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Author Topic: Syriac Fathers and the Syrian Orthodox Church  (Read 4909 times) Average Rating: 0
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EkhristosAnesti
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« on: December 07, 2006, 05:52:24 AM »

I recently borrowed Sebastian Brock's The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life, where he introduces and translates the works of many Syriac Fathers. Some confusion arises as to determining the ecclesiastical position of some of the Fathers, and understanding how they are received by the various Churches. Here is a list of the Fathers in question with a brief note regarding the limited information I am able to deduce:

1) John of Apamea

Ecclesiastical position: ?
Christological position: ?
Manner of reception/regard by the Syrian Orthodox Church: ?

2) Philoxenus of Mabbug

Ecclesiastical position: Syrian Orthodox
Christological position: Non-Chalcedonian/Ephesian
Manner of reception/regard by the Syrian Orthodox Church: Saint.

3) Babai

Ecclesiastical position: Church of the East
Christological position: ?
Manner of reception/regard by the Syrian Orthodox Church: Orthodox.

4) Abraham of Nathpar

Ecclesiastical position: Church of the East
Christological position: ?
Manner of reception/regard by the Syrian Orthodox Church: ?

5) Martyrius

Ecclesiastical position: Apparently deposed from the Church of the East.
Christological position: Accused of adopting Chalcedonianism
Manner of reception/regard by the Syrian Orthodox Church: ?

6) Isaac of Nineveh

Ecclesiastical position: Church of the East.
Christological position: ?
Manner of reception/regard by the Syrian Orthodox Church: Saint.

7) Dadisho

Ecclesiastical position: ?
Christological position: ?
Manner of reception/regard by the Syrian Orthodox Church: ?

Cool Joseph the Visionary

Ecclesiastical position: ?
Christological position: ?
Manner of reception/regard by the Syrian Orthodox Church: ?

9) John the Elder (of Dalyatha)

Ecclesiastical position: Church of the East.
Christological position: ?
Manner of reception/regard by the Syrian Orthodox Church: High Regard.

+

If anyone is able to assist me in more elaborately and accurately ascertaining the answers to the three issues of concern it would be greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2006, 05:55:03 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2006, 11:48:56 PM »

The only two I have heard of are Babai and Isaac of Nineveh.  Here is what little I know.  I am less than an expert, however.

I think Babai was a theologian of the Church of the East.  He helped formulate their Christology.  I think he tried to make it agree a little more with ours, but stopped short of saying that God suffered in the flesh.

Isaac of Nineveh was also from the Church of the East, but from what I understand, he never wrote or spoke about Christology.  Rather he was known for other things.  I think the fact that he never spoke out on Christology is what made it possible for other churches to admire him.

You could probably do internet searches and come up with more and better information than what most people on this forum could give you.  It is times like this when I wish we had some Assyrian members here.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2006, 12:59:17 AM »

Quote
I think Babai was a theologian of the Church of the East.


Yes, he was. This was one of the few facts I was able to gather from Brock's book as you can see from my first post.

Quote
He helped formulate their Christology.  I think he tried to make it agree a little more with ours, but stopped short of saying that God suffered in the flesh.

That's interesting. Would you happen to have a source for this information?

Quote
Isaac of Nineveh was also from the Church of the East, but from what I understand, he never wrote or spoke about Christology.  Rather he was known for other things.

St. Isaac is probably the least of my concerns since the issue of his ecclesiastical position and its implications to his reception as a Saint by various Churches is extensively, or at least adequately, discussed by various authors.

Quote
I think the fact that he never spoke out on Christology is what made it possible for other churches to admire him.

Well not necessarily. Babai the Great is, according to Brock, highly regarded by the Syrian Orthodox Church, yet you seem to indicate that his Christology was not completely Orthodox. I think in cases such as this, Christological issues are simply ignored.
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« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2006, 03:35:33 AM »

Regarding Babai:

http://www.arikah.net/encyclopedia/Babai_the_Great
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« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2006, 03:43:37 AM »

If Babai the Great is responsible for the Assyrian Church of the East's Christology, wouldn't they not be Nestorian?
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« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2006, 03:49:10 AM »

I think they would be considered Nestorian if they refuse to say that God suffered in the flesh.  This would show that they don't see the union between between Christ's humanity and divinity the way we do.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2006, 04:48:34 AM »

Hmmm...I'm not really inclined to take anonymous and unreferenced internet articles very seriously. I'd need to hear from something more authoritative/official.
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2006, 11:17:26 AM »

I know what you mean.  I have seen the article I linked, or some version of it, show up more than once on different websites.  Not that this makes it authoritative, but it seems to be all that is out there.  The frustrating thing is that I had heard of Babai and knew a little about him, but I can't recall exactly where I had first heard or read about him.  I seem to think I read about him on an Assyrian website, but I can't find it.  Like I said, I wish we had some Assyrians here.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2006, 11:30:05 AM »

Salpy,

Upon re-reading Brock's introduction to Babai, I note that he states:

"The author is definitely not to be confused with the well-known theologian of the Church of the East, Babai the Great (d. 628); nor...Babai the Great's contemporary, Babai of Nisibis." (p. 137)

The works of the Babai in question have primarily been transmitted through Syrian Orthodox manuscripts. The work of his translated in this book is headed: "The letter of the Holy Mar Babai whom the wicked Barsauma slew; to the priest Cyriacus on the solitary life and on complete and divine renunciation. May his prayer be with us."
« Last Edit: December 08, 2006, 11:30:26 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2006, 01:23:03 AM »

Wow!  Who would have thought there would be so many Babai's among the Church of the East?  I guess it's sort of like us Orthodox who have so many St. Gregory's.  I don't think I have ever counted them all.  Like I said, the Babai I heard of was the theologian who helped formulate their Christology.  I guess that would be Babai the Great.

I'm curious about Dadisho.  Have you learned any more about him?  His name just sounds Assyrian.  He must be Church of the East, although I have never heard of him.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2006, 09:30:54 AM »

Dadisho was of the Church of the East; he was in fact a contemporary of St. Isaac of Nineveh. According to Brock much of his spiritual writings draw upon the works of an Abba Isaiah whom Brock seems to not feel the need to identify with any further specificity.
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« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2006, 07:19:50 PM »

In nomine Iesu I offer you all peace,

No mention of St. Isaac the Syrian or St. Ephraim the Syrian?   Huh


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« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2006, 08:15:24 PM »

I think St. Isaac the Syrian is the same as St. Isaac of Nineveh.  It's a bit confusing.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2006, 02:51:20 AM »

St. Ephraim pre-dates any of the relevant schisms (he departed in the year 373 A.D.), so there's no issue of concern surrounding him.
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« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2008, 09:18:28 PM »

I'm reviving this old thread only because I have found a resource that may answer at least some of the questions asked about some of the persons EA was curious about.  It's an interesting site:


http://www.bethmardutho.org/wikisyriaca/index.php?title=Main_Page


List of Articles, including articles about some of the above mentioned persons:

http://www.bethmardutho.org/wikisyriaca/index.php?title=Special%3AAllpages&from=&namespace=0
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« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2008, 04:39:22 PM »

I think St. Isaac the Syrian is the same as St. Isaac of Nineveh.  It's a bit confusing.

Yes, St. Isaac the Syrian was the bishop of Nineveh.

Whoops, didn't realize this thread was that old since I didn't see Salpy's post. My answer probably won't help the fella with the confusion of St. Isaac Cheesy.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2008, 04:41:43 PM by Andrew21091 » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2008, 04:53:38 PM »

Cool Joseph the Visionary

Ecclesiastical position: ?
Christological position: ?
Manner of reception/regard by the Syrian Orthodox Church: ?

He was part of the Church of the East. The article also said he had messalianist tendencies. Nothing about his reception in the Syrian Orthodox Church.

http://www.bethmardutho.org/wikisyriaca/index.php?title=Joseph_the_Visionary

Also, it appears that John of Apamea was also a member of the Church of the East and he was also condemned by Patriarch Timothy I along with Joseph and John the Elder for certain of their theological ideas.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2008, 04:58:06 PM by Andrew21091 » Logged
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