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deusveritasest
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« on: May 21, 2009, 12:45:53 AM »

I've been doing a small amount of posting and as a new poster I figured it would be good to write an introduction.

I'm not posting here randomly, but for a particular reason. I'm coming from a background in the Eastern Orthodox Church but am interested in converting to Oriental Orthodoxy.

It was not that long ago that I was received into the EOC. I was Baptized and Chrismated at a Greek Orthodox church on April 26th, 2008. I stayed there for awhile and transferred to the OCA because I preferred the non-ethnic environment and the all English liturgy. Given such a short period of time in the EOC, it feels a little embarrassing to be thinking of converting to the OOC so soon. But I figure that I need to pursue where I feel a oneness of faith regardless of ecclesiastical commitments.

I probably joined the EOC because I love the Byzantine rite, had already ruled out Western Christianity, and felt a strong connection to various parts of the EO faith. If I had waited longer to analyze the differences between the major Eastern Christian traditions it may never have happened. But enough about the past...

I have been told by numerous people in these modern times that the EO and OO are simply one in faith and that they have both always been completely preserved from both Nestorianism and Eutychianism. I don't know how widespread this understanding is in the OOC, but I don't really buy it. Even if the EO is completely free of Nestorian expression today (which I don't really buy either), it's all the more apparent to me that there are certain Nestorian expressions in the historical tradition of the EOC. Here are some of my objections to the "Church of the Seven Councils":

1. I don't really feel comfortable submitting to the formula of "in two natures". Some EO try to portray this as simply indicating the distinct continuation of Jesus' individuated humanity from His individuated divinity according to substance, something which Severus himself explicitly taught, but I don't really see how that explanation fully corresponds. For one, the formula proposed by Dioscorus at the Council of Chalcedon, "from two natures after the union", seems to clearly satisfy this idea. And yet the Council insisted that it was not this proposition to Dioscorus that they were accepting, but rather the "in two natures" of Leo. If they were simply attempting to establish the dynamic continuation of the humanity and divinity in the Incarnate Word, then they should have accepting Dioscorus' formula instead of associating with a distinct one that had a less clear meaning. By "in two natures" some Chalcedonians think it is acceptable to confess one person who subsists as two beings. This is obvious Nestorianism. By the same phrase some attempt to confess one being in two modes of being. I don't see how one being can have two centers of being and still really be one being. And yet some other try to suggest that it is saying that He is in two substances yet still as one mode of being. I don't really understand how Jesus could be in these two substances in abstraction while He existentially subsists in them as one mode of being. None of these explanations satisfy me and thus I simply refuse to use "in two natures". "One nature of God the Word Incarnate" and "from two natures" seem to satisfy much more clearly my understanding of Jesus being composed of two substances while subsisting in them as one theandric mode of being.

2. I'm also really not comfortable with the way that the Chalcedonians sometimes speak of the wills and actions in Christ. For example, the Tome of Leo claims that "each form does the acts which belong to it, in communion with the other; the Word, that is, performing what belongs to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what belongs to the flesh". And others seem to attribute action to the supposed two natures of Christ. I don't really see any problem with trying to identify a dual substance in the will and action of Christ, that He does all proper divine things and all proper human things. But I cannot admit that His will and action become manifest as two. Rather, Jesus has one composite theandric will according to His composite theandric mode of being and likewise one composite theandric activity.

3. My final issue with Byzantine Christology is the explanation of the reality of Jesus' humanity. It seems that Severus of Antioch explains that the humanity of Christ is a complete humanity in and of itself besides have its own self, or "individuality", thus making it a "non self subsistent hypostasis". The way that Christ's humanity is thus made truly complete and hypostatic is by inheriting the divine Word as the individual making the humanity truly existential. The Byzantines have a theory which was originally quite similar, called "enhypostasis", in which the humanity of Christ is made hypostatic with respect to its union with the Word. However, the modern understanding of this doctrine is very different and simply contradictory to Severus. I have heard plenty of Byzantines and Romans confess that the humanity of Christ is not hypostatic, "anhypostatic", and that it is not an individuated humanity, but rather a general or universal humanity. I view this as yet more deficient Christology that I cannot subscribe to.

So this is why I feel uncomfortable with the idea of remaining a communing member of the EOC. I feel much more close in faith with the OOC, not noticing any doctrinal point that I really disagree with it in its universal tradition. Have I probably explained the Christology of the Oriental Orthodox churches, or am I offbase in anything?

My main issue now with my process of conversion is actually finding a community that is unforeign enough to the point where I would feel comfortable regularly participating in the liturgy. I've run across the Mission Society of Saint Gregorios of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, but they do not have a presence in my area. I've been to a local Armenian church (St. Vartan's in Oakland) and as much as I don't really have a problem with the ethnic emphasis, the fact that the liturgy is entirely in Armenian is a problem for me. So I'm wondering if there are any suggestions as to where I should start looking next. I do have a somewhat wider selection of Oriental churches in my area, having about a dozen being within 50 miles from me.

-Cyril (my patron saint is Cyril of Alexandria)
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2009, 01:45:33 AM »

It's a dangerous thing, choosing a church based on your own personal convictions, since you're making yourself the final judge of what is true.  However, in today's cacophony of orthodoxies, we who seek to convert are all kinda forced to do this. Undecided

So, how have you formulated the paradigms that undergird your decision making process?  What or whom do you consider most influential in your spiritual formation?
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« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009, 02:16:31 AM »

deusveritasest,

For starters, I got to say you've thought a lot more about Chalcedon than the vast majority of OO's have.  About 99% of all Armenians have probably never even heard of it.   Smiley  Personally, I think it can be a red herring, as I believe the EO's are Orthodox and you are fine staying there.  But then I'm a wimpy ecumenist.

The ethnic club mentality can be strong in the OO communion, especially among Armenians.  Are there any Coptic parishes around you?  They tend to be more convert friendly.  Also, is San Francisco near you?  There is another Armenian parish there, St. John's, which you may want to also try, although I am sure St. Vartan's is a great place also.

My only advice is not to make a rash decision.  You only just came into the EO Communion.  You may want to give it more time.  In my opinion, the OCA is a wonderful church.  I used to work near an OCA parish and I would sometimes stop by for some of the evening services.  They were absolutely beautiful.

With regard to the Chalcedon issues, whatever problems there may or may not have been with EO terminology 1500 years ago, I think the OO's and EO's basically have the same Christology now.  Of course that is just my opinion.  Others who have studied this have come to different conclusions.  In any event, you want to give it time and not make any rash decisions.   Smiley
« Last Edit: May 21, 2009, 02:17:42 AM by Salpy » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2009, 02:19:42 AM »


It's a dangerous thing, choosing a church based on your own personal convictions, since you're making yourself the final judge of what is true. However, in today's cacophony of orthodoxies, we who seek to convert are all kinda forced to do this. Undecided

Yes, both your statements here are very true. We are put in a dangerous situation when we choose to judge what is truth simply on our own and in dialogue with others yet without any identified authority. I try to minimize the subjectivity of this by looking only to that period of Tradition which was recognized by all significant church authorities (essentially from Pentecost to the Formula of Reunion in 433). But even so the danger comes in in personally interpreting this Tradition without being able to look to a church body to collectively interpret it. However, given the fact that there is no indication of which given modern church body is the one that one should look to to interpret these things, we must first judge which church body is the Catholic Church based off of its seeming continuity with the Tradition. Thus, this subjective process is nearly unavoidable.

Quote from: PeterTheAleut

So, how have you formulated the paradigms that undergird your decision making process?  What or whom do you consider most influential in your spiritual formation?

I look to Athanasius, the Cappadocian Fathers, and Cyril as the authors of orthodox Theology and Christology, and Dioscorus, Severus, Timothy Aelurus, et al. as their proper interpreters. I look to the first Three Ecumenical Synods as the prime definitions of orthodoxy and try to read the Fathers' commentaries on them as much as possible.
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« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009, 03:11:42 AM »

Quote from: Salpy
deusveritasest,

For starters, I got to say you've thought a lot more about Chalcedon than the vast majority of OO's have.  About 99% of all Armenians have probably never even heard of it.

Such nuances of faith are often not enforced in Baptism and only in Holy Orders. The former rector of Saint Vartan's told me that men ordained to the priesthood in the Armenian church are still required to anathematize the Tome of Leo. Another example is the Church of England where subscription to the 39 Articles is only required at ordination to the priesthood. This is probably a large reason why lay people are unaware of such matters. And for people not interested in such theological acrobats, there are admittedly more important matters to be addressing in one's religious life. I just happen to not be that type.

Quote from: Salpy

Personally, I think it can be a red herring, as I believe the EO's are Orthodox and you are fine staying there.

Well, I could see this being the case for someone who holds to the Tradition of the EOC. But what about someone like me who believes that the EO Tradition includes elements of Nestorianism and thus refuses to subscribe to the dogmatic definitions of the EOC?

Quote from: Salpy

But then I'm a wimpy ecumenist.

Nothing wrong with that. So long as you see a substance underlying the EO Tradition that is "homousious" with that of the OOC, I see no problem with regarding the EOC in such a manner. The only kind of ecumenists I have a problem with are those who insist on unity at the expense of orthodoxy and who are intolerant towards those who have different views of other traditions.

Quote from: Salpy

The ethnic club mentality can be strong in the OO communion, especially among Armenians.  Are there any Coptic parishes around you?  They tend to be more convert friendly.  Also, is San Francisco near you?  There is another Armenian parish there, St. John's, which you may want to also try, although I am sure St. Vartan's is a great place also.

I'm about 10 miles east of San Francisco in Berkeley. There's quite a number of both Armenian and Coptic churches within 50 miles from me. There's also a syriac church, 2 malankara churches, 2 ethiopian churches, and an eritrean church. I think the extent of the Bay Area OO churches is on this map: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=108717430864432539376.000466d6fc45906bfd770&mid=1242888719

Quote from: Salpy

My only advice is not to make a rash decision.  You only just came into the EO Communion.  You may want to give it more time.  In my opinion, the OCA is a wonderful church.  I used to work near an OCA parish and I would sometimes stop by for some of the evening services.  They were absolutely beautiful.

With regard to the Chalcedon issues, whatever problems there may or may not have been with EO terminology 1500 years ago, I think the OO's and EO's basically have the same Christology now.  Of course that is just my opinion.  Others who have studied this have come to different conclusions.  In any event, you want to give it time and not make any rash decisions.   Smiley

Aside from Christology issues, I have no problem with the OCA (despite how political it gets sometimes). I think out of any of the EO&OO jurisdictions in North America it has the best grasp of being a provincial church rather than an ethnic church. If it were not for issues of faith and the EO and OO were simply looked as on level, I would pick the OCA in a heartbeat.

Unfortunately, given my perspective on the EO Tradition, I do not feel securely one in faith with the people of my Church. I thus do not feel comfortable partaking of the Sacred Mysteries at an EO church, and I have refrained from doing so for a few months now. I don't particularly like this situation, and this is why I am considering finally giving in and joining the OOC so that I can actually submit myself again to the Sacramental life.

You may not agree with my perspectives on the EO Tradition, but I'm sure you can understand where I am coming from, and why I am taking this approach to Church given my issues.
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« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009, 03:26:25 AM »

Please forgive this apparent presumption, but, having only been Orthodox for barely a year, how can you be so sure that changing to OO is the right thing to do?

Some questions which I suggest you consider:

Have you truly considered and absorbed what the EO Church teaches, not only in Christology, but in other areas as well?

How familiar are you with the iconographic and  liturgical (not just the Divine Liturgy, but the other services, especially Vespers and Matins which most richly proclaim Orthodox theology and doctrine) traditions and deposit of the EO Church, in which are expressed the teachings of the Church?
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« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2009, 03:35:22 AM »

I would be interested to know if half of the Oriental Orthodox priests who would serve you communion would even understand the differences you are having such a hard time with.

If you switch, you need to tell your priest everything.  Tell him how long you've been EO, as well as the rest of your religious history.  He might just turn you away.
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2009, 03:55:11 AM »

But I cannot admit that His will and action become manifest as two. Rather, Jesus has one composite theandric will according to His composite theandric mode of being and likewise one composite theandric activity.
I had a small question. According to your belief, did Jesus have a theandric will before the Incarnation? I don't see this as correct. How can His will be theandric if we are looking at the time before the Incarnation?  It is the RC belief that the Son of God assumed a human nature, and therefore a human will. So there are two wills in Christ, one human and one divine. Of course,  Christ by His human will followed the Divine will.
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2009, 03:57:43 AM »

The only kind of ecumenists I have a problem with are those who insist on unity at the expense of orthodoxy and who are intolerant towards those who have different views of other traditions.

Don't worry, I'm not that kind of ecumenist.   Smiley

And don't worry if some people here try to give you a hard time about what you are doing.  As you look around OCnet, you'll see that giving each other a hard time here is something we do a lot.   Grin

Also, as I wrote in another thread, if you want to engage in a real debate about OO vs. EO Christology, we have a private forum for that.  If you pm Fr. Chris, he will let you in.

I'd like to remind everyone else of that too.  In fact, I think I will get out my fancy, official moderator green ink and say something about it:

Right now we're all just discussing deusveritasest's conversion journey and  how much he needs to meditate on it, what he needs to take into consideration, etc.  However, if this gets into a heated discussion or debate about Chalcedon or the Christology of our Churches, I'll have to kick at least that part of the thread into private.  Please don't make me do that.   Smiley   If anyone wants to go in that direction, please spare me the trouble and start a new topic in the private forum.  Thanks, guys.
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2009, 07:47:34 AM »

Dear Deusveritasest (Cyril),

Thank you so much for posting this - it really does make us think...

I am in a way opposite; to me, the statement that Jesus Christ our Lord, one Person, one Being, one Hypostasis (individuality, what distinguishes Him from anyone else we could call "he" or "she") is in two natures, Divine and human, - is just awesome, makes full sense (even though I am not literate or eloquent enough to express it), and continues to nurture me in many senses.

You sound like a very thoughtful and well-read person. Forgive me if this is a naive question, but have you read "The Accurate Exposition of the Orthodox Faith" by St. John of Damascus? That one is one of not very many patristic sources that I myself have thoroughly studied. What do you think of it? If you find arguments of St. John in favor of two natures in the hypostatic union-"enosis" not convincing, - why?

Best wishes to you in your life journey.

George
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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2009, 09:19:22 AM »

I find this discussion fascinating, and hope to hear more from everyone, minus the debating+banter Wink.
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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2009, 06:35:17 PM »

Right now we're all just discussing deusveritasest's conversion journey and  how much he needs to meditate on it, what he needs to take into consideration, etc.  However, if this gets into a heated discussion or debate about Chalcedon or the Christology of our Churches, I'll have to kick at least that part of the thread into private.  Please don't make me do that.   Smiley   If anyone wants to go in that direction, please spare me the trouble and start a new topic in the private forum.  Thanks, guys.
I thought that he wrote that he was considering converting because for one thing he believes that Jesus has one composite theandric will according to His composite theandric mode of being and likewise one composite theandric activity.  I am not sure if you are now saying that it is all right or if it is not all right to discuss this question which he has raised?
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« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2009, 07:22:29 PM »


Dear brother in Christ,
                                I must say that I admire your inner strength and obvious deep study of the matters which separate (but should not do so) the EO and OO Churches. I believe not many EO converts actually have to face this dilemma when they convert as most would not come up against the EO/OO issue until long after conversion and reception into the EO and by that time of course their course is set. It takes a very unique type of person to then again reconsider their position within that Communion of the One Holy Universal and Apostolic Church.

                                Have you discussed this with your confession father? Since you are under his guidance and spiritual advice you are obliged to do so before Christ. From what I have read lately I see that some EO/OO priests bless their sons and daughters to attend even protestant churches for variant reasons, (a thing I would never do by my conscience before God but I have seen other priests do and understand-while not agreeing with- their reasons and excuses for doing so). If you make such a drastic change without recourse to your spiritual father and his blessing you in fact set yourself up later for many serious sins and temptations.

                               Having said all of the above, I understand completely where you are coming from. When I considered converting to the One Holy, Universal and Apostolic Church I actually sat down and considered the issue of Chalcedon -as an outsider Protestant pastor in training at Theological college- and seriously studied the matter from all sides. I see you have considered the matter at great depth as well. Of course from our side you are already Orthodox and within the One Holy Universal and Apostolic Church, so any future reception would be relatively smooth, however, you must understand that some of the EO communion will not take lightly to your proposed suggestion, some will reject you if you make that move, some will accuse you of "leaving the Church" and worse. The way you go about this transition (if you do) will determine the spiritual fruit of it. A calm peaceful spirit that can fully explain the reasons in an irenic way will go a long way to reducing the noise and clatter around you. Be patient with those who do not understand as their own consciences would never allow such a thing.

                                                    Be wary not to have an idealized idea of what the OO communion is like. Whilst I affirm and believe it is most certainly a part of the One Holy Universal and Apostolic Church of God, if you follow through and are received by the OO priest in your area you will come up against issues that may tend to burst any bubble you -may- have formed. Those of us who have studied closely the writings of the early church fathers and theologians sometimes think we are entering a Church of such lights, only to discover that the great lights were very few themselves amongst a vast sea of Christian people even in their day which often was a bit lazy towards their received faith. So it is in our own days. Be prepared to at least learn a little of the particular cultural mantle that encompasses any Orthodox Church that you are now in or may later be in. Whilst the faith is most definitely above all culture, it is however, lived in cultural settings.

Please remember my weakness in your prayers and may the prayers of the holy Mother of God St Mary and all the saints of this day, be with you.

May God the Divine Holy Trinity, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you now and unto the Age of all ages. Amen.

James+
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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2009, 07:34:45 PM »

Right now we're all just discussing deusveritasest's conversion journey and  how much he needs to meditate on it, what he needs to take into consideration, etc.  However, if this gets into a heated discussion or debate about Chalcedon or the Christology of our Churches, I'll have to kick at least that part of the thread into private.  Please don't make me do that.   Smiley   If anyone wants to go in that direction, please spare me the trouble and start a new topic in the private forum.  Thanks, guys.
I thought that he wrote that he was considering converting because for one thing he believes that Jesus has one composite theandric will according to His composite theandric mode of being and likewise one composite theandric activity.  I am not sure if you are now saying that it is all right or if it is not all right to discuss this question which he has raised?

Some discussion as it relates to his reasons for possibly leaving his present Church would be OK.  A full debate on the matter of whether Christ has one will or two, would be better placed in the private forum.   Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2009, 10:49:17 PM »

What exactly is the difference between the two natures formula of dioscorus and the two natures of Leo?
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« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2009, 11:09:52 PM »

What exactly is the difference between the two natures formula of dioscorus and the two natures of Leo?

St. Dioscorus, like St. Cyril, used the phrase "one nature."  We OO's believe Christ had one (in the sense of "united") nature, which was fully human and fully divine.  The EO's (and Catholics) use Pope Leo's "two natures" language, meaning two natures, one of them human and the other divine, united in one person.

Lots of theologians on both sides have studied the issue and decided we all believe the same thing, which is that Christ is fully divine and fully human.  Some who have studied the issue, however, believe there may still be some subtle differences between our two Churches' Christologies.

Since this has been discussed ad nauseum on this forum, I'd like to avoid much more explanation, unless someone out there really believes what I said above is inaccurate.  Debate on the issue needs to take place in the private forum.

If you want to know more, you can click on the Chalcedon tag below and spend the next month reading all the threads that have been written on the topic.
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« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2009, 12:00:11 PM »


Please forgive this apparent presumption, but, having only been Orthodox for barely a year, how can you be so sure that changing to OO is the right thing to do?

I'm not. That's exactly why I haven't done it yet. I'm waiting until I develop a greater confidence that this is really what I'm supposed to be doing.

Quote from: LBK

Have you truly considered and absorbed what the EO Church teaches, not only in Christology, but in other areas as well?

I don't know. Why do you ask? Are you suggesting that it is a good idea to stay in the EOC because it has some highly valuable and unique teachings even though its Christology is not entirely orthodox?
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« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2009, 12:19:05 PM »

But I cannot admit that His will and action become manifest as two. Rather, Jesus has one composite theandric will according to His composite theandric mode of being and likewise one composite theandric activity.
I had a small question. According to your belief, did Jesus have a theandric will before the Incarnation? I don't see this as correct. How can His will be theandric if we are looking at the time before the Incarnation?  It is the RC belief that the Son of God assumed a human nature, and therefore a human will. So there are two wills in Christ, one human and one divine. Of course,  Christ by His human will followed the Divine will.

I was speaking particularly about the Incarnate Logos. Before the Incarnation, the Word did not subsist in a theandric mode of being, and He did not have a theandric will, and He did not have a theandric activity, but solely divine in all these respects. As a matter of fact, I was speaking in present tense, so that I was speaking of after the union should be a given.

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« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2009, 03:58:36 PM »

I don't know. Why do you ask? Are you suggesting that it is a good idea to stay in the EOC because it has some highly valuable and unique teachings even though its Christology is not entirely orthodox?
Debate in 5, 4, 3, 2...
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« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2009, 07:36:18 PM »

I don't know. Why do you ask? Are you suggesting that it is a good idea to stay in the EOC because it has some highly valuable and unique teachings even though its Christology is not entirely orthodox?
Debate in 5, 4, 3, 2...


OK.  Just to give an idea of what I will allow here, if an EO wants to join the thread to explain how EO Christology adequately preserves the unity of Christ, despite its "two nature" language, that would be fine. 

What isn't fine is knocking the OO's or lying.  (Something that happens often in debates like this.)  "OO's are monophysite heretics who believe Christ is only divine and that the divinity died on the cross" is an example of what is not OK.  "St. Cyril used 'two natures' and rejected 'one nature,'" is also an example of what is not OK.  If you keep it honest and civil, the thread will stay in the public forum.

An example of what would be OK would be "Even though we EO's use the phrase 'two natures,' we still believe in Christ's unity as St. Cyril did because ..."  Bringing up Constantinople I would be a good idea.

Also, I should mention to deusveritasest that he needs to be a little more gentle with his rhetoric.  Please try to express objections to EO terminology and Christology in a way that won't offend our EO posters. 

I'd like to let people discuss the OP of this thread in the public forum.  I would like to give the EO's a chance to help one of their brothers think carefully about an important step he is thinking of taking.  It's only fair.  I think this discussion can happen as long as we are considerate of others and exercise some self restraint.

Thank you. 
Smiley
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« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2009, 06:25:00 PM »

Dear Deusveritasest (Cyril),

Thank you so much for posting this - it really does make us think...

I am in a way opposite; to me, the statement that Jesus Christ our Lord, one Person, one Being, one Hypostasis (individuality, what distinguishes Him from anyone else we could call "he" or "she") is in two natures, Divine and human, - is just awesome, makes full sense (even though I am not literate or eloquent enough to express it), and continues to nurture me in many senses.

You sound like a very thoughtful and well-read person. Forgive me if this is a naive question, but have you read "The Accurate Exposition of the Orthodox Faith" by St. John of Damascus? That one is one of not very many patristic sources that I myself have thoroughly studied. What do you think of it? If you find arguments of St. John in favor of two natures in the hypostatic union-"enosis" not convincing, - why?

Best wishes to you in your life journey.

George

Thanks for your response George.

I did read through the pertinent sections of An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith on the Trinity and the Incarnation a couple of weeks ago and don't remember finding any content that I found to be highly objectionable. I just pulled up the document again and plan to read it more thoroughly today so that I can respond to your questions more fully.
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« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2009, 06:54:20 PM »

Quote from: Fr James

I must say that I admire your inner strength and obvious deep study of the matters which separate (but should not do so) the EO and OO Churches.

Thank you Father.

Quote from: Fr James

I believe not many EO converts actually have to face this dilemma when they convert as most would not come up against the EO/OO issue until long after conversion and reception into the EO and by that time of course their course is set.

As such I wish there was a better way to get people educated on these Christological issues before they wind up solidly choosing their church home so that they wouldn't have to be later stuck in a dilemma similar to my own.

Quote from: Fr James

Have you discussed this with your confession father?

I have. He tries to break down the Seven Councils to their core theological concerns so that it is easier to show what is the core message that we are called to subscribe to. I appreciate this attempt to accommodate to me, but I don't know if this method really works for me. I cannot avoid looking to all the defined content of these supposedly ecumenical councils and feeling that if we are to claim allegiance to these councils that we should then be comfortable with the entirety of the content of their dogmatic definitions. And he still says that it is problematic me attempting to commune at an EO if I cannot claim allegiance to the Seven Councils. Ultimately in our talks my priest found that he was simply not academically adept enough in the realm of theology to truly answered my questions and as a result recommended me to others in the academic realm. Yet, I seem to have a problem where most of the people I try to seek advice from for some reason do not properly maintain contact with me, and thus I am left without a real concrete adviser in this area.

Quote from: Fr James

Since you are under his guidance and spiritual advice you are obliged to do so before Christ... If you make such a drastic change without recourse to your spiritual father and his blessing you in fact set yourself up later for many serious sins and temptations.

I know that some OO are not comfortable entertaining this thought because of their highly ecumencial inclinations (which I do not condemn, but it becomes problematic when they cannot entertain the thoughts of those who do not share those inclinations), but I must address it because they are truly my thoughts. Perhaps unlike you, I am not so confident of the pure orthodoxy of the EO Tradition, and thus I am likewise not confident that the EO clergy have the fullness Apostolic Succession. I am thus not really comfortable submitting myself to an EO priest in such an absolute manner as you are speaking of while I consider the EO Tradition to probably include a strand of Christology that is crypto-Nestorian.

Quote from: Fr James

Of course from our side you are already Orthodox and within the One Holy Universal and Apostolic Church, so any future reception would be relatively smooth,

Wouldn't it be reasonable, however, for the OO to cater to those who are converting to the OOC with the traditional understanding that the EO Tradition is inclusive of a crypto-Nestorian strain of though, and thus not part of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and thus Sacramentally questionable?

Quote from: Fr James

however, you must understand that some of the EO communion will not take lightly to your proposed suggestion, some will reject you if you make that move, some will accuse you of "leaving the Church" and worse.

Probably most in the EOC would. Even my own priest who recognizes that the OO are orthodox considers them to be schismatic and not part of the Church. My godparents have likewise expressed a strong resistance to the idea of my converting.

Quote from: Fr James

Be wary not to have an idealized idea of what the OO communion is like. Whilst I affirm and believe it is most certainly a part of the One Holy Universal and Apostolic Church of God, if you follow through and are received by the OO priest in your area you will come up against issues that may tend to burst any bubble you -may- have formed. Those of us who have studied closely the writings of the early church fathers and theologians sometimes think we are entering a Church of such lights, only to discover that the great lights were very few themselves amongst a vast sea of Christian people even in their day which often was a bit lazy towards their received faith. So it is in our own days. Be prepared to at least learn a little of the particular cultural mantle that encompasses any Orthodox Church that you are now in or may later be in. Whilst the faith is most definitely above all culture, it is however, lived in cultural settings.

Alright. Thank you for the warning.

Quote from: Fr James

Please remember my weakness in your prayers and may the prayers of the holy Mother of God St Mary and all the saints of this day, be with you.

May God the Divine Holy Trinity, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you now and unto the Age of all ages. Amen.

James+
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Amen. God bless you as well reverend Father.
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« Reply #22 on: May 23, 2009, 08:34:45 PM »

Dear Deusveritasest (Cyril),

Thank you so much for posting this - it really does make us think...

I am in a way opposite; to me, the statement that Jesus Christ our Lord, one Person, one Being, one Hypostasis (individuality, what distinguishes Him from anyone else we could call "he" or "she") is in two natures, Divine and human, - is just awesome, makes full sense (even though I am not literate or eloquent enough to express it), and continues to nurture me in many senses.

You sound like a very thoughtful and well-read person. Forgive me if this is a naive question, but have you read "The Accurate Exposition of the Orthodox Faith" by St. John of Damascus? That one is one of not very many patristic sources that I myself have thoroughly studied. What do you think of it? If you find arguments of St. John in favor of two natures in the hypostatic union-"enosis" not convincing, - why?

Best wishes to you in your life journey.

George

Thanks for your response George.

I did read through the pertinent sections of An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith on the Trinity and the Incarnation a couple of weeks ago and don't remember finding any content that I found to be highly objectionable. I just pulled up the document again and plan to read it more thoroughly today so that I can respond to your questions more fully.

Thank you so much, again, for your response!

I am not a native English speaker (even though I have lived in the USA since 1990 and I teach at an American university so I know some English - but I am still sometimes more comfortable in Eastern Slavic languages), so I pulled out a Russian translation of the book of St. John the Damascene. What I understood from this book is, briefly, this:

-- Christ is one Person (Hypostasis=individual);

-- "Ousia" or "physis" (nature) is what is in common to many different persons like you, me, my fellow humans ("Dupree") (the human ousia) or for the Three Persons of God (the Divine ousia);

-- in the one Person=Hypostasis-individual of Christ, there are two Ousias or "physis"-es or natures - one Divine (like in the Persons of the Holy Trinity) and one human (like in you, me and Dupree);

-- the two natures (physis-es etc. etc.) in one Christ remain themselves not becoming "somehow" the other, in that He is fully God because He has the nature of the Trinity and He is fully human because He has the nature of "you, mee, and Dupree."

What in this formula is wrong - I mean both my lay, imperfect rendering and the Chalcedon Fathers more learned and more perfect rendering?

I am sorry if this is a just another post in those long, long Chalc/Non-Chalc threads, but I still thought I might ask. Thanks... and my all best wishes to you!
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« Reply #23 on: May 23, 2009, 09:20:20 PM »

Dear George,

I appreciate your input. I haven't read St John's work in its entirety but I do recall reading through those segments where he specifically addresses Christology. Apart from his misrepresentation of the non-Chalcedonian position, I do recall some other concerns I had, particularly with respect to his presumptiveness as to how inherently fluid terms are to strictly be applied i.e. I had a sense of "this is what term X means to me and my tradition, thus this is what X means absolutely, and thus this is what others must mean when they use term X in the manner they do, and therefore those who use term X as such are heretics."

Ultimately, though, I would agree that St John reasonably expounded an Orthodox Christology as we (OO) would understand it, and Fr. V.C. Samuel (OO scholar) in fact draws many parallels between the Christology of St Severus of Antioch and St John. Fr. V.C. Samuel does raise one concern in the course of his comparative analysis, however, which is a rather ironic one: that St Severus actually defends the fullness of Christ's Humanity to a greater degree than St John given the former's emphasis on Christ's assumption of post-fall Humanity (which is ironic in that a primary charge of the Chalcedonian Fathers against the Non-Chalcedonian Fathers was that the latter undermined the integrity of the fullness of Christ's Humanity).

I have no problem with your encouragement that St John's Christology be further explored, but I question what relevance this bears if a similar exploration of the Christology of the Non-Chalcedonian Fathers would (as I believe it would) yield the same sentiment regarding the soundness and Orthodoxy of their Christology. Have you read St Severus' Christology works, for example? Assuming you did, and found nothing objectionable to his own elucidation of Orthodox Christology, what implications then should this bear to how one confronted with the dilemma of considering EOxy vs. OOxy should so approach said dilemma?

No doubt this is a highly sensitive and delicate issue fraught with the potential to offend. I am not trying to sway anyone towards one position or another. Neither is it my intent to actually get into an in-depth doctrinal discussion/analysis--I have neither the time nor patience (nor desire, to be perfectly frank) for this right now. I only attempt to present some sort of balance to the thread, and some extra food for thought. That is all.
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« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2009, 09:57:15 PM »

Have you read St Severus' Christology works, for example? Assuming you did, and found nothing objectionable to his own elucidation of Orthodox Christology, what implications then should this bear to how one confronted with the dilemma of considering EOxy vs. OOxy should so approach said dilemma?

Dear EchristosAnesti, no, unfortunately, I did not... I just assumed that my spiritual Fathers have read it and therefore (as they never instructed me to read it) I thought this is something from the past. something we (the Orthodox Christians) have passed like a streetcar that has passed a stop no one claims...
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« Reply #25 on: May 23, 2009, 10:03:46 PM »

I know that some OO are not comfortable entertaining this thought because of their highly ecumencial inclinations (which I do not condemn, but it becomes problematic when they cannot entertain the thoughts of those who do not share those inclinations), but I must address it because they are truly my thoughts. Perhaps unlike you, I am not so confident of the pure orthodoxy of the EO Tradition, and thus I am likewise not confident that the EO clergy have the fullness Apostolic Succession. I am thus not really comfortable submitting myself to an EO priest in such an absolute manner as you are speaking of while I consider the EO Tradition to probably include a strand of Christology that is crypto-Nestorian.

I can imagine your frustration.  Here you are, trying to convert from the EO Church to the OO Church, and the OO's, instead of cheering, are telling you to think it through first.  I mean what kind of Church does that with potential converts?  One would think we should be shouting:  "Great!  You're leaving those heretic EO's and coming to the True Church!  Welcome home!  You are truly saved now."  Instead, what you are hearing is, "But you are already Orthodox," and "Think it over."  We OO's are a funny bunch.  But let me explain.   Smiley

Have you ever noticed that in the OO Church there is a whole lot of diversity in practice and that it really doesn't bother us at all?  For example, we have very different liturgies.  We also have different calendars.  Some of us are on the new calendar and some are on the old.  Some of us do Easter when the Catholics do, and some do it at the traditional time.  I think there are also some different practices when it comes to how we all cross ourselves.  And yet, none of this bothers us.  The Copts are not bothered by the fact that the Armenians use unleavened bread and the Armenians don't care that the Copts use a communion spoon.  Even the shapes of our altars are different, and absolutely nobody gets excited about it.

Contrast that with the EO Church where there is a lot more uniformity.  I attribute that to the fact that they had an empire and that in an empire there is a "my way or the highway" mentality on the part of emperors who feel more secure when everyone is just like they are.  I could be wrong about this.  I am certainly no historian.  It could be they all became this uniform by accident, but that would be weird. 

One big benefit from having the uniformity is that a Greek can visit a Russian church and know exactly what is going on during the liturgy.  That's definitely a cool thing.  I mean, I've been to two Ethiopian liturgies in my life, and while they were breathtakingly beautiful, I had a hard time understanding what was going on. 

There are some benefits, however, to having more diversity in the OO Church.  One benefit is that in keeping all our ancient liturgies as they are and not making them conform to a certain model, we've preserved a lot of very ancient Christian practices that have been lost elsewhere in the world.  Another benefit is that tolerating diversity has kept us from having as many schisms as our EO brothers have unfortunately had.  That second benefit, in my opinion, is very important.

One thing that I have noticed since being on OCnet is that the EO's tend to feel that any deviation from how they do things must be associated with heresy.  Hence all the schisms associated with calendars, how to cross oneself, etc. 

We OO's, on the other hand, look at the underlying faith, rather than the externals.  Again and again, I and other OO's have answered questions from EO's who can't understand why the Copts, Syrians, Indians and Ethiopians will commune with the Armenians when the Armenians use unleavened bread.  It just doesn't make sense to them that we should be in communion with each other when there is that kind of difference between us.  We always explain to them that this is because we look at the underlying faith that is between us, so it doesn't matter.  EO's seem genuinely perplexed by this.   

OK, I've been rambling, and where am I going with all this?  Oh yeah. 

This tendency to look at the underlying faith, rather than the externals, is, in my opinion, why you find the OO's to be more ecumenically minded toward the EO's, than the other way around.  Something you will see on OCnet, for example, is that there are more EO's calling the OO's heretics than the other way around.  Not that all the EO's here feel that way toward the OO's.  Also, we've had at least one OO who was quite uncompromising in his belief that EO's are heretics. 

It's just that it is more common to see an EO assume that the difference in Christological language must mean that the other side holds wildly heretical beliefs.  The OO's on the other hand are more likely to look instead at what the other side means when they use their language, rather than just focusing on the language itself.

Anyway, to finally bring this all to your situation, I think the problem here is that you are trying to come to the OO, with a mindset that I would call an EO mindset.  You are looking at the language that the EO's use and it bothers you that some of the language they use is language traditionally embraced by Nestorians.  The history surrounding Chalcedon is also bothersome.  However, you need to realize that we OO's are concerned with what our EO brothers today actually believe.  To us, what they actually mean today when they say "two natures," is more important than what their language could possibly be interpreted to mean, or whether the Church of the East also uses it, or whether back in the fifth century some people who embraced Chalcedon were Nestorian, or whatever.   

Now it could be that in your particular community, there are some people who are giving an extreme interpretation to the "two nature" language and are making it seem like Christ really was operating as two separate beings.  I don't know.  Now and then, during the course of heated polemics, we've seen one or two EO's here at OCnet say extreme things that would be very inconsistent with their own fifth council.  I question, however, whether it would really be fair to take that and say it means today's EO Church is crypto-Nestorian.

Anyway, if you really are serious about being OO, you need to first look at the EO tradition you are about to leave with an OO mindset.  You need to step away from looking at the external language and ask what the EO Church means when it says "two natures."  Forget that some of their language is shared by the Church of the East.  Forget that Nestorius liked the Tome of Leo.  Put aside for a moment the horrible history.  Just look at what the EO Church actually believes

When you are able to do that, you'll be able to see why so many of us are telling you that you are already Orthodox and that you need to really think this through.  If after doing this, you still want to convert, that's fine.  There are plenty of reasons to convert to the OO Church.  For starters, our food is way better.   Smiley  However, if you convert because you believe the EO Church is crypto-Nestorian, you'll continue to be frustrated as you will be using a mindset different from other OO's and you'll be surrounded by people who disagree with your feelings toward your former Church.

Just my extremely long and rambling 2 cents.  I just hope this helps you understand us better.   Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2009, 10:12:02 PM »

Heorhij,

I think your suggestion that deusveritasest read some of the EO Fathers is a great idea.  I'm sure he wants to make an informed decision.  I also appreciate EA's comments on John of Damascus.  It's helpful knowing that his representations of our beliefs are not entirely accurate and that his use of terminology from our perspective can be problematic.

This is useful, guys.  Thanks.   Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2009, 11:32:43 PM »

Two perfectly good reasons to convert to the OO Church:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,13011.0.html#top

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,14005.0.html#top
 Grin

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« Reply #28 on: May 24, 2009, 03:20:34 PM »

Quote from: Pilgrim link

What exactly is the difference between the two natures formula of dioscorus and the two natures of Leo?

Well, most obviously it is semantic. Dioscorus used "from two natures" even in the form of "from two natures after the union", whereas Leo used "in two natures", a formula which Dioscorus would not accept.

However, there appears to have been even a difference in what the two meant by these formulas. Leo appeared to have suggested that Christ existed in two distinct modes or centers of being and that His operations emitted forth from these two centers, whereas Dioscorus would not tolerate any existential twoness in the Incarnate Word, but rather that the difference between the humanity and divinity was only in the realm of composition.
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« Reply #29 on: May 24, 2009, 03:28:24 PM »

I don't know. Why do you ask? Are you suggesting that it is a good idea to stay in the EOC because it has some highly valuable and unique teachings even though its Christology is not entirely orthodox?
Debate in 5, 4, 3, 2...

Given your response, my guess is that you didn't really understand what I was saying there. The response that I was addressing was asking if I had learned what the EO teaches in areas other than Christology. I had brought up criticisms and issues with the Christology of the EO Tradition, and instead of addressing them the poster asked if I had come to learn about the other facets of the EO Tradition. I can't quite see what such a question really matter. Given that the post sought to gloss over the Christological issues, I was justly wondering if the poster was suggesting that I hold allegiance to the EO Tradition based off of some of its beliefs even though I do not see its Christology as orthodox. You interpreted what I was saying as "Are you suggesting that I stay EO because of some valuable and unique teachings even given the fact that its Christology is not orthodox?", but the fact is that I was actually trying to say "Are you suggesting that the EO is not Christologically orthodox and even given that I should stay EO just because it has valuable teachings in some other realm?".
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« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2009, 03:35:30 PM »

Quote from: Salpy

Also, I should mention to deusveritasest that he needs to be a little more gentle with his rhetoric.  Please try to express objections to EO terminology and Christology in a way that won't offend our EO posters.

As I clarified, I was not making an objective statement that the EO Tradition is Nestorian. It's just that somehow my question was interpreted to mean that.

But your post gave me another thought. Is being super sensitive to EO really necessary in this forum? This is an explicitly Oriental Orthodox forum, after all. And a legitimate and traditional stream of thought within the OO Tradition even more critical than my own would say that the Seven Councils are truly Nestorian and that any who adhere to them are thus Nestorians themselves.
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« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2009, 06:24:54 PM »

But your post gave me another thought. Is being super sensitive to EO really necessary in this forum? This is an explicitly Oriental Orthodox forum, after all.

You don't really have to be super sensitive, just polite.   Smiley  The EO's have to be equally polite.  This goes not only for the OO forum, but for the rest of the public forum as well.  Also, as I said, any full debate on Christology would go in the private forum.  The rules may seem silly, but there's a reason for them that has to do with the history of the forum.

You may want to pm Fr. Chris and ask for admission to the private forum.  A lot of our members post there.  You can be much more blunt and engage in a fuller debate on the Christological issues there.



Quote
And a legitimate and traditional stream of thought within the OO Tradition even more critical than my own would say that the Seven Councils are truly Nestorian and that any who adhere to them are thus Nestorians themselves.

I'm not sure I've ever really heard it put that way by any OO's.

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« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2009, 07:48:14 PM »

And a legitimate and traditional stream of thought within the OO Tradition even more critical than my own would say that the Seven Councils are truly Nestorian and that any who adhere to them are thus Nestorians themselves.

A legitimate stream of thought within the OO Tradition would deem three councils she subscribes to as Nestorian? Umm, yeah, I don't think so.

You are aware that the first three of the seven councils subscribed to by the EO's are in fact considered Holy Ecumenical Councils by us, aren't you?
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« Reply #33 on: May 24, 2009, 08:02:26 PM »

A legitimate stream of thought within the OO Tradition would deem three councils she subscribes to as Nestorian? Umm, yeah, I don't think so.

In your opinion, would you consider it a legitimate stream of thought within the OO if applied only to the last 4? Deficient, yes. But could the Council of 553, for example, be considered Nestorian?
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« Reply #34 on: May 24, 2009, 08:08:22 PM »

... and what of the Quinisext and Seventh Councils? What of their decrees on iconography? Does the OO church have the same degree of doctrinal, theological and liturgical rigor in its approach to iconography?
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« Reply #35 on: May 24, 2009, 08:25:09 PM »

A legitimate stream of thought within the OO Tradition would deem three councils she subscribes to as Nestorian? Umm, yeah, I don't think so.

In your opinion, would you consider it a legitimate stream of thought within the OO if applied only to the last 4? Deficient, yes. But could the Council of 553, for example, be considered Nestorian?

I do not even know what the expression 'a legitimate stream thought' actually means. All I know is that the word 'legitimate' cannot in whatever context be applied by OO to their own Ecumenical Councils.
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« Reply #36 on: May 24, 2009, 08:26:36 PM »


And a legitimate and traditional stream of thought within the OO Tradition even more critical than my own would say that the Seven Councils are truly Nestorian and that any who adhere to them are thus Nestorians themselves.

Dear brother in Christ,
                               I myself have not read or heard of such statements and I have been OO for 14 years. If you refer to some individual references in early synaxarian readings that date to the fifth-seventh centuries then yes there are some strong words recorded-on both sides-. Prior to Islam coming to Egypt the Byzantine Empire used force and soldiers to implement its edicts regarding Church governance which was by and large ignored by the native Coptic population. Of course during this era there were heated responses which alleged Nestorianism en masse, just as their are responses from the East which allege monophysitism en masse against those who held on to the "One Nature" formulae. Yet even in those records there are no references that I have ever seen which denounce the later Eastern/Roman councils as "Nestorian".

If however, you have discovered a written Oriental Orthodox source that hitherto is unknown by us please share with us from where it comes and we shall study it and be able to interact further.

Please do not take my words before as discouraging you in your contemplated journey, but rather simply as an added test for you to consider. By the way some of our priests overseas who receive requests to convert from even un-Christian religions sometimes take a long time to consider the request. Whilst most situations can be resolved in less than a year, we have at our Church one young man that coming from a heretical background regarding -some- doctrines took over four years to be received by Holy Baptism and Chrismation into the Church.  

May God the Divine Holy Trinity guide you always through the prayers of your spiritual father.

Please remember me in your prayers.

James+
a servant.
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« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2009, 08:26:53 PM »

... and what of the Quinisext and Seventh Councils? What of their decrees on iconography? Does the OO church have the same degree of doctrinal, theological and liturgical rigor in its approach to iconography?

During the 1980's, His Holiness Vazgen I visited the United States.  I was able to make into a crowded church where he was giving a speech to a crowd mixed with Armenians and Greeks.  I specifically recall him saying that the decisions of your seventh council are consistent with the beliefs of the Armenian Church.  
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« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2009, 08:33:35 PM »

A legitimate stream of thought within the OO Tradition would deem three councils she subscribes to as Nestorian? Umm, yeah, I don't think so.

In your opinion, would you consider it a legitimate stream of thought within the OO if applied only to the last 4? Deficient, yes. But could the Council of 553, for example, be considered Nestorian?

Your fifth council would not be considered Nestorian.  At least that is what I have always understood.  In fact it is that council which allows us to think of you as Orthodox.  Fr. James or EA can correct me in this if I am incorrect.  There are some unfortunate anathemas against some of our saints which are attached to that council, however.  I have always understood that those anathemas are really our only objection to that council. 
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« Reply #39 on: May 24, 2009, 08:39:42 PM »

... and what of the Quinisext and Seventh Councils? What of their decrees on iconography? Does the OO church have the same degree of doctrinal, theological and liturgical rigor in its approach to iconography?

Well I can't really answer that question because it is not so clear to me what 'doctrinal, theological and liturgical rigor' means.

I will make one point however, which may be relevant to what you're trying to get at. Our understanding of the Church's explication/formulation of doctrines/canons in general, based on our (EO and OO) common apophatic tradition, is that such explication/formulation is divinely encouraged/guided in response to situations that demand said explication/formulation.

Whilst the OO Church experienced pockets of iconoclasm in her history, these were not as widespread or severe as that experienced by the EO so as to warrant the universal gathering of OO bishops to formulate/explicate an understanding of Orthodox iconography. Rather, these iconoclastic movements, by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, naturally waned and died out such that the use and veneration of icons naturally came to be universal practice in the Church.

Given an epiclectic understanding of the Church, the OO would assert from their perspective that the Holy Spirit has not seen it necessary to detail and codify the fine truths regarding the theology and spirituality of icons, whereas the EO would assert on the contrary that the Holy Spirit deemed it necessary to respond to a critical threat to their use and veneration of icons.
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« Reply #40 on: May 24, 2009, 08:41:29 PM »


Your fifth council would not be considered Nestorian.  At least that is what I have always understood.  In fact it is that council which allows us to think of you as Orthodox.  Fr. James or EA can correct me in this if I am incorrect.  There are some unfortunate anathemas against some of our saints which are attached to that council, however.  I have always understood that those anathemas are really our only objection to that council. 

I find it very interesting that the fathers of the "Fourth" refused to excommunicate Dioscorus for heresy (even though the allegation was 'on the floor') and rather "removed" him for non-attendance after being called three times to the last Session (he was at the time under imperial house arrest guarded by armed soldiers). Then the fathers of the Fifth long after did not hesitate to declare him an heretic! Of course by then about one third of the known Church was not in attendance.

Ar the politics of it all. God forgive your people.

Pray for me.

James+
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« Reply #41 on: May 24, 2009, 09:13:01 PM »

And a legitimate and traditional stream of thought within the OO Tradition even more critical than my own would say that the Seven Councils are truly Nestorian and that any who adhere to them are thus Nestorians themselves.

A legitimate stream of thought within the OO Tradition would deem three councils she subscribes to as Nestorian? Umm, yeah, I don't think so.

You are aware that the first three of the seven councils subscribed to by the EO's are in fact considered Holy Ecumenical Councils by us, aren't you?

I did not specify that I was saying every single one of those seven councils was in and of itself Nestorian. That much should be obvious given that Nestorianism did not even exist for the time of the first two of them. The Seven Councils were regarded as Nestorian when taken as a whole, not individually. The OO do not believe in the Seven Councils, they only believe in the first three of those councils.
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« Reply #42 on: May 25, 2009, 05:08:23 PM »

A tangent about icons in the OO Church was split off and put here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21473.msg324172.html#msg324172
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« Reply #43 on: August 06, 2009, 06:07:17 PM »

A polemical post and a response were moved to the private EO/OO discussion forum:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,22648.0.html

If you don't belong to the private forum and want to join, please pm Fr. Chris.

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