Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Many years ago, His Holiness Vazken I came to Los Angeles and, among other things, engaged in an ecumenical service at a Greek Orthodox Church.
There have been many many dialogues and discussions between the various jurisdictions and regions of Orthodox, and we are all coming to a serious consensus that essentially we are all saying the same things in different ways, however this continues to divide us as it has, albeit much less vitriolic and vociferously as in times in the past. It has already been correctly asserted here that the history, the psychology, and the logistics are what currently keep up divided formally, as it is very hard to reconcile some of these dichtomies compared to the relatively minor theological differences of interpretation. The Synaxarium, the Divine Liturgy, the Calendar, the Lexicon, the Canons, even the Bible is different and hard to reconcile. I think the best we could hope for is the kind of regional agreements and mutuality that the Oriental Orthodox share and yet also allow for the inherent diversity of these churches. The Coptic Church and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church have many many similarities, and yet many many key differences, and we are in full communion, and respect our mutual differences. This is the best we can hope for in the future between the Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox, once we sort out the theological matters.
That's extremely dangerous ground there. The infallibility of ALL Seven Ecumenical Councils is one of the bedrocks of our faith. Putting ourselves, as Eastern Orthodox, in the position of denying one of the fundamental tenants of our faith in order to speed the process of reunion is ecumenism of the worst kind.
That is simply not true and is merely splitting hairs. There are many jurisdictions who reject many so-called Ecumenical Councils, and as such we can largely assume that aside from the First Three, the rest are more local than universal, because the definition of universal is unopposed, and if there is even remote opposition than it can hardly be claimed as universal. Further, some of the East don't even embrace all Three! We should not then be divided over these Canons and Councils..
The reasons for this are not only doctrinal, but also historical and psychological, as it's really hard to accept a council in the name of which your ancestors were persecuted, slaughtered, etc.
Then there is the issue of saints. Both sides have condemned saints venerated by the other. I don't think that is as formidable a barrier as the councils, but it is still sticky. This was discussed in this other thread:
There are other issues having to do with liturgical practice. The EO's tend to be more uniform in their liturgical practices, while the OO's allow more diversity. I don't see this as being as big an issue as the others, but it's still something to deal with.
There are other issues that are more administrative in nature, like the way the EO's rank their patriarchs, etc. Again, these issues are not as big, but they are there to be dealt with.
So, while I believe that in a spiritual sense we are really one Church, there's a lot to be overcome before that becomes more of a concrete reality.
Excellent points, especially in the cultural/historical emphasis and difference of Saints/Synaxarium issues. Again though, I think that if the Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox learn to embrace each others differences of articulation of the Faith while retaining full and open communion in the same manner that the Coptic Church, the EOTC, the Syrian Church and other Oriental Orthodox mutually commune and yet retain distinctive differences in regards to structure, logistics, liturgy, calendar, etc etc. If these differing Oriental sisters can get along, surely we ALL can get along so long as that is our earnest and heartfelt desire in God. Honestly though, I think some folks like to be divided, it is a status symbol and a validating identifier to say "I am part of THEE Church" in opposition to others.
I think this sense of legalism, this claim to a monopoly of God and His Truth, this sense of arrogance which lays claim to knowing, in an almost absolute sense, the workings of God, was the very problem with the Pharisees, and I cannot help but think that many Orthodox (EO and OO) will be judged side by side with the Pharisees for applying the same mindset in opposition to God's will (simply in different historical stages of God's redemptive plan for mankind.)
^^ Amen Amen, the true spirit of humility has been lost in a lot of this Orthodox chauvinism which is quite prevalent, especially in the more ethnic oriented jurisdictions in the East and Orient where nationalism and cultural pride have intertwined themselves with Church identity, in the exact same way the Pharisees saw their own Jewishness. We indeed will have to give an account for this unseemly behavior..
It funny was being biased does I was blindly seeing how the miaphysite view can be confused with the monophysite view but I never saw how the EO's view of the diaphysite seems like the Nestorian heresy reworded thanks everyone for the great input.
Exactly! This is the precise benefit of interjurisdictional dialogue and discussions. Many of us do not understand each other and have many mutual misconceptions which can only be addressed through transparent and friendly dialogue. Further, many do not even understand their own theology with out examining the differing arguments. How can a miaphysite fully understand the concept of the Unity of the Natures without examining those who profess a kind of distinction or the potential there of? This is why we are all mutually building straw man fallacies about each other's respective positions, but the past 40 years in particular of dialogue have been quite productive, maybe the most since the 8th century!
I read that in an EO church council, they decided that one could either have St Cyril's miaphysitism, or the diversities(I forget the word) that many EOs had/have.
So either view might be technically acceptable in EO.
Is miaphysitism a mandatory belief in the OO church?
Yes, it is obligatory that Oriental Orthodox Christians embrace the concept of the One, Unified Incarnate Nature of Christ as professed by Saint Cyril, which teaches in the trueness of the One Nature of Christ, being a divine composite of perfect divinity and perfect humanity without distinction, but we in OO find it bitterly hard to use the words "two" in reference to the Nature(s) of Christ, because after the Union in the Incarnation we simply can not speak of such things as being so.
St. Cyril's "one nature" is the same as "one hypostasis" as said at Chalcedon, so to say there is a choice between them is to misunderstand them. "Mia physis", as understood by St. Cyril, is mandatory in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Not necessarily, in the Ethiopia Orthodox Tewahedo Church our indigenous Christology uses the Ge'ez language terms which are quite clear. Hypostasis is understood in Ge'ez not as being synonymous with Nature, rather exclusively with Person. In the EOTC translations of Cyrilian literature and texts, this distinction is made quite apparent and simplifies our own Ethiopian perspective, which states that Jesus Christ has only one True Nature from One True Person. This Nature is twofold but perfectly united, and so we can only speak of it in Ge'ez as being one, because in Ge'ez language for there to be a Nature there MUST be a corresponding Person, there can be no abstract Nature without a manifested form in a Person. So in Ge'ez theology, for Jesus Christ to be considered to be Two in nature, He would have to also be Two in Persons,
and this is Nestorianism which Ethiopians categorically reject for centuries. We easily believe in One incarnate Nature of Christ because of our specific theological language. We, for technical reasons translate to others our Faith as being Jesus Christ, Two Natures FROM One Person (as opposed to 'in one person which implies the opportunity for division, if two people are IN a place, they can be separate, whereas if two people are FROM one place, it inherently implies a kind of unity, where they are from is what unites them as one, as say two people are FROM America and so are Americans, where as two people who are IN America may very well not be Americans at all, but just so happen to be together IN the same place) but our own indigenous languages do not in any suggest this, rather without any misconception the EOTC embraces the One Nature of Jesus Christ, a Miaphysite Union of Humanity and Divinity so perfectly indistinguishable that we can simply no longer speak of "two".
The humanity of Christ never ceases to be what it is, even when the Word of God becomes incarnate without ceasing to be what He ever was and is. Yet He is one incarnate nature, not because there is a confusion of humanity and Divinity, or because the humanity is swallowed up in the Divinity. God forbid. But because even after the incarnation there is one nature, one identity, one subject. It was the Word of God who died on the cross. There were those at Chalcedon and those who accepted it who could not say such a thing.
Which is precisely what the good Father Peter has already so succinctly mentioned