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elijahmaria
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« on: May 17, 2010, 02:39:48 PM »

Can anyone tell me if this is Orthodox teaching?

++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/5_1#CONSEQUENCES_OF_ADAM%E2%80%99S_SIN

PRIMORDIAL HUMANITY BEFORE THE FALL

Materialists claim that in the early developmental stages of the human race people were like animals and led a bestial way of life: they neither knew God nor did they possess concepts of morality. Opposed to this are the Christian beliefs in the bliss of the first humans in Paradise, their subsequent fall and their eventual expulsion from Eden.

According to the Book of Genesis, God creates Adam and brings him into Paradise, where he lives in harmony with nature: he understands the language of the animals, and they obey him; all of the elements are subject to him as if to a king.

God brings to Adam all of the animals ‘to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name’ (Gen.2:19). Adam gives a name to every animal and bird a name: by doing so he demonstrates his ability to know the meaning, the hidden logos (reason) of every living creature. By giving Adam the right to name to the whole of creation, God brings him into the very heart of His creative process and calls him to co-creativeness, to co-operation.

God brings the primordial man into existence to be a priest of the entire visible creation. He alone of all living creatures is capable of praising God verbally and blessing Him. The entire universe is entrusted to him as a gift, for which he is to bring a ‘sacrifice of praise’ and which he is to offer back to God as ‘Thine own of Thine own’. In this unceasing eucharistic offering lies the meaning and justification of human existence. The heavens, the earth, the sea, the fields and mountains, the birds and the animals, indeed the whole of creation assign humans to this high priestly ministry in order that God may be praised through their lips.

God allows Adam and Eve to taste of all the trees of Paradise, including the tree of life which grants immortality. However, He forbids them to taste of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because ‘to know evil’ is to become party to it and to fall away from bliss and immortality. Adam is given the right to choose between good and evil, even though God makes him aware of the correct choice and warns him of the consequences of falling from grace. In choosing evil, Adam falls away from life and ‘dies a death’; in choosing good, he ascends to perfection and attains the highest goal of his existence.

THE FALL

The biblical story of the Fall prefigures the entire tragic history of the human race. It shows us who we were and what we have become. It reveals that evil entered the world not by the will of God but by fault of humans who preferred diabolical deceit to divine commandment. From generation to generation the human race repeats Adam’s mistake in being beguiled by false values and forgetting the true ones — faith in God and verity to Him.

Sin was not ingrained in human nature. Yet the possibility to sin was rooted in the free will given to humans. It was indeed freedom that rendered the human being as an image of the Maker; but it was also freedom that from the very beginning contained within itself the possibility to fall away from God. Out of His love for humans God did not want to interfere in their freedom and forcibly avert sin. But neither could the devil force them to do evil. The sole responsibility for the Fall is borne by humans themselves, for they misused the freedom given to them.

What constituted the sin of the first people? St Augustine believes it to be disobedience. On the other hand, the majority of early church writers say that Adam fell as a result of pride. Pride is the wall that separates humans from God. The root of pride is egocenticity, the state of being turned in on oneself, self-love, lust for oneself. Before the Fall, God was the only object of the humans’ love; but then there appeared a value outside of God: the tree was suddenly seen to be ‘good for food’, ‘a delight to the eyes’, and something ‘to be desired’ (Gen.3:6). Thus the entire hierarchy of values collapsed: my own ‘I’ occupied the first place while the second was taken by the object of ‘my’ lust. No place has remained for God: He has been forgotten, driven from my life.

The forbidden fruit failed to bring happiness to the first people. On the contrary, they began to sense their own nakedness: they were ashamed and tried to hide from God. This awareness of one’s nakedness denotes the privation of the divine light-bearing garment that cloaked humans and defended them from the ‘knowledge of evil’. Adam’s first reaction after committing sin was burning sensation of shame. The second reaction was his desire to hide from the Creator. This shows that he had lost all notion of God’s omnipresence and would search for any place where God was ‘absent’.

However, this was not a total rupture with God. The Fall was not a complete abandonment: humans could repent and regain their former dignity. God goes out to find the fallen Adam; between the trees of Paradise He seeks him out asking ‘Where are you?’ (Gen.3:9). This humble wandering of God through Paradise prefigures Christ’s humility as revealed to us in the New Testament, the humility with which the Shepherd seeks the lost sheep. God has no need to go forth and look for Adam: He can call down from the heavens with a voice of thunder or shake the foundations of the earth. Yet He does not wish to be Adam’s judge, or his prosecutor. He still wants to count him as an equal and puts His hope in Adam’s repentance. But instead of repenting, Adam utters words of self-justification, laying the blame for everything on his wife: ‘The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate’ (Gen.3:12). In other words, ‘It was You who gave me a wife; it is You who is to blame’. In turn, Eve lays the blame for everything on the serpent.

The consequences of the Fall for the first humans were catastrophic. They were not only deprived of the bliss and sweetness of Paradise, but their whole nature was changed and disfigured. In sinning they fell away from their natural condition and entered an unnatural state of being. All elements of their spiritual and corporeal make-up were damaged: their spirit, instead of striving for God, became engrossed in the passions; their soul entered the sphere of bodily instincts; while their body lost its original lightness and was transformed into heavy sinful flesh. After the Fall the human person ‘became deaf, blind, naked, insensitive to the good things from which he had fallen away, and above all became mortal, corruptible and without sense of purpose’ (St Symeon the New Theologian). Disease, suffering and pain entered human life. Humans became mortal for they had lost the opportunity of tasting from the tree of life.

Not only humanity but also the entire world changed as a result of the Fall. The original harmony between people and nature had been broken; the elements had become hostile; storms, earthquakes and floods could destroy life. The earth would no longer provide everything of its own accord; it would have to be tilled ‘in the sweat of your face’, and would produce ‘thorns and thistles’. Even the animals would become the human being’s enemy: the serpent would ‘bruise his heel’ and other predators would attack him (Gen.3:14-19). All of creation would be subject to the ‘bondage of decay’. Together with humans it would now ‘wait for freedom’ from this bondage, since it did not submit to vanity voluntarily but through the fault of humanity (Rom.8:19-21).

CONSEQUENCES OF ADAM’S SIN

After Adam and Eve sin spread rapidly throughout the human race. They were guilty of pride and disobedience, while their son Cain committed fratricide. Cain’s descendants soon forgot about God and set about organizing their earthly existence. Cain himself ‘built a city’. One of his closest descendants was ‘the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle’; another was ‘the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe’; yet another was ‘the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron’ (Gen.4:17-22). The establishment of cities, cattle-breeding, music and other arts were thus passed onto humankind by Cain’s descendants as a surrogate of the lost happiness of Paradise.

The consequences of the Fall spread to the whole of the human race. This is elucidated by St Paul: ‘Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned’ (Rom.5:12). This text, which formed the Church’s basis of her teaching on ‘original sin’, may be understood in a number of ways: the Greek words ef’ ho pantes hemarton may be translated not only as ‘because all men sinned’ but also ‘in whom [that is, in Adam] all men sinned’. Different readings of the text may produce different understandings of what ‘original sin’ means.

If we accept the first translation, this means that each person is responsible for his own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. Here, Adam is merely the prototype of all future sinners, each of whom, in repeating Adam’s sin, bears responsibility only for his own sins. Adam’s sin is not the cause of our sinfulness; we do not participate in his sin and his guilt cannot be passed onto us.

However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.

The Old Testament writers had a vivid sense of their inherited sinfulness: ‘Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me’ (Ps.51:7). They believed that God ‘visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation’ (Ex.20:5). In the latter words reference is not made to innocent children but to those whose own sinfulness is rooted in the sins of their forefathers.

From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice. But not a single Christian dogma has ever been fully comprehended by reason. Religion within the bounds of reason is not religion but naked rationalism, for religion is supra-rational, supra-logical. The doctrine of original sin is disclosed in the light of divine revelation and acquires meaning with reference to the dogma of the atonement of humanity through the New Adam, Christ: ‘...As one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous... so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom.5:18-21).
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elijahmaria
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2010, 02:44:23 PM »

Can anyone tell me if this is Orthodox teaching?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://www.gocanada.org/catechism/catorsin.htm


Original Sin And Its Consequences

The disobedience and transgression of Adam and Eve is called Original Sin. What happened? As we have previously said, God gave Adam and Eve permission to eat the fruit of all trees except the fruit of the tree "of the knowledge of good and evil." Here is what the Bible says: "You may freely eat of every tree of the Garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die"(Genesis 2:16-17). In other words, God said to Adam and to Eve, "You may eat the fruit of all of the trees that are in the Garden and that are edible; it is only the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that you should not eat. On the day that you do eat it, you shall die."

A guilty person wants an accomplice. Satan, who had been an angel and had disobeyed God, becoming Satan, felt guilty and terribly alone. He could keep company only with the other Satans, the demons. His nature had been perverted; he was unable and is unable ever to think about goodness. He always thinks and desires evil. He always seeks evil for others. He was jealous of man. He saw that he was so very happy in Paradise in the company of God. So he put his evil plans into action. As the spirit that he is, he entered the body of a snake. Then he climbed the tree of "the knowledge of good and evil." He waited there. Eve came and peered at the tree. Satan intruded upon her curiosity. He asked her, "Tell me, Eve, is it true that God told you not to eat the fruit of all of the trees?" Eve answered, "No. He told us to eat the fruit of all the trees except the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because if we did we would die." The serpent said, "You shall not die. God knows that on the day that you eat of that fruit, your eyes will open and you will become as gods. You will know good and evil." Eve liked Satan's sweet and slanderous words. She stretched out her hand. She took a fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She ate some, and she also gave some to her mate, Adam. They ate together. Immediately, "their eyes were opened" and they realized that they were naked (Genesis 3:1-7).

Because many people say that the Bible is being metaphorical and that by the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil the Bible refers to the sexual relationship of Adam and Eve, we repeat here that this is not true. God had decreed the sexual relationship of Adam and Eve when he told them to "increase and multiply." Then what shall we say is the original sin? It is the denunciation of God. If you will, it is the attempt of man to disenthrone God and to enthrone himself in His place, to become God in the place of God. It is not merely that he ate fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. St. John Chrysostom says about Eve, "She was filled with grandiose imaginings, hoping to be equal to God." Hoping to be equal to God, she lost her senses.

That is original sin. And its consequences? A.) Spiritual death. That is, the separation of man from God, the source of all goodness. B.) Bodily death. That is, the separation of the body from the soul, the return of the body to the earth. C.) The shattering and distortion of the "image." That is, darkness of mind, depravity and corruption of the heart, loss of independence, loss of free will, and tendency towards evil. Since then "the imagination of man's heart is evil "(Genesis 8:21). Man constantly thinks of evil. D.) Guilt. That is, a bad conscience, the shame that made him want to hide from God. E.) Worst of all, original sin is hereditary. It did not remain only Adam and Eve's. As life passes from them to all of their descendants, so does original sin. We all of us participate in original sin because we are all descended from the same forefather, Adam. This creates a problem for many people. They ask, Why should we be responsible for the actions of Adam and Eve? Why should we have to pay for the sins of our parents? they say. Unfortunately, this is so, because the consequence of original sin is the distortion of the nature of man. Of course, this is unexplainable and belongs to the realm of mystery, but we can give one example to make it somewhat better understood. Let us say that you have a wild orange tree, from which you make a graft. You will get domesticated oranges, but the root will still be that of the wild orange tree. To have wild oranges again, you must regraft the tree. This is what Christ came for and achieved for fallen man, as we shall see in the following sections.

Our Creator and Maker, ours is the fault. Adam and Eve, listening to Satan, blasphemed. Out of egotism, they allowed themselves to be misled. They distorted the "image." They darkened the beauty of the soul. They weakened the nature of mankind. Because of them, we became unrecognizable. "The imagination of our heart is evil." We constantly think of evil. We feel so guilty. We are so far away from You. We have been grafted to evil. We have lost our self-control and our free will to do good. We thank You for Your love, and for sending Your Only-begotten Son to regraft us to goodness. For giving us the possibility of returning to You. You, Lord "want every man to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Do not deprive us of this. Do not deprive anyone of salvation. We thank You Lord.

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elijahmaria
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2010, 08:44:56 PM »

People here seem quick to tell me about what the Catholic Church teaches concerning original sin, so it is curious to me that I can't find anyone to tell me if this catechetical teaching is actually Orthodox?

M.

Can anyone tell me if this is Orthodox teaching?

++++++++++++++++++++++++

http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/5_1#CONSEQUENCES_OF_ADAM%E2%80%99S_SIN

PRIMORDIAL HUMANITY BEFORE THE FALL

Materialists claim that in the early developmental stages of the human race people were like animals and led a bestial way of life: they neither knew God nor did they possess concepts of morality. Opposed to this are the Christian beliefs in the bliss of the first humans in Paradise, their subsequent fall and their eventual expulsion from Eden.

According to the Book of Genesis, God creates Adam and brings him into Paradise, where he lives in harmony with nature: he understands the language of the animals, and they obey him; all of the elements are subject to him as if to a king.

God brings to Adam all of the animals ‘to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name’ (Gen.2:19). Adam gives a name to every animal and bird a name: by doing so he demonstrates his ability to know the meaning, the hidden logos (reason) of every living creature. By giving Adam the right to name to the whole of creation, God brings him into the very heart of His creative process and calls him to co-creativeness, to co-operation.

God brings the primordial man into existence to be a priest of the entire visible creation. He alone of all living creatures is capable of praising God verbally and blessing Him. The entire universe is entrusted to him as a gift, for which he is to bring a ‘sacrifice of praise’ and which he is to offer back to God as ‘Thine own of Thine own’. In this unceasing eucharistic offering lies the meaning and justification of human existence. The heavens, the earth, the sea, the fields and mountains, the birds and the animals, indeed the whole of creation assign humans to this high priestly ministry in order that God may be praised through their lips.

God allows Adam and Eve to taste of all the trees of Paradise, including the tree of life which grants immortality. However, He forbids them to taste of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because ‘to know evil’ is to become party to it and to fall away from bliss and immortality. Adam is given the right to choose between good and evil, even though God makes him aware of the correct choice and warns him of the consequences of falling from grace. In choosing evil, Adam falls away from life and ‘dies a death’; in choosing good, he ascends to perfection and attains the highest goal of his existence.

THE FALL

The biblical story of the Fall prefigures the entire tragic history of the human race. It shows us who we were and what we have become. It reveals that evil entered the world not by the will of God but by fault of humans who preferred diabolical deceit to divine commandment. From generation to generation the human race repeats Adam’s mistake in being beguiled by false values and forgetting the true ones — faith in God and verity to Him.

Sin was not ingrained in human nature. Yet the possibility to sin was rooted in the free will given to humans. It was indeed freedom that rendered the human being as an image of the Maker; but it was also freedom that from the very beginning contained within itself the possibility to fall away from God. Out of His love for humans God did not want to interfere in their freedom and forcibly avert sin. But neither could the devil force them to do evil. The sole responsibility for the Fall is borne by humans themselves, for they misused the freedom given to them.

What constituted the sin of the first people? St Augustine believes it to be disobedience. On the other hand, the majority of early church writers say that Adam fell as a result of pride. Pride is the wall that separates humans from God. The root of pride is egocenticity, the state of being turned in on oneself, self-love, lust for oneself. Before the Fall, God was the only object of the humans’ love; but then there appeared a value outside of God: the tree was suddenly seen to be ‘good for food’, ‘a delight to the eyes’, and something ‘to be desired’ (Gen.3:6). Thus the entire hierarchy of values collapsed: my own ‘I’ occupied the first place while the second was taken by the object of ‘my’ lust. No place has remained for God: He has been forgotten, driven from my life.

The forbidden fruit failed to bring happiness to the first people. On the contrary, they began to sense their own nakedness: they were ashamed and tried to hide from God. This awareness of one’s nakedness denotes the privation of the divine light-bearing garment that cloaked humans and defended them from the ‘knowledge of evil’. Adam’s first reaction after committing sin was burning sensation of shame. The second reaction was his desire to hide from the Creator. This shows that he had lost all notion of God’s omnipresence and would search for any place where God was ‘absent’.

However, this was not a total rupture with God. The Fall was not a complete abandonment: humans could repent and regain their former dignity. God goes out to find the fallen Adam; between the trees of Paradise He seeks him out asking ‘Where are you?’ (Gen.3:9). This humble wandering of God through Paradise prefigures Christ’s humility as revealed to us in the New Testament, the humility with which the Shepherd seeks the lost sheep. God has no need to go forth and look for Adam: He can call down from the heavens with a voice of thunder or shake the foundations of the earth. Yet He does not wish to be Adam’s judge, or his prosecutor. He still wants to count him as an equal and puts His hope in Adam’s repentance. But instead of repenting, Adam utters words of self-justification, laying the blame for everything on his wife: ‘The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate’ (Gen.3:12). In other words, ‘It was You who gave me a wife; it is You who is to blame’. In turn, Eve lays the blame for everything on the serpent.

The consequences of the Fall for the first humans were catastrophic. They were not only deprived of the bliss and sweetness of Paradise, but their whole nature was changed and disfigured. In sinning they fell away from their natural condition and entered an unnatural state of being. All elements of their spiritual and corporeal make-up were damaged: their spirit, instead of striving for God, became engrossed in the passions; their soul entered the sphere of bodily instincts; while their body lost its original lightness and was transformed into heavy sinful flesh. After the Fall the human person ‘became deaf, blind, naked, insensitive to the good things from which he had fallen away, and above all became mortal, corruptible and without sense of purpose’ (St Symeon the New Theologian). Disease, suffering and pain entered human life. Humans became mortal for they had lost the opportunity of tasting from the tree of life.

Not only humanity but also the entire world changed as a result of the Fall. The original harmony between people and nature had been broken; the elements had become hostile; storms, earthquakes and floods could destroy life. The earth would no longer provide everything of its own accord; it would have to be tilled ‘in the sweat of your face’, and would produce ‘thorns and thistles’. Even the animals would become the human being’s enemy: the serpent would ‘bruise his heel’ and other predators would attack him (Gen.3:14-19). All of creation would be subject to the ‘bondage of decay’. Together with humans it would now ‘wait for freedom’ from this bondage, since it did not submit to vanity voluntarily but through the fault of humanity (Rom.8:19-21).

CONSEQUENCES OF ADAM’S SIN

After Adam and Eve sin spread rapidly throughout the human race. They were guilty of pride and disobedience, while their son Cain committed fratricide. Cain’s descendants soon forgot about God and set about organizing their earthly existence. Cain himself ‘built a city’. One of his closest descendants was ‘the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle’; another was ‘the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe’; yet another was ‘the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron’ (Gen.4:17-22). The establishment of cities, cattle-breeding, music and other arts were thus passed onto humankind by Cain’s descendants as a surrogate of the lost happiness of Paradise.

The consequences of the Fall spread to the whole of the human race. This is elucidated by St Paul: ‘Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned’ (Rom.5:12). This text, which formed the Church’s basis of her teaching on ‘original sin’, may be understood in a number of ways: the Greek words ef’ ho pantes hemarton may be translated not only as ‘because all men sinned’ but also ‘in whom [that is, in Adam] all men sinned’. Different readings of the text may produce different understandings of what ‘original sin’ means.

If we accept the first translation, this means that each person is responsible for his own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. Here, Adam is merely the prototype of all future sinners, each of whom, in repeating Adam’s sin, bears responsibility only for his own sins. Adam’s sin is not the cause of our sinfulness; we do not participate in his sin and his guilt cannot be passed onto us.

However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.

The Old Testament writers had a vivid sense of their inherited sinfulness: ‘Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me’ (Ps.51:7). They believed that God ‘visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation’ (Ex.20:5). In the latter words reference is not made to innocent children but to those whose own sinfulness is rooted in the sins of their forefathers.

From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice. But not a single Christian dogma has ever been fully comprehended by reason. Religion within the bounds of reason is not religion but naked rationalism, for religion is supra-rational, supra-logical. The doctrine of original sin is disclosed in the light of divine revelation and acquires meaning with reference to the dogma of the atonement of humanity through the New Adam, Christ: ‘...As one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous... so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom.5:18-21).
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2010, 09:06:08 PM »

The first one doesn't appear to me to be unorthodox... provided it's understood in an Orthodox context.  police
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tgild
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2010, 09:10:40 PM »

People here seem quick to tell me about what the Catholic Church teaches concerning original sin, so it is curious to me that I can't find anyone to tell me if this catechetical teaching is actually Orthodox?

M.

Demanding, demanding. Nothing really jumps out at me as being way off, but I did raise an eyebrow over some things at the end.
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2010, 09:43:58 PM »

People here seem quick to tell me about what the Catholic Church teaches concerning original sin, so it is curious to me that I can't find anyone to tell me if this catechetical teaching is actually Orthodox?

M.

Demanding, demanding. Nothing really jumps out at me as being way off, but I did raise an eyebrow over some things at the end.

Heh!...I actually do appreciate your meeting the "demand"...

Yes.  I was thinking that those last paragraphs would give some people pause.  It is not an unheard of teaching in Orthodoxy but it is not one that is common today.  So I was hoping to get a few of the folks here to tell me what they think, or recognize or not.

No trick question.  I use his text to catechize eastern Catholics, so I was curious how the Orthodox respond to his book.

Mary
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2010, 09:44:29 PM »

The first one doesn't appear to me to be unorthodox... provided it's understood in an Orthodox context.  police

Can you give me specifics?

Mary
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2010, 10:04:47 PM »

People here seem quick to tell me about what the Catholic Church teaches concerning original sin, so it is curious to me that I can't find anyone to tell me if this catechetical teaching is actually Orthodox?

M.

Demanding, demanding. Nothing really jumps out at me as being way off, but I did raise an eyebrow over some things at the end.

Heh!...I actually do appreciate your meeting the "demand"...

Yes.  I was thinking that those last paragraphs would give some people pause.  It is not an unheard of teaching in Orthodoxy but it is not one that is common today.  So I was hoping to get a few of the folks here to tell me what they think, or recognize or not.

No trick question.  I use his text to catechize eastern Catholics, so I was curious how the Orthodox respond to his book.

Mary

"From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice."

This sentence is where my main issue lies, as it contradicts the Metropolitan's other teachings on the matter.

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« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2010, 12:16:59 AM »

Dear Elijahmaria,

You have asked us to compare it with "the age old Catholic teaching of original sin."  So before we can proceed, you will need to define that for us.
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2010, 08:11:11 AM »

People here seem quick to tell me about what the Catholic Church teaches concerning original sin, so it is curious to me that I can't find anyone to tell me if this catechetical teaching is actually Orthodox?

M.

Demanding, demanding. Nothing really jumps out at me as being way off, but I did raise an eyebrow over some things at the end.

Heh!...I actually do appreciate your meeting the "demand"...

Yes.  I was thinking that those last paragraphs would give some people pause.  It is not an unheard of teaching in Orthodoxy but it is not one that is common today.  So I was hoping to get a few of the folks here to tell me what they think, or recognize or not.

No trick question.  I use his text to catechize eastern Catholics, so I was curious how the Orthodox respond to his book.

Mary

"From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice."

This sentence is where my main issue lies, as it contradicts the Metropolitan's other teachings on the matter.



Can you be more specific please?  I would have to presume too much to just respond to what you've said.

Mary
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2010, 08:12:27 AM »

Dear Elijahmaria,

You have asked us to compare it with "the age old Catholic teaching of original sin."  So before we can proceed, you will need to define that for us.


I can do that at some point but I'd really like to get a response to the teaching offered by Metropolitan Hilarion.

M.
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2010, 08:26:55 AM »

Dear Elijahmaria,

You have asked us to compare it with "the age old Catholic teaching of original sin."  So before we can proceed, you will need to define that for us.


I can do that at some point but I'd really like to get a response to the teaching offered by Metropolitan Hilarion.

M.

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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2010, 08:47:24 AM »

Perhaps my initial question was too open ended and this inquiry has the wrong header I fear and is probably in the wrong room.  However I will try again and be more specific.

I am told here that Orthodoxy teaches that all human beings are immaculately conceived.

Can you tell me, based on the teaching that all human beings are immaculately conceived,  how this teaching then of Metropolitan Hilaron is not heretical?  I have highlighted the pertinent text below.

Mary

http://en.hilarion.orthodoxia.org/5_1#CONSEQUENCES_OF_ADAM%E2%80%99S_SIN

PRIMORDIAL HUMANITY BEFORE THE FALL

Materialists claim that in the early developmental stages of the human race people were like animals and led a bestial way of life: they neither knew God nor did they possess concepts of morality. Opposed to this are the Christian beliefs in the bliss of the first humans in Paradise, their subsequent fall and their eventual expulsion from Eden.

According to the Book of Genesis, God creates Adam and brings him into Paradise, where he lives in harmony with nature: he understands the language of the animals, and they obey him; all of the elements are subject to him as if to a king.

God brings to Adam all of the animals ‘to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name’ (Gen.2:19). Adam gives a name to every animal and bird a name: by doing so he demonstrates his ability to know the meaning, the hidden logos (reason) of every living creature. By giving Adam the right to name to the whole of creation, God brings him into the very heart of His creative process and calls him to co-creativeness, to co-operation.

God brings the primordial man into existence to be a priest of the entire visible creation. He alone of all living creatures is capable of praising God verbally and blessing Him. The entire universe is entrusted to him as a gift, for which he is to bring a ‘sacrifice of praise’ and which he is to offer back to God as ‘Thine own of Thine own’. In this unceasing eucharistic offering lies the meaning and justification of human existence. The heavens, the earth, the sea, the fields and mountains, the birds and the animals, indeed the whole of creation assign humans to this high priestly ministry in order that God may be praised through their lips.

God allows Adam and Eve to taste of all the trees of Paradise, including the tree of life which grants immortality. However, He forbids them to taste of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because ‘to know evil’ is to become party to it and to fall away from bliss and immortality. Adam is given the right to choose between good and evil, even though God makes him aware of the correct choice and warns him of the consequences of falling from grace. In choosing evil, Adam falls away from life and ‘dies a death’; in choosing good, he ascends to perfection and attains the highest goal of his existence.

THE FALL

The biblical story of the Fall prefigures the entire tragic history of the human race. It shows us who we were and what we have become. It reveals that evil entered the world not by the will of God but by fault of humans who preferred diabolical deceit to divine commandment. From generation to generation the human race repeats Adam’s mistake in being beguiled by false values and forgetting the true ones — faith in God and verity to Him.

Sin was not ingrained in human nature. Yet the possibility to sin was rooted in the free will given to humans. It was indeed freedom that rendered the human being as an image of the Maker; but it was also freedom that from the very beginning contained within itself the possibility to fall away from God. Out of His love for humans God did not want to interfere in their freedom and forcibly avert sin. But neither could the devil force them to do evil. The sole responsibility for the Fall is borne by humans themselves, for they misused the freedom given to them.

What constituted the sin of the first people? St Augustine believes it to be disobedience. On the other hand, the majority of early church writers say that Adam fell as a result of pride. Pride is the wall that separates humans from God. The root of pride is egocenticity, the state of being turned in on oneself, self-love, lust for oneself. Before the Fall, God was the only object of the humans’ love; but then there appeared a value outside of God: the tree was suddenly seen to be ‘good for food’, ‘a delight to the eyes’, and something ‘to be desired’ (Gen.3:6). Thus the entire hierarchy of values collapsed: my own ‘I’ occupied the first place while the second was taken by the object of ‘my’ lust. No place has remained for God: He has been forgotten, driven from my life.

The forbidden fruit failed to bring happiness to the first people. On the contrary, they began to sense their own nakedness: they were ashamed and tried to hide from God. This awareness of one’s nakedness denotes the privation of the divine light-bearing garment that cloaked humans and defended them from the ‘knowledge of evil’. Adam’s first reaction after committing sin was burning sensation of shame. The second reaction was his desire to hide from the Creator. This shows that he had lost all notion of God’s omnipresence and would search for any place where God was ‘absent’.

However, this was not a total rupture with God. The Fall was not a complete abandonment: humans could repent and regain their former dignity. God goes out to find the fallen Adam; between the trees of Paradise He seeks him out asking ‘Where are you?’ (Gen.3:9). This humble wandering of God through Paradise prefigures Christ’s humility as revealed to us in the New Testament, the humility with which the Shepherd seeks the lost sheep. God has no need to go forth and look for Adam: He can call down from the heavens with a voice of thunder or shake the foundations of the earth. Yet He does not wish to be Adam’s judge, or his prosecutor. He still wants to count him as an equal and puts His hope in Adam’s repentance. But instead of repenting, Adam utters words of self-justification, laying the blame for everything on his wife: ‘The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate’ (Gen.3:12). In other words, ‘It was You who gave me a wife; it is You who is to blame’. In turn, Eve lays the blame for everything on the serpent.

The consequences of the Fall for the first humans were catastrophic. They were not only deprived of the bliss and sweetness of Paradise, but their whole nature was changed and disfigured. In sinning they fell away from their natural condition and entered an unnatural state of being. All elements of their spiritual and corporeal make-up were damaged: their spirit, instead of striving for God, became engrossed in the passions; their soul entered the sphere of bodily instincts; while their body lost its original lightness and was transformed into heavy sinful flesh. After the Fall the human person ‘became deaf, blind, naked, insensitive to the good things from which he had fallen away, and above all became mortal, corruptible and without sense of purpose’ (St Symeon the New Theologian). Disease, suffering and pain entered human life. Humans became mortal for they had lost the opportunity of tasting from the tree of life.

Not only humanity but also the entire world changed as a result of the Fall. The original harmony between people and nature had been broken; the elements had become hostile; storms, earthquakes and floods could destroy life. The earth would no longer provide everything of its own accord; it would have to be tilled ‘in the sweat of your face’, and would produce ‘thorns and thistles’. Even the animals would become the human being’s enemy: the serpent would ‘bruise his heel’ and other predators would attack him (Gen.3:14-19). All of creation would be subject to the ‘bondage of decay’. Together with humans it would now ‘wait for freedom’ from this bondage, since it did not submit to vanity voluntarily but through the fault of humanity (Rom.8:19-21).

CONSEQUENCES OF ADAM’S SIN

After Adam and Eve sin spread rapidly throughout the human race. They were guilty of pride and disobedience, while their son Cain committed fratricide. Cain’s descendants soon forgot about God and set about organizing their earthly existence. Cain himself ‘built a city’. One of his closest descendants was ‘the father of those who dwell in tents and have cattle’; another was ‘the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe’; yet another was ‘the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron’ (Gen.4:17-22). The establishment of cities, cattle-breeding, music and other arts were thus passed onto humankind by Cain’s descendants as a surrogate of the lost happiness of Paradise.

The consequences of the Fall spread to the whole of the human race. This is elucidated by St Paul: ‘Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned’ (Rom.5:12). This text, which formed the Church’s basis of her teaching on ‘original sin’, may be understood in a number of ways: the Greek words ef’ ho pantes hemarton may be translated not only as ‘because all men sinned’ but also ‘in whom [that is, in Adam] all men sinned’. Different readings of the text may produce different understandings of what ‘original sin’ means.

If we accept the first translation, this means that each person is responsible for his own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. Here, Adam is merely the prototype of all future sinners, each of whom, in repeating Adam’s sin, bears responsibility only for his own sins. Adam’s sin is not the cause of our sinfulness; we do not participate in his sin and his guilt cannot be passed onto us.

However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.

The Old Testament writers had a vivid sense of their inherited sinfulness: ‘Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me’ (Ps.51:7). They believed that God ‘visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation’ (Ex.20:5). In the latter words reference is not made to innocent children but to those whose own sinfulness is rooted in the sins of their forefathers.

From a rational point of view, to punish the entire human race for Adam’s sin is an injustice. But not a single Christian dogma has ever been fully comprehended by reason. Religion within the bounds of reason is not religion but naked rationalism, for religion is supra-rational, supra-logical. The doctrine of original sin is disclosed in the light of divine revelation and acquires meaning with reference to the dogma of the atonement of humanity through the New Adam, Christ: ‘...As one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous... so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom.5:18-21).
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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2010, 08:59:56 AM »


Perhaps my initial question was too open ended and this inquiry has the wrong header I fear and is probably in the wrong room.  However I will try again and be more specific.

I am told here that Orthodoxy teaches that all human beings are immaculately conceived.


Grief!  That all members of the human race have the merits of Christ on the Cross applied to them at the moment of conception?!  Would that not do away with the need for Baptism?

Mary, I think they're pulling your leg.   laugh
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2010, 09:22:33 AM »


However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.

I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?
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« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2010, 09:56:03 AM »


However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary
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« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2010, 10:18:04 AM »


Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....

I'd have to say that the "Orthodox" with whom you associate are like no Orthodox I have encountered anywhere on the planet.  But it does help to explain many of the unusual things and the misunderstandings on other threads where you attempt to engage the Orthodox.
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« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2010, 10:24:49 AM »


Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....

I'd have to say that the "Orthodox" with whom you associate are like no Orthodox I have encountered anywhere on the planet.  But it does help to explain many of the unusual things and the misunderstandings on other threads where you attempt to engage the Orthodox.

That is an curious comment Father since we tend to interact with said Orthodox in many of the same venues and I know I've never seen you correct that assertion at any time until now.

Mary
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« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2010, 10:27:43 AM »


Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....

I'd have to say that the "Orthodox" with whom you associate are like no Orthodox I have encountered anywhere on the planet.  But it does help to explain many of the unusual things and the misunderstandings on other threads where you attempt to engage the Orthodox.

That is an curious comment Father since we tend to interact with said Orthodox in many of the same venues and I know I've never seen you correct that assertion at any time until now.

Mary

Mary,

I have never encountered, anywhere, the contention that humans are immaculately conceived. That is something I would remember, not least because I would have spent half an hour laughing.   laugh laugh
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« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2010, 10:33:26 AM »

I have never encountered, anywhere, the contention that humans are immaculately conceived. That is something I would remember, not least because I would have spent half an hour laughing.   laugh laugh

I must say---I have never heard of such a teaching in Orthodox circles.  Huh
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« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2010, 10:43:28 AM »


Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....

I'd have to say that the "Orthodox" with whom you associate are like no Orthodox I have encountered anywhere on the planet.  But it does help to explain many of the unusual things and the misunderstandings on other threads where you attempt to engage the Orthodox.

That is an curious comment Father since we tend to interact with said Orthodox in many of the same venues and I know I've never seen you correct that assertion at any time until now.

Mary
What does it mean to be immaculately conceived, in Catholic theology? It seems to mean, among other things, to be conceived without having to die.

Thus, from what I've read, Catholics believe that Mary was conceived in such a way that she did not have to die. However, a Catholic may believe that Mary did die, from her own free choice to follow her Son's example.

My understanding is that the Orthodox, however, do not believe that anyone, other than Christ, is conceived in such a way that he or she is free from the necessity of dying.
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« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2010, 10:47:41 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary
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« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2010, 10:50:37 AM »

I am told here that Orthodoxy teaches that all human beings are immaculately conceived.

Where on earth did you get this from?

Oh, now I get it! this must be the elusive Orthodox teaching of the immaculate conception of the Mother of God - we're ALL conceived immaculately, so, therefore, so was she!  laugh laugh laugh

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« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2010, 10:55:32 AM »

Bump

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary
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« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2010, 11:05:17 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary

You'll need to offer your definition of "stain."

But I would think that the general teaching of the Orthodox is that the "stain" of ancestral sin bequeaths to us a distortion of our human nature - the distortion includes a weakening of the will, a darkening of the intellect, an inclination for disordered pleasure, sickness, physical death.

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« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2010, 11:11:34 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary

You'll need to offer your definition of "stain."

But I would think that the general teaching of the Orthodox is that the "stain" of ancestral sin bequeaths to us a distortion of our human nature - the distortion includes a weakening of the will, a darkening of the intellect, an inclination for disordered pleasure, sickness, physical death.

By this it would seem to me that there is no conflict between Catholic teaching and Orthodox teaching on Original Sin.

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« Reply #26 on: May 26, 2010, 11:18:34 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary

You'll need to offer your definition of "stain."

But I would think that the general teaching of the Orthodox is that the "stain" of ancestral sin bequeaths to us a distortion of our human nature - the distortion includes a weakening of the will, a darkening of the intellect, an inclination for disordered pleasure, sickness, physical death.

By this it would seem to me that there is no conflict between Catholic teaching and Orthodox teaching on Original Sin.



Such being the case, it is immediately apparent why the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is nonsensical.

Unless of course, Pope Pius IX had his own differing definition of original sin?
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« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2010, 11:29:59 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary

You'll need to offer your definition of "stain."

But I would think that the general teaching of the Orthodox is that the "stain" of ancestral sin bequeaths to us a distortion of our human nature - the distortion includes a weakening of the will, a darkening of the intellect, an inclination for disordered pleasure, sickness, physical death.

By this it would seem to me that there is no conflict between Catholic teaching and Orthodox teaching on Original Sin.



Such being the case, it is immediately apparent why the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is nonsensical.

Unless of course, Pope Pius IX had his own differing definition of original sin?

The other possibility is, of course, that you do not comprehend the teaching.

Mary
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« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2010, 11:35:11 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references. 

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary

You'll need to offer your definition of "stain."

But I would think that the general teaching of the Orthodox is that the "stain" of ancestral sin bequeaths to us a distortion of our human nature - the distortion includes a weakening of the will, a darkening of the intellect, an inclination for disordered pleasure, sickness, physical death.

By this it would seem to me that there is no conflict between Catholic teaching and Orthodox teaching on Original Sin.



Such being the case, it is immediately apparent why the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is nonsensical.

Unless of course, Pope Pius IX had his own differing definition of original sin?

The other possibility is, of course, that you do not comprehend the teaching.

Mary

Huh!?  You have just said that our teachings are identical?!

Do you wish to change that?
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« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2010, 11:42:54 AM »

Thank you both for this clarification.  I will keep it in mind and note the references.  

Can you then answer the question as I ask it finally below then?

How does the teaching by Archbishop Hilarion comport with the Orthodox teaching that mankind is not conceived with any stain of original sin?

Mary


However, if we read the text to mean ‘in whom all have sinned’, this can be understood as the passing on of Adam’s sin to all future generations of people, since human nature has been infected by sin in general. The disposition toward sin became hereditary and responsibility for turning away from God sin universal. As St Cyril of Alexandria states, human nature itself has ‘fallen ill with sin’; thus we all share Adam’s sin as we all share his nature. St Macarius of Egypt speaks of ‘a leaven of evil passions’ and of ‘secret impurity and the abiding darkness of passions’, which have entered into our nature in spite of our original purity. Sin has become so deeply rooted in human nature that not a single descendant of Adam has been spared from a hereditary predisposition toward sin.


I wonder how this relates to the patristic teaching of traducianism?


One could presume that Archbishop Hilarion knows that Traducianism is heresy.  Perhaps there will be others who will presume that and call him a heretic.

I am not as willing to presume that he is teaching Traducianism unless of course Father you have evidence that he does and then surely we would have to consider that evidence.

Again, presuming that he is not teaching heresy, how does this highlighted text comport with the assertion that I have seen here and have heard from other Orthodox clergy and believers elsewhere that all people are born immaculate....or as you say, more reasonably speaking, all people are born without any kind of stain of original sin?

Mary

You'll need to offer your definition of "stain."

But I would think that the general teaching of the Orthodox is that the "stain" of ancestral sin bequeaths to us a distortion of our human nature - the distortion includes a weakening of the will, a darkening of the intellect, an inclination for disordered pleasure, sickness, physical death.

By this it would seem to me that there is no conflict between Catholic teaching and Orthodox teaching on Original Sin.



Such being the case, it is immediately apparent why the dogma of the Immaculate Conception is nonsensical.

Unless of course, Pope Pius IX had his own differing definition of original sin?

The other possibility is, of course, that you do not comprehend the teaching.

Mary

Huh!?  You have just said that our teachings are identical?!

Do you wish to change that?

Apparently there is a disconnect somewhere because I do not see any conflict between the teaching on original sin offered by Bishop Hilarion and the teaching of the Immaculate Conception.

You and Father Kimel seem to me to think there is some kind of inherent conflict between the Orthodox teaching on Original Sin and the Catholic teaching of the Immaculate Conception.  

Father Kimel has asserted, it seems to me, that there is some scholastic teaching, of which I am unaware, upon which the Immaculate Conception doctrinally depends that is in conflict with or different from Orthodox teaching on Original Sin.

Using the very clear teaching by Archbishop Hilarion, I hope that either one of both of you can demonstrate the inherent conflict and the alternative basis for the teaching of the Immaculate Conception.

Mary
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« Reply #30 on: May 26, 2010, 11:55:12 AM »

Fr Kimel is Byzantine Catholic, right? elijahmaria is Byzantine Catholic, right? Two Byzantine Catholics, one a priest, the other a learned laywoman, disagree on their church's teaching and definition on Original Sin, right?

Seems to me both can't be right. So, for the purposes of continuing a meaningful discussion, would it not make sense for these two to sort out their differences, so that the rest of us have a chance to compare apples with apples, not with oranges?  Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: May 26, 2010, 12:12:17 PM »

Father Kimel is a Roman Catholic (Latin Rite) priest.
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« Reply #32 on: May 26, 2010, 12:23:37 PM »

Thanks for the correction.  Smiley
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« Reply #33 on: May 26, 2010, 12:25:00 PM »

Fr Kimel is Byzantine Catholic, right? elijahmaria is Byzantine Catholic, right? Two Byzantine Catholics, one a priest, the other a learned laywoman, disagree on their church's teaching and definition on Original Sin, right?

Seems to me both can't be right. So, for the purposes of continuing a meaningful discussion, would it not make sense for these two to sort out their differences, so that the rest of us have a chance to compare apples with apples, not with oranges?  Smiley

Dear LBK,

I apologize for the frustration we cause you, and especially for my part in it of course.

Father Al is not a Byzantine Catholic.  But I am not sure that is entirely significant.  Father Al certainly presents a perspective on the Church and formal teaching that is significantly different in focus and emphasis from the one that I have learned over the decades, but I am not entirely sure that he and I are entirely at odds.

Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to explore those perspectives, I don't know with any certainty but I am hopeful.

I beg your patience, and commend to your consideration the following document so that you may see the font of wisdom from which I take my perspective on the Schola Theologorum.  It is not too far apart from the natural and healthy Orthodox caution against placing ratio/reason above divine illumination.  It would please me to discuss the document in another thread with you, if you find anything worthy of discussion.

Please know that I don't dislike you at all.  We've clashed and may clash again but I bear no animus and certainly do not see you as some sort of misguided dumbell!!...sometimes stubborn yes...but that would be the worst of it.  You really are working to see and I respect that.

Mary

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19900524_theologian-vocation_en.html
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« Reply #34 on: May 26, 2010, 03:55:35 PM »

Father Al certainly presents a perspective on the Church and formal teaching that is significantly different in focus and emphasis from the one that I have learned over the decades, but I am not entirely sure that he and I are entirely at odds.

Actually, Mary, I don't think we are very much at odds at all.  I'm not sure why you think that we are.  I have attempted to explain in an earlier comment my fallible, and therefore provisional, understanding of why I believe that the 19th century dogma of the Immaculate Conception presupposes 2nd millennium scholastic understandings of grace and original sin.  I do not believe that what I have written is particularly controversial from a Catholic point of view.  After all, most 19th century Catholic theologians were scholastics of various sorts.  This doesn't mean that the core meaning of the dogma cannot be translated into other conceptualities.  I have quoted Karl Rahner and Edward Yarnold precisely for that purpose.  But it does mean that historical exegesis of the IC dogma must take into account the scholastic understandings of grace and original sin that were prevalent in the 19th century.  For example:  if Pius IX, following post-Tridentine scholastics, understood original sin as the privation of sanctifying grace, then it would be improper to read back into the dogma a 5th century Augustinian understanding of original sin.  Indeed, this is precisely what so many Orthodox and Protestant critics of the IC dogma seem to want to do.  The dogma must be understood in its 19th century terms.  Only then can we proceed to identify its trans-cultural, trans-historical dogmatic significance. 

The translation of the Immaculate Conception into terms comprehensible in non-scholastic theological systems is neither easy nor obvious.  You and I both agree that Catholic theology classically describes original sin as the privation of sanctifying grace, but the scholastic category of sanctifying grace is itself a product of 2nd millennium Western theological reflection.  It is by no means clear how one translates the notion into terms comprehensible to Eastern theologians who operate within a theological system like Gregory Palamas's that distinguishes between the uncreated being and uncreated energies of God.  Within Palamite theology, the scholastic construal of sanctifying grace as a "created gift of God which inheres in the soul as a perduring reality that perfects the spirit of man" (John Hardon, History and Theology of Grace, p. 137) may not make much immediate sense.  So how does one talk about the privation of sanctifying grace within an Eastern framework?  Will you not agree that there is a problem and challenge here?     



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« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2010, 05:57:49 PM »

Father Al certainly presents a perspective on the Church and formal teaching that is significantly different in focus and emphasis from the one that I have learned over the decades, but I am not entirely sure that he and I are entirely at odds.

Actually, Mary, I don't think we are very much at odds at all.  I'm not sure why you think that we are.  I have attempted to explain in an earlier comment my fallible, and therefore provisional, understanding of why I believe that the 19th century dogma of the Immaculate Conception presupposes 2nd millennium scholastic understandings of grace and original sin.  I do not believe that what I have written is particularly controversial from a Catholic point of view.  After all, most 19th century Catholic theologians were scholastics of various sorts.  This doesn't mean that the core meaning of the dogma cannot be translated into other conceptualities.  I have quoted Karl Rahner and Edward Yarnold precisely for that purpose.  But it does mean that historical exegesis of the IC dogma must take into account the scholastic understandings of grace and original sin that were prevalent in the 19th century.  For example:  if Pius IX, following post-Tridentine scholastics, understood original sin as the privation of sanctifying grace, then it would be improper to read back into the dogma a 5th century Augustinian understanding of original sin.  Indeed, this is precisely what so many Orthodox and Protestant critics of the IC dogma seem to want to do.  The dogma must be understood in its 19th century terms.  Only then can we proceed to identify its trans-cultural, trans-historical dogmatic significance. 

The translation of the Immaculate Conception into terms comprehensible in non-scholastic theological systems is neither easy nor obvious.  You and I both agree that Catholic theology classically describes original sin as the privation of sanctifying grace, but the scholastic category of sanctifying grace is itself a product of 2nd millennium Western theological reflection.  It is by no means clear how one translates the notion into terms comprehensible to Eastern theologians who operate within a theological system like Gregory Palamas's that distinguishes between the uncreated being and uncreated energies of God.  Within Palamite theology, the scholastic construal of sanctifying grace as a "created gift of God which inheres in the soul as a perduring reality that perfects the spirit of man" (John Hardon, History and Theology of Grace, p. 137) may not make much immediate sense.  So how does one talk about the privation of sanctifying grace within an Eastern framework?  Will you not agree that there is a problem and challenge here?     

Thank you, Father. 

I'd like to say first that I did not mean to make it appear, in my note just above your own here, as though you endorse elevating ratio/reason above divine inspiration while I do not.   I don't know if anyone made that connection but I did not intend my comments to indicate that comparison at all.  So this is just a warning away from that line of thinking for anyone tempted to follow it.

I tend not to think that the issue of sanctifying grace is a problem or a challenge in any negative sense.  I'll be able to explain that in a bit more detail with references after I get the yard work finished for the week.  Clearly one does not need 2nd millennium Thomistic categories to account for a grace that sanctifies.  First millennium scholastic categories and forms will work just fine  Smiley

If I have the energy later to do more, I will.  If not I'll look to tomorrow.  I'd rather move slowly with this and be more thorough rather than less.  We'll see how it goes.

M.

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« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2010, 06:11:11 PM »

So how does one talk about the privation of sanctifying grace within an Eastern framework?

What is the difference in an infant before and after baptism?

More specifically, how does this relate to the consequences of original sin?

Was Mary conceived in the same spiritual state as a newly baptized infant?
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« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2010, 08:49:06 PM »

Quote
Dear LBK,

I apologize for the frustration we cause you, and especially for my part in it of course.

Apology accepted.  Smiley

Quote
Father Al is not a Byzantine Catholic.  But I am not sure that is entirely significant. 


It should be. If anything, Fr Alvin's being Latin RC works against you, as he would be representing Roman theology, whereas you, as a Byzantine Catholic, should supposedly be espousing the Orthodox view. Wasn't that the point of "Orthodoxy in communion with Rome", and the reason why doctoring Orthodox liturgical texts (apart from papal commemorations) was forbidden by papal decree?

Quote
Father Al certainly presents a perspective on the Church and formal teaching that is significantly different in focus and emphasis from the one that I have learned over the decades, but I am not entirely sure that he and I are entirely at odds.

One's theology on such a crucial matter should be either consistent with Rome or Orthodoxy. It is not possible to be a little bit pregnant. A hybrid theology would be heretical for both Rome and Orthodoxy.

Quote
I beg your patience, and commend to your consideration the following document so that you may see the font of wisdom from which I take my perspective on the Schola Theologorum.  It is not too far apart from the natural and healthy Orthodox caution against placing ratio/reason above divine illumination.


Did you use the same caution against placing reason above illumination which informed so many of your posts where you used your own erroneous reason/reckoning to conclude that the fulsome liturgical language used for the Mother of God in Orthodoxy leads to the conclusion that she was immaculately conceived?

Quote
Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to explore those perspectives, I don't know with any certainty but I am hopeful.

My primary guides to understanding the Orthodox faith are its liturgical and iconographic deposits. Without absorbing these, properly interpreting patristics and other sources of Holy Tradition is fraught with risk. Or so it seems to a mere pleb like me.

Quote
Please know that I don't dislike you at all.  We've clashed and may clash again but I bear no animus and certainly do not see you as some sort of misguided dumbell!!...sometimes stubborn yes...but that would be the worst of it. 


Such praise is unwarranted. Though I quite agree on the "stubborn" part - a legacy of my ancestry.

Quote
You really are working to see and I respect that.

No, I'm defending Orthodoxy as best I can against attempts to distort it. If you knew of the battles I've fought defending canonical iconography (such as those who think it's OK to show St Joseph the Betrothed holding the Christ-child as His mother does in icons, or criticising the "ark of salvation" image beloved of schismatic Orthodox), you might understand me a little better. Try this:
 
To a non-Orthodox person, it is iconography which is the single most visible and definitive element which distinguishes the Orthodox Church from all others. It is our responsibility to ensure this holy and priceless treasure of our Church is preserved and defended against the influx of elements foreign to Orthodox belief and doctrine. The iconodules who suffered and often paid with their lives during the iconoclastic upheavals of past centuries deserve nothing less in their honour.

It is not difficult to extrapolate this statement to apply to other matters of faith.

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« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2010, 09:07:08 PM »

 Smiley  Then we will have our work cut out for us.

I want you to know that I will not be responding to you very much.  There will be no point to it given what you say here.

I am a Catholic in Communion with other Catholics.  That makes me a heretic in your eyes in any event.

So I will draw from the well of the long tradition of the Catholic Church in its fullness, and you may do as you like.

Mary


Quote
Dear LBK,

I apologize for the frustration we cause you, and especially for my part in it of course.

Apology accepted.  Smiley

Quote
Father Al is not a Byzantine Catholic.  But I am not sure that is entirely significant. 


It should be. If anything, Fr Alvin's being Latin RC works against you, as he would be representing Roman theology, whereas you, as a Byzantine Catholic, should supposedly be espousing the Orthodox view. Wasn't that the point of "Orthodoxy in communion with Rome", and the reason why doctoring Orthodox liturgical texts (apart from papal commemorations) was forbidden by papal decree?

Quote
Father Al certainly presents a perspective on the Church and formal teaching that is significantly different in focus and emphasis from the one that I have learned over the decades, but I am not entirely sure that he and I are entirely at odds.

One's theology on such a crucial matter should be either consistent with Rome or Orthodoxy. It is not possible to be a little bit pregnant. A hybrid theology would be heretical for both Rome and Orthodoxy.

Quote
I beg your patience, and commend to your consideration the following document so that you may see the font of wisdom from which I take my perspective on the Schola Theologorum.  It is not too far apart from the natural and healthy Orthodox caution against placing ratio/reason above divine illumination.


Did you use the same caution against placing reason above illumination which informed so many of your posts where you used your own erroneous reason/reckoning to conclude that the fulsome liturgical language used for the Mother of God in Orthodoxy leads to the conclusion that she was immaculately conceived?

Quote
Perhaps this is an opportunity for us to explore those perspectives, I don't know with any certainty but I am hopeful.

My primary guides to understanding the Orthodox faith are its liturgical and iconographic deposits. Without absorbing these, properly interpreting patristics and other sources of Holy Tradition is fraught with risk. Or so it seems to a mere pleb like me.

Quote
Please know that I don't dislike you at all.  We've clashed and may clash again but I bear no animus and certainly do not see you as some sort of misguided dumbell!!...sometimes stubborn yes...but that would be the worst of it. 


Such praise is unwarranted. Though I quite agree on the "stubborn" part - a legacy of my ancestry.

Quote
You really are working to see and I respect that.

No, I'm defending Orthodoxy as best I can against attempts to distort it. If you knew of the battles I've fought defending canonical iconography (such as those who think it's OK to show St Joseph the Betrothed holding the Christ-child as His mother does in icons, or criticising the "ark of salvation" image beloved of schismatic Orthodox), you might understand me a little better. Try this:
 
To a non-Orthodox person, it is iconography which is the single most visible and definitive element which distinguishes the Orthodox Church from all others. It is our responsibility to ensure this holy and priceless treasure of our Church is preserved and defended against the influx of elements foreign to Orthodox belief and doctrine. The iconodules who suffered and often paid with their lives during the iconoclastic upheavals of past centuries deserve nothing less in their honour.

It is not difficult to extrapolate this statement to apply to other matters of faith.


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« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2010, 11:05:58 PM »

So how does one talk about the privation of sanctifying grace within an Eastern framework?

What is the difference in an infant before and after baptism?  More specifically, how does this relate to the consequences of original sin?  Was Mary conceived in the same spiritual state as a newly baptized infant?

Melodist, I think these are very helpful questions and point us in the right direction.  Rather than attempting to first "define" each Church's respective understanding of original/ancestral sin, perhaps it might be more helpful to discuss baptism.  What do we believe happens at baptism?  Do we believe that the person is changed in some way?  Do we believe that God comes to inhabit or indwell that person in a new way? etc., etc.

Consider, e.g., this passage on baptism from St Theophan the Recluse:

Quote
[i[If anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature[/i], teaches the Apostle (II Cor. 15:17).  This new creature a Christian becomes in baptism.  From the font a man comes out not at all the way he went in.  As light is to darkness, as life is to death, so is a baptized man opposed to one who is unbaptized.  Conceived in iniquities and born in sins, a man before baptism bears in himself all the poison of sin, with all the weight of its consequences.  He is in a condition of God's disfavor; he is by nature a child of wrath.  He is ruined, disordered in himself with relation to his parts and powers, which are directed primarily towards the multiplication of sin  He is in subjection to the influence of satan, who acts in him with power by reason of the sin which dwells in him.  As a result of all this, after death he is unfailingly the child of hell, where he must be tormented together with its prince and his helpers and servants.

Baptism delivers us from all these evils.  It takes away the curse by the power of the Cross of Christ and returns the blessing.  Those who are baptized are the children of God, as the Lord Himself has given them the right to be: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17).  The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the baptied person already by virture of his baptism.  He is taken away from the dominion of satan, who now loses authority over him and the power to act arbitrarily in him.  By entrance into the Church--the house of refuge--satan is denied access to the newly baptized one.  He finds himself here as in a safe enclosure.

All these are spiritually outward privileges and gifts.  But what happens inwardly?  The healing of the affliction and injury of sin.  The power of grace penetrates within and restores here the divine order in all its beauty.  It treats the disorder in the structure and relationship of the powers and parts, as well as changing the chief orientation from oneself to God--to pleasing God and increasing one's good deeds.

Therefore, Baptism is a rebirth or a new birth which puts a man in a renewed condition.  The Apostle Paul compares all the baptized with the resurrected Savior, giving us to understand that they also have the same bright nature in their renewal as was possessed by the human nature of the Lord Jesus through his resurrection in glory (Romans 6:4).  And that the orientation of activity in a baptized person is changed may be seen in the words of the same Apostle, who says in another place that they already should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again (II Cor. 5:15).  For in that He died, he died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God (Rom. 6:10).  We are buried with Him by baptism into death (Rom. 6:4); and: Our old man is crucified with Him that henceforth we should not serve sin (Rom. 6:6).  And so, the whole activity of a man by the power of Baptism is turned away from oneself and sin, and towards God and righteousness.  [The Path to Salvation, pp. 36-37]

May all the above be said to be true of the baptism of infants, who are not capable of repentance and faith?  Yes, says St Theophan:

Quote
Grace descends upon the soul of an infant and produces in it exactly the same result as if its freedom had participated in this, but only on the condition that in the future the infant, who was not then aware of himself and did not act personally, when he comes to awareness, will himself willingly dedicate himself to God, will receive out of his own desire the grace which has shown its activity in him, will be glad that it exists, will give thanks that this was done for him, and will confess that if, at the moment of his Baptism, understanding and freedom had been given to him, he would not have acted otherwise than he did act and would not have wished otherwise.  For the sake of this future free dedication of himself to God and the coming together of freedom and grace, divine grace gives  everything to the infant and even without him it produces everything in him that is natural for it to produce, with the promise that the essential desire and dedicating of himself to God will be performed without fail. ... And thus through Baptism the seed of life in Christ is placed in the infant and exists in him; but it is as though it did not exist: it acts as an educating power in him.  Spiritual life, conceived by the grace of Baptism in the infant, becomes the property of the man and is manifest in its complete form in accordance not only with grace, but also with the character of the rational creature, from the time when he, coming to awareness, by his own free will dedicates himself to God and appropriates to himself the power of grace in himself by receiving it with desire, joy, and gratitude.  Up to this time, also, the true Christian life is active in him, but it is as if without his knowledge; it acts in him, but it is as if it is not yet his own.  But from the minute of his awareness and choosing, it becomes his own, not by grace only but also by freedom.  [pp. 38-39

I read St Theophan's presentation of baptism and find myself saying, Amen, Amen, Amen.  I do not find here anything with which a Catholic would disagree.  Clearly St Theophan believes that the baptized Christian, including the baptized infant, is changed by the action of God in the sacrament: he is reborn in the Holy Spirit and made a new creation; he is delivered from the power of Satan; he is filled with grace and oriented away from sin to God. 

If Orthodox Christians believe what St Theophan believes, then Orthodox and Catholics do indeed share a profound unity in the faith.  Perhaps the way the respective traditions verbalize the nature of original/ancestral sin differ at points, but the deeper unity is demonstrated in what we confess about the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.   

 
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« Reply #40 on: May 27, 2010, 08:45:37 AM »

Consider, e.g., this passage on baptism from St Theophan the Recluse:

Did St Theophan believe that The Most Holy Theotokos was immaculately conceived?
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« Reply #41 on: May 27, 2010, 09:23:34 AM »

Consider, e.g., this passage on baptism from St Theophan the Recluse:

Did St Theophan believe that The Most Holy Theotokos was immaculately conceived?

Not that I know of. 
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« Reply #42 on: May 27, 2010, 09:28:28 AM »

Consider, e.g., this passage on baptism from St Theophan the Recluse:

Did St Theophan believe that The Most Holy Theotokos was immaculately conceived?

It is difficult to tell with Russians.  Do you have evidence that says he rejected the teaching?

To me the more cogent question is whether or not St. Theophan believed in infant baptism!!

I found this interesting exchange last night:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Unbaptised infants...

Printed from: Eastern Orthodox Christian Forum
Topic URL: http://www.orthodoxforum.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1739
Printed on: 05/27/2010

Topic:

Topic author: parascheva1014
Subject: Unbaptised infants...
Posted on: 11/09/2009 21:29:02
Message:

I need a citation for the fact that we believe that unbaptised infants who die go to heaven...

Also do we agree with the RC's that people lack sanctifying grace from birth and are given this at baptism? I don't think we do but I can't prove it.

Replies:

Reply author: alexey
Replied on: 11/10/2009 15:38:37
Message:

I've heard the following, none of eastern Fathers declare that unbaptized infants will be deprived of salvation, except st. Augustinus (who was westerns, by the way). Unfortunately do not have required citation in English just now.


"Also do we agree with the RC's that people lack sanctifying grace from birth and are given this at baptism?"


Because they believe in their wrong doctrine, which is "ex opere operatî" ("from the work done"). We believe that the grace of baptism has no effect on infants by itself without their free of will, which has not yet manifested.

Anyway the persistent practice that we have in Russian Church is somewhat inconsistent - everyone wants to baptize their babies ASAP. And now it's a point of controversy here, since it is not that originally eastern tradition, but rather western one.

And of course (again just for clarity) we cant accept the Catholic idea of the absolute primacy of God's grace over human freedom (concerning baptizm too). We insist on the concept of synergy in the relationship between God and human.

In Constantinople, for example, children was baptized when they were 4 or 5 years old.

(Bellow is just a translation what we have from fathers)

St. Gregory the Theologian and all the other Eastern Fathers understood that baptism by itself, without any reciprocal movement of the human free will, still remains just external consecration, not inured internally. He speculates that unbaptized babies would "not be neither glorified nor punished with righteous Judge". "For true glory befits only winners and heroes; all the others, which have not done free effort, do not achieve such fame, however, not punished, i.e., not die."

Ven. Ephrem the Syrian, even expressed the belief that all the dead babies, regardless of whether baptized or not, all of them will get full of eternal bliss.

I think it is sufficiently authoritative opinions.
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« Reply #43 on: May 27, 2010, 09:48:15 AM »


"Blessed be God, who alone does wonderful things! You have seen how numerous are the gifts of baptism. Although many men think that the only gift it confers is the remission of sins, we have counted its honours to the number of ten. It is on this account that we baptize even infants, although they are sinless, that they may be given the further gifts of sanctification, justice, filial adoption, and inheritance, that they may be brothers and members of Christ, and become dwelling places for the Spirit".

St. John Chrysostom, Third Baptismal Instruction, no. 6

Interesting that he makes no mention of cleansing infants from original sin.

-oOo-

Maybe someone will ferret out the ancient canons which speak very harshly of parents who delay the baptism of infants?
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« Reply #44 on: May 27, 2010, 09:48:45 AM »

Quote
We believe that the grace of baptism has no effect on infants by itself without their free of will, which has not yet manifested.

This person has got it badly, badly wrong. Even a cursory look at the Orthodox baptismal service will easily show he is in serious error. As for infants unable to express themselves, that's one reason Godparents are chosen: to speak for the infant.

Link to the baptismal service:

http://www.anastasis.org.uk/baptism.htm

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« Reply #45 on: May 27, 2010, 10:01:26 AM »

It is difficult to tell with Russians. 

Really?

Do you have evidence that says he rejected the teaching?

I asked first.  Grin

I would think that he would give some type of confirmation regarding such an important doctrine.  I read somewhere that much St Theophan's education was from Latin sources.  I do not know if this is true.  But if it is true, I would think that he would have been taught something in reference to the IC?
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« Reply #46 on: May 27, 2010, 10:28:42 AM »

Quote
We believe that the grace of baptism has no effect on infants by itself without their free of will, which has not yet manifested.

This person has got it badly, badly wrong. Even a cursory look at the Orthodox baptismal service will easily show he is in serious error. As for infants unable to express themselves, that's one reason Godparents are chosen: to speak for the infant.

Link to the baptismal service:

http://www.anastasis.org.uk/baptism.htm

May I refer you to the last question in Father Ambrose's post just prior to your post here.

What is the ancient practice of the Church with respect to infant baptism prior to Augustine?
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« Reply #47 on: May 27, 2010, 10:46:50 AM »

On the Immaculate Conception thread, Fr Ambrose has informed us that the Symbolical Books are considered to be authoritative for Orthodoxy.  Included in this collection is the Confession of Dositheus, approved by the Eastern Patriarchs.  Here is what it says about Holy Baptism:

Quote
We believe Holy Baptism, which was instituted by the Lord, and is conferred in the name of the Holy Trinity, to be of the highest necessity. For without it none is able to be saved, as the Lord says, “Whoever is not born of water and of the Spirit, shall in no way enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens.” {John 3:5} And, therefore, baptism is necessary even for infants, since they also are subject to original sin, and without Baptism are not able to obtain its remission. Which the Lord showed when he said, not of some only, but simply and absolutely, “Whoever is not born [again],” which is the same as saying, “All that after the coming of Christ the Savior would enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens must be regenerated.” And since infants are men, and as such need salvation, needing salvation they need also Baptism. And those that are not regenerated, since they have not received the remission of hereditary sin, are, of necessity, subject to eternal punishment, and consequently cannot without Baptism be saved. So that even infants should, of necessity, be baptized. Moreover, infants are saved, as is said in Matthew; {Matthew 19:12} but he that is not baptized is not saved. And consequently even infants must of necessity be baptized. And in the Acts {Acts 8:12; 16:33} it is said that the whole houses were baptized, and consequently the infants. To this the ancient Fathers also witness explicitly, and among them Dionysius in his Treatise concerning the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy; and Justin in his fifty-sixth Question, who says expressly, “And they are guaranteed the benefits of Baptism by the faith of those that bring them to Baptism.” And Augustine says that it is an Apostolic tradition, that children are saved through Baptism; and in another place, “The Church gives to babes the feet of others, that they may come; and the hearts of others, that they may believe; and the tongues of others, that they may promise;” and in another place, “Our mother, the Church, furnishes them with a particular heart.”

Before this is dismissed as an unfortunate Latinization (are we really to believe that the Patriarchs and bishops who endorsed this confession got the faith so terribly wrong on this critical point?), let's remember that the Orthodox participants at the Council of Florence also agreed on the salvific necessity of Holy Baptism.  Now I am not suggesting that the Eastern Church in fact believes that all children who die without baptism are damned--we know that contrary patristic evidence can be invoked and indeed has already been invoked--but I do not know of any Eastern tradition that tells us that infants do not need the regeneration of the Spirit that Holy Baptism confers--and that is the crucial point!  Did not Jesus himself tell us that we must be born from above by water and Holy Spirit if we would enter into the Kingdom of God?    
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« Reply #48 on: May 27, 2010, 11:04:19 AM »


--but I do not know of any Eastern tradition that tells us that infants do not need the regeneration of the Spirit that Holy Baptism confers--and that is the crucial point!  Did not Jesus himself tell us that we must be born from above by water and Holy Spirit if we would enter into the Kingdom of God?     


It is a paradox, dear Father Kimel, and one with which the Orthodox have learnt to live.

Beside the necessity of Baptism for salvation the Saviour tells us that nobody will enter heaven who does not eat His flesh and drink His holy blood.

But in point of fact we believe that such as Anglicans and Lutherans and Seventh Day Adventists who have never tasted His flesh and blood will still enter heaven.

On the one hand we must affirm the words of the Saviour.  On the other hand we contradict them.  A happy paradox!
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« Reply #49 on: May 27, 2010, 11:15:06 AM »


--but I do not know of any Eastern tradition that tells us that infants do not need the regeneration of the Spirit that Holy Baptism confers--and that is the crucial point!  Did not Jesus himself tell us that we must be born from above by water and Holy Spirit if we would enter into the Kingdom of God?     


It is a paradox, dear Father Kimel, and one with which the Orthodox have learnt to live.

Beside the necessity of Baptism for salvation the Saviour tells us that nobody will enter heaven who does not eat His flesh and drink His holy blood.

But in point of fact we believe that such as Anglicans and Lutherans and Seventh Day Adventists who have never tasted His flesh and blood will still enter heaven.

On the one hand we must affirm the words of the Saviour.  On the other hand we contradict them.  A happy paradox!

Actually, on this point I do not think there is any paradox.  What is needed for each of us is rebirth in the Spirit and incorporation into the risen Christ and thus incorporation into the life of the Holy Trinity.  This is normally accomplished in Holy Baptism and fulfilled in Holy Eucharist.  But God is not restricted to the sacramental mysteries he has mandated.  We are bound to the sacraments; God is not.   
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« Reply #50 on: May 27, 2010, 11:21:01 AM »


--but I do not know of any Eastern tradition that tells us that infants do not need the regeneration of the Spirit that Holy Baptism confers--and that is the crucial point!  Did not Jesus himself tell us that we must be born from above by water and Holy Spirit if we would enter into the Kingdom of God?    


It is a paradox, dear Father Kimel, and one with which the Orthodox have learnt to live.

Beside the necessity of Baptism for salvation the Saviour tells us that nobody will enter heaven who does not eat His flesh and drink His holy blood.

But in point of fact we believe that such as Anglicans and Lutherans and Seventh Day Adventists who have never tasted His flesh and blood will still enter heaven.

On the one hand we must affirm the words of the Saviour.  On the other hand we contradict them.  A happy paradox!

Actually, on this point I do not think there is any paradox.  What is needed for each of us is rebirth in the Spirit and incorporation into the risen Christ and thus incorporation into the life of the Holy Trinity.  This is normally accomplished in Holy Baptism and fulfilled in Holy Eucharist.  But God is not restricted to the sacramental mysteries he has mandated.  We are bound to the sacraments; God is not.   

My apologies, Father.  When I read your  "Did not Jesus himself tell us that we must be born from above by water and Holy Spirit if we would enter into the Kingdom of God?" I simply took it at face value. 
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« Reply #51 on: May 27, 2010, 11:21:46 AM »

Grace and Peace,

You guys and gals are landing on the biggest issue I have with 'modern' Orthodoxy. Original Sin, Baptism and Christ's necessity to be Born-Again by water and the Holy Spirit have all seemed to have been rejected by liberal Christians and unfortunately 'modern' Orthodoxy has greatly aided in this endeavor in the attempt to distance itself from Roman Church Doctrine.

As Fr. Ambrose will recognize I continue to point back to the Councils and St. Simeon the New Theologian as my anchor for understanding this topic...

The Councils on Original Sin:
 
Council of Mileum II 416, Approved by Innocent and Council of Carthage (XVI) 418, Approved by Zosimus against the Pelagians
 
The First Canon States:
 
All the bishops established in the sacred synod of the Carthaginian Chruch have decided that whoever says that Adam, the first man, was made mortal, so that, whether he sinned or whether he did not sin, he would die in body, that is he would go out of the body not because of the merit of sin but by reason of the necessity of nature, let him be anothema.
 
The Second Canon states:
 
Likewise it has been decided that whoever says that infants fresh from their mothers' wombs ought not to be baptized, or says that they are indeed baptized unto the remission of sins, but that they draw nothing of the original sin from Adam, which is expiated in the bath of regeneration, whence it follows that in regard to them the form of baptism "unto the remission of sins" is understood as not true, but as false, let him be anathema. Since what the Apostle says: "Though one man sin entered into the world (and through sin death), and so passed into all men, in whom all have sinned" [cf. Romans 5:12], must not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it. For on account of this rule of faith even infants, who in themselves thus far have not been able to commit any sin, are therefore truly baptized unto the remission of sins, so that that which they have contracted from generation may be cleansed in them by regeneration.
 
These Carthaginian canons were accepted by the Church at the Ecumenical Council in AD 431. They were received yet again at the Seventh Ecumenical Council (the Second Council of Nicea) in AD 787. These Canons were and 'must not be understood otherwise than as the catholic and apostalic Church spread everywhere has always understood it.'
 
Teachings of Theologians:
 
Nor does this resemble the works of Simeon the New Theologian (i.e. The First-Created Man, Seven Homilies) who clearly presents the 'orthodox' teaching of "Original Sin"...
 
In the present life no one has the divine power in himself to manifest a brilliant glory, and there is no one who is clothed with glory before humility and disgrace; but every man who is born in this world is born inglorious and insignificant, and only later, little by little, advances and becomes glorious.
 
Therefore, if anyone, having experienced beforehand such disgrace and insignificance, shall then become proud, is he not senseless and blind? That saying that calls no one sinless except God, even though he has lived only one day on earth, does not refer to those who sin personally, because how can a one-day old child sin? But in this expressed that mystery of our Faith, that human nature is sinful from its very conception. God did not create man sinful, but pure and holy. But since the first-created Adam lost this garment of sanctity, not from any other sin but from pride alone, and became corruptible and mortal, all people also who come from the seed of Adam are participants of the ancestral sin from their very conception and birth. He who has been born in this way, even though he has not yet performed any sin, is already sinful through this ancestral sin.
- The First-Created Man: Homily 37 The Original Sin and Our Regeneration by St. Symeon The New Theologian

Regardless if I remain Catholic or enter into Orthodoxy... I see no reason to yield my views on these topics to the more liberal and modern interpretation that we are seeing presented here. I might as well point this at the Roman Church as well... since the 1960's she has been attempting to reinterpret her own ancient tradition as well so that it might be more appealing for modern eyes. I remind us both... what is it worth if we gain the whole world but lose heaven? If we can't be true to these most basic doctrines... we are nothing more than 'modern' sophists.
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« Reply #52 on: May 27, 2010, 11:22:51 AM »


--but I do not know of any Eastern tradition that tells us that infants do not need the regeneration of the Spirit that Holy Baptism confers--and that is the crucial point!  Did not Jesus himself tell us that we must be born from above by water and Holy Spirit if we would enter into the Kingdom of God?     


It is a paradox, dear Father Kimel, and one with which the Orthodox have learnt to live.

Beside the necessity of Baptism for salvation the Saviour tells us that nobody will enter heaven who does not eat His flesh and drink His holy blood.

But in point of fact we believe that such as Anglicans and Lutherans and Seventh Day Adventists who have never tasted His flesh and blood will still enter heaven.

On the one hand we must affirm the words of the Saviour.  On the other hand we contradict them.  A happy paradox!

Actually, on this point I do not think there is any paradox.  What is needed for each of us is rebirth in the Spirit and incorporation into the risen Christ and thus incorporation into the life of the Holy Trinity.  This is normally accomplished in Holy Baptism and fulfilled in Holy Eucharist.  But God is not restricted to the sacramental mysteries he has mandated.  We are bound to the sacraments; God is not.   

BRAVO!!

It is not Paradox!!  It is Theology!!

 angel
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« Reply #53 on: May 27, 2010, 11:36:23 AM »

Grace and Peace,

You guys and gals are landing on the biggest issue I have with 'modern' Orthodoxy. Original Sin, Baptism and Christ's necessity to be Born-Again by water and the Holy Spirit have all seemed to have been rejected by liberal Christians and unfortunately 'modern' Orthodoxy has greatly aided in this endeavor in the attempt to distance itself from Roman Church Doctrine.

http://faculty.biola.edu/alang/EO/Summary.pdf

On page 3 of this document, monk John Karmiris does not hesitate to use the language of antiquity properly, and he is a known anti-ecumenist so there's no chance of a Latin captivity there!

Mary
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« Reply #54 on: May 27, 2010, 11:36:58 AM »


--but I do not know of any Eastern tradition that tells us that infants do not need the regeneration of the Spirit that Holy Baptism confers--and that is the crucial point!  Did not Jesus himself tell us that we must be born from above by water and Holy Spirit if we would enter into the Kingdom of God?    


It is a paradox, dear Father Kimel, and one with which the Orthodox have learnt to live.

Beside the necessity of Baptism for salvation the Saviour tells us that nobody will enter heaven who does not eat His flesh and drink His holy blood.

But in point of fact we believe that such as Anglicans and Lutherans and Seventh Day Adventists who have never tasted His flesh and blood will still enter heaven.

On the one hand we must affirm the words of the Saviour.  On the other hand we contradict them.  A happy paradox!

Actually, on this point I do not think there is any paradox.  What is needed for each of us is rebirth in the Spirit and incorporation into the risen Christ and thus incorporation into the life of the Holy Trinity.  This is normally accomplished in Holy Baptism and fulfilled in Holy Eucharist.  But God is not restricted to the sacramental mysteries he has mandated.  We are bound to the sacraments; God is not.  

BRAVO!!

It is not Paradox!!  It is Theology!!

 angel

You actually have developed a theology how Anglicans and Lutherans and Wineberian Baptists are saved without fulfilling the command to eat and drink the Lord's Body and Blood!!  That's amazing!!!  

The Orthodox have nothing like that.  We have some things such as....

... the words of the holy Metropolitan Philaret who was the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad when I was a young man and a very conservative theologian.  He is here speaking of heterodox Christians but I would think he would say the same about Jews and others:


"It is self evident, however, that sincere Christians who are Roman
Catholics, or Lutherans, or members, of other non-Orthodox
confessions, cannot be termed renegades or heretics—i.e. those who
knowingly pervert the truth... They have been born and raised and are
living according to the creed which they have inherited, just as do
the majority of you who are Orthodox; in their lives there has not
been a moment of personal and conscious renunciation of Orthodoxy. The
Lord, "Who will have all men to be saved" (I Tim. 2:4) and "Who
enlightens every man born into the world" (Jn. 1.43), undoubtedly is
leading them also towards salvation In His own way."


N.B:  "The Lord...undoubtedly is leading them also towards salvation
In His own way."

And we have the words of St. Theophan the Recluse to guide us into a correct Orthodox understanding:


"You ask, will the heterodox be saved... Why do you worry about them?
They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being.
He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such
concern. Study yourself and your own sins... I will tell you one thing, however:
should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray
Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever
."


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« Reply #55 on: May 27, 2010, 11:39:45 AM »


And we have the words of St. Theophan the Recluse to guide us into a correct Orthodox understanding:


"You ask, will the heterodox be saved... Why do you worry about them?
They have a Saviour Who desires the salvation of every human being.
He will take care of them. You and I should not be burdened with such
concern. Study yourself and your own sins... I will tell you one thing, however:
should you, being Orthodox and possessing the Truth in its fullness, betray
Orthodoxy, and enter a different faith, you will lose your soul forever
."

I believe the point is, Father, that these teachings are NOT paradox.  Not that they are not TRUE!!

You are the one that indicates they are paradoxical.

I was suggesting that they are simply true.

Mary
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« Reply #56 on: May 27, 2010, 11:40:23 AM »

Bump

Grace and Peace,

You guys and gals are landing on the biggest issue I have with 'modern' Orthodoxy. Original Sin, Baptism and Christ's necessity to be Born-Again by water and the Holy Spirit have all seemed to have been rejected by liberal Christians and unfortunately 'modern' Orthodoxy has greatly aided in this endeavor in the attempt to distance itself from Roman Church Doctrine.

http://faculty.biola.edu/alang/EO/Summary.pdf

On page 3 of this document, monk John Karmiris does not hesitate to use the language of antiquity properly, and he is a known anti-ecumenist so there's no chance of a Latin captivity there!

Mary
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« Reply #57 on: May 27, 2010, 11:54:03 AM »

Bump

Grace and Peace,

You guys and gals are landing on the biggest issue I have with 'modern' Orthodoxy. Original Sin, Baptism and Christ's necessity to be Born-Again by water and the Holy Spirit have all seemed to have been rejected by liberal Christians and unfortunately 'modern' Orthodoxy has greatly aided in this endeavor in the attempt to distance itself from Roman Church Doctrine.

http://faculty.biola.edu/alang/EO/Summary.pdf

On page 3 of this document, monk John Karmiris does not hesitate to use the language of antiquity properly, and he is a known anti-ecumenist so there's no chance of a Latin captivity there!

Mary

http://www.3saints.com/baptism.html

The Purpose of Holy Baptism
To remove the consequences of the 'original sin'. To wash away all other sins committed before the time of Baptism if the person is beyond the age of infancy. To unite the person to "The Body of Christ" (that is, the Church), and to open the door of salvation and eternal life to him or her. 
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« Reply #58 on: May 27, 2010, 12:06:16 PM »

Bump

Grace and Peace,

You guys and gals are landing on the biggest issue I have with 'modern' Orthodoxy. Original Sin, Baptism and Christ's necessity to be Born-Again by water and the Holy Spirit have all seemed to have been rejected by liberal Christians and unfortunately 'modern' Orthodoxy has greatly aided in this endeavor in the attempt to distance itself from Roman Church Doctrine.

http://faculty.biola.edu/alang/EO/Summary.pdf

On page 3 of this document, monk John Karmiris does not hesitate to use the language of antiquity properly, and he is a known anti-ecumenist so there's no chance of a Latin captivity there!

Mary

http://www.3saints.com/baptism.html

The Purpose of Holy Baptism
To remove the consequences of the 'original sin'. To wash away all other sins committed before the time of Baptism if the person is beyond the age of infancy. To unite the person to "The Body of Christ" (that is, the Church), and to open the door of salvation and eternal life to him or her. 

The most powerful statement and the most grounded expression of our theology on Baptism is to be found.... wait for it!.... in the text of the holy Mystery itself.  Simply take the text for Baptism in your hand and start reading.  *Everything* is there, in the Service.  You will learn of the laver of regeneration, the adoption to sonship.....
 

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« Reply #59 on: May 27, 2010, 12:10:19 PM »

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Grace and Peace,

You guys and gals are landing on the biggest issue I have with 'modern' Orthodoxy. Original Sin, Baptism and Christ's necessity to be Born-Again by water and the Holy Spirit have all seemed to have been rejected by liberal Christians and unfortunately 'modern' Orthodoxy has greatly aided in this endeavor in the attempt to distance itself from Roman Church Doctrine.

http://faculty.biola.edu/alang/EO/Summary.pdf

On page 3 of this document, monk John Karmiris does not hesitate to use the language of antiquity properly, and he is a known anti-ecumenist so there's no chance of a Latin captivity there!

Mary

http://www.3saints.com/baptism.html

The Purpose of Holy Baptism
To remove the consequences of the 'original sin'. To wash away all other sins committed before the time of Baptism if the person is beyond the age of infancy. To unite the person to "The Body of Christ" (that is, the Church), and to open the door of salvation and eternal life to him or her. 

The most powerful statement and the most grounded expression of our theology on Baptism is to be found.... wait for it!.... in the text of the holy Mystery itself.  Simply take the text for Baptism in your hand and start reading.  *Everything* is there, in the Service.  You will learn of the laver of regeneration, the adoption to sonship.....

 Wink  Of course it doesn't say "original sin"...
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« Reply #60 on: May 27, 2010, 12:24:40 PM »

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Grace and Peace,

You guys and gals are landing on the biggest issue I have with 'modern' Orthodoxy. Original Sin, Baptism and Christ's necessity to be Born-Again by water and the Holy Spirit have all seemed to have been rejected by liberal Christians and unfortunately 'modern' Orthodoxy has greatly aided in this endeavor in the attempt to distance itself from Roman Church Doctrine.

http://faculty.biola.edu/alang/EO/Summary.pdf

On page 3 of this document, monk John Karmiris does not hesitate to use the language of antiquity properly, and he is a known anti-ecumenist so there's no chance of a Latin captivity there!

Mary

http://www.3saints.com/baptism.html

The Purpose of Holy Baptism
To remove the consequences of the 'original sin'. To wash away all other sins committed before the time of Baptism if the person is beyond the age of infancy. To unite the person to "The Body of Christ" (that is, the Church), and to open the door of salvation and eternal life to him or her. 

The most powerful statement and the most grounded expression of our theology on Baptism is to be found.... wait for it!.... in the text of the holy Mystery itself.  Simply take the text for Baptism in your hand and start reading.  *Everything* is there, in the Service.  You will learn of the laver of regeneration, the adoption to sonship.....

 Wink  Of course it doesn't say "original sin"...

It doesn't.

It mentions neither original sin nor ancestral sin.

This is a very old Service and maybe LBK can fill in the gaps of our knowledge.  We know that it was in use in 347 when Saint Cyril of Jerusalem composed his famous twenty-three catechetical lectures.  He describes the identical service as is used today and he gives identical phrases.  Converts approaching Baptism always comment on this when reading St Cyril and reading the text we use - "How amazing!  They are the same!"
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« Reply #61 on: May 27, 2010, 12:45:57 PM »

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Grace and Peace,

You guys and gals are landing on the biggest issue I have with 'modern' Orthodoxy. Original Sin, Baptism and Christ's necessity to be Born-Again by water and the Holy Spirit have all seemed to have been rejected by liberal Christians and unfortunately 'modern' Orthodoxy has greatly aided in this endeavor in the attempt to distance itself from Roman Church Doctrine.

http://faculty.biola.edu/alang/EO/Summary.pdf

On page 3 of this document, monk John Karmiris does not hesitate to use the language of antiquity properly, and he is a known anti-ecumenist so there's no chance of a Latin captivity there!

Mary

http://www.3saints.com/baptism.html

The Purpose of Holy Baptism
To remove the consequences of the 'original sin'. To wash away all other sins committed before the time of Baptism if the person is beyond the age of infancy. To unite the person to "The Body of Christ" (that is, the Church), and to open the door of salvation and eternal life to him or her. 

The most powerful statement and the most grounded expression of our theology on Baptism is to be found.... wait for it!.... in the text of the holy Mystery itself.  Simply take the text for Baptism in your hand and start reading.  *Everything* is there, in the Service.  You will learn of the laver of regeneration, the adoption to sonship.....

 Wink  Of course it doesn't say "original sin"...

It doesn't.

It mentions neither original sin nor ancestral sin.

This is a very old Service and maybe LBK can fill in the gaps of our knowledge.  We know that it was in use in 347 when Saint Cyril of Jerusalem composed his famous twenty-three catechetical lectures.  He describes the identical service as is used today and he gives identical phrases.  Converts approaching Baptism always comment on this when reading St Cyril and reading the text we use - "How amazing!  They are the same!"

Funny you should mention!!  The Protocatechesis does not mention original sin or ancestral sin by name either! 

You don't suppose we are looking at <gasp!!> development of doctrine do you?

NOTHING in the ancient liturgy, NOTHING in the ancient catechesis....

What does Orthodoxy really teach?

Mary
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« Reply #62 on: May 27, 2010, 04:46:52 PM »

Wink  Of course it doesn't say "original sin"...
Quite right, it is devoid of heresy.
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« Reply #63 on: May 27, 2010, 04:51:39 PM »

You don't suppose we are looking at <gasp!!> development of doctrine do you?

The Latin Church is full of such things. It comes as no surprise.
What does Orthodoxy really teach?

The Truth, dear child.
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« Reply #64 on: May 27, 2010, 04:56:43 PM »

You don't suppose we are looking at <gasp!!> development of doctrine do you?

The Latin Church is full of such things. It comes as no surprise.
What does Orthodoxy really teach?

The Truth, dear child.

Then you, dearest child of God, disagree with all of those Orthodox who teach that Original sin is cleansed in Baptism?

M.
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« Reply #65 on: May 27, 2010, 05:48:53 PM »

May I reiterate what I suggested above, namely, it is probably best to bracket the term "original sin" and to focus on the meaning of Holy Baptism.  I provided a couple of lengthy citations from St Theophan the Recluse.  Would it not be helpful for us to discuss the particulars of his teaching.  I find nothing objectionable in St Theophan's teaching--quite the contrary.  It appears to faithfully present the teachings of the Fathers.  One finds in it the characteristic patristic themes--liberation from Satan, regeneration, bestowal of the Spirit, the gift of divine sonship, death and resurrection, incorporation into the body of Christ, inheritance of the kingdom.

Baptism (and I use the term here to refer comprehensively to Christian initiation, including chrismation and reception of the Body and Blood) is simply not a matter of serious disputation between Catholics and Orthodox, except (apparently) on the internet.  Catholics and Orthodox stand together against the disjunction between sacramental sign and sacramental reality that is characteristic of most Protestant presentations on baptism (excluding the Lutherans and high church Anglicans).  Surely both Catholic and Orthodox reject the claim that "the grace of baptism has no effect on infants by itself without their free of will."  A Reformed Christian might say such a thing, but not a Catholic or Orthodox Christian.  Catholics and Orthodox are united in the confession of baptismal regeneration, and polemics should not be allowed to distort the teachings of our respective Churches. 

Precisely because baptism is "liberation from Satan, regeneration, bestowal of the Spirit, the gift of divine sonship, death and resurrection, incorporation into the body of Christ, inheritance of the kingdom" it is necessary for our salvation.  This does not, of course, mean that the non-baptized have no hope for salvation, which is a trap into which traditionalist Catholics sometimes fall.  The mysteries are given to us by the risen Christ to mediate to us the mystery of his divine life; but he is not restricted to or limited by these ritual events.  The appointed sacraments do not restrain the freedom of divine grace, but neither does this freedom in any way diminish the objective efficacy of the sacraments. 

The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that we should never begin our discussions with our controversially defined notions of original sin.  If we begin with original sin, we are likely to distort the the meaning of Holy Baptism.  We must begin with baptism.  Only then will we come to understand why it is necessary--and only then will we begin to understand the nature of our fallen condition that we inherit from Adam and Eve. 

 
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« Reply #66 on: May 27, 2010, 07:06:11 PM »

I had already provided a link to the Orthodox baptismal service in post #44, which folks seem to have skittled in the rush:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27635.msg439621.html#msg439621

Quote
We believe that the grace of baptism has no effect on infants by itself without their free of will, which has not yet manifested.
This person has got it badly, badly wrong. Even a cursory look at the Orthodox baptismal service will easily show he is in serious error. As for infants unable to express themselves, that's one reason Godparents are chosen: to speak for the infant.

Link to the baptismal service:

http://www.anastasis.org.uk/baptism.htm


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« Reply #67 on: May 27, 2010, 09:07:43 PM »

May I reiterate what I suggested above, namely, it is probably best to bracket the term "original sin" and to focus on the meaning of Holy Baptism.  I provided a couple of lengthy citations from St Theophan the Recluse.  Would it not be helpful for us to discuss the particulars of his teaching.  I find nothing objectionable in St Theophan's teaching--quite the contrary.  It appears to faithfully present the teachings of the Fathers.  One finds in it the characteristic patristic themes--liberation from Satan, regeneration, bestowal of the Spirit, the gift of divine sonship, death and resurrection, incorporation into the body of Christ, inheritance of the kingdom.

Baptism (and I use the term here to refer comprehensively to Christian initiation, including chrismation and reception of the Body and Blood) is simply not a matter of serious disputation between Catholics and Orthodox, except (apparently) on the internet.  Catholics and Orthodox stand together against the disjunction between sacramental sign and sacramental reality that is characteristic of most Protestant presentations on baptism (excluding the Lutherans and high church Anglicans)...

...If we begin with original sin, we are likely to distort the the meaning of Holy Baptism.  We must begin with baptism.  Only then will we come to understand why it is necessary--and only then will we begin to understand the nature of our fallen condition that we inherit from Adam and Eve.  

I agree with your final statement here.  

By the same token, engaging it without qualification would be kin to directing the choirs of angels and as much as I would love to do that we are stuck, however regrettably, in the orchestra pit of discord.

You notice that no one has picked up on my reference to monk John Karmiris's texts taken from his out of print text A Synopsis of the Dogmatic Theology of the Orthodox Catholic Church.

He starts his chapter concerning the sacraments with the following:

"That justifying and sanctifying divine grace which abides in the Church is administered by the Church to the people by means of the holy mysteries, which are divinely instituted ceremonies that deliver by visible means, mysteriously transmitted invisible grace."

That is some astonishing language coming out of a native born Greek who spent his life as an avowed anti-ecumenist.  At least it is astonishing to me.  In fact I have used monk John's texts on sacraments when I needed succinct and hardhitting catechetical texts to teach eastern Catholic adults who evidenced concerns about Latinizations in the Greek Catholic Churches.

Of Baptism, monk John says:

"By means of holy baptism, the "bath of regeneration" and renewing of the Holy Spirit, believers shed the sinful garments of the old man and are clothed in Christ, entering through him, as through a door, into the church, the kingdom of grace.  We are thus regenerated, renewed, and recreated, our nature being made over into the divine image, so that we become members of the mystical body of Christ, children of God by grace and partakers of the divine nature by participation in the Holy Spirit.  

According to Chrysostom, "It is through baptism that we received remission of sins, sanctification, communion of the Spirit, adoption, and life eternal."   And according to Basil the Great, baptism is "the ransoming of captives, the forgiving of their debts, the regeneration of the the soul, the bright garment, the unassailable seal, chariot to heaven, the cause of the kingdom, the gift of adoption."


Marvelous is it not?  Redolent with Scripture in the language of the fathers...amen!  And then monk John continues:

"Indeed, through this sacrament those who believe are cleansed of original sin and all actual sins [if they be adult].  All of these sins are totally uprooted and obliterated, together with their guilt, and their due punishment, the very body of sin [excepting only concupiscence] being reconciled to God, justified, made worthy by grace of the divine adoption.

Those baptized thus become citizens and members incorporate in the body of the church, in the mystical body of Christ, which is actually formed through baptism. [!!]

We would emphasize again that it is through baptism that we receive explicit, complete and utter remission of original sin, which is by this means uprooted, obliterated, together with any actual sins which the individual may have committed.

Baptism brings about also the ontological destruction of the very body of sin, the source of death, since it was by sin that death passed to all [Rom. 5:12].  

According to the patriarch Diostheus, "There is no sin that cannot be absolved by baptism.  The inclination remains but that is irrelevant...All those sins committed prior to baptism, or during baptism, disappear, are counted as not existing, as though they had never been committed."  Consequently baptism frees us from all spot of sin, and thus we become the holy temple of God and partakers of his divine nature through our participation in the Holy Spirit."


Not only can I use this text with eastern Catholics but I can use it without change among those from the Latin rite.

Now I cannot agree with you that the only argument that this would get come from people who inhabit the Internet.  Parish site after parish site have established catechetical texts that don't even begin to be as rigorous, thorough and mystical as these texts from monk John.

My question is why don't they?  Why is monk John's book out of print?

Mary




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« Reply #68 on: May 27, 2010, 11:20:31 PM »


You notice that no one has picked up on my reference to monk John Karmiris's texts taken from his out of print text A Synopsis of the Dogmatic Theology of the Orthodox Catholic Church.

My question is why don't they?  Why is monk John's book out of print?

I have not heard of John Karmiris, but an internet search reveals that some find his theology a bit fishy and he is a controversial figure.

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/baptismal_theology.aspx

34. John N. Karmiris, Dogmatic Theology, Part V, "Orthodox Ecclesiology" [in Greek] (Athens: 1973), pp. 241, 242, 243 [emphasis ours].
35. Ibid., p. 243 (note) [emphasis ours]. In a detailed study, Professor Basil N. Giannopoulos endeavors to provide a foundation for these erroneous views of John Karmiris by appealing to the Seventh Œcumenical Synod, in an attempt, indeed, to refute what Father George Metallinos correctly put forth in his aforementioned work, "I Confess One Baptism...." (See B.N. Giannopoulos, "The Reception of Heretics According to the Seventh Œcumenical Synod: How Those Coming from Heresies Are To Be Received," Theologia, No. 3 [July-September 1988], pp. 530-579). Basil Giannopoulos conclusions, especially regarding the Ordination of heretics (see especially pp. 574ff. and footnotes 85 and 76), demonstrate confusion and an inability to understand the prism through which the Holy Synod examined the whole issue. It is truly a very distressing phenomenon that academic theology should attempt, in a variety of ways, to present the Seventh Holy Œcumenical Synod as concurring with its errors, to say nothing of "baptismal theology."

From Orthodox Tradition, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2000), pp. 2-11. Translated from Orthodoxos Enstasis kai Martyria (Nos. 26-29 [January-December 1992], pp. 34-43).

-oOo-
http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.29.en.f_georges_florovsky.htm

"Meanwhile, Professor John Karmiris had tendered his resignation from the delegation of the Church of Greece. He gave as reasons inadequate preparation on the Orthodox side, disagreement over the subject to be initially discussed, and the unresolved problem of Uniatism."

-oOo-

Other sources approve of him, so I take him to be a controversial fellow with his theology.  Is anybody on the forum familiar with him and how is he generally assessed in the Orthodox world?
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« Reply #69 on: May 27, 2010, 11:37:47 PM »

Dear Father,

Monk John was an avowed anti-ecumenist all his life.  I think what you are seeing here is a reflection of the decisions he made personally based upon his antipathy to the heresy of ecumenism, rather than any negative statement against his theology.

But I'll leave all that for you to discover.

Mary



You notice that no one has picked up on my reference to monk John Karmiris's texts taken from his out of print text A Synopsis of the Dogmatic Theology of the Orthodox Catholic Church.

My question is why don't they?  Why is monk John's book out of print?

I have not heard of John Karmiris, but an internet search reveals that some find his theology a bit fishy and he is a controversial figure.

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/baptismal_theology.aspx

34. John N. Karmiris, Dogmatic Theology, Part V, "Orthodox Ecclesiology" [in Greek] (Athens: 1973), pp. 241, 242, 243 [emphasis ours].
35. Ibid., p. 243 (note) [emphasis ours]. In a detailed study, Professor Basil N. Giannopoulos endeavors to provide a foundation for these erroneous views of John Karmiris by appealing to the Seventh Œcumenical Synod, in an attempt, indeed, to refute what Father George Metallinos correctly put forth in his aforementioned work, "I Confess One Baptism...." (See B.N. Giannopoulos, "The Reception of Heretics According to the Seventh Œcumenical Synod: How Those Coming from Heresies Are To Be Received," Theologia, No. 3 [July-September 1988], pp. 530-579). Basil Giannopoulos conclusions, especially regarding the Ordination of heretics (see especially pp. 574ff. and footnotes 85 and 76), demonstrate confusion and an inability to understand the prism through which the Holy Synod examined the whole issue. It is truly a very distressing phenomenon that academic theology should attempt, in a variety of ways, to present the Seventh Holy Œcumenical Synod as concurring with its errors, to say nothing of "baptismal theology."

From Orthodox Tradition, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2000), pp. 2-11. Translated from Orthodoxos Enstasis kai Martyria (Nos. 26-29 [January-December 1992], pp. 34-43).

-oOo-
http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.29.en.f_georges_florovsky.htm

"Meanwhile, Professor John Karmiris had tendered his resignation from the delegation of the Church of Greece. He gave as reasons inadequate preparation on the Orthodox side, disagreement over the subject to be initially discussed, and the unresolved problem of Uniatism."

-oOo-

Other sources approve of him, so I take him to be a controversial fellow with his theology.  Is anybody on the forum familiar with him and how is he generally assessed in the Orthodox world?
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« Reply #70 on: May 28, 2010, 12:14:30 AM »


Monk John was an avowed anti-ecumenist all his life.  I think what you are seeing here is a reflection of the decisions he made personally based upon his antipathy to the heresy of ecumenism, rather than any negative statement against his theology.


If these (below)  are the opinions of John Karmiris I would not term him an anti-ecumenist!

" The Church is one and unique and united before the Triune God, in Whose name all her members are baptized, thus attaining their justification, independently of which Confession they belong to, united with Christ and with each other in one body, which cannot be divided into a plurality of bodies."

"The division that now exists between churches derives from external and earthly factors and not from internal and heavenly ones; it derives from human beings, from their imperfections and sins. It diminishes as we ascend higher and practically disappears in the sight of God, from Whom, conversely, derives the internal mystical unity of the Church."

"All of us Christians are sacramentally and ineffably united with Christ and with each other through the sacramental Grace of Holy Baptism, and subsequently through the communion of the Divine Eucharist."

John N. Karmiris, Dogmatic Theology, Part V, "Orthodox Ecclesiology" [in Greek] (Athens: 1973), pp. 241, 242, 243

I do not have his book.  Are you able to look up these passages and report if he is being accurately reported?

Is he speaking only of the unity of the Orthodox Church or of the unity of Orthodoxy with other Churches?
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« Reply #71 on: May 28, 2010, 08:56:18 AM »

Then you, dearest child of God, disagree with all of those Orthodox who teach that Original sin is cleansed in Baptism?
All sin is cleansed in Baptism.

Why restrict the concept to the erroneous teaching of "original sin?"
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« Reply #72 on: May 28, 2010, 09:38:08 AM »



Monk John was an avowed anti-ecumenist all his life.  I think what you are seeing here is a reflection of the decisions he made personally based upon his antipathy to the heresy of ecumenism, rather than any negative statement against his theology.

Maybe this will help Father Ambrose:

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/dogmatics/golubov_rags_of_mortality.htm

Rags of Mortality: Original Sin and Human Nature
by Archpriest Alexander Golubov, Ph.D.


Behold, I am now captive to death because of unlawful counsel.
And I who was for a time robed with the glory of immortality
have become like one dead, wrapped pitifully in the rags of mortality
--Matins of Meatfare Sunday, Einos, Tone 5

Our annual spiritual journey into Great Lent, and especially into Passion Week, when we commemorate the betrayal, crucifixion, death and burial of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, followed by the celebration of His glorious Resurrection on the third day, offers us, again and again, the opportunity to ponder the mysteries of the Incarnation of the Son of God and His Redemption of the fallen human race. Inextricably tied in with this, of course, is the mystery of human life lived in the context of the terrible realities of sin, suffering and death, which none of us are capable of escaping except for what the Lord has accomplished for us, through His Cross and Resurrection.

It was St. Paul who first connected the events surrounding the temptation and fall of Adam in Paradise, as recounted in Genesis 3, to the events surrounding the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ in Jerusalem, and established between them a logical and direct inner relationship. To his mind, Adam's transgression in Paradise became the doorway through which sin and death entered into the world: "sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men for all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12).

Commenting on this and related passages, St. John Chrysostom explains: "But what does it mean, 'for all have sinned' (Rom. 5.12) This: he having once fallen, yet they that had not eaten of the tree inherited mortality . . . From this it is clear that it was not Adam's sin, his transgression--that is of the Law--but by the virtue of his disobedience that all have been marred. What is the proof of this? The fact that even before the Law all died: 'for death reigned,' St. Paul says, 'from Adam to Moses, even over them who had not sinned' (Rom 5:14). How did it 'reign'? After the manner of Adam's transgression, he who is 'the type of Him that was to come.' Thus, when the Jews ask, how was it possible for one Person to have saved the world? you will be able to reply, in the same way that the disobedience of one person, Adam, brought its condemnation" (Commentary on Romans, X).

Explaining Christ's redemptive role, St. Paul recapitulated this thought in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, where he proclaimed: "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:21-22).

Following St. Paul, the Holy Fathers teach that the state of general sinfulness and death is not man's original state of being, that man was not created by God to naturally live like this. Rather, this miserable condition in which we now find ourselves is the natural result of the moral disaster that occurred in Paradise with our ancient forefathers, Adam and Eve. The human race, writes St. Justin Martyr, "from the time of Adam had been subject to death and deceit of the serpent, each of us having committed sins of our own" (Dialogue with Trypho, 88). "When [Adam] transgressed the Commandment of God," teaches St. Methodius of Olympus, "he suffered the terrible and destructive fall. He was reduced to a state of death" (Banquet of the Virgins, III).

Before their fall in Paradise, however, writes St. Athanasius of Alexandria, our forefathers "did not die and did not decay, escaped death and corruption. The presence of the Word with them shielded them from natural corruption, as also the Book of Wisdom says, God created man for incorruption and as an image of His own eternity; but by the envy of the devil death entered into the world (Wis. 2:23f.) When this happened, men began to die, and corruption spread unchecked among them and held sway over men to more than a natural degree, because it was the penalty concerning which God had forewarned would be the reward of transgressing the commandment" (On the Incarnation of the Word).

Thus, according to the Fathers, our present condition is the result of a freely-willed choice, the natural consequences of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the penalty for failure to heed God's warning that death, indeed, will be the catastrophic outcome of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It might occur to some, however, that it is exceedingly cruel of God to condemn the entire human race for the sin of two individuals. Why, indeed, should we, who were not around at the time of Adam's transgression, have to pay the rather stiff penalty for something that we did not, of ourselves, do? Isn't this guilt by association?

The source of this moral problem is not God, of course, as the author of evil and death, for God is not such. "We must understand," writes St. Gregory Palamas, "that God 'did not make death' (Wisdom 1:13), whether of the body or of the soul. For when He first gave the command, He did not say, 'On the day you eat of it, die,' but 'In the day you eat of it, you will surely die' (Gen. 2:17). He did not say afterwards, 'return now to the earth,' but 'you shall return' (Gen. 3:19), foretelling in this way what would come to pass" (One Hundred Fifty Chapters). Neither is the source, explains St. Theophilos of Antioch, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For it is not, he writes, "as if any evil existed in the tree of knowledge, but from the fact of his disobedience did man draw, as from a fountain, labor, grief and, at last, fell prey to death" (To Autolycus, II, 25).

The problem, rather, has to do with the nature of Divinely-mandated freedom and the autonomous functioning of the natural law of creation, directly pertaining to issues of heredity and genetics, being analogous to something which contemporary medicine would define as "fetal addiction syndrome" or "fetal AIDS syndrome." In such a case, a mother who carries a gene for hemophilia, for instance, will transmit it to her offspring by the biological laws of heredity, though the processes of meiosis and mitosis, by means of which cell division naturally occurs. Or, in a similar way, a mother addicted to either drugs or alcohol, or who is HIV-positive, by virtue of the fact that from the moment of conception she shares with the child in her womb both blood and other bodily fluids, will naturally transmit to her child what she herself carries in her own blood. We easily understand that in this case, the child that is in the womb of the mother, will, of course, without any movement of the will, without agreement or disagreement with the particular moral choices of the mother, and, importantly, without any guilt on his part, participate in the affliction of the mother ("Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me," Ps. 50[51].5). It is in this vein, indeed, that the Fathers explain the concept of what has become known in theology as "original sin."

St. Cyril of Alexandria, for instance, observes: "Since [Adam] produced children after falling into this state, we, his descendants, are corruptible as the issue of a corruptible source. It is in this sense that we are heirs of Adam's curse. Not that we are punished for having disobeyed God's commandment along with him, but that he became mortal and the curse of mortality was transmitted to his seed after him, offspring born of a mortal source . . . So corruption and death are the universal inheritance of Adam's transgression" (Doctrinal questions and answers, 6). Elsewhere, commenting on St. Paul's teaching, he explains: "Human nature became sick with sin. Because of the disobedience of one (that is, of Adam), the many became sinners; not because they transgressed together with Adam (for they were not there) but because they are of his nature, which entered under the dominion of sin . . . Human nature became ill and subject to corruption through the transgression of Adam, thus penetrating man's very passions" (On Romans 5.18).

Summarizing this patristic teaching, the Greek theologian John Karmiris writes that "the sin of the first man, together with all of its consequences and penalties, is transferred by means of natural heredity to the entire human race. Since every human being is a descendant of the first man, 'no one of us is free from the spot of sin, even if he should manage to live a completely sinless day.' . . . Original Sin not only constitutes 'an accident' of the soul; but its results, together with its penalties, are transplanted by natural heredity to the generations to come . . . And thus, from the one historical event of the first sin of the first-born man, came the present situation of sin being imparted, together with all of the consequences thereof, to all natural descendants of Adam."[1]

Held, in general, as Orthodox teaching by both Eastern and Western Fathers, the theological concept, or doctrine, of "original sin," as the Russian theologian Fr. Michael Pomazansky points out, "has great significance in the Christian world-view, because upon it rests a whole series of other dogmas."[2] As a distinct concept of Christian theology, however, it was first defined and introduced in the fifth century by Blessed Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius in Northern Africa.

Blessed Augustine developed his doctrine in the context of a rather hot polemical confrontation with the heretic Pelagius, who, fleeing Rome after its sack in 410 by Alaric, chieftain of the Western Goths, had the misfortune, together with some of his followers, to settle in Africa, where his preaching came under the intense scrutiny of the bishop of Hippo. Pelagius, who was not a theologian, but essentially an itinerant ascetic preacher and moralist, whose chief interest was in correcting the moral laxity of contemporary Christians, had the further misfortune of permitting a local lawyer named Coelestius, who was seeking ordination to the priesthood, to become his disciple and interpreter of his views. In the view of the Pelagians, the low level of morality and rampant moral laxity had its source not only in what they saw as the denial of individual moral responsibility in the teaching about the consequences of Adam's sin, but also in the definition of the clergy as an elite group in the church, which in their eyes permitted the laity to abjure their moral responsibilities and adopt unacceptably low standards of Christian living. Some time later, after Pelagius had already left for Palestine (where he had yet the further misfortune of running afoul of the hot-tempered Blessed Jerome, translator of the Bible into Latin), Coelestius and his followers began preaching and explicating the views of their teacher, and in the process questioned the practice of infant baptism, the efficacy of the Incarnation and redemptive death of Christ on the cross, and denied the inheritance of Adam's sin. While man does indeed follow Adam into death, they taught, man sins only by example, through imitation of Adam, not through an endemic, hereditary defect of his nature. Despite the facts of sin and death, man's nature nonetheless remains as he was originally created, innocent and pure, as was first-created Adam himself. Disease and death are thus not consequences of original sin, but are characteristic of human nature from creation.

Blessed Augustine very correctly noted the dangerous implications of this argument for Orthodox theology. The total dismissal of the concept of an original, systemic sin inherited from Adam and present in human nature by virtue of genetic heritage results not only in an overly high valuation of man's physical and spiritual capabilities apart from God, but more importantly, perhaps, places in doubt the entire economy of our salvation by Christ, by obviating such essential Christian doctrines as the Incarnation and Redemption.

It should be remembered that the Pelagian controversy, which originally sparked the theological debate, was essentially a Western, more specifically, a Northern African controversy, which only incidentally involved Palestine and the East.[3] While Pelagius himself died in obscurity some years after his condemnation by the Council of Carthage in 416 and the Local African Council of 418, and before the Council of Ephesus in 431, the theological controversy to which he involuntarily lent his name was to involve quite a few Latin Fathers, and was to have far-reaching effects on the formulation of doctrines of sin and grace, free will and predestination. Thus, the theological debate that arose out of these issues eventually was to involve, directly or indirectly, not only Blessed Augustine and Blessed Jerome, but also Augustine's disciples Caesarius of Arles and Prosper of Aquitaine, as well as John Cassian, Vincent of Lerins, Gennadius of Marseilles, Faustus of Riez, and Arnobius the Younger, not to mention the later "augustinians"[4] and scholastics, and eventually the Protestant Reformers as well.

Technically speaking, in their writings the Eastern Fathers and Orthodox theologians do not use the Latin term introduced by Blessed Augustine in his treatise "De Peccato originali," but instead translate this concept by means of two cognate terms in both Greek and Russian, namely, progoniki amartia (= pervorodnyi grekh in Russian) and to propatorikon amartima (= praroditel'skii grekh), which is properly translated "ancestral sin." These terms allow for a more careful nuancing of the various implications contained in the one Latin term.

In the East, then, the concept of original sin has come to mean, as Fr. Michael Pomazansky very succinctly defines it, "the sin of Adam, which was transmitted to his descendants and weighs upon them."[5] Or, as John Karmiris puts it in an expanded definition, original sin is " 'sin-sickness,' the sinful situation of human nature which deprived man of Divine Grace, and subjected him to death, to departure from the Divine life, [and] has been transmitted by means of natural heredity to all of the descendants of the first-born, along with the stigma, the consequences, the fruits of that Original Sin."[6] Indeed, Karmiris reminds us, "it was for this reason that the ancient Church instituted the Baptism of infants, specifically that they might be freed from the stigma of sin of their ancestors, although the infants possessed no guilt of 'actual sin.'"[7]

In the West, however, the concept of original sin is tied up with and all too often even confused with an equally Western concept of "original guilt." The misconceptions resulting from this Western theological ambivalence are daunting, obscuring, as they do, the divine potential in man. It is, in fact, the particular assumptions about guilt and punishment, about human nature in general, as well as the specific mode of transmission of original sin from generation to generation[8] that constitute the historical and theological differences in interpretations of the doctrine of original sin. We can see two different, perhaps even opposing, trends develop with respect to these assumptions.

St. Anastasius of Sinai, for example, argues: "you must examine how the first-born, our father, transposed upon us his transgression. He heard that 'dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return'; and his incorruption was changed into corruption, he became subject to the bondage of death. Since Adam fathered children only after his Fall, we become heirs of his corruption. We are not punished for his disobedience to the Divine Law. Rather, Adam being mortal, sin entered into his very seed. We receive mortality from him . . . The general punishment of Adam for his transgression is corruption and death" (Questions and Answers on Various Chapters, 143). Likewise, defending the issue of infant baptisms, St. Cyprian of Carthage also maintains that since "no one is precluded from baptism and grace, . . . [so] ought not an infant be forbidden, who, being newly born, has in no way sinned, but only having contracted the contagion of death" (Letter to Fidus, LVIII, 2). Blessed Augustine, on the other hand, writing of those predestined by God, as he believed, to eternal death, holds that "they are punished not on account of the sins which they add by the indulgence of their own will, but on account of the original sin, even if, as in the case of infants, they had added nothing to that original sin" (On the Soul and its Origin, IV, 16).

The Western temptation to define the doctrine of original sin too precisely has historically led to overstatements and exaggerations on both sides of the issue, of both definition and reaction. Because they framed their arguments in the context of and in response to the Pelagian position, Blessed Augustine and his disciples tended to exaggerate the sinfulness and depravity of human nature, and their teaching thus tends to emphasize the "punitive aspect" of the consequences of the fall, leading also to exaggeration and overstatement on the question of free will. Interestingly enough, both extreme tendencies in Western interpretation can be seen to be rooted in the writings of Bl. Augustine: first, that man suffers death because he is guilty for the sin of Adam, and second, that the nature of man is so corrupt as to render man incapable of exercising free will in the work of salvation (the doctrine of predestination).

Historically, these two extreme Western tendencies have themselves developed in two variants: Roman Catholic and Protestant. The Roman Catholic position, as defined by augustinian scholastics, sees original sin essentially in terms of the wrath of God directed at man for his guilt in disobedient submission of the spiritual principle to the fleshly principle. This is an offense against God which results in the loss of "supernatural" grace and demands expiation, or "satisfaction," by the shedding of blood, in accordance with the medieval chivalry code of feudal knights. This position tends to reject the efficacy of free will on the part of man in choosing and working for his own salvation, and obscures the fact that within original sin are contained also sins of the spiritual order, not only those of the flesh.[9]

The Protestant reformation, in reaction to the extremes of Roman Catholic interpretation, has itself engendered two opposing views. On the one hand, in varying degrees, it amplifies the teaching of Bl. Augustine on predestination, postulating a complete perversion of human nature and corruption to its very foundations (Calvin is more severe in this regard, Luther less so). On the other hand, in certain contemporary Protestant sects we see, once again, a complete denial of original, inherited sin, that is to say, a return to Pelagianism.

In juxtaposition with the view that is prevalent in the Western Christian tradition, Orthodox fathers and theologians are perhaps more circumspect in not "dotting the i's," as it were, in relation to things that we cannot possibly know about the specific nature of Adam's sin. Thus, instead of discussing or stressing the many possible secondary and fleshly aspects of original sin, the Orthodox prefer to see it primarily in spiritual terms, as being rooted in spiritual pride and disobedience. "The Original Sin," writes Karmiris, "was a free transgression of our First Parents which grew out of egoism and boasting. Thus, through the envy and influence of Satan, directed against our First Parents, 'the sin and transgression entered,' and our First Parents transgressed the Law of God, motivated by a desire to be equal with God, or, as Chrysostom says, the 'anticipation to become God'; man wanted to become independent from God, finding, by means of sin, divine knowledge, blessedness, and perfection."[10]

In a similar vein, Fr. Michael Pomazansky observes:

    The eating of the fruit was only the beginning of moral deviation, the first push; but it was so poisonous and ruinous that it was already impossible to return to the previous sanctity and righteousness; on the contrary, there was revealed an inclination to travel farther on the path of apostasy from God. Blessed Augustine says: 'Here was pride, because man desired to be more under his own authority than under God's; and a mockery of what is holy, because he did not believe God; and murder, because he subjected himself to death; and spiritual adultery, because the immaculateness of the human soul was defiled through the persuasion of the serpent; and theft, because they made use of the forbidden tree; and the love of acquisition, because he desired more than was necessary to satisfy himself.' Thus, with the first transgression of the commandment, the principle of sin immediately entered into man--'the law of sin' (monos tis amartias). It struck the very nature of man and quickly began to root itself in him and develop. . . . The sinful inclinations in man have taken the reigning position; man has become the servant of sin (Rom. 6:7) . . . With sin, death entered into the human race. Man was created immortal in his soul, and he could have remained immortal also in body if he had not fallen away from God. . . . Man's body, as was well expressed by Blessed Augustine, does not possess 'the impossibility of dying,' but it did possess 'the possibility of not dying,' which it has now lost.[11]

It can be said that while we have not inherited the guilt of Adam's personal sin, because his sin is also of a generic nature, and because the entire human race is possessed of an essential, ontological unity,[12] we participate in it by virtue of our participation in the human race. "The imparting of Original Sin by means of natural heredity should be understood in terms of the unity of the entire human nature, and of the homoousiotitos [13] of all men, who, connected by nature, constitute one mystic whole. Inasmuch as human nature is indeed unique and unbreakable, the imparting of sin from the first-born to the entire human race descended from him is rendered explicable: 'Explicitly, as from the root, the sickness proceeded to the rest of the tree, Adam being the root who had suffered corruption'" [St. Cyril of Alexandria].[14]

The Orthodox view of fallen human nature is remarkably sober and balanced, gravitating neither to the unwarranted optimism of the Pelagian view, which sees human nature as having remained essentially in its pristine innocence and goodness, nor to the equally unwarranted pessimism of the predestinatarian view, which sees human nature as hopelessly perverted and corrupt. "Man fell unconsciously, unintentionally; he was deceived and seduced," writes the 19th-century Russian bishop and ascete, St. Ignatius Brianchaninov. "For this reason his natural goodness was not destroyed, but was mixed with the evil of the fallen angels. But this natural goodness, being mixed with evil, poisoned with evil, became worthless, inadequate, unworthy of God who is perfect, purest goodness. Man for the most part does evil, meaning to do good, not seeing the evil wrapped in a mask of goodness on account of the darkening of his mind and conscience."[15]

The Orthodox view of original sin is profoundly related to the Orthodox concept of theosis, deification, which is almost totally lost in the Western understanding. Thus, Pomazansky observes, while the physical, mental, and emotional faculties have become corrupted in man, the greatest loss to man was deprivation of the blessedness of Paradise and life eternal. "Both the mind and the feelings have become darkened in him, and therefore his moral freedom often does not incline towards the good, but towards evil . . . The physical consequences of the fall are diseases, hard labor and death. These were the natural result of the moral fall, the falling away from communion with God, man's departure from God. Man became subject to the corrupt elements of the world, in which dissolution and death are active. Nourishment from the Source of Life and from the constant renewal of all of one's powers became weak in men . . . However, the final and most important consequence of sin was not illness and physical death, but the loss of Paradise . . . In Adam all mankind was deprived of the future blessedness which stood before it, the blessedness which Adam and Eve had partially tasted in Paradise. In place of the prospect of life eternal, mankind beheld death, and behind it hell, darkness, rejection by God."[16].

Theosis, or, as St. Seraphim of Sarov defines it, "the acquisition of the Holy Spirit," is both the possibility and the reality, the goal and the gift, of overcoming the stain of original sin and repossession of what has been lost through it, the sole dominant purpose of Christian life. Despite the "rags of mortality" in which the human race has clothed itself through the fall of the first Adam in Paradise, Christians live in the hope of once again "ascending to their former beauty" by virtue of their redemption by the suffering, death, and resurrection on the third day of the second Adam. Walking between hope and despair, repenting of our sins, and living a life of Christian struggle, we await the fulfillment of the promise of St. Paul, so that together with redeemed first Adam we can sing the song of victory: "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor. 15: 55-56).

Notes
1. John Karmiris, A Synopsis of the Dogmatic Theology of the Orthodox Catholic Church, trans. from the Greek by the Reverend George Dimopoulos (Scranton, Pa.: Christian Orthodox Edition, 1973), pp. 35-36.
2. Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition, trans. Hieromonk Seraphim Rose (Platina, Calif.: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1994).
3. The East was at this time itself embroiled in a theological controversy surrounding the teachings of Appolinarius and Nestorius concerning the divine and human natures of Christ. Blessed Augustine had been invited by Emperor Theodosius the Younger to the Council which was to assemble at Ephesus, but died approximately a year before. The Third Ecumenical Council in 431 ruled on both controversies, condemning not only Nestorianism, but also Pelagianism. In this context it should be noted that despite the lately-fashionable "bashing" of certain writings of Blessed Augustine by certain "ultra-correct" "neo-Orthodox" writers, both he and his writings remain uncondemned by any Ecumenical or Local Council, thus relegating his more controversial theological opinions to the status of theologoumena of a Western Father of the Orthodox Church.
4. As it sometimes happens when the writings of a teacher are interpreted by several generations of disciples and commentators, the end product may not be something that was originally intended by the teacher himself. So with Moses and the Talmudists, so with Cyril of Alexandria and the monophysites, so with Bl. Augustine and the augustinians.
5. Pomazansky, p. 160.
6. Karmiris, p. 38.
7. Ibid.
8. In particular, the peculiarly Western tendency to see and define original sin almost exclusively in terms of human sexuality, replete with Freudian interpretation of the metaphors of religious language. On this, especially see: Elaine Pagels, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent (New York: Random House, 1988).
9. And dismisses as "semi-pelagianism" the balanced Orthodox position, formulated by St. John Cassian, which postulates the cooperation, or "synergy," of Divine grace and free will of man in working out the task of human salvation.
10. Karmiris, p. 33.
11. Pomazansky, pp. 156-159.
12. See, for instance, John 15:1-9 and 17:11-23; 1 Cor. 12:12-13; Ephes. 2:15 and 4:13-16. Also St. Gregory of Nyssa to Aulalius that there are not three gods but one God, etc., and St. Basil the Great, in the 18th chapter of his monastic regulations.
13. = "same-essence-ness," i.e. coessentiality or consubstantiality
14. Karmiris, p. 36.
15. The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism, trans. Archimandrite Lazarus (Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1991), p. 186.
16. Pomazansky, pp. 158-159.

From Alive in Christ
1996:1 (Spring 1996)
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« Reply #73 on: May 28, 2010, 10:00:11 AM »


Monk John was an avowed anti-ecumenist all his life.  I think what you are seeing here is a reflection of the decisions he made personally based upon his antipathy to the heresy of ecumenism, rather than any negative statement against his theology.


If these (below)  are the opinions of John Karmiris I would not term him an anti-ecumenist!


Try this one, Father.  These fellows are not known for their good opinion of the heresy of papism and monk John Karmiris appears to satisfy:   See Footnote 4 in the reference below.

http://www.oodegr.com/english/papismos/universal_primacy.htm
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« Reply #74 on: May 28, 2010, 10:10:42 AM »


Maybe this will help Father Ambrose:

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/dogmatics/golubov_rags_of_mortality.htm

Rags of Mortality: Original Sin and Human Nature
by Archpriest Alexander Golubov, Ph.D.

 

Thank you, Maria, I am familiar with Golubov and his reputation in Orthodoxy.

But of John Karmiris I know nothing and my question is about him and how is is generally assessed in the Orthodox world.  The small amount I have picked up on the Net would indicate that he receives a mixed reception.  When we are speaking of a theologian that is a sign to be cautious.
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« Reply #75 on: May 28, 2010, 10:18:07 AM »


Monk John was an avowed anti-ecumenist all his life.  I think what you are seeing here is a reflection of the decisions he made personally based upon his antipathy to the heresy of ecumenism, rather than any negative statement against his theology.


If these (below)  are the opinions of John Karmiris I would not term him an anti-ecumenist!


Try this one, Father.  These fellows are not known for their good opinion of the heresy of papism and monk John Karmiris appears to satisfy:   See Footnote 4 in the reference below.

http://www.oodegr.com/english/papismos/universal_primacy.htm

It is important to note that this is something Karmiris quotes in his book.  The article you reference provides no indication of his own attitude to the 1848 Patriarchal Encyclical, whether he is pro or con this particular section of it:


"Four hundred years later, the Patriarchs of the East with the Conciliar Encyclical of 1848 once again proclaimed: "It is for this, that our one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church - by following in the tracks of the holy Fathers, both the eastern ones and the western ones - had in the past, during the time of our Fathers, proclaimed - and is proclaiming once again today synodically - that this unprecedented belief (that the holy Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son) is essentially a heresy and its followers heretics, whoever they may be, per the aforementioned Conciliar decision of the holy Pope Damasus; and that the congregations that they form are heretic ones, and every spiritual and religious communion of the Orthodox children of the Catholic Church with such as them is irregular, and in fact by virtue of the 7th Canon of the 3rd Ecumenical Synod."

John Karmiris, "The Dogmatic and Symbolic Monuments of the Orthodox Catholic Church, Vol. ΙΙ, Graz-Austria 1968, page 908 [988].
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« Reply #76 on: May 28, 2010, 10:19:38 AM »


Maybe this will help Father Ambrose:

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/dogmatics/golubov_rags_of_mortality.htm

Rags of Mortality: Original Sin and Human Nature
by Archpriest Alexander Golubov, Ph.D.

 

Thank you, Maria, I am familiar with Golubov and his reputation in Orthodoxy.

But of John Karmiris I know nothing and my question is about him and how is is generally assessed in the Orthodox world.  The small amount I have picked up on the Net would indicate that he receives a mixed reception.  When we are speaking of a theologian that is a sign to be cautious.


The only way you know how to push back against what I am presenting is to discredit the source.  It is your perennial fall back position but monk John Karmiris is just too well known and well respected as a 20th century Orthodox theologian for you to "win" this one.

From the Wiki article on St. Justin Popovic:

The Communist regime

As an ecclesiastical person and clergyman Father Justin spent 31 years in the Ćelije Monastery under the continuous surveillance of the Communist Party police. Considered ineligible by the Communist party, together with a few fellow professors, he was ousted from the Faculty in 1945. The Communists limited his public appearances within monastic confines. While Bishop Nikolaj Velimirović was never allowed to return to Serbia and Yugoslavia after his deportation in the Dachau concentration camp, Fr. Justin was allowed to actively participate in the organization of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

A devoted monk and philosopher of the Eastern Orthodox theology, Justin Popović was a great critic of ecumenism, providing it was inclined towards relativization of the God's Truth. (John Meyendorff, professor of the Academy of St. Vladimir now in Scarsdale, New York (associated with Columbia University) - and every bit as much a critic of the "Catholic novelties" and the Pope's anti-Christianity. Until the end of his life Father Justin was a dedicated creator, and it is no wonder that his work is considered as a great contribution to the Orthodox theology and he himself as the secret conscience of the Serbian Church and the entire martyr's Orthodox religion (according to John N. Karmiris, the Greek academician).

Fr. Justin fell asleep in the Lord on March 25, 1979, on his birthday, the Feast of the Annunciation (April 7 by the Gregorian Calendar).
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« Reply #77 on: May 28, 2010, 10:39:18 AM »


Maybe this will help Father Ambrose:

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/dogmatics/golubov_rags_of_mortality.htm

Rags of Mortality: Original Sin and Human Nature
by Archpriest Alexander Golubov, Ph.D.

 

Thank you, Maria, I am familiar with Golubov and his reputation in Orthodoxy.

But of John Karmiris I know nothing and my question is about him and how is is generally assessed in the Orthodox world.  The small amount I have picked up on the Net would indicate that he receives a mixed reception.  When we are speaking of a theologian that is a sign to be cautious.


The only way you know how to push back against what I am presenting is to discredit the source.  It is your perennial fall back position but monk John Karmiris is just too well known and well respected as a 20th century Orthodox theologian for you to "win" this one.

You are misjudging me,  and you are quick to promote those writers who promote your own views, especially when you have a desire to force a belief on Orthodoxy.

I have no opinion of Karmiris since I never heard the name until you brought him up yesterday.  I see conflicting things about him on the websites I have found.  I prefer to be cautious, and particularly when the recommendation comes from Elijahmaria who has shown she is inclined to push inaccurate beliefs (the IC) on the Orthodox.  Therefore I am cautious about Karmiris and I am simply asking for more information on him from unbiased sources.
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« Reply #78 on: May 28, 2010, 10:46:09 AM »


Maybe this will help Father Ambrose:

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/dogmatics/golubov_rags_of_mortality.htm

Rags of Mortality: Original Sin and Human Nature
by Archpriest Alexander Golubov, Ph.D.

 

Thank you, Maria, I am familiar with Golubov and his reputation in Orthodoxy.

But of John Karmiris I know nothing and my question is about him and how is is generally assessed in the Orthodox world.  The small amount I have picked up on the Net would indicate that he receives a mixed reception.  When we are speaking of a theologian that is a sign to be cautious.


The only way you know how to push back against what I am presenting is to discredit the source.  It is your perennial fall back position but monk John Karmiris is just too well known and well respected as a 20th century Orthodox theologian for you to "win" this one.

You are misjudging me,  and you are quick to promote those writers who promote your own views, especially when you have a desire to force a belief on Orthodoxy.

I have no opinion of Karmiris since I never heard the name until you brought him up yesterday.  I see conflicting things about him on the websites I have found.  I prefer to be cautious, and particularly when the recommendation comes from Elijahmaria who has shown she is inclined to push inaccurate beliefs (the IC) on the Orthodox.  Therefore I am cautious about Karmiris and I am simply asking for more information on him from unbiased sources.


Follows is one of the quotes that you initially presented to us taken entirely out of context. 

Here it is in full context and it is hardly the position of a weak or wishy-washy Orthodox ecumenist.  In fact it is one of the primary acts that earned him broad recognition as an anti-ecumenist.  Perhaps you should have presented the entire section instead of just the comments about monk John Karmiris.

http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.29.en.f_georges_florovsky.htm

The Latin Catholics

There are strong indications that dialogue with the Latin Catholic Church to commence in seven days has been organized thus far within the context of the decisions of Vatican II. The key to understanding developments to date is the combination of three interdependent factors which seem to compose the method of union being used. For many years Latin theologians have been listening attentively to Orthodox explanations and insistence that intercommunion is impossible since the very act of communion is the result and expression of union in faith and therefore is the Orthodox understanding of church union.

The second factor is that interpretation of the schism which claims that the 1054 mutual excommunication and anathemas had taken place as an event between Old and New Rome alone. This event supposedly did not include the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. [ 12 ] It emphasized that subsequent to this event there are examples of sacramental communion between Western and Eastern Christians in the Middle East. These examples cease with the Latin conquest of Constantinople which, so the story goes, is the real cause and general consummation of the schism. Thus hatred and not doctrine is the cause of the split between the so-called Greek East and Latin West.

The third factor is the teaching and practice of the Latin papacy that one can be a member of the Church by means of a reflexive faith whereby one does not have to directly and openly accept all dogmas so long as one does not publicly oppose them. These three factors make the possibility of union real by expanding Uniatism which already exists within such dimensions. The Uniates oppose Latin exclusiveness but do not reject its legitimacy. Orthodox who understand this opposition as a rejection are proof of the success of the method. One of the stated purposes of the dialogue from the Latin point of view is to get the Orthodox to accept the legitimacy of Latin doctrinal developments without necessarily accepting these developments for themselves. The Anglicans and the WCC are showing indications that they are following a similar although not identical line on the question of the Filioque, as we shall see.

These factors become even more potent when cast into the framework of Eucharistic Ecclesiology and of Fr. Nicholas Afanasieff's views on intercommunion between Orthodox and Latins, as pointed out clearly by Father Ware. Having these factors in mind one can see that union or the manifestation of a supposedly already-existing union requires four things:1 ) the lifting of the anathemas between Old and New Rome, 2) the lifting of the excommunication between Old and New Rome, 3) the abolition of hatred caused by the Latin capture and sacking of New Rome, and 4) the restoration of communion. Thus we will allegedly have returned to the union which existed prior to 1054. The lifting of the anathemas has been accomplished. The restoration of communion has been decided by Vatican II which recognizes Orthodox sacraments and not only permits intercommunion but encourages it. [ 13 ] In keeping with these decisions the Latin Church lifted the excommunication of 1054, which is a step ahead of Constantinople, which restricted herself to the lifting of the anathemas. The abolition of hatred is in the process of being completed by the' dialogue of love. This evidently is supposed to cover the requirements of the Orthodox Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, as well as that of the other Orthodox Churches. The fact that the Church of Constantinople lifted the anathemas, without consulting the other Orthodox Churches means that she accepts the position that this is a matter which concerns Old and New Rome alone.

The first Geneva meeting in June 1977 of the preparatory Orthodox Committee was presented with a draft of a text for discussion which in outline was similar to a text prepared by the Latin side. After some introductory remarks, it dealt with the purpose, methodology, and topics of the dialogue. In addition to this common outline, the text of the Latin committee concluded with a section called important recommendations. This text of the Latin Committee was in perfect accord with Vatican II.

The Orthodox draft text had no reference to the decision of the Fourth Pan-Orthodox Conference that the criterion for this dialogue would be the restoration of communion based on the common faith of the undivided Church of the Seven Ecumenical Synods. Therefore, it was suggested that reference be made to this in the paragraph on the purpose of the dialogue. This motion was put into writing to be discussed and voted upon. A compromise was suggested that reference to the Ecumenical Synods should be omitted and considered covered by the phrase "based on the common life and common tradition of the ancient and undivided Church."

This was finally accepted. Subsequently a sub-committee of the Orthodox committee met in Rome with a sub-committee of the Latins in March 1978. Then the full Orthodox preparatory committee was invited to reconvene in Geneva, July 1978.

Before the distribution of the text with the proposed changes a member of the Orthodox sub-committee at the March meeting in Rome took the floor and announced a great success. The Latin sub-committee at the Rome meeting liked the Orthodox text so much that they proposed to drop theirs and to adopt the Orthodox one as a common text for both sides. As a prerequisite they asked for a few changes. As it turned out the most important change requested was that the term "undivided" be omitted from the purpose of the dialogue. Discussions were exciting, to say the least.

It was also pointed out that the Church of Greece was in the process of reviewing the whole question of common texts in the WCC. Therefore, the representatives of the Church of Greece had no authorization to compose or accept a common text which is a matter for the Church to decide. It was also pointed out that, for the Orthodox, faith and formulation of the faith in Synods are one identical reality. However, for the Latin tradition they are not and this was clearly stated in the original text of the Latin side [ 14 ] which repeats Vatican II. [ 15 ]

The representatives of the Church of Greece claimed that by omitting from the purpose of the dialogue the question of the Ecumenical Synods and/or the undivided Church and by accepting a common text on the purpose of the dialogue we would in reality be accepting both the distinctions just quoted and the decisions of Vatican II. Therefore, at least reference to the "undivided" Church must be retained.

The spokesman for the Church of Greece pointed out that the Latin members of the dialogue are bound by the decisions of Vatican II concerning unity, dialogue, intercommunion and Uniatism. It is clear, therefore, that our text by becoming their text agrees with the decisions of Vatican II except where differences are clearly stated. The Greek delegation participated in the alterations in order to make the text as Orthodox as possible.

In spite of the fact that at least one doctrinal weakness remained i.e., a distinction between Triadology and Pneumatology, the text was unanimously accepted as adequately Orthodox, i.e. if it were to be an Orthodox text alone and not a common text. The Greek delegation left the matter of whether the text would be common open for the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece to decide for herself.

At the first meeting of the Orthodox preparatory committee the question of which subject to begin with was extensively debated. One group wanted to begin with subjects like the mysteries (sacraments), which, it claimed, unite Eastern and Western Christians. This suggestion was also made by the Latins. Others preferred to begin with the subjects which divide us. The candidate subjects were reduced to mysteries and Ecclesiology. The Church of Greece supported Ecclesiology, but the mysteries won out.

My position is that the mysteries do not unite Eastern and Western Christians since their foundation is the distinction between the uncreated divine grace, in which one may participate, and the uncreated divine essence of the divine Hypostases, in which creatures do not and cannot participate. Moreover, the Church is manifested in and through the mysteries. Thus, by discussing the mysteries one should be discussing the doctrines of God, of the incarnation and of the Church unavoidably, unless of course one's theology is not Orthodox.

In July 1978 the preparatory committee finished its work with the open question on the common text, as far as the Church of Greece was concerned, and disbanded. Subsequently, the committee for dialogue was appointed. This committee for dialogue will meet for the first time on 29 May 1980 in Patmos and will coincide with the first joint meeting of the Orthodox and Latin commissions.

Meanwhile, Professor John Karmiris had tendered his resignation from the delegation of the Church of Greece. He gave as reasons inadequate preparation on the Orthodox side, disagreement over the subject to be initially discussed, and the unresolved problem of Uniatism.
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« Reply #79 on: May 28, 2010, 10:48:42 AM »

Is there any particular difficulty with this presentation of the teaching of original or ancestral sin in Orthodoxy?

May we agree that there is a fully developed theology of original sin in Orthodoxy?

Mary



Monk John was an avowed anti-ecumenist all his life.  I think what you are seeing here is a reflection of the decisions he made personally based upon his antipathy to the heresy of ecumenism, rather than any negative statement against his theology.

Maybe this will help Father Ambrose:

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/dogmatics/golubov_rags_of_mortality.htm

Rags of Mortality: Original Sin and Human Nature
by Archpriest Alexander Golubov, Ph.D.


Behold, I am now captive to death because of unlawful counsel.
And I who was for a time robed with the glory of immortality
have become like one dead, wrapped pitifully in the rags of mortality
--Matins of Meatfare Sunday, Einos, Tone 5

Our annual spiritual journey into Great Lent, and especially into Passion Week, when we commemorate the betrayal, crucifixion, death and burial of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, followed by the celebration of His glorious Resurrection on the third day, offers us, again and again, the opportunity to ponder the mysteries of the Incarnation of the Son of God and His Redemption of the fallen human race. Inextricably tied in with this, of course, is the mystery of human life lived in the context of the terrible realities of sin, suffering and death, which none of us are capable of escaping except for what the Lord has accomplished for us, through His Cross and Resurrection.

It was St. Paul who first connected the events surrounding the temptation and fall of Adam in Paradise, as recounted in Genesis 3, to the events surrounding the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ in Jerusalem, and established between them a logical and direct inner relationship. To his mind, Adam's transgression in Paradise became the doorway through which sin and death entered into the world: "sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men for all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12).

Commenting on this and related passages, St. John Chrysostom explains: "But what does it mean, 'for all have sinned' (Rom. 5.12) This: he having once fallen, yet they that had not eaten of the tree inherited mortality . . . From this it is clear that it was not Adam's sin, his transgression--that is of the Law--but by the virtue of his disobedience that all have been marred. What is the proof of this? The fact that even before the Law all died: 'for death reigned,' St. Paul says, 'from Adam to Moses, even over them who had not sinned' (Rom 5:14). How did it 'reign'? After the manner of Adam's transgression, he who is 'the type of Him that was to come.' Thus, when the Jews ask, how was it possible for one Person to have saved the world? you will be able to reply, in the same way that the disobedience of one person, Adam, brought its condemnation" (Commentary on Romans, X).

Explaining Christ's redemptive role, St. Paul recapitulated this thought in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, where he proclaimed: "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:21-22).

Following St. Paul, the Holy Fathers teach that the state of general sinfulness and death is not man's original state of being, that man was not created by God to naturally live like this. Rather, this miserable condition in which we now find ourselves is the natural result of the moral disaster that occurred in Paradise with our ancient forefathers, Adam and Eve. The human race, writes St. Justin Martyr, "from the time of Adam had been subject to death and deceit of the serpent, each of us having committed sins of our own" (Dialogue with Trypho, 88). "When [Adam] transgressed the Commandment of God," teaches St. Methodius of Olympus, "he suffered the terrible and destructive fall. He was reduced to a state of death" (Banquet of the Virgins, III).

Before their fall in Paradise, however, writes St. Athanasius of Alexandria, our forefathers "did not die and did not decay, escaped death and corruption. The presence of the Word with them shielded them from natural corruption, as also the Book of Wisdom says, God created man for incorruption and as an image of His own eternity; but by the envy of the devil death entered into the world (Wis. 2:23f.) When this happened, men began to die, and corruption spread unchecked among them and held sway over men to more than a natural degree, because it was the penalty concerning which God had forewarned would be the reward of transgressing the commandment" (On the Incarnation of the Word).

Thus, according to the Fathers, our present condition is the result of a freely-willed choice, the natural consequences of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the penalty for failure to heed God's warning that death, indeed, will be the catastrophic outcome of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It might occur to some, however, that it is exceedingly cruel of God to condemn the entire human race for the sin of two individuals. Why, indeed, should we, who were not around at the time of Adam's transgression, have to pay the rather stiff penalty for something that we did not, of ourselves, do? Isn't this guilt by association?

The source of this moral problem is not God, of course, as the author of evil and death, for God is not such. "We must understand," writes St. Gregory Palamas, "that God 'did not make death' (Wisdom 1:13), whether of the body or of the soul. For when He first gave the command, He did not say, 'On the day you eat of it, die,' but 'In the day you eat of it, you will surely die' (Gen. 2:17). He did not say afterwards, 'return now to the earth,' but 'you shall return' (Gen. 3:19), foretelling in this way what would come to pass" (One Hundred Fifty Chapters). Neither is the source, explains St. Theophilos of Antioch, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For it is not, he writes, "as if any evil existed in the tree of knowledge, but from the fact of his disobedience did man draw, as from a fountain, labor, grief and, at last, fell prey to death" (To Autolycus, II, 25).

The problem, rather, has to do with the nature of Divinely-mandated freedom and the autonomous functioning of the natural law of creation, directly pertaining to issues of heredity and genetics, being analogous to something which contemporary medicine would define as "fetal addiction syndrome" or "fetal AIDS syndrome." In such a case, a mother who carries a gene for hemophilia, for instance, will transmit it to her offspring by the biological laws of heredity, though the processes of meiosis and mitosis, by means of which cell division naturally occurs. Or, in a similar way, a mother addicted to either drugs or alcohol, or who is HIV-positive, by virtue of the fact that from the moment of conception she shares with the child in her womb both blood and other bodily fluids, will naturally transmit to her child what she herself carries in her own blood. We easily understand that in this case, the child that is in the womb of the mother, will, of course, without any movement of the will, without agreement or disagreement with the particular moral choices of the mother, and, importantly, without any guilt on his part, participate in the affliction of the mother ("Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me," Ps. 50[51].5). It is in this vein, indeed, that the Fathers explain the concept of what has become known in theology as "original sin."

St. Cyril of Alexandria, for instance, observes: "Since [Adam] produced children after falling into this state, we, his descendants, are corruptible as the issue of a corruptible source. It is in this sense that we are heirs of Adam's curse. Not that we are punished for having disobeyed God's commandment along with him, but that he became mortal and the curse of mortality was transmitted to his seed after him, offspring born of a mortal source . . . So corruption and death are the universal inheritance of Adam's transgression" (Doctrinal questions and answers, 6). Elsewhere, commenting on St. Paul's teaching, he explains: "Human nature became sick with sin. Because of the disobedience of one (that is, of Adam), the many became sinners; not because they transgressed together with Adam (for they were not there) but because they are of his nature, which entered under the dominion of sin . . . Human nature became ill and subject to corruption through the transgression of Adam, thus penetrating man's very passions" (On Romans 5.18).

Summarizing this patristic teaching, the Greek theologian John Karmiris writes that "the sin of the first man, together with all of its consequences and penalties, is transferred by means of natural heredity to the entire human race. Since every human being is a descendant of the first man, 'no one of us is free from the spot of sin, even if he should manage to live a completely sinless day.' . . . Original Sin not only constitutes 'an accident' of the soul; but its results, together with its penalties, are transplanted by natural heredity to the generations to come . . . And thus, from the one historical event of the first sin of the first-born man, came the present situation of sin being imparted, together with all of the consequences thereof, to all natural descendants of Adam."[1]

Held, in general, as Orthodox teaching by both Eastern and Western Fathers, the theological concept, or doctrine, of "original sin," as the Russian theologian Fr. Michael Pomazansky points out, "has great significance in the Christian world-view, because upon it rests a whole series of other dogmas."[2] As a distinct concept of Christian theology, however, it was first defined and introduced in the fifth century by Blessed Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius in Northern Africa.

Blessed Augustine developed his doctrine in the context of a rather hot polemical confrontation with the heretic Pelagius, who, fleeing Rome after its sack in 410 by Alaric, chieftain of the Western Goths, had the misfortune, together with some of his followers, to settle in Africa, where his preaching came under the intense scrutiny of the bishop of Hippo. Pelagius, who was not a theologian, but essentially an itinerant ascetic preacher and moralist, whose chief interest was in correcting the moral laxity of contemporary Christians, had the further misfortune of permitting a local lawyer named Coelestius, who was seeking ordination to the priesthood, to become his disciple and interpreter of his views. In the view of the Pelagians, the low level of morality and rampant moral laxity had its source not only in what they saw as the denial of individual moral responsibility in the teaching about the consequences of Adam's sin, but also in the definition of the clergy as an elite group in the church, which in their eyes permitted the laity to abjure their moral responsibilities and adopt unacceptably low standards of Christian living. Some time later, after Pelagius had already left for Palestine (where he had yet the further misfortune of running afoul of the hot-tempered Blessed Jerome, translator of the Bible into Latin), Coelestius and his followers began preaching and explicating the views of their teacher, and in the process questioned the practice of infant baptism, the efficacy of the Incarnation and redemptive death of Christ on the cross, and denied the inheritance of Adam's sin. While man does indeed follow Adam into death, they taught, man sins only by example, through imitation of Adam, not through an endemic, hereditary defect of his nature. Despite the facts of sin and death, man's nature nonetheless remains as he was originally created, innocent and pure, as was first-created Adam himself. Disease and death are thus not consequences of original sin, but are characteristic of human nature from creation.

Blessed Augustine very correctly noted the dangerous implications of this argument for Orthodox theology. The total dismissal of the concept of an original, systemic sin inherited from Adam and present in human nature by virtue of genetic heritage results not only in an overly high valuation of man's physical and spiritual capabilities apart from God, but more importantly, perhaps, places in doubt the entire economy of our salvation by Christ, by obviating such essential Christian doctrines as the Incarnation and Redemption.

It should be remembered that the Pelagian controversy, which originally sparked the theological debate, was essentially a Western, more specifically, a Northern African controversy, which only incidentally involved Palestine and the East.[3] While Pelagius himself died in obscurity some years after his condemnation by the Council of Carthage in 416 and the Local African Council of 418, and before the Council of Ephesus in 431, the theological controversy to which he involuntarily lent his name was to involve quite a few Latin Fathers, and was to have far-reaching effects on the formulation of doctrines of sin and grace, free will and predestination. Thus, the theological debate that arose out of these issues eventually was to involve, directly or indirectly, not only Blessed Augustine and Blessed Jerome, but also Augustine's disciples Caesarius of Arles and Prosper of Aquitaine, as well as John Cassian, Vincent of Lerins, Gennadius of Marseilles, Faustus of Riez, and Arnobius the Younger, not to mention the later "augustinians"[4] and scholastics, and eventually the Protestant Reformers as well.

Technically speaking, in their writings the Eastern Fathers and Orthodox theologians do not use the Latin term introduced by Blessed Augustine in his treatise "De Peccato originali," but instead translate this concept by means of two cognate terms in both Greek and Russian, namely, progoniki amartia (= pervorodnyi grekh in Russian) and to propatorikon amartima (= praroditel'skii grekh), which is properly translated "ancestral sin." These terms allow for a more careful nuancing of the various implications contained in the one Latin term.

In the East, then, the concept of original sin has come to mean, as Fr. Michael Pomazansky very succinctly defines it, "the sin of Adam, which was transmitted to his descendants and weighs upon them."[5] Or, as John Karmiris puts it in an expanded definition, original sin is " 'sin-sickness,' the sinful situation of human nature which deprived man of Divine Grace, and subjected him to death, to departure from the Divine life, [and] has been transmitted by means of natural heredity to all of the descendants of the first-born, along with the stigma, the consequences, the fruits of that Original Sin."[6] Indeed, Karmiris reminds us, "it was for this reason that the ancient Church instituted the Baptism of infants, specifically that they might be freed from the stigma of sin of their ancestors, although the infants possessed no guilt of 'actual sin.'"[7]

In the West, however, the concept of original sin is tied up with and all too often even confused with an equally Western concept of "original guilt." The misconceptions resulting from this Western theological ambivalence are daunting, obscuring, as they do, the divine potential in man. It is, in fact, the particular assumptions about guilt and punishment, about human nature in general, as well as the specific mode of transmission of original sin from generation to generation[8] that constitute the historical and theological differences in interpretations of the doctrine of original sin. We can see two different, perhaps even opposing, trends develop with respect to these assumptions.

St. Anastasius of Sinai, for example, argues: "you must examine how the first-born, our father, transposed upon us his transgression. He heard that 'dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return'; and his incorruption was changed into corruption, he became subject to the bondage of death. Since Adam fathered children only after his Fall, we become heirs of his corruption. We are not punished for his disobedience to the Divine Law. Rather, Adam being mortal, sin entered into his very seed. We receive mortality from him . . . The general punishment of Adam for his transgression is corruption and death" (Questions and Answers on Various Chapters, 143). Likewise, defending the issue of infant baptisms, St. Cyprian of Carthage also maintains that since "no one is precluded from baptism and grace, . . . [so] ought not an infant be forbidden, who, being newly born, has in no way sinned, but only having contracted the contagion of death" (Letter to Fidus, LVIII, 2). Blessed Augustine, on the other hand, writing of those predestined by God, as he believed, to eternal death, holds that "they are punished not on account of the sins which they add by the indulgence of their own will, but on account of the original sin, even if, as in the case of infants, they had added nothing to that original sin" (On the Soul and its Origin, IV, 16).

The Western temptation to define the doctrine of original sin too precisely has historically led to overstatements and exaggerations on both sides of the issue, of both definition and reaction. Because they framed their arguments in the context of and in response to the Pelagian position, Blessed Augustine and his disciples tended to exaggerate the sinfulness and depravity of human nature, and their teaching thus tends to emphasize the "punitive aspect" of the consequences of the fall, leading also to exaggeration and overstatement on the question of free will. Interestingly enough, both extreme tendencies in Western interpretation can be seen to be rooted in the writings of Bl. Augustine: first, that man suffers death because he is guilty for the sin of Adam, and second, that the nature of man is so corrupt as to render man incapable of exercising free will in the work of salvation (the doctrine of predestination).

Historically, these two extreme Western tendencies have themselves developed in two variants: Roman Catholic and Protestant. The Roman Catholic position, as defined by augustinian scholastics, sees original sin essentially in terms of the wrath of God directed at man for his guilt in disobedient submission of the spiritual principle to the fleshly principle. This is an offense against God which results in the loss of "supernatural" grace and demands expiation, or "satisfaction," by the shedding of blood, in accordance with the medieval chivalry code of feudal knights. This position tends to reject the efficacy of free will on the part of man in choosing and working for his own salvation, and obscures the fact that within original sin are contained also sins of the spiritual order, not only those of the flesh.[9]

The Protestant reformation, in reaction to the extremes of Roman Catholic interpretation, has itself engendered two opposing views. On the one hand, in varying degrees, it amplifies the teaching of Bl. Augustine on predestination, postulating a complete perversion of human nature and corruption to its very foundations (Calvin is more severe in this regard, Luther less so). On the other hand, in certain contemporary Protestant sects we see, once again, a complete denial of original, inherited sin, that is to say, a return to Pelagianism.

In juxtaposition with the view that is prevalent in the Western Christian tradition, Orthodox fathers and theologians are perhaps more circumspect in not "dotting the i's," as it were, in relation to things that we cannot possibly know about the specific nature of Adam's sin. Thus, instead of discussing or stressing the many possible secondary and fleshly aspects of original sin, the Orthodox prefer to see it primarily in spiritual terms, as being rooted in spiritual pride and disobedience. "The Original Sin," writes Karmiris, "was a free transgression of our First Parents which grew out of egoism and boasting. Thus, through the envy and influence of Satan, directed against our First Parents, 'the sin and transgression entered,' and our First Parents transgressed the Law of God, motivated by a desire to be equal with God, or, as Chrysostom says, the 'anticipation to become God'; man wanted to become independent from God, finding, by means of sin, divine knowledge, blessedness, and perfection."[10]

In a similar vein, Fr. Michael Pomazansky observes:

    The eating of the fruit was only the beginning of moral deviation, the first push; but it was so poisonous and ruinous that it was already impossible to return to the previous sanctity and righteousness; on the contrary, there was revealed an inclination to travel farther on the path of apostasy from God. Blessed Augustine says: 'Here was pride, because man desired to be more under his own authority than under God's; and a mockery of what is holy, because he did not believe God; and murder, because he subjected himself to death; and spiritual adultery, because the immaculateness of the human soul was defiled through the persuasion of the serpent; and theft, because they made use of the forbidden tree; and the love of acquisition, because he desired more than was necessary to satisfy himself.' Thus, with the first transgression of the commandment, the principle of sin immediately entered into man--'the law of sin' (monos tis amartias). It struck the very nature of man and quickly began to root itself in him and develop. . . . The sinful inclinations in man have taken the reigning position; man has become the servant of sin (Rom. 6:7) . . . With sin, death entered into the human race. Man was created immortal in his soul, and he could have remained immortal also in body if he had not fallen away from God. . . . Man's body, as was well expressed by Blessed Augustine, does not possess 'the impossibility of dying,' but it did possess 'the possibility of not dying,' which it has now lost.[11]

It can be said that while we have not inherited the guilt of Adam's personal sin, because his sin is also of a generic nature, and because the entire human race is possessed of an essential, ontological unity,[12] we participate in it by virtue of our participation in the human race. "The imparting of Original Sin by means of natural heredity should be understood in terms of the unity of the entire human nature, and of the homoousiotitos [13] of all men, who, connected by nature, constitute one mystic whole. Inasmuch as human nature is indeed unique and unbreakable, the imparting of sin from the first-born to the entire human race descended from him is rendered explicable: 'Explicitly, as from the root, the sickness proceeded to the rest of the tree, Adam being the root who had suffered corruption'" [St. Cyril of Alexandria].[14]

The Orthodox view of fallen human nature is remarkably sober and balanced, gravitating neither to the unwarranted optimism of the Pelagian view, which sees human nature as having remained essentially in its pristine innocence and goodness, nor to the equally unwarranted pessimism of the predestinatarian view, which sees human nature as hopelessly perverted and corrupt. "Man fell unconsciously, unintentionally; he was deceived and seduced," writes the 19th-century Russian bishop and ascete, St. Ignatius Brianchaninov. "For this reason his natural goodness was not destroyed, but was mixed with the evil of the fallen angels. But this natural goodness, being mixed with evil, poisoned with evil, became worthless, inadequate, unworthy of God who is perfect, purest goodness. Man for the most part does evil, meaning to do good, not seeing the evil wrapped in a mask of goodness on account of the darkening of his mind and conscience."[15]

The Orthodox view of original sin is profoundly related to the Orthodox concept of theosis, deification, which is almost totally lost in the Western understanding. Thus, Pomazansky observes, while the physical, mental, and emotional faculties have become corrupted in man, the greatest loss to man was deprivation of the blessedness of Paradise and life eternal. "Both the mind and the feelings have become darkened in him, and therefore his moral freedom often does not incline towards the good, but towards evil . . . The physical consequences of the fall are diseases, hard labor and death. These were the natural result of the moral fall, the falling away from communion with God, man's departure from God. Man became subject to the corrupt elements of the world, in which dissolution and death are active. Nourishment from the Source of Life and from the constant renewal of all of one's powers became weak in men . . . However, the final and most important consequence of sin was not illness and physical death, but the loss of Paradise . . . In Adam all mankind was deprived of the future blessedness which stood before it, the blessedness which Adam and Eve had partially tasted in Paradise. In place of the prospect of life eternal, mankind beheld death, and behind it hell, darkness, rejection by God."[16].

Theosis, or, as St. Seraphim of Sarov defines it, "the acquisition of the Holy Spirit," is both the possibility and the reality, the goal and the gift, of overcoming the stain of original sin and repossession of what has been lost through it, the sole dominant purpose of Christian life. Despite the "rags of mortality" in which the human race has clothed itself through the fall of the first Adam in Paradise, Christians live in the hope of once again "ascending to their former beauty" by virtue of their redemption by the suffering, death, and resurrection on the third day of the second Adam. Walking between hope and despair, repenting of our sins, and living a life of Christian struggle, we await the fulfillment of the promise of St. Paul, so that together with redeemed first Adam we can sing the song of victory: "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor. 15: 55-56).

Notes
1. John Karmiris, A Synopsis of the Dogmatic Theology of the Orthodox Catholic Church, trans. from the Greek by the Reverend George Dimopoulos (Scranton, Pa.: Christian Orthodox Edition, 1973), pp. 35-36.
2. Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition, trans. Hieromonk Seraphim Rose (Platina, Calif.: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1994).
3. The East was at this time itself embroiled in a theological controversy surrounding the teachings of Appolinarius and Nestorius concerning the divine and human natures of Christ. Blessed Augustine had been invited by Emperor Theodosius the Younger to the Council which was to assemble at Ephesus, but died approximately a year before. The Third Ecumenical Council in 431 ruled on both controversies, condemning not only Nestorianism, but also Pelagianism. In this context it should be noted that despite the lately-fashionable "bashing" of certain writings of Blessed Augustine by certain "ultra-correct" "neo-Orthodox" writers, both he and his writings remain uncondemned by any Ecumenical or Local Council, thus relegating his more controversial theological opinions to the status of theologoumena of a Western Father of the Orthodox Church.
4. As it sometimes happens when the writings of a teacher are interpreted by several generations of disciples and commentators, the end product may not be something that was originally intended by the teacher himself. So with Moses and the Talmudists, so with Cyril of Alexandria and the monophysites, so with Bl. Augustine and the augustinians.
5. Pomazansky, p. 160.
6. Karmiris, p. 38.
7. Ibid.
8. In particular, the peculiarly Western tendency to see and define original sin almost exclusively in terms of human sexuality, replete with Freudian interpretation of the metaphors of religious language. On this, especially see: Elaine Pagels, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent (New York: Random House, 1988).
9. And dismisses as "semi-pelagianism" the balanced Orthodox position, formulated by St. John Cassian, which postulates the cooperation, or "synergy," of Divine grace and free will of man in working out the task of human salvation.
10. Karmiris, p. 33.
11. Pomazansky, pp. 156-159.
12. See, for instance, John 15:1-9 and 17:11-23; 1 Cor. 12:12-13; Ephes. 2:15 and 4:13-16. Also St. Gregory of Nyssa to Aulalius that there are not three gods but one God, etc., and St. Basil the Great, in the 18th chapter of his monastic regulations.
13. = "same-essence-ness," i.e. coessentiality or consubstantiality
14. Karmiris, p. 36.
15. The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism, trans. Archimandrite Lazarus (Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1991), p. 186.
16. Pomazansky, pp. 158-159.

From Alive in Christ
1996:1 (Spring 1996)

« Last Edit: May 28, 2010, 10:49:52 AM by elijahmaria » Logged

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« Reply #80 on: May 28, 2010, 10:54:17 AM »


The only way you know how to push back against what I am presenting is to discredit the source.

Not at all.. What you have presented from him about Baptism is acceptable, if couched sometimes in the familiar frames of Latin sacramental expression  (where did he study?)

I do challenge the translation though..... it is incompetent.  It has Karmiris using the expression "original sin" in several of your quotes.  This is nonsense since anybody writing in Greek or a Slavic language would never use "original sin" but ancestral sin.  To be quite accurate the term used in Greek and Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian is "forefather sin"  ~ "pradedovsky grekh" and "propatoriki amartia."  The translator has not done his work well but has skewed towards Latin constructs what Karmiris was saying.
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« Reply #81 on: May 28, 2010, 11:01:06 AM »


http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.29.en.f_georges_florovsky.htm

At the first meeting of the Orthodox preparatory committee the question of which subject to begin with was extensively debated. One group wanted to begin with subjects like the mysteries (sacraments), which, it claimed, unite Eastern and Western Christians. This suggestion was also made by the Latins. Others preferred to begin with the subjects which divide us. The candidate subjects were reduced to mysteries and Ecclesiology. The Church of Greece supported Ecclesiology, but the mysteries won out.

My position is that the mysteries do not unite Eastern and Western Christians since their foundation is the distinction between the uncreated divine grace, in which one may participate, and the uncreated divine essence of the divine Hypostases, in which creatures do not and cannot participate. Moreover, the Church is manifested in and through the mysteries. Thus, by discussing the mysteries one should be discussing the doctrines of God, of the incarnation and of the Church unavoidably, unless of course one's theology is not Orthodox.

In July 1978 the preparatory committee finished its work with the open question on the common text, as far as the Church of Greece was concerned, and disbanded. Subsequently, the committee for dialogue was appointed. This committee for dialogue will meet for the first time on 29 May 1980 in Patmos and will coincide with the first joint meeting of the Orthodox and Latin commissions.

Meanwhile, Professor John Karmiris had tendered his resignation from the delegation of the Church of Greece. He gave as reasons inadequate preparation on the Orthodox side, disagreement over the subject to be initially discussed, and the unresolved problem of Uniatism.


Again, without further knowledge this is confusing.

The Greek position denied the validity of all Catholic sacraments including Baptism.    If Karmiris was not happy with the Greek delegation and he resigned from it was the reason that he opposed the denial of Catholic sacraments?
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« Reply #82 on: May 28, 2010, 11:05:52 AM »

I'd have to go searching for his pedigree.   Not right now.  He's too well known for me to have to do that but we can check later.  I don't mind doing it later when I have more time.  If you find it first let me know.

His translator was a Greek Orthodox priest from Scranton, PA.  That you can find anywhere on the Internet that references his primary text.   I don't know that the translation is faulty because frequently I find both translations ancestral/original used interchangeably in Orthodox contexts.

M.


The only way you know how to push back against what I am presenting is to discredit the source.

Not at all.. What you have presented from him about Baptism is acceptable, if couched sometimes in the familiar frames of Latin sacramental expression  (where did he study?)

I do challenge the translation though..... it is incompetent.  It has Karmiris using the expression "original sin" in several of your quotes.  This is nonsense since anybody writing in Greek or a Slavic language would never use "original sin" but ancestral sin.  To be quite accurate the term used in Greek and Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian is "forefather sin"  ~ "pradedovsky grekh" and "propatoriki amartia."  The translator has not done his work well but has skewed towards Latin constructs what Karmiris was saying.

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« Reply #83 on: May 28, 2010, 11:12:10 AM »


http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.29.en.f_georges_florovsky.htm

At the first meeting of the Orthodox preparatory committee the question of which subject to begin with was extensively debated. One group wanted to begin with subjects like the mysteries (sacraments), which, it claimed, unite Eastern and Western Christians. This suggestion was also made by the Latins. Others preferred to begin with the subjects which divide us. The candidate subjects were reduced to mysteries and Ecclesiology. The Church of Greece supported Ecclesiology, but the mysteries won out.

My position is that the mysteries do not unite Eastern and Western Christians since their foundation is the distinction between the uncreated divine grace, in which one may participate, and the uncreated divine essence of the divine Hypostases, in which creatures do not and cannot participate. Moreover, the Church is manifested in and through the mysteries. Thus, by discussing the mysteries one should be discussing the doctrines of God, of the incarnation and of the Church unavoidably, unless of course one's theology is not Orthodox.

In July 1978 the preparatory committee finished its work with the open question on the common text, as far as the Church of Greece was concerned, and disbanded. Subsequently, the committee for dialogue was appointed. This committee for dialogue will meet for the first time on 29 May 1980 in Patmos and will coincide with the first joint meeting of the Orthodox and Latin commissions.

Meanwhile, Professor John Karmiris had tendered his resignation from the delegation of the Church of Greece. He gave as reasons inadequate preparation on the Orthodox side, disagreement over the subject to be initially discussed, and the unresolved problem of Uniatism.


Again, without further knowledge this is confusing.

The Greek position denied the validity of all Catholic sacraments including Baptism.    If Karmiris was not happy with the Greek delegation and he resigned from it was the reason that he opposed the denial of Catholic sacraments?

 Not all Greeks denied the validity of Catholic Baptism.  Romanides and those who followed Father John R. did indeed seek to baptize all Catholics coming into to Orthodoxy but that was not at all a firmly agreed upon position, or practice in universal Orthodoxy, and it was THAT lack of consensus that prompted Monk John to withdraw.  In his mind they were not ready to speak with one voice.

So what has changed in the ensuing 40 years when it comes to Orthodoxy speaking with one voice.  Look at the list of things that are done differently from Orthodox jurisdiction to Orthodox jurisdiction in the United States.  Look and see how those inconsistencies become one of the central elements of all talk of unity.  That is staring American Orthodoxy in the face as we speak.

Mary
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« Reply #84 on: May 28, 2010, 11:13:06 AM »

I repeat:

Is there any particular difficulty with this presentation of the teaching of original or ancestral sin in Orthodoxy?

May we agree that there is a fully developed theology of original sin in Orthodoxy?

Mary



Monk John was an avowed anti-ecumenist all his life.  I think what you are seeing here is a reflection of the decisions he made personally based upon his antipathy to the heresy of ecumenism, rather than any negative statement against his theology.

Maybe this will help Father Ambrose:

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/dogmatics/golubov_rags_of_mortality.htm

Rags of Mortality: Original Sin and Human Nature
by Archpriest Alexander Golubov, Ph.D.


Behold, I am now captive to death because of unlawful counsel.
And I who was for a time robed with the glory of immortality
have become like one dead, wrapped pitifully in the rags of mortality
--Matins of Meatfare Sunday, Einos, Tone 5

Our annual spiritual journey into Great Lent, and especially into Passion Week, when we commemorate the betrayal, crucifixion, death and burial of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, followed by the celebration of His glorious Resurrection on the third day, offers us, again and again, the opportunity to ponder the mysteries of the Incarnation of the Son of God and His Redemption of the fallen human race. Inextricably tied in with this, of course, is the mystery of human life lived in the context of the terrible realities of sin, suffering and death, which none of us are capable of escaping except for what the Lord has accomplished for us, through His Cross and Resurrection.

It was St. Paul who first connected the events surrounding the temptation and fall of Adam in Paradise, as recounted in Genesis 3, to the events surrounding the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ in Jerusalem, and established between them a logical and direct inner relationship. To his mind, Adam's transgression in Paradise became the doorway through which sin and death entered into the world: "sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men for all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12).

Commenting on this and related passages, St. John Chrysostom explains: "But what does it mean, 'for all have sinned' (Rom. 5.12) This: he having once fallen, yet they that had not eaten of the tree inherited mortality . . . From this it is clear that it was not Adam's sin, his transgression--that is of the Law--but by the virtue of his disobedience that all have been marred. What is the proof of this? The fact that even before the Law all died: 'for death reigned,' St. Paul says, 'from Adam to Moses, even over them who had not sinned' (Rom 5:14). How did it 'reign'? After the manner of Adam's transgression, he who is 'the type of Him that was to come.' Thus, when the Jews ask, how was it possible for one Person to have saved the world? you will be able to reply, in the same way that the disobedience of one person, Adam, brought its condemnation" (Commentary on Romans, X).

Explaining Christ's redemptive role, St. Paul recapitulated this thought in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, where he proclaimed: "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:21-22).

Following St. Paul, the Holy Fathers teach that the state of general sinfulness and death is not man's original state of being, that man was not created by God to naturally live like this. Rather, this miserable condition in which we now find ourselves is the natural result of the moral disaster that occurred in Paradise with our ancient forefathers, Adam and Eve. The human race, writes St. Justin Martyr, "from the time of Adam had been subject to death and deceit of the serpent, each of us having committed sins of our own" (Dialogue with Trypho, 88). "When [Adam] transgressed the Commandment of God," teaches St. Methodius of Olympus, "he suffered the terrible and destructive fall. He was reduced to a state of death" (Banquet of the Virgins, III).

Before their fall in Paradise, however, writes St. Athanasius of Alexandria, our forefathers "did not die and did not decay, escaped death and corruption. The presence of the Word with them shielded them from natural corruption, as also the Book of Wisdom says, God created man for incorruption and as an image of His own eternity; but by the envy of the devil death entered into the world (Wis. 2:23f.) When this happened, men began to die, and corruption spread unchecked among them and held sway over men to more than a natural degree, because it was the penalty concerning which God had forewarned would be the reward of transgressing the commandment" (On the Incarnation of the Word).

Thus, according to the Fathers, our present condition is the result of a freely-willed choice, the natural consequences of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the penalty for failure to heed God's warning that death, indeed, will be the catastrophic outcome of eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It might occur to some, however, that it is exceedingly cruel of God to condemn the entire human race for the sin of two individuals. Why, indeed, should we, who were not around at the time of Adam's transgression, have to pay the rather stiff penalty for something that we did not, of ourselves, do? Isn't this guilt by association?

The source of this moral problem is not God, of course, as the author of evil and death, for God is not such. "We must understand," writes St. Gregory Palamas, "that God 'did not make death' (Wisdom 1:13), whether of the body or of the soul. For when He first gave the command, He did not say, 'On the day you eat of it, die,' but 'In the day you eat of it, you will surely die' (Gen. 2:17). He did not say afterwards, 'return now to the earth,' but 'you shall return' (Gen. 3:19), foretelling in this way what would come to pass" (One Hundred Fifty Chapters). Neither is the source, explains St. Theophilos of Antioch, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. For it is not, he writes, "as if any evil existed in the tree of knowledge, but from the fact of his disobedience did man draw, as from a fountain, labor, grief and, at last, fell prey to death" (To Autolycus, II, 25).

The problem, rather, has to do with the nature of Divinely-mandated freedom and the autonomous functioning of the natural law of creation, directly pertaining to issues of heredity and genetics, being analogous to something which contemporary medicine would define as "fetal addiction syndrome" or "fetal AIDS syndrome." In such a case, a mother who carries a gene for hemophilia, for instance, will transmit it to her offspring by the biological laws of heredity, though the processes of meiosis and mitosis, by means of which cell division naturally occurs. Or, in a similar way, a mother addicted to either drugs or alcohol, or who is HIV-positive, by virtue of the fact that from the moment of conception she shares with the child in her womb both blood and other bodily fluids, will naturally transmit to her child what she herself carries in her own blood. We easily understand that in this case, the child that is in the womb of the mother, will, of course, without any movement of the will, without agreement or disagreement with the particular moral choices of the mother, and, importantly, without any guilt on his part, participate in the affliction of the mother ("Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me," Ps. 50[51].5). It is in this vein, indeed, that the Fathers explain the concept of what has become known in theology as "original sin."

St. Cyril of Alexandria, for instance, observes: "Since [Adam] produced children after falling into this state, we, his descendants, are corruptible as the issue of a corruptible source. It is in this sense that we are heirs of Adam's curse. Not that we are punished for having disobeyed God's commandment along with him, but that he became mortal and the curse of mortality was transmitted to his seed after him, offspring born of a mortal source . . . So corruption and death are the universal inheritance of Adam's transgression" (Doctrinal questions and answers, 6). Elsewhere, commenting on St. Paul's teaching, he explains: "Human nature became sick with sin. Because of the disobedience of one (that is, of Adam), the many became sinners; not because they transgressed together with Adam (for they were not there) but because they are of his nature, which entered under the dominion of sin . . . Human nature became ill and subject to corruption through the transgression of Adam, thus penetrating man's very passions" (On Romans 5.18).

Summarizing this patristic teaching, the Greek theologian John Karmiris writes that "the sin of the first man, together with all of its consequences and penalties, is transferred by means of natural heredity to the entire human race. Since every human being is a descendant of the first man, 'no one of us is free from the spot of sin, even if he should manage to live a completely sinless day.' . . . Original Sin not only constitutes 'an accident' of the soul; but its results, together with its penalties, are transplanted by natural heredity to the generations to come . . . And thus, from the one historical event of the first sin of the first-born man, came the present situation of sin being imparted, together with all of the consequences thereof, to all natural descendants of Adam."[1]

Held, in general, as Orthodox teaching by both Eastern and Western Fathers, the theological concept, or doctrine, of "original sin," as the Russian theologian Fr. Michael Pomazansky points out, "has great significance in the Christian world-view, because upon it rests a whole series of other dogmas."[2] As a distinct concept of Christian theology, however, it was first defined and introduced in the fifth century by Blessed Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius in Northern Africa.

Blessed Augustine developed his doctrine in the context of a rather hot polemical confrontation with the heretic Pelagius, who, fleeing Rome after its sack in 410 by Alaric, chieftain of the Western Goths, had the misfortune, together with some of his followers, to settle in Africa, where his preaching came under the intense scrutiny of the bishop of Hippo. Pelagius, who was not a theologian, but essentially an itinerant ascetic preacher and moralist, whose chief interest was in correcting the moral laxity of contemporary Christians, had the further misfortune of permitting a local lawyer named Coelestius, who was seeking ordination to the priesthood, to become his disciple and interpreter of his views. In the view of the Pelagians, the low level of morality and rampant moral laxity had its source not only in what they saw as the denial of individual moral responsibility in the teaching about the consequences of Adam's sin, but also in the definition of the clergy as an elite group in the church, which in their eyes permitted the laity to abjure their moral responsibilities and adopt unacceptably low standards of Christian living. Some time later, after Pelagius had already left for Palestine (where he had yet the further misfortune of running afoul of the hot-tempered Blessed Jerome, translator of the Bible into Latin), Coelestius and his followers began preaching and explicating the views of their teacher, and in the process questioned the practice of infant baptism, the efficacy of the Incarnation and redemptive death of Christ on the cross, and denied the inheritance of Adam's sin. While man does indeed follow Adam into death, they taught, man sins only by example, through imitation of Adam, not through an endemic, hereditary defect of his nature. Despite the facts of sin and death, man's nature nonetheless remains as he was originally created, innocent and pure, as was first-created Adam himself. Disease and death are thus not consequences of original sin, but are characteristic of human nature from creation.

Blessed Augustine very correctly noted the dangerous implications of this argument for Orthodox theology. The total dismissal of the concept of an original, systemic sin inherited from Adam and present in human nature by virtue of genetic heritage results not only in an overly high valuation of man's physical and spiritual capabilities apart from God, but more importantly, perhaps, places in doubt the entire economy of our salvation by Christ, by obviating such essential Christian doctrines as the Incarnation and Redemption.

It should be remembered that the Pelagian controversy, which originally sparked the theological debate, was essentially a Western, more specifically, a Northern African controversy, which only incidentally involved Palestine and the East.[3] While Pelagius himself died in obscurity some years after his condemnation by the Council of Carthage in 416 and the Local African Council of 418, and before the Council of Ephesus in 431, the theological controversy to which he involuntarily lent his name was to involve quite a few Latin Fathers, and was to have far-reaching effects on the formulation of doctrines of sin and grace, free will and predestination. Thus, the theological debate that arose out of these issues eventually was to involve, directly or indirectly, not only Blessed Augustine and Blessed Jerome, but also Augustine's disciples Caesarius of Arles and Prosper of Aquitaine, as well as John Cassian, Vincent of Lerins, Gennadius of Marseilles, Faustus of Riez, and Arnobius the Younger, not to mention the later "augustinians"[4] and scholastics, and eventually the Protestant Reformers as well.

Technically speaking, in their writings the Eastern Fathers and Orthodox theologians do not use the Latin term introduced by Blessed Augustine in his treatise "De Peccato originali," but instead translate this concept by means of two cognate terms in both Greek and Russian, namely, progoniki amartia (= pervorodnyi grekh in Russian) and to propatorikon amartima (= praroditel'skii grekh), which is properly translated "ancestral sin." These terms allow for a more careful nuancing of the various implications contained in the one Latin term.

In the East, then, the concept of original sin has come to mean, as Fr. Michael Pomazansky very succinctly defines it, "the sin of Adam, which was transmitted to his descendants and weighs upon them."[5] Or, as John Karmiris puts it in an expanded definition, original sin is " 'sin-sickness,' the sinful situation of human nature which deprived man of Divine Grace, and subjected him to death, to departure from the Divine life, [and] has been transmitted by means of natural heredity to all of the descendants of the first-born, along with the stigma, the consequences, the fruits of that Original Sin."[6] Indeed, Karmiris reminds us, "it was for this reason that the ancient Church instituted the Baptism of infants, specifically that they might be freed from the stigma of sin of their ancestors, although the infants possessed no guilt of 'actual sin.'"[7]

In the West, however, the concept of original sin is tied up with and all too often even confused with an equally Western concept of "original guilt." The misconceptions resulting from this Western theological ambivalence are daunting, obscuring, as they do, the divine potential in man. It is, in fact, the particular assumptions about guilt and punishment, about human nature in general, as well as the specific mode of transmission of original sin from generation to generation[8] that constitute the historical and theological differences in interpretations of the doctrine of original sin. We can see two different, perhaps even opposing, trends develop with respect to these assumptions.

St. Anastasius of Sinai, for example, argues: "you must examine how the first-born, our father, transposed upon us his transgression. He heard that 'dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return'; and his incorruption was changed into corruption, he became subject to the bondage of death. Since Adam fathered children only after his Fall, we become heirs of his corruption. We are not punished for his disobedience to the Divine Law. Rather, Adam being mortal, sin entered into his very seed. We receive mortality from him . . . The general punishment of Adam for his transgression is corruption and death" (Questions and Answers on Various Chapters, 143). Likewise, defending the issue of infant baptisms, St. Cyprian of Carthage also maintains that since "no one is precluded from baptism and grace, . . . [so] ought not an infant be forbidden, who, being newly born, has in no way sinned, but only having contracted the contagion of death" (Letter to Fidus, LVIII, 2). Blessed Augustine, on the other hand, writing of those predestined by God, as he believed, to eternal death, holds that "they are punished not on account of the sins which they add by the indulgence of their own will, but on account of the original sin, even if, as in the case of infants, they had added nothing to that original sin" (On the Soul and its Origin, IV, 16).

The Western temptation to define the doctrine of original sin too precisely has historically led to overstatements and exaggerations on both sides of the issue, of both definition and reaction. Because they framed their arguments in the context of and in response to the Pelagian position, Blessed Augustine and his disciples tended to exaggerate the sinfulness and depravity of human nature, and their teaching thus tends to emphasize the "punitive aspect" of the consequences of the fall, leading also to exaggeration and overstatement on the question of free will. Interestingly enough, both extreme tendencies in Western interpretation can be seen to be rooted in the writings of Bl. Augustine: first, that man suffers death because he is guilty for the sin of Adam, and second, that the nature of man is so corrupt as to render man incapable of exercising free will in the work of salvation (the doctrine of predestination).

Historically, these two extreme Western tendencies have themselves developed in two variants: Roman Catholic and Protestant. The Roman Catholic position, as defined by augustinian scholastics, sees original sin essentially in terms of the wrath of God directed at man for his guilt in disobedient submission of the spiritual principle to the fleshly principle. This is an offense against God which results in the loss of "supernatural" grace and demands expiation, or "satisfaction," by the shedding of blood, in accordance with the medieval chivalry code of feudal knights. This position tends to reject the efficacy of free will on the part of man in choosing and working for his own salvation, and obscures the fact that within original sin are contained also sins of the spiritual order, not only those of the flesh.[9]

The Protestant reformation, in reaction to the extremes of Roman Catholic interpretation, has itself engendered two opposing views. On the one hand, in varying degrees, it amplifies the teaching of Bl. Augustine on predestination, postulating a complete perversion of human nature and corruption to its very foundations (Calvin is more severe in this regard, Luther less so). On the other hand, in certain contemporary Protestant sects we see, once again, a complete denial of original, inherited sin, that is to say, a return to Pelagianism.

In juxtaposition with the view that is prevalent in the Western Christian tradition, Orthodox fathers and theologians are perhaps more circumspect in not "dotting the i's," as it were, in relation to things that we cannot possibly know about the specific nature of Adam's sin. Thus, instead of discussing or stressing the many possible secondary and fleshly aspects of original sin, the Orthodox prefer to see it primarily in spiritual terms, as being rooted in spiritual pride and disobedience. "The Original Sin," writes Karmiris, "was a free transgression of our First Parents which grew out of egoism and boasting. Thus, through the envy and influence of Satan, directed against our First Parents, 'the sin and transgression entered,' and our First Parents transgressed the Law of God, motivated by a desire to be equal with God, or, as Chrysostom says, the 'anticipation to become God'; man wanted to become independent from God, finding, by means of sin, divine knowledge, blessedness, and perfection."[10]

In a similar vein, Fr. Michael Pomazansky observes:

    The eating of the fruit was only the beginning of moral deviation, the first push; but it was so poisonous and ruinous that it was already impossible to return to the previous sanctity and righteousness; on the contrary, there was revealed an inclination to travel farther on the path of apostasy from God. Blessed Augustine says: 'Here was pride, because man desired to be more under his own authority than under God's; and a mockery of what is holy, because he did not believe God; and murder, because he subjected himself to death; and spiritual adultery, because the immaculateness of the human soul was defiled through the persuasion of the serpent; and theft, because they made use of the forbidden tree; and the love of acquisition, because he desired more than was necessary to satisfy himself.' Thus, with the first transgression of the commandment, the principle of sin immediately entered into man--'the law of sin' (monos tis amartias). It struck the very nature of man and quickly began to root itself in him and develop. . . . The sinful inclinations in man have taken the reigning position; man has become the servant of sin (Rom. 6:7) . . . With sin, death entered into the human race. Man was created immortal in his soul, and he could have remained immortal also in body if he had not fallen away from God. . . . Man's body, as was well expressed by Blessed Augustine, does not possess 'the impossibility of dying,' but it did possess 'the possibility of not dying,' which it has now lost.[11]

It can be said that while we have not inherited the guilt of Adam's personal sin, because his sin is also of a generic nature, and because the entire human race is possessed of an essential, ontological unity,[12] we participate in it by virtue of our participation in the human race. "The imparting of Original Sin by means of natural heredity should be understood in terms of the unity of the entire human nature, and of the homoousiotitos [13] of all men, who, connected by nature, constitute one mystic whole. Inasmuch as human nature is indeed unique and unbreakable, the imparting of sin from the first-born to the entire human race descended from him is rendered explicable: 'Explicitly, as from the root, the sickness proceeded to the rest of the tree, Adam being the root who had suffered corruption'" [St. Cyril of Alexandria].[14]

The Orthodox view of fallen human nature is remarkably sober and balanced, gravitating neither to the unwarranted optimism of the Pelagian view, which sees human nature as having remained essentially in its pristine innocence and goodness, nor to the equally unwarranted pessimism of the predestinatarian view, which sees human nature as hopelessly perverted and corrupt. "Man fell unconsciously, unintentionally; he was deceived and seduced," writes the 19th-century Russian bishop and ascete, St. Ignatius Brianchaninov. "For this reason his natural goodness was not destroyed, but was mixed with the evil of the fallen angels. But this natural goodness, being mixed with evil, poisoned with evil, became worthless, inadequate, unworthy of God who is perfect, purest goodness. Man for the most part does evil, meaning to do good, not seeing the evil wrapped in a mask of goodness on account of the darkening of his mind and conscience."[15]

The Orthodox view of original sin is profoundly related to the Orthodox concept of theosis, deification, which is almost totally lost in the Western understanding. Thus, Pomazansky observes, while the physical, mental, and emotional faculties have become corrupted in man, the greatest loss to man was deprivation of the blessedness of Paradise and life eternal. "Both the mind and the feelings have become darkened in him, and therefore his moral freedom often does not incline towards the good, but towards evil . . . The physical consequences of the fall are diseases, hard labor and death. These were the natural result of the moral fall, the falling away from communion with God, man's departure from God. Man became subject to the corrupt elements of the world, in which dissolution and death are active. Nourishment from the Source of Life and from the constant renewal of all of one's powers became weak in men . . . However, the final and most important consequence of sin was not illness and physical death, but the loss of Paradise . . . In Adam all mankind was deprived of the future blessedness which stood before it, the blessedness which Adam and Eve had partially tasted in Paradise. In place of the prospect of life eternal, mankind beheld death, and behind it hell, darkness, rejection by God."[16].

Theosis, or, as St. Seraphim of Sarov defines it, "the acquisition of the Holy Spirit," is both the possibility and the reality, the goal and the gift, of overcoming the stain of original sin and repossession of what has been lost through it, the sole dominant purpose of Christian life. Despite the "rags of mortality" in which the human race has clothed itself through the fall of the first Adam in Paradise, Christians live in the hope of once again "ascending to their former beauty" by virtue of their redemption by the suffering, death, and resurrection on the third day of the second Adam. Walking between hope and despair, repenting of our sins, and living a life of Christian struggle, we await the fulfillment of the promise of St. Paul, so that together with redeemed first Adam we can sing the song of victory: "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1 Cor. 15: 55-56).

Notes
1. John Karmiris, A Synopsis of the Dogmatic Theology of the Orthodox Catholic Church, trans. from the Greek by the Reverend George Dimopoulos (Scranton, Pa.: Christian Orthodox Edition, 1973), pp. 35-36.
2. Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition, trans. Hieromonk Seraphim Rose (Platina, Calif.: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1994).
3. The East was at this time itself embroiled in a theological controversy surrounding the teachings of Appolinarius and Nestorius concerning the divine and human natures of Christ. Blessed Augustine had been invited by Emperor Theodosius the Younger to the Council which was to assemble at Ephesus, but died approximately a year before. The Third Ecumenical Council in 431 ruled on both controversies, condemning not only Nestorianism, but also Pelagianism. In this context it should be noted that despite the lately-fashionable "bashing" of certain writings of Blessed Augustine by certain "ultra-correct" "neo-Orthodox" writers, both he and his writings remain uncondemned by any Ecumenical or Local Council, thus relegating his more controversial theological opinions to the status of theologoumena of a Western Father of the Orthodox Church.
4. As it sometimes happens when the writings of a teacher are interpreted by several generations of disciples and commentators, the end product may not be something that was originally intended by the teacher himself. So with Moses and the Talmudists, so with Cyril of Alexandria and the monophysites, so with Bl. Augustine and the augustinians.
5. Pomazansky, p. 160.
6. Karmiris, p. 38.
7. Ibid.
8. In particular, the peculiarly Western tendency to see and define original sin almost exclusively in terms of human sexuality, replete with Freudian interpretation of the metaphors of religious language. On this, especially see: Elaine Pagels, Adam, Eve, and the Serpent (New York: Random House, 1988).
9. And dismisses as "semi-pelagianism" the balanced Orthodox position, formulated by St. John Cassian, which postulates the cooperation, or "synergy," of Divine grace and free will of man in working out the task of human salvation.
10. Karmiris, p. 33.
11. Pomazansky, pp. 156-159.
12. See, for instance, John 15:1-9 and 17:11-23; 1 Cor. 12:12-13; Ephes. 2:15 and 4:13-16. Also St. Gregory of Nyssa to Aulalius that there are not three gods but one God, etc., and St. Basil the Great, in the 18th chapter of his monastic regulations.
13. = "same-essence-ness," i.e. coessentiality or consubstantiality
14. Karmiris, p. 36.
15. The Arena: An Offering to Contemporary Monasticism, trans. Archimandrite Lazarus (Jordanville: Holy Trinity Monastery, 1991), p. 186.
16. Pomazansky, pp. 158-159.

From Alive in Christ
1996:1 (Spring 1996)

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« Reply #85 on: May 28, 2010, 11:28:31 AM »


OK, I'm onboard with him.  He was an anti-toller. 
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« Reply #86 on: May 28, 2010, 11:39:02 AM »


OK, I'm onboard with him.  He was an anti-toller. 

LOL...HOOT....

You are a pain in the neck!! ....LOL

It's a darn good thing you and I are not in charge of ecumenical dialogue...There's be blood all over the floor and by the time we got done laughing everybody would have gone home!!

M.
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« Reply #87 on: May 28, 2010, 12:51:37 PM »

Now maybe we can take a serious look at Father Kimel's suggestion?

M.

May I reiterate what I suggested above, namely, it is probably best to bracket the term "original sin" and to focus on the meaning of Holy Baptism.  I provided a couple of lengthy citations from St Theophan the Recluse.  Would it not be helpful for us to discuss the particulars of his teaching.  I find nothing objectionable in St Theophan's teaching--quite the contrary.  It appears to faithfully present the teachings of the Fathers.  One finds in it the characteristic patristic themes--liberation from Satan, regeneration, bestowal of the Spirit, the gift of divine sonship, death and resurrection, incorporation into the body of Christ, inheritance of the kingdom.

Baptism (and I use the term here to refer comprehensively to Christian initiation, including chrismation and reception of the Body and Blood) is simply not a matter of serious disputation between Catholics and Orthodox, except (apparently) on the internet.  Catholics and Orthodox stand together against the disjunction between sacramental sign and sacramental reality that is characteristic of most Protestant presentations on baptism (excluding the Lutherans and high church Anglicans).  Surely both Catholic and Orthodox reject the claim that "the grace of baptism has no effect on infants by itself without their free of will."  A Reformed Christian might say such a thing, but not a Catholic or Orthodox Christian.  Catholics and Orthodox are united in the confession of baptismal regeneration, and polemics should not be allowed to distort the teachings of our respective Churches. 

Precisely because baptism is "liberation from Satan, regeneration, bestowal of the Spirit, the gift of divine sonship, death and resurrection, incorporation into the body of Christ, inheritance of the kingdom" it is necessary for our salvation.  This does not, of course, mean that the non-baptized have no hope for salvation, which is a trap into which traditionalist Catholics sometimes fall.  The mysteries are given to us by the risen Christ to mediate to us the mystery of his divine life; but he is not restricted to or limited by these ritual events.  The appointed sacraments do not restrain the freedom of divine grace, but neither does this freedom in any way diminish the objective efficacy of the sacraments. 

The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that we should never begin our discussions with our controversially defined notions of original sin.  If we begin with original sin, we are likely to distort the the meaning of Holy Baptism.  We must begin with baptism.  Only then will we come to understand why it is necessary--and only then will we begin to understand the nature of our fallen condition that we inherit from Adam and Eve. 

 
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« Reply #88 on: May 28, 2010, 05:59:11 PM »

Now maybe we can take a serious look at Father Kimel's suggestion?


Yes, this is an excellent idea!

Fr Kimel wants us to begin with a study of Holy Baptism.  LBK provided a link  We can study that on site or some of us will have hard copies anyway.

We will be studying a lengthy, assembled circa 4th century, service.

Link to the baptismal service:

http://www.anastasis.org.uk/baptism.htm




May I reiterate what I suggested above, namely, it is probably best to bracket the term "original sin" and to focus on the meaning of Holy Baptism.  I provided a couple of lengthy citations from St Theophan the Recluse.  Would it not be helpful for us to discuss the particulars of his teaching.  I find nothing objectionable in St Theophan's teaching--quite the contrary.  It appears to faithfully present the teachings of the Fathers.  One finds in it the characteristic patristic themes--liberation from Satan, regeneration, bestowal of the Spirit, the gift of divine sonship, death and resurrection, incorporation into the body of Christ, inheritance of the kingdom.

Baptism (and I use the term here to refer comprehensively to Christian initiation, including chrismation and reception of the Body and Blood) is simply not a matter of serious disputation between Catholics and Orthodox, except (apparently) on the internet.  Catholics and Orthodox stand together against the disjunction between sacramental sign and sacramental reality that is characteristic of most Protestant presentations on baptism (excluding the Lutherans and high church Anglicans).  Surely both Catholic and Orthodox reject the claim that "the grace of baptism has no effect on infants by itself without their free of will."  A Reformed Christian might say such a thing, but not a Catholic or Orthodox Christian.  Catholics and Orthodox are united in the confession of baptismal regeneration, and polemics should not be allowed to distort the teachings of our respective Churches.  

Precisely because baptism is "liberation from Satan, regeneration, bestowal of the Spirit, the gift of divine sonship, death and resurrection, incorporation into the body of Christ, inheritance of the kingdom" it is necessary for our salvation.  This does not, of course, mean that the non-baptized have no hope for salvation, which is a trap into which traditionalist Catholics sometimes fall.  The mysteries are given to us by the risen Christ to mediate to us the mystery of his divine life; but he is not restricted to or limited by these ritual events.  The appointed sacraments do not restrain the freedom of divine grace, but neither does this freedom in any way diminish the objective efficacy of the sacraments.  

The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that we should never begin our discussions with our controversially defined notions of original sin.  If we begin with original sin, we are likely to distort the the meaning of Holy Baptism.  We must begin with baptism.  Only then will we come to understand why it is necessary--and only then will we begin to understand the nature of our fallen condition that we inherit from Adam and Eve.  

  
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« Reply #89 on: May 29, 2010, 04:45:36 PM »

Now maybe we can take a serious look at Father Kimel's suggestion?


Yes, this is an excellent idea!

Fr Kimel wants us to begin with a study of Holy Baptism.  LBK provided a link  We can study that on site or some of us will have hard copies anyway.

We will be studying a lengthy, assembled circa 4th century, service.

Link to the baptismal service:

http://www.anastasis.org.uk/baptism.htm




May I reiterate what I suggested above, namely, it is probably best to bracket the term "original sin" and to focus on the meaning of Holy Baptism.  I provided a couple of lengthy citations from St Theophan the Recluse.  Would it not be helpful for us to discuss the particulars of his teaching.  I find nothing objectionable in St Theophan's teaching--quite the contrary.  It appears to faithfully present the teachings of the Fathers.  One finds in it the characteristic patristic themes--liberation from Satan, regeneration, bestowal of the Spirit, the gift of divine sonship, death and resurrection, incorporation into the body of Christ, inheritance of the kingdom.

Baptism (and I use the term here to refer comprehensively to Christian initiation, including chrismation and reception of the Body and Blood) is simply not a matter of serious disputation between Catholics and Orthodox, except (apparently) on the internet.  Catholics and Orthodox stand together against the disjunction between sacramental sign and sacramental reality that is characteristic of most Protestant presentations on baptism (excluding the Lutherans and high church Anglicans).  Surely both Catholic and Orthodox reject the claim that "the grace of baptism has no effect on infants by itself without their free of will."  A Reformed Christian might say such a thing, but not a Catholic or Orthodox Christian.  Catholics and Orthodox are united in the confession of baptismal regeneration, and polemics should not be allowed to distort the teachings of our respective Churches.  

Precisely because baptism is "liberation from Satan, regeneration, bestowal of the Spirit, the gift of divine sonship, death and resurrection, incorporation into the body of Christ, inheritance of the kingdom" it is necessary for our salvation.  This does not, of course, mean that the non-baptized have no hope for salvation, which is a trap into which traditionalist Catholics sometimes fall.  The mysteries are given to us by the risen Christ to mediate to us the mystery of his divine life; but he is not restricted to or limited by these ritual events.  The appointed sacraments do not restrain the freedom of divine grace, but neither does this freedom in any way diminish the objective efficacy of the sacraments.  

The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that we should never begin our discussions with our controversially defined notions of original sin.  If we begin with original sin, we are likely to distort the the meaning of Holy Baptism.  We must begin with baptism.  Only then will we come to understand why it is necessary--and only then will we begin to understand the nature of our fallen condition that we inherit from Adam and Eve.  

  


From the
Quote
Remove from him/her that ancient error and fill him/her with faith in you, and hope and love, so that he/she may know that you alone are God, true God, and your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and your Holy Spirit.


Quote
Master and Lord, the One who Is, who made man according to your image and likeness and gave him the power of eternal life; then, when he fell through sin, did not disdain him, but provided for the salvation of the world through the incarnation of your Christ, do you yourself receive also this creature of yours, whom you have redeemed from the slavery of the foe, into the heavenly Kingdom.

Quote
a vessel made holy, a child of light and an heir of your Kingdom

Quote
that he/she may no longer be a child of the body, but a child of your kingdom

Quote
That the one to be baptized in it may become worthy of the incorruptible Kingdom, let us pray to the Lord.


Quote
You set at liberty the generations of our nature, you sanctified a virgin womb by your birth.


Quote
But do you, Master of all things, declare this water to be water of redemption, water of sanctification, cleansing of flesh and spirit, untying of bonds, forgiveness of offences, enlightenment of soul, washing of rebirth, renewal of spirit, gift of adoption, garment of incorruption, source of life.

Quote
Manifest yourself, Lord, in this water, and grant that the one being baptized in it may be transformed for the putting off of the old self that is corrupted after the desires of deception, and may put on the new that is renewed after the image of the One who created him/her.

Quote
For we know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin.

Quote
Master, Lord our God, who through the font grant heavenly radiance to those who are baptized

Quote
Because you are our sanctification,

Quote
You have been justified. You have been enlightened. You have been sanctified. You have been washed in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God.


These quotes, one of whoch is from the epistle reading, all say something about baptism as it relates to the fall. Sin and death came about as a result of the fall. Sin and death are only overcome through Christ's death and resurrection. We are joined to Christ's death and resurrection through baptism.

The fall did something to our nature. Christ undid this something. We are joined to Christ through baptism. Baptism udoes something that was done by the fall. The question isn't whether or not baptism undoes something done in the fall, but rather what does baptism undo and how does it affect us in this life.

Orthodoxy teaches that we are born into corruption because of the fall and through our baptism receive a "garment of incorruption" (we receive this garment according to the service referenced above).

Catholicism teaches that we are born deprived of "sanctifying grace" because of the fall, which we receive at baptism (CCC Par 1266).

I'm not saying whether they teach the same thing or not, only that this is how they teach baptism in relation to the effects of the fall.

Baptism gives us more than what Adam and Eve had in the garden and gives us more than just what they lost. Where they were created "in the image and likeness of God", through baptism we are united to God through Jesus Christ who shares the fullness of both divine and human nature fully united together. Baptism unites us to Him and in so doing unites us directly to God through Christ, who was God in the flesh, and gives us a greater gift than what humanity had in the garden.

So while I admit baptism does more than simply reverse the fall, its effects still include repairing and restoring what was lost in the fall.

PLease forgive me if I am misunderstanding something.
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« Reply #90 on: May 29, 2010, 05:04:03 PM »

I don't know if the Roman Rite baptismal ceremony includes this line or not but it may be of interest in another discussion.

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You set at liberty the generations of our nature, you sanctified a virgin womb by your birth.
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« Reply #91 on: May 29, 2010, 05:26:05 PM »

Catholic understanding of sanctifying grace, from Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD, 42:

"Jesus tells us to abide in Him because we have been grafted on to Him.  This spiritual engrafting, an accomplished fact, was made possible for all men by Christ's death on the Cross, and it became effective for each one of us at the time of our Baptism.  Christ grafted us into Himself, at the cost of His precious Blood [and pure Body]. Therefore we are in Him, [by sanctifying grace], but He insists further that we abide in him and bring forth fruit.

Baptism is sufficient to graft us into Christ, and [the smallest] degree of grace will permit us to abide in Him like living branches, but we should not be content with this union only.  We must show our gratitude for the immense gift we have received by endeavoring to become more and more firmly grafted into Christ.  We must live with this union with Christ, making Him the center, the sun of our interior life.  

"Abide in me" is not a chance expression.  Christ wished to show us that our life in Him requires our personal collaboration with Him, that we are to employ all our strength and mind and will and our heart that we may live in Him and by Him.  The more we try to abide in Christ the deeper our little branch will grow into Him, because it will be nourished more abundantly by the sap of grace.

"Abide in me, and I in you." The more closely we are united to Christ by faith, charity and good works done with the intention of pleasing God, the more intensely will He live in us and bestow on us continually a new life of grace.  Thus we shall become not merely living branches but branches laden with fruit, the fruit of sanctity destined to bring joy to the Heart of God, for Jesus has said: "In this is My Father glorified, that you bring forth very much fruit [John 15:8]."
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« Reply #92 on: May 30, 2010, 02:18:38 PM »


These quotes, one of whoch is from the epistle reading, all say something about baptism as it relates to the fall. Sin and death came about as a result of the fall. Sin and death are only overcome through Christ's death and resurrection. We are joined to Christ's death and resurrection through baptism.

The fall did something to our nature. Christ undid this something. We are joined to Christ through baptism. Baptism udoes something that was done by the fall. The question isn't whether or not baptism undoes something done in the fall, but rather what does baptism undo and how does it affect us in this life.

Orthodoxy teaches that we are born into corruption because of the fall and through our baptism receive a "garment of incorruption" (we receive this garment according to the service referenced above).

Catholicism teaches that we are born deprived of "sanctifying grace" because of the fall, which we receive at baptism (CCC Par 1266).

I'm not saying whether they teach the same thing or not, only that this is how they teach baptism in relation to the effects of the fall.

Baptism gives us more than what Adam and Eve had in the garden and gives us more than just what they lost. Where they were created "in the image and likeness of God", through baptism we are united to God through Jesus Christ who shares the fullness of both divine and human nature fully united together. Baptism unites us to Him and in so doing unites us directly to God through Christ, who was God in the flesh, and gives us a greater gift than what humanity had in the garden.

So while I admit baptism does more than simply reverse the fall, its effects still include repairing and restoring what was lost in the fall.

This seems like an accurate interpretation of the Orthodox baptismal liturgy, at least I this Westerner reads the text. 

Now compare this interpretation with the modern Catholic rite of Holy Baptism

One immediately notes the absence in the liturgy of the term "sanctifying grace."  This is not surprising, as the term belongs not to the primary language of liturgy but to second order theological reflection.  The liturgy itself prefers to employ the language of Holy Scripture and Tradition.  The one difference between the Eastern and Latin rites that jumped at me is the petition in the Latin rite "set him (her) free from original sin."  Note that it is a petition to "set free," rather than to forgive; moreover, the petition is included (and I think this is significant) in the prayer that introduces the exorcism:

Quote
Almighty and ever-living God, you sent your only Son into the world to cast out the power of Satan, spirit of evil, to rescue man from the kingdom of darkness, and bring him into the splendor of your kingdom of light. We pray for this child: set him (her) free from original sin, make him (her) a temple of your glory, and send your Holy Spirit to dwell with him (her). We ask this through Christ our Lord.

In other words, original sin betokens that condition of enslavement and alienation into which we have been born and from which we are delivered by the Holy Trinity through the baptismal sacrament.  It might be noted that the term "original sin" is not included in the traditional Latin baptismal rite.   

A cursory comparison of the two rites does not reveal, at least as far as I can see, any significant differences in substantive theological understanding. 
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