Author Topic: I have a few questions about what the OO believe  (Read 1585 times)

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Offline Peacemaker

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I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« on: March 03, 2015, 05:13:57 AM »
I am not here to attack anyone so lets get that out of the way. I am ignorant when it comes to the Oriental Orthodox. I have my views and beliefs about the OO and the EO but I am not here to debate or voice my views. I am just curious about a few things. This all sparked when I was having a conversation with my spiritual father about the Roman Catholics and the Oriental Orthodox and who is closest at coming back into communion with the Eastern Orthodox.

I was under the impression that the OO only confess in one nature of Christ (fully God) and not the two natures that EO confess (fully God and fully man) because of the Council of Chalcedon? I also read that the OO only recognize the first 4 ecumenical councils and not the 7 EO recognize?

My spiritual father was telling me that he read recently (I don't know the source) that most OO now are confessing the two natures of Christ and also recognize the 7 councils.

Is this true? Why are we still in schism?

Thanks


Offline Volnutt

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2015, 05:23:12 AM »
I always heard they confess "one theandric nature with all the attributes of God and of man." I've heard it described as "Godmanhood."
Is that what they teach you at the temple volnutt-stein?

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Offline wgw

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2015, 07:23:17 AM »
The Oriental Orthodox have never denied that Christ is both fully human and fully divine, from two natures, to use the Cyrilline formula, but not in two natures.  The schism occurred because the Copts and Syriacs rejected the Tome of Leo that was formally accepted at Chalcedon as being Nestorian because it spoke of Christ having divine and human natures in such a way that it seemed to the Orientals to divide the two, leading to Nestorianism.  The Council of Chalcedon also anathematized Pope Dioscorus, who was the chosen successor of Cyril.  When word came to the Armenian and Georgian churches after the fact they initially agreed, but the Georgians later changed their mind and embraced Chalcedon.  Or alternately according to a Byzantine source, the Georgians fought so hard to being their sister church back from the brink of heresy but were unsuccessful.  I am more inclined to believe the former story, but if you look at the similiar architecture of Georgian and Armenian churches you can sense the common heritage.  The Fifth Ecumenical Council sought to,restore unity by anathematizing Theodore of Mopsuestia, Diodore and Theodoret, which caused a brief schism in the West, the Three Chapters Controversy (Cyril had pushed for them to be anathematized at Ephesus but didn't have the votes so to speak).

There has since the 1960s been a general realization by figures such as Metropolitan Kallistos,Ware that the faith of the two churches is identical.  Indeed the Greek and Coptic Popes of Alexandria attempted reunion in the 1800s but were obstructed by the Turkish Khedive who ruled Egypt.  Divide et impera and all that.  I do hope this schism will end in my lifetime but there are those on both sides who passionately insist their brothers on the other side are irredeemable and accursed heretics.  Sadly in some cases there are even instances of racial or nationalistic bias.   On the other hand there have been legitimate criticisms of reunion on ecclesiological grounds from both sides.  And there exist practical obstacles as well, such as who gets the Alexandrian papacy or the Antiochian patriarchy in a reunited church, or do we allow two ancient jurisdictions to overlap?   There are also on the intellectual side especially among the EO liturgical maximalists who believe every aspect of the Byzantine liturgy is essential to Orthodoxy and who object to the reunion with the OO on the same grounds they object to the Western Rite: any deviation from the liturgical Orthopraxy of the Byzantine Rite is a deviation from Orthodoxy, and the liturgical diversity that exists within the Oriental Orthodox, who have at least five distinct liturgical rites at the moment (Coptic, West Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopian and British, basically a derivative of the Copric but with the Liturgy of St. James) is absolutely unacceptable to them.  I don't agree with these people but I respect their views and theology to a point, where they are consistent at least, but such a view of enforced liturgical uniformity I regard as a bit stifling, so naturally that argument doesn't work with me.

Only a few members of this forum know whether I'm Eastern or Oriental and I've asked them to keep it a secret.  This is because I love both churches passionately and regard both as functionally Orthodox.  I also hate discussing this schism, but my conscience is forcing me to work out an ecclesiology to support the feeling of burning love I have for my Eastern and Oriental brethren that does better than Anglican branch theory.   However I doubt I'll post it here publically or privately, or indeed publish it at all, because the last thing the world needs is another Ecclesiological heresy, and a solution designed to satisfy my own conscience could well be that if applied more generally.  But I do discuss such matters with my confessor.

By the way, everything I just told you could be gleaned with greater ease and probably greater precision from Wikipedia or better yet Orthodoxwiki, to which I make small contributions (like making sure all the liturgical services are in the category index and the broken links are fixed).  The priests who run that site do a wonderful job.

Offline Aram

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2015, 09:52:41 AM »

Only a few members of this forum know whether I'm Eastern or Oriental and I've asked them to keep it a secret.  This is because I love both churches passionately and regard both as functionally Orthodox. 
Pardon me for being blunt, but...you want to speak authoritatively about OO churches, but we're not allowed to know if you belong to one of them or not. OK.

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2015, 11:28:12 AM »
I was under the impression that the OO only confess in one nature of Christ (fully God)

Wrong.

Quote
and not the two natures that EO confess (fully God and fully man)

Wrong.

Quote
because of the Council of Chalcedon?

"Two natures" in and of itself is not a problematic claim.  We believe that Christ is fully God and fully man, and you will find "two natures" language used here and there.  What you won't find is the peculiar formulation of the council's doctrinal definition: "one person in two natures".  The reasons for that have been discussed ad nauseam on the forum, but very basically, that sort of language, as well as language that seems to depict the "natures" as actors, seemed to be introducing a division in the "person", which is a little more like Nestorianism than Orthodoxy.

We never believed that Christ was only divine and not human, or only part human and wholly divine, or whatever.  Any number of liturgical texts can be cited to confirm this.     

Quote
I also read that the OO only recognize the first 4 ecumenical councils and not the 7 EO recognize?


We accept the three ecumenical councils: Nicaea (I), Constantinople (I), and Ephesus. 

Quote
My spiritual father was telling me that he read recently (I don't know the source) that most OO now are confessing the two natures of Christ and also recognize the 7 councils.

Is this true? Why are we still in schism?

Thanks

I don't know your spiritual father or what he was reading, so I can't really address that. 

Technically, it is not true that we "now are confessing the two natures of Christ and also recognize the 7 councils".  As I said above, we have always confessed that Christ is fully God and fully man.  If that's all he means by "now confessing the two natures", then it's wrong because it's not a recent change, it has always been the case.  If he means that we have adopted the Chalcedonian language as our own, that hasn't happened even now.  And we have not now accepted Chalcedon and those councils which your Church held after that. 

What has happened is that the theological dialogue between our Churches has concluded that our faith is and has been the same, though expressed differently; that Chalcedon can be understood in an orthodox manner and that is how the EO understood/understand it; that the doctrinal statements of the other councils are similarly orthodox and not objectionable, etc.  Furthermore, the dialogue has offered certain recommendations in terms of how to move forward toward the re-establishment of communion. 

But a theological dialogue has no authority to impose its decisions on the Church, the Church has to accept them.  AFAIK, all the OO Churches have accepted those conclusions and taken steps forward.  At best, only three of the EO Churches have taken any similar level of action, though others have informally acted on some of the recommendations. 

As for why we are still in schism, I don't have a comprehensive list of reasons. 

Some of that is simply various manifestations of pride, which also contributed to the schism in the first place.  There are many who, IMO, don't seem to understand that we could've been wrong about one matter, even for so long, without that meaning we were wrong about everything.  So if *we* have always been right, *they* must have always been wrong.  We don't see that attitude prevailing during the four and a half centuries of our shared history, but it sure took hold after that. 

Some of it is due to how our Churches operate.  Historically, the EO Churches seem to have acted in a more coordinated way than the OO Churches, which are spread out geographically, more diverse culturally, linguistically, etc., and have tended to manage their affairs more independently.  In modern times, there is more coordination among us, but it's still not like it is among the EO, and there is more independence among the EO, but it's not quite at our level.  On the EO side, I think it would not go over so well internally if several but not all of the autocephalous Churches entered into communion with us: the others would consider themselves forced either to join them in entering into communion with us or reject communion with us and with those EO who "left" (there are examples in your own history of internal discord over decisions taken by some that were opposed by others, even in the present day...I don't blame people on your side for being reticent to potentially rock the boat even more when you're trying to get it to stop rocking as much as it is).  On the OO side, I think there's more of a likelihood that one Church could do X while remaining in communion with the others without requiring the others to take a stand for themselves, but from what I've gathered, there is a sort of unwritten agreement that we, too, will coordinate this rather than having several different efforts at various stages of progress (and this, too, is not without its own problems). 

Last, but not least, some of it is due to real considerations about how to reconcile a belief that we have always held the same faith with various real life manifestations which would suggest the opposite.  For instance, what to do with councils?  Does one party have to sign on to what the other already signed on to, or does the other party have to be content to keep theirs while accepting that the other party is just fine without them?  What to do with anathemas?  What to do about certain saints?  I think there are ways forward on these and similar questions and that these are not permanent obstacles, but the work that has to be done on these matters combined with all the other things above means that it's going to take time, and so the status quo--division--remains.   

Offline dhinuus

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2015, 11:48:03 AM »
What does the Chalcedonian definition of faith say ?

[Translation of the Chalcedonian creed adopted at Session V, from the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon]

Following the holy Fathers we teach with one voice that the Son [of God] and our Lord Jesus Christ is to be confessed as one and the same [Person], that he is perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, very God and very man, of a reasonable soul and [human] body consisting, consubstantial with the Father as touching his Godhead, and consubstantial with us as touching his manhood; made in all things like us, sin only excepted; begotten of his Father before the worlds according to his Godhead; but in these last days for us men and for our salvation born [into the world] of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God according to his manhood. This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures [duo physis], unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, inseparably [united], and that without the distinction of natures being taken away by such union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature being preserved and being united in one Person and subsistence, not separated or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-begotten, God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Prophets of old time have spoken concerning him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ has taught us, and as the Creed of the Fathers has delivered to us.


What all do we find acceptable?

Four terms used in the above definition is against the teachings of some heretics and are completely acceptable to us Oriental Orthodox.

1.  unconfusedly [asugehutos] : Unconfusedly means without confusion.  This is against the heresy of Eutychianism. Eutyches taught that the human nature of Christ “fused” with the divine nature as drop of vinegar is consumed by the ocean.

2. Immutable [atreptos]:  The dictionary meaning of immutable is "unchanging over time". This is used against the heresy of Appolinarianism.  Appolinaris taught that Christ had a human body (soma) and human soul (psyche) but not a human rational mind (nous). The Logos Himself is, or takes the place of, the human spirit, thus becoming the rational and spiritual center, the seat of self-consciousness and self-determination.

3,4 indivisibly [adiairetos] and inseparably [achoristos] : These terms are used against the heresy of Nestorianism. Nestorius stressed the distinction between the divinity and the humanity in Christ to such an extent that it appeared that two persons were living in the same body.

What do we find unacceptable ?

The term in two natures creates problems and is unacceptable. It is very close to the heresy of Nestorius. In fact the terms indivisibly [without division] and inseparably [without separation] that are used against Nestorianism becomes meaningless if we confess Christ to be in two natures. Moreover it is incomprehensible that two natures will exist in one person. Nestorianism profess that Christ was human when he slept and He was God when he rebuked the wind and sea (Mark 4:38-39). It is incomprehensible when it is said that when Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus he was man and when he raised Lazarus from the dead he was God. This incomprehensibility can be removed if we say 'from two natures' instead of 'in two natures'. Oriental Orthodox Churches teach us that Christ is One Person from two natures.

We hold on to our Mia-Physis (One Nature) Christology of Mor Koorilose (St. Cyril of Alexandria) who said famously: "mía phýsis toû theoû lógou sesarkōménē"  translated as "one (mia) nature of the Word of God incarnate" .  Our Christology is further clarified by our father among the saints Mor Severious (St.Severus of Antioch) who said "We must confess the difference between the two natures from which the one Christ is, and avoid the cutting into two, and extol one Son and Christ, and one incarnate nature of God the Word."

[The most of the above is taken from the Malayalam book. Vishwasadeepthi]
« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 12:01:18 PM by dhinuus »
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Offline dhinuus

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2015, 11:53:44 AM »
Letter of Mor Severus (of Antioch) to Maron.

Enough has, I think, been said about essence (ousia - Gk) and hypostasis (qnuma - Syriac). But the name 'nature'  (physis - Greek; kyana - Syriac)is sometimes taken in place of ‘essence', sometimes in place of hypostasis.

For even the whole of mankind we call comprehensively 'nature', as it is indeed written: “For all natures of beasts and of birds, and of reptiles and of things that are in the water are subjected and are made subject to human nature” (James 3:7) and again we speak of one nature in reference to a single man, Paul for example or Peter, or maybe James.

Where therefore we name all mankind one nature, we use the name 'nature' generically in place of 'essence'; but, where we say that there is one nature of Paul, the name 'nature' is employed in place of 'individual hypostasis'. So also we call the Holy Trinity one nature, employing the term 'nature' in place of the general designation 'essence'; as Gregorios the Theologian the bishop of Nazianzus also said in the sermon on the Holy Pentecost:

“Confess the Trinity to be of one Godhead, my friends; or, if you like, of one nature; and we will ask for you from the Spirit the expression 'God” (Gregory the Theologian Oration XLI:8)

But, when we say 'one incarnate nature of God the Word', as Athanasius the prop of the truth and the apostolic faith said in the books on the Incarnation of the Word, we use 'nature' in place of 'individual designation', denoting the one hypostasis of the Word himself, like that of Peter also or of Paul, or of any other single man. Wherefore also, when we say 'one nature which became incarnate', we do not say it absolutely, but by adding 'one nature of the Word himself clearly denote the one hypostasis. But the very men who blasphemously call the one Christ, two natures use the name 'nature' in place of 'individual designation', saying that the ‘Word of God’ is one nature, and the man as they say from Mary another. For they do not reach such a height of fatuity as to say that they are using the name 'natures' in place of 'general designation', I mean in the same sense as essence: for, if the Holy Trinity is one nature, and all mankind one nature, in the same sense as anything which is shown to be so on this principle, the Holy Trinity will be found (to say a very absurd thing) to have become incarnate in all mankind, that is the human race.

But the Holy Scriptures instruct us otherwise, teaching us that God the Word one only of the three hypostases became incarnate and humanized. For 'the Word became flesh, and dwelt in us'.

But, when you hear these things, you will perhaps say that we ought not to have spoken of difference between the natures from which Emmanuel is, lest we ourselves be found to be repeating and using the same expression as these proud men. Accordingly, let us also refrain from confessing the union, because they also profess to speak of a union which consists in an association of honour; and, because they speak of two natures after the union, let us also not say that the union was made from two natures, rejecting even the very mention of natures, like silly children, who tremble at terrifying alarms that are fictitious and invented, as if they were truth, and flee to their mothers' bosoms. If on account of the blasphemies contained in the opinions of those men we yield to them words and names which establish the truth, together with the sound of the words the great mystery of religion goes from us. But, if we be right-minded, we shall both religiously hold to the words and cast out the foul opinions as evil speaking.

You see that we must confess the difference between the natures from which the one Christ is, and avoid the cutting into two, and extol one Son and Christ, and one incarnate nature of God the Word.
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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2015, 02:37:15 PM »

Only a few members of this forum know whether I'm Eastern or Oriental and I've asked them to keep it a secret.  This is because I love both churches passionately and regard both as functionally Orthodox. 
Pardon me for being blunt, but...you want to speak authoritatively about OO churches, but we're not allowed to know if you belong to one of them or not. OK.

I'm just an amateur; the Wikipedia and OrthodoxWiki articles are surely more reliable than me: I'm just a liturgy enthusiast.  Beyond that, as far as authoritative goes,,the official,websites and publications of the Coptic, Syriac, Armenian and Ethiopian churches are to be regarded as authoritative (yes, I include the MOSC under Syriac).  The Eritrean Church on account of its patriarch being usurped by the government is another matter of course that I'm sure we're all aware of and concerned about.  The Eastern U.S. Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church publishes for like IS $2 a Syriac Orthodox Shorter Catechism, which I have, which seems to me a good authoritative reference for core OO beliefs; Id love to know if there are Armenian or Coptic equivalents (I haven't found any yet alas).  And for a more in depth and authoritative look at various topics the English language translations of the works of Pope Shenouda of blessed memory seem a good starting point.  I've found the academic publications on the Oriental churches like the Oxford Handbook of Christian Worship to be either out of date or not always entirely trustworthy.  For most people I daresay the most authoritative source of info regarding a given denomination of the Oriental Orthodox Church is their local priest.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2015, 03:14:21 PM »
The more I think about it, I can definitely see how Chalcedonian language opens itself to be abused to think of a "nature" as some kind of concrete "thing" as opposed to a set of qualities. Jesus is God and He is man, full stop. Speculating about "what part is God and what part is man," only leads to trouble as we all found out with Eutyches, Apolinaris, etc. found out.

Maybe I've not been giving OO theology enough credit this whole time...
« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 03:14:50 PM by Volnutt »
Is that what they teach you at the temple volnutt-stein?

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Offline Peacemaker

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2015, 03:15:03 PM »
I think I got it, it's a matter of wording. The OO believe that in the one person of Jesus Christ, divinity and humanity are united in one nature, the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration. Is that right? You do and have always believed that Jesus is divine and human, the difference is it's in one nature? Whereas the EO believe that the humanity and divinity are exemplified as two natures and that the one hypostasis of the Logos perfectly subsists in these two natures. (Edit because I had a thought, how do OO believers cross themselves?)

About the councils I didn't realize it was only 3. Is this why you can find OO using western and modern pictures/paintings/images of Christ and the saints? I always thought that had something to do with the 7th council.

This is all very informative, thanks a lot!

« Last Edit: March 03, 2015, 03:38:44 PM by Peacemaker »

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2015, 03:53:58 PM »
I think I got it, it's a matter of wording. The OO believe that in the one person of Jesus Christ, divinity and humanity are united in one nature, the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration. Is that right? You do and have always believed that Jesus is divine and human, the difference is it's in one nature? Whereas the EO believe that the humanity and divinity are exemplified as two natures and that the one hypostasis of the Logos perfectly subsists in these two natures. (Edit because I had a thought, how do OO believers cross themselves?)

About the councils I didn't realize it was only 3. Is this why you can find OO using western and modern pictures/paintings/images of Christ and the saints? I always thought that had something to do with the 7th council.

This is all very informative, thanks a lot!


I agree with the Orientals that Chalcedon skirted extremely close to Nestorianism and frankly Catholics and Protestants along with I'm sure some EO's express Nestorian views without realizing it. Anytime I hear or read someone saying something along the lines of "Christ did a in his Divine nature and b in is human nature" I cringe.

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2015, 03:59:52 PM »
I think I got it, it's a matter of wording. The OO believe that in the one person of Jesus Christ, divinity and humanity are united in one nature, the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration. Is that right? You do and have always believed that Jesus is divine and human, the difference is it's in one nature? Whereas the EO believe that the humanity and divinity are exemplified as two natures and that the one hypostasis of the Logos perfectly subsists in these two natures. (Edit because I had a thought, how do OO believers cross themselves?)

About the councils I didn't realize it was only 3. Is this why you can find OO using western and modern pictures/paintings/images of Christ and the saints? I always thought that had something to do with the 7th council.

This is all very informative, thanks a lot!


I agree with the Orientals that Chalcedon skirted extremely close to Nestorianism and frankly Catholics and Protestants along with I'm sure some EO's express Nestorian views without realizing it. Anytime I hear or read someone saying something along the lines of "Christ did a in his Divine nature and b in is human nature" I cringe.

Yeah that sounds a little strange to me. I would say when Christ showed the apostles his transfigured light, even though the light is divine, He was still human and He wasn't doing so only in the divine nature, but both. And when he wasn't showing them the transfigured light - He was still divine and human, the apostles just only saw Him as human. Does that sound right?

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2015, 04:12:32 PM »
I think I got it, it's a matter of wording. The OO believe that in the one person of Jesus Christ, divinity and humanity are united in one nature, the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration. Is that right? You do and have always believed that Jesus is divine and human, the difference is it's in one nature? Whereas the EO believe that the humanity and divinity are exemplified as two natures and that the one hypostasis of the Logos perfectly subsists in these two natures. (Edit because I had a thought, how do OO believers cross themselves?)

About the councils I didn't realize it was only 3. Is this why you can find OO using western and modern pictures/paintings/images of Christ and the saints? I always thought that had something to do with the 7th council.

This is all very informative, thanks a lot!


I agree with the Orientals that Chalcedon skirted extremely close to Nestorianism and frankly Catholics and Protestants along with I'm sure some EO's express Nestorian views without realizing it. Anytime I hear or read someone saying something along the lines of "Christ did a in his Divine nature and b in is human nature" I cringe.

Yeah that sounds a little strange to me. I would say when Christ showed the apostles his transfigured light, even though the light is divine, He was still human and He wasn't doing so only in the divine nature, but both. And when he wasn't showing them the transfigured light - He was still divine and human, the apostles just only saw Him as human. Does that sound right?


Just always remember Jesus is a person. He didn't do one thing as God and another as a man, or know one thing as God and not know it as a man. A nature doesn't do or know anything. A person knows and does things.

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2015, 04:17:21 PM »
I think I got it, it's a matter of wording. The OO believe that in the one person of Jesus Christ, divinity and humanity are united in one nature, the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration. Is that right? You do and have always believed that Jesus is divine and human, the difference is it's in one nature? Whereas the EO believe that the humanity and divinity are exemplified as two natures and that the one hypostasis of the Logos perfectly subsists in these two natures. (Edit because I had a thought, how do OO believers cross themselves?)

About the councils I didn't realize it was only 3. Is this why you can find OO using western and modern pictures/paintings/images of Christ and the saints? I always thought that had something to do with the 7th council.

This is all very informative, thanks a lot!


I agree with the Orientals that Chalcedon skirted extremely close to Nestorianism and frankly Catholics and Protestants along with I'm sure some EO's express Nestorian views without realizing it. Anytime I hear or read someone saying something along the lines of "Christ did a in his Divine nature and b in is human nature" I cringe.

Yeah that sounds a little strange to me. I would say when Christ showed the apostles his transfigured light, even though the light is divine, He was still human and He wasn't doing so only in the divine nature, but both. And when he wasn't showing them the transfigured light - He was still divine and human, the apostles just only saw Him as human. Does that sound right?


Just always remember Jesus is a person. He didn't do one thing as God and another as a man, or know one thing as God and not know it as a man. A nature doesn't do or know anything. A person knows and does things.

Is that what the EO believe also? This whole thing can get confusing.

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2015, 04:23:58 PM »
I think I got it, it's a matter of wording. The OO believe that in the one person of Jesus Christ, divinity and humanity are united in one nature, the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration. Is that right? You do and have always believed that Jesus is divine and human, the difference is it's in one nature? Whereas the EO believe that the humanity and divinity are exemplified as two natures and that the one hypostasis of the Logos perfectly subsists in these two natures. (Edit because I had a thought, how do OO believers cross themselves?)

About the councils I didn't realize it was only 3. Is this why you can find OO using western and modern pictures/paintings/images of Christ and the saints? I always thought that had something to do with the 7th council.

This is all very informative, thanks a lot!


I agree with the Orientals that Chalcedon skirted extremely close to Nestorianism and frankly Catholics and Protestants along with I'm sure some EO's express Nestorian views without realizing it. Anytime I hear or read someone saying something along the lines of "Christ did a in his Divine nature and b in is human nature" I cringe.

Me too.  And there was a resurgence of Crypto Nestorianism after Chalcedon that only ended with the Fifth Ecumenical Council,,which caused a brief schism in the West - the Three Chapters Controversy.  Now IMO the second council of Comstantinople realigns Chalcedon in an Ephesian direction, negating the crypto Nestorian aspects, but much bad blood had occurred and thus reconciliation did not follow.  Then the pernicious Monothelitism doctrine was spread which lured away many Oriental zOrthodox, including, according to some, the Maronites, and let to Pope Honorius of Rome being anathematized after his death at the sixth ecumenical council.

IMO councils 5, 6 and 7 contain nothing objectionable to OO dogma, insofar as council 5 did what Cyril wanted by anathematizing Diodore, Theodore of Mopsuestia, etc, Council 6 repudiated Monothelitism which in my opinion as a layman actually reintroduces either a form of crypto Apollinarianism or alternately, Nestorianism (recall Nestorianism depending on a union of will; Nestorianism seems impossible without Monergism which council 6 also condemned, and Christ having a human and divine will does not mean the humanity and divinity are divided into two natures, but rather, these wills can be seen as coming from the human and divine natures and being attributes of the mia physis), and lastly, council 7 was never an issue for the Orientals, whose lack of iconoclasm is proof of their Orthodoxy.  The OOs don't need to accede to council 7 because never was an entire OO church taken captive by an iconoclast Patriarch, unless you count the schismatic Mar Thoma Syrians in Kerala, who are really crypto-Anglicans who broke away from the Nasrani Orthodox.  There was an outbreak of iconoclasm in Eastern Armenia if memory serves but the Catholicos was able to suppress it.

So the trick becomes council 4.  But I think accession to council 4 is theoretically possible if council 5 is bolstered and a crackdown on crypto Nestorianism in the Eastern church occurs, which is not a widespread problem.  But I also desire to reconcile the Assyrian Church of the East, which makes council 5 difficult.  I see three churches, the Easterns, Orientals and Assyrians practicing essentially the same faith, divided by historical events that were in many cases politically rather than theologically motivated.  And I don't want to force the Arhonite or Erhiopian monks who accuse each other of heresy into anything they're uncomfortable with.  But given the situation in the Middle East,,full communion and cooperation between the Copts, Armenians and Syriacs, and the Greek Orthodox of Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch, and the Assyrians, would be helpful.  I also wish the Roman church would disavow ordinary Papal jurisdiction over the Eastern Catholics in the region, rendering them autocephalous, and allowing the Melkites to reunify with the Antiochians.  I lament how the attempt of the Melkites to enter into communion with the Antiochians was vetoed by both Rome and the Antiochians, but I understand why the Antiochians did it, to preserve the integrity of the faith and not let the Pope in through the back door.  But given that right now even the Greek Orthodox of Antioch and Jerusalem are not in communion (and also there's a whole blog of angry Arab members of the Church of Jerusalem who complain that the Greek hierarchy discriminates against them), this is a tall order.  But is it wrong for me to pray for such unity?

I just wish we could secure a Christian state or two in the Middle East, aside from Lebanon, which is less than entirely safe for us.  And I believe more unity is needed for that to happen.  How sad would it be if there were no Christians left in Iraq?  We've already lost Mosul.  I think just 2;500 Mandaeans out of 60,000 are still in Iraq.

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #15 on: March 03, 2015, 04:27:41 PM »
Is that what the EO believe also? This whole thing can get confusing.



I am EO and that's my understanding of the teaching. Of course I could be wrong.

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2015, 04:30:08 PM »
By the way just to clarify on my last post, what I specifically dislike, and refer to as Nestorianising, are when specific events are attributed to the human or divine natures.  There are obvious exceptions to this; God the Word existed before being born as a man.  And God the Word being imperishable did not cease to exist or die on the cross, and there is the question of immutability to consider, but there can be no doubt that a Jesus Christ, who is God, was crucified for us, and the biological functions associated with the humanity of our Lord were temporarily halted due to asphyxiation, shock and trauma.  So in his Human flesh he died, and He descended into Hades, to rescue the souls trapped therein, before resurrecting in the Flesh.  For the Father did not permit His holy One to see corruption.

Does this sound right to everyone, of both Chalcedonian and Oriental persuasion?

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2015, 05:20:01 PM »
I think I got it, it's a matter of wording. The OO believe that in the one person of Jesus Christ, divinity and humanity are united in one nature, the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration. Is that right? You do and have always believed that Jesus is divine and human, the difference is it's in one nature? Whereas the EO believe that the humanity and divinity are exemplified as two natures and that the one hypostasis of the Logos perfectly subsists in these two natures.

I'll let the EO speak for themselves, but as far as the OO go, I'll post some quotes from our liturgical texts. 

Syriac:

Quote
From the Proskomide:

"Unite, O Lord, this water and this wine as Your divinity was united with our humanity."

The Prayer at the Breaking of the Bread (Fraction):

"Thus truly the Word of God did suffer in flesh, and was sacrificed and broken on the Cross, and His soul separated from His Body, while His Godhead never separated neither from His Soul nor from His Body. And He was pieced in His side with a spear, and there flowed out of Him blood and water, the atonement of the whole world. And his Body was stained with them. And for the sin of the whole world, the Son died on the Cross, and His Soul came and united with His Body. And He turned us from the work of the left to that of the right. And by the Blood of His Person, He reconciled, united and combined the heavenly with the earthly, the people with the gentiles and the Soul with the Body. And on the third day, He rose from the tomb. One is Emmanuel, and cannot be divided into two natures after the indivisible unity. Thus we believe and thus we confess and thus we confirm that this Flesh is of this Blood and that this Blood is of this Flesh."

Coptic:

Quote
The prayer before the reception of Communion:

Amen. Amen. Amen. I believe, I believe, I believe and confess to the last breath, that this is the life-giving body that your only-begotten Son, our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ took from our lady, the lady of us all, the holy Theotokos Saint May. He made it one with his divinity without mingling, without confusion and without alteration. He witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate. He gave it up for us upon the holy wood of the cross, of his own will, for us all. Truly I believe that his divinity parted not from his humanity for a single moment nor a twinkling of an eye. Given for us for salvation, remission of sins and eternal life to those who partake of him. I believe, I believe, I believe that this is so in truth. Amen.

Armenian:

Quote
From the Anaphora:

It is verily proper and right with most earnest diligence always to adore and glorify thee, Father almighty, who didst remove the hindrance of the curse by thine imponderable Word, thy co-creator, who, having taken the Church to be a people unto himself, made his own those who believe in thee, and was pleased to dwell amongst us in a ponderable nature, according to the dispensation through the Virgin, and as the divine master-builder building a new work, he thereby made this earth into heaven. 

For he, before whom the companies of vigilant angels could not bear to stand, being amazed at the resplendent and unapproachable light of his divinity, even he, becoming man for our salvation, granted unto us that we should join the heavenly ones in spiritual choirs... 

And at the end of these days, tearing up the sentence of condemnation for all our debts, thou didst give us thine only-begotten Son, both debtor and debt, immolation and anointed, lamb and bread of heaven, high priest and sacrifice; for he is distributor and he himself is distributed always in our midst without being ever consumed.

For having become man truly and without phantasm, and having become incarnate, through union without confusion, through the Mother of God, the holy virgin Mary, he journeyed through all the passions of our human life without sin and came willingly to the world-saving cross, which was the occasion of our redemption...

There are others I could choose, but I picked these because they are commonly used (they are all from the Liturgy) and readily accessible. 

Quote
(Edit because I had a thought, how do OO believers cross themselves?)

The same as EO, but instead of moving our hands from the navel to the right shoulder to the left, as you do, we move from the navel to the left shoulder to the right.  The hand formation (thumb, index, and middle fingers held together, the remaining two fingers folded into the palm) looks EO, but the movement itself looks RC. 

Quote
About the councils I didn't realize it was only 3. Is this why you can find OO using western and modern pictures/paintings/images of Christ and the saints? I always thought that had something to do with the 7th council.

No, they are not related. 

Quote
This is all very informative, thanks a lot!

No problem.  :)

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2015, 05:59:56 PM »
By the way just to clarify on my last post, what I specifically dislike, and refer to as Nestorianising, are when specific events are attributed to the human or divine natures.  There are obvious exceptions to this; God the Word existed before being born as a man.  And God the Word being imperishable did not cease to exist or die on the cross, and there is the question of immutability to consider, but there can be no doubt that a Jesus Christ, who is God, was crucified for us, and the biological functions associated with the humanity of our Lord were temporarily halted due to asphyxiation, shock and trauma.  So in his Human flesh he died, and He descended into Hades, to rescue the souls trapped therein, before resurrecting in the Flesh.  For the Father did not permit His holy One to see corruption.

Does this sound right to everyone, of both Chalcedonian and Oriental persuasion?

Sounds fine to me, but I'm no expert. Communicatio idiomatum the Communication of the Properties.
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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2015, 01:09:41 AM »
Is this why you can find OO using western and modern pictures/paintings/images of Christ and the saints?

No, the reason for that is twofold:

1. Aggressive evangelistic efforts by Western churches to the Copts.
2. There is one famous neo-coptic iconographer who is subject to mass imitation; and these mass imitations look like flash art, or what the Japanese call "Chibi."
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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2015, 12:34:52 AM »
Also to the Armenians and Syriacs.  Only the Erhiopians have kept their iconography entirely free from western images as far as I'm aware.  But there is authentic Armenian and Syriac iconography, like the Syriac icon of St. Athanasius I use as my avatar.   However most,Coptic churches are resplendent with traditional Coptic iconography.

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Re: I have a few questions about what the OO believe
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2015, 03:24:42 AM »
Also to the Armenians and Syriacs.  Only the Erhiopians have kept their iconography entirely free from western images as far as I'm aware.  But there is authentic Armenian and Syriac iconography, like the Syriac icon of St. Athanasius I use as my avatar.   However most,Coptic churches are resplendent with traditional Coptic iconography.

Nobody can see your avatar since the reboot. You need to resubmit it like when you joined the site.

Peacemaker, this is more like true Coptic iconography http://firstimageicons.com/Ancient_Coptic_icon_Gallery_1.html

Isaac Fanous and Stephen Rene are the badly imitated fathers of the Coptic revival whom NickMyra alluded to.
http://firstimageicons.com/Neo-Coptic_Icon_Gallery_1.html
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Actually, it's Volnutt-berg.

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