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Salpy
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« on: July 13, 2010, 05:46:39 PM »

I'd like to discuss the ninth article of the Second Agreed Statement:

Quote
9. In the light of our Agreed Statement on Christology as well as of the above common affirmations, we have now clearly understood that both families have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of the apostolic tradition, though they have used Christological terms in different ways. It is this common faith and continuous loyalty to the Apostolic Tradition that should be the basis for our unity and communion.

http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state02.html

I think most, although not all, of the theologians who have in recent years studied the Christologies of the EO and OO Churches have come to the conclusion that we basically have the same faith.

However, someone in another thread has brought up a phrase in the above statement that indicates we have always believed the same thing:

Quote
we have now clearly understood that both families have always loyally maintained the same authentic Orthodox Christological faith, and the unbroken continuity of the apostolic tradition

The question is, doesn't this say that our Fathers were mistaken in rejecting Chalcedon?  Doesn't this say that the Chalcedonians had an Orthodox Christology even back when our Fathers were saying they didn't?  What are the implications of this phrase for our Church?




----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Before we start, I want to give a proactive warning to those who want to participate in this thread, both OO and EO:

I realize that this topic has the potential to wax polemical.  I want to have it in the public forum, however, so that we can have a wider group participating.  I am therefore hoping we can discuss this in a way that is respectful toward those we disagree with, and toward those Churches we are not in communion with.  I would like to discuss our Church Fathers' attitudes in an historical context and not use those attitudes and beliefs in a way that can be seen as attacking another Church.  I'm asking all who participate in this thread to not cross that line.

I also do not want any bashing of bishops or patriarchs here.  We can express disagreement with hierarchs, but please do it in a way that is respectful.

Thank you.
   Smiley



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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2010, 06:01:18 PM »

I'm going to bed in a moment so I am not going to add much now.

But...

I would want to say that we must be very careful and exact in our conversation.

i. Two families of Churches DID NOT begin in 451 AD. There was one Church which was in turmoil with various groups in various states of communion for 100 years after Chalcedon.

ii. By the time there were two families - 565 AD is a reasonable date to understand that things were finally too far gone - the discussions between the two parties revolved almost entirely around what to do with Chalcedon. The Imperial party insisted it must be accepted while the Orthodox insisted that they could not accept it.

iii. By the time there were two families it was recognised OO practice to receive EO by prayer only accepting the sacraments of the EO. Indeed even during the worst and most violent phases of the controversy when Orthodox were being martyred in numbers it was still the policy to receive those from the Chalcedonians by prayer only. St Timothy wanted to receive the Proterian bishops under such terms but the faithful in Alexandria just would not let him because the streets had run red with Orthodox blood at the swords of the mercenaries Proterius had used to try and impose his authority.

iv. Later more eirenic writers on both sides express the view that the differences between the OO and EO (apart from the issue of Chalcedon) are not significant. (Of course there are other writers that must be examined).

v. In the past the Greek Patriarch of Alexandria had been willing to unite with the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate and become a Metropolitan.

These are enough notes to start with. What I would hope to avoid is starting with Chalcedon as the Church at that time DID NOT represent two families and therefore cannot be referenced by the Second Agreed Statement as if it were denying reality. It seems to me that it is rather describing the situation once the dust had settled and the East found itself with two communities each calling themselves Orthodox. This happened between 535 AD and 565 AD, not in 451 AD.

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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2010, 07:43:34 PM »

Dear Father Peter and Salpy,

The information so far is a ton of wealth.  What manuscripts or resources may I refer to for this type of info?  Honestly, because of miseducation and misinformation, many of the so-called doctors of our Church(es) spread falsifications that cause the children of the Church to become either pious or irreligious: extremists in some sense. 

I don't want to sound like a green-peace advertisement, but this type of hardcore, in-depth information about our pure religion is what the world needs.  Please continue to educate us.

Thank you and sincerely in Christ,

haile amanuel
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2010, 08:33:03 PM »

Is it really that important that either family was 100% right at all times? Why can't we just go forward with the Second Agreed Statement?
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2010, 08:40:46 PM »

I'm going to bed in a moment so I am not going to add much now.

But...

I would want to say that we must be very careful and exact in our conversation.

i. Two families of Churches DID NOT begin in 451 AD. There was one Church which was in turmoil with various groups in various states of communion for 100 years after Chalcedon.

ii. By the time there were two families - 565 AD is a reasonable date to understand that things were finally too far gone - the discussions between the two parties revolved almost entirely around what to do with Chalcedon. The Imperial party insisted it must be accepted while the Orthodox insisted that they could not accept it.

iii. By the time there were two families it was recognised OO practice to receive EO by prayer only accepting the sacraments of the EO. Indeed even during the worst and most violent phases of the controversy when Orthodox were being martyred in numbers it was still the policy to receive those from the Chalcedonians by prayer only. St Timothy wanted to receive the Proterian bishops under such terms but the faithful in Alexandria just would not let him because the streets had run red with Orthodox blood at the swords of the mercenaries Proterius had used to try and impose his authority.

iv. Later more eirenic writers on both sides express the view that the differences between the OO and EO (apart from the issue of Chalcedon) are not significant. (Of course there are other writers that must be examined).

v. In the past the Greek Patriarch of Alexandria had been willing to unite with the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate and become a Metropolitan.

These are enough notes to start with. What I would hope to avoid is starting with Chalcedon as the Church at that time DID NOT represent two families and therefore cannot be referenced by the Second Agreed Statement as if it were denying reality. It seems to me that it is rather describing the situation once the dust had settled and the East found itself with two communities each calling themselves Orthodox. This happened between 535 AD and 565 AD, not in 451 AD.

Father Peter

Yes, I think the period of the Henotikon underlines that. Really, it is with the Sixth Ecumenical Council (with its equating of Pope Dioscoros with Eutyches in the preamble) in 681 that we can really speak of two ecclesiatical organizations, after the Caliphate made a convenient border between both Romes and the other ancient patriarchates. Pope Theodosios (535-567) was the last Patriarch of Alexandria held in common.  Patriarch Paul II switched to the Chalcedonians was was deposed by the Non-Chalcedonians in 575, sealing that schism, so really the period between the Fifth Council (553) and the Sixth (681) is the start.
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« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2010, 10:58:15 PM »

Is it really that important that either family was 100% right at all times? Why can't we just go forward with the Second Agreed Statement?

Indeed! But you need only wait to see how this thread degenerates to know that won't happen.
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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2010, 11:15:23 PM »

Is it really that important that either family was 100% right at all times? Why can't we just go forward with the Second Agreed Statement?

Yes, it's important, and the consequences are really not all that complicated.

If neither side was 100% doctrinally correct at all times, then the Church is actually not indefectible, and a whole different ecclesiology is introduced.

If only your church was 100% doctrinally correct at all times, then the Orientals lack doctrinal continuity, and therefore their Sacraments are suspect, and therefore they should join your church.

If only the Orientals were 100% doctrinally correct at all times, then you lack doctrinal continuity, and therefore your Sacraments are suspect, and therefore you should join the Oriental church.

If both were 100% doctrinally correct at all times, then the Orientals misjudged Chalcedon, and unjustly rejected, and are thus schismatic, and thus their Sacraments are suspect, and therefore they should join your church (most don't like to hear this last point).
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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2010, 11:28:03 PM »

If both were 100% doctrinally correct at all times, then the Orientals misjudged Chalcedon, and unjustly rejected, and are thus schismatic, and thus their Sacraments are suspect, and therefore they should join your church (most don't like to hear this last point).

Did you read what Fr. Peter wrote above?  His position is that between 451 and some time after Con. II, there was really still only one Church.  I know that I and others have made that point before, particularly in the private forum.  I've heard that from other sources besides Fr. Peter.  For the first century or so, the Chalcedonian debate was really a debate within what was still considered one Church.

By the time we really see two distinct Churches, Con. II was in effect and the Chalcedonians had rid themselves of anyone who wanted to give Chalcedon a Nestorian interpretation.  So by the time you see two distinct "families," as the Statement puts it, we really did have the same faith.

What you are saying, Chris, only makes sense if the two "families" became two families at 451.  Fr. Peter is saying (and I agree with him) that the starting date for the two families is much later, at a date after Con. II, when our Christologies really were the same.
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2010, 05:40:20 AM »

I agree that the Henotikon is another indication of the general agreement between the two parties even at an earlier stage in the controversy when 'two families' had not formed at all.

St Severus accepted the Henotikon as a theological document. His issue with it was that it left Chalcedon unresolved.

I have never read the Second Agreed Statement as requiring that our Orthodox communion decide that our criticism of Chalcedon was a mistake. As I have stated, the SAS speaks of two families of Churches, and these did not exist until post 565 AD-ish. By this time, even when the Orthodox leadership was under immense pressure to be united with the Imperial Church they were unable to do so because of the issue of Chalcedon, yet even at this point they did not seem to want to make up false allegations about the Imperial Church. They did not produce a list of other issues which caused them to be separated. It was Chalcedon which was the issue.

It seems to me to be possible to hold an Orthodox Christology AND also accept Chalcedon. This is what the SAS says. But this does not require that we say that Chalcedon is ecumenical, nor that we say that anyone who accepts Chalcedon is Orthodox. It is also possible to hold an heterodox Christology and accept Chalcedon. It depends entirely on what a person means by 'accept Chalcedon', and this seems to have also changed over time.

There is a real sense in which Chalcedon became simply a polemical standard in the later controversial period. The Chalcedonians were unable to stop saying 'accept Chalcedon', and the Orthodox were unable to stop saying 'reject Chalcedon', for understandable reasons on both sides. But Chalcedon had already been accepted, rejected, accepted, rejected and finally accepted by lots of Imperial bishops, often the same bishops. This is because they held neither a strictly pro-Chalcedonian nor strictly anti-Chalcedonian point of view. They may have been at fault in this regard, but I am not investigating that issue, rather it seems to me to show that there were many bishops who for a variety of reasons were able to change their view of Chalcedon without it would seem to me changing their Christology.

It would therefore, it seems to me, be wrong to consider all those who accepted Chalcedon as having the Christology of Ibas and Thedoret, even if I do consider that one of the weaknesses of Chalcedon is that it made room for such views, and I am not convinced that Constantinople 553 eliminated them. But this is to judge Chalcedon - which I am more than willing to do in another context - it does not absolutely judge all those who accepted Chalcedon.

How did they accept Chalcedon? Especially by 565 AD? I would suggest that it was not in the same way that Theodoret accepted Chalcedon - writing to his supporters that his Christology had been vindicated. It was not in the same way that the large numbers of Chalcedonians who accepted the Three Chapters viewed Chalcedon. So it seems wrong to me to insist on only one way of 'accepting Chalcedon', just as I have insisted over 16 years online that there is more than one way of 'rejecting Chalcedon'.

When I read John of Damascus it seems to me that there are not very many differences between the Church he is a member of and the Orthodox Church I am a member of. Yet he does show his ignorance of our tradition in some places. Is this enough to say that he has not preserved the same substance of faith? I am hesitant to say so. It seems to me that he almost describes a unity of faith but withdraws from doing so. I find him frustrating in that regard but I don't find him promoting the Christology of Ibas, Theodoret or Theodore. When I read his passage on the two natures it is annoying because he obviously is not understanding the Orthodox terminology and is therefore writing against a straw man, but in terms of what he actually says, and reading it with his understanding, his own Christology does not strike me as being one that I could say was not Orthodox. Or perhaps was Orthodox enough.

His initial description of the will in Christ, for instance, is very close to what I would say, and is certainly far from those EO I have corresponded with who have taught that Christ has two different and contrary wills. I do not entirely accept his view but I cannot say that it is the same as the view which would divide Christ.

If I were in discussion with John of Damascus I hope that we would find much to agree with and we would say of each other that we had found the same substance of faith. Then we would have to deal with issues such as the status of Chalcedon. But it is almost fanatical to begin with Chalcedon, on both sides, since that precludes any discovery of agreement. Our hierarchs have engaged in such discussion and have found that which many of us also have understood, that there is a substantial unity of faith between the EO and OO. This does not remove obstacles to unity, but it does mean that we begin where we really are in relation to each other, and discuss with each other on the basis of truth and not polemics and stereotypes.

The SAS, in my view, is simply the recognition of the position where we are at when we meet each other. It does not guarantee or necessitate union. But it does preclude false accusations and stereotypes and requires a more careful and accurate tone of discussion. There are lots of EO I meet who think I am a heretic, mostly Western converts, but that is their ignorance, it should not be allowed to set the tone of our general response to the wider mainstream communion of EO.

When Archbishop Gregorios and Metropolitan John attended the consecration of the Syrian Orthodox Cathedral in London they did not come as visitors to group they had nothing in connection with. And when Archbishop Gregorios asked that the Holy Spirit would descend and fill the place as it was used for worship I did not sense he was saying things he did not mean. Indeed he said that they were from his heart. This is surely a working out of the fellowship that many feel between the EO and OO, for all of the difficulties which Chalcedon still represents.

Our opposition to Chalcedon remains rooted in the events surrounding it, as is reasonable, but when we meet with the EO we are doing so on the basis of Chalcedon corrected by Constantinople 553. We must be clear which Chalcedon we are dealing with. It is a little like some atrocity happening in a war, the war continues and a peace is brokered and relations become friendly. When thinking about the atrocity there is always a need to preserve the condemnation of what happened, but when dealing with the relations with the other country, though the atrocity will need to be dealt with in due course to normalise relations, it is not helpful for it to be the only means of describing that other country, especially as time passes. 

It is a little like me always saying to a Frenchman, 'We will have nothing to do with you until you repudiate the Norman Invasion of 1066!'. Chalcedon is more important than that. But it is how we are being encouraged to act. The Frenchman might say, 'What about our co-operation in the First and Second World Wars? Doesn't that count for something?'. And surely it must even if it doesn't take away the hurt and offence of the Norman Invasion. We would have to deal with the Frenchman through the prism of the co-operation in the First and Second World Wars, even while we still consider the Norman Conquest as an event in its own time. Of course if the Frenchman laughs at me and says 'I spit on your bowler hat, we humiliated you in 1066 and you deserved it' then a response might be different.

But my general point is that there is a difference between an historical event in its context, and the ongoing development of the belief of a group which considers that event important but which also moderates and changes its view of that event. They cannot be treated as the same.

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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2010, 10:35:54 AM »

Is it really that important that either family was 100% right at all times? Why can't we just go forward with the Second Agreed Statement?

Yes, it's important, and the consequences are really not all that complicated.

If neither side was 100% doctrinally correct at all times, then the Church is actually not indefectible, and a whole different ecclesiology is introduced.

If only your church was 100% doctrinally correct at all times, then the Orientals lack doctrinal continuity, and therefore their Sacraments are suspect, and therefore they should join your church.

If only the Orientals were 100% doctrinally correct at all times, then you lack doctrinal continuity, and therefore your Sacraments are suspect, and therefore you should join the Oriental church.

If both were 100% doctrinally correct at all times, then the Orientals misjudged Chalcedon, and unjustly rejected, and are thus schismatic, and thus their Sacraments are suspect, and therefore they should join your church (most don't like to hear this last point).

There is another logical statement: If both were 100% doctrinally correct at all times, then
a. the Orientals misjudged Chalcedon, and unjustly rejected, and are thus schismatic, and thus they should correct their misjudgment and restore communion with the EO.
b. the EO misjudged the Orientals' POV (misunderstood their Christology), and unjustly condemned them, and are thus schismatic, and thus they should correct their misjudgment and restore communion with the OO.

Notice that one can be doctrinally correct and still behave badly. Why, because we are all sinners and screw up. This includes our saints and Fathers, and believe or not OCNet posters. The Church as the body of Christ is one thing; this "mountain out of a molehill" issue is another.
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2010, 12:04:43 PM »

I think there is an error in the orginal logic about sides and being 100% correct.

It divides the Church into discrete Churches when this is not how the people of that time recognised things at all.

It seems to me that the differences were much more like those which might be experienced in a modern community which was undergoing a conflict with liberalism v traditionalism. We can imagine a Methodist or Episcopal context where this might be a reality. A local congregation which is fairly traditional gets a liberal pastor. Many of the more traditional members stop attending, some travel a long way to a congregation that still has a traditional pastor. But there are some who are happy with whoever leads the congregation. A few others drive over from the traditional congregation now that there is a more liberal option within travelling distance.

When the members of the traditional congregation are asked what church they belong to they say 'The <X> Church', and when the members of the liberal congregation are asked what church they belong to they say 'The <X> Church'.

Later on the old bishop dies and a new one comes along with liberal tendencies. Some of the traditional congregations in the diocese form an action group to try and get the bishop changed. A few traditionalists stop attending their congregations and worship in their homes using their traditional rites, a traditional priest comes over sometimes. The liberals in the diocese start saying that the Church has accepted that their ideas are right for the times and that there is no place for traditionalism among them. They start agitating to have the remaining traditionalist priests replaced.

When the members of the traditional congregations are asked what church they belong to they say 'The <X> Church', and when the members of the liberal congregations are asked what church they belong to they say 'The <X> Church'.

Unfortunately, the liberal bishop has an accident, and the next bishop is a traditionalist, although he tries to be friendly towards the liberals established in his diocese. He finds that many of the more moderate congregations are glad to have someone who can address both parties, but the more strict elements in the traditionalist and liberal parties will have nothing to do with him and refused to attend his annual garden party. The diocese has become fragmented into liberals and traditionalists and everyone is being forced to take a side. Liberal and Traditionalist bishops have visited some of his congregations without his permission. There are several groups of his parishes which are talking about uniting with another bishop and which have isolated themselves from him altogether.

When the members of the traditional congregations are asked what church they belong to they say 'The <X> Church', and when the members of the liberal congregations are asked what church they belong to they say 'The <X> Church'.

Finally the bishop takes action against some of his more extreme liberal parishes who refuse any contact with him and they separate themselves entirely and begin to call themselves 'The Liberal <X> Church'. This group unites with other groups who take the same name. Several bishops from 'The <X> Church' also leave and join 'The Liberal <X> Church' and consecrate new bishops for areas where there are small groups leaving 'The <X> Church'.

When the members of the traditional congregations are asked what church they belong to they say 'The <X> Church', and when the members of the liberal congregations are asked what church they belong to they say 'The Liberal <X> Church'.

As far as I can see it is not until the last stage that we can talk about different Churches. And until this stage the fathers of the Orthodox did not speak about the Chalcedonians as another Church, and they referred to themselves as believers and as Orthodox, not as members of a different Church. The Chalcedonians were seen as being in error, but it was a controversy which was taking place inside the one Church. Both parties were trying to dominate and establish their own position. In 512 AD, for instance, the Patriachates of Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria were all held by the Orthodox. These sees were not held by a different Church, but by people who held different opinions in the one Church.

That is why the Orthodox were so very hesitant in considering the consecration of firstly priests for those congregations which did not have Orthodox pastors, and then very hesitantly indeed, two bishops, who were consecrated with the aid of the godly Empress St Theodora. And then it was only very late that bishops were generally consecrated in opposition to the Chalcedonians and a new communion was formed.

This was truly a controversy within one Church. Therefore it is anachronistic to speak of two Churches forming in 451 AD and then to demand that we choose one of them. Many of the bishops signed whatever paper was put in front of them and varied their official position - which suggests that they did not consider the matter to be critical if a moderate view was held.

During the period 430 AD to 535 AD the one Church was in turmoil. Some members of the Church were heretics, some were schismatics, some were moderates, some were confused, some were more interested in keeping their position at all costs. What was the view of THE CHURCH? I am not sure it is clear, any more than at periods in the previous controversies. We can certainly say that there were those who held an Orthodox view.

When the dust settles and we find that there are two families of local Churches (and we should remember that there had often been such divisions and they continiued long afterwards) we also discover that they pretty much believe the same things.

Therefore it is invalid to ask, during the most tumultuous period, who is right and who is wrong, as if we could pick the wheat from the tares. Rather we wait until things calm down and see what has settled. When it settles we see that it could be imagined that both parties could come to an understanding. They are almost there on several occasions. Certainly in regard to the substance. Then the Persians invade, and then the Muslims invade, and humanly speaking it is all too late for conversation.

Until now.

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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2010, 12:08:44 PM »

Yet again, we OO's have not been able to discuss one of our issues without certain EO's coming in and calling us nasty names, throwing ridiculous hagiographies at us, and going off topic, despite something like four warnings to behave.  In my final warning I stated that anymore of this would result in a number of posts being moved to the private forum.  So I woke up this morning and--BIG SURPRISE--found more of the same behavior.

I have moved "off topic" posts (to put it nicely,) as well as any post quoting or addressing those posts, to the private forum.



http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,28747.new.html#new
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« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2010, 12:38:13 PM »

Quote
This was truly a controversy within one Church. Therefore it is anachronistic to speak of two Churches forming in 451 AD and then to demand that we choose one of them. Many of the bishops signed whatever paper was put in front of them and varied their official position - which suggests that they did not consider the matter to be critical if a moderate view was held.

Fr. Peter,

This is also true for a good number of Bishops between 325 A.D. and 381 A.D. as well. On another thread, I compared the situation between OO and EO with the much older situation between the Old Nicene party vs the New Nicene party.

I like your analogy of one Church for a hundred or so years(from 451 to 565), as well as what you said about the traditionalists vs the liberals. I see the same situation as being true with what happened between 325 A.D. to 381 A.D.




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« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2010, 01:24:20 PM »

jnorm888,

Yes I agree, I was going to extend the discussion to Nicaea but thought I had worked the analogy enough already.

In regard to Nicaea. We see that there was a period of controversy in the run-up to the main period of disruption. Then there is the controversial period itself, in which it is hard to see which way the Church will go. Then thing settle down, and in this case the two main moderate Nicaean parties on either side are able to co-exist, and then be entirely reconciled. While it is the extreme anti-Nicaeans who do actually form a separate communion which eventually disappears. Of course the Emperor Constantine received an Arian baptism. What does that mean if we insist on dividing the Church up simply because people hold different views. This is not what happened.

In the later period we end up with what might be stereotyped as:

1. A more strictly Theodorean Church in the Persian empire, with adherents in the Empire who were not able to form a distinct communion.
 
2. A more moderate Chalcedonian Church in the Empire which had revised its position in a more Cyrilline direction.

3. A more moderate anti-Chalcedonian Church in the Empire, and increasingly outside, which saw Chalcedon as the main issue and could receive members from (1) by a simple confession and in their orders.

4. Several attempts to establish a more strictly Eutychian Church (I don't want to use that term but I am using shorthand) which failed on both occasions.

There were times when the heat of conflict led those in (2) to consider all in (3) as (4), and those in (3) to consider all in (2) as (1). But this was not the attitude which was the established one on the part of (3) which is the Orthodox Church which has been preserved to these times. I get the sense that (2) rather wavered on the polemical side of things for quite a while and many modern (2) still describe (3) as if they were (4).

Now if the majority of Chalcedonians are (2) then (3) might have been in error or lacked charity in describing them as (1), and vice-verse, if the majority of anti-Chalcedonians are (3) then (2) might have been in error or lacked charity in describing them as (4). But being in error about whether or not someone is (1) or (4) is not the same as holding an erroneous Christology. And holding an inadequate Christology is not the same as holding an erroneous one either.

Ibas was an heretic till he died, Theodoret was an heretic till he died, Theodore was an heretic till he died. I believe that Chalcedon is at fault for receiving them. But that does not mean that someone who 'accepts Chalcedon', necessarily, or, after Constantinople 553 is likely to, accept their heretical Christologies. Indeed there are many reasons why someone might 'accept Chalcedon' which have nothing to do with Ibas, Theodoret and Theodore. For many periods during the controversial centuries it was proposed that Chalcedon be accepted only as being against Nestorius and Eutyches. It was not until after the final conversations and it is due to Justinian that Chalcedon was recast as being unimpeachable in every regard. Before that, and even during his reign, there were times when essentially the Orthodox were being asked - 'Look, just accept Chalcedon will you? Go on just say you accept it and then everything will be as it was'. But unfortunately Chalcedon itself is a great obstacle. And our Fathers would rather face torture and death then sign up to it as if it meant nothing.

But, to get back on track, how a Chalcedonian accepts Chalcedon depends entirely on their view of the council, and the mere use of the words 'I accept Chalcedon' does not make them an Ibas. Even while it would be necessary to ask what they do mean. The entire Church of the West and of North Africa refused to condemn Ibas, Theodoret and Theodore, including the Pope of Rome who had to be held under harsh imprisonment in Constantinople. What did Chalcedon mean to these folk who would not condemn Ibas? Surely not the same as those who read the letter of Ibas which had been read at Chalcedon and shouted out that it was immediately obvious that it was blasphemous. If there were different views it is not reasonable to insist on only one representing the Chalcedonian party, and then that one being the worst.

The bishops (and there were many) who condemned Ibas at Ephesus 449, then welcomed him back at Chalcedon 451, then rejected Chalcedon in 475 AD under Basiliscus, then accepted it again under Basiliscus in 476 AD, then ignored it under Zeno in the Henotikon in 482 AD quite probably never changed their Christology. Which was represented by which document? What we can say is that the Bishop who might have signed 5 contrary documents never considered himself as leaving one Church and joining another. Therefore it seems an error for us to develop a list of categories which treat him as if he had joined many different Churches.

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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2010, 01:27:19 PM »

I think there is an error in the orginal logic about sides and being 100% correct.

For one thing, it depends on the members of both sides being infallible, or members of one sdie being infallible.

Btw, I like the French and British analogy. Much on the mark. So too the "X" Church, though in the case of Chalcedon too much talking past each other prevented us from seeing agreement, where in many Liberal/Conservative "X" Churches, masking of differences in agreed language prevent them from seeing two Churches that have long existed.

jnorm888,

Yes I agree, I was going to extend the discussion to Nicaea but thought I had worked the analogy enough already.

In regard to Nicaea. We see that there was a period of controversy in the run-up to the main period of disruption. Then there is the controversial period itself, in which it is hard to see which way the Church will go. Then thing settle down, and in this case the two main moderate Nicaean parties on either side are able to co-exist, and then be entirely reconciled. While it is the extreme anti-Nicaeans who do actually form a separate communion which eventually disappears. Of course the Emperor Constantine received an Arian baptism. What does that mean if we insist on dividing the Church up simply because people hold different views. This is not what happened.

On Nicea I, the lesson is that the Council which set its seal on it, Constantinople I, was opened by Patriarch St. Meletius, who was not among the strictly Nicene party in the period inbetween (why he had been deposed and Rome was not in communion with Antioch).
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« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2010, 01:44:40 PM »

If the two bodies were to come into communion, is there a fear that the ultra-conservatives from either of the Churches (EO and OO) would go into schism?
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« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2010, 01:46:18 PM »

Yes, but that would be the subject of another thread, preferably in the private forum.   Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2010, 01:48:36 PM »

Yes, but that would be the subject of another thread, preferably in the private forum.   Smiley

Noted. Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2010, 01:57:14 PM »

I have been reading Weinandy's theological introduction to Athanasius and it is clear that for quite a while most bishops were holding their noses and dealing with other bishops they were not entirely sure of. There were certain extreme positions which were excluded, but the majority of moderate bishops had to be in communion with other bishops who did not entirely agree with them, or use the same terminology, or use the same terminology in the same way all the time!

But they managed to hang together until the issues had resolved themselves.

I think this is a model to consider.

i. Extreme positions were excluded.

ii. A variety of terms and even ideas was permitted within these extremes even though it was not always comfortable for those in relations with each other.

iii. Eventually the situation resolved itself and an Orthodox position became evident because the moderate parties identified the key issues to be united on.

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« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2010, 02:06:30 PM »

I think that all of the Orthodox synods have received and endorsed the Second Agreed Statement, and many speak positively about the Eastern Orthodox even apart from the SAS. There are those who might consider that things had been rushed, were done badly, or had skated over serious matters, but I think that generally most Orthodox are sympathetic to the idea that Eastern Orthodoxy is Orthodox enough.

I also have issues with the SAS, but they are to do with the fact that it does pass over the issue of the councils too quickly to be the basis of unity. It is not to do with the fact that I do not consider the Eastern Orthodox to be Orthodox enough as our hierarchs have agreed. The way forward is not entirely clear, and I am not always sure there is a way ahead. But I do not at all believe that this is an "Athanasius contra mundum" moment.

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« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2010, 07:22:34 PM »

At the risk of sounding obsequious, I've learned more about the immediate post-Chalcedonian situation in this thread (particularly from Fr. Peter) than I've learned in all my years on these boards.  This really puts things into context, and totally jibes with Orthodox ecclesiology as I understand it.  Keep it up, guys!

(And while I've still got my chapstick handy, kudos to the mods on the new "vibes" around here.  A few years back, I took an extended leave of absence from these boards, mostly because any thread that had anything to do with Oriental Orthodoxy, even innocuous inquiries about Ethiopian umbrellas or the antiquity of khatchkars, was hijacked by belligerents and turned into a flame war...see my Battle Royale thread, now preserved in the Chalcedon section.  Well done indeed.  I hope you young folks appreciate the "gentrification" that's gone on hearabouts.)

Back to the discussion, I'm repeatedly being told by EO and OO friends and acquaintances who've spent time in the Middle East that the two families commune one another without reservation in places like Damascus and Alexandria.  Is that true?  Or are folks from the two families only communed under the circumstances outlined in the documents on the orthodoxunity website?

Of course intercommunion is not the case here in the US, and I believe it's not the case in the other "lands of immigration" (Australia, Western Europe, etc.) either.

My question is, if it's indeed true, given the situation as described by some in the Middle East, does anyone think that the reunification might happen just as the separation is described as happening here: slowly, organically, and (to some extent) from the ground up?
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« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2010, 07:37:04 PM »

jnorm888,

Yes I agree, I was going to extend the discussion to Nicaea but thought I had worked the analogy enough already.

In regard to Nicaea. We see that there was a period of controversy in the run-up to the main period of disruption. Then there is the controversial period itself, in which it is hard to see which way the Church will go. Then thing settle down, and in this case the two main moderate Nicaean parties on either side are able to co-exist, and then be entirely reconciled. While it is the extreme anti-Nicaeans who do actually form a separate communion which eventually disappears. Of course the Emperor Constantine received an Arian baptism. What does that mean if we insist on dividing the Church up simply because people hold different views. This is not what happened.

In the later period we end up with what might be stereotyped as:

1. A more strictly Theodorean Church in the Persian empire, with adherents in the Empire who were not able to form a distinct communion.
 
2. A more moderate Chalcedonian Church in the Empire which had revised its position in a more Cyrilline direction.

3. A more moderate anti-Chalcedonian Church in the Empire, and increasingly outside, which saw Chalcedon as the main issue and could receive members from (1) by a simple confession and in their orders.

4. Several attempts to establish a more strictly Eutychian Church (I don't want to use that term but I am using shorthand) which failed on both occasions.

There were times when the heat of conflict led those in (2) to consider all in (3) as (4), and those in (3) to consider all in (2) as (1). But this was not the attitude which was the established one on the part of (3) which is the Orthodox Church which has been preserved to these times. I get the sense that (2) rather wavered on the polemical side of things for quite a while and many modern (2) still describe (3) as if they were (4).

Now if the majority of Chalcedonians are (2) then (3) might have been in error or lacked charity in describing them as (1), and vice-verse, if the majority of anti-Chalcedonians are (3) then (2) might have been in error or lacked charity in describing them as (4). But being in error about whether or not someone is (1) or (4) is not the same as holding an erroneous Christology. And holding an inadequate Christology is not the same as holding an erroneous one either.

Ibas was an heretic till he died, Theodoret was an heretic till he died, Theodore was an heretic till he died. I believe that Chalcedon is at fault for receiving them. But that does not mean that someone who 'accepts Chalcedon', necessarily, or, after Constantinople 553 is likely to, accept their heretical Christologies. Indeed there are many reasons why someone might 'accept Chalcedon' which have nothing to do with Ibas, Theodoret and Theodore. For many periods during the controversial centuries it was proposed that Chalcedon be accepted only as being against Nestorius and Eutyches. It was not until after the final conversations and it is due to Justinian that Chalcedon was recast as being unimpeachable in every regard. Before that, and even during his reign, there were times when essentially the Orthodox were being asked - 'Look, just accept Chalcedon will you? Go on just say you accept it and then everything will be as it was'. But unfortunately Chalcedon itself is a great obstacle. And our Fathers would rather face torture and death then sign up to it as if it meant nothing.

But, to get back on track, how a Chalcedonian accepts Chalcedon depends entirely on their view of the council, and the mere use of the words 'I accept Chalcedon' does not make them an Ibas. Even while it would be necessary to ask what they do mean. The entire Church of the West and of North Africa refused to condemn Ibas, Theodoret and Theodore, including the Pope of Rome who had to be held under harsh imprisonment in Constantinople. What did Chalcedon mean to these folk who would not condemn Ibas? Surely not the same as those who read the letter of Ibas which had been read at Chalcedon and shouted out that it was immediately obvious that it was blasphemous. If there were different views it is not reasonable to insist on only one representing the Chalcedonian party, and then that one being the worst.

The bishops (and there were many) who condemned Ibas at Ephesus 449, then welcomed him back at Chalcedon 451, then rejected Chalcedon in 475 AD under Basiliscus, then accepted it again under Basiliscus in 476 AD, then ignored it under Zeno in the Henotikon in 482 AD quite probably never changed their Christology. Which was represented by which document? What we can say is that the Bishop who might have signed 5 contrary documents never considered himself as leaving one Church and joining another. Therefore it seems an error for us to develop a list of categories which treat him as if he had joined many different Churches.

Father Peter

Father Peter,

I agree with most(like 98%) of what you had to say here in this post. Although, the problem of having two different interpretations of a council is not new with Chalcedon. In 325 A.D. some thought the council supported modalism/sabellianism because of what happened after the council with uhm.....what's his name? They saw him openly teach modalism. I could be wrong but I think he was a friend of Saint Athanasius.

I'm sorry, my mind is blank. I can't think of his name right now. But even in 381A.D. in regards to the Holy Spirit they were trying to avoid saying that the Holy Spirit was homoousious with the Father, but later down the road that became the official teaching.

I see the same with Chalcedon. It was interpreted in 2 different ways. And later down the road only one of those views became thee official teaching of the Church.

We see two different interpretations when it comes to the Council of Carthage...or is that the 3rd council of Carthage? I forgot.

At that north western local council that eventually became ecumenical (for us). You had both the Augustinians as well as the Semi-Pelagians both condemning  Pelagius. And so that council can be interpreted in two different ways. It can be interpreted in an Augustinian way or a Semi-Pelagian way.

And so councils can have different interpretations at first. This sort of thing sometimes happens with some councils. Even in the protestant world in regards to the Westminster Confession of Faith....both the Infra and Supra Calvinists can interpret it either way. At least that is what I was told.













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« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2010, 07:53:27 PM »

I think there is an error in the orginal logic about sides and being 100% correct.

For one thing, it depends on the members of both sides being infallible, or members of one sdie being infallible.

Btw, I like the French and British analogy. Much on the mark. So too the "X" Church, though in the case of Chalcedon too much talking past each other prevented us from seeing agreement, where in many Liberal/Conservative "X" Churches, masking of differences in agreed language prevent them from seeing two Churches that have long existed.

jnorm888,

Yes I agree, I was going to extend the discussion to Nicaea but thought I had worked the analogy enough already.

In regard to Nicaea. We see that there was a period of controversy in the run-up to the main period of disruption. Then there is the controversial period itself, in which it is hard to see which way the Church will go. Then thing settle down, and in this case the two main moderate Nicaean parties on either side are able to co-exist, and then be entirely reconciled. While it is the extreme anti-Nicaeans who do actually form a separate communion which eventually disappears. Of course the Emperor Constantine received an Arian baptism. What does that mean if we insist on dividing the Church up simply because people hold different views. This is not what happened.

On Nicea I, the lesson is that the Council which set its seal on it, Constantinople I, was opened by Patriarch St. Meletius, who was not among the strictly Nicene party in the period inbetween (why he had been deposed and Rome was not in communion with Antioch).


There was much talking past eachother between 325A.D. and 381A.D.(well really 360 something A.D.) as well.

And so if the talking past eachother happened in that era, then why couldn't it happen from 451 A.D. to 565 A.D.? In regards to the Natures issue.....not necessarily the Energia......etc. issues. But then again who knows!





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« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2010, 08:07:09 PM »

(And while I've still got my chapstick handy, kudos to the mods on the new "vibes" around here.  A few years back, I took an extended leave of absence from these boards, mostly because any thread that had anything to do with Oriental Orthodoxy, even innocuous inquiries about Ethiopian umbrellas or the antiquity of khatchkars, was hijacked by belligerents and turned into a flame war...see my Battle Royale thread, now preserved in the Chalcedon section.  Well done indeed.  I hope you young folks appreciate the "gentrification" that's gone on hearabouts.)


Thank you.   Smiley

And just so people know, yet another off topic post was sent to the thread in the private section that was split off from this one.   Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2010, 08:15:46 PM »

And a tangent on how we address each other was split off and put here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,28754.msg453627.html#msg453627
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« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2010, 11:30:52 PM »

A discussion on accepting the Agreed Statements was put here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,28756.0.html#top
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