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Author Topic: Christology of the Armenian Apostolic Church  (Read 3175 times) Average Rating: 0
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The young fogey
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« on: November 25, 2003, 04:36:48 PM »

From a website of the Armenian Apostolic Church:

Quote
What is the Orthodox Doctrine respecting the Person of Christ?
The orthodox Faith is that there is but one person in Christ, that of God, and that this Divine person took manhood in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This sounds like heresy.

But those in the know say the Armenians and the other Oriental Orthodox are orthodox.

So...

Is this really monophysitism or does 'took manhood' really mean God became 'true man' - orthodoxy in different language, perhaps the Armenians' saving face?
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2003, 05:26:20 PM »

Well, they did say one person in Christ, not two.  And "before" (in time, at least) He was Incarnate, that One Person was Divine only, and not yet human--right?

(OTOH, you were asking if this seemed like monophysitism, not Nestorianism--my mistake)
« Last Edit: November 25, 2003, 05:28:25 PM by Doubting Thomas » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2003, 05:39:41 PM »

Quote
Well, they did say one person in Christ, not two.  And "before" (in time, at least) He was Incarnate, that One Person was Divine only, and not yet human--right?

Yes, thanks. Right, one person (hypostasis) but orthodoxy usually puts it this way: that this one Person after the Incarnation has two natures, one divine (fully God), one human (fully man).

The Armenian answer here seems to use 'person' both for hypostasis and for Christ's divine nature but doesn't use the same term or something equivalent for His humanity, simply saying instead 'took manhood', which is probably why it seemed dodgy to me.

Maybe it was just sloppily translated on that page from Armenian.

Looks like the Armenian doctrine is or can be construed as orthodox after all. Just like the experts say it can.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2003, 05:47:28 PM by Serge » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2003, 06:06:15 PM »

The Armenian answer here seems to use 'person' both for hypostasis and for Christ's divine nature but doesn't use the same term or something equivalent for His humanity, simply saying instead 'took manhood', which is probably why it seemed dodgy to me.

This is one reason why our Churches split.  The Oriental Orthodox traditionally saw "physis" and read "person".  Hence, to speak of "in two natures" sounded like Nestorianism.  This is not how the Greeks saw it, of course.

The orthodox Faith is that there is but one person in Christ, that of God, and that this Divine person took manhood in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The phrase "took manhood" would better be phrased in the words of the Nicene Creed which we profess: "became man".  But the meaning is Orthodox: the Divine Son of God was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became true man.  100% God, 100% man.  I read that page a while ago and didn't blink at reading that.  In retrospect, I see how it might be misconstrued, but I think that's all it is.
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2003, 10:09:33 PM »

Surprisingly that quote from the Armenian site didn't strick me as odd at all.

I mean Christ is one person, not two, he was 100% divine then he became human in the womb of the Theotokos, andd became 100% God and 100% man.

That is what the site is saying from my understanding...but I could be way off base....

just my opinion....
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2003, 01:51:36 AM »

You're not way off base.  That's how I originally read it as well.
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2003, 07:18:06 PM »

Surprisingly that quote from the Armenian site didn't strick me as odd at all.

I mean Christ is one person, not two, he was 100% divine then he became human in the womb of the Theotokos, andd became 100% God and 100% man.

That is what the site is saying from my understanding...but I could be way off base....

just my opinion....

Same here.

Hypostasis is not synonymous with prosopon/person. Hypostasis stands for an individual instance of an ousia/essence.

Christ is one Divine person. He is always a Divine person - the eternal Word of God. This divine person has united a real individual instance of humanity, complete in every way, at the moment of the incarnation, but He is still the Word of God who is now incarnate. He is human but he is not a human person, that would mean that there were two persons in Christ. There are not.

St Severus explains that there are self-subsistent hypostases and non-self-subsistent hypostases. The humanity of Christ is complete in every way but it does not exist on its own or for itself. It exists only in union with the divinity of Christ, which does exist on its own and for itself, having its own Divine person - the Word of God.

In the incarnation the Divine Word of God owns both His divinity and in the economy of our salvation he also owns his own humanity. But the person, the one who owns, is the Divine Word, not a human person. This is the wonder. The Word of God has become flesh. But He is still the Word of God, as a person, even though he is completely and perfectly human according to the humanity which he made his own.

So the Armenian site is quite correct.

It does not say that there is only a Divine hypostasis, because in Christ there is now also a humanity which is hypostatic, but one which is not independent or separate, it is not a self-subsistent hypostasis but it is real, one which only has any existence at all because it belongs to the Word and is united inseparably to his divinity.

As the later Eastern Orthodox came to describe it, the humanity is enhypostasised in the divine hypostasis. It becomes an individual by union with the person of the Word of God. It isn't an individual on its own. We don't confess God the Word and Christ the man, but Christ the God-man, without ever suggesting that either the humanity or divinity are confused or mixed.

But Christ is God the Word.

"The Word became flesh and dwelt among us"

Nestorianism was defective because it taught that in Christ there were two self-subsistent hypostases or individuals, which St Severus says have their own person imprinted on them. This cannot but mean that there was God the Word and Christ the man whatever attempts are then made to unite them. Perhaps it is slightly paradoxical but the Divine person became human without becoming a human person, he became human though. "Emmanuel".

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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2003, 01:23:41 AM »

Nice explanation, Pete.

Sounds Orthodox to me.

One Divine Person, two natures united, yet without mixture or confusion.
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2003, 11:34:16 AM »

Nice explanation, Pete.

Sounds Orthodox to me.

One Divine Person, two natures united, yet without mixture or confusion.

Sounds right to me also. This reminds me of a recent conversation I had with my priest during which I stated that we, the Body of Christ's Church, will eventually correct the problems, jurisdictionally, that our respective hierarchs seem unable to do. I might have extended this to "communion" issues as well. (Hope I don't get flamed too badly for this one.)

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« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2003, 10:26:52 AM »

Does anyone know of a good source for Armenian theology in English?

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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2003, 04:03:16 PM »

Try some of the books by the late Catholicos and scholar H.H. Karekin I, especially the one about the Armenian Church and Chalcedon.  It should be in stock at St. Vartan's Cathedral bookstore.  I think their website is www.armenianchurch.org .  I've ordered books from them before.  

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« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2003, 04:59:35 PM »

Thanks for that. I'll give it a look.

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« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2003, 05:37:04 AM »

The faith of the Syriac Orthodox Church is in accordance with the Nicene Creed. It believes in the Trinity, that is one God, subsisting in three separate persons called the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The three being of one Essence, of one Godhead, have one Will, one Work and one Lordship. The special aspect of the First Person is His Fatherhood, that of the Second Person His Sonship, and that of the Third Person His Procession

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Tags: Armenian Church Christology Chalcedon 
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