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Author Topic: Scholastic Orthodoxy?  (Read 6440 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 19, 2006, 03:25:52 AM »

Peace

I am currently researching into the Holy Eucharist and was unsure of whether the OO accept the term transubstantiation in the sense that the RC use it? Or are we more along the lines of the EO who are very hesitant to use it, thinking that it is an 'unnecessary scholastic philosophisation' of the west? Do we attempt to explain the Christ on the altar with the terms 'real prescence', 'accidents' etc. If so or not, why or why not? Is scholasticism essentially unorthodox?

Looking forward to your thoughts
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2006, 07:32:54 PM »

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OO accept the term transubstantiation in the sense that the RC use it?
 

No, we do NOT share the same beliefs as the catholics regarding the Eucharist for a simple reason that the belief regarding the physcial transformation of the bread into body (flesh) and wine into blood has no roots in the Apostolic faith and is not needed to support the the salvic powers of the Eucharist.

We do not subject the sacraments to philosophical arguments to try to contain what by nature surpasses all human understanding. We belive in the REAL PRESENCE according to the Lord' s words and that is sufficient.

Quote
Is scholasticism essentially unorthodox?
 
Depends on how you define scholasticism. Most of the Church fathers were scholars and great researchers but their thoughts were bounded by their respect of Tradition and their rejection to any new dogma that introduces any new aspect to salvation, as well by higlevel of spirituality that kept them from pride like the heretics. They expounded and explained the faith that they received but never added to it.
This is not understood now at all even in the Church as some heresies like theological development is creeping in slowly.

Bottom line: No addition to the Faith as it relates to the essence of salvation. If you invent something new then the Church was either lacking this aspect and that has monumental consequences as it wouldmean that either Christ or the Apostles failed to deliver the whole faith. The Church would be moving towards the right faith and it means it was never in possession of the faith to begin with.


 
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2006, 09:54:03 PM »

 

No, we do NOT share the same beliefs as the catholics regarding the Eucharist for a simple reason that the belief regarding the physcial transformation of the bread into body (flesh) and wine into blood has no roots in the Apostolic faith and is not needed to support the the salvic powers of the Eucharist.

We do not subject the sacraments to philosophical arguments to try to contain what by nature surpasses all human understanding. We belive in the REAL PRESENCE according to the Lord' s words and that is sufficient.
 
Depends on how you define scholasticism. Most of the Church fathers were scholars and great researchers but their thoughts were bounded by their respect of Tradition and their rejection to any new dogma that introduces any new aspect to salvation, as well by higlevel of spirituality that kept them from pride like the heretics. They expounded and explained the faith that they received but never added to it.
This is not understood now at all even in the Church as some heresies like theological development is creeping in slowly.

Bottom line: No addition to the Faith as it relates to the essence of salvation. If you invent something new then the Church was either lacking this aspect and that has monumental consequences as it wouldmean that either Christ or the Apostles failed to deliver the whole faith. The Church would be moving towards the right faith and it means it was never in possession of the faith to begin with.

The doctrine of transubstantiation does not describe it as a "physical" transformation, as you describe it. It is not a physical transformation.

-

Development of doctrine is not a heresy, as such development can be found in the councils of the undivided Church and even in post-schism Orthodoxy.

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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2006, 10:04:47 PM »

Fwiw, this earlier thread might be of some interest.
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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2006, 10:46:27 PM »

Or are we more along the lines of the EO who are very hesitant to use it, thinking that it is an 'unnecessary scholastic philosophisation' of the west?

Yeah, that sounds like the kind of nonsense you will hear in some quarters.  I think some people are just uncomfortable with the word "transubstantiation" because they just want to make it sound like they're really different from the Catholics in terms of the understanding of the Eucharist.

I can see no discernable difference between what we believe about the Eucharist and what Catholics believe.  The people who have a different understanding are the Protestants, and the Orthodox people who I have seen who try and argue we are different from the Catholics in the understanding of the Eucharist, in my opinion end up sounding a lot like Protestants.
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2006, 11:58:23 PM »

Isn't the Orthodox doctrine closer to consubstantiation than it is to transubstantiation, even if we don't choose either term?

Peace.
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« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2006, 12:03:52 AM »

Isn't the Orthodox doctrine closer to consubstantiation than it is to transubstantiation, even if we don't choose either term?

Personally, I don't think I'm bowing down before bread and wine during the liturgy of the pre-sanctified gifts; and if I was, I believe I would be what is known as an idolotar.

Read Nicholas Cabasilas.  Here are two quotes from his Commentary on the Divine Liturgy.

Regarding the Epiklesis

Quote
When these words have been said, the whole sacred rite is accomplished, the offerings are consecrated, the sacrifice is complete; the splendid Victim, the Divine oblation, slain for the salvation of the world, lies upon the altar. For it is no longer the bread, which until now has represented the Lord’s Body, nor is it a simple offering, bearing the likeness of the true offering, carrying as if engraved on it the symbols of the Saviour’s Passion; it is the true Victim, the most holy Body of the Lord, which really suffered the outrages, insults and blows; which was crucified and slain, which under Pontius Pilate bore such splendid witness; that Body which was mocked, scourged, spat upon, and which tasted gall. In like manner the wine has become the blood which flowed from that Body. It is that Body and Blood formed by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, which was buried, which rose again on the third day, which ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of the Father.

and the sacrifice

Quote
The transformation has been a double one; the bread, from being unsacrificed, has become a thing sacrificed, and it has also been changed from simple bread into the Body of Christ. It follows therefore that this immolation, regarded not as that of the bread but as that of the Body of Christ, which is the substance which lies beneath the appearance of bread, is truly the sacrifice not of the bread but of the Lamb of God, and is rightly so called…. Since the sacrifice consists, not in the real and bloody immolation of the Lamb, but in the transformation of the bread into the sacrificed Lamb, it is obvious that the transformation takes place without the bloody immolation. Thus, though that which is changed is many, and the transformation takes place many times, yet nothing prevents the reality into which it is transformed from being one and the same thing always–a single Body, and the unique sacrifice of that Body.

The bolded part is important for this discussion.

So, consubstantion it is not.  True sacrifice, true body and blood of Christ.
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« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2006, 12:11:36 AM »

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Development of doctrine is not a heresy, as such development can be found in the councils of the undivided Church and even in post-schism Orthodoxy.

No, councils of the Church just confirm the existing faith in face of a heresy and expound the faith in a manner suitable for the time and culture without changing any element of the faith as related to salvation. Development of doctrines is the definition of heresy as understood by the Church and as proclaimed by St. Paul. It is for this reason and this reason only that heresies by Arius, Nestorius and the rest were rejected and not only by their illogical substances. Post-schism Orthodoxy is the same as pre-schism Orthodoxy, for the faith does not change.

If indeed there is a new doctrine that was not received by the Apostles through Christ, why did Christ fail to hand it down to the Apostles and why did the Apostles fail to deliver it ? Or did the Church live without  necessary salvic power for a period of time ?

You either move away from the faith by introducing new doctrines, which si heresy, or you move closer to what is perceived as they truth, which means the Church did not at one point of time have the fulness of truth. Both proposals problematic.

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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2006, 12:19:31 AM »

Councils are good to look at too.  Decree 17 of the 1672 Council of Jerusalem says the following

Quote
We believe the All-holy Mystery of the Sacred Eucharist, which we have enumerated <144> above, fourth in order, to be that which our Lord delivered in the night wherein He gave Himself up for the life of the world. For taking bread, and blessing, He gave to His Holy Disciples and Apostles, saying: “Take, eat ye; This is My Body.” {Matthew 26:26} And taking the chalice, and giving thanks, He said: “Drink ye all of It; This is My Blood, which for you is being poured out, for the remission of sins.” {Matthew 26:28} In the celebration whereof we believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be present, not typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, as in the other Mysteries, nor by a bare presence, as some of the Fathers have said concerning Baptism, or by impanation, so that the Divinity of the Word is united to the set forth bread of the Eucharist hypostatically, as the followers of Luther most ignorantly and wretchedly suppose, but truly and really, so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, <145> transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin {Mary ELC}, was baptised in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sitteth at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord, Which as He hung upon the Cross, was poured out for the life of the world. {John 6:51}

Further [we believe] that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, there no longer remaineth the substance of the bread and of the wine, but the Body Itself and the Blood of the Lord, under the species and form of bread and wine; that is to say, under the accidents of the bread.

Further, that the all-pure Body Itself, and Blood of the Lord is imparted, and entereth into the mouths and stomachs of the communicants, <146> whether pious or impious. Nevertheless, they convey to the pious and worthy remission of sins and life eternal; but to the impious and unworthy involve condemnation and eternal punishment.

Further, that the Body and Blood of the Lord are severed and divided by the hands and teeth, though in accident only, that is, in the accidents of the bread and of the wine, under which they are visible and tangible, we do acknowledge; but in themselves to remain entirely unsevered and undivided. Wherefore the Catholic Church also saith: “Broken and distributed is He That is broken, yet not severed; Which is ever eaten, yet never consumed, but sanctifying those that partake,” that is worthily.

<147> Further, that in every part, or the smallest division of the transmuted bread and wine there is not a part of the Body and Blood of the Lord — for to say so were blasphemous and wicked — but the entire whole Lord Christ substantially, that is, with His Soul and Divinity, or perfect God and perfect man. So that though there may be many celebrations in the world at one and the same hour, there are not many Christs, or Bodies of Christ, but it is one and the same Christ that is truly and really present; and His one Body and His Blood is in all the several Churches of the Faithful; and this not because the Body of the Lord that is in the Heavens descendeth upon the Altars; but because the bread of the Prothesis set forth in all the several Churches, being changed and transubstantiated, becometh, and is, after consecration, one and the same with That in the Heavens. For it is one Body of the Lord in many places, and not many; and therefore this Mystery is the greatest, and is spoken of as wonderful, and comprehensible by faith only, and not by the sophistries of man’s wisdom; whose vain and foolish curiosity <148> in divine things our pious and God-delivered religion rejecteth.

Further, that the Body Itself of the Lord and the Blood That are in the Mystery of the Eucharist ought to be honoured in the highest manner, and adored with latria. For one is the adoration of the Holy Trinity, and of the Body and Blood of the Lord. Further, that it is a true and propitiatory Sacrifice offered for all Orthodox, living and dead; and for the benefit of all, as is set forth expressly in the prayers of the Mystery delivered to the Church by the Apostles, in accordance with the command they received of the Lord.

Further, that before Its use, immediately after the consecration, and after Its use, What is reserved in the Sacred Pixes for the communion of those that are about to depart [i.e. the dying] is the true Body of the Lord, and not in the least different therefrom; so <149> that before Its use after the consecration, in Its use, and after Its use, It is in all respects the true Body of the Lord.

Further, we believe that by the word “transubstantiation” the manner is not explained, by which the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, — for that is altogether incomprehensible and impossible, except by God Himself, and those who imagine to do so are involved in ignorance and impiety, — but that the bread and the wine are after the consecration, not typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, nor by the communication or the presence of the Divinity alone of the Only-begotten, transmuted into the Body and Blood of the Lord; neither is any accident of the bread, or of the wine, by any conversion or alteration, changed into any accident of the Body and Blood of Christ, but truly, and really, and substantially, doth the bread become the true Body Itself of the Lord, and the wine the Blood Itself of the Lord, as is said above. Further, that this Mystery of the Sacred Eucharist can be performed by none other, <150> except only by an Orthodox Priest, who hath received his priesthood from an Orthodox and Canonical Bishop, in accordance with the teaching of the Eastern Church. This is compendiously the doctrine, and true confession, and most ancient tradition of the Catholic Church concerning this Mystery; which must not be departed from in any way by such as would be Orthodox, and who reject the novelties and profane vanities of heretics; but necessarily the tradition of the institution must be kept whole and unimpaired. For those that transgress the Catholic Church of Christ rejecteth and anathematiseth.

http://catholicity.elcore.net/ConfessionOfDositheus.html
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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2006, 01:02:43 AM »

No, councils of the Church just confirm the existing faith in face of a heresy and expound the faith in a manner suitable for the time and culture without changing any element of the faith as related to salvation. Development of doctrines is the definition of heresy as understood by the Church and as proclaimed by St. Paul. It is for this reason and this reason only that heresies by Arius, Nestorius and the rest were rejected and not only by their illogical substances. Post-schism Orthodoxy is the same as pre-schism Orthodoxy, for the faith does not change.

If indeed there is a new doctrine that was not received by the Apostles through Christ, why did Christ fail to hand it down to the Apostles and why did the Apostles fail to deliver it ? Or did the Church live without  necessary salvic power for a period of time ?

You either move away from the faith by introducing new doctrines, which si heresy, or you move closer to what is perceived as they truth, which means the Church did not at one point of time have the fulness of truth. Both proposals problematic.



I never said "new doctrine." I said DEVELOPMENT of doctrine. If you deny this, you evince little grasp of historical reality.
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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2006, 02:19:07 AM »

No, councils of the Church just confirm the existing faith in face of a heresy and expound the faith in a manner suitable for the time and culture without changing any element of the faith as related to salvation.

In nomine Iesu I offer you peace Stavro,

With all due respect this appears to be nothing more than semantics. For those who are familiar with me knows I am not fan of certain extremes of Speculative Scholasticism which was once 'en vogue' in the western Church but no one 'in the west' is going to suggest that such speculations are doctrine.

There appears a co-mingling of Speculative Scholasticism with Development of Doctrine as a singular argument to indict the west of heresy. I don’t believe such a ‘singular’ argument is fair.

On forums, such as these which some use to foster polemics as a means of establishing a unique identity and distinction ‘from the west’ I fail to see any rationale to actually ‘see’ the issue from the other side. Ones identity is ultimately established by one’s division with the western Church.

For one to state that the councils of the Church ‘just’ confirmed the existing faith in the face of heresy does merely paints the history of the councils with the most romantic of hues possible. In the west, a more realist position is offered.  Neither ultimately denies the other because neither can claim to be an objective statement because such claims have not merit of proof; thus the semantic rhetoric.

For constructive dialogue, we really must get past this necessity to define through division or division is what will define us. We become a parity of ourselves.

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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2006, 09:55:37 AM »

The doctrine of transubstantiation does not describe it as a "physical" transformation, as you describe it. It is not a physical transformation.

-

Development of doctrine is not a heresy, as such development can be found in the councils of the undivided Church and even in post-schism Orthodoxy.


It is by necessity a physical change. If the Eucharist truley is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not bread and wine, then the bread and wine must be changed into the body and blood of Christ. Since bread, wine, body, and blood are all physical things, then there must be a physical change. Now, we may not be a VISIBLE physical change, this is only because the Eucharist maintains the accidents of bread and wine.
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« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2006, 10:00:52 AM »

Yeah, that sounds like the kind of nonsense you will hear in some quarters.  I think some people are just uncomfortable with the word "transubstantiation" because they just want to make it sound like they're really different from the Catholics in terms of the understanding of the Eucharist.

I can see no discernable difference between what we believe about the Eucharist and what Catholics believe.  The people who have a different understanding are the Protestants, and the Orthodox people who I have seen who try and argue we are different from the Catholics in the understanding of the Eucharist, in my opinion end up sounding a lot like Protestants.
I am definitely one who does not make light of our differences. However, I completely agree with you. The Eastern Orthodox say that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Catholics say that that stuff (substance) that is bread and wine becomes (is transubstantiated into) the the stuff (substance) that is Christ's body and blood. There is no reason in the world to assume that we differ in our understanding of the Eucharist. We simply use different language. In fact, I was reading in "The Orthodox Church" by Ware, that many Eastern Orthodox theologians adopted the term "transubstantiation" for a time before more anti-western attitudes crept into the Eastern Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2006, 10:08:32 AM »

No, councils of the Church just confirm the existing faith in face of a heresy and expound the faith in a manner suitable for the time and culture without changing any element of the faith as related to salvation. Development of doctrines is the definition of heresy as understood by the Church and as proclaimed by St. Paul. It is for this reason and this reason only that heresies by Arius, Nestorius and the rest were rejected and not only by their illogical substances. Post-schism Orthodoxy is the same as pre-schism Orthodoxy, for the faith does not change.

If indeed there is a new doctrine that was not received by the Apostles through Christ, why did Christ fail to hand it down to the Apostles and why did the Apostles fail to deliver it ? Or did the Church live without  necessary salvic power for a period of time ?

You either move away from the faith by introducing new doctrines, which si heresy, or you move closer to what is perceived as they truth, which means the Church did not at one point of time have the fulness of truth. Both proposals problematic.


Come now. To deny the development of doctrine is simply absurd. Look at how the Church grew in its understanding of the Trinity during the first six ecumenical councils. You can read the second century Fathers and their grappling with the idea of the Trinity. Some of the things they said were simply wrong, in that they support the subordinationist position,  and would be considered heretical by today's standards. However, the Church developed doctrine concerning the Trinity and was able to clearly define these things in the Councils.
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2006, 12:55:32 PM »

It is by necessity a physical change. If the Eucharist truley is the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not bread and wine, then the bread and wine must be changed into the body and blood of Christ. Since bread, wine, body, and blood are all physical things, then there must be a physical change. Now, we may not be a VISIBLE physical change, this is only because the Eucharist maintains the accidents of bread and wine.

No. Accidents are physical properties, properties that can be perceived by the senses. That is not changed in the Eucharist, though the substance---the underlying reality---is. Christ's glorified body is otherworldly, and it is entirely present in the Eucharist, physical properties notwithstanding. Physical properties are only representations of reality, not reality itself.

As Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, "It has never been asserted that, so to say, nature in a physical sense is being changed. The transformation reaches down to a more profound level. Tradition has it that this is a metaphysical process. Christ lays hold upon what is, from a purely physical viewpoint, bread and wine, in its inmost being, so that it is changed from within and Christ truly gives Himself in them."

http://www.adoremus.org/0604Ratzinger.html
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« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2006, 12:47:41 AM »

Quote
I never said "new doctrine." I said DEVELOPMENT of doctrine. If you deny this, you evince little grasp of historical reality
As long as you agree that no new dogmas can be introduced to the faith, whether by a council or by a single individual, and that the faith has been delivered once and for all to the Apostles, then we are in agreement. If you mean by development "formulation" then it is OK.

Quote
For one to state that the councils of the Church ‘just’ confirmed the existing faith in the face of heresy does merely paints the history of the councils with the most romantic of hues possible. In the west, a more realist position is offered.

The original question is concerned with the position of the Oriental Orthodox and their view of the councils, I presented it and I believe is the only consistent view and the historically accurate consideration of facts. Misrepresentation of history to serve certain agenda or to justify heresies proclaimed by the West under certain Bishops of Rome or councils dominated by philosophers is not part of our tradition nor it can be backed up historically in a satisfactory manner.
Romance and wishful thinking have little to do with our view of councils.

Quote
To deny the development of doctrine is simply absurd. Look at how the Church grew in its understanding of the Trinity during the first six ecumenical councils.


This is quite illogical to say and does not answer the concerns that raise from such absurd position of the West under Rome. Development of understanding about essential dogmas for salvation has no place in Orthodoxy for it would mean that at one point of time before this development took place there was no clarity about a particular doctrine necessary for salvation. To apply this to the council of Nicea would result in asserting the lack of clarity about Christ's divinity before that, or the confusion about the divinity of the Holy Spirit before Constantinople. Belief in certain dogmas is exercised and put in practice in Orthodox worship. The lack of this basis just renders the worship useless.   
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« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2006, 01:47:49 AM »

As long as you agree that no new dogmas can be introduced to the faith, whether by a council or by a single individual, and that the faith has been delivered once and for all to the Apostles, then we are in agreement. If you mean by development "formulation" then it is OK.

From God's point of view, doctrine does not develop. His understanding of doctrine is so profound that language cannot even express it in its fullness. However, human understanding of doctrines has developed---we have come to a greater understanding of the kernels of doctrine the apostles left us. We have found new language to express these truths in a more sophisticated, deeper way. Such understanding is necessarily grounded in Holy Scripture and/or Holy Tradition.
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« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2006, 01:56:10 AM »

Quote
To apply this to the council of Nicea would result in asserting the lack of clarity about Christ's divinity before that, or the confusion about the divinity of the Holy Spirit before Constantinople.

But that's exactly what was going on. Arius' views about Jesus being a created (divine) being forced the Church to think about their position. They brought up all sorts of biblical passages, and realised that the semi-Arians could use/interpret those same Scriptures in their own way. When Constantine suggested the (then) questionable term consubstantial, it was something new that they had to struggle with, and the struggle went on for another 55 years.

Then there was indeed confusion about the Holy Spirit. It's sort of funny that one of St. Basil's best known works is on the Spirit, because Basil was actually unsure of the exact status of the Holy Spirit, and his quasi-friend Gregory the Theologian had to defend him. No wonder then, that, as I showed in the thead I linked to earlier, Gregory was willing to be so friendly and pastorally-minded towards those who were unsure about the Holy Spirit. Gregory also seemed willing to grant that there was a development of doctrine. Here's a quote to chew on:

Quote
To this I may compare the case of Theology, except that it proceeds the reverse way. For in the case by which I have illustrated it the change is made by successive subtractions; whereas here perfection is reached by additions. For the matter stands thus. The Old Testament proclaimed the Father openly, and the Son more obscurely. The New manifested the Son, and suggested the Deity of the Spirit. Now the Spirit Himself dwells among us, and supplies us with a clearer demonstration of Himself.

For it was not safe, when the Godhead of the Father was not yet acknowledged, plainly to proclaim the Son; nor when that of the Son was not yet received to burden us further (if I may use so bold an expression) with the Holy Ghost; lest perhaps people might, like men loaded with food beyond their strength, and presenting eyes as yet too weak to bear it to the sun's light, risk the loss even of that which was within the reach of their powers; but that by gradual additions, and, as David says, Goings up, and advances and progress from glory to glory, the Light of the Trinity might shine upon the more illuminated.

For this reason it was, I think, that He gradually came to dwell in the Disciples, measuring Himself out to them according to their capacity to receive Him, at the beginning of the Gospel, after the Passion, after the Ascension, making perfect their powers, being breathed upon them, and appearing in fiery tongues. And indeed it is by little and little that He is declared by Jesus, as you will learn for yourself if you will read more carefully. I will ask the Father, He says, and He will send you another Comforter, even the spirit of Truth. This He said that He might not seem to be a rival God, or to make His discourses to them by another authority. Again, He shall send Him, but it is in My Name. He leaves out the I will ask, but He keeps the Shall send, then again, I will send,-His own dignity. Then shall come, the authority of the Spirit.

You see lights breaking upon us, gradually; and the order of Theology, which it is better for us to keep, neither proclaiming things too suddenly, nor yet keeping them hidden to the end. For the former course would be unscientific, the latter atheistical; and the former would be calculated to startle outsiders, the latter to alienate our own people. I will add another point to what I have said; one which may readily have come into the mind of some others, but which I think a fruit of my own thought.

Our Saviour had some things which, He said, could not be borne at that time by His  disciples (though they were filled with many teachings), perhaps for the reasons I have mentioned; and therefore they were hidden. And again He said that all things should be taught us by the Spirit when He should come to dwell amongst us. Of these things one, I take it, was the Deity of the Spirit Himself, made clear later on when such knowledge should be seasonable and capable of being received after our Saviour's restoration, when it would no longer be received with incredulity because of its marvellous character. For what greater thing than this did either He promise, or the Spirit teach. If indeed anything is to be considered great and worthy of the Majesty of God, which was either promised or taught. - Oration 32, 26-27
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« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2006, 02:04:16 AM »

As long as you agree that no new dogmas can be introduced to the faith, whether by a council or by a single individual, and that the faith has been delivered once and for all to the Apostles, then we are in agreement. If you mean by development "formulation" then it is OK.

Perhaps this was not directed at me but regardless I can agree with this statement 'but' I would suggest that 'all' that can be written or taught concerning 'this deposit of Faith' has not be exhausted. The Advocate is ever shining within those God-Seers who are ever present within the Church of the Living God and some continue to write even today what has be gleaned.

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The original question is concerned with the position of the Oriental Orthodox and their view of the councils, I presented it and I believe is the only consistent view and the historically accurate consideration of facts. Misrepresentation of history to serve certain agenda or to justify heresies proclaimed by the West under certain Bishops of Rome or councils dominated by philosophers is not part of our tradition nor it can be backed up historically in a satisfactory manner. Romance and wishful thinking have little to do with our view of councils.

Are you suggesting that Neo-Platonic Philosophy played 'no' role with the formulations of our early Church Fathers to articulate Doctrines and Dogmas?
 
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This is quite illogical to say and does not answer the concerns that raise from such absurd position of the West under Rome. Development of understanding about essential dogmas for salvation has no place in Orthodoxy for it would mean that at one point of time before this development took place there was no clarity about a particular doctrine necessary for salvation. To apply this to the council of Nicea would result in asserting the lack of clarity about Christ's divinity before that, or the confusion about the divinity of the Holy Spirit before Constantinople. Belief in certain dogmas is exercised and put in practice in Orthodox worship. The lack of this basis just renders the worship useless.

With all due respect, I beg to differ. This does not have to be the 'only' conclusion.

As I state above, the articulations of the mysteries of our faith have not be exhausted. Yes I would agree that the 'deposit of faith' has been given but not everyone has articulated it completely nor grasped its wonder thoroughly enough to express it with 'complete' clarity. The Church is ever guided by the Holy Advocate and it is ever revealing that 'deposit of faith' to ever new generations.

Expressing a truth in a new way does not void the validity of the truth expressed. Method had not bearing on the value of what is expressed. You are mixing Content with Method.

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« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2006, 02:11:13 AM »

Development of doctrine is not a heresy, as such development can be found in the councils of the undivided Church and even in post-schism Orthodoxy.
As an Eastern Catholic I rejected the idea that doctrines "develop" over time, because doctrines are not discursive truths open to logical development; instead, doctrines are an unmerited experience of God's own life and glory given to mankind through the incarnation of the eternal Logos.  In other words, doctrines are experiences of the uncreated divine energy, which ultimately transcends both mind and body, while elevating the whole of man's being into the infinite existence of tri-hypostatic God.
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« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2006, 12:27:20 PM »

As an Eastern Catholic I rejected the idea that doctrines "develop" over time, because doctrines are not discursive truths open to logical development; instead, doctrines are an unmerited experience of God's own life and glory given to mankind through the incarnation of the eternal Logos.  In other words, doctrines are experiences of the uncreated divine energy, which ultimately transcends both mind and body, while elevating the whole of man's being into the infinite existence of tri-hypostatic God.

Exactly but note that you stated that they were 'experiences of the uncreated divine energy'. That is my point exactly, put in much more wonderful words, and the point of the position of the Catholic Church with regard to the challenge of putting these 'experiences of the uncreated divine energy' into words. Yes the 'experiences are divinely given' but their expression as doctrines and dogmas are the product of man with all of man's limits just as the Sacred Scripture is the divine word through man's expression. It is why we continued, even none, to need God-Seers who have encounterd the Divine 'First-Hand' in order to aid those of us who have not yet been given the grace to encounter the Divine 'First-Hand'.

Such is the beginning of Theology. The systematic understanding of these experiences.

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« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2006, 07:51:30 PM »

The mode of expression used to speak about the divine event of encounter must not be confused with the actual mystery itself.  Doctrine does not develop over time because it is an uncreated gift of grace, i.e., it is a real partication in the uncreated divine energies, which are immutable. 

Finally, like many in the West, I think that you are giving too much credence to the linguistic formula and in the process you are confusing it with the doctrine.  The mysteries of the faith transcend description, and that is why the decrees of the Ecumenical Councils must be seen as apophatic, not kataphatic, expressions.

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« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2006, 03:46:59 PM »

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ut that's exactly what was going on. Arius' views about Jesus being a created (divine) being forced the Church to think about their position. They brought up all sorts of biblical passages, and realised that the semi-Arians could use/interpret those same Scriptures in their own way. When Constantine suggested the (then) questionable term consubstantial, it was something new that they had to struggle with, and the struggle went on for another 55 years.

Do you have any evidence to support your claim ? Can you bring up any writings from the age of the Apostles till the council of Nicea in which there is a clear denial of the divinity of Christ ?

Any verse in the Bible standing alone can be intrepreted in any way you like, and it was not a trap for the Orthodox as much as it was for the Arians for they failed to relate their heretical interpretation of indidvual verses to the whole belief system conveyed through the Bible and through the earluy writings of the Church Fathers that is clear about Christ's divinity.

Not only that, the centuries before Nicea were ages of martyrdom that were dominated by a clear confession of the lordship and divinity of Christ on the part of christians. You cannot challenge that not only was the theology and christology one of clear admission of the worship of Christ as divine, but the masses in all the Roman empire who accepted the faith shared in the same doctrines practiced in clarity.

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Then there was indeed confusion about the Holy Spirit. It's sort of funny that one of St. Basil's best known works is on the Spirit, because Basil was actually unsure of the exact status of the Holy Spirit, and his quasi-friend Gregory the Theologian had to defend him.

I donot find this confusion at all. I find a clear attribution of all the qualities and characteristics of God to the Holy Spirit. If there is any text that you find in contradiction to that,please bring it forward in its context. In addition to misrepresentation of the Bible verses away from Apostolic Tradition, there is misrepresentation of the writings of the Fathers in some aspects related to the faith to suit heretical claims.

Quote
Gregory also seemed willing to grant that there was a development of doctrine. Here's a quote to chew on:

We either define the term "development" differently, or you are bringing quotes that by no means support your views. There is a difference in the stages of revelations to humankind each according to his or her capacity and it was sealed in the Apostolic era after a long preparation throughout the OT and through the service of the Lord on the earth. The reason why no other development could take place because these are matters related to salvation that cannot be compromised. In the OT, there was none and as such it the revelation of dogmas related to the nature of God makes sense. With the change on scene with the coming of the incarnate Logos, who is the revelation of God Himself, it does not make sense to have any new dogmas introdcued to the faith after his ascension. There is no problem to reveal the doctrines step by step, but it does not necessarily mean that it changed the nature of this doctrines at any point of time, specially as hard evidence contradict that totally.

As for the work of the Holy Spirit, it should be noted that the quote by St. Gregory limits His work to the era of the Apostles, and to the dogmas they are already received from Christ. I was not born knowing every detail of the Orthodox faith, but the Holy Spirit enlightens my mind to receive more and understand more until I come to a perfection of understanding in eternity, but the dogmas did not change themselves.

Quote
Perhaps this was not directed at me but regardless I can agree with this statement 'but' I would suggest that 'all' that can be written or taught concerning 'this deposit of Faith' has not be exhausted. The Advocate is ever shining within those God-Seers who are ever present within the Church of the Living God and some continue to write even today what has be gleaned.

Such a statement might be in line with your belief system that must incorporate theological development in its components to allow for deviations made by bishops of Rome, but it is not what the real Orthodox believe in. We have no common reference in this regard and no common approach, but maybe the fruits of each approach should be the measure to judge the validity of each approach.

Quote
Are you suggesting that Neo-Platonic Philosophy played 'no' role with the formulations of our early Church Fathers to articulate Doctrines and Dogmas?

Formulation ...no. Our church has no problem with any forumation as long as it explains the dogma in a language suitable to the audience without adding or subtracting anything to the content of the faith.

Quote
With all due respect, I beg to differ. This does not have to be the 'only' conclusion.


My following statement isnot directly related to the content of the topic but to an approach that is spreading in the Christian world and is the cause of all problems. THERE COULD NOT BE TWO CONCLUSUIONS BOTH ACCEPTED AND UPHELD AND YET CONTRADICT EACH OTHER. It does not make sense. Regardless of who got it right, there has to be only one way the faith has been delivered. It insults God, His Church, His Faith and common intelligence to present the truth, by definition not able to evolute, as something against it svery definition.

This approach is hurting the faith because it presents the faith as an ideology and not as the incorruptable truth. I might ask where does this development end and who is to judge whether a heretic is the element of God's revelation or just puffed up by his own fantasies.

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Expressing a truth in a new way does not void the validity of the truth expressed. Method had not bearing on the value of what is expressed. You are mixing Content with Method.

No. I make a clear distinction between both and have stated that there could be no objection to proclaiming the right faith in any terms or language as long as it does not touch the faith.  But the method should not conceal any introduction to the faith.

Quote
As an Eastern Catholic I rejected the idea that doctrines "develop" over time, because doctrines are not discursive truths open to logical development; instead, doctrines are an unmerited experience of God's own life and glory given to mankind through the incarnation of the eternal Logos.

Excellent.

Quote
However, human understanding of doctrines has developed---we have come to a greater understanding of the kernels of doctrine the apostles left us.

This in turn willmean that at one point of times, believers, whether martyrs or confessors or simple good believers, might have rejected the idea of the divinity of Christ or his incarnation in the way we Orthodox understand it or were not clear about.

Although no hard evidence support such view, such approach also suggests that it could be reversed (it is human interpretation after all) and does not give an explanation to why Christ failed to deliver the faith in a comprehensible way, needing human interpretation centuries after.

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« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2007, 01:25:15 PM »

The doctrine of transubstantiation strikes me as irrational. That the body and blood of Christ are present in the Eucharist does not require that the bread and wine cease to exist as bread and wine.
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« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2007, 01:06:13 AM »

Peace

Yes this is the dilemma. I cannot workout whether the Orthodox view is Transubstantiation or Consubstantiation. It seems that Orthodox theologians are just happy to say 'this is the holy body and sacred blood of Christ', without using any terms to describe. I do not think that looking for terms to describe the presence of the holy body is essentially unorthodox; we have terms to describe the Son's relationship to the Godhead don't we? And we have terms to describe the nature of the incarnated Word don't we? Basically I cannot figure out the orthodox reluctance in exploring the theological understanding of the Body of Christ in the Eucharist? Maybe I'm reading the wrong things, and hence my confusion. Any resources would be very helpful.

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« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2007, 01:53:54 AM »

meenas,

I think your observations are important; as far as I know, the main issue that EO's have against the doctrine of Transubstantiation is that it involves applying philosophical concepts and terms to a mystery that is beyond words. But, as you have prudently observed, the Church has been doing this very thing with regard to the Nature of the Godhead and the Incarnate Word Himself for two thousand years; are these mysteries less profound than the the mystery of the Holy Eucharist? Certainly not. Thus, the argument itself is a little hypocritical.

The Church recognises the fact that mysteries such as the Nature of the Godhead or the Incarnate Christ are in indeed mysteries beyond words. That is why she only takes the opportunity to express Herself in regard to such matters when she is compelled to do so in the face of heresy, for the sake of safeguarding fundamental truths from being distorted. As far as I know, this is precisely what the Roman Catholic Church did. The doctrine of transubstantiation does nothing but point out what is plainly obvious, that the Bread and Wine are undoubtedly, and in every way, the true Body and Blood of Christ, except in taste and visible form. I fail to see the big deal here; I believe the EO criticisms are just a case of unwarranted nitpicking.
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« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2007, 08:15:35 AM »

The doctrine of transubstantiation does nothing but point out what is plainly obvious, that the Bread and Wine are undoubtedly, and in every way, the true Body and Blood of Christ, except in taste and visible form.

I believe that "consubstantiation" is a more accurate term to describe this phenomenom. I'm sorry for the cliche, but if it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, then it's a duck. We need not confuse people when explaining that Christ is present in the Eucharist. That the body and blood exist in, with, and under the substance of bread and wine does not make His presence any less real, less holy, or less profound.

May anyone who left the tag of "heretical" or "Protestant," please explain your position. Otherwise, you are a coward.

Peace.
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« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2007, 03:45:18 PM »

meenas,

I think your observations are important; as far as I know, the main issue that EO's have against the doctrine of Transubstantiation is that it involves applying philosophical concepts and terms to a mystery that is beyond words. But, as you have prudently observed, the Church has been doing this very thing with regard to the Nature of the Godhead and the Incarnate Word Himself for two thousand years; are these mysteries less profound than the the mystery of the Holy Eucharist? Certainly not. Thus, the argument itself is a little hypocritical.

The Church recognises the fact that mysteries such as the Nature of the Godhead or the Incarnate Christ are in indeed mysteries beyond words. That is why she only takes the opportunity to express Herself in regard to such matters when she is compelled to do so in the face of heresy, for the sake of safeguarding fundamental truths from being distorted. As far as I know, this is precisely what the Roman Catholic Church did. The doctrine of transubstantiation does nothing but point out what is plainly obvious, that the Bread and Wine are undoubtedly, and in every way, the true Body and Blood of Christ, except in taste and visible form. I fail to see the big deal here; I believe the EO criticisms are just a case of unwarranted nitpicking.

You are of course right. The West in that time endured a few heretics who denied the truth of the Body and Blood. It was very much a response to confusion/heresy.

The concept of transubstantiation exists to explain how it can be fully the Body and Blood while still looking like bread and wine.

It does not exist to explain HOW it changes (a mystery best left to God) but WHAT it changes to.
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« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2007, 03:56:46 PM »

I believe that "consubstantiation" is a more accurate term to describe this phenomenom. I'm sorry for the cliche, but if it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, then it's a duck. We need not confuse people when explaining that Christ is present in the Eucharist. That the body and blood exist in, with, and under the substance of bread and wine does not make His presence any less real, less holy, or less profound.

May anyone who left the tag of "heretical" or "Protestant," please explain your position. Otherwise, you are a coward.

Peace.

I didn't leave the tags, but they are probably referring to the fact that consubstantiation and concepts similar to it are found in Protestant, specifically Lutheran confessions.

These concepts were rejected in the Synod of Jerusalem in 1672. But you are not Eastern Orthodox, so perhaps it bears little weight on your position.

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« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2007, 04:12:31 PM »

I think your observations are important; as far as I know, the main issue that EO's have against the doctrine of Transubstantiation is that it involves applying philosophical concepts and terms to a mystery that is beyond words. But, as you have prudently observed, the Church has been doing this very thing with regard to the Nature of the Godhead and the Incarnate Word Himself for two thousand years; are these mysteries less profound than the the mystery of the Holy Eucharist? Certainly not. Thus, the argument itself is a little hypocritical.

The Church recognises the fact that mysteries such as the Nature of the Godhead or the Incarnate Christ are in indeed mysteries beyond words. That is why she only takes the opportunity to express Herself in regard to such matters when she is compelled to do so in the face of heresy, for the sake of safeguarding fundamental truths from being distorted. As far as I know, this is precisely what the Roman Catholic Church did. The doctrine of transubstantiation does nothing but point out what is plainly obvious, that the Bread and Wine are undoubtedly, and in every way, the true Body and Blood of Christ, except in taste and visible form. I fail to see the big deal here; I believe the EO criticisms are just a case of unwarranted nitpicking.

That's not the way I see it. 

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« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2007, 08:08:11 PM »

But you are not Eastern Orthodox, so perhaps it bears little weight on your position.

You are correct. Look, the Eucharist is, without a doubt, the body and blood of Christ. But that does not mean that the bread and wine cease to exist as bread and wine.

Peace.
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« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2007, 10:55:59 PM »

You are correct. Look, the Eucharist is, without a doubt, the body and blood of Christ. But that does not mean that the bread and wine cease to exist as bread and wine.

Peace.

What is the common Oriental Orthodox position on it?
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« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2007, 09:07:01 AM »


It seems that your take on the matter is primarily shaped by the position adopted by Fr. John the Damascene--which is strikingly reminiscent of the Protestant notion of consubstantiation. As much as I respect Fr. John of Damascus' take on many matters (regardless of his not technically being an authority within the OO Church), I do not find his reasons compelling on this one. More importantly, however, I believe that this "consubstantial-istic" notion (i.e. that the substance of the body of Christ unites with the unaltered substance of the bread), betrays the patristic principle regarding the occurence of a transformation (which the doctrine of transubstantiation remains faithful to).
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« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2007, 09:39:33 AM »

What is the common Oriental Orthodox position on it?

Oriental Orthodoxy chooses not to define how Christ is present, siding with neither transubstantiation nor consubstantiation.

Quote
For the first thousand years of Christian history, the holy gifts of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ were received as just that: His Body and Blood. The Church confesses that Eucharist is a mystery: The bread is truly His Body, and that which is in the cup is truly His Blood. However, one does not know to be able to explain how they have become so. It is a mystery.

The eleventh and twelfth centuries brought about the scholastic era, the Age of Reason in the West. The Roman Church, which had become separated from the Orthodox Church, was pressed by rationalists to define how the transformation takes place. They answered with the word transubstantiation, meaning a change of substance. The elements are no longer bread and wine; they are physically changed into flesh and blood. Thus the sacrament, which is to be accepted by faith, was subjected to a philosophical definition.

This second view of the Eucharist, the consubstantiation of Martin Luther, was unknown to the ancient Church. Our Orthodox Church teaches that the material elements of the Eucharist (bread and wine) become grace-filled by the calling of the Holy Spirit. We call the Eucharist "the mystical Supper." What the priest and the believers partake of is mystically the real Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. We receive Him under the forms of bread and wine.
http://suscopts.org/q&a/index.php?qid=157&catid=136

Whether our doctrine is closer to transubstantiation or consubstantiation, I believe, is a matter of debate.

Peace.
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« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2007, 11:09:12 AM »

The "forms" of bread and wine? And they criticize the "philosophical definition" of transubstantiation (which is inaccurately characterized, BTW. It's not a description of the action, but of what it becomes after the mysterious action. We also don't use the word "physical," as I've mentioned earlier in this thread). What in the world do they mean by "forms"? Could they mean accidents? Twice in that paragraph they say the bread and wine are the Body and Blood, not include them.
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« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2007, 02:52:57 PM »

Twice in that paragraph they say the bread and wine are the Body and Blood, not include them.

Why can't they be both?
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« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2007, 04:08:34 PM »

Why can't they be both?

Why doesn't it say so? It specifically says, "This second view of the Eucharist, the consubstantiation of Martin Luther, was unknown to the ancient Church." Isn't this enough to doubt consubstantiation?

They write of the Body and Blood existing "under" the "forms" of bread and wine. I don't see anything that shows they believe the substance of the Body and Blood exists alongside the substance of the bread and wine.
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« Reply #37 on: January 14, 2007, 09:17:19 AM »

Why doesn't it say so?

Even if our doctrine is closer to transubstantiation or consubstantiation, we choose not to define it with such Western terms, and would rather leave the matter a mystery.
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« Reply #38 on: January 14, 2007, 12:53:52 PM »

Even if our doctrine is closer to transubstantiation or consubstantiation, we choose not to define it with such Western terms, and would rather leave the matter a mystery.

I believe that "consubstantiation" is a more accurate term to describe this phenomenom.

Pardon me if I am confused.
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« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2007, 06:40:48 PM »

Pardon me if I am confused.

I don't speak for all Oriental Orthodox Christians. This may be a matter of theologoumenon.
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He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
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Tags: roman catholic development of doctrine heresy Protestant Christianity mystery consubstantiation scholasticism transubstantiation communion 
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