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Author Topic: The Divine Liturgy - Outside of Time & Space - & Schisms?  (Read 786 times) Average Rating: 0
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Antonious Nikolas
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« on: August 15, 2010, 04:22:19 PM »

I have a question for those who believe that the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox have always maintained the same Orthodox Faith.

Is it possible that the separation between our churches was only apparent?  By this I mean, since we both believe in the same Orthodox Christian Faith, is it possible that in the eyes of God, His Orthodox Church was never split in twain and that in reality, when we celebrate our Liturgy together with the angels, in the eyes of God we are also concelebrating with each other?  If what the theologians on both sides now say is true and not mere niceties and "political correctness", then maybe the separation was never an ontological reality, but merely a political one.  Just a thought I had.

Obviously, if you think that one side or the other was "Nestorian" or "Monophysite" or in any way heterodox, the answer to this question must be a resounding "NO!", just as we cannot say that the Orthodox Liturgy is mystically concelebrated with the Roman Catholic, Anglican or Lutheran mass.  In order for the answer to even possibly be yes, we must truly have always maintained the same Faith.

So for those who truly believe that we've always confessed the same Faith, and since the Liturgy is said to take place outside of time and space, at once concelebrated with the Heavenly Liturgy and all of the Orthodox Liturgies that have ever taken place, what are your thoughts? 

As an aside, how is this question applied to cases in which there were schisms, but no allegations of heresy, as in the cases of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Old Calendarists or the Old Believers?  Or in the schisms between the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Indian Orthodox Church, or the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the "Synod in Exile"?
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2010, 10:19:12 PM »

I think the idea that a schism can happen very clearly and visibly on Earth but not actually affect the union of the two gets too much into an Invisibilist ecclesiology. If the "Seven Councils" party truly taught correct doctrine all along, even at Chalcedon, it is still entirely possible that one party is schismatic. If this is so, you have to ask if the Orientals really put sufficient effort into trying to understand the faith of Chalcedon. If they did not then they abused their ordination and baptism vows. And even if they did give it a reasonable chance at trying to understand it, they still none the less made a mistake. They broke from the Byzantine church because of their misinterpretation of Chalcedon; no fault of the Byzantines being apparently involved with respect to the faith. So if the fault is on the Orientals not properly interpreting Chalcedon, isn't it more likely interpretation that they essentially created a schism?
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2010, 06:04:53 PM »

I have a question for those who believe that the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox have always maintained the same Orthodox Faith.

Is it possible that the separation between our churches was only apparent?  By this I mean, since we both believe in the same Orthodox Christian Faith, is it possible that in the eyes of God, His Orthodox Church was never split in twain and that in reality, when we celebrate our Liturgy together with the angels, in the eyes of God we are also concelebrating with each other?  If what the theologians on both sides now say is true and not mere niceties and "political correctness", then maybe the separation was never an ontological reality, but merely a political one.  Just a thought I had.

Obviously, if you think that one side or the other was "Nestorian" or "Monophysite" or in any way heterodox, the answer to this question must be a resounding "NO!", just as we cannot say that the Orthodox Liturgy is mystically concelebrated with the Roman Catholic, Anglican or Lutheran mass.  In order for the answer to even possibly be yes, we must truly have always maintained the same Faith.

So for those who truly believe that we've always confessed the same Faith, and since the Liturgy is said to take place outside of time and space, at once concelebrated with the Heavenly Liturgy and all of the Orthodox Liturgies that have ever taken place, what are your thoughts? 

As an aside, how is this question applied to cases in which there were schisms, but no allegations of heresy, as in the cases of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Old Calendarists or the Old Believers?  Or in the schisms between the Syriac Orthodox Church and the Indian Orthodox Church, or the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the "Synod in Exile"?

I think applying the Church's history in dealing with schisms as if they were division among men and not divisions of the Church, then Yes, I believe it is possible to treat the EO/OO split the same way if one is convinced both are of the same Orthodox faith.
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2010, 07:10:35 PM »

Pope St. Cyril refused to commemorate St. John Chrysostom until just before the Council of Ephesus. Hence Alexandria and was not in communion with the other patriarchates. The Church had no problem canonizing both St. John and St. Cyril. In the case of Chalcedon, there was a similar situation lasting a century, sposmatically later. Conversely, there is a real question how much in communion Constantinople and Melkite Alexandria and Antioch were with Rome for much of the same period, before a final break which began finalization in 1019, but not completed in Constantinople perhaps until 1204 and Antioch perhaps until 1727.
 
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Antonious Nikolas
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2010, 08:27:15 PM »

I knew this would draw out the more esoteric posters.  Great input from all three of you guys!  

(Maybe I should've made this a poll.)

I know this question can veer a little towards an "Invisibilist ecclesiology" as DVM points out (and then where do we draw the line? - at Faith, I'd say, but I'm no authority...) but I think that Mina and Isa make strong points as well.  If Alexandria and and the other patriarchates were temporarily out of communion just prior to Ephesus, does that mean they weren't celebrating on the same heavenly altar, so to speak, even though there was no real difference of faith?  Mina's post pretty much articulates my belief on the matter, but I'm willing to be corrected if I'm in error and DVM's understanding (or another I hadn't considered) is the orthodox one.

I mean, suppose communion is indeed re-established between the EO and the OO within our lifetimes.  If the reunion takes place along the lines of the Agreed Statements as they presently stand, than neither side will be "re-admitted" as a "penitent" but rather both will be declared to have always been Orthodox.  That being the case, I think it follows logically to say that we've "always been in communion" in a certain sense.  But as I said, I'm willing to be corrected if I'm in error.

Edit: Isa's post brings a certain perspective to the discussion.  Since we live in the present time, and a rapproachmont is currently being discussed, we tend to think of this as "the schism", but in fact, there were several times during the long history of the Church that there were what we'd now regard as temporary schisms, though those who lived through them surely would've found them much more disturbing and painful.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 08:32:51 PM by Antonious Nikolas » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2010, 10:52:23 PM »

Pope St. Cyril refused to commemorate St. John Chrysostom until just before the Council of Ephesus. Hence Alexandria and was not in communion with the other patriarchates.

How does Saint Cyril's lack of commemoration of Saint John mean that he was not in communion with the rest of the Church?

In the case of Chalcedon, there was a similar situation lasting a century, sposmatically later.

Ummm, as far as I can tell, the Coptic Popes were explicitly out of visible communion with the Chalcedonians from Chalcedon until Pope Peter III signed the Henotikon.
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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2010, 01:26:52 AM »

There are some things that need to be reconciled first:

1.  You have to provide that without a doubt both sides have always been Orthodox.  Some many not have a problem with dealing with the situation as a 1500 year-old schism, but it's being convinced whether the fathers we venerate were Orthodox or not.
2.  Whether it matters that we should point the finger at one party to be penitent or not, even if they always have been Orthodox.  History shows that this doesn't have to be the case, that misunderstandings can happen (for instance St. Cyril and John of Antioch), but the fact that this is a 1500 year-old schism, people feel that someone had to be at fault, and only one of us is the True Church.  (If Chalcedon was Orthodox, why was Dioscorus so stubborn, even though he was Orthodox? or Even if the Chalcedonians were Orthodox, why were they ignorant enough not to notice the Three Chapters being accepted among their group?)

I honestly am starting to believe no unity can occur unless we actually dialogue fully with Latin and Assyrian interpretations of the Christological issues to put all the cards on the table and evaluate the situation fully, rather than unite based on only two interpretations, the Byzantine and the anti-Chalcedonian.  Also, we have to keep in mind, it's probably harder for EO's to unite with us that it is for us to unite with them, as it has been quite established in a large number of them that the seven councils must be numerically confessed and believed in, literally and dogmatically, even though the Agreed Statements of the Joint Commission deal with the seven councils as conciliar allegory for what the dogmas confessed should be.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2010, 01:30:46 AM by minasoliman » Logged

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