Thanks for the response!
And thank you for the consistently displayed spirit of genuineness, honesty and gentleness that mark your posts. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always a joy and comfort to engage in dialogue with people like your good self.
I would like to start off by saying that I really appreciated you using the Joint Commission as your quotes. It really irkes me when people have no idea that our 2 churches have even spoken!
Something that irks me even more is that many who do
have an awareness of these Agreements are nevertheless so quick to dismiss them, in spite of the fact they are supported by three Local Synods (Alexandria, Antioch, and Romania) of your Church, the EP, and in turn being warmly considered by other Local Synods (Moscow). I'm sure some (if not most?--who am I to judge) have good intentions nevertheless, but I would hope they would be more open to understanding how such authorities interpret their Tradition and the implications thereof, rather than hastily deeming them ignorant of their own Tradition.
My guess is that this type of statement was passed in order to take a more clear look at Nestorius and his followers?
I honestly have no idea how Nestorius or the Assyrian Church fits into that statement. Nor does there seem to be any indication in the documents and comments written after to suggest that this statement is concerned with anything but the very relationship between the OO and EO Churches.
Just because we RESPECT your spirituality and HERITAGE of the Holy Fathers of your church, doesn't make them a non-problem.
If our respective Churches of Antioch (i.e. "Antiochian" and "Syrian") thought that each otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s respective Fathers were heretics, then how could they agree to mutually respect heresy? What Ã¢â‚¬Å“spiritualityÃ¢â‚¬Â in heresy is there to respect? What is it about the Ã¢â‚¬Å“heritageÃ¢â‚¬Â of an heretical position that our Churches feel compelled to mutually agree to respect?
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re under the impression that the verb respect
here is being used in the sense that one should, for example, respect a BuddhistÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s heritage i.e. in the sense of tolerating their freedom and right to adopt and practice a faith one may believe to be an outright lie/heresy/blasphemy, I think you are not taking the surrounding context seriously enough as a tool of clarification as to what is precisely meant.
As I subsequently showed, the next point (which does not immediately follow ad hoc, but clearly immediately follows to spell out the practical implications of the very preceding point) made by the EO Church of Antioch is that the heritage of both our Fathers should be integrated into theological education. Certainly, if our respective Churches of Antioch thought that there was a problem with the Fathers of the otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Church, they would not want the seminarians and potential future clergy of their Churches to be corrupted by their heretical leanings!
I think a specific example will help here:
(st.) Evagrius of Pontus is a saint in your church. Whereas he is an origenist in the EO church. Now here is a guy who will probobly NEVER end up in the EO church as a saint. Not saying that he doesn't deserve it, just too polemical. What are your thoughts on this as an example for our discussion?
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know enough about (St?) Evagrius or Origenism, let alone St. Evagrius and Origenism, to make any substantial comments in this regard; I can only observe the following facts:
1) The only Coptic Orthodox work I am aware of that attempts to comprehensively deal with Origenism is Fr. T. MalatyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s The School of Alexandria. In his chapter Origen and Origenism, he undoubtedly treats Origenism as heresy.
2) St. Evagrius is quoted or referred to quite a few times in the works of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, but on each occasion he is quoted or referred to with regard to basic, practical and non-controversial spiritual matters.
For example, His Holiness quotes St. Evagrius to support the idea that we must fight sin using the commandments as our weapon, or that we must counter evil thoughts with verses from the Scripture, or that we must be prepared and alert at the beginning of prayer to what may befall usÃ¢â‚¬â€temptations, wandering thoughts, laziness, fatigue etc.
I think, in spite of his official condemnation by your Church, St. Evagrius continues to be quoted in like manner i.e. with regard to basic spiritual matters? I mean I personally only became aware of St. EvagriusÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ maxim regarding the true theologian being one who prays through EO sources who quoted him to that effect.
Can we really affirm that YOUR saints (OO) have been saints all along, especially if we have realized that some of your saints are heretics?
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not sure what you mean by this. Which of our Saints has your Church Ã¢â‚¬Å“realisedÃ¢â‚¬Â to be Ã¢â‚¬Å“hereticsÃ¢â‚¬Â, and what do you mean by the term Ã¢â‚¬Å“realiseÃ¢â‚¬Â in any event?
Your Councils as you would know, anathematised Dioscoros and Severos, yet the position encompassed by the Agreements of the Joint Commission recognises that such anathematisations are worthy of being lifted upon the recognition that Dioscoros and Severos are in fact Orthodox.
I honestly don't see the Christological controversy "saints" as a problem. Our two churches have had SOO many dialogues about these controversies that to go over it again would be totally redundant.
Okay well apart from Evagrius Ponticus, who I am not familiar enough with to begin pursuing a proper discussion of--but who I can at least as of now say is recognised as a Saint--IF recognised as a Saint--in spite of (rather than because of, or in consideration of, or with tacit acceptance of) any Origenism he may have promoted--who else do you have in mind?
Now that I think about it, we may have a problem with the idea of Emperor Justinian being a Saint, particularly on account of the idea that he fell into (what is known within our Communion as) the heresy of Julianism late in his life.
In the end though, the only bearing that the direction this discussion seems to be headed, to the initial inquiry of this thread is that there may be few exceptions to the general principles inferred from the Agreements of the Joint Commission.