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Author Topic: Compiled threads on the Immaculate Conception  (Read 46865 times) Average Rating: 0
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Robert
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« on: April 20, 2004, 02:38:24 AM »

Hello!!

I was perusing through Casimir Kucharek's book on the Divine Liturgy.  As I read through the section on the ektenia, I stopped to read in detail the portions on the Theotokos.

Now, the following is what is from the book verbatim:


No sin, no fault, not even the slightest, ever marred the perfect sanctity of this masterpiece of God's creation.  For hundreds of years, the Byzantine Church has believed this, prayer and honored Mary in this way.  Centuries of sacred tradition stand behind the title of the immaculate Conception. Even during the  twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when some Western theologians doubted or denied the truth of her immaculate conception, Byzantine Catholic and Orthodox theologians unanimously taught it.


Now, the footnote references the following theologians as having taught the Immaculate Conception:
Patriarch Photios in his homilies De annuntiatione and De Nativitate Deiparae
George of Nicomedia in his homilies.
John Phurnensis, Oratione de Dormitione
Michael Glykas, Annales
Germanus II, Patriarch of Constantiople ..
and the list continues.

The book continues on:

The Greek Orthodox Church's belief in the immaculate conception continued unanimously until the fifteenth century, then many Greek theologians began to adopt the idea that Mary had been made immaculate at the moment of the Annunciation.  Among the Eastern Slavs, belief in the immaculate conception went undisturbed until the seventeenth century, when the Skrizhal appeared in Russia, and proposed what the Slavs considered the "novel" doctrine of the Greeks.  The views proposed in the Skrizhal were branded as blasphemous, especially among the Staroviery(Old Believers), who maintained the ancient customs and beliefs, however small or inconsequential.  This reaction confirms the ancient Byzantine and Slav tradition of the immaculate conception.  Only after Pope Pius IX defined the dogma in 1854 did opposition to the doctrine solidify among most Orthodox theologians.  The Orthodox Church however has never made any definitive pronouncement on the matter.  Its official position is rather a suspension of judgment rather than a true objection.  When Patriarch Anthimos VII wrote his reply to Pope Leo XIII's letter in 1895 and listed what he believed to be the errors of the Latins, he found no fault with their belief in the immaculate conception, but objected to the fat that the Pope had defined it.


What gives?  Is the above true? Did the Orthodox at one time hold to the Immaculate Conception? I've heard time and time again about how original sin is defined differently in the west, and the immaculate conception was defined according to western scholastic terms.  I have read Ancestral Sin by Romanides, but I still want to know if the Orthodox believed in the Immaculate Conception, as Kucharak asserts, prior to the 15th century.

Bobby

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Robert
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2004, 09:24:23 AM »

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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2004, 10:04:36 AM »

Seems like the typical controversialist approach: they make lots of claims that x, y, and z taught a, b, and c, but then they don't give any who's what's, when's, where's or why's.
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2004, 10:24:06 AM »

In older (Orthodox) sources, and in the Liturgy to this day, the Theotokos is referred to as Immaculate.  Some RC's infer from this that the Orthodox Churches have traditionally taught their 19th century dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

The problem with such a position, is that it pre-supposes the East shared in the Augustinian view of original sin which came to dominate western thought.  You cannot have the RC teaching of the "Immaculate Conception", without first taking for granted the Augustinian understanding of the fall of Adam and Eve, and it's consequences for mankind.

While doubtless during certain periods after the schism (particularly when various amounts of "westernization" took hold in Orthodox lands) there were many Orthodox who more or less accepted the Augustinian view, this is not the case today, and certainly was not the case before or in the centuries immediately following the "great schism."  Without this, what the RCC means by "Immaculate Conception" has little currency.

More than any of this however, is the fact that this is not something the Orthodox Church is interested in "dogmatizing" in the first place - that there are so many different opinions on the matter in the writings of the Fathers, demonstrates that it was not considered (and is still not considered) as central an idea for the Orthodox has it obviously is for Roman Catholics.  The different attitudes which exist between Orthodoxy and Catholicism on the subject of dogmatic teaching, and just what theology is, are manifested in this issue and the positions both sides take.  In Catholicism, there exists the notion that the Apostolic faith can somehow be improved upon, with latter generations having access to truths which previous ones did not.  This is not Orthodox; in Orthodoxy "solemn definitions" do not have the purpose of somehow "furthering theology", but protecting the ancient faith.  It's on the same grounds that Orthodoxy will have nothing to do with talk of "indulgences" or "papal infallibility", no matter how well argued the RC's may think their apologetics for these doctrines are - that they were not believed in all times in all places, is sufficient to make them suspect.

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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2004, 10:56:06 AM »

Ahhh!!! History. Yes. That is where the truth lies. Keep reading the history of the Church and its theological evolution and you will understand.

Contradictions. Contradictions.

See what happens when men (monks) have too much time on their hands?

See what happens when men (monks) become fanatically obsessed and begin to create things and call it "of the spirit"?

See what happens when men (monks) with natural sexual urges (created by God) have to supress them?

See what happens when the only woman that they can legally "stalk" and obsess over is Mary?

Mary. Never mentioned in writings after the death of her Son. But man created "traditions"....well that is another matter.

We must keep focused ON THE CHRIST -- HE IS OUR SALVATION !


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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2004, 10:57:17 AM »

Dear SR:

I think your argument misses partly the pointed question of the Captain as you propounded only on the "what is not" in Orthodox theology.

Equally, I am interested in "what was" the Orthodox understanding of the Immaculate Conception in the periods cited by Bobby and "what it is" today.

As it stands, it seems the belief on the purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary from the moment of her conception was, at least, held by East and West "universally." The only fault on the part of the West is/was to dogmatize such a belief, which is inherent in Latin theology in the first place as you yourself admitted.

We should be able to recognize such an "error" on the part of Catholic theology if given a cogent reason for NOT defining the meaning and extent of the Blessed Mother's Immaculate Conception, she being the vessel of our salvation, the dwelling of the Word Incarnate, the Ark of the New Covenant!

I am sure you know that the dogmatization of the Immaculate Conception was achieved through the "ordinary" exercise of the Church's charism of infallibity, i.e., the world's Western bishops were consulted, in a collegial manner, prior to the Pope's declaration.

Amado

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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2004, 11:08:42 AM »

Tom..

That is the craziest thing I have ever read.

Bobby

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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2004, 11:09:30 AM »

Casimir Kucharek in his book writes:

{No sin, no fault, not even the slightest, ever marred the perfect sanctity of this masterpiece of God's creation.  For hundreds of years, the Byzantine Church has believed this, prayer and honored Mary in this way.  Centuries of sacred tradition stand behind the title of the immaculate Conception. Even during the  twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when some Western theologians doubted or denied the truth of her immaculate conception, Byzantine Catholic and Orthodox theologians unanimously taught it.}


Bobby asks:


[What gives?  Is the above true? Did the Orthodox at one time hold to the Immaculate Conception? I've heard time and time again about how original sin is defined differently in the west, and the immaculate conception was defined according to western scholastic terms.  I have read Ancestral Sin by Romanides, but I still want to know if the Orthodox believed in the Immaculate Conception, as Kucharak asserts, prior to the 15th century.]

No.  The buzz word still, as always, is the word 'CONCEPTION'.

Look in the Byzantine Catholic prayer book (Hours Of Pascha) -

'Having seen the Ressurection of Christ, let is worship the holy Lord Jesus, THE ONLY SINLESS ONE (Caps mine).

Just because the Mother of God is called "spotless" (achrantos), "completely holy" (panayia), "completely blameless" (panamomos), and similiar terms in our prayers, this does not mean that she was, in all ways, sinless from the beginning.  We know from the writings of the fathers and other early christian writers that she was not exempt from the bad effects of Adam's first sin:

a.  St Ambrose calls her "free through grace from every stain of sin"  but he cannot mean that she was sinless from the beginning of her life to the end, since he also writes that Christ alone was never overcome by the vanity of this world nor swollen with pride of the flesh (De Cain 1:3:10).  In his next sentence he concludes -

'Hence, no one is without sin, not even an infant one day old, even though he never committed a sin.'  (EC 42:366)

b.  Blessed Augustine writes that she was given the grace to be the only person to completely conquer sin.  Here he is not writing about a life long freedom from sin.  We know this because he writes elsewhere that except Christ, no man has ever lived without sin.  Mary is not excepted by any of the Fathers or other Christian writers.

Until the 12th century there was no thought of exempting her from the law of original sin.  The church fathers do not teach this, nor does any Ecumenical Council.

This innovation by the RCC contradicts one of the basic teachings of Christianity, which says that only one person lived a completely sinless life.  The Bible says, "All sinned" (Rom 3:23), except one one...Christ (Heb. 4:15, 1 Jn. 3:5), Job 14:4-5 LXX says -

'For who will be pure from defilement?  Not even one, even if his life should be but a single day on earth.'

The Mother of God surpasses those newly baptised infants  in a way that differs by what the 'Immaculate Conception' is trying to prove.  Mary had the choice to sin but did not.  It is in this way that she differs from newly baptised infants.  Mary has been victorious over the temptations (an honor that infants cannot claim).  The Bible likewise speaks of the blessedness of those who COULD have sinned but did not.  It even uses the same word, "unblemished."  Sir. 34(31):8-10 says "a blameless (or unblemished, spotless) person [Greek amomos] "whom we will called blessed" is one who could have trangressed but did not transgress, who could have done evil but did not do it.

From Bobby's post (quoting Kucharek):

[When Patriarch Anthimos VII wrote his reply to Pope Leo XIII's letter in 1895 and listed what he believed to be the errors of the Latins, he found no fault with their belief in the immaculate conception, but objected to the fact that the Pope had defined it.]

But in the Confession of Dositheus 6, sent in the name of all the Eastern Patriachs in reply to an inquiry in the early 18th century, says the Mother of God was born subject to the consequences of original sin.

======

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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2004, 11:12:44 AM »

Thanks, Amado.

Seraphim:

I appreciate your reply, as it was indeed thoughtful and insightful, but it steeps around the question at hand.  Kucharek quotes several Orthodox theologians, including several patriachs, stating that they imbraced the notion that the Theotokos was kept immaculate since the moment of her conception.  He then asserts that after the 15th century, the Orthodox "changed" their belief to immaculate since the Annunciation.

As Amado stated, a comparison of Orthodox belief before and after this time period is in order.  Unfortunately, as I stated earlier, the books the author quoted are in French.

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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2004, 11:17:08 AM »

Thanks, Orthodoc.

Your post seems to indicate what I always thought the Orthodox believed.

I just find it odd that this Kucharek guy would quote sources that indicated otherwise.

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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2004, 11:17:32 AM »

Tom..

That is the craziest thing I have ever read.

Bobby



Which part? Why is it crazy? Where in the writings of the 12 Apostles or in the first 100 years of the Saints do the writings focus on Mary? Where did this all come from? From the monks who secluded themselves and cut themselves off from the world.

If you want the truth, then read deeper.
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2004, 11:20:18 AM »

I am not saying that Mary is not a Saint, nor am I saying that she was the most blessed human who ever lived.

I am simply saying that she (unfortunately) has become a cult in some of the RC and EO churches.
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2004, 11:22:17 AM »

[I just find it odd that this Kucharek guy would quote sources that indicated otherwise.

Captain]

So do I.  He should give the quotes and reference in the book.  Unti we hear them we can't respond to them.  Therefore, it is hearsay.

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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2004, 11:26:00 AM »

Quote
'Having seen the Resurrection of Christ, let us worship the holy Lord Jesus, THE ONLY SINLESS ONE' (Caps mine).

Easy. Our Lord is sinless in Himself; Our Lady was made sinless by Him.

As for the Annunciation, the angel said before Our Lord's Conception, 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee'.

-ƒ-Ç-¦-+-¦-+-+-Ç-+-ç-+-¦-Å - Our Lady, Immaculate.
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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2004, 11:34:47 AM »

Now THAT, Serge is the clearest and most acceptable (at least to me) explanation I have ever heard.

Thanks.
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« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2004, 11:38:32 AM »

You're welcome!

BTW, the same Russian Orthodox books that call Our Lord '-¦-¦-+-+-+-+-â -¦-¦-+-¦-Ç-¦-ê-+-+-+-â' (the only sinless one) also, in the -ƒ-¦-+-+-à -+-¦-¦ service for the dead (if I recall rightly) and the ancient prayer -ƒ-+-¦ -é-¦-+-Ä -+-+-+-+-ü-é-î (Sub tuum pr+ªsidium, 'We fly to thy patronage'), call Our Lady '-¦-¦-+-+-¦ -ç-+-ü-é-¦-Å -+ -¦-+-¦-¦-+-ü-+-+-¦-¦-+-+-¦-Å' (the only pure and blessed one').
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« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2004, 12:19:18 PM »

[As for the Annunciation, the angel said before Our Lord's Conception, 'Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee'.]

True.  But -

The Nativity or Birth of our Lady is celebrated by the Orthodox Church which means that She was born full of the Holy Spirit and great Divine Grace as only feast days of Saints are allowed to be observed. Our tradition has also says that John the Baptist was filled with the Grace of the Holy Spirit while in the womb of his mother and so His Nativity is also celebrated.

------

The doctrine of the place and person of the Virgin Mary in the Church is called "mariology." Both Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism believe she is "Mother of God" (Theotokos, Deipare) and "the Ever-Virgin Mary."

However, the Orthodox reject the Roman Catholic "dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary," which was defined as "of the faith" by Pope Pius IX, on the 8th of December 1854. This dogma holds that from the first instant of her conception, the Blessed Virgin Mary was, by a most singular grace and privilege of Almighty God, and in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the human race, preserved from all stain of Original Sin. It is a doctrine revealed by God, and therefore to be firmly and steadfastly believed by all the faithful (from the Bull Ineffabilis Deus).

Such a theory has no basis in the Scriptures nor the Fathers. It contains many ideas (such as "the merits of Christ") likewise without apostolic foundation. The idea that the Lord and His Saints produced more grace than necessary. This excess may be applied to others, even those in purgatory (see below).

But to return: the Church does not accept the idea that the Mother of God was born with the (inherited) guilt of Adam; no one is. She did, however, inherit the mortality which comes to all on account of Adam's Fall.

Therefore, there is no need to do what Latin theologians have done. There is no reason to invent a theory to support the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. There is no need to teach that, on account of "the merits of Christ," the Holy Spirit was able to prevent her from inheriting the guilt of Adam.

In fact, she was born like every other human being. The Holy Spirit prepared the Virgin Mary

-------

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« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2004, 12:26:41 PM »

Which part? Why is it crazy? Where in the writings of the 12 Apostles or in the first 100 years of the Saints do the writings focus on Mary? Where did this all come from? From the monks who secluded themselves and cut themselves off from the world.

If you want the truth, then read deeper.


No, Tom, the so-called "cult" of the Theotokos came from popular veneration. The hymn Sub Tuum Praesidium was especially important in the early church, at from what I've read of Jaroslav Pelikan's The Christian Tradition Vol. 1.

There are plenty of married people who don't "supress" their sexual urges who have a great devotion to her, which certainly puts me to shame. You can say all you want about how we should focus on Christ and the Apostles, but in the end you're advocating protestantism. You should look deeper into why Mary is important to understanding Christ.

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« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2004, 12:26:57 PM »

Well, Bobby,
Here is my belated $.02. I hope it is not too contradictory of the fine posts above and that it is understandable. I am trying to quit smoking and find concentration to be a wee bit difficult (shake, shake, shake...)
You have posed an interesting question. “What gives?” The quick answer is a case of definition differences. The long answer follows here, however.
As our erstwhile poster, afanasiy, used to say, there is a danger in using similar or same terms that actually mean different things from the Latin or Orthodox perspective. This is one of those.
At the core the rub is the concept of ’original sin”. The West defines it as an inheritance of the guilt of the Fall and that all are born in a state of sin. The Orthodox definition is that original sin is a consequence of the Fall and that we inherit a proclivity and capacity to fall into temptation and to sin. Hence, all are born able to sin, but none with sin. (This is how we Orthodox see an infant who falls asleep without baptism as passing on without sin.) Hence, all are really born ‘immaculate’, so to speak, but quickly fall into sin thereafter. This is central to the Immaculate Conception issue.
Please keep in mind that the orthodox Catholic Church strives not to over-dogmatize the Faith feeling that excessive legalisms (required belief for salvation) merely erect impediments to proper Glorification of the Lord and salvation through Theosis. The Church had thus never felt it necessary to make an official pronouncement over the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception until the western church dogmatized its version according to its definitions.
The orthodox Catholic Church has always held Mary to be Immaculate -without sin. In short, she was born, as all of us, without sin, and never to our knowledge did sin, different from all the rest of us who do sin, constantly.  Her sinless state was a consequence of her Free Will choosing not to sin. (It was not that she COULD not, but that she DID not, willfully sin). Juxtapose this with (I think) the RC position that she could not sin given their definitions.
When the Church of Rome began to press the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, the Church in the East did not object - indeed, we hold all to be immaculately conceived but possessing the capacity to sin. Whether Mary was sinless was not an issue for us as she was, is, and shall remain sinless. Based on our concept of original sin, there was no issue. Based on the western concept, however, was problematic and this prompted a further defining without dogmatization from us. If Mary could not sin, then her Free will played no role and her place as Theotokos is demeaned. A tangential theological line of thought was brought forth which stated that Mary, at the Annunciation, was absolved of what sin she MAY have made, IF ANY; and we presume there was none. This late view does not replace nor invalidate the original Orthodox view, however. It extends it (and unnecessarily in this layman’s view). As you can see, there are subtle but important differences. If no further “official” statements are made by us Orthodox on the IC, it is because none, given our definitions, are necessary.
I do find it interesting that despite the Church of Rome being out of the Orthodox Catholic Church, we still feel it necessary to make definitions and refinements in reaction to the actions of the west. Indeed, when reading the Orthodox pronouncements in Greek, I see we refer to ourselves as the “Catholic Church”. Just a side comment, but apparently we still try to correct the other “lung”.  Wink
I also find it interesting that many of these Greek Catholic arguments stem from their attempts at fitting into the belief system with which they are now encumbered. Unless basic terms and concepts are agreed beforehand, most of these arguments are merely apologetics.

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« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2004, 12:40:07 PM »

On the IC the Orthodox will not accept the RC dogmatic definition because it dogmatizes an Augustinian view of Original Sin thru the back door, which isn't consistent with our Orthodox Byzantine theological tradition.

Why is this?  Dogmas are, properly speaking, about God.  The only reason for a "dogmatic definition" about the Theotokos would be if it were to have an impact on what we believe about God Himself.  Well, this is what the I.C. dogma is ... it is essentially a dogma designed to preserve the absolute sinlessness of Christ's human nature from the time that it was en-hypostasized into the Hypostasis of the Logos.  Because the Augustinian tradition, and the notion that Original Sin was a "stain" or a "macula" on the soul, it was offensive to orthodox Christology.  Therefore it was important, almost critical really, for RC theology for the humanity of which Christ partook in becoming incarnate -- namely the humanity of the Theotokos -- be preserved free from this macula, or stain, so that Christ's humanity itself was preserved free as well.  Therefore from the perspective of an Augustinian theological perspective on Original Sin, the I.C. makes sense, and perhaps is even necessary.

Byzantine theology differs from Augustinian most prominently in its casting of Original Sin.  Byzantine theology does not see this as a "stain" in the way that Augustinian theology does, and does view any human nature as "stained" in the way that Augustinian theology did, or may have been understood to have done.  Therefore we do not see that any dogmatic definition concerning the status of the Theotokos in this matter is necessary.  We can agree with Roman Catholics that the Theotokos was preserved from any "stain" of Original Sin, but we disagree that she was unique in this way.  We can agree also with Roman Catholics that the Theotokos was free from actual sin during her lifetime, and that this was because she was given this gift as a singular act of divine grace.  But we do not believe that this made her humanity different, in the sense that it was not subject to Original Sin like that of everyone else.  From our theological perspective, this sets everything on its ear ... the Theotokos becomes an ueber-human, really essentially different from everyone else because she is not subject to Original Sin, she is not a member of "fallen humanity" at all.  This is why Orthodox say that the I.C. makes the Theotokos the great exception from, and not the great exemplar of, the human race as we know it on this Earth.  

This creates serious problems for Orthodox soteriology as well, because our theological perspective is that salvation is achieved in and through theosis, whereby the believer is Christified, or rather his/her humanity is molded to that of Christ through communion with the Holy Trinity and by means of the divine grace that this communion bestows over time.  The model for this idea of salvation is Christ himself -- namely, by taking fallen humanity in the form of a fallen human nature into himself and uniting it with his infinite, pure, holy, immortal divine nature, he Christified it, deified it, redeemed it, and saved it.  But if He didn't unite with our fallen nature, how was our fallen nature saved at all???  Much of the Christological debates of the first millenium were concerned with ensuring that our theological terminology about Christ preserved the reality that he was fully human and fully divine ... because without this the whole idea of salvation is placed in jeopardy:  if Christ were less than fully human, humanity was not saved by union with Christ, and if Christ were less than fully divine, again humanity is not saved because there was no union with God in Christ.  From the perspective of Byzantine theology, the I.C. interferes with our understanding of soteriology because it infers that Christ did not assume our fallen human nature into himself, but our unfallen nature, which leaves the status of our fallen nature ... unredeemed.   Huh

You see, we see that all redemption comes through communion with Christ ... the same for you and me as it was for Christ's human nature.  The difference is that the salvific act in Christ's person Himself began at the time that his human nature became en-hypostazized into the Hypostasis of the Logos and through that (and continued throughout his life, death and resurrection, which Orthodox see as essentially one, drawn-out, salvific act), whereas with us, because we are not taken into Christ's Person, or his Hyspostasis, but rather remain our own persons, we are saved through the divine energy/grace given through communion with the Holy Trinity.  But the idea of salvation is the same in each case -- namely union of our fallen humanity with Christ.   If Christ somehow did not assume our fallen nature and deify it by bringing it into his pre-eternal Hypostasis and therefore into communion with His divine nature, living and dying with it and resurrecting it to eternal life, then our notion of our own salvation as the deification of our own fallen humanity to make it conform to Christ's humanity is placed at risk, because it is, in any case, a replication of the model of what happened when Christ became incarnate, differing only in the means (i.e., grace through communion for us as compared with deification through en-Hyspostasization in the Person of Christ/Logos).

So where does that leave us?  Well, at a minimum it means that we cannot accept that the I.C., as defined by Rome, is a *universal* teaching.  It clashes too much with Byzantine soteriology and our theology of Original Sin.  We *may* be able to accept that it is an acceptable articulation of Latin theology, on the basis that the Augustinian model, while never really utilized much in Byzantine theology, nevertheless was known during the period when the Church was unified and was not condemned, but accepted, it would seem, as a non-Byzantine theological expression.  But that would mean that it is a *latin* doctrine only, not a universal dogma.  

Brendan
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« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2004, 12:53:40 PM »

Quote
Our tradition also says that John the Baptist was filled with the Grace of the Holy Spirit while in the womb of his mother and so His Nativity is also celebrated.


That's also an opinion, not doctrine, in western Catholicism, with the difference from the IC being in the timing — according to the legend, St John the Baptist was cleansed of original sin when Our Lady visited St Elisabeth and the babe leapt in the latter's womb as Our Lord was there in utero as well.
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« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2004, 01:27:00 PM »

Ahhh!!! History. Yes. That is where the truth lies. Keep reading the history of the Church and its theological evolution and you will understand.

Contradictions. Contradictions.

See what happens when men (monks) have too much time on their hands?

See what happens when men (monks) become fanatically obsessed and begin to create things and call it "of the spirit"?

See what happens when men (monks) with natural sexual urges (created by God) have to supress them?

See what happens when the only woman that they can legally "stalk" and obsess over is Mary?

Mary. Never mentioned in writings after the death of her Son. But man created "traditions"....well that is another matter.

We must keep focused ON THE CHRIST -- HE IS OUR SALVATION !




Tom,

Marian devotion developed before there were monks, so what is your point?

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« Reply #22 on: April 20, 2004, 02:27:27 PM »

Dear Cap'n Roberto:

With the foregoing enlightening posts, especially those by Serge, Brendan, Dmetri, Seraphim Reeves, and Orthodoc, I am reassured of Our Blessed Mother's unique role in salvation history.

Orthodox and Catholics are  looking at Her merely from possibly different, but complementary, perspectives since the dawn of Christianity!

How about you?

To Jesus through Mary,

Amado

P.S. Non-apostolic Christians, particularly Protestants (except, perhaps, Anglicans and Lutherans), I think have a harder time understanding and accepting Mary's role, which becomes many a time an unsurmountable hurdle to their conversion.
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« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2004, 03:22:41 PM »

Tom,

Marian devotion developed before there were monks, so what is your point?

anastasios

When did it first appear? Please direct me to the earliest writings of this doctrine.

P.S. Non-apostolic Christians, particularly Protestants (except, perhaps, Anglicans and Lutherans), I think have a harder time understanding and accepting Mary's role, which becomes many a time an unsurmountable hurdle to their conversion.

And besides being the God Bearer (which I do not disparage), just what IS Mary's role in our salvation?
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« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2004, 04:17:24 PM »

When did it first appear? Please direct me to the earliest ...

If it is made possible, I intend to come to you in order to see the faithful gathered in Jerusalem, and especially the Mother of Jesus: they say of her that she is honorable, affable, and arouses wonder in all, and all wish to see her. But who would not wish to see the Virgin and to converse with her who bore the true God? ...With us she is glorified as the Mother of God and the Virgin full of grace and virtue. They say of her that she is joyful in troubles and persecutions, does not grieve in poverty and want, and not only does not get angry with those who offend her but does good to them still more... All who see her are delighted. St. Ignatius of Antioch.

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« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2004, 04:51:01 PM »

If it is made possible, I intend to come to you in order to see the faithful gathered in Jerusalem, and especially the Mother of Jesus: they say of her that she is honorable, affable, and arouses wonder in all, and all wish to see her. But who would not wish to see the Virgin and to converse with her who bore the true God? ...With us she is glorified as the Mother of God and the Virgin full of grace and virtue. They say of her that she is joyful in troubles and persecutions, does not grieve in poverty and want, and not only does not get angry with those who offend her but does good to them still more... All who see her are delighted. St. Ignatius of Antioch.


And I see nothing in this writing that I would not agree with. She SHOULD be revered and most  certainly was full of Grace and Virtue.

But this is FAR from the level that the Theotokos has been raised in some of the services and writings of the Church that came hundreds of years later; the insistance that she HAD to be EVER Virgin, that she HAD to be without ANY sin PRIOR to becoming the Theotokos. I agree that she was probably the most virtuous child/girl/woman that ever lived, but without ANY sin? I am applying the EASTERN version of Sin - (missing the mark) - not the Western version that implies hatred of, and total disregard for, God when we sin.

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« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2004, 05:02:14 PM »

And I see nothing in this writing that I would not agree with. She SHOULD be revered and most  certainly was full of Grace and Virtue.

But this is FAR from the level that the Theotokos has been raised in some of the services and writings of the Church that came hundreds of years later; the insistance that she HAD to be EVER Virgin, that she HAD to be without ANY sin PRIOR to becoming the Theotokos. I agree that she was probably the most virtuous child/girl/woman that ever lived, but without ANY sin? I am applying the EASTERN version of Sin - (missing the mark) - not the Western version that implies hatred of, and total disregard for, God when we sin.



Commemorating our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious lady Theotokos and EVER-VIRGIN Mary...with all the saints...let us commend our selves and each other and our whole lives unto Christ our God.

Do you dispute the words of the holy liturgy, Tom?

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« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2004, 05:04:34 PM »

Dear Cap'n Roberto:

With the foregoing enlightening posts, especially those by Serge, Brendan, Dmetri, Seraphim Reeves, and Orthodoc, I am reassured of Our Blessed Mother's unique role in salvation history.

Orthodox and Catholics are  looking at Her merely from possibly different, but complementary, perspectives since the dawn of Christianity!

How about you?

To Jesus through Mary,

Amado

P.S. Non-apostolic Christians, particularly Protestants (except, perhaps, Anglicans and Lutherans), I think have a harder time understanding and accepting Mary's role, which becomes many a time an unsurmountable hurdle to their conversion.


I love Mary very very very very very much. She has pulled through for me in times that I have thought were hopeless.

I think the Memorare sums it up very well...

 O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto. Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi. Amen.

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« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2004, 05:18:23 PM »

Commemorating our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious lady Theotokos and EVER-VIRGIN Mary...with all the saints...let us commend our selves and each other and our whole lives unto Christ our God.

Do you dispute the words of the holy liturgy, Tom?

Bobby

I don't dispute that she WAS Ever-Virgin.

I question WHY it is so important.

I love Mary very very very very very much. She has pulled through for me in times that I have thought were hopeless.

But why pray to Mary -- was Christ to busy to hear your prayers?
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« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2004, 05:18:25 PM »

Tom,

With that logic, why ask ANYONE to pray for you.

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« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2004, 05:20:43 PM »

Tom,

With that logic, why ask ANYONE to pray for you.

anastasios

That's just it Anastasios. I don't ask anyone to pray for me. I believe that God will do with me and for me what he feels that I need. I don't believe that someone elses prayers have an impact (at least while I am alive)

I don't know why I have that opinion, I just always have.
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« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2004, 05:23:53 PM »

That's just it Anastasios. I don't ask anyone to pray for me. I believe that God will do with me and for me what he feels that I need. I don't believe that someone elses prayers have an impact (at least while I am alive)

I don't know why I have that opinion, I just always have.


OK, that's logical, but it's just not the way even St Paul speaks.  I ask everyone to pray for me and I pray for others because we are all a community--both on heaven and earth.  I think this community spirit is lost in a large part of Western society nowadays.

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« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2004, 05:28:45 PM »

I should calrify: I DO pray for my Wife, for my Children, for my Mother and for my Mother and Father in-law. Really close family members. I think prayers by and for people who are very close to your heart DO have an impact (at least it makes ME feel good to believe that).

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« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2004, 05:45:33 PM »

Tom, I recognize that attitude very much.  I used to have it when I was a fundagelical protestant.  However, prayers are always beneficial (at least when directed to the True God), therefore why not ask others to pray for me?  I know I certainly need it.

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« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2004, 05:48:11 PM »

I should calrify: I DO pray for my Wife, for my Children, for my Mother and for my Mother and Father in-law. Really close family members. I think prayers by and for people who are very close to your heart DO have an impact (at least it makes ME feel good to believe that).



I hold those I pray for close to my heart also.  I pray for all of humanity because I hold every person on Earth close to my heart.  I of course am not perfect in expressing that love for everyone, but I still feel that capacity is in all of us and I try and tap into it.  I believe that Mary and the saints hold us close to their hearts, which is why we ask for their prayers and intercession.

Perhaps this is idealistic, I dont know; obviously not a scholarly-based statement, but this is all I got Roll Eyes

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« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2004, 06:05:13 PM »

Fr. Seraphim Rose once instructed a catechumen to ask St. John of San Francisco to pray to God for this catechumen's spiritual clarity. The catechumen asked "Why should I pray to Archbishop John?" Fr. Seraphim responded with something along the lines of "Because Archbishop John is closer to God than you are!"

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« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2004, 07:11:33 PM »

I should calrify: I DO pray for my Wife, for my Children, for my Mother and for my Mother and Father in-law. Really close family members. I think prayers by and for people who are very close to your heart DO have an impact (at least it makes ME feel good to believe that).



Christ Is Risen!

Hi Tom,

Just to share a little:

In my short life as Orthodox, veneration of the Theotokos and the Saints has been the most difficult  for me to "get".  During Great Lent this year I attended all the services of The Akathists to the Mother of God.  Each week was edifying and life-giving. (I don't know why they are so poorly attended.) After 5 weeks, I'm still very much at the beginning, but I am not where I was at the start as imperceptibly, my eyes began to open and my heart to understand, and even to experience what the Church teaches. I can now sincerely pray: O Theotokos, save us.


Akathist Hymn to the Most Holy Mother of God (excerpt)

Having secretly received the command, the Archangel hastened into Joseph's abode and spoke to the Holy Virgin. He Who bowed the Heavens with His descending, is wholly contained, yet unchanged in You. And seeing Him taking the likeness of a servant in your womb, I stand in amazement and cry unto you:

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride [3 times].

Kontakion 1
Unto you, O Theotokos, invincible Champion, your City [or "we your people"], in thanksgiving ascribes the victory for the deliverance from sufferings. And having your might unassailable, free us from all dangers, so that we may cry unto you:

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride.

Eikos 1
The Archangel was sent from Heaven to cry 'Rejoice!' to the Theotokos. And beholding You, O Lord, taking bodily form, he stood in awe, and with his bodiless voice he cried aloud to her such things as these:

Rejoice, you through whom joy shall shine forth. Rejoice, you through whom the curse will vanish.
Rejoice, the Restoration of fallen Adam. Rejoice, the Redemption of the tears of Eve.
Rejoice, O Height beyond human logic. Rejoice, O depth invisible even to the eyes of Angels.
Rejoice, for you are the King's throne. Rejoice, you bear Him, Who bears the universe.
Rejoice, O Star revealing the Sun. Rejoice, O Womb of divine Incarnation.
Rejoice, you through whom creation is renewed. Rejoice, you through whom the Creator is born a Babe.

Rejoice, O Unwedded Bride.

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« Reply #37 on: April 20, 2004, 07:53:35 PM »

Cap'n Roberto wrote:
Quote
I love Mary very very very very very much. She has pulled through for me in times that I have thought were hopeless.

TomΣ wrote:
Quote
But why pray to Mary -- was Christ to busy to hear your prayers?

Hmm, here's my take on this: As the Mother of God, and Queen of Heaven, Mary is a way to get closer to God. I personally pray for her intercession regarding things I feel she will have extra sympathy and understanding about...and yes, I know this implies that there are things she ISN'T sympathetic about, which is not what I mean. I mean simply that, well, for example, when I pray for my mother, I pray to God but also to Mary, because she is THE Mother and so I believe her intercession would be very strong, because she understands...if that makes sense.

Just my lil contribution. Smiley I love Mary deeply, and she brings me closer to God (partially because she is a woman and so am I), so it simply feels right to venerate her and pray to her. Of course, the core of who she is is her Son (and I think she'd agree  Smiley), and I never forget this. Wink
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« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2004, 09:17:39 PM »

Christ is Risen!

To be honest I really have been a little shocked by Tom's comments. But I am not his judge, God is, but I must respectively disagree.

The Blessed Virgin Mother of God was born full of grace. God Almighty preserved her, or I should say saved, her from sin.

She was the perfect Christian, she submitted to the will of God 100% and trusted in him totally. She was full of great virture and endless grace. I believe that through the grace of God she was able to choose NOT to sin.

However, even as a Roman Catholic, I do have a few problems with the Immaculate Conception. But lets look at it this way. Mary was, by the power and grace of God, preserved from the stain of Original Sin and yet she still had free will. For let us not forget that Eve was created with out the stain of Original sin, yet she, having free will, chose to sin and disobey God.

I understand that east and west look at "Original Sin" differently, and one might say Roman Catholicism has a more developed Marian Tradition than the Orthodox Church, but both East and West, following the early Christians, honor her as the Mother of God, the powerful interecessor and defender of the faith and the faithful.

I have been through great difficulties and struggles in my life, and I am certain that if it weren't for the Blessed Virgin Mary I would not be where I am, I would have given into my sinful inclination and left Christ long ago. But the Blessed Virign saved me by her most powerful intercession, and led me to her merciful son. She has always been there for me and besides her Son, she is my closest friend.

You may think we should only ask those very close to us to pray for us. But to be honest the Blessed Virgin and all the Saints are closer to me than my best firend, my father, my moter, etc.

I think it is unfair and unjust to blame the rich Marian devotion in both east and west on some monks, that had no lives. Such absurd comments, clearly influenced by Protestantism, does a great disservice to the Holy Mother of God, and my Mother too!

I think that if you were Orthodox or Catholic you wouldn't have a problem with the great veneration of Mary in both Churches, for what is good enough for the true Church, should be good enough for you!

"But not the high priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels . . . as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep" (Prayer 11 [A.D. 233]).  - Origen

"Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity. Let us on both sides [of death] always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us, by the swiftness of divine condescension, shall go hence first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord, and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy" (Letters 56[60]:5 [A.D. 253]). - St. Cyprian of Carthage

"Hail to you for ever, Virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for to you do I turn again. You are the beginning of our feast; you are its middle and end; the pearl of great price that belongs to the kingdom; the fat of every victim, the living altar of the Bread of Life [Jesus]. Hail, you treasure of the love of God. Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man. . . . You gleamed, sweet gift-bestowing Mother, with the light of the sun; you gleamed with the insupportable fires of a most fervent charity, bringing forth in the end that which was conceived of you . . . making manifest the mystery hidden and unspeakable, the invisible Son of the Father—the Prince of Peace, who in a marvelous manner showed himself as less than all littleness" (Oration on Simeon and Anna 14 [A.D. 305]).  - St. Methodius

"Mary’s life should be for you a pictorial image of virginity. Her life is like a mirror reflecting the face of chastity and the form of virtue. Therein you may find a model for your own life . . . showing what to improve, what to imitate, what to hold fast to" (The Virgins 2:2:6 [A.D. 377]).  - St. Ambrose of Milan
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« Reply #39 on: April 20, 2004, 10:31:35 PM »

http://www.cptryon.org/compassion/mary/trad.html

"Popular Christian stories about Christ, Mary and the apostles originating in Syria, Palestine and Egypt from the mid-2nd century, greatly influenced the way ordinary Christians imagined Mary's life. These stories, attempting to supply details omitted in the Gospels, went beyond and sometimes contrary to the indications of the Scriptures. They have inspired art, liturgy and Christian devotion to Mary over the centuries. "

"Stories from the 5th century (or perhaps earlier) recount Mary's later life, her death and assumption into heaven -- events unreported by the four Gospels.

By the year 600, a feast called the Dormition of Mary, honoring her death and assumption into heaven, was celebrated in Jerusalem and in the churches of the East. Some centuries later it would pass into the Western churches known as the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.

One of the first churches in Christendom dedicated to Mary was built over her tomb near Gethsemane around 400 A.D. Today, a church still marks this site in Jerusalem.

In the 7th century, Theothekno, bishop of Palestine, preached a homily on the feast of Mary's Assumption, August 15:

"Rejoice with the Mother of God,
with angels and saints,
and celebrate this great feast:
the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

"On earth she was a fruitful virgin,
in heaven she intercedes for all;
through this blessed woman,
the Spirit's gifts still flow upon us,
and her words teach gentle wisdom.

"At her assent the earth blossomed;
she sought good things for the poor.
Now in heaven her care is undiminished,
near her Son she seeks the good of us all."

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« Reply #40 on: April 20, 2004, 10:44:10 PM »

Your point? Are you, as many protestans do, trying to make the claim that all of these developements were wrong, or somehow un-orthodox? Or is your point that because these developements didn't occur in the first century, they are just superfical additions to the faith by crazy people, who had no life?

I don't see your point. I didn't deny that the Marian tradition of both east and west has developed greatly over the centuries, but only a fool can try to make the case that such developments were un-othodox and not in line with true Apostoloic tradition of the Church.

Tom, I must ask how you get through the Service of the Small Paraklesis or the Akathist hym, considering your opinions regarding the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Why did you embrace Orthodoxy if you knew that Orthodoxy has a rich Marian tradition expressed in beautiful hyms, Prayers, Icons, and feasts?
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« Reply #41 on: April 20, 2004, 10:56:20 PM »

.. Or is your point that because these developements didn't occur in the first century, they are just superfical additions to the faith by crazy people, who had no life?

Precisely. I think if you go back and do the research you will see this.

If one chooses to accept this teaching of the Church than that is fine. Just understand that is based upon tradition with a small "t".
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« Reply #42 on: April 20, 2004, 10:59:43 PM »

Tom, your post omits the Magnificat as well as Jesus calling her our mother--both in the gospels. In Revelation 12, she's compared to the Ark of the Covenant, which was made with all pure materials. Don't forget that Christ began his public ministry at Cana because of her urging. I suppose St. Luke and St. John "had no life." Whatever.

Finally, where is it in the New Testament that says we have to go by only what the Bible says? As far as I recall, Jesus told the Apostles to teach and to baptise. The only thing he ever wrote was in sand.

Most Holy Mother of God, Save us!

Matt
« Last Edit: April 20, 2004, 11:02:22 PM by Frobie » Logged
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« Reply #43 on: April 20, 2004, 11:02:19 PM »

Finally, where is it in the New Testament that says we have to go by only what the Bible says?

That's true. But also remember that for 800+ years the Church condemned icons as idols.

If I choose not to accept the teaching, will Christ condemn me? Is Mary now required for salvation? I think the sayings of the Christ in the Gospels are pretty clear on that.
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« Reply #44 on: April 20, 2004, 11:03:58 PM »

I must say a very un-Orthodox opinion. I have never heard such things from an Orthodox Christian.

I wonder...not one of what we call the "7 Ecumenical Councils" occured in the first century, The liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil weren't fomulated in the 1st century, niether were Icons, as we know them today, nor was the Iconstasis, nor was Byzantine Chant....hm...why did you become Orthodox again?

There is so much more to Christianity than just the first century! You are really limiting yourself here!

As for Icons, they weren't condemned for 800 years, to my knowledge. I think 800 is a little much. Icons have always been an important part of Eastern Christianity and this is why the Iconoclasts didn't last. But an Ecumenical Council solved it, and since you are an Orthodox Chrisitan, I wouldn't think you'd have to ask "who was right", for an Ecumenical Council is infallible.

I would think since you are Orthodox, you'd have faith that it was the true Church, and wouldn't have problems with the rich and profound venereation of the most holy Theotokos in the Orthodox Church.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2004, 11:09:05 PM by Ben » Logged

"I prefer to be accused unjustly, for then I have nothing to reproach myself with, and joyfully offer this to the good Lord. Then I humble myself at the thought that I am indeed capable of doing the thing of which I have been accused. " - Saint
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