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Author Topic: OO and Chalcedon; EO and Florence  (Read 1027 times) Average Rating: 0
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GregoryLA
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« on: June 16, 2010, 04:50:07 AM »

How is the Oriental Orthodox rejection of Chalcedon any different from the Eastern Orthodox rejection of Florence?

I think I've noticed an inconsistency in my own thinking and I'd like to get the opinion of others and think this might be an interesting topic of discussion.  I know only some about the happenings of Chalcedon and even less about Florence so I'm very much here to learn. 

In reading about the Oriental Orthodox rejection of Chalcedon, I've been thinking about what exactly went wrong there from an Eastern Orthodox point of view (as obviously from their own OO POV they were right).  It seems that many EO would have it that Oriental Orthodox christology is Orthodox, but that the OO were wrong in that they went into schism.  In other words, it's an issue of schism and not heresy.  Assuming this point of view is correct (i.e. that the OO are and always have been Orthodox in christology but merely schismatic), then it would seem that they went wrong at not following the rest of the Church at Chalcedon. 

Yet, how is this different from the EO rejection of Florence?  At both councils you had bishops from both sides and at Florence the Orthodox bishops even agreed to union (though they said they could not reunite without the consent of the faithful).  After both councils a sizeable portion of the Church rejected the council and went into schism (in the EO pov as concerns the OO)  or, from the RC POV remained in schism in the case of the EO. 

So if the OO error was to not listen to the voice of the Church gathered in council, how are the EO not guilty of the same thing?

The differences between the two councils I can think of are...

1) At the time of Chalcedon there had been not definitive split, but at Florence there had been a more or less finalized schism for at least 200 years.

2) While EO and OO largely recognize each others christologies as Orthodox and thus do not label each other heretics; RC, from the POV of the EO, are in fact heretical.

In other words, from the Eastern Orthodox point of view, why were the EO justified in rejecting Florence if the OO were not justified in their rejection of Chalcedon?
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2010, 05:49:12 AM »


So if the OO error was to not listen to the voice of the Church gathered in council, how are the EO not guilty of the same thing?


The Orthodox cannot be held guilty of "rejecting" Florence since in fact the Church never made the decision to accept it.

See message 161

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27981.msg442906.html#msg442906

and message 163

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27981.msg442968.html#msg442968
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2010, 07:02:01 AM »

How is the Oriental Orthodox rejection of Chalcedon any different from the Eastern Orthodox rejection of Florence?

I think I've noticed an inconsistency in my own thinking and I'd like to get the opinion of others and think this might be an interesting topic of discussion.  I know only some about the happenings of Chalcedon and even less about Florence so I'm very much here to learn. 

In reading about the Oriental Orthodox rejection of Chalcedon, I've been thinking about what exactly went wrong there from an Eastern Orthodox point of view (as obviously from their own OO POV they were right).  It seems that many EO would have it that Oriental Orthodox christology is Orthodox, but that the OO were wrong in that they went into schism.  In other words, it's an issue of schism and not heresy.  Assuming this point of view is correct (i.e. that the OO are and always have been Orthodox in christology but merely schismatic), then it would seem that they went wrong at not following the rest of the Church at Chalcedon. 

Yet, how is this different from the EO rejection of Florence?  At both councils you had bishops from both sides and at Florence the Orthodox bishops even agreed to union (though they said they could not reunite without the consent of the faithful).  After both councils a sizeable portion of the Church rejected the council and went into schism (in the EO pov as concerns the OO)  or, from the RC POV remained in schism in the case of the EO. 

So if the OO error was to not listen to the voice of the Church gathered in council, how are the EO not guilty of the same thing?

The differences between the two councils I can think of are...

1) At the time of Chalcedon there had been not definitive split, but at Florence there had been a more or less finalized schism for at least 200 years.

2) While EO and OO largely recognize each others christologies as Orthodox and thus do not label each other heretics; RC, from the POV of the EO, are in fact heretical.

In other words, from the Eastern Orthodox point of view, why were the EO justified in rejecting Florence if the OO were not justified in their rejection of Chalcedon?

You pretty much got it in 1 and 2.  At Florence, those who signed do so to doctrines which the Orthodox had long ago condemned as heresy.

Chalcedon condemned the teachings of Eutyches, which Pope Dioscoros and the OO since him have anathematized.  Pope Dioscoros was deposed for refusing to appear at the Council when summoned, not for heresy, and the Definition does not condemn him, unlike its anathematization of Eutyches.

Chalcedon was actually the crescendo of a series of Synods, as you can see in Gaddis and Price's presentation of the first sessesion of Chalcedon
http://books.google.com/books?id=6IUaOOT1G3UC&pg=PA112&dq=Chalcedon+chinese+boxes&cd=1#v=onepage&q=Chalcedon%20chinese%20boxes&f=false
Which nullied or upheld it predecessor.  At the whole series, bishops were seated as if nothing had happened and the process started over again, i.e. both sides acted as one Church in synod.  At Florence, nothing of the sort happened: one side had it terms, the other side had to reject their own Fathers and accept those terms.

At Florence, even the bishops who signed do so saying that it had to be ratified by a Synod. No such thing happened at Chalcedon, it was the Synod.
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2010, 08:43:12 AM »

Gregory, I'm going to concur with Fr. Ambrose and Isa here.  The circumstances are, IMO, so different that they cannot be used as points of comparison.  Just a couple to consider:

- One was a synod of a united Church that divided after; the other was a synod between two groups who had been divided off and on for 600 years (since the various Bulgarian/Photian schisms).

- One was a synod called to address theological and practical matters of the Church; the other was called to offer military support in exchange for union.

When one considers the points made in this thread thus far, it's hard to hold the two synods (and our reactions to them) to an apples-apples comparison.
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2010, 11:20:15 AM »

A polemical post was split off and put in the private forum:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,28292.new.html#new

Anyone who wants access to the private forum can pm Fr. Chris and ask him to let you in.
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2010, 07:39:09 PM »

So if the OO error was to not listen to the voice of the Church gathered in council,

Councils are liable to error. It is only the Church as a whole that is indefectible. Despite the fact that an extremely high amount of the Church accepted Chalcedon at the time of it, OO indefectibility is none the less preserved by the 14 (yes, I'm including Saint Dioscorus) who refused to accept the definition, and by the Ethiopians who were subject to them, and by the Armenians who were not represented by when they encountered Chalcedon rejected it.
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