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Author Topic: OO fathers on the wills of Christ  (Read 6875 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 23, 2010, 01:33:15 PM »

What do OO fathers say about the will/ wills of Christ and how they relate to the divine/ human natures? As much as possible I would like to see direct quotes or references.
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2010, 03:05:42 PM »

Good luck. This was our problem, not theirs.  I do recall OO polemics against the monothelites, but that was from the viewpoint of the Muslims assessing the arguments.
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2010, 11:09:06 PM »

Ummmm, I believe Severus of Antioch wrote about one theandric will...

I'll post it if I find any material from him.
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2010, 02:50:02 AM »

I thought we were already discussing that on another thread.

I don't think there is value in just trying to answer 'one wil'' or 'two wills'. It requires a much richer answer.

I will try to post later today. I have been thinking about the subject and relating it to St Severus.

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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2010, 03:02:51 AM »

Just for everyone's reference, the other thread was here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25645.0.html

I told Iconodule in reply #33 of that thread that if he wanted to ask for patristic resources, he should start another thread.  The other one was getting too tangential.  

Thank you, Iconodule, for your cooperation.   Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2010, 03:04:36 AM »

I thought we were already discussing that on another thread.

I don't think there is value in just trying to answer 'one wil'' or 'two wills'. It requires a much richer answer.

I will try to post later today. I have been thinking about the subject and relating it to St Severus.

Father Peter

I agree Father. The issue seems to me somewhat like what I saw in my protestant years in regards to the different Hebrew words of "one". In the Shema, it says that your Lord they God is One. I could be wrong, but I think it's the same word used for Adam and Eve being one. I could be wrong about that for it's been years since I last debated the issue. But the argument I used back then was that "One" was a complex unity and not a simple unity.

I see the samething going on here with Miaphysitism/Miaenergism/Miathelitism......etc. I see it as a complex unity whereas the Monophysitism/Monoenergism/Monothelitism.......etc. as a simple unity. From how you explained the issue in the other thread, it seemed as if you didn't deny the idea of two natures, two energies, two wills.......etc. Now we still may differ in how we understand all that, but I didn't see you deny the idea of two natures, wills, energies........etc.
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2010, 04:19:38 AM »

Sorry Salpy, I hadn't read that.

jnorm888, yes, the Oriental Orthodox position, which of course we consider the Orthodox one, is a complex (because unknowable) unity of diversity. As St Severus says (in paraphrase) 'we don't reject diversity, God forbid, but division and dividing everything up so that we end up with two subjects'.

We had mentioned in the previous posts that the notion of one will or two did not seem an entirely satisfactory response to the actual experience we wanted to describe, either in Christ or in ourselves. At the very least, I am sitting here and I am willing to write this post, but there is also a desire in me to turn to prayer, and I am also hungry because it is the start of the Apostles Fast. There seem to me to be at least three desires at work, and that desire is not entirely the same as will, which suggests a more deliberative personal activity.

Or perhaps, there is more deliberative personal activity of willing, but this can be subsumed under the force of animal desire (such as in the person who means to eat one biscuit and then finds they have eaten the whole packet without being able to stop!), or subsumed under a psychological desire perhaps, and subsumed under a spiritual desire/experience.

Who is choosing to write this post rather than eat something or turn to prayer? In what way is the desire to eat an aspect of will? If I am the chooser then what is the relationship between me and the choice, and where does the choice take place?

Likewise if there is within me a desire to write, and pray, and eat, then in what sense is one a willed activity, and the others non-willed, even though all are desires?

It seems to me that we need to understand and seek to describe ourselves more comprehensively before we start talking about one will or two. Because I am sure that I do not yet understand the process as I am experiencing it in myself now, and therefore it seems foolish to extrapolate from my lack of understanding of myself to some sort of authoritative position in respect of all people, and in respect of Christ.

But perhaps I can say a little about hunger and other such desires. As a beginning to use the Oriental Orthodox patristic sources. Hunger is routinely described as one aspect of will, and especially in regard to pointing out that Christ had a human will. If the Oriental Orthodox allow that Christ truly hungers then it seems to me that this aspect of human will is considered to be present in Christ.

He says in Letter I.. when discussing a passage from St Cyril.

..he was a warden to himself of hungering as well as of being tired after a journey, and of accepting the other human passions, such as do not fall under sin, in order to display the Humanization truly and without phantasy.

In Letter XXXV he says...

...he came to be with us as God who became man he was named Emmanuel, and that he was made like unto us in all things except sin, suffers like us and is susceptible of innocent passions... the impassible God united to himself those of our passions which do not fall under the description of sin ...

I could produce lots more of such passages from his other works, but it is morning here and I am supposed to start working. I think even these two show that there is no problem with accepting that Christ, the incarnate Word, experiences the blameless human passions such as hunger.

The question remains in my mind, how do these blameless passions relate to will in the controversial sense? And how do they relate to will in the description we are hopefully trying to determine here so as to avoid slipping into a polemics which misses the point?

St Severus also speaks very often of the rational and intelligent nature of the humanity of Christ. It seems to me that it is not possible to speak of rationality and intelligence without considering some aspect of rational and intelligent volition. What is rationality and intelligence if not some constant movement of some ascect of will?

He says..

..one of the three hypostases [..] was rationally and hypostatically united to soul-possessing flesh.

..Flesh does not renounce its existence as flesh, even if it has become God's flesh, nor has the Word departed from his nature, even if he has been hypostatically united to flesh which possesses a rational and intelligent soul: but the difference also is preserved, and the propriety in the form of natural characteristics of the natures of which Emmanuel consists, since the flesh was not converted into the nature of the Word, nor was the Word changed into flesh.


These all seem to me to speak of an intelligently volitional being, who is the Word of God incarnate.

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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2010, 07:52:50 PM »

Thank you Fr. Peter and everyone for the quotes provided. The material by Severus is indeed interesting, though it doesn't directly address the issue (if I'm not mistaken, the controversy didn't flare up until after Severus reposed). But I should take some time to digest the material.

For the sake of keeping everything in one place, I do want to reproduce the quote from an Armenian father given in the other thread:

Quote from: VasnTearn
St Gregory of Tathev says in his "Book of questions" (pls, Salpy, edit my terrible English translation Smiley):

"As we say the nature of man is united with God's nature [in Christ], so also is the will of the Incarnate Word united and one. And the action follows the will, therefore one is His action, produced and performed by the one will of the one Christ.... Also, you ask how that one action is to be understood. We don't say one action because there are no higher and lower [actions], but we say that the action is one because it is performed by the union, as, [for example], the same hand cuts and sews, writes and erases. Also know this: We say one nature for Christ because of the end and not for the beginning; and we say one action for the beginning and not for the end of the action. As for the will, it is one because of willing and union which is the beginning and the end. In this way we say one nature, one will and one action of the Incarnate Word."

Since it's such a  brief passage, it's hard to conclude much from it, but I suspect the writer was familiar with the debates that had involved the EO world. I hope someone more knowledgeable can give some information about Gregory of Tathev, and perhaps VasnTearn could return to give some more context to the quote.  


Good luck. This was our problem, not theirs.

I'm not so sure of this. Monoenergism and monothelitism were devised specifically to reconcile the anti-Chalcedonians. The monoenergist Pact of Union (condemned at Constantinople III) was in fact accepted by the Copts and Armenians. Of course, it is possible that the anti-Chalcedonians interpreted this document differently from the Byzantine authors.

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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2010, 02:53:53 AM »

Iconodule,

St Severus has much more to say, and I think that the earlier writers will be found speaking of actions, and energies, rather than will because as you say, this had not been controversial at that time. (or rather it surely would have been controversial but the arguments/discussions did not use that term as the point of controversy). I will find the notes I have on this subject because I have been considering it on and off for some time.

What I wanted to show narrowly from St Severus was that he fully accepts the reality of the blameless passions being present in Christ, and we have been calling those 'will' in the thread. He does hunger and thirst, which means at the least that his body is moved with the need for food and drink.

I think quote from St Gregory of Tathev is interesting and it resonates with my own understanding because it speaks of the union in beginning and end. In terms of the will, I like this thought because it seems to me that we wish to find a union of will in the identity of the incarnate Word who is one, and in the object of the will which is one, even though we recognise a diversity of willing.

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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2010, 03:21:55 AM »

Looking briefly at the the volume 'The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire' I note that the authors speak of the proposal that Christ be defined with a single energy and will as a means of reconciling the anti-Chalcedonians. Assuming for the moment that this is the case, it seems to me to reveal a lack of understanding on the part of the imperial authorities in the past and the authors in the present.

Though I would speak easily and comfortably of one energy and one will in the incarnate Christ, I would not wish to speak of one single energy and one single will. It is never a matter of one will or two, one energy or two. That is to not understand the Christology we believe that we have received from St Cyril.

One energy and one will, yes of course, but a one of union not of exclusivity. To extend what St Gregory says, it is one because it is rooted in the one identity and subject of the incarnate Word, and because it has one united end, I mean that the energy and will is turned to one object and not two.

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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2011, 08:25:37 PM »

St Severus says:
Quote
This has been said for our instruction. It is indeed most certain, since the will of the Son and of the Father is not different, but is one and the same will. Furthermore with these words he showed us again that he participated in the same nature as us, one who was fearful of death, and endured voluntarily the suffering of fear and of anguish, saying, "My soul is anguished even unto death", to the end that these sorrows, so that the sorrows which had come into conflict with Christ, the power of the Father, were radically uprooted from our race.
I've heard some accuse St Severus of 'monotheletism', does that sound 'monothelite'?
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« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2011, 04:22:21 AM »

As with all of these terms, it is necessary to ask what everyone means, otherwise terms become simply a means of polemics rather than understanding.

In the writings of St Cyril and St Severus, the willing nature of the humanity of Christ is described by the term 'rational'. St Cyril and especially St Severus, constantly speak of the rational flesh, meaning that it preserved in the union the integrity of human nature including the power of decision and choosing.

Since St Severus impresses so much upon his readers that it is the will of man which is the seat of sin, and the cause of the Fall, and that a man was required to undo the fault of Adam, then it is clear that his soteriology REQUIRES that the Word of God be truly incarnate, and truly be obedient in the exercise of a human will. Here is an excerpt from one of his homilies (LXXXIII).

The words 'he scorned', and 'he did not obey', and this other, 'he chose', show us that the Word of God is united hypostatically not only to flesh, but still to a soul endowed with will and reason, for the purpose of making our souls, bent towards sinfulness, incline toward the choice of good and the aversion to evil.

Whatever else we might want to say, we cannot say, and do not, and will not allow others to say of us, that we deny that the humanity of the incarnate Word was lacking the human faculty of will.

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« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2011, 11:10:25 AM »

One energy and one will, yes of course, but a one of union not of exclusivity. To extend what St Gregory says, it is one because it is rooted in the one identity and subject of the incarnate Word, and because it has one united end, I mean that the energy and will is turned to one object and not two.

Father Peter

Father,

Do the same caveats to nature apply here too? --without mixture, without confusion, without alteration, without separation (from the time of the hypostatic union in the incarnation unto eternity), without mingling, etc.?
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2011, 11:13:30 AM »

Do the same caveats to nature apply here too? --without mixture, without confusion, without alteration, without separation (from the time of the hypostatic union in the incarnation unto eternity), without mingling, etc.?
Of course, we don't believe the divine & human wills & energies united via means of confusion or commingling, but, rather both converged in a natural synthesis retaining their distinct characteristics. What is divine remains divine, what is human remains human.
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« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2011, 11:20:08 AM »

I am not sure that they apply in the same way because the faculty of will is but one aspect of human nature, and the Divine Will is not a faculty that can be examined.

St Severus reminds us that the humanity of the incarnate Word wills the Good, but the Word does not, in His Divine nature, will the Good because HE IS THE GOOD.

If you mean does the human faculty of will retain its integrity, then of course, but it is always the human faculty of will of the Word of God incarnate, and never wills or acts separately from the Word.
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« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2011, 11:56:29 AM »

I am not sure that they apply in the same way because the faculty of will is but one aspect of human nature, and the Divine Will is not a faculty that can be examined.

St Severus reminds us that the humanity of the incarnate Word wills the Good, but the Word does not, in His Divine nature, will the Good because HE IS THE GOOD.

If you mean does the human faculty of will retain its integrity, then of course, but it is always the human faculty of will of the Word of God incarnate, and never wills or acts separately from the Word.
I sort of realized that, what I meant was we that don't believe in some sort of unique 'demi-god' energy of a unique 'demi-god' will. I know that faculties of will and energy are a bit more... let's say... obscure/abstract(?). I just wanted to reassure our EO brothers that we don't believe in a divine-human 'crasis' of wills and energies. I have heard several (mostly on other forums) accuse us of such because when many EOs hear 'one will', 'one energy', etc. they assume that we teach some sort form of monoenergism/monothelitism. As has been said before, we never speak of 'one' in the exclusive singular sense, but, in a sense of complexity. We recognized the dualistic origin or 'two-ness' of Christ's one will, one energy, and one nature.

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« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2011, 04:04:24 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In our hymns, liturgies, and commentaries the Ethiopian Fathers delve very deeply into their ontological theology and Christology, and also touch on the "Will" of Christ, however we do not discuss the concept of "Energies" in the same way as the Eastern Orthodox.  I am about to go to lunch but when I return I will post some quotes from both the Ethiopian Fathers and also their quoting from the Oriental and Orthodox Fathers.

I only posted this now because the search feature is not very useful and I didn't want to lose this thread.

Stay Blessed,
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« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2011, 04:16:51 PM »

Not that it is totally on topic, but it occured to me that a lot of the problem this age is that the libido has been elevated to a faculty of the human person equal to the will.
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« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2011, 07:04:41 PM »

I found this interesting passage from St Athanasius the Great while reading the letters of St Severus:

«As soon as there is flesh, there is at once flesh of God the Word; and, as soon as there is soul-possessing and rational flesh, there is at once soul-possessing rational flesh of God the Word: for in him also it acquired subsistence»

For me, "rational flesh" describes a human nature with an intelligent faculty of willing and volition. What do you all think?
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« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2011, 07:55:30 PM »

Click here

This hyperlink will direct you to a book which discusses the theletic christology of St. Severus of Antioch. The author does describe his christology as "monothelite", but that's probably because he isn't familiar with more "correct" terms (e.g. miathelite, miaenergist, etc.). In one passage, St. Severus affirms that Christ has two natural wills and that the human will is subject to the divine. And in his commentary on the book of Isaiah, St. Severus seems to be in agreement with Maximus the Confessor in saying that there is no gnomic will in Christ
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« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2011, 03:17:59 AM »

Rational does mean 'willing' in St Severus.

I'll find a reference somewhere later. This book ^ is one I want to get hold of. It looks very interesting and I have read bits of it before on google.
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« Reply #21 on: September 10, 2011, 05:13:22 PM »

Click here

This hyperlink will direct you to a book which discusses the theletic christology of St. Severus of Antioch. The author does describe his christology as "monothelite", but that's probably because he isn't familiar with more "correct" terms (e.g. miathelite, miaenergist, etc.). In one passage, St. Severus affirms that Christ has two natural wills and that the human will is subject to the divine. And in his commentary on the book of Isaiah, St. Severus seems to be in agreement with Maximus the Confessor in saying that there is no gnomic will in Christ

Then why did Constantinople III condemn his teachings on will? Is the anathema inaccurate or did Severus actually teach stuff that conflicts with Eastern Orthodox theletism?
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« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2011, 05:19:11 PM »

Then why did Constantinople III condemn his teachings on will? Is the anathema inaccurate or did Severus actually teach stuff that conflicts with Eastern Orthodox theletism?
Most of Saint Severus' writings were burned in the sixth century, thus the Bishops at Constantinople III were probably ignorant of his teachings on the wills in Christ.
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« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2011, 05:29:30 PM »

I guess that they figured that his alleged denial of Christ's consubstantiality with our humanity meant that Severus also taught that Christ's will would also not be fully human?
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« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2011, 05:36:07 PM »

I guess that they figured that his alleged denial of Christ's consubstantiality with our humanity meant that Severus also taught that Christ's will would also not be fully human?
Maybe, but St. Severus does affirm the consubstantiality of Christ with God and man.
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« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2011, 05:39:52 PM »

I'm aware of that. But wouldn't the bishops at Constantinople III not have been?
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« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2011, 05:40:41 PM »

It seems he was flexible (or "inconsistent" some would say) on the question of the wills, but he is firm in monoenergism.
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« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2011, 05:45:53 PM »

It seems he was flexible (or "inconsistent" some would say) on the question of the wills, but he is firm in monoenergism.
In His letter to Oecumenius the Count about properties and operations, St. Severus wrote that St. Cyril of Alexandria in the Scholion about the coal speaks as follows :

“Nevertheless we may see in the coal as in a figure that God the Word was united to the manhood, but has not cast off being that which he is, but rather changed what had been assumed or united into his glory and operation. For, as fire when it takes hold of wood and is introduced into it, prevails over it, and does not make it cease being wood, but rather changes it into the appearance and force of fire, and performs all its own acts in it, and is already reckoned as one with it, so understand in the case of Christ also. For, since God was ineffably united with manhood, he has preserved it as what we say it is, and he himself also has remained what he was. But, after he has once been united, he is reckoned as one with it, appropriating its qualities of himself, but he himself also carried on the operation of his nature in it”.  If  then the Word changed the manhood which he had hypostatically united to him, not into his nature, for he remained that which he was, but into his glory and operation, and things which manifestly belong to the flesh have come to belong to the Word himself, how shall we allow that each of the forms performs its own acts? But we must anathematize those who confine the one Christ in two nature and say that each of the natures performs its own acts. Between the things performed and done by the one Christ the difference is great. Some of them are acts befitting the divinity, while others are human. For example, to walk and travel in bodily form upon the earth is without contention human; but to bestow on those who are maimed in the feet and cannot walk upon the ground at all the power of walking like sound persons is God-befitting. Yet the one Word incarnate performed the latter and the former, and the one nature did not perform the one, and the other; nor, because the things performed are different, shall we on this account rightly define two natures or forms as operating.” (I took this from Metr. Bishoy's paper on St. Severus' Christology).

I would interpret this as an affirmation of one composite natural divine-human energy. Where it is the one incarnate Christ who does things God-befitting and human, but these actions flow from its own proper energy even though they are performed by the one Word Incarnate.

In any case, do you think St. Severus taught the "classical"/heretical monoenergism of Pyrrhus, or do you think he taught miaenergism?
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« Reply #28 on: September 10, 2011, 05:46:21 PM »

I'm aware of that. But wouldn't the bishops at Constantinople III not have been?
I assume so...
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« Reply #29 on: September 10, 2011, 05:56:19 PM »

It seems he was flexible (or "inconsistent" some would say) on the question of the wills, but he is firm in monoenergism.

What is monoenergism?
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« Reply #30 on: September 10, 2011, 05:58:40 PM »

It seems he was flexible (or "inconsistent" some would say) on the question of the wills, but he is firm in monoenergism.

What is monoenergism?
The belief that Christ has but one Divine energy/operation ('energeia' in Greek).
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« Reply #31 on: September 10, 2011, 06:04:06 PM »

As I recall, St. Maximus and St. John Damascene were at pains to show why, while it was fine to say that Christ has one composite nature (in the sense of hypostasis) one will or one energy could not be accepted as will and energy were properties of the distinct natures. So while "miaphysitism" is Orthodox "miatheletism" and "miaenergism" are not okay. To be honest I had trouble wrapping my head around these Fathers' arguments when I read them so I couldn't really explain it much better than that.
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« Reply #32 on: September 10, 2011, 06:05:52 PM »

I'd like to read Sts. Maximus and John Damascene's commentaries on the difference between miaphysitism and miatheletism/energism. Are they available online anywhere?
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« Reply #33 on: September 10, 2011, 06:09:30 PM »

As I recall, St. Maximus and St. John Damascene were at pains to show why, while it was fine to say that Christ has one composite nature (in the sense of hypostasis) one will or one energy could not be accepted as will and energy were properties of the distinct natures. So while "miaphysitism" is Orthodox "miatheletism" and "miaenergism" are not okay. To be honest I had trouble wrapping my head around these Fathers' arguments when I read them so I couldn't really explain it much better than that.
But when we say one will or energy, we do not mean it in the essentialistic sense. When we affirm one will we mean that Christ has one volitional impulse and that he who wills is one (I.e. because the Word Incarnate is the one who wills). Likewise, one theanthropic energy means that he who acts is the Theanthropos through one theandric action (for example, healing -a sign of Divine power/energy- with human spit -a sign of human lowliness/energy). So Maximos' and John's arguments make sense so long as they are understood correctly.
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« Reply #34 on: September 10, 2011, 06:12:43 PM »

I'd like to read Sts. Maximus and John Damascene's commentaries on the difference between miaphysitism and miatheletism/energism. Are they available online anywhere?
Damascene's "An exact exposition of the Orthodox faith" discusses this a bit, and that work of his is readily available online. Maximus probably discusses this in his work "Disputations with Pyrrhus", which you would have to purchase.
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« Reply #35 on: September 10, 2011, 07:22:47 PM »

Never mind.
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« Reply #36 on: September 10, 2011, 07:29:36 PM »

I'd like to read Sts. Maximus and John Damascene's commentaries on the difference between miaphysitism and miatheletism/energism. Are they available online anywhere?
Damascene's "An exact exposition of the Orthodox faith" discusses this a bit, and that work of his is readily available online. Maximus probably discusses this in his work "Disputations with Pyrrhus", which you would have to purchase.
Which book and chapter (of the "Exact Exposition") would that be in?
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« Reply #37 on: September 10, 2011, 07:33:35 PM »

Were Constantinople III's anathemas against monothelitism and monoenergism directly primarily against the Oriental Orthodox or a different group?
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« Reply #38 on: September 10, 2011, 07:37:07 PM »

Were Constantinople III's anathemas against monothelitism and monoenergism directly primarily against the Oriental Orthodox or a different group?
It anathematizes Monoenergism and monothelitism, both of which were created to reconcile the OO and Chalcedonian parties. But, the OO have never taught that Christ has but a single divine will/energy.
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« Reply #39 on: September 10, 2011, 07:43:24 PM »

Were Constantinople III's anathemas against monothelitism and monoenergism directly primarily against the Oriental Orthodox or a different group?
It anathematizes Monoenergism and monothelitism, both of which were created to reconcile the OO and Chalcedonian parties. But, the OO have never taught that Christ has but a single divine will/energy.
How were the condemned heresies defined? Mono in a Eutychian sense or mono/mia in a Cyrillian sense?

If the latter, then wouldn't that be a legitimate difference in Eastern and Oriental Orthodox theologies?
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« Reply #40 on: September 10, 2011, 08:06:44 PM »

I'd like to read Sts. Maximus and John Damascene's commentaries on the difference between miaphysitism and miatheletism/energism. Are they available online anywhere?
Damascene's "An exact exposition of the Orthodox faith" discusses this a bit, and that work of his is readily available online. Maximus probably discusses this in his work "Disputations with Pyrrhus", which you would have to purchase.
Which book and chapter (of the "Exact Exposition") would that be in?
Moreover, one cannot speak of one compound thing made of two wills in the same way as a subsistence is a composition of two natures. Firstly because the compositions are of things in subsistence (hypotasis), not of things viewed in a different category, not in one proper to them(6): and secondly, because if we speak of composition of wills and energies, we will be obliged to speak of composition of the other natural properties, such as the uncreated and the created, the invisible and the visible, and so on. And what will be the name of the will that is compounded out of two wills? For the compound cannot be called by the name of the elements that make it up. For otherwise we should call that which is compounded of natures nature and not subsistence. And further, if we say that there is one compound will in Christ, we separate Him in will from the Father, for the Father's will is not compound. It remains, therefore, to say that the subsistence of Christ atone is compound and common, as in the case of the natures so also in that of the natural properties.

And we cannot(7), if we wish to be accurate, speak of Christ as having judgment ( gnwmh ) and preference(8 ). For judgment is a disposition with reference to the decision arrived at after investigation and deliberation concerning something unknown, that is to say, after counsel and decision. And after judgment comes preference(9), which chooses out and selects the one rather than the other. But the Lord being not mere man but also God, and knowing all things, had no need of inquiry. and investigation, and counsel, and decision, and by nature made whatever is good His own and whatever is bad foreign to Him(1). For thus says Isaiah the prophet, Before the child shall know to prefer the evil, he shall choose the good; because before the child knows good or evil, he refuses wickedness by choosing the good(2). For the word "before" proves that it is not with investigation and deliberation, as is the way with us, but as God and as subsisting in a divine manner in the flesh, that is to say, being united in subsistence to the flesh, and because of His very existence and all-embracing knowledge, that He is possessed of good in His own nature. For the virtues are natural qualities(3), and are implanted in all by nature and in equal measure, even if we do not all in equal measure employ our natural energies. By the transgression we were driven from the natural to the unnatural(4). But the Lord led us back from the unnatural into the natural(5). For this is what is the meaning of in our image, after our likeness(6). And the discipline and trouble of this life were not designed as a means for our attaining virtue which was foreign to our nature, but to enable us to cast aside the evil that was foreign and contrary to our nature: just as on laboriously removing from steel the rust which is not natural to it but acquired through neglect, we reveal the natural brightness of the steel.


http://www.orthodox.net/fathers/exactiii.html#BOOK_III_CHAPTER_XIV
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« Reply #41 on: September 10, 2011, 08:08:37 PM »

How were the condemned heresies defined? Mono in a Eutychian sense or mono/mia in a Cyrillian sense?

If the latter, then wouldn't that be a legitimate difference in Eastern and Oriental Orthodox theologies?
I will try to discuss these things with you tomorrow if I can find the time. But I have to dash right now.

Best wishes and God bless. Smiley
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« Reply #42 on: September 10, 2011, 08:14:39 PM »

Thanks for your time, Severian.
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« Reply #43 on: September 10, 2011, 10:01:28 PM »

Moreover, one cannot speak of one compound thing made of two wills in the same way as a subsistence is a composition of two natures. Firstly because the compositions are of things in subsistence (hypotasis), not of things viewed in a different category, not in one proper to them(6):
I don't really get what that means. What is a "thing viewed in a different category, not in one proper to it"?
Quote
and secondly, because if we speak of composition of wills and energies, we will be obliged to speak of composition of the other natural properties, such as the uncreated and the created, the invisible and the visible, and so on.
By properties does he mean things proper to a hypostasis? Or, like, adjectives vs nouns?

Would it be Orthodox (from an Oriental POV) to say that Christ has the composite properties of being both invisible and visible or being created and uncreated?
Quote
And further, if we say that there is one compound will in Christ, we separate Him in will from the Father, for the Father's will is not compound. It remains, therefore, to say that the subsistence of Christ atone is compound and common, as in the case of the natures so also in that of the natural properties.
Following that logic, couldn't you say that Christ's subsistence as the Theanthropos separates Him from the Father because the Father's hypostasis is not compound?

I wonder if St. Cyril ever wrote about Christ's will(s). Probably not if the controversy never came up until centuries after his repose.
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« Reply #44 on: September 12, 2011, 03:24:08 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

As I recall, St. Maximus and St. John Damascene were at pains to show why, while it was fine to say that Christ has one composite nature (in the sense of hypostasis) one will or one energy could not be accepted as will and energy were properties of the distinct natures. So while "miaphysitism" is Orthodox "miatheletism" and "miaenergism" are not okay. To be honest I had trouble wrapping my head around these Fathers' arguments when I read them so I couldn't really explain it much better than that.

Yes but this is a misunderstanding based on the difference in the OO and EO Christological glossaries.

As I understand it,  in OO the will/operation is manifested by the hypostasis, even of the Father, who has His own unique, Divine hypostasis as "Father".  Through the Incarnation, the unique hypostasis of the "Son", the Eternal Word, united into the hypostasis we know as the Incarnate Christ.  In the Union, the natures manifest themselves as a single hypostasis.  So while they remain intact, they exist forever together, and in the OO conception, there would inherently be a unified will/operation because there is one, composite hypostasis.  We do not have a schizophrenic Jesus with split personalities in His head, He is One Christ, as authentic personalities stem from the person (hypostasis)

which is what it seems Severian was explaining here

It seems he was flexible (or "inconsistent" some would say) on the question of the wills, but he is firm in monoenergism.
In His letter to Oecumenius the Count about properties and operations, St. Severus wrote that St. Cyril of Alexandria in the Scholion about the coal speaks as follows :

“Nevertheless we may see in the coal as in a figure that God the Word was united to the manhood, but has not cast off being that which he is, but rather changed what had been assumed or united into his glory and operation. For, as fire when it takes hold of wood and is introduced into it, prevails over it, and does not make it cease being wood, but rather changes it into the appearance and force of fire, and performs all its own acts in it, and is already reckoned as one with it, so understand in the case of Christ also. For, since God was ineffably united with manhood, he has preserved it as what we say it is, and he himself also has remained what he was. But, after he has once been united, he is reckoned as one with it, appropriating its qualities of himself, but he himself also carried on the operation of his nature in it”.  If  then the Word changed the manhood which he had hypostatically united to him, not into his nature, for he remained that which he was, but into his glory and operation, and things which manifestly belong to the flesh have come to belong to the Word himself, how shall we allow that each of the forms performs its own acts? But we must anathematize those who confine the one Christ in two nature and say that each of the natures performs its own acts. Between the things performed and done by the one Christ the difference is great. Some of them are acts befitting the divinity, while others are human. For example, to walk and travel in bodily form upon the earth is without contention human; but to bestow on those who are maimed in the feet and cannot walk upon the ground at all the power of walking like sound persons is God-befitting. Yet the one Word incarnate performed the latter and the former, and the one nature did not perform the one, and the other; nor, because the things performed are different, shall we on this account rightly define two natures or forms as operating.” (I took this from Metr. Bishoy's paper on St. Severus' Christology).

I would interpret this as an affirmation of one composite natural divine-human energy. Where it is the one incarnate Christ who does things God-befitting and human, but these actions flow from its own proper energy even though they are performed by the one Word Incarnate.


and also here

As I recall, St. Maximus and St. John Damascene were at pains to show why, while it was fine to say that Christ has one composite nature (in the sense of hypostasis) one will or one energy could not be accepted as will and energy were properties of the distinct natures. So while "miaphysitism" is Orthodox "miatheletism" and "miaenergism" are not okay. To be honest I had trouble wrapping my head around these Fathers' arguments when I read them so I couldn't really explain it much better than that.
But when we say one will or energy, we do not mean it in the essentialistic sense. When we affirm one will we mean that Christ has one volitional impulse and that he who wills is one (I.e. because the Word Incarnate is the one who wills). Likewise, one theanthropic energy means that he who acts is the Theanthropos through one theandric action (for example, healing -a sign of Divine power/energy- with human spit -a sign of human lowliness/energy). So Maximos' and John's arguments make sense so long as they are understood correctly.
I believe the Christological differences between EO and OO also stem from misinterpreting each others Christological glossaries.  The OO insist on the "from two Natures" formula because realistically much of our theology is rather Athanasian in its interpreting "hypostasis" as being at once Essence and Substance and why many OO theologians generally accuse EO of Nestorianism.  Just as the EO often misunderstand OO as being monophysite because of the Chalcedonian development of a more elucidated glossary for Hypostasis which sort of separated it in discussions from the Essence/Nature.  It seems easy for EO to then conceive of Christ has being "in two Natures" because Natures are separated from hypostases, however while in the OO our fathers can understand this conceptionally, they often fall back on suspicions of Nestorianism because in OO two Natures have to necessarily exist in two separate hypostases.

Its only when our fathers sit at the table with dense, clear, and elaborate discussion to define our mutual terms, do we find that often we are saying the same things in different ways.


stay blessed,
habte selassie
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