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Author Topic: Oriental Orthodoxy vs Monophysites  (Read 22609 times) Average Rating: 0
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Father Peter
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« Reply #90 on: February 20, 2004, 02:42:44 PM »

I remember buying The Pilgrim Church some years ago when I was starting my voyage into Patristics and I couldn't read more than a chapter or two. I'd been reading Penguin History of the Church series at the same time and couldn't cope with the difference in scholarship, well the difference between scholarship and not much scholarship.

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« Reply #91 on: February 20, 2004, 04:33:34 PM »

Dear Ambrosesv,

Hypothetical situation - The so called Oriental Orthodox Churches in the 13th century met to repudiate a heresy called "Raoufism". This heresy was prevalent only in countries that the OO existed. They condemned the heresy and cut-off the heretics and began mentioning this great council in its liturgical services.

Would the EO, who never had to deal with Raoufism in its history, and yet agreed with it's rejection, add this as their 8th Ecumenical Council.

If no, then why not?

In Christ,
Raouf
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« Reply #92 on: February 20, 2004, 05:22:45 PM »

Dear Raouf,

In all honesty, I can't imagine why we should not.

Presuming, of course, that no schism had seperated the two sides prior to the hypothetical council, if the heresy had a serious following (i.e., so serious as to cause all the jurisdictions you mention to meet in council), if bishops from every jurisdiction of the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church were invited (and, indeed, while this would be the ideal, I'm not sure it would be a sine qua non of ecumenicity), if it won recognition among the Byzantines and all other jurisdictions as being of Orthodox nature . . . , then, I can't think why we should not gratefully acknowledge the work of such a Council, and its ecumenicity.
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« Reply #93 on: February 20, 2004, 05:28:08 PM »

Sorry...let me clarify. In the 13th cent. after the split over Chalcedon. If the OO accepted all the councils in an effort to reconcile and re-unite, would the EO accept this council from the 13th century which happened after the split, assuming they agreed with its Orthodoxy?

Further assume - there would be no benefit whatsoever for EO to accept this as ecumenical other than the fact that the OO considered it Ecumenical.

Would it indeed become the 8th Ecumenical council for you?

In Christ,
Raouf
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« Reply #94 on: February 20, 2004, 05:39:04 PM »

Woops, I missed the "13th Century" part.  Therein lies a little slight-of-hand, no?  For that would not at all be analogous to the situation at hand, since the Oriental bishops were, in fact, invited to the First Council of Chalcedon.  Clearly, the Eastern Orthodox would not have been invited to the hyopothetical "Council against Raoufism"  Smiley  You will no doubt ripost that the Oriental bishops were not invited to the Fifth through Seventh Councils, but that is not quite the case.  In a sense they had an open invitation to embrace the fourth ecumenical council, which would, of course, entail their participation in all subsequent ecumenical councils.
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« Reply #95 on: February 20, 2004, 05:57:19 PM »

But the question (I thought) for us today is whether or not we could embrace the councils 4-7 as Ecumenical Councils. Assuming we reconcile our differences over Chalcedon and assuming we agree on the Orthodoxy of the remaining councils, would you require of us to list 7 ecumenical councils?

If so, then my hypothetical council is appropriate becuase now, in order for their to be true reconciliation would you not likewise need to recognize "our" council on Raoufism (that wretched evil heresy Grin) also as Ecumenical? Or could you simply state that the EO would continue to count 7 Ecumenical Councils and simply agree that Raoufism is a heresy and the 13th council is Orthodox?

Don't expect from us what you are not willing to likewise do.

In Christ,
Raouf, heresiarch of Raoufism!
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« Reply #96 on: February 20, 2004, 05:58:53 PM »

Correction - "13th Council" should read "13th century Council"

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« Reply #97 on: February 20, 2004, 08:32:13 PM »

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Deacon Lance: Please understand, I do accept the Oriental Orthodox as orthodox.  However, I also accept the Assyrians as orthodox as well.  Neither accept Councils or definitions my Church accept and both claim to hold the same faith despite this.  Since my experience of both is that they are good and holy and the Spirit is at work among them, I can accept this.  As well, my Church has signed common Christological statements with both.
What is your church ?
Can you refer us to the official site of the Assyrian church, or the statement of their Holy Synod lead by their Patriarch, which would contain their belief on Christology ?
I appreciate your help on this issue, because it is not a problem of council to my understanding, it is a christiological dispute regarding the Nature of CHrist.
Peace,
Stavro
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« Reply #98 on: February 21, 2004, 11:45:58 AM »

Stavro,

I am a deacon in the Byzantine Catholic Church.

The main site for the Assyrian Church is:
http://www.cired.org/
Under Relations with the Catholic Church you will find the Common Christological Declaration signed by Pope John Paul II and Mar Dinkha IV.
Under Pro Oriente Syriac Dialogue you will find many articles about their theology vs that of the Oriental Orthodox.

Fr. Deacon Lance
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« Reply #99 on: February 21, 2004, 07:27:27 PM »

Thanks Deacon Lance.
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« Reply #100 on: February 22, 2004, 10:37:33 AM »

To Peter and Raouf:

My conversation with you has made me realize something:  Eastern Orthodox/Catholic actions may have contributed powerfully to the withdrawal of the Oriental churches from Communion with us.  Clearly I need to investigate this more.

If the condemnations of Dioscoros and Severus, and the inclusion of the Three Chapters, were, in fact, as you say, then the Oriental churches deserve, at least, a profound, formal expression of regret from the Eastern Orthodox.  If such an expression were forthcoming, would this make it easier for the Oriental churches to contemplate accepting Councils 4 -7 as ecumenical?

Let us assume, too, that recognizing these Councils as ecumenical need not require that the Orientals make liturgical changes or additions of any sort.

I would think this issue of ecumenicity would be difficult for the Eastern Orthodox to just "let go."  I think that, for many of us, "downgrading" the latter councils from ecumenical status would appear tantamount to declaring, "Well, assent to the essential matter agreed on by these councils--not the condemnation of specific individuals, but of the heresies they are (perhaps erroneously) believed to have held--is no longer a prerequisite to Orthodox identity.  One might reject them, but remain Orthodox."  That conclusion the Eastern Orthodox would not be able to reach, I suspect.

Raouf, I would think it important that any Council termed "ecumenical" have extended invitations to all those jurisdictions who have not cut themselves off from Communion with those calling the council.  It seems to me fair to ask the Oriental jurisdictions to demonstrate their Communion within the One Church by affirming the 4th Ecumenical Council, the essential matter of which they profess to recognize as Orthodox, since they were, in fact, invited to that Council.  Consequently, it seems to me fair to ask them to do likewise with respect to the 5th through 7th Councils, since the Oriental bishops were not invited (unless I am mistaken), only because they had made it clear that they no longer held themselves to be in Communion with the Byzantine jurisdictions.

So, Raouf, the hypothetical situation you present is not really analogous.

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« Reply #101 on: February 22, 2004, 12:07:12 PM »

Hi Ambrosesv

I believe that following the spirit and some of the suggestions of your eirenic posts would indeed facilitate a reconciliation based on agreement in the substance of the faith.

I believe that it could be possible for the OO to accept the documents of the latter councils as a start, with modifications to some anathemas that do not apply to those they were applied to. If such a large combined document were produced by both OO and EO with explanatory glosses to explain that certain phrases should be understood in a certain way and not in an heretical sense then such a combined document could be accepted by both sides as a statement of common faith.

This might well not be the last stage in reconciliation, but it would have required a recognition on the part of the EO, not always present, that there were real objections to Chalcedon which need to be answered, and it would require a recognition, already present in the synodal reception of the Joint Statements of the Dialogue, that the EO must be able to understand even Chalcedon in an Orthodox manner or there could be no possibility of their being considered Orthodox.

The actual historical event of Chalcedon remains problematic because although the document could be received, with an explanatory gloss, what is being asked seems to skate along the edge of the line of historical revisionism. If the EO were as honest as Fr John Romanides had been and studied this period with a view to exposing those issues which justified the OO rejection of Chalcedon, and if the OO sought to expose those issues which led to a misunderstanding of the OO position, and if both sides made clear where and when there were real heretics hidden under the cloak of pro and anti-Chalcedonianism then there may well be a way forward even on the historical value of Chalcedon.

One last thing. I think it needs to be remembered that the OO did not 'cut themselves off' as though there were a one-sided breach. Until 518 AD the Patriarchs of three of the great Sees were non-Chalcedonian, but after this period a severe and prolonged persecution of the non-Chalcedonians, with the deaths of tens and even hundreds of thousands of bishops, priests, monks and lay-folk, showed clearly that the Byzantine church authorities were willing to be complicit in the attempted ecclesio-cide which took place. At one point the patriarch of Constantinople urged more military activity against the non-Chalcedonian Orthodox so that they would be wiped out if they did not submit and even the Emperor had had enough of killing Christians and refused.

The OO of this period received Chalcedonians as easily as was consistent with their position, even clergy were on only a years probation, but the EO at this period insisted that none of the orders of the non-Chalcedonians were valid. I am not sure then that it is fair to say that the OO had separated themselves. They had no choice at all because the aim of the Chalcedonian party was the elimination of the non-Chalcedonians by any and all means including massacre.

I accept your point about Chalcedon, and it is important, but I think that a degree, a marked degree, of self-criticism by the EO is required to show that they are aware of the historical defects of Chalcedon, and that it was used as a cover for many folk who had heretical opinions, that it did indeed cause a major and mutual schism in the Church. On the OO side it would be necessary to look at the council with the sort of perspective of Fr John Romanides and find the best motives among the most bishops present. It will be difficult without honesty on both sides.

How would you feel about a document collecting together the material of the latter councils, removing the anathemas by using writings from those Fathers to show that they were not guilty of what they were accused of, and adding explanatory materials to answer the objections and difficulties of both sides.

If this document were made ecumenical by the OO so that all of these teachings were made necessary how would that seem to you.

Of course, unless you are posting under cover, I do not believe either of us are bishops or even priests, but we should still be interested and have informed opinions on these things.

Best wishes

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #102 on: February 22, 2004, 06:42:41 PM »

I do not believe either of us are bishops or even priests . . . .

 :)Thanks be to God!  (Speaking strictly in relation to myself.)

Again, I don't know enough about the condemnations, or inclusion of the Three Chapters, to have an informed opinion.  But, if these appeared to honest and well-informed Eastern Orthodox scholars as they appear to you, then I would think such a document would be entirely called for.

If the condemnations (or writings of those condemned) could legitimately be interpreted in different ways, and tended to be so, according to the ecclesiastical allegiance of the scholars on both sides, then what about a document which laid bare these differences of opinion, without imposing either one?
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« Reply #103 on: February 24, 2004, 12:43:29 PM »


One last thing. I think it needs to be remembered that the OO did not 'cut themselves off' as though there were a one-sided breach. Until 518 AD the Patriarchs of three of the great Sees were non-Chalcedonian,... <snipped>

This partial paragraph got my notice. I need to explore this period in greater depth.
One source I use extensively (and which does not quite support the above, I think) is:

http://www.friesian.com/popes.htm

which is a large page, apparently well-researched despite some phrases ("the Imperial Church being the "Roman Catholic", etc.).

For a full blown chronolgy with short history the FULL page is:

http://www.friesian.com/popes-2.htm

which is HUGE, but well worth reading in my most humble opinion.

Demetri
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« Reply #104 on: February 24, 2004, 01:50:47 PM »

Quote
If the condemnations of Dioscoros and Severus, and the inclusion of the Three Chapters, were, in fact, as you say, then the Oriental churches deserve, at least, a profound, formal expression of regret from the Eastern Orthodox.  If such an expression were forthcoming, would this make it easier for the Oriental churches to contemplate accepting Councils 4 -7 as ecumenical?

What "inclusion of the Three Chapters?"

The only writings specifically endorsed at Chalcedon were those of St. Cyril that were mentioned, the Tome of Pope St. Leo the Great, and - if I recall correctly - the formula of union written by Theodoret of Cyrus and signed by St. Cyril and the Antiochenes.

The Council of Chalcedon was not summoned to deal with Nestorianism, although it did reiterate Ephesus' condemnation of Nestorius. The Three Chapters were not the focus of Chalcedon's agenda; Eutychianism was.

Nestorianism was the focus of the Council of Ephesus in 431, yet that council did not condemn those elements of the Three Chapters extant at that time, i.e., the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia and Theodoret's Pentalogium.

Dioscorus and Severus were anathematized as heretics by the Orthodox Church because that's what they were. Both of them denied that Christ has two distinct natures and two wills. They understood the language of the Orthodox teaching and yet argued against it.

What has the Orthodox Church to regret about any of her ecumenical councils?

That the Arians did not like the first one?

That the "Spirit-fighters" did not like the second?

That the Nestorians did not like the third?

That the Monophysites object to the rest?








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« Reply #105 on: February 24, 2004, 06:56:03 PM »

Quote
Dioscorus and Severus were anathematized as heretics by the Orthodox Church because that's what they were. Both of them denied that Christ has two distinct natures and two wills.
St.Dioscorus was not anathemized for heresy in Chalcedon. That is clear. He was excommunicated for disposing Leo for his support of Theodret and the heretics. He could not defend his decision in a council where Theodret was sitting and rendering judgement about theology, and he was under house arrest when summoned. Nestorius could not have done a better job than Theodret and his supporters.
So if the Chalcedon members didn't find anything heretical about St.Dioscorous teachings, although they were well prepared to do so and wished it, how can you dare declare that he is a heretic ? Where are his writings that say that ?

Just repeating the fabrications will not make them true, unless you have a proof.

The same applies to the St.Severus, may his blessings be with us.

Peace,
Stavro
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« Reply #106 on: February 24, 2004, 07:26:55 PM »

What "inclusion of the Three Chapters?"

Dear Linus,

The conversation has made it clear that there was ambiguity in the language of Chalcedon, ambiguity which left it open to doubt whether the Letter of Ibas was being received, or not.

On reflection and further study, I agree with you that we must give the benefit of doubt to the fathers assembled in Council, and not assume that they were accepting what would later clearly be recognized as heretical.

I regret the lack of clarity in my own language, which may have made it seem that I was conceding that the Council had "accepted" heretical writings.

But, an explicit recognition of the ambiguity, and an acknowledgment of the difficulties which this presented for the Oriental churches, would hardly seem too great a price to pay if it made it possible for them eventually to recognize the ecumenical status of the Council.

Quote
Dioscorus and Severus were anathematized as heretics by the Orthodox Church because that's what they were. Both of them denied that Christ has two distinct natures and two wills. They understood the language of the Orthodox teaching and yet argued against it.

Again, is it not possible that the condemnations of the men, themselves, is not central to the conclusions of the Sixth or Seventh Councils, that what really matters is the definition of heresy, not conclusions about who exactly embraced them?

I understand the repugnance you rightly feel at the idea that we should "second guess" the fathers and the Councils.  But, I would think we might be able to distinguish, among the affirmations of a Council, between primary matter, clearly of ecumenical import, and secondary matter, not necessarily of ecumenical force.  If that allowed the Oriental churches to embrace what were clearly the central affirmations and definitions of the latter Councils, and even to acknowledge them as ecumenical in status, then wouldn't that be a good thing?

On the other hand, if the Oriental churches insist that the only path to shared communion is through our declaring that the Byzantines must have been in error on each disputed point (in spite of the demonstrated ambiguity of each), then it begins to look like a sectarian spirit prevails, which in my view, itself indicates the absence of fully Orthodox faith.  But the rejection of sectarianism cuts both ways . . . .
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« Reply #107 on: February 24, 2004, 09:18:02 PM »

St.Dioscorus was not anathemized for heresy in Chalcedon. That is clear. He was excommunicated for disposing Leo for his support of Theodret and the heretics. He could not defend his decision in a council where Theodret was sitting and rendering judgement about theology, and he was under house arrest when summoned. Nestorius could not have done a better job than Theodret and his supporters.
So if the Chalcedon members didn't find anything heretical about St.Dioscorous teachings, although they were well prepared to do so and wished it, how can you dare declare that he is a heretic ? Where are his writings that say that ?

Just repeating the fabrications will not make them true, unless you have a proof.

The same applies to the St.Severus, may his blessings be with us.

Peace,
Stavro

From Session I of the Council of Chalcedon:

Quote
And at this point of the reading, Dioscorus, the most reverend Archbishop of Alexandria said, I receive "the of two;" "the two" I do not receive (to ek du'o de'chomai: to du'o, ou de'chomai). I am forced to be impudent, but the matter is one which touches my soul.

Dioscorus' own words at Chalcedon.

Here are the words of Severus of Antioch:

Quote
"The formulae used by the Holy Fathers concerning two Natures united in Christ should be set aside, even if they be Cyril's" (Patrologia Graeca, Vol. LXXXIX, Col. 103D. Saint Anastasios of Sinai preserves this quote of Severos in his works; quoted in The Non-Chalcedonian Heretics, p. 12).

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« Reply #108 on: February 24, 2004, 09:27:46 PM »

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ambrosemzv: But the rejection of sectarianism cuts both ways . . . .

I appreciate the objectivity of your post, ambrosemzv.

But that last comment about sectarianism assumes that both parties involved in these disputes are members of sects or that they each have equal title to the Church founded by Christ.

There can be no sectarianism involved in standing for the truth of Christ's Holy Orthodox Church and her ecumenical councils.

The Fathers understood Dioscorus, Timothy Aelurus; Peter Mongus; Julian of Halicarnassus; Severus of Antioch; and the rest well enough.

There was no mistake.

At the very least, those men were rebels against the authority of Christ's Church. In that sense (and perhaps in others, especially the tendency to fracture into numerous factions), their movement was proto-Protestant.
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« Reply #109 on: February 25, 2004, 01:30:36 AM »

Linus,

review Antonios Nickolas' and Deacon Peter posts earlier as they refute your remarks about St.Dioscorous and H.H. Pope Shenouda theology.

Peace,
Stavro
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« Reply #110 on: February 25, 2004, 01:59:39 AM »

Dear Deacon Lance,
I reviewed the site you recommended for the Assyrian Church. I thank you again as it gave me an overview about their history which was obsecure to me.
Because you raised questions regarding the position of the Coptic Church from the Assyrian Church, it might be helpful to read the following links which explain it better :

http://www.britishorthodox.org/dialogue02.php
http://www.britishorthodox.org/assyrian.php

I would actually regard the position of the Coptic as consistent because of the following:

1- The Assyrian Church does not anathemize or reject the teachings of Nestorius, and they try to aquitt him, which is a tendency now among some Western theologians.
As Orthodox, we refuse this position and we have always refused it since Ephesus I and continued to do so in Chalcedon.

2- We signed a declaration of common Christology with The RC Pope John Paul II in which we anathemize Nestorius. How can we then accept a dialogue or an agreement with a church that venerates Nestorius ?
Of course the union with the RC church is of little importance if compared with keeping the Orthodox faith as declared by St.Cyril and confirmed by our Fathers, but it just shows that the Coptic Church is consistent and faithful to its agreements and orthodoxy.

The question of consistency is not very obvious on the part of the Catholic Church. While they anathemize Nestorius, in the common declaration of Faith, they reconcile with a church that venerates him. Nestorius is a clear case of heresy, just like Arius and Macdonius.

So what is the position of Nestorius in the Catholic church now ? As you might read in the articles, which uses strong but honest language (diplomacy was not really our best skill) , it raises old doubt dating back all the way to 451 a.d. and it might actually endanger the union steps.

We pray that our hierarchs are lead by the Holy Spirit in their efforts.

Peace,
Stavro
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« Reply #111 on: February 25, 2004, 10:08:26 AM »

I appreciate your reply, Linus.

. . . That last comment about sectarianism assumes that both parties involved in these disputes are members of sects or that they each have equal title to the Church founded by Christ.

Well, I don't think it need assume that, and it was not intended to.  One may hold (as I do) that full Orthodoxy requires a willingness to recognize the ecumenicity of all seven Councils, and in that sense, that the ground is not even between the Church which grants that recognition, and those who do not recognize all the Councils, or who have illegitimately proclaimed other councils ecumenical.

And, one may at the same time recognize that some bodies which proclaim all seven Councils can still fall into sectarianism, by insisting on a bipolarized, non-nuanced view of the world as consisting of "the Church" and "not the Church," defining the former in the most rigorous, and consequently narrow terms, and failing to engage in meaningful dialogue with anything and anyone outside that narrow definition of the Church.

It seems to me one has to strike a narrow balance between making light of any of the decisions of the Councils, on the one hand, and, on the other, allowing clearly ambiguous and inessential matters, such as the anathematizing of individuals, or even the debatable interpretations of certain arguably ambiguous writings, to place roadblocks which render unfruitful in advance all conversations with those who might otherwise be willing eventually to receive as ecumenical the later Councils of the Church.
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« Reply #112 on: February 25, 2004, 11:59:42 AM »

And I, likewise, appreciate your reply, ambrosemzv.

I don't  see the refusal to subject the ecumenical councils to criticism, review, and revision as narrow, especially when such criticism, review, and revision has its source in sects clearly regarded by the Fathers as heretical or, at the very least, schismatic.

Why "union" with such groups is thought a worthwhile objective is beyond my comprehension.

The Church of Christ has ever been open to all those willing to repent and to accept her Lord and His teachings.

Compromising the teachings of the Orthodox Church in order to swallow whole groups - groups that have proven indigestible in the past - with their dubious pride intact is too big a sacrifice.

Let everyone come to Christ who will . . .  as repentant individuals ready to embrace the fullness of the Orthodox faith.

There are no "other church families" in need of reincorporation. There is only one Church.
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« Reply #113 on: February 27, 2004, 05:31:07 PM »

Linus,

If the Non-Chalcedonians understand, or at least have come to understand, the language of "from two natures" and/or "one nature after the union" [i.e., after the Incarnation] in a way which rejects any comingling or confusion, and which asserts the full humanity and divinity of Christ, without one being in any sense "absorbed" into the other (and this seems to represent, at the very least, the current non-Chalcedonian understanding); if they are willing formally to affirm that understanding; and, if they have come to understand and acknowlege that the language of "two natures" affirmed in the Council of Chalcedon and thereafter was not, by and large, meant in anything like a Nestorian sense, or with Nestorian implications; then, I don't see wherein lies the heresy.  And, if they were able and willing, furthermore, to acknowlege the the definitions of heresy (albeit rejecting the individual, personal anathemas) of the last four Councils as ecumenical, I don't see the heterodoxy.

I respect and, I think, understand your point:  We must not purchase the inclusion of separated groups at the price of disregard for the Councils and the fathers.  But, could it not be that, by placing particular (and potentially ambiguous) verbal formulae, and/or the anathemas against individuals, over and above the essential agreement on the dogmatic understanding of Christ's full divinity and full humanity, we would be placing the letter of the Councils over its spirit?  It seems to me that that would be to fall away from real allegiance to the Councils and the fathers.
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« Reply #114 on: February 29, 2004, 12:45:32 AM »


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ambrosemzv:
If the Non-Chalcedonians understand, or at least have come to understand, the language of "from two natures" and/or "one nature after the union" [i.e., after the Incarnation] in a way which rejects any comingling or confusion, and which asserts the full humanity and divinity of Christ, without one being in any sense "absorbed" into the other (and this seems to represent, at the very least, the current non-Chalcedonian understanding); if they are willing formally to affirm that understanding; and, if they have come to understand and acknowlege that the language of "two natures" affirmed in the Council of Chalcedon and thereafter was not, by and large, meant in anything like a Nestorian sense, or with Nestorian implications; then, I don't see wherein lies the heresy.  And, if they were able and willing, furthermore, to acknowlege the the definitions of heresy (albeit rejecting the individual, personal anathemas) of the last four Councils as ecumenical, I don't see the heterodoxy.

How can they affirm such an understanding while continuing to revere men as "fathers" and "saints" who did not?

What of the statements of some of their leaders (I quoted Met. Mar Gregorios and Pope Shenouda earlier) that indicate the continuance of genuine Monophysitism and Monothelitism?

Quote
ambrosemzv: I respect and, I think, understand your point:  We must not purchase the inclusion of separated groups at the price of disregard for the Councils and the fathers.  But, could it not be that, by placing particular (and potentially ambiguous) verbal formulae, and/or the anathemas against individuals, over and above the essential agreement on the dogmatic understanding of Christ's full divinity and full humanity, we would be placing the letter of the Councils over its spirit?  It seems to me that that would be to fall away from real allegiance to the Councils and the fathers.

The rejection and anathematization of heresiarchs is an essential part of the spirit of the councils.

Does the fact that some Non-Chalcedonians now seem to acknowledge an Orthodox Christology change the fact that men like Eutyches, Dioscorus, Timothy Aelurus, and Severus of Antioch did not?

How does the seeming Orthodoxy of a group of modern, living humans alter the heresy of men long dead, men who died unrepentant?

Those men are anathema - left to the wise and just judgment of God.
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« Reply #115 on: February 29, 2004, 12:56:12 AM »

Linus,

St Issac of Ninevah died a Nestorian bishop 150 or so years after Ephesus. He is a saint in the Orthodox Church.

I for one believe the anathemas against Dioscorus and Severos should be lifted in exchange for the Non-Chalcedonians accepting councils #4-7.  But that's my opinion.

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« Reply #116 on: February 29, 2004, 12:59:29 AM »

Besides the examples that I listed above, there are several other saints that died as "heretics" but who were exhonerated when their Church came into communion with Orthodoxy. See for instance the non-Chalcedonian Georgian saints, and especially check out St Nilus the Goth.

Linus, I think that we can say that there were disputes in the past about language that were exacerbated by political disputes but that this does not wreck the personal sanctity of the individuals in question.

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« Reply #117 on: February 29, 2004, 01:01:54 AM »

Linus,

Almost all of the "World Orthodoxy" hierarchs support union with the Non-Chalcedonians and do not call them heretics any more. Do you think that they are just plain ignorant?  I mean taht question with respect.

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« Reply #118 on: February 29, 2004, 01:37:42 AM »

Linus,

Almost all of the "World Orthodoxy" hierarchs support union with the Non-Chalcedonians and do not call them heretics any more. Do you think that they are just plain ignorant?  I mean taht question with respect.

anastasios

I believe that is not exactly correct.

From what I have read, they speak of union with the NCs if: the if meaning "if the NCs acknowledge the full Orthodox teaching, including all seven councils."

Here is an excerpt from a statement made by the Patriarch Diodorus of Jerusalem of Blessed Memory on the Sunday of Orthodoxy in 1992:

Quote
Likewise, optimism is expressed about the "positive"—as it is asserted—outcome of the dialogue with the Anti-Chalcedonians [the Monophysites], who have repeatedly been condemned for their persistence in heresy and false belief. Our Most Holy Church of Jerusalem abides steadfastly by the decisions of both the Holy Ecumenical Synod of Chalcedon and the subsequent Holy Ecumenical Synods, and neither setting aside any of the definitions nor subjecting them to fresh inquiry, she has broken off the theological dialogue with the non-Chalcedonians.

She does not, however, exclude the possibility of their return and re-inclusion in the bosom of our Most Holy Orthodox Church. In what way the heterodox are received is known. They must fully accept—without any exception—the teaching of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, which is formulated in the definitions and decisions of the Ecumenical Synods.

The partial acceptance of the teaching of the Orthodox Church, that is, the exception of certain definitions of the Ecumenical Synods, as is being done by the heterodox according to what pleases them and serves their interests, as in this case by the Anti-Chalcedonians, cannot constitute a sign of their contact with our Most Holy Orthodox Church. On the contrary, it will entangle her in vicissitudes and divisions, which will weaken her healthy body. For this reason we are bound to inform you, our Most Blessed brethren, in this fraternal Assembly, that our Most Holy Church is abstaining also from this dialogue. For, despite the positive estimate of its progress that it is going to develop further to the better, it will be of no benefit, unless it presupposes the full acceptance of the Orthodox Teaching.
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« Reply #119 on: February 29, 2004, 01:41:01 AM »

anastasios -

I am not familiar with St. Isaac of Nineveh or St. Nilus the Goth.

One thing I do know, however: neither of them was ever condemned as a heresiarch by an ecumenical council of the Church.
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« Reply #120 on: February 29, 2004, 04:53:33 PM »

Linus,

I have to give you that point, that St Isaac of Ninevah was not condemned by a council, but a council could condemn someone for a view when they did not hold that view (I think specifically of the posthumous condmenation of Origen for teaching "preexistent souls" when he probably did not teach that, if you read his writings carefully).  I would be happy to say that the council condemned what it thought these people represented, and that since we know they did not mean what the council thought they did, that they should be exhonerated by a new Ecumenical Council upon their followers' acceptance of councils 4-7.

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« Reply #121 on: February 29, 2004, 07:44:02 PM »

Well, I'm not sure that I can agree with Anastasios that "we know they did not mean what the council thought they did."

From the little I've read by those condemned from both sides, the language appears, though, at least ambiguous (like that of Origen, an interesting analogy).

In many cases, it seems to me quite possible that the full implications of the writings of men such as Leo, or (on the other hand) Dioscorus and Severus, were not known at the time they wrote, perhaps even by the authors themselves; i.e., their writing was, in part, indeterminate.

From those writings, different interpretive threads were to emerge, some of them heretical, some not.  While a Council or other ecclesiastical authority may have rightly condemned the heretical interpretations, it may have overstepped in assuming that that was the only possible interpretation which had emerged.

That being said, I must express gratitude to Linus for forcing me to think these issues through, in the face of much unfortunate vilification.  Reading through the discussion threads in which he has been involved, I have noted that, while he never minces words in explaining his positions, he has rarely engaged in ad hominem attack, but has been the victim of it to a surprising degree.
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