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Author Topic: Would a Council Be Necessary?  (Read 23604 times) Average Rating: 0
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Father Peter
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« Reply #90 on: May 14, 2004, 10:58:46 AM »

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

Or maybe I understand me better?

May the Lord have mercy on you Linus. What you are continuing to do is deeply uncharitable.
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« Reply #91 on: May 15, 2004, 04:47:05 AM »

As a Roman Catholic I have been taught........

- that Jesus Christ is the second member of the blessed trinity, who became man for our salvation.

-He is fully God, and fully Human, meaning He is no more God than Man, or no more Man than God. So, put simply; there are two perfect natures in Christ (Divine and Human), but only one Person.

-Our Lord is of two wills (divine and human), which are in perfect accord within the one person, Jesus Christ.

Now, is this the teaching of the Coptic Christian Church?

Just want to make sure that what I have been taught is the same as what you have been taught, Peter.
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« Reply #92 on: May 15, 2004, 05:08:36 AM »

Hi Ben

Of course I read what you say and I know what you mean and I agree with what you mean, what you mean is what my own communion has always taught.

Peter
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« Reply #93 on: May 15, 2004, 05:12:08 AM »

How is what I say and what I mean different?
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« Reply #94 on: May 15, 2004, 08:35:56 AM »

This is where you are missing much of the whole point of the controversy in the 5th-7th centuries.

When you say 'in two natures' I can take it in a variety of ways. Most of which are heretical. I am assuming you do not mean to be heretical therefore I am reading 'in two natures' in an Orthodox manner. Just because you use the words 'in two natures' does not mean that you mean it in an Orthodox manner.

A Muslim can begin the Creed - I believe in One God - does that mean he means it in the same way as us just because he uses the same words.

What we mean is MUCh more important than what we say.

Does your president wear suspenders? If you say that he does then I will think you are saying he is a transvestite! Do you mean to say that he is a transvestite though?

That is why you and I must not merely assume we KNOW what each other is meaning just because of the words we use.

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #95 on: May 15, 2004, 10:33:27 AM »

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Linus7:
"And the Fathers understood the Monophysites better than we do, not the other way around."

Quote
peterfarrington: Or maybe I understand me better?

Pardon me for asking, but who are you?

Since when has this discussion ever been about you?

This is about the differences between the Orthodox, who accept Chalcedon and the subsequent councils, and the Anti-Chalcedonians, who do not. The thread asks if it would take an ecumenical council to resolve these differences, or if they can be resolved in some other way.

Quote
peterfarrington: May the Lord have mercy on you Linus. What you are continuing to do is deeply uncharitable.

Well, I deeply disagree.

I think it is extremely charitable to tell the truth, even when one knows it will make him unpopular.

It would be far easier to jump on the jolly ecumenical train, which is painted in the festive colors of "getting along" and loaded with happy passengers.

But where is that train bound?

Not anywhere I want to go.
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« Reply #96 on: May 15, 2004, 11:23:16 AM »

Quote
It would be far easier to jump on the jolly ecumenical train, which is painted in the festive colors of "getting along" and loaded with happy passengers.

Nor do we want to jump on a union train with the heathen, unless the Chalcedonian  realize their crimes against the OO and give up their false pride. A church that has on a continous basis killed the true christians and persecuted them by the order of Popes of Rome and Patriarchs of Constantinople are not an easy companion.

While Stavro is understandably being put on the defensive, this does not justify some of the comparisons he made which I have now deleted.  anastasios
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« Reply #97 on: May 15, 2004, 11:30:19 AM »

Linus this discussion is about PEOPLE.

The discussion has ALWAYS been about people. I am a person and the Church is made up of people. People believe things.

So when you decide that you don't need to worry what I believe because I just belong to some faceless group called Anti-Chaledonians, then again it is about ME.

Maybe that is the root of your problem, you don't want to engage with real people and with what real people believe, you prefer to deal with impersonal abstractions and categorisations.

Maybe I don't fit into your abstraction of what an Anti-Chalcedonian should be like, but you cannot ignore me, I am just proof that your abstraction is a straw man, you are raging against something that doesn't exist.

Every time you go on and on insisting I believe what I don't then it is you who are acting uncharitably. It is about ME because I am a member of this group of PEOPLE that you have classified in some neat manner and will not allow anyone to disrupt your classification.

You only shame yourself when you dismiss the sincere efforts of people who love the integrity of Orthodox truth as 'getting along'.

Once again, may the Lord have mercy on you.
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« Reply #98 on: May 15, 2004, 11:33:31 AM »

Nor do we want to jump on a union train with the heathen, unless the Chalcedonian  realize their crimes against the OO and give up their false pride. A church that has on a continous basis killed the true christians and persecuted them by the order of Popes of Rome and Patriarchs of Constantinople are not an easy companion. Your "Holy" Fathers are nothing less than Hitler, Ghangis Khan or Khaled Ibn El-Walid.

Sons of Nestorius and Leo are not welcomed back to the True Church.

I appreciate your honesty, Stavro.

It is refreshing and to be preferred to a lot of the other stuff that gets posted here.

Your view of history is a bit one-sided, however.

Byzantine emperors often favored the Monophysites and persecuted the Orthodox.

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« Reply #99 on: May 15, 2004, 11:41:18 AM »

Linus this discussion is about PEOPLE.

The discussion has ALWAYS been about people. I am a person and the Church is made up of people. People believe things.

So when you decide that you don't need to worry what I believe because I just belong to some faceless group called Anti-Chaledonians, then again it is about ME.

Maybe that is the root of your problem, you don't want to engage with real people and with what real people believe, you prefer to deal with impersonal abstractions and categorisations.

Maybe I don't fit into your abstraction of what an Anti-Chalcedonian should be like, but you cannot ignore me, I am just proof that your abstraction is a straw man, you are raging against something that doesn't exist.

Every time you go on and on insisting I believe what I don't then it is you who are acting uncharitably. It is about ME because I am a member of this group of PEOPLE that you have classified in some neat manner and will not allow anyone to disrupt your classification.

You only shame yourself when you dismiss the sincere efforts of people who love the integrity of Orthodox truth as 'getting along'.

Once again, may the Lord have mercy on you.

Another amazing post.

Why not address the issues and refrain from discussing me, "my problem," my lack of charity, etc. ?

Stavro called me ignorant a post or so ago, but fairly quickly deleted it.

You cannot seem to avoid making judgments about my character and then posting them.

I disagree with you, so I must be "uncharitable."

This is NOT about people; it's about doctrine.

I would appreciate it if you would remember that.

You do NOT know me, and I do not know you.

What right, therefore, do either of us have to make public judgments about the other?

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« Reply #100 on: May 15, 2004, 11:45:24 AM »

Quote
Your view of history is a bit one-sided, however.

Byzantine emperors often favored the Monophysites and persecuted the Orthodox.
Just like that ? Marcan, Hercules, Justinian and the others killed millions of OO, and martyrs were more in numbers than the age of Diocletian and Maximinus Dasa.

Emperors don't concern me, the Patriarchs and the Popes of the Chalcedonian , venerated as saints in the Chalcedonian tradition, are merely thugs.
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« Reply #101 on: May 15, 2004, 11:46:06 AM »

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peterfarrington: Maybe I don't fit into your abstraction of what an Anti-Chalcedonian should be like, but you cannot ignore me, I am just proof that your abstraction is a straw man, you are raging against something that doesn't exist.

Why should I feel any compunction to discuss you and what you are or are not like?

Post your views.

I will address them.

My opinion of you - not worth worrying about since I don't really know you - shall remain private.

Your opinion of me, however, is all over these boards.
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« Reply #102 on: May 15, 2004, 11:49:19 AM »

"It would be far easier to jump on the jolly ecumenical train, which is painted in the festive colors of "getting along" and loaded with happy passengers."

This is an entirely PERSONAL comment because it is addressed to ME and anyone who like ME is trying to discuss issues rather than assume that nothing more can ever be said.

It is written in an abusive manner meant to belittle anyone engaged in discussion.

If you wanted to not be offensive and not be personal then there are lots of ways you could phrase things that make them so.

Stavro: Lay off dear brother. Do not allow yourself to become representative of that which we condemn among Byzantines.
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« Reply #103 on: May 15, 2004, 11:51:06 AM »

Your opinion of me is all over these boards Linus. Since when you abuse the Orthodox communion I belong to you abuse me.

How can it not be personal abuse to be constantly reported as believing what I condemn as blasphemy.

You know already what I believe - you will not ever actually respond to it though.
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« Reply #104 on: May 15, 2004, 12:06:48 PM »

Just like that ? Marcan, Hercules, Justinian and the others killed millions of OO, and martyrs were more in numbers than the age of Diocletian and Maximinus Dasa.

Emperors don't concern me, the Patriarchs and the Popes of the Chalcedonian , venerated as saints in the Chalcedonian tradition, are merely thugs.

St Cyril of Alexandria was a thug as was his uncle St Theophilus, who persecuted St John Chrysostom.  St Athanasius was deposed the first time for having the Melitian priest Isychos beat up. Your St Dioscorus persecuted our St Flavian.  The fact of the matter is, back in those days things were different.  We can't judge people based on their cultural context.  People were not as reserved as they are now.

anastasios
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« Reply #105 on: May 15, 2004, 12:16:11 PM »

Hi Anastasios

But should we try to emulate the manners that were current then? Or has God given us an opportunity to discuss these things without the need for violence and aggression?

If so then why do some abuse people as blindly living in happy land simply for trying to understand each other?

Do some want to go back to those times?
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« Reply #106 on: May 15, 2004, 12:35:46 PM »

Peter,

Please do not misunderstand me--in no way do I think we should return to those practices.  I simply am saying we cannot anachronistically judge those in the past in the way we judge our contemporaries.

anastasios
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« Reply #107 on: May 15, 2004, 12:52:41 PM »

Commencement is today (no I am not graduating yet) and I am going to North Carolina on Sunday.  So I just still can not give this thread proper attention.  Maybe Phil can, but he doesn't like getting wrapped up in the OO/EO stuff. Hence, if this thread gets out of whack, Bobby is going to close the thread until I arrive. Please, friends, let's treat each other with respect.  We will start overmoderating this forum if we have to, but we DO NOT want to do this.  This discussion is very edifying if conducted properly.

anastasios
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« Reply #108 on: May 15, 2004, 01:01:10 PM »

Hi Anastasios

I think there is a little frustration that some EO seem to live in a revisionist paradise where no EO ever did anything wrong ever, and indeed to allow such a thought would be heresy and the end of the Church.

I agree with you entirely, that is why I am trying NOT to just do a rerun of the 5th-7th centuries but rather have a discussion.

Others do not want a discussion. I wish they would not participate if that is the case.
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« Reply #109 on: May 15, 2004, 01:48:54 PM »

Well, it is absolutely FUTILE to have this discussion anyway.

Don't ya think it is pretty obvious by now that there will be no "meeting of the minds"? Why persist?

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« Reply #110 on: May 15, 2004, 01:57:33 PM »

On the contrary there are often many meetings of minds. Why is it futile?

Since I doubt that you believe anything substantially different to me why is discussion pointless?
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« Reply #111 on: May 15, 2004, 02:01:20 PM »

I was referring to you and Linus going back and forth.

Whether I agree with you or not, I don't know. I agree with the condemnation as defined by the EO Church Fathers. The question becomes is THAT the correct understanding of the belief that the OO hold?

These type of things are way over my head. And frankly I don't care what anyone chooses to believe --  I guess that is some of my Protestant baggage.
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« Reply #112 on: May 15, 2004, 02:03:29 PM »

Yeah but Linus doesn't want to discuss. I do, with anyone who will discuss.
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« Reply #113 on: May 15, 2004, 02:07:24 PM »

But can you point me to a document that cleary defines the difference between the EO and OO teachings concerning Christ's two natures?

I mean -- isn't this WHY there is still a schism?
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« Reply #114 on: May 15, 2004, 02:17:59 PM »

There is no great difference.

There could be, in the sense that all terminology is liable of being misunderstood, and all terminology is liable of being used in an heretical manner.

Were there some who practically denied the reality of the humanity of Christ and used the terminology of St Cyril - yes. But they were anathematised and excommunicated by the OO community.

Were there some who practically denied the reality of the unity of humanity and divinity in Christ and used the terminology of Chalcedon and the Tome - yes. But certainly by the 5th council there were anathematised and excommunicated by the EO community.

There are no differences.

At least if you confess that Christ is perfect God and perfect man, having united to Himself a complete humanity with reason and will at the instant of the incarnation in the womb of the Virgin.

If you confess the Christ is consubstantial with us in all things except sin according to His humanity and consubstantial with the Father in all things according to His Divinity.

If you confess that one of the Holy Trinity suffered on the cross according to His humanity.

If you confess that the human will of Christ is so united to the Divine will that his human will follows and that not as resisting and reluctant, but rather as subject to his divine and omnipotent will. "For it was right that the flesh should be moved but subject to the divine will".

This is about all the controversial things that come to mind.

The issues are actually dealing with the practical matters which exercise some folk more than they should. That's why there is still a schism.

But to solve the practical problems requires charity, open heartedness, honesty and the will to solve these problems.

If you believe what I believe then I believe that I will be judged a sinner if I do not do everything in my power (and it is not much) to be reconciled with those who believe the same about Christ.

Peter
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« Reply #115 on: May 15, 2004, 02:19:46 PM »

 Wow! I leave the room for a few hours and everything explodes. Is outrage!  Oh, well...think I'll wade in...
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.

Exactly, the Councils are not meant to PROSCRIBE the Church, but to DESCRIBE. And all its councils have done just that all & (or 8, or 9, and the intervening local and general ones now being considered - calendar ones, etc.)

Quote
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.

I appreciate your kind words about my humble musings, but hardly think I have won you over. I have described the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church, complete with all councils and including those local ones, now concluded but the work of which is yet being considered. I have not been describing a ‘greater’ concept of the Church.
Quote
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.

Genocide:
You seem to be clouding imperial reactions with political resistance among the Copts to the emperor and his mis-use of the Church for his ends. No one I know condones those persecutions just as no “Oriental” Church I know condones the persecutions visited upon the Greek Orthodox of Alexandria by the Arabs in the seventh century (when the Coptic Church was spared these by the Arabs, for a while at least).
Chalcedon has been received as have the others. Those who deny them (or have not yet accepted them) are not in the communion  (or within) within the Orthodox Catholic Church. If you ask me if that means “not in the Christ’s Church”, I must given the Orthodox Catholic answer- “I don’t know”. If you ask me if those who deny the councils are “Orthodox”, well...my answer isGǪ”No”.
Those who reject Chalcedon are, by definition, in schism and MAY be outside the Church.

Quote
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 understand what you are saying and am at pains to demarcate or define this larger “ecumenicity”. I know it’s there but exactly how it works I do not know.

Quote
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.

Well, Peter, despite my high-sounding language, the Church has indeed spoken through all of the councils accepted to date. So, Linus7 is correct to hold them up as a shield.
As to your spousal analogy above, I am not sure that applies or is the approach being taken.

Quote

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

Peter

I would hope that we can so continue. We'll both have to try.

Demetri

{Another post to follow, Peter, best wait for it before replying here}
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« Reply #116 on: May 15, 2004, 02:33:03 PM »

To continue, Peter,

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.

Interesting. I see that indeed your church in rejecting Chalcedon has in fact upheld 449 and that council is in fact your Fourth. So, your church is not the Church of the Three Councils, but of Four and it surely appears pretty rigid about Ephesus - in substance at least, I might add.
Quote
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.

Other than the “heretic” comment, I can’t disagree here  Wink

Quote
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.

Yes, the Holy Spirit has guided the Church and continues to do so. That does not mean Chalcedon will be revisited - no reason too. Now help from the Helper in explaining it better to you and yours IS appreciated!

Quote
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.

Nice barb, Peter. You disappoint.
Perhaps you do not wish to re-visit history, but I do. At precisely the point in time when these Christological issues could have been worked out (thereby obviating the unresolved issues being used by the emperor for other, political, reasons) and  better explained by the Byzantines who had a FULL command of their language to those who obviously did not (and perhaps still do not) - the Pope of Alexandria (remember now, he was up to this point a bishop of the Orthodox Catholic Church, the then undivided Church of Alexandria,  not a “Coptic Pope”), well, to put it bluntly, he blundered.  Pope Dioscoros was critical of the Pope of Rome for over-stepping his bounds only to exhibit nearly identical overstepping on his own part. He allowed Eutyches to set him up as a heretic (even if he wasn’t) and then solidified that charge -Tome or no Tome.
How he allowed Eutyches to be exhonerated by virtue of re-confessing the Nicean-Constantinopolitan Creed in 449 and then at that same synod with himself presiding excommunicate the 7 bishops (outside his see) who RIGHTFULLY condemned Eutyches in 448 I will never fathom. Pope Dioscoros backed himself hereby into the seemingly heretic’s corner, seeming to support Eutychiansim by excommunicating the 7 bishops in 449 and then rejecting Chalcedon in 451 based on a potential of the Tome being construed as Nestorian  (as you now know it never was taken in that manner). Pope Dioscoros’ reaction to the Tome seems a dodge. He should have defended why his actions of 449 were not be construed as supporting mono-phytism rather than taking the offense by attacking the ‘Nestorian potential’ of the Tome. Sad really, for the whole Church.

Quote
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.

From this point on here, Peter I may respond later. But I am not likely to do so any time real soon. You seem eager for discussion here and I can appreciate that. But I am not qualified. First, for the reason that I KNOW I do not possess the tools to do this, I cannot. Second, I suspect you lack these same tools.
I have been steeped in the language of the Hellenes all of my 54 years - nearly daily hearing, reading, and trying to speak modern, then Pontic, then Homeric then Attic and finally Koine. It severely taxes my modest intellectual abilities. To think that we can revisit the work done by the Holy Fathers in translation today, with and in  English, is foolhardy and a recipe for an argument the both sides of which may be wrongly stated because of this divide. Linus is again correct, the Byzantine Orthodox had and still have full command of their language and I trust their past and current guidance.

Greek is such a context sensitive language that English translations are full of error due to just plain not having the grasp of language or enough “in between” words to do a proper job. "+Æ’-Ã -â+¦+¦" and "-Ã¥-Ã -â++-é" can be synonyms or not, depending on context and the difference is critical anywhere these two words are used. And I can’t rely on any translation in full confidence.

Another issue : hypostasis. Did I read somewhere that this was translated as “Person”? Where did that come from? The Greek means basically what the Latin translation correctly states - substance - as in underfooting or FOUNDATION.
You allude to this word yourself. I’m not qualified other than to sayGǪI’m not going there. My bishops have done this work.

Another point of difficulty: Pronunciation dictates definition.
Example: +¦++ (en) =one
Aspirate +¦++ , and it becomes ‘hen’ and means ‘in’.
Small word - big effect on meaning.

Good luck Petros!

Demetri

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« Reply #117 on: May 15, 2004, 02:53:12 PM »

This is where you are missing much of the whole point of the controversy in the 5th-7th centuries.

When you say 'in two natures' I can take it in a variety of ways. Most of which are heretical. I am assuming you do not mean to be heretical therefore I am reading 'in two natures' in an Orthodox manner. Just because you use the words 'in two natures' does not mean that you mean it in an Orthodox manner.

A Muslim can begin the Creed - I believe in One God - does that mean he means it in the same way as us just because he uses the same words.

What we mean is MUCh more important than what we say.

Does your president wear suspenders? If you say that he does then I will think you are saying he is a transvestite! Do you mean to say that he is a transvestite though?

That is why you and I must not merely assume we KNOW what each other is meaning just because of the words we use.

Peter Theodore

I agree that what we mean is way more important than what we mean. However, I still do not understand how two natures in one person can be taken heretical. Let me explain myself more clearly, to let me represent my faith a little more clearly:

Our Lord and God and Savior and King of us all, Jesus Christ, is perfect God with respect to His Divinity, perfect man with respect to His Humanity. In Him His Divinity is united with His humanity in a real, perfect union without mingling, without commixtion, without confusion, without alteration, without division, without separation. His divinity did not separate from His humanity for an instant. He who is God eternal and invisible became visible in the flesh, and took upon Himself the form of a servant. In Him are preserved all the properties of the divinity and all the properties of the humanity, together in a real, perfect, indivisible and inseparable union.

So when Catholics confess Jesus Christ as one in two natures, they do not separate the Divinity from the Humanity, not even for the twinkling of an eye, but they rather try to avoid mingling, commixtion, confusion or alteration.

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« Reply #118 on: May 15, 2004, 03:00:30 PM »

There is no great difference.

But Peter. You are telling me what YOU believe. There MUST be something different from what your Bishops believed when it rejected the council professing the Truth as defined by the other Bishops of the Church.
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« Reply #119 on: May 15, 2004, 03:18:15 PM »

If I am barbed sometimes it is just frustration. I don't mean it towards you.

I have no problem reflecting on the defects of Ephesus 449 as well as the positive aspects. If you were to read the work 'The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined' by Fr V.C. Samuel, which I have republished you would find that he is also able (or rather I am following him of course) to reflect critically on our own history.

It would have been much better had Pope Dioscorus not dealt so harshly with +Flavian. But that synod also dealt with the teachings of Ibas, Theodore and Theodoret and some of their followers. Are you suggesting that I should reject that aspect of the council.

I have not heard that Ephesus 449 is considered an ecumenical council. It is of course considered a council that bore witness at least in part to Orthodoxy. I can't see how that part of the council dealing with what later became the Three Chapters can be rejected? But it doesn't make me confess 4 councils.

Ephesus 449 was at fault for trying to impose a too exclusively Cyrilline terminology. But from our point of view Chalcedon had the same fault and imposed a Theodoran terminology and excluded the Cyrilline. Ephesus 449 was never ever raised in the primary materials I have studied as being necessary for reconciliation. So I have no sense that I need to insist on it now, other than to ask that it be considered more completely as it actually was, with its faults, rather than as it is mythically presented.

I have an issue with your suggesting that the latter councils are rejected? If you take a descriptive view of your own latter councils then surely if I also state that with a few matters that you need to clarify I believe these documents describe the Orthodox faith, then isn't that accepting the councils?

Surely rejecting the councils is rejecting what they describe? I do not reject the 5th council, I believe that it is substantially in accord with what was decided at Ephesus 449. In what way then am I rejecting the council?

If I say, I have read the Sentence of the 5th council and the Capitula and I agree that these describe the Orthodox faith - perhaps you may need to help me in just in or two places so I can be sure that what you are reading is the same as what I am reading, then how is that not accepting that that council describes the Faith? And therefore is accepting it?

The prescriptive approach - just say that there are 7 councils for goodness sake! - seems to actually ignore the descriptive content.

If I say that the documents of the 7th council truly describe the Orthodox faith concerning the veneration of icons, then how is that rejecting that council?

I would really value some input from you.

Finally I think I disagree with you that to discuss these things is beyond our ken. If we don't know what we believe and cannot find out if we believe the same thing then surely our faith is defective? My own St Severus writes extensively about what he teaches, but he is not writing in a way that only a specialist can understand because he is writing to people exactly like you and me.

If I say that I believe that Christ is perfect God and perfect man, then surely if you say that you believe the same then we have understood each other. If the faith is so complex that it does in fact require a lifetimes knowledge of the most technical Greek then surely something is wrong?

My small Greek understands the difference between +¦++ with or without aspiration, but if I ask what do YOU mean by 'in two natures' you should be able to answer, and when you ask me what I, and St Cyril, mean by 'one incarnate nature or hypostasis' I should also be able to answer.

I am particularly interested in what sense I may be said to reject a council, which as you say is primarily descriptive of the Faith, when I agree with what it says and am happy to say that I agree with what it says?

As for translations, I agree. I wanted a copy of the Henoticon, which was received by St Severus as being Orthodox. But the modern edition I had was a rubbish translation, full of imprecision when I needed great precision. It showed, and I don't mean this disrespectfully of Roman Catholicism in general, that the RC academic who had translated it had little theological understanding of the importance of certain words.

But the issue of Byzantines having a full command of their language is debatable. This is because there is no ONE meaning of any phrase. Nothing taken in isolation is without ambiguity. It doesn't matter if I say 'I believe in one God' in English, Latin, Greek or Coptic. It is always liable of being misunderstood by a Muslim. What is necessary is a conversation to discover what is meant. It is not a matter of translation, it is a matter of interpretation. That requires dialogue in the vernacular not in Greek.

Finally I must disagree that the Tome was never taken in a Nestorian manner. Theodoret wrote to Leo saying that his Christology, that of Theodoret, was victorious at Chalcedon. And the Western and North African Church was convinced that the Three Chapters were received as Orthodox at Chalcedon. This was their position for 100 years. And the Assyrian Church also accepted Chalcedon as Orthodox in their terms. And we know Nestorius accepted the Tome as his Christology.

Not one bit of this means that it must be accepted in that way. The 5th council was a corrective. But it seems to me to be a complete fact that many Chalcedonians DID take it in a wrong way. There were even Chalcedonian monks in Constantinople keeping a feast of Nestorius.

And if I ask the Assyrians today do they accept the teaching of the Tome and Chalcedon as their own, what if they answer in the affirmative? Does this mean it MUST be read in their terms or only that it CAN be read in their terms and HAS BEEN.

Over to you

Peter
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« Reply #120 on: May 15, 2004, 08:24:24 PM »

Chalcedon has been received as have the others. Those who deny them (or have not yet accepted them) are not in the communion  (or within) within the Orthodox Catholic Church.

Then the only option for an EO is to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the Oriental Orthodox are indeed what they were accused of being: Christological heretics.  If the OO can be proven to be such, then yes, Chalcedon has been received by the whole Church.  However, if the OO can be shown beyond reasonable doubt to not be Christological heretics, but rather believers in the same Orthodox faith, albeit expressed differently, then Chalcedon has NOT been received by the whole Church--a whole section of it has not received it.  

Anything else is circular.
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« Reply #121 on: May 16, 2004, 08:11:44 AM »

But Peter. You are telling me what YOU believe. There MUST be something different from what your Bishops believed when it rejected the council professing the Truth as defined by the other Bishops of the Church.

Hiya

Well what I believe is what my Church believes. I have spent the last 10 years studying as hard as I can and I am still working hard on studying the latter Fathers of my communion.

There is no substantive difference in the EO faith and the OO faith.

But it is quite easy to see how in the controversial period there were those who used both the acceptance and rejection of Chalcedon as a front for persisting in heresy.

Chalcedon was rejected quite plainly because it was perceived to be confessing two Christs, not because it was confessing the reality of the humanity of Christ. If we can now see that the majority opinion among Chalcedonians came to exclude that view at the 5th council, then that is the basis on the present perception that we have the same faith.

But at the time Chalcedon was rejected because of the perception that it was Nestorianising not because it was believed to teach the reality of the humanity of Christ.

For instance Dioscorus taught:

"God the Logos, consubstantial with the Father, at the end of the ages for our redemption became consubstantial with man in the flesh, remaining what he was before."

and

"I know full well, having been brought up in the faith, that he has been begotten of the Father as God, and that the Same has been begotten of Mary as man. See Him walking on the sea as man, and Creator of the heavenly hosts as God; see him sleeping in the boat as man, and walking on the seas as God; see Him hungry as man, and bestowing nourishment as God; see him thirsty as man, and giving drink as God; see him stoned by the Jews as man, and worshipped by angels as God; see him tempted as man, and driving away the demons as God; and similarly of many instances."

I have written several quite lengthy articles on this very subject, the confession of the complete humanity of Christ.

Certainly these have been approved by my bishop and have been seen and read by senior bishops of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate who have never suggested that I have said anything incorrect.

So I really don't think that there are substantial differences. Rejecting a council is not the same as embracing what a council might have been trying to exclude as heresy, it can be, and can be shown to be, the rejection of a particular understanding of what a council was teaching.

My bishop knows all of what I confess as my faith here and I know that it is his faith also. And that of all the people I have been at church with this morning, and all the Coptic Orthodox people I deal with on the net on a daily basis.

If I can't find a substantial difference in what I guess you believe then there isn't one. I would not remain a member of a Church I disagreed with on the level of substantial doctrine.

Best wishes

Peter
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« Reply #122 on: May 17, 2004, 08:56:47 PM »

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peterfarrington: There is no substantive difference in the EO faith and the OO faith.

That is not true.

Not only did the Orthodox Fathers believe there were substantive differences, but the Non-Chalcedonians thought so, too.

Nothing has changed since their time.

The Non-Chalcedonians are still saying the same things they have always said and venerating the same founding fathers.

What has changed is that the modern era is an age of relativism and ecumenism, when very real theological differences are papered over in the interests of "unity" and of "Christians growing closer together."

Then there is the "small" matter of the Council of Chalcedon and the subsequent councils.

Quote
peterfarrington: Chalcedon was rejected quite plainly because it was perceived to be confessing two Christs, not because it was confessing the reality of the humanity of Christ. If we can now see that the majority opinion among Chalcedonians came to exclude that view at the 5th council, then that is the basis on the present perception that we have the same faith.

But at the time Chalcedon was rejected because of the perception that it was Nestorianising not because it was believed to teach the reality of the humanity of Christ.

Anyone who has read the Council of Chalcedon realizes that these perceptions or suppositions were and are unfounded.

The Council anathematized Nestorius and his teaching, affirmed the prior councils, and specifically denied the erroneous notion that there are two persons in Christ.

The original Non-Chalcedonians were aware of these things. They rejected Chalcedon not because the Council was really Nestorian (ridiculous) but because they really did not agree with its Orthodox doctrine. The charge of "Nestorianism" was merely an epithet used against the Council.

I would like to say more, but I'm out of time.





 
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« Reply #123 on: May 17, 2004, 10:20:07 PM »

Peter,

Linus is reinforcing my view about this - you say that there is really no difference between the OO and EO understanding of Christ, but for over a century the REST of Orthodoxy believed (and still does) that there is a difference.

Why is that -- is the rest of Orthodoxy wrong?

And if it just an issue of "semantics" and "misunderstanding" then why doesn't your church admit that they were wrong and accept the Council?HuhHuh
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« Reply #124 on: May 18, 2004, 04:27:34 AM »

Tom, YOU tell me what the difference is then.

If there is one then I will happily concede that the EO are heretics. But I can't find a difference.

What I find frustrating is the you cannot even consider how others might view events in your history.

I am happy to just accept that the EO are heretics and get on with life. I can call you a Nestorian based on the clear witness of Chalcedon etc etc. I know all the polemics. Is that what Christians should be doing?

YOU tell me what the difference is?

Do you not even consider the possibility that the Byzantines have also been wrong and need to admit it?

Peter
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« Reply #125 on: May 18, 2004, 05:54:24 AM »

Quote
+æ-ü+¦-â-ä+++¦++++-é:
Chalcedon has been received as have the others. Those who deny them (or have not yet accepted them) are not in the communion  (or within) within the Orthodox Catholic Church.

Then the only option for an EO is to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the Oriental Orthodox are indeed what they were accused of being: Christological heretics.  If the OO can be proven to be such, then yes, Chalcedon has been received by the whole Church.  However, if the OO can be shown beyond reasonable doubt to not be Christological heretics, but rather believers in the same Orthodox faith, albeit expressed differently, then Chalcedon has NOT been received by the whole Church--a whole section of it has not received it.  

Anything else is circular.  

Ah! I knew we would eventually hear from Mor "Phil". I thought as I hit the post button that someone would take exception here. If I had better stated what I meant - the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church of the East (the canonical name of the Eastern Orthodox communion), would that break you out of the circle, Phil?

Second issue here, I do not recall me accusing anyone of anything beyond stating the obvious - rejection of +º+¦+++¦+¦+¦+++++¦.

Question for Mor Ephrem, PT, or anyone else who may know: Did, and if so, to what extent did those who rejected +º+¦+++¦+¦+¦+++++¦ participate in the councils following it?
And, are we here to equate "rejection" with "not-yet-accepting"?

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« Reply #126 on: May 18, 2004, 06:45:35 AM »

Quote
And, are we here to equate "rejection" with "not-yet-accepting"?

I think that we should not. What is the substantive content of Chalcedon? Surely it is the double consubstantiality of Christ. This has never been denied among those who rejected Chalcedon. What was rejected under the name of Chalcedon was a crypto-Nestorianism.

Again in the words of Father John Romanides:

"One must emphasize that acceptance of the Three or Seven Ecumenical Councils does not in itself entail agreement in faith. The Franco-Latin Papacy accepts these Councils, but in reality accepts not one of them. In like manner there are Orthodox, since Peter the Great, who in reality do not accept the soteriological and Old Testament presuppositions of these Councils. On the other hand those of the Oriental Orthodox, who have not been Franco-Latinised in important parts of their theology, accept the first three of the Ecumenical Councils, but in reality accept all Seven, a fact which has now become clear in recent agreements."

We must ask what 'agreement' and 'rejection' mean.

I agree with ALL of the substance of all the councils and even the Tome, because I read them as a Modern EO might read them, with 1500 years of clarification in mind. I do not read them as a 5th century subdeacon with many other preconceptions in mind and a different context to take account of.

I do not 'reject' Chalcedon, if that means I reject the double consubstantiality of Christ. But I do not 'accept' it either if that means pretending that history didn't happen and that Chalcedon took place in a very different context to that in which we find ourselves now.

Peter


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« Reply #127 on: May 18, 2004, 06:53:20 AM »

Thanks Peter, for answering the last question and for the Fr Romanides op-ed piece.

What about the preceeding question?

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« Reply #128 on: May 18, 2004, 07:31:37 AM »

I don't believe so from any of my reading.

From a non-OO source a brief summary of the situation says:

One of the last possibilities of reconciliation took place in 535 when Severus journeyed to Constantinople. His visit was very successful. He stayed there for 18 months and won over Anthimus of Constantinople to the Non-Chalcedonian.

Justininian was at this time attempting to win back Rome having recovered North Africa. Pope Agapetus made it clear that there could be no alliance with Rome if a critical position vis-a-vis Constantinople were adopted.

Justininian called a local council which banished Anthimus, charged Severus perversely with magic and banished him together with ordering the burning of all of his writings. Severus returned to his monastic retreats in the Egyptian desert.

Worse than the mere failure of these conferences, Justinian then re-inforced his opinion by legal means once more. From another historian and theologian:

"Emperor Justinian ratified the decision by issuing an edict on 6 August, declaring it criminal to maintain a non-Chalcedonian position in the empire, and he ordered the burning of the writings of Severus. Ephraim of Antioch also convened a council of one hundred and thirty-two bishops, which confirmed Chalceaon and condemned Severus and his followers.

The edict of Justinian could not solve the religious problem in the empire. What it did, on the other hand, was to declare the Chalcedonian body alone to constitute the religion of the state, in the same way as the Act of Uniformity of 1662 in British history did with Christianity in England. The edict was indeed injurious to the non-Chalcedonian body at least in three ways. Firstly, churches and other religious establishments in the empire became by law the possession of the Chalcedonian body; secondly bishops and leading clergy of Chalcedon’s ecclesiastical opponents had to spend their days either in exile or in hiding and new recruitments were forbidden. and thirdly, laymen were denied the possibility of obtaining positions of dignity in the state.

In spite of these handicaps, the people followed their non-Chalcedonian religious adherence in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere in the east. Since city churches and other institutions had been made available to the state church, they had to build churches and monasteries outside the cities. The church of Egypt, for instance, had to give up Alexandria and move its ecclesiastical centre to Enaton, where it built up monastic communities,  six hundred of them. The Syrian patriarchs who claimed continuity to Severus had their residence in places like Haran, Callinicus, Edessa, and Mardin in North Syria.  In fact, Michael the Syrian reports that the first time a non-Chalcedonian patriarch of Antioch ever set foot in that city, after Severus had left it in 518, was in 721, when patriarch Elias visited Antioch for the dedication of a church which he had built in the city. "

So after that time it was virtually impossible that there could be reconciliation. If you held to the Non-Chalcedonian position you were a criminal and treated as a criminal.

Early in the 7th century we find:

"John of Ephesus, who lived in Constantinople at that time and who was himself subjected to severe torture, has preserved for us a fairly detailed account of this persecution.  At the beginning of the week before the Palm Sunday of the year 571. he writes, emperor Justin II issued an edict proscribing the non-Chalcedonian body. He ordered their places of worship to be closed, their bishops and priests to be arrested, and all their congregations to be disbanded."

Later on in the 7th century we find:

"Heraclius was again angry, and wrote to all areas of his dominions that ‘those who would not accept the council of Chalcedon should have their noses and ears cut out and their properties confiscated’.  The persecution thus inaugurated lasted for a while, during which the severity of ill-treatment and oppression led many monks to endorse the council. But those who refused to surrender were forced by various methods to conform."

So again there was no likelihood of reconciliation.

After this the Arabs invaded and the Non-Chalcedonian communities were generally cut off from the Byzantines until they too fell under Ottoman control.

So I do not believe that there was even the possibility of reconciliation, nor of representation at the latter councils by virtue of either the political situation in respect of the Arab invasion, or the legal situation in which it was illegal to not accept Chalcedon on pain even of mutilation.

On the positive side the closest point came just after 566:

"Following this incident, unity talks were held between the leaders of the Chalcedonian and the non-Chalcedonian sides lasting for a period of over one year. This was a time when the non-Chalcedonian leadership was keen to accept an honourable settlement, without their having to endorse the council of Chalcedon in a juridical sense. The emperor granted this point, as the edict which he issued as a basis for union sufficiently shows.  It noted the creed of Nicea as confirmed by the council of Constantinople as the only acceptable symbol of faith, and this creed as it had been interpreted by the council of 431 alone as the doctrinal standard of the Church. After incorporating the creed, the edict went on to affirm ‘two births of God the Word, one from God the Father in eternity and the other from Mary the Virgin in time. We confess him to be God the Only Word in truth, who remained unchanging in his Godhead. He suffered in the flesh and performed wonders as God, not as one and another; not that one is Christ and another is God, but one and the same, being composed of two natures of Godhead and manhood one hypostasis, one prosopon; not two hypostases or two prosopa, or two sons, but one hypostasis of God the Word incarnate’. The edict condemned all heretics, among whom were Nestorius and Theodore, as well as the letter of Ibas and the writings of Theodoret. ‘We accept the blessed patriarch Severus and revoke the condemnation that had been pronounced against him wickedly and without reason, and we lift the anathemas declared from the time of St. Cyril to the present time.’

The non-Chalcedonian leaders who saw the edict proposed two amendments. In the first place, they suggested that the statement on the incarnation should be modified from the words. ‘another is God, but’, to ‘read he who is one the same being composed of two natures, namely two hypostases, divine and human, and forming one nature, namely one hypostasis, divine and one prosopon. He is not two hypostases or two prosopa, or two natures or two sons’. Secondly, they asked for the inclusion of the twelve anathemas of Cyril as an accepted document of the faith.

Syrian historians testify that the emperor agreed to adopt the amendments and ordered that copies of the edict be made incorporating the changes, but that the men who undertook the work omitted them. The emperor was annoyed, but later cooled off. The non-Chalcedonian leaders, seeing that their proposals which the emperor had admitted had not been put in, refused to sign the document. Thus the edict could not serve the purpose for which it had been drawn up."

Thankfully things are different now.

Are any of these quotes helpful?

Peter
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« Reply #129 on: May 18, 2004, 07:54:35 AM »

Tom, YOU tell me what the difference is then.

I don't feel I need to and I certainly don't have the knowledge to make these difficult theological decisions.

YOUR church rejected the council -- the burden is on your church.

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« Reply #130 on: May 18, 2004, 08:43:35 AM »

YOUR Church accepted the council - the burden is on your Church.

Show that you are not crypto-Nestorians!

How does that help?

Since we accept the double consubstantiality of Christ, the reality of his humanity and Divinity, there is nothing else to accept as far as I can see.

Lets look at a summary of what Chalcedon taught from the EO perspective:

"Affirmed completeness of the two natures of the Lord Jesus Christ: divinity and humanity (perfect God and perfect man)."

This is entirely what the Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox also affirm.

Therefore how can it be said I have a different faith to you? You are the one saying I have, so it is you who must show that you believe something different to me.

You have plenty of evidence of what I believe on this forum, and I am in almost daily contact with my bishop, this is what he believes, and he is a regular attender and participant in the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate - this is what they believe.

So please, where do you believe something different to me?

It isn't a difficult theological decision at all. It is a simple one. Do you believe differently about Christ to anything you have seen me confess to.

Why would the Patriarchs of Alexandria allow for full inter-communion of mixed community families if not on the basis that they do not believe there is a substantial difference. Why would the Patriarchs of Antioch and Syria allow for full inter-communion in the Middle East of their communities. Do they lack the knowledge to think these thrings through? What of Professor Father John Romanides, did he lack the knowledge to think these things through and conclude that the OO accepted the substance of all the councils?

Your Church accepted the council - your Church enforced it at the political and legal level. Your Church values it highly. It is incumbent upon you to show where my own Orthodox Church teaches something other than the dual consubstabtiality of Christ.

Or perhaps as some of our patriarchs, bishops and theologians are showing, it is incumbent upon all sides to step beyond polemics and find out the substance of what all sides confess. It is not too difficult.

Peter Theodore
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« Reply #131 on: May 18, 2004, 11:47:18 AM »


Are any of these quotes helpful?


I think so, Peter. I assume that the answer then is little or no representation sent to 5th, 6th and 7th Councils.

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« Reply #132 on: May 18, 2004, 01:24:50 PM »

None as far as I am aware. None would have been allowed if it was criminal to be a Non-Chalcedonian and/or if it was liable to mutilation. I don't think I'd have gone along, put it like that.

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« Reply #133 on: May 18, 2004, 06:26:09 PM »

Quote
peterfarrington:
YOUR Church accepted the council - the burden is on your Church.

Show that you are not crypto-Nestorians!

Easily done.

Just read the Council of Chalcedon. It anathematizes Nestorius, as well as Eutyches and Dioscorus.

It specifically condemns Nestorianism and affirms the ecumenical councils that preceded it.

Quote
peterfarrington: How does that help?

Since we accept the double consubstantiality of Christ, the reality of his humanity and Divinity, there is nothing else to accept as far as I can see.

Non-Chalcedonians have always said that.

When one looks at the whole of their Christology, however, a different picture emerges.

What one sees is an incomplete, passive, unfree humanity of our Lord, "the Word expressing himself in a vital, personal way through the instrument (organon) of flesh that he controls and enlivens, bypassing or simply overwhelming the rational soul" (Hans Urs von Balthasar, Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor, p. 228).

This is the real reason why for Severus and Coptic Pope Shenouda III and Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios Christ has only one will, energy, and activity (Monothelitism, Monenergism), and why they find the 6th Council even more problematic than Chalcedon.









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« Reply #134 on: May 19, 2004, 01:13:09 AM »

None as far as I am aware. None would have been allowed if it was criminal to be a Non-Chalcedonian and/or if it was liable to mutilation. I don't think I'd have gone along, put it like that.

Peter

I, again, guess this is an answer.

Demetri
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