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Author Topic: Transubstantiation or Consubstantiation  (Read 12097 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: November 21, 2003, 01:43:27 PM »

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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 »

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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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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.  ;-)

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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 »

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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.

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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.

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?

« Last Edit: November 24, 2003, 01:02:28 AM by Linus7 » Logged

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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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