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Author Topic: What is the Assyrian church of the East  (Read 2027 times) Average Rating: 0
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Pilgrim
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« on: June 30, 2009, 09:04:46 PM »

when did this body seperate from the church? Why did they seperate. If anyone could, a brief intro for someone who has never studied this church.
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St. Cyril, St. Leo, and St. Severus pray that the Church may be united and one, Eastern and Oriental.St. Issac the Syrian, pray that Assyria would return to the Holy Church. St. Gregory, pray for Rom
Salpy
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2009, 09:59:32 PM »

You may want to click on some of the tags below and do some reading.

A brief, oversimplified explanation is that they are what is left of those Christians who rejected the Third Ecumenical Council.  They only accept the first two.  Their reasons for rejecting the Third Council is that it condemned one of their Church Fathers, Nestorius, as well as his Christology.  Nestorius' Christology, also called Theodorean Christology (after Nestorius' teacher Theodore of Mopsuestia,) treats Christ's divinity and humanity as if they function separately.  Again, this is a really oversimplified explanation.  The Assyrian Church of the East still venerates Nestorius and Theodore as saints, and upholds their Christology.  Back during the days of the Persian empire, the Church of the East was referred to as the Persian Church, as the Assyrians existed mostly behind the Persian border. 

When they separated from the Church is a complicated question.  The easiest answer is to say they separated after the Third Council, but there were instances of reconciliation after that.  After the Third Council, there was a formulary of reunion between St. Cyril (who presided at the Third Council) and John of Antioch, who represented those who did not want to sign onto the Third Council.  However, that was a very tenuous agreement which was subject to different interpretations and it soon fell apart.  It can be said that the predecessors of the Oriental Orthodox finally and completely parted ways with the Theodoreans at a council held in Ephesus in 449.

The history between the Assyrians and the Chalcedonians (EO's and Catholics) is a little more complicated.  The Assyrians interpreted the Council of Chalcedon (held in 451) in a Theodorean manner and accepted it, so it can be said that the Assyrians were in communion with the Chalcedonian Church for at least a century after Chalcedon.  However, in 553 the Chalcedonians held their Fifth Ecumenical Council, at which Theodorean Christology was unambiguously rejected.  So at that point the Chalcedonians and Assyrians would have been out of communion.  However, in the late 500's, the emperor maurice reunited his Church with the Assyrians based upon a statement of faith submitted by the Assyrians (I don't think they accepted the Third Council.)  So for a while they were back in communion.  I'm not sure when that agreement fell apart, but I don't think it would have survived very long after the fall of the Persian Empire to the Muslims.

I'm not a historian and, like I said, this all oversimplifies things.  If, however, I made any glaring mistakes, I am sure someone will be kind enough to correct me.   Smiley
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Pilgrim
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2009, 08:24:46 PM »

Thanks salpy! Smiley

For anyone interested, i found a longer explanation of the Church's theology and history.

http://www.nestorian.org/is_the_theology_of_the_church_.html
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Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth help us to walk the way of Life, which is Christ Jesus.

St. Cyril, St. Leo, and St. Severus pray that the Church may be united and one, Eastern and Oriental.St. Issac the Syrian, pray that Assyria would return to the Holy Church. St. Gregory, pray for Rom
Jimmy
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2009, 05:49:26 PM »

I would like to add that aspect in the split with the Assyrians was due to the politics between the Persian empire and the Roman empire.  There were problems since the 420's with the Christians in Persia because they were almost viewed as Roman spies because Christianity was associated with Rome in the eyes of the Persians.  So there was a division between the Persians and the rest of Christianity, atleast for periods of time, starting from before the Council of Ephesus. 
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2009, 08:45:34 PM »

I would like to add that aspect in the split with the Assyrians was due to the politics between the Persian empire and the Roman empire.

Wasn't this also a big part of the issue with the separation of the Oriental Orthodox?  From what I understand, these churches were in a sense resisting imperial domination of their churches from Constantinople.  Isn't that why the Roman Orthodox were referred to in the Oriental lands as "Melkites", or "Imperials"?  The Roman brand of Christianity was losing political control in Egypt and Syria, and so their influence was increasingly diminished.  From what I gather, the break with the Alexandrian school was also an assertion of Oriental autonomy as much as it was over theological reasons.  Would this be a fair summary?
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Salpy
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2009, 10:36:05 PM »

I don't think so, at least not with the Armenians.  We first rejected Chalcedon during the time of the Henotikon.  That actually put the Armenians more in line with the position of Constantinople.  It definitely was not an act of rebellion against them.

Also, the OO's didn't break from the Alexandrian school.  We were upholding it.
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Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2009, 03:38:28 AM »

Also, the OO's didn't break from the Alexandrian school.  We were upholding it.

Sorry, that came out wrong.  I meant to type that you broke communion with the imperials ALONG WITH the Alexandrian school.  Not that the Oriental churches broke communion with Alexandria.  I would need to restudy history if I thought that!
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Salpy
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« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2009, 11:18:56 AM »

An historically inaccurate and polemical post was sent to the private section.

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