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Author Topic: The Assyrian Church of the East Writings?  (Read 15209 times) Average Rating: 0
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deusveritasest
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« Reply #45 on: August 07, 2009, 04:31:29 AM »

What I want to know is if the ACE believes that the parsopa of Christ existed before the Incarnation or if it is merely a product of the the Word and Man?
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« Reply #46 on: August 07, 2009, 02:10:19 PM »

http://www.nestorian.org/the_lynching_of__nestorius.html

This explains the Assyrian view of the debate between St. Cyril and Nestorius. They seem to attribute a lot to politics...I'd like to hear what you think.
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« Reply #47 on: August 07, 2009, 03:38:00 PM »

There was definitely politics.  However, to say that Nestorius' condemnation was due purely to politics would be incorrect.  Even apart from St. Cyril, Nestorius' Chrstology (the Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia) had been criticized.  The Armenian catholicos St. Sahag even before the Third Council recognized the problems with Theodore's system and wrote about it.  (I have no idea if what he wrote has been translated into English.  I wish I could find it.)

Basically, we believe that St. Cyril was Orthodox, and Nestorius was a heretic.  
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« Reply #48 on: August 07, 2009, 04:53:03 PM »

If one simply compares to the 12 anathemas of Cyril against Nestorius to the 12 responses prepared seemingly by Theodoret, one can see quite clearly the irreconcilable nature of these two systems of thought.
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« Reply #49 on: August 08, 2009, 01:25:40 AM »

Can someone post the Twelve Anathemas of Cyril. I have the ones ny Nestorius against Cyril
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« Reply #50 on: August 08, 2009, 01:37:25 AM »

http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/patristictexts/135-cyril-of-alexandria-third-epistle-to-nestorius-including-the-twelve-anathemas

The anathemas are part way down the page.
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« Reply #51 on: August 08, 2009, 03:07:59 AM »


Can someone post the Twelve Anathemas of Cyril. I have the ones ny Nestorius against Cyril

You can find them in pretty much any account of the acts of the Council of Ephesus of 431.
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« Reply #52 on: August 08, 2009, 03:07:00 PM »

Thanks, Salpy!
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« Reply #53 on: August 08, 2009, 03:39:03 PM »

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

After reading this post by Fr. Anastasios (reply #5), I have come to the conclusion that the teachings of Nestorius are indeed more like the heresy than I thought.

As far as I can tell, his Christology can be likened to Christ the Man being a Temple, and Christ the Word being the Ark within. The Temple is only holy insofar as the Ark dwells within.
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« Reply #54 on: August 08, 2009, 05:09:41 PM »


As far as I can tell, his Christology can be likened to Christ the Man being a Temple, and Christ the Word being the Ark within. The Temple is only holy insofar as the Ark dwells within.

Ummm....

You realize that Christ the Man should not be a different individual from the Word in the first place, right?
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« Reply #55 on: August 08, 2009, 05:20:35 PM »

Yes, of course. I was saying that NESTORIUS' theology could be explained this way.

I am not Nestorian. I believe Christ is ONE. The Word become flesh, human and Divine, but one Hypostasis.
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« Reply #56 on: August 08, 2009, 11:31:28 PM »


Yes, of course. I was saying that NESTORIUS' theology could be explained this way.

I am not Nestorian. I believe Christ is ONE. The Word become flesh, human and Divine, but one Hypostasis.

Cool.
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« Reply #57 on: August 13, 2009, 03:37:44 AM »

Quote
What I want to know is if the ACE believes that the parsopa of Christ existed before the Incarnation or if it is merely a product of the the Word and Man?

I'm back for one post.  I'm in the process of looking for a teaching position at some university or high school, so I will be very busy and generally unavailable at posting much until such time as I am settled down and established in my early career.

Anyways, here is a response to deusveritasest's question:

The Parsopa of Christ is the Union of the Son/Word and Man (the particular human body and human soul that was created and assumed at conception).  When speaking in Aramaic, the term Parsopa is not used in the Holy Trinity, rather, the Son/Word pre-existed from all eternity as the Second Qnoma of the Holy Trinity.  Qnoma is the term that is used to individuate or differentiate the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Holy Trinity.

God bless,

Rony
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« Reply #58 on: August 13, 2009, 06:40:45 PM »

So then the humanity is in no way identified as being that of a personhood or self that existed before the Incarnation?
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« Reply #59 on: August 21, 2009, 11:55:52 PM »

Quote
So then the humanity is in no way identified as being that of a personhood or self that existed before the Incarnation?

deusveritasest,

If I'm understanding the question correctly, are you basically asking if the Son was a Person prior to the Incarnation, and that the Humanity belonged to this Person?

The way I would answer is that He who assumed the particular human body and human soul is the Son who existed prior to the Incarnation.  The Humanity belongs to the Son.  The Son assumed and united to Himself the human body and soul.  In English, it is ok to say that the Son is a Person prior to the Incarnation, as the Common Christological Declaration does so:

"The Word of God, second Person of the Holy Trinity, became incarnate by the power of the Holy Spirit in assuming from the holy Virgin Mary a body animated by a rational soul, with which he was indissolubly united from the moment of his conception."

It is ok in English to do this (Second Person of the Holy Trinity) because there is no English term directly equivalent to Qnoma (as this term is understood in the Church of the East), and so this is the best that can be done in English for the Trinity.  In Aramaic, however, which is much more theologically important for us as Aramaic Christians, we do not use the specific Aramaic term of Parsopa in the Trinity, because for us Parsopa exists in the Material realm.  We do not say three Parsope, because the Father and the Holy Spirit were not incarnated in the Material realm and did not assume Matter, but the Son did.  The Son assumed Matter, a Human Body, that was fashioned from the Virgin Mary, a Body that was animated by a rational Human Soul, and was united to Him.  The Son, in the incarnation, has entered the Material realm, and so this is how we understand Parsopa, the Union of the Son and Man.

God bless,

Rony
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« Reply #60 on: August 22, 2009, 12:39:23 AM »

I believe Christ is ONE.

How many 'natures' would you say that He has?
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« Reply #61 on: August 28, 2009, 08:07:17 PM »

I believe Christ is ONE.

How many 'natures' would you say that He has?

Do we have to open up that old can of worms?

Given the seeming variation as to what we mean by "nature", is it even helpful to attempt to have a conversation about how many natures Christ has?

Why not discuss how many ousia Christ has, for instance?
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« Reply #62 on: August 28, 2009, 08:20:54 PM »

Quote
So then the humanity is in no way identified as being that of a personhood or self that existed before the Incarnation?

deusveritasest,

If I'm understanding the question correctly, are you basically asking if the Son was a Person prior to the Incarnation, and that the Humanity belonged to this Person?

The way I would answer is that He who assumed the particular human body and human soul is the Son who existed prior to the Incarnation.  The Humanity belongs to the Son.  The Son assumed and united to Himself the human body and soul.  In English, it is ok to say that the Son is a Person prior to the Incarnation, as the Common Christological Declaration does so:

"The Word of God, second Person of the Holy Trinity, became incarnate by the power of the Holy Spirit in assuming from the holy Virgin Mary a body animated by a rational soul, with which he was indissolubly united from the moment of his conception."

It is ok in English to do this (Second Person of the Holy Trinity) because there is no English term directly equivalent to Qnoma (as this term is understood in the Church of the East), and so this is the best that can be done in English for the Trinity.  In Aramaic, however, which is much more theologically important for us as Aramaic Christians, we do not use the specific Aramaic term of Parsopa in the Trinity, because for us Parsopa exists in the Material realm.  We do not say three Parsope, because the Father and the Holy Spirit were not incarnated in the Material realm and did not assume Matter, but the Son did.  The Son assumed Matter, a Human Body, that was fashioned from the Virgin Mary, a Body that was animated by a rational Human Soul, and was united to Him.  The Son, in the incarnation, has entered the Material realm, and so this is how we understand Parsopa, the Union of the Son and Man.

God bless,

Rony

OK. Well the way that you phrase it in English sounds orthodox. But I want to know more about the Syriac. Would a Syriac Christian ever say that the eternal Qnoma of the Word assumed a humany body and soul?
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« Reply #63 on: September 07, 2009, 06:24:56 AM »

OK. Well the way that you phrase it in English sounds orthodox. But I want to know more about the Syriac. Would a Syriac Christian ever say that the eternal Qnoma of the Word assumed a humany body and soul?

Well that is what Rony said, as I understand it:

The way I would answer is that He who assumed the particular human body and human soul is the Son who existed prior to the Incarnation.  The Humanity belongs to the Son.  The Son assumed and united to Himself the human body and soul.

So yes they do say that the eternal Qnuma of the Word assumed a human body and soul. But the question is what do you mean by assumed? And how does it compare to their understanding of assumed? St. John wrote that the Word (Logos/Miltha) "became flesh", how do you understand this statement? And how do they? Is their understanding different? If so, why? What factors contribute to the difference?

Also you guys may or may not know but the ACE Peshitta text is not identical to the SOC version. And I don't just mean the exclusion of the Pericope Adulterae and 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude & Revelation. There are two notable verses in the ACE text which read very differently to those in the SOC text and other NT texts:



Acts 20:28

...to shepherd the church of the Lord and God which he purchased with his own blood. (Byzantine Majority Text, World English Bible)

...to rule the Church of God, which he has purchased by his own blood. (Latin Vulgate, Catholic Public Domain Version)

...that ye feed the church of God, which he hath acquired by his blood. (SOC Peshitta, James Murdock)

...to pasture the church of the Meshiha which he hath purchased with his blood. (ACE Peshitta, John Wesley Etheridge)



Hebrews 2:9

...that by the grace of God he should taste of death for everyone. (Byzantine Majority Text, World English Bible)

...in order that, by the grace of God, he might taste death for all. (Latin Vulgate, Catholic Public Domain Version)

...for God himself, in his grace, tasted death for all men. (SOC Peshitta, James Murdock)

...for he, apart from God, tasted death for every man. (ACE Peshitta, Andrew Gabriel Roth)



Make of it what you will, I guess.


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« Reply #64 on: September 07, 2009, 08:34:27 AM »

Another thing that should be noted. The SOC understanding of Qnuma (Qnomo) differs from the ACE understanding, as Professor Sebastian Brock explained during the 1994 Pro-Oriente dialogues:

Quote from: Professor Sebastian Brock
"First of all (and this goes without saying), we need to try to understand what writers actually meant by the technical terms they use, rather than rely on what their opponents claimed they meant.....in this context, both the Syriac (Aramaic) terminology, and the understanding of that terminology, in the Church of the East can be described as both archaic and conservative."

"I conclude by looking at two sets of specific example....both are cases where the language used by the Church of the East could best be described as archaic.....we are dealing with imagery which was once widespread and which is still preserved in the Church of the East after it had been for the most part dropped by everyone else in the course of the fifth century controversies."

"It is essentially this (the archaic) understanding of kyana that is retained in the Church of the East.....by contrast, later fifth- and sixth-century Syrian Orthodox writers understand kyana as virtually a synonym with hypostasis.....significantly, in Syriac Orthodox translations of the later fifth and of the sixth century, the older rendering...is replaced by various other translations, thus removing the (now archaic) association of kyana with ousia."

"At the outset I would suggest that....it is important to retain the Syriac term (Qnoma), and not retrovert it into hypostasis (let alone translate it as "person", as has occasionally been done)."

"In many cases...the tradition of the Church of the East will be found to have preserved images and metaphors of the incarnation which were once widely current, but which writers in other Syriac traditions had subsequently dropped, either on grounds of their perceived inadequacy, or because they were thought to lend support to the position of their theological opponents."

"The 4th century texts seem to understand kyana very much with ousia....This meaning was kept unchanged in the East. In the 6th and 7th centuries however the Syrian Orthodox moved with the times and their understanding came close to the Western/Greek development of hypostasis/prosopon. This gave rise to most of the problems."

"The Church of the East in the Sasanian Persian Empire up to the Sixth Century and it's absence from the Councils in the Roman Empire", by Prof. Sebastian Brock, Oxford University, June 25th, 1994, Vienna Austria - presented at the First Syriac Dialogue, hosted by Pro Oriente. ISBN: 3-901188-05-3

Quote from: http://www.peshitta.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=659&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=Qnoma+definition
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« Reply #65 on: September 07, 2009, 08:19:26 PM »

If they admit that the eternal qnome of the Word assumed body and soul as His own then why do they speak two qnome, one divine and another human, after the union rather than one theanthropic qnome like the Syriac Orthodox?
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« Reply #66 on: September 08, 2009, 02:15:47 PM »

If they admit that the eternal qnome of the Word assumed body and soul as His own then why do they speak two qnome, one divine and another human, after the union rather than one theanthropic qnome like the Syriac Orthodox?

Shalom deusveritasest.

For the record, I can't call myself an expert on the ACE's Christology but I can try my best to explain what I know about it. Let's start with the ACE's official Christological statement, composed, as a hymn of praise, by Mar Babai the Great:

One is Christ the Son of God,
Worshiped by all in two kyana (natures);
In His divinity begotten of the Father,
Without beginning before all time;
In His humanity born of Mary,
In the fullness of time, in a body united;
Neither His divinity is of the kyana (nature) of the mother,
Nor His humanity of the kyana (nature) of the Father;
The kayane (natures) are preserved in their qnume*,
In one parsopa (person) of one Sonship.
And as the Godhead is three qnume in one kayana (nature),
Likewise the Sonship of the Son is in two kayane (natures), one parsopa (person).
So the Holy Church has taught.
   
   
*qnuma (plural qnume) is an Aramaic word with no direct cognate in English or any other language. The very concept of qnuma is unique to the Aramaic language alone.

Leaving aside qnuma for a moment, what is your opinion on the ACE's Christology?


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« Reply #67 on: September 08, 2009, 02:34:36 PM »

I say that this hymn is totally and fully Orthodox. Another witness of how our churches broke away by error, and not by questions of faith.

In Christ,  Alex

PS: Thanks for it, Nazarene, it's a wonderful christological statement!
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« Reply #68 on: September 08, 2009, 02:39:32 PM »

I must add that evidently the Assyrians never correctly understood the extent of Nestorius' errors (and most of them still don't), so they error is an incomprehension. It is evident from this hymn that they consider Jesus as two natures united in one person, the one Christ we worship as Son of God in the flesh.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #69 on: September 08, 2009, 05:01:00 PM »

The trouble is that the hymn can be understood in an entirely heretical and Theodorean manner.

Theodore, Theodoret and Ibas could all agree with these sentiments.

That is the problem. I am still not any clearer in my real understanding of the present ACE position.

Father Peter
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« Reply #70 on: September 08, 2009, 05:23:07 PM »

I say that this hymn is totally and fully Orthodox. Another witness of how our churches broke away by error, and not by questions of faith.

By "error" I assume you mean misunderstanding? In which case yes I totally agree. When you are dealing with two unrelated languages (Aramaic & Greek) coupled with completely different concepts and imagery, misunderstandings are inevitable. Unless one takes the approach Professor Sebastein Brock took - to not treat Aramaic like Greek.

I must add that evidently the Assyrians never correctly understood the extent of Nestorius' errors (and most of them still don't), so they error is an incomprehension. It is evident from this hymn that they consider Jesus as two natures united in one person, the one Christ we worship as Son of God in the flesh.

In Christ,   Alex

To be honest, I'm new to the history of the Christological contraversies, I don't consider myself qualified to comment on the writings of Nestorius, Cyril, or the Greek Fathers, so I'll leave that for others here who are. What I do know is what my Assyrian friends have told me:

1. They do not believe in "2 persons in Jesus Christ" and never have.
2. They do not consider themselves "Nestorian" and resent being labled Nestorian, for among other reasons, they claim that their church pre-dates Nestorius.
3. Under no circumstances is the Aramaic word qnuma ever to be translated or even understood as "person", no execptions.
4. The very concept of "person" does not even exist in ancient Aramaic, this is why the Aramaic word parsopa is borrowed from the Greek word prosopon. Remember that Prof. Brock stated that the ACE has retained the archaic terminology and imagery, while the SOC did not. And BTW the concept of "person" doesn't exist in ancient Hebrew either.

And so I would like to, at least for the moment, concentrate on the ACE Christological belief itself, by first analysizing it by means of their language. I'll be more than happy to try to explain qnuma, as this seems to be at the center of the contraversy, but I can't guarentee that I'll be able to do a better job than Rony. I will say this much, not only is it extremely difficult to explain in English (as the concept doesn't exist in English!), Assyrians themselves often struggle to explain it even in their own language:

Quote from: Paul Younan
Prof. Brock is as white as you can get. And he isn't a member of my church, either. But he has a perfect understanding of this concept - more so, I dare say, than most of the priests in the Church of the East whose sermons on this topic I have listened to in frustration.

Paul Younan is a Shamasha (Deacon) in the ACE who runs the website www.peshitta.org. He's an Assyrian who speaks this language everyday and is well versed in the Peshitta. This quote is in response to a Prostestant Minister, who thought he knew better, and evidently holds "Eutychian" views of the Incarnation. The quote is from a thread of Mr. Younan's discussion forum, and I highly recommend that everyone who wants an understanding of qnuma reads the entire thread: http://www.peshitta.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=659&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=Qnoma+definition.

The trouble is that the hymn can be understood in an entirely heretical and Theodorean manner.

Theodore, Theodoret and Ibas could all agree with these sentiments.

That is the problem. I am still not any clearer in my real understanding of the present ACE position.

Father Peter

Read the thread from peshitta.org and let me know what you think. We can proceed from there.
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« Reply #71 on: September 08, 2009, 08:22:58 PM »

To me, arguing over the different words has never been useful, as different traditions use the words differently.  What is useful is seeing what a Church actually believes.  One gets a better idea as to what a Church really believes by seeing what a Church is willing to say about the Incarnate Word of God.

Both the OO's and EO's will say that One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh.  The Church of the East won't say that.  I think they prefer to say that One of the Trinity became man, and that the man suffered.  There is the same issue with calling the Virgin Mary "Mother of God."  The OO's and EO's have no problem with saying that the Word of God was born of the Virgin Mary, and that she is therefore truly the Mother of God.  The Church of the East prefers (if I understand them correctly) to say that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, and that she is the Mother of Christ.

It may sound like a small difference in language, but it is more than that.  The issue comes down to how much separation we believe there is between Christ's divinity and humanity.  Thus even though our Churches all use language differently, it can be said that the OO's and EO's believe basically the same thing about Christ, but the Church of the East is different.
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« Reply #72 on: September 08, 2009, 08:29:33 PM »

I must add that evidently the Assyrians never correctly understood the extent of Nestorius' errors (and most of them still don't),

I don't think you give the Assyrians enough credit.  I think they will tell you they understand him better than we do, as he is a saint in their Church.  Their Church's Christology is Theodorean.  Nestorius was a Theodorean.  Babai the Great relied on the writings of Theodore in formulating his Christology.  Their language today may be more subtle than it was during the time of Nestorius, but their Christology is the same.
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« Reply #73 on: September 08, 2009, 08:35:21 PM »

The intriguing thing about it all is that Arabic-speaking Christians of whatever faction use the Arabic cognate of qnoma/qnomo to refer to hypostasis, Arabic Uqnoum: as we say, Ilaahun waahidun fee thalaathati aqaaneem, 'one God in three Hypostases'.  Our word for person, shakhs, is distinct from this and used when referring to the two natures ('nature' being tabee`a), and so we say tabee`atayn fee shakhsis-Say'yid il-Maseeh, 'two natures in the Person of the Master Christ'.  The Arabic cognate of kyaana could be kaa'in, kayaan, kaynouna, etc., generally conveying being, entity, or one's self (i.e. nature in Aramaic?) as the general meaning.  We would speak of one Kaa'in (being) fee thalaathati aqaneem, in three Hypostases, and of tabee`atayn, two natures, fee shakhsil-Maseeh, in the Person of Christ.
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« Reply #74 on: September 08, 2009, 11:15:22 PM »


Leaving aside qnuma for a moment, what is your opinion on the ACE's Christology?

I don't really have a solid judgment one way or another. But a lot of what I hear about the Christology of the ACE sounds like it has not been properly protected from the Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia. It seems like they have a highly different understanding of what a person or self is in general. For example, one expert of Syriac claimed that a differentiation in qnome isn't even enough to establish a differentiation in person. In both Greek and English this is not understood to be the same case. The three hypostases of the Trinity are understood to each be their own prosopon. In English, if we think of each of the three as individuated instances of the one divinity, we also understand each of these individuations to be individually personal. As such, I have often seen ACE Syriac speakers speak of three qnome in the Trinity, but not willing to admit that there are three parsopa, using that term only in reference to the oneness of Jesus Christ. This is my major problem with the way the ACE phrases their Christology, is that there is seemingly no identification of the Man Jesus with God the Word. There is no level at which they are one. They are two distinct kyana and two distinct qnome, only sharing on parsopa, leaving no identification. It seems the EO and OO are capable of doing this when speaking of one theanthropic hypostasis. But I'm left not seeing any solid evidence that they do not adhere to the Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia. Perhaps if they were willing to admit that each of the three qnome of the Trinity possesses its own parsopa, and that the parsopa of Christ is the same parsopa as that eternally possessed by the qnome of the Word I would be more willing to consider that maybe they are orthodox.
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« Reply #75 on: September 09, 2009, 12:11:24 AM »

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So then the humanity is in no way identified as being that of a personhood or self that existed before the Incarnation?

deusveritasest,

It is ok in English to do this (Second Person of the Holy Trinity) because there is no English term directly equivalent to Qnoma (as this term is understood in the Church of the East), and so this is the best that can be done in English for the Trinity.  In Aramaic, however, which is much more theologically important for us as Aramaic Christians, we do not use the specific Aramaic term of Parsopa in the Trinity, because for us Parsopa exists in the Material realm.  We do not say three Parsope, because the Father and the Holy Spirit were not incarnated in the Material realm and did not assume Matter, but the Son did.  The Son assumed Matter, a Human Body, that was fashioned from the Virgin Mary, a Body that was animated by a rational Human Soul, and was united to Him.  The Son, in the incarnation, has entered the Material realm, and so this is how we understand Parsopa, the Union of the Son and Man.

God bless,

Rony

Qnuma, to me, is similar to the Arabic word "Shaqes".

Anyway, as a layperson and a Syriac Christian I would urge all (esp. our our clergy who are the leaders of their respective congregations) to find common ground and ways to unite as opposed to finding differences.  I can tell you that lay people mostly don't understand the subtlety of the language that caused the Schism between the Syriac Churches (and orthodoxy as well).  As evidenced here, even some very theologically thoughtful people find it difficult to grasp.  Chalcedon was a very destructive event for the Syriac church as it caused its division into 3 branches. 
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« Reply #76 on: September 09, 2009, 03:29:39 PM »

To me, arguing over the different words has never been useful, as different traditions use the words differently.

But the question is why are the words understood differently, most Assyrians I know would like the other churches to take this into consideration. It is possible to do this without arguing, but it requires what Prof. Brock did, putting aside all pre-conceived notions and listening to the ACE explain their beliefs in the own words and their own terminology, while continually asking "what do you mean/please clarify?" and so on.

What is useful is seeing what a Church actually believes.  One gets a better idea as to what a Church really believes by seeing what a Church is willing to say about the Incarnate Word of God.

I agree but it doesn't explain why they believe what they state, it doesn't tell us what factors contributed to their conclusions. Nestorius and Theodore's writings fit in somewhere for sure, but does that necessarily mean that their writings made the greatest contribution? From the impression I get from my friends, no, when they explain their Christological beliefs to me, they don't quote Nestorius or Theodore, they quote the Peshitta.

Both the OO's and EO's will say that One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh.  The Church of the East won't say that.  I think they prefer to say that One of the Trinity became man, and that the man suffered.  There is the same issue with calling the Virgin Mary "Mother of God."  The OO's and EO's have no problem with saying that the Word of God was born of the Virgin Mary, and that she is therefore truly the Mother of God.  The Church of the East prefers (if I understand them correctly) to say that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, and that she is the Mother of Christ.

Yes, but there is much more to this, the issue runs deep into their cultural mindset, which is very different from the Greek cultural mindset, but is very similar to the Jewish cultural mindset. The imagery associated with divinity and humanity in ancient Hebraic thought is very different to those which are associated in Greek thought. I'm not a qualified theologian or a professor of linguistics, but from what I have learnt about the ACE's theology concerning the Godhead and the Incarnation, I've seen that it has very little in common with Greek philosophy but tons in common with Jewish mystism.

It may sound like a small difference in language, but it is more than that. The issue comes down to how much separation we believe there is between Christ's divinity and humanity.  Thus even though our Churches all use language differently, it can be said that the OO's and EO's believe basically the same thing about Christ, but the Church of the East is different.

Yes the Church of the East is different, but does different always mean wrong, or does different sometimes just mean different? I don't think the issue is separation but rather distinction. Yes the Assyrians go to great lengths to distinguish between what's human and what is divine, and everything associated with those two concepts. But what you may not know is that this same mentality of distinguishing humanity and divinty which borders on, and often crosses over into, paranoia, is found among Jews as well. This leads me to believe that the majority of the early Christians east of the Eurphrates were converts from Judaism. And there's a book about this too, which is worth a read: Nestorians or the Lost Tribes?

I must add that evidently the Assyrians never correctly understood the extent of Nestorius' errors (and most of them still don't),

I don't think you give the Assyrians enough credit.  I think they will tell you they understand him better than we do, as he is a saint in their Church.  Their Church's Christology is Theodorean.  Nestorius was a Theodorean.  Babai the Great relied on the writings of Theodore in formulating his Christology.  Their language today may be more subtle than it was during the time of Nestorius, but their Christology is the same.

Their theological terminology today is the same as it was even before Nestorius, Prof. Brock has made it clear that it was the SOC who changed their terminology while the ACE never changed theirs.


Leaving aside qnuma for a moment, what is your opinion on the ACE's Christology?

I don't really have a solid judgment one way or another. But a lot of what I hear about the Christology of the ACE sounds like it has not been properly protected from the Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia.

I haven't studied Theodore or Nestorius' writings in depth, I will but I want deal with the ACE's actual Aramaic terminology first, only then (I think) will I be able to determine why the ACE regards their writings as Orthodox. Misunderstanding on their part perhaps? I don't know, I'll deal with it when I get there.

It seems like they have a highly different understanding of what a person or self is in general.

Yes indeed they do.

For example, one expert of Syriac claimed that a differentiation in qnome isn't even enough to establish a differentiation in person.

I'm not sure if I'm understanding this. Do you have a quote handy or can you elaborate?

In both Greek and English this is not understood to be the same case. The three hypostases of the Trinity are understood to each be their own prosopon. In English, if we think of each of the three as individuated instances of the one divinity, we also understand each of these individuations to be individually personal. As such, I have often seen ACE Syriac speakers speak of three qnome in the Trinity, but not willing to admit that there are three parsopa, using that term only in reference to the oneness of Jesus Christ.

Here's the thing, in Hebraic thought (which the ACE seem to have inherited) to describe the Godhead as consisting of "persons" or that the 3 Qnume of YHWH are "distinct personalities" is to turn the Godhead into 3 different gods! I'm dead serious, tell an Orthodox Jew that you believe in "3 persons in 1 God" and he will interpret that to mean that you believe in 3 gods, whether he tells you that to your face or not. I'm sorry, but while it's possible to do this in English or Greek without being idolatrous it's not possible in Hebrew or Aramaic, that is the truth. This is why Rony said "it's okay in English but not in Aramaic". Actually if you search the Hebrew Tanakh you will find no Hebrew cognate for prosopon, the closest word you'll find is panim which means "face" (if I'm correct this is the basic meaning of prosopon). Tell a Rabbi that Elohim has "3 panim" and he'll probably go balistic! This is why the ACE (and Nazarenes) can't apply parsopa to the Trinity, for us that means we are commiting idolatry, that's just the way it is. For us parsopa can only ever be associated with the material realm (as Rony already explained), never with spiritual realm otherwise YHWH Elohim becomes just another false god like Zeus created in the image of man.

But just because YHWH is not a "person" or the 3 Qnume are not "persons" it does not mean that they are impersonal. Paul Younan once explained this quite well on his forum in response to Malankara Syrian Orthodox Christian:

Quote from: Paul Younan
Quote from: Spyridon
If God is not a person, does that mean He is impersonal?

God is God, we are persons. In Aramaic, the word "person" is attributed to a human nature. Human beings are persons. (We don't speak of individual dogs, cats or pet goldfish in a bowl as "persons", either.)

I'm not sure what you mean by "impersonal"? "Impersonal" as an adjective could describe an entity that isn't alive, does not feel emotions, is unknowable, lacks the ability to communicate or lacks "personality." Kind of like a dead or inanimate object, like a rock.

God lives, God is and God is knowable. God loves. God creates. God heals. God speaks. God saves.

We can certainly observe things within God's Nature, certain aspects of His Being that are familiar to our human experience. Certainly, we are created in His Image, so we might expect that we have certain things in our individual person that reflect certain aspects of our Creator. Is that what you mean by "personal?"

I do not think of God as a "person" or "three persons", but if I were forced to assign a label in English I would utilize a word like Being - that is the essence of the name YHWH in Hebrew.

+Shamasha

Quote from: http://www.peshitta.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1715&p=10415#p10415

See the differences are linguistic and cultural.

This is my major problem with the way the ACE phrases their Christology, is that there is seemingly no identification of the Man Jesus with God the Word. There is no level at which they are one. They are two distinct kyana and two distinct qnome, only sharing on parsopa, leaving no identification. It seems the EO and OO are capable of doing this when speaking of one theanthropic hypostasis. But I'm left not seeing any solid evidence that they do not adhere to the Christology of Theodore of Mopsuestia. Perhaps if they were willing to admit that each of the three qnome of the Trinity possesses its own parsopa, and that the parsopa of Christ is the same parsopa as that eternally possessed by the qnome of the Word I would be more willing to consider that maybe they are orthodox.

Can you give me a more thorough explanation on Orthodox Churche's definition of the Incarantion - that being when St. John wrote that the Logos "became flesh", what exactly do you mean by that? I'd rather read an explanation by an Orthodox Christian before I attempt to answer this.

Qnuma, to me, is similar to the Arabic word "Shaqes".

Well I can understand why that is, but Prof. Brock has already documented that the SOC definition of qnuma evolved but the ACE's has retained the original meaning, and the SOC representitives who were present at that particular dialogue acknowledged this fact. In any case, what matters is that the ACE's definition of qnuma is not the same as the SOC's.

Anyway, as a layperson and a Syriac Christian I would urge all (esp. our our clergy who are the leaders of their respective congregations) to find common ground and ways to unite as opposed to finding differences.

I agree with you here, and I do believe that common ground can be found. But where differences are concerned, I'm afraid I don't think they can be ignored in this case, but common ground can be found by understanding the differences. The RCC and the ACE have already acheived this.

I can tell you that lay people mostly don't understand the subtlety of the language that caused the Schism between the Syriac Churches (and orthodoxy as well).  As evidenced here, even some very theologically thoughtful people find it difficult to grasp.  Chalcedon was a very destructive event for the Syriac church as it caused its division into 3 branches.

Yes that is so true.

The intriguing thing about it all is that Arabic-speaking Christians of whatever faction use the Arabic cognate of qnoma/qnomo to refer to hypostasis, Arabic Uqnoum: as we say, Ilaahun waahidun fee thalaathati aqaaneem, 'one God in three Hypostases'.  Our word for person, shakhs, is distinct from this and used when referring to the two natures ('nature' being tabee`a), and so we say tabee`atayn fee shakhsis-Say'yid il-Maseeh, 'two natures in the Person of the Master Christ'.  The Arabic cognate of kyaana could be kaa'in, kayaan, kaynouna, etc., generally conveying being, entity, or one's self (i.e. nature in Aramaic?) as the general meaning.  We would speak of one Kaa'in (being) fee thalaathati aqaneem, in three Hypostases, and of tabee`atayn, two natures, fee shakhsil-Maseeh, in the Person of Christ.

Interesting. Any idea how qnuma entered the Arabic language? I'm only asking because according to Brock and other Aramaic experts, there no cognate for qnuma in any language, not even Hebrew which is closer to Aramaic than Arabic. The original meaning of qnuma, which Brock states the ACE has retained, is similar to hypostasis but not an exact match. If Brock is correct then uqnoum would be a loan word from Aramaic much like parsopa is a loan word from Greek, but not all the imagery within qnuma was retained. Still I'm interested in any info you can give me.
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« Reply #77 on: September 09, 2009, 08:49:42 PM »

It may sound like a small difference in language, but it is more than that. The issue comes down to how much separation we believe there is between Christ's divinity and humanity.  Thus even though our Churches all use language differently, it can be said that the OO's and EO's believe basically the same thing about Christ, but the Church of the East is different.

...Yes the Assyrians go to great lengths to distinguish between what's human and what is divine, and everything associated with those two concepts. But what you may not know is that this same mentality of distinguishing humanity and divinty which borders on, and often crosses over into, paranoia, is found among Jews as well...

That is why Judaism is a different religion from Christianity and the Christology of the Church of the East is considered heretical to other Christians. 

Yet it is not impossible for those of a Syriac/Semetic background to accept the incarnation and the concept that humanity and divinity were perfectly united in Christ.  Our Syriac Orthodox brothers--and others who come from such a background who have accepted mainstream Christianity--are proof of that.
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« Reply #78 on: September 09, 2009, 08:52:00 PM »

Nazarene,

I'm getting the feeling that the Christology of the group you belong to is basically the same as that of the Church of the East.  Is that an accurate understanding?
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« Reply #79 on: September 10, 2009, 06:28:58 AM »

I'm back for just a little bit.  Smiley

Quote
OK. Well the way that you phrase it in English sounds orthodox. But I want to know more about the Syriac. Would a Syriac Christian ever say that the eternal Qnoma of the Word assumed a humany body and soul?

deusveritasest,

A Christian of the Church of the East, when speaking in Syriac-Aramaic, has no problem saying that the eternal Qnoma of the Word assumed a human body and soul.  Though, since Qnoma is understood as an individuated nature, then it is best to ascribe the action directly to the Word or the Son.  In other words, for us, it is best to say the following:

The Word or Son assumed and united to His Divine Qnoma (The second individuation of God's one Divine Nature) a human body and soul.

Quote
If they admit that the eternal qnome of the Word assumed body and soul as His own then why do they speak two qnome, one divine and another human, after the union rather than one theanthropic qnome like the Syriac Orthodox?

We speak of two Qnome, because after the Incarnation, the Word or Son has indissolubly but without confusion united an individuated Human Nature (Human Qnoma) to His individuated Divine Nature (Divine Qnoma). The Son united to His Divine Qnoma not all of Mankind, but rather, one Human Qnoma of Mankind, that is, a particular Body with a particular set of genes taken from the Virgin Mary and a particular Soul.  For us, because of our specific and archaic definition of Qnoma, to say that after the Incarnation there is but one Qnoma in Christ becomes rather confusing, because it leads to two conclusions:

1. Either the Divine Qnoma has been destroyed and all you have is the Human Qnoma, resulting in a mere man; or the Human Qnoma has been destroyed, and all you have is the Divine Qnoma, resulting in the Son being without a Human Body and Human Soul.

Or

2. The Divine Qnoma and Human Qnoma have resulted in a confusion, a sort of Person that is Half God and Half Man.


Now, because the Syriac Orthodox do not define Qnoma in the same way that we do, then they do not fall into the two conclusions above.  For them, their specific definition of Qnomo allows them to say one Qnomo in Christ, much like the specific definition of Hypostasis among the Greek-speakers allows them to say one Hypostasis in Christ.  For us, our ancient definition of Qnoma does not allow us to say one Qnoma in Christ, without falling into the above two conclusions.

You see, the Syriac-speakers in the Roman Empire equated their definition of Qnomo with the definition of Hypostasis among the Greek-speakers.  We, however, in the Church of the East, which was outside the Roman Empire and in the Persian Empire, kept an older definition of Qnoma, one that does not equate well with the Qnomo of the Syriac Orthodox or the Hypostasis of the Greeks.

God bless,

Rony
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« Reply #80 on: September 10, 2009, 08:12:34 AM »

Quote
Both the OO's and EO's will say that One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh.  The Church of the East won't say that.  I think they prefer to say that One of the Trinity became man, and that the man suffered.  There is the same issue with calling the Virgin Mary "Mother of God."  The OO's and EO's have no problem with saying that the Word of God was born of the Virgin Mary, and that she is therefore truly the Mother of God.  The Church of the East prefers (if I understand them correctly) to say that Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, and that she is the Mother of Christ.

Salpy,

I want to make clear that the Church of the East does not teach that it is a mere man who suffered for us, rather, this Person who suffered for us is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Union of the Son and Man.  When this Person, the Christ who is our God and Savior, suffered for us, His Divine Qnoma did not undergo suffering, because Divinity cannot undergo change, rather, His Human Qnoma underwent suffering, that is, His Human Body bled and His Human Soul was anguished.  This is what I meant in another thread when I said that "One of the Trinity became Man and suffered", meaning, not a mere man, but the Manhood of the One, the Manhood of the Son who assumed it and made it His own.  The way we speak of the redemption is as simply as the following:  The Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.

As far as the Mother of God versus the Mother of Christ, I wrote a post about this in another forum, which you can read here (posts 20 and 21).  Here is the relevant section:

====================================================================================================
In venerating Theodore and Nestorius (and Diodore), not everything they said or wrote is worthy of veneration. I do not, for instance, venerate or find joy in Nestorius’ rejection of the phrase Theotokos. I believe this was a mistake on his behalf, and so, something that is not worthy of veneration. However, his preferred phrase of Christotokos is a non-heretical phrase in and of itself. While it might be explained in a heretical manner, like in classical Nestorianism, it can also be explained in an orthodox manner. For instance, to the Jews, it was much more effective to use the phrase Mother of Christ in evangelizing them, because the Christ or Messiah is who they were waiting for in the Old Testament. Christianity needed to tell them first and foremost that Jesus, born of Mary, was indeed the long awaited Christ, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. Then, they could be taught on who the Messiah really was, that is, the Son of God.

In evangelizing the pagan Greeks, it was more effective to use the phrase Theotokos, because of their long history of mythological gods, and because they did not care much for a Jewish Messiah and his role in fulfilling the Mosaic Law and the Jewish Prophets. Christianity needed to tell them that the One born of Mary is God, through whom everything was made and in whom they move and have their being. This is what converts them. Now, the phrase Theotokos, while certainly an orthodox phrase in and of itself, it nevertheless might be explained in a heretical manner, such as the fact that someone can misunderstand the term God in the phrase to be a reference to the whole Trinity, thinking that the whole Trinity was born of Mary. So while it is a useful expression, a truthful expression, it still could be understood in a heretical way if not properly explained.

The ACE preference of using the phrase “Mother of Christ, our God and Savior” is more specific than the phrase “Mother of God” and “Mother of Christ”, and so brings about a greater clarity to the Christological truth, in my opinion. And since the ACE (and also us Chaldeans) come from the Jewish-Aramaic background, and not from the Greek background, then this traditional phrase is much more effective because it declares the Messianic identity and role of Jesus first, then gives us His eternal identity as our God, and finally His redemptive work for us as our Savior. Anyways, all three phrases: Mother of God, Mother of Christ, and Mother of Christ our God and Savior are allowed as orthodox expressions in the Common Christological Declaration.
===================================================================================================


Quote
It may sound like a small difference in language, but it is more than that.  The issue comes down to how much separation we believe there is between Christ's divinity and humanity.  Thus even though our Churches all use language differently, it can be said that the OO's and EO's believe basically the same thing about Christ, but the Church of the East is different.

The Church of the East teaches that there is zero separation between Christ's Divine Qnoma and His Human Qnoma.  It not permissible for Christians of the Church of the East to confess a division or separation in Christ.

I would say that all the Apostolic Christians, those in the Catholic Communion, Eastern Orthodox Communion, Oriental Orthodox Communion, and the Assyrian Church of the East, believe basically the same thing about Christ, in the meaning and essence of the Faith on Christ, but we all express the same Faith through various and different expressions and wording.  I do not believe that the various expressions are contradictory to one another, so long as each expression is understood within its own context and on its own terms.

God bless,

Rony
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« Reply #81 on: September 10, 2009, 08:52:25 AM »

Quote
That is why Judaism is a different religion from Christianity and the Christology of the Church of the East is considered heretical to other Christians.

Yet it is not impossible for those of a Syriac/Semetic background to accept the incarnation and the concept that humanity and divinity were perfectly united in Christ.  Our Syriac Orthodox brothers--and others who come from such a background who have accepted mainstream Christianity--are proof of that.

Salpy,

The Christology of the Assyrian Church of the East is no longer considered heretical to the Christians of the Catholic Communion of Churches.  The Common Christological Declaration signed between H.H. John Paul II and H.H. Mar Dinkha VI has ended the long misconceptions and misunderstanding between Catholic Christians and the Assyrian Christians on the topic.  In fact, two particular Churches in the Catholic Communion, my Chaldean Church and the Syro-Malabar Church, subscribe to the ancient Christology of the Church of the East.

We accept and confess that the Divinity and the Humanity, the Divine Son and His Human Body and Soul, were perfectly United in the one Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.

God bless,

Rony
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« Reply #82 on: September 10, 2009, 12:00:02 PM »

Interesting. Any idea how qnuma entered the Arabic language? I'm only asking because according to Brock and other Aramaic experts, there no cognate for qnuma in any language, not even Hebrew which is closer to Aramaic than Arabic. The original meaning of qnuma, which Brock states the ACE has retained, is similar to hypostasis but not an exact match. If Brock is correct then uqnoum would be a loan word from Aramaic much like parsopa is a loan word from Greek, but not all the imagery within qnuma was retained. Still I'm interested in any info you can give me.

I'm afraid I do not know of how or when it appeared in the Arabic language, but I think it more probable that it is a word that has been borrowed from Aramaic.  At any rate, for us its meaning certainly corresponds more to the S.O.C.'s understanding of the Aramaic term, as we do not speak of divine and human uqnoumayn in Christ, but tabee`atayn, unless I suppose one is a member of the A.C.E. explaining his theology in Arabic--which makes we wonder whether they do in fact say uqnoumayn.

As Ronyodish is saying:

Now, because the Syriac Orthodox do not define Qnoma in the same way that we do, then they do not fall into the two conclusions above.  For them, their specific definition of Qnomo allows them to say one Qnomo in Christ, much like the specific definition of Hypostasis among the Greek-speakers allows them to say one Hypostasis in Christ.  For us, our ancient definition of Qnoma does not allow us to say one Qnoma in Christ, without falling into the above two conclusions.

You see, the Syriac-speakers in the Roman Empire equated their definition of Qnomo with the definition of Hypostasis among the Greek-speakers.  We, however, in the Church of the East, which was outside the Roman Empire and in the Persian Empire, kept an older definition of Qnoma, one that does not equate well with the Qnomo of the Syriac Orthodox or the Hypostasis of the Greeks.
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« Reply #83 on: September 10, 2009, 07:32:22 PM »

The trouble is that the hymn can be understood in an entirely heretical and Theodorean manner.

Theodore, Theodoret and Ibas could all agree with these sentiments.

That is the problem. I am still not any clearer in my real understanding of the present ACE position.

Father Peter
Heck, I'm still not clear on what their position has been at anytime in history. It seems that the ACE has the most complicated Cristolgoy out there.
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« Reply #84 on: September 10, 2009, 08:33:53 PM »

Quote
One is Christ the Son of God,
Worshiped by all in two kyana (natures);
In His divinity begotten of the Father,
Without beginning before all time;
In His humanity born of Mary,
In the fullness of time, in a body united;
Neither His divinity is of the kyana (nature) of the mother,
Nor His humanity of the kyana (nature) of the Father;
The kayane (natures) are preserved in their qnume*,
In one parsopa (person) of one Sonship.
And as the Godhead is three qnume in one kayana (nature),
Likewise the Sonship of the Son is in two kayane (natures), one parsopa (person).
So the Holy Church has taught.

For those who are unclear on the terms in the Hymn, here is some further clarification of the terms, as understood by the Assyrian-Chaldean tradition, the Churches of the East:

Kyana (plural: Kyane) is an abstract Nature.  In the case of Christ, it is: Divinity and Humanity.
Qnoma or Qnuma (plural: Qnome or Qnume) is an individuation of a Kyana, a particularization of what is abstract in Nature.  In the case of Christ, it is:  Son and His Body and Soul.
Parsopa is the Person, in the material realm.  In the case of Christ, it is: Lord Jesus Christ.

The Church of the East tradition expresses the Apostolic Faith by saying that there is:  Two Kyane (Divinity and Humanity), Two Qnome (Son and His Body and Soul), in One Parsopa (Lord Jesus Christ).

God bless,

Rony
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« Reply #85 on: September 10, 2009, 08:54:28 PM »

Rony,

Please forgive me for misrepresenting your Church's Christology.  It was not my intention to do so, and I know how hurtful it can be when someone does that (I have experienced that here plenty of times.)

I'm not a theologian and I am not qualified to really speak on these matters.  All I know is that the Fathers of my Church, and even our current Church leaders, consider your Church's Christology to be somehow different enough from our own, to prevent a union between our two Church's at this time.

It seems to me that the phrase "One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh," as well as the 12 anathemas of St. Cyril, are important to our Christology, to the point that if another Church cannot confess those things without qualification, the other Church is considered too different from us to be one with us.  I don't think it is just a matter of language, like the "two natures" vs. "one nature" debate seems to be.  I think the difference here is more substantive.  Of course, like I said, I am not qualified to judge these things.  I am just repeating what I have been taught.

I would love to see our Churches unite one day.  As our brother Leb Aryo indicated, the division caused by these Christological issues was very tragic.  The Armenians may not be of the same ethnic group as the Assyrians, but we have much in common in terms of our tragic histories, especially the Genocide of 1915.  Intermarriage is common among us, and Armenians and Assyrians where I live often commune at each other's Churches (which I am sure breaks some rules, but people in real life don't think about these things.)  I have Assyrian friends and relatives, and I was recently grieved when one of my Assyrian friends from my parish had to move back up to Turlock to be with her family.  

I am only saying all this so you know that this is not just a theoretical issue for me.  I have always thought the Christians of the East (OO, EO, ACE) would be stronger and less liable to be pushed around if we united and communed from the same cup.  However, I also believe we have to be true to our Churches and to our Church Fathers.  I am therefore reluctant to just brush away what my Church's Fathers have had to say on these matters, even though I don't completely understand all of it.

Anyway, it was not my intention to offend you in any way with my earlier posts.  Again, please forgive me for any misrepresentations I have made.   Embarrassed
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« Reply #86 on: September 10, 2009, 10:03:53 PM »

Dear Salpy,

I find you to be a wonderful Armenian Christian, and I do not consider your posts to me as offensive at all.  I find you to be faithful to your Armenian Church's Christological expression, which is a good thing, because you have the responsibility to propagate it and protect it from any misunderstandings or even heresy.  I, actually, would encourage you to continue defending the Miaphysite expression of the Apostolic Faith, this orthodox expression of your Holy Fathers and Saints of the Armenian Church.  So, therefore, I forgive you, not because you've done anything wrong to me, but because you asked for my forgiveness.  Cheesy

I do not consider your Church's Christology as heresy, because as a member of the Chaldean Catholic Church of the East, I am in full communion with Armenian Catholics, and Oriental Catholics in general, who, in the Catholic Communion of Churches, are allowed to express the Miaphysite expression of the Faith.  In the Catholic Church, we have various allowable and orthodox Christological expressions of the Apostolic Faith.  This is made possible due to the recent various Christological agreements that were signed between the Holy See in Rome and the various Fathers and Heads of the Oriental Orthodox, as well as, between Rome and the Assyrian Church of the East.

Just so you know:

I do not consider "One of the Trinity suffered in the Flesh" as heresy.
I do not consider St. Cyril's 12 anathemas as heresy.

I pray that one day, all the Apostolic Christian Churches (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Church of the East) will once again be in full ecclesial and canonical communion with one another, as our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, willed it and prayed to our Father in heaven about it, "that they may all be one" (John 17:21).

God bless you,

Rony
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« Reply #87 on: September 10, 2009, 10:06:55 PM »

I pray that one day, all the Apostolic Christian Churches (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Assyrian Church of the East) will once again be in full ecclesial and canonical communion with one another, as our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, willed it and prayed to our Father in heaven about it, "that they may all be one" (John 17:21).

God bless you,

Rony

Amen.

Thank you, Rony.   Smiley
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« Reply #88 on: September 11, 2009, 01:51:03 AM »

Rony,

I would love to see our Churches unite one day.  As our brother Leb Aryo indicated, the division caused by these Christological issues was very tragic.  The Armenians may not be of the same ethnic group as the Assyrians, but we have much in common in terms of our tragic histories, especially the Genocide of 1915.  Intermarriage is common among us, and Armenians and Assyrians where I live often commune at each other's Churches (which I am sure breaks some rules, but people in real life don't think about these things.)  I have Assyrian friends and relatives, and I was recently grieved when one of my Assyrian friends from my parish had to move back up to Turlock to be with her family.  

Well said brother Salpy.  I see today in this day and age that Christianity generally and ME Christians particularly need unity much more than anything; "United we stand, divided we fall".  I don't think a more apt and true statement can\could\does apply to another group of people as to ME Christians in all their denominations.  We've divided and fell too many times.

It is my opinion, that many of these heresies and schisms were not just about theological differences but due to the political, social and sometimes power struggles of the people living in those times.  The Nestorian schism could be a good example.  I'm not going to expand further on that point because it is not my intention to offend anybody here from one side or the other.
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« Reply #89 on: September 11, 2009, 04:02:43 PM »

Dear Rony or Nazarene,

Do you have any material one can read from on your side that you can recommend?

As you may imagine, I have a biased perspective because of what I have personally read.

I do wonder though, what are your beliefs in the will or wills of Christ, your theletic beliefs?

Mina
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