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Author Topic: Oriental and Latin Theology  (Read 9637 times) Average Rating: 0
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Athanasios
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« on: November 07, 2007, 12:07:01 AM »

Hello,

I have heard that Oriental and Latin theology are remarkably similar in outlook and expression. Is this true? Is there a good resource that compares/contrasts the two?
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2007, 12:10:51 AM »

What do you mean by "Oriental"?
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2007, 12:14:37 AM »

If what you mean by Oriental is the Oriental Orthodox ("OO") Church, I would say our theology is much closer to that of the Eastern Orthodox ("EO") Church.  Of course, relations between the Catholics and OO's are pretty warm right now, due to the outreach done by Pope John Paul II.  However, a lot of the things seperating the EO's from the Catholics (the Filioque, etc.) also seperate the OO's from the Catholics. 
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2007, 07:46:40 AM »

Hello,

What do you mean by "Oriental"?
I mean Oriental Orthodox, and in particular Alexandrian theology.
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2007, 07:51:14 AM »

Hello,

If what you mean by Oriental is the Oriental Orthodox ("OO") Church, I would say our theology is much closer to that of the Eastern Orthodox ("EO") Church.  Of course, relations between the Catholics and OO's are pretty warm right now, due to the outreach done by Pope John Paul II.  However, a lot of the things seperating the EO's from the Catholics (the Filioque, etc.) also seperate the OO's from the Catholics.
Actually, the Filioque is one of the things I was shown was exceedingly similar between Alexandrian (I guess I should use this descriptor from now on) and Latin theology.

I am pretty sure, that thanks to the efforts of the late Pope John Paul II, that there is a joint declaration of Christology with each of the Oriental Churches. Are there any other resources that will discuss the relationship between the two Churches and their theologies?
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2007, 08:20:06 AM »

Quote
I have heard that Oriental and Latin theology are remarkably similar in outlook and expression. Is this true? Is there a good resource that compares/contrasts the two?

Yes this is true.

One of the main things is that both Latins and Copts emphasize that the Lord Jesus had to make satisfaction/propitiation for sin by suffering our punishments. This is not just in theological theory but also in the practical piety of the people. For instance, while Byzantines largely have distaste for Mel Gibson's bloody movie "The Passion of Christ", the Copts warmly embraced it. Take a look at these videos to see what I mean:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzxtl-7s27A

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5372085186490704388

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5082340622560171168&q=coptic+retreat&total=15&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7802706736129788053

[In fact there are so many Coptic versions of "The Passion of Christ" on the net that its like a genre unto itself!]

There are many other ways they are similar too.

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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2007, 09:47:05 AM »


Sorry, but that seems like rather silly reasoning as far as i'm concerned upon which to base such a conclusion. That the movie is popular amongst Copts is explained by popular simple piety and devotion to anything Christ-related. You will see that many of these amateur internet clips utilise a wide range of western material--not just "The Passion." Most Copts I know are very simple-minded; they are not aware of differentiations between Western and Eastern, or the relevant theological peculiarities (and given the burden I have found theology to be, I envy them in that regard). To read some particular theological conviction/agenda into such clips presupposes an intentional and rather theologically incisive and aware outlook on behalf of the creator, when in all probability, the use of the Passion reflects the creator's belief that the movie is a "nice" and genuine portrayal of a crucial event in the Gospel narratives; nothing more and nothing less.

I will come back to this topic after my exams when I have time to look up more authoritative answers to the issues at hand.
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2007, 10:26:06 AM »

P.S. The only proper theological response to 'The Passion' that I have encountered from an OO perspective, is that given by renowned Armenian Orthodox theologian Vigen Guroian:
http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/restoringthesenses/index.shtml

As you will note from listening to the relevant file at that link, he pretty much re-hashes typical EO criticisms. From what i've read and heard of him thus far, his general soteriological outlook is largely inspired by Armenian Orthodox hymnography.

I will not advocate one viewpoint or another in regard to 'The Passion'; I do have a sense that people tend to read too much into it, and I do believe that the general EO (over?)emphasis upon a particular soteriological view, and, on a related note, resistance to other soteriological views, may account for this.

Anyway, as I said above, I will post more on the general issues at hand at a later and more appropriate time.
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2007, 12:40:44 PM »

Yes this is true.

One of the main things is that both Latins and Copts emphasize that the Lord Jesus had to make satisfaction/propitiation for sin by suffering our punishments. This is not just in theological theory but also in the practical piety of the people. For instance, while Byzantines largely have distaste for Mel Gibson's bloody movie "The Passion of Christ", the Copts warmly embraced it. Take a look at these videos to see what I mean:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzxtl-7s27A

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5372085186490704388

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5082340622560171168&q=coptic+retreat&total=15&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7802706736129788053

[In fact there are so many Coptic versions of "The Passion of Christ" on the net that its like a genre unto itself!]

There are many other ways they are similar too.


 


I heard that the coptic church was at one time there theology heavily influenced by the Anglican church  thats probably were they got that from,,and anglican being the disobedient children of the roman catholic church infected the holy coptic orthodox church ,,,please any coptic orthodox shead some light on this please.....i've read this on catholic answers forum when they had a eastern christian sub-forum now renamed eastern catholic to edit the eastern orthodox posters their accused of proselytizing...peace stashko Huh
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2007, 12:28:12 AM »

I heard that the coptic church was at one time there theology heavily influenced by the Anglican church  thats probably were they got that from,,and anglican being the disobedient children of the roman catholic church infected the holy coptic orthodox church ,,,please any coptic orthodox shead some light on this please.....i've read this on catholic answers forum when they had a eastern christian sub-forum now renamed eastern catholic to edit the eastern orthodox posters their accused of proselytizing...peace stashko Huh

The Anglican Church itself does not even have a unified belief or dogma and is very divided now.  If you study OO theology, we are quite consistent.

And for the record, I've never heard in my life the Coptic Church being compared to the Anglican Church.

God bless.
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2007, 12:32:04 AM »

I'm sorry, but as I attempted to argue in my previous post, I fail to see how one can draw general conclusions on an entire Church's theology from anonymous video clips placed on the internet--clips which do not reasonably imply any particular theological conviction, but rather reflect nothing more than simple piety. To do so requires you to presuppose a) a subjective interpretation of the clip as absolute, and b) that interpretation as being borne in the mind of the one so using it. Both these presuppositions are silly in my opinion.

To the related point you make about contemporary Coptic theology, as impoverished as I believe it to be in its current state, I do not see that it is in any way protestantised. Some people I have spoken to on this matter believe that the Coptic Church is going through its own variant version of the so-called "Western Captivity" that the Greek Church recently emerged from. I haven't seen enough evidence to this effect. They point to things like the consistent appeal to Scripture found in sermons and theological works in general, but as the author of the article on the Coptic Church (forgot his name, the book is not with me at the moment) in the Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity argues, such a regard for, and use of Scriptures is simply a unique feature of the Alexandrian Christian theological heritage.

The impoverished state of contemporary Coptic theology has more to do with the dominant general lack of concern for theological erudition in the Church before the reign of H.H. Pope Shenouda III, than it does with outside influence. Ignorance, not innovation, is the issue here. The preoccupation of the average faithful Copt is simply to live as piously as he or she can. I find no fault in this. Whilst I speak as an ethnic and baptised Copt, I speak, in a sense, as a stranger, and hence from a third person perspective, because I was enstranged from the Church for so long in my sinful youth, and continue to struggle to follow the path of those around me. Whenever I attend Liturgy I am constantly reminded by the examples that surround me that as much as I sometimes think I know by virtue of my education and reading, I ultimately know very little compared to everyone else. I'm technically a Copt, but I am always reminded that I am yet worthy to be called a Copt.

Anyway, to get back on track: I do not think there should necessarily be any dichotomy between piety and education, and I think the latter to be important to the Church's call to embrace the world--a world which will not take non-educated claims very seriously. Whilst H.H. has inspired and motivated a more positive outlook and approach to theological education, the Church has not yet had sufficient opportunity to recover from her "dark ages"--which began essentially upon the very decline of Coptic under Arab rule. His Holiness has done well, but he is old now and I feel that there is not much more he can do. I pray that God appoints a worthy successor, one who will bring His Holiness' vision to its fruition, and finally restore the Church's intellectual activities to its glory days. There is so much yet to be done.
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2007, 05:05:59 AM »

Ekhristos,

Your response to me is ridiculous. I never infered anything about Coptic theological theory by those videos. I posted those videos only to show the piety of the people. Anyways, in reference to the theological theory of propitiation/satisfaction, this has a deeply seated tradition going back to Athanasios of Alexandria. You should have known this before making your posts.

P.S. The Armenian church is an entirely different story from the Copts.
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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2007, 06:02:33 AM »

I never infered anything about Coptic theological theory by those videos.

Errr....I thought you quite clearly did infer something about Coptic theology by these videos:

One of the main things is that both Latins and Copts emphasize that the Lord Jesus had to make satisfaction/propitiation for sin by suffering our punishments. This is not just in theological theory but also in the practical piety of the people. For instance, while Byzantines largely have distaste for Mel Gibson's bloody movie "The Passion of Christ", the Copts warmly embraced it. Take a look at these videos to see what I mean:
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2007, 06:59:58 AM »

PathofSolitude,

Quote
Your response to me is ridiculous. I never infered anything about Coptic theological theory by those videos.

You juxtaposed the alleged "Byzantine" distaste of "The Passion"--one largely based on theological presumptions/interpretations, with the Coptic reception of it (which you chose to evidence through links to anonymous video uploads), within the context of a thread inquiring into the differences/similarities between RC and Coptic theology. The implications that naturally follow are clear.

Quote
Anyways, in reference to the theological theory of propitiation/satisfaction, this has a deeply seated tradition going back to Athanasios of Alexandria.

That's a loaded statement. One could say that the satisfaction theory goes right back to the New Testament, or even back further to the Old Testament. In the end "satisfaction theory" is just a label.

In any event, I am not planning to get into a debate on soteriology with you.

Quote
P.S. The Armenian church is an entirely different story from the Copts.

Given the ecclesiological innovations you've purported elsewhere, I guess I would be asking too much of you to appreciate the sentiment of One Church, One Baptism, One Faith. It is one that we Orthodox--EO and OO--adhere to, however. In light of such an ecclesiology, Armenian theology is as much my theology as it is of the Armenians, so I have every right, even as a Copt, to appeal to it in representation of my Faith--even the Faith of the Coptic Church in the event that Coptic heirarchs or theologians fail to fully or accurately uphold that Faith which is consonant with her heritage and Tradition.
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2007, 07:21:34 AM »

ozgeorge, I'm getting quite tired of your constant attacks on my posts. Lets look closely at what I said.

Quote
This is not just in theological theory but also in the practical piety of the people. For instance, while Byzantines largely have distaste for Mel Gibson's bloody movie "The Passion of Christ", the Copts warmly embraced it. Take a look at these videos to see what I mean

The context of the videos is to show the practical piety of the people. Thats why I said "not just in theological theory..." This should be clear to you. I have noticed that you have a hard time understanding the meaning of a lot of what I say. Just out of curiosity, do you speak English as a second language? Please dont take that as a rhetorical question. I seriously wonder if this is what some of the problem is between me and you.
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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2007, 07:42:00 AM »

ozgeorge, I'm getting quite tired of your constant attacks on my posts.
Well, if you would make sense and be consistent with them, there wouldn't be a problem.

The context of the videos is to show the practical piety of the people. Thats why I said "not just in theological theory..."
"not just in theological theory..." means "as well as in theological theory". The implication is that the popular piety is simply a reflection of the theological theory...otherwise, why even mention it?

This should be clear to you.
Well, guess what? It wasn't. Nor was it clear to EA either. I suppose you are going to suggest that it's his problem too, and not a problem with your communication skills.

I have noticed that you have a hard time understanding the meaning of a lot of what I say. Just out of curiosity, do you speak English as a second language? Please dont take that as a rhetorical question. I seriously wonder if this is what some of the problem is between me and you.
Yeah, my first language is Straylian.
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« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2007, 09:52:39 AM »

The Anglican Church itself does not even have a unified belief or dogma and is very divided now.  If you study OO theology, we are quite consistent.

And for the record, I've never heard in my life the Coptic Church being compared to the Anglican Church.

God bless.
 


Brother..was england ever in egypt in a military capacity  ...if it was they had their anglican clergy with them ...from what i read on the catholic answers forum the anglicans looked at the theology of the holy coptic orthodox church and found it very primitive defective so they decided to help the holy coptic othodox church by updateing there theology,,thats why their is similarities between you and the catholic church in atonement ...as a eastern orthodox christians i just want to under stand it,,,if its true or not..can you find out  and let me know ....brother stashko Huh
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« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2007, 11:04:09 AM »

if [pathofsolitude] would make sense and be consistent with [their posts], there wouldn't be a problem.

Well said.
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« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2007, 11:07:04 AM »

the anglicans looked at the theology of the holy coptic orthodox church and found it very primitive defective so they decided to help the holy coptic othodox church by updateing there theology
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(brother stashko, the eye-rolling is meant for the Anglicans, not your post  Smiley )
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« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2007, 12:09:02 PM »

Roll Eyes


(brother stashko, the eye-rolling is meant for the Anglicans, not your post  Smiley )

Speaking as an Anglican, I would like to know just what Stashko read and where to find it before accepting that it was done that way.  Meaning no disrespect, but finding out whether such was actually *done* would be a good thing.

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« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2007, 01:23:26 PM »

Speaking as an Anglican, I would like to know just what Stashko read and where to find it before accepting that it was done that way.  Meaning no disrespect, but finding out whether such was actually *done* would be a good thing.

Ebor     



im not sure about about the military thing though ...i cant remember if it was proto domo or Father Ambrose the younger from italy a orthodox priest that brought it up in the catholic answers forum ..the Father names was written ambrose in the italian way ....he addressed the post marduk a coptic orthodox that changed his faith to coptic catholic defending the atonement  theology of the R C and the coptic orthodox  and coptic catholic as being the same...thats when the anglican influence in the theology was brought up in the post ...marduk the former coptic orthodox now catholic coptic was supposed to investigate it further ...but the catholic forum changed the sub-forum eastern christianity to eastern catholic to  weed out the orthodox proselytizer ,,so now if  a orthodox is on the eastern catholic sub forum we can't call our selfs catholic or orthodox catholic its forbidden ...so now the few orthodox eastern christian that remain there, have to post in the non christian sub forum ...hope this helps some they have the old eastern christianity sub-forum archived thought,,i dont know how to use it ...brother stashko
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« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2007, 04:47:45 PM »

Does anyone else have trouble weeding through stashko's posts?

For future reference:

1) "Their" is a possessive adjective. "There" is a demonstrative adverb, adjective, pronoun or noun. Two completely different meanings and usages.

2) "Its" is a possessive pronoun. "It's" is a contraction. Again, completely different.

Not that this addresses the run ons and lack of punctuation, but it's a start.
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« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2007, 07:36:53 PM »

Speaking as an Anglican, I would like to know just what Stashko read and where to find it before accepting that it was done that way. 
Meaning no disrespect, but finding out whether such was actually *done* would be a good thing.


Likewise, meaning no disrespect, even if this particular situation did not occur... it still is a fairly accurate portrayal of non-Orthodox mentality in general.  Rome, Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Charismatics, "non-denominationalists"... they all have this idea of "progressive dogma/theology"... which is totally foreign to Orthodoxy.  Actually, preservation and continuity of the original ancient tradition and dogma is the primary element that separates Orthodoxy from all others.

While stashko's statement was in reference to an [alleged] particular event...
it still exemplifies a more general reality.

"the [insert non-Orthodox group name here] looked at the theology of the Holy Orthodox Church and found it very primitive and defective
...so they decided to help the Holy Orthodox Church by updating their theology"

If Rome, Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Charismatics, "non-denominationalists" etc...
do not believe that Orthodoxy is primitive and defective, then why are they not yet Orthodox?
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« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2007, 07:46:27 PM »

To read some particular theological conviction/agenda into such clips presupposes an intentional and rather theologically incisive and aware outlook on behalf of the creator, when in all probability, the use of the Passion reflects the creator's belief that the movie is a "nice" and genuine portrayal of a crucial event in the Gospel narratives; nothing more and nothing less.

Thank you for helping us understand the situation.  I am EO, and I must admit when I first saw these kinds of videos on YouTube,
I was a little concerned about the relationship of OO and Rome.  However, because of your helpful contribution here on this thread,
I can now see what I was hoping to be the case:
For most Copts, the Passion movie is simply convenient, accessible, video footage to use in film projects or music videos.
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« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2007, 07:51:40 PM »

...One Church, One Baptism, One Faith. It is one that we Orthodox--EO and OO--adhere to, however. In light of such an ecclesiology, Armenian theology is as much my theology as it is of the Armenians, so I have every right, even as a Copt, to appeal to it in representation of my Faith--even the Faith of the Coptic Church in the event that Coptic heirarchs or theologians fail to fully or accurately uphold that Faith which is consonant with her heritage and Tradition.


Amen!

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which is the reflection of the Most Holy Trinity
Who is Unconfused and Undivided
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« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2007, 08:25:39 PM »

Does anyone else have trouble weeding through stashko's posts?

For future reference:

1) "Their" is a possessive adjective. "There" is a demonstrative adverb, adjective, pronoun or noun. Two completely different meanings and usages.

2) "Its" is a possessive pronoun. "It's" is a contraction. Again, completely different.

Not that this addresses the run ons and lack of punctuation, but it's a start.


Sorry i forgot all the things i learned in school ,never having to use it much ..now that im getting older im forgetting more and more ....may be you should write for me .....stashko
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« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2007, 08:53:22 PM »

Stashko,

I think EA answered your question:

Quote
To the related point you make about contemporary Coptic theology, as impoverished as I believe it to be in its current state, I do not see that it is in any way protestantised. Some people I have spoken to on this matter believe that the Coptic Church is going through its own variant version of the so-called "Western Captivity" that the Greek Church recently emerged from. I haven't seen enough evidence to this effect. They point to things like the consistent appeal to Scripture found in sermons and theological works in general, but as the author of the article on the Coptic Church (forgot his name, the book is not with me at the moment) in the Blackwell Companion to Eastern Christianity argues, such a regard for, and use of Scriptures is simply a unique feature of the Alexandrian Christian theological heritage.

The impoverished state of contemporary Coptic theology has more to do with the dominant general lack of concern for theological erudition in the Church before the reign of H.H. Pope Shenouda III, than it does with outside influence. Ignorance, not innovation, is the issue here. The preoccupation of the average faithful Copt is simply to live as piously as he or she can. I find no fault in this. Whilst I speak as an ethnic and baptised Copt, I speak, in a sense, as a stranger, and hence from a third person perspective, because I was enstranged from the Church for so long in my sinful youth, and continue to struggle to follow the path of those around me. Whenever I attend Liturgy I am constantly reminded by the examples that surround me that as much as I sometimes think I know by virtue of my education and reading, I ultimately know very little compared to everyone else. I'm technically a Copt, but I am always reminded that I am yet worthy to be called a Copt.

Now you specifically stated the atonement or satisfaction label.  It's true there has been some in present clergy that teach this.  There is nevertheless a debate on this teaching, just as there is a debate with the EO's.  The Greek Church a few centuries ago also went through this issue.  Is it "Western influence" or "ignorance" or both?  I don't know, and frankly, I haven't investigated the matter in depth.  However, I can tell you that if you must learn about Coptic theology, you learn it through our hymns, our liturgies, our Church fathers, our sister churches, but not some contemporaries.  They too have to pass the litmus test.  What you receive as information about Coptic theology is only one-sided information.

God bless.

PS Please write in full sentences.  I too have trouble reading what you write.  What you learn in school concerning grammar, at least some comprehensible grammar (it does not have to be at a professional level) is not something to be forgotten, but a lifelong lesson.  Now, I'm being nice about this, but others here can be quite ridiculing on the way your write.
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« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2007, 09:38:29 PM »

Stashko,

I think EA answered your question:

Now you specifically stated the atonement or satisfaction label.  It's true there has been some in present clergy that teach this.  There is nevertheless a debate on this teaching, just as there is a debate with the EO's.  The Greek Church a few centuries ago also went through this issue.  Is it "Western influence" or "ignorance" or both?  I don't know, and frankly, I haven't investigated the matter in depth.  However, I can tell you that if you must learn about Coptic theology, you learn it through our hymns, our liturgies, our Church fathers, our sister churches, but not some contemporaries.  They too have to pass the litmus test.  What you receive as information about Coptic theology is only one-sided information.

God bless.

PS Please write in full sentences.  I too have trouble reading what you write.  What you learn in school concerning grammar, at least some comprehensible grammar (it does not have to be at a professional level) is not something to be forgotten, but a lifelong lesson.  Now, I'm being nice about this, but others here can be quite ridiculing on the way your write.


im not going to write anymore ..i'll be in lurking mode from now on . God  Bless ...Stashko
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« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2007, 09:41:36 PM »


im not going to write anymore ..i'll be in lurking mode from now on . God  Bless ...Stashko

You just go ahead and write the best you can, Stashko. If we have any trouble understanding you, we will let you know. Please be patient with us.
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« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2007, 09:51:34 PM »

P.S. The Armenian church is an entirely different story from the Copts.

That's news to me.

Actually, when the Armenian alphabet was first invented, among the first texts to be translated into Armenian (after the Bible and the liturgy) were those of the Alexandrian theologians, such as Sts. Cyril and Timothy.
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« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2007, 09:56:04 PM »

Stashko,

I wish I had a dollar for every grammatical mistake I and others made while posting here.  I'd be so rich, I could buy an island and retire.  It's the nature of the internet.  You fit in fine.  Please continue to post.
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« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2007, 10:13:30 PM »

That's news to me.

Actually, when the Armenian alphabet was first invented, among the first texts to be translated into Armenian (after the Bible and the liturgy) were those of the Alexandrian theologians, such as Sts. Cyril and Timothy.



Thank you for sharing that little tid-bit!   Smiley
Very interesting... what time period was this? 

It reminds me of Russia (having the birth of a written alphabet coincide with an enormous presence of Orthodoxy).
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« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2007, 10:14:48 PM »

...And yes, Stashko, please continue to post as best you can.   Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2007, 11:35:52 PM »


Thank you for sharing that little tid-bit!   Smiley
Very interesting... what time period was this? 

It reminds me of Russia (having the birth of a written alphabet coincide with an enormous presence of Orthodoxy).

My history is not that great, but this is my understanding of how and why the Armenian alphabet was developed:

The Armenian alphabet was developed during the first half of the fifth century.  A large portion of the Armenian homeland was then occupied by the Persian Empire.  The Persians were not happy that the Armenians were Christian.  I think it made them suspicious that the Armenians would be disloyal and side with the Greeks.

So the Persians passed a law saying the Armenians could not use Greek for their liturgy or writings, and they prohibited the Armenians from bringing in and studying any Greek writings.  In fact, I think the Catholicos St. Sahag even got into trouble for having the decrees of the Third Ecumenical Council brought to him, and then adopting them. 

Anyway, the restriction against using Greek meant the Armenians could only read things produced by the Church of the East.  St. Sahag was Cyrilian in his Christology and did not like being restricted in that way.  He therefore enlisted St. Mesrob Mashdots to develop a new alphabet for the Armenians.  When the alphabet was finally developed, this enabled the Armenians to get around the law by translating the Greek writings into Armenian.
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« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2007, 11:56:51 PM »

My history is not that great, but this is my understanding of how and why the Armenian alphabet was developed:

The Armenian alphabet was developed during the first half of the fifth century.  A large portion of the Armenian homeland was then occupied by the Persian Empire.  The Persians were not happy that the Armenians were Christian.  I think it made them suspicious that the Armenians would be disloyal and side with the Greeks.

So the Persians passed a law saying the Armenians could not use Greek for their liturgy or writings, and they prohibited the Armenians from bringing in and studying any Greek writings.  In fact, I think the Catholicos St. Sahag even got into trouble for having the decrees of the Third Ecumenical Council brought to him, and then adopting them. 

Anyway, the restriction against using Greek meant the Armenians could only read things produced by the Church of the East.  St. Sahag was Cyrilian in his Christology and did not like being restricted in that way.  He therefore enlisted St. Mesrob Mashdots to develop a new alphabet for the Armenians.  When the alphabet was finally developed, this enabled the Armenians to get around the law by translating the Greek writings into Armenian.

Brother, what does the armenian alphabet look like ...is it based off the greek like mine Cyrillic.....stasko Smiley
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« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2007, 12:53:16 AM »

Here's a link to the alphabet:

http://www.hyeetch.nareg.com.au/armenians/language_p2.html

There is a definite Greek influence, although not as obvious as you see in Russian.  The shape of the letters also resembles the shape of Ethiopian alphabet letters, which has led some to speculate that St. Mesrob had contact with Ethiopian Christians during the time he spent in Jerusalem.
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« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2007, 12:57:59 AM »

Brother, what does the armenian alphabet look like ...is it based off the greek like mine Cyrillic.....stasko Smiley
Here's an example (set character encoding to ARMSCII-8 to see it)

http://www.armenianchurch.org/index.shtml
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« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2007, 01:18:37 AM »

I'm reminded now that 405 is the year given for when St. Mesrob was done with the alphabet.  He and St. Sahag were contemporaries of Theodore of Mopsuestia and they did not like his Christology.  I think one or both men knew Theodore personally.  Anyway, they invented the new alphabet so they could get in other written works to balance out what was coming from the Church of the East.  (Back then it was called the "Persian Church.")

The funny thing is that both saints are regarded as national heroes, not just as saints.  This is because the Armenian alphabet is a part of the national identity.  Thus, you find that people raised in Armenia during the time of the Soviet Union, and who have no religious background, will know who they are and respect them.
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« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2007, 06:45:16 PM »

A culture having a particular 'intimacy' with our Lord's Passion shouldn't be considered 'unorthodox'. Far too many 'westerners' are too critical of such similarities in Eastern Christian Communities. Almost as if it's an anxiety of the west because they are so affluent is being projected on to Easterners whose communities 'are' suffering with the Lord. I really don't get it...  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2007, 02:15:27 AM »

Why is 'The Passion' popular amongst Copts? Initially I suggested that such a popularity stems merely from an attraction to what is in all probability conceived as, no more or less than, the most professional and creative, to date, media depiction of one of the most crucial events in the Gospel accounts. After reading H.H. Karekin I's article, "Tradition: Living and Life-Giving", I realise now that my remarks may have been a bit simplistic:

H.H. Karekin I:

Quote
"The Cross for the Armenians [and I have no doubt that H.H. would include the Copts as well] acquired the existential sense of crucifixion. In the Western Christian tradition there is much speculation, theological discussion, speculative analysis of the idea of the Cross and its significance in understanding the salvific work of Jesus Christ. For the Armenian and other Middle Eastern...Christian peoples the Cross was lived as part of their daily life."

H.H. goes on to explain how the Cross finds its ultimate meaning in the Resurrection in the following paragraphs.

I think His Holiness' comments furthermore undergird my earlier remarks regarding the fact that it would be ridiculously assumptive to read theological ideas and agendas into the mindset of the average Copt by virtue of attraction to 'The Passion'. The average Copt is not concerned with theological speculation over satisfaction theories and juridical soteriology models. These are non-issues. 'The Passion' is not a theological interpretation to be accepted or rejected, it is simply a creative and unique opportunity to identify with the Lord's sufferings, and to hence enhance, through the visual sentience, one's sense of solidarity with Him. It's the practical effect of the film when approached and viewed in a spirit of genuine simplicity and humility--not the abstract interpretation of it aroused by a pre-skeptical and critical approach--that is at the heart of the matter.
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« Reply #40 on: November 11, 2007, 02:56:08 AM »

Why is 'The Passion' popular amongst Copts? Initially I suggested that such a popularity stems merely from an attraction to what is in all probability conceived as, no more or less than, the most professional and creative, to date, media depiction of one of the most crucial events in the Gospel accounts. After reading H.H. Karekin I's article, "Tradition: Living and Life-Giving", I realise now that my remarks may have been a bit simplistic:

H.H. Karekin I:

H.H. goes on to explain how the Cross finds its ultimate meaning in the Resurrection in the following paragraphs.

I think His Holiness' comments furthermore undergird my earlier remarks regarding the fact that it would be ridiculously assumptive to read theological ideas and agendas into the mindset of the average Copt by virtue of attraction to 'The Passion'. The average Copt is not concerned with theological speculation over satisfaction theories and juridical soteriology models. These are non-issues. 'The Passion' is not a theological interpretation to be accepted or rejected, it is simply a creative and unique opportunity to identify with the Lord's sufferings, and to hence enhance, through the visual sentience, one's sense of solidarity with Him. It's the practical effect of the film when approached and viewed in a spirit of genuine simplicity and humility--not the abstract interpretation of it aroused by a pre-skeptical and critical approach--that is at the heart of the matter.

I wonder if Ekhristos can show us any similar media presentations produced by the Byzantines who are by far more populous in America. Wink  Or maybe the Byzantines dont suffer?
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« Reply #41 on: November 11, 2007, 04:30:15 AM »

Sorry, but contrary to the implicit presumption underlying your request, I never attempted to establish a necessary logical connection between suffering for the Lord and a positive approach to 'The Passion'. My only aim was to suggest a plausibly possible connection between the two in order to explain the activities of anonymous individuals.

Furthermore, I do not speak for the "Byzantines." What they do or do not do does not have any bearing upon anything i've said.
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« Reply #42 on: November 11, 2007, 12:52:03 PM »

Hello,

Thanks for all the informative - and sometimes confusing - posts.
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« Reply #43 on: November 11, 2007, 12:54:15 PM »

Hello,

Is it just me, or does the argument that the Anglicans changed and corrupted Coptic theology just seem like another conspiracy theory?
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« Reply #44 on: November 11, 2007, 01:05:20 PM »


Likewise, meaning no disrespect, even if this particular situation did not occur... it still is a fairly accurate portrayal of non-Orthodox mentality in general.  Rome, Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Charismatics, "non-denominationalists"... they all have this idea of "progressive dogma/theology"... which is totally foreign to Orthodoxy.  Actually, preservation and continuity of the original ancient tradition and dogma is the primary element that separates Orthodoxy from all others.

While stashko's statement was in reference to an [alleged] particular event...
it still exemplifies a more general reality.

"the [insert non-Orthodox group name here] looked at the theology of the Holy Orthodox Church and found it very primitive and defective
...so they decided to help the Holy Orthodox Church by updating their theology"

If Rome, Anglicans, Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Charismatics, "non-denominationalists" etc...
do not believe that Orthodoxy is primitive and defective, then why are they not yet Orthodox?
Hah!  laugh  Protestants (from my experience) don't believe in any form of doctrinal development. They think that they hold the exact same belief as the Apostles on Pentecost. Everyone else has corrupted it and so God had to restart His Church with either the founder of their group or the individual themselves.


As for Rome, I wouldn't say that the Catholic Church views Orthodox theology as primitive. And the only things defective (though I don't think that is the right word, and I don't like using it here) would be in areas the diverge in substance (not expression) from Catholic teachings (i.e., Papacy).

As for development of doctrine, it is evident in every Church Council (for one area where it occurs). What is meant by Catholics with the development of doctrine is that which was implicit is made explicit. We see this in the Early Church with the increasing understanding of the Trinity, Christ's natures, Canon of Scripture, etc.

I hope I didn't forget anything (but, I probably did  Grin).
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