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Author Topic: St Isaac the Syrian was from the Assyrian Church of the East?  (Read 3237 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: May 20, 2008, 12:15:26 AM »

St Isaac the Syrian is universally recognized as a Saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church, even though he was canonically a member of the Assyrian Church of the East, and therefore never in Communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church.


Not too long ago I posted a thread in the OO section asking about the Assyrian Church of the East:


I was particularly interested in the current relations between OO, EO, and the ACE.  The overall response was that while the OO/EO situation looks very hopeful there is “nothing that could be considered hopeful” going on with either OO or EO and the ACE.

This statement about St Isaac the Syrian has caused me to reconsider not dismissing the ACE so easily.  Any feedback?

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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2008, 12:22:28 AM »

What do you mean by dismiss? like I assume that you believe the the OO and the EO church are essentially the same are you wondering whether it is the same deal with the ACE?
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2008, 12:58:29 AM »

Seraphim,

As I stated in the thread you linked to, there are still Christological differences between the OO's and the Church of the East that don't presently exist between the OO's and the EO's.  Therefore, union between us and the EO's is more likely than between us and the Church of the East.

I never read St. Isaac's works, but evidently his writings were mystical and not Christological.  Therefore, there was nothing he wrote which was offensive to either the OO or EO Churches.  I guess that is why he can be a saint in our Churches, even though he came from the Church of the East.  This is discussed a little bit here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15328.0.html
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2008, 01:09:46 AM »

The quote from Ozgeorge in the original post came from reply #4, in this thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15898.0.html
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2008, 10:41:19 AM »

What do you mean by dismiss? like I assume that you believe the the OO and the EO church are essentially the same are you wondering whether it is the same deal with the ACE?


Yep, you got it.  Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2008, 10:43:32 AM »

Seraphim,

As I stated in the thread you linked to, there are still Christological differences between the OO's and the Church of the East that don't presently exist between the OO's and the EO's.  Therefore, union between us and the EO's is more likely than between us and the Church of the East.

I never read St. Isaac's works, but evidently his writings were mystical and not Christological.  Therefore, there was nothing he wrote which was offensive to either the OO or EO Churches.  I guess that is why he can be a saint in our Churches, even though he came from the Church of the East.  This is discussed a little bit here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15328.0.html


Thanks, Salpy, both for your words here and the link to the other thread.  Both were very helpful.  Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2009, 03:47:54 AM »

We should  consider Isaac the Syrian a non-orthodox, a non saintly men.
Sure, his writings are beautiful, but he was not an orthodox. His church was not in communion with us. Even now is not. The teachings of his church are regard as an heresy.
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2009, 03:59:33 AM »

We should  consider Isaac the Syrian a non-orthodox, a non saintly men.
Sure, his writings are beautiful, but he was not an orthodox. His church was not in communion with us. Even now is not. The teachings of his church are regard as an heresy.

This situation is an exception to the rule, and shows that not everything has to be "by the book."  The Church has made its decision on this matter, and you are obliged to respect that decision.  You are free to have your opinion, but I doubt it will catch on any more than the haters of Blessed Augustine.  You do not have to ask for his help in this life if it bothers you, but I need all the help I can get.

St. Isaac the Syrian, pray to God for us!

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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2009, 11:13:07 AM »

We should  consider Isaac the Syrian a non-orthodox, a non saintly men.
Sure, his writings are beautiful, but he was not an orthodox. His church was not in communion with us. Even now is not. The teachings of his church are regard as an heresy.

What? St. Isaac has been regarded as a Saint by the entire Orthodox Church (both EO and OO) for centuries. By reading his writings, one can clearly see that he was directed by the Holy Spirit and he was a very holy man. Who are you to say he was not a holy man even though the entire Orthodox Church regards him as a Saint?
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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2009, 11:40:48 AM »

Apparently the new edition of St Isaac's homilies, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, has an appendix explaining the ecclesiastical situation in the East and the relationship between the Eastern Syrian/Persian Church (Patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon) and the other patriarchates. I've not read it myself, but I'm relating what I heard from a friend who has. Obviously I suggest getting your own copy and reading it.
It seems that although Nestorianism, or the peculiar Eastern Syrian Christology that was influenced by Nestorianism, was spreading among the bishops in Persia during St Isaac's time, still it hadn't yet become the official position of the whole hierarchy. There were still communications between Constantinople and the East that affirmed communion and common confession of faith. So St Isaac is held to have lived and died in communion with the Catholic Orthodox Church and may be venerated as a saint.
St Isaac has unfortunately been held up as an example in favor of ecumenism (e.g. by Hilarion of Vienna) because of this lack of clarity over the position of the Persian Church at the time. It's important for people to guard themselves against this temptation.
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2009, 06:51:51 PM »

It seems that although Nestorianism, or the peculiar Eastern Syrian Christology that was influenced by Nestorianism, was spreading among the bishops in Persia during St Isaac's time, still it hadn't yet become the official position of the whole hierarchy. There were still communications between Constantinople and the East that affirmed communion and common confession of faith. So St Isaac is held to have lived and died in communion with the Catholic Orthodox Church and may be venerated as a saint.

That's an interesting explanation.  I am a bit surprised by it, though.  From what I understood, the Persian (Assyrian) Church, unlike the Armenian Church, was not split between the two empires, but was rather pretty much contained within the borders of the Persian Empire.  Therefore I understood that their hierarchy was not so fragmented.  They were, in any event, pretty unified in their rejection of the Third Council and their condemnation of St. Cyril. 

I do know that at the beginning of the seventh century, the emperor maurice put the EO  Church back into communion with the Persian Church.  Since St. Isaac lived during the seventh century, I always wondered if that was perhaps what made it possible for him to make it onto the EO calendar, as opposed to the OO where he is venerated but not officially on the calendar.  I've never been able to find out how long that union lasted.  I know it was not brought about by the Assyrians accepting the Third Council, but rather they submitted a confession of faith, which the emperor handed to his Patriarch for approval.  I think the emperor wanted the union for political reasons and he was not the kind of person who liked to hear the word "no."   Smiley

In any event, if the union lasted for more than a couple of decades, that may explain St. Isaac being on your calendar.  I may get the book by HTM for myself, if it is not too expensive.  I wasn't even aware of its publication.  They have some pretty good stuff over there.  Who knows, maybe what they say will help solve this question.
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« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2009, 07:13:45 PM »

Apparently the new edition of St Isaac's homilies, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, has an appendix explaining the ecclesiastical situation in the East and the relationship between the Eastern Syrian/Persian Church (Patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon) and the other patriarchates. I've not read it myself, but I'm relating what I heard from a friend who has. Obviously I suggest getting your own copy and reading it.
It seems that although Nestorianism, or the peculiar Eastern Syrian Christology that was influenced by Nestorianism, was spreading among the bishops in Persia during St Isaac's time, still it hadn't yet become the official position of the whole hierarchy. There were still communications between Constantinople and the East that affirmed communion and common confession of faith. So St Isaac is held to have lived and died in communion with the Catholic Orthodox Church and may be venerated as a saint.
St Isaac has unfortunately been held up as an example in favor of ecumenism (e.g. by Hilarion of Vienna) because of this lack of clarity over the position of the Persian Church at the time. It's important for people to guard themselves against this temptation.

I'll have to disagree with this explanation. The saint was 'discovered' when his writings were brought to the west and became popular especially amongst the monks of Mar Sabba Monastery , they were regarded as divinely inspired.  St Isaac's writing espouses the kind of "restoration of all things" as taught by Theodore of Mopuestia. Universalism of whatever kind is condemned in Orthodoxy but what is recognized is the transcendant Love of God over all, which has made his homilies spiritual classics.
The explanation above is simply needed to legitimize the modern ecclesiology of some old calendar believers, which actually is a moot point since the ROCOR also glorified the Lutheran and RC servants of the royal family in 1981 who were in no way orthodox (and not recognized by the so-called 'world orthodoxy' but recognized by those traditionalists with the exception of the matthewites).
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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2009, 08:07:31 PM »

Apparently the new edition of St Isaac's homilies, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, has an appendix explaining the ecclesiastical situation in the East and the relationship between the Eastern Syrian/Persian Church (Patriarchate of Seleucia-Ctesiphon) and the other patriarchates. I've not read it myself, but I'm relating what I heard from a friend who has. Obviously I suggest getting your own copy and reading it.
It seems that although Nestorianism, or the peculiar Eastern Syrian Christology that was influenced by Nestorianism, was spreading among the bishops in Persia during St Isaac's time, still it hadn't yet become the official position of the whole hierarchy. There were still communications between Constantinople and the East that affirmed communion and common confession of faith. So St Isaac is held to have lived and died in communion with the Catholic Orthodox Church and may be venerated as a saint.
St Isaac has unfortunately been held up as an example in favor of ecumenism (e.g. by Hilarion of Vienna) because of this lack of clarity over the position of the Persian Church at the time. It's important for people to guard themselves against this temptation.
I'll have to disagree with this explanation. The saint was 'discovered' when his writings were brought to the west and became popular especially amongst the monks of Mar Sabba Monastery , they were regarded as divinely inspired.  St Isaac's writing espouses the kind of "restoration of all things" as taught by Theodore of Mopuestia. Universalism of whatever kind is condemned in Orthodoxy but what is recognized is the transcendant Love of God over all, which has made his homilies spiritual classics.
The explanation above is simply needed to legitimize the modern ecclesiology of some old calendar believers, which actually is a moot point since the ROCOR also glorified the Lutheran and RC servants of the royal family in 1981 who were in no way orthodox (and not recognized by the so-called 'world orthodoxy' but recognized by those traditionalists with the exception of the matthewites).
Well sometimes you find martyrs who were not actually baptized, but who received 'baptism by blood' through confessing Christ just before death. I imagine these are such cases (as far as I know, there was one Catholic and one Lutheran among those canonized).
My point about the ecumenism was simply that because the position of St Isaac's church was unclear (since eventually it fell out of communion), our veneration of him is being used as a reason to push for union with churches whose position is in fact very clearly not Orthodox. I think you'd have to agree this is not appropriate.
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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2009, 08:38:33 PM »

You are correct that such a thing should not be used for ecumenism. What i disagree is that the positions of the Assyrian church was not known in the empire at the time of St Isaac, and thus they were One and the same with our church.

There indeed is a baptism by blood, but those non-orthodox pronounced saints along with the royal family cannot be said to have been killed because of their faith in Christ (or for Orthodoxy), the bolsheviks would of even assasinated the pet dog. If we even disregard their heterodox baptism as an empty meaningless ritual, it still isnt baptism by blood, if anything Alex Trupp and Catherine Shneider had a low opinion of Orthodoxy since they had to live through the events and influence of the heretic Rasputin over the Romanovs.
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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2009, 09:11:37 PM »

There indeed is a baptism by blood, but those non-orthodox pronounced saints along with the royal family cannot be said to have been killed because of their faith in Christ (or for Orthodoxy), the bolsheviks would of even assasinated the pet dog. If we even disregard their heterodox baptism as an empty meaningless ritual, it still isnt baptism by blood, if anything Alex Trupp and Catherine Shneider had a low opinion of Orthodoxy since they had to live through the events and influence of the heretic Rasputin over the Romanovs.

Buzu,
Let's keep this on topic, please.  I think there was another thread about those killed with the Russian Royal Family.  You can do a search and resurrect the old thread, or start a new one.  I don't want to have to split off a tangent from this thread.
Thanks,
Salpy
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2009, 09:17:05 PM »

I think this is the thread I was thinking about regarding those killed with the Russian Royal Family:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15898.0.html

Further discussion of the topic can be held there.
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