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Author Topic: Would a Council Be Necessary?  (Read 24508 times) Average Rating: 0
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Linus7
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« Reply #45 on: May 11, 2004, 08:34:19 PM »

An Orthodox Christian using a Catholic Encyclopedia to defend Orthodoxy?!  Shocked Cheesy Wink

Good scholarship is good scholarship, and the period in question predates the East-West schism.

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« Reply #46 on: May 11, 2004, 08:58:04 PM »

Hi Linus,

I have some qualms with the Catholic Encyclopedia because its scholarship dates to 1913 and much has transpired since then, but I use it too since it is convenient.

I think that it is a bit unfair to accuse Severus of monothelitism because that is anachronistic: monthelitism evolved about one hundred years after him, and outside of his theological trajectory: Monothelitism evolved in a neo-Chalcedonian milieu (c.f. Leontius of Byzantium and friends), which was concerned with maintaining a unity in Christ; monthelitism tended to an extreme which was condemned by St Maximus.

For Severus, unity in Christ was accomplished by his "composite hypostasis", a theological idea completely unique to him.  This composite hypostasis was for Severus the principle of unity of Christ, and was the guarantee that his full humanity and full divinity were united.

Maximus stressed two wills because in his theological system, a nature could not be real without a will to animate it.  Severus was not talking about natures but a composite hypostasis, which was a different term altogether if I am not mistaken.

The question of repuidating a condemnation is a "hot topic" among theologians these days.  I think if it can be shown that a person's teachings were not heretical after all then they should be "uncondmened" in person while the teaching associated with them will of course still be anathatized (i.e. monophysitism).  A condemnation of Severus for instance never said anything about his personal status (i.e. that he was hell-bound) but rather that his teaching strayed from the Orthodox path.  I think if new evidence comes to light, he can be aquitted.  I don't think that that in any way says anything negative about the conciliar fathers: they acted within the information available to them, under imperial constraints, etc.  No one would be "overturning" their decision but refocusing the condemnation to monophysitism in its true sense (a la Julian of Halicarnasses, Eutyches, and friends) and away from the person of Severus.

I think the Church has the power and authority to do this if guided by the Holy Spirit, and I don't think it in any way undermines the authority of an ecumenical council; we would in no way be saying the fathers of long ago were wrong because they were not: they acted on the knowledge they had and in a constrained way.  We have different evidence.  Does that mean we "know more" than they did? No.  But we are as much the Church as they were.  They are guidposts for us but ultimately if the Holy Spirit in an ecumenical council moves the condemnations to be reapplied, I think it should happen.

I am sorry to be rambling on and on.  I have a test on patristics tomorrow in fact and this stuff always confuses me Smiley

Ciao!

anastasios
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« Reply #47 on: May 11, 2004, 09:23:32 PM »

I follow you, anastasios, and I know you must study and probably will not be able to reply tonight.

It seems to me that Severus' attribution of will to the "composite hypostasis" and not the natures is the essence of his error and what made him a Monothelite.

According to Hans Urs von Balthasar (Cosmic Liturgy: the Universe According to St. Maximus the Confessor, p. 78), St. Maximus saw Severus as a source of the Monothelite heresy and addressed Severus' errors in his Letter 12. Although Severus himself lived before Monothelitism became a controversy for the Orthodox (at the instigation of the Emperor Heraclius), Monothelitism was a consequence or product of Severus' theology. It seems to me that it still is a problem for Non-Chalcedonians.

Personally, I can see allowing theologians some leeway in the ongoing development of doctrine. Even those with orthodox intent can make mistakes.

That is why I am not a proponent of condemning and anathematizing dead men who (obviously) are not around to defend themselves, as was done at the 5th Council at the insistence of the Emperor Justinian.

I do think, however, that when living men are confronted with their errors by the Orthodox Catholic Church, and they refuse to recant, that is an entirely different matter, and rehabilitation becomes extremely problematic if not impossible.

Such, I believe, is the case with men like Severus, Dioscorus, and Timothy Aelurus.
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« Reply #48 on: May 12, 2004, 02:33:51 AM »

I think the only way there can be unity is this:

Hi Anastasios

I agree entirely with you. This is my own view also of the necessary way forward.

Good post.

Peter
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« Reply #49 on: May 12, 2004, 02:37:16 AM »

Linus

Are you saying that is Anastasios followed through his methodology with me you would class him as a heretic?

And if you really believe that because a man is a saint he could not be mistaken then you are yourself mistaken.

It is not worthy responding to you. And do not accuse me of personal attacks. I said that you were deceived and telling lies because what you are saying about ME is not what I believe. But you have said of me shameful things, that I am trying to use nice words to deceive people about what I really believe.

If you think that then you do not even consider me a Christian and I find that very distressing.
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« Reply #50 on: May 12, 2004, 02:54:49 AM »

So, Peter, if you have the same faith as the Eastern Orthodox, do you have any objections to the tome of St. Leo? If so, you do not share in the same faith as the Eastern Orthodox. Not because Leo was a Pope or a Saint, but because his Tome is a wonderful expression of the Orthodox teaching on Christ, to this day I know several Orthodox priests who give it to catechumens when questions come up regarding Christ's nature. Furthermore do you have ANY objections to any of the declarations of any of the 4 Ecumenical Councils that the EO's accept, and you reject? I'm not trying to be offensive..I just want to learn.

Hi Ben

But you see here is the problem, YOU have read the Tome and find it great. So you cannot even imagine how anyone could have a problem with it. That isn't reasonable in any circumstance. It would be like me giving you a new contract at work and saying 'sign it, it's a great contract!'. And you say, 'hang on, there are some bits here I need clarification on'. And I say, 'if you can't accept this contract then you are fired!'.

There is no problem with raising issues. This is how we come to a common understanding. It may well be that you read the Tome and believe it teaches A+B+C. What if I read the Tome and believe it teaches A+B+D, and D is error. Does that mean that either of us believe D? Surely it merely means that we have a difference of opinion about whether or not the Tome teaches D. In fact a discussion would show that we both believe A+B+C.

You are suggesting that if I have a problem with the Tome it must be because I reject what you believe it teaches, A+B+C, but that does not follow at all.

Why is Linus constantly insulting me by telling me that I must believe A+B+E+F, if not because he, and other EO, have the same issue of thinking they know what documents mean.

That is why we need to go beyond terminologies and documents to try and understand what we believe, then we can return to such things with a clearer knowledge of what is meant.

Are you aware of the criticism of the language of the Tome from a variety of sources, both Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant? I don't say this to damage the reputation it holds in your heart, but you need to be aware of why it is criticised before you can judge that anyone who has a problem with it must be a heretic.

I am quite capable and willing to go through the Tome and show that much/most of it is very well composed and useful, but there are several passages which have always caused problems. These need to be explained by the EO, just as the reasons for any objections also need to be explained.

A brutal resistance to offering explanation is not Orthodox, it is not Christian even, and we shame the saints by pretending that they would also refuse to explain and understand in our circumstances. If they are saints as we believe then we can be sure they would go an extra mile in understanding others, and it was surely because of the lack of communication and not because of a lack of will that so much misunderstanding was easily spread.

There are also objections to some parts of the latter conciliar documents. But again you must understand why and deal with that, not merely repeat as a meaningless mantra 'accept the councils'.

In another post I will perhaps list the major obstacles in the conciliar documents. There are not so many, and I am convinced that Orthodox of good will and integrity will be able to present the councils in such a way that they can be accepted in some sense. What is required is explanation on both sides, not abuse.

Might I also ask in return what you consider the defects in my faith to be. I know that you can do this charitably. Do you have some things in your mind that you think I believe?

Best wishes

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #51 on: May 12, 2004, 08:03:49 AM »

Here is something I quoted here once before, but it bears repeating in this context. It is a statement made by Fr. Paul Verghese, who later became Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios of the Syrian Orthodox Church of India, in a speech given in Geneva in 1970 at the third consultation of EO and Non-Chalcedonian theologians and printed in the Greek Orthodox Theological Review, Vol. XVI, nos. 1 and 2, 1971, pp. 133-143.

Quote
Here, as earlier in the decree, the Tome of Leo is expressly affirmed. The decree actually calls the Tome "the pillar of the right faith." You can perhaps understand that all this is rather difficult for us to accept. For us Leo is still a heretic. It may be possible for us to refrain from condemning him by name, in the interests of restoring communion between us. But we cannot in good conscience accept the Tome of Leo as "the pillar of the right faith" or accept a council which made such a declaration. The council approves explicitly what I clearly regard as heresy in the Tome of Leo: "Each form does in communion with the other what pertains properly to it, the Word, namely doing that which pertains to the Word, and the flesh that which pertains to the flesh." If one rightly understands the hypostatic union, it is not possible to say that the flesh does something on its own, even if it is said to be in union with the Word. The flesh does not have its own hypostasis. It is the hypostasis of the Word which acts through the flesh. It is the same hypostasis of the Word which does the actions of the Word and of his own flesh. The argument of the horos [dogmatic definition] in this Sixth Council is basically unacceptable to us.

We are unable to say what this council says when it affirms "two wills and two operations concurring most fitly in him"....

To summarize: Acceptance of the Sixth Council is much more difficult for us than the acceptance of Chalcedon. The following are the chief reasons:...

b) We are unable to accept the dithelete formula, attributing will and energy to the natures rather than to the hypostasis. We can only affirm the one united and unconfused divine-human nature, will and energy of Christ the incarnate Lord.


c) We find that this Sixth Council exalts as its standard mainly the teaching of Leo and Agatho, popes of Rome, paying only lip-service to the teachings of the Blessed Cyril. We regard Leo as a heretic for his teaching that the will and operation of Christ is to be attributed to the two natures of Christ rather than to the one hypostasis. The human nature is as "natural" to Christ the incarnate Word as is the divine. It is one hypostasis who now is both divine and human, and all the activities come from the one hypostasis.

Now if Non-Chalcedonians really have the same faith as the Orthodox and are not Monothelites and Monophysites, then perhaps someone could explain the quote above from a Non-Chalcedonian prelate.

I realize it dates from 1970. I would be happy to see a more current statement from a Non-Chalcedonian leader affirming the Orthodox doctrine as proclaimed by the 6th Council (namely, that Christ has two wills, divine and human) and repudiating the beliefs expressed by the Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios above.

Perhaps it is wise to let a Non-Chalcedonian metropolitan tell us what Non-Chalcedonians really believe.

The bolding in the quote above is mine, for emphasis.


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« Reply #52 on: May 12, 2004, 08:51:30 AM »

It is clear, Linus7, that you are not aware of what is being said. You are posting words assuming that your understanding must reign supreme.

You are wrong. You have misunderstood what is being said.

This is from the Second Agreed Statement:

"Both families agree that the Hypostasis of the Logos became composite (sunqetoj) by uniting to His divine uncreated nature with its natural will and energy, which He has in common with the Father and the Holy Spirit, created human nature, which He assumed at the Incarnation and made His own, with its natural will and energy.

Both families agree that the natures with their proper energies and wills are united hypostatically and naturally without confusion, without change, without division and without separation, and that they are distinguished in thought alone (th qewria monh).

Both families agree that He Who wills and acts is always the one Hypostasis of the Logos incarnate."

With which of these passages do you disagree, and thereby condemn your own bishops? It seems to confess a complete human will to me, andit has been synodally accepted by all the Oriental Orthodox and is therefore an official position.

Do you wish to understand what Metropolitan Paulos means? I can explain to you if you wish.

Peter Theodore

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« Reply #53 on: May 12, 2004, 10:16:00 AM »

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peterfarrington:
It is clear, Linus7, that you are not aware of what is being said. You are posting words assuming that your understanding must reign supreme.

You are wrong. You have misunderstood what is being said.

No, Peter.

I did not misunderstand.

Shall I quote Mar Gregorios again?

Quote
The argument of the horos [dogmatic definition] in this Sixth Council is basically unacceptable to us.

We are unable to say what this council says when it affirms "two wills and two operations concurring most fitly in him"....

To summarize: Acceptance of the Sixth Council is much more difficult for us than the acceptance of Chalcedon. The following are the chief reasons:...

b) We are unable to accept the dithelete formula, attributing will and energy to the natures rather than to the hypostasis. We can only affirm the one united and unconfused divine-human nature, will and energy of Christ the incarnate Lord.

c) We find that this Sixth Council exalts as its standard mainly the teaching of Leo and Agatho, popes of Rome, paying only lip-service to the teachings of the Blessed Cyril. We regard Leo as a heretic for his teaching that the will and operation of Christ is to be attributed to the two natures of Christ rather than to the one hypostasis.

Seems pretty plain, especially this part:

"We are unable to accept the dithelete formula, attributing will and energy to the natures rather than to the hypostasis. We can only affirm the one united and unconfused divine-human nature, will and energy of Christ the incarnate Lord."

That is pretty much a textbook definition of Monothelitism.

Quote
peterfarrington: This is from the Second Agreed Statement:

Please provide the context of the "Second Agreed Statement."

Who agreed?

What is your source for this statement?

Quote
peterfarrington: "Both families agree that the Hypostasis of the Logos became composite (sunqetoj) by uniting to His divine uncreated nature with its natural will and energy, which He has in common with the Father and the Holy Spirit, created human nature, which He assumed at the Incarnation and made His own, with its natural will and energy.

Both families agree that the natures with their proper energies and wills are united hypostatically and naturally without confusion, without change, without division and without separation, and that they are distinguished in thought alone (th qewria monh).

Both families agree that He Who wills and acts is always the one Hypostasis of the Logos incarnate."

With which of these passages do you disagree, and thereby condemn your own bishops? It seems to confess a complete human will to me, andit has been synodally accepted by all the Oriental Orthodox and is therefore an official position.

Do you wish to understand what Metropolitan Paulos means? I can explain to you if you wish.

Peter Theodore

The statement you quoted above runs counter to Mar Gregorios' statement in that it attributes wills to the natures of Christ rather than to the hypostasis alone.

I am not sure about the line "they are distinguished in thought alone."

I have reservations about the statement. It seems to me to arrive at a Monothelite conclusion by reducing Christ's human nature to an abstraction "distinguished in thought alone."

Your post implies that all Orthodox bishops have accepted the statement you quoted.

I doubt that very much.

Anyway, recall that in each Emperor-inspired attempt to appease the Monophysites, many - perhaps the majority - of the Eastern bishops went along with the program. In each case it was the remnant of Orthodox Catholics who stood their ground and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, ultimately prevailed.
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« Reply #54 on: May 12, 2004, 10:33:43 AM »

Linus it isn't worth talking to you.

May God have mercy on you.
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« Reply #55 on: May 12, 2004, 10:57:15 AM »

Everybody:

Feel free to quote the Catholic Encyclopedia because, not only is its scholarship good as Linus7 observed, but, more importantly, it is published by the "One True Church!" Grin

(BTW, the CATHEN is currently being updated on-line, by volunteers, topic by topic, page by page! I think it is about 10-15% done. )

Now, back to our "regular" pissing contest. Tongue

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« Reply #56 on: May 12, 2004, 11:18:21 AM »

The Cathen is a good starter but it is limited by its age and by the naturally Roman perspective.

I use it for an overview of a subject and for bibliographic material, but it is a mistake to rely on it, as some do, when it deals with controversial matters. On the subjects I do know something about it is not always reliable. But that is the case with most/all sources.

Hooray for the volunteer updaters.

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #57 on: May 12, 2004, 11:48:24 AM »

Peace Deacon Peter,

welcome back . I was afraid that your lent "sleep" will take
you through the Holy Resurrection and 50 days after.

By the way, congratulations on establishing the First Coptic Monastary in England.

Stavro
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« Reply #58 on: May 12, 2004, 11:55:02 AM »

Peter...Linus provides quotes and poses questions..you dimiss them with a "May God have mercy on you". Why won't you address his last post point by point? The quotes from Mar Gregorios? If the NC's consider the decrees of any of the Ecumenical Councils Heretics or any of the celebrated EO Saints, such as Leo. Then EOs and OOs don't have the same faith! If Leo is a heretic, then his teachings are heretical, and if that is so then how can you say you have the same faith as the EO's? I'm not attacking you, I'm trying to ask honest questions, that you don't seem willing to answer.
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« Reply #59 on: May 12, 2004, 11:55:28 AM »

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Linus: Anyway, recall that in each Emperor-inspired attempt to appease the Monophysites, many - perhaps the majority - of the Eastern bishops went along with the program. In each case it was the remnant of Orthodox Catholics who stood their ground and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, ultimately prevailed.
By Emperor-Inspired appeasement, do you mean Justinian Murderer, who killed the OO in millions or the rest of the Murder Emperors like Hercules, who ordered the torture and persecution of the OO ? Or did you mean Marcan and his bed companion Pulcharia, who by the order of LEO the Nestorian did kill 300,000 Copts in a matter of months after Chalcedon ?

You should be ashamed of your black post-Chalcedon history and pray to true God to forgive your Patriarchs, Bishops, Emperors, and your ancestors all together.

Stavro
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« Reply #60 on: May 12, 2004, 01:16:01 PM »


Quote
Hi Ben

Hey Peter!  Smiley

Quote
But you see here is the problem, YOU have read the Tome and find it great.


Not only I read the Tome of Leo and find it great, but an Ecumenical Council, guided from ALL error by the Holy Ghost, thought it was great. And to this day the RCC and EOC think the document was a correct expression of the orthodox faith. I'd be shocked if I ever found a RCC or EOC bishop saying the Tome of Leo wasn't great!

Quote
So you cannot even imagine how anyone could have a problem with it.


I never said this. But I do have a problem with somone having a problem with something that was declared correct, great, etc. by an Ecumenical Council.

Quote
It would be like me giving you a new contract at work and saying 'sign it, it's a great contract!'. And you say, 'hang on, there are some bits here I need clarification on'. And I say, 'if you can't accept this contract then you are fired!'.

But, we are dealing with something much more serious here than a contract. We are dealing with an Ecumenical Council, and the one true faith. If the EOs and OOs do indeed have the same faith, then there should be absolutely no problem with the Tome of Leo, from an OO prespective. Please correct me if I am wrong, but if you have the same faith as an Orthodox Christian or even a Catholic Christian in Christological matters, then there shouldn't be a problem with the Tome of Leo, for if the EO faith is the same as yours, then your faith must be the same as that of the Tome of St. Leo.

Quote
You are suggesting that if I have a problem with the Tome it must be because I reject what you believe it teaches.

Well if you have a problem with the Tome of Leo, then you have a problem with the orthodox faith - notice the little "o".

Quote
Why is Linus constantly insulting me

I have yet to see Linus insult you.

Quote
That is why we need to go beyond terminologies and documents to try and understand what we believe, then we can return to such things with a clearer knowledge of what is meant.

Yes, and once this happens there should be no difficulty on your part to except all 7 Councils that are considered Ecmenical, Infallible, and foundations of the orthodox Christian faith - and again little "o".

Quote
Are you aware of the criticism of the language of the Tome from a variety of sources, both Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant? I don't say this to damage the reputation it holds in your heart, but you need to be aware of why it is criticised before you can judge that anyone who has a problem with it must be a heretic.

I realize that many have issues with the language of the Tome of St. Leo, but an Ecumenical Council declared it a perfect expression of the orthodox faith, and as I said to this day the RCC and the EOC uses it to express their faith in Christ.

Quote
I am quite capable and willing to go through the Tome and show that much/most of it is very well composed and useful, but there are several passages which have always caused problems. These need to be explained by the EO, just as the reasons for any objections also need to be explained.

I agree, things need to be discussed and agreed upon, but when both sides come to an understanding what prevents you or any other NC from excepting the Tome of St. Leo and the Ecumenical Councils that your currently reject?

Quote
they are saints as we believe then we can be sure they would go an extra mile in understanding others, and it was surely because of the lack of communication and not because of a lack of will that so much misunderstanding was easily spread.

I agree.

Quote
There are also objections to some parts of the latter conciliar documents. But again you must understand why and deal with that, not merely repeat as a meaningless mantra 'accept the councils'.

The Ecumenical Councils are infallible, they were guided by the Holy Ghost, and prevented from error. To reject any of what the Ecumenical Councils declared is to reject orthodoxy. Now, there may be misunderstandings that must be cleared up, of course, but, in my opinion, you must accept the Councils to be an orthodox Christian -notice the little "o" again, I'm not going to go into who's Orthodox and who isn't again, for I am in no place to do so.

Quote
In another post I will perhaps list the major obstacles in the conciliar documents.


Please do!

Quote
Might I also ask in return what you consider the defects in my faith to be
.

As I have said, I am trying to learn more about your faith. But if you reject the Ecumenical Councils, then our faith IS different, perhaps these differences are only on the surface, but they exist. As a Roman Catholic I could point out tons of defects in your faith, but how about you ask Linus what defectys exist in your faith, since he is Orthodox and not too fond with the NCs.

In Christ,
Ben
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« Reply #61 on: May 12, 2004, 01:49:57 PM »

But if you reject the Ecumenical Councils, then our faith IS different, perhaps these differences are only on the surface, but they exist. As a Roman Catholic I could point out tons of defects in your faith, but how about you ask Linus what defectys exist in your faith, since he is Orthodox and not too fond with the NCs.

Hi Ben,

I am rather at a loss reading your post. You actually have many more ecumenical councils than the Byzantines and yet you are defending Orthodoxy which must be heretical by your own consideration. And if it is heretical then how can it matter whether or not I agree with it.

Your argument about the Tome is not at all conclusive since you actually ignore any criticism that might be made of the Tome rather than actually stop to defend it. This is just a circular argument. "The Tome is beyond criticism therefore any criticism is not worth considering".

What you are saying is the same as Linus, which is strange since he is a heretic by your own position since he does not accept all the ecumenical councils. You are saying that it doesn't matter what I actually believe what is more important is what I believe ABOUT a document. You never once ask how what I believe compares with what you believe the Tome says.

What is the point? This isn't a discussion. It would be like me saying that because you venerate Leo there is no point me discussing anything with you until you repudiate him, except that I wouldn't take that position since it is completely fruitless.

Why am I trying to discuss Christology with the Assyrians? Why don't I just insist they accept Ephesus 431 before I will listen to them? Because that wouldn't be Christian. It is demeaning others by saying that I do not need or want to hear what they believe - I KNOW IT ALL ALREADY. Except that this is rarely true.

Your unwillingness to explain what the Tome means, and that is what your insistence it must be accepted without discussion means, suggests that you do not feel very comfortable or secure in discussing it. Are you aware that Father John Romanides, felt quite able to criticise the Tome without failing to accept it? This lack of self-reflection is very worrying when I find it in EO, especially converts. If we are all unable to reflect on our own communities and see where errors and faults occurred then we are unable to relate to others in a charitable manner because we cannot even begin to see ourselves as others see us.

Since I have confessed, as have my bishops in Synod, the double consubstantiality of Christ. etc etc etc. What is missing? The mere detail - and it is a mere detail unless we are Pharisees - of how we deal with historical documents and events bound up in the controversial period.

If someone is not interested in what I believe then there is no point responding. Is there Ben?

I am at a loss to see how someone who is a strict Roman Catholic and must view both EO and OO as heretical can spend so much time defending that heretical EO position. Again, if all the ecumenical councils must be accepted to be Orthodox then how can you defend Linus who only accepts 7 when the EP teaches there are 8, and all the Patriarchs and many bishops in the 19th century also defined 8. You can't have it both ways.

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #62 on: May 12, 2004, 02:13:43 PM »

Again, if all the ecumenical councils must be accepted to be Orthodox then how can you defend Linus who only accepts 7 when the EP teaches there are 8, and all the Patriarchs and many bishops in the 19th century also defined 8. You can't have it both ways.

Peter Theodore
Your argument was pretty good until this last paragraph.
I guess I must assume that you now wish  us to include the 8th Council of 879 and the "9th" Council(s) of 1341 in the list to be accepted?
We've been through this before on these councils -they were ecumenical (called by the emperor) and have been universally received by us (the last by virtue of "no objections"). That they lack the formality of being declared ecumenical may in fact be the only reason they are not so included in the OO/EO dialogue. You appear to want a bigger cake to eat!

Demetri

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« Reply #63 on: May 12, 2004, 02:53:42 PM »

Hi Demetri

Personally I'd be happy if you wanted to. Smiley They all need dealing with, just as the EO need to deal with OO history.

I'm don't think I'm convinced (but I'm always willing to take note of what you say) by the fluidity of your definition of ecumenicity since it seems to allow for the EO to accept whatever they want how they want. If it is acceptable for the EO to only accept the 8th and 9th without declaring them ecumenical then why is it not acceptable to 'accept' the 5th, for instance, by virtue of not raising objections, without declaring it ecumenical?

I still don't see how Linus and now Ben's demands that a council must be just declared ecumenical, no questions asked, can be consistent with EO literature all over the place having different numbers of councils declared ecumenical. If all your patriarchs (I know I'm rehashing what was said before but I am constantly trying to think through conciliarity and I am not at all sure that the EO have it sorted) declare an 8th council in the 19th century then I don't see how Linus' declaring 7 as ecumenical is consistent with that.

I mean that genuinely now not playing argument games.

What you say is important because it opens the opportunity of 'accepting' a council without declaring it ecumenical. But I wonder how far you consider that goes? Bearing in mind that from my pov Chalcedon and the latter councils have not yet been received by the Church but only be imperial force excluding those who raise objections.

What I have in mind is a long document that contains all the doctrinal and canonical material from Chalcedon to 1341 if you want, which glosses all the controversial bits so that the EO can explain how they are really Orthodox, and then that this document, which represents accepting the councils as documents is received.

How would that play with you?

PT

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« Reply #64 on: May 12, 2004, 08:29:58 PM »


Quote
Hi Ben,

Hey Peter, and God bless!

Quote
I am rather at a loss reading your post.


I'm sorry about this, I will try to make this one a little less confusing...I don't do it on purpose Smiley
Quote
You actually have many more ecumenical councils than the Byzantines and yet you are defending Orthodoxy which must be heretical by your own consideration. And if it is heretical then how can it matter whether or not I agree with it.

Yes, the Catholic Church has 21 Ecumenical Councils:
http://www.catholicism.org/pages/ecumenic.htm

However, the Catholic Church recognizes the important status of the first 7 Ecumenical Councils, because the same 7 are considered Ecumenical and Infallible by both the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. So, the first 7 are really a foundation of orthodox teaching on Christ and the Trinity, and unity, for all 7 were held before the split between East and West.

I do not think I was "defending Orthodxy", I was was defending Christian orthodoxy and my opinions, but I don't think I was defending Eastern Orthodoxy, and if I did, it was totally by accident. I was defending the first 7 ecumenical Councils, 4 of which you reject, and that they are essential to the faith, but you must remember these are Catholic Councils too, so what RC wouldn't defend the Tome of St. Leo? Or the first 7 Ecumenical Councils of Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church?

Quote
Your argument about the Tome is not at all conclusive since you actually ignore any criticism that might be made of the Tome rather than actually stop to defend it. This is just a circular argument. "The Tome is beyond criticism therefore any criticism is not worth considering".


I have read the tome of St. Leo, I even have it posted on my MSN group, I would be glad to discuss every sentence of it with you.

My point is not that "the Tome is beyond criticism", but that it is a good and faithful representation of the orthodox faith, which both Catholics and Orthodox share on the matters addressed in the Tome, and if your faith is the same as the Eastern Orthodox faith, then you faith must be the same as that represented in the Tome of St. Leo, this is just logic!

If the Tome of St. Leo = Eastern Orthodox teaching
and Eastern Orthodox teaching = Oriental Orthodox teaching
then it is only correct to conclude that
the Tome of St. Leo = Oriental Orthodox teaching.

This same logic applies to the declarations of the Ecumenical Councils, that you and the rest of the OO's reject.

Quote
which is strange since he is a heretic by your own position since he does not accept all the ecumenical councils.


I never called Linus a heretic, I leave such things up to Holy Mother the Church. And as you might know, I am a little confused as to which is the true Church, so who knows, some day I might be an EO, or heck I might go Nestorian and call him a Heretic for rejecting the teachings of the great defender of the true faith, Nestorius  Wink Cheesy

Quote
You are saying that it doesn't matter what I actually believe what is more important is what I believe ABOUT a document.


NO, THIS IS *NOT* WHAT I AM SAYING.

I am saying that it is more important what an Infallible Ecumenical Council and Holy Mother the Church, both guided by the Holy Ghost, say about the document. Your opinion, to me at least, is nothing next to that of an Ecumenical Council or the Church, I am just be honest here, I don't mean to offend you.

Quote
You never once ask how what I believe compares with what you believe the Tome
says.

I am sorry about this. As I said I would love to go through each sentence, if ya like, of the Tome, and discuss it until there is nothing left to discuss.

Quote
What is the point? This isn't a discussion
.

But I would love to have a discussion on the matter.

Quote
Why am I trying to discuss Christology with the Assyrians?

I dunno, beware of the those Nestorians Wink

And just in case.... I'm *not* being serious, I do not believe the Assryians to be Nestorians.

Quote
Your unwillingness to explain what the Tome


My God, we've been on the topic of the Tome for only a few posts! There are still things in this thread that you remain unwilling to address....how about you address those and then we will talk the Tome of St. Leo?

Quote
Are you aware that Father John Romanides, felt quite able to criticise the Tome without failing to accept it?


Ah, but do you accept the Tome of St. Leo?


Quote
What is missing?


Ask an EO for what is missing to be "Orthodox".....hmm but maybe not Linus, because you're not going to like what he'll say.

But as a Catholic....you are missing 18 Ecumenical Councils and submission to Rome...lol however, I have a feeling you aren't going to fix that  Wink Cheesy

Quote
If someone is not interested in what I believe


I am interested, but just because I won't say it's ok for you to reject Chalcedon, and the other Ecumenical Councils, doesnt mean I'm just interested in bashing your faith!

Quote
I am at a loss to see how someone who is a strict Roman Catholic and must view both EO and OO as heretical can spend so much time defending that heretical EO position.


The first seven Ecumenical Councils of the RCC, are the same as the 7 Ecumenical Councils of the EO. Both East and West share the exact same faith in those Christological matters addressed by the Ecumenical Councils.

In Christ,
Ben
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« Reply #65 on: May 13, 2004, 01:58:07 AM »

Hi Demetri

Personally I'd be happy if you wanted to. Smiley They all need dealing with, just as the EO need to deal with OO history.
Indeed they do. In fact, on the last two threads we had over these issues, I asked for an enumeration of what you call OO history and I call your local councils needing examination by us---and got no reply. Do I assume there are none after 431?
Now for reference:
Quote
Fourth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople - Eighth Ecumenical (Imperial) Council 879-880 AD
Resolved scandals between East and West regarding Bulgaria. Expelled those who did not recognise Nicaea II as Seventh Ecumenical Council. Outlawed and repudiated local councils of Rome and Constantinople against Saint Photius. Established that the Symbol of Faith from Constantinople I (the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed) was to be forever 'un-innovated' and 'immutable'. Required those excommunicated by Rome to be treated as such by Constantinople and vice-versa. (Accepted by all five patriarchates, including Pope John VIII)

Council at Constantinople - Ninth Ecumenical (Imperial) Council, 1341, 1349, 1351 AD
Convened regarding Barlaam the Calabrian and Acindynus. Condemned Barlaam the Calabrian and Acindynus. Condemned those who think the light of Christ's Transfiguration was an apparition, or the essence of God and those who do not believe the divine light is the uncreated grace and energy of God which proceeds from God's essence; those who do not recognise the undivided distinction between God's essence and his energy; those who deny the energy of God is uncreated; those who say the distinction between energy and essence implies that God is not simple and uncompounded; those claim the term 'Godhead' should only be applied to the essence of God, and not to the divine energy; and those who maintain the Divine Essence can be communicated.

Now, to carry on:
Quote
I'm don't think I'm convinced (but I'm always willing to take note of what you say) by the fluidity of your definition of ecumenicity since it seems to allow for the EO to accept whatever they want how they want. If it is acceptable for the EO to only accept the 8th and 9th without declaring them ecumenical then why is it not acceptable to 'accept' the 5th, for instance, by virtue of not raising objections, without declaring it ecumenical?

I am not sure I am convinced you understand my definition, whether fluid or no. You seem to feel that once a Great Synod has concluded - that the Holy Spirit has worked through the churchmen to an agreement- that the Holy Spirit packs His briefcase and goes away and we are free to pick and chose from that point on. I call that a rather thin view of the Church itself. Indeed, as the Councils are the highest authority, their validation  and continued acceptance is also guided by the Holy Spirit. The great synods of bishops are the highest authority, the WHOLE Church (including us, the +++¦++-é, the laity) constitute the breadth of authority. You seem to deny or ignore that we all defend and discern the Truth under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Or do you disagree?

Quote
I still don't see how Linus and now Ben's demands that a council must be just declared ecumenical, no questions asked, can be consistent with EO literature all over the place having different numbers of councils declared ecumenical.

And I find NO inconsistency in the position of Linus And Ben. We have 7 Councils declared as ecumenically received and accepted. There has been no selective acceptance. On the basis of these 7 discussion between the EO and OO have been based. None of this denies or lowers the last two councils which lack only some "official" stamp, usually given by the next council (but not always 'by' then).
And I really don't think that the Eastern Orthodox communion is going to hold a Great Synod merely to formally declare these last councils as being what they in fact they are by all other criteria- Ecumenical Councils- and then insist they be added to the OO/EO discussion. Nor do I think YOUR bishops are ignoring them either. I would bet they are being considered (or have been commented upon in the last few centuries).

Quote
If all your patriarchs (I know I'm rehashing what was said before but I am constantly trying to think through conciliarity and I am not at all sure that the EO have it sorted) declare an 8th council in the 19th century then I don't see how Linus' declaring 7 as ecumenical is consistent with that.

Again, Linus is taking a strictly legal approach. I have no  problem with that. And I AM sure we have sorted it out as well. Perhaps not all internet historian-theologians are clear. That's understandable to a degree - the Pedalion only exists, without Latin editing,  in Greek on Mt. Athos and in the Phanar (hopefully it's there and not hostage with the achives at Halki). We, you and I, are handicapped to start here.

Quote
What you say is important because it opens the opportunity of 'accepting' a council without declaring it ecumenical. But I wonder how far you consider that goes?

You flatter this sinner who is unschooled in theological matters. Obviously, by definition a council is deemed ecumenical - before (by virtue of its being called as a Great Synod), during (by virtue of the nature and scope of its work), and AFTER (by virtue of its broad acceptance by the entire church over time after the council concludes). Thus, a council CAN be accepted as ecumenical BEFORE (not WITHOUT) declaration.

Quote
Bearing in mind that from my pov Chalcedon and the latter councils have not yet been received by the Church but only be imperial force excluding those who raise objections.

I understand your point of view above. You see mine above. We've had no emporer to cloud these issues for us for quite a while now and the councils still hold.

Quote
What I have in mind is a long document that contains all the doctrinal and canonical material from Chalcedon to 1341 if you want, which glosses all the controversial bits so that the EO can explain how they are really Orthodox, and then that this document, which represents accepting the councils as documents is received.

How would that play with you?

I am not sure. I AM sure I don't have access to real documents and  that my Greek is too poor even if I had those documents to put anything meaningful together.
I have been awaiting a similar list of OO councils (local or otherwise) for over 4 months on this forum and can only conclude from not seeing any that there are none (which I doubt).
Anyway, I think a better approach is for those who deny the 4th+ councils to explain why they are NOT Orthodox. Wink

Demetri
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« Reply #66 on: May 13, 2004, 09:03:12 AM »

Quote
Anyway, I think a better approach is for those who deny the 4th+ councils to explain why they are NOT Orthodox.

Just a quick note because I am off site supposed to be fixing a sales mans VPN connection to work.

I have no problem with this and will do it. I have been away over Lent so that may be why I didn't respond to your requests.

It is not so much that we deny the Orthodoxy of the latter councils, indeed we do accept their Orthodoxy since we have synodally stated that the EO are Orthodox and therefore these councils must be liable of an Orthodox interpretation otherwise you would be heretics.

It is the status as ecumenical which we deny, since we have, for instance, rejected the Three Chapters long before the Chalcedonians and never needed a council, or an Emperor, to encourage us to.

It cannot be necessary that we accept Constantinople II as absolutely authoritative since we reached the decisions that it did 100 years earlier, but it is necessary to confirm the Orthodoxy of its documents.

I will go through these councils and the Tome and pull out all the problematic passages - passages that need EO explanation so that it is possible for OO's to read them in the same way. This is necessary because some of these passages are liable to heretical interpretations and we have always considered that they had been written and meant to be understood in an heretical manner.

You understand my point?

Later on I'll do the list.

Peter
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« Reply #67 on: May 13, 2004, 10:00:20 AM »

Linus it isn't worth talking to you.

May God have mercy on you.


I fail to see anything in my last post to merit such a response.

Thanks for wishing God's mercy upon me, though.

Personally, I think you find me "unworthy" because you are unable to support many of your assertions, and I have this annoying habit of making that fact pretty clear.
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« Reply #68 on: May 13, 2004, 10:04:21 AM »

Just a quick note because I am off site supposed to be fixing a sales mans VPN connection to work.

VPNs - "fun" :-

Quote
I have no problem with this and will do it. I have been away over Lent so that may be why I didn't respond to your requests.

This I would very much appreciate.

Now, below let's call Quote A:
Quote
It is not so much that we deny the Orthodoxy of the latter councils, indeed we do accept their Orthodoxy since we have synodally stated that the EO are Orthodox and therefore these councils must be liable of an Orthodox interpretation otherwise you would be heretics.

This Quote B:
Quote
It is the status as ecumenical which we deny, since we have, for instance, rejected the Three Chapters long before the Chalcedonians and never needed a council, or an Emperor, to encourage us to.

This Quote C:
Quote
It cannot be necessary that we accept Constantinople II as absolutely authoritative since we reached the decisions that it did 100 years earlier, but it is necessary to confirm the Orthodoxy of its documents.

ISTM that that Quote A above makes Quote B moot, and possibly Quote C as well.

You seem to want to take each council alone and roll back the clock in order to re-examine these councils back in time- which will again lead you into "possible" vs actual interpretations (which is where you seem hung up).

Take the Church of Georgia (one of my favorites, in fact). This church rejected Chalcedon from 451 until 601 with the same reasoning of potential interpretation. After 601, and WITHOUT imperial influence, the Church of Georgia accepted Chalcedon (and the Tome and the resolution of the "Letters") and re-joined the communion. Not many are aware of their pedigree, so to speak, and today they are one of the stanchest defenders of Orthodoxy and are complaining heavily about the dialogue with your church.
But, again, you also seem to think we are asking an acceptance of each, instead of all. I see a difference.

Quote
I will go through these councils and the Tome and pull out all the problematic passages - passages that need EO explanation so that it is possible for OO's to read them in the same way. This is necessary because some of these passages are liable to heretical interpretations and we have always considered that they had been written and meant to be understood in an heretical manner.
If you wish, but I've no need to re-hash the discussion you and Linus provided over the last few months. Indeed, Quote A questions needing that.

Quote
Later on I'll do the list.


If not a problem, I prefer the list sooner rather than later.

Demetri
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« Reply #69 on: May 13, 2004, 10:09:31 AM »


It is the status as ecumenical which we deny, since we have, for instance, rejected the Three Chapters long before the Chalcedonians and never needed a council, or an Emperor, to encourage us to.

It cannot be necessary that we accept Constantinople II as absolutely authoritative since we reached the decisions that it did 100 years earlier, but it is necessary to confirm the Orthodoxy of its documents.

The Church is one.

How can there be a separate part - a "we" - that can reach conclusions that obviate the need to accept councils regarded by the Church as ecumenical?

If one believes the councils are Orthodox, then one should accept them as ecumenical.

Rejection of the ecumenical councils is in and of itself heretical.

Anyone who claims to be Orthodox and yet finds some reason - whatever it is - to reject
the ecumenical councils, not only renders his claim highly suspect, he makes it ludicrous.

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« Reply #70 on: May 13, 2004, 12:49:51 PM »

I agree with Linus on this one.

If one believes the Councils are Orthodox, then why do you insist on rejecting them, Peter? If they are Orthodox, why are you a member of a Church that doesn't accept these Councils, which you claim to be truly Orthodox? It just doesn't make sense to me, please help me understand.
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« Reply #71 on: May 13, 2004, 01:04:18 PM »

Just a note to Ben.

While you may agree with Linus, he doesn't think you're a member of the Church either. Smiley
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« Reply #72 on: May 13, 2004, 01:33:18 PM »

Just a note to Ben.

While you may agree with Linus, he doesn't think you're a member of the Church either. Smiley

Well of course! How could a little Nestorian-lovin Papist like me be a member of the true Church?  Wink
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« Reply #73 on: May 13, 2004, 04:10:01 PM »

Ben

You are mistaken if you think that not calling a council ecumenical means not believing what it teaches.

It is quite easy for me to read the documents of the 5th council and agree with them all - especially since I am aware of the context. I can easily consider that what it says is Orthodox and describes the faith.

I do not see that it is necessary to then declare it ecumenical. I have said it is Orthodox.

It seems to me that Linus and you are saying that it doesn't matter if I consider it Orthodox, I must declare it ecumenical.

I don't see what that adds in this controversy. It seems to me to ignore the more important matter of agreeing in the faith by concentrating on a matter of order.

This is not a dogmatic statement, just a discussion point. But are you saying that if I accept that the statements and documents of the 5th council describe the faith of the Church and indeed my own faith and are to be considered Orthodox but I do not call the council ecumenical then I am rejected?

Don't you think that is rather an odd pov? It says that it doesn't matter what I believe about Christ I must have the same view of history or I am not in the Church. I don't think I believe in that kind of God.

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« Reply #74 on: May 13, 2004, 04:29:14 PM »

Hi Demetri

I appreciate you ordered thoughts.

If I might respond, I think you downplay the real objections to Chalcedon at the time which I am describing as a matter of perception but actually which I believe were real errors believed by some parties within the Chalcedonian community. I think, as just one example, of the incontrevertible fact that most of the West believed that the letter of Ibas had been accepted as Orthodox at Chalcedon.

Now I don't doubt that the more Cyrilline and Eastern community of Chalcedonians didn't believe this - although there were supporters of Ibas in the East in the Three Chapters controversy. But almost all of the West schismed from Vigilius when he finally signed up to the condemnation - and he had to be imprisoned to get him to agree - because for 100 years it had been believed that the letter of Ibas was Orthodox.

Now as far as I am concerned I am not so interested in the issue of whether or not the letter of Ibas was accepted as Orthodox (I can show that many THOUGHT it had been). But this does make it quite reasonable that the Anti-Chalcedonians would have seen these supporters of Ibas and taken this to be the actual and definitive outcome of Chalcedon.

What I am interested in is the two communities that exist now. Do THEY believe the same. And I am not so interested in forcing a uniform and partisan view of history, I am interested in discovering if the same substance of faith exists and then reflecting on the past to see how we got where we are.

So I do not want to rereun the controversy at all. I never refer to Leo of Rome as a heretic for instance. I might want to say - with Father John Romanides - that the Tome is ambiguous, or that Leo had little understanding of the Eastern situation. But even that is not what seems to me to be most important. Rather it is that the Tome should be read, the OO should explain what seems to them to be objectionable and the EO should explain how they understand it. The OO should then say that if the Tome, and Chalcedon and the other councils are read with THAT understanding then they agree that this understanding is Orthodox and describes the OO faith and being an Orthodox understanding is worthy of universal acceptance.

If you think that Quote A makes Quote B moot then I think that is good. I do not think we will use the term ecumenical of those events in a particular controversial context. But I think that we could use ecumenical to describe a document which brought together the contents of these events together with a clear understanding of how they should be understood and how they should not be understood.

The 5th council is very well written in respect of making clear in each canon how the canon should be understood. If Chalcedon had been presented in the same way then it might have made a later process easier.

But if we turn to history then we have problems. St Columbanus DID reject the 5th council. He DID believe it denied the dual consubstantiality of Christ. Most of his compeers also rejected it, and worse they had received the Three Chapters for the previous 100 years. No wonder the Anti-Chalcedonians believed that Chalcedon was a 'Nestorian' plot. And I don't mean that in a polemical sense.

I can equally quite easily see why the Antiochean Chalcedonians found the Cyrilline Christology of the Alexandrians difficult to stomach.

In fact history merely provides ammunition for all of us to prove that everyone is wrong except us Smiley

So I'd like to start with the substance of the faith of the EO and OO and see where that goes.

In brief:

Double consubstantiality of Christ - perfect God and perfect man - without division or confusion - I accept that
Reject the Three Chapters - well the Anti-Chalcedonians have always done that
Human and Divine will of Christ - I accept that
Veneration of Icons - of course I accept that

So Ben, I do accept the substance of the latter councils. To not call them ecumenical is not the same as rejecting their content

Peter
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« Reply #75 on: May 13, 2004, 04:43:17 PM »

If one believes the Councils are Orthodox, then why do you insist on rejecting them, Peter? If they are Orthodox, why are you a member of a Church that doesn't accept these Councils, which you claim to be truly Orthodox? It just doesn't make sense to me, please help me understand.

Hi Ben

You are confusing Orthodox with ecumenical. Something may be Orthodox but not ecumenical. Otherwise you are saying that unless a council is ecumenical it is not Orthodox.

The council of Ephesus 449 condemned Theodore of Mopsuestia. Yet that council is not treated very intelligently by most Chalcedonians - almost all of whom have never read the acts of that council.

Constantinople 553 condemned Theodore of Mopsuestia. Of course I agree with that action. But his condemnation had already taken place 100 years earlier at a council rejected by the Chalcedonians. So for 100 years the Chalcedonians reversed the condemnation of Theodore of Mopsuestia and then only condemned him under Imperial pressure.

My point is that you are saying that not calling a council ecumenical is the same as rejecting it. This is patently not true. Since the Anti-Chalcedonians had always condemned Theodore of Mopsuestia I cannot see why you then say that I should become part of a communion that accepts this condemnation since I already am a member of a Church that has always condemned Theodore of Mopsuestia.

It would make more sense for you to say that since the condemnation of Theodore is a matter of ecumenical authority and therefore at the level of dogma, what does this mean for the Chalcedonians who had reversed the decision of 449 which was ecumenical because Orthodox and allowed the restoration of the teachings of Theodore of Mopsuestia?

I am not saying this polemically because I am more interested in what WE believe now.

But if it is ecumenical to condemn Theodore then how did the Chalcedonians allow him to be praised for 10 years and only suddenly discover his writings were obvious heresy in 553. Someone might say that his writings were of no interest to the Chalcedonians during that 100 years but that is counter to the facts and to the writings of a great many Chalcedonians who write in favour of him between 451 and 553.

So I am trying to say that not ecumenical is not the same as not Orthodox, but Orthodox is equally not the same as what modern EO polemicists are demanding either.

Peter
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« Reply #76 on: May 13, 2004, 04:48:36 PM »

Dear Ben,

If I list some councils that took place after Chalcedon, and you agree they are Orthodox, will you count them as Ecumenical?  I assume you will since that is what you are demanding of me...

If not, then why not?

Do you see how your presuppositions are blinding your ability to see a different point of view?

You are starting with the presupposition that we are in need of proving ourselves to the EO and in need of their councils in order to affirm our Orthodoxy.  Such a position is a non-starter.  If our own councils, history, saints, writings, can affirm our Orthodoxy and can be used to show that the teachings of such sources are the same as the EO, then shouldn't that be the focus?

Pay close attention to what Sub-deacon Peter is saying...first focus on the substance of the faith and see what that tells you.

In Christ,
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« Reply #77 on: May 13, 2004, 08:12:26 PM »

Rejection of the ecumenical councils is in and of itself heretical.

Anyone who claims to be Orthodox and yet finds some reason - whatever it is - to reject the ecumenical councils, not only renders his claim highly suspect, he makes it ludicrous.

Of course, when you ask how a council becomes ecumenical, the answer usually given is that it is ecumenical when it is received by the entire Church.  It seems that this answer, coupled with the quote above, is enough to have us chasing our tails until the Second Coming.  

Demetri (I think), either in this thread or in another, spoke of a council being ecumenical before (when it is called as such), during, and after its convocation.  This is an interesting view, and one that should be explored.  If a council is ecumenical before it actually gathers or during its meeting, then what space is there for not accepting it after the fact?  Who has the authority to summon an ecumenical council, both in imperial times and in our post-imperial world?  If a council is ecumenical because after it is held, it is received by the whole Church, how long does this process take and what allowances are there for not accepting it?  What are the logistics of acceptance or non-acceptance?
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« Reply #78 on: May 14, 2004, 12:06:34 AM »


Quote
You are mistaken if you think that not calling a council ecumenical means not believing what it teaches.

I am not saying this, but I understand why, if you believe these other councils to be truly Orthodox, you do not accept them as Ecumenical and infallible Councils, that were prevented from error by the Holy Ghost?

Quote
It is quite easy for me to read the documents of the 5th council and agree with them all - especially since I am aware of the context. I can easily consider that what it says is Orthodox and describes the faith.

This is wonderful.

Quote
I do not see that it is necessary to then declare it ecumenical. I have said it is Orthodox.

But why not Ecumenical too? I mean you admit it to be Orthodox, but aren't you willing to list 7 Councils as Ecumenical, rather than just 3?

Quote
It seems to me that Linus and you are saying that it doesn't matter if I consider it Orthodox, I must declare it ecumenical.

Well, I am not saying this. I just understand why you'll say they're Orthodox, but not Ecumenical Councils of the one true Church.

Quote
This is not a dogmatic statement, just a discussion point. But are you saying that if I accept that the statements and documents of the 5th council describe the faith of the Church and indeed my own faith and are to be considered Orthodox but I do not call the council ecumenical then I am rejected?

If you accept the statments and documents of the other 4 Ecumenical Councils, which, along with the first 3 that you reagrd as Ecumenical, are a foundation of the true faith, then I wouldn't think you'd have a problem with admiting that they are in fact Ecumenical Councils of the Church of Christ.

Quote
Don't you think that is rather an odd pov? It says that it doesn't matter what I believe about Christ I must have the same view of history or I am not in the Church. I don't think I believe in that kind of God.

It does matter what you believe, it is more important than accepting these councils as Ecumenical, I never said otherwise, but I just don't understand how you can consider these councils Orthodox, yet reject them to be Ecumenical....lol I've probably said that like 5 times in this post already.. Tongue I think you get my question though......why Orthodox and not Ecumenical?
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« Reply #79 on: May 14, 2004, 12:13:32 AM »

Double consubstantiality of Christ - perfect God and perfect man - without division or confusion - I accept that
Reject the Three Chapters - well the Anti-Chalcedonians have always done that
Human and Divine will of Christ - I accept that
Veneration of Icons - of course I accept that


Peter, on Christological matters, we agree.

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« Reply #80 on: May 14, 2004, 12:21:00 AM »


Quote
If I list some councils that took place after Chalcedon, and you agree they are Orthodox, will you count them as Ecumenical?


I am in agreement with Holy Mother the Church as to which Councils were Ecumenical and which were not. I have no authority to declare councils Ecumenical or not, I can only put foward what the Church teaches.

Quote
If our own councils, history, saints, writings, can affirm our Orthodoxy and can be used to show that the teachings of such sources are the same as the EO, then shouldn't that be the focus?

This is a very interesting and thought-provoking questions. I'll have to think on that one. But it seems that the whole Church would be united in the same Ecumenical Councils. Yes the faith is the most important, but if you faith is the same as EOxy then the other 4 Ecumenical Councils should be a perfect expression of your Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #81 on: May 14, 2004, 02:51:07 AM »

Demetri (I think), either in this thread or in another, spoke of a council being ecumenical before (when it is called as such), during, and after its convocation.  This is an interesting view, and one that should be explored.  If a council is ecumenical before it actually gathers or during its meeting, then what space is there for not accepting it after the fact?  Who has the authority to summon an ecumenical council, both in imperial times and in our post-imperial world?  If a council is ecumenical because after it is held, it is received by the whole Church, how long does this process take and what allowances are there for not accepting it?  What are the logistics of acceptance or non-acceptance?      

OK, Phil, I willing to explore this more:
Quote
Obviously, by definition a council is deemed ecumenical - before (by virtue of its being called as a Great Synod), during (by virtue of the nature and scope of its work), and AFTER (by virtue of its broad acceptance by the entire church over time after the council concludes). Thus, a council CAN be accepted as ecumenical BEFORE (not WITHOUT) declaration.

What I am pointing out are the various uses of the adjective "ecumenical"- the application of which seems to be tripping many into confusion and excessive legal-like definitions. While the context of the above quote was in relation to the 8th & 9th Councils and the formal declaration Peter Theodore seems to require of these, I think I can expand the point generally.

1) BEFORE: as in "universal"- meaning called by the emperor, sometimes, but not always at papal or patriarchal request (at other times called by the emperor alone to settle issues for the good of the community. Remember, by then church and state concerns were nearly inseparable). Hence 'ecumenical' here is used to mean 'official' , but no guarantee that the work of that particular council will ultimately be received, and upheld, as valid.   Examples- the two false unia councils.

2) DURING: 'ecumenical' in that the intent is to do work of universality to the entire Church (not to address some local issues or variances)- the intent is univeral application. Participation is important here to some degree. The annulled council of 869 began with a scant 12 bishops and I don't think exceeded 100 and that for but a very short time. Size is not a requirement but a good indicator of future acceptance, but even that is a maybe.

3) AFTER: I have a hard time improving on my own quote above. At this point the work of a council stands the test - the test of general acceptance. You ask how long this takes? It's not like secular jurisprudence where challenge, comment, and appeal is limited to a statutory time period after which debate is cut off. The Holy Spirit continues to work through the entire Church. Ever heard the phrase, "ecumenically received, accepted and upheld"? After the documents are signed and the bishops return to their sees to present their work, does this mean the Holy Spirit stops working? When Christ told the apostles He would send the Holy Spirit from the Father to guide them, do you think he imparted a rigid structure to His Church that only the 12 were so blessed, or the 200, only succeeding bishops, or the entire Church?
AFTER is when the real test comes. If you ask me to point to "where that is written" I can only say that this is how it has happened. The whole Church eventually accepts or affirms the Truth of the work of the council (or not). Valid by universal consideration and acceptance. Held to be true over time the work of the council is eventually upheld by a formal declaration in a succeeding council.
This does not imply that before this point the council had no effect or truth, but merely affirms what has already happened.
Phil, many of the rest of your questions make me think I'm in law school! How long? In the case of 1270, it was universally ignored and had no effect. In 1439, universally rejected as soon as announced. In the case of 325 and 381, it took a long time for the Truth to be recognized.

I do realize that many of my friends here take the view that the Councils are the highest authority. I tend to view the councils as evidence of the Highest Authority which guides the Church. To reduce the Church to a set of documents complete with rules for amendments and ratification just seems somehow wrong. It seems to make the Church much less than the Living Church of Christ. I see the entire Church as an ecumenical council constantly being guided, if we quiet ourselves in prayer and ask for the Helper.
I recently read that in Eastern Empire in the early middle ages, everyone was a theologian- artisans, sailors, farmers, shopkeepers, vinters, tailors, deacons, elders, bishops. Everyone was conversant with the burning church issues of the day. This atmosphere no longer exists (even on the internet!). The constroversies and heresies that were rampant in the early church have been resolved (in Orthodoxy, at least). Hence, I understand why our 7 Councils are viewed now having withstood all the early rigors and the succeeding centuries. As a distinct body taken as a whole, together, am I ready to fall on my sword over them? You bet! Am I qualified to debate each one, or any of them? Certainly not.
Hope these rambling helped. (Those with slings, arrows, and flamethrowers, please queue up).

Demetri
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« Reply #82 on: May 14, 2004, 07:14:55 AM »

I do realize that many of my friends here take the view that the Councils are the highest authority. I tend to view the councils as evidence of the Highest Authority which guides the Church. To reduce the Church to a set of documents complete with rules for amendments and ratification just seems somehow wrong. It seems to make the Church much less than the Living Church of Christ. I see the entire Church as an ecumenical council constantly being guided, if we quiet ourselves in prayer and ask for the Helper.

Excellent post Demetri. It expresses many of my own thoughts, especially the latter passage. I believe that the view you mention above is an erroenous ecclesiology, or is at least liable to mis-emphasis. I prefer your approach.

You approach fits the ecumenical councils into a continuum of conciliar and grace-filled activity, it does not set a particular historical ecclesiogical event above the church.

I find that some EO are like Protestants and Roman Catholics in this regard. They want an infallible authority and it isn't the Pope or the Bible it is the 7 councils (or 8 or 9). So for these people I do insist on a strict enumeration of councils. How many are there?

But I would not wish to apply that argument to you. Because I agree with your approach and believe it to be more patristic.

My issue however is about the reception of a council. From my pov the latter councils HAVE NOT been universally received, in fact they have only been received by those who have received them. This seems a circular logic. The work of reception - it seems to me - must go on, and those who merely bang the table about 7 councils (or 8 or 9) are missing the point and the present activity of the Holy Spirit. How can Chalcedon be said to have been received when the only way of removing objection to it was an attempt at genocide? That's not your fault of course. But it would be like asking everyone inmy family where they wanted to go on holiday and saying good we are all agreed we are going to France by ignoring those who wanted to go to Belgium.

If we are in fact looking for an ecumenical agreement on the faith then there is much scope and hope for spiritual fruit to be borne, but banging polemical drums on either side (and there are polemical OOs) isn't part of the work of the Holy Spirit, nor is it promoting the reception of the councils, it is not even Christian.

I believe that it is possible for the EO councils to fit into a wider ecumenicity, I mean as you seem to describe, a wider Holy Spirit led activity of the whole Church. The issue seems to be partly the narrow and exclusive definition of ecumenicity which some/most modern EO's use. I don't find that in the past. There seemed to be a greater desire to deal with substance at that period.

I find it strange that some EO's are unwilling to see the possibility for reconciliation as an act of the Holy Spirit in the Church? It would be like falling out with my wife and then when I tried to make contact she kept saying 'I have a list of things you must admit you are wrong about before we can talk'. And everytime I try to explain that she has misunderstood some of these things she keeps saying 'I will not talk to you until you admit you are wrong'. I think there would be something wrong with her if she took that course. We would certainly end up less than we should be together, and that isn't branch theory. I mean that there is something wrong with a Christian community that does not wish to expend every ounce of effort to be reconciled with others or win them to the faith.

Your temperate attitude would win me, being bashed over the head all the time by others just turns me off.

Peter
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« Reply #83 on: May 14, 2004, 07:17:47 AM »

Yes the faith is the most important, but if you faith is the same as EOxy then the other 4 Ecumenical Councils should be a perfect expression of your Orthodoxy.

What parts of the proceedings of a council are ecumenical in your view? Are all parts equally ecumenical?

Peter
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« Reply #84 on: May 14, 2004, 08:05:41 AM »

Just a note to Ben.

While you may agree with Linus, he doesn't think you're a member of the Church either. Smiley


That's not exactly true, Schultz.

I do not judge whether or not someone who is not a member of the visible Church (the Church I can see) is a member of the Church in some way known to God alone.

And that includes Non-Chalcedonians, as well as Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Nestorians.



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« Reply #85 on: May 14, 2004, 09:36:22 AM »

I have been awaiting a similar list of OO councils (local or otherwise) for over 4 months on this forum and can only conclude from not seeing any that there are none (which I doubt).

Anyway, I think a better approach is for those who deny the 4th+ councils to explain why they are NOT Orthodox. Wink

Hi Demetri, there are obviously many synods which took place after Chalcedon, and indeed Ephesus 449. But I do not find that rigidity which the EO manifests. It seems to me that OO can both place a council in context and value its substance without necessarily tying ourselves to dealing with the EO as if we were still in that context.

There are of course many councils which condemn you as a heretic, but I believe that the intent of those councils was to exclude heresy not label Chalcedonians forever as heretics. I believe that this is also the OO approach. A certain faith that the Holy Spirit has brought us here to this opportunity and that we need to rely on the Holy Spirit now, without failing to comprehend all that has gone before, but also without a narrow understanding of what went before.

I could easily keep saying 'Reject Chalcedon and you can be considered Orthodox'. In one sense that is the conciliar position of the OO. But in another very real sense the councils are not set above the Church but they are expressions, as you have already stated, of the activity of the Holy Spirit in the Church, who HAS NOT CEASED TO BE ACTIVE in the Church.

So I rely on our bishops to have in mind a wide variety of authorities, and teachings, and history, and much prayer and see where we go from here. I do not ask you to 'Reject Chalcedon'. Rather I believe the OO wishes to see how the Holy Spirit can bring us both to understand even Chalcedon in an Orthodox manner.

So I won't go through all the history. With the Byzantine persecution of the Church it was hard enough for bishops to remain out of prison and escape death, but we do have many letters between bishops which have authority as part of the tradition.

Putting aside the rejection of Chalcedon by my Fathers - as being somewhat tied to a context - I would neverthless expect and demand that Chalcedonians were reconciled on the basis of their having a faith at least substantially in accord with the teachings of our Fathers.

Why do we reject the latter councils?

Well firstly I am not sure that the latter councils 5-7(8-9) were rejected. The Church had by that time walled itself off from the Byzantines and had to set up a separate jurisdiction just to survive persecution. There may be comment about the 5th council, I'll try and have a look. But by the 6th and 7th these were only EO local councils. (Of course that doesn't mean not-Orthodox as some will imply I mean).

i. The Tome of Leo is rejected because it seems to set up an independent activity of the humanity. It seems to remove the Word of God from any engagement in the passion. Of course the Divinity does not suffer, but the Tome seems to prevent the Word suffering in the flesh. This is no more than many modern Chalcedonians, including Father John Romanides state.

Here's a few passages in English translation, the Latin would be better but I don't have it. But they present phraseology that needs explaining - especially since the Tome was written in a Western context supportive of Theodore of Mopsuestia's terminology. Of course I can see how an EO could understand them in an Orthodox manner, but there were plenty who didn't - not least Nestorius himself. And these are just off the top of my head.

"Accordingly while the distinctness of both natures and substances was preserved, and both met in one Person, lowliness was assumed by majesty, weakness by power....."

(What is the term translated person? Did the West understand person as hypostasis or prosopon? The Antiocheans taught a prosopic rather than hypostatic union, and a hypostatic union was insisted on at the 5th council IIRC)

"By "ours" we mean what the Creator formed in us at the beginning and what he assumed in order to restore;"

(Does this mean he took on pre-fall humanity rather than our fallen humanity yet without sin?)

"For each "form" does the acts which belong to it, in communion with the other; the Word, that is, performing what belongs to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what belongs to the flesh; the one of these shines out in miracles, the other succumbs' to injuries. And as the Word does not withdraw from equality with the Father in glory, so the flesh does not abandon the nature of our kind."

(The Word is the eternal Son of God, if he only performs what belongs to him in his divinity and does not perform what belongs to him in his humanity then who is performing the works of the humanity but some other Son? And if the Word shines in miracles and the humanity does not then who raised Lazarus? It is Orthodox to confess that both the works of the flesh and the works of divinity both belong to the Word of God who performs them in his humanity and his divinity without division. When Christ walked on the water it was not divine to walk at all, not human to walk on water, but God the Word works always in his humanity and his divinity in union with each other. If the Word did not suffer on the flesh in union with his own humanity then who did suffer there?)

"Accordingly, on account of this unity of Person which is to be understood as existing in both the natures"

(I'd like to see the language here, both the Latin and Greek.)

"it does not belong to the same nature to say, "I and the Father are one," and to say, "the Father is greater than I.""

(Persons speak. This sounds like one person saying one thing and another person saying another)

ii. Chalcedon

Main theological issue is 'in two natures'.

(This sounds like, and was accepted by Theodoreans as meaning - in two hypostases, not as the individuation of two ousia. Cyrilline terminology had been 'of or from two natures' meaning a union of two distinct and different subsistences. 'in two natures' was taken to mean a prosopic, external union in which two distinct subsistences were not united in a substantial or hypostatic union at all).

iii. Constantinople II

I can accept all of this with just a couple of glosses to ensure a correct understanding. (I think this council could be accepted as ecumenical)

iv. Constantinople III

The sudden ecumenical description of Dioscorus as 'hated of God' when he hadn't been called such at any of the councils closer to his period - even Chalcedon did not condemn him for heresy from even its own pov. Con III was 230 years after he had died and it is unlikely that any member of that council had ever read anything that he had said or written.

The description of Severus' 'mad and wicked doctrine' when in fact it does not represent what he wrote or taught.

"And these two natural wills are not contrary the one to the other (God forbid!) as the impious heretics assert"

(I have had many EO insist that the wills WERE contrary to each other and when I describe 'one will' as meaning a union of human and divine will, as this council seems to teach, I have been accused of heresy.)

"For it was right that the flesh should be moved but subject to the divine will, according to the most wise Athanasius."

(When I say something like this I am accused of monothelitism. I think that many EO converts think they know things when they don't.)

"His will [i.e., the Saviour's] is not contrary to God but altogether deified"

(This quote from St Gregory is also used by Severus, but he is accused of denying what he plainly teaches)

"We recognize the miracles and the sufferings as of one and the same [Person], but of one or of the other nature of which he is and in which he exists"

(Of course I do not deny that Christ is perfect God and perfect man, but this seems to deny the union of humanity and divinity. When Christ walked on the water it was neither only in his humanity, nor only in his divinity. It is not correct, it would seem from our pov, to say that these events take place in one or other, rather than in both according to their own manner. rather we believe that while humanity acts in accordance with the nature of humanity, and divinity in accordance with the nature of divinity, nevertheless in Christ these always act in union with each other. Christ does not wake up some mornings (to speak foolishly) and find that his divinity is having a day off. When Lazarus was raised from the dead was the divinity of the Word acting or the humanity of the Word? Or was he acting appropriately in and through both in union with each other?)

(These are not absolute objections, but places that have caused problems. And without an explanation, with just a constant banging on about 'accepting the councils' these things won't ever get resolved.)

"....the difference of nature which must be recognized in the same Person, for although joined together....."

(Again, 'person' and 'joined together' what are the underlying words? Nestorius (and he stands for that whole school) taught a union in the person rather than the hypostasis. What is meant here?)

v. Nicaea II

"the Council of Ephesus has already defined when it cast out of the Church the impious Nestorius with his colleagues, because he taught that there were two Persons [in Christ]."

(Well he didn't did he. He taught rather that the humanity had a greater degree of independence than Orthodoxy could allow. he never taught 2 prosopon but he did teach 'in two natures'. In fact that is half the problem with 'in two natures', those who accepted it were not uniformally Orthodox. Of course the same could be said about 'one incarnate nature'. This just means we need to explain better)

Rejection of Dioscorus and Severus is unacceptable.

The rest of the material about icons is fine. Without the references to Dioscorus and Severus this would be completely OK and I think could be received as ecumenical even.

So the bulk of the material is acceptable, easily made clearly understandable if the EO willed to assist in its right understanding. The 6th is slightly more complex, not least from the fact that many EO I have dealt with over the last 10 years seem to fail to actually teach what it teaches.

Does any of this help? As I said, these are not absolute objections, just things that stick out. Of course I can understand how an EO would read them but what is needed to wipe away the stains of controversy is for EO to explicitly explain how these things should be understood.

best wishes

Peter
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« Reply #86 on: May 14, 2004, 09:38:06 AM »

That's not exactly true, Schultz.

I do not judge whether or not someone who is not a member of the visible Church (the Church I can see) is a member of the Church in some way known to God alone.

And that includes Non-Chalcedonians, as well as Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Nestorians.

That's not the way it seems and that's rather a cop out.
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« Reply #87 on: May 14, 2004, 09:53:21 AM »

That's not the way it seems and that's rather a cop out.

There is often a difference between reality and the way things seem.

That is a good thing to keep in mind when reading all this sweet-sounding talk of "unity."
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« Reply #88 on: May 14, 2004, 10:08:27 AM »

You seem very bitter Linus. I am truly sorry you find no pleasure or joy in Christians growing closer together.
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« Reply #89 on: May 14, 2004, 10:23:46 AM »

You seem very bitter Linus. I am truly sorry you find no pleasure or joy in Christians growing closer together.

Another thinly-veiled personal attack in the name of "Christians growing closer together."

Christians truly grow closer together when they share the holy Orthodox Catholic faith of the Fathers of the Church and not otherwise.

The trouble in dealing with the Monophysite/Monothelite question is that the subject is very complex and the history is almost as difficult. Most Orthodox and Catholics can't understand or won't trouble to try. They see Christians very much like us and think, "Why these divisions?" In their good-hearted sincerity to heal a deplorable breach, they inadvertently betray the Fathers and the Faith.

Ideas - even complex ones - do matter.

And the Fathers understood the Monophysites better than we do, not the other way around.


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