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Author Topic: The Canon before Communing in the HTM Prayerbook  (Read 1971 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: November 14, 2010, 05:10:06 PM »

At Compline the day before a Liturgy is celebrated, I will pray the Canon from the HTM prayerbook.  I don't know why I never noticed this before but I have a concern about how something is worded. 

In the ninth ode, second troparion, we pray:  "The Lord is good:  O taste and see!  For of old He became like unto us for our sake, and offered Himself once as an offering to His Father, and is ever slain, sanctifying them that partake of Him."  My concern is with the language in boldface.  I'd appreciate some clarification.  I am under the impression that the Orthodox main concern with the Anselmian satisfaction theory is Anselm's assertion that Christ was crucified/sacrificed to appease the wrath of the Father.  The Orthodox counter that Christ's passion was a sacrifice to the entire Trinity and that there was no appeasement. So,  why would this be in the canon?  Am I reading too much into this?

Also, does anyone know who composed this particular canon in the HTM prayerbook?  Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2010, 05:37:55 PM »

At Compline the day before a Liturgy is celebrated, I will pray the Canon from the HTM prayerbook.  I don't know why I never noticed this before but I have a concern about how something is worded.  

In the ninth ode, second troparion, we pray: "The Lord is good: O taste and see! For of old He became like unto us for our sake, and offered Himself once as an offering to His Father, and is ever slain, sanctifying them that partake of Him." My concern is with the language in boldface. I'd appreciate some clarification. I am under the impression that the Orthodox main concern with the Anselmian satisfaction theory is Anselm's assertion that Christ was crucified/sacrificed to appease the wrath of the Father. The Orthodox counter that Christ's passion was a sacrifice to the entire Trinity and that there was no appeasement. So, why would this be in the canon? Am I reading too much into this?

Also, does anyone know who composed this particular canon in the HTM prayerbook? Thanks.

I can't find anything about who composed this canon, but the passage in question is also present in the Slavonic text. I don't really see what the problem is with saying that He offered Himself up to the Father. Since the Father is the Monarch of the Godhead and also Christ's God, He certainly offered Himself to His Father. It may just be a case of reading too much into it.

Rufus

EDIT: Also,when the Synod of Blachernae said that the offering was to the entire Godhead, they were rejecting Soterichos Pantengenus' teaching that the offering was only to the Father and Spirit; the synod affirmed that He was also offered to Himself. It has no connection with Anselmian theory.
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2010, 06:01:23 PM »

In the ninth ode, second troparion, we pray:  "The Lord is good:  O taste and see!  For of old He became like unto us for our sake, and offered Himself once as an offering to His Father, and is ever slain, sanctifying them that partake of Him."  My concern is with the language in boldface.  I'd appreciate some clarification.  I am under the impression that the Orthodox main concern with the Anselmian satisfaction theory is Anselm's assertion that Christ was crucified/sacrificed to appease the wrath of the Father.  The Orthodox counter that Christ's passion was a sacrifice to the entire Trinity and that there was no appeasement. So,  why would this be in the canon?  Am I reading too much into this?

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.
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2010, 07:07:07 PM »

In the ninth ode, second troparion, we pray:  "The Lord is good:  O taste and see!  For of old He became like unto us for our sake, and offered Himself once as an offering to His Father, and is ever slain, sanctifying them that partake of Him."  My concern is with the language in boldface.  I'd appreciate some clarification.  I am under the impression that the Orthodox main concern with the Anselmian satisfaction theory is Anselm's assertion that Christ was crucified/sacrificed to appease the wrath of the Father.  The Orthodox counter that Christ's passion was a sacrifice to the entire Trinity and that there was no appeasement. So,  why would this be in the canon?  Am I reading too much into this?

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.

Oh no, this is going to turn into another penal-substitution thread.

Regardless of the fact that many Protestants hold a really weird view of what "atonement" means, it really is not good when a handful of self-appointed theologians try to eliminate the sacrificial aspect of the Sacrifice. What they are trying to do is present Orthodoxy as being "different" so that they will have an easier time convincing people of the need to convert. Besides the fact that this is not honest, it is ironically the Orthodox Church's stab at being "relevant," a word which we criticize the heterodox for using.
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2010, 11:51:00 PM »

The fact that our Lord offered Himself up to the Father is definitely in more than a few of the patristic writings. Unfortunately, there is a modernist teaching amongst the Orthodox that deny it. The same people also tend to deny that God can be wrathful and that He punishes. They see these teachings as putting them "above" Roman Catholicism and the evil West, when in fact it puts them in opposition to the Holy Fathers. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater and all that jazz.  
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 01:18:18 AM »

The fact that our Lord offered Himself up to the Father is definitely in more than a few of the patristic writings. Unfortunately, there is a modernist teaching amongst the Orthodox that deny it. The same people also tend to deny that God can be wrathful and that He punishes. They see these teachings as putting them "above" Roman Catholicism and the evil West, when in fact it puts them in opposition to the Holy Fathers. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater and all that jazz.  

It's still important to understand that when Orthodox talk about God's wrath, punishment, justice, et cetera, we usually mean something different from what a lot of Westerners mean. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, I'm just saying I think there is a real distinction.
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2010, 03:41:49 AM »

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, I'm just saying I think there is a real distinction.

Would you care to take a stab at delineating that distinction?
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2010, 05:54:28 PM »

In the ninth ode, second troparion, we pray:  "The Lord is good:  O taste and see!  For of old He became like unto us for our sake, and offered Himself once as an offering to His Father, and is ever slain, sanctifying them that partake of Him."  My concern is with the language in boldface.  I'd appreciate some clarification.  I am under the impression that the Orthodox main concern with the Anselmian satisfaction theory is Anselm's assertion that Christ was crucified/sacrificed to appease the wrath of the Father.  The Orthodox counter that Christ's passion was a sacrifice to the entire Trinity and that there was no appeasement. So,  why would this be in the canon?  Am I reading too much into this?

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.

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?
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2010, 06:05:01 PM »

In the ninth ode, second troparion, we pray:  "The Lord is good:  O taste and see!  For of old He became like unto us for our sake, and offered Himself once as an offering to His Father, and is ever slain, sanctifying them that partake of Him."  My concern is with the language in boldface.  I'd appreciate some clarification.  I am under the impression that the Orthodox main concern with the Anselmian satisfaction theory is Anselm's assertion that Christ was crucified/sacrificed to appease the wrath of the Father.  The Orthodox counter that Christ's passion was a sacrifice to the entire Trinity and that there was no appeasement. So,  why would this be in the canon?  Am I reading too much into this?

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.

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?

HTM is no longer with ROCOR and hasn't been for some time.  They are a part of HOCNA now.
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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2010, 06:25:24 PM »

In the ninth ode, second troparion, we pray:  "The Lord is good:  O taste and see!  For of old He became like unto us for our sake, and offered Himself once as an offering to His Father, and is ever slain, sanctifying them that partake of Him."  My concern is with the language in boldface.  I'd appreciate some clarification.  I am under the impression that the Orthodox main concern with the Anselmian satisfaction theory is Anselm's assertion that Christ was crucified/sacrificed to appease the wrath of the Father.  The Orthodox counter that Christ's passion was a sacrifice to the entire Trinity and that there was no appeasement. So,  why would this be in the canon?  Am I reading too much into this?

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.

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?

HTM is no longer with ROCOR and hasn't been for some time.  They are a part of HOCNA now.

Thanks for the information. I had meant to ask whether "HTM" stood for Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. I don't know why I mentioned Holy Transfiguration Monastery. In any case, there is a seminary at Holy Trinity and my question to Alveus remains valid.
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« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2010, 06:38:19 PM »

In the ninth ode, second troparion, we pray:  "The Lord is good:  O taste and see!  For of old He became like unto us for our sake, and offered Himself once as an offering to His Father, and is ever slain, sanctifying them that partake of Him."  My concern is with the language in boldface.  I'd appreciate some clarification.  I am under the impression that the Orthodox main concern with the Anselmian satisfaction theory is Anselm's assertion that Christ was crucified/sacrificed to appease the wrath of the Father.  The Orthodox counter that Christ's passion was a sacrifice to the entire Trinity and that there was no appeasement. So,  why would this be in the canon?  Am I reading too much into this?

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.

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?

HTM is no longer with ROCOR and hasn't been for some time.  They are a part of HOCNA now.

Thanks for the information. I had meant to ask whether "HTM" stood for Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville. I don't know why I mentioned Holy Transfiguration Monastery. In any case, there is a seminary at Holy Trinity and my question to Alveus remains valid.

Yet, oddly enough, you got the name of the monastery which publishes the HTM prayerbook correct (it's the prayerbook I use, because the priest who chrismated me presented me and my brother with our own copies some weeks before the ceremony).  Holy Trinity's is usually just called "The Jordanville".

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.

To the OP, I would say that Anselm's theory isn't NOT Orthodox, so long as it's not the ONLY theory.  Orthodoxy seems to take all the patristic atonement theories to heart, but gives prominence to the Christus Victor in Her Paschal hymns.

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« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2010, 07:48:39 PM »

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, I'm just saying I think there is a real distinction.

Would you care to take a stab at delineating that distinction?

Well for one thing, some Protestants can't even agree on how the atonement works, swo obviously they acknowledge distinctions among themselves. As far as I know, the patristic doctrine is that Christ payed a penalty that the sinner owed to God in order to dissolve man's just penalty. I know I saw a passage in St. John C's commentary on one of my epistle readings a short time ago about Christ taking substitutionary punishment, but I can't find it after 2 hours of searching...I think the words move around on the page while I'm not looking, unless I was just hallucinating. In any event, I am perfectly content with this as it stands.

There are a few things about the Protestant version of Penal Substirution that I think are problematic. For one, they always say that God "has" to punish in order to be "righteous" or "holy" or whatever. They say this is like an equation. This places justice higher than God, and it has God tripping all over Himself trying to appease His own justice. Somehow God ends up competing with God. If He is trying to forgive us, why is He demanding punishment? If His Will is to punish, what is posessing Him to forgive us? If He has to punish us just because He does, then who set justice above God?

The other issue raised by a strict literal interpretation of substitutionary punishment as explained by Protestants is that it leaves no room for the other aspects of redemption. In the West, different "atonement theories" (e.g. Penal Sub, Satisfaction, Governmental, Christus Victor, ransom from Satan) are seen as being in opposition to one another. In Orthodoxy, we accept several views simultaneously, treating them as complementary. If we are forgiven because Christ took God's punishment *period*, then why do we talk about forgiveness as a consequence of the Resurrection as well as the Passion? Why does St. Paul say we are justified by His Resurrection in the same breath that he says we are forgiven through His death (Rom. 4:25)?

Here I talked about God's justice in the context of the Atonement. It is not a matter in which I can offer positive explanations, because I do not know God's mind. As for the other things I mentioned, such as wrath, I would say that God's thoughts are not like human thoughts, nor is God's wrath like man's wrath, nor His love like our love. It is plain old apophatic theology: God cannot be described positively in human terms.

If anybody cares to disagree, I will be glad to read people's explanations, as long as they can substantiate what they are saying. I know that some people feel rather strongly about this issue, but let's not get totally carried away with this.
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« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2010, 09:46:45 PM »

My response:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29:ransomed-from-death-saved-by-the-fathers-love&catid=14:articles&Itemid=2

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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2010, 01:54:23 AM »

In the ninth ode, second troparion, we pray:  "The Lord is good:  O taste and see!  For of old He became like unto us for our sake, and offered Himself once as an offering to His Father, and is ever slain, sanctifying them that partake of Him."  My concern is with the language in boldface.  I'd appreciate some clarification.  I am under the impression that the Orthodox main concern with the Anselmian satisfaction theory is Anselm's assertion that Christ was crucified/sacrificed to appease the wrath of the Father.  The Orthodox counter that Christ's passion was a sacrifice to the entire Trinity and that there was no appeasement. So,  why would this be in the canon?  Am I reading too much into this?

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.

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?

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.

edit: I was just looking at this thread in more detail and realized that the original poster is likely referring to the Holy Transfiguration prayerbook. I use the Jordanville prayerbook, and I have noticed numerous times a reference to Christ offering himself to the Father in the preparation prayers for Holy Communion, so I simply assumed he was referencing that prayer. So there you have it; two separate references.
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« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2010, 06:37:15 AM »

Here I talked about God's justice in the context of the Atonement. It is not a matter in which I can offer positive explanations, because I do not know God's mind.

This is the kind of statement an outsider looking in will deny you the right to make. You claim God exists. You claim God has a mind. You claim this mind makes decisions. You claim those decisions are accurately described in scripture, creed, and tradition. Yet when called upon to talk about those decisions or more importantly the mind that made them, you plead ignorance. You can't have it both ways. You can't claim a thing exists while simultaneously pleading ignorance as to its attributes. A thing that has no attributes cannot exist, nor can its existence be known if its attributes cannot be known. A word that denotes a thing whose attributes cannot be known is a word that denotes nothing at all. Either the attributes of God's mind are to some extent known, or we must conclude that he has no mind, and stick to that conclusion until some attributes become known.

Quote
As for the other things I mentioned, such as wrath, I would say that God's thoughts are not like human thoughts, nor is God's wrath like man's wrath, nor His love like our love. It is plain old apophatic theology: God cannot be described positively in human terms.

Not just in human terms. Apophatic theology claims he can't be described positively at all. This form of theology must be rejected on principle. That which cannot be described positively cannot be known, and that which cannot be known, cannot legitimately be claimed to exist, for that claim would be unfalsifiable. Anyone who claims God, or God's mind, exists, must, to be taken seriously, make positive claims about the attributes of God or God's mind, so that one could identify God or God's mind if one encountered him or it.

The alternative to the above would be to continually let you off the hook whenever we found God to be evil or incompetent. You would never have to defend God against these accusations, but would always be able to say, "God's mind is unknowable," and then sit back, smiling and unblinking. None of us will let you get away with that. If you claim God is good and wise, then you must be prepared to defend him against accusations of evil and incompetence. Your only legitimate alternative is to retract your claim that God is good and wise. And remember, good and wise is an understatement as to what you actually claim. You claim perfect love and omniscience.
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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2010, 10:35:16 AM »

You can't claim a thing exists while simultaneously pleading ignorance as to its attributes. A thing that has no attributes cannot exist, nor can its existence be known if its attributes cannot be known.
That something (God in this case) is not observable does not mean it has no attributes, nor does it mean it does not exist. God cannot be scientifically shown to exist, but that need presupposes that scientific proof is the end-all, which science cannot prove, so it breaks its own standard. Scientific proof is an untestable, unprovable, arbitrary axiom, just like theism is.

Not just in human terms. Apophatic theology claims he can't be described positively at all. This form of theology must be rejected on principle. That which cannot be described positively cannot be known, and that which cannot be known, cannot legitimately be claimed to exist, for that claim would be unfalsifiable. Anyone who claims God, or God's mind, exists, must, to be taken seriously, make positive claims about the attributes of God or God's mind, so that one could identify God or God's mind if one encountered him or it.

The Father cannot be known, nor can the inner life of the Trinity, so that's true. The only interaction we have with God is through the Son and the Holy Spirit. So "God" is both knowable (though Christ) and unknowable (the Father). We have to have it both ways, because it's the only way it makes sense. If God is all-unknowable, then it is as you say. But if God is all-knowable, then he really can't be God. This is only paradox if it is considered in oversimplified terms (such as using "God" rather than the persons of the Trinity) and basically ignore Trinitarianism.

But I don't think anybody says apophatic theology is the only way to speak about God. It is a technique.

The alternative to the above would be to continually let you off the hook whenever we found God to be evil or incompetent. You would never have to defend God against these accusations, but would always be able to say, "God's mind is unknowable," and then sit back, smiling and unblinking. None of us will let you get away with that. If you claim God is good and wise, then you must be prepared to defend him against accusations of evil and incompetence. Your only legitimate alternative is to retract your claim that God is good and wise. And remember, good and wise is an understatement as to what you actually claim. You claim perfect love and omniscience.

That assumes God is open to our scrutiny. Can you prove that premise?
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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2010, 01:10:00 PM »

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.
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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2010, 01:43:02 PM »

And, by the way, the last time I checked, St. Vladimir's is located in New York State - which is historically definitely not a part of New England. If you're going to cast 'clever' epithets get your geography straight. LOL
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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2010, 04:24:04 PM »

Ah, yes, nothing confirms Patristic consensus like lots of academic prestige.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2010, 06:53:58 PM »

At Compline the day before a Liturgy is celebrated, I will pray the Canon from the HTM prayerbook.  I don't know why I never noticed this before but I have a concern about how something is worded.  In the ninth ode, second troparion, we pray: "The Lord is good: O taste and see! For of old He became like unto us for our sake, and offered Himself once as an offering to His Father, and is ever slain, sanctifying them that partake of Him." My concern is with the language in boldface.
I can't find anything about who composed this canon, but the passage in question is also present in the Slavonic text. I don't really see what the problem is with saying that He offered Himself up to the Father. Since the Father is the Monarch of the Godhead and also Christ's God, He certainly offered Himself to His Father. It may just be a case of reading too much into it.RufusEDIT: Also,when the Synod of Blachernae said that the offering was to the entire Godhead, they were rejecting Soterichos Pantengenus' teaching that the offering was only to the Father and Spirit; the synod affirmed that He was also offered to Himself. It has no connection with Anselmian theory.
Right, there is too much being read into it.  All Sacrifices are offered to God.   That the Lamb of God is offered to God is obvious from the Liturgy itself.   The problem is that the sacrifice is not to appease God's wrath.  In Anselmian theology, the atonement only happens as a RANSOM to God to appease God's wrath.   The Sacrifice of Christ is at once a sacrifice to God (Christ giving Himself fully as God and Man to the Father), and a ransom to death (as the Liturgy of St. Basil says), giving his human body and soul to death to ransom the captives by conquering Hades.   Not only did the Synod of Blachernae (Vlachernon) state that the sacrifice is offered to the Trinity, but it it is in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, and thus a dogma of Orthodox Christianity. 
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« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2010, 07:06:29 PM »

Right, there is too much being read into it.  All Sacrifices are offered to God.   That the Lamb of God is offered to God is obvious from the Liturgy itself.   The problem is that the sacrifice is not to appease God's wrath.  In Anselmian theology, the atonement only happens as a RANSOM to God to appease God's wrath.   The Sacrifice of Christ is at once a sacrifice to God (Christ giving Himself fully as God and Man to the Father), and a ransom to death (as the Liturgy of St. Basil says), giving his human body and soul to death to ransom the captives by conquering Hades.   Not only did the Synod of Blachernae (Vlachernon) state that the sacrifice is offered to the Trinity, but it it is in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, and thus a dogma of Orthodox Christianity.  


You wouldn't happen to be a professor and/or from New England would you?  Cool
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« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2010, 07:32:24 PM »

Ah, yes, nothing confirms Patristic consensus like lots of academic prestige.  Roll Eyes

I hope that I did not try to make that point. OTH, are you saying that posters on this forum are as qualified as Deans of SVOTS? Or perhaps you think that academic prestige is bought and not earned? Or, may be you disdain intellectual attainments?
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« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2010, 09:28:53 PM »

Right, there is too much being read into it.  All Sacrifices are offered to God.   That the Lamb of God is offered to God is obvious from the Liturgy itself.   The problem is that the sacrifice is not to appease God's wrath.  In Anselmian theology, the atonement only happens as a RANSOM to God to appease God's wrath.   The Sacrifice of Christ is at once a sacrifice to God (Christ giving Himself fully as God and Man to the Father), and a ransom to death (as the Liturgy of St. Basil says), giving his human body and soul to death to ransom the captives by conquering Hades.   Not only did the Synod of Blachernae (Vlachernon) state that the sacrifice is offered to the Trinity, but it it is in the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, and thus a dogma of Orthodox Christianity.  
You wouldn't happen to be a professor and/or from New England would you?  Cool

Not from New England, but I am one in New Jersey.  
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« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2010, 09:34:36 PM »

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.

There's that "re-imagining" I was talking about.

And, by the way, the last time I checked, St. Vladimir's is located in New York State - which is historically definitely not a part of New England. If you're going to cast 'clever' epithets get your geography straight. LOL

Dang it! There goes my legitimacy!
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« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2010, 01:00:28 PM »

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.

There's that "re-imagining" I was talking about.

And, by the way, the last time I checked, St. Vladimir's is located in New York State - which is historically definitely not a part of New England. If you're going to cast 'clever' epithets get your geography straight. LOL

Dang it! There goes my legitimacy!

I guess those darned 'New Englanders' are moving into the 'old country.' I linked on your Diocesan webpage just now and found a wonderful article about Fr. John Behr, the Dean of SVOTS visiting Belgrade on the front page.

"Fr. John Behr split the lecture in two parts: Identity of Christ and Our Identity in Christ. In the first part there are pointed out: a modern approach to the science when it is spoken about real Lord Jesus Christ; hymnography and Tradition in the Church as interpreters of Resurrected Christ. For a modern man, who seeks for Truth, fr. John Behr especially singled out a New Testament's place: Road to Emaus, when disciples recognized Christ when He cut the bread, what still happens today during the Divine Liturgy. In the second part of the lecture, professor Behr talked about the challenge of history and our interpretation of the past."
http://www.serborth.org/10162010.html
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« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2010, 02:35:44 PM »

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.

There's that "re-imagining" I was talking about.

And, by the way, the last time I checked, St. Vladimir's is located in New York State - which is historically definitely not a part of New England. If you're going to cast 'clever' epithets get your geography straight. LOL

Dang it! There goes my legitimacy!

I guess those darned 'New Englanders' are moving into the 'old country.' I linked on your Diocesan webpage just now and found a wonderful article about Fr. John Behr, the Dean of SVOTS visiting Belgrade on the front page.

"Fr. John Behr split the lecture in two parts: Identity of Christ and Our Identity in Christ. In the first part there are pointed out: a modern approach to the science when it is spoken about real Lord Jesus Christ; hymnography and Tradition in the Church as interpreters of Resurrected Christ. For a modern man, who seeks for Truth, fr. John Behr especially singled out a New Testament's place: Road to Emaus, when disciples recognized Christ when He cut the bread, what still happens today during the Divine Liturgy. In the second part of the lecture, professor Behr talked about the challenge of history and our interpretation of the past."
http://www.serborth.org/10162010.html

No!!! Not my pure Old Calendar Orthodoxy!!! I'm MELLLLLLTTTTTTIIIIINNNNNNGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!
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« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2010, 11:03:41 AM »

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.

There's that "re-imagining" I was talking about.

I am guessing that you are at best ambivalent about this attempt to get rid of Western influences (read Protestant and Roman Catholic) on Russian (read Orthodox) theology. I just wonder if there is anything that could possibly be wrong with this attempt, especially to do so "in light of patristic writings." I think I know the main objection to this restorative work (what you call re-imagining) but I would like to hear it from you. Thanks.
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« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2010, 11:21:10 AM »

Ah, yes, nothing confirms Patristic consensus like lots of academic prestige.  Roll Eyes

I hope that I did not try to make that point. OTH, are you saying that posters on this forum are as qualified as Deans of SVOTS?

I am saying that Deans of SVOTS are not as qualified as the Fathers and our liturgical deposit.
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« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2010, 01:20:51 PM »

Ah, yes, nothing confirms Patristic consensus like lots of academic prestige.  Roll Eyes

I hope that I did not try to make that point. OTH, are you saying that posters on this forum are as qualified as Deans of SVOTS?

I am saying that Deans of SVOTS are not as qualified as the Fathers and our liturgical deposit.
What makes you think they're opposed to the Fathers and our liturgical deposit, particularly when it's those very Fathers and that very liturgical deposit they have made their life work to study?
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« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2010, 04:29:45 PM »

Since this has gone off topic to disparaging SVS, I created a new topic regarding this HERE.
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« Reply #30 on: November 18, 2010, 04:43:08 PM »

I think I know the main objection to this restorative work (what you call re-imagining) but I would like to hear it from you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restorationism_(Christian_primitivism)

Because I thought I was leaving their company, not switching sects.
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« Reply #31 on: November 18, 2010, 05:02:08 PM »

Ah, yes, nothing confirms Patristic consensus like lots of academic prestige.  Roll Eyes

I hope that I did not try to make that point. OTH, are you saying that posters on this forum are as qualified as Deans of SVOTS?

I am saying that Deans of SVOTS are not as qualified as the Fathers and our liturgical deposit.
What makes you think they're opposed to the Fathers and our liturgical deposit,

Not necessarily "opposed", but certainly they feel like they know better on several points. See the OP for one example.

Quote
particularly when it's those very Fathers and that very liturgical deposit they have made their life work to study?

There are Protestants and secularists who study patristics too, for various reasons.
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« Reply #32 on: November 18, 2010, 06:12:03 PM »

I think I know the main objection to this restorative work (what you call re-imagining) but I would like to hear it from you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restorationism_(Christian_primitivism)

Because I thought I was leaving their company, not switching sects.

There is a difference between clocks that are in working order and those that are not working. But, even a stopped clock is correct twice a day. That is to say that just because there are "restorationism" movements amongst the heterodox, we cannot forego any restoration work. In this case, what we have are three Orthodox theologians who are responding to Western concepts that had been introduced into Russian theology at an earlier time. To my simple mind, it is similar to mold and mildew in a  house; you can try to live with that but it is really best if you could restore the house to its pre-mold condition. Now,you may hold the position that there was not any Western concept that had crept into the Church. If that is your considered view, please say so. However, if you base such a position on the premise that the Church cannot be corrupted at any time and thus is perfectly Orthodox at any given point in time, that is a different animal. I know that theory does not hold water because it is ahistorical; indeed, history disproves it. So, we are at that crucial distinction again; just exactly do we mean by Holy Tradition; by the phrase "the gates of hell shall not prevail"; and, by our common conviction that the Holy Spirit has always looked over us, the Body of our Lord?

The only problem with these three pillars of Orthodox theology seems to be their willingness to distinguish between real tradition and pious opinion. Just to be clear, that is not a problem with me and many others, but it seems to be a problem with many super-conservative Orthodox folks, who appear to dig in their heels ever deeper whenever confronted by liturgical and patristic evidence (I omitted "Biblical evidence" because these super-conservative brethren would accuse me of Protestant tendencies). I would suggest that those of us who turn down their nose at these modern day Chrysostoms are betraying their own prejudices, which may include an unhealthy dose of anti-intellectualism.
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