionist. Needless to say, such a definition would preclude any of the Councils that we understand and commemorate as Ecumenical from being properly defined as such.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2007, 03:04:01 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2007, 03:54:29 AM »

Dear Dydimus,

The problem is that your argument is self-refuting, in light of your very own observation of the fact that we consider Ephesus 431 to be Ecumenical in spite of its continued rejection by the Assyrian Church of the East. I insist that defining an Ecumenical Council as "a Council that everyone accepts" is erroneously reductionist. Needless to say, such a definition would preclude any of the Councils that we understand and commemorate as Ecumenical from being properly defined as such.

My definition is linguisticly correct. The word "ecumenical" means that everybody agrees. If you would like a more precise definition then it means that all non-heretical bishops agree.
When Nestorius was excommunicated it was clear who was wrong- him. There were only two other bishops who he eventually convinced to agree with him and then they appointed others. [The fact that the Assyrians proceeded to remove all icons of saints (just as the Anglicans did) because they ceased to produce any saints any longer makes this even more obvious.]
However when 1 in 3 bishops (roughly) do not agree with the council (as at Chalcedon) it can hardly be claimed that everybody agrees.
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2007, 04:02:02 AM »

Quote
If you would like a more precise definition then it means that all non-heretical bishops agree.

The problem with that is, who determines who qualifies as a heretic? Basically your answer is: "We are right; therefore, we are right. So we get to decide!" Except the other side can say the same thing. And resorting to democracy hardly helps, as many times the great majority of the Church was in heresy, and a minority were "orthodox". You could, of course, say that you'll just wait until things become clear... er... well, except when it comes to issues like papal supremacy, in which case you might have a wait of a thousand years or more. And isn't it a bit subjective to say that one-third counts as a legit opposition, but a few bishops don't? Where exactly is the line? Did the Bible, Fathers, or Councils mention which criteria to use? There is, of course, the rather bad attempt of Vincent of Lerins, which is basically the same as your argument: "the Church believes what many people in many places have believed most of the time"...
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2007, 04:19:08 AM »

Asteriktos, perhaps if you believed in God you would not find this so difficult to understand.
Those who change the Faith (ie the heretics) don't count because they changed the Faith rather than simply restating it. This is why there are hardly any of them and they are easy to spot.
On the other hand, when all bishops do not agree and they are simply restating the Faith then (as is the case with Chalcedon) it is clear that the council is not ecumenical. This simply means that the bishops do not agree. It may simply be that they do not understand what one another are saying (as appears to be the case with Chalcedon).
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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2007, 06:07:03 AM »

Oh!  Well that explains everything! Someone contact Rome, Egypt, India, Ethiopia, and all the other groups which can trace their heritage to the ancient Church, but which are not in communion with each other. Reunion will happen tomorrow!

Seriously though, do you not see the problem? ...

EDIT--PS. Btw, I saw this epistemological problem when I was an Orthodox Christian, so it's not some concoction of an atheist, and it's not because I'm an atheist that I don't understand your proposed solution.
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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2007, 10:52:58 AM »

I think a council becomes truly ecumenical when over time it is ecumenically adopted. I don't think it has anything to do with the bishops involved. These types of councils when they represent many jurisdictions are meant for universal adoption but it is up to the universal Church as individual Churches to decide whether they really accept it. Of course a council will only look ecumenical to the side that accepts it, right?
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