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Author Topic: Is it okay to agree with Immaculate Conception and still be Orthodox?  (Read 37546 times) Average Rating: 0
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #135 on: June 09, 2008, 03:37:26 AM »

What about these title's ....Пре Света,Пре Блажена,Пре Славна,Пре Благословена Бого Мајка, Богородица Дјева Марија...
Could you please translate these titles into English?
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« Reply #136 on: June 09, 2008, 03:45:03 AM »

Brother,,Im not sure what the english translation is ,,,there's people here that can read cirillica and do a proper translation...hang on some one will,,and ill know allso......SmileyCentral.com" border="0these titles are in my cirillica prayer book....
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ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.
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« Reply #137 on: June 09, 2008, 12:38:33 PM »

Could you please translate these titles into English?


Pre -mean's before pre blessed, pre sanctified,, pre holy,, pre Graced ,,,,it could be interpeded as imaculate at her birth....SmileyCentral.com" border="0
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ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.
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« Reply #138 on: June 09, 2008, 01:25:32 PM »

I have been listening to a podcast by Fr. Thomas Hopko on the Theotokos the last couple days, and it is really interesting. He speaks about why as Orthodox we don't adhere to the Immaculate conception like the Roman Catholics do. We believe that she was "immaculately" conceived in that when Joachim and Anna copulated that it was without any sin. But they did have sex in order to conceive her. And by that token John the Baptist was also immaculately conceived.

And Fr. Hopko pointed out that Mary sings about how God is her Savior, if she was already saved by being born "Immaculately" why would she need Christ as her Savior?

Just a couple things I noted in the Fr. Hopko podcast. It can be found on Ancient faith radio if anyone want to listen to it.

(EDIT: Oh! I must be listening to the podcast of the retreat you went to Tamara! So I am just reiterating what you have said. In any cast it is a great podcast).
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« Reply #139 on: June 09, 2008, 02:49:20 PM »

Is it okay to agree with Immaculate Conception and still be Orthodox?

If you want the short answer, it is "No."

The short answer seems to be the absolute truth.

But I would like to impose just a little and put it a little more "lightly":

no...
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« Reply #140 on: June 09, 2008, 02:54:27 PM »

I have been listening to a podcast by Fr. Thomas Hopko on the Theotokos the last couple days, and it is really interesting. He speaks about why as Orthodox we don't adhere to the Immaculate conception like the Roman Catholics do. We believe that she was "immaculately" conceived in that when Joachim and Anna copulated that it was without any sin. But they did have sex in order to conceive her. And by that token John the Baptist was also immaculately conceived.


"like" the Roman Catholics seems to imply that you all do believe in "immaculate conception" but in your own spin.

I have never heard of this a t  a l l among the Orthodox Church.

What councils or scriptures does this father sight for his points of view?
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"ETHIOPIA shall soon stretch out her hands unto God".....Psalm 68:vs 31

"Are ye not as children of the ETHIOPIANS unto me, O children of Israel"?....Amos 9: vs 7
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« Reply #141 on: June 09, 2008, 02:55:23 PM »

I have been listening to a podcast by Fr. Thomas Hopko on the Theotokos the last couple days, and it is really interesting. He speaks about why as Orthodox we don't adhere to the Immaculate conception like the Roman Catholics do. We believe that she was "immaculately" conceived in that when Joachim and Anna copulated that it was without any sin. But they did have sex in order to conceive her.

The Immaculate Conception does not say that she was not conceived through copulation. Sts. Joachim and Anne did copulate to conceive her, and that sex act was certainly not sinful.

And Fr. Hopko pointed out that Mary sings about how God is her Savior, if she was already saved by being born "Immaculately" why would she need Christ as her Savior?

The Magnificat is a cornerstone of Catholic devotions. We certainly do not see any contradiction. Christ IS her Savior.

From the Catechism:

490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role."132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace".133 In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace.

491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

    The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135

492 The "splendor of an entirely unique holiness" by which Mary is "enriched from the first instant of her conception" comes wholly from Christ: she is "redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son".136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person "in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" and chose her "in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love".137

493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God "the All-Holy" (Panagia), and celebrate her as "free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature".138 By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

132 Lumen Gentium 56.
133 Luke 1:28.
134 Luke 1:28.
135 Blessed Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (1854): DS 2803.
136 Lumen Gentium 53, 56.
137 Cf. Ephesians 1:3-4.
138 Lumen Gentium 56.
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« Reply #142 on: June 09, 2008, 03:18:32 PM »

^  Thanks for clearing up a misconception, lubeltri. Smiley
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« Reply #143 on: June 09, 2008, 03:23:13 PM »

So he saved her before he was concieved in her? From my understanding up until His death on the cross everyone was under the old covenant. So how then could Mary be saved before Christ ever became man, let alone before he died on the cross?
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« Reply #144 on: June 09, 2008, 03:41:02 PM »

So he saved her before he was concieved in her? From my understanding up until His death on the cross everyone was under the old covenant. So how then could Mary be saved before Christ ever became man, let alone before he died on the cross?

The Virgin Mary was chosen by God to give Birth to the son of God in the flesh.  Mary never questioned the announcement and never questioned anything Christ did starting with the miracle in Cana.  The Crucifixion of Christ represented Christ as the Tree of Life between Heaven and Earth which was forbidden to Adam & Eve after eating the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Mary was the first person "saved" in the New Covenant before the penitent Thief on the Cross.
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« Reply #145 on: June 09, 2008, 03:49:04 PM »

But the theif was "saved" at the time of Christs death. To say that the Theotokos was saved at her conception over a decade before she concieved Christ, let alone the decades before Christs death seems odd.

And isn't the concept of "original sin" foreign to Orthodox thought anyway?
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« Reply #146 on: June 09, 2008, 03:53:47 PM »

So he saved her before he was concieved in her? From my understanding up until His death on the cross everyone was under the old covenant. So how then could Mary be saved before Christ ever became man, let alone before he died on the cross?

Jesus's redemption works retroactively, just as it did for the righteous who lived and died before the Incarnation. After the Crucifixion, Jesus came down to where they were waiting for him, collected them up, and brought them to heaven.
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« Reply #147 on: June 09, 2008, 03:55:10 PM »

But the theif was "saved" at the time of Christs death. To say that the Theotokos was saved at her conception over a decade before she concieved Christ, let alone the decades before Christs death seems odd.

I'm only going back to when the Theotokos conceived Christ she was saved.  I don't (nor the Orthodox Church doesn't) believe that the Theotokos was saved at her Conception.  I never understood what the Immaculate Conception was other than the Annunciation of the Theotokos.

And isn't the concept of "original sin" foreign to Orthodox thought anyway?

No concept of "original sin" in Orthodoxy and the Scripture passage proving it evades me.   Smiley
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« Reply #148 on: June 09, 2008, 03:56:46 PM »

Jesus's redemption works retroactively, just as it did for the righteous who lived and died before the Incarnation. After the Crucifixion, Jesus came down to where they were waiting for him, collected them up, and brought them to heaven.

Retroactive redemption?   Shocked  Sounds like a court order.
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« Reply #149 on: June 09, 2008, 04:03:42 PM »

The "Immaculate conception" from a Catholic point of view (from my understanding, correct me if I am wrong) is that Mary was born without sin or the potential to sin.
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« Reply #150 on: June 09, 2008, 04:04:14 PM »

I never understood what the Immaculate Conception was other than the Annunciation of the Theotokos.

You're not the first to confuse the virgin birth with the Immaculate Conception. It's amazing how common it is.

For example, I had to keep writing the Guardian to tell them their writers were mixing it up. Here's their latest correction:

The following correction was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Saturday March 3 2007

Immaculate conception was once more confused with virgin birth, this time in the column below. The doctrine of immaculate conception is, as we have pointed out in five previous corrections, the belief that Mary herself was conceived without the stain of original sin. The virgin birth is the doctrine of Christ's birth without a human father.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2007/feb/21/childrensservices.comment
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« Reply #151 on: June 09, 2008, 04:07:42 PM »

Retroactive redemption?   Shocked  Sounds like a court order.

If the "old covenant" were enough to save us, why bother with the Incarnation and Crucifixion, many long years after the Fall? Christ has existed since before time, "by whom all things were made"---he atoned for all, past, present and future.
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« Reply #152 on: June 09, 2008, 04:24:35 PM »

SolEX01: I have to say that I find it a little comical that you are arguing for a issue and you aren't aware of what it is.

I was confused by this initially too. Think of it this way. Catholics believe Mary is the Immaculate conception. The use of the word "the" is key. We believe in the immaculate conception of Christ. They believe that Mary IS the immaculate conception.
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« Reply #153 on: June 09, 2008, 05:17:40 PM »

I was confused by this initially too. Think of it this way. Catholics believe Mary is the Immaculate conception. The use of the word "the" is key. We believe in the immaculate conception of Christ. They believe that Mary IS the immaculate conception.

The idea that God would provide a special grace to preserve Jesus from original sin does not make any sense (I shudder just typing that).

If you don't believe in original sin, then every conception is immaculate.
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« Reply #154 on: June 09, 2008, 05:22:11 PM »

My understanding of the RCC teaching is that in essence what we receive in baptism, Mary received from in her conception.  I have, as I said, no major issue with the doctrine.
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« Reply #155 on: June 09, 2008, 05:53:00 PM »

If the "old covenant" were enough to save us, why bother with the Incarnation and Crucifixion, many long years after the Fall? Christ has existed since before time, "by whom all things were made"---he atoned for all, past, present and future.
lubeltri,

If you're posting on this thread solely to clear up our misunderstandings of RC dogma, fine.  But please be careful that you make clear that that's all you're doing.  I don't want to remind you again that the Faith board is not the place for you to preach your RC faith.  Thank you.  -PtA
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« Reply #156 on: June 09, 2008, 05:56:05 PM »

lubeltri,

If you're posting on this thread solely to clear up our misunderstandings of RC dogma, fine.  But please be careful that you make clear that that's all you're doing.  I don't want to remind you again that the Faith board is not the place for you to preach your RC faith.  Thank you.  -PtA

That's what I'm trying to do. I don't preach online. In person, on the other hand...  Smiley
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« Reply #157 on: June 09, 2008, 06:10:13 PM »

SolEX01: I have to say that I find it a little comical that you are arguing for a issue and you aren't aware of what it is.

Well, because this is a Faith forum, I dare not argue where the concept of Immaculate Conception initially came from.
Being that Discernment is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I feel that I can argue something which is inherently in error.   Wink

I was confused by this initially too. Think of it this way. Catholics believe Mary is the Immaculate conception. The use of the word "the" is key. We believe in the immaculate conception of Christ. They believe that Mary IS the immaculate conception.

Christ is descended from David by both St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary.  Mary was conceived using conventional means, not by anything extraordinary.

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« Reply #158 on: June 09, 2008, 06:42:22 PM »

And isn't the concept of "original sin" foreign to Orthodox thought anyway?

Only the Western concept of original sin is foreign to Orthodox thought.
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« Reply #159 on: June 10, 2008, 01:25:06 AM »

The Approach of the Orthodox Fathers

As pervasive as the term original sin has become, it may come as a surprise to some that it was unknown in both the Eastern and Western Church until Augustine (c. 354-430). The concept may have arisen in the writings of Tertullian, but the expression seems to have appeared first in Augustine’s works. Prior to this the theologians of the early church used different terminology indicating a contrasting way of thinking about the fall, its effects and God’s response to it. The phrase the Greek Fathers used to describe the tragedy in the Garden was ancestral sin.

Ancestral sin has a specific meaning. The Greek word for sin in this case, amartema, refers to an individual act indicating that the Eastern Fathers assigned full responsibility for the sin in the Garden to Adam and Eve alone. The word amartia, the more familiar term for sin which literally means “missing the mark”, is used to refer to the condition common to all humanity (Romanides, 2002). The Eastern Church, unlike its Western counterpart, never speaks of guilt being passed from Adam and Eve to their progeny, as did Augustine. Instead, it is posited that each person bears the guilt of his or her own sin. The question becomes, “What then is the inheritance of humanity from Adam and Eve if it is not guilt?” The Orthodox Fathers answer as one: death. (I Corinthians 15:21) “Man is born with the parasitic power of death within him,” writes Fr. Romanides (2002, p. 161). Our nature, teaches Cyril of Alexandria, became “diseased…through the sin of one” (Migne, 1857-1866a).  It is not guilt that is passed on, for the Orthodox fathers; it is a condition, a disease.

In Orthodox thought Adam and Eve were created with a vocation: to become one with God gradually increasing in their capacity to share in His divine life—deification[2] (Romanides, 2002, p. 76-77). “They needed to mature, to grow to awareness by willing detachment and faith, a loving trust in a personal God” (Clement, 1993, p. 84). Theophilus of Antioch (2nd Century) posits that Adam and Eve were created neither immortal nor mortal. They were created with the potential to become either through obedience or disobedience (Romanides, 2002).

The freedom to obey or disobey belonged to our first parents, “For God made man free and sovereign” (Romanides, 2002, p. 32).  To embrace their God-given vocation would bring life, to reject it would bring death, but not at God’s hands. Theophilus continues, “…should he keep the commandment of God he would be rewarded with immortality…if, however, he should turn to things of death by disobeying God, he would be the cause of death to himself” (Romanides, 2002, p. 32)

Adam and Eve failed to obey the commandment not to eat from the forbidden tree thus rejecting God and their vocation to manifest the fullness of human existence (Yannaras, 1984).  Death and corruption began to reign over the creation. “Sin reigned through death.” (Romans 5:21) In this view death and corruption do not originate with God; he neither created nor intended them. God cannot be the Author of evil. Death is the natural result of turning aside from God.

Adam and Eve were overcome with the same temptation that afflicts all humanity: to be autonomous(free), to go their own way, to realize the fullness of human existence without God. According to the Orthodox fathers sin is not a violation of an impersonal law or code of behavior, but a rejection of the life offered by God (Yannaras, 1984). This is the mark, to which the word amartia refers. Fallen human life is above all else the failure to realize the God-given potential of human existence, which is, as St. Peter writes, to “become partakers of the divine nature” (II Peter 1:4).  St. Basil writes: “Humanity is an animal who has received the vocation to become God” (Clement, 1993, p. 76).

In Orthodox thought God did not threaten Adam and Eve with punishment nor was He angered or offended by their sin; He was moved to compassion.[3] The expulsion from the Garden and from the Tree of Life was an act of love and not vengeance so that humanity would not “become immortal in sin” (Romanides, 2002, p. 32). Thus began the preparation for the Incarnation of the Son of God and the solution that alone could rectify the situation: the destruction of the enemies of humanity and God, death (I Corinthians 15:26, 56), sin, corruption and the devil (Romanides, 2002).     

It is important to note that salvation as deification is not pantheism because the Orthodox Fathers insist on the doctrine of creation ex nihilo (Athanasius, 1981).  Human beings, along with all created things, have come into being from nothing.  Created beings will always remain created and God will always remain Uncreated. The Son of God in the Incarnation crossed the unbridgeable chasm between them. Orthodox hymnography frequently speaks of the paradox of the Uncreated and created uniting without mixture or confusion in the wondrous hypostatic union. The Nativity of Christ, for example, is interpreted as “a secret re-creation, by which human nature was assumed and restored to its original state” (Clement, 1993, p. 41). God and human nature, separated by the Fall, are reunited in the Person of the Incarnate Christ and redeemed through His victory on the Cross and in the Resurrection by which death is destroyed (I Corinthians 15:54-55). In this way the Second Adam fulfills the original vocation and reverses the tragedy of the fallen First Adam opening the way of salvation for all.

The Fall could not destroy the image of God; the great gift given to humanity remained intact, but damaged (Romanides, 2002). Origen speaks of the image buried as in a well choked with debris (Clement, 1993).  While the work of salvation was accomplished by God through Jesus Christ the removal of the debris that hides the image  in us calls for free and voluntary cooperation. St. Paul uses the word synergy, or “co-workers”, (I Corinthians 3:9) to describe the cooperation between Divine Grace and human freedom. For the Orthodox Fathers this means asceticism (prayer, fasting, charity and keeping vigil) relating to St. Paul’s image of the spiritual athlete (I Corinthians 9:24-27). This is the working out of salvation “with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Salvation is a process involving faith, freedom and personal effort to fulfill the commandment of Christ to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).

The great Orthodox hymn of Holy Pascha (Easter) captures in a few words the essence of the Orthodox understanding of the Atonement: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, And upon those in the tombs bestowing life” (The Liturgikon, Paschal services, 1989).  Because of the victory of Christ on the Cross and in the Tomb humanity has been set free, the curse of the law has been broken, death is slain, life has dawned for all. Maximus the Confessor (c. 580 – 662) writes that “Christ’s death on the Cross is the judgment of judgment” (Clement, 1993, p. 49) and because of this we can rejoice in the conclusion stated so beautifully by Olivier Clement: “In the crucified Christ forgiveness is offered and life is given. For humanity it is no longer a matter of fearing judgment or of meriting salvation, but of welcoming love in trust and humility” (Clement, 1993, p. 49).


The piety and devotion of Augustine is largely unquestioned by Orthodox theologians, but his conclusions on the Atonement are (Romanides, 2002). Augustine, by his own admission, did not properly learn to read Greek and this was a liability for him. He seems to have relied mostly on Latin translations of Greek texts (Augustine, 1956a,

p. 9). His misinterpretation of a key scriptural reference, Romans 5:12, is a case in point (Meyendorff, 1979). In Latin the Greek idiom eph ho which means because of was translated as in whom. Saying that all have sinned in Adam is quite different than saying that all sinned because of him. Augustine believed and taught that all humanity has sinned in Adam (Meyendorff, 1979, p. 144). The result is that guilt replaces death as the ancestral inheritance (Augustine, 1956b) Therefore the term original sin conveys the belief that Adam and Eve’s sin is the first and universal transgression in which all humanity participates.

Augustine famously debated Pelagius (c. 354-418) over the place the human will could play in salvation. Augustine took the position against him that only grace is able to save, sola gratis (Augustine, On the Predestination of the Saints, 7)[4]. From this a doctrine of predestination developed (God gives grace to whom He will) which hardened in the 16th and 17th centuries into the doctrine of two-fold predestination (God in His sovereignty saves some and condemns others). The position of the Church of the first two centuries concerning the image and human freedom was abandoned.

The Roman idea of justice found prominence in Augustinian and later Western theology. The idea that Adam and Eve offended God’s infinite justice and honor made of death God’s method of retribution (Romanides, 2002). But this idea of justice deviates from Biblical thought. Kalomiris (1980) explains the meaning of justice in the original Greek of the New Testament:
The Greek word diakosuni ‘justice’, is a translation of the Hebrew word tsedaka. The word means ‘the divine energy which accomplishes man’s salvation.’ It is parallel and almost synonymous with the word hesed which means ‘mercy’, ‘compassion’, ‘love’, and to the word emeth which means ‘fidelity’, ‘truth’. This is entirely different from the juridical understanding of ‘justice’. (p. 31)

The juridical view of justice generates two problems for Augustine. One: how can one say that the attitude of the immutable God’s toward His creation changes from love to wrath? Two: how can God, who is good, be the author of such an evil as death (Romanides, 1992)? The only way to answer this is to say, as Augustine did to the young Bishop, Julian of Eclanum (d. 454), that God’s justice is inscrutable (Cahill, 1995, p. 65). Logically, then, justice provides proof of inherited guilt for Augustine, because since all humanity suffers the punishment of death and since God who is just cannot punish the innocent, then all must be guilty in Adam. Also, by similar reasoning, justice appears as a standard to which even God must adhere (Kalomiris, 1980). Can God change or be subject to any kind of standard or necessity? By contrast the Orthodox father, Basil the Great, attributes the change in attitude to humanity rather than to God (Migne, 1857-1866b). Because of the theological foundation laid by Augustine and taken up by his heirs, the conclusion seems unavoidable that a significant change occurs in the West making the wrath of God and not death the problem facing humanity (Romanides, 1992, p. 155-156).

How then could God’s anger be assuaged? The position of the ancient Church had no answer because its proponents did not see wrath as the problem. The Satisfaction Theory proposed by Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033-1109) in his work Why the God-Man? provides the most predominant answer in the West[5]. The sin of Adam offended and angered God making the punishment of death upon all guilty humanity justified. The antidote to this situation is the crucifixion of the Incarnate Son of God because only the suffering and death of an equally eternal being could ever satisfy the infinite offense of the infinitely dishonored God and assuage His wrath (Williams, 2002; Yannaras, 1984,

p. 152). God sacrifices His Son to restore His honor and pronounces the sacrifice sufficient. The idea of imputed righteousness rises from this. The Orthodox understanding that “the resurrection...through Christ, opens for humanity the way of love that is stronger than death” (Clement, 1993, p. 87) is replaced by a juridical theory of courtrooms and verdicts.

The image of an angry, vengeful God haunts the West where a basic insecurity and guilt seem to exist. Many appear to hold that sickness, suffering and death are God’s will. Why? I suspect one reason is that down deep the belief persists that God is still angry and must be appeased. Yes, sickness, suffering and death come and when they do God’s grace is able to transform them into life-bearing trials, but are they God’s will? Does God punish us when the mood strikes, when our behavior displeases Him or for no reason at all? Are the ills that afflict creation on account of God? For example, could the loving Father really be said to enjoy the sufferings of His Son or of the damned in hell (Yannaras, 1984)? Freud rebelled against these ideas calling the God inherent in them the sadistic Father (Yannaras, 1984, p. 153). Could it be as Yannaras, Clement and Kalomiris propose that modern atheism is a healthy rebellion against a terrorist deity (Clement, 2000)?  Kalomiris (1980) writes that there are no atheists, just people who hate the God in whom they have been taught to believe.

Orthodoxy agrees that grace is a gift, but one that is given to all not to a chosen few. For Grace is an uncreated energy of God sustaining all creation apart from which nothing can exist (Psalm 104:29). What is more, though grace sustains humanity, salvation cannot be forced upon us (or withheld) by divine decree. Clement points out that the “Greek fathers (and some of the Latin Fathers), according to whom the creation of humanity entailed a real risk on God’s part, laid the emphasis on salvation through love: ‘God can do anything except force a man to love him’. The gift of grace saves, but only in an encounter of love” (Clement, 1993, p. 81). Orthodox theology holds that divine grace must be joined with human volition.


Source:  http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/orthodoxy/articles/2004-hughes-sin.php
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« Reply #160 on: June 10, 2008, 01:41:45 AM »

Could you please credit the source you just quoted?
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« Reply #161 on: June 10, 2008, 01:52:36 AM »

Pastoral Practice East and West

In simple terms, we can say that the Eastern Church tends towards a therapeutic model which sees sin as illness, while the Western Church tends towards a juridical model seeing sin as moral failure. For the former the Church is the hospital of souls, the arena of salvation where, through the grace of God, the faithful ascend from “glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18) into union with God in a joining together of grace and human volition. The choice offered to Adam and Eve remains our choice: to ascend to life or descend into corruption. For the latter, whether the Church is viewed as essential, important or arbitrary, the model of sin as moral failing rests on divine election and adherence to moral, ethical codes as both the cure for sin and guarantor of fidelity. Whether ecclesial authority or individual conscience imposes the code the result is the same.

Admittedly, the idea of salvation as process is not absent in the West. (One can call to mind the Western mystics and the Wesleyan movement as examples.) However, the underlying theological foundations of Eastern Church and Western Church in regard to ancestral or original sin are dramatically opposed. The difference is apparent when looking at the understanding of ethics itself. For the Western Church ethics often seems to imply exclusively adherence to an external code; for the Eastern Church ethics implies “the restoration of life to the fullness of freedom and love” (Yannaras, 1984, p. 143).

Modern psychology has encouraged most Christian caregivers to view sin as illness so that, in practice, the juridical approach is often mitigated. The willingness to refer to mental health providers when necessary implies an expansion of the definition of sin from moral infraction to human condition. This is a happy development.  Recognizing sin as disease helps us to understand that the problem of the human condition operates on many levels and may even have a genetic component.

It is interesting that Christians from a broad spectrum have rediscovered the psychology of spiritual writers of the ancient Church. I discovered this in an Oral Roberts University Seminary classroom twenty-five years ago through a reading of “The Life of St. Pelagia the Harlot.” My journey into Orthodoxy and the priesthood began at that point. These pastors and teachers of the ancient Church were inspired by the Orthodox perspective enunciated in this paper: death as the problem, sin as disease, salvation as process and Christ as Victor.

Sin as missing the mark or, put another way, as the failure to realize the full potential of the gift of human life, calls for a gradual approach to pastoral care. The goal is nothing less than an existential transformation from within through growth in communion with God. Daily sins are more than moral infractions; they are revelations of the brokenness of human life and evidence of personal struggle. “Repentance means rejecting death and uniting ourselves to life” (Yannaras, 1984, 147-148).

In Orthodoxy we tend to dwell on the process and the goal more than the sin. A wise Serbian Orthodox priest once commented that God is more concerned about the direction of our lives than He is about the specifics. Indeed, the Scriptures point to the wondrous truth that, “If thou, O God, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand, but with Thee there is forgiveness” (Psalm 130:3-4). The way is open for all who desire to take it. A young monk was once asked, “What do you do all day in the monastery?” He replied, “We fall and rise, fall and rise.”

The sacramental approach in the Eastern Church is an integral part of pastoral care. The therapeutic view frees the sacrament of Confession in the Orthodox Church from the tendency to take on a juridical character resulting in proscribed, impersonal penances. In Orthodoxy sacraments are seen as a means of revealing the truth about humanity and also about God (Yannaras, 1984, p. 143). After Holy Baptism we often fail in our work of fulfilling the vocation to unbury the image within. Seventy times seven we return to the sacrament not as an easy way out (confess today, sin tomorrow), but because humility is a hard lesson to learn, real transformation is not instantaneous and we are in need of God’s help. Healing takes time. Sacraments are far from magical or automatic rituals (Yannaras, 1984, p. 144). They are personal, grace-filled events in which our free response to God’s grace is acknowledged and sanctified. Even in evangelical circles where Confession as sacrament is rejected the altar call often plays a similar role. It is telling that the Orthodox Sacrament of Confession always takes place face to face and never in the kind of confessional that appeared in the West. Sin is personal and healing must be equally personal. Therefore nothing in authentic pastoral care can be impersonal, automatic or pre-planned. In Orthodoxy the prescription is tailored for the patient as he or she is, not as he or she ought to be.

The juridical approach that has predominated in the West can make pastoral practice seem cold and automatic. Neither a focus on good works nor faith alone are sufficient to transform the human heart. Do positive, external criteria signify inner transformation in all cases? Some branches of Christian counseling too often rely on the application of seemingly relevant verses of Scripture to effect changes in behavior as if convincing one of the truth of Holy Scripture is enough. Belief in Scripture may be a beginning, but real transformation is not just a matter of thinking. First and foremost it is a matter of an existential transformation. It is a matter of a shift in the very mode of life itself: from autonomy to communion. Allow me to explain.

Death has caused a change in the way we relate to God, to one another and to the world. Our lives are dominated by the struggle to survive. Yannaras writes that we see ourselves not as persons sharing a common nature and purpose, but as autonomous individuals who live to survive in competition with one another. Thus, set adrift by death, we are alienated from God, from others and also from our true selves (Yannaras, 1984).  The Lord Jesus speaks to this saying, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew16:26). Salvation is a transformation from the tragic state of alienation and autonomy that ends in death into a state of communion with God and one another that ends in eternal life. So, in the Orthodox view, a transformation in this mode of existence must occur. If the chosen are saved by decree and not by choice such an emphasis is irrelevant. The courtroom seems insufficient as an arena for healing or transformation.

Great flexibility needs to exist in pastoral care if it is to promote authentic transformation. We need to take people as they are and not as they ought to be. Moral and ethical codes are references, certainly, but not ends in themselves. As a pastor entrusted with personal knowledge of people’s lives, I know that moving people from point A to Z is impossible. If, by the grace of God, step B can be discovered, then real progress can often be made. Every step is a real step. If we can be faithful in small things the Lord will grant us bigger ones later (Matthew 25:21). There need be no rush in this intimate process of real transformation that has no end.  As a priest and confessor I tell those who come to me, “I do not know exactly what is ahead on this spiritual adventure. That is between you and God, but if you will allow me, we will take the road together.”

A Romanian priest found himself overhearing the confession of a hardened criminal to an old priest-monk in a crowded Communist prison cell. As he listened he noticed the priest-monk begin to cry. He did not say a word through his tears until the man had finished at which time he replied, “My son, try to do better next time.” Yannaras writes that the message of the Church for humanity wounded and degraded by the ‘terrorist God of juridical ethics’ is precisely this: “what God really asks of man is neither individual feats nor works of merit, but a cry of trust and love from the depths” (Yannaras, 1984, p. 47). The cry comes from the depth of our need to the unfathomable depth of God’s love; the Prodigal Son crying out, “I want to go home” to the Father who, seeing his advance from a distance, runs to meet him. (Luke 15:11-32)

What this divine/human relationship will produce God knows, but we place ourselves in His loving hands and not without some trepidation because “God is a loving fire… for all: good or bad.” (Kalomiris, 1980, p. 19) The knowledge that salvation is a process makes our failures understandable. The illness that afflicts us demands access to the grace of God often and repeatedly. We offer to Him the only things that we have, our weakened condition and will. Joined with God’s love and grace it is the fuel that breathed upon by the Spirit of God, breaks the soul into flame.

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said: Abba, as much as I am able I practice a small rule, a little fasting, some prayer and meditation, and remain quiet, and as much as possible keep my thoughts clean. What else should I do? Then the old man stood up and stretched out his hands toward heaven, and his fingers became like ten torches of flame. And he said: If you wish you can become all flame. (Nomura, 2001, p. 92)

As we have seen, for the early Church Fathers and the Orthodox Church the Atonement is much more than a divine exercise in jurisprudence; it is the event of the life, death and resurrection of the Son of God that sets us free from the Ancestral Sin and its effects. Our slavery to death, sin, corruption and the devil are destroyed through the Cross and Resurrection and our hopeless adventure in autonomy is revealed to be what it is: a dead end. Salvation is much more than a verdict from above; it is an endless process of transformation from autonomy to communion, a gradual ascent from glory to glory as we take up once again our original vocation now fulfilled in Christ. The way to the Tree of Life at long last revealed to be the Cross is reopened and its fruit, the Body and Blood of God, offered to all.  The goal is far greater than a change in behavior; we are meant to become divine.


Source:  http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/orthodoxy/articles/2004-hughes-sin.php
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« Reply #162 on: June 10, 2008, 01:58:45 AM »

theinformer, If you're going to copy and paste long blocks of text like this, you need to credit your sources.  Failure to do so is plagiarism.  Please read my personal message.
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that is not the teaching of...


« Reply #163 on: June 10, 2008, 02:06:43 AM »

Fwiw, here it is: http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/orthodoxy/articles/2004-hughes-sin.php

Ancestral Versus Original Sin: An Overview with Implications for Psychotherapy
by V. Rev. Antony Hughes, M.Div
St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts

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« Reply #164 on: June 10, 2008, 02:08:37 AM »

Fwiw, here it is: http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/orthodoxy/articles/2004-hughes-sin.php

Ancestral Versus Original Sin: An Overview with Implications for Psychotherapy
by V. Rev. Antony Hughes, M.Div
St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church, Cambridge, Massachusetts


Thanks for the info, Asteriktos. Smiley
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« Reply #165 on: June 10, 2008, 03:23:33 AM »


Pre -mean's before pre blessed, pre sanctified,, pre holy,, pre Graced ,,,,it could be interpeded as imaculate at her birth....SmileyCentral.com" border="0

Quote
Пре Света,Пре Блажена,Пре Славна,Пре Благословена Бого Мајка, Богородица Дјева Марија...

Stashko, this is embarrassing. You should know that the prefix Пре (pre), be it in the modern Serbian language, or in Old Church Slavonic, does NOT mean pre in the English sense, i.e. that which came before. Пре means all, like the Greek prefix Pan, as in Panaghia (All-holy), Panaghathi (all-good), etc.  Therefore, the translation of the above is All-holy, All-blessed (or, as is sometimes rendered, most-blessed), All-glorious, All-praised Mother of God, Mary, Virgin Mother of God .

Therefore, any thought of ascribing the idea of the immaculate conception to the above liturgical phrase (which occurs during the Great and Little Litanies at Orthodox services) simply doesn't stand up. Please be more careful, lest misunderstandings occur.

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« Reply #166 on: June 10, 2008, 11:38:51 AM »

Oh i didn't know that ,,i allway's thought pre meant before in english and serbian ..in serbian what about [ sve sveta] all holy  ,,live and learn i allway's say...that's why i tried holding off on the english translation....Huh??...SmileyCentral.com" border="0Thank you for the correction...
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ГОСПОДЕ ГОСПОДЕ ,ПОГЛЕДАЈ СА НЕБА ,ДОЂИ И ПОСЕТИ ТВОЈ ВИНОГРАД ТВОЈА ДЕСНИЦА ПОСАДИЛА АМИН АМИН.
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« Reply #167 on: June 12, 2008, 12:54:18 AM »

Anyone familiar with the juridical approach and the external code of the west?.


Tangent split off to this thread: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,16435.msg235835.html#msg235835
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« Reply #168 on: January 09, 2009, 08:56:45 AM »

Is it okay to agree with Immaculate Conception and still be Orthodox?

Even some of the greatest Saints of the Roman Catholic Church did not agree with the Immaculate Conception.

1.  Thomas Aquinas was opposed to the new doctrine:

"Certainly Mary was conceived with original sin, as is natural. . . . If she
would not have been born with original sin, she would not have needed to be
redeemed by Christ, and, this being so, Christ would not be the universal
Redeemer of men, which would abolish the dignity of Christ."

Chapter CCXXXII bis. Thomas Aquinas, Compendio do Teologia, Barcelona, 1985.


2.   Catherine of Sienna, another great Catholic theologian and mystic, weighed in on the anti-Immaculate Conception side after she had a personal revelation from Christ that Mary was conceived in original sin.  (Sorry, but I cannot lay my hands on a direct quote for this.)


3.   Bernard of Clairvaux also knew of it and rejected it. If it were official Church teaching or even simply traditional teaching would he have denied it? This is all the more striking because his profound love for Mary and his writings in her honour had gained him the title of "Troubadour of the Virgin." Read his Epistle 174...

"I am frightened now, seeing that certain of you have desired to change the condition of important matters, introducing a new festival unknown to the Church, unapproved by reason, unjustified by ancient tradition. Are we really more learned and more pious than our fathers? You will say, 'One must glorify the Mother of God as much as Possible.' This is true; but the glorification given to the Queen of Heaven demands discernment. This Royal Virgin does not have need of false glorifications, possessing as She does true crowns of glory and signs of dignity. Glorify the purity of Her flesh and the sanctity of Her life. Marvel at the abundance of the gifts of this Virgin; venerate Her Divine Son; exalt Her Who conceived without knowing concupiscence and gave birth without knowing pain. But what does one yet need to add to these dignities? People say that one must revere the conception which preceded the glorious birth-giving; for if the conception had not preceded, the birth-giving also would not have been glorious. But what would one say if anyone for the same reason should demand the same kind of veneration of the father and mother of Holy Mary? One might equally demand the same for Her grandparents and great-grandparents, to infinity. Moreover, how can there not be sin in the place where there was concupiscence? All the more, let one not say that the Holy Virgin was conceived of the Holy Spirit and not of man. I say decisively that the Holy Spirit descended upon Her, but not that He came with Her.


"I say that the Virgin Mary could not be sanctified before Her conception, inasmuch as She did not exist. if, all the more, She could not be sanctified in the moment of Her conception by reason of the sin which is inseparable from conception, then it remains to believe that She was sanctified after She was conceived in the womb of Her mother. This sanctification, if it annihilates sin, makes holy Her birth, but not Her conception. No one is given the right to be conceived in sanctity; only the Lord Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and He alone is holy from His very conception. Excluding Him, it is to all the descendants of Adam that must be referred that which one of them says of himself, both out of a feeling of humility and in acknowledgement of the truth: Behold I was conceived in iniquities (Ps. 50:7). How can one demand that this conception be holy, when it was not the work of the Holy Spirit, not to mention that it came from concupiscence? The Holy Virgin, of course, rejects that glory which, evidently, glorifies sin. She cannot in any way justify a novelty invented in spite of the teaching of the Church, a novelty which is the mother of imprudence, the sister of unbelief, and the daughter of lightmindedness"



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« Reply #169 on: January 09, 2009, 09:02:06 AM »

The Patriarch and the Immaculate Conception

In December of 2004, the Italian Catholic newspaper Thirty Days ran a story about the 150th anniversary of the Roman proclamation of the Immaculate Conception as dogma. As part of that, they interviewed Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew about the Orthodox Akathist to the Theotokos -- a truly beautiful prayer/poem/song -- and in passing asked him about the Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception. The Patriarch politely told them that it was wrong, and correctly identified its roots as being in the notion of original sin. It is a brief but excellent presentation of the Orthodox position:

(Question): The Catholic Church this year celebrates the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. How does the Eastern Christian and Byzantine Tradition celebrate the Conception of Mary and her full and immaculate holiness?

Bartholomew I: The Catholic Church found that it needed to institute a new dogma for Christendom about one thousand and eight hundred years after the appearance of the Christianity, because it had accepted a perception of original sin – a mistaken one for us Orthodox – according to which original sin passes on a moral stain or a legal responsibility to the descendants of Adam, instead of that recognized as correct by the Orthodox faith – according to which the sin transmitted through inheritance the corruption, caused by the separation of mankind from the uncreated grace of God, which makes him live spiritually and in the flesh. Mankind shaped in the image of God, with the possibility and destiny of being like to God, by freely choosing love towards Him and obedience to his commandments, can even after the fall of Adam and Eve become friend of God according to intention; then God sanctifies them, as he sanctified many of the progenitors before Christ, even if the accomplishment of their ransom from corruption, that is their salvation, was achieved after the incarnation of Christ and through Him.

In consequence, according to the Orthodox faith, Mary the All-holy Mother of God was not conceived exempt from the corruption of original sin, but loved God above of all things and obeyed his commandments, and thus was sanctified by God through Jesus Christ who incarnated himself of her. She obeyed Him like one of the faithful, and addressed herself to Him with a Mother’s trust. Her holiness and purity were not blemished by the corruption, handed on to her by original sin as to every man, precisely because she was reborn in Christ like all the saints, sanctified above every saint.

Her reinstatement in the condition prior to the Fall did not necessarily take place at the moment of her conception. We believe that it happened afterwards, as consequence of the progress in her of the action of the uncreated divine grace through the visit of the Holy Spirit, which brought about the conception of the Lord within her, purifying her from every stain.

As already said, original sin weighs on the descendants of Adam and of Eve as corruption, and not as legal responsibility or moral stain. The sin brought hereditary corruption and not a hereditary legal responsibility or a hereditary moral stain. In consequence the All-holy participated in the hereditary corruption, like all mankind, but with her love for God and her purity – understood as an imperturbable and unhesitating dedication of her love to God alone – she succeeded, through the grace of God, in sanctifying herself in Christ and making herself worthy of becoming the house of God, as God wants all us human beings to become.

Therefore we in the Orthodox Church honor the All-holy Mother of God above all the saints, albeit we don’t accept the new dogma of her Immaculate Conception. The non-acceptance of this dogma in no way diminishes our love and veneration of the All-holy Mother of God.

http://minorclergy.journalspace.com/...rd&entryid=145
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« Reply #170 on: January 09, 2009, 10:08:33 AM »

Father Bless,

It's interesting you posted this on the broad because I was fortunate to have my Priest over last night for the Blessing of our Home and afterwards we sat down for a small meal and a conversation concerning our conversion from Roman Catholicism to Orthodoxy (Russian via OCA). I admitted to him my difficulty in shaking off Classic Catholic teaching of Original Sin and my views of the BVM as immaculate. We talked about St. Cyprian and Augustine... our Parish is named after St. Cyprian so it was a saint we were both familiar with.

I deeply wish that you and the other members here could help me come to a more comfortable understand of the nature of Original Sin in light of the teachings of St. Cyprian and St. Symeon the New Theologian. At the present moment I don't think that I could, in good conscience, disavow the teachings of the West. I don't believe that Rome has be faithful to the continuity of Holy Tradition but I do have deep reservations with the elusive teachings of Original Sin taught by many Orthodox. I'm not trying to be obstinate but I find it difficult to grasp.
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« Reply #171 on: January 09, 2009, 11:28:36 AM »

I read several books on Orthodox views of Our Blessed Virgin Mother and I appear to continue to hold to the Immaculate Conception. I once thought I read the Bishop Ware stated that it was okay. Is it okay?

My problem with the Immaculate Conception is not the dogma itself which makes perfect sense inside of a Roman understanding of original sin but rather the reason the dogma came about. The dogma exists purely because the Roman Church sees original sin as something that we are all guilty off; each of us is damned by Adams transgression and it is transmitted to us like a hereditary disease. The Orthodox understanding of original sin, as far as I can tell, differs from the Catholic understanding. Original sin means that we are all born with a sinful disposition but not with one sin already 'in the bank' so to speak. Due to this fundamental difference there is no need to see Mary as having been born immaculately, in other words without that one sin, because she did not need to be protected from Adams sin in that way. What our Lady did experience was an abundance of grace that allowed her, with the help of that grace, to avoid sin but she was still tempted by sin at every turn.

To have an Immaculate Conception with the Orthodox understanding of original sin is to portray Mary as a being untouched by sin in any way and almost incapable of sinning for she would not have been born with a predisposition towards sin. To hold such beliefs along with Mary being bodily assumed into heaven and crowned queen of heaven is almost to see her as having never been human in the way that we are, in other words fallen. She becomes more perfect than Christ in that 'He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us' (2 Corinthians 5:21) and thus Christ experienced our fallen nature and was tempted by sin and overcame it by virtue of his Divinity but Mary would never have been tempted at all and thus would have been perfect without the grace of Christ to aid her by virtue of her Immaculate Conception. If you follow the logic to its final conclusion, if the Father had deemed that Mary should be born without original sin then there would have been no need for the Christ event due to the fact that the Father would have a restored Mary to the state of man before the fall and from that itself the old creation could be restored rather than a new creation, one where we are not simply restored but also divanised, being inaugurated.
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« Reply #172 on: January 09, 2009, 11:51:01 AM »

I read several books on Orthodox views of Our Blessed Virgin Mother and I appear to continue to hold to the Immaculate Conception. I once thought I read the Bishop Ware stated that it was okay. Is it okay?

My problem with the Immaculate Conception is not the dogma itself which makes perfect sense inside of a Roman understanding of original sin but rather the reason the dogma came about. The dogma exists purely because the Roman Church sees original sin as something that we are all guilty off; each of us is damned by Adams transgression and it is transmitted to us like a hereditary disease. The Orthodox understanding of original sin, as far as I can tell, differs from the Catholic understanding. Original sin means that we are all born with a sinful disposition but not with one sin already 'in the bank' so to speak. Due to this fundamental difference there is no need to see Mary as having been born immaculately, in other words without that one sin, because she did not need to be protected from Adams sin in that way. What our Lady did experience was an abundance of grace that allowed her, with the help of that grace, to avoid sin but she was still tempted by sin at every turn.

To have an Immaculate Conception with the Orthodox understanding of original sin is to portray Mary as a being untouched by sin in any way and almost incapable of sinning for she would not have been born with a predisposition towards sin. To hold such beliefs along with Mary being bodily assumed into heaven and crowned queen of heaven is almost to see her as having never been human in the way that we are, in other words fallen. She becomes more perfect than Christ in that 'He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us' (2 Corinthians 5:21) and thus Christ experienced our fallen nature and was tempted by sin and overcame it by virtue of his Divinity but Mary would never have been tempted at all and thus would have been perfect without the grace of Christ to aid her by virtue of her Immaculate Conception. If you follow the logic to its final conclusion, if the Father had deemed that Mary should be born without original sin then there would have been no need for the Christ event due to the fact that the Father would have a restored Mary to the state of man before the fall and from that itself the old creation could be restored rather than a new creation, one where we are not simply restored but also divanised, being inaugurated.

Hi Jonny,

I'm not sure that is correct because both Adam and Eve were 'untouched' by sin and yet 'fell'. Why would our BVM be any different? Having 'sanctifying grace' at conception doesn't mean that she was 'deified' at conception anymore than we would argue one who receives Baptism is 'deified'.

We know that throughout the history of the Jewish people certain individuals found favor with God... Elijah springs to my mind. He was taken to heaven by chariot. This exception of particular favor by God doesn't have to dismantle the need for redemption through the Incarnation and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. With every rule there are the exceptions. Noah was one, Enoch, Elijah, Mose, etc. These exceptions doesn't undo the necessity of the real need for a redeemer.

I appreciate your thoughts but I'm not convinced that your reasoning is sound. If you read the Liturgical Text of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy concerning the BVM you will note that even they believe she was taken up into heaven and set on the thrown of heaven. I think this is found in the Annunciation Feast texts but I could be wrong. I was reading them last night. I will be able to post them letter this evening when I return home.
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« Reply #173 on: January 09, 2009, 12:20:11 PM »

Hi Jonny,

I'm not sure that is correct because both Adam and Eve were 'untouched' by sin and yet 'fell'. Why would our BVM be any different? Having 'sanctifying grace' at conception doesn't mean that she was 'deified' at conception anymore than we would argue one who receives Baptism is 'deified'.

The difference being that Adam and Eve were not predestined to fall. Every human born with a sinful disposition will sin, it is impossible not to without God's grace. In Mary's case if she had been born without that disposition to sin then she could abstain from sin without the need for grace.

As for Baptism, the Roman Church sees it as forgiving original sin, however that again is only relevent if you see original sin as something that is transmitted, as if we are born with a black mark that needs washed away. If you don't see it that way then Baptism is us being Baptised into Christs death and Resurrection and washed clean of all our sins. Baptism opens us up to grace and starts the process of theosis but it does not complete it, it does not liberate us from or disposition to sin. If it did there would be no need for any other sacrament for total grace would have been imparted and we would be irredeemably saved.



We know that throughout the history of the Jewish people certain individuals found favor with God... Elijah springs to my mind. He was taken to heaven by chariot. This exception of particular favor by God doesn't have to dismantle the need for redemption through the Incarnation and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. With every rule there are the exceptions. Noah was one, Enoch, Elijah, Mose, etc. These exceptions doesn't undo the necessity of the real need for a redeemer.

However all of these people are saved by Grace, not by lack of sinful disposition. In a way they are saved by the grace of the timeless sacrifice of Christ.



I appreciate your thoughts but I'm not convinced that your reasoning is sound. If you read the Liturgical Text of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy concerning the BVM you will note that even they believe she was taken up into heaven and set on the thrown of heaven. I think this is found in the Annunciation Feast texts but I could be wrong. I was reading them last night. I will be able to post them letter this evening when I return home.

True. The emphasis is slight different though. In the Orthodox Church the mystery is the empty tomb of Mary where as in the Roman Church it is the bodily Assumption of Mary. Also note the wording of the dogma of the Assumption in the Latin Church, it states that at the culmination of her earthly life Mary was assumed. It was deliberately left open so that it can be believed that she did not even die first.

Queen of Heaven is also subtly different. In the Roman understanding of it we apply the Queen mother theology from Davids court in the Old Testament, that the Son will always grant the Mothers request. This also can be taken as putting Mary above Christ and we can see that the idea is growing in suggested dogmas such as 'Coredemptrix and Medatrix of all Graces', a dogma that JPII was actually very keen on.

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« Reply #174 on: January 09, 2009, 12:22:24 PM »

Its also quite amusing to have an Orthodox Christian defending the Immaculate Conception and a Catholic attacking it. You and I should head to Rome, we could end this schism just the two of us!  laugh
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« Reply #175 on: January 09, 2009, 12:53:12 PM »

Its also quite amusing to have an Orthodox Christian defending the Immaculate Conception and a Catholic attacking it. You and I should head to Rome, we could end this schism just the two of us!  laugh

He he he... Not after I bring up my views on Infallibility...  Undecided
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« Reply #176 on: January 09, 2009, 01:00:41 PM »

The "Immaculate conception" from a Catholic point of view (from my understanding, correct me if I am wrong) is that Mary was born without sin or the potential to sin.
Actually, we Catholics do NOT deny that Mary had the potential to sin. She absolutely had this potential because she had free will. Rather than removing the potential for sin, Mary was created in the same state as Adam and Eve who were quite capable of sin. The grace of the immaculat conception just preserved Mary from inheriting a fallen nature.
That all being said, Catholics do believe that Mary never sinned.
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« Reply #177 on: January 09, 2009, 01:04:59 PM »

The "Immaculate conception" from a Catholic point of view (from my understanding, correct me if I am wrong) is that Mary was born without sin or the potential to sin.
Actually, we Catholics do NOT deny that Mary had the potential to sin. She absolutely had this potential because she had free will. Rather than removing the potential for sin, Mary was created in the same state as Adam and Eve who were quite capable of sin. The grace of the immaculat conception just preserved Mary from inheriting a fallen nature.
That all being said, Catholics do believe that Mary never sinned.


To copy and paste my reply to this question which I've given above:

The difference being that Adam and Eve were not predestined to fall. Every human born with a sinful disposition will sin, it is impossible not to without God's grace. In Mary's case if she had been born without that disposition to sin then she could abstain from sin without the need for grace.
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« Reply #178 on: January 09, 2009, 01:06:42 PM »

Hi Jonny,

I'm not sure that is correct because both Adam and Eve were 'untouched' by sin and yet 'fell'. Why would our BVM be any different? Having 'sanctifying grace' at conception doesn't mean that she was 'deified' at conception anymore than we would argue one who receives Baptism is 'deified'.

The difference being that Adam and Eve were not predestined to fall. Every human born with a sinful disposition will sin, it is impossible not to without God's grace. In Mary's case if she had been born without that disposition to sin then she could abstain from sin without the need for grace.

As for Baptism, the Roman Church sees it as forgiving original sin, however that again is only relevent if you see original sin as something that is transmitted, as if we are born with a black mark that needs washed away. If you don't see it that way then Baptism is us being Baptised into Christs death and Resurrection and washed clean of all our sins. Baptism opens us up to grace and starts the process of theosis but it does not complete it, it does not liberate us from or disposition to sin. If it did there would be no need for any other sacrament for total grace would have been imparted and we would be irredeemably saved.



We know that throughout the history of the Jewish people certain individuals found favor with God... Elijah springs to my mind. He was taken to heaven by chariot. This exception of particular favor by God doesn't have to dismantle the need for redemption through the Incarnation and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. With every rule there are the exceptions. Noah was one, Enoch, Elijah, Mose, etc. These exceptions doesn't undo the necessity of the real need for a redeemer.

However all of these people are saved by Grace, not by lack of sinful disposition. In a way they are saved by the grace of the timeless sacrifice of Christ.

Yes, pre-Incarnation/pre-resurrection I might add which is my problem with your presumption that Mary's Fullness of Grace somehow exempts the necessity of a Saviour. Exceptions to the rule do not make the rule null and void but only cause us to recognize God's Providence at work 'even when we were sinners'.

Quote

I appreciate your thoughts but I'm not convinced that your reasoning is sound. If you read the Liturgical Text of the Orthodox Divine Liturgy concerning the BVM you will note that even they believe she was taken up into heaven and set on the thrown of heaven. I think this is found in the Annunciation Feast texts but I could be wrong. I was reading them last night. I will be able to post them letter this evening when I return home.

True. The emphasis is slight different though. In the Orthodox Church the mystery is the empty tomb of Mary where as in the Roman Church it is the bodily Assumption of Mary. Also note the wording of the dogma of the Assumption in the Latin Church, it states that at the culmination of her earthly life Mary was assumed. It was deliberately left open so that it can be believed that she did not even die first.

This is not true. The Pope who declared the Dogma also declared her death in the same document. I'm not keen on this kind of forensic picking and choosing that modern Catholics do with these documents. We can only understand the Pope's wording 'at the culmination of her earthly life' through the lens of his own words in the same document 'i.e. she died'. To somehow deny this is a contradiction in proper interpretation.

Quote
Queen of Heaven is also subtly different. In the Roman understanding of it we apply the Queen mother theology from Davids court in the Old Testament, that the Son will always grant the Mothers request. This also can be taken as putting Mary above Christ and we can see that the idea is growing in suggested dogmas such as 'Coredemptrix and Medatrix of all Graces', a dogma that JPII was actually very keen on.

You should do yourself a favor and do a search on this issue because it's not that clear that Orthodox don't have their own ideas of Medatrix... of the BVM.

But please know I'm not here to 'defend' Catholic Dogmas. I'm here to honestly deal with them so that I can enter into Holy Orthodoxy with a clear conscience at peace with the faith of the Church, that is the Holy Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #179 on: January 09, 2009, 01:10:05 PM »

The "Immaculate conception" from a Catholic point of view (from my understanding, correct me if I am wrong) is that Mary was born without sin or the potential to sin.
Actually, we Catholics do NOT deny that Mary had the potential to sin. She absolutely had this potential because she had free will. Rather than removing the potential for sin, Mary was created in the same state as Adam and Eve who were quite capable of sin. The grace of the immaculat conception just preserved Mary from inheriting a fallen nature.
That all being said, Catholics do believe that Mary never sinned.


To copy and paste my reply to this question which I've given above:

The difference being that Adam and Eve were not predestined to fall. Every human born with a sinful disposition will sin, it is impossible not to without God's grace. In Mary's case if she had been born without that disposition to sin then she could abstain from sin without the need for grace.
That assumes that adam and eve didn't need grace either, but what is grace but God himself? If Grace is God himself, then to live without grace is to live without God. Yet, we were made for God. We were made for grace. Thus to be with out grace is a corruption of our souls. Thus, even with the immaculate conception, which is the presence of Sanctifying grace in here soul, Mary would have to choose to remain in that grace. I.E. sinlessness cannot happen without grace period.
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