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Author Topic: Transubstantiation or Consubstantiation  (Read 11505 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ben
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« on: November 05, 2003, 07:47:49 PM »

Hey everyone...

As most of you know I am a Roman Catholic converting to Orthdoxy. And as a Roman Catholic I have a great devotion to the eucharist, I believe and always will that the bread at Catholic and Orthodox churches becomes the body and blood of Chirst. I know that Orthodoxy teaches this but I am wondering whether the Orthodox Church teaches transubstantiation or Consubstantiation or niether Huh.

Thanks and GBU!

Pray for me a sinner!!

ps. I understand that I could find this answer to this question elsewhere, and I think I have, but I just wanted you people's opinion..thanks a bunch!
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2003, 09:14:41 PM »

Ben

Transubstantiation is a term out of western scholastic theology which the RCC solemnly defined at Trent as what happens at the liturgy when the priest says the words of consecration over the bread and wine.  Consubstantiation is I think a Lutheran concept.  I am sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong but I don't think Orthodoxy makes that fine a distinction as the west.  In fact one EO priest told me that the bread and wine change into Xt's body and blood during the anaphora and left it at that.

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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2003, 09:19:58 PM »

Ben, I can tell you one thing: the Orthodox Church does not teach the Lutheran doctrine of "consubstantiation."

While the Orthodox Church has not officially defined the term "transubstantiation" in an Ecumenical Synod, some of our theologians do use it, but "transmutation" or simply "change" are possibly used even more to tell us what happens to the gifts of bread and wine during the Divine Liturgy, especially once the Epiklesis has been accomplished.  And how that change occurs is a mystery to the Orthodox mind, a change not requiring a rational, scientific explanation as implied by the term, "transubstantiation."  

However, that being said, once the change occurs, we firmly believe that the offered and sanctified bread and wine have become the very Body and Blood of Christ Himself, the Holy Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Holy Mysteries, the Bread of Life and the Fountain  of Immortality.

I hope this helps.

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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2003, 09:39:32 PM »

Thanks Hypo-ortho and all of those who responded to my post, your posts have helped and once again thank you. I of course plan to discuss this issue with the Orthodox Priest who is guiding me on my journey to Orthodoxy, but your posts helped! Thanks!
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2003, 10:03:07 PM »

Hypo,

If you compare the Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation as described by Luther with Church fathers such as St Symeon the New Theologian, you will see that they are not really THAT different. For instance, when I was Lutheran we were taught that the Eucharist most certainly was truly the Body and Blood of Christ.

Compare this to Orthodox texts which do not make such a big deal about the fact that the bread and wine are "still there."  Of course the change has been made but instead of saying "it just has the appearance of bread and wine in its accidents" as the west says, it's more of a "well we just refer to it as the Holy Gifts now."

Seems much less legalistic to me.

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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2003, 10:18:02 PM »

anastasios..

This concerns me..... because I do not believe the substance of Christ's Body exists together with the substance of bread, and in like manner the substance of His Blood together with the substance of wine.

As the Catholic Church teaches, I believe the essence or substance of bread and wine changes into the body and blood of Christ while the  the color and shape and taste remain the same. So you have a substantial change that is not available by our senses.

But I do not worry to much because Orthodoxy leaves the issue of the sacred mysteries as mystries. Orthodoxy doesn't label any legalistic terms and definitions on the saced mysteries of God, such as the eucharist.

Orthodoxy teaches by the power of the Holy Spirit at Divine Liturgy the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ, the source of all life, this is all that matters to me.

Thanks and God bless!

Pray for me a sinner!!!
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2003, 10:27:54 PM »

You've left out impanation.

I think your treading on dangerous ground to lean toward any of them.  The Scholastic minutia of the west takes away from  one's understanding  paradoxically by ading detailed explainatins of spiritual things.  Christ is in the sacriments literally, not figuratively, what else needs to be said.  All the detail just acts to confuse many and takes one's focus off of the point.  The point is Christ is there.  There is no differential equation to discribe the transformation.  Can't we get off of the western analyitical mindset.
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2003, 10:37:22 PM »

Part of why I came to Orthodoxy was to be free of the Scholastics.  They wanted to spread God out on a disecting board the way we used to disect a frog in biology.  they even proposed to prove with falacious philosophical logic that God exists.  God is not a thing to be scientificly analysised, he can't be put in a test tube and have us run chemical analysis.  HOW disgusting, nausiatingly proud.  This is God we are talking about
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« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2003, 10:45:56 PM »

This is the point of the nous.  there are things that can be known that are not phenomena.  To attempt to reduce god to a pseudo-logical formula is to deny that God is infinite, unknowable.  Again, it is an indirect way to try to put a collar on God, a bit in His mouth.  Christianity cannot be discribed via technical writting skills.
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« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2003, 10:48:23 PM »

Exactly...who gives a hoot about the scholastic jargon and the hair-splitting. Ben, the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ. That's all you need to believe about it.
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« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2003, 01:04:24 AM »

Hi Ben,

Having come from a RC background I can understand why you were not sure what the concept of consubstantiation is.

The word comes from the intransitive verb, consubstantiate which means to join or unite two things.  According to Martin Luther’s writings, he used the noun consubstantiation to illustrate the actual substantial presence and combination of the body and blood of Christ with the Eucharistic bread and wine. The idea conveyed in this word is that in the communion, the body and blood of Christ, and the bread and wine, coexist in union with each other. “Luther illustrated it by the analogy of the iron put into the fire whereby both fire and iron are united in the red-hot iron and yet each continues unchanged.
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« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2003, 01:51:18 AM »

Irish Orthodox...
Thank you and I agree with you 100% Latin theology wants to disect God and his glorious mysteries to a bunch of mumbojumbo that priests tell me that I can't understand. I repect Catholic theologians and Latin theology but I think it better fits a court room than the body of Christ: the Church.

Byzantino....
Very simple eh? Just believe that the bread and wine are transformed or become the actual body and blood of Christ at Divine liturgy, the rest is a mystery....right?

the quest...
I fully understand consubstantiation, I was just wondering if the Orthodox Church used it to explain what happens at Divine litrurgy..but thanks!

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« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2003, 05:23:42 AM »

Now I need to apologize, even if I offended no one.  If you noticed my lack of good English skills including; punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure above, it was that my dander was up.’  It was my problem, no one else’s.  It's just another area of sinfulness that needs work.  Pray for me.
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« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2003, 08:35:47 AM »

Irish Orthodox...
Thank you and I agree with you 100% Latin theology wants to disect God and his glorious mysteries to a bunch of mumbojumbo that priests tell me that I can't understand. I repect Catholic theologians and Latin theology but I think it better fits a court room than the body of Christ: the Church.

Well, it has always seemed to me that the one big difference is between memorialists and everyone else-- and the Lutherans are not memorialists. Shortly after that, though, the desire for differentiation takes over and "mumbo-jumbo" starts coming out of the mouths of everyone who favors differentiation-- Catholic and Orthodox alike. Eventually you will get Orthodox who start arguing for transsubstatiation because it's the way the distinguish themselves from the Lutherans and the Anglicans.
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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2003, 08:46:42 AM »

[Very simple eh? Just believe that the bread and wine are transformed or become the actual body and blood of Christ at Divine liturgy, the rest is a mystery....right?]

Maybe i was being way too simplistic, but I prefer believing like a child yet having the Biblical and Patristic basis for my beliefs. Having such a profound mystery attempted to be explained by scholasticism is like being told what happens at the end of a murder-mystery movie as you're on the edge of your seat. You just wanna slap the person who gave it away.
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« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2003, 09:04:24 AM »

Ben,

This all used to bother me too, so I am posting from Meyendorff a fuller explanation.

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« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2003, 09:05:58 AM »

From Byzantine Theology by John Meyendorff.

16. The Eucharist

FORMAL CONSERVATISM was one of the predominant features of Byzantine civilization, affecting both the secular and the sacred aspects of life, and the forms of the liturgy in particular. But if the avowed intention was to preserve things as they were, if the basic structures of the Eucharistic liturgy have not been modified since the early centuries of Christianity and even today retain the forms which they acquired in the ninth century, the interpretation of words and gestures was subject to substantial change and evolution. Thus, Byzantine ritual conservatism was instrumental in preserving the original Christian lex orandi, otherwise often reinterpreted in the context of a Platonizing or moralizing symbolism, though it also allowed in due time—especially with Nicholas Cabasilas and the Hesychast theologians of the fourteenth century—a strong reaffirmation of the original sacramental realism in liturgical theology.

1. SYMBOLS, IMAGES, AND REALITY

Early Christianity and the patristic tradition understood the Eucharist as a mystery of true and real communion with Christ. Speaking of the Eucharist, Chrysostom insists that "Christ even now is present, even now operates";1 and Gregory of Nyssa, in spite of the Platonizing tendencies of his thought, otherwise stands for the same view of the Eucharist as a mystery of real "participation" in the glorified Body of Christ, the seed of immortality.

By dispensation of His grace, He disseminates Himself in every believer through that flesh, whose existence comes from bread and wine, blending Himself with the bodies of believers, to secure that, by this union with the Immortal, man, too, may be a sharer in incorruption. He gives these gifts by virtue of the benediction through which He "trans-elements" [metastoicheiosisJ the natural quality of these visible things to that immortal thing.2

Participation in these sources of immortality and unity is a constant concern for every Christian:

It is good and beneficial to communicate every day [Basil writes,] and to partake of the holy body and blood of Christ. For He distinctly says, "He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life" [In 6:55]. And who doubts that to share frequently in life is the same thing as to have manifold life? I indeed communicate four times a week, on the Lord's day, on Wednesday, on Friday, and on the Sabbath, and on the other days if there is a commemoration of any saint.3

This realistic and existential theology of the Eucharist was, as we have seen,4 challenged by pastoral needs in the post-Constantinian Church: large congregations in large churches caused a lessening of participation by the laity.

It may be argued that the pastoral considerations which prompted this evolution were at least partially justified; the eschatological meaning of the Eucharist implied a withdrawal from the "world," a "closed" community of committed participants. Now that in the empire of Constantine and Justinian, the Church and the world had become indistinguishable as a single society, the Eucharist had to be protected from the "crowd," which had ceased to be the "people of God." More questionable, however, was the theological rationalization of this new situation, which was endorsed by some commentators on the liturgy who began to explain the Eucharist as a system of symbols to be "contemplated"; sacramental participation was thus gradually replaced with intellectual vision. Needless to say, this new attitude was perfectly suited to the Origenistic and Evagrian understanding of religion as an ascent of the mind to God, of which liturgical action was a symbol.

Most influential in promoting this symbolic understanding of the Eucharist were the writings of pseudo-Dionysius. Reducing the Eucharistic synaxis to a moral appeal, the Areopagite calls his readers to a "higher" contemplation:

Let us leave to the imperfect these signs which, as I said, are magnificently painted in the vestibules of the sanctuaries; they will be sufficient to feed their contemplation. As far as we are concerned: let us turn back, in considering the holy synaxis, from the effects to their causes, and, thanks to the lights which Jesus will give us, we shall be able to contemplate harmoniously the intelligible realities in which are clearly reflected the blessed goodness of the models.5

Thus, the Eucharist is only the visible "effect" of an invisible "model"; and the celebrant "by offering Jesus Christ to our eyes, shows us in a tangible way and, as in an image, our intelligible life." 6 Thus, for Dionysius, "the loftiest sense of the Eucharistic rites and of sacramental communion itself is in symbolizing the union of our minds with God and with Christ. . . . Dionysius never formally presents Eucharistic communion as a participation in the Body and Blood of Christ." 7

Dionysius' symbolism only superficially affected the Eucharistic rites themselves, but it became quite popular among commentators on the liturgy. Thus, the great Maximus the Confessor, whose use of the concept of "symbol" is probably more realistic than Dionysius', nevertheless systematically applies the terms "symbol" or "image" to the Eucharistic liturgy in general and to the elements of bread and wine in particular.8

In the eighth century, this symbolism led to a serious theological debate concerning the Eucharist-the only one Byzantium ever knew. The iconoclastic council of 754, in condemning the use of religious images, proclaimed that the only admissible "image" of Christ is the one established by Christ Himself, the Eucharistic Body and Blood.9 This radical and clear contention, based upon a long-standing tradition, was a real challenge to the Orthodox party; the ambiguity of the Areopagite was evidenced once more, and a clarification of symbolism made necessary.

Thus, the defenders of the images, especially Theodore the Studite and Patriarch Nicephorus, firmly rejected it. For Theodore, the Eucharist is not "type," but the very "truth"; it is the "mystery which recapitulates the whole of the [divine] dispensation." 10 According to Nicephorus, it is the "flesh of God," "one and the same thing" with the Body and Blood of Christ,11 who came to save the very reality of human flesh by becoming and remaining "flesh," even after His glorification; thus, in the Eucharist, "what is the matter of the sacrament, if the flesh is not real, so that we see it being perfected by the Spirit?" 12

As a result of the iconoclastic controversy, Byzantine "Eucharistic realism," clearly departing from Dionysian terminology; was redirected along Christological and soteriological lines; in the Eucharist, man participates in the glorified humanity of Christ, which is not the "essence of God," 13 but a humanity still consubstantial to man and available to him as food and drink. In his treatise Against Eusebius and Epiphanius, Patriarch Nicephorus is particularly emphatic in condemning the Origenist idea that in the Eucharist man contemplates or participates in the "essence" of God.14 For him, as also for later Byzantine theologians, the Eucharist is Christ's transfigured, life-giving, but still human, body, en-hypostasized in the Logos and penetrated with divine "energies." Characteristically, one never finds the category of "essence" (ousia) used by Byzantine theologians in a Eucharistic context. They would consider a term like "transubstantiation" (metousiosis) improper to designate the Eucharistic mystery, and generally use the concept of metabole, found in the canon of John Chrysostom, or such dynamic terms as "trans-elementation" (metastoicheiosis) or "re-ordination" (metarrhythmisis). Transubstantiation (metousiosis) appears only in the writings of the Latinophrones of the thirteenth century, and is nothing but a straight translation from the Latin. The first Orthodox author to use it is Gennadios Scholarios;15 but, in his case as well, direct Latin influence is obvious. The Eucharist is neither a symbol to be "contemplated" from outside nor an "essence" distinct from humanity, but Jesus Himself, the risen Lord, "made known through the breaking of bread" (Lk 24:35); Byzantine theologians rarely speculated beyond this realistic and soteriological affirmation of the Eucharistic presence as that of the glorified humanity of Christ.

The rejection of the concept of the Eucharist as "image" or "symbol" is, on the other hand, very significant for the understanding of the entire Eucharistic "perception" of the Byzantines; the Eucharist for them always remained fundamentally a mystery to be received as food and drink, and not to be "seen" through physical eyes. The elements remain covered, except during the prayers of consecration and during communion; and, in contrast with Western medieval piety, were never "venerated" outside the framework of the Eucharistic liturgy itself. The Eucharist cannot reveal anything to the sense of vision; it is only the bread of heaven. Vision is offered another channel of revelation-the icons: hence, the revelatory program of the Byzantine iconostasis, with the figures of Christ and the saints exposed precisely in order to be seen and venerated. "Christ is not shown in the Holy Gifts," writes Leonid Ouspensky; "He is given. He is shown in the icons. The visible side of the reality of the Eucharist is an image which can never be replaced either by imagination or by looking at the Holy Gifts." 16

As a result of the iconoclastic controversy, Byzantine Eucharistic theology retained and re-emphasized the mystery and hiddenness of this central liturgical action of the Church. But it also reaffirmed that the Eucharist was essentially a meal which could be partaken of only through eating and drinking, because God had assumed the fullness of our humanity, with all its psychic and physical functions, in order to lead it to resurrection.

Byzantine theologians had an opportunity to make the same point in connection with their anti-Latin polemics against the use of unleavened bread in the Eucharist. The discussion on the azymes, which started in the eleventh century, was generally entangled in arguments of purely symbolic nature (the Greeks maintained, for example, that the Eucharistic bread had to be leavened in. order to symbolize the animated humanity of Christ, while the Latin use of azymes implied ApolIinarianism, i.e., the denial that Jesus had a human soul), but the controversy also recognized that the Byzantines understood the Eucharistic bread to be necessarily consubstantial with humanity, while Latin medieval piety emphasized its "supersubstantiality," its otherworldliness. The use of ordinary bread, identical with the bread used as everyday food, was the sign of true Incarnation: "What is the daily bread [of the Lord's prayer ]," asks Nicetas Stethatos, "if it is not consubstantial with us? And the bread consubstantial with us is none other than the Body of Christ, who became consubstantial with us through the flesh of His humanity." 17

The Byzantines did not see the substance of the bread somehow changed in the Eucharistic mystery into another substance—the Body of Christ—but viewed this bread as the "type" of humanity: our humanity changed into the transfigured humanity of Christ.18 For this reason, Eucharistic theology played such a prominent role in the theological debates of the fourteenth century, when the basic issue was a confrontation between an autonomous concept of man and the Hesychast defense of "deification." The great Nicholas Cabasilas, though still bound to the old Dionysian symbolism, overcomes the dangers of Nominalism; clearly, for him as also for Gregory Palamas, the Eucharist is the mystery which not only "represents" the life of Christ and offers it to our "contemplation"; it is the moment and the place, in which Christ's deified humanity becomes ours.

He not merely clothed Himself in a body. He also took a soul and mind and will and everything human, so that He might be able to be united to the whole of us, penetrate through the whole of us, and resolve us into Himself, having in every respect joined His own to that which is ours. . . . For since it was not possible for us to ascend and participate in that which is His, He comes down to us and participates in that which is ours. And so precisely does He conform to the things which He assumed that, in giving those things to us which He has received from us, He gives Himself to us. Partaking of the body and blood of His humanity, we receive God Himself in our souls-the Body and Blood of God, and the soul, mind, and will of God-no less than His humanity.19

The last word on the Eucharist, in Byzantine theology, is thus an anthropological and soteriological understanding of the mystery. "In approaching the Eucharist, the Byzantines began not with bread qua bread, but with bread qua man." 20 Bread and wine are offered only because the Logos has assumed humanity, and they are being changed and deified by the operation of the Spirit because Christ's humanity has been transformed into glory through the cross and Resurrection. This is the thought of Cabasilas, as just quoted, and the meaning of the canon of John Chrysostom: "Send down Thy Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts, and make this bread the precious Body of Thy Christ, and that which is in this cup the precious Blood of Thy Christ, so that, for those who partake, they may be a purification of soul, a remission of sins, the communion of Thy Holy Spirit, the fullness of the Kingdom of heavenGǪ"

The sacrament of new humanity par excellence, the Eucharist, for Cabasilas "alone of the mysteries perfects the other sacramentsGǪ, since they cannot fulfill the initiation without it." 21 Christians partake of it "continually," for "it is the perfect sacrament for all purposes, and there is nothing of which those who partake thereof stand in need which it does not supply in an eminent way." 22 The Eucharist is also "the much praised marriage according to which the most holy Bridegroom espouses the Church as a bride";23 that is, the Eucharist is the very sacrament which truly transforms a human community into "the Church of God," and is, therefore, as we will see later, the ultimate criterion and basis of ecclesial structure.
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« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2003, 09:09:14 AM »

Ben,

Another consideration is how the gifts are treated after consecration.  Not all Lutherans believe the bread and wine to become the Body and Blood of Christ intrinsically--in other words, they don't think that after the liturgy ends it's still the body and blood.  The Orthodox most certainly DO and even have a mini-form of benediction after communion when the leftover gifts are put on the altar and censed.  Orthodox also store reserved Eucharist in the tabernacle.

So I don't want to scare you when I said above that the Orthodox and Lutheran views aren't "that different."  My whole point is that neither group gets into a hissy fit about when how what why etc.  Orthodoxy has the same reverence and sacramental presence beliefs as Catholicism though on this issue.

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« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2003, 12:47:32 PM »

A couple of comments:

It seems that some here believe that unless the bread and wine cease to be bread and wine, then the elements are not truly the Body and Blood of Christ.  Why can't it be both?

Obviously one is not munching on literal muscle tissue or drinking literal plasma/serum when one takes the Eucharist.  That would be cannibalism.  In fact, the early church fathers made a point to explain to the pagans that Christians were not cannibals.  Also Christ's physical resurrected body is at the right hand of the Father and He's not getting chunks bitten off of His body every time communion is celebrated.

I've read quotes from the church fathers that while acknowledging the Real Presense in the Eucharist do not posit that the elements cease being physical bread and wine altogether.  Such statements (eg. from Irenaeus, I believe) do mention that after the consecration the bread is no longer merely common bread, but that doesn't mean that it's no longer bread at all. It seems that the Eucharist is bread and wine on one level and in one sense (in the realm of physical sense perception) and is the Body and Blood of Christ in another sense and on another level (the mystical sense--hence the name, "Mystery").  Both are completely true (in their respective "senses") and keeping both in mind should make speculations into the nature of the change unnecessary.  Just my humble opinion.
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« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2003, 01:21:32 PM »

Keble, you said:

[Eventually you will get Orthodox who start arguing for transsubstatiation because it's the way the distinguish themselves from the Lutherans and the Anglicans.]

but in reality we are referring to the same thing.  When Dr. Luther wrote the article wherein he describes the transformation of the elements he did so in response to those critical of the Eucharist.  The use of the term ‘Transubstantiation’ had become such a turnoff that he coined a new term in an attempt to explain to the critics of the Eucharist (and that is my reading between the lines so to speak) but he was referring to the same thing.   Wink
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« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2003, 02:04:59 PM »

My stance is and remains apophatic.
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« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2003, 07:39:31 PM »

Well...I'm gunna make this simple...I believe at Divine Liturgy the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Christ by a miracle performed by the Holy Spirit, I will NOT attempt to explain how, all I know is before Divine Liturgy its just bread, and after Divine Liturgy, it is Jesus.

God bless.
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« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2003, 07:46:56 PM »

Well...I'm gunna make this simple...I believe at Divine Liturgy the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Christ by a miracle performed by the Holy Spirit, I will attempt to explain how, all I know is before Divine Liturgy its just bread, and after Divine Liturgy, it is Jesus.

God bless.

Ben,

I think about it the same way.
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« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2003, 01:01:51 AM »

{Another consideration is how the gifts are treated after consecration.  Not all Lutherans believe the bread and wine to become the Body and Blood of Christ intrinsically--in other words, they don't think that after the liturgy ends it's still the body and blood.  

anastasios}


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If you are suggesting that some Lutherans individually do not believe that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ that might be true but then there are probably individuals in your Orthodox faith who do not believe that either.  

If you are suggesting that some Lutheran Synods believe this doctrinally I would like to know which synods you are referring to because none I am aware of believe this.  Besides being a Lutheran pastor (semi retired) I have also been a Lutheran all of my life and I have never heard of this before, I would like to know the origin of this information.

Roger
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« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2003, 01:10:22 AM »

Dear Rev. Roger,

I did not say that there are Lutherans who deny the real presence, I said that there are Lutherans who deny that the Eucharist is intrisically the body and blood of Christ after the end of the liturgy (i.e. what's left over); instead, it is more of a "functional" approach to the Eucharist.  What I mean by that is this: in some Lutheran parishes I belonged to, the leftover Eucharist was consumed reverently by an elder, the pastor, etc.  But in other parishes, I saw the leftover Eucharist tossed out after liturgy in the trash--functionally, since Church was over, it wasn't communion any longer.

I am not trying to disparage Lutheranism, and as you will note from above I stated that Lutheran and Orthodox beliefs on the Eucharist are not "that different."  But Orthodox will emphatically say that once it is consecrated Eucharist, it doesn't "revert" back.

In Christ,

anastasios

PS my middle name is Roger. Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2003, 01:13:12 AM »

Roger...

I don't know what Anastasios was refering to but I know Lutherans who deny the bread and wine at sunday worships services to be in anyway the body and blood of Christ.

I am sure there are a few Orthodox Christians who deny this, but I know none. I have met hundreds of Orthodox Christians online and in person, and have never met one who denies the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ at Divine Liturgy. I know you were'nt saying all or even a considerable amount of Orthodox Christians feel this way, I am just sharing my expirence:-)

God bless.
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« Reply #26 on: November 07, 2003, 01:19:35 AM »

I was wondering if Roger or maybe Anastasios could explain the differences and similarities between Orthodoxy and Lutheranism.....

Just wondering  Smiley

God bless.

Pray for me a sinner.
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« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2003, 04:30:25 AM »

Also Christ's physical resurrected body is at the right hand of the Father and He's not getting chunks bitten off of His body every time communion is celebrated.
From the prayers of preparation for communion, my understanding is that each person taking communion receives the whole of Christ's body.

<edit>I just read Phils response regarding the meaning of "catholic" where he states the following:
But the Church is the Body of Christ, and just as in the Eucharist even the smallest fragment is nevertheless the whole Christ, each local Church, however small, is in actuality the fulness of the Catholic Church. Thus, the Orthodox see the Church not as a monolithic institution, but as a communion of all the local Churches, unified primarily by holding the Orthodox faith, celebrating the Holy Mysteries, and by communion with the other Orthodox Churches.

I thought it fit in nicely here Smiley

John.
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« Reply #28 on: November 07, 2003, 12:35:31 PM »

Also Christ's physical resurrected body is at the right hand of the Father and He's not getting chunks bitten off of His body every time communion is celebrated.
From the prayers of preparation for communion, my understanding is that each person taking communion receives the whole of Christ's body.

That sounds good, and it proves my point about the importance of distinguishing the two senses--the physical perception and the mystical--of the Eucharist in "describing" the Real Presence.  It's neither mere symbolism nor is it cannibalism.

Quote
<edit>I just read Phils response regarding the meaning of "catholic" where he states the following:
But the Church is the Body of Christ, and just as in the Eucharist even the smallest fragment is nevertheless the whole Christ, each local Church, however small, is in actuality the fulness of the Catholic Church. Thus, the Orthodox see the Church not as a monolithic institution, but as a communion of all the local Churches, unified primarily by holding the Orthodox faith, celebrating the Holy Mysteries, and by communion with the other Orthodox Churches.

I thought it fit in nicely here Smiley

John.

That's a great quote.  Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2003, 01:10:04 PM »

 Ben

[I don't know what Anastasios was refering to but I know Lutherans who deny the bread and wine at sunday worships services to be in anyway the body and blood of Christ.]

Most Lutheran pastors close the Eucharist to their membership only and outsiders must seek permission to recive the sacrament before the service, otherwise the pastor will refuse to service to that person.   I think we use the same admonition before inviting participants to the alter that most of your churches do so if there are those who are not prepared or insincere the burden is on them.

[I was wondering if Roger or maybe Anastasios could explain the differences and similarities between Orthodoxy and Lutheranism.....]

That’s hard one and probably depends.   .  .  When we still lived in Alaska I was more in touch with your church there and knew the priest in Eagle River fairly well as well as several priests at the seminary on Kodiak.  Many of our parishioners in the bush, particularly in SW Alaska and Canada were from a Russian Orthodox background so to meet their needs better I became more familiar with the Orthodox beliefs.  There are many similarities but also many differences, too numerous to go into here.  I did however incorporate into our services the same wording in The Nicean Creed that the Orthodox uses, i.e. we eliminated the filioque clause.  Another difference is that most of our services are shorter. Smiley
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« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2003, 05:45:56 PM »

Differences among Orthodoxy and Lutheranism? Well, aside from the Eucharisitc, I fail to see how the Book of Concord isn't standard Protestantism-obviously not Calvinistic, but still good old fashioned Protestant.
I don't have my copy of the BOC with me right now, but I'm pretty sure one can find all sorts of references (like the 39 Articles ) condemming Catholic practices that also happen to be Orthodox as well. Of course, in reality thing might be different-like Anglo-Catholicism, or episcopal Lutheranism in Scandanavia-I would really like to learn more about Abp. Agricola, for example-but officially, not a lot ISTM is similar.
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« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2003, 07:04:31 PM »

As a note in this discussion amoung Anglicans, there are many "high-church" Anglicans who do believe in the litteral presence though to say that Anglicans do would be wrong.  None the less, Anglican priest do treat the sacrements as if that is the case.  As a result there are strict rubrics as to how it is disposed.  In general, it is consumed.
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« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2003, 11:07:47 PM »

I think we Orthodox do believe in transubstantiation, insofar as transubstantiation means the complete transformation of the bread and wine of the Eucharist into the true Body and Blood of Christ.

The Eucharist is not bread and wine + Christ. It is not merely a symbol of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is not bread and wine + "a spiritual Presence."

It is the true Body and Blood of Christ and NOTHING LESS.

"What seems bread is not bread, though bread by taste; but the Body of Christ. What seems wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so; but the Blood of Christ" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, quoted in Mike Aquilina's The Way of the Fathers, p. 61).

From the Orthodox Council of Constantinople (1727): "Therefore we acknowledge that at the invocation of the priest that ineffable mystery is consecrated, and the living and with-God-united body itself of our Savior and His blood itself are really and substantially present, and that the whole without being in any way impaired is eaten by those who partake and is bloodlessly sacrificed. And we believe without any doubt that in the reception and communion of this, even though it be in one kind only, the whole and complete Christ is present; nevertheless according to the ancient tradition which has prevailed in the Catholic Church we have received that Communion is made by all the faithful, both clergy and laity, individually in both kinds, and not the laity in one kind and the priests in both, as is done in the innovation which the Latins have wrongly made.

"As an explanatory and most accurately significant declaration of this change of the bread and the wine into the body of the Lord itself and His blood the faithful ought to acknowledge and receive the word transubstantiation, which the Catholic Church as a whole has used and receives as the most fitting statement of this mystery. Moreover they ought to reject the use of unleavened bread as an innovation of late date, and to receive the holy rite in leavened bread, as had been the custom from the first in the Catholic Church of Christ."

 
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« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2003, 01:26:55 AM »

[I don't have my copy of the BOC with me right now, but I'm pretty sure one can find all sorts of references (like the 39 Articles ) condemming Catholic practices that also happen to be Orthodox as well.]

Which 39 Articles are you talking about?  Since you can’t find BOC you can find a complete one at http://thelutheran.net and on the main page click on “Confessional & Resources.”  You can also find a complete set at Project Wittenberg.  Are you by chance refereeing to Luther’s 95 theses a.k.a. Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences he nailed on the doors of the church doors at Wittenburg, Germany?
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« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2003, 05:29:24 PM »

I was making a comparison with the throughly Protestant 39 Articles of Anglicanism.
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« Reply #35 on: November 08, 2003, 06:48:50 PM »

Boswell

[throughly Protestant 39 Articles of Anglicanism]??

I hear Andrewes, Law, Ken, Taylor, Laud, Pusey, Lowder, Benson and company turning over in their graves.


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« Reply #36 on: November 08, 2003, 08:09:47 PM »

I think we Orthodox do believe in transubstantiation, insofar as transubstantiation means the complete transformation of the bread and wine of the Eucharist into the true Body and Blood of Christ.

The Eucharist is not bread and wine + Christ. It is not merely a symbol of the Body and Blood of Christ. It is not bread and wine + "a spiritual Presence."

It is the true Body and Blood of Christ and NOTHING LESS.

"What seems bread is not bread, though bread by taste; but the Body of Christ. What seems wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so; but the Blood of Christ" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, quoted in Mike Aquilina's The Way of the Fathers, p. 61).

This seems to be an annual event, and (sound of incoming petunias) we seem to get a lot of the same arguments.

In modern epistemology, bread is bread precisely "by taste", and touch and all the other properties perceived in it. Bread is what has the properties of bread. Therefore, one cannot in this language distinguish between trans- and cons-, because the way the notion of "accidents" used to be used is no longer permissible (and it was a stretch even then).

At this late date I don't see the point in arguing whether the Body is or is not also bread in some sense. One doesn't perceive the Body physically, after all, but spiritually, and hence, if the Body is there, what does it matter if the bread is there or not?
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« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2003, 06:30:32 PM »

Oh come now, I'm talking Classical Prayerbook Anglicanism, which is right up their alley-those Anglicans you listed. I know Keble, for one, likes to reduce Anglicanism to only a few essential beliefs, but for Catholics and Orthodox, its a packaged deal-yeah, Anglicans have bishops and tradition (sort of) but's that not enough. The whole range of devotional and liturgical prayers also determine what the Church teaches, and I don't see any of those guys you listed going beyond Protestantism-sure, pushing the limits, but nothing more-just look at Article 22-no invocation of saints, relics or icons allowed.

Boswell
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« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2003, 07:13:45 PM »

Boswell

It's been awhile but check out Bp. Andrewes' "Private Devotions" in which he invoces the saints.  Also Abp Laud invoked the BVM his secretary wrote a nice little treatise on devotion to her.  Fr Lowder surely invoced saints as he celebrated eucharist in the slums of London.  What about Nicholas Ferrar and the quasi-monastic house at Little Gidding.  Of course we could also mention Fr's Mackonachie and Wainwright and the whole ritualist and Anglo-Catholic movement who were sometimes more Catholic than the RCs.

[yeah, Anglicans have bishops and tradition (sort of) but's that not enough]

I agree (Apostolica Curae and all that)  but some within Anglicanism have striven to regain their Catholic roots.  Some of the Non-Jurors even attempted contact with the EO to validate thier orders.

Wait......how did we get off on this tangent?

CR
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« Reply #39 on: November 21, 2003, 11:16:29 AM »

Quote
Keble: At this late date I don't see the point in arguing whether the Body is or is not also bread in some sense. One doesn't perceive the Body physically, after all, but spiritually, and hence, if the Body is there, what does it matter if the bread is there or not?

Sorry for resurrecting a thread that had (thankfully) begun to sleep.

But don't we receive the true Body and Blood of Christ?

Did Christ have a "spiritual" body? Or one of real flesh and blood?

It seems to me that if the Church taught that we only receive Christ in the Eucharist spiritually, then the Docetists would have had no problem with it, since their problem was the fact that they did not believe Christ ever had a real, physical body.

That is why St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107) wrote of them:

"They even absent themselves from the Eucharist and the public prayers, because they will not admit that the Eucharist is the self-same body of our Saviour Jesus Christ which suffered for our sins, and which the Father in His goodness afterwards raised up again" (Letter to the Smyrneans, 7).




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« Reply #40 on: November 21, 2003, 11:21:07 AM »

My good friend Keble is honestly Protestant about his beliefs regarding communion - we agree to disagree.

Nicholas Ferrar and Little Gidding were not an Anglo-Catholic attempt at monasticism - they were thoroughly Protestant and daily read Foxe's Book of Martyrs, which is anti-Catholic. I don't think they would have invoked saints or held the true faith about the Eucharist.
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« Reply #41 on: November 21, 2003, 11:48:32 AM »

I think it would be more accurate to describe me as "honestly not Thomist". At any rate, can't we at least agree that there is a much more serious issue being debated when we are talking about whether it is the body and blood or not, than when we are talking about when it is bread and wine or not?
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« Reply #42 on: November 21, 2003, 11:55:45 AM »

Quote
At any rate, can't we at least agree that there is a much more serious issue being debated when we are talking about whether it is the body and blood or not, than when we are talking about when it is bread and wine or not?

No, because the faith is a package deal, all or nothing. This isn't a matter of opinion about which Christians can disagree and remain in communion, as we can about political and economic systems and theological opinions such as limbo or the aerial toll-houses theory about the particular judgement.

(So is a matter that Protestants consider at most one of mere polity - bene esse for good order - and not of divine institution, esse: the all-male apostolic ministry.)

I once heard a conservative Presbyterian gentleman who is a lecturer in history argue very well that the sole criterion by which Christians can unite or divide is their beliefs about the Eucharist.

By this standard, for argument's sake here, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Assyrians are one church.

Lutherans and classical Anglicans are another. (Anglo-Catholics, OTOH, agree with the party named above.)

The rest of Protestantism form a third group.
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« Reply #43 on: November 21, 2003, 01:03:06 PM »

Quote
At any rate, can't we at least agree that there is a much more serious issue being debated when we are talking about whether it is the body and blood or not, than when we are talking about when it is bread and wine or not?

No, because the faith is a package deal, all or nothing. This isn't a matter of opinion about which Christians can disagree and remain in communion, as we can about political and economic systems and theological opinions such as limbo or the aerial toll-houses theory about the particular judgement.

Well, no, that's not true, Serge. If you insert the mechanics of the mysteries into The Faith(tm), then indeed division is inevitable, because (by definition) nobody can really work out the mechanics of a mystery, and therefore divergences of opinion or even just of theological language are inevitable.

Two issues perpetually arise here (besides the issue of whether the differences in theological language actually mean anything, which I frankly don't want to repeat for a while). One is obvious: the continuing dispute over whether the Orthodox position is really Thomist or not. It's easy enough to find Fathers who teach Thomist positions, but I also keep coming across conssubstantialist Orthodox statements too; thus I am not convinced that Orthodoxy is Thomist.

The other problem we haven't discussed much. It's that these explanations don't look enough like "explanations" of a mystery. They don't make your brain hurt trying to wrap your mind around them. In fact, the Thomist (and memorialist) theories specifically work on fitting the Eucharist into the ordinary theory of material things without doing them any damage at all. That alone suggest to me that there are serious inadequacies here.
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« Reply #44 on: November 21, 2003, 01:30:55 PM »

Why is transubstantiation "Thomist" and not rather patristic or - as I believe - apostolic?

Here is what St. Basil the Great had to say:

From An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith,
CHAPTER XIII.

If then the Word of God is quick and energising(6), and the Lord did all that He willed(7); if He said, Let there be light and there was light, let there be a firmament and there was a firmament(Cool; if the heavens were established by the Word of the Lord and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth(9); if the heaven and the earth, water and fire and air and the whole glory of these, and, in sooth, this most noble creature, man, were perfected by the Word of the Lord; if God the Word of His own will became man and the pure and undefiled blood of the holy and ever-virginal One made His flesh without the aid of seed(1), can He not then make the bread His body and the wine and water His blood? He said in the beginning, Let the earth bring forth grass(2), and even until this present day, when the rain comes it brings forth its proper fruits, urged on and strengthened by the divine command. God said, This is My body, and This is My blood, and this do ye in remembrance of Me. And so it is at His omnipotent command until He come: for it was in this sense that He said until He come: and the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit becomes through the invocation the rain to this new tillage(3). For just as God made all that He made by the energy of the Holy Spirit, so also now the energy of the 83 Spirit performs those things that are supernatural and which it is not possible to comprehend unless by faith alone. How shall this be, said the holy Virgin, seeing I know not a man? And the archangel Gabriel answered her: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee(4). And now you ask, how the bread became Christ's body and the wine and water Christ's blood. And I say unto thee, "The Holy Spirit is present and does those things which surpass reason and thought."
Further, bread and wine s are employed: for God knoweth man's infirmity: for in general man turns away discontentedly from what is not well-worn by custom: and so with His usual indulgence H e performs His supernatural works through familiar objects: and just as, in the case of baptism, since it is man's custom to wash himself with water and anoint himself with oil, He connected the grace of the Spirit with the oil and the water and made it the water of regeneration, in like manner since it is man's custom to eat and to drink water and wine(6), He connected His divinity with these and made them His body and blood in order that we may rise to what is supernatural through what is familiar and natural.
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« Reply #45 on: November 21, 2003, 01:43:27 PM »

Quote
Well, no, that's not true, Serge. If you insert the mechanics of the mysteries into The Faith(tm), then indeed division is inevitable, because (by definition) nobody can really work out the mechanics of a mystery, and therefore divergences of opinion or even just of theological language are inevitable.

Like I said, we don't agree about communion. You are a Protestant.
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« Reply #46 on: November 21, 2003, 01:45:51 PM »

The question of the very real presence of Christ in the Eucharist reflects on our Christology. Do we believe that Christ was fully man and fully God, or was he simply human flesh filled with the presence of God?

John.
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« Reply #47 on: November 21, 2003, 01:47:15 PM »

"They [the Docetists] even absent themselves from the Eucharist and the public prayers, because they will not admit that the Eucharist is the self-same body of our Saviour Jesus Christ which suffered for our sins, and which the Father in His goodness afterwards raised up again. Consequently, since they reject God's good gifts, they are doomed in their disputatiousness" (St. Ignatious of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrneans, 7).

". . . so likewise have we been taught that the food over which thanksgiving has been offered by the prayer of His Word, and from which our blood and flesh are nourished through its transformation, is the Flesh and Blood of that Jesus Who was made flesh" (St. Justin Martyr, Apologies, 66).

"Therefore, the drink, which is part of His creation, He declared to be His own Blood; and by this He enriches our blood. And the bread, which comes from His creation, He affirmed to be His own Body; and by this He nourishes our bodies . . . the Eucharist becomes the Body of Christ . . .
the flesh is fed on the Flesh and Blood of the Lord . . ." (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, V:2:3).

"What seems bread is not bread, though bread by taste; but the Body of Christ. What seems wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so; but the Blood of Christ" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, quoted in Mike Aquilina's The Way of the Fathers, p. 61).


How does one get anything less than transubstantiation out of what these Fathers had to say?

No need for the Church to wait for Aquinas.
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« Reply #48 on: November 21, 2003, 01:50:13 PM »

The question of the very real presence of Christ in the Eucharist reflects on our Christology. Do we believe that Christ was fully man and fully God, or was he simply human flesh filled with the presence of God?

John.

Exactly.

Excellent point.
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« Reply #49 on: November 21, 2003, 03:40:04 PM »

would you say that the orthodox possition is summed us as: It is more important to believe that Jesus Christ is both Real and present in the Eucharist than to espouse a set definition of HOW God is real in the Eucharist?
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« Reply #50 on: November 21, 2003, 04:00:23 PM »

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would you say that the orthodox possition is summed us as: It is more important to believe that Jesus Christ is both Real and present in the Eucharist than to espouse a set definition of HOW God is real in the Eucharist?


I'd say that Eastern Orthodoxy had no historical reason to define how but Western Catholicism did, and that this latter definition in no way contradicts what EOx believe, per the patristic quotations Linus gave.
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« Reply #51 on: November 21, 2003, 04:21:07 PM »

The question of the very real presence of Christ in the Eucharist reflects on our Christology. Do we believe that Christ was fully man and fully God, or was he simply human flesh filled with the presence of God?

I don't know if you meant it that way, but this sounds more conss- than transs-.
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« Reply #52 on: November 21, 2003, 04:23:41 PM »

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would you say that the orthodox possition is summed us as: It is more important to believe that Jesus Christ is both Real and present in the Eucharist than to espouse a set definition of HOW God is real in the Eucharist?


I'd say that Eastern Orthodoxy had no historical reason to define how but Western Catholicism did, and that this latter definition in no way contradicts what EOx believe, per the patristic quotations Linus gave.

Which is still begging the question, because I don't think any Orthodox authority is going to insist that this means the Orthodox must accept the Thomist answer to the question!
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« Reply #53 on: November 21, 2003, 04:47:10 PM »

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Which is still begging the question, because I don't think any Orthodox authority is going to insist that this means the Orthodox must accept the Thomist answer to the question!

The answer is mu, 'does not apply' for historical reasons. But EOx believe the same thing, regardless of how it's worded, which I am sure any Orthodox bishop would require, even though the Thomist formula is outside EOxy's history.
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« Reply #54 on: November 21, 2003, 04:49:51 PM »

And mu is different from adiaphora exactly how?
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« Reply #55 on: November 21, 2003, 04:57:11 PM »

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And mu is different from adiaphora exactly how?

In that consubstantiation is heresy. BTW, the Church Fathers individually got things wrong sometimes, but AFAIK none held classical Protestant beliefs about the Sacrament. What the Eucharist is is not an example of adiaphora.
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« Reply #56 on: November 21, 2003, 05:41:48 PM »

The Orthodox East did not have to deal with the likes of Berengar of Tours in the 11th century or the Protestant Reformers in the 16th, and so never found it necessary to be as explicit as the RCC needed to be.

When the Orthodox Church did finally have to deal with someone like them - in the person of Cyril Lucaris - she did define what she believes about the eucharistic transformation.

Hence the statement from the Council of Jerusalem (1672) that I quoted earlier, which affirms the Orthodox belief in transubstantiation.
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« Reply #57 on: November 21, 2003, 06:46:01 PM »

I'm sure what that the Orthodox Church would if forced to define the real presence in similar if not identical terms as the RCC.  My question is: which is more important?  The definition of HOW Christ is real in the Eucharist, or the fact that he IS real in the Eucharist.  Personally, I agree that Transubstantiation is the correct definition of the Doc. of the Real Presence, but I would not fault another believer who confessed and believed in the Real Presence, but did not necessarily agree with Transubstantiation.
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« Reply #58 on: November 21, 2003, 08:27:57 PM »

Irish Orthodox...
Thank you and I agree with you 100% Latin theology wants to disect God and his glorious mysteries to a bunch of mumbojumbo that priests tell me that I can't understand. I repect Catholic theologians and Latin theology but I think it better fits a court room than the body of Christ: the Church.

Byzantino....
Very simple eh? Just believe that the bread and wine are transformed or become the actual body and blood of Christ at Divine liturgy, the rest is a mystery....right?

the quest...
I fully understand consubstantiation, I was just wondering if the Orthodox Church used it to explain what happens at Divine litrurgy..but thanks!


The Latin Church has had to defend the faith from one heresy after another. That is why the latin Church has developed this scientific, legalistic like theology. We agree with the Orthodox that these things are a mystery. Unfortunately if you try to discuss certain belief's with a Protestant and you say we believe it and can't explain it because it's a mystery they say right Catholicism/Orthodoxy is a mystery. Full of man made and pagan ideas.  Then they suck more Catholics into there heritical sects and cults. So give the Latin Church a break for having to develop her theology in a more scientific manner.
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« Reply #59 on: November 21, 2003, 08:35:54 PM »

I like to keep it simple......before Divine Litrugy it is nothing but bread and wine, after the Eucharistic prayer by the grace and power of the Holy Spirirt it becomes the Body and Blood of Christ.

Isn't that all we need to believe?

I think we should just leave it a mystery....
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« Reply #60 on: November 21, 2003, 08:58:57 PM »

Quote
The Latin Church has had to defend the faith from one heresy after another. That is why the latin Church has developed this scientific, legalistic like theology. We agree with the Orthodox that these things are a mystery. Unfortunately if you try to discuss certain belief's with a Protestant and you say we believe it and can't explain it because it's a mystery they say right Catholicism/Orthodoxy is a mystery. Full of man made and pagan ideas.  Then they suck more Catholics into there heritical sects and cults. So give the Latin Church a break for having to develop her theology in a more scientific manner.
Peace,
Polycarp

I don't know--leaving the Real Presence as a "mystery" hasn't seemed to deter converts coming to Orthodoxy from Protestantism.  (And it wouldn't deter me, either.)
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« Reply #61 on: November 21, 2003, 09:01:01 PM »

Recently, a similar discussion/war came up on the "Ohio Orthodox Form" (if you know the joke).  Bishop Tikhon's opinion is here
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« Reply #62 on: November 22, 2003, 11:49:01 AM »

BEN: for many, that works.  for others - they need to understand inorder to believe.  In those cases it is good to have an explination of how or why.  STILL, it's more important to believe than to explain why or how you believe.
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« Reply #63 on: November 22, 2003, 12:05:57 PM »

Indeedy we do...you survive that Forum? The one that "converts wrestlers?"

I only read the archived posts for certain authors like Bishop Tikhon.  Otherwise, most of what goes on on that list is an embarrassment.
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« Reply #64 on: November 22, 2003, 09:00:38 PM »

I read Bishop Tikhon's post (who is he, BTW?). His point was . . . ?

How does the fact that the Eucharist is a mystery prevent us from knowing that it becomes the Body and Blood of Christ and NOT adds or takes on the Body and Blood of Christ?

Are you all aware that besides the Lutherans and Presbyterians there is another group that always believed that Christ was present in the bread and wine without changing the bread and wine? That group is the Nestorians.

Nestorian christology envisions not only a duality in our Lord Himself but a similar duality in the Eucharist. For them the Lord is present but the bread and wine remain bread and wine.

In many ways Protestantism is Nestorian or at least semi-Nestorian. That is one reason (besides hatred of the RCC) why it denies the Virgin Mary the title "Mother of God."

I do not think the Orthodox Church leaves the doctrine of the Eucharist open to varieties of opinion. Anything less than transubstantiation is a heresy, not an "option."

Orthodox Catholic doctrines are too interconnected -  too much a unified whole -  to allow for a lot of wiggle room.

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« Reply #65 on: November 22, 2003, 09:35:13 PM »

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Nestorian christology envisions not only a duality in our Lord Himself but a similar duality in the Eucharist. For them the Lord is present but the bread and wine remain bread and wine.

Wait a second--Orthodox Christology also posits a duality in Christ, but it is a duality of NATURES (the divine and human) and not of PERSONS (as in Nestorianism).  Likewise, Irenaeus made reference to the Eucharist consisting of two things--"an earthly and a heavenly":
"For as the bread, which comes from the earth, receives the invocation of God, and then it is no longer common bread, but Eucharist, consists of two things, an earthly and a heavenly; so our bodies, after partaking of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of eternal resurrection." (Against Heresies IV:18:5)

In other words, I don't see how it's necessarily Nestorian to posit both a physical, sense-perception reality and a higher mystical reality united in the same Eucharist. (Of course, I'm just a Baptist, so what do I know?  :- )
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« Reply #66 on: November 22, 2003, 10:03:21 PM »

He is the OCA Bishop of the West. He also was Lutheran before he converted to Orthodoxy

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I read Bishop Tikhon's post (who is he, BTW?). His point was . . . ?
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« Reply #67 on: November 22, 2003, 10:07:11 PM »

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Doubting Thomas: Wait a second--Orthodox Christology also posits a duality in Christ, but it is a duality of NATURES (the divine and human) and not of PERSONS (as in Nestorianism).

I thought it was plain that I was referring to a duality of persons (Nestorianism) and not of natures (Orthodoxy). I should have made that more plain.

Nestorianism has God the Word assuming the man Jesus. There is no essential unity of personhood. According to the Nestorians, God did not become a man; instead He dwelled in the man Jesus as the Lord used to dwell in Solomon's Temple.

This is reflected in the way they view the Eucharist. Jesus comes down and makes Himself present in the bread and wine without changing it and making it wholly Himself.

The Orthodox doctrine, while maintaining the truth that Christ has two natures, insists on the unity of His Person.

He was not a man possessed. He was God become Man.

The Eucharist, similarly, is not bread and wine possessed. It literally becomes the Body and Blood of Christ.

The verb to become is very important here.

Quote
Doubting Thomas: Likewise, Irenaeus made reference to the Eucharist consisting of two things--"an earthly and a heavenly":
"For as the bread, which comes from the earth, receives the invocation of God, and then it is no longer common bread, but Eucharist, consists of two things, an earthly and a heavenly; so our bodies, after partaking of the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, having the hope of eternal resurrection." (Against Heresies IV:18:5)

In other words, I don't see how it's necessarily Nestorian to posit both a physical, sense-perception reality and a higher mystical reality united in the same Eucharist. (Of course, I'm just a Baptist, so what do I know?  :- )


I am not an expert in the Greek language, but I believe St. Irenaeus was referring to the bread's earthly character before its transformation. It has two realities: a before (earthly) and an after (heavenly).

He could also have been referring to its appearance, taste, smell, feel, etc.

Of course, St. Irenaeus was not writing a polemic in defense of transubstantiation, but in another place he said, ". . . the Eucharist becomes the Body of Christ" (Against Heresies, V:2:3).

Taken with what the other Fathers wrote, it is hard to imagine that he had "consubstantiation" in mind.

One of the things addressed by St. Justin Martyr in his famous Apologies was the Roman charge that Christians practiced cannibalism. Here is what he wrote in that connection:

"And this food is called among us Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake but the one who believes that the things that we preach are true, and who has been washed with the washing that is for the remission of sins and unto regeneration, and who is living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these, but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God, and took flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food over which thanksgiving has been offered by the prayer of His Word, and from which our blood and flesh are nourished through its transformation, is the Flesh and Blood of that Jesus who was made flesh" (Apologies, 66).

You will note the nice reference to baptismal regeneration in that quote, as well!  Grin



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« Reply #68 on: November 22, 2003, 11:18:37 PM »

Here is some of what Russian Orthodox theologian Alexei Khomiakov had to say about the Eucharist:

" . . . the Holy Eucharist is not a mere commemoration concerning the mystery of redemption, it is not a presence of spiritual gifts within bread and wine, it is not merely a spiritual reception of the Body and Blood of Christ, but it is His true Body and Blood" (from The Church is One, p. 6; underlining mine).
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« Reply #69 on: November 23, 2003, 02:02:19 AM »

My first post here, hi y'all!

The problem with the Confession of Dositheus as taken from the Acts of the Synod of Jersulem in 1672 is that it was self-consciously adopting Catholic terminology to combat the Protestant theology propounded by Patriarch Cyril.  According to what I've been taught, during this period the Church often used Catholic arguments in our debates with the Protestants, and vice versa.

The quotes from Linus do *NOT* support the doctrine of "trans-substantiation" when it is understood in the Thomistic / Aristotelian philosophical framework.  Trans-substantiation teaches that the essence, the defining reality of the thing, changes from that of bread to that of Christ.  Although the "accidents" (i.e. the empirical evidence) remain unchanged, it has ceased to be the natural created thing, and is now something utterly different, having nothing in common with the original elements.  

I don't know enough about the philosophical context to understand why this teaching came about, but it is akin to the Christological heresy of monophysitism:  saying that although the Word of God became flesh, He is FROM two natures (i.e. the union occured between human and divine natures) but there is now only ONE nature in the person of Christ after the Incarnation.  The Orthodox Christological understanding is that the union of the divine and human natures in the one person of Christ maintained the distinction of the two natures without separating them.  Applying this line of thought to the Holy Mysteries, I've been taught that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ without ceasing to be bread and wine.  This is where the quote from St. Irenaeus sheds light:

"...the bread, which comes from the earth, receives the invocation of God, and then it is no longer common bread, but Eucharist, consists of two things, an earthly and a heavenly..." (Against Heresies IV:18:5)

If we feel we simply must use a Latin term to describe our understanding, I think that "consubstantiation" is the most correct one to use, since it indicates that there are several natures (i.e. two) existing together within the one physical element we see and taste.  The elements become Body and Blood without ceasing to be bread and wine.

In this sense, it is trans-substantiation which is reductionistic, since it follows the logic of Aristotle in declaring that one particular element may have one and only one substance (essence).   Anything less than recognizing BOTH natures present in the Holy Gifts is inadequate, if we accept the Christological analogy.  Having said that, let me also say that I don't know how helpful it really is to discuss the difference between trans- and con- substantiation.  

Our rule of faith is our rule of prayer.  The Orthodox Church does not leave the doctrine of the Eucharist open to varieties of opinion.  At every Liturgy we declare the truth that we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ.  We approach in faith and love to taste and see that the Lord is good.  We believe that "this is truly Thine own most pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own precious Blood."  We are permitted to partake of the "holy, divine, immortal, and life-creating Mysteries."

And now I need to log off so as to ready myself for tomorrow morning.  ;-)

- a phool
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« Reply #70 on: November 23, 2003, 02:05:35 AM »

Linus,

I think if you go to the official Assyrian Church of the East website you will see that in their liturgy they clearly understand a change to take place and that the liturgy is a sacrifice.  http://www.cired.org/liturgy.html

If they believed a protestant doctrine of the eucharist, then the Catholic Church would not let concelebration occur.

Also remember the Anglicans influenced this church in the 19th century and that they sometimes sound Anglican, but their traditional theology is most certainly not Protestant!

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« Reply #71 on: November 23, 2003, 10:50:19 AM »

[If they believed a protestant doctrine of the eucharist, then the Catholic Church would not let concelebration occur.]

Yeah, we're kinda funny that way.  Grin

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« Reply #72 on: November 23, 2003, 10:50:22 AM »

Quote
I don't know enough about the philosophical context to understand why this teaching came about, but it is akin to the Christological heresy of monophysitism:  saying that although the Word of God became flesh, He is FROM two natures (i.e. the union occured between human and divine natures) but there is now only ONE nature in the person of Christ after the Incarnation.  The Orthodox Christological understanding is that the union of the divine and human natures in the one person of Christ maintained the distinction of the two natures without separating them.  Applying this line of thought to the Holy Mysteries, I've been taught that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ without ceasing to be bread and wine.

Well said, Phool Smiley
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« Reply #73 on: November 24, 2003, 12:44:09 AM »

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phool4XC:
My first post here, hi y'all!

The problem with the Confession of Dositheus as taken from the Acts of the Synod of Jersulem in 1672 is that it was self-consciously adopting Catholic terminology to combat the Protestant theology propounded by Patriarch Cyril.  According to what I've been taught, during this period the Church often used Catholic arguments in our debates with the Protestants, and vice versa.

So, you are saying the bishops assembled in Jerusalem did not know what they were talking about and that you understand the true doctrine of the Eucharist better than they did?

Here is what was reiterated at Constantinople:

From the Orthodox Council of Constantinople (1727): "Therefore we acknowledge that at the invocation of the priest that ineffable mystery is consecrated, and the living and with-God-united body itself of our Savior and His blood itself are really and substantially present, and that the whole without being in any way impaired is eaten by those who partake and is bloodlessly sacrificed. And we believe without any doubt that in the reception and communion of this, even though it be in one kind only, the whole and complete Christ is present; nevertheless according to the ancient tradition which has prevailed in the Catholic Church we have received that Communion is made by all the faithful, both clergy and laity, individually in both kinds, and not the laity in one kind and the priests in both, as is done in the innovation which the Latins have wrongly made.

"As an explanatory and most accurately significant declaration of this change of the bread and the wine into the body of the Lord itself and His blood the faithful ought to acknowledge and receive the word transubstantiation, which the Catholic Church as a whole has used and receives as the most fitting statement of this mystery. Moreover they ought to reject the use of unleavened bread as an innovation of late date, and to receive the holy rite in leavened bread, as had been the custom from the first in the Catholic Church of Christ." (Underlining mine for emphasis).


Transubstantiation merely means the complete transformation of the bread and wine into the true Body and Blood of Christ.

That is all; and that is what we believe.

Quote
phool4XC: The quotes from Linus do *NOT* support the doctrine of "trans-substantiation" when it is understood in the Thomistic / Aristotelian philosophical framework.  Trans-substantiation teaches that the essence, the defining reality of the thing, changes from that of bread to that of Christ.  Although the "accidents" (i.e. the empirical evidence) remain unchanged, it has ceased to be the natural created thing, and is now something utterly different, having nothing in common with the original elements.

The whole "Thomistic/Aristotelian" complaint is just a smokescreen to mask the fear of sounding like Roman Catholics or of giving them credit for getting something right.

Transubstantiation simply means that the Holy Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ and NOTHING LESS.

What the Eucharist has in common with the original elements is best summed up by what St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote:

"What seems bread is not bread, though bread by taste; but the Body of Christ. What seems wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so; but the Blood of Christ" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, quoted in Mike Aquilina's The Way of the Fathers, p. 61).

Quote
phool4XC: I don't know enough about the philosophical context to understand why this teaching came about, but it is akin to the Christological heresy of monophysitism:  saying that although the Word of God became flesh, He is FROM two natures (i.e. the union occured between human and divine natures) but there is now only ONE nature in the person of Christ after the Incarnation.

Transubstantiation is nothing of the kind. The fact that the term itself was coined from within a strongly Chalcedonian communion (the RCC) gives the lie to the quote above, which is utterly ridiculous.

Consubstantiation is akin to the heresy of Nestorianism but is in fact a product of the heresy of Lutheranism.

It is NOT Orthodox.

Quote
phool4XC: The Orthodox Christological understanding is that the union of the divine and human natures in the one person of Christ maintained the distinction of the two natures without separating them.  Applying this line of thought to the Holy Mysteries, I've been taught that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ without ceasing to be bread and wine.  This is where the quote from St. Irenaeus sheds light:

"...the bread, which comes from the earth, receives the invocation of God, and then it is no longer common bread, but Eucharist, consists of two things, an earthly and a heavenly..." (Against Heresies IV:18:5)

The Orthodox teaching, however, says nothing about anything in Christ that is not Christ; in other words, there is nothing in His Person that is foreign to Him. His divine nature is His; His human nature is His. He is One Person with two natures - human and divine - both belonging to His essential unitary Personhood.

Bread and wine are not Christ. They are foreign to His Person and His natures.


Thus a Eucharist that retains bread and wine retains elements foreign to Christ. In other words, such a Eucharist would be only partly Christ and partly something else.

Is that what the Eucharist is?

I think you are misinterpreting St. Irenaeus, who never said the Eucharist remains partly bread and wine.

He also wrote, ". . . the Eucharist becomes the Body of Christ" (Against Heresies, V:2:3).

Quote
phool4XC: If we feel we simply must use a Latin term to describe our understanding, I think that "consubstantiation" is the most correct one to use, since it indicates that there are several natures (i.e. two) existing together within the one physical element we see and taste.  The elements become Body and Blood without ceasing to be bread and wine.

That may be what you think, but that is not what the Orthodox bishops assembled at Jerusalem in 1672 and at Constantinople in 1727 had to say.

What you are espousing is Lutheranism, NOT Orthodoxy.

Here is another quote from Russian theologian Alexei Khomiakov:

"She [the Church] does not reject the word 'Transubstantiation'; but she does not assign to it that material meaning which is assigned to it by the teachers of the Churches which have fallen away. The change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is accomplished in the Church and for the Church. If a man receive the consecrated Gifts, or worship them, or think on them with faith, he verily receives, adores, and thinks on the Body and Blood of Christ" (from The Church is One, p. 6).

Quote
phool4XC: In this sense, it is trans-substantiation which is reductionistic, since it follows the logic of Aristotle in declaring that one particular element may have one and only one substance (essence).   Anything less than recognizing BOTH natures present in the Holy Gifts is inadequate, if we accept the Christological analogy.  Having said that, let me also say that I don't know how helpful it really is to discuss the difference between trans- and con- substantiation.

How is declaring that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ AND NOTHING LESS "reductionistic?"

It elevates the Eucharist to what it is: the Body and Blood of Christ.

Consubstantiation reduces some portion of the Eucharist to something that is NOT CHRIST.

This has NOTHING to do with Aristotle. It has to do with the following question:

Is the Eucharist the Body and Blood of Christ (transubstantiation) or is it the Body and Blood of Christ + something less (consubstantiation)?  

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phool4XC: Our rule of faith is our rule of prayer.  The Orthodox Church does not leave the doctrine of the Eucharist open to varieties of opinion.

Yet you have endorsed the Lutheran opinion here in this forum.

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phool4XC: At every Liturgy we declare the truth that we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ.  We approach in faith and love to taste and see that the Lord is good.  We believe that "this is truly Thine own most pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own precious Blood."  We are permitted to partake of the "holy, divine, immortal, and life-creating Mysteries."

And now I need to log off so as to ready myself for tomorrow morning.  ;-)

- a phool

"At every Liturgy we declare the truth that we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ."

Worth remembering.

Do we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ or the Body and Blood of Christ + something that is NOT CHRIST?

We share the common spoon in the Orthodox Church because we trust that the Body and Blood of our Lord will never do us harm or harbor contagion.

Can the same be said of bread and wine?

Does not our liturgical practice in this instance testify to our common faith that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ and NOTHING LESS?

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« Reply #74 on: November 24, 2003, 01:02:23 AM »

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phool4XC:
My first post here, hi y'all!

The problem with the Confession of Dositheus as taken from the Acts of the Synod of Jersulem in 1672 is that it was self-consciously adopting Catholic terminology to combat the Protestant theology propounded by Patriarch Cyril.  According to what I've been taught, during this period the Church often used Catholic arguments in our debates with the Protestants, and vice versa.

So, you are saying the bishops assembled in Jerusalem did not know what they were talking about and that you understand the true doctrine of the Eucharist better than they did?

Here is what was reiterated at Constantinople:

From the Orthodox Council of Constantinople (1727): "Therefore we acknowledge that at the invocation of the priest that ineffable mystery is consecrated, and the living and with-God-united body itself of our Savior and His blood itself are really and substantially present, and that the whole without being in any way impaired is eaten by those who partake and is bloodlessly sacrificed. And we believe without any doubt that in the reception and communion of this, even though it be in one kind only, the whole and complete Christ is present; nevertheless according to the ancient tradition which has prevailed in the Catholic Church we have received that Communion is made by all the faithful, both clergy and laity, individually in both kinds, and not the laity in one kind and the priests in both, as is done in the innovation which the Latins have wrongly made.

"As an explanatory and most accurately significant declaration of this change of the bread and the wine into the body of the Lord itself and His blood the faithful ought to acknowledge and receive the word transubstantiation, which the Catholic Church as a whole has used and receives as the most fitting statement of this mystery. Moreover they ought to reject the use of unleavened bread as an innovation of late date, and to receive the holy rite in leavened bread, as had been the custom from the first in the Catholic Church of Christ."


Transubstantiation merely means the complete transformation of the bread and wine into the true Body and Blood of Christ.

That is all; and that is what we believe.

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phool4XC: The quotes from Linus do *NOT* support the doctrine of "trans-substantiation" when it is understood in the Thomistic / Aristotelian philosophical framework.  Trans-substantiation teaches that the essence, the defining reality of the thing, changes from that of bread to that of Christ.  Although the "accidents" (i.e. the empirical evidence) remain unchanged, it has ceased to be the natural created thing, and is now something utterly different, having nothing in common with the original elements.

The whole "Thomistic/Aristotelian" complaint is just a smokescreen to mask the fear of sounding like Roman Catholics or of giving them credit for getting something right.

Transubstantiation simply means that the Holy Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ and NOTHING LESS.

What the Eucharist has in common with the original elements is best summed up by what St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote:

"What seems bread is not bread, though bread by taste; but the Body of Christ. What seems wine is not wine, though the taste will have it so; but the Blood of Christ" (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, quoted in Mike Aquilina's The Way of the Fathers, p. 61).

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phool4XC: I don't know enough about the philosophical context to understand why this teaching came about, but it is akin to the Christological heresy of monophysitism:  saying that although the Word of God became flesh, He is FROM two natures (i.e. the union occured between human and divine natures) but there is now only ONE nature in the person of Christ after the Incarnation.

Transubstantiation is nothing of the kind. The fact that the term itself was coined from within a strongly Chalcedonian communion (the RCC) gives the lie to the quote above, which is utterly ridiculous.

Consubstantiation is akin to the heresy of Nestorianism but is in fact a product of the heresy of Lutheranism.

It is NOT Orthodox.

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phool4XC: The Orthodox Christological understanding is that the union of the divine and human natures in the one person of Christ maintained the distinction of the two natures without separating them.  Applying this line of thought to the Holy Mysteries, I've been taught that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ without ceasing to be bread and wine.  This is where the quote from St. Irenaeus sheds light:

"...the bread, which comes from the earth, receives the invocation of God, and then it is no longer common bread, but Eucharist, consists of two things, an earthly and a heavenly..." (Against Heresies IV:18:5)

The Orthodox teaching, however, says nothing about anything in Christ that is not Christ; in other words, there is nothing in His Person that is foreign to Him. His divine nature is His; His human nature is His. He is One Person with two natures - human and divine - both belonging to His essential unitary Personhood.

Bread and wine are not Christ. They are foreign to His Person and His natures.


Thus a Eucharist that retains bread and wine retains elements foreign to Christ. In other words, such a Eucharist would be only partly Christ and partly something else.

Is that what the Eucharist is?

I think you are misinterpreting St. Irenaeus, who never said the Eucharist remains partly bread and wine.

He also wrote, ". . . the Eucharist becomes the Body of Christ" (Against Heresies, V:2:3).

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phool4XC: If we feel we simply must use a Latin term to describe our understanding, I think that "consubstantiation" is the most correct one to use, since it indicates that there are several natures (i.e. two) existing together within the one physical element we see and taste.  The elements become Body and Blood without ceasing to be bread and wine.

That may be what you think, but that is not what the Orthodox bishops assembled at Jerusalem in 1672 and at Constantinople in 1727 had to say.

What you are espousing is Lutheranism, NOT Orthodoxy.

Here is another quote from Russian theologian Alexei Khomiakov:

"She [the Church] does not reject the word 'Transubstantiation'; but she does not assign to it that material meaning which is assigned to it by the teachers of the Churches which have fallen away. The change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is accomplished in the Church and for the Church. If a man receive the consecrated Gifts, or worship them, or think on them with faith, he verily receives, adores, and thinks on the Body and Blood of Christ" (from The Church is One, p. 6).

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phool4XC: In this sense, it is trans-substantiation which is reductionistic, since it follows the logic of Aristotle in declaring that one particular element may have one and only one substance (essence).   Anything less than recognizing BOTH natures present in the Holy Gifts is inadequate, if we accept the Christological analogy.  Having said that, let me also say that I don't know how helpful it really is to discuss the difference between trans- and con- substantiation.

How is declaring that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ AND NOTHING LESS "reductionistic?"

It elevates the Eucharist to what it is: the Body and Blood of Christ.

Consubstantiation reduces some portion of the Eucharist to something that is NOT CHRIST.

The question has NOTHING to do with Aristotle. It has to do with the following question:

Is the Eucharist the Body and Blood of Christ (transubstantiation) or is it the Body and Blood of Christ + something less (consubstantiation)?  

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phool4XC: Our rule of faith is our rule of prayer.  The Orthodox Church does not leave the doctrine of the Eucharist open to varieties of opinion.

Yet you have endorsed the Lutheran opinion here in this forum.

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phool4XC: At every Liturgy we declare the truth that we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ.  We approach in faith and love to taste and see that the Lord is good.  We believe that "this is truly Thine own most pure Body, and that this is truly Thine own precious Blood."  We are permitted to partake of the "holy, divine, immortal, and life-creating Mysteries."

And now I need to log off so as to ready myself for tomorrow morning.  ;-)

- a phool

"At every Liturgy we declare the truth that we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ."

Worth remembering.

Do we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ or the Body and Blood of Christ + something that is NOT CHRIST?

We share the common spoon in the Orthodox Church because we trust that the Body and Blood of our Lord will never do us harm or harbor contagion.

Can the same be said of bread and wine?

Does not our liturgical practice in this instance testify to our common faith that the Eucharist is the Body and blood of Christ and NOTHING LESS?



Well said Linus! Your post was awsome and gave me hope that there are truly Orthodox Christians out there who hold and defend the ture faith!

I personally do not think using the word "transubstantiation" is very Orthodox. It is a word used and defined by the Catholic Church, therefore Orthodox Christianity doesnt need it. However I think it is important to remember the Catholic Church came up with the word "transubstantiation" and defined it as truth, but what the word "transubstantiation" describes is not of Catholic innovation.

As Linus correctly said: "Transubstantiation simply means that the Holy Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ and NOTHING LESS."

Christ said "THIS IS MY BODY" and "THIS IS MY BLOOD" so really "transubstantiation" was not invented by Catholics but rather clearly explained and defined by our God, Jesus Christ.

I think this whole topic is stupid, and I am sorry for starting it. But come on people! Orthodox Chiristianity teaches and has always taught that the bread and wine becomes the body and blood of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have not yet run into one Orthodox priest who will say after the eucharistic prayer bread and wine remain on the altar. Now I am still new to Orthodoxy and maybe I will but I can't imagine anybody saying the bread and wine become anything less than the body and blood of our God, Jesus Christ!

Just my opinion....
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« Reply #75 on: November 24, 2003, 05:35:57 AM »

Don't be sorry Ben, you won't know how many people have benefited!
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« Reply #76 on: November 25, 2003, 06:35:23 AM »

Ok, obviously the Christological analogy doesn't work as well for some as it did for me when I was being catechised.  And perhaps my priest was mistaken -- I'm certainly going to ask for another opinion on the matter.  I guess the danger in arguing from analogy is that the analogy may not be a correct one.

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The whole "Thomistic/Aristotelian" complaint is just a smokescreen to mask the fear of sounding like Roman Catholics or of giving them credit for getting something right.

It was not intended to be a "smokescreen" -- I never did complete my Masters in the history of philosophy (I converted to Orthodoxy instead), but my mentor was a Thomist scholar who assured me that the technical philosophical meaning of transubstantiation as articulated by Thomas Aquinas was precisely an adoption of Aristotelian categories.  In footnote 5 on page 280 of his Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, Fr. Michael Pomazansky wrote:

The term "transubstantiation" comes from medieval Latin scholasticism: following the Aristotelian philosophical categories, "transubstantiation" is a change of the "substance" or underlying reality of the Holy Gifts without changing the "accidents" or appearance of bread and wine.  Orthodox theology, however, does not try to "define" this Mystery in terms of philosophical categories, and thus prefers the simple word "change."

Although I tried to make it clear that I was speaking of the term "transubstantiation" in this precise technical meaning, it seems that I didn't succeed.  I'm sorry for the confusion this has caused.  Your quote from Khomiakov is one with which I heartily agree.  Note, however, the section which I've put in bold.

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"She [the Church] does not reject the word 'Transubstantiation'; but she does not assign to it that material meaning which is assigned to it by the teachers of the Churches which have fallen away. The change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is accomplished in the Church and for the Church. If a man receive the consecrated Gifts, or worship them, or think on them with faith, he verily receives, adores, and thinks on the Body and Blood of Christ"

It seems likely that Khomiakov was addressing the RC understanding of transubstantiation in this passage.  Why else would he declare that we do not reject the word, but only the meaning "assigned to it by the teachers of the Churches which have fallen away"?  Unfortunately, I don't have access to his book right now, so I can't check the context to see whether I've misunderstood him.

While the patristic quotes Linus has provided us with do not contradict the doctrine of trans-substantiation when it is understood in the sense of a simple change, they also do not eliminate the possibility of consubstantiation.  (When I use the Latin term "consubstantiation" I understand it to mean that the elements of bread and wine offered on the altar truly become the Body and Blood of Christ without ceasing to be bread and wine.)

"Therefore with fullest assurance let us partake of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to thee His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that thou by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, mightest be made of the same body and the same blood with Him."  St. Cyril of Alexandria, "On the Eucharistic Food" chapter 3, Lectures on the Christian Sacraments page 68 (SVS Press, 1995).

A few paragraphs later in the same lecture, St. Cyril urges us not to contemplate the Bread and Wine as "bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for though sense suggests this to thee, let faith stablish thee.  Judge not the matter from taste, but from faith be fully assured without misgiving that thou hast been vouchsafed the Body and Blood of Christ" (page 69).

I do not consider them to be bare elements but transfigured ones, changed by the grace of God -- much the same way that our humanity is not destroyed through communion with Christ, but rather that we are made of the same body and the same blood with Him by partaking of His Body and Blood.

In spite of Linus' fierce denunciation of the heresy of the Lutherans, I believe that the distinction he argues for is a false dichotomy.

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Is the Eucharist the Body and Blood of Christ (transubstantiation) or is it the Body and Blood of Christ + something less (consubstantiation)?

Again, I acknowledge that theological analogies are inadequate and somewhat suspect.  However, if we rephrase Linus' question, I believe it illustrates my point quite well.

Is Jesus Christ fully God, or fully God + something less?

Put that way, it just seems silly, doesn't it?

It may very well be that my understanding is inadequate. I am going to consult an Orthodox professor of theology and get his opinion.  If I am in fact wrong, I will certainly accept the correction.  God willing, I will post his reply before the Thanksgiving break.

- a phool
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« Reply #77 on: November 25, 2003, 01:50:07 PM »

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phool 4XC: Again, I acknowledge that theological analogies are inadequate and somewhat suspect.  However, if we rephrase Linus' question, I believe it illustrates my point quite well.

Is Jesus Christ fully God, or fully God + something less?

Put that way, it just seems silly, doesn't it?

However it may sound, the fact is that a human nature is less than a divine nature.

Is that a surprise?

The Divine Logos took on a human nature - He became Man - in order to save us. He lowered Himself - stooped - in order to rescue us.

The point is that His human nature is His own and not foreign to Him.

Bread and wine, on the other hand, are no part of Christ. He does not have a third, bread-and-wine nature.

Thus, in consubstantiation, there is a sense or level or portion of the Eucharist that is not Christ.

In what sense does the Orthodox doctrine of the Eucharist posit that the Eucharist is not Christ?

Christ's human nature, although less than His divine nature, is still fully His.

There is no sense in which our Lord Jesus is not Christ.

Since bread and wine, however, are not Christ, they must be fully and completely transformed in order for the Holy Eucharist to be fully and truly the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This miracle is the work of the Holy Spirit.

The only level or sense in which the Eucharist can be said to be not Christ is on the level of seeming (or human sense perception), which is not reality.

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phool 4XC: It may very well be that my understanding is inadequate. I am going to consult an Orthodox professor of theology and get his opinion.  If I am in fact wrong, I will certainly accept the correction.  God willing, I will post his reply before the Thanksgiving break.

- a phool

We look forward to his answer.

« Last Edit: November 25, 2003, 02:02:18 PM by Linus7 » Logged

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« Reply #78 on: December 05, 2003, 08:47:50 PM »

Well, I am certainly glad that I've participated, albeit in a very limited manner, in this forum.

The bread and wine which are offered are utterly changed by the grace of the Holy Spirit at the consecration.  They do not remain bread and wine in essence.  Linus, thank you for your insistence on this point.

The problem with the analogy that I had been using to attempt to understand the Mystery is that what occurs in the Divine Liturgy is not the same as what occured at the unique, historically specific Incarnation of Christ.  In the Incarnation, the divine nature took to itself human nature, raising it, redeeming it, and deifying it.  The Holy Eucharist is a participation in the Incarnation of Christ in just the same way it is a participation in His once for all, never repeated Crucifixion.  In other words, the hypostatic union of natures (yes, I realize that's redundant Wink) does NOT occur in the descent of the Spirit upon the holy gifts.  They are changed utterly and completely.

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Transubstantiation merely means the complete transformation of the bread and wine into the true Body and Blood of Christ.  That is all; and that is what we believe.

If that were all that the Roman Catholic Church taught about transubstantiation, that would be true.  However, after setting me straight on the one question, my friend proceeded to explain why he would only use the term "transubstantiation" after carefully qualifying it.

It is quite likely that when Thomas Aquinas first used the term, he was attempting to point to the utterly transcendent mystery involved.  He adopted Aristotelian logic to express the inexpressible -- by definition, the substance IS the form, so to speak of the substance changing without a corresponding change in the form is simply non-sense.  Or, as we like to say, "a Mystery."

Unfortunately, this is not the meaning given to the Catholic doctrine now.  "Transubstantiation" is now understood to provide an explanation for what occurs.  Perhaps this would be harmless in itself, but the Catholic church has based further doctrines and practices upon this - the latreia of the Blessed Sacrament, for one.

For the historical context and general theological understanding of the question of "transubstantiation" the professor recommended EUSTRATIOS ARGENTI: A Study of the Greek Church under Turkish Rule by Timothy (Bishop Kallistos) Ware, particularly the chapter dedicated to the question of the Lord's Supper.  I've now got the book sitting on my desk, but won't have time to read it for another two weeks or so.

To summarize, the Orthodox teaching on the elements of Holy Communion is that the bread and wine are completely transformed into the true Body and Blood of Christ, with only the physical properties of bread and wine remaining.  The word "transubstantiation" may be understood in an Orthodox manner, but it must be used carefully, particularly when speaking with non-Orthodox.

And now I need to speak with the priest who catechized me -- I hope I simply misunderstood him on this matter!

- a phool
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« Reply #79 on: December 05, 2003, 11:00:37 PM »

Thanks for your post, phool 4 XC.

When I used the term transubstantiation I meant it only in the strict Orthodox sense, as signifying the complete transformation of the bread and wine of the Eucharist into the true Body and Blood of Christ.

I think it is a useful term when restricted to its proper meaning, for it is helpful in differentiating the true doctrine from the false.
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