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Author Topic: 2nd & 3rd Councils of Ephesus  (Read 3021 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 08, 2009, 08:51:08 PM »

There are plenty of texts and commentaries of the First Council of Ephesus in 431. The Second Council of Ephesus in 449 and the Third Council of Ephesus in 475, however, I have only seen short glimpses of in Fr. V.C. Samuel's The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined. I was thus wondering if anyone here had any more sources on either of these councils?
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« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2009, 02:58:53 PM »

The Acts of the Second Council of Ephesus are available here...

Perry's notes are often infuriating since he is an explicit supporter of Theodoret and Leo, but the text is very illuminating, both in the positive content regarding the Christology being promoted there, and in the negative condemnation of the positions of Theodoret, Ibas and others.

The Letter of Ibas to Maris is translated in this volume, as are letters by St Dioscorus, and of course there are his contributions throughout the council.

http://www.archive.org/details/secondsynodofeph00ephe

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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2009, 03:04:40 PM »

The Acts of the Second Council of Ephesus are available here...

Perry's notes are often infuriating since he is an explicit supporter of Theodoret and Leo, but the text is very illuminating, both in the positive content regarding the Christology being promoted there, and in the negative condemnation of the positions of Theodoret, Ibas and others.

The Letter of Ibas to Maris is translated in this volume, as are letters by St Dioscorus, and of course there are his contributions throughout the council.

http://www.archive.org/details/secondsynodofeph00ephe

Father Peter

Are the Acts of Ephesus III (of which I had only heard of here) available?
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« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2009, 03:06:36 PM »

I don't think so, and I think AFAIR that the council is mentioned only in the chronicles.

There were a lot of councils and many of the less principles bishops flip-flopped between different views over and over again depending on what the reigning Emperor required.

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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2009, 03:13:12 PM »

So, is Ephesus II Ecumenical for the OO?  If not, why not?
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2009, 03:41:43 PM »


So, is Ephesus II Ecumenical for the OO?  If not, why not?

Not that I am a great authority on Oriental Orthodoxy as I'm not even an initiated member of an Oriental Orthodox church, but my experience has been that most OO recognize Ephesus II as a legitimate council of the Church that properly represents the faith and canonical order, however few would recognize it as an ecumenical council, rather most claim only 3 Ecumenical Councils.
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2009, 03:42:21 PM »

The Acts of the Second Council of Ephesus are available here...

Perry's notes are often infuriating since he is an explicit supporter of Theodoret and Leo, but the text is very illuminating, both in the positive content regarding the Christology being promoted there, and in the negative condemnation of the positions of Theodoret, Ibas and others.

The Letter of Ibas to Maris is translated in this volume, as are letters by St Dioscorus, and of course there are his contributions throughout the council.

http://www.archive.org/details/secondsynodofeph00ephe

Father Peter

Thank you Father!
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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2009, 03:46:11 PM »

I think the whole issue of ecumenicity is different in the OO, and indeed that the EO view is one which developed later during the controversial period as a response to criticisms.

It does not seem to me that the OO tend to say simply 'accept only three councils', in the way that many EO just state 'accept the seven or eight or nine councils'. This is because it seems to me that the OO Fathers have been more concerned to deal with the substance of faith rather than using the councils as either a polemical tool, without reference to their substance. Chalcedon is rejected because it is not considered Orthodox, the issue of ecumenicity is not the main one. Indeed all Imperial councils were called as being ecumenical, this did not mean what it has later come to mean within EOxy.

The Second Council of Ephesus, if the Acts are studied, considered itself ecumenical, in the sense that it was an Imperial council making decisions for the Imperial Church. And many of the decisions it made are clearly entirely Orthodox - the condemnation of Theodoret and Ibas for instance. So it seems to me that many aspects of its conclusions should never have been dismissed by Chalcedon and are authoritative. If the letter of Ibas was condemned properly in 449 AD, why was it accepted in 451 AD, and then rejected again in 553 AD?

I do consider Ephesus II important within the OO tradition, but ecumenicity is not understood in the same way. Indeed I believe that it is in modern times that the EO has come to consider the councils an infallible authority over and above the Church, in the same way that the Roman Catholic Church have defined the Pope as the infallible authority over and above the Church, and Protestants have defined the Bible as the infallible authority over and above the Church. I believe that OOxy preserves the teaching that it is the Holy Spirit alone who is over and above the Church and who is the only infallible foundation of the life of the Church.

This allows OOxy to recognise both the human and divine aspect in all conciliar activity, while EOxy seems to me to be truly monophysite or docetic in its view of some councils by eliminating the human aspect and making the council little different to the means by which the Koran was apparently produced. I do not say this polemically, but because it does seem to me that this is the case.

This is why EOxy has painted itself into a corner and must struggle to deal with the Chalcedonian rejection of the decision of Ephesus 449 AD to condemn Ibas, then with the decision of Constantinople 553 AD to condemn him based on a reading of the same letter. If both councils are infallible then we are left with complicated efforts to deny that the letter read at Chalcedon was Ibas' letter to Maris. Yet the Chalcedonian supporters of Ibas in the 6th century deny that there were two letters, and much other evidence, even that of Ibas himself, shows that it is the same letter which is infallibly accepted and then infallibly rejected.

Within OOxy I believe that councils are accepted as authoritative in so far as they expound the truth, in so far as they are Orthodox, and that which is not Orthodox is passed over and that which is Orthodox is simply a re-iteration of that which has always been true. It is quite possible for me to find some things to criticise in the Acts of the Second Council while also considering it essentially Orthodox and authoritative. It is even possible for me to find those things with which I agree in Chalcedon and pass over the rest, or understand it within a context. This is because the Holy Spirit does not overwhelm human activity but works through human agency.

Yet it seems to me, from over 15 years discussion with many EO, that it is much harder for the EO to be reflective in regard to the councils since they must either be entirely true (though no-one can tell me authoritatively what that includes) or are false. This seems to me to be a wrong attitude towards the councils, indeed any conciliar activity and stands in the way of unity and agreement. It is even necessary to show that if Chalcedon must be accepted entirely as a divine work in all of its statements, and if to reject any part of it is to fail to be Orthodox (and many EO have said this to me) then Pope Leo is not Orthodox because he always rejected Canon 28 of Chalcedon.

This does not seem to me to be absolutely problematic in an OO context, since the OO Fathers, it seems to me, would want to ask what a person did believe about the issue in view, not what they thought about something that a council had said. It was not so important to St Cyril, that John of Antioch accept that Ephesus I was 'ecumenical', it was more important that he thought in an acceptably Orthodox manner about the issue that Ephesus I tried to deal with. This seems to me to be different to the modern EO view which I have often met with, which says 'accept the seven councils' even while the person insisting on this does not actually have a clue what the seven councils stand for.

I think there is a great deal of work to be done in regard to the attitude towards councils. I am certain that historically the situation was not the same as it is presented today in various modern versions of history. At Constantinople 553 the Pope of Rome had to be imprisoned for many years to force him to sign a document with which he plainly disagreed. Other leaders of the North African Church refused to sign and were imprisoned and exiled. Many other Western leaders never accepted Constantinople 553 because they believed that Ibas, Theodoret and Theodore had been canonised at Chalcedon and to reject them was to reject Chalcedon. It does not seem to me that most of the councils could be considered open gatherings, they all seem to have been dominated by the Imperial power which saw the Church as a department of state and acted accordingly. Even so, it seems to me that the OO would see that the Holy Spirit can work in such situations, but it does not seem to me that such events should be set up as infallible and above the Church. What does infallible mean? Surely we should be asking only how far the councils represented that which is true, that is all that matters. If the label of infallible is added in modern times simply to mean that no questions can be asked, then it seems that there is something wrong and that there is a difference in view between the EO and OO. It should be entirely possible to ask how the letter of Ibas could be rejected, accepted and then rejected without the sky falling down.

If all this goes beyond the bounds of the AUP then do please delete or heavily edit, but it does not seem possible to answer the question, 'Is Ephesus II ecumenical?' with a simple yes or no. It depends what is meant.

Father Peter
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« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2009, 04:03:42 PM »


So, is Ephesus II Ecumenical for the OO?  If not, why not?

Not that I am a great authority on Oriental Orthodoxy as I'm not even an initiated member of an Oriental Orthodox church, but my experience has been that most OO recognize Ephesus II as a legitimate council of the Church that properly represents the faith and canonical order, however few would recognize it as an ecumenical council, rather most claim only 3 Ecumenical Councils.

That is if we are understanding "Ecumenical Council" to mean those councils held to be authoritative throughout the Church. Ephesus II may be accepted as authoritative, but it must be recognized that it never received the recognition that Nicaea I, Constantinople I, and Ephesus I received. Father Peter's clarification that if by "Ecumenical Council" we mean an imperial council then Ephesus II was an Ecumenical Council is definitely agreeable.

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« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2009, 07:28:28 AM »

[quote author=peterfarrington link=topic=21726.msg330316#msg330316
Many other Western leaders never accepted Constantinople 553 because they believed that Ibas, Theodoret and Theodore had been canonised at Chalcedon and to reject them was to reject Chalcedon.
[/quote]

Bless, Father!

If Theodoret was rejected at the Council of Constantinople 553, then how is he a saint in the Chalcedonic Churches? Or maybe I'm confusing something here? Isn't that Theodoret Theodoret of Cyrus?

Asking for your prayers,
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« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2009, 09:17:21 AM »

The Lord bless,

The writings of Theodoret of Cyrus against St Cyril were condemned at Constantinople 553 AD, but not his person. And this has allowed a significant number of Chalcedonians to elevate him as a teacher and worthy of respect - it is in that sense I mean veneration.

For instance, the translations in the Nicene and Anti-Nicene Fathers series contains some of his writings but none of St Cyril. Perry considered Theodoret a respectable theologian. Even in very recent times, the volume of translated excerpts of Theodoret by István Pásztori-Kupán seems to me to be essentially, even explicitly, sympathetic to Theodoret's Christology. There are a lot of fans of Theodoret who rather dismiss St Cyril as being a brutal fundamentalist who spent his lifetime persecuting an intelligent and thoughtful theologian who deserved better.

A Modern work such as the brilliant, The Christology of Theodoret of Cyrus by Paul Clayton, examines all of Theodoret's surviving works in detail and shows, conclusively to my mind, that he was always heterodox and remained heterodox to the end of his life, after Chalcedon. His condemnation at Ephesus II seems to me to have been entirely justified, and his later restoration on Imperial authority entirely unjustified.

Father Peter
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« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2009, 09:27:36 AM »


The writings of Theodoret of Cyrus against St Cyril were condemned at Constantinople 553 AD, but not his person. And this has allowed a significant number of Chalcedonians to elevate him as a teacher and worthy of respect - it is in that sense I mean veneration.

Thank you, Father! Now I understood the matter.
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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2009, 09:31:25 AM »

Off-topic

Isn't there a discussion community for the Oriental Orthodox only, where one could freely talk on everything concerning our faith, traditions etc?
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« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2009, 09:34:18 AM »

There is the oriental_orthodoxy yahoo group, which is rather moribund but is specifically for Oriental Orthodox to discuss such things.

I am moderator there.

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« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2009, 09:37:06 AM »

Hmmm... If it's moribund, then...  Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2009, 09:40:46 AM »

There are several hundred members but everyone seems to not have anything to say about Oriental Orthodoxy

I am praying and thinking about asking my bishop for his blessing to form some sort of an online fellowship of Oriental Orthodox lay and clergy theologians to support the serious discussion about and development of Oriental Orthodox theological materials. I know lots of scattered folk who are serious about studying our theology but there is nothing which brings people to together presently in a structured and dynamic manner.

Father Peter
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« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2009, 09:47:42 AM »

+

I'll pray for the same too. It would be great to have such a place of discussion. There are still unsolved problems or misunderstandings between different churches of our family, while it's not appropriate to discuss everything in fora that belong to other church families.
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« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2009, 12:10:31 PM »

+

I'll pray for the same too. It would be great to have such a place of discussion. There are still unsolved problems or misunderstandings between different churches of our family, while it's not appropriate to discuss everything in fora that belong to other church families.

Huh? Have we changed here? News to me.
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« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2009, 12:12:26 PM »


Huh? Have we changed here? News to me.

What do you mean?
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« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2009, 12:17:01 PM »


Huh? Have we changed here? News to me.

What do you mean?
You seem to imply this forum is not for you. While I agree that having an Oriental-only subforum may suggest that, the intent of OC.net was not originally to make this a Chalcedonian-only forum. In fact this sub-forum IS for you while EO-OO debate is in the Private forums..
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« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2009, 12:28:21 PM »



You seem to imply this forum is not for you. While I agree that having an Oriental-only subforum may suggest that, the intent of OC.net was not originally to make this a Chalcedonian-only forum. In fact this sub-forum IS for you while EO-OO debate is in the Private forums..

No, dear Αριστοκλής, you didn't understand me correctly. This is a wonderful forum, both for Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians. And it is very good that here these two families of Orthodox churches can discuss topics together, understand each other better, and so love each other. However, as you know, not everything is allowed to talk here as freely as one would desire. That's why sometimes I read the members say, 'If you want to delete this post, OK', or so. When my mum or another member of my family speaks to me in public, I feel somewhat tense, I want to go home, to our kitchen and talk there, while eating some food  Wink, or wearing only pygamas or so Smiley  Smiley.
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« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2009, 07:06:07 PM »

Even in very recent times, the volume of translated excerpts of Theodoret by István Pásztori-Kupán seems to me to be essentially, even explicitly, sympathetic to Theodoret's Christology. There are a lot of fans of Theodoret who rather dismiss St Cyril as being a brutal fundamentalist who spent his lifetime persecuting an intelligent and thoughtful theologian who deserved better.

Dear Father Peter,
I have just found and registered to this forum where such great and exciting discussions are taking place vis-a-vis the Oriental Orthodox Christians. Since you expressly mention my name in the above quotation (I am the author of the book on Theodoret of Cyrus published in 2006 by Routledge), I hope I may take the liberty to clarify my position. Your assessment is correct concerning my sympathetic attitude towards Theodoret's Christology. The main reasons can be deducted from my book, although I elaborated much more on the subject in my PhD thesis, a copy of which is available online here:
http://www.proteo.hu/dok/PKI_PhD_Full_text.pdf
See my website as well:
http://www.proteo.hu/?q=node/27

Nonetheless, I think that your last sentence quoted above seems to imply that I, as one of the "fans of Theodoret" (which I am to a certain extent) would "rather dismiss St Cyril as being a brutal fundamentalist". This harsh criticism appears to me as being unfounded, since I never intended to (and indeed, I never did) question Cyril's orthodoxy. I have simply shown that some of Cyril's emphases (like the "communicatio idiomatum" or the famous "hypostatic union") in his time were the innovation and not the tradition, albeit they proved to be beneficial ones. As I wrote on p. 77 of my Routledge volume, these Cyrillian concepts "ultimately proved to be useful and their validity is not under question in this book." (the wider exposé on this matter can be found in my PhD thesis on pp. 182-195)

I would also like to elaborate a little on Paul Bauchman Clayton's thesis on Theodoret in one of my future replies, if you would be interested.

It is therefore important to observe that someone's sympathy towards a certain aspect of viewing Christ as our common Saviour does not mean a necessary exclusion of other parallel (for me rather complementary and not diametrically opposing) views and traditions. If I remember it correctly, on p. 80 of my book (the last page of the Introduction) I wrote:

"The final conclusion of this investigation therefore is that, although between the parallel Christologies of the orthodox Alexandria and of the orthodox Antioch (together with their late appearances in the Middle Ages, the sixteenth century or even in our era) there are undeniable differences, nevertheless, these are differences of emphasis rather than of substance. If, for the sake of orthodoxy there had to be a choice between Theodoret and Nestorius, between Theodoret and Eutyches, between Cyril and Nestorius or between Cyril and Eutyches, there need not be a choice between Cyril and Theodoret, unless we want to lose something truly valuable in terms of Christian teaching."

If this is not an irenical and ecumenical attitude towards these issues (an attitude, I would assume, naturally expected in such forums of ecumenical discussion), then I do not know what is... yet perhaps I am simply overreacting, as my old friends in Edinburgh's New College would say.

I am anxiously looking forward to your earliest reply and greet you very warmly in our common Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God Incarnate,

István Pásztori-Kupán
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« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2009, 07:45:23 PM »

Welcome to the forum, Rev. Dr. Pásztori-Kupán.  We look forward to your posts.   Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2009, 10:45:58 PM »

István Pásztori-Kupán

Welcome Dr. Istvan, May peace and grace be with your spirit.

May I inquire as to your church association, are you a priest/deacon/pastor as the Rev. seems to imply. May I ask who ordained you to what office in what Church please? Thank you for kindly responding when you are able.

James+
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« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2009, 11:00:27 PM »

May I inquire as to your church association, are you a priest/deacon/pastor as the Rev. seems to imply. May I ask who ordained you to what office in what Church please? Thank you for kindly responding when you are able.

Dear Fr James,
Thank you very much for your question. I am a member of the Reformed Church in Transylvania, Romania. After having obtained my licentiate in theology in 1996 and completing one year of chaplaincy, I was ordained in 1997 as a minister of my church. I obtained both my masters degree (in 1999) and my PhD (in 2002) at The University of Edinburgh, School of Divinity, New College. Since then I am a lecturer at the Protestant Theological Institute in Cluj/Kolozsvár, Transylvania, Romania, my main field of research being the Early Church, especially the Christological debates of the fifth century. My mother tongue is Hungarian.
I greet you in our Lord Jesus Christ,
István
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« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2009, 12:04:37 AM »

Thank you Dr. Istvan for your prompt and gracious reply.

Indeed I also greet you to the forum I being a newbie myself here. May I ask whether you were born into the Reformed Church? or did you make the decision to enter it from the Orthodox Romanian Church?

May I ask you directly whether you attempt to evangelise Romanian Orthodox away from the Orthodox Churches and into a Reformed Church position? I notice quite a large number in the Reformed churches in the Transylvania area (700,000 or more) is this area a historical enclave for the Reformed or have the majority of those people come from the Orthodox Churches please? You have tweeked my interest as I did not know there was a large group of Reformed protestants in Romania.

Thank you for your attention to this post when you are able. Please note this interest is purely for my own understanding as I have no formal position on this forum but am a mere occasional poster.

James+
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« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2009, 05:43:47 AM »

Dear Dr István Pásztori-Kupán,

What a pleasure to be able to welcome you to this forum. I have downloaded your thesis and look forward to reading it in due course.

As is clear, I am less convinced that it is possible to avoid making a choice between Theodoret and St Cyril, but I hope that I am willing to detach myself from an emotional response to these themes, as you necessarily write in the prooemium to your thesis.

When I contribute to a forum such as this one it is usually impossible to express oneself as fully as would be required in a more formal context, so it is often the case that a certain verbal shorthand imposes itself, though I do always try hard to avoid stereotyping those I disagree with - not always successfully.

In regards to the passage you quoted, let me revise my words to assign the first sentence to yourself, and the second to those generally Western writers over the last century or so, and who can be found online, who do seem to me to consider that St Cyril was a 'brutal fundamentalist'. I did not have your volume to hand when I wrote that passage otherwise I hope I would have taken the time to remind myself of the conclusion of your introductory essay. I suppose that I am still justified in taking the publication of your volume by Routledge as a sign of the continuing popularity of Theodoret in the West, while St Cyril, it seems to me, has been rather overlooked until recently, and continues to be misunderstood, a charge I am sure you will perhaps feel also applies to Theodoret.

Before I write any more I think I should take the time to read your thesis, which I will now start. Please be assured that I am always interested in engaging in theological discussion in an eirenic manner, and I am not afraid of having my present views of Theodoret clarified and challenged.

God bless you

Father Peter
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« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2009, 04:10:44 PM »

Before I write any more I think I should take the time to read your thesis, which I will now start. Please be assured that I am always interested in engaging in theological discussion in an eirenic manner, and I am not afraid of having my present views of Theodoret clarified and challenged.

Dear Father Peter and James!
Thank you very much for your replies and your questions. I read them with great interest and delight. At present I am away on a short holiday with my family, but as soon as I come back (probably early next week), I shall be in touch elaborating on the issues you asked me about.
All best wishes,
István Pásztori-Kupán
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« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2009, 11:41:02 AM »

Thank you Dr. Istvan for your prompt and gracious reply.
Indeed I also greet you to the forum I being a newbie myself here. May I ask whether you were born into the Reformed Church? or did you make the decision to enter it from the Orthodox Romanian Church?
May I ask you directly whether you attempt to evangelise Romanian Orthodox away from the Orthodox Churches and into a Reformed Church position? I notice quite a large number in the Reformed churches in the Transylvania area (700,000 or more) is this area a historical enclave for the Reformed or have the majority of those people come from the Orthodox Churches please? You have tweeked my interest as I did not know there was a large group of Reformed protestants in Romania.
James+
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Dear James,
Sorry for being so late in replying (I just came back from a short holiday and a pile of work was waiting for me). Concerning your questions: I am indeed born in the Reformed tradition together with around 750,000 Hungarian Reformed people who live in Transylvania, a country which belongs to Romania since 1919. For more than a thousand years (895-1919), Transylvania was either part of the Hungarian Kingdom or (between 1540 and 1711) an independent principality. The Reformed tradition among the Hungarians of the Carpathian Basin (including Transylvania) dates back to the sixteenth century. Since Transylvania is historically a land of tolerance (for the first time in world history, in 1568, the general assembly or Diet of Transylvania passed a law that nobody should be persecuted for their religion or confession), I do not evangelise Romanian Orthodox away from their traditional church, but rather rejoice in the fascinating symbiosis and diversity of different ecclesiastical traditions. If you were interested in this Transylvanian traditional spirit of tolerance, you are welcome to read my recent article published in English in our periodical "Református Szemle":
http://www.proteo.hu/dok/PKI_2008_RSZ_Theocratic_Torda1568_eng.pdf
With all best wishes,
István
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« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2009, 12:26:01 PM »

Dear Dr István Pásztori-Kupán,
What a pleasure to be able to welcome you to this forum. I have downloaded your thesis and look forward to reading it in due course. Please be assured that I am always interested in engaging in theological discussion in an eirenic manner, and I am not afraid of having my present views of Theodoret clarified and challenged.
God bless you
Father Peter

Dear Father Peter,
Thank you very much again for your kind reply and for your interest in my thesis. I am also very happy to learn about your open-mindedness and eirenical attitude, since I repeatedly faced the insurmountable problem of being attacked from both sides because of my bridge-building attempts. Although I am obviously inclined a bit towards the Antiochene approach (due perhaps to my personal experiences in a communist regime where the humanity of the One who said "give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God" mattered a great deal in times of persecution), I can certainly see very well how the Alexandrian-Cyrillian concept can enrich and appeal to a lot of modern believers and theologians. In the attempt to summon the best of both traditions and to see them rather complementary and not mutually exclusive, I often felt being rejected by both (hence, "blessed are the peacemakers"). It is perhaps part of my Transylvanian upbringing not to be prepared to condemn someone for their doctrinal attitudes or preferences. Indeed, Theodoret is popular in various circles around the Christian world, and if one considers e.g. the depth of his exegesis and his profound care for his flock as well as his evangelising and not destructive attitude towards heretic groups, this popularity may be justified. I think the fundamental problem remains whether we should by all means judge someone based exclusively on dogmatic formulae, or his/her other contributions to Christian thought/exegesis/apologetics as well as his/her personality etc. should also be considered. I honestly believe that it is not our duty (i.e. in the present aeon) to pull up all the tares (or, better said: all that we think are tares) from among the wheat before the harvest. I shall look forward to your reply so that we may discuss these subjects further on.
Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ,
István
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« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2009, 05:11:22 PM »

Thank you Dr. Istvan for your prompt and gracious reply.
Indeed I also greet you to the forum I being a newbie myself here. May I ask whether you were born into the Reformed Church? or did you make the decision to enter it from the Orthodox Romanian Church?
May I ask you directly whether you attempt to evangelise Romanian Orthodox away from the Orthodox Churches and into a Reformed Church position? I notice quite a large number in the Reformed churches in the Transylvania area (700,000 or more) is this area a historical enclave for the Reformed or have the majority of those people come from the Orthodox Churches please? You have tweeked my interest as I did not know there was a large group of Reformed protestants in Romania.
James+
servant

Dear James,
Sorry for being so late in replying (I just came back from a short holiday and a pile of work was waiting for me). Concerning your questions: I am indeed born in the Reformed tradition together with around 750,000 Hungarian Reformed people who live in Transylvania, a country which belongs to Romania since 1919. For more than a thousand years (895-1919), Transylvania was either part of the Hungarian Kingdom or (between 1540 and 1711) an independent principality. The Reformed tradition among the Hungarians of the Carpathian Basin (including Transylvania) dates back to the sixteenth century. Since Transylvania is historically a land of tolerance (for the first time in world history, in 1568, the general assembly or Diet of Transylvania passed a law that nobody should be persecuted for their religion or confession), I do not evangelise Romanian Orthodox away from their traditional church, but rather rejoice in the fascinating symbiosis and diversity of different ecclesiastical traditions. If you were interested in this Transylvanian traditional spirit of tolerance, you are welcome to read my recent article published in English in our periodical "Református Szemle":
http://www.proteo.hu/dok/PKI_2008_RSZ_Theocratic_Torda1568_eng.pdf
With all best wishes,
István

Dear Istvan,

                         May peace and grace be yours. Thank you and welcome back from your holidays (holy days) :-) Thank you for the recommendation but I had already read through it online, and your thesis, and some works of your instructing late Professor by the time I asked you the questions I asked. :-)

                         I again welcome you to the forum and note there are very many excellent discussions between Orthodoxy and Protestantism here online and it is my hope and prayer that you will be positively affected by them. Again welcome.

May the prayers of St Mary the Holy Theotokos Mother of God be with us all.

James+
Servant.

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