OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 25, 2014, 12:27:02 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Orthodox vs. Catholic understanding of "deposit of faith."  (Read 3163 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Thepeug
CRXtraordinary
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic
Jurisdiction: Eparchy of Passaic
Posts: 18

OC.net


« on: June 12, 2004, 02:18:18 PM »

Hey, everyone.  I'm new to this forum, but I have LOTS of questions about Orthodoxy, and after reading a few posts I figured this would be a good place to get some answers  Smiley.  I'm an Episcopalian Christian, but over the past few months I've become interested in a search for the "original" Church and the Apostolic faith.  Consequently, I've been doing a lot of comparison between Orthodoxy and Catholicism.  

One such comparison in which I'm interested concerns the differing notions of the "deposit of faith."  I found the following quote in this forum that contrasts the Catholic "deposit of faith" with an Orthodox perspective:  

“In Catholicism, there exists the notion that the Apostolic faith can somehow be improved upon, with latter generations having access to truths which previous ones did not. This is not Orthodox; in Orthodoxy "solemn definitions" do not have the purpose of somehow "furthering theology", but protecting the ancient faith. It's on the same grounds that Orthodoxy will have nothing to do with talk of "indulgences" or "papal infallibility", no matter how well argued the RC's may think their apologetics for these doctrines are - that they were not believed in all times in all places, is sufficient to make them suspect.”

While I understand the following quote, it begs the quesion:  the ideas of the Trinity and the Bible were not "believed in all times in all places" because the Bible didn't even exist until 300 years after the start of Christianity.  If these concepts were articulated after the initial Apostolic deposit of faith, why couldn't the same apply to other Christian concepts?  Also, why do the Orthodox believe that all necessary doctrine was defined during the first seven Ecumenical Councils?  What is the basis for this "cut-off," so to speak?  The follwing quote partly explains the concept of the "deposit of faith" from a Catholic perspective:

"The examples could be multiplied, but the fact is, no church looks exactly the same as that of the New Testament era. Since Christ founded a living Church, one should expect it, like any living thing, to grow and mature, changing in appearance while maintaining identity in substance, holding on to the original deposit of faith, while coming to understand it more deeply and to apply it to new cultural situations. The real question is why anyone would think that the Church should have arrested its development and fossilized in one, immutable form at the end of the first century."

Any thoughts on this quote as it relates to Orthodoxy?  I know these are a lot of questions and I in no way mean to criticize; I'm simply interested in a comparison between Orthodox and Catholic understandings of the "deposit of faith."  Thank you so much for time and patience!

In Christ,

Chris
Logged

“Every day I say to myself – today I will begin.”

– St. Anthony of the Desert
Thepeug
CRXtraordinary
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic
Jurisdiction: Eparchy of Passaic
Posts: 18

OC.net


« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2004, 02:21:30 PM »

A little off-topic, but I'm just curious:  why is there a picture of a llama under my name?  I didn't put it there; is it a standard avatar or something?  Huh
Logged

“Every day I say to myself – today I will begin.”

– St. Anthony of the Desert
Ben
Unabashedly Pro-Life
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,260



« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2004, 02:24:30 PM »

In Catholicism, it is taught that all of the Catholic dogmas are essential for salvation, and have *always* been believed since the day of the Aposotles. However, they always haven't been believed in same way as we do now. Over the centuries, though the essential dogma has never been changed, the way in which it was understood developed and became more clear.
Logged

"I prefer to be accused unjustly, for then I have nothing to reproach myself with, and joyfully offer this to the good Lord. Then I humble myself at the thought that I am indeed capable of doing the thing of which I have been accused. " - Saint
Fr. David
The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA, Diocese of the South
Posts: 2,828



WWW
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2004, 02:44:35 PM »

Thepeug --

Yes, the avatar is standard -- you'll see some posters with script under their avatars of things like "I'm not a llama, I'm Eastern Orthodox!" and "I'm an alpaca, actually."  Long-running, joke, apparently.  Go to the "Edit Profile" button up at the top and fix your avatar, either by choosing one already uploaded or by uploading your own and using it.

Now,

The question is excellent, and one that I can see from both sides (indeed, it was one that gave me trouble for a while, as I converted from Protestantism and straddled the fence between Rome and Byzantium for a bit).  My problem with the RCC view is not so much that they think their recent dogmas are the simple "maturing" or "growth" of things from the beginning; I'm fine with the "growth" idea.  Rather, the problem I have with these ideas is that they seem to directly contradict what was stated before.

If something is not mentioned, there's room for development, as no one can make an argument from silence.

If something is mentioned, and is the opposite of a more recent declaration, we don't just have a growth here.  We have a mutation.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2004, 02:45:34 PM by Pedro » Logged

Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
Ben
Unabashedly Pro-Life
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,260



« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2004, 02:55:21 PM »

Pedro, very good points, however, what dogma in the RCC is a mutation? I mean what RC dogma was directly contradicted by an Ecumenical Council or a Pope before it was declare RC dogma?

You could bring up the Filioque, but the Ecumenical Councils never said the Spirit didn't also proceed from the Son or through the Son (the Council of Florence premitted the term "through" the Son). And no Pope ever said the Filioque was heresy, it is true they didn't premit its use in Rome until much later, but that was for the sake of Christian unity, they premitted it to be used in Spain and France, and even premitted the Bishops in the 6th century at Toledo to require it to be said by the Visigoths when they entered the Church.

As for Original Sin and the Immmaculate Conception, the West had been influenced by Saint Augustine of Hippo for a long time, even before the final Schism between East and West. It is true some RC Saints objected to the Immaculate Conception, like St. Thomas Aquinas, however since it wasn't an offical dogma of the Church at that time, there is no problem.

Papal Supremacy and universal jurisdiction started with Pope Saint Leo the Great, and was simply made official by RC Popes in the 12 the Century. Papal Infallibilty is a whole other issue, but you can't find previous Popes saying the Pope can't speak ex-cathedra and be infallible.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2004, 02:57:55 PM by Ben » Logged

"I prefer to be accused unjustly, for then I have nothing to reproach myself with, and joyfully offer this to the good Lord. Then I humble myself at the thought that I am indeed capable of doing the thing of which I have been accused. " - Saint
Fr. David
The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA, Diocese of the South
Posts: 2,828



WWW
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2004, 04:05:00 PM »

You could bring up the Filioque, but...no Pope ever said the Filioque was heresy, it is true they didn't premit its use in Rome until much later, but that was for the sake of Christian unity, they premitted it to be used in Spain and France, and even premitted the Bishops in the 6th century at Toledo to require it to be said by the Visigoths when they entered the Church.

After which they did permit and even require it, over and above the desires of (and without the consent of) the eastern churches, even to the point of accusing the eastern churches of ommitting the filioque.

Quote
It is true some RC Saints objected to the Immaculate Conception, like St. Thomas Aquinas, however since it wasn't an offical dogma of the Church at that time, there is no problem.

As did St. Leo, Pope of Rome.  Not that such a prominent Pope's position should trouble the RCC, as the RCC has made itself quite the cozy position: No proclamation of a Pope can be said to be binding unless it is ex cathedra, yet since the term and idea of ex cathedra hasn't been around for more than a relatively small amount of time, any belief by a previous Pope, no matter how firmly held by said Pope, doesn't have to be binding, as the more recent, more "binding" way of determining doctrine by ex cathedra overrules it.

Quote
Papal Supremacy and universal jurisdiction started with Pope Saint Leo the Great, and was simply made official by RC Popes in the 12 the Century.

So who do I go with here: St. Leo, or both St. Cyprian of Carthage and St. Gregory, who said, repectively, that no one claimed to be a "Bishop of Bishops," and that anyone claiming the title "Bishop of Bishops" was under the spirit of the Antichrist?
« Last Edit: June 12, 2004, 04:06:11 PM by Pedro » Logged

Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
Thepeug
CRXtraordinary
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic
Jurisdiction: Eparchy of Passaic
Posts: 18

OC.net


« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2004, 04:11:59 PM »

Thanks for the ideas, everyone.  Pedro, I really like your idea that "you can't make an argument from silence."  I asked this same question in a Catholic forum; would you mind if I posted your quote in their forum to see what they have to say?

                                            God bless,
                                                         Chris
Logged

“Every day I say to myself – today I will begin.”

– St. Anthony of the Desert
Fr. David
The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA, Diocese of the South
Posts: 2,828



WWW
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2004, 04:14:42 PM »

Sure -- they shouldn't have a problem with it, as it's their argument.

My point is that history isn't silent on the subject.

Glad I could help, though.  Grin
Logged

Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
Ben
Unabashedly Pro-Life
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,260



« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2004, 04:24:38 PM »

Quote
After which they did permit and even require it, over and above the desires of (and without the consent of) the eastern churches, even to the point of accusing the eastern churches of ommitting the filioque.

No Roman Pontiff ever accused the East of ommitting the Filioque, to my knowledge. However, Charlamange sure did, along with the Frankish Bishops. But the problem is that the EOC says that the Filioque is heretical, if so then Rome and the rest of the Western Church fell to heresy long before the 11th century!

Quote
as the RCC has made itself quite the cozy position: No proclamation of a Pope can be said to be binding unless it is ex cathedra, yet since the term and idea of ex cathedra hasn't been around for more than a relatively small amount of time, any belief by a previous Pope, no matter how firmly held by said Pope, doesn't have to be binding, as the more recent, more "binding" way of determining doctrine by ex cathedra overrules it.

That isn't true.

We can see this from the ex cathedra teaching of Vatican I.  When papal infallibility was defined, the Council said the following:

"Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our saviour, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the sacred council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, THAT IS, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, HE DEFINES a doctrine concerning faith or morals TO BE HELD by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable. So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema." (Denz. 1839)

So, when a pope "defines" something "to be held" it is "ex cathedra".  But, in the run up to this, the Vatican I also defined:

"Moreover, the Roman Pontiffs, according to the dictates of time and circumstances, sometimes by calling ECUMENICAL COUNCILS or asking the opinion of the Church dispersed throughout the world, sometimes through particular synods, sometimes by using other means which divine providence supplied, DEFINED those things which MUST BE HELD and which they knew, by the help of God, to be consonant with the Sacred Scriptures and apostolic traditions." (Denz. 1836).

So, prior to Vatican I, popes "defined", things which "must be held" - and called ecumenical councils to prepare for this.  But, as we just saw, when he does that, it is ex cathedra.  Therefore, we may see from the teaching of Vatican I that there have been many ex cathedra definitions prior to Vatican I - particularly those which came upon the invocation of ecumenical councils.

Quote
So who do I go with here: St. Leo, or both St. Cyprian of Carthage and St. Gregory, who said, repectively, that no one claimed to be a "Bishop of Bishops," and that anyone claiming the title "Bishop of Bishops" was under the spirit of the Antichrist?

The words of Pope Saint Gregory the Great are misued much too often.

The commonly-heard polemic of Gregory the Great allegedly eschewing the universal jurisdiction of the papacy is easily disposed of. One must examine context and the rest of the author's works and actions. When that is done in this particular instance, Gregory's meaning becomes quite clear, and alas, it is not what the anti-Catholic endeavor would have hoped.

Gregory the Great condemned the title universal bishop in the sense of meaning that all other bishops are not really bishops, but mere agents of the one Bishop, a concept that is blatantly contrary to Catholic teaching, which holds that all bishops are by divine institution true successors of the Apostles. For he states:

For if one, as he supposes, is universal bishop, it remains that you are not bishops.

{Epistle LXVIII}

Elsewhere, in the very same correspondence in which he condemns this term in the sense above, Gregory clearly upholds the universal authority and supremacy of the Roman bishop:

Now eight years ago, in the time of my predecessor of holy memory Pelagius, our brother and fellow-bishop John in the city of Constantinople, . . . held a synod in which he attempted to call himself Universal Bishop. Which as soon as my said predecessor knew, he dispatched letters annulling by the authority of the holy apostle Peter the acts of the said synod; of which letters I have taken care to send copies to your Holiness.

{Epistle XLIII, emphasis added}

To all who know the Gospel it is clear that by the words of our Lord the care of the whole Church was committed to Blessed Peter, the Prince of the Apostles . . . Behold, he received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, the power to bind and loose was given to him, and the care and principality of the entire church was committed to him . . . Yet he was not the universal Apostle. But . . . John would be called universal Bishop . . . [Popes had never assumed this title, though it had been given them], lest all the Bishops be deprived of their due meed of honor whilst some special honor be conceded to one.

{Epistles, 5, 37; to Emperor Maurice, emphasis added}

In writing to John, Bishop of Constantinople, who had usurped "this new, proud and profane title," Gregory wonders,

how one, who had professed himself unworthy to be called a Bishop at all, should now despise his brethren, and aspire to be called the sole Bishop.

{Epistles, 5,44}

The title Universal Bishop may also be used in the sense of Bishop of Bishops, and in this sense it was applied by Eastern Christians to Popes Hormisdas (514-523), Boniface II (530-532) and Agapetus (535-36), although the popes never used it themselves (ostensibly wishing to avoid the above interpretation) until the time of Leo IX (1049-54).

Pope St. Gregory the Great, like St. John Chrysostom two centuries earlier, and Pope St. Leo the Great 150 years earlier (arguably with even more force and vigor), states the Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy in many passages of his letters. He calls the Roman See "the head of the faith," and the "head of all the churches," because "it holds the place of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles." "All Bishops," including Constantinople, "are subject to the Apostolic See."


« Last Edit: June 12, 2004, 11:32:40 PM by Ben » Logged

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

Posts: 6,358



« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2004, 04:30:48 PM »

Greetings, Thepeug,  there are a few other Episcopalians here.

Ebor
Logged

"I wish they would remember that the charge to Peter was "Feed my sheep", not "Try experiments on my rats", or even "Teach my performing dogs new tricks". - C. S. Lewis

The Katana of Reasoned Discussion

For some a world view is more like a neighborhood watch.
Jakub
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Posts: 2,744



« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2004, 05:05:54 PM »

Welcome Thepeug,

Hope they all don't run you off.

Pope Leo III approved the "spirit" of the filioque by warned against any alteration in the wording of the creed.

Of course if you want to believe a RC who sees JPII as the Patriarch of the West only and with limited powers.

Enjoy the ride,

james
Logged

An old timer is a man who's had a lot of interesting experiences -- some of them true.
Ben
Unabashedly Pro-Life
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,260



« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2004, 05:09:47 PM »


Pope Leo III approved the "spirit" of the filioque by warned against any alteration in the wording of the creed.


In the ninth century, Pope Leo III agreed to the filioque clause theologically, but was opposed to adopting it in worship in Rome, however he allowed it to be used in Spain and France.
Logged

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

Faith: Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic
Jurisdiction: Eparchy of Passaic
Posts: 18

OC.net


« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2004, 07:23:57 PM »

Concerning the deposit of faith, I found a summary of a few excerpts from Catholic theologian Henry Cardinal Newman that help explain the Catholic belief in doctrinal development:  

"** The primitive Deposit of Faith is immutable. It is complete--as complete as Public Revelation will be before the eschaton. It cannot be changed, added to, or "improved." It was delivered once and for all to the saints. Public Revelation ended with the death of the last apostle. It is not ongoing or progressive. It is enshrined for all time in the Bible and Sacred Tradition.

** However, even though the Deposit of Faith cannot change or grow, our understanding of it can. Mary, that great Type of the Church, provides our example. The Bible tells us she "pondered these things in her heart." The more she pondered, the more she understood. Her pondering didn't change the things themselves. Those bedrock truths--e.g., her Son's Divinity--remained the same, forever immutable. However, she herself came to appreciate and understand them more and more as she pondered them.

Think of it this way. Were doctrines like the Trinity and the Hypostatic Union revealed to the apostles as part of the primitive Deposit of Faith? Yes. But did the earliest Christians fully understand them? Not that the Trinity is ever fully comprehensible this side of the grave, but you know what I mean: Did the earliest Christians go around talking about Three Persons in One God or about One Person with two Natures? Obviously not. If they had, then the Fathers of the fourth century wouldn't have spent so much time and energy fighting over one iota!

Bottom line: While doctrines like the Trinity and the Hypostatic Union were part of the original Depositum, they were not understood as well initially as they were later. This is Development in a nutshell. Our understanding of the Depositum grows, but the Depositum itself neither grows nor changes.

** True "developments," Newman says, are not additions...and certainly not "corruptions." (He gives a number of tests for distinguishing between authentic developments and corruptions.) Rather, they are elucidations of the Deposit of Faith. The data were there at the beginning; we're simply unpacking them as we go through time and "ponder these things in our heart."

Our Lord Himself gave a famous example, which Newman cites: the parable of the Mustard Seed. The fully grown bush doesn't outwardly resemble the tiny seed whence it sprang. But they are the same organism, with the same DNA. As the bush grows, it unpacks the DNA. So with the Church herself, growing and expanding through time and space. And so also with the Depositum Fidei. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, for instance, may appear more crystallized than the angelic declaration that Mary is "full of Grace" (kecharitomene)...more crystallized than the primitive patristic view of Mary as the New Eve. But it is the same truth, with the same DNA--"unpacked" as we better understand it after hundreds of years of pondering it.

Same with all the other de fide truths of Catholicism. Newman notes, for instance, that during Christianity's first three centuries, there were more patristic attestations to papal primacy than to the Trinity! Yet non-Catholics who summarily reject the former have no trouble accepting the latter. Yet both were subject to "development of doctrine"...in the sense that both were better and better understood as the Church moved through time."

Any objections to this explanation?  

In Christ,

Chris
Logged

“Every day I say to myself – today I will begin.”

– St. Anthony of the Desert
Ben
Unabashedly Pro-Life
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,260



« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2004, 07:26:36 PM »

Chris, as a Roman Catholic, I totally agree with Newman on this and your comments.
Logged

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

Posts: 565

pray for me, please


WWW
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2004, 09:04:30 PM »

Greetings Thepeug!

Quote
While I understand the following quote, it begs the quesion:  the ideas of the Trinity and the Bible were not "believed in all times in all places" because the Bible didn't even exist until 300 years after the start of Christianity.

I think a careful distinction has to be made between the Orthodox notion of "doctrinal development" and the Roman Catholic one.

Orthodox Christianity does not deny that "development" occurs.  However, it would assert that this development is in the area of terminology and explanation, not on a basic conceptual level.

Let's take the symbol of Nicea-Constantinople (aka "Nicene Creed") as an example.  While it is true that the language agreed upon at the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople took time to develop and eventually be agreed upon, the truth that is being protected was not a new one.  The same can be said of the later Christological definitions of later Ecumenical Councils.  The truth that Christ is both true God and true man, that the Son is eternally begotten from the Father, and that the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father, and the essential oness of God, these were not new.  However, the challenge of the Arian school of thought (which was the modernism of it's day - it was as seemingly "rational" and simplified as it was wrong), and the potential confusion created by differing ways of speaking (even if soundly) about the mystery of God's plurality of Persons yet unity of Essence, created a situation where these Apostolic teachings needed to have a protective "fence" put around them, as it were.  However, it cannot be said that Nicea was introducing a new faith, or some kind of theological "progress" in the area of how God is to be understood.  Materially, the dogma of the Holy Trinity is the revelation of Christ Himself, as is reflected in the sayings of the Lord that are preserved in our Holy Scriptures, not to mention the faith of the pre-Nicean Fathers.

However, there are "dogmas" in Roman Catholicism which from an Orthodox p.o.v. do not meet this criteria.  The teaching of indulgences for example, required a significant amount of "going beyond" what the Apostles taught and understood.  It was outside of the experience of Christianity they had, or that of the early Church, and in fact requires all sorts of other assumptions beforehand which are equally problematic as far as the Orthodox Church is concerned ("superabundant merits" of the Saints, a fundamentally "satisfactory" understanding of penance and it's value, the Anslemnian concept of salvation as being fundamentally a question of "evening up" with God, extreme ideas about Papal authority and what the "keys" actually mean, etc.)

Thus, while the Apostles did hymn Christ as true God and true man, the same cannot be said of indulgences.

Quote
Also, why do the Orthodox believe that all necessary doctrine was defined during the first seven Ecumenical Councils?

I do not know any Orthodox who believe this.  Strictly speaking, an Ecumenical Council could happen again.  There are certainly pan-Orthodox Synods after the first seven which while not undisputedly regarded as being of the same stature as the first seven, whose import at the end of the day is just as important (for example, the Palamite Synods which defined the ancient distinction made between the "energies" and "essence" of God.)

Quote
What is the basis for this "cut-off," so to speak?

There is no cut off, either in terms of the Church's teaching ministry, or of inspiration for that matter.  While the Roman Catholics teach that inspiration ended with the "death of the last Apostle", this is not Orthodox teaching.  As far as Orthodoxy is concerned, the Ecumenical Councils, the Divine Services, etc. are all inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Logged
Ben
Unabashedly Pro-Life
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,260



« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2004, 09:38:19 PM »

Augustine,

With no Emperor, or Pope, how can the Orthodox Church have another Ecumenical Council? And also with the deep divisions in Orthodoxy over Ecumenism and the Calendar problem how can all or most of the bishops be present? And how long would it take for the Orthodox faithful to accept the definitions of such a Council? I have been told Orthodoxy has really had 8th and 9th Ecumenical Councils, but have yet to be ratified as official Councils, how wil the Church ever meet a consenus to make these councils offcial, without some type of Pope or Emeperor?
Logged

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

Posts: 565

pray for me, please


WWW
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2004, 09:58:17 PM »

Ben,

Quote
No Roman Pontiff ever accused the East of ommitting the Filioque, to my knowledge. However, Charlamange sure did, along with the Frankish Bishops. But the problem is that the EOC says that the Filioque is heretical, if so then Rome and the rest of the Western Church fell to heresy long before the 11th century!

The subject is unfortunately not as simple as this.

The beginning of the filioque dispute can be found well before it became a contentious issue.  While the Eastern Fathers generally were very clear in making a distinction between the "eternal/essential" and "economic" Trinity, the Western Fathers were not.  This is not to say you would not find this distinction at all in the Western Fathers - it's just that it was not as clearly taught.  St.Gregory Palamas would eventually summarize in a very clear form the teaching of both the Eastern and Western Fathers (or at least the consensus thereof), while preserving all of the careful distinctions involved - he taught that while the Holy Spirit receives His being and proceeds eternally from the Father, He "rests upon" and is manifested through the Son eternally as well.  This teaching is the Patristic consensus (and is unmistakenly the universal teaching of the Eastern Fathers to a man), and while acknowledging an eternal manifestation of the Holy Spirit (and not simply a "temporal" one) from God the Son, is careful to not confuse this with the procession of the Holy Spirit from God the Father.  If my understanding of the various modern ecumenical dialogues is correct, it would appear Roman Catholicism is moving towards this understanding of the filioque, which is obviously a good thing.

Confusion however increases due to three factors.  The first, is the unauthorized inclusion of the filioque clause into the Nicene Creed.  Whatever theological justification one wants to use for this insertion, no local Church had the right to do this (this was introduced in Spain, in a misguided attempt to guard against Arianism.)  The other early factor was St.Augustine's teaching on the subject.  With his greatness, went also an unfortunate tendency to have to explain the "mechanisms" or processes involved in absolutely everything.  Thus, he attempted to teach how the "Spiration of the Holy Spirit" differed from the "Begotteness of the Son."  The difference he taught, had to do with the fact the Son came from the Father alone, where as the Holy Spirit came from both the Father and the Son.  He also taught that the spiration of the Holy Spirit was the mutual love shared between the Father and the Son.  All of these explanations were his own, and you don't find them elsewhere in the Fathers.

However, what ended up making this a crisis was the insistance of the Frankish rulers who had political designs upon the Eastern Empire and the Eastern Churches.  They were a pretty ignorant bunch, and not only insisted that the Augustinian concept of the filioque as well as the insertion of the clause belonged in the Nicene Creed, but even claimed that the Eastern Churches had removed it themselves!  This was not an unpopular (and false) belief in the west, btw.  By the 11th century, it was sufficiently popular that when Cardinal Humbert "excommunicated" the Patriarch of Constantinople, part of the bull of excommunication included the accusation that the East had removed this clause!

The problem here was that the Franks were Latinophiles (thus not only alienating themselves from the Eastern Fathers who wrote in Greek, but even the many Western Fathers who wrote in Greek before Latin became the common tongue of the west as well), and St.Augustine was certainly the most prolific of the Latin writing/speaking Fathers of the western Church.  Thus, the west became "Augustinian" to the point of not reading him within the context which he himself lived.  Nor did they seem too keen on taking into account St.Augustine's own caution that many of his ideas were speculative and were to be judged in the future by the Church, or that he had several times retracted opinions he had earlier put forward or otherwise corrected his works (in other words, St.Augustine was humble and did not regard himself as THE authority on any subject, let alone one who would trump all other teachers.)

Quote
But the problem is that the EOC says that the Filioque is heretical, if so then Rome and the rest of the Western Church fell to heresy long before the 11th century!

This is a similar argument used by the Roman Catholic party at the Council of Florence - that if a few Fathers had some incorrect ideas on a given subject, they had to be cast out of the Church, and be regarded as heretics.  While there is a certain logic to this view on paper, it is very mistaken and not how the Orthodox Church has viewed the subject.  I'll do my best to explain why.

What is heresy?  Why is "heresy" bad?  Well, the greek word hairesis refers to the act of choosing - and in the context of doctrine, this means choosing another way, one's own way of thinking about things, as opposed to the received teachings of the Church.

Why are heresies bad?  Well, since our mind exists in thoughts, how one thinks on a subject can effect how one relates to that subject.  A heresy has the potential both of itself, and in terms of it's potential "side effects" (further errors begotten of it) to create road blocks as it were, on the path of salvation.  We are not told things about God or His economy for our amusement, or to otherwise satisfy some kind of curiosity on our part (indeed, there is an incredible amount that we do not know, and probably can never know - and all for our own good!), but because obvious God thinks it is important for us to know.  The Church's job, as protector and distributor of the Holy Mysteries, is to impart this knowledge to us as it is for our benefit.

The Church guards vigilantly against that very real possibility, that one may so pervert the "road map" that God has given us as it were, that we will not be able to find our way to our destination.

However, we all know that in reality there are going to always be many people (for whatever reason - innocent ignorance due to simplicity, bad circumstances, etc.) who will probably not grasp even many of the basic things of our faith.  For example, I do not doubt in the least that if you "quizzed" many Orthodox, you'd find quite a few of them would not immediately grasp (or have been previously aware of) the real difference between the "filioque" teaching on the Trinity as accepted by the Roman Catholics, and the Church's own teaching.  At the same time, I would never say such people have forefeitted their salvation because of this simple ignorance or misunderstanding.

But the situation would be different, say if that simple Orthodox person who had unclear or even mistaken views on a subject, were told the truth unambiguously, and willfully decided they "knew better."  The same would go for any heirarch who did this (hence why the Church admonishes, then eventually expells clergy who preach heresy "bare headed", and presumably would do this in individual cases of laymen as well.)  In that case you have malice, and little visible reason to believe the persons involved simply don't "know any better."

This is not to say materially believing a wrong/heterox/heretical idea is "ok" or a "good thing" - but it does not have the same weight morally or upon someone's personal salvation that it does after they've been admonished and that heresy becomes formal on their part.  This is another way that heresies become "road blocks" to salvation.

Thus even though there were undoubtedly many prior to the formal schism who had heterodox beliefs about the Holy Trinity, the rest of the Church was either unaware of this, and after becoming aware, was more able to overlook this (to a point) than perhaps many of today's zealots would find tolerable.  Yet the Church is able to tolerate much, if it looks as if it's something that can be worked out.

This is also why (despite teaching incorrectly on this subject, and some exagerations on the doctrine of grace) the Fathers of later ages (and contemporary to him) were able to accept St.Augustine as both Orthodox and as a teacher of great repute - because they saw an innocence and humility in his imprecisions/error, and because he did not hold tenaciously to these errors in spite of admonishment.

Unfortunately, filioquism did not die on it's own, nor did it's later proponents react well to correction - if anything, they not only did not repented when shown better, but tried to coerce and abuse their errors down the throats of others!   Hence why eventually those subject to the erring Popes (and obviously the Popes themselves) were expelled from the Church.

One last note - the adoption of the errant form of the filioque teaching, and it's inclusion into the Nicene Creed by the Roman Pontiffs, did not occur until quite late (early 11th century).  In fact at the 8th Imperial Council (numbered as ecumenical, btw. by the Eastern Patriarchs as recently as the 19th century) the Roman Pope (then John VIII) agreed that the teaching was in fact errant, and agreed that the clause itself did not belong in the Creed.

« Last Edit: June 12, 2004, 10:03:08 PM by Augustine » Logged
Augustine
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Posts: 565

pray for me, please


WWW
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2004, 10:08:34 PM »

Ben,

Quote
With no Emperor, or Pope, how can the Orthodox Church have another Ecumenical Council? And also with the deep divisions in Orthodoxy over Ecumenism and the Calendar problem how can all or most of the bishops be present? And how long would it take for the Orthodox faithful to accept the definitions of such a Council? I have been told Orthodoxy has really had 8th and 9th Ecumenical Councils, but have yet to be ratified as official Councils, how wil the Church ever meet a consenus to make these councils offcial, without some type of Pope or Emeperor?

Obviously someone (or someones Smiley ) is going to have to step into that leadership role to get the ball moving on any such council.  Personally, I do think a Council is needed to address some serious problems.  However, I will also say that these things are in God's hands.  Probably had efforts to organize a modern Ecumenical Council succeeded, it would have ended in disaster and just ended up being regarded by many (and eventually deemed unambiguously such in the future, as has happened before) as a false Council.  Given the bad way some Orthodox heirarchs at the most senior levels are going, I have little doubt about this.

IOW, all according to God's good timing.

Logged
Ben
Unabashedly Pro-Life
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,260



« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2004, 10:19:39 PM »

Augustine.......

Quote
The subject is unfortunately not as simple as this.

Of course, I know this.

Quote
The beginning of the filioque dispute can be found well before it became a contentious issue.  While the Eastern Fathers generally were very clear in making a distinction between the "eternal/essential" and "economic" Trinity, the Western Fathers were not.  This is not to say you would not find this distinction at all in the Western Fathers - it's just that it was not as clearly taught.  St.Gregory Palamas would eventually summarize in a very clear form the teaching of both the Eastern and Western Fathers (or at least the consensus thereof), while preserving all of the careful distinctions involved - he taught that while the Holy Spirit receives His being and proceeds eternally from the Father, He "rests upon" and is manifested through the Son eternally as well.  This teaching is the Patristic consensus (and is unmistakenly the universal teaching of the Eastern Fathers to a man), and while acknowledging an eternal manifestation of the Holy Spirit (and not simply a "temporal" one) from God the Son, is careful to not confuse this with the procession of the Holy Spirit from God the Father.  If my understanding of the various modern ecumenical dialogues is correct, it would appear Roman Catholicism is moving towards this understanding of the filioque, which is obviously a good thing.

I totally agree with what you are saying, however, remember that the dogma of the Filioque was premitted to be expressed as "Through the Son" by the Council of Florence. And St. Thomas Aquinas writes in his Summa:

Quote
Whenever one is said to act through another, this preposition "through" points out, in what is covered by it, some cause or principle of that act. But since action is a mean between the agent and the thing done, sometimes that which is covered by the preposition "through" is the cause of the action, as proceeding from the agent; and in that case it is the cause of why the agent acts, whether it be a final cause or a formal cause, whether it be effective or motive. It is a final cause when we say, for instance, that the artisan works through love of gain. It is a formal cause when we say that he works through his art. It is a motive cause when we say that he works through the command of another. Sometimes, however, that which is covered by this preposition "through" is the cause of the action regarded as terminated in the thing done; as, for instance, when we say, the artisan acts through the mallet, for this does not mean that the mallet is the cause why the artisan acts, but that it is the cause why the thing made proceeds from the artisan, and that it has even this effect from the artisan. This is why it is sometimes said that this preposition "through" sometimes denotes direct authority, as when we say, the king works through the bailiff; and sometimes indirect authority, as when we say, the bailiff works through the king.

Therefore, because the Son receives from the Father that the Holy Ghost proceeds from Him, it can be said that the Father spirates the Holy Ghost through the Son, or that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father through the Son, which has the same meaning.

In every action two things are to be considered, the "suppositum" acting, and the power whereby it acts; as, for instance, fire heats through heat. So if we consider in the Father and the Son the power whereby they spirate the Holy Ghost, there is no mean, for this is one and the same power. But if we consider the persons themselves spirating, then, as the Holy Ghost proceeds both from the Father and from the Son, the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father immediately, as from Him, and mediately, as from the Son; and thus He is said to proceed from the Father through the Son. So also did Abel proceed immediately from Adam, inasmuch as Adam was his father; and mediately, as Eve was his mother, who proceeded from Adam; although, indeed, this example of a material procession is inept to signify the immaterial procession of the divine persons.

If the Son received from the Father a numerically distinct power for the spiration of the Holy Ghost, it would follow that He would be a secondary and instrumental cause; and thus the Holy Ghost would proceed more from the Father than from the Son; whereas, on the contrary, the same spirative power belongs to the Father and to the Son; and therefore the Holy Ghost proceeds equally from both, although sometimes He is said to proceed principally or properly from the Father, because the Son has this power from the Father.

As the begetting of the Son is co-eternal with the begetter (and hence the Father does not exist before begetting the Son), so the procession of the Holy Ghost is co-eternal with His principle. Hence, the Son was not begotten before the Holy Ghost proceeded; but each of the operations is eternal.

When anyone is said to work through anything, the converse proposition is not always true. For we do not say that the mallet works through the carpenter; whereas we can say that the bailiff acts through the king, because it is the bailiff's place to act, since he is master of his own act, but it is not the mallet's place to act, but only to be made to act, and hence it is used only as an instrument. The bailiff is, however, said to act through the king, although this preposition "through" denotes a medium, for the more a "suppositum" is prior in action, so much the more is its power immediate as regards the effect, inasmuch as the power of the first cause joins the second cause to its effect. Hence also first principles are said to be immediate in the demonstrative sciences. Therefore, so far as the bailiff is a medium according to the order of the subject's acting, the king is said to work through the bailiff; but according to the order of powers, the bailiff is said to act through the king, forasmuch as the power of the king gives the bailiff's action its effect. Now there is no order of power between Father and Son, but only order of 'supposita'; and hence we say that the Father spirates through the Son; and not conversely.


Quote
The first, is the unauthorized inclusion of the filioque clause into the Nicene Creed.  Whatever theological justification one wants to use for this insertion, no local Church had the right to do this (this was introduced in Spain, in a misguided attempt to guard against Arianism.)  


However, because Pope Saint Leo I allowed the Synod of Toledo to add the Filioque it was considered a valid addition in the West, because it was backed by Papal authority.

In fact the Filioque was used in a letter from Pope Leo I to the members of that synod, responding to heresies they were confronting.

And at the third synod of Toledo in 589, the ruling Visigoths, who had been Arian Christians submitted to the Catholic Church and were obliged to accept the Nicene Creed with the filioque, with the permission of Rome.

Although the second Ecumenical Council (381) had expanded and completed the Nicene Creed begun at the first Ecumenical Council (325), the third Ecumenical Council, the Council of Ephesus in 431, had forbidden any further changes to it. In the ninth century, Pope Leo III agreed to the filioque clause theologically and allowed it to be used in Spain and France, but was opposed to adopting it in worship in Rome, and insisted on using the Nicene Creed in Mass in Rome as it was expressed at the Council of Ephesus and all the Ecumenical Councils up until that time. The same went for Pope Leo III and IX.

Quote
However, what ended up making this a crisis was the insistance of the Frankish rulers who had political designs upon the Eastern Empire and the Eastern Churches.  They were a pretty ignorant bunch, and not only insisted that the Augustinian concept of the filioque as well as the insertion of the clause belonged in the Nicene Creed, but even claimed that the Eastern Churches had removed it themselves!  This was not an unpopular (and false) belief in the west, btw.  By the 11th century, it was sufficiently popular that when Cardinal Humbert "excommunicated" the Patriarch of Constantinople, part of the bull of excommunication included the accusation that the East had removed this clause!

No one can deny the ignorance of the Frankish Emperors and bishops.

As for Cardinal Humbert, his claim that the East had removed the Filioque from the creed was absurd, no one can deny that, but understand he was reacting in anger to a Patriarch who heavily critized the West more for fasting on Saturdays and using unleavened bread than for adding the Filioque!

Quote
This is a similar argument used by the Roman Catholic party at the Council of Florence - that if a few Fathers had some incorrect ideas on a given subject, they had to be cast out of the Church, and be regarded as heretics.  While there is a certain logic to this view on paper, it is very mistaken and not how the Orthodox Church has viewed the subject
.

My point, was the the East should have broken off all relations with the Western Church as early as the 5th Century, when the Filioque was added to the Creed in Toledo with Rome's permission. And if the Filioque is a heresy, and Church fathers stated the Spirit proceeds from or through the Son, then they were heretics and shouldn't be commemorated in Orthodox Churches.

Quote
This is also why (despite teaching incorrectly on this subject, and some exagerations on the doctrine of grace) the Fathers of later ages (and contemporary to him) were able to accept St.Augustine as both Orthodox and as a teacher of great repute - because they saw an innocence and humility in his imprecisions/error, and because he did not hold tenaciously to these errors in spite of admonishment.

I understand what you are saying on heresy, I wonder, did St. Augustine ever repent of his faith in the filioque?

Quote
One last note - the adoption of the errant form of the filioque teaching, and it's inclusion into the Nicene Creed by the Roman Pontiffs, did not occur until quite late (early 11th century).  


Yes the Filioque was not used in Rome until the 11th Century, but Rome allowed it to be used in much of Western Europe as early as the 5th century.

Quote
In fact at the 8th Imperial Council (numbered as ecumenical, btw. by the Eastern Patriarchs as recently as the 19th century) the Roman Pope (then John VIII) agreed that the teaching was in fact errant, and agreed that the clause itself did not belong in the Creed.

I thought Pope John VIII simply agreed that nothing should be added to the Creed, I have never heard he agreed the Filioque was an error or heretical.


« Last Edit: June 13, 2004, 01:11:07 AM by Ben » Logged

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

Posts: 1,260



« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2004, 10:31:41 PM »

Ben,Obviously someone (or someones Smiley ) is going to have to step into that leadership role to get the ball moving on any such council.

Perhaps the EP?
Logged

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

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 1,463

Sydney, Australia


« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2004, 05:25:59 PM »

My point, was the the East should have broken off all relations with the Western Church as early as the 5th Century, when the Filioque was added to the Creed in Toledo with Rome's permission.

If they had known about it they might have. For example, much of Saint Augustine's work passed under the Eastern radar because;
1. He wrote so much.
2. He wrote it all in Latin which few in the East could read just as few in the West could read Greek.

Thus because of the work involved in translating so much into Greek for peer review in the East...

If you imagine how long it took for communication to occur and throw the language barrier in for good measure it is quite possible the East never heard about it. Had anyone in the East heard about Toledo adding the filioque clause?
Logged
Ben
Unabashedly Pro-Life
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Posts: 1,260



« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2004, 05:34:38 PM »

Had anyone in the East heard about Toledo adding the filioque clause?

I don't know, but the first synod of Toledo added it with the permission and support of an "Orthodox" Saint, Pope Saint Leo I.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2004, 07:53:06 PM by Ben » Logged

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

Posts: 150

OC.net


« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2004, 09:49:49 AM »

May I suggest something, to avoid confusion. Ecumenism, ecumenical - novel concepts and rejected by many - not just Christian Orthodox.

The bishop of Constantinople is the Oecumenical Patriarch. When I see the title "Ecumenical Patriarch" a different and unhelpful image enters my mind. For some years I thought the latter was Patriarch Athenagoras of unhappy memory, and later the Patriarch of Alexandria, Parthenios............... Truly ecumenical Patriarchs!
Logged

It is afterwards that events are best understood
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.113 seconds with 50 queries.