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Author Topic: The Church of the East and its Relationship with the Catholic and Oriental Orthodox Churches  (Read 3543 times) Average Rating: 0
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Papist
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« on: July 26, 2007, 12:28:22 PM »

In light of today's agreement, it seems we judge your Christology as Orthodox.  Nevertheless, there remains a perplexed understanding of the agreement between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church.

God bless.
Thanks for all the information. Have you read the agreement with the Assyrian Church? I sounds ok to me. The Assyrians even admitt that the title "Mother of God" is a valid expression of our faith in the incarnation.
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2007, 06:32:46 PM »

Thanks for all the information. Have you read the agreement with the Assyrian Church? I sounds ok to me. The Assyrians even admitt that the title "Mother of God" is a valid expression of our faith in the incarnation.

There is still question as to whether Nestorius understood "Mother of God" in the same sense as we do.  We as OO's believe that Nestorius believed there were two persons, Jesus the Christ and God the Word.  Jesus the Christ is only "God" insofar as He is in communion with God the Word in a manner like others who have a relationship with God in theosis.  Therefore, only in the sense that "Jesus participates in the divine energy" do they consider Jesus "God," just we can be considered "God" by participation in his grace.  There's also an indication by Fr. John Romanides that what makes Christ different is that lack of a human will in Christ.  In other words, according to Fr. John, Nestorius was a Monothelete.

I may be wrong, but this is how many view Nestorius' doctrine, and this is why we question Rome's hasty agreement with the Assyrians.  In addition, according to some of our own bishops, there was some sort of "deceptive" move to unity by the Assyrians before, and our trust decreased.

In any case, I don't mind any dialogue with them, but I feel that we as OO's should not waste our time on other dialogues and look at areas where we can gain fruit very soon (i.e. the EO's).  Then we can concentrate on the Assyrians.

God bless.
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2007, 08:55:47 PM »

There is still question as to whether Nestorius understood "Mother of God" in the same sense as we do.  We as OO's believe that Nestorius believed there were two persons, Jesus the Christ and God the Word.  Jesus the Christ is only "God" insofar as He is in communion with God the Word in a manner like others who have a relationship with God in theosis.  Therefore, only in the sense that "Jesus participates in the divine energy" do they consider Jesus "God," just we can be considered "God" by participation in his grace. 

This is off subject a little, but, as you describe it Mina, this sounds like the Lutheran principle of "communication of attributes" which was the phrase to balance out the schism from Luther's followers and the Gnesio-Lutherans (aka Philippists after their leader Philip Melancthon).  I would hesitate to say this, especially considering the almost Roman belief and devotion Luther had to the Blessed Virgin, but would this make Lutherans Nestorian in a sense?  Again, sorry for going off topic.
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2007, 09:19:34 PM »

In light of today's agreement, it seems we judge your Christology as Orthodox.  Nevertheless, there remains a perplexed understanding of the agreement between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church.

God bless.

minasoliman et al,

I believe the Assyrian Church has made it clear that they do, in fact, believe in only one hypostasis in Christ.

So the question I would like to ask is, when OOs say that the Assyrian Church is Nestorian, what precisely are you criticizing them for? (I understand that you don't consider "Nestorianism" to be synonymous with "dyhypostatism", and I don't have a problem with that. I'd just like to know what you do, in fact, mean by that term.)

Thanks in advance,
-PJ
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2007, 09:51:54 PM »

PJ

Though I'm no expert on the subject, I believe that the Syrian Orthodox church (OO) and the Assyrian Church of the East (Nestorian) were a number of years ago close to reunion.  If my memory serves me correctly, an editor at socdigest.org said progress in the reunion of these two churches came to an end by the influence of Pope Shenouda III.  I have no desire to upset any Copt or OO Christian on this site, this is from a conversation I had with the said editor using IM about 2 years ago.  If I'm mistaken, I'll gladly be corrected.

Shawn

p.s.  However, looking at socdigest.org, the authors often seem to have strong ties with the history of the Assyrians in the Far East, almost speaking of the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East as one church. 
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2007, 11:18:52 AM »

PJ

Though I'm no expert on the subject, I believe that the Syrian Orthodox church (OO) and the Assyrian Church of the East (Nestorian) were a number of years ago close to reunion.  If my memory serves me correctly, an editor at socdigest.org said progress in the reunion of these two churches came to an end by the influence of Pope Shenouda III.  I have no desire to upset any Copt or OO Christian on this site, this is from a conversation I had with the said editor using IM about 2 years ago.  If I'm mistaken, I'll gladly be corrected.

Shawn

p.s.  However, looking at socdigest.org, the authors often seem to have strong ties with the history of the Assyrians in the Far East, almost speaking of the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East as one church. 

If that's the case, then I wish to get a Syrian Orthodox perspective.  I personally am speaking from a Coptic perspective.  But you're not upsetting me or anything.  I think the fact that some Syrians actually wanted to unite with them is something we should address and not keep hidden, which is something I seem to see is being happened.

Dear PJ,

As far as the Coptic Church is concerned, we criticize them for believing in two hypostases and two prosopa.  According to an alleged conversation between HE Metropolitan Bishoy (HEMB) and an Assyrian bishop, which according to HEMB was recorded, the Assyrian bishop gave the analogy that just as we believe in one incarnate nature as the same as of two natures, so they believe in one person of two persons, to which HEMB replied, "Then you still believe in the continual reality that two persons exist."

I understand this is quite a simplistic way of putting things, and I may understand that the appellation "two persons" might mean something else (in the OO tradition, we also are pretty close in saying "two hypostases", but never "two persons").  Like I said, I never had a conversation with them, and I never did heavy duty research to have my own opinion of them.  One thing I'd like to see addressed is the charge of "Nestorian Monotheletism" made against them by Fr. John Romanides.

God bless.
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2007, 07:32:19 PM »

Thanks everyone for all the discussion. I am finding the issue of Christology in the Assyrian Church to be quite perplexing. In fact, I read an article that says that those of us in the west (west to assyrians includes, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox) have mischaracterized their theology as Nestorian, and have mischaracterized Nestorian theology as well. I do not know how true this is. However, the joint declaration on Christology between the Catholic and Assyrian Churches states that Christ is one person and is both human and divine. It even goes as far as acknowledging that Mary is the Mother of God. Can any one point me in the direction of more information on the Christology of the Assyrians?

Read Anastasios' posts in the thread below for an idea of Nestorian Christology and how it differs from that of the Orthodox (EO and OO.)

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

As far as calling St. Mary "the Mother of God," I've heard that Assyrian theologians will allow it as a sort of honorary title, but don't mean the same thing we do.  In fact, I think the Nestorian theologian Theodoret and Nestorius himself were willing to accept it in that limited sense.  Remember that Nestorius approved of the Tome of Leo, even though it refered to St. Mary as Theotokos. 

Also, I remember something an Armenian friend told me about her Assyrian relatives.  (It is common for Armenians and Assyrians to intermarry, especially since the Genocide.  I have Assyrian relatives, but they are Armenian Orthodox.)  My friend was complaining about how her Assyrian relatives sounded Protestant, even though they belonged to the Assyrian Church.  She explained that they always insisted that St. Mary should never be called "Mother of God."  So I get the feeling that although Assyrian theologians may allow the title "Mother of God" in documents like that signed with the Vatican, the general rule is not to use it. 
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2007, 11:54:33 PM »

"believing in two hypostases and two prosopa"

But this is a false charge as they only believe in one prosopa with two q'numa(concrete hypostatic manifestation of a nature) two physis(abstract generic nature).

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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2007, 11:59:13 PM »

I don't think the Assyrians have a problem with Mater Theo (Mother of God) only with Theotokos(Birthgiver of God) because to them it is akin to saying the Virgin had something to do with transmitting the divinty.  There is a difference in the titles, both of which are used in Greek.  Unfortunately English translations often gloss over this and translate both as Mother of God.

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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2007, 12:27:06 AM »

I have heard Indian bishops refer to the Assyrians as the Anglicans of the orient.They hold to a Branch theory ecclessiology which allows them to commune anybody from the Episcopal-Apostolic Churches.

The agreements with Rome , were mostly negotiated by Bawai Soro, and much  water has flown down the Tigris since.  I think the Assyrians might be currently doing a  relook at all of that.

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« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2007, 05:46:41 PM »

Wouldn't it be nice if we had some Assyrians in this forum, who could tell us what they really believe?

Indeed!  I personally am not highly researched in the Nestorian controversy and the Assyrian Church, but it would be nice to read more articles.

Just a point in mind, it's a problem in OO history that they believe in "two hypostases" so long as "hypostasis" is not defined as "prosopon."  The problem is that the Assyrians in history, according to Fr VC Samuel's assessment of OO thought, that Nestorius could not hold in verbatum that the One who was eternally Begotten of the Father before all ages was incarnate, suffered, died, and rose from the dead on the third day.  Instead, they would say something along the lines of "the Word assumed the man Jesus, and Jesus was crucified on the Cross with the Word glorifying Him with the name above all names, and raising Him up from the dead on the third day."  I think Fr. John Romanides makes a nice analysis of the theology here, and in the end accused them of Nestorian Monotheletism:

http://romanity.org/htm/rom.09.en.highlights_in_the_debate_over_theodore.01.htm

God bless.
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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2007, 10:19:37 PM »

Interesting article:


http://www.nestorian.org/is_the_theology_of_the_church_.html
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2007, 01:54:15 PM »

This topic was split off from the following thread:


http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12288.0.html
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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2007, 10:22:49 PM »

I may be wrong, but this is how many view Nestorius' doctrine, and this is why we question Rome's hasty agreement with the Assyrians.

Why do you say hasty? I would say over a thousand years is not hasty!
Rome is anxious for unity but not ready to abandon the truth as she sees it.
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2007, 10:29:31 PM »

I don't think the Assyrians have a problem with Mater Theo (Mother of God) only with Theotokos(Birthgiver of God) because to them it is akin to saying the Virgin had something to do with transmitting the divinty.
I would think Theotokos (God Bearer) would be easier to swallow than Mother of God because Mother of God  might be understood to mean  that the mother gave divinity to her child.
I like them both!
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« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2007, 10:51:24 PM »

Why do you say hasty? I would say over a thousand years is not hasty!
Rome is anxious for unity but not ready to abandon the truth as she sees it.

Hasty because the dialogue took place once or twice and then immediately communion agreements take place.  There was not a thousand year dialogue.
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« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2007, 11:33:35 PM »

Theophoros is God bearer, and many saints bear that title. Theotokos is God birthgiver, and only one was granted that title at Ephesus.
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