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Author Topic: Nestorian Churches?  (Read 2422 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 07, 2007, 11:26:01 AM »

Do modern Nestorian Churches believe Mary to be the Theotokos/Mother of God?
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2007, 04:00:14 PM »

No, they do not.

If Christ was not God when he left his mother's womb (as they believe), His mother would not be Theotokos, but merely Christotokos.
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2007, 04:49:21 PM »

Of course, to play the devils advocate here....

It *could* be argued that the modern "Nestorian" churches do not adhere to the doctrine of Nestorianism, but are deemed heretical because they do not condemn Nestorius.

Which may be just as bad as following Nestorianism....I am just pointing that one diocese of the Assyrian Church in the East has the Nicene Creed on their webpage.
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2007, 06:21:58 PM »

An Assyrian Christian would not accept saying 'Mother of God'.  On the other hand, he would have no problem in saying 'Mother of Christ, our Lord and God'.
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2007, 07:56:10 PM »

Hasn't revisionistic history come to see Nestorius not so much as a heretic but as someone who expressed his Christology poorly or inadequately and wasn't able to give full due to the unity of Christ.

In terms of the 'Theotokos' or 'Christokos' controversy for Nestorius it seems more the case that that he could not see how divine essence could be derived from human essence. Something that would make sense I suppose for any Orthodox, but then again I suppose St Cyril didn't mean it that sense.

I think the whole issue was more largely an issue of misunderstanding, miscommunication and lots and lots of ego. I think if anything Nestorius' implied Orthodoxy can be seen in his approval of the council of Chalcedon even if he personally had trouble formulating an adequate expression for the Christological formula.
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2007, 10:03:29 PM »

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,3673.0.html

In the above thread, Anastasios, in his reply #5, demonstrates that Nestorius' Christology was clearly not Orthodox. 

It is often argued by the Oriental Orthodox that Nestorius' approval of Pope Leo's Tome shows that the Tome was open to an interpretation consistent with Theodore of Mopsuestia's Christology.  Some like to argue that Nestorius' acceptance of the Tome showed he was Orthodox, but that is problematic.  This is so not only because Nestorius' Christology was clearly not Orthodox, but also because to argue that he was Orthodox casts doubt on the validity of the Third Council and its condemnation of him.

As far as the Church of the East and its attitude toward the phrase "Mother of God" is concerned, I have always heard that the theologians of the Church of the East will admit the use of that term as a sort of "honorary title."  In other words, it can be used as long as it is surrounded by qualifiers which make it clear that St. Mary is really only the "Mother of Christ."  A classic example of this, of course, is the Tome of Leo which calls her the "Mother of God."  Nestorius and the Church of the East were O.K. with this because the other language allowed them to interpret that term the way they wanted.  I am not saying, of course, that the way they interpreted it was necessarily how Pope Leo meant it, and it is certainly not how most EO's today would interpret it.
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2007, 12:39:10 AM »

I was searching for past forums that talked about this as well.  One in 2004, and one exactly a year ago.  The one in 2004 commented on the Pope John Paul's Christological agreement with the Assyrian Church, and the lifting of anathemas.
The one last year, although the purpose was relationship between EO's and Assyrians, Anastasios and I spoke briefly about how Nestorianism can be Monotheletism as well.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,3420.45.html
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,8212.0.html

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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2007, 07:44:27 PM »

Doesn't the Nestorian church have 2 Patriarchates?   How does that work?

I know that there's one in Chicago cuz i've walked by it a few times.  Anyone have any info on this?
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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2007, 07:47:32 PM »

Doesn't the Nestorian church have 2 Patriarchates?   How does that work?

I know that there's one in Chicago cuz i've walked by it a few times.  Anyone have any info on this?

they have an Old Calendarist variety.
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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2007, 07:54:49 PM »

they have an Old Calendarist variety.

Are the Old Calanderists in Chicago, or in the Middle East? 

(Isn't their other one in Damascus?  Or am I just confusing that with someone else?)
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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2007, 08:37:42 PM »

Are the Old Calanderists in Chicago, or in the Middle East? 

(Isn't their other one in Damascus?  Or am I just confusing that with someone else?)

Chicago = Mar Dinkha IV = New Calendar
Iraq = Mar Addai II = Old Calendar

the opposite churches of course exist in both places.

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« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2007, 10:37:18 AM »

Do modern Nestorian Churches believe Mary to be the Theotokos/Mother of God?

Nope they do not.   They actually considered it blasphemous, they think that title insinuates that Mary gave birth to the Trinity.
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« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2007, 10:42:03 AM »

Of course, to play the devils advocate here....

It *could* be argued that the modern "Nestorian" churches do not adhere to the doctrine of Nestorianism, but are deemed heretical because they do not condemn Nestorius.

Which may be just as bad as following Nestorianism....I am just pointing that one diocese of the Assyrian Church in the East has the Nicene Creed on their webpage.


My understanding as a former American Nestorian, who had a chance to speak to a well read cradle Assyrian....   The first two counsels of the Church the Assyrians accepted after the fact (they did not particpate but accepted the Canons a something that seemed good when brought by official members years after the fact).    With Ephesus they unofficially tended to side and sympathisize with Nestorian greek/Syrian refugees coming from the Byzantine empire.   To the degree of making Nestorius a saint and Martyr in their Church (Which of course makes the heresy official when doing so)    But yes their position on not accepting the third counself would parallel a Church like the Armenian one regarding Chalcedon, which by not formally accepting it was declared monophyte.    By Not formally rejecting it, but defitely rejecting terms like Theotokos etc.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 10:44:49 AM by Addai » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2007, 08:08:45 PM »

I'm confused on a couple of things about the "Nestorian" churches.  Besides their theletic beliefs:

1.  What is their stand on iconography?  Even if they don't have lots of images, are they against venerating them?

2.  They have some differing sacraments:

http://www.assyrianchurch.com.au/sacraments.htm

What I see is that they don't include "Anointing of the Sick" or "Matrimony" as sacraments, but they have three sacraments that seem to be similar or connected "Oblations, Absolution, Holy Leaven" and a completely different sacrament called "The Sign of the Cross."

What's your take on these?
« Last Edit: March 30, 2007, 08:09:03 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2007, 05:50:09 AM »

Concerning Icons, they are officially against them.   They do honor the Cross (Much of the EO theology regarding icongraphy comes from St. Isaac The Syrian, who himself was a COE person who spoke at great length of the importance of the Cross in Christian worship)


Now concering sacraments it can be a little confusing.   You see if you read the Margenetha ("The Pearl") an official medieval era exposition of their faith.    There are actually two official lists given in that book.    The first looks very odd,   it has what you mentioned.

QUOTE
What I see is that they don't include "Anointing of the Sick" or "Matrimony" as sacraments, but they have three sacraments that seem to be similar or connected "Oblations, Absolution, Holy Leaven" and a completely different sacrament called "The Sign of the Cross."
QUOTE

The first list does seem to be the majority opinion (COE web sites list that one)

However when the Sacraments are mentioned again later in the Margenetha.   The Second list is almost identical to the EO list (with marriage, annoting the sick etc.).  It however seems like a minority opinion; because I'm not sure you will see that list pop up anywhere else.

 
However even in the original list there are some footnotes (I think added later by late PAtriarch Mar Shimun a few decades ago) and an oblique reference is made to using oil for healing the sick citing the book of James.


Also "back in the day" I brought up the weirdness of the list to a knowedgeable COE church friend.   Especially the fact Marriage not being on the list but "The LEaven from heaven" was (Which looked very weird to me).   The rationale for mariages ommision was  basically a literal Biblical precenent.   In Israel, brides were given away by their Fathers, and weddings were put on families they didnot take place in termples, synagogues etc. until much later (After Christianity seperated from Judaism).    And the Assyrians have similar Semetic customs and ways of looking at things.  Consequently they see marraige more as an instution of soceity, that has a church rite associated with it.   And not as a proper sacrament.  In that degree their out looks is fairly Protestant.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2007, 05:55:21 AM by Addai » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2007, 01:02:41 PM »

Interesting.

Is there anything in ancient Persia (or anywhere in the Far East) going back as far you can possibly indicating the same thing or something different concerning Iconography or Sacramental theology?
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« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2007, 09:32:05 AM »

I was doing some reading on Nestorius recently and I've found that the Christological controversy that he was wound up in was not as simple as many may like to think.

I think one of the main problems stems from the fact of the use of terminology which is ambiguous and used variedly in the Christology of different theologians in the fifth century.

Another problem I believe is that Nestorius' Christology was not precise and hence could be easily interpreted in a heretical manner.

However, it does seem that if one chooses to, Nestorius' theology can be interepreted in an Orthodox manner.
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