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Author Topic: The Orthodoxy of the Great St. Augustine of Hippo  (Read 2982 times) Average Rating: 0
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agustinus
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« on: May 09, 2010, 05:44:58 PM »

I read through some of the discussion and posts on the forum regarding St. Augustine, my patron Saint. This Holy Father's name was given to me at my monastic tonsure, and since receiving his name I have been eager to help demonstrate that this pillar of Orthodox piety is much misunderstood in the Orthodox Church today. I would like, therefore, to consecrate a thread to his patronage, which avoids polemics and insults, but focuses upon the ways in which Augustine may credibly receive an Orthodox reading and interpretation when due care is taken while reading him. For those who recognize that this Saint is indeed an Holy Father (as proclaimed by the writings of Saints and Fathers, and confirmed beyond any shadow of doubt for the pious Orthodox believer by the 5th and 6th Ecumenical Councils - and, implicitly, by the 7th and other Pan-Orthodox synods thereafter), I ask you to keep posts here non-polemical, but reverent and positive, focusing on the actual Orthodoxy of St. Augustine. For those of you who do not hold him sacred, I hope the polite request of an unworthy monk will persuade you to show me this courtesy, even if you disagree with views expressed here. There are many other threads polemicizing against Blessed Augustine; I only ask that this one would not do so. And to those who would respond that posting on a public forum invites criticism, I would reply that this is not necessarily so, especially if there are plenty of venues for polemics at hand. Link to a post on one of the polemical threads, if you like, but please for charity's sake try not to polemicize against St. Augustine within this thread.

I attach here a short essay I once wrote, slightly modified for this forum, on how the seemingly complex attitude of St. Augustine towards man's free will and the role of grace in salvation, is exactly parallelled in St. Maximos the Confessor's teaching on the gnomic vs. the natural will... a doctrine enshrined as Dogma, at the 6th Ecumenical Council! I hope this essay shows how St. Augustine is often misunderstood. I feel that the misunderstanding of St. Augustine is the result of several factors - the fog of bad interpretation by Scholastics and Protestants, the complexities involved in Augustine's own shifting between multiple vantage points when discussing an issue that admits of many angles of attack, the lack of Latin skills amongst those who read Augustine (coupled with the Calvinistic influences in the Eerdman's translations, which are usually the only ones read by modern critics of Augustine), and a revisionist model of Orthodox theology that attempts to attack the "West," but winds up undermining common points between the East AND the West, in the process. Finally, because the Latin Fathers naturally developed a different terminology for discussing some things than the Greek Fathers, one often has to engage in a learning process, whereby different wasy of speaking about something in the West can be understood by means of the Greek counterparts. For example, many object to Augustine's terminology when he says that Original Sin leaves a "stain" on the soul, which is then washed away in the laver of regeneration. But, the East says that the Fall has, in addition to its natural effects (i.e., the natural passions), many unnatural effects and unnatural passions that cannot be explained simply by "mortality and passability," as some (like Fr. John Romanides) tried to do. They say, amongst other things, that the Fall has "darkened the nous," and that the nous is illumined in Baptism, hence the newly-baptized are also called "neophytes," or "newly illumined." When one really begins to understand what each "side" means by their terms, and when one realizes that the nous is simply the crown and summit of the soul, one can see that there is really no difference at all, between saying that the nous is darkened by the Fall and elightened in Baptism, or that the soul is stained by Original Sin, and cleansed in Baptism. When one begins to overcome the terminological (and polemical) gap, one can find how St. Augustine's teaching matches up perfectly to Greek Patristic thought. St. Augustine's teachings on Original Sin, when properly understood, are actually the EXACT same teaching that one can easily find in St. Maximos the Confessor, especially in the collected treatises and letters in the St. Vladimir Press publication, The Cosmic Mystery of Christ. Not to mention the agreement of all the other Fathers with the essential points of Augustinian teaching on Original Sin, when the theological languages are understood properly.

And, by "understood properly," I don't mean that the neo-Patristic ideas floating around in the Orthodox "diaspora" are correct and that this is what Augustine teaches; I mean, rather, that the Greek Fathers of the Church do indeed teach some of the "negative" doctrines of Augustine, which so many contemporary thinkers are eager to reject. But, often enough, these "negative" doctrines are in fact misunderstood by today's readers of Augustine (and the misunderstanding causes people, who probably mean well, to over-react and thus, causes them not only to combat their wrong interpretation of Augustine, but even parts of Augustine which are true and SHARED by the Greek Patristic Tradition). Sadly, the aggregate effect is to paint a picture of St. Augustine which is far more negative than the reality, while also distorting the integrity of the Greek Patristic Tradition, by claiming that the over-reaction can find justification therein.... in point of fact, the Greeek Patristic Tradition agrees with Augustine more often than not, but we simply don't have many faithful expositors of that Tradition, and we often don't understand the terminological gaps between East and West. Nor, often enough, do we just plain understand the Latin terms... "Peccatum Originalis" does mean "Original Sin," but most people today understand that as "the First Crime or Transgression." It doesn't mean that in Latin. It means "Fount of Dysfunction," and "Reatum Peccati Originalis" doesn't mean "Personal Guilt for Original Sin," but "The Garment of one implicated in Original Sin" - a throw-back to St. Paul's putting off the garment of the old man, and putting on the New Man, also beautifully parallelled in the Greek Tradition of speaking of being clothed in the New Man as having a "Wedding Garment," and of the unbaptized - or those who have not guarded their baptism - as "not having a wedding garment." The "Reatus" is not "guilt," but "the garment of an accused man, being arraigned on charges." Anyway, enough of that... I just hope it shows how too little sensitivity is paid to the actual meaning of Augustine's terms as they would have been understood by a Latin speaker, in favour of the intensely negative interpretations and theological shorthands adopted by Scholastic and Calvinist interepreters over a millenium after his death!

In short, what I'm saying is that St. Augustine usually is teaching the exact same thing as the Greek Fathers... but, the modern attack on Augustine has obscured the real import of Augustine's terms, and has also raised a smoke screen over the purity of Greek Patristic teaching, amongst those who read too much of the theology written in the neo-Patristic circles. Therefore, it is imperative that today's Orthodox Christians learn the difficult and long discipline of developing sensitive, perceptive and comprehensive readings of St. Augustine, together with all the other Fathers. As an initial effort towards demonstrating some similarities between Augustine and the Eastern Fathers, where often none is asumed to exist, I present here a short essay (modified somewhat for this forum), which I once wrote detailing St. Augustine's harmony with St. Maximos the Confessor (and the 6th Ecumenical Council) in his teaching on Free Will and Grace in salvation.


Holy Augustine, Lamp of the Church and Sound Teacher of the Orthodox Faith, intercede for us with Christ our God!


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stanley123
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2010, 06:17:14 PM »

I read through some of the discussion and posts on the forum regarding St. Augustine, my patron Saint. This Holy Father's name was given to me at my monastic tonsure, and since receiving his name I have been eager to help demonstrate that this pillar of Orthodox piety is much misunderstood in the Orthodox Church today. I would like, therefore, to consecrate a thread to his patronage, which avoids polemics and insults, but focuses upon the ways in which Augustine may credibly receive an Orthodox reading and interpretation when due care is taken while reading him. For those who recognize that this Saint is indeed an Holy Father (as proclaimed by the writings of Saints and Fathers, and confirmed beyond any shadow of doubt for the pious Orthodox believer by the 5th and 6th Ecumenical Councils - and, implicitly, by the 7th and other Pan-Orthodox synods thereafter), I ask you to keep posts here non-polemical, but reverent and positive, focusing on the actual Orthodoxy of St. Augustine. For those of you who do not hold him sacred, I hope the polite request of an unworthy monk will persuade you to show me this courtesy, even if you disagree with views expressed here. There are many other threads polemicizing against Blessed Augustine; I only ask that this one would not do so. And to those who would respond that posting on a public forum invites criticism, I would reply that this is not necessarily so, especially if there are plenty of venues for polemics at hand. Link to a post on one of the polemical threads, if you like, but please for charity's sake try not to polemicize against St. Augustine within this thread.

I attach here a short essay I once wrote, slightly modified for this forum, on how the seemingly complex attitude of St. Augustine towards man's free will and the role of grace in salvation, is exactly parallelled in St. Maximos the Confessor's teaching on the gnomic vs. the natural will... a doctrine enshrined as Dogma, at the 6th Ecumenical Council! I hope this essay shows how St. Augustine is often misunderstood. I feel that the misunderstanding of St. Augustine is the result of several factors - the fog of bad interpretation by Scholastics and Protestants, the complexities involved in Augustine's own shifting between multiple vantage points when discussing an issue that admits of many angles of attack, the lack of Latin skills amongst those who read Augustine (coupled with the Calvinistic influences in the Eerdman's translations, which are usually the only ones read by modern critics of Augustine), and a revisionist model of Orthodox theology that attempts to attack the "West," but winds up undermining common points between the East AND the West, in the process. Finally, because the Latin Fathers naturally developed a different terminology for discussing some things than the Greek Fathers, one often has to engage in a learning process, whereby different wasy of speaking about something in the West can be understood by means of the Greek counterparts. For example, many object to Augustine's terminology when he says that Original Sin leaves a "stain" on the soul, which is then washed away in the laver of regeneration. But, the East says that the Fall has, in addition to its natural effects (i.e., the natural passions), many unnatural effects and unnatural passions that cannot be explained simply by "mortality and passability," as some (like Fr. John Romanides) tried to do. They say, amongst other things, that the Fall has "darkened the nous," and that the nous is illumined in Baptism, hence the newly-baptized are also called "neophytes," or "newly illumined." When one really begins to understand what each "side" means by their terms, and when one realizes that the nous is simply the crown and summit of the soul, one can see that there is really no difference at all, between saying that the nous is darkened by the Fall and elightened in Baptism, or that the soul is stained by Original Sin, and cleansed in Baptism. When one begins to overcome the terminological (and polemical) gap, one can find how St. Augustine's teaching matches up perfectly to Greek Patristic thought. St. Augustine's teachings on Original Sin, when properly understood, are actually the EXACT same teaching that one can easily find in St. Maximos the Confessor, especially in the collected treatises and letters in the St. Vladimir Press publication, The Cosmic Mystery of Christ. Not to mention the agreement of all the other Fathers with the essential points of Augustinian teaching on Original Sin, when the theological languages are understood properly.

And, by "understood properly," I don't mean that the neo-Patristic ideas floating around in the Orthodox "diaspora" are correct and that this is what Augustine teaches; I mean, rather, that the Greek Fathers of the Church do indeed teach some of the "negative" doctrines of Augustine, which so many contemporary thinkers are eager to reject. But, often enough, these "negative" doctrines are in fact misunderstood by today's readers of Augustine (and the misunderstanding causes people, who probably mean well, to over-react and thus, causes them not only to combat their wrong interpretation of Augustine, but even parts of Augustine which are true and SHARED by the Greek Patristic Tradition). Sadly, the aggregate effect is to paint a picture of St. Augustine which is far more negative than the reality, while also distorting the integrity of the Greek Patristic Tradition, by claiming that the over-reaction can find justification therein.... in point of fact, the Greeek Patristic Tradition agrees with Augustine more often than not, but we simply don't have many faithful expositors of that Tradition, and we often don't understand the terminological gaps between East and West. Nor, often enough, do we just plain understand the Latin terms... "Peccatum Originalis" does mean "Original Sin," but most people today understand that as "the First Crime or Transgression." It doesn't mean that in Latin. It means "Fount of Dysfunction," and "Reatum Peccati Originalis" doesn't mean "Personal Guilt for Original Sin," but "The Garment of one implicated in Original Sin" - a throw-back to St. Paul's putting off the garment of the old man, and putting on the New Man, also beautifully parallelled in the Greek Tradition of speaking of being clothed in the New Man as having a "Wedding Garment," and of the unbaptized - or those who have not guarded their baptism - as "not having a wedding garment." The "Reatus" is not "guilt," but "the garment of an accused man, being arraigned on charges." Anyway, enough of that... I just hope it shows how too little sensitivity is paid to the actual meaning of Augustine's terms as they would have been understood by a Latin speaker, in favour of the intensely negative interpretations and theological shorthands adopted by Scholastic and Calvinist interepreters over a millenium after his death!

In short, what I'm saying is that St. Augustine usually is teaching the exact same thing as the Greek Fathers... but, the modern attack on Augustine has obscured the real import of Augustine's terms, and has also raised a smoke screen over the purity of Greek Patristic teaching, amongst those who read too much of the theology written in the neo-Patristic circles. Therefore, it is imperative that today's Orthodox Christians learn the difficult and long discipline of developing sensitive, perceptive and comprehensive readings of St. Augustine, together with all the other Fathers. As an initial effort towards demonstrating some similarities between Augustine and the Eastern Fathers, where often none is asumed to exist, I present here a short essay (modified somewhat for this forum), which I once wrote detailing St. Augustine's harmony with St. Maximos the Confessor (and the 6th Ecumenical Council) in his teaching on Free Will and Grace in salvation.


Holy Augustine, Lamp of the Church and Sound Teacher of the Orthodox Faith, intercede for us with Christ our God!



However, according to St. Augustine: 'As for the Son to be born is to be from the Father, so for the Son to be sent is to be known in his origin from the Father. In the same way, as for the Holy Spirit to be the gift of God is to proceed from the Father, so to be sent is to be known in his procession from the Father. What is more, we cannot deny that the Spirit also proceeds from the Son... I cannot see what he could otherwise have meant when, breathing on the faces of the disciples, the Lord declared: " Receive the Holy Spirit' (Jn 20:20). De Trin. IV, 20, 28?
Did St. Augustine adhere to the doctrine of the filioque?

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agustinus
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2010, 07:08:05 PM »

St. Augustine did teach that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, something which is taught by many Fathers, both Greek and Latin. The question to ask, is "What is meant by the terms?" St. Photios was under the impression that this Latin teaching had an heretical meaning, and for that reason quite rightly opposed it (and, insofar as we understand what perceived error he is rejecting, he did so brilliantly). However, often the Fathers may mistake the meaning of Fathers writing in another time or place. Such, for example, occurred when St. Jerome was horrified that the Cappadocian Fathers used the Greek "hypostasis" to refer to the Trinity's Persons (whereas he was used to hearing it for the Essence). Or, when St. Gregory the Dialogist wrote a polemical letter to St. John the Faster, because he misunderstood the title of "Ecumenical" Patriarch. Similarly, the Latin Fathers do not teach amiss when they teach the Filioque, and all the lights of the Church in the West - such as St. Hilary of Poitiers and Ambrose of Milan and Leo the Great - taught the Filioque in an Orthodox manner, just as several Greek Fathers did. While the phrase "through the Son" is more commonly used of this element of the Spirit's procession in the East (i.e., St. Gregory Thaumaturgos, St. Basil the Great, etc.), some Greek Fathers do explicitly say "from the Son," like St. Cyril of Alexandria. St. Maximos the Confessor wrote an epistle explicitly defending the Filioque of the (Orthodox) Latins, explaining the difference in linguistic meaning between "procedere" and "ekporefesthai," and discussing the difference between the Procession from Father and Son "according to the Essence" (kat'ousian) and the Procession from the Father alone "according to the Person" (kath'ypostasin). I will be the first to admit that I do not understand how the distinction is to be made between the Essential and the Hypostatic Procession, nor do I understand very much about the Mysteries of the Trinity in general. But, all of this should be enough to show that the Filioque can and does have an Orthodox interpretation, and this we are to accord to the Latin Fathers in all piety. The Filioque later anathematized by the East, is the Filioque as developed by the Scholastics (conflating the Father and Son as one and the same Source relative to the Spirit's Person) - a notion which rightly deserves the anathema of the Church of Christ. But, before that time, we must be aware of the many complexities of this issue, and not rush to hold ourselves wiser and more pristine than the Fathers, since this is what we must actually do, if we take exception to their very own terms. They do teach that the Spirit proceeds from the Son in some sense beyond the merely temporal; our job is to know where the line must be drawn, and otherwise to avoid prying into things too marvelous for us.

And, it ties back into my statements on this topic in general... St. Augustine and the Latin Fathers are often attacked for emphases which seem particularly Latin to us, for one reason or another (sometimes good reasons, sometimes not). But, the problem with this, is that things which may seem to be pecularities or even just special emphases of Latin (Orthodox) theology, often have a real and legitimate place in Eastern theology. And so, in the rush to attack the seemingly Latin things, we also attack our own Patristic heritage and obscure its clarity through a programme of ill conceived polemics. I want to be clear that I am not an ecumenist, and I do not believe that all doctrinal differences between Orthodoxy and other Churches are "simple misunderstandings." The Roman Catholics are Filioquists (among other things) and are severed from the Church of Christ; the Oriental Orthodox have not accepted the God-inspired teachings of the Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils, and are severed from the Church by terrible anathemata. Heresy is real, and tragic, and I am not denying that the Filioque does have an heretical interpretation (to say nothing of its unilateral and illegitimate insertion into the Creed). But, when it comes to the use of this term by God-bearing Fathers of the Church, who simply happened to flourish in a geographical location slightly West of Athens (and whose terms are not unheard of even in Greek lands), I do think that we would do better to use more patience and generosity, and believe that these Fathers were expressing Orthodox doctrine. We should strive to give them this interpretation, and when we do, we may be surprised at how much we learn about the actual teachings of the Greek Fathers. The Greek Fathers themselves knew this, all the way up to modern times. It is we, especially converts or cradle in the "diaspora," who have this problem. Which is why Saints like Nikodemos the Hagiorite and Nektarios of Pentapolis (and Theophan the Recluse and Ignatius Brianchaninov) had no major problem with the Latin Fathers, but now we in the West reject these Orthodox Fathers of the West and are quicker even to accuse the modern Fathers of the East of "Latin influence," than we are to accuse ourselves of imperfect knowledge of the finer points of such things!
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2010, 07:12:59 PM »

Quote
. I would like, therefore, to consecrate a thread to his patronage, which avoids polemics and insults, but focuses upon the ways in which Augustine may credibly receive an Orthodox reading and interpretation when due care is taken while reading him. For those who recognize that this Saint is indeed an Holy Father

Just wanted to say that I look forward to reading the thread Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2010, 07:23:03 PM »

By the way, it just occurs to me: the passage you quoted from St. Augustine demonstrates his belief that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son *temporally,* in His mission into the world. Hence, St. Augustine cites as evidence Christ's breathing the Spirit upon the Apostles, which is the Spirit's temporal procession. This sense of the Spirit's procession from the Son is entirely uncontroversial, and is a point upon which all the Greek Fathers would easily agree. So, if you meant to criticize St. Augustine's belief in the Spirit's temporal procession from the Son, you would have to anathematize the Greek Fathers, too.

The only difficulty in the Filioque, is when it refers to an eternal procession (i.e., outside of time) of the Holy Spirit's *Person* (hypostasis), from a conflation of the Father and Son as one and the same Hypostatic Origin of the Spirit. The Filioque may be used with perfect Orthodoxy to refer to the Spirit's mission into the world (His temporal procession), or, if we are to follow several fathers, His eternal, *Essential* procession from Father and Son. What the procession "kat'ousian" ("According to the Essence," "Essentially," etc.) would mean, is beyond my ken. But, if such things are beyond our ken, then surely we are not wise enough to critique St. Augustine (or any other Father) lightly on this matter. I believe that it is eminently reasonable and Orthodox to believe that the Latin Fathers (and the several Greek Fathers who use the same or nearly identical formulae) believed such things in an Orthodox sense, and that they know (and knew) this sense better than we do.  

I know that your question was in good faith, but I would like to reiterate my kind request, as more posts are layered upon the original, that this thread not become a polemical thread against Augustine, but one that tries to find the authentically Orthodox reading of his writings, which the Fathers before us were content to give him (and, correctly so). As I say, polemics against Augustine may be conducted in manifold places, and I would like this thread to be consecrated to his patronage and to enjoy a very irenic and constructive tone. Also, since I am a monk, it is really better for my salvation - not to mention everybody's - if we strive for this ideal. We are so weak, and humility and gentleness truly are key to understanding the Fathers, let alone the controversies and complexities surrounding their harder teachings. God help us!
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2010, 08:42:46 PM »

Here is something that goes into detail about the procession of the Holy Spirit. It compares the difference in the meanings of different words and phrases in latin and greek. http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=1176&CFID=24965160&CFTOKEN=41888425


Augustine does say:
Quote
29. And yet it is not to no purpose that in this Trinity the Son and none other is called the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit and none other the Gift of God, and God the Father alone is He from whom the Word is born, and from whom the Holy Spirit principally proceeds. And therefore I have added the word principally, because we find that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son also. But the Father gave Him this too, not as to one already existing, and not yet having it; but whatever He gave to the only-begotten Word, He gave by begetting Him. Therefore He so begot Him as that the common Gift should proceed from Him also, and the Holy Spirit should be the Spirit of both. This distinction, then, of the inseparable Trinity is not to be merely accepted in passing, but to be carefully considered; for hence it was that the Word of God was specially called also the Wisdom of God, although both Father and Holy Spirit are wisdom. If, then, any one of the three is to be specially called Love, what more fitting than that it should be the Holy Spirit?— namely, that in that simple and highest nature, substance should not be one thing and love another, but that substance itself should be love, and love itself should be substance, whether in the Father, or in the Son, or in the Holy Spirit; and yet that the Holy Spirit should be specially called Love.
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/130115.htm

This does say that the Holy Spirit's procession is "principally" from the Father and that the procession from the Son is not the same as the procession from the Father. He is also speaking of the Holy Spirit as "the Gift of God". Greek fathers have used the phrase "through the Son" to describe the procession "from the Father". This can be read as a way of articulating that using latin terminology.

Just a thought.
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And FWIW, these are our Fathers too, you know.

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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2010, 11:41:31 PM »

I would like, therefore, to consecrate a thread to his patronage, which avoids polemics and insults....
The Roman Catholics are Filioquists (among other things) and are severed from the Church of Christ....
avoiding polemics?
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2010, 11:52:01 PM »

I would like, therefore, to consecrate a thread to his patronage, which avoids polemics and insults....
The Roman Catholics are Filioquists (among other things) and are severed from the Church of Christ....
avoiding polemics?
This is the Faith Issues board of an Orthodox Christian discussion forum.  Why, then, does his statement of a genuinely Orthodox point of view posted in the proper place bother you?
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2010, 12:35:04 AM »

I would like, therefore, to consecrate a thread to his patronage, which avoids polemics and insults....
The Roman Catholics are Filioquists (among other things) and are severed from the Church of Christ....
avoiding polemics?
This is the Faith Issues board of an Orthodox Christian discussion forum.  Why, then, does his statement of a genuinely Orthodox point of view posted in the proper place bother you?
What is meant by the term polemics?
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2010, 01:20:57 AM »

I would like, therefore, to consecrate a thread to his patronage, which avoids polemics and insults....
The Roman Catholics are Filioquists (among other things) and are severed from the Church of Christ....
avoiding polemics?
This is the Faith Issues board of an Orthodox Christian discussion forum.  Why, then, does his statement of a genuinely Orthodox point of view posted in the proper place bother you?
What is meant by the term polemics?
What is meant by the board title, "Faith Issues"? Wink


IOW, does the bit of apparent hypocrisy on the Faith Issues board offend you?
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2010, 02:35:52 AM »

What is meant by the term polemics?

In this case probably stuff which degrades Augustine. If 50% of modern Orthodoxy consists of mocking Catholics then 25% consist of defaming St. Augustine.
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2010, 03:36:50 AM »

But, all of this should be enough to show that the Filioque can and does have an Orthodox interpretation, and this we are to accord to the Latin Fathers in all piety.
....
But, when it comes to the use of this term by God-bearing Fathers of the Church, who simply happened to flourish in a geographical location slightly West of Athens (and whose terms are not unheard of even in Greek lands), I do think that we would do better to use more patience and generosity, and believe that these Fathers were expressing Orthodox doctrine. We should strive to give them this interpretation, and when we do, we may be surprised at how much we learn about the actual teachings of the Greek Fathers. The Greek Fathers themselves knew this, all the way up to modern times. It is we, especially converts or cradle in the "diaspora," who have this problem. Which is why Saints like Nikodemos the Hagiorite and Nektarios of Pentapolis (and Theophan the Recluse and Ignatius Brianchaninov) had no major problem with the Latin Fathers, but now we in the West reject these Orthodox Fathers of the West and are quicker even to accuse the modern Fathers of the East of "Latin influence," than we are to accuse ourselves of imperfect knowledge of the finer points of such things!
Yes. this is an interesting and enlightening perspective on things.
There seems to be a variety of opinions on St. Augustine among the
Orthodox, and I am trying to learn what the issues are in this regard. 
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2010, 06:57:12 PM »

I haven't read everything, but I'm typing just to subscribe to this thread.  This is a subject of interest to me.
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2010, 07:51:45 PM »

Awesome Thread!
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2010, 08:23:28 PM »

I don't think you quite recognize the position of some on here. You seem to present it that Augustine was either perfectly orthodox or he was not sacred. However, I do not think this is a logical necessity, and I think there are numerous Eastern Christian believers who recognize Augustine as a Saint yet also recognize that some of his theological opinions were erroneous.
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« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2010, 12:54:28 PM »

There are some who seem to question whether Pelagius was really Pelagian?  In other words, Pelagius and St. Augustine was looked as if they both stressed certain extremes, but not necessarily rejecting the other.  In other words, Pelagius didn't reject grace and neither did St. Augustine reject free will.  Would love to hear your views on this?

Also, what are your views in the idea that St. Augustine is the forerunner of Barlaam's heresies?
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« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2010, 01:10:21 PM »

By the way, excellent essay.  I hope you expand on the essay more doing a bit more research (and also, it would be nice to reference your quotations).

In connection to the question before concerning Barlaam, I was wondering if you can touch base on how St. Augustine defines grace.

God bless.
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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2010, 01:51:14 PM »

There are some who seem to question whether Pelagius was really Pelagian?  In other words, Pelagius and St. Augustine was looked as if they both stressed certain extremes, but not necessarily rejecting the other.  In other words, Pelagius didn't reject grace and neither did St. Augustine reject free will.  Would love to hear your views on this?

Also, what are your views in the idea that St. Augustine is the forerunner of Barlaam's heresies?

Who exactly are you asking?
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« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2010, 02:01:24 PM »

There are some who seem to question whether Pelagius was really Pelagian?  In other words, Pelagius and St. Augustine was looked as if they both stressed certain extremes, but not necessarily rejecting the other.  In other words, Pelagius didn't reject grace and neither did St. Augustine reject free will.  Would love to hear your views on this?

Also, what are your views in the idea that St. Augustine is the forerunner of Barlaam's heresies?

Who exactly are you asking?

The good monk Agustinus.  Who else wrote the essay?
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« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2010, 02:11:09 PM »

To the OP: Fr. Georges Florovsky wrote approvingly of St. Augustine in several instances. In particular, he argues in "The Limits of the Church" that St. Augustine's ecclesiology is superior and more reflective of the Orthodox tradition than that of St. Cyprian's.
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« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2010, 02:13:48 PM »

In particular, he argues in "The Limits of the Church" that St. Augustine's ecclesiology is superior and more reflective of the Orthodox tradition than that of St. Cyprian's.

I don't really agree. Augustine thought that heretics had the Sacred Mysteries on the principle of ex opera operato. Cyprian did not. It would seem that the latter is "more reflective of the Orthodox tradition".
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« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2010, 02:30:52 PM »

I don't really agree. Augustine thought that heretics had the Sacred Mysteries on the principle of ex opera operato. Cyprian did not. It would seem that the latter is "more reflective of the Orthodox tradition".

Quote from: St. Augustine
So, therefore, the baptism of the Church may exist outside, but the gift of the life of happiness is found alone within the Church

...

We do not, therefore, ‘acknowledge the baptism of heretics,’ when we refuse to baptize after them

For me that seems the same thing as modern Orthodox idea that heterodox Baptism may be accepted through economia.
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« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2010, 02:35:42 PM »

the baptism of the Church may exist outside,

We do not, therefore, ‘acknowledge the baptism of heretics,’

I fail to see how those statements could be consistent given your seeming interpretation of what he is saying.
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« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2010, 02:38:54 PM »

For me that seems the same thing as modern Orthodox idea that heterodox Baptism may be accepted through economia.

The traditional perspective is that these rituals may be valid, but not efficacious. It would seem that Augustine may have failed to make that distinction. And it would seem that he somehow came up with the bizarre idea that the heretics ordinances are efficacious, but that salvation is still found only in the Church. I don't know how those points could be consistent. Whereas the traditional Orthodox perspective is that the heretics do not have salvation and thus their ordinances must not be efficacious, or at least their efficacy is suspect.
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« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2010, 02:48:07 PM »

The traditional perspective is that these rituals may be valid, but not efficacious. It would seem that Augustine may have failed to make that distinction.

While he did not use the modern terminology it would seem that this is exactly what he is saying. "the gift of the life of happiness is found alone within the Church" means basically that while heterodox baptism might be valid but it doesn't confer the grace of baptism i.e. is not efficacious.
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« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2010, 02:53:22 PM »

Did one of your posts just disappear?
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« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2010, 03:01:47 PM »

Huh? I did edit one my messages but I do not notice any disappearance.
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« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2010, 03:07:18 PM »

Huh? I did edit one my messages but I do not notice any disappearance.

I don't see the recent post where you quoted Augustine.
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« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2010, 03:11:17 PM »

Huh? I did edit one my messages but I do not notice any disappearance.

I don't see the recent post where you quoted Augustine.
It's still there.
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« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2010, 03:48:41 PM »

Huh? I did edit one my messages but I do not notice any disappearance.

I don't see the recent post where you quoted Augustine.
It's still there.

 Undecided
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« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2010, 06:02:10 PM »

Whereas the traditional Orthodox perspective is that the heretics do not have salvation and thus their ordinances must not be efficacious, or at least their efficacy is suspect.
How would an Orthodox define who is a "heretic". Suppose for example, that someone were to maintain that it is OK to have organ music in Church? Or the question of the calendar?
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« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2010, 06:08:09 PM »

Whereas the traditional Orthodox perspective is that the heretics do not have salvation and thus their ordinances must not be efficacious, or at least their efficacy is suspect.
How would an Orthodox define who is a "heretic". Suppose for example, that someone were to maintain that it is OK to have organ music in Church? Or the question of the calendar?

Oops. I think "heterodox" would have been a better term than "heretic", as those who are incidentally heterodox and are thus not heretics are still included in that statement.

Really, the definitions are divergent. I haven't heard anyone label the use of organ music heterodox, just at the worst disregarding the canons.

However, some have labeled the Revised Julian calendar as inherently heterodox. But that opinion is not all that common.

I tend to restrict referring to things as heterodox only if they compromise the salvation story.
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« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2010, 04:53:22 PM »

Brother Agustinus

Hope you didn't forget my questions.

Mina
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