Alveus Lacuna had said: "It just goes to show you how many of the differences were artificially constructed by New England professor-priests in the 20th century. When nobody in America knows what Orthodoxy is, it presents you with the perfect opportunity to make it whatever you want it to be."
I responded: "Alveus--I am sorry but I am confused. Doesn't "HTM" stand for the Holy Transfiguration Monastery, which is under ROCOR? Are you saying that ROCOR professor-priests, who are dedicated more than any other jurisdiction I know of to preserve everything as Holy Tradition, that they are artificially constructing Orthodox beliefs willy-nllly?"
FormerReformer said: "I get what Alveus is saying, it's not a jab at the translators of the prayerbooks. What he is saying is that the ideas espoused in the OP (that current Orthodox theory seemingly conflicts with the precommunion canon) are a result of New England professor-priests (I would guess more of the Harvard variety, like Fr Florovsky) teaching new theories which the Canon would predate."
Alveus Lacuna said: "No, I am saying that ROCOR and Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville have preserved the Orthodox teaching about Christ sacrificing Himself to the Father, which some of the professor-priests at St. Vladimir's Seminary have tried to re-imagine in the last century. I'm saying that much of the whining about substitutionary atonement, penal satisfaction, et cetera are bogus and overdo it."
So at issue seems to be the perennial tension between those of us who take Orthodox Holy Tradition to be what we have received in our home, parish or local church, and those who attempt to distinguish between true Tradition and pious opinion. What is really fascinating to me is the characterization of the SVOTS luminaries as "New England" professor-priests. Let's see what OrthodoxWiki says about the three most prominent of these "New England professor/priests). One thing that I gather from the biographies on OrthodoxWiki is that they were preeminently Russian intellectuals, theologians of the first order, and stressed patristics with a passion unequaled in the 20th Century. It turns out that their "theories" may well have predated the Canon--Some of the patristic sources that they used in forming their theological positions were certainly written before the Canon was put together. I do have an advice to folks: before you start denigrating possibly the three best known and appreciated Orthodox theologians of the modern times, please do your homework and in no way, shape and form call them "New England professor/priests." The following introductions to their lives should be seized as an opportunity to get smarter about these folks.
Protopresbyter Georges Vasilievich Florovsky (August 23, 1893 – August 11, 1979).
Father Florovsky was born in Odessa as the fourth child of a priest. Inspired by the erudite environment in which he grew up, he learned English, German, French, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew while still a schoolboy. At eighteen, he started to study philosophy and history. After his first graduation, he taught for three years at high schools in Odessa and then made his full graduation including the licensia docendi at all universities in the Russian empire. In 1919, he began to teach at the University of Odessa, but his family was forced to leave Russia in 1920.
The young Florovsky realized at that time that there would be no return for him, because Marxism did not accept the history and philosophy he taught. Florovsky thus became part of the great emigration of the Russian intelligentsia, which also included Nikolai Berdyaev, Sergei Bulgakov, Nicholas Lossky, Alexander Schmemann, and John Meyendorff, the latter two of whom later followed Florovsky as Dean of Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary. In 1925, Florovsky was appointed professor for patristics at the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris. In this subject, he found his real vocation. Patristics became for him the benchmark for Orthodox theology and exegesis, as well as a source for many of his contributions and critiques of the ecumenical movement.
In 1932, Florovsky was ordained to the priesthood. During the 1930s, he undertook extensive researches in European libraries and wrote his most important works in the area of patristics as well as his magnum opus, Ways of Russian Theology. In this massive work, he questioned the Western influences of scholasticism, pietism, and idealism on Russian theology and called for a re-evaluation of Russian theology in the light of patristic writings. (emphasis mine)
Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann (September 13, 1921 - December 13, 1983).
Fr. Alexander Schmemann was born in Estonia to Russian émigrés. His family moved to France, where he received his university education. He married Juliana Osorguine in 1943, before completing his theological studies at the Orthodox Theological Institute of St. Sergius in Paris and was ordained a priest in 1946.
From 1946 to 1951, Fr. Alexander taught Church History at St. Sergius. He was invited to join the faculty of St. Vladimir's Seminary (then in New York City), where he taught from 1951 onwards. When the seminary moved to its present campus in Crestwood, New York in 1962, Fr. Alexander assumed the post of dean, which he would hold until his death. He also served as adjunct professor at Columbia University, New York University, Union Theological Seminary and General Theological Seminary in New York. Much of his focus at St. Vladimir's was on liturgical theology, which emphasizes the liturgical tradition of the Church as a major sign and expression of the Christian faith.
His sermons were broadcast in Russian on Radio Liberty for 30 years. He gained a broad following of listeners across the Soviet Union, including Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who became his friend after emigrating to the West. Fr. Alexander published many books and articles. For the Life of the World, a popular volume on Christian faith as reflected in liturgy, has been translated into eleven languages.
Protopresbyter John Meyendorff (February 17, 1926 - July 22, 1992)
Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, on February 17, 1926 (to Russian emigres), Protopresbyter John Meyendorff completed his secondary education in France and his theological education at the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute (Paris, France) in 1949. In 1948 he also received a license-es-lettres at the Sorbonne, and later earned a Diplôme d'études supérieures (1949), a Diplôme de l'école practique des Hautes Etudes (1954), and a Doctorate of Letters (1958).
Having been ordained to the priesthood in the Orthodox Church, he became Professor of Church History and Patristics at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood, New York) (1959), holding also successive joint appointments as lecturer in Byzantine theology at Harvard University, Dumbarton Oaks (to which he returned for a semester as Acting Director of Studies in 1977), and as Professor of Byzantine History at Fordham University (from 1967). He also was Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary and lectured widely on university campuses and at church events. He held the position of Dean of St Vladimir's Seminary from March 1984 until June 1992.
A widely published scholar (see bibliography below), Fr Meyendorff's books have been published in a number of languages, including French, German, Italian, Russian, Greek, Finnish, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Serbian, and Polish.
Fr Meyendorff was a member of several professional associations, serving during different periods as President of the Orthodox Theological Society of America, President of the American Patristic Association, and a member of the Executive Committee, U.S. Committee for Byzantine Studies. He was a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1976-77), and a Guggenheim Fellow (1981)...The Diploma of Honorary Member of the Leningrad Theological Academy was bestowed upon Fr John in May of 1990. In June 1991 Fr John was awarded the Order of St Vladimir, 2nd Class, by His Holiness Alexei II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.