I try not to grow too attached to the language we use to communicate truths of Divine Revelation, for our language can only express the Sacred Mystery of our salvation in an imprecise way. I see the possibility that we can use different terminology yet mean exactly the same things. In light of this, I understand the "faith of Chalcedon" to be the faith underlying the council's dogmatic proclamation, not the proclamation itself. I believe the "faith of Chalcedon" to be that Christian faith that existed before Chalcedon and merely draws an authoritative articulation, though not necessarily the only one, in the dogmatic language of Chalcedon. I don't believe language different from that used in Chalcedon and beyond is necessarily to be rejected as heretical; I would just condemn any language contradictory to the language of Chalcedon. Such contradiction I do not presently see in traditional OO language.
I agree with your general take on the role and significance of language. There is one point that I would like to emphasise if I may:
1) It must be borne in mind that, from the OO perspective, the "faith of Chalcedon", as communicated by EO heirarchs and theologians, and hence as received and accepted by OO heirarchs and theologians, according to the terms of the Mutual Agreements of the Joint Commission, is indeed the true Apostolic and Orthodox Faith, but it is one we have always held in spite of, nay, in opposition to Chalcedon (from our perspective that is!). It thus follows that, as far as we are concerned, that very true Apostolic and Orthodox Faith is only the "faith of Chalcedon" insofar as we deem the recently understood and accepted EO interpretation of the decrees of Chalcedon to be in conformity with that faith, and not in the sense that you, as an EO, would regard it the "faith of Chalcedon" i.e. in the sense that Chalcedon is the sole and authoritative source and reason for that faith.
To me, the Council of Chalcedon draws its ecumenical authority solely from the truth of the faith it articulates
But are not local Synods also capable of articulating the true Faith?
As I mentioned earlier, the consensus of our heirarchs respect the findings of the Joint Commission, and concede that one can maintain Orthodox Christology whilst upholding Chalcedon. This is why, rather than insisting that Chalcedonians discard Chalcedon all together, we are willing to accept it as a local Synod pertinent to the Byzantine tradition.
Another point to consider is the fact that, hand in hand with the OO concession that one can maintain Orthodox Christology whilst upholding Chalcedon, is a similar concession from the EO's that one can maintain Orthodox Christology whilst upholding Ephesus 449, given the understanding that that Synod's insistence on one nature was not heretical (but rather a Cyrillian safeguard of the unity of Christ) and that Eutyches was exonerated on account of an Orthodox confession of Faith. In this sense, that Synod also articulates the true faith, yet we are not demanding that it be accepted as an Ecumenical Council. We believe there are other factors unique to determining an Ecumenical Council, but from our perspective those factors, whilst common to the three Councils that we do in fact uphold as Ecumenical, are not evident in any of the latter Councils that the EO regard as Ecumenical.
I found very interesting and germane to this discussion the following articles written by Fr. John Romanides in 1994:
These articles are indeed very balanced and well thought out.
I believe your summary of its essential points to be quite fair. I personally would've highlighted Fr. Romanides' observation that Ephesus 449's dogmatic insistence on the one nature formula was neither the product of heresy, arrogance, political intrigue, or narrow theological vision, but rather it was the product of a legitimate and warranted pastoral concern for the way in which the two nature formula and the Formulary were being abused by Theodoret's "crypto-Nestorian" movement.
Furthermore, there are a few points of his that you have summarised which we OO's would deem in need of necessary qualification:
Dioscorus eventually grew fully aware of Eutyches's heresy and condemned the heretic himself, whereas Leo was most likely unaware of Theodoret's heresy and saw no reason for Theodoret's exclusion from the Council of Chalcedon.
However, Pope Leo of Rome was fully aware that Theodoret had not yet anathematised Nestorius, and such was clearly implied in a letter written to Theodoret subsequent to Chalcedon. The OO's--being fully aware of Theodoret's refusal to anathematise Nestorius, his militant opposition to St. Cyril and Ephesus 431, and his abuse of two nature terminology--were scandalised by the fact Leo of Rome encroached his canonical authority by allowing Theodoret to return from where he had been exiled by Ephesus 449 (on account of the above facts pertaining to his Nestorian activities), in order to attend Chalcedon. When Abba Dioscoros attended Chalcedon and saw Theodoret, he proclaimed: "Why should Cyril be ejected?" In not recognising Ephesus 449's ex-communication of Theodoret (at least until properly investigating that ex-communication), and allowing him to attend Chalcedon nevertheless, the Council was, in the eyes of the OO's, in turn rejecting St. Cyril.
Fr. John also points out in his article that the Council of Chalcedon excommunicated Pope Dioscorus not for heresy but for his role in leading (dominating, many would say) the "Robber Synod" of 449
That is true, though we OO's are yet to find anything in his canonical presidency of Ephesus 449 that would deem him worthy of ex-communication. As for claims of Abba Dioscoros "dominating" Ephesus 449, this is also an unfounded charge in our opinion.
One of the great issues we OO's have with Chalcedon, apart from matters pertaining to faith and terminology, is its treatment of our Patriarch. From our perspective he was the persecuted victim of an agenda to devalue his See and authority, and no wrongdoing on his behalf was ever proven.
On a sidenote, we find the appellation "Robber Synod" to be quite offensive. It was a rhetorical device coined by Leo of Rome, probably inspired by his disdain for the Council which probably arose from his sense that it undermined (or "robbed", hence the title "Robber
Synod") him of his supreme authority in its non-consideration of his Tome in the course of its judgments.
St. Cyril agreed that the language of Chalcedon was consistent with the language of his own Christology.
We would contend that such an interpretation is not viable in the immediate fifth century context.
I am quite impressed by how polite the responses to my probing inquiries have been. Since I harbor no intent whatsoever of persuading anyone here to accept my Chalcedonian point of view, I feel not the least bit constrained on this thread and am totally comfortable continuing to express my thoughts as I have.
I likewise have no intent of promoting a converse persuasion. This is neither a debate nor a competition; I only aim to foster a sense of appreciation of the OO perspective on OO terms, and ultimately ease any unwarranted tension that such matters may potentially initiate between EO and OO brethren, in order that we can each be better witnesses to the Orthodox faith without ever being a stumbling block to one another.
I appreciate your humility and genuineness throughout this discussion.