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« on: August 31, 2007, 08:32:55 PM »

Just a quick question to the OO out there. What is your view of salvation is it like EO's that it is an attempt for theosis (please correct me if that sentence is wrong) or is it something different thank you everyone in advance!
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2007, 09:45:43 PM »

Theosis is definitely an intrinsic part of OO soteriology. Theosis is, as EO's probably agree, the soteriological presupposition underlying the Church's resistance to the major Christological heresies: Arianism, Apollinarianism, Eutychianism, Nestorianism. As Robin Darling notes in his dissertation on St Severus of Antioch, it was also the soteriological presupposition underlying the OO resistance to the Council of Chalcedon.

The Fathers of the OO Church, being more inclined towards the Alexandrian tradition, whether of the Church of Alexandria or the Church of Antioch, were very strong on theosis. Syrian Orthodox writers from the sixth century onwards used the term metallhanuta, a passive formation from a verb allah "to divinise", which was their equivalent to the Greek theosis. Syrian Orthodox liturgical texts are replete with the term metallhanuta, particularly the long prose prayers known as the Sedre prayers.

One particular modern Syrian Orthodox writer, the late and great Paulos Mar Gregorios, was very heavy on theosis in his works. I highly recommend his work Cosmic Man, which I have in fact quoted a passage from in the 'Wisdom of the OO Fathers' thread here.

I am not very well acquainted with Armenian Orthodox texts, but I recently purchased H.H. Aram I's "For a Church Beyond its Walls", and though its main focus is ecumenism and ecclesiology, it does mention theosis.

With regard to the Coptic Church, certain contemporary heirarchs are struggling over the issue, purely because of a lack of proper theological education, particularly with respect to patristics--both pre-Chalcedon and post-Chalcedon patristics--and hence a lack of familiarity with proper theological terminology. Nevertheless, despite the unfortunate ignorance of some, many Coptic heirarchs advocate and promote theosis nevertheless. One of the most recent works by a Coptic heirarch on the matter can be downloaded from the parish website of St George Coptic Orthodox Church in Sydney: http://www.saintgeorgechurch.org.au/Deification.pdf

The above referred to work isn't anything special, but it at least demonstrates an awareness and acceptance of patristic teaching on the matter.

HG Bishop Youssef of the Southern Diocese of the United States advocates theosis on the official Southern Diocese website. In his article "Baptism: Crowning Back into the Original Glory", His Grace states:

Quote
By adoption, we all become sons of God through the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Through this adoption, we have become everything God is, except for His Divine nature. Retaining our human nature, we can still become members of His family through Grace. The process of growing in the knowledge of the Lord and His Word is called deification. Deification simply means growing in grace; according to what God is by nature. According to the Churchs teachings, to grow in grace one must believe in and be faithful to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Source: http://suscopts.org/resources/literature/290/baptism-crowning-back-into-the-original-glory/


In the Q and A section of that website, His Grace responds to a query on theosis:

Quote
Theosis or Deification means "union with God" taken from the Greek Theos - God, and the word Enosis - union. Our Lord Jesus Christ asked God the Father "They also may be one in us" (Jn 17:21). He also gave us the command of Theosis "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect" (Mt 5:4, our goal in life is to accomplish perfect union with God through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Man was created in the image and likeness of God, and then sin created a gap between God and mankind, causing damage to our souls. All Christians through baptism receive the seed of Theosis, which is not only to the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation and justification, but also a restoration of God's image. The sinful inclination of our human nature should not govern our behavior anymore; instead we should strive to live a holy life looking towards Jesus Christ the author of our faith, and growing in His knowledge and sonship. The restoration and sanctification of Theosis brings us back into relationship with the Creator. St. Athanasius' presentation of Theosis was summarized as "the reintegration of the divine image of man's creation through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit conforming the redeemed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and also of the believer's transition from mortality to immortality so that he is enabled to participate in the eternal bliss and glory of the kingdom of God."

Our full union with God is a union with the "energies" of God. These energies, while an extension of God, are not to be confused with the "essence" or "substance" of God, which is unknown by humans and is shared only by the Holy Trinity. Our union with God will not make us gods but will make us partners in the Divine nature in works not in essence. We will not acquire the unique characteristics of God such as being the Creator, the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent, but it will make us partners with Him in building the Kingdom by our own salvation and by winning the souls of others to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Source: http://www.suscopts.org/q&a/index.php?qid=649&catid=383


Furthermore, a contemporary Coptic Orthodox priest of the United States, Fr Matthew Wahba, wrote his thesis on "The Doctrine of Sanctification in St. Athanasius’ Paschal Letters" (the foreword of this published work was actually written by Bishop Kallistos Ware). Fr. Matthew Wahba discusses theosis in Chapter 6 of that work.
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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2007, 12:30:02 AM »

A most interesting and unique addition to the sources i've provided thus far: Stephen Davis', "Fashioning a Divine Body: Coptic Christology and Ritualized Dress" in Harvard Theological Review (2005), 98: 335-362. This article provides a refreshing and unique alternative approach to Coptic Christology, to the traditional approaches which tend to focus "on dogmatic and systematic questions, emphasizing primarily the conceptual categories employed in doctrinal disputes, while devoting proportionately little attention to the implications christology had for the various ways people “lived out” their faith."

In this article, Stephen Davis demonstrates how "Coptic christology, especially given its characteristic emphasis on 1) the divine Word’s life-giving transformation (or deification) of Christ’s human body in the incarnation, and 2) Christians’ salvific participation in that divinized body (e.g., through their partaking of the Eucharist)," was ritualised amongst Copts through their style of clothing. His focus is on textiles, embroideries and tunics from the fourth to the eighth century.
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2007, 12:44:54 AM »

That's awesome.  Good to see that transformation is emphasized in both churches.

While we are on the subject of theosis, I know the EO uses the Prayer of the Heart as a progression toward theosis, as well as the sacraments, prayer and fasting.
Do the OO have or practice something similar to the Prayer of the Heart?  I've actually heard of some Copts using the Rosary as a devotion while they're counting metanoias.

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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2007, 12:52:45 AM »

The Jesus Prayer is definitely part of OO practice.

We Copts have our own mariological prayers (not too dissimilar from the Rosary), so i'm not sure why any Copt would want/need to use the RC Rosary.
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2007, 01:00:48 AM »

Actually I found this afew minutes ago. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FEWldidLCM&feature=PlayList&p=46DB5F6031D83843&index=3

Looks very much like my prayer corner.  Except alot bigger.
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2007, 01:12:42 AM »

Well he says he uses Rosary beads, but he does not mention praying the Rosary prayer. To each their own I guess. I'm not sure what, if any, significant difference there is between Roasry beads and Orthodox prayer ropes.
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2007, 01:20:47 AM »

Then only thing I can see is the decade separation (which Ive seen in some Chotki), and the fact that there are 50 specific decades in the Roman Rosary meant for the proclamation of the Mysteries, while the whole of the Chotki is meant for the Prayer of the Heart.  I guess it can be used for the Prayer too.  As you say....to each his own.
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2007, 01:28:28 AM »

Well he says he uses Rosary beads, but he does not mention praying the Rosary prayer. To each their own I guess. I'm not sure what, if any, significant difference there is between Roasry beads and Orthodox prayer ropes.

At St. Antony Coptic Monastery in California, they sell Catholic rosaries in their bookstore, but they tell people to say the Jesus prayer for each bead.  I guess this must be a local practice, if you haven't seen it in Australia.  They also sell chotkis there.
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2007, 01:35:32 AM »

Quote
At St. Antony Coptic Monastery in California, they sell Catholic rosaries in their bookstore, but they tell people to say the Jesus prayer for each bead.  I guess this must be a local practice, if you haven't seen it in Australia.  They also sell chotkis there.

Now that I think of it, they have them at my bookstore too.
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2007, 07:55:35 AM »

I think the guy in youtube meant to say that he uses the Rosaries for the 41 "Lord have mercies" and the metanyas that go along with them.  I know some people use it for that purpose, and there are others who use chotkis for the same purpose.

God bless.
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« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2007, 12:24:06 PM »

Dear EA,

Quote
EA: With regard to the Coptic Church, certain contemporary heirarchs are struggling over the issue, purely because of a lack of proper theological education, particularly with respect to patristics--both pre-Chalcedon and post-Chalcedon patristics--and hence a lack of familiarity with proper theological terminology.

What gave you this impression about certain hierarchs ? And which hierarchs are you referring to ?
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« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2007, 03:27:10 PM »

Hi Stavro - Pope Shenouda is an example. So I've read, he condemned a book about theosis by an EO author.
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« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2007, 03:19:20 PM »

Hi Stavro - Pope Shenouda is an example. So I've read, he condemned a book about theosis by an EO author.

Hi Jawa Man, do you know the name of the book and a reference to this ban by H.H. Pope Shenouda?

H.H. Pope Shenouda's teachings concentrate on the two stages of salvations: atonement and life of christian morals and partaking in God's works  (deification), although he does not use the term deification because of its blasphemous meaning in arabic. The emphasis is mostly on the second stage, the christian values and morals derived from the spiritual growth of believers working their salvation in fear and trembling, not unlike most of the monastic writings that rather emphasizes the spirituality and the life of worship as the direct application of the dogmas.

To have more insight and background to judge against, any teaching is to be evaluated against the purpose it has been issued against or for. H.H. indeed opposes a heretical teaching that appeared in Egypt lately and that claims its right representation to the "theosis" dogma. Such heretics claim the possibility of the union of man with God in essence, and not only in energies or works. The essence of God is for those individuals accessible, represented in quotes such as :

+ We are a human nature hypostatically united with divinity
+ We partake in the divinity in the Eucharist
+ Upon the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and the apostles, they became a second image of the burning bush, an incarnate divine nature

One cannot present those individuals as being amputated from a systamtic ideology, complicated as it is, that contain wrong interpretations of rites, theology, eccelsiology and other branches of the Christianity, but the quotes presented above are their conclusions that show their unorthodox fruits.   

It is only natural that such heresies will be refuted by H.H. who confirmed the Orthodox understanding of some verses those groups misinterpret to advocate their dogmas. "Partaking in the divine nature", for example, does not ebtail for Us that the divine essence is accessible to believers, but rather partaking in the works of God.

In arabic it is clear and the refutation of H.H. of terms such as "ta'leeh" (becoming divine in essence) does not convey a bit of confusion about his intentions and understanding of the term deification or theosis and his proper explanation of it in Orthodox terms. The unfortunate translation of the arabic word "ta'leeh" into deification, for the lack of a short expression, might have caused some confusion among non-arabic speaking believers.

     
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« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2007, 07:03:22 PM »

Hi Jawa Man, do you know the name of the book and a reference to this ban by H.H. Pope Shenouda?

H.H. Pope Shenouda's teachings concentrate on the two stages of salvations: atonement and life of christian morals and partaking in God's works  (deification), although he does not use the term deification because of its blasphemous meaning in arabic. The emphasis is mostly on the second stage, the christian values and morals derived from the spiritual growth of believers working their salvation in fear and trembling, not unlike most of the monastic writings that rather emphasizes the spirituality and the life of worship as the direct application of the dogmas.

To have more insight and background to judge against, any teaching is to be evaluated against the purpose it has been issued against or for. H.H. indeed opposes a heretical teaching that appeared in Egypt lately and that claims its right representation to the "theosis" dogma. Such heretics claim the possibility of the union of man with God in essence, and not only in energies or works. The essence of God is for those individuals accessible, represented in quotes such as :

+ We are a human nature hypostatically united with divinity
+ We partake in the divinity in the Eucharist
+ Upon the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and the apostles, they became a second image of the burning bush, an incarnate divine nature

One cannot present those individuals as being amputated from a systamtic ideology, complicated as it is, that contain wrong interpretations of rites, theology, eccelsiology and other branches of the Christianity, but the quotes presented above are their conclusions that show their unorthodox fruits.   

It is only natural that such heresies will be refuted by H.H. who confirmed the Orthodox understanding of some verses those groups misinterpret to advocate their dogmas. "Partaking in the divine nature", for example, does not ebtail for Us that the divine essence is accessible to believers, but rather partaking in the works of God.

In arabic it is clear and the refutation of H.H. of terms such as "ta'leeh" (becoming divine in essence) does not convey a bit of confusion about his intentions and understanding of the term deification or theosis and his proper explanation of it in Orthodox terms. The unfortunate translation of the arabic word "ta'leeh" into deification, for the lack of a short expression, might have caused some confusion among non-arabic speaking believers.

     

Dear Stavro,

The literal translation of the Arabic form of the English deification or in Arablic ta'leeh is "To become God" in the most simple form or as the common terms used deification or divinisation or even theosis. Mind you HH has even opposed the use of the Greek term theosis. Therefore, just for clarification the Arabic term when translated does not have a different meaning to the English. What has happened though is I believe that HH amongst others have misunderstood or as EA has mentioned have struggled with the issue of deification assuming or interpreting into any such terms a union with the essence of God and failing to distinguish between the energies and essence of God. In no place, therefore, in all of the condemnations of HH will you find any reference to such a distinction.

Furthermore, I fail to see how the quotes you provide are to be strictly interpreted as union with the essence of God. Also don't you think that it would be ridiculous for educated priests, monks and lay people to advocate a unity with the essence of God thereby implying either some form of polytheism or pantheism. I'm sure that's most definitely not their intention, that they are only attempting to reflect the patristic understanding of theosis, central to Alexandrian soteriology especially, and which for a long time has been lost within Orthodox circles in general and yet recently revived within EO circles through the study of Palamite theology as an alternative to scholastic theology.

Just to highlight further the misunderstandings and misinterpretations here HH has been quoted as saying that it is incorrect to say that God became man that man may become God, a famous quote well known to be attributed to St Athanasius. He says, rather, that the correct statement would be to say that the Son of God became the Son of Man that the son of man might become the son of God. Therefore, even St Athanasius is not without reproach in the eyes of HH.
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« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2007, 07:44:55 PM »

Just to highlight further the misunderstandings and misinterpretations here HH has been quoted as saying that it is incorrect to say that God became man that man may become God, a famous quote well known to be attributed to St Athanasius. He says, rather, that the correct statement would be to say that the Son of God became the Son of Man that the son of man might become the son of God. Therefore, even St Athanasius is not without reproach in the eyes of HH.

I am not that familiar with the controversy, so I am speaking from conjecture, but it could be His Holiness is guarding against certain heresies which have arisen in Christian circles in the past century or so.  These include Mormonism and the Word of Faith movement.  I am not saying theosis teaches what they teach, but some of the language they use sounds similar.  I have even read that Word of Faith preachers use the Orthodox to defend their heresy, saying that what they teach is what the Orthodox have been teaching for centuries with theosis.  Of course, this is a lie, but unsophisticated people do get duped.  In fact I once was acquainted with an Evangelical who accused the Orthodox of teaching the Word of Faith heresy, citing St. Athanasius' phrase above, which she had heard from an Armenian priest.  I tried explaining the difference to her, but she couldn't (or wouldn't) get it.  In any event, because of the heresies floating around out there, I think we do need to be careful when explaining theosis, so there is no confusion.
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« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2007, 08:00:26 PM »

I am not that familiar with the controversy, so I am speaking from conjecture, but it could be His Holiness is guarding against certain heresies which have arisen in Christian circles in the past century or so.  These include Mormonism and the Word of Faith movement.  I am not saying theosis teaches what they teach, but some of the language they use sounds similar.  I have even read that Word of Faith preachers use the Orthodox to defend their heresy, saying that what they teach is what the Orthodox have been teaching for centuries with theosis.  Of course, this is a lie, but unsophisticated people do get duped.  In fact I once was acquainted with an Evangelical who accused the Orthodox of teaching the Word of Faith heresy, citing St. Athanasius' phrase above, which she had heard from an Armenian priest.  I tried explaining the difference to her, but she couldn't (or wouldn't) get it.  In any event, because of the heresies floating around out there, I think we do need to be careful when explaining theosis, so there is no confusion.

Dear Salpy,

In the controversy surrounding this issue, the sects you mention and other similar sects have never been mentioned. However, as you also mention it does seem like the defence is against an assumed interpretation of the works given. There is a clear misunderstanding here. It's as if the doctrine of deification has never existed in the church and has only recently been presented as a novelty in the works of certain authors. Like I mentioned earlier HH refuses to use the term itself believing it to be blasphemous.
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« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2007, 08:10:39 PM »

Can you quote the actual passage where he says the phrase should not be used?  I'm not doubting you.  I'm just curious and would like to see it.
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« Reply #18 on: October 03, 2007, 08:20:39 PM »

Can you quote the actual passage where he says the phrase should not be used?  I'm not doubting you.  I'm just curious and would like to see it.

Dear Salpy,

I'm not quite sure how proficient in Arabic you are but all of these controversies are still in Arabic and are yet to be translated. I don't think there's much of a priority to translate them as well since the authors whose works HH attacks are also mainly in Arabic and have for the most part not been translated into English and therefore are not so widely read in English speaking circles. However, HH has numerous audio lectures on his website where he addresses the theological college students in Egypt on the topic, and he has also published a small booklet in Arabic on the topic of theosis. As difficult as it may seem to accetp, he literally says in his audio lectures that the term theosis is blasphemous and I'm pretty sure that EA can support what I'm saying here.
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« Reply #19 on: October 03, 2007, 08:43:15 PM »

In reply to the question posed earlier, apparently the book that has been condemned by the holy synod of the Coptic church due to apparent contradictions to the teachings of HH is the following: Achieving Your Potential in Christ: Theosis - Plain Talks on a Major Doctrine of Orthodoxy by the Very Rev. Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris.
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« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2007, 08:50:50 PM »

I am not that familiar with the controversy, so I am speaking from conjecture, but it could be His Holiness is guarding against certain heresies which have arisen in Christian circles in the past century or so.  These include Mormonism and the Word of Faith movement.  I am not saying theosis teaches what they teach, but some of the language they use sounds similar.  I have even read that Word of Faith preachers use the Orthodox to defend their heresy, saying that what they teach is what the Orthodox have been teaching for centuries with theosis.  Of course, this is a lie, but unsophisticated people do get duped.  In fact I once was acquainted with an Evangelical who accused the Orthodox of teaching the Word of Faith heresy, citing St. Athanasius' phrase above, which she had heard from an Armenian priest.  I tried explaining the difference to her, but she couldn't (or wouldn't) get it.  In any event, because of the heresies floating around out there, I think we do need to be careful when explaining theosis, so there is no confusion.

I think it has most to do with Fr. Matta el Maskeen and whoever has read and supported his Arabic writings.  The quotes provided seem to echo of what he allegedly wrote.

I do remember in one of Keraza issues that there was a Synodal condemnation of Fr. Anthony Coniaris' writings on theosis.  I haven't read Fr. Coniaris, and come to think of it, that reminds me of asking the EO's here about his writings.

God bless.

PS  Falafel beat me to it
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« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2007, 03:43:19 PM »

Dear Falafel,

the Arabic verb “ta’alah” that goes with the source “elah” and “ta’leeh” signifies the partaking into the essence of God for the following reason:

+ In Arabic language, a verb follows the source of the word in its meaning with no exceptions to be noted. The verb “ta’alah” that is translated “deified” comes from the source”elah” and its noun is “aloha” that cannot mean anything else in Arabic other than the essence of God and the core of divinity. This is a pure linguistic point of view regardless of how different groups want to use such verb. They would then use it loosely and with proper explanation of their intentions, something the groups discussed never did.  To prove otherwise, you would be advised to show any reference in any old Arabic writings that use the verb “ta’alah” in any other form than what I just explained.

On a side note, H.H. Pope Shenouda is a prominent Arabic writer in the Arabic World, an accomplished poet whose intellectual abilities are admitted by Muslims before Christians and he does not lack the ability to understand complicated Arabic texts let alone writings by beginners like the monastic groups in question. 

+ The word indeed was used by some Sufis and it was used to explain their unity with the essence of God. Different clerics have criticized their use of the verb “ta’alah” because in Arabic it only means to unite with the essence of God. You can consult the writings of Mohi El-Deen ibn 3arabi and specially his masterpiece “Fesus el-7okm”, ibn sab3een, ibn fared, el- telmesani, el-sheshtari and the refutation of Ibn Hamad el-Ghazali and Ibn Temia of their Sufi approach that is literally translated “The uniters with God’s essence”.

It is not our concern to discuss the details of Islamic theology here. The above just serves to show how the most prominent Arabic speakers, the grammaticians, language teachers and Arabic clerics understood under the expressions examined.

+ Their heresy is further confirmed by using the source of the word itself “Lahoot” in" The orthodox patriology basics" book in part 2 page 34 we find the following:" We drink the divinity (lahoot) as part of the mystery." When you say "lahoot", then the essence of divinity is meant, the very nature of the Trinity is addressed. There can be no other meaning to the word "lahoot" as it is used in the liturgical practice. The confession of faith before the Eucharist administration to the congregation states clearly concerning the nature of Christ that "Lahootuh" (his divinity) departed not from "nasootuh" (his humanity). Unless you share the semi-Arian point of view that Christ’s divinity is one concerning the energies or works only (which some of the monks in question believe), the word “lahootuh” cannot be understood except that is refers to the essence of divinity. This is just one liturgical example among many, and among thousands of examples generally in literature, in sermons, in the midnight praises, in the hours, etc.

As you see, linguistically and by common consensus and the application of words in liturgical settings the words are only understood in a manner that implicates the essence of God into the question.
But:

There would be still an excuse for the monks who tried to study theosis and fell in the process into their misunderstandings if their teachings would reflect any orthodox understanding of “deification”. We would be compelled to look past the linguistics and their improper choice of words that reflects the lack of proper understanding of the Arabic language and look to the content of their writings and how they define terms.

It is their writings that carry unorthodox teachings, implicitly and explicitly. Again, the monastic group that produced such teachings is not distant from other heresies such as Universalism and the denial of atonement on the cross and many other mistakes that are initiated by the lack of adherence to any standards and the influence of heretics such as “George Habib”, the man under anathema for his heresies. A heresy cannot be amputated from a system of thought and a variety of influences.

The fact that you do not see the phrases I brought above problematic is unfortunate for the quotes of these groups are blasphemous beyond doubt. In brief: 

+ The hypostatic union is a term used to describe the incarnation of the Logos and the union of both the divine and the human nature in the one incarnate nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. As such, the communication of properties is ascribed only to the ONE person of the incarnate Logos, who is divine in essence, and not by grace or by elevation. To use the term with the same qualifications to describe a unity between divinity and humanity, in you for example or any other believer, implies the same divine essence present in the Person of the Lord.

+ The Pentecost is not a second incarnation nor is there any hypostatic union present in the person of the Apostles that transfers the divine properties of the Holy Spirit to their one person or makes the essence of the divinity accessible to the human “part”. In Arabic, they use the expression "7ululan iknomian", and Iknom in Arabic like in Syrian and Assyrian is the essence of the Persons of the Trinity. To describe the Holy Spirit type of work in the Apostles and union with them, which indicates the Apostles became one and the same in one nature with the Holy Spirit.

+ Is there more access to the essence of divinity if we can see it, smell it, drink it, eat it and touch it? On what basis do the heretics deny that they teach such blasphemy if they insist on the fact that we drink and eat divinity in the Eucharist? Mind you, divinity is not materialistic so it can be subject to our biological processes and faculties.

I will add a couple of lines authored by those “partakers in God’s essence” that might interest you:

“The divine attributes that Christ gained …. “

“Our sonship to the Father is the same as the Sonship of Christ…”

Quote
Falafel :(to Salpy) I'm not quite sure how proficient in Arabic you are but all of these controversies are still in Arabic and are yet to be translated.


+ I understand Arabic perfectly, so please lend your posts more weight by referring to H.H. Pope Shenouda’s writings that you believe deny that we partake in the works of God and that we are the instrument for His glorification. The articles that H.H. Pope Shenouda wrote to refute the many heresies of this monastic group and Dr. Bebawy are well documented in El-Keraza magazine from August 2004 till March 2005, which is the official magazine of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The 07/23/2004 issue is very representative of the view point of H.H. Pope Shenouda. Please check it out and tell us whether you find any error in them or not. H.H. is only denying that we can partake in God's essence and that the one incarnate nature, from a hypostatic union between the human and divine nature, existed only once in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and cannot be extended to believers.

To further explain the point of view of the Church concerning this matter, H.E. Metropolitan Bishoy has added this Arabic article:

http://www.metroplit-bishoy.org/files/articles/partakersdeification.doc

For a generally acceptable view by the Coptic Orthodox Church, an AEnglish article by H.E. is found below:

http://www.metroplit-bishoy.org/files/articles/partakers.doc

Note the quote by St. Basil that H.E. and H.H. have chosen to represent their view:

“Therefore, an appearance of piety leads them away from the truth, because they do not perceive that his impassibility has been preserved insofar as he has divine existence and is God, but the suffering for us according to his flesh is also attributed to him insofar as, being God by nature, he became flesh, that is a complete man. For who was he who said to God the Father in heaven, “Sacrifice and oblation you would not, but a body you have fitted to me. [In holocausts and sin-offerings you have had no pleasure. Then said I, 'Behold, I come to do your will, O God.”  For he who as God was without a body says that the body was fitted to him so that, when he offered this for us, he might cure us all “by his stripes”  according to the saying of the prophet. But how is it that “one died for all,”  one who is worth all others, if the suffering is considered simply that of some man? If he suffered according to his human nature, since he made the sufferings of his body his own, then, indeed, we say, and very rightly, that the death of him alone according to the flesh is known to be worth the life of all, not the death of one who is as we are, even though he became like unto us, but we say that he, being God by nature, became flesh and was made man according to the confession of the Fathers."

Unless you believe St. Basil to be a confused individual, or you share the belief that we are GODS in essence, then I wonder what exactly you find troublesome with the teachings of the Church concerning theosis.

+ Again you are mistaken, because:

-More than any other hierarch, H.H. has consecrated churches and altars in the name of St. Athanasius.
-H.H. brought back the relics of St. Athanasius to Egypt
-H.H. has expressed that the book you quoted from: “On the Incarnation” is the best ever written theological and spiritual book from his point of view.
-H.H. Pope Shenouda has been given the name”Athanasius of the 20th century” for he is a very able teacher and a great confessor of faith. On a side note, the heretics of the desert who produced the heretical teachings of sharing the essence of God conspired with Sadat to imprison H.H.
I cannot understand how heretics and conspirators against the Church can command more respect than the Confessor, let alone a legendary Pope.

As for the quote in question, H.H. explained that St. Athanasius nor did any father of the Church mean that we become gods in essence, but that we partake in the works of God. Is there any objection to that? If the term “theosis” is to be used to signify a partaking in the essence of God, then it is blasphemous.   

Quote
Also don't you think that it would be ridiculous for educated priests, monks and lay people to advocate a unity with the essence of God thereby implying either some form of polytheism or pantheism.

+ No, I find it normal and expected for those who have followed the heresies and schismatic actions by the partakers of the divine essence since their inception. The natural extension of vanity and pride is heresy. It is only fitting for their theological system to extend it to this ugly heresy. In the end, this is the first sin of mankind in the first Adam and of the creation as a whole in Satan. I do not believe any of these monks or professors is infallible, nor do they exceed the wisdom of Lucifer.

On the other hand, while you dismiss that monks and priests, without real qualification or any spirituality, can fall in such a heresy, you dismiss that a great Pope with great abilities and great spirituality, can be negligent of the term theosis or deification in the orthodox sense.   

Quote
In reply to the question posed earlier, apparently the book that has been condemned by the holy synod of the Coptic church due to apparent contradictions to the teachings of HH is the following: Achieving Your Potential in Christ: Theosis - Plain Talks on a Major Doctrine of Orthodoxy by the Very Rev. Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris.

I did not read the book, but again, the ban might not be against the contents but against the person of author, who has views on the Scripture representative of the Chalcedonians maybe but considered heresy in the orthodox Church. 
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« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2007, 04:03:50 PM »

Classic Stavro answer - great up to that last shot.

Now this good general interest topic will probably get kicked into the Private forums because he has no self-control.
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« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2007, 04:28:36 PM »

I'd be interested to find out what other Arabic Orthodox, like the Syriac Orthodox and perhaps the Chalcedonian Orthodox have written on this subject of theosis and what words they may have used as well.

Also, as far as I learned on theosis, it is definitely not partaking of the essence of God, but it is not merely partaking of the works or deeds.  There is an underlying belief of something "uncreated" that we partake of within the limits of our human nature.  I haven't seen HH Pope Shenouda express this in the few English writings that I read of him.

For example, the light that was "seen" in the Eucharist, that miracle where we had a debate in, the Light can be seen as the "divine nature" that we partake of.  Does this contradict that the "divine essence" is not to be seen?  No, because while both essence and energy are inseparable, one describes how we partake of God in our own limited nature.

The question then becomes, how have Arabs have explained this if not in the way that the monks in question have?  Unless one believes that the miracle of the Lighted Body of Christ in the Eucharist is some sort of illusionary created experience made by God to affirm our faith, and not the real Uncreated Grace of God that we partake of that we actually "saw," how then do we explain this to Arabic Orthodox Christians?

I remember I mentioned the word "uncreated" to a few friends, and they felt like I was blaspheming by saying I partake of the essence.  In this sense, I can understand an underlying misunderstanding in my own experience in the whole situation when I try to explain what I believe the Holy Fathers meant in the meaning of "partaking of the divine nature".  In other words, the Love, the Wisdom, the Life that God's nature has, these are uncreated, and these we partake in.  They have an eternal existence.  There was never a time when God had no Love, Wisdom, or Life and in the most mysterious sense we say that God is Love, God is Wisdom, God is Life, and we can partake of this grace, this uncreated grace in a limited sense.  There is a core essence reached from the level of these energies that we cannot reach due to our limitedness and the created state of our nature.  But certainly we are deified by such uncreated energies of God Himself.

Such clear language I cannot find in some of our heirarchs like HH Pope Shenouda or HE Metropolitan Bishoy.

God bless.
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« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2007, 05:08:07 PM »

It is not the Church approach to refer to a miracle to justify a heresy. In general, dogmas are formulated based on the revealed Apostolic Faith and not because of some miracle. St. Paul has clearly closed the door against any such attempt to justify a foreign teaching based on an alleged miracle. The "Eucharist light" alleged miracle, if not the product of photshop, can be interpreted as some illumination, not necessarily the divine essence or the uncreated light that some blessed monks in the 14th century claimed to have seen.

This particular miracle that allegedly happened in Assiut has not been upheld by the Holy Synod or confirmed as a miracle. Its timing amid the controversy, as well as its place in Assiut under the jurisdiction of H.G. Bishop Michael, abbot of St. Macarius monastery and the protector of the partakers in the divine essence group, makes it all the more questionable and political.

In any case, it is better to give an understanding of the Theosis doctrine based on the original quotes of the Fathers or on a consistent system of biblical verses rather than on quoting unorthodox individuals.

Quote
Classic Stavro answer - great up to that last shot.

Which shot?
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« Reply #25 on: October 19, 2007, 05:24:04 PM »

It is not the Church approach to refer to a miracle to justify a heresy. In general, dogmas are formulated based on the revealed Apostolic Faith and not because of some miracle. St. Paul has clearly closed the door against any such attempt to justify a foreign teaching based on an alleged miracle. The "Eucharist light" alleged miracle, if not the product of photshop, can be interpreted as some illumination, not necessarily the divine essence or the uncreated light that some blessed monks in the 14th century claimed to have seen.

This particular miracle that allegedly happened in Assiut has not been upheld by the Holy Synod or confirmed as a miracle. Its timing amid the controversy, as well as its place in Assiut under the jurisdiction of H.G. Bishop Michael, abbot of St. Macarius monastery and the protector of the partakers in the divine essence group, makes it all the more questionable and political.

In any case, it is better to give an understanding of the Theosis doctrine based on the original quotes of the Fathers or on a consistent system of biblical verses rather than on quoting unorthodox individuals.

Indeed, you are correct on the regard of miracles, but I don't think I've described anything heretical in the last post I made. Neither have I not personally said I believe or disbelieve the miracle, but there have been miracles of for example Christ's "Transfiguration" that describes this light.  If you also believe in the miracle at Zeitoun, how can one describe the beautiful light being witnessed there?

As for the doctrine of Theosis and the Holy Fathers, I also agree.  I think the sources that EA has given in here seems to be quite informative in how to define this partaking.

God bless.
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« Reply #26 on: October 19, 2007, 05:45:15 PM »

I did not say that you said anything heretical, but I am speaking generally about those who would start at the miracles to justify dogmas. In this case, those who say that we partake in the divinity of Christ have used such miracle to ascribe this light to the divinity of Christ. If we can see the divinity, we can certainly eat it, according to their interpretations.

Maybe the Holy Synod has to convene regarding this issue and put a definite end to all the speculations regarding Theosis and other ideas/dogmas. 
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« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2007, 10:20:00 PM »

Dear Stavro,

As one who is not yet proficient in Arabic (after I finish my Sahidic Coptic course I will try and see if I can formally pursue advanced Arabic studies), I will engage with you as a but a mere student.

First of all, as I mentioned in my initial post in this thread:

Syrian Orthodox writers from the sixth century onwards [St Philoxenus of Mabbug being one of the more famous ones] used the term metallhanuta, a passive formation from a verb allah "to divinise", which was their equivalent to the Greek theosis. Syrian Orthodox liturgical texts are replete with the term metallhanuta, particularly the long prose prayers known as the Sedre prayers.

I was personally given this information by a world renowned scholar of Syriac studies. As far as I am aware, Syriac and Arabic are sister languages, so there shouldn't be any significant difference between the two. If there can exist a verbal derivation from the noun "Allah" in Syriac, then surely there is one in Arabic, right? Else how exactly do they translate into Arabic the following key patristic terms: theo-theosis, apotheo-apotheio, ektheo/ektheio-ektheosis-ektheotikos, theopoieo-theopoia-theopoiesis-theopoios? I have in fact discovered an adjectival derivation from the noun "Allah" that can be used in a way that does not necessarily denote the divine essence: al-ilahi, which simply translates as "divine" (I will discuss this further later on when I go on to discuss the Eucharist), so it appears to me that there must be some Arabic terms capable of conveying the concept of deification without necessarily denoting any relation to the divine essence.

The difficulty I am having with H.H. and H.E. Bishoy--which is one that hopefully you can clear up for me given that you have better access to their works and teachings according to your proficiency in Arabic--is that it seems to me that in their focus on rejecting an heretical employment of the language of deification, they seem to have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. (It is nevertheless clear to me from what has been translated of their works, that, conceptually speaking, both H.H. and H.E. teach theosis--which is, after all, simply the notion that our salvation involves our mortal, corrupt, and sinful nature being transformed into an immortal, incorrupt, and holy/spiritual nature, in union with, and by the Grace of God; so the issue isn't so much one of substance, but one of language, which I nevertheless find to be important given the substantial and widespread use of such language amongst our Fathers, and particularly in light of the fact such language is part of our Liturgical confession).

Again, it's the same problem of terminology when it comes to the issue of describing our partaking of the Eucharist. St Athanasius explicitly said that we are rendered 'divine' by partaking of the Eucharist. St Cyril of Alexandria taught that the Humanity of Christ was 'divine'/'deified', and hence it logically fllows that in partaking of the Resurrected Humanity of Christ we indeed consume that which is 'divine.' In our own Coptic Liturgical prayers the Joyous Saturday Fraction to The Son refers to Christ's "Divine Body and Pure Blood." In Arabic, the relevant phrase is rendered "Gasadak Al-Ilahi." We all understand that by partaking of the Eucharist we do not consume the divine essence; but we are nevertheless participating in something that is indeed divine.
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« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2007, 03:56:50 AM »

Dear Stavro,

Quote
It is not the Church approach to refer to a miracle to justify a heresy.

Obviously the interpretation of miracles, and even Scripture itself can be abused to justify heresy, but even if they may so be abused in such a manner it does not follow that there is no proper inference or interpretation to be drawn from them. Ofcourse, to say that the numerous incidents within our Church wherein a mysterious light has been manifest in the Sacrament of the Eucharist proves that we consume the divine essence is utter nonsense; it does not logically follow at all.

Nevertheless, such miracles are a legitimate aspect of the Life of the Church (and they're no recent phenomena--we have records of such miracles from as early as the 5th-6th centuries, particularly in St John Rufus' Plerophories). In my opinion such Eucharistic miracles (upon the presumption that there is sufficient authority to confirm their authenticity) confirm a) the truth of the One Incarnate Nature of God the Logos i.e. that we are not partaking of mere Humanity, but the Humanity of God the Logos Himself (in this sense, the appearance of light during the Divine Liturgy parallels in a sense the appearance of light at Christ's transfiguration), and hence b) our very Liturgical confession regarding the Life-Giving, Immortal, Incorruptible properties, and hence the Divine quality of the Body and Blood of our Lord.

Again, for the sake of emphasis, this is not to say that the Humanity of Christ that we partake of is confused with His Divinity (i.e. His Divine Nature) but rather that by virtue of the Hypostatic Union Christ's Humanity was imbued with divine properties (viz. immortality, incorruptibility, and the ability to give life) that rendered it 'divine' (though, as we know, such qualities were perfectly actualised only after the Resurrection). St Cyril of Alexandria makes this explicitly clear in his Contra Nestorius. Such was the pre-determined will of God, that by partaking of His divine body and blood, we, as St Athanasius teaches, may be rendered divine also (in that our humanity is made able to in turn conform to that of the Resurrected Humanity of Christ--immortal, incorruptible and holy).
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« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2007, 04:19:54 PM »

I like to reiterate that I liked how EA mentioned earlier it is our holding on to the doctrine of theosis and Miaphysis (and these two are inseparable) that was the main part of our rejection of Chalcedon.  Even if one to hold that Christ was one person, even if Nestorius really indeed mean "one person," still the unity is so weak as to not allow for St. Cyril's "communicato idiomatum."  Just as Julian's illogical and inconsistent arguments lead to semi-docetist Christ, so did Nestorius' illogical and inconsistency lead to a semi-Samosotian Christ.  The idea that the humanity does not have divine properties according to the hypostatic union is far from Orthodox and is the foundation of theosis and certainly the Eucharist.  It's what makes the Body and Blood of Christ Life-Giving, and not merely Body and Blood.

So there is something ontological (energy), not merely actioned (deeds and works).

Also, I do think there is an underlying misunderstanding.  I recently posted a quote by HH Pope Shenouda in the OO quotes thread, where HH in his monastic youth when writing this passage (from the "Release of the Spirit") seems to make a subtle ontological idea of theosis by mentioning the burning bush and the incense-filled Temple in our hearts:

Quote
We cannot know by ourselves.. but we want-through Your grace- to prepare ourselves to know You.. This knowledge comes from You.. through what You reveal to us, not through any mental or even spiritual effort on our behalf.  Any striving of our minds and souls, though necessary, is just a kind of prayer or supplication.  Such striving is a means through which the cloud may fill the House, and the fire burn in the bush and so God may reveal Himself and every heart would give worship in awe and sing thankfully saying ‘You gave me the gift of knowing You'

...

I wish that we would seek such knowledge, with all our hearts.  Then we shall find it within us, deep in our hearts, where You dwell and where Your holy temple lies that which You consecrated with the Holy Chrism.

It is not prayer alone.  Theosis is both prayer and the granting of this divine Fire in our hearts and knowledge.

It is clear that nothing else is Life-Giving, Wise, Pure, Divine than that of the properties of God.  The question comes then, are these properties that we partake of created or uncreated?  This is what needs clarity.

God bless.
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« Reply #30 on: October 31, 2007, 02:57:33 AM »

Dear EA,

you are discussing two different things. I have no personal objection to what you or my dear friend Mina have said, and maybe there should be two different topics about the controversy and substance of the teaching of theosis, but what is under consideration here is what have been actually said and written. 

For a better overview on the origin of the Arabic language and its different dialects, Professor Gawad Ali from Bagdad University has produced a masterpiece in "The History and Life of Arabs" in four volumes. The research traces many of the Arabic words to different origins among them Aramaic and Syriac. What is more related to our discussions is the detailed description of the religious beliefs of the Arabs in pre-Islamic era and its relevance to the use of words in this context. It relates to our discussion in the fact that by the overview of the pre-Islamic religions, the elements of these religions that motivated the theological expressions are also revealed. Pre-Islamic beliefs and Islam itself with its various sects does not allow for any form deification as it assumes complete transcendence of God that does not allow for even manifesting himself to his creatures.

The presence of words that convey the meaning of "theosis" in Syriac, an integral part of spirituality in the Christian life of sanctity, does not necessitate copying it in Arabic because of similarities in other words. The word "Quran" , for example, is derived from the word "Qurano" in Syriac, which means reminder. It use in Islam is natural to describe the holy Islamic book because the nature of Islam at the beginning was nothing more but a collection of different Christian heresies and Jewish traditions and texts to hone it in one belief system that can be the basis for unity between the Arabs and transforming them into a massive world force.

By this example I meant to confirm what you already know, that the transfer of words from one language to another is influenced by a certain need for words to convey a dogma/meaning. Such is not the case for the Syriac words that describe the deification. Syriac is the language of a group of people among whom Christianity flourished, so it is only normal that the language would be developed to assist in expounding the faith concerning an integral part of the spirituality of a Christian. The Arabic belief system, should it be Islamic or pre-Islamic, does not allow for such dogmas to appear or develop. In the end, paganism in Quresh was not Greek mythology that allowed for gods to mingle with men but rather a primitive intercessory system. The Christian sects in the Arabic Peninsula before Islam, whether Arianism, Ibionite heresy, Nestorianism does not allow for the incarnation of a deity to even happen. 

The only controversy that incorporated the word "ta'alah" in an Arabic context was a Sufi "heresy" as evident from the existing refutations by the Islamic clerics and it dealt with the essence of God, which is normal considering the lack of the elements leading to the life of Theosis in Islam.

In any case, the context in which the words are used is what makes the case stronger against the monastic and academic group in question. I just do not find any reference to the use of "the one incarnate nature" in any Orthodox sense in reference to mankind, and if our "deified" nature involves a divinity one in essence with that of Christ, what are we to conclude from that?

As for the teachings of H.H. the Pope, any fair observer who has the read his 100 + books will notice a particular focus on the "likeness of God" through the Christian virtues and the partaking in the sacraments and the energies and gifts that are bestowed upon the believers by living in such a manner. I do not believe Theosis is a dogma recited but rather the development of the Christian believer that summarizes the atonement and life of sanctity; purification and sanctification as an experienced life. This is evident in H.H. Pope Shenouda's writings since his 1946 "The Release of the Spirit" till his latest books.

Could the controversy be dealt with differently and maybe more emphasis given the orthodox understanding of theosis? Yes, but in the end, negating a wrong teaching without emphasizing the standard, when a universally accepted standard does not exist, can hardly be viewed as a mistake. 
   
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« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2007, 08:21:21 AM »

Thanks for the information Stavro. It was very helpful, but there are two points in particular I was really looking forward to seeing you address:

Quote
I have in fact discovered an adjectival derivation from the noun "Allah" that can be used in a way that does not necessarily denote the divine essence: al-ilahi, which simply translates as "divine" (I will discuss this further later on when I go on to discuss the Eucharist), so it appears to me that there must be some Arabic terms capable of conveying the concept of deification without necessarily denoting any relation to the divine essence.

To be read in addition with:

Quote
In our own Coptic Liturgical prayers the Joyous Saturday Fraction to The Son refers to Christ's "Divine Body and Pure Blood." In Arabic, the relevant phrase is rendered "Gasadak Al-Ilahi." We all understand that by partaking of the Eucharist we do not consume the divine essence; but we are nevertheless participating in something that is indeed divine.


And:

Quote
Else how exactly do they translate into Arabic the following key patristic terms: theo-theosis, apotheo-apotheio, ektheo/ektheio-ektheosis-ektheotikos, theopoieo-theopoia-theopoiesis-theopoios?

Do you have access to Arabic patristic texts (it would be particularly good if you have access to any translated by heirarchs from our own Church)? If so, I would love to offer you a few references where some of the above-mentioned Greek terms are found so you can tell us what Arabic words are used. I heard that Mar Yacoub El-Serougi is popular in Arabic; if you have access to his writings in the Arabic please do let me know since he is one Syriac Orthodox author who used Syriac equivalents to deification in his works and i'd be even more interested to know how the Syriac terms are rendered in the Arabic translation.
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« Reply #32 on: November 15, 2007, 03:36:47 AM »

Just spoke to an acquiantence of mine who personally asked Fr. T. Malaty* about the issue of theosis. For anyone who has read any of Fr. Malaty's works, theosis is clearly and explicitly affirmed. His take on what's happening in Egypt is that the core issues at play are political and cultural, not doctrinal. He mentioned, as Stavro did earlier, the issue of the implications of the Islamic context in which our heirarchs are operating. The Arabic word for deification is apparently quite loaded given the connotations that have been attached to it in light of the history of Islam. In that sense it will do the Church's mission in Egypt amongst the Muslims no good whatsoever to use the term. Fr. T Malaty nevertheless expressed his belief that there is nothing wrong with using such a term per se, and that we, at least in the Diaspora, should not be discouraged from using it; we should nevertheless make sure that we always qualify what we say sufficiently so as to negate any notion of us losing our essence.

*For those who are not aware, Fr. T. Malaty is not just an average priest in the Coptic Church; he carries a particular weight of authority by virtue of the wide circulation and use of his works and hence his general reputation as an authority on the Church's theology. He is also considered a very saintly man.
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« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2007, 06:02:03 PM »

Just spoke to an acquiantence of mine who personally asked Fr. T. Malaty* about the issue of theosis. For anyone who has read any of Fr. Malaty's works, theosis is clearly and explicitly affirmed. His take on what's happening in Egypt is that the core issues at play are political and cultural, not doctrinal. He mentioned, as Stavro did earlier, the issue of the implications of the Islamic context in which our heirarchs are operating. The Arabic word for deification is apparently quite loaded given the connotations that have been attached to it in light of the history of Islam. In that sense it will do the Church's mission in Egypt amongst the Muslims no good whatsoever to use the term. Fr. T Malaty nevertheless expressed his belief that there is nothing wrong with using such a term per se, and that we, at least in the Diaspora, should not be discouraged from using it; we should nevertheless make sure that we always qualify what we say sufficiently so as to negate any notion of us losing our essence.

*For those who are not aware, Fr. T. Malaty is not just an average priest in the Coptic Church; he carries a particular weight of authority by virtue of the wide circulation and use of his works and hence his general reputation as an authority on the Church's theology. He is also considered a very saintly man.

Not to mention he's Fr. St. Pishoy Kamel's brother-in-law.
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« Reply #34 on: November 21, 2007, 07:17:58 AM »

Just spoke to an acquiantence of mine who personally asked Fr. T. Malaty* about the issue of theosis. For anyone who has read any of Fr. Malaty's works, theosis is clearly and explicitly affirmed. His take on what's happening in Egypt is that the core issues at play are political and cultural, not doctrinal. He mentioned, as Stavro did earlier, the issue of the implications of the Islamic context in which our heirarchs are operating. The Arabic word for deification is apparently quite loaded given the connotations that have been attached to it in light of the history of Islam. In that sense it will do the Church's mission in Egypt amongst the Muslims no good whatsoever to use the term. Fr. T Malaty nevertheless expressed his belief that there is nothing wrong with using such a term per se, and that we, at least in the Diaspora, should not be discouraged from using it; we should nevertheless make sure that we always qualify what we say sufficiently so as to negate any notion of us losing our essence.

*For those who are not aware, Fr. T. Malaty is not just an average priest in the Coptic Church; he carries a particular weight of authority by virtue of the wide circulation and use of his works and hence his general reputation as an authority on the Church's theology. He is also considered a very saintly man.

Dear EA,

I think you are being very diplomatic here. There is an obviously clear misunderstanding of a very profound Orthodox dogma due to a number of reasons including a lack of language (many of the fathers texts are not available in Arabic and reading them in Arabic I'm sure would be very different to reading them in their original Greek or whatever other language, in addition the many studies done in so many languages would also be not available to the Arabic speaking Copts), historically stunted theological development, isolation, a lack of proficiency and activity in the theological sphere (put simply the Copts are not and have not been concerned with indepth analysis of the fathers, language, etc at an academic level).

Dear Stavro,

Essence in Arabic is gawhar. If the group you refer to wanted to suggest that theosis is partaking of divine essence then they could have simply mentioned al-gawhar. However, al-taleeh, whether in Arabic, English or Greek can also refer to the essence. However, it would be quite ludicrous to suggest that it does and obviously this is not meant since this would mean either polytheism or pantheism and never do these authors suggest such a thing. The problem is that yourself and others have assumed that 'taleeh' is a reference to partaking of the divine essence when this have never been mentioned. What a shame all of this controversy based on assumptions and misunderstandings.
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