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Author Topic: Ethiopian Orthodox and the Immaculate Conception  (Read 28310 times) Average Rating: 5
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Alveus Lacuna
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« on: October 05, 2009, 03:39:13 PM »

A friend of mine at my Eastern Orthodox parish told me that the Ethiopian Church believes in the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God.  Is this correct?
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2009, 03:42:37 PM »

They might be referecing to the 96th chapter of the Kebra Nagast:
Quote
He cleansed eve's body and sanctified it and made for it a dwelling in her for adam's salvation. She [i.e., mary] was born without blemish, for He made her pure, without pollution, and she redeemed his debt without carnal union and embrace...Through the transgression of eve we died and were buried, and by the purity of mary we receive honour, and are exalted to the heights
I found the reference on the wikipedia, so I can't say how accurate the translation might be.

In Christ,  Alex
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2009, 01:46:07 AM »

They might be referecing to the 96th chapter of the Kebra Nagast:
Quote
He cleansed eve's body and sanctified it and made for it a dwelling in her for adam's salvation. She [i.e., mary] was born without blemish, for He made her pure, without pollution, and she redeemed his debt without carnal union and embrace...Through the transgression of eve we died and were buried, and by the purity of mary we receive honour, and are exalted to the heights
I found the reference on the wikipedia, so I can't say how accurate the translation might be.

In Christ,  Alex

Well, I don't think this quote is from the Kebra Nagast. The Kebra Nagast deals primarily with Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and the Ark of the Covenant.

I am afraid I don't exactly know the answer to the question though. The best source on the EOTC teaching on Our lady is the Wudasse Mariyam: Hymns of Praise to the Holy Virgin Mary.

You may find something helpful here:
http://eotcbooks.com/index.html

But I'm sure brothers Hiywot, AmdeTsion, HaileAmanuel, or AmdeBirhan can answer your question.

Selam
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« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2009, 02:13:41 AM »

A friend of mine at my Eastern Orthodox parish told me that the Ethiopian Church believes in the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God.  Is this correct?

Bishop Matthias in the United States took action against an Ethiopian priest who rejected the Immaculate Conception.  The parishioners have appealed to Pope Shenouda of the Coptic Church.  Pope Shenouda rejected the Immaculate Conception in his book on the Holy Mother of God
 
Extract from letter to Pope Shenouda
Source :: http://www.medhanialemeotcks.org/pdf/Letter_to_HH%20Shenouda.pdf

As you may recall from our letter and documents that we sent your Holiness about
four years ago, our church in the State of Kansas suffered a crisis due to the Roman
Catholic Immaculate Conception Doctrinal issue. Hoping to resolve the issue and also
to affirm the true teachings of our holy Fathers, we sought the help of His Grace
Archbishop Matthias who was at the time the representative of the Ethiopian
Orthodox Tewahido Church Diocese of North America. However, to our dismay and
surprise, he declared "the Immaculate Conception teaching" of the Roman Catholic
Church as an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Doctrine. Adding insult to injury, he
banned our priest, Father Asteraye Tsige from the church for rejecting the Immaculate
Conception teachings and for defending the true Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Orthodox
faith that you your Holiness affirmed in your Book:

Name of the book: The Holy Virgin St. Mary
Author: His Holiness Pope Shenouda ill
Editor: Orthodox Coptic Clerical College, Cairo
Edition: 1999
Press: Amba Rueiss, (Offset)
Deposition number at "The Library": 9173/96

"THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY IN THE CHURCH'S FAITH"

The Orthodox Coptic Church honors our Lady The Virgin with due
honor without exaggeration, and without lessening ofherposition. <snip>

The sanctifying by the Holy Spirit of her depository, makes the
One born of her, be conceived without the impurity of the original sin. As
for The Virgin herself, her mother conceived, like all people, and so The
Virgin said in her hymn: "my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior"
(Luke 1:47). That is why the Church does not agree that The Virgin was
conceived without the impurity of the original sin, as our brothers the
Catholics believe.
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2009, 08:15:30 AM »

So, can we say that the Ethiopians are just more akin to embrace the concept of Immaculate Conception then the other Eastern and Oriental Orthodox?
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2009, 08:36:43 AM »

So, can we say that the Ethiopians are just more akin to embrace the concept of Immaculate Conception then the other Eastern and Oriental Orthodox?
I think we would need more evidence than just something from one Ethiopian bishop.

I give more credence to what Pope Shenouda says because he holds the position of primatial responsibility in his Church and he was willing to state it formally in a book.
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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2009, 09:02:13 AM »

In fact I don't doubt of Pope Shenouda's position (he's indeed a great man of God). I only guess that some elements in the liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church might be easily misunderstood or misrepresented, especially in a diaspora setting where words in translation might be affected by a RC approach.
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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2009, 04:44:55 AM »

I am posting this not to debate on the issue but to give an answer to the original post.

We the Tewahidos do not use the term “immaculate conception”. We simply say that the Blessed Virgin Mary is free from original sin. We call original sin in ge’ez as “tinte te’abiso” and we say that Mariam is free from “tinte te’abiso”.

The Kibre Negest, as quoted in wiki, has correctly indicated that Mariam is free from original sin. The Kibre Negest says: “But in His mercy God the Father created the pearl in the body of Adam; he cleansed Eve’s body and sanctified it and made it into a dwelling for Adam’s salvation. Thus Mary was born without blemish, for He made Her pure without pollution.”  Yes Ezekiel’s sealed door was truly sealed with a great marvelous seal so that original sin does not pollute it. The Blessed Virgin Mary was born without Adam’s original sin.

She is free from original sin because She is the tabernacle not only of God the Son. God the Father dwelt in her to strengthen Her and God the Holy Spirit dwelt in Her to keep her pure. The Holy Spirit protected Her in her mother’s womb and prepared Her to be His tabernacle. That is why David, Her father, said “God is in the midst of Her and She shall not be moved”. Solomon also, in his songs, praised her by saying: “Thou are all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee.”

Aba Giorgis of Gasicha, a 14th C. Ethiopian theologian has said in his book known as “The book of mysteries”: He who does not know sin took the flesh of sinners and judged sin. He took flesh from the daughter of sinners, who herself, is but pure in flesh and soul. Her father’s sin did not touch Her Son.”

Regards,

Hiywot
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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2009, 05:37:13 AM »

I am posting this not to debate on the issue but to give an answer to the original post.

We the Tewahidos do not use the term “immaculate conception”. We simply say that the Blessed Virgin Mary is free from original sin. We call original sin in ge’ez as “tinte te’abiso” and we say that Mariam is free from “tinte te’abiso”.

The Kibre Negest, as quoted in wiki, has correctly indicated that Mariam is free from original sin. The Kibre Negest says: “But in His mercy God the Father created the pearl in the body of Adam; he cleansed Eve’s body and sanctified it and made it into a dwelling for Adam’s salvation. Thus Mary was born without blemish, for He made Her pure without pollution.”  Yes Ezekiel’s sealed door was truly sealed with a great marvelous seal so that original sin does not pollute it. The Blessed Virgin Mary was born without Adam’s original sin.

She is free from original sin because She is the tabernacle not only of God the Son. God the Father dwelt in her to strengthen Her and God the Holy Spirit dwelt in Her to keep her pure. The Holy Spirit protected Her in her mother’s womb and prepared Her to be His tabernacle. That is why David, Her father, said “God is in the midst of Her and She shall not be moved”. Solomon also, in his songs, praised her by saying: “Thou are all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee.”

Aba Giorgis of Gasicha, a 14th C. Ethiopian theologian has said in his book known as “The book of mysteries”: He who does not know sin took the flesh of sinners and judged sin. He took flesh from the daughter of sinners, who herself, is but pure in flesh and soul. Her father’s sin did not touch Her Son.”

Regards,

Hiywot

Thank you Hiywot.

Is "The Book of Mysteries" by Aba Giorgis available in English?

Also, I apologize if I gave wrong information about the Kebra Nagast. Perhaps I have an abbreviated version that does not contain the information mentioned about Our Lady.

In regards to Our Lady's nature: does our EOTC Church teach the same doctrine as all other non-Chalcedonian Churches regarding her being born without original sin? What about the EO Churches? It seems that there may be a difference of opinion amongst them.

I'm not trying to cause controversy, just trying to understand all the Orthodox positions so that I can adequately answer Protestants and Catholics who will ask me about this issue.

Thank you again my brother.

Selam
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« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2009, 08:00:33 AM »

I know I may be pedant, but I feel a need to have an answer which is linked directly to the subject.
Is the expression "tinte te’abiso", which you translate as "original sin", the same as the RC doctrine of Original Sin, or is it akin to the parallel EO "ancestral sin"? In other words, what kind of "sin" or "burden" did Mary never inherit from our ancestor Adam?
It would be very useful at this point of the discussion, so that we can figure out if the EOTC is nearer on this issue to the RCC or the EOC.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2009, 12:23:56 AM »

In regards to Our Lady's nature: does our EOTC Church teach the same doctrine as all other non-Chalcedonian Churches regarding her being born without original sin?

In the book Welcome to the Armenian Church, published by the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America in 2004, it states that the teaching that the Virgin Mary "is considered to have been conceived immaculately without sin" is not a teaching of the Armenian Church. (page 39)

http://www.stvartanbookstore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=5247
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2009, 08:43:26 AM »

Gebre Menfes Kidus
“The book of mystery” by Aba Giorgis is not available in English. I was just using my Amharic copy.

The kebra Negest, also available in another version known as “Dirsane tsion” has also written about the Blessed Virgin Mary, referring to her as Our Mother Tsion simply because She is the true Arc of the Covenant.

In regards to Our Lady, Our Church teaches the same thing with other non-Chalcedonian churches. The question of original sin or ancestral sin for me is not an issue that should divide us. Even some of our Tewahido scholars argue among themselves on this matter.

AlexanderOfBergamo
What I want to assure you is that Our Church is nearer to the EOC on this issue than the RCC.

Regards,

Hiywot
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« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2009, 10:26:13 AM »

This makes me happy, Hiywot!
Thx for the information!

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2009, 03:30:36 AM »

Wow...I learn something new everyday.  This puts things further into perspective for me.

Thank you Hiywot.

Fr. Ambrose, how do you find these things?  These seems to be a very recent controversy.  If you're subscribed to some sort of "OO News of Interest" email list, I'd like to join.
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« Reply #14 on: October 09, 2009, 03:43:56 AM »

Also, I apologize if I gave wrong information about the Kebra Nagast. Perhaps I have an abbreviated version that does not contain the information mentioned about Our Lady.

The relevant quote is from chapter 96.

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/kebra_nagast/kn096.htm
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« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2009, 03:55:50 AM »

Also, I apologize if I gave wrong information about the Kebra Nagast. Perhaps I have an abbreviated version that does not contain the information mentioned about Our Lady.

The relevant quote is from chapter 96.

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/kebra_nagast/kn096.htm

Thanks.

Man, I let a Catholic friend borrow my copy of the Kebra Nagast about two years ago, and she still hasn't returned it! Makes me frustrated, because I had a lot of notes in it, and many important passages underlined. I need to track it down. Glad to have this online link in the mean time though.

Selam
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« Reply #16 on: October 09, 2009, 04:05:03 AM »


Fr. Ambrose, how do you find these things?  These seems to be a very recent controversy.

I have the impression that the Coptic Orthodox and the Armenian do not accept the Immaculate Conception.  As for the Ethiopian Orthodox we know that Bishop Matthias in the States believes it strongly enough to discipline a priest who rejected it.  Such a strong action on his part seems to indicate that he would have the backing of the Ethiopian hierarchy if the priest challenged him.

Has Fr Peter Farrington from the UK been writing here lately?  It would be good to have his input.


Quote
  If you're subscribed to some sort of "OO News of Interest" email list, I'd like to join.

No, I don't know of such a list devoted only to OO news.  Fr Peter probably has this information at his fingertips.   

Quite a lot of news of the Oriental Churches flows through the Yahoo list Orthodoxnews but it is mixed with mainly Byzantine Orthodox news.
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« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2009, 02:24:17 PM »

Ethiopian Orthodox and the Immaculate Conception we need to debate on this issue.

Bishop Matthias in the United States in (2005) took action against a well Educated Ethiopian priest who rejected the “Immaculate Conception” as a catholic dogma it was rejected by all orthodox in 1854, the orthodox churches in Kansas city Russia, Serbia, Greece, Armenia, and Coptic they stand with the Ethiopian priest us he rejected the Immaculate Conception as a catholic dogma.  The parishioners have appealed to the Ethiopian orthodox Tewahedo church Synod back home in Addis Ababa but for the last 5 years no respond so the parishioners appealed to the oriental sister church His Holiness Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox Church.  Pope Shenouda rejected the Immaculate Conception in his book on the Holy Mother of God and further more His Grace Bishop David, General Bishop and Patriarchal Exarch in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, Archdiocese of North America. Send a latter confirming the orthodox believes see the link below. They send HG Bishop Makarius, General Bishop, he come to Kansas City August 15, 2009 at St Mark Coptic Orthodox Church to teach & explain the Coptic Orthodox Church understanding and believe on the Immaculate Conception as a catholic dogma.
 
http://www.medhanialemeotcks.org/pdf/HG%20Bisop_David-Letter.pdf
http://www.medhanialemeotcks.org/pdf/Letter_to_HH%20Shenouda.pdf
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« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2009, 07:59:50 PM »

Thank you for the information, Solomon, and welcome to the forum!  We look forward to your posts.   Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2009, 09:14:48 PM »

I didn't realize that all of the controversy was right here in Kansas City!  Plenty of Ethiopians come to my Serbian parish.
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« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2009, 03:41:17 AM »

I didn't realize that all of the controversy was right here in Kansas City!  Plenty of Ethiopians come to my Serbian parish.

Hi Alveus that the reason the two Ethiopian orthodox Church split in kansas city by Bishop Matthias decision but with the support of orthodox Church's in Kansas city they offer us every thing with our straggle specially St Gorge Serbian orthodox church we are grateful for there support and have them as sister church. now we have our own church the old St Gorge Serbian orthodox church we like all orthodox church to clearly state there view in this Immaculate Conception a catholic dogma and ask the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church for explanation. His Holiness Patriarch Abune Paulos wrote in dissertation 1988 from Prinston Theological seminary "Filsata The Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary And the Mariological tradition of the Ethiopian orthodox tewahedo church'" link below for the pdf.

His Holiness Patriarch Abune Paulos wrote in his dissertation 1988 from Prinston Theological seminary
http://www.medhanialemeotcks.org/pdf/Filsata.pdf

The Protocol Between The Coptic Orthodox Church (COC) and. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church(EOTC) April 2008
http://www.medhanialemeotcks.org/pdf/commondec2008eng.pdf
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« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2009, 08:10:32 AM »

We simply say that the Blessed Virgin Mary is free from original sin. We call original sin in ge’ez as “tinte te’abiso” and we say that Mariam is free from “tinte te’abiso”. . . . The Blessed Virgin Mary was born without Adam’s original sin.

So the Ethiopian Orthodox believe, as Catholics do, that everyone, except for the Theotokos and Jesus Christ, was born with the sin of Adam (i.e. with the guilt itself, not only with the original sin's effects)?

Also, I apologize if I gave wrong information about the Kebra Nagast. Perhaps I have an abbreviated version that does not contain the information mentioned about Our Lady.

Do you have this version: http://www.amazon.com/Kebra-Negast-Rastafarian-Ethiopia-Jamaica/dp/0312167938 ? If so, then it's not even the original Kebra Nagast. It's a contemporary compilation of some portions of KN and some other stuff. It was done by Gerald Hausman (http://www.geraldhausman.com/images/hausman.jpg), a folk stories writer, who has nothing to do with Ethiopia or the EOTC.
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« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2009, 08:13:05 AM »

We simply say that the Blessed Virgin Mary is free from original sin. We call original sin in ge’ez as “tinte te’abiso” and we say that Mariam is free from “tinte te’abiso”. . . . The Blessed Virgin Mary was born without Adam’s original sin.

So the Ethiopian Orthodox believe, as Catholics do, that everyone, except for the Theotokos and Jesus Christ, was born with the sin of Adam (i.e. with the guilt itself, not only with the original sin's effects)?

Also, I apologize if I gave wrong information about the Kebra Nagast. Perhaps I have an abbreviated version that does not contain the information mentioned about Our Lady.

Do you have this version: http://www.amazon.com/Kebra-Negast-Rastafarian-Ethiopia-Jamaica/dp/0312167938 ? If so, then it's not even the original Kebra Nagast. It's a contemporary compilation of some portions of KN and some other stuff. It was made by Gerald Hausman (http://www.geraldhausman.com/images/hausman.jpg), a folk stories writer, who has nothing to do with Ethiopia or the EOTC.
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« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2009, 02:29:04 PM »

We simply say that the Blessed Virgin Mary is free from original sin. We call original sin in ge’ez as “tinte te’abiso” and we say that Mariam is free from “tinte te’abiso”. . . . The Blessed Virgin Mary was born without Adam’s original sin.

So the Ethiopian Orthodox believe, as Catholics do, that everyone, except for the Theotokos and Jesus Christ, was born with the sin of Adam (i.e. with the guilt itself, not only with the original sin's effects)?

Also, I apologize if I gave wrong information about the Kebra Nagast. Perhaps I have an abbreviated version that does not contain the information mentioned about Our Lady.

Do you have this version: http://www.amazon.com/Kebra-Negast-Rastafarian-Ethiopia-Jamaica/dp/0312167938 ? If so, then it's not even the original Kebra Nagast. It's a contemporary compilation of some portions of KN and some other stuff. It was made by Gerald Hausman (http://www.geraldhausman.com/images/hausman.jpg), a folk stories writer, who has nothing to do with Ethiopia or the EOTC.

The version I have is edited by Miguel F. Brooks.

Selam
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« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2009, 02:51:59 PM »

The version I have is edited by Miguel F. Brooks.

This version, as far as I know, is all right and complete.
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« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2009, 03:53:20 PM »

The Following is an answer given in response to the same quesiton posed oh several months ago to me by a member of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.



Your query included the following Bible citation, “since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That may be found in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, chapter 3, verse 23.
 
A couple chapters later, in the same letter, St. Paul wrote, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12)

In Epistle to the Hebrews 4:15, St. Paul stated, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.”

The Problem
Having, no doubt, often heard that St. Mary was without sin, you raised an excellent question: “What is the Church’s teaching on this subject?”

Our Method
Any proper response, should, at least, review samples of what many thoughtful people have, for ages, debated as either an enigma or a contradiction.  We should be careful not to take Bible citations out of context.  Rather, to solve this problem we should consider it in the context of the whole fabric of our salvation.  The evidence stretches from Adam and Eve through Jesus Christ, to the present.  First, consider human nature, as created, how it was compromised by sin; next, how God provided for us to be freed from what we have inherited, and, finally, to rise above our personal failings.

Evidence from Scripture and Tradition
God is the perfect source of all truth.  Being perfect, He has no need of change.  He made us like Him; but, insofar as we choose to stray from that ideal, it is we who need to change.  He, our creator and source of all goodness, chose to empty Himself, “taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form, . . .” (Philippians 2:7) in all things except sin, in order to recall creation to repentance.

God created Adam and Eve as prototypes.  As their descendents, all real human beings share the same basic characteristics as their immediate offspring.  Notice that God, as Trinity made One and Unity in Trinity, is quoted as saying, “Let us make man in our image.” (Gen 1: 26)

Our destiny is to become, in time, more like God, that we may live with Him eternally.  Studying the person and role of the Virgin Mariam, offers us glimpses of how God saves us, so that we may respond according to His will, as she did.  Every Bible citation mentioning her, is there, to help us appreciate her success story, as the pride of our kind.  She overcame the tyranny of the deceiver, to bring the Saviour back into the world He had created. Even God’s latent promise in that curse He addressed to the serpent, turned out to be a prophecy about Mariam.

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 KJV) 
“I will put enmity between you and the woman,   and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’ (Genesis 3:15  NRSV)

Also, we see ought to recognize as  fulfilled, through her, God’s promise to Abraham:
“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”  (Genesis 17:7 & 10 KJV)

The following five citations are oblique, yet relevant, references to Mariam’s response to the challenge that the Archangel Gabriel delivered to her:
  “my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
   my shield and the horn of my salvation,
   my stronghold and my refuge,
   my saviour; you save me from violence.”  (2Samuel 22:3 NRSV)

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”  (Isaiah 7:14 KJV)

“Show your steadfast love,
   Who saves those seeking refuge
   from their adversaries at Thy right hand.” (Psalm 16 (17):7)

“I give you thanks, O Lord and King,
   and praise you, O God my Saviour.
I give thanks to your name,”  (Ecclesiasticus 51:1)

“Flee from the shadow of this age, receive the joy of your glory; I publicly call on my saviour to witness.” (2Esdras 2 : 36)

The following citations are more obvious indicators of God’s dramatic intervention in history, through Mariam, on our behalf:

“28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. 31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.  33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:28-33 Douay-Rheims Version)


46 And Mary* said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
47   and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
48for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
   Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
   and holy is his name.
50His mercy is for those who fear him
   from generation to generation.   (Luke 1:46-50  NRSV)

Different interpretations
Not withstanding various Bible translations, in subsequent generations, discern the real differences between those calling her, “Blessed.” Some have over-emphasized philosophical logic, irrational competitive name calling, and those maintaining balanced theology regarding the mysteries of our salvation.   Some, using poetic imagery, have gotten as carried away with their own effort, as others who have tried to explain away every miracles.  Yet, any attempt to add to, or diminish “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints;.“ (Jude 1:3) threatens that balance enjoined by 1John 4:3 and 2John 1:7, thereby, ultimately, denying the basis of our salvation.

Latin Roman interpretation
The history of the Latin Roman Churches interpretation began with the writings of Augustine of Hippo.    “In Augustine's view (termed "Realism"), all of humanity was really present in Adam when he sinned, and therefore all have sinned. Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of the guilt of Adam which all human beings inherit. As sinners, human beings are utterly depraved in nature, lack the freedom to do good, and cannot respond to the will of God without divine grace. Grace is irresistible, results in conversion, and leads to perseverance.” (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/original_sin.)

That position, inspired Anselm of Canterbury’s doctrine of “Substitutional atonement.” Anselm’s explanation reinforced the notion of inherited guilt, as a consequence of “original sin.” Eventually, this line of reasoning caused a controversy, lasting almost eight centuries.  In 1854, the papal doctrine of “The Immaculate Conception” was proclaimed to resolve that controversy.  While virtually all Protestant and Reformed thinkers reject this notion, they seem to fail to perceive and reject the underlying concepts upon which it was based.

Eastern and Oriental Orthodox interpretation

Preferring either “Ancestral sin,” or “Original stain,” to “Original sin,” both the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches reject the Roman concept of inherited guilt. Therefore, they describe the Holy Virgin Mariam as being fully human.  Conceived by Joachim and Hannah.  (see chapters 4 & 5 at http://www.theworkofgod.org/Aparitns/PevglJms.htm#THE PROTEVANGELIUM OF JAMES    She was conceived with that weakness that all of us have inherited from Adam and Eve.  Even though she did not personally commit any sin, she was freed from all stain, when the Archangel Gabriel announced God’s will for her. (Luke 1:35)

Many Old Testament types and prophecies are wonderfully reviewed in the Ethiopian Anaphora of our Lady by St. Hyracos Bishop of Behnesa, Egypt, and the collection of prayers in the popular piety known as Widasse Mariam, attributed to St. Isaac the Syrian.  Although, we shall not, now, go into such detail; we highly recommend these sources for increasing one’s spiritual discernment on the topic.  Below, we shall briefly summarize our response to your question.

Conclusion of response

Any doctrine which describes the Virgin Mariam as either more or less that truly human, undercuts her authentic role in our salvation initiated by her Son, Jesus Christ.  We rightly call her “The God-bearer,” because He Who was born of her, was conceived in her womb, by the Power of the Most High, when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her.  We rightly revere her as His Mother, because she alone was responsible for the humanity of Him Who described Himself as, “the son of man.” 

Orthodox Christians believe, although she did not personally commit any sin, St. Mariam was born with the same stain that each of us has received from Adam and Eve.  From her infancy, she was guided to develop that attitude that habitually responds saying, “Here I am, the Lord’s servant. Be it done unto me according to your word.”  At the Annunciation, by the Angel Gabriel, she was purified, by divine grace, to be able to bear the Son of God.  By annually commemorating her physical death, we affirm her humanity.  When we celebrate the Message of St. Gabriel, we recall how God miraculously transformed her to become the second Eve, the mother of all who repent to find everlasting life in the body of Christ, her Son.
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« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2009, 05:16:19 PM »

It also seems that looking through HH Dr. Abune Paulos' dissertation from Princeton University on the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Theotokos that he also believes the Theotokos was born like any other human being, with the stain of Original Sin, thus going against the belief of the Immaculate Conception.

It makes me wonder then about the author of the Gebre Negast and if a belief like the Immaculate Conception was popular among many Ethiopians at the time.

Solomon and AbbaYohannes, welcome to oc.net.   Smiley

God bless.
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« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2009, 08:02:20 PM »

Welcome, Abba Yohannes!
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« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2009, 08:38:47 PM »

Selam Abba Yohannes!

Welcome to the forum, and thank you for the in-depth explanation of this issue. You have clarified it beautifully:

"Orthodox Christians believe, although she did not personally commit any sin, St. Mariam was born with the same stain that each of us has received from Adam and Eve.  From her infancy, she was guided to develop that attitude that habitually responds saying, “Here I am, the Lord’s servant. Be it done unto me according to your word.”  At the Annunciation, by the Angel Gabriel, she was purified, by divine grace, to be able to bear the Son of God.  By annually commemorating her physical death, we affirm her humanity.  When we celebrate the Message of St. Gabriel, we recall how God miraculously transformed her to become the second Eve, the mother of all who repent to find everlasting life in the body of Christ, her Son."


Selam
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« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2009, 12:35:15 AM »

Most Orthodox reject the dogma of the Immaculate Conception as unnecessary. Because Orthodoxy does not see ancestral sin as an inheritance of guilt or a stain, there is no reason for the miraculous removal of either. Nonetheless, Orthodox tradition does hold that the Theotokos remained free of personal sin, a belief shared with some reformers such as Martin Luther.

St. Augustine & Original Sin - a typical Orthodox perspective, by Fr. John Matusiak
The Immaculate Conception: The Holiness of the Mother of God in East and West - Dr. Alexander Roman (Ukrainian Orthodox Church)
The Immaculate Conception: A Question - response by Dr. Roman
What do the Orthodox believe about the "Immaculate Conception"?
On the Immaculate Conception, by Patriarch Bartholomew I (Archontonis) of Constantinople
Zeal Not According to Knowledge - The view of St. John of Shanghai on the issue.
On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the dogma's proclamation, a general objection by Derek Power (User:Fedya911)
From modern Orthodox theologians
"Like other human beings, such as St John the Baptist, whose conception and birth are festivals of the Church, the Holy Virgin was born under the law of original sin, sharing with all other human beings their common responsibility for the fall." Vladimir Lossky, "Panagia," in E. L. Mascall, ed., The Mother of God: A Symposium by Members of the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius. Westminster: Dacre Press, 1959. Page 31.
"The Orthodox church does not accept the Catholic dogma of 1854 -- the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Virgin, in the sense that she was exempt at birth from original sin. This would separate her from the human race, and she would then have been unable to transmit to her Son humanity. But Orthodoxy does not admit in the all-pure Virgin any individual sin, for that would be unworthy of the dignity of the Mother of God." Sergius Bulgakov, The Orthodox Church. Crestwood: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1997.
"I do not see any irresoluble conflict between the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and the full humanity and freedom of Mary as of the same race as Eve." - alleged to Vladimir Lossky but not verified.
Relevant quotations from the Fathers
"...being Himself at once God and man, His flesh and soul were and are holy - and beyond holy. God is holy, just as He was and is and shall be, and the Virgin is immaculate, without spot or stain, and so, too, was that rib which was taken from Adam. However the rest of humanity, even though they are His brothers and kin according to the flesh, yet remained even as they were, of dust, and did not immediately become holy and sons of God."
- St. Symeon the New Theologian, Discourse XIII in On the Mystical Life, vol. 2, trans. Alexander Golitzin (SVS Press, 1996)
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« Reply #30 on: October 26, 2009, 12:31:05 PM »

Please watch this update from Coptic Orthodox Church
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« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2009, 12:31:11 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/user/medhanialemeotcks
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« Reply #32 on: October 26, 2009, 01:23:58 PM »

Just reading through this thread and I have a question. Do the EO and OO Churches believe that in order to be human one cannot be free of ancestral sin?
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« Reply #33 on: October 26, 2009, 01:29:10 PM »


Um, I can't understand a word they're saying as I do not speak the language.

In Christ,
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« Reply #34 on: October 26, 2009, 06:40:31 PM »

Just reading through this thread and I have a question. Do the EO and OO Churches believe that in order to be human one cannot be free of ancestral sin?

Well, when we got baptized we didn't stop being human  Wink
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« Reply #35 on: October 26, 2009, 06:41:05 PM »


Um, I can't understand a word they're saying as I do not speak the language.

In Christ,
Andrew

I second that.  A translation would be nice.
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« Reply #36 on: October 26, 2009, 08:10:01 PM »


Welcome to the forum Aregay!  We look forward to reading your posts!

For those of us who do not know your language, could you please give a summary of what is said in the video?  You don't have to give a word by word translation, if that is too difficult.  An idea of basically what is being said would be nice.

Thank you!
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« Reply #37 on: October 26, 2009, 08:15:08 PM »

Just reading through this thread and I have a question. Do the EO and OO Churches believe that in order to be human one cannot be free of ancestral sin?

Well, when we got baptized we didn't stop being human  Wink
Then why do some argue that if Mary was free from original sin then she wouldn't be human?
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« Reply #38 on: October 26, 2009, 10:53:43 PM »

This is updated with the video from controversy where it started in Kansas City Church. For those of you who could speak, Amharic read and watch message from Egyptian Coptic Church on issue of Original pure and simple- Only Jesus is free from the original sin.


በካንሳስ የግብጽ ኦርቶዶክስ ተዋህዶ ቅዱስ ማርቆስ ቤተ ክርስቲያን ስለ ወላዲተ አምላክ ድንግል እመቤታችን ማርያም በተደረገዉ ጉባዔ የተደረሰበት ምዕራፍ (ቪዲዮ)
http://www.youtube.com/user/medhanialemeotcks#p/u/12/U2fplUxOgXc

Read the related text below:
http://www.medhanialemeotcks.org/pdf/DSMAEOTCKS%20REPORT.pdf
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« Reply #39 on: October 26, 2009, 10:59:11 PM »

Here is the letter from about Emmaculate Conception according to Egyptian Coptic Church that is a sister church to Ethiopian Orthodox church. Note that EOTC has been its bishop appointed by Egyptian Copt until 1967:

Bishop David General Bishop
CopticOrthodoxChurch Archdioceseof North America


http://www.medhanialemeotcks.org/pdf/HG%20Bisop_David-Letter.pdf
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« Reply #40 on: October 27, 2009, 12:12:45 AM »

Here is the letter from about Emmaculate Conception according to Egyptian Coptic Church that is a sister church to Ethiopian Orthodox church. Note that EOTC has been its bishop appointed by Egyptian Copt until 1967:

Bishop David General Bishop
CopticOrthodoxChurch Archdioceseof North America


http://www.medhanialemeotcks.org/pdf/HG%20Bisop_David-Letter.pdf

Thank you. That was very concise and easy to understand. Smiley

Selam
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« Reply #41 on: October 27, 2009, 07:10:26 PM »

Hello Everyone,
The following is a brief description in regard to the Youtube Video posted by the Medhanialem Ethiopian orthodox Tewahedo church in Kansas City, Kansas. As most of you know by now a little over five years ago, our priest Father Asteraye Tisge was suspended from his priest hood by HG Abune Mattias who was at the time, the Arch Bishop for the North American EOTC Archdiocese. The reason for the suspension of the priest was his teaching that the Blessed Virgin Mary was born with Original Sin and that she was cleansed from it during the Annunciation and his total rejection of the Roman Catholic Immaculate Conception Dogma as an EOTC doctrine. However, quite a few of us who stood by Our priest appealed the decision's and sent a 350+ page document to EOTC Holy Synod to Addis Ababa that includes
1.  Historical EOTC documents that shows that the Blessed Virgin Mary was born with Original Sin and that she was cleansed from it during the Annunciation
2. Church documents from other Oriental and Eastern Orthodox churches  that reject the Immaculate Conception Dogma. And affirms that, the Blessed Virgin Mary was born with Original Sin and that she was cleansed from it during the Annunciation.
3. A resolution form a conference held @ St. Mary EOTC in Washington D.C. by EOTC Scholars which was chaired by the late HG Abune Yisaq which affirms the belief and teachings of our priest (Father Asteray) as the true EOTC doctrine.
4. Copy of pages from the current EOTC Patriarch HH Abune Paulos dissertation paper in titled "Filsata: The Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the Mariological Tradition of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church" that clearly reject the Immaculate Conception Dogma as an EOTC doctrine.

It looks like our appeal fell on deaf ears. After waiting for a while, with the help of God and other Orthodox churches in particular St. George Serbian Orthodox Churches in Kansas City, Kansas we mange to have our own Church. Through all this ups and downs we were hopefull to hear from the Holy Synod in Ethiopia. Sadly, it did not happened yet. However, this did not stopped us from fighting. Knowing that the other Sister Oriental Churches has an Apostolic obligation to come to our aid, we sent a letter to HH Pope Shenouda III Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox church to look into the matter and to tell us the stand of the (COC) in regard to the Immaculate Conception Dogma. Thank to his HH. he sent HG Bishop Makarios with a personal message to us and for him to answer any doctrinal issues that we might have. Now this brings us to the Video. The conference was held at St, Mark COC on August 15,2009.
Section 1 of 13 to 4 of 13 is teaching of the Gospel Mat.18:15-20 by HG Bishop Makarios
Section 5 of 13 is the message from HH Pope Shenouda III
In short it talks about that HH wanted us to refer and receive a copy of his books where he rejects the Immaculate Conception Dogma of the Roman Catholic church. 
1.Comparative Theology
2. The Holy Virgin St. Mary
Section 6 of 13 to 13 of 13 is answering question from the audience. in it almost 90% of the Q&A revolved around the original sin and where the Orthodox church in general and the COC in particular stand.HG Bishop Makarios clearly stated that, Immaculate Conception has noting to do with Orthodox Churches and it definitely rejected by the Oriental Churches which the EOTC & COC are part of. He affirm, the teachings of our priest Father Asteray is the true Orthodox belief and he also advised us to continue with him as being our head priest. 

Thank you,
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« Reply #42 on: October 27, 2009, 08:15:41 PM »

Thank you for the clarification, and welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #43 on: October 31, 2009, 01:21:56 AM »

Just reading through this thread and I have a question. Do the EO and OO Churches believe that in order to be human one cannot be free of ancestral sin?

Well, when we got baptized we didn't stop being human  Wink
Then why do some argue that if Mary was free from original sin then she wouldn't be human?

I never heard that argument.  Perhaps you're mixing it with the argument of her freedom of choice, not that it was taken away, but that was compromised on account of her knowledge (did she know she was IC'ed), that could force her to choose to be the Mother of God, rather than allow for a free yes under a poor state.

But I don't think we need to get to details of the debate.  The less human thing is something I personally never heard.  Maybe also the other argument would be that the way in which she was explained to be IC'ed makes it unfair or uneven in the human race, and puts Christ not as a first-fruits of human salvation.

So these two arguments have something to do with humanity, but nothing to do with making her less human.  Perhaps some anti-Western Orthodox people do get technical and in interpreting Western theology extremely different from Eastern theology, it could be interpreted as the Theotokos AND Christ being born not consubstantial with humanity, something I don't buy into, since I'm very open to interpreting Western thoughts as complimentary to Eastern.  But even this is an argument I don't hear a lot of.

God bless.

PS  Pray for me.  I am extremely ill.
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« Reply #44 on: October 31, 2009, 02:24:13 AM »

PS  Pray for me.  I am extremely ill.

I hope you have a speedy recovery.
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« Reply #45 on: October 31, 2009, 02:35:04 AM »

Get well soon!  Lord have mercy on Mina.
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« Reply #46 on: November 06, 2009, 12:32:37 AM »

In regards to Our Lady's nature: does our EOTC Church teach the same doctrine as all other non-Chalcedonian Churches regarding her being born without original sin?

In the book Welcome to the Armenian Church, published by the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America in 2004, it states that the teaching that the Virgin Mary "is considered to have been conceived immaculately without sin" is not a teaching of the Armenian Church. (page 39)

http://www.stvartanbookstore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=5247

Another source which confirms this is an article about the Mother of God on the website of the Armenian Eastern Diocese:

http://www.armenianchurch.net/worship/mary/index.html


In the 5th century, at the holy Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, the Holy Mother's position as "Mother of God" and "Bearer of God" (Asdvadzamayr-Asdvadzadzin) was doctrinally established.  Only those aspects of St. Mary's life which are directly related to Christ are mentioned in the Holy Gospels.  The remainder of her biography is attributed to tradition, which is found in much of the most ancient of ecclesiastical literature.

St. Mary was the daughter of Joachim and Anna of Nazareth (originally Bethlehem).  Anna, being barren, prayed and made special vows for a child.  She then had her only child, a daughter named Mariam (or Mary).  Although Mary was born naturally (having both a father and mother) she is considered morally pure and immaculate.  It is for this reason that the church not only celebrates her birth but also her conception, which the Armenian and the Greek Orthodox churches celebrate on December 9th and the Roman Catholic church celebrates on the 8th.

The concept of her being morally immaculate later developed into the question of her Immaculate Conception (from Anna), a doctrine adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in 1854.  The Armenian Church, on the other hand, does not accept this, as it attributes to Mary that which belongs only to Christ; only Christ was immaculately conceived.  Yet, her purity is unquestioned.  According to the teaching of the Armenian Church, at the time of the Annunciation when the Holy Spirit entered her she was cleansed of all sin (original sin) as she was to be the vessel in which God manifest was to be incarnated.

After the Ascension of her divine son, the remainder of Mary's life comes to us through tradition.  It states she lived out the rest of her days in Jerusalem, cared for by St. John the Evangelist.  She died in Jerusalem some 15 years after Christ's Ascension and was buried in her family tomb in Gethsemane.

After she passed away, all the apostles -- save Bartholomew who was absent at that time -- conducted her funeral with great ceremony at a cave-like tomb in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Later, St. Bartholomew returned and wished to see Mary one last time.  He convinced the Apostles to open the tomb.

Upon opening the tomb, they could not find her body.  Angels' voices were heard for three days and nights.  They interpreted the angels' singing as a sign that our Lord had assumed (taken up) His Mother into heaven as He had promised her.  They found the empty tomb a confirmation of that promise for she had not been dead but had fallen asleep.  For this reason, the church refers to the end of her earthly life as "the dormition" rather than "death."

 


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« Reply #47 on: November 06, 2009, 01:40:32 AM »

In regards to Our Lady's nature: does our EOTC Church teach the same doctrine as all other non-Chalcedonian Churches regarding her being born without original sin?

In the book Welcome to the Armenian Church, published by the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America in 2004, it states that the teaching that the Virgin Mary "is considered to have been conceived immaculately without sin" is not a teaching of the Armenian Church. (page 39)

http://www.stvartanbookstore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=5247

Another source which confirms this is an article about the Mother of God on the website of the Armenian Eastern Diocese:

http://www.armenianchurch.net/worship/mary/index.html


In the 5th century, at the holy Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, the Holy Mother's position as "Mother of God" and "Bearer of God" (Asdvadzamayr-Asdvadzadzin) was doctrinally established.  Only those aspects of St. Mary's life which are directly related to Christ are mentioned in the Holy Gospels.  The remainder of her biography is attributed to tradition, which is found in much of the most ancient of ecclesiastical literature.

St. Mary was the daughter of Joachim and Anna of Nazareth (originally Bethlehem).  Anna, being barren, prayed and made special vows for a child.  She then had her only child, a daughter named Mariam (or Mary).  Although Mary was born naturally (having both a father and mother) she is considered morally pure and immaculate.  It is for this reason that the church not only celebrates her birth but also her conception, which the Armenian and the Greek Orthodox churches celebrate on December 9th and the Roman Catholic church celebrates on the 8th.

The concept of her being morally immaculate later developed into the question of her Immaculate Conception (from Anna), a doctrine adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in 1854.  The Armenian Church, on the other hand, does not accept this, as it attributes to Mary that which belongs only to Christ; only Christ was immaculately conceived.  Yet, her purity is unquestioned.  According to the teaching of the Armenian Church, at the time of the Annunciation when the Holy Spirit entered her she was cleansed of all sin (original sin) as she was to be the vessel in which God manifest was to be incarnated.

After the Ascension of her divine son, the remainder of Mary's life comes to us through tradition.  It states she lived out the rest of her days in Jerusalem, cared for by St. John the Evangelist.  She died in Jerusalem some 15 years after Christ's Ascension and was buried in her family tomb in Gethsemane.

After she passed away, all the apostles -- save Bartholomew who was absent at that time -- conducted her funeral with great ceremony at a cave-like tomb in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Later, St. Bartholomew returned and wished to see Mary one last time.  He convinced the Apostles to open the tomb.

Upon opening the tomb, they could not find her body.  Angels' voices were heard for three days and nights.  They interpreted the angels' singing as a sign that our Lord had assumed (taken up) His Mother into heaven as He had promised her.  They found the empty tomb a confirmation of that promise for she had not been dead but had fallen asleep.  For this reason, the church refers to the end of her earthly life as "the dormition" rather than "death."

 




Thank you Salpy.

For clarification, does the Church teach that Mariam did not die, or that she died a natural death and then was taken up to heaven?

Also, where do we find this promise: They interpreted the angels' singing as a sign that our Lord had assumed (taken up) His Mother into heaven as He had promised her.? Not doubting it at all, just want to be able to answer Protestants who ask me.

Thanks again.


Selam
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« Reply #48 on: November 06, 2009, 01:49:05 AM »

Thank you Salpy.

For clarification, does the Church teach that Mariam did not die, or that she died a natural death and then was taken up to heaven?

Also, where do we find this promise: They interpreted the angels' singing as a sign that our Lord had assumed (taken up) His Mother into heaven as He had promised her.? Not doubting it at all, just want to be able to answer Protestants who ask me.

Thanks again.


Selam

I'm not sure what the source of the tradition is.  It's my understanding, however, that she died and was buried, but that her body was taken up into heaven.  I assume that is what the article means by saying she wasn't dead.
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« Reply #49 on: November 06, 2009, 01:54:22 AM »

Thank you Salpy.

For clarification, does the Church teach that Mariam did not die, or that she died a natural death and then was taken up to heaven?

Also, where do we find this promise: They interpreted the angels' singing as a sign that our Lord had assumed (taken up) His Mother into heaven as He had promised her.? Not doubting it at all, just want to be able to answer Protestants who ask me.

Thanks again.


Selam

I'm not sure what the source of the tradition is.  It's my understanding, however, that she died and was buried, but that her body was taken up into heaven.  I assume that is what the article means by saying she wasn't dead.

Just wondering if there was a Scriptural reference where Our Lord promised that she would be assumed to heaven. I can't think of any off the top of my head. Maybe there is an OT prophecy similar to the prophecy of her perpetual virginity in Ezekiel 44:2?

Anyone know?

Selam
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« Reply #50 on: November 07, 2009, 09:45:35 PM »


Just reading through this thread and I have a question. Do the EO and OO Churches believe that in order to be human one cannot be free of ancestral sin?

No. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit effected at Pentecost and later by Chrismation results in redemption from ancestral sin. Adam and Eve did not originally have ancestral sin, and our state resulting from participation in Christ does not include ancestral sin.
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« Reply #51 on: November 07, 2009, 09:52:26 PM »

Just reading through this thread and I have a question. Do the EO and OO Churches believe that in order to be human one cannot be free of ancestral sin?

Well, when we got baptized we didn't stop being human  Wink
Then why do some argue that if Mary was free from original sin then she wouldn't be human?

Well, it simply puts her in a place where she is inherently different from the rest of us. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception does not so much teach that Mary was freed from something that she actually at one point experienced, but that she was protected from ever experiencing ancestral sin. Such a notion not only places her in a state totally different from the rest of us, but it doesn't even appear to have been accomplished in a natural way as with Christ. When we ask the question "why did Christ not inherit ancestral sin?", the answer is a matter of nature. Christ did not inherit ancestral sin because he is fully divine, He has always been a Spirit-bearer, and cannot cease to ever be a Spirit-bearer because He is divine. Thus, simply the Word being divine is the very reality that prevented Him from inheriting ancestral sin when He became human. Mary, on the other hand, does not appear to have lacked ancestral sin as a natural matter, but because God intervened in her conception and miraculously prevented her from inheriting it. This lack of her experiencing the state of those she directly took flesh from with nothing to naturally prevent it is the main reason why the Immaculate Conception seems to us to make Mary a stranger.
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« Reply #52 on: November 20, 2009, 08:18:56 AM »

This is a reply to the PM I received requesting me to explain whether the majority of Tewahido believers accept the fact that the Mother of God is free from original sin.

Here, in Ethiopia, almost all of Tewahido believers accept the official position of the Holy Synod of the Tewahido church which says that the Blessed Virgin Mary is free from original sin. This official position is indicated in the Holy Synod’s published document titled “The Doctrine and Foreign Relations of the EOTC”. This document has boldly asserted that the Tewahido church believes that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, is free from original sin.

In Addis Ababa and in all the regions of Ethiopia that I have been so far, I have never heard of a bishop or a priest or a Tewahido preacher doubting this position. But, of course, as I have mentioned in my earlier post there are very few individuals who question this position. I believe that these individuals are entitled to their own position and that they should not try to present their arguments as the official position of the EOTC. What we do mind is the official position of our church and NOT what individuals write in their personal articles or dissertations or whatever.

Therefore, we believe that our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary, Mother of God is free from original sin and that St. Gabriel was sent to Her NOT to cleanse Her from original sin BUT to tell Her the good news.  St. Gabriel himself has referred to Her as “full of grace”. Nobody else was referred to as full of grace since the fall of Adam simply because original sin had rendered humanity sinner and devoid of grace. But our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary was born full of grace and free from original sin.

After all, She is the Mother of God.

Regards,

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« Reply #53 on: November 21, 2009, 03:01:00 PM »

In the prayerbook published by the Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston there is a prayer by 'Paul, a monk of the Monastery of the Benefactress' that opens like this;

O spotless, undefiled, incorrupt, immaculate, pure Virgin, Lady Bride of God.....

Now, as I understand it, immaculate does not in this case mean conceived immaculate, i.e. without the taint of ancestral sin. The arguement goes, if Mary, why not the rest of our race?

Does the Ethiopian stance mean immaculate in the exact Roman Catholic or immaculate in the Eastern Orthodox sense. It seems to be the former according to the former poster or is their another interpretation?
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« Reply #54 on: November 22, 2009, 02:53:40 AM »

I must confess that I am still unclear about my Church's teaching on this matter. (This is due my lack of understanding I'm sure.) But it would be helpful if someone could make a shorter and clearer statement. I apologize to all my EOTC brothers who have already posted, but I still don't quite understand.

Here is what I think I understand so far:

Our Church does not teach the dogma of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception; but our Church does teach that Mariyam did not sin and was perpetually pure throughout her life. She was free from original sin because she chose of her own free will not to sin, not because she was divinely insulated from the ability to sin. This is the distinction: the Catholic dogma of Immaculate Conception means that Our Lady could not have sinned; but the EOTC position is that she could have sinned but chose not to, thus she remained free from original sin.

I may be completely wrong. If so, I hope someone will explain this issue further. Please forgive my ignorance.

Thank you.

Selam
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« Reply #55 on: December 01, 2009, 07:51:41 AM »

Gebre Menfes Kidus,

Sorry for my very late response.

Our church, the EOTC, believes that Our Lady Mariam was born free from tinte abiso (original sin) and this, by no means, affects Her free will.

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« Reply #56 on: December 01, 2009, 05:17:12 PM »

I must confess that I am still unclear about my Church's teaching on this matter. (This is due my lack of understanding I'm sure.) But it would be helpful if someone could make a shorter and clearer statement. I apologize to all my EOTC brothers who have already posted, but I still don't quite understand.

Here is what I think I understand so far:

Our Church does not teach the dogma of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception; but our Church does teach that Mariyam did not sin and was perpetually pure throughout her life. She was free from original sin because she chose of her own free will not to sin, not because she was divinely insulated from the ability to sin. This is the distinction: the Catholic dogma of Immaculate Conception means that Our Lady could not have sinned; but the EOTC position is that she could have sinned but chose not to, thus she remained free from original sin.

I may be completely wrong. If so, I hope someone will explain this issue further. Please forgive my ignorance.

Thank you.

Selam
Actually the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception does not mean that Mary could not have sinned. It does mean that she was created like Adam and Eve who did not possess the strong inclination towards sin before the fall. However, as we see, even those created immaculately like Adam and Eve can still choose to sin.
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« Reply #57 on: December 04, 2009, 10:16:35 AM »

Thank you Salpy.

For clarification, does the Church teach that Mariam did not die, or that she died a natural death and then was taken up to heaven?

Also, where do we find this promise: They interpreted the angels' singing as a sign that our Lord had assumed (taken up) His Mother into heaven as He had promised her.? Not doubting it at all, just want to be able to answer Protestants who ask me.

Thanks again.


Selam

I'm not sure what the source of the tradition is.  It's my understanding, however, that she died and was buried, but that her body was taken up into heaven.  I assume that is what the article means by saying she wasn't dead.

Just wondering if there was a Scriptural reference where Our Lord promised that she would be assumed to heaven. I can't think of any off the top of my head. Maybe there is an OT prophecy similar to the prophecy of her perpetual virginity in Ezekiel 44:2?

Anyone know?

Selam

When we teach about the assumption of Our Lady Mariam, we usually refer to the following two bible quotes of prophesy as the basis.

The first quote: “Rise up, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the Ark of thy strength” (Psalm 132:8 ). Truly, Christ is gone up into the holy resting place. David said, "Rise up" for He arose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. And David said the same to the Lord’s true Ark of the Covenant, for She also arose from the dead.

The second quote: “Arise, my darling; My beautiful one, come away with me!... from the clefts of the rock and the hiding places of the mountain crags…” Song 2:10-14.


(Edited to fix a glitch that caused a smiley to appear at the end of the Psalm citation--Salpy)
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« Reply #58 on: December 05, 2009, 12:31:31 AM »

Thank you Salpy.

For clarification, does the Church teach that Mariam did not die, or that she died a natural death and then was taken up to heaven?

Also, where do we find this promise: They interpreted the angels' singing as a sign that our Lord had assumed (taken up) His Mother into heaven as He had promised her.? Not doubting it at all, just want to be able to answer Protestants who ask me.

Thanks again.


Selam

I'm not sure what the source of the tradition is.  It's my understanding, however, that she died and was buried, but that her body was taken up into heaven.  I assume that is what the article means by saying she wasn't dead.

Just wondering if there was a Scriptural reference where Our Lord promised that she would be assumed to heaven. I can't think of any off the top of my head. Maybe there is an OT prophecy similar to the prophecy of her perpetual virginity in Ezekiel 44:2?

Anyone know?

Selam

When we teach about the assumption of Our Lady Mariam, we usually refer to the following two bible quotes of prophesy as the basis.

The first quote: “Rise up, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the Ark of thy strength” (Psalm 132:8 ). Truly, Christ is gone up into the holy resting place. David said, "Rise up" for He arose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. And David said the same to the Lord’s true Ark of the Covenant, for She also arose from the dead.

The second quote: “Arise, my darling; My beautiful one, come away with me!... from the clefts of the rock and the hiding places of the mountain crags…” Song 2:10-14.


(Edited to fix a glitch that caused a smiley to appear at the end of the Psalm citation--Salpy)

That's beautiful Hiywot! Thank you.


Selam
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« Reply #59 on: December 05, 2009, 02:48:59 AM »

Gebre Menfes Kidus,

Sorry for my very late response.

Our church, the EOTC, believes that Our Lady Mariam was born free from tinte abiso (original sin) and this, by no means, affects Her free will.

Hiywot

So this is a prevalent belief even though your patriarch rejects it?
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« Reply #60 on: December 07, 2009, 07:18:15 AM »

minasoliman,

The Patriarch has never officially rejected this belief.

Hiywot
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« Reply #61 on: December 07, 2009, 12:23:36 PM »

minasoliman,

The Patriarch has never officially rejected this belief.

Hiywot

I guess this begs the question, that since there seems to be differences of opinion on this matter, why didn't HH Abune Paulos answer the plea of the excommunicated priest who rejected the Immaculate Conception, and instead having to involved Eritrean and Coptic clergy?  This interference across diocesan or local church lines without involving someone from the Ethiopian sides worries me that this may anger HH Abune Paulos and cause division yet again, even if he may agree with our church.
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« Reply #62 on: December 08, 2009, 08:01:59 AM »

minasoliman,

The Patriarch has never officially rejected this belief.

Hiywot

I guess this begs the question, that since there seems to be differences of opinion on this matter, why didn't HH Abune Paulos answer the plea of the excommunicated priest who rejected the Immaculate Conception, and instead having to involved Eritrean and Coptic clergy?  This interference across diocesan or local church lines without involving someone from the Ethiopian sides worries me that this may anger HH Abune Paulos and cause division yet again, even if he may agree with our church.


Minasoliman, the only thing I can say is that I do share your concern.

Hiywot
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« Reply #63 on: December 08, 2009, 04:26:36 PM »

I have to say that I'm finding this thread difficult to follow!

From the first page, I understood that the Ethiopian Church shared the Eastern Orthodox view of 'ancestral stain' instead of the Western idea of 'original sin', meaning the dogma of Immaculate Conception was irrelevant.

They also share the view of the Eastern Orthodox that Mary was free of all intentional sin.

But the last several posts seem to go against that and suggest that they embrace the Roman Catholic innovation.

As I said, very difficult to follow.
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« Reply #64 on: December 08, 2009, 04:42:18 PM »

To be quite frank, the topic of Original Sin to me is a game on semantics.  Nevertheless, in the tradition of the OO Church, we follow quite strictly the language of Soteriology used by St. Athanasius, which was repeated by St. Cyril and St. Severus.

http://erkohet.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=103:blazingdartsfromtheorient&catid=46:smnufathersgeneral&Itemid=17#Anthropology

So when you see terminology like "Original Sin" used by us, know in the context it refers to a fall from grace, not an actual sin or guilt transmitted from one generation to the next.

God bless.
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« Reply #65 on: December 09, 2009, 06:43:59 AM »

I have to say that I'm finding this thread difficult to follow!

Me too. Embarrassed

Selam
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« Reply #66 on: December 09, 2009, 10:41:53 AM »

I have to say that I'm finding this thread difficult to follow!
Me too. Embarrassed

Selam
I believe that minasoliman's response may have answered it for me, though.
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« Reply #67 on: March 25, 2010, 01:23:23 AM »

HIYWOT,

You wrote about Psalm 132:

Quote
“Rise up, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the Ark of thy strength” (Psalm 132:8 ). Truly, Christ is gone up into the holy resting place. David said, "Rise up" for He[Christ] arose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. And David said the same to the Lord’s true Ark of the Covenant, for She also arose from the dead.

In Psalm 132, David says he will not sleep:
5 Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. 
6 Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
7 We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.
8 Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.
9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.


Tabernacle means "dwelling place"
In Psalm 132, does the Lord's resting place refer to his dwelling place, the tabernacle? In what sense would the Lord rise to it?

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« Reply #68 on: March 25, 2010, 04:59:25 AM »

HIYWOT,

You wrote about Psalm 132:
Quote
“Rise up, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the Ark of thy strength” (Psalm 132:8 ). Truly, Christ is gone up into the holy resting place. David said, "Rise up" for He[Christ] arose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. And David said the same to the Lord’s true Ark of the Covenant, for She also arose from the dead.

In Psalm 132, David says he will not sleep:
5 Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. 
6 Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
7 We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.
8 Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.
9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.


Tabernacle means "dwelling place"
In Psalm 132, does the Lord's resting place refer to his dwelling place, the tabernacle? In what sense would the Lord rise to it?

rakovsky,

We believe that Psalms 132:8 is a prophetic verse telling the resurrection of Jesus Christ to heaven.
In its raw reading, as we call it, David built a sanctuary for the Lord and is praying that He come and dwell in that sanctuary or tabernacle as you said. For us that is simply the "raw reading".
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« Reply #69 on: March 25, 2010, 08:14:13 AM »

To be quite frank, the topic of Original Sin to me is a game on semantics.  Nevertheless, in the tradition of the OO Church, we follow quite strictly the language of Soteriology used by St. Athanasius, which was repeated by St. Cyril and St. Severus.

http://erkohet.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=103:blazingdartsfromtheorient&catid=46:smnufathersgeneral&Itemid=17#Anthropology

So when you see terminology like "Original Sin" used by us, know in the context it refers to a fall from grace, not an actual sin or guilt transmitted from one generation to the next.

I have to say that there seems to be a whole heap of confusion introduced when OO folk use terms which have a different and formal theological meaning in the Western theological tradition. Not only the use of the term Original Sin, but also Immaculate Conception. I have had several discussions with folk who can show that priests and bishops have used the terms in English language materials, but they are almost always speaking about something other than those terms formally mean.

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« Reply #70 on: March 25, 2010, 10:31:36 AM »

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« Reply #71 on: October 06, 2010, 11:06:10 PM »

I have lived in Ethiopia, my wife is Ethiopian and I know much about the Ethiopian Tewahedo Church. I state on behalf of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, we do not believe in the emmaculate conception. If any priest or bishop states that we do, then he is something similar to the Eastern Orthodox's Eusebius Stephanou.
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« Reply #72 on: December 16, 2010, 05:52:09 PM »

In regards to Our Lady's nature: does our EOTC Church teach the same doctrine as all other non-Chalcedonian Churches regarding her being born without original sin?

In the book Welcome to the Armenian Church, published by the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America in 2004, it states that the teaching that the Virgin Mary "is considered to have been conceived immaculately without sin" is not a teaching of the Armenian Church. (page 39)

http://www.stvartanbookstore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=5247

Dear Sister in Christ, Salpy:

There are a lot of contradictory statements made by those who just want to paint with broad strokes and sweeping generalizations.  I offer the following quotes from Armenian Orthodox sources to serve as a balance to the one above.  I myself did a study on this question which discusses the similarities and differences between Catholics and Orthodox and tries to get at the real difference between us.

In the book "The Mother of God," by the Armenian Apostolic Vartabed Vatche Iknadiossian, he states, "the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, officially proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church in 1854, was not officially proclaimed by our Church. Nevertheless we celebrate it as a very great feast, on 9th December (instead of 8th).  During the feast we find the following hymns:
 
"Thou art the Flower which cannot wither,

Thy birth was free from the condemnation of original sin,

Immaculate, holy Virgin, We glorify thee!"

"Living Eden. Tree of immortal life

guarded on every way by the flashing sword."

"Thanks to thy stainless and spotless purity, Thou art good!

Thanks to thine immaculate holiness thou art a Tutelary Advocate!"

-composed by St. Gregory of Narek, AD 951-1003

 

When asked about the Roman Catholic devotion: the Rosary, Fr. Iknadiossian gave this prayer of St. Gregory of Narek as an Armenian example of Marian devotion:

 

"Help me with thy winged prayers,

O thou who art proclaimed Mother of the living,

So that when I leave this earthly valley

I may without suffering walk towards thy dwelling of life which was

prepared for us.

So that the end of my life be lightened,

although t’was enburdened with iniquity.

Transform for me my day of anguish into a joyous feast.

O Thou who curest Eve’s pains!

With thy tears help me, for I am in distress,

O Thou, blessed amongst women.

Bend the knee to secure my reconciliation,

O Thou Mother of God."

(Excerpts from "The Mother of God, p.51-54)

 

Even in our "Book of Hours of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church" it speaks of St. Mary’s Conception in relative terms in the Matins service on the day of the weak the Eastern Churches set aside to honor the Theotokos (Wednesday):

 

"Of the virgin of old, Mother Eve,

through whom old Adam became a debtor,

the grievous curse was lifted

by thine holy birth, O virgin Mary;

pray to thine only-begotten

to forgive the sins of their children;

sing praises to the fruit of the Virgin,

in whom ye were blessed, O generations of the earth-born."

 

Lastly in the forward of the above mentioned book the forward by Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, Armenian Partiarch of Jerusalem, states:  "The name of Mary, the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception who bore the Christ, will be honoured throughout eternity, as the quintessence of purity, innocence, sacrifice and devotion. No other human being has ever received, or been worthy of such vereration as this humble woman, so full of grace, from Galilee." (ibid. p. 7).

 
So I think this is important information that our people need to know.  Otherwise we run the risk of bearing false witness against our Latin brethren and perhaps even against our own Fathers. 

If interested in my study see:  The Conception of the Holy Virgin Mariam, Mother of God
http://www.looys.net/tradition.html

Sub-Dn. Ghazar

 
Trusting in Christ's 1st and 2nd Advent,
Rev. Sub-Deacon Lazarus W. Der-Ghazarian,
Holy Apostolic Orthodox Church of Armenia, Eastern Diocese USA
The Armenian Orthodox Evangelization Mission: www.looys.net
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« Reply #73 on: December 16, 2010, 06:43:16 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In fact I don't doubt of Pope Shenouda's position (he's indeed a great man of God). I only guess that some elements in the liturgy of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church might be easily misunderstood or misrepresented, especially in a diaspora setting where words in translation might be affected by a RC approach.

My Father-Confessor came here California from Kansas City in the backlash from this controversy in 2005.  While I am spilling the beans a bit, I thought it was relevant here, that a lot of the controversy over Immaculate Conception, in particular the Kansas City event, is not necessarily even over this issue, but rather is part of the schism between His Holiness Abune Paulos and His Holiness Abune Merkerios and the division amongst Ethiopian expatriates and exiles and Ethiopians in the mother land.  

In Kansas City, the priest who was excommunicated and dismissed was not dismissed over Mariolatry but rather in controversies in over recognition of His Holiness Abune Paulos.  Many Tewahedo parishes here in the US and Europe have been torn apart by this issue.  In Kansas City, that particular parish also broke apart over this issue,  split between the two needlessly opposing camps.  My priest today ended up here after leaving over all the division, it got pretty ugly over there Sad

In truth, neither the Tewahedo parishes here in the US (under His Holiness Abune Merkeriors) or the Tewahedo parishes in Ethiopia directly teach Mariolatry, and all publicly reject the doctrines of Immaculate Conception.  Ethiopians themselves picked this up from the Jesuits who forced fed it to them along with Roman supremacy and the Two Natures and others divisive issues, exploiting the fact that Ethiopia itself had their own several indigenous feuding camps over this issues for centuries.  In fact these were not fully resolved until Janhoy Atse Yohannes IV settled the matter at the unifying Ecumenical Council in 1878 which established the "Tewahedo" doctrines of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, unifying all divisions and elucidating properly what it is to be Ethiopian Orthodox.

Those who are with HH Abune Paulos slander against Ethiopian expatriates accusing them wrongly of Mariolatry, and the expatriates also accuse HH Abune Paulos of instating Mariolatry nation-wide in Ethiopia.  Both claims or blatantly false, and I could not find it on my new computer hard drive, but HH Abune Paulos issued a doctrinal statement a few years ago to settle this matter officially and to declare the the Synod in Addis Ababa does not in fact recognize the Roman doctrine of Immaculate Conception.

His Holiness Patriarch Abune Paulos wrote in his dissertation 1988 from Prinston Theological seminary
http://www.medhanialemeotcks.org/pdf/Filsata.pdf
By the way, thanks for posting this, I also had lost it and was looking for it in regards to this thread Smiley

This is not merely a misunderstanding or linguistic mix up, there are indeed individuals within Ethiopian Orthodoxy, who have embraced the concepts of Immaculate Conception entirely on their own, and preach these from the pulpit, but HH Abune Paulos has condemned such activity vociferously.  The conflict in Ethiopia proper is that there also hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian Roman Catholics, who are under the Vatican, who practice the Latin rite in Ge'ez and perpetuate the confusion across the land.  

A lot of this confusion is more political than it is theological.



I have the impression that the Coptic Orthodox and the Armenian do not accept the Immaculate Conception.  As for the Ethiopian Orthodox we know that Bishop Matthias in the States believes it strongly enough to discipline a priest who rejected it.  Such a strong action on his part seems to indicate that he would have the backing of the Ethiopian hierarchy if the priest challenged him.



When it comes to ecclesiastic matters of the Ethiopian Church outside of Ethiopia, the Synod in Addis runs into quite a few logistical problems and as such it is not as strictly organized and in authority as say the Vatican.  Many Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Churches function relatively independent of the Patriarchate, receiving almost only nominal legitimacy from it, and HH Abune Paulos' reach is not so far as it might seem sometimes.  Even in Ethiopia itself, organization after the Derg has become a bit more loosely enforced then it was in years past.  

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #74 on: December 16, 2010, 08:50:54 PM »

This is a reply to the PM I received requesting me to explain whether the majority of Tewahido believers accept the fact that the Mother of God is free from original sin.

Here, in Ethiopia, almost all of Tewahido believers accept the official position of the Holy Synod of the Tewahido church which says that the Blessed Virgin Mary is free from original sin. This official position is indicated in the Holy Synod’s published document titled “The Doctrine and Foreign Relations of the EOTC”. This document has boldly asserted that the Tewahido church believes that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, is free from original sin.

In Addis Ababa and in all the regions of Ethiopia that I have been so far, I have never heard of a bishop or a priest or a Tewahido preacher doubting this position. But, of course, as I have mentioned in my earlier post there are very few individuals who question this position. I believe that these individuals are entitled to their own position and that they should not try to present their arguments as the official position of the EOTC. What we do mind is the official position of our church and NOT what individuals write in their personal articles or dissertations or whatever.

Therefore, we believe that our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary, Mother of God is free from original sin and that St. Gabriel was sent to Her NOT to cleanse Her from original sin BUT to tell Her the good news.  St. Gabriel himself has referred to Her as “full of grace”. Nobody else was referred to as full of grace since the fall of Adam simply because original sin had rendered humanity sinner and devoid of grace. But our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary was born full of grace and free from original sin.

After all, She is the Mother of God.

Regards,

Hiywot


You refer a few times in this post to the Holy Theotokos as being free (in present tense) from original sin. Do you not realize that it is possible for her to be free from original sin now while not having been at her conception?
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« Reply #75 on: December 16, 2010, 09:04:10 PM »

Now, as I understand it, immaculate does not in this case mean conceived immaculate, i.e. without the taint of ancestral sin. The arguement goes, if Mary, why not the rest of our race?

Does the Ethiopian stance mean immaculate in the exact Roman Catholic or immaculate in the Eastern Orthodox sense. It seems to be the former according to the former poster or is their another interpretation?

Well, there are a number of possible responses to this:

1. There is the theory that the Theotokos was always without personal sin. In that sense, she could be said to have been immaculate because she never bore guilt. Her hypostasis was never tarnished by that reality.
2. Because of this theory, it also could be said that there was a certain (almost) certitude in her being completely and permanently cleansed of sin when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her. If an adult never committed personal sin before being purified of ancestral sin, it's highly likely that they will not commit personal sin after.
3. The purification of the Theotokos was quite unique. No one else had the Incarnate Logos physically dwelling within them. Thus, I think it is safe to say that her purification was really in a class of its own beyond ours.
4. Perhaps in some sense the rest of the Saints could be understood to be immaculate. Obviously they are not Glorified Saints in Paradise and sinning still. But this reasoning cannot be applied to anyone else because our final redemption status has not yet been revealed.
5. Also, perhaps in some sense it could be said that those who are in a redeemed state via reception of the Sacred Mysteries could be said to be immaculate, though obviously this is the lowest sense that this term could be used.
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« Reply #76 on: December 16, 2010, 09:10:21 PM »

From the first page, I understood that the Ethiopian Church shared the Eastern Orthodox view of 'ancestral stain' instead of the Western idea of 'original sin', meaning the dogma of Immaculate Conception was irrelevant.

That is a very common myth and nothing more. The Western doctrine of "original sin" is not something entirely different from the Eastern "ancestral sin". It would appear that the West essentially takes "ancestral sin" and adds a few elements onto it to create their own doctrine. If you really read the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, it does not state only that Mary was conceived free of "guilt" or "stain", but rather that she was born in perfect communion with God, with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and in a state not lacking in sanctity. As such, essentially it dictates that Mary was conceived even without "ancestral sin". Even if we ignore the matter of the difference between our understandings of "ancestral sin", we still differ as to whether she was born with the qualities pertaining to the Eastern doctrine.
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« Reply #77 on: December 16, 2010, 09:11:46 PM »

To be quite frank, the topic of Original Sin to me is a game on semantics.  Nevertheless, in the tradition of the OO Church, we follow quite strictly the language of Soteriology used by St. Athanasius, which was repeated by St. Cyril and St. Severus.

http://erkohet.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=103:blazingdartsfromtheorient&catid=46:smnufathersgeneral&Itemid=17#Anthropology

So when you see terminology like "Original Sin" used by us, know in the context it refers to a fall from grace, not an actual sin or guilt transmitted from one generation to the next.

God bless.

The only issue I take to this is that the mere condition of falling from grace could qualify the translation of sin as "missing the mark".
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« Reply #78 on: December 16, 2010, 09:16:45 PM »

It seems like we have a variety of views from within the Ethiopian Church.  And it seems we have differing views from within the Armenian Church.

The Coptic Church celebrates the Theotokos' conception and birth.  We also celebrate the Forerunner's conception and birth.  We place these two saints in very high honor in the Church.  It's a shame we don't have much to say for the Forerunner, even though he too is immaculate and undefiled.

I wonder what the Syrian Church says?
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« Reply #79 on: December 16, 2010, 09:18:24 PM »

To be quite frank, the topic of Original Sin to me is a game on semantics.  Nevertheless, in the tradition of the OO Church, we follow quite strictly the language of Soteriology used by St. Athanasius, which was repeated by St. Cyril and St. Severus.

http://erkohet.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=103:blazingdartsfromtheorient&catid=46:smnufathersgeneral&Itemid=17#Anthropology

So when you see terminology like "Original Sin" used by us, know in the context it refers to a fall from grace, not an actual sin or guilt transmitted from one generation to the next.

God bless.

The only issue I take to this is that the mere condition of falling from grace could qualify the translation of sin as "missing the mark".

I have to admit, I just need to read more to study this.  But if I was to look at from my vantage point so far from what I learned, we are technically "not on the mark" when we're fallen from grace.
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« Reply #80 on: December 16, 2010, 09:22:20 PM »

To be quite frank, the topic of Original Sin to me is a game on semantics.  Nevertheless, in the tradition of the OO Church, we follow quite strictly the language of Soteriology used by St. Athanasius, which was repeated by St. Cyril and St. Severus.

http://erkohet.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=103:blazingdartsfromtheorient&catid=46:smnufathersgeneral&Itemid=17#Anthropology

So when you see terminology like "Original Sin" used by us, know in the context it refers to a fall from grace, not an actual sin or guilt transmitted from one generation to the next.

God bless.

The only issue I take to this is that the mere condition of falling from grace could qualify the translation of sin as "missing the mark".

I have to admit, I just need to read more to study this.  But if I was to look at from my vantage point so far from what I learned, we are technically "not on the mark" when we're fallen from grace.

Yes. That's what I was saying. And the point of me pointing that out is that "original sin" for us does qualify as actual sin, because we have truly missed the mark in the condition of our existence from our very conception (not, obviously, of our will, however).
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« Reply #81 on: December 16, 2010, 10:46:15 PM »


Dear Sister in Christ, Salpy:

There are a lot of contradictory statements made by those who just want to paint with broad strokes and sweeping generalizations.  I offer the following quotes from Armenian Orthodox sources to serve as a balance to the one above.  I myself did a study on this question which discusses the similarities and differences between Catholics and Orthodox and tries to get at the real difference between us.

In the book "The Mother of God," by the Armenian Apostolic Vartabed Vatche Iknadiossian, he states, "the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, officially proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church in 1854, was not officially proclaimed by our Church. Nevertheless we celebrate it as a very great feast, on 9th December (instead of 8th).  During the feast we find the following hymns:

I guess our Church leaders need to get together and really study and figure out exactly what our Church's Tradition teaches, as opposed to what may have crept in as a result of contact with the West.  One problem, which I think Fr. Peter mentions, is that there are terms which are understood to mean different things to different people.  Regarding the feast on Dec. 9, I've never heard or seen it referred to in the Armenian Church as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  I've heard it referred to a few different ways, such as the Feast of the Conception of the Virgin Mary by St. Anna, or the Feast of the Conception of the Holy Mother of God, or the Feast of the Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary, etc.  However, the word Immaculate is never used.

Again quoting the Eastern Diocese, let me paste the following from their website:

Quote
Although Mary was born naturally, she is considered morally pure and immaculate. It is for this reason that the church celebrates not only her birth, but also her conception, which the Armenian and the Greek Orthodox churches observe on December 9, and the Roman Catholic Church celebrates on December 8.

The concept of Mary's moral purity later developed into the question of her Immaculate Conception (from Anna), a doctrine adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in 1854. The Armenian Church, however, does not accept this, as only Christ was immaculately conceived.

However, Mary's purity is unquestioned. According to the teachings of the Armenian Church, at the time of the Annunciation, when the Holy Spirit entered Mary, she was cleansed of all original sin, as she was to be the vessel in which God manifest was to be incarnated.


http://www.armenianchurch-ed.net/feasts/annunciation/about-mary/


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« Reply #82 on: December 18, 2010, 05:21:16 AM »

In regards to Our Lady's nature: does our EOTC Church teach the same doctrine as all other non-Chalcedonian Churches regarding her being born without original sin?

In the book Welcome to the Armenian Church, published by the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America in 2004, it states that the teaching that the Virgin Mary "is considered to have been conceived immaculately without sin" is not a teaching of the Armenian Church. (page 39)

http://www.stvartanbookstore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=5247

Another source which confirms this is an article about the Mother of God on the website of the Armenian Eastern Diocese:

http://www.armenianchurch.net/worship/mary/index.html


In the 5th century, at the holy Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, the Holy Mother's position as "Mother of God" and "Bearer of God" (Asdvadzamayr-Asdvadzadzin) was doctrinally established.  Only those aspects of St. Mary's life which are directly related to Christ are mentioned in the Holy Gospels.  The remainder of her biography is attributed to tradition, which is found in much of the most ancient of ecclesiastical literature.

St. Mary was the daughter of Joachim and Anna of Nazareth (originally Bethlehem).  Anna, being barren, prayed and made special vows for a child.  She then had her only child, a daughter named Mariam (or Mary).  Although Mary was born naturally (having both a father and mother) she is considered morally pure and immaculate.  It is for this reason that the church not only celebrates her birth but also her conception, which the Armenian and the Greek Orthodox churches celebrate on December 9th and the Roman Catholic church celebrates on the 8th.

The concept of her being morally immaculate later developed into the question of her Immaculate Conception (from Anna), a doctrine adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in 1854.  The Armenian Church, on the other hand, does not accept this, as it attributes to Mary that which belongs only to Christ; only Christ was immaculately conceived.  Yet, her purity is unquestioned.  According to the teaching of the Armenian Church, at the time of the Annunciation when the Holy Spirit entered her she was cleansed of all sin (original sin) as she was to be the vessel in which God manifest was to be incarnated.

After the Ascension of her divine son, the remainder of Mary's life comes to us through tradition.  It states she lived out the rest of her days in Jerusalem, cared for by St. John the Evangelist.  She died in Jerusalem some 15 years after Christ's Ascension and was buried in her family tomb in Gethsemane.

After she passed away, all the apostles -- save Bartholomew who was absent at that time -- conducted her funeral with great ceremony at a cave-like tomb in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Later, St. Bartholomew returned and wished to see Mary one last time.  He convinced the Apostles to open the tomb.

Upon opening the tomb, they could not find her body.  Angels' voices were heard for three days and nights.  They interpreted the angels' singing as a sign that our Lord had assumed (taken up) His Mother into heaven as He had promised her.  They found the empty tomb a confirmation of that promise for she had not been dead but had fallen asleep.  For this reason, the church refers to the end of her earthly life as "the dormition" rather than "death."

 




Dear Sister in Christ, Salpy:

Thank you for sharing this site.  That is a precise example of what I was referring to.  To me it is very illogical.  First the article affirms that St. Mary was "conceived morally pure and immaculate" and this is the reason why we celebrate this feast with the Greek and Latins.  Then immediately after this, the article denies what it just affirmed: that St. Mary was conceived immaculate.  What reason does it give for this apparent self-contradiction?  Becasue:  "this only belongs to Christ our God."  The question then becomes what does this writer think is meant by "Immaculate Conception" that it only belongs to Christ our God?  This contradiction makes the writer appear like he doesn’t really know what is meant by this.  This is why I take time to explain this at length in my essay. 

There are both similarities and differences between Catholics and Orthodox.  The point of my essay was to get at the heart of these -which no one else seems to want to do.  Most just want to paint things with broad strokes and silly generalizations without getting to the honest truth and heart of the matter.  I understand its much easier that way.  But this doesn't help those in our Churches who really want to understand -and that's very sad.

I think our feast of the Conception of the Immaculate Virgin Mary boils bown to this:  God's ELECTION of St. Mary from the moment she was conceived.  This is the point of not only celebrating her life, not only celebrating her Divine Maternity of our Lord, not only celebrating the Annunciation when she said "yes" to God, not only celebrating her BIRTH from St. Anna... but even of celebrating the moment of her CONCEPTION (which we do every year on Dec. 9th)!  At her conception she had not yet believed in Christ... she had not yet done one good thing... yet she was already sanctified, set aside and glorified by God Himself.  This is the true meaning of the Feast of her Conception as our liturgical texts clearly bear out (if others are willing to look at them and honestly deal with them devoid of knee-jerk anti-catholic bias).

I tend to get a little passionate about what I consider to be irrational arguments and false distinctions.  Sorry about that.  When all is said in done, I know it is all in Christ's hands.  I just pray for the day such silly things are not said and serious discussion is offered instead.

Trusting in Christ's 1st and 2nd Advent,
Rev. Sub-Deacon Lazarus W. Der-Ghazarian,
Holy Apostolic Orthodox Church of Armenia, Eastern Diocese USA
The Armenian Orthodox Evangelization Mission: www.looys.net
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« Reply #83 on: December 18, 2010, 05:29:11 AM »

Dear Subdeacon Lazarus,

I don't think anyone will disagree that she was sanctified.  This isn't the first time when someone being conceived or born was sanctified by God, but to be immaculately conceived is quite unheard of, at least in the Coptic Church.  It could be, as Fr. Peter said, we use terms that mean something different from our brothers the Catholics.
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« Reply #84 on: December 18, 2010, 05:36:12 AM »

Salpy writes:  "Regarding the feast on Dec. 9, I've never heard or seen it referred to in the Armenian Church as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  I've heard it referred to a few different ways, such as the Feast of the Conception of the Virgin Mary by St. Anna, or the Feast of the Conception of the Holy Mother of God, or the Feast of the Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary, etc.  However, the word Immaculate is never used."

Dear Sister in Christ:  You are correct about the title of the Feast.  I discuss this also in my essay.  Besides what I state there we must note that the word "immaculate" ("anarad" in Armenian) although not used in the title of this feast, next to "Asdvadzadzeen" (Bearer of God) is probably our most used title for St. Mariam in all of our liturgical texts including the very first litanies of the Divine Liturgy.  So it is well established, but I would not refer to the feast as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception for the reasons I give in the essay.  Conception of the Immaculate Virgin would be much more in line with our tradition.  Thank you and God bless you.
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« Reply #85 on: December 18, 2010, 05:45:48 AM »

minasoliman:

Quite true she is not the only one to be sanctified in the womb.  I can't speak to the Coptic tradition but there is absolutely no comparison with the way our liturgy speaks abour her Conception (and how God prepared her to be  Bearer of God) compared to that of these others who were sanctified at conception or in the womb (e.g. St. Jeremiah the Prophet, St. John the Forerunner).  For me to pretend that these sanctifications are on the same level would be a falsification and a betrayl of our Lex Orandi.  All I am saying is that I think a lot of Orthodox, for fear of sounding Catholic, are down playing what our liturgy really teaches and I don't think we need to operate that way.  There are differences between us for sure.  I invite all to begin fleshing out what these differences are.  I've given it my best shot in the study I did on the subject.  I encourage others to do the same.

Sub-Deacon Lazarus
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« Reply #86 on: December 18, 2010, 07:13:27 AM »

In regards to Our Lady's nature: does our EOTC Church teach the same doctrine as all other non-Chalcedonian Churches regarding her being born without original sin?

In the book Welcome to the Armenian Church, published by the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church in America in 2004, it states that the teaching that the Virgin Mary "is considered to have been conceived immaculately without sin" is not a teaching of the Armenian Church. (page 39)

http://www.stvartanbookstore.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=5247

Another source which confirms this is an article about the Mother of God on the website of the Armenian Eastern Diocese:

http://www.armenianchurch.net/worship/mary/index.html


In the 5th century, at the holy Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, the Holy Mother's position as "Mother of God" and "Bearer of God" (Asdvadzamayr-Asdvadzadzin) was doctrinally established.  Only those aspects of St. Mary's life which are directly related to Christ are mentioned in the Holy Gospels.  The remainder of her biography is attributed to tradition, which is found in much of the most ancient of ecclesiastical literature.

St. Mary was the daughter of Joachim and Anna of Nazareth (originally Bethlehem).  Anna, being barren, prayed and made special vows for a child.  She then had her only child, a daughter named Mariam (or Mary).  Although Mary was born naturally (having both a father and mother) she is considered morally pure and immaculate.  It is for this reason that the church not only celebrates her birth but also her conception, which the Armenian and the Greek Orthodox churches celebrate on December 9th and the Roman Catholic church celebrates on the 8th.

The concept of her being morally immaculate later developed into the question of her Immaculate Conception (from Anna), a doctrine adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in 1854.  The Armenian Church, on the other hand, does not accept this, as it attributes to Mary that which belongs only to Christ; only Christ was immaculately conceived.  Yet, her purity is unquestioned.  According to the teaching of the Armenian Church, at the time of the Annunciation when the Holy Spirit entered her she was cleansed of all sin (original sin) as she was to be the vessel in which God manifest was to be incarnated.

After the Ascension of her divine son, the remainder of Mary's life comes to us through tradition.  It states she lived out the rest of her days in Jerusalem, cared for by St. John the Evangelist.  She died in Jerusalem some 15 years after Christ's Ascension and was buried in her family tomb in Gethsemane.

After she passed away, all the apostles -- save Bartholomew who was absent at that time -- conducted her funeral with great ceremony at a cave-like tomb in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Later, St. Bartholomew returned and wished to see Mary one last time.  He convinced the Apostles to open the tomb.

Upon opening the tomb, they could not find her body.  Angels' voices were heard for three days and nights.  They interpreted the angels' singing as a sign that our Lord had assumed (taken up) His Mother into heaven as He had promised her.  They found the empty tomb a confirmation of that promise for she had not been dead but had fallen asleep.  For this reason, the church refers to the end of her earthly life as "the dormition" rather than "death."

 




Dear Sister in Christ, Salpy:

Thank you for sharing this site.  That is a precise example of what I was referring to.  To me it is very illogical.  First the article affirms that St. Mary was "conceived morally pure and immaculate" and this is the reason why we celebrate this feast with the Greek and Latins.  Then immediately after this, the article denies what it just affirmed: that St. Mary was conceived immaculate.  What reason does it give for this apparent self-contradiction?  Becasue:  "this only belongs to Christ our God."  The question then becomes what does this writer think is meant by "Immaculate Conception" that it only belongs to Christ our God?  This contradiction makes the writer appear like he doesn’t really know what is meant by this.  This is why I take time to explain this at length in my essay. 

There are both similarities and differences between Catholics and Orthodox.  The point of my essay was to get at the heart of these -which no one else seems to want to do.  Most just want to paint things with broad strokes and silly generalizations without getting to the honest truth and heart of the matter.  I understand its much easier that way.  But this doesn't help those in our Churches who really want to understand -and that's very sad.

I think our feast of the Conception of the Immaculate Virgin Mary boils bown to this:  God's ELECTION of St. Mary from the moment she was conceived.  This is the point of not only celebrating her life, not only celebrating her Divine Maternity of our Lord, not only celebrating the Annunciation when she said "yes" to God, not only celebrating her BIRTH from St. Anna... but even of celebrating the moment of her CONCEPTION (which we do every year on Dec. 9th)!  At her conception she had not yet believed in Christ... she had not yet done one good thing... yet she was already sanctified, set aside and glorified by God Himself.  This is the true meaning of the Feast of her Conception as our liturgical texts clearly bear out (if others are willing to look at them and honestly deal with them devoid of knee-jerk anti-catholic bias).

I tend to get a little passionate about what I consider to be irrational arguments and false distinctions.  Sorry about that.  When all is said in done, I know it is all in Christ's hands.  I just pray for the day such silly things are not said and serious discussion is offered instead.

Trusting in Christ's 1st and 2nd Advent,
Rev. Sub-Deacon Lazarus W. Der-Ghazarian,
Holy Apostolic Orthodox Church of Armenia, Eastern Diocese USA
The Armenian Orthodox Evangelization Mission: www.looys.net


Unfortunately, I am at a loss about this among the OO, for the simple reason that no one celebrates this Feast as a major Feast, and so the precedent of lex orandi simply isn't there: I dare say most Orthodox, OO and EO, are unaware that the calendar marks the Feast. So for the sake of argument I stand on the statement:
Quote
Armenians inherited the Feast of the Conception of the Theotokos (and even the dating of its celebration on Dec. 9th) from Byzantine (a.k.a., Eastern Roman) Orthodox. The Armenian Church has no liturgical texts composed for this day to elucidate the feast’s meaning via our “Lex Orandi.” Therefore we must consult the Byzantine Liturgical texts in order to make sense of why our Fathers adopted the feast. After all, there must have been something which rang true concerning this feast which convinced our Fathers that we too should celebrate it.
as I do know the issue among the EO.

This sounds fine
Quote
.  In the Eastern Church original sin had never played the same preponderant part as in post-Augustinian Western thought.  From very early times it had been assumed as an indisputable fact that Mary was the purest creature imaginable, the highest angels not excepted.  St. John of Damascus had even considered her active conception to have been without sin, but as he did not share the Augustinian view of original sin as an inherited guilt transmitted through the sexual act, the problem never presented itself to him in the way it did to Latin theologians.  For the Eastern Fathers saw original sin far more as mortality with all its implications, and as the Theotokos was subject to this, they did not exempt her from it.  On the other hand, though they affirmed Mary's complete purity, they were less interested than the Western theologians in the question of the precise moment when this had been established.  We might almost say that the Latins considered the question from the historical, the Eastern Fathers from the metaphysical, point of view; the former were concerned about when this purity had begun, the latter were only interested in the fact that it existed.  For this reason I do not think one can claim these Eastern authors for the Immaculate Conception.” [2]

Thus the Latin feast of the “Immaculate Conception” focuses primarily on the moment of St. Mariam’s conception as immaculate -and the defining of what exactly this means in the Latin theological tradition.  Orthodox theoloy focuses rather on her person as immaculate.  Hence, we would be more likely to refer to the feast as the “Conception of the Immaculate Virgin,” rather than the “Immaculate Conception.”  As Graef points out, whereas the East focuses on her metaphysical purity, the Latin’s focus more on the exact moment of her reception of that purity.  Whereas Latin Catholics celebrate the dogmatization of “the moment,” Orthodox maintain the primitive emphasis on “the fact” of her purity and celebrate this feast recalling all the historical events surrounding St. Mariam’s conception from her parents Sts. Joachim and Anna. [3]
but one woul have to distinguish it from the position of Duns Scotus
Quote
The famous Duns Scotus (d. 1308) at last (in III Sent., dist. iii, in both commentaries) laid the foundations of the true doctrine so solidly and dispelled the objections in a manner so satisfactory, that from that time onward the doctrine prevailed. He showed that the sanctification after animation — sanctificatio post animationem — demanded that it should follow in the order of nature (naturae) not of time (temporis); he removed the great difficulty of St. Thomas showing that, so far from being excluded from redemption, the Blessed Virgin obtained of her Divine Son the greatest of redemptions through the mystery of her preservation from all sin. He also brought forward, by way of illustration, the somewhat dangerous and doubtful argument of Eadmer (S. Anselm) "decuit, potuit, ergo fecit."
which led the Vatican astray. The same article takes up the lex orandi of the Orthodox
Quote
The older feast of the Conception of Mary (Conception of St. Anne), which originated in the monasteries of Palestine at least as early as the seventh century, and the modern feast of the Immaculate Conception are not identical in their object.

Originally the Church celebrated only the Feast of the Conception of Mary, as she kept the Feast of St. John's conception, not discussing the sinlessness. This feast in the course of centuries became the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, as dogmatical argumentation brought about precise and correct ideas, and as the thesis of the theological schools regarding the preservation of Mary from all stain of original sin gained strength. Even after the dogma had been universally accepted in the Latin Church, and had gained authoritative support through diocesan decrees and papal decisions, the old term remained, and before 1854 the term "Immaculata Conceptio" is nowhere found in the liturgical books, except in the invitatorium of the Votive Office of the Conception. The Greeks, Syrians, etc. call it the Conception of St. Anne (Eullepsis tes hagias kai theoprometoros Annas, "the Conception of St. Anne, the ancestress of God").

Passaglia in his "De Immaculato Deiparae Conceptu," basing his opinion upon the "Typicon" of St. Sabas: which was substantially composed in the fifth century, believes that the reference to the feast forms part of the authentic original, and that consequently it was celebrated in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem in the fifth century (III, n. 1604). But the Typicon was interpolated by the Damascene, Sophronius, and others, and, from the ninth to the twelfth centuries, many new feasts and offices were added.

To determine the origin of this feast we must take into account the genuine documents we possess, the oldest of which is the canon of the feast, composed by St. Andrew of Crete, who wrote his liturgical hymns in the second half of the seventh century, when a monk at the monastery of St. Sabas near Jerusalem (d. Archbishop of Crete about 720). But the solemnity cannot then have been generally accepted throughout the Orient, for John, first monk and later bishop in the Isle of Euboea, about 750 in a sermon, speaking in favour of the propagation of this feast, says that it was not yet known to all the faithful (ei kai me para tois pasi gnorizetai; P.G., XCVI, 1499). But a century later George of Nicomedia, made metropolitan by Photius in 860, could say that the solemnity was not of recent origin (P.G., C, 1335). It is therefore, safe to affirm that the feast of the Conception of St. Anne appears in the Orient not earlier than the end of the seventh or the beginning of the eighth century.

As in other cases of the same kind the feast originated in the monastic communities. The monks, who arranged the psalmody and composed the various poetical pieces for the office, also selected the date, 9 December, which was always retained in the Oriental calendars. Gradually the solemnity emerged from the cloister, entered into the cathedrals, was glorified by preachers and poets, and eventually became a fixed feast of the calendar, approved by Church and State.

It is registered in the calendar of Basil II (976-1025) and by the Constitution of Emperor Manuel I Comnenus on the days of the year which are half or entire holidays, promulgated in 1166, it is numbered among the days which have full sabbath rest. Up to the time of Basil II, Lower Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia still belonged to the Byzantine Empire; the city of Naples was not lost to the Greeks until 1127, when Roger II conquered the city. The influence of Constantinople was consequently strong in the Neapolitan Church, and, as early as the ninth century, the Feast of the Conception was doubtlessly kept there, as elsewhere in Lower Italy on 9 December, as indeed appears from the marble calendar found in 1742 in the Church of S. Giorgio Maggiore at Naples.

Today the Conception of St. Anne is in the Greek Church one of the minor feasts of the year. The lesson in Matins contains allusions to the apocryphal "Proto-evangelium" of St. James, which dates from the second half of the second century (see SAINT ANNE). To the Greek Orthodox of our days, however, the feast means very little; they continue to call it "Conception of St. Anne", indicating unintentionally, perhaps, the active conception which was certainly not immaculate. In the Menaea of 9 December this feast holds only the second place, the first canon being sung in commemoration of the dedication of the Church of the Resurrection at Constantinople. The Russian hagiographer Muraview and several other Orthodox authors even loudly declaimed against the dogma after its promulgation, although their own preachers formerly taught the Immaculate Conception in their writings long before the definition of 1854.
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm
The latter assertion often repeated but never cited.
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« Reply #87 on: December 18, 2010, 10:37:45 AM »

Dear Ialmisry:  Thank you for that helpful article.  Could you give me a reference for that?

You stated:  "Unfortunately, I am at a loss about this among the OO, for the simple reason that no one celebrates this Feast as a major Feast, and so the precedent of lex orandi simply isn't there: I dare say most Orthodox, OO and EO, are unaware that the calendar marks the Feast."

Reply:  This is true.  I don't believe I ever claimed it was a major feast.  But it is a feast just the same and therefore (I would think) has a meaning and significance which should be made intelligible to our faithful, whether they are aware of it or not.  There are apparently some Armenian hymns used at this feast (as referenced earlier by Vartabed Iknadiossian).  I suspect they weren't specifically written for the feast though.  But I am referring to our entire body of Mariological texts contained in our Lex Orandi, since these are necessary to get a full and proper understanding of our teaching on the Theotokos.

You said:  But one would have to distinguish it from the position of Duns Scotus.

Reply:  I don't see how any Byzantine or Armenian Orthodox Christian can deny, based on our Lex Orandi, the concept that God prepared St. Mary -in some way- from the time of her Conception for her role as Bearer of God.  I'm sure we would not define what exactly that preparation was (and here lies a difference between East and West).  But any such preparation has to be based on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, does it not?  We may not use the language of "merits" but certainly such a preparation would be dependent upon Grace and that Grace would have to come from her Son, would it not?  I would never sign on to Duns Scotus' definition, but I will not deny the above just because of it.  Would any of you?

I agree that it is important to point out to our Latin brethren (as I recently did to a Catholic theologian I know) that we also have a feast of the Holy Forerunner's Conception.  This is significant in finding balance and meaning.  But as I just wrote a few hours ago, the texts about the Mother of God in our Lex Orandi (as demonstrated by others in this thread) go far beyond what is stated about the Forerunner's Concpetion.  For balance and meaning we must recognize this also.  Afterall, we would expect this (wouldn't we?) being that our Blesed Mother's role went far beyond that of the Forerunner (didn't it?).

God bless you all...
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« Reply #88 on: December 18, 2010, 12:08:27 PM »

Dear Ialmisry:  Thank you for that helpful article.  Could you give me a reference for that?
Quote
APA citation. Holweck, F. (1910). Immaculate Conception. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved December 18, 2010 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm

MLA citation. Holweck, Frederick. "Immaculate Conception." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 18 Dec. 2010 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm>.


Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

It is what the link goes to.

Quote
You stated:  "Unfortunately, I am at a loss about this among the OO, for the simple reason that no one celebrates this Feast as a major Feast, and so the precedent of lex orandi simply isn't there: I dare say most Orthodox, OO and EO, are unaware that the calendar marks the Feast."

Reply:  This is true.  I don't believe I ever claimed it was a major feast.  But it is a feast just the same and therefore (I would think) has a meaning and significance which should be made intelligible to our faithful, whether they are aware of it or not.

That it is not a major Feast goes directly to the propriety of elevating a definition of what "All-Holy" and "Most Pure" means to a dogmatic stance.  This is underlined by the fact that both the Nativity and Presentation into the Temple of All-Holy and Most Pure Theotokos, and "as the fact of the "Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary" is only a pious belief, but not a defined matter of faith, it was suppressed by Pope Pius V in 1568" ("The Saint Andrew Missal, with Sundays and Feasts," p. 1684). It is also interesting in this context how the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple was changed to Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On that basis, given the emphasis on the Annuciation, the Nativity and Presentation of the Theotokos, and relative obscurity of the Conception of St. Anne-the name itself de-emphasizing it as a basis on which to examin the beginnings of her All-Holiness and Most-Purity-taking a back seat to the dedication of the Church of the Resurrection, coupled with the emphasis on her Dormition, as opposed to her Assumption, we must speak against what is the core of the Vatican's dogma of the IC.

Quote
There are apparently some Armenian hymns used at this feast (as referenced earlier by Vartabed Iknadiossian).  I suspect they weren't specifically written for the feast though.  But I am referring to our entire body of Mariological texts contained in our Lex Orandi, since these are necessary to get a full and proper understanding of our teaching on the Theotokos.

I am rather suprised by some of the lyrics of the hymn, at least as translated. That they may have not been composed for the feast, that they were adopted for the Feast by the Armenian Church, and the lack of corresponding hymns in the Orthodox Churches, particularly for the feast, all have a bearing on what the lex credendi can derive from this facts.

Quote
You said:  But one would have to distinguish it from the position of Duns Scotus.

Reply:  I don't see how any Byzantine or Armenian Orthodox Christian can deny, based on our Lex Orandi, the concept that God prepared St. Mary -in some way- from the time of her Conception for her role as Bearer of God.  I'm sure we would not define what exactly that preparation was (and here lies a difference between East and West).  But any such preparation has to be based on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, does it not?  We may not use the language of "merits" but certainly such a preparation would be dependent upon Grace and that Grace would have to come from her Son, would it not?  I would never sign on to Duns Scotus' definition, but I will not deny the above just because of it.  Would any of you?

Since the First Adam was created with the coming of the Second Adam in mind, this is all relative speculation.

Quote
I agree that it is important to point out to our Latin brethren (as I recently did to a Catholic theologian I know) that we also have a feast of the Holy Forerunner's Conception.  This is significant in finding balance and meaning.  But as I just wrote a few hours ago, the texts about the Mother of God in our Lex Orandi (as demonstrated by others in this thread) go far beyond what is stated about the Forerunner's Concpetion.  For balance and meaning we must recognize this also.  Afterall, we would expect this (wouldn't we?) being that our Blesed Mother's role went far beyond that of the Forerunner (didn't it?).

God bless you all...
Not only the Forerunner's Conception, but the Fact of the Annunciation, i.e. the Lord's Conception, being the main Feast of the Theotokos is also telling.
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« Reply #89 on: December 18, 2010, 01:34:15 PM »

In the Coptic Church, we acknowledge the purity of both the Theotokos and the Forerunner equally, but we sing more about the Theotokos than the Forerunner because she is the Mother of God, not necessarily because she is purer than the Forerunner.  In the Synexarium, it is written about St. John:

Quote
The life of this Saint was like that of the angels in purity. He was filled with the Holy Spirit while he was in his mother's womb, and was martyred for his witnessing to the truth.

Maybe the sanctification of the Theotokos to be the Mother of God probably might be different than the sanctification of St. John in being the Forerunner, or as St. Jacob Baradeous calls him, "the Voice of God."  But the purity ascribed to both them seems to be the same.

An immaculate conception might be understood probably as a conception with the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, but not a conception perhaps that lifts the curse of Adam.  We even allude to the purity of the Virgin Mary probably because of the purity of her own mother:

Quote
On this day, the pious and righteous St. Anna (Hannah), the mother of our Lady, the holy virgin St. Mary, the Mother of God, departed. This holy woman was the daughter of Matthan, the son of Levi, the son of Melki, who was a descendant of Aaron the priest. Her mother's name was Mary (Mariam) and she was from the tribe of Judah.
...

Although we know little about St. Anna, having been chosen to be the mother of the Mother of God in the flesh is an indication of her virtues and righteousness, which distinguished her from other women to have this great grace.

Feasts of the parents of the Theotokos:
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/8_7.html#1
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/3_11.html#1

Feasts of the Theotokos (besides the 21st of every Coptic month):
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/12_7.html#1
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/9_1.html#1
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/4_3.html#1
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/5_21.html#1
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/12_16.html#1

Feasts of the parents of the Forerunner:
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/6_16.html#1
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/1_8.html#1

Feasts of the Forerunner (Besides the feast of the Theophany, although not directly for the Forerunner, we ask the intercessions of the Forerunner on this day as we commemorate him):
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/1_26.html#1
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/10_30.html#1
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/1_2.html#1
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/6_30.html#1
http://www.copticchurch.net/synaxarium/10_2.html#1

In my opinion, we should sing just as much for the Forerunner as the Theotokos.
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« Reply #90 on: December 25, 2010, 01:55:44 PM »

Dear brother Mina,

An immaculate conception might be understood probably as a conception with the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, but not a conception perhaps that lifts the curse of Adam.  We even allude to the purity of the Virgin Mary probably because of the purity of her own mother:
That Mary was sanctified by the Holy Spirit from the first moment of her existence is exactly what the Catholic doctrine of the IC teaches, nothing more nothing less. Anyone who says it is anything more than that is engaging in straw man argumentation. The doctrine does not state that Mary was preserved from any of the effects of Original Sin except the spiritual ones. That is what the phrase "stain of original sin" means to the Latins - it refers to the spiritual consequences of the Original Sin - namely, separation from God, lack of Original Holiness, lack of Original Justice. She was still subject to the physical death and corruption that everyone else experiences. 

And this sanctification was due to God's Grace, nothing more, nothing less.  Ever since I began to understand the Catholic teaching from Catholic sources (instead of the misrepresentations that often occur from Orthodox sources), I have never understood how Orthodox can even imagine that Mary's exclamation "God is my savior" in any way contradicts the doctrine of the IC. Have you ever wondered why Orthodox love to use this verse against the IC ("Jesus' Sacrifice hadn't occured yet!" they say), but don't give a thought to the fact that they believe that the Forerunner was sanctified in his mother's womb even before the event of Christ's Sacrifice?

Some people try to make a chasm between the Catholic and Orthodox teaching on Original Sin as an excuse to reject the IC.  I can't understand why people think that the OO understanding of Original Sin is closer to the EO understanding than the Latin understanding. The only "evidence" I've seen from the Orthodox (both Oriental and Eastern) is based on a misrepresentation of the Latin teaching.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #91 on: December 25, 2010, 02:52:09 PM »

Brother Mardukm,

Interesting points. From an Orthodox perspective one has to understand the our view with our terms.

We don't use "original holiness" and "original Justice" (which, btw, one poster, Mary has said is the same thing).

The Roman Catholic Catechism, however, gives two distinct definitions of these two distinct terms. Here are the relevant CCC references:

CCC 375: The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original "state of holiness and justice." This grace of original holiness was "to share in . . . divine life."

CCC 376: By the radiance of this grace all dimensions of man's life were confirmed. As long as he remained in the divine intimacy, man would not have to suffer or die.252 The inner harmony of the human person, the harmony between man and woman,253 and finally the harmony between the first couple and all creation, comprised the state called "original justice."

CCC 399: Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image—that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.

CCC 400: The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subject "to its bondage to decay." Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will "return to the ground," for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history.


Now, for Orthodox Christians, we do not speak of these two terms, nor to we place a great emphasis on the situations of "original justice and holiness". Man was not in a state of perfection and then fell. Rather, Man was working with God, synergy, and growing and working toward perfection. The Fall was not man distancing himself from God and being alienated, by his choice, from Creation; it was not a fall from supra-natural graces that God bestowed on them. The Fall was man disobeying God and failing to live-out the image of God. Man failed to continue to grow in his potential becoming more and more the likeness of God.

Further, Man after the fall has a Gnomic Will. Christ does not. Orthodox Theologians will say that the Theotokos did have a Gnomic Will. She had to 'struggle' and strive. She always followed God's Will and therefore is not only an example to us, but also the first Christian. This is why we call Her Immaculate and blameless.

This is why we do not accept the Immaculate Conception which is taught by the Roman Catholic Church.     
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« Reply #92 on: December 25, 2010, 02:58:24 PM »

Marduk, so nice to see you here again.  Merry Christmas.

I understand fully your beliefs, and I hope in saying what I said, I didn't misrepresent your beliefs.

To pinpoint exactly where our disagreement is, I think you understand that our Church, at least the Coptic Church, sees the grace and sanctification the Theotokos and the Forerunner received does not result in the same way as the grace of baptism results in.  Pre-incarnate grace occurred many times in the Old Testament, just not in the fullness of which the Incarnation brings.

This is how I feel it should be for consistency's sake.  I wonder if other OO's feel the same way, and perhaps maybe the term "immaculate conception" could be interpreted another way in their traditions, given the context of many Church fathers who did not see the curse lifted until Christ was incarnate.  But I personally cannot find that phrase in the Coptic tradition.
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« Reply #93 on: December 25, 2010, 06:39:00 PM »

Dear brother LakaYaRabb,

How great to have a conversation with you again! I recall exchanging one or two posts with you a long time ago in CAF.

Interesting points. From an Orthodox perspective one has to understand the our view with our terms.

We don't use "original holiness" and "original Justice" (which, btw, one poster, Mary has said is the same thing).

The Roman Catholic Catechism, however, gives two distinct definitions of these two distinct terms. Here are the relevant CCC references:

CCC 375: The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original "state of holiness and justice." This grace of original holiness was "to share in . . . divine life."

CCC 376: By the radiance of this grace all dimensions of man's life were confirmed. As long as he remained in the divine intimacy, man would not have to suffer or die.252 The inner harmony of the human person, the harmony between man and woman,253 and finally the harmony between the first couple and all creation, comprised the state called "original justice."

CCC 399: Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image—that of a God jealous of his prerogatives.

CCC 400: The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. Because of man, creation is now subject "to its bondage to decay." Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will "return to the ground," for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history.

Now, for Orthodox Christians, we do not speak of these two terms, nor to we place a great emphasis on the situations of "original justice and holiness". Man was not in a state of perfection and then fell. Rather, Man was working with God, synergy, and growing and working toward perfection. The Fall was not man distancing himself from God and being alienated, by his choice, from Creation; it was not a fall from supra-natural graces that God bestowed on them. The Fall was man disobeying God and failing to live-out the image of God. Man failed to continue to grow in his potential becoming more and more the likeness of God.
Thank you for the explanation (and I appreciate the fact that you seem to have a good hold on the Latin teaching). I have come across this explanation several times from my EC brethren, but I’ve never gotten the impression from them that it is anything dogmatic in the Eastern Tradition. Would it be correct to say that the EC’s are generally more apophatic than their EO brethren on several matters since the EO have (in a sense) dogmatized certain teachings in reaction (would “overreaction” be appropriate?) to certain Catholic dogmas?

In any case, your explanation is the reason why I find it hard to comprehend the view that I’ve heard or read expressed by many EO (and even some OO) that the OO teaching on Original Sin is closer to the EO teaching than the Latin teaching.  The Justice of God is a constant received Tradition of the Oriental Churches that we do not share with the EO, but is similar to the Latin Tradition. Further, Orientals share with the Latins the understanding that there was indeed a fall from Grace (quite explicit from the Athanasian perspective).  As stated, to the apophatic mindset of the EC’s, this is not a big problem, but to the EO’s it seems to be a dividing line.  And even more puzzling (a charitable understatement, admittedly), EO’s see it as a dividing factor with Latins, but not with the OO.

Quote
Further, Man after the fall has a Gnomic Will. Christ does not. Orthodox Theologians will say that the Theotokos did have a Gnomic Will. She had to 'struggle' and strive. She always followed God's Will and therefore is not only an example to us, but also the first Christian. This is why we call Her Immaculate and blameless.
Mary had a Gnomic Will, as well. She was not omniscient. She had temptations. She could have said “no” to God, given all the difficulties she could have possibly faced (not least of which was the loss of her life) as a pregnant, betrothed, woman. But she said “Yes.” If you reject the IC because of this, then – well – it doesn’t seem to be a very good reason.  I’m sure you have other reasons. I’m not here to get you to accept the teaching.  As stated in the old IC thread in the other Forum here, my only purpose is to demonstrate that the IC is neither heretical nor heterodox, and can be at least a legitimate theologoumenon.

Thank you for the conversation.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #94 on: December 25, 2010, 07:45:32 PM »

It has been a long time since we have bumped into each other, mostly my fault for being a recluse!  laugh But, It is always a joy to bump into you!
 
Quote
Thank you for the explanation (and I appreciate the fact that you seem to have a good hold on the Latin teaching). I have come across this explanation several times from my EC brethren, but I’ve never gotten the impression from them that it is anything dogmatic in the Eastern Tradition. Would it be correct to say that the EC’s are generally more apophatic than their EO brethren on several matters since the EO have (in a sense) dogmatized certain teachings in reaction (would “overreaction” be appropriate?) to certain Catholic dogmas?


I'd have to think about this, I'm not sure. Maybe you could clarify a bit what you mean, exactly?

Quote
In any case, your explanation is the reason why I find it hard to comprehend the view that I’ve heard or read expressed by many EO (and even some OO) that the OO teaching on Original Sin is closer to the EO teaching than the Latin teaching.  The Justice of God is a constant received Tradition of the Oriental Churches that we do not share with the EO, but is similar to the Latin Tradition. Further, Orientals share with the Latins the understanding that there was indeed a fall from Grace (quite explicit from the Athanasian perspective).  As stated, to the apophatic mindset of the EC’s, this is not a big problem, but to the EO’s it seems to be a dividing line.  And even more puzzling (a charitable understatement, admittedly), EO’s see it as a dividing factor with Latins, but not with the OO.


I am not a great authority on the perspective of our brothers on this. My limited exposure has only caused me to greatly (and even more so now) lament the division between us and the OO. It seems to me that we feel the OO are even more even more close to us because the richness and emphasis on thier tradition is gvien as much importance as the richness and emphasis we have  with our tradition. 

I haven't studied the Athanasian perspective, but the Cappadocian Fathers and all other subsequent Fathers in that vein, along with Monasticism in EO form the Patristic consensus on which our pronema and living tradition are understood, lived-out and recieved. So we see ourselves within Athanasian theology. I can't speak any further on that particular aspect though.

My limited exposure to OO theology regarding the Immaculate Conception and original sin seems to me to be formulated in contra-disticntion to both the Latins and the Greeks. However, it seems to me to be less set against the Greek Fathers than the Latin Fathers. A recent example of this would be the more recent Matthew the Poor. If his understanding would to somehow prevail, I think we could have lasting unity with the OO.
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« Reply #95 on: December 25, 2010, 07:55:46 PM »

Quote
Mary had a Gnomic Will, as well. She was not omniscient. She had temptations. She could have said “no” to God, given all the difficulties she could have possibly faced (not least of which was the loss of her life) as a pregnant, betrothed, woman. But she said “Yes.” If you reject the IC because of this, then – well – it doesn’t seem to be a very good reason.  I’m sure you have other reasons. I’m not here to get you to accept the teaching.  As stated in the old IC thread in the other Forum here, my only purpose is to demonstrate that the IC is neither heretical nor heterodox, and can be at least a legitimate theologoumenon.

Well! It is great that we could reach s consensus on this. I'm am unsure that this is compatible with the Roman Catholic understanding of the Immaculate Conception. For Orthodox Christians to admit that the Theotokos had a gnomic will is akin to saying that she did not possess original justice and original holiness. In terms of the Immaculate Conception in the Roman Catholic mind, it seems that she has been preserved from this spiritual effect. To have a Gnomic will does not mean to have personal sin or to have committed actual sin. But, to have a Gnomic Will would mean that every Grace God gives you requires your response/ascent to God (this is synergy or working with Him) in each and every moment of life. This very fact would seem to go against the teaching that the Theotokos was preserved from the effects of the ancestral curse.

Reguarding a special grace though, St. Gregory Palamas teaches that the Theotokos recieved Grace through her ancestors and the extensive purification she undertook throghout her life. It is an approach that takes the view of synergy. In this way, she is an example for us, the Immaculate Birth-Giver of God and Mother of God.
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« Reply #96 on: December 25, 2010, 08:04:48 PM »

Dear brother Mina,

Marduk, so nice to see you here again.  Merry Christmas.
Thank you! I feel so blessed to be able to celebrate it twice! Grin I also feel blessed to be able to converse with you again. I really wanted to continue our conversation way back on the Pelagian issue. I don't know if it will be appropriate in this Forum, though.

Quote
I understand fully your beliefs, and I hope in saying what I said, I didn't misrepresent your beliefs.
Thank you for your careful and intelligent words throughout our conversation. Nothing you have ever said has ever been insulting. I've always sensed you were genuinely asking instead of pontificating what you thought I believed.

Quote
To pinpoint exactly where our disagreement is, I think you understand that our Church, at least the Coptic Church, sees the grace and sanctification the Theotokos and the Forerunner received does not result in the same way as the grace of baptism results in.  Pre-incarnate grace occurred many times in the Old Testament, just not in the fullness of which the Incarnation brings.

This is how I feel it should be for consistency's sake.  I wonder if other OO's feel the same way, and perhaps maybe the term "immaculate conception" could be interpreted another way in their traditions, given the context of many Church fathers who did not see the curse lifted until Christ was incarnate.
Yes. Thank you for pointing that out. I admit I must apologize for not being too clear on this point in our past conversations.  Mary is indeed unique in the sense that she is the new Eve.  As St. Ephraim wrote, before their respective decisions, Mary and Eve were “utterly equal.” I think he meant her spiritual state – being perfectly united to God, just as Eve was.

Let’s forget about the terminology. Let’s cut to the concepts. It’s about Mary’s perpetual spiritual state, nothing more, nothing less. Here are the questions I suggest we discuss, with my proposed answers:

(1) Did Mary have Grace even before the Annunciation? I propose she did, for the Angel had addressed her as “full of Grace” (or at least “abundantly filled with Grace”). Without this Grace, the belief that Mary could have followed the will of God throughout her life would be Pelagianism.

(2) What was the nature of this Grace? This Grace united her to God in the same way that Adam and Eve were united to God before the Fall. It is the same Grace every person receives at Baptism. This Grace would also strengthen her against the wiles of the Devil. It is this Grace with which she cooperated throughout her life to be sinless.

(3) But is not the Grace of Baptism obtained only from the Sacrifice? Yes.

(4) Then how could she receive this Grace before the Sacrifice occurred? Though the Sacrifice occurred temporally, the power of the Sacrifice is ETERNAL, as clearly demonstrated by St. John in his Book of Revelation.

(5) Does the Coptic Tradition accept such a possibility? Apparently so, since it accepts that she could have been cleansed of Original Sin at the Annunciation, which occurred before the temporal Sacrifice.

(6) If this power was available to God before the temporal Sacrifice, why did He not use it for all mankind?  No one else was chosen to have the utterly and supremely unique honor of being Theotokos.

(7) Did Mary receive any Grace at the Annunciation? I propose she did (in line with our Coptic Tradition).

(Cool What was the nature of this Grace she received at the Annunciation? This Grace permitted corruptible flesh to be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and bear Christ in holy virginity.

Quote
But I personally cannot find that phrase in the Coptic tradition.
Well, never let it be said that we Orientals did not know the value of looking at the meaning of words instead of just the words themselves. Smiley The title of the Decree is not dogmatic (in fact, the term "immaculate conception" is not even used in the definition itself).

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #97 on: December 25, 2010, 08:44:12 PM »

Quote
Mary had a Gnomic Will, as well. She was not omniscient. She had temptations. She could have said “no” to God, given all the difficulties she could have possibly faced (not least of which was the loss of her life) as a pregnant, betrothed, woman. But she said “Yes.” If you reject the IC because of this, then – well – it doesn’t seem to be a very good reason.  I’m sure you have other reasons. I’m not here to get you to accept the teaching.  As stated in the old IC thread in the other Forum here, my only purpose is to demonstrate that the IC is neither heretical nor heterodox, and can be at least a legitimate theologoumenon.

Well! It is great that we could reach s consensus on this. I'm am unsure that this is compatible with the Roman Catholic understanding of the Immaculate Conception. For Orthodox Christians to admit that the Theotokos had a gnomic will is akin to saying that she did not possess original justice and original holiness. In terms of the Immaculate Conception in the Roman Catholic mind, it seems that she has been preserved from this spiritual effect. To have a Gnomic will does not mean to have personal sin or to have committed actual sin. But, to have a Gnomic Will would mean that every Grace God gives you requires your response/ascent to God (this is synergy or working with Him) in each and every moment of life. This very fact would seem to go against the teaching that the Theotokos was preserved from the effects of the ancestral curse.

Reguarding a special grace though, St. Gregory Palamas teaches that the Theotokos recieved Grace through her ancestors and the extensive purification she undertook throghout her life. It is an approach that takes the view of synergy. In this way, she is an example for us, the Immaculate Birth-Giver of God and Mother of God.

Marduk is a very gentle correspondent, so I will leave most of this to him. 

As briefly as possible I will offer once again the Catholic teaching in terms that are as simple as possible without loosing too much in the translation.

The stain of original sin, in Catholic teaching, is the darkening of the will and intellect.  That is all they mean by the Theotokos being without the stain of original sin.

So to be born without the stain of original sin means that the Theotokos was born with an illumined intellect and a will that is graced and thereby strengthened.

The Church does not teach that the Theotokos was restored fully to a state of original justice.  So there is no full integration of body-soul-spirit by grace.   Her body is still subject to suffering, death and decay, for example...even though she is greatly graced.

That full integration of body-soul-spirit will come for none of us till the final judgment when all holiness and justice are restored fully and completely in Christ.

If there is something that I have missed, I am sure good brother Mardukm will complete what is lacking.

Mary
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« Reply #98 on: December 25, 2010, 09:03:23 PM »

Here is one perspective from an Orthodox source. http://web.archive.org/web/20070728015648/http://www.philthompson.net/pages/faq/12.html

Quote
The immaculate conception dogma is a response to a situation created by the Roman Catholic dogma of original sin. Following Augustine, Rome teaches that man inherits from Adam a "stain" of original sin - primarily manifested in concupiscence , the tendency to sin. So Rome is left with a need to explain how Christ could be born of a human parent yet without sin. The immaculate conception dogma tries to break this chain by making Mary the exception, not Christ.

By contrast, the Orthodox understanding is conveyed concisely in St Athanasius' treatise On the Incarnation (318 AD). When man (in the persons of Adam and Eve from whom we all derive our human nature) first sinned, he became separated from God. This separation from God is what Orthodox understand to be original sin and it has two consequences: First, separated from the source of all good, man becomes morally corrupt, with an innate tendency to sin; secondly, separated from the source of all Being, man begins to return to his original state, the nothing from which God created him. Corruption and death come into the world.

In other words, original sin in the Orthodox understanding is not a "stain" but an absence. And there is no need to figure out how Christ failed to inherit it along with His human nature from His mother, because the Incarnation itself is the end of the separation. In Himself, from the moment of Incarnation, Christ was both God and Man and therefore His Human Nature never experienced the separation from God which all other humans suffer since the sin in the Garden and which is original sin. Christ does not give us life and righteousness as things apart from Himself; Christ Himself is our life and righteousness.
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« Reply #99 on: December 25, 2010, 09:31:54 PM »

Here is one perspective from an Orthodox source. http://web.archive.org/web/20070728015648/http://www.philthompson.net/pages/faq/12.html

Quote
The immaculate conception dogma is a response to a situation created by the Roman Catholic dogma of original sin. Following Augustine, Rome teaches that man inherits from Adam a "stain" of original sin - primarily manifested in concupiscence , the tendency to sin. So Rome is left with a need to explain how Christ could be born of a human parent yet without sin. The immaculate conception dogma tries to break this chain by making Mary the exception, not Christ.

By contrast, the Orthodox understanding is conveyed concisely in St Athanasius' treatise On the Incarnation (318 AD). When man (in the persons of Adam and Eve from whom we all derive our human nature) first sinned, he became separated from God. This separation from God is what Orthodox understand to be original sin and it has two consequences: First, separated from the source of all good, man becomes morally corrupt, with an innate tendency to sin; secondly, separated from the source of all Being, man begins to return to his original state, the nothing from which God created him. Corruption and death come into the world.

In other words, original sin in the Orthodox understanding is not a "stain" but an absence. And there is no need to figure out how Christ failed to inherit it along with His human nature from His mother, because the Incarnation itself is the end of the separation. In Himself, from the moment of Incarnation, Christ was both God and Man and therefore His Human Nature never experienced the separation from God which all other humans suffer since the sin in the Garden and which is original sin. Christ does not give us life and righteousness as things apart from Himself; Christ Himself is our life and righteousness.


I don't have a problem with either interpretation (St Athanasius nor St. Augustine). What I do have a problem with, is how does it function (in regards to the Theotokos) in light of the determinations from the Council of Carthage 418?
Quote
CANON CXIII. (Greek cxiiii.)
That without the grace of God we can do no good thing.

It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justification was given to us only
that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our
free will; as if though grace was not given, although not easily, yet nevertheless we could even
without grace fulfil the divine commandments, let him be anathema.
For the Lord spake
concerning the fruits of the commandments, when he said: "Without me ye can do nothing," and
not "Without me ye could do it but with difficulty.]"

If without grace you are incapable, then without grace the Theotokos is incapable.
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« Reply #100 on: December 25, 2010, 09:57:28 PM »

Here is one perspective from an Orthodox source. http://web.archive.org/web/20070728015648/http://www.philthompson.net/pages/faq/12.html

Quote
The immaculate conception dogma is a response to a situation created by the Roman Catholic dogma of original sin. Following Augustine, Rome teaches that man inherits from Adam a "stain" of original sin - primarily manifested in concupiscence , the tendency to sin. So Rome is left with a need to explain how Christ could be born of a human parent yet without sin. The immaculate conception dogma tries to break this chain by making Mary the exception, not Christ.

By contrast, the Orthodox understanding is conveyed concisely in St Athanasius' treatise On the Incarnation (318 AD). When man (in the persons of Adam and Eve from whom we all derive our human nature) first sinned, he became separated from God. This separation from God is what Orthodox understand to be original sin and it has two consequences: First, separated from the source of all good, man becomes morally corrupt, with an innate tendency to sin; secondly, separated from the source of all Being, man begins to return to his original state, the nothing from which God created him. Corruption and death come into the world.

In other words, original sin in the Orthodox understanding is not a "stain" but an absence. And there is no need to figure out how Christ failed to inherit it along with His human nature from His mother, because the Incarnation itself is the end of the separation. In Himself, from the moment of Incarnation, Christ was both God and Man and therefore His Human Nature never experienced the separation from God which all other humans suffer since the sin in the Garden and which is original sin. Christ does not give us life and righteousness as things apart from Himself; Christ Himself is our life and righteousness.


I don't have a problem with either interpretation (St Athanasius nor St. Augustine). What I do have a problem with, is how does it function (in regards to the Theotokos) in light of the determinations from the Council of Carthage 418?
Quote
CANON CXIII. (Greek cxiiii.)
That without the grace of God we can do no good thing.

It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justification was given to us only
that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our
free will; as if though grace was not given, although not easily, yet nevertheless we could even
without grace fulfil the divine commandments, let him be anathema.
For the Lord spake
concerning the fruits of the commandments, when he said: "Without me ye can do nothing," and
not "Without me ye could do it but with difficulty.]"

If without grace you are incapable, then without grace the Theotokos is incapable.
Without grace, neither she, nor any of us, would exist.

Abraham had grace to say yes, but he wasn't Immaculately Conceived.  The Theotokos wasn't either.
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« Reply #101 on: December 25, 2010, 10:14:54 PM »

Here is one perspective from an Orthodox source. http://web.archive.org/web/20070728015648/http://www.philthompson.net/pages/faq/12.html

Quote
The immaculate conception dogma is a response to a situation created by the Roman Catholic dogma of original sin. Following Augustine, Rome teaches that man inherits from Adam a "stain" of original sin - primarily manifested in concupiscence , the tendency to sin. So Rome is left with a need to explain how Christ could be born of a human parent yet without sin. The immaculate conception dogma tries to break this chain by making Mary the exception, not Christ.

By contrast, the Orthodox understanding is conveyed concisely in St Athanasius' treatise On the Incarnation (318 AD). When man (in the persons of Adam and Eve from whom we all derive our human nature) first sinned, he became separated from God. This separation from God is what Orthodox understand to be original sin and it has two consequences: First, separated from the source of all good, man becomes morally corrupt, with an innate tendency to sin; secondly, separated from the source of all Being, man begins to return to his original state, the nothing from which God created him. Corruption and death come into the world.

In other words, original sin in the Orthodox understanding is not a "stain" but an absence. And there is no need to figure out how Christ failed to inherit it along with His human nature from His mother, because the Incarnation itself is the end of the separation. In Himself, from the moment of Incarnation, Christ was both God and Man and therefore His Human Nature never experienced the separation from God which all other humans suffer since the sin in the Garden and which is original sin. Christ does not give us life and righteousness as things apart from Himself; Christ Himself is our life and righteousness.


I don't have a problem with either interpretation (St Athanasius nor St. Augustine). What I do have a problem with, is how does it function (in regards to the Theotokos) in light of the determinations from the Council of Carthage 418?
Quote
CANON CXIII. (Greek cxiiii.)
That without the grace of God we can do no good thing.

It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justification was given to us only
that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our
free will; as if though grace was not given, although not easily, yet nevertheless we could even
without grace fulfil the divine commandments, let him be anathema.
For the Lord spake
concerning the fruits of the commandments, when he said: "Without me ye can do nothing," and
not "Without me ye could do it but with difficulty.]"

If without grace you are incapable, then without grace the Theotokos is incapable.
Without grace, neither she, nor any of us, would exist.

Abraham had grace to say yes, but he wasn't Immaculately Conceived.  The Theotokos wasn't either.

This is referring to Baptism. We don't need "the grace of justification" to exist.

I don't think anyone had to be "immaculately conceived", in general, but I do point out the need for an extra "grace of justification" to be Godly. That is, we can't be Godly without God.
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« Reply #102 on: December 25, 2010, 10:37:08 PM »

Dear Marduk,

Yes, this is a good summary of where our discussion was.  The problem is we don't know what St. Ephraim really thought.  What does it mean to be "equal to Eve?"  She is equal and probably even greater.  For Eve took part of the Tree of Life, but by her disobedience, it was taken away.  The Theotokos by her obedience brought back the Tree of Life in Incarnate form, a much greater outpouring of grace than Eve.

The translation in the Scriptures is "highly favored one."  We call her "full of grace" only after the fact of her Motherhood.  But even if we were to consider the translation "full of grace," it can be interpreted as one who is indeed full of grace as much as she can bear in her weak state, but better than all others.  It is why I feel that is the crux of our disagreement.  The grace she had before the Incarnation is an open grace upon all who are working hard to achieve the will of God.  HH Pope Shenouda writes some examples in his book, "Salvation in the Orthodox Concept:"

Quote
Joshua the son of Nun led the army and fought Amalek, while Moses stood on the top of the hill holding up his hands in prayer (Exodus 17:11).  

Did the people defeat Amalek through the fighting of Joshua's army or through the prayer of Moses?  Concentrating on one of them and neglecting the other would be a mistake.  Joshua alone, however hard had he fought, without the prayer of Moses, or in other words without God's help, would have never defeated.

However the prayer of Moses did not mean at all encouraging the army to slacken before the enemy depending on that prayer!  Fighting and prayer went together, side by side.  One was striving in the way and the other holding up hands in prayer, and both were inseperable.

HH Pope Shenouda in essence showed that the assisting grace of God existed even with the fallen.  He gave another example in the OT in the same chapter:

Quote
How did David beat Goliath?  Was this through God's grace and help?  Certainly, yes.  David depended wholly on God, so he said to Goliath, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin.  But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts", "This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you...Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear, for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands" (1 Sam. 17:45-47).

The greatness of David in this battle appears in that he brought God into the field of the battle.  Before David came, there had been no mention of God, only talk about the man who had come up, the valiant who defied the army and about the prize of the king to the person who would kill that man (1 Sam. 17:25).

David brought the Lord's name into the battle as we see from his words, "I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand...the Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion...the battle is the Lords...etc."  But, was David satisfied with introducing the name of the Lord into the battlefield?  Did he depend on that saying "Through faith, I shall kill Goliath, without labor or striving; the battle is the Lord's and He will give him into our hands?  No!  But David, "chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand.  And he drew near to the Philistine" (1 Sam. 17:40). ...

...

It is true indeed that the battle is the Lord's.  In this example, it was the Lord who delivered Goliath into the hand of David.  But David had to fight, to hasten and run toward the army, to choose certain stones, to put the stones int he sling and to strike skillfully.  He had also to draw his sword of its sheath and prevail over the Philistine and kill him.  All these steps are works.

No one can deny God worked mysterious ways in the Old Testament, but we can say that all these are examples of a pre-Incarnate form of grace that was enough, but not enough for salvation, which is only through the Incarnation.  And this is the other point.  You write:

Quote
(5) Does the Coptic Tradition accept such a possibility? Apparently so, since it accepts that she could have been cleansed of Original Sin at the Annunciation, which occurred before the temporal Sacrifice.

The Incarnation cleanses.  The Holy Spirit came and became part of that cleansing in which the Logos Incarnate provided an even more higher degree of cleansing more honorable than Eve herself could have even imagined.  When Christ walks around, He cleanses.  When people touch Him, they are instantly healed with the strong faith they had.  When evil people touched Him and were closer to Him, their hearts were getting all the more hardened every single day.  The Pharisees, Judas, the Roman guards, etc.  They push away the grace of God, Who has come in Incarnate form.  The pre-incarnate form of that grace hardened Pharaoh's heart.  His sacrifice is truly eternal, but what exactly is salvation?  It is to partake of Christ in His life.  When Christ died, and rose from the dead, and ascended into the heavens, He blessed the sacrament of baptism as a means to partake of His life.  The Theotokos was the very first to partake of the life of Christ, as she is His mother and physical bearer, and she followed Christ even up to His death.

On the day of Pentecost, the Theotokos received confirmation/chrismation.  This is I think a more consistent belief than the Immaculate Conception.
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« Reply #103 on: December 25, 2010, 10:50:03 PM »

Dear brother Mina,

Marduk, so nice to see you here again.  Merry Christmas.
Thank you! I feel so blessed to be able to celebrate it twice! Grin I also feel blessed to be able to converse with you again. I really wanted to continue our conversation way back on the Pelagian issue. I don't know if it will be appropriate in this Forum, though.
Why not?

Quote
I understand fully your beliefs, and I hope in saying what I said, I didn't misrepresent your beliefs.
Thank you for your careful and intelligent words throughout our conversation. Nothing you have ever said has ever been insulting. I've always sensed you were genuinely asking instead of pontificating what you thought I believed.

To pinpoint exactly where our disagreement is, I think you understand that our Church, at least the Coptic Church, sees the grace and sanctification the Theotokos and the Forerunner received does not result in the same way as the grace of baptism results in.  Pre-incarnate grace occurred many times in the Old Testament, just not in the fullness of which the Incarnation brings.

This is how I feel it should be for consistency's sake.  I wonder if other OO's feel the same way, and perhaps maybe the term "immaculate conception" could be interpreted another way in their traditions, given the context of many Church fathers who did not see the curse lifted until Christ was incarnate.
Yes. Thank you for pointing that out. I admit I must apologize for not being too clear on this point in our past conversations.  Mary is indeed unique in the sense that she is the new Eve.  As St. Ephraim wrote, before their respective decisions, Mary and Eve were “utterly equal.” I think he meant her spiritual state – being perfectly united to God, just as Eve was.
Mother Eve was not yet united to God. She was just on that path before she took the wrong turn.

Let’s forget about the terminology. Let’s cut to the concepts. It’s about Mary’s perpetual spiritual state,

She had no perpetual spiritual state, as her state before the Annuciation changed afterwards, and after her Assumption different yet again.


nothing more, nothing less. Here are the questions I suggest we discuss, with my proposed answers:

(1) Did Mary have Grace even before the Annunciation? I propose she did, for the Angel had addressed her as “full of Grace” (or at least “abundantly filled with Grace”). Without this Grace, the belief that Mary could have followed the will of God throughout her life would be Pelagianism.
Job, Elizabeth and Zakariah had grace to be "just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame," "simple and upright, and fearing God, and avoiding evil...and still keeping [their] innocence." but none of them was IC'd.

(2) What was the nature of this Grace? This Grace united her to God in the same way that Adam and Eve were united to God before the Fall. It is the same Grace every person receives at Baptism.
That grace comes from putting on Christ. Adam and Eve did not have it, and it was not available at the Virgin's conception either.

This Grace would also strengthen her against the wiles of the Devil.
Like Elijah and Enoch were? Daniel and Isaiah? Job? Elizabeth and Zechariah?

It is this Grace with which she cooperated throughout her life to be sinless.

(3) But is not the Grace of Baptism obtained only from the Sacrifice? Yes.

(4) Then how could she receive this Grace before the Sacrifice occurred? Though the Sacrifice occurred temporally, the power of the Sacrifice is ETERNAL, as clearly demonstrated by St. John in his Book of Revelation.
No, the way back machine doesn't appear in St. John. If it did, Adam and Eve wouldn't have been expelled from Paradise since the sacrifice is Eternal.

Either the Eternal God entered time, or He didn't.

(5) Does the Coptic Tradition accept such a possibility? Apparently so, since it accepts that she could have been cleansed of Original Sin at the Annunciation, which occurred before the temporal Sacrifice.
Apparently not, as the Coptic Tradition, with the rest of the Orthodox, accepts that God entered creation through the Virgin at the Annuciation.

(6) If this power was available to God before the temporal Sacrifice, why did He not use it for all mankind?  No one else was chosen to have the utterly and supremely unique honor of being Theotokos.
Him, who knew no sin, He hath made sin for us, that we might be made the justice of God in Him. II Cor. 5:21. No need for an IC. No need to excerpt her from the human race. He did not need to do it, it would be unfitting that He do it, therefore He did not do it.

(7) Did Mary receive any Grace at the Annunciation? I propose she did (in line with our Coptic Tradition).

(Cool What was the nature of this Grace she received at the Annunciation? This Grace permitted corruptible flesh to be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit and bear Christ in holy virginity.
Hence no need for the IC.

But I personally cannot find that phrase in the Coptic tradition.
Well, never let it be said that we Orientals did not know the value of looking at the meaning of words instead of just the words themselves. Smiley The title of the Decree is not dogmatic (in fact, the term "immaculate conception" is not even used in the definition itself).
But it is used in the "Apostolic Constitution" e.g.
Quote
THE ROMAN DOCTRINE

Now inasmuch as whatever pertains to sacred worship is intimately connected with its object and cannot have either consistency or durability if this object is vague or uncertain, our predecessors, the Roman Pontiffs, therefore, while directing all their efforts toward an increase of the devotion to the conception, made it their aim not only to emphasize the object with the utmost zeal, but also to enunciate the exact doctrine.[6] Definitely and clearly they taught that the feast was held in honor of the conception of the Virgin. They denounced as false and absolutely foreign to the mind of the Church the opinion of those who held and affirmed that it was not the conception of the Virgin but her sanctification that was honored by the Church. They never thought that greater leniency should be extended toward those who, attempting to disprove the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, devised a distinction between the first and second instance of conception and inferred that the conception which the Church celebrates was not that of the first instance of conception but the second. In fact, they held it was their duty not only to uphold and defend with all their power the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin but also to assert that the true object of this veneration was her conception considered in its first instant. Hence the words of one of our predecessors, Alexander VII, who authoritatively and decisively declared the mind of the Church: "Concerning the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, ancient indeed is that devotion of the faithful based on the belief that her soul, in the first instant of its creation and in the first instant of the soul's infusion into the body, was, by a special grace and privilege of God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, her Son and the Redeemer of the human race, preserved free from all stain of original sin. And in this sense have the faithful ever solemnized and celebrated the Feast of the Conception."[7]

Moreover, our predecessors considered it their special solemn duty with all diligence, zeal, and effort to preserve intact the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. For, not only have they in no way ever allowed this doctrine to be censured or changed, but they have gone much further and by clear statements repeatedly asserted that the doctrine by which we profess the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin is on its own merits entirely in harmony with the ecclesiastical veneration; that it is ancient and widespread, and of the same nature as that which the Roman Church has undertaken to promote and to protect, and that it is entirely worthy to be used in the Sacred Liturgy and solemn prayers. Not content with this they most strictly prohibited any opinion contrary to this doctrine to be defended in public or private in order that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin might remain inviolate. By repeated blows they wished to put an end to such an opinion. And lest these oft-repeated and clearest statements seem useless, they added a sanction to them.

TESTIMONIES OF THE CATHOLIC WORLD

All are aware with how much diligence this doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God has been handed down, proposed and defended by the most outstanding religious orders, by the more celebrated theological academies, and by very eminent doctors in the sciences of theology. All know, likewise, how eager the bishops have been to profess openly and publicly, even in ecclesiastical assemblies, that Mary, the most holy Mother of God, by virtue of the foreseen merits of Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, was never subject to original sin, but was completely preserved from the original taint, and hence she was redeemed in a manner more sublime.
http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_pi09id.htm
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« Reply #104 on: December 25, 2010, 10:51:51 PM »

Here is one perspective from an Orthodox source. http://web.archive.org/web/20070728015648/http://www.philthompson.net/pages/faq/12.html

Quote
The immaculate conception dogma is a response to a situation created by the Roman Catholic dogma of original sin. Following Augustine, Rome teaches that man inherits from Adam a "stain" of original sin - primarily manifested in concupiscence , the tendency to sin. So Rome is left with a need to explain how Christ could be born of a human parent yet without sin. The immaculate conception dogma tries to break this chain by making Mary the exception, not Christ.

By contrast, the Orthodox understanding is conveyed concisely in St Athanasius' treatise On the Incarnation (318 AD). When man (in the persons of Adam and Eve from whom we all derive our human nature) first sinned, he became separated from God. This separation from God is what Orthodox understand to be original sin and it has two consequences: First, separated from the source of all good, man becomes morally corrupt, with an innate tendency to sin; secondly, separated from the source of all Being, man begins to return to his original state, the nothing from which God created him. Corruption and death come into the world.

In other words, original sin in the Orthodox understanding is not a "stain" but an absence. And there is no need to figure out how Christ failed to inherit it along with His human nature from His mother, because the Incarnation itself is the end of the separation. In Himself, from the moment of Incarnation, Christ was both God and Man and therefore His Human Nature never experienced the separation from God which all other humans suffer since the sin in the Garden and which is original sin. Christ does not give us life and righteousness as things apart from Himself; Christ Himself is our life and righteousness.


I don't have a problem with either interpretation (St Athanasius nor St. Augustine). What I do have a problem with, is how does it function (in regards to the Theotokos) in light of the determinations from the Council of Carthage 418?
Quote
CANON CXIII. (Greek cxiiii.)
That without the grace of God we can do no good thing.

It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justification was given to us only
that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our
free will; as if though grace was not given, although not easily, yet nevertheless we could even
without grace fulfil the divine commandments, let him be anathema.
For the Lord spake
concerning the fruits of the commandments, when he said: "Without me ye can do nothing," and
not "Without me ye could do it but with difficulty.]"

If without grace you are incapable, then without grace the Theotokos is incapable.
Without grace, neither she, nor any of us, would exist.

Abraham had grace to say yes, but he wasn't Immaculately Conceived.  The Theotokos wasn't either.

This is referring to Baptism. We don't need "the grace of justification" to exist.

I don't think anyone had to be "immaculately conceived", in general, but I do point out the need for an extra "grace of justification" to be Godly. That is, we can't be Godly without God.
And Abraham, Job, Daniel, Isaiah, Enoch, Elijah, Elizabeth, Zechariah and all the rest were godly with God.  And none were IC'd.
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« Reply #105 on: December 25, 2010, 11:02:55 PM »

They to would need God's grace. Would they not?


Edit: Though I'm not sure that ALL of them were "sinless", I really can't wrap my head around it. The EO position appears to deny the canon.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2010, 11:15:48 PM by Azurestone » Logged


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« Reply #106 on: December 25, 2010, 11:15:52 PM »

They to would need God's grace. Would they not?


Edit: I really can't wrap my head around it. The EO position appears to deny the canon.

I personally don't disagree with the canon.  Consider the fact that people need grace to repent, and to be convinced in the faith, and to be ready for the waters of baptism (so this is even before baptism).  This is the grace all humanity before the Incarnation had, including the Theotokos.  The grace was never abandoned, but full communion with the Tree of Life was abandoned.  That's the difference.
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« Reply #107 on: December 25, 2010, 11:26:36 PM »

They to would need God's grace. Would they not?


Edit: I really can't wrap my head around it. The EO position appears to deny the canon.

I personally don't disagree with the canon.  Consider the fact that people need grace to repent, and to be convinced in the faith, and to be ready for the waters of baptism (so this is even before baptism).  This is the grace all humanity before the Incarnation had, including the Theotokos.  The grace was never abandoned, but full communion with the Tree of Life was abandoned.  That's the difference.

Is that "justified grace" or just hearing the call of God, recognizing our separation? I would think the later.

I more readily agree with the partial depravity (EO) than the total depravity (RC). This allows us to do good, and recognize our faults. However, even in partial depravity, we are still deprived. It may allow some Godliness, but certainly not full Godliness (sinless). This is where the canon fits in, as I see it. That is, baptism is that grace filled mystery (sacrament) that gives us the spiritual completeness required to fully resist our own sinfulness. We can lose some of this through sin. Therefore, Confession grants us that return of grace we reject in sinful habit and temptation.

Where does the EO (or OO) differ?
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« Reply #108 on: December 25, 2010, 11:43:07 PM »

They to would need God's grace. Would they not?


Edit: I really can't wrap my head around it. The EO position appears to deny the canon.

I personally don't disagree with the canon.  Consider the fact that people need grace to repent, and to be convinced in the faith, and to be ready for the waters of baptism (so this is even before baptism).  This is the grace all humanity before the Incarnation had, including the Theotokos.  The grace was never abandoned, but full communion with the Tree of Life was abandoned.  That's the difference.

Is that "justified grace" or just hearing the call of God, recognizing our separation? I would think the later.

I more readily agree with the partial depravity (EO) than the total depravity (RC). This allows us to do good, and recognize our faults. However, even in partial depravity, we are still deprived. It may allow some Godliness, but certainly not full Godliness (sinless). This is where the canon fits in, as I see it. That is, baptism is that grace filled mystery (sacrament) that gives us the spiritual completeness required to fully resist our own sinfulness. We can lose some of this through sin. Therefore, Confession grants us that return of grace we reject in sinful habit and temptation.

Where does the EO (or OO) differ?

I'm not sure if Roman Catholics believe in total depravity, but I will say this.  If there was total depravity, Christ should have been incarnate immediately, notwithstanding to let his creation go with no hope of at least working out the will of God in their lives.

The idea of "sinless" as equivalent to "not full Godliness" I see as semantics.  EO's will say, "sin is action, not a state of existence" and yet they will admit to the fact that fallen mankind attains a gnomic will.  It seems to be consistent with the teaching of St. Athanasius, where man was put in Paradise and given one straightforward Law to guard the grace he had.  But being in the world where the natural carnal laws are, the grace is distracted, and gnomic will develops putting man in distraction and getting even worse than before in manner of sinning, on top of the fact that they have lost the perfect communion with the Tree of Life.

For Roman Catholics "sinless" can be action and can be that which gives man a gnomic will, I think.  Therefore, in your definition, yes, I would say the Theotokos before the Incarnation was not "sinless" but did strive the in the best way possible before the incarnation with the grace of God before the Incarnation.

OO's never really talked about a "gnomic will" but did define the concept of a will that is marred by the distractions of the world and the temptations of the devil.
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« Reply #109 on: December 26, 2010, 06:51:34 AM »

Dear brother LakaYaRabb,

Thank you for that piece. I must confess I don't know exactly what the author is trying to refute. Whatever it is, it doesn't look at all like the the Latin Catholic teaching.
Quote from: LakaYaRabb
The immaculate conception dogma is a response to a situation created by the Roman Catholic dogma of original sin. Following Augustine, Rome teaches that man inherits from Adam a "stain" of original sin - primarily manifested in concupiscence , the tendency to sin. So Rome is left with a need to explain how Christ could be born of a human parent yet without sin. The immaculate conception dogma tries to break this chain by making Mary the exception, not Christ.
I don't know where this author got all this. It's certainly not contained in the Apostolic Constitution on the Immaculate Conception, which is the authoritative explanation of the Decree.  The Apostolic Constitution explicitly gives the plain reason why Mary was immaculately conceived - In view of being Theotokos, it was necessary so that "she would triumph utterly over the ancient serpent." This is in view of the prophecy in Genesis that both the woman and her child would both be at emnity with Satan.  That's it.  The source you provided seems only interested in setting up a straw man to knock down. It's rather a non-starter for a discussion, since I can't discuss or defend something that the Catholic Church never proposed. 

Quote
By contrast, the Orthodox understanding is conveyed concisely in St Athanasius' treatise On the Incarnation (318 AD). When man (in the persons of Adam and Eve from whom we all derive our human nature) first sinned, he became separated from God. This separation from God is what Orthodox understand to be original sin and it has two consequences: First, separated from the source of all good, man becomes morally corrupt, with an innate tendency to sin; secondly, separated from the source of all Being, man begins to return to his original state, the nothing from which God created him. Corruption and death come into the world.

In other words, original sin in the Orthodox understanding is not a "stain" but an absence. And there is no need to figure out how Christ failed to inherit it along with His human nature from His mother, because the Incarnation itself is the end of the separation. In Himself, from the moment of Incarnation, Christ was both God and Man and therefore His Human Nature never experienced the separation from God which all other humans suffer since the sin in the Garden and which is original sin. Christ does not give us life and righteousness as things apart from Himself; Christ Himself is our life and righteousness.
That's an interesting point of view - it pretty much misrepresents the Latin catholic teaching. The fact of the matter is that the "stain" spoken of by the Latins IS an absence. Think of a shining figure of a man.  That is original holiness and justice.  Little spots appear on that shining figure. The spots are not a result of a postiive mass called sin. The spots are the result of loss (or absence) of holiness and justice due to sin.  The Latin teaching is very much Athanasian (and Augustinian).  IIRC, St. Athanasius also uses th imagery of spots or stains.  Were you aware of that, or do you want me to provide some quotes?

Would you also like me to give you some quotes from Magisterial Catholic sources demonstrating that the Latin Catholic teaching on "stain" is actually equivalent to an absence of something? I'm not sure if you've already read Trent on the matter.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #110 on: December 26, 2010, 07:00:08 AM »

Dear brother Mina,

I want to respond to you but I'm having a tough time inputting things on the response page.  The viewport keeps jumping up and down everytime I type, and I've accidently deleted everything I'd written twice already due to the annoying movement.

Do you have the same problem? What's the solution? Is it my browser? Do you do your work on a word processor and then just cut and paste everything back to the viewscreen?

Anyhow, please let me know (or anyone else). Thanks.

Blessings,
Marduk
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« Reply #111 on: December 26, 2010, 08:09:07 AM »

Here is one perspective from an Orthodox source. http://web.archive.org/web/20070728015648/http://www.philthompson.net/pages/faq/12.html

Quote
The immaculate conception dogma is a response to a situation created by the Roman Catholic dogma of original sin. Following Augustine, Rome teaches that man inherits from Adam a "stain" of original sin - primarily manifested in concupiscence , the tendency to sin. So Rome is left with a need to explain how Christ could be born of a human parent yet without sin. The immaculate conception dogma tries to break this chain by making Mary the exception, not Christ.

By contrast, the Orthodox understanding is conveyed concisely in St Athanasius' treatise On the Incarnation (318 AD). When man (in the persons of Adam and Eve from whom we all derive our human nature) first sinned, he became separated from God. This separation from God is what Orthodox understand to be original sin and it has two consequences: First, separated from the source of all good, man becomes morally corrupt, with an innate tendency to sin; secondly, separated from the source of all Being, man begins to return to his original state, the nothing from which God created him. Corruption and death come into the world.

In other words, original sin in the Orthodox understanding is not a "stain" but an absence. And there is no need to figure out how Christ failed to inherit it along with His human nature from His mother, because the Incarnation itself is the end of the separation. In Himself, from the moment of Incarnation, Christ was both God and Man and therefore His Human Nature never experienced the separation from God which all other humans suffer since the sin in the Garden and which is original sin. Christ does not give us life and righteousness as things apart from Himself; Christ Himself is our life and righteousness.


I don't have a problem with either interpretation (St Athanasius nor St. Augustine). What I do have a problem with, is how does it function (in regards to the Theotokos) in light of the determinations from the Council of Carthage 418?
Quote
CANON CXIII. (Greek cxiiii.)
That without the grace of God we can do no good thing.

It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justification was given to us only
that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our
free will; as if though grace was not given, although not easily, yet nevertheless we could even
without grace fulfil the divine commandments, let him be anathema.
For the Lord spake
concerning the fruits of the commandments, when he said: "Without me ye can do nothing," and
not "Without me ye could do it but with difficulty.]"

If without grace you are incapable, then without grace the Theotokos is incapable.
Without grace, neither she, nor any of us, would exist.

Abraham had grace to say yes, but he wasn't Immaculately Conceived.  The Theotokos wasn't either.

This is referring to Baptism. We don't need "the grace of justification" to exist.

I don't think anyone had to be "immaculately conceived", in general, but I do point out the need for an extra "grace of justification" to be Godly. That is, we can't be Godly without God.

Yes...in the image AND the likeness, she was conceived, though the likeness was not and still is not entirely restored even among the most highly sanctified, nor will it be until we are reunited with our glorified bodies at the final judgment.
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« Reply #112 on: December 26, 2010, 08:09:08 AM »

Here is one perspective from an Orthodox source. http://web.archive.org/web/20070728015648/http://www.philthompson.net/pages/faq/12.html

Quote
The immaculate conception dogma is a response to a situation created by the Roman Catholic dogma of original sin. Following Augustine, Rome teaches that man inherits from Adam a "stain" of original sin - primarily manifested in concupiscence , the tendency to sin. So Rome is left with a need to explain how Christ could be born of a human parent yet without sin. The immaculate conception dogma tries to break this chain by making Mary the exception, not Christ.

By contrast, the Orthodox understanding is conveyed concisely in St Athanasius' treatise On the Incarnation (318 AD). When man (in the persons of Adam and Eve from whom we all derive our human nature) first sinned, he became separated from God. This separation from God is what Orthodox understand to be original sin and it has two consequences: First, separated from the source of all good, man becomes morally corrupt, with an innate tendency to sin; secondly, separated from the source of all Being, man begins to return to his original state, the nothing from which God created him. Corruption and death come into the world.

In other words, original sin in the Orthodox understanding is not a "stain" but an absence. And there is no need to figure out how Christ failed to inherit it along with His human nature from His mother, because the Incarnation itself is the end of the separation. In Himself, from the moment of Incarnation, Christ was both God and Man and therefore His Human Nature never experienced the separation from God which all other humans suffer since the sin in the Garden and which is original sin. Christ does not give us life and righteousness as things apart from Himself; Christ Himself is our life and righteousness.


I don't have a problem with either interpretation (St Athanasius nor St. Augustine). What I do have a problem with, is how does it function (in regards to the Theotokos) in light of the determinations from the Council of Carthage 418?
Quote
CANON CXIII. (Greek cxiiii.)
That without the grace of God we can do no good thing.

It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justification was given to us only
that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our
free will; as if though grace was not given, although not easily, yet nevertheless we could even
without grace fulfil the divine commandments, let him be anathema.
For the Lord spake
concerning the fruits of the commandments, when he said: "Without me ye can do nothing," and
not "Without me ye could do it but with difficulty.]"

If without grace you are incapable, then without grace the Theotokos is incapable.
Without grace, neither she, nor any of us, would exist.

Abraham had grace to say yes, but he wasn't Immaculately Conceived.  The Theotokos wasn't either.

This is referring to Baptism. We don't need "the grace of justification" to exist.

I don't think anyone had to be "immaculately conceived", in general, but I do point out the need for an extra "grace of justification" to be Godly. That is, we can't be Godly without God.
And Abraham, Job, Daniel, Isaiah, Enoch, Elijah, Elizabeth, Zechariah and all the rest were godly with God.  And none were IC'd.

This then raises the question of the necessity of Baptism...

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« Reply #113 on: December 26, 2010, 11:19:32 AM »

This then raises the question of the necessity of Baptism...
Who said that was necessary?  Wink
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« Reply #114 on: December 26, 2010, 12:00:07 PM »

This then raises the question of the necessity of Baptism...
Who said that was necessary?  Wink

 laugh  This latter part of the thread here has me wondering...not who said...by why bother...
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« Reply #115 on: December 26, 2010, 03:22:19 PM »

Dear brother Mina,

I want to respond to you but I'm having a tough time inputting things on the response page.  The viewport keeps jumping up and down everytime I type, and I've accidently deleted everything I'd written twice already due to the annoying movement.

Do you have the same problem? What's the solution? Is it my browser? Do you do your work on a word processor and then just cut and paste everything back to the viewscreen?

Anyhow, please let me know (or anyone else). Thanks.

Blessings,
Marduk

Try a different browser.  That could be the problem.
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« Reply #116 on: December 26, 2010, 03:30:50 PM »

Quote
I don't have a problem with either interpretation (St Athanasius nor St. Augustine). What I do have a problem with, is how does it function (in regards to the Theotokos) in light of the determinations from the Council of Carthage 418?

The canons of this councils are upheld by the Orthodox Church. It is very clear that the Orthodox Church rejects Augustinian theological formulation pertaining to original sin, justice and holiness. This is alien to the theology of the Church. Rather, St. John Cassian explains well our defense against the Pelagian heresy. The canons are received and upheld in the sense that they condemn Pelagain theology. We do not accept the Augustinian formulation that St. Augustine used against Pelagius.
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« Reply #117 on: December 26, 2010, 03:37:24 PM »

Quote
This is referring to Baptism. We don't need "the grace of justification" to exist.

I don't think anyone had to be "immaculately conceived", in general, but I do point out the need for an extra "grace of justification" to be Godly. That is, we can't be Godly without God.

Taken from orthodoxwiki:

Christ’s righteousness is imparted to man in a transformative manner through Christ and his death on the Cross.

We emphasize synergy.

Since the righteousness is offered and imparted to the Christian in love, the Orthodox Christian believes that man is, likewise, free to reject Christ’s righteousness and offer of salvation. For there is no love apart from freedom – coercion and slavery are characteristics that are incompatible with a perfect love. There are assurances in Scripture that God will hold close to himself those who are of his fold, and the Christian can rest confidently in this fact. But, we are just as free to reject God and his love as we are to embrace him.

Found here: http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Justification
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« Reply #118 on: December 26, 2010, 03:39:37 PM »

Further, Man after the fall has a Gnomic Will. Christ does not. Orthodox Theologians will say that the Theotokos did have a Gnomic Will. She had to 'struggle' and strive. She always followed God's Will and therefore is not only an example to us, but also the first Christian. This is why we call Her Immaculate and blameless.
As I see it, this is simply an application by extension of the teaching of Constantinople III on the two natural wills and energies in Christ.


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« Reply #119 on: December 26, 2010, 03:42:18 PM »

Quote
She had no perpetual spiritual state, as her state before the Annuciation changed afterwards, and after her Assumption different yet again.

Ialmisry,

This is exactly the crux of the issue, isn't it? As Orthodox we will say the Theotokos continued to strive her whole life, from Glory to Glory! The Roman Catholic teaching of the Immaculate Conception is that the Theotokos was given a singular and special Grace from the moment of her conception that preserved her free from original sin. This teaching proclaims she indeed has a perpetual spiritual state.
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« Reply #120 on: December 26, 2010, 03:44:58 PM »

Here is one perspective from an Orthodox source. http://web.archive.org/web/20070728015648/http://www.philthompson.net/pages/faq/12.html

Quote
The immaculate conception dogma is a response to a situation created by the Roman Catholic dogma of original sin. Following Augustine, Rome teaches that man inherits from Adam a "stain" of original sin - primarily manifested in concupiscence , the tendency to sin. So Rome is left with a need to explain how Christ could be born of a human parent yet without sin. The immaculate conception dogma tries to break this chain by making Mary the exception, not Christ.

By contrast, the Orthodox understanding is conveyed concisely in St Athanasius' treatise On the Incarnation (318 AD). When man (in the persons of Adam and Eve from whom we all derive our human nature) first sinned, he became separated from God. This separation from God is what Orthodox understand to be original sin and it has two consequences: First, separated from the source of all good, man becomes morally corrupt, with an innate tendency to sin; secondly, separated from the source of all Being, man begins to return to his original state, the nothing from which God created him. Corruption and death come into the world.

In other words, original sin in the Orthodox understanding is not a "stain" but an absence. And there is no need to figure out how Christ failed to inherit it along with His human nature from His mother, because the Incarnation itself is the end of the separation. In Himself, from the moment of Incarnation, Christ was both God and Man and therefore His Human Nature never experienced the separation from God which all other humans suffer since the sin in the Garden and which is original sin. Christ does not give us life and righteousness as things apart from Himself; Christ Himself is our life and righteousness.


I don't have a problem with either interpretation (St Athanasius nor St. Augustine). What I do have a problem with, is how does it function (in regards to the Theotokos) in light of the determinations from the Council of Carthage 418?
Quote
CANON CXIII. (Greek cxiiii.)
That without the grace of God we can do no good thing.

It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justification was given to us only
that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our
free will; as if though grace was not given, although not easily, yet nevertheless we could even
without grace fulfil the divine commandments, let him be anathema.
For the Lord spake
concerning the fruits of the commandments, when he said: "Without me ye can do nothing," and
not "Without me ye could do it but with difficulty.]"

If without grace you are incapable, then without grace the Theotokos is incapable.
Without grace, neither she, nor any of us, would exist.

Abraham had grace to say yes, but he wasn't Immaculately Conceived.  The Theotokos wasn't either.

This is referring to Baptism. We don't need "the grace of justification" to exist.

I don't think anyone had to be "immaculately conceived", in general, but I do point out the need for an extra "grace of justification" to be Godly. That is, we can't be Godly without God.
And Abraham, Job, Daniel, Isaiah, Enoch, Elijah, Elizabeth, Zechariah and all the rest were godly with God.  And none were IC'd.

This then raises the question of the necessity of Baptism...
Not among us who believe in the regeneratioin of being baptized into Christ.
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« Reply #121 on: December 26, 2010, 03:45:17 PM »

Quote
This is the grace all humanity before the Incarnation had, including the Theotokos.  The grace was never abandoned, but full communion with the Tree of Life was abandoned.  That's the difference.

Mina,

I think this is exactly the point both the EO and the OO are making. This is most likely why it would seem we are closer to each other on this teaching than either of us with the Roman Catholic Church.
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« Reply #122 on: December 26, 2010, 03:46:28 PM »

Quote
She had no perpetual spiritual state, as her state before the Annuciation changed afterwards, and after her Assumption different yet again.

Ialmisry,

This is exactly the crux of the issue, isn't it? As Orthodox we will say the Theotokos continued to strive her whole life, from Glory to Glory! The Roman Catholic teaching of the Immaculate Conception is that the Theotokos was given a singular and special Grace from the moment of her conception that preserved her free from original sin. This teaching proclaims she indeed has a perpetual spiritual state.
Yes. She was somewhat stuck in neutral, according to the IC.
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« Reply #123 on: December 26, 2010, 03:48:37 PM »

Here is one perspective from an Orthodox source. http://web.archive.org/web/20070728015648/http://www.philthompson.net/pages/faq/12.html

Quote
The immaculate conception dogma is a response to a situation created by the Roman Catholic dogma of original sin. Following Augustine, Rome teaches that man inherits from Adam a "stain" of original sin - primarily manifested in concupiscence , the tendency to sin. So Rome is left with a need to explain how Christ could be born of a human parent yet without sin. The immaculate conception dogma tries to break this chain by making Mary the exception, not Christ.

By contrast, the Orthodox understanding is conveyed concisely in St Athanasius' treatise On the Incarnation (318 AD). When man (in the persons of Adam and Eve from whom we all derive our human nature) first sinned, he became separated from God. This separation from God is what Orthodox understand to be original sin and it has two consequences: First, separated from the source of all good, man becomes morally corrupt, with an innate tendency to sin; secondly, separated from the source of all Being, man begins to return to his original state, the nothing from which God created him. Corruption and death come into the world.

In other words, original sin in the Orthodox understanding is not a "stain" but an absence. And there is no need to figure out how Christ failed to inherit it along with His human nature from His mother, because the Incarnation itself is the end of the separation. In Himself, from the moment of Incarnation, Christ was both God and Man and therefore His Human Nature never experienced the separation from God which all other humans suffer since the sin in the Garden and which is original sin. Christ does not give us life and righteousness as things apart from Himself; Christ Himself is our life and righteousness.


I don't have a problem with either interpretation (St Athanasius nor St. Augustine). What I do have a problem with, is how does it function (in regards to the Theotokos) in light of the determinations from the Council of Carthage 418?
Quote
CANON CXIII. (Greek cxiiii.)
That without the grace of God we can do no good thing.

It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justification was given to us only
that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our
free will; as if though grace was not given, although not easily, yet nevertheless we could even
without grace fulfil the divine commandments, let him be anathema.
For the Lord spake
concerning the fruits of the commandments, when he said: "Without me ye can do nothing," and
not "Without me ye could do it but with difficulty.]"

If without grace you are incapable, then without grace the Theotokos is incapable.
Without grace, neither she, nor any of us, would exist.

Abraham had grace to say yes, but he wasn't Immaculately Conceived.  The Theotokos wasn't either.

This is referring to Baptism. We don't need "the grace of justification" to exist.

I don't think anyone had to be "immaculately conceived", in general, but I do point out the need for an extra "grace of justification" to be Godly. That is, we can't be Godly without God.
And Abraham, Job, Daniel, Isaiah, Enoch, Elijah, Elizabeth, Zechariah and all the rest were godly with God.  And none were IC'd.

This then raises the question of the necessity of Baptism...
Not among us who believe in the regeneratioin of being baptized into Christ.

Taken with the rest of the comments above, this assertion is less that assuring except at a most superficial level...however sincere.  

M.
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« Reply #124 on: December 26, 2010, 03:51:46 PM »

Quote
Would you also like me to give you some quotes from Magisterial Catholic sources demonstrating that the Latin Catholic teaching on "stain" is actually equivalent to an absence of something? I'm not sure if you've already read Trent on the matter.

Brother, thank you fro your explanation. It is true that many Orthodox are convinced that the Roman Catholic Church always taught and has never really abandoned the Augustinian theology behind the western explanation of original sin, justification and holiness (also, sanctification, atonement and justification).

Personally, I am not convinced that modern Roman Catholic Theology teaches or uses the Augustinian theology. In fact, posters like yourself and Mary have taken the time to explain many terms that could be confusing to us Orthodox Christians. I will take you (and any Roman Catholic) at your word that you represent the correct understanding of Roman Catholic Theology on these matters.
  
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« Reply #125 on: December 26, 2010, 03:55:19 PM »

Quote
This then raises the question of the necessity of Baptism..
.

Sincerely I say that Holy Baptism is held as necessary. Of course God Alone judges a man's heart. Holy Baptism cleanses from Original Sin. It makes us a member of the Holy Community. We put off the old man and put on the New Man.

"All those who have been Baptized into Christ, have put on Christ, Alleluia!"

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« Reply #126 on: December 26, 2010, 03:58:02 PM »

Quote
As I see it, this is simply an application by extension of the teaching of Constantinople III on the two natural wills and energies in Christ.

Christ is born! Glorify Him! It is a great Joy to see you post in this thread!

I had the exactly this in mind. 

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« Reply #127 on: December 26, 2010, 04:00:16 PM »

Quote
Taken with the rest of the comments above, this assertion is less that assuring except at a most superficial level...however sincere.


I'm not sure I understand why this is the case for you? Perhaps this is a case of talking past each other? Why is it less than assuring for you?
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« Reply #128 on: December 26, 2010, 04:06:31 PM »

Dear brother LakaYaRabb,

Thank you for that piece. I must confess I don't know exactly what the author is trying to refute. Whatever it is, it doesn't look at all like the the Latin Catholic teaching.
Quote from: LakaYaRabb
The immaculate conception dogma is a response to a situation created by the Roman Catholic dogma of original sin. Following Augustine, Rome teaches that man inherits from Adam a "stain" of original sin - primarily manifested in concupiscence , the tendency to sin. So Rome is left with a need to explain how Christ could be born of a human parent yet without sin. The immaculate conception dogma tries to break this chain by making Mary the exception, not Christ.
I don't know where this author got all this.
Um, from the Vatican's preachers.
Was listening to Fr. Larry Richards, who was talking about the Gospel of Luke, and got swerved into the IC.

He stated that the Theotokos "was immaculately conceived because Jesus could not assume sinful flesh...it was because of Him, not her, that she was conceived free from original sin....because her blood would be the blood that flowed in His veins." He then justified this by saying that "God is the eternal now....right now He is creating the world, right now he is bringing the world to the end...He doesn't see things in past, present, and future...just now..."

Well, of course, this all denies that God the Word took the form of a servant in the days of Augustus and Herod, and became sin for us.
became sin?
Him, who knew no sin, He hath made sin for us, that we might be made the justice of God in Him. II Cor. 5:21


It's certainly not contained in the Apostolic Constitution on the Immaculate Conception,
Um, the first paragraph:
Quote
....having foreseen from all eternity the lamentable wretchedness of the entire human race which would result from the sin of Adam, decreed, by a plan hidden from the centuries, to complete the first work of his goodness by a mystery yet more wondrously sublime through the Incarnation of the Word. This he decreed in order that man who, contrary to the plan of Divine Mercy had been led into sin by the cunning malice of Satan, should not perish; and in order that what had been lost in the first Adam would be gloriously restored in the Second Adam. From the very beginning, and before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, he would be born into this world. Above all creatures did God so lover her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight. Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin,...To her did the Father will to give his only-begotten Son -- the Son whom, equal to the Father and begotten by him, the Father loves from his heart -- and to give this Son in such a way that he would be the one and the same common Son of God the Father and of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was she whom the Son himself chose to make his Mother and it was from her that the Holy Spirit willed and brought it about that he should be conceived and born from whom he himself proceeds.

which is the authoritative explanation of the Decree.  The Apostolic Constitution explicitly gives the plain reason why Mary was immaculately conceived - In view of being Theotokos, it was necessary so that "she would triumph utterly over the ancient serpent." This is in view of the prophecy in Genesis
A "prophecy" based on Jerome's mistranslation, which even the Vatican's doesn't hold to anymore.

that both the woman and her child would both be at emnity with Satan.  That's it.  The source you provided seems only interested in setting up a straw man to knock down.
Straw men ordained by the Vatican.

It's rather a non-starter for a discussion, since I can't discuss or defend something that the Catholic Church never proposed. 
Neither does it seem you can defend something the Vatican preaches.

Quote from: LakaYaRabb
By contrast, the Orthodox understanding is conveyed concisely in St Athanasius' treatise On the Incarnation (318 AD). When man (in the persons of Adam and Eve from whom we all derive our human nature) first sinned, he became separated from God. This separation from God is what Orthodox understand to be original sin and it has two consequences: First, separated from the source of all good, man becomes morally corrupt, with an innate tendency to sin; secondly, separated from the source of all Being, man begins to return to his original state, the nothing from which God created him. Corruption and death come into the world.

In other words, original sin in the Orthodox understanding is not a "stain" but an absence. And there is no need to figure out how Christ failed to inherit it along with His human nature from His mother, because the Incarnation itself is the end of the separation. In Himself, from the moment of Incarnation, Christ was both God and Man and therefore His Human Nature never experienced the separation from God which all other humans suffer since the sin in the Garden and which is original sin. Christ does not give us life and righteousness as things apart from Himself; Christ Himself is our life and righteousness.
That's an interesting point of view - it pretty much misrepresents the Latin catholic teaching. The fact of the matter is that the "stain" spoken of by the Latins IS an absence. Think of a shining figure of a man.  That is original holiness and justice.  Little spots appear on that shining figure. The spots are not a result of a postiive mass called sin. The spots are the result of loss (or absence) of holiness and justice due to sin.  The Latin teaching is very much Athanasian (and Augustinian).  IIRC, St. Athanasius also uses th imagery of spots or stains.  Were you aware of that, or do you want me to provide some quotes?
For once, provide the quotes and don't just promise them.

Would you also like me to give you some quotes from Magisterial Catholic sources demonstrating that the Latin Catholic teaching on "stain" is actually equivalent to an absence of something? I'm not sure if you've already read Trent on the matter.
yes, provide the quotes.
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« Reply #129 on: December 26, 2010, 05:31:27 PM »

Quote
Taken with the rest of the comments above, this assertion is less that assuring except at a most superficial level...however sincere.


I'm not sure I understand why this is the case for you? Perhaps this is a case of talking past each other? Why is it less than assuring for you?

Too convoluted to go back and untangle the logic now that the moment has passed.  It's ok.  I don't really doubt Orthodox baptismal theology.  Just that there were assertions made that seemed to make it seem irrelevant.  You have to add the comments on the patriarchs and grace with the MIS-perceptions of the Immaculate Conception and grace to have the dis-connect make sense...but since most Orthodox don't see their missed perceptions then the humor...as well as the logic...are lost.

M.
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« Reply #130 on: December 26, 2010, 08:14:56 PM »

Since the Coptic tradition has been invoked
Quote
7 Mesori (August) - Announciation of the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Joachim.


On this day, God sent His honorable angel Gabriel to announce to St. Joachim of the birth of the Virgin, the mother of the incarnated God. This righteous man and his wife St. Anna (Hannah) were stricken in years and had no children for Anna was barren. The children of Israel used to insult him because he had not begotten a son. Because of this, these two saints were sad, and prayed continually, and entreated God by day and by night. They vowed that the child they would beget would be made a steward for the temple.

While St. Joachim was praying over the mountain, he fell into a deep sleep and Gabriel, the angel of the Lord, appeared to him and announced to him that his wife Anna would conceive and bear a child, that would delight his eyes and please his heart; and likewise all the world would rejoice and be glad. When he woke from his sleep, he came to his house, and told his wife about the vision, which she believed. Anna conceived forthwith, and brought forth our Lady, the Virgin Mary, and St. Anna became more honorable than all the women of the world.

May her intercession be with us. Amen.

Intreagued by this difference in date, I can across this
Quote
1 Pachons (May) - The birth of St. Mary.


On this day the church celebrates the birth of the pure Virgin St. Mary, the Mother of God (Theotokos), through whom Salvation came to mankind. She was born in the city of Nazareth, where her parents lived. Her father was grieved in his heart for he could not offer an offering to God for he did not have any children. In the fullness of time according to the Divine Will, the angel of the Lord was sent to announce Joachim, her father, while he was on the mountain praying, and said to him: "The Lord will give you offspring through whom salvation comes to the world."

Immediately he went down the mountain believing what the angel told him, and he told his wife Anna of what he saw and heard. She rejoiced, gave thanks to the Lord, and vowed that the child who was to be born to her would become a servant in the house of the Lord all the days of her/his life. She conceived, and gave birth to this Saint and called her Mary who had become the Queen of all women of the world, and through her we have received the grace.

May her intercession be with us, and glory be to God forever. Amen.


Quote
3 Koiahk (December) - The Entry of the most Holy Theotokos into the temple at Jerusalem.


On this day we commemorate the entrance of our holy Lady, the Virgin, Saint Mary, the Theotokos, into the Temple when she was three years old, for she was dedicated to God. Her mother, Anna (Hannah), was childless. The women who were in the Temple stayed away from her. She was exceedingly sad and so was her husband Joachim who was a blessed old man. She prayed to God fervently and with a contrite heart saying, "If You give me a fruit, I will devote the child to Your Holy Temple." God answered her prayers and she brought forth this pure saint and called her Mary.

She reared her for three years, after which she took her to live with the virgins in the Temple. Saint Mary dwelt in the sanctuary for 12 years. She received her food from the hands of the angels, until the time when our Lord Christ came into the world, and was incarnated through her, the elect of all women.

When she had completed 12 years in the sanctuary, the priests took counsel together concerning her, so that they might entrust her to someone who would protect her, for she was consecrated to God and they were not allowed to keep her in the temple after this age. They decided that she be engaged to a man who could take care of her and who would look after her.

They gathered 12 righteous men from the house of David of the Tribe of Juda so they might place her with one of them. They took their staffs inside the Sanctuary, and a dove flew up and stood on the staff belonging to Joseph the carpenter who was a righteous man. They knew that this was God's will.

Joseph took the holy Virgin St. Mary, and she dwelt with him until Gabriel, the Angel of the Lord, came to her and announced to her that the Son of God was to be incarnated from her, for the salvation of Adam and his posterity.

Her intercession be with us and Glory be to our God forever. Amen.
And this difference between the Dormition and the Assumption:
Quote
21 Tobi (January) - The falling asleep of our Lady, the Theotokos, St. Mary.

On this day, Our Lady, the all pure, Virgin St. Mary, the Mother of God, departed. As she was always praying in the holy sepulchre, the Holy Spirit informed her that she was about to depart from this temporal world. When the time of her departure arrived, the virgins of the Mount of Olives came to her, with the apostles, who were still alive, and they surrounded her bed. The Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom is the glory, with a host of thousands and thousands of angels came to her and comforted her and told her about the eternal joy that was prepared for her, and she rejoiced. The apostles and the virgins asked her to bless them. She stretched her hand and blessed them all, and she gave up her pure spirit in the hand of her Son and God, and He took her spirit to the heavenly mansions.

The apostles prepared the body in a fitting manner and carried it to Gethsemane. Some of the Jews blocked their way to prevent them from burying the body. One of the Jews seized the coffin with his hands, which were separated instantly from his body and they remained attached to the coffin. He regretted his evil deed and wept bitterly. Through the supplications of the saintly apostles, his hands were reattached to his body, and he believed in the Lord Christ. When they placed the body in the tomb, the Lord hid it from them.

St. Thomas the Apostle was not present at the time of St. Mary's departure. He wanted to go to Jerusalem and a cloud carried him there. On his way, he saw the pure body of St. Mary carried by the angels and ascended to heaven with it. One of the angels told him, "Make haste and kiss the pure body of St. Mary," and he did.

When St. Thomas arrived where the disciples were, they told him about St. Mary's departure and he said to them, "You know how I conducted myself at the resurrection of the Lord Christ, and I will not believe unless I see her body." They went with him to the tomb, and uncovered the place of the body but they did not find it, and everyone was perplexed and surprised. St. Thomas told them how he saw the holy body and the angels that were ascending with it. They heard the Holy Spirit saying to them, "The Lord did not will to leave her body on earth." The Lord had promised his pure apostles to let them see her in the flesh once again. They were waiting for this promise to be fulfilled, until the 16th day of the month of Misra, when the promise was fulfilled and they saw her.

The years of her life on earth were 60 years. She was 12 years old when she left the temple. She spent 34 years in Joseph's house, until the Ascension of the Lord, and 14 years with St. John the Evangelist, according to the commandment of the Lord which he told her at the cross, "Behold, this is your son," and to St. John, "Behold, this is your mother."

Her intercession and blessings be with us. Amen.
Quote
16 Mesori (August) - Commemoration of the Assumption of the Theotokos.


On this day, was the assumption of the body of our pure Lady St. Mary, the Mother of God. While she was keeping vigil, praying in the Holy Sepulchre, and waiting for the happy minute of her liberation from the bonds of the flesh, the Holy Spirit informed her of her forthcoming departure from this vain world. When the time drew near, the disciples and the virgins of the Mt. of Olives (Zeiton) came and the Lady was lying on her bed. Our Lord, surrounded by thousands and thousands of angels, came to Her. He consoled her, and announced her with the everlasting joy which was prepared for Her. She was happy, and she stretched out her hands, blessed the Disciples, and the Virgins. Then, she delivered up her pure soul in the hand of her Son and God, Jesus Christ, Who ascended her to the higher habitations. As of the pure body, they shrouded it and carried it to Gethsemane.

On their way, some of the Jews blocked the way in the face of the disciples to prevent the burial. One of them seized the coffin. His hands were separated from his body, and remained hanging until he believed and repented for his mischievous deed. With the prayers of the holy disciples, his hands were reattached to his body as they had been before.

St. Thomas was absent at the time of St. Mary's departure, but he came after the burial. On his way back to Jerusalem, St. Thomas saw angels carrying St. Mary's pure body and ascending with it to heaven, and one of the angels said to him, "Hurry and kiss the pure body of St. Mary." When he arrived to the disciples, they informed him about St. Mary's departure. He told them, "I will not believe, unless I see her body, as you all know how I did doubt the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ before." They took him to the tomb, to uncover the body but they did not find it, and they were perplexed and amazed. St. Thomas told them how he saw the pure body ascending to heaven, carried by angels.

The Holy Spirit then told them, "The Lord did not Will to leave Her Holy body on earth." The Lord had promised his pure apostles that they would see her in flesh another time. They were waiting for the fulfillment of this truthful promise, until the sixteenth day of the month of Misra, when the promise of seeing her was fulfilled. They saw her sitting on the right hand of her Son and her Lord, surrounded by the angelic Host, as David prophesied and said, "At your right hand stands the queen." (Psalm 45:9) St. Mary's life on earth was sixty years. She spent twelve years of them in the temple, thirty years in the house of the righteous St. Joseph, and fourteen years in the care of St. John the Evangelist, as the Lord commanded her saying, "Woman behold your Son," and to St. John, "Behold your Mother."

May Her intercession be with us. Amen.
http://st-takla.org/Feastes-&-Special-Events/Virgin-Mary-Fast/Saint-Mary-Fast_Virgin-Life-Hymns-mp3s-10-St-Mary-in-the-Synaxariam.html#16%20Mesori%20(August)%20-%20Commemoration%20of%20the%20Assumption%20of%20the%20Theotokos.

I had originally started looking because the month of Koiak, which begins December 10, is dedicated to the Theotokos.  If it needs to be extended before December 10, so that there are four Sundays in the 30 days, it is done so.  The Conception of St. Anne is on 13 Koiak. But no IC.
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« Reply #131 on: December 28, 2010, 12:02:51 AM »

HIYWOT,

You wrote about Psalm 132:
Quote
“Rise up, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the Ark of thy strength” (Psalm 132:8 ). Truly, Christ is gone up into the holy resting place. David said, "Rise up" for He[Christ] arose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. And David said the same to the Lord’s true Ark of the Covenant, for She also arose from the dead.

In Psalm 132, David says he will not sleep:
5 Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. 
6 Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
7 We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.
8 Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.
9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.


Tabernacle means "dwelling place"
In Psalm 132, does the Lord's resting place refer to his dwelling place, the tabernacle? In what sense would the Lord rise to it?

rakovsky,

We believe that Psalms 132:8 is a prophetic verse telling the resurrection of Jesus Christ to heaven.
In its raw reading, as we call it, David built a sanctuary for the Lord and is praying that He come and dwell in that sanctuary or tabernacle as you said. For us that is simply the "raw reading".

Hiywot,

Thanks for responding!

You are right that "In its raw reading, as we call it, David built a sanctuary for the Lord and is praying that He come and dwell in that sanctuary or tabernacle as you said. For us that is simply the "raw reading"."

I understand that you believe that Psalms 132:8 is a prophetic verse telling the resurrection of Jesus Christ to heaven. But I am confused how you reach such an interpretation of the verse.

I do believe, however, that the Psalms predict the Messiah's resurrection, as I wrote on my website rakovskii.livejournal.com .

Happy Nativity!
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« Reply #132 on: February 18, 2011, 02:46:04 AM »

In the book "The Mother of God," by the Armenian Apostolic Vartabed Vatche Iknadiossian, he states, "the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, officially proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church in 1854, was not officially proclaimed by our Church. Nevertheless we celebrate it as a very great feast, on 9th December (instead of 8th).  During the feast we find the following hymns:
 
"Thou art the Flower which cannot wither,

Thy birth was free from the condemnation of original sin,

Immaculate, holy Virgin, We glorify thee!"

"Living Eden. Tree of immortal life

guarded on every way by the flashing sword."

"Thanks to thy stainless and spotless purity, Thou art good!

Thanks to thine immaculate holiness thou art a Tutelary Advocate!"

-composed by St. Gregory of Narek, AD 951-1003


Ghazar,

I tried finding that prayer in St. Nareg's Book of Lamentations, but I could not.  Thinking it could perhaps be one of his other prayers, I contacted someone I know who has studied the hymnology of the Church extensively.  She said she has never seen this prayer before and cannot find it among any of the prayers attributed to St. Nareg.  She also said St. Nareg never wrote in that style, and that any mention of "original sin" in a hymn would be an anachronism for the Armenian Church in the 10th century.  In short, she has doubts about the authenticity of the prayer, or at least its translation.

Do you have the original Classical Armenian of the prayer?  Do you have any other information about it other than what you read in the book by Fr. Iknadossian?

She also said she looked in the Sharagnots for the Feast of the Virgin's Conception, and can't find that particular hymn there. 

Do you have any other information that can help us find the hymn?


Also, something else she mentioned, which I did not know, was that the Feast of the Virgin's Conception is not that ancient in the Armenian Church and does not have its own canon for the hymns that are supposed to be sung.  Rather, it just borrows the canon used for the Birth of the Virgin, which is an older feast.

Anyway, this is an interesting topic.  If you have any other information that can shed light on the above prayer, I would be interested in it.
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« Reply #133 on: February 18, 2011, 09:17:29 PM »

Just to clarify the above:  It's not just that a prayer that resembles what is quoted above can't be found, but there is no sharagan, dagh or kants by St. Nareg that resembles it.  (I wanted to be more precise since what was quoted was not really a prayer, but rather a hymn or a dagh.)    Again, the Classical Armenian original would be helpful.
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« Reply #134 on: August 17, 2012, 12:13:17 AM »

The latest issue of the Glastonbury Review (Issue 122) has an article entitled "An Orthodox View of the Catholic Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

http://britishorthodox.org/glastonburyreview/issue-122-an-orthodox-view-of-the-catholic-doctrine-of-the-immaculate-conception-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary/
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« Reply #135 on: August 17, 2012, 12:58:18 AM »

The latest issue of the Glastonbury Review (Issue 122) has an article entitled "An Orthodox View of the Catholic Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary."

http://britishorthodox.org/glastonburyreview/issue-122-an-orthodox-view-of-the-catholic-doctrine-of-the-immaculate-conception-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary/
Who wrote this?
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 01:10:09 AM by Severian » Logged

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« Reply #136 on: August 17, 2012, 01:09:13 AM »

I think Abba Seraphim is the author.
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« Reply #137 on: August 17, 2012, 01:10:19 AM »

I think Abba Seraphim is the author.
Thanks.
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