When I wrote that short piece referred to in the first post of this thread, some years ago, I had not had the chance to read as widely as I have now. Having now studied the writings of St Severus of Antioch and St Timothy of Alexandria, as well as re-reading several times books like The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined, and of course non-OO works such as Three Monophysite Christologies by Cheshunt, I am absolutely convinced that there is no heresy at all in the Oriental Orthodox position.
I am from an Evangelical Protestant background, I became OO as a matter of choice and after thought and prayer. I wan't born into the OO and therefore find myself 'having' to defend it. But I do love the people I have been re-born into.
I wrote that article just to illustrate that there were legitimate questions being raised by the non-Chalcedonians.
Are you aware, for instance, that there were Chalcedonian monks in Constantinople keeping a feast of Nestorius? That Theodoret wrote to Leo of Rome claiming that HIS Christology (later declared heretical) had won the day at Chalcedon? That in the later years of St Cyril's life he wrote about how there were growing groups who pretended to accept the Ephesine settlement by anathematising Nestorius but who accepted the even more heretical opinions of Diodore and Theodore? That it took the Chalcedonians over 100 years to find the writings of Theodoret, Ibas and Theodore heretical, and that the Chalcedonians in the West refused to consider Ibas and Theodore heretics and considered that they had in fact been exonerated at Chalcedon?
These are not accusations of heresy against the EO today, but I have found that few EO are willing to consider the context of the Christological controversies and seek to understand why the Chalcedonian position was considered heretical and a re-hash of Nestorius. Chalcedon was rejected not least because there were many Nestorians and semi-Nestorians who were also Chalcedonians anc considered that it had defended their Christology. Even Nestorius said that the Tome of Leo described his teaching.
Justinian was wrong on many things but who'd want to be an Emperor. He ended his life as a Julianist professing the view that the humanity of Christ was incorruptible from the moment of conception and not the resurrection. He also persecuted the non-Chalcedonians violently. But he had a lovely wife, St Theodora.
Having read the actual words of the fathers of the Oriental Orthodox I just don't buy the historic criticism of them. St Severus, for instance, was condemned at a synod in Constantinople for being a Eutychian and a Nestorian?
I have read his works. He is most definitely neither. Indeed he wrote several works against Eutychians and many works against Nestorians.
I'm in the process of researching for a book about the Christology of St Severus. He says in one letter that 'from Cyril's words, as from a sacred anchor, I do not depart'. This is apparent in any of his works. He is constantly quoting St Cyril.
What is Eutychianism?
i. The teaching that the humanity of Christ is not consubtantial with us - Severus rejects it.
ii.. The teaching that the humanity was swallowed up by the Divinity - this was a lie propagated by Nestorius himself about St Cyril. - Severus rejects it. He teaches that if the humanity were not real and complete and did not remain real and complete then there could not be a union, there would only be a mixture.
iii. The teaching that the humanity was deficient in some way - Severus rejects this also and teaches that the humanity of Christ is consubstantial with us in every way except sin, and remains consubstantial with us.
I appreciate reading a great many excellent works by EO authors. But it seems that we OO still have much to do to communicate our Orthodox faith. Thank God for fathers such as John Romanides and V.C. Samuel, both of blessed memory, who have been able to constructively criticise their own communities and have sought to understand the other position.
I am convinced that the present EO and OO faith are the substantially the same, and that it is terminology which confuses us. I am convinced that the fathers of the OO are entirely Orthodox. Not from simple trust but from a lot of reading and study and comparison - never enough though.
It is a pity that the criticism of the Tome of Leo and Chalcedon became mixed with Imperial politics and that repeated efforts were made to crush such criticism by the force of arms and not argument. Now we do not need to take that path. Now is not the time for polemics and shouting past each other. Now we need to try and understand each other and base our judgements on what we really believe, not what polemics tells us the others must believe.
I am not a monophysite. I anathematise Eutychius and Nestorius. I confess that Christ is fully and perfectly divine and fully and perfectly human. I confess that the union of the Divinity and humanity of Christ has taken place without confusion or mixture, as without division or separation. I confess that Christ is one incarnate hypostasis of God the Word, as does St Severus.
I do pray earnestly that all faithful Orthodox might be given grace to hear what the others are actually saying and teaching and believing and will not set up straw men to knock down with polemical satisfaction.
Seeking your prayers