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Author Topic: OOs Accepting the Latter Councils of the EOs  (Read 4931 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 06, 2011, 05:02:58 PM »

A couple years ago Fr. Anastasios proposed the following formula for the reunion of EOs and OOs:

1) Sign an all-encompasing document at a council called with representatives of both sides, that explains the theology of both sides and their historic interpretations of Chalcedon, etc etc etc.

2) On the basis of this agreement now, the Non-Chalcedonians will retract the anathemas against St Leo and Chalcedon.

3) On the basis of this agreement, the Chalcedonians will retract the anathemas against the persons of Severus and Dioscorus, and explain the anathemas against them at the ecumenical councils to be anathemas against what they perceived to be their teachings (which if they were their teachings would indeed be heretical).

4) The Non-Chalcedonians would accept the councils #4-7 on the basis of the agreed statement of faith, with the understanding that they would not have to commemorate them liturgically.

5) We can live happily ever after.

If there is no acceptance of Chalcedon, Constantinople II, Constantinople III, and Nicea II, there can be no union; it just wouldn't work in Eastern Orthodox Ecclesiology.  All in all, if we agree that we are saying the same thing with different words, then it should present no problem for these councils to be acknowledged as long as they are acknowledged in the context of the joint agreement signed by all the bishops in the reunion council.

Non-Chalcedonians will not be asked to make much of such councils liturgically, etc.


For the most part I agree with this completely, but, what do my fellow OOs think about accepting the latter four councils of the EOs? Would we not be betraying the memory of our own Orthodox fathers like Dioscorus and Severus if we accept these councils, especially Chalcedon? Please no polemics. Thanks!

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Severian
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2011, 03:01:31 AM »

Yes, I think that is the way forward, and I have long been advocating it.

If we accept that the EO can be Orthodox while accepting Chalcedon in a correct way then it must be possible for us to accept some aspect of Chalcedon and the later councils. But it does also require the EO to repudiate those interpretations of these councils which we consider unacceptable. I believe that Constantinople 553 is a good place to start with a trial run of this approach.

I don't think this betrays our Fathers. We would still reject the Chalcedon as we believe it was, while the Chalcedonians would accept their view of Chalcedon as it was. But we would both accept as Orthodox the content of Chalcedon as we would wish it to be.

This will not be enough for some EO. They require us to admit that we have been in error all this time and have ceased to be the Church and must repudiate our Fathers. The EO would have to decide how much unity with the non-Chalcedonian communion was of more value than satisfying every dissenting voice within their own communion.

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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2011, 03:07:23 AM »

I think you have a point Father, that could work. However, it will certainly take a few generations for our hierarchs to warm up to these councils enough to "accept" them. His Holiness Pope Shenouda and HE Metropolitan Bishoy have described these councils as local and completely orthodox, but, they both seem to dislike the idea of Chalcedon et al being "accepted" as ecumenical.
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2011, 03:17:29 AM »

I think that these latter councils can be accepted as Orthodox when properly understood, but that it is that understanding which is the ecumenical component and not the event itself.

I don't see how I could ever accept Chalcedon 'as it was' as ecumenical. But I could consider the definition Orthodox if it were properly glossed and explained in some other document to exclude those errors which we have believed it perpetuated.

This is different to accepting their ecumenicity as councils in the way that some EO would insist. But I don't see that is possible or necessary.

When St Cyril and John of Antioch came into communion as far as I can see John accepted certain outcomes from Ephesus 431 but I don't see that he accepted it as a council on a par with Nicaea. It seems to me that it was more important that he accepted the outcome than accept the event.

Likewise, at the end of the various schisms within the Church in the early centuries, they seem to have been resolved by the next generation being reconciled on the basis of where THEY were at, while generally avoiding going over old ground from the past, not because the past had not been important, but because there was no escape from division by simply repeating others controversies.

We must surely begin where we are at, with a substantive unity of Faith, and then see what we can do, rather than keep beginning with the thing that divides unnecessarily. All the previous efforts at unity discovered a commonality of faith but could not deal with Chalcedon as an event. The way of insisting that it be either accepted or rejected has not worked and cannot work. We must now DEAL with it properly so that we both accept it and reject it.

Father Peter Farrington

PS. I don't see this as the work of generations. I think that it could all be dealt with very quickly if all sides wished it to be dealt with and could place proper attention on the task.
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2011, 03:51:00 AM »

I think that these latter councils can be accepted as Orthodox when properly understood, but that it is that understanding which is the ecumenical component and not the event itself.
I concur, for us it seems that a council draws its ecumenicity because it maintained the faith. The historical event itself is not ecumenical. The Byzantines often uphold the council itself as ecumenical rather than the faith it professes.

Quote
I don't see how I could ever accept Chalcedon 'as it was' as ecumenical. But I could consider the definition Orthodox if it were properly glossed and explained in some other document to exclude those errors which we have believed it perpetuated.

This is different to accepting their ecumenicity as councils in the way that some EO would insist. But I don't see that is possible or necessary.
I agree, it was just too flawed, but, so long as the Orthodox faith is maintained it can be tolerated. Unfortunately too many Byzantines don't/won't think this is enough.

Quote
When St Cyril and John of Antioch came into communion as far as I can see John accepted certain outcomes from Ephesus 431 but I don't see that he accepted it as a council on a par with Nicaea. It seems to me that it was more important that he accepted the outcome than accept the event.
I have often seen this event cited as an example as to how we can reunite. It definitely provides us with a great model to work with. Like the reunion of St Cyril with John, if both groups were to reconcile, the rigidness of both sides towards each other will fade eventually.

Quote
Likewise, at the end of the various schisms within the Church in the early centuries, they seem to have been resolved by the next generation being reconciled on the basis of where THEY were at, while generally avoiding going over old ground from the past, not because the past had not been important, but because there was no escape from division by simply repeating others controversies.
Precisely, we will accept their orthodox interpretation of Chalcedon and they will repudiate its perceived Nestorian leanings which we thought it had taught.

Quote
PS. I don't see this as the work of generations. I think that it could all be dealt with very quickly if all sides wished it to be dealt with and could place proper attention on the task.
I also think the fact we are still divided is due to human pride and stubbornness. We could easily resolve this now, but, far too many Byzantines continue to express hostility towards us despite all the progress we have made. The closer and closer the two Churches grow together the more and more the mutual hostility will wane.

In Christ,
Severian
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 04:07:58 AM »

I've been working on and off on Constantintople 553 to see if I can produce a decent length work putting it in context, and then considering every paragraph it produced so that it could be properly reviewed in depth, and then proposing some outcomes.

I don't over-rate my abilities, but no-one else seems to be doing anything similar and I am convinced (or have convinced myself  Smiley) that dealing with Constantinople 553 is easier than others, and could help to produce some movement.
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2011, 09:09:07 AM »

I've been working on and off on Constantintople 553 to see if I can produce a decent length work putting it in context, and then considering every paragraph it produced so that it could be properly reviewed in depth, and then proposing some outcomes.

I don't over-rate my abilities, but no-one else seems to be doing anything similar and I am convinced (or have convinced myself  Smiley) that dealing with Constantinople 553 is easier than others, and could help to produce some movement.
No, Constantinople II is far easier, no doubt about that.  The Seventh Ecumenical Council should present no problems. The Sixth, Constantinople III, is the most problematic, as it condemns Pope Dioscoros in the preamble and forbids certain practices in the canons identified as Armenian.
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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2011, 11:19:37 AM »

However, the anathemas of Pope St. Dioscorus and Patriarch St. Severus are reiterated at Nicea II:
Quote
Chalcedon also proclaimed, when it drove from the divine precinct the foul-mouthed Eutyches and Dioscorus. We reject along with them Severus, Peter and their interconnected band with their many blasphemies...
http://www.piar.hu/councils/ecum07.htm
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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2011, 02:22:15 PM »

This is why I think expecting the OO's to actually accept the formal councils is a non-starter.
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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2011, 03:08:51 PM »

The Armenian Church anathematized Severus based on a misunderstanding of what his teachings were, but none of the other Oriental Churches saw this as a problem; they remained in communion with the Armenians. Therefore, I don't see anathemas against Severus and Dioscuros as being a barrier to full communion between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2011, 03:19:24 PM »

The Armenian Church anathematized Severus based on a misunderstanding of what his teachings were, but none of the other Oriental Churches saw this as a problem; they remained in communion with the Armenians. Therefore, I don't see anathemas against Severus and Dioscuros as being a barrier to full communion between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Good point. Exellent, actually.
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« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2011, 04:08:02 PM »

We also know that St Cyril was able to cope even with the Easterns having people like Theodore in their dyptychs because what is believed about Christ is more important than what is believed about people and events. And St Severus also did not want to make unity dependent on agreement on the names commemorated or not.

I can be annoyed, frustrated and even angry if a Chalcedonian condemns St Severus from a position of ignorance, but I cannot and generally do not allow such feelings to so overwhelm me that I ignore the substantive theological and spiritual agreement I find with most Chalcedonians on matters which are of greatest importance.

St Severus is untouched by a false anathema. He prays earnestly for the unity of all who share the same Faith. I do not believe he is honoured by an unnecessary division even if he is dishonoured by some who do not properly know him. I don't think he cares about his own honour. I know that he does not care about his own honour. He would wish that we found a way to overcome the stone of offence which is Chalcedon in an honest manner with integrity and respect for truth and love.
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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2011, 04:31:23 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

This is why I think expecting the OO's to actually accept the formal councils is a non-starter.
agreed, however I think it isn't fair for the EO to hold up this ultimatum for reconciliation.  They define themselves from internal heresies by affirming these Seven Councils, but that is their thing, and others in Orthodox have obviously different definitions, so why does the EO get to define the argument and the debate by their standards? The real solution is for us to work out the mutual excommunications, anathemas, and other theological discrepancies without necessarily touching on the Councils.  Further, we all embrace the first Three, isn't that a good place to at least start then? Build up where we agree, focus on what we have today, not dig up old gripe from centuries past..

We can remain the Universal Church so long as we respect our differences as being that of Jurisdiction rather than fundamental theology.  This is how the RC has settled a lot of its issues with the Eastern Catholics and it has been working relatively well for them for awhile now, we could learn do to the same.

I think that these latter councils can be accepted as Orthodox when properly understood, but that it is that understanding which is the ecumenical component and not the event itself.

I don't see how I could ever accept Chalcedon 'as it was' as ecumenical. But I could consider the definition Orthodox if it were properly glossed and explained in some other document to exclude those errors which we have believed it perpetuated.

This is different to accepting their ecumenicity as councils in the way that some EO would insist. But I don't see that is possible or necessary.

When St Cyril and John of Antioch came into communion as far as I can see John accepted certain outcomes from Ephesus 431 but I don't see that he accepted it as a council on a par with Nicaea. It seems to me that it was more important that he accepted the outcome than accept the event.

Likewise, at the end of the various schisms within the Church in the early centuries, they seem to have been resolved by the next generation being reconciled on the basis of where THEY were at, while generally avoiding going over old ground from the past, not because the past had not been important, but because there was no escape from division by simply repeating others controversies.

We must surely begin where we are at, with a substantive unity of Faith, and then see what we can do, rather than keep beginning with the thing that divides unnecessarily. All the previous efforts at unity discovered a commonality of faith but could not deal with Chalcedon as an event. The way of insisting that it be either accepted or rejected has not worked and cannot work. We must now DEAL with it properly so that we both accept it and reject it.

I agree with this entirely.  We should not be so busy arguing over 1500 year old distinctions, rather we should examine our Church today and work from there where we are at, not where we were.  There is simply no way to make amends for the long-ago past, but we can work together  in the future building upon where we are at.  So we have calendar, liturgical, and theological differences, the question should be are these so much so that we are not Universal? I think that the answer is resounding "no" and that we could work out our differences so long as we avoid so many needless ultimatums.  True, we have differences, but we have so many more similarities, further what should really unite us is our mutual respect of the Seven Divine Mysteries, which are far more important than recognizing any set number of Councils.

stay blessed,
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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2011, 04:52:17 PM »

Habte I don't entirely agree.

I DO think that all the theological matters are very important indeed, and these, and the councils, must all be dealt with honestly and with integrity.

What I don't think is helpful is to begin with the hardest aspects of the controversy - which need not be the most important. Beginning with what I believe is a susbstantive agreement means that we can perhaps allow a proper measure of difference, but I believe this must be on the basis of a proper consideration of theological issues.
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« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2011, 05:07:24 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Habte I don't entirely agree.

I DO think that all the theological matters are very important indeed, and these, and the councils, must all be dealt with honestly and with integrity.

What I don't think is helpful is to begin with the hardest aspects of the controversy - which need not be the most important. Beginning with what I believe is a susbstantive agreement means that we can perhaps allow a proper measure of difference, but I believe this must be on the basis of a proper consideration of theological issues.

Well if that is indeed the case then it is true then I fear that the split is permanent, because OO will never accept the only real fundamental theological difference, Energies-Essence doctrine of the EO, and further that was established well after the initial 7 Councils and so is rightfully merely an internal matter of the EO and not a Universal Orthodox issue..

It seems to me that our disagreements are more so over things like the Saints, the Calendar, the Liturgy, and theologically aside from having different branches of theologians, we generally find ourselves in agreement upon further dissection. However, if we can't agree to disagree on certain matters, than we are exactly where we started hundreds of years ago.  Personally, as an Orthodox Christians I don't disregard EO as illegitimate because of our theological differences, rather they are just the subtle nuances of the fact that Orthodox Christianity encompasses so many different regions, peoples, and histories.  I respect EO as valid, their Divine Mysteries and Ordination as valid, and their doctrines as valid for their own jurisdictions, so long as they stay out of mine.  That is how we functioned before the first split at Chalcedon in the first place isn't it?

stay blessed,
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« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2011, 05:09:57 PM »

The Armenian Church anathematized Severus based on a misunderstanding of what his teachings were, but none of the other Oriental Churches saw this as a problem; they remained in communion with the Armenians. Therefore, I don't see anathemas against Severus and Dioscuros as being a barrier to full communion between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
The Armenian Church used to anathematize Severus, they do not anymore.
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« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2011, 05:19:48 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Habte I don't entirely agree.

I DO think that all the theological matters are very important indeed, and these, and the councils, must all be dealt with honestly and with integrity.

What I don't think is helpful is to begin with the hardest aspects of the controversy - which need not be the most important. Beginning with what I believe is a susbstantive agreement means that we can perhaps allow a proper measure of difference, but I believe this must be on the basis of a proper consideration of theological issues.

Well if that is indeed the case then it is true then I fear that the split is permanent, because OO will never accept the only real fundamental theological difference, Energies-Essence doctrine of the EO, and further that was established well after the initial 7 Councils and so is rightfully merely an internal matter of the EO and not a Universal Orthodox issue..
Uh, no. The Cappadocians and the Alexandrians expounded on it.  Somewhere we have threads on HH Pope Shenoudah expounding on it.
It seems to me that our disagreements are more so over things like the Saints, the Calendar, the Liturgy, and theologically aside from having different branches of theologians, we generally find ourselves in agreement upon further dissection. However, if we can't agree to disagree on certain matters, than we are exactly where we started hundreds of years ago.  Personally, as an Orthodox Christians I don't disregard EO as illegitimate because of our theological differences, rather they are just the subtle nuances of the fact that Orthodox Christianity encompasses so many different regions, peoples, and histories.  I respect EO as valid, their Divine Mysteries and Ordination as valid, and their doctrines as valid for their own jurisdictions, so long as they stay out of mine.  That is how we functioned before the first split at Chalcedon in the first place isn't it?
Actually, no.  For one, there was no difference in Calendar or liturgy: the EO in Alexandria followed the same that the Copts did, and the EO in Antioch the same as the Syriac until c. 1200.

the philosophy you describe is that of the Vatican in explaining away the differences between itself and the Churches that it causes schism in to form its "eastern churches."  It's not Orthodox.
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« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2011, 05:22:04 PM »

The Armenian Church anathematized Severus based on a misunderstanding of what his teachings were, but none of the other Oriental Churches saw this as a problem; they remained in communion with the Armenians. Therefore, I don't see anathemas against Severus and Dioscuros as being a barrier to full communion between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
The Armenian Church used to anathematize Severus, they do not anymore.
As far as I know, the Armenian Church has never officially rescinded its anathema against Severus. Which gives us a precedent for basing communion on theology rather than the commemoration of individuals.
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« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2011, 05:29:27 PM »

Quote
St Severus is untouched by a false anathema. He prays earnestly for the unity of all who share the same Faith. I do not believe he is honoured by an unnecessary division even if he is dishonoured by some who do not properly know him. I don't think he cares about his own honour. I know that he does not care about his own honour. He would wish that we found a way to overcome the stone of offence which is Chalcedon in an honest manner with integrity and respect for truth and love.
I agree. I don't think either Sts. Severus or Dioscorus care about their honor. I firmly believe they pray for unity. Interestingly enough someone on another forum mentioned that we could perhaps condemn teachings and writings [wrongfully] attributed to Sts. Dioscorus and Severus without at all condemning the persons of Severus and Dioscorus themselves.

For example let's take a look at this passage [erroneously] attributed to St. Dioscorus:
 "If the Blood of Christ is not by nature (katà phúsin) God's and not a man's, how does it differ from the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer? For this is earthly and corruptible, and the blood of man according to nature is earthly and corruptible. But God forbid that we should say the Blood of Christ is consubstantial with one of those things which are according to nature (‘enos tôn katà phúsin ‘omoousíon).."

We know this is heretical and we should have no problem condemning it as such. We also know this wasn't written by Dioscorus himself because in all his other writings he unhesitatingly teaches that Christ's humanity is consubstantial with ours.
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« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2011, 05:32:18 PM »

Quote
As far as I know, the Armenian Church has never officially rescinded its anathema against Severus. Which gives us a precedent for basing communion on theology rather than the commemoration of individuals.
Here's a quote from Salpy I found on another thread:
Quote
With regard to St. Severus and the Armenian Church, the answer can be found in Fr. Samuel's book, The Council of Chalcedon Re-Examined.  On pages 167-168 of the edition I have, Fr. Samuel points out that the Armenian Church for a while was influenced by Julianism, the heresy which Justinian adopted toward the end of his life.  Since St. Severus had condemned Julianism, the Armenian Church initially condemned St. Severus (this I am getting from The Coucil of Chalcedon and the Armenian Church, by Catholicos Karekin Sarkissian, page 215.) However, Fr. Samuel writes that there was a council held in Armenia in 726 which abandoned Julianism and accepted Severus as a saint.

I hope this helps,
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« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2011, 05:35:29 PM »

The Armenian Church anathematized Severus based on a misunderstanding of what his teachings were, but none of the other Oriental Churches saw this as a problem; they remained in communion with the Armenians. Therefore, I don't see anathemas against Severus and Dioscuros as being a barrier to full communion between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
The Armenian Church used to anathematize Severus, they do not anymore.
As far as I know, the Armenian Church has never officially rescinded its anathema against Severus. Which gives us a precedent for basing communion on theology rather than the commemoration of individuals.
No, they have lifted his anathema, I could PM the thread which discussed this if you would like.
Please do.
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« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2011, 05:42:29 PM »

@William I edited my previous post. Well, you are right about one thing, even during the period that the Armenian Church anathematized St. Severus she still ordained Syriac Orthodox clergy who revered Severus as a Saint. (This info I got from posts written by Salpy on another thread, she's the Armenian Orthodox moderator of the Oriental Orthodox board) For the record here's the thread I got this info from:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=4996.0

Now could we reunite without the EOs rescinding the anathemas of Dioscorus and Severus?... meh... I don't like the idea. I just don't think it can work in an Orthodox ecclesiological framework. Even if it could, I dislike the idea of being in communion with someone who condemns one of my favorite Saints as a heretic.
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« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2011, 06:32:28 PM »

Quote
Well if that is indeed the case then it is true then I fear that the split is permanent, because OO will never accept the only real fundamental theological difference, Energies-Essence doctrine of the EO
But, Habte, we do accept the essence-energies distinction that the EOs teach.
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« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2011, 06:42:49 PM »

Now could we reunite without the EOs rescinding the anathemas of Dioscorus and Severus?... meh... I don't like the idea. I just don't think it can work in an Orthodox ecclesiological framework. Even if it could, I dislike the idea of being in communion with someone who condemns one of my favorite Saints as a heretic.
I can see where you're coming from, but I'd rather see Churches that believe the same thing have unity if at all possible. After all, Christ prayed that all who believe in Him may be one (St. John 17:20-21).
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« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2011, 07:03:33 PM »

The issue of Severus of Antioch in the Armenian Church is rather confusing.  Over the past few years I have found that if you ask three very knowledgeable Armenians about him, you'll get three different answers.  What I know is the following:

1.  There was a time, prior to the 700's, when he was under anathema by the Armenian Church.

2.  During that time, it seems there were leaders in the Armenian Church who were influenced by Julianism, a heresy condemned by all other OO's, as well as the EO's, although the Emperor Justinian seems to have embraced it at the end of his life.

3.  St. Severus was the greatest opponent of Julianism, and that was probably what got him anathematized by the Armenians.

4.  I don't think that the works of St. Severus were ever translated into Armenian.  

5.  There seems to have been a misunderstanding by the Armenians as to what St. Severus taught, as evidenced by an anathema from the early 600's:

"We are charged by our Fathers and by the orthodox doctors not only to abstain from and anathematize the leven of Nestorius, but we are also charged to treat Eutyches, Eunemus, Severus, Marcion, Sabellius, and the others like them, and above all, the world-destroying and the immemorable Council of Chalcedon the same way. They all preached that [the two natures] of one Christ were divided and separated from each other after being fully united."
(Bishop Ukhtanes of Sebastia (X Century): History of Armenia Part II, History of the Severance of the Georgians from the Armenians, second edition, Fr. Zaven Arzoumanian translator, page 68.)

I doubt that anyone who has seriously studied the writings of St. Severus would agree that this was a fair characterization of him.

6.  In the early 700's, there was a meeting between representatives of the Armenian and Syriac Orthodox Churches over the issue of Julianism (the Council of Manzikert.)  Differences were worked out and a series of anathemas was issued to define a common faith.  Neither St. Severus nor Julian were mentioned by name.

7.  To this day, the anathemas against St. Severus have never been formally rescinded by the Armenian Church; However they have also never been renewed.  In other words, as far as I have been able to discern, since the time of the Council of Manzikert no new anathemas against St. Severus have been pronounced.

8.  When priests are ordained, they recite anathemas against a very long list of people.  St. Severus is not on that list.



So the status of Severus of Antioch in the Armenian Church is kind of up in the air.  He's not a saint in the formal sense of being on the calendar; However, I don't think anyone can credibly say he is still under anathema even though the earlier anathemas were never formally rescinded.  My impression is that the Council of Manzikert had the effect of eradicating any vestiges of Julianism that still existed within the Armenian Church at that time.  Also, even though not mentioned by name, it seems that the Armenian and Syriac Orthodox seem to have reached some sort of meeting of the minds with respect to St. Severus.

If anyone is confused by this, don't worry.  It's a confusing situation.   Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: July 07, 2011, 07:19:16 PM »

Quote
Well if that is indeed the case then it is true then I fear that the split is permanent, because OO will never accept the only real fundamental theological difference, Energies-Essence doctrine of the EO
But, Habte, we do accept the essence-energies distinction that the EOs teach.
Just to back that up:
'We know our God in His energies. For although His energies descend to us, His essence remains inaccessible' (St. Basil the Great (Letter 234, PG.32, col.869).

More is on the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the South website.
http://suscopts.org/q&a/index.php?catid=383
Quote
Since the Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches seem to have made the distinction between God's essence and God's energies after splitting with the Non-Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches, does this mean that Coptic Orthodox theologians do not make this distinction between God's 'essence' and God's 'energies'? If they do make this distinction, do all of them, or the majority of them do, or do some reject it?

Is it necessary for a Coptic Orthodox to believe in this distinction or is it ok if he/she chooses to reject it as wrong and chooses not to believe in it just like the  Catholics and Protestants do not believe in it?

The Chalcedonian Orthodox Churches stressed the distinction after their split from the Catholic Church in the 11th century. The Coptic and all Orthodox Churches always made the distinction between God's essence and His energies.

A Coptic Orthodox is a member of the whole body of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Therefore, if we are all one body we have to all believe in the same dogmas and doctrine of this body otherwise there would be divisions between the members of the same body. When one is baptized in the Coptic Church he/she proclaim their acceptance of all the dogmas of this Church with no exceptions
What is a sign is here the Coptic Orthodox refers to St. John Damascene, St. Gregory Palamas, and St. Maximos the Confessor, post Chalcedon EO saints.  I've seen EO quoting modern OO (Pope Shenoudah, Matta the Poor, etc.), and the lack of earlier quotes I think is due to the lack of translations.  It is this type of action which is going to overcome the schism.
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« Reply #26 on: July 07, 2011, 07:39:50 PM »

However, I don't think anyone can credibly say he is still under anathema even though the earlier anathemas were never formally rescinded.
I suppose that's the most important thing. Still... it makes you think. I'm sorry William, it turns out I was wrong  Sad. My Coptic priest often visits the local Armenian Church to pray, and when I asked him about Armenians and St. Severus he said "it was all just a misunderstanding", his testimony is mainly where I got my presumption that your Church no longer anathematized him. But, the fact that you refer to Severus with the title Saint is an indication that he isn't truly under anathema anymore. So I assume individual Armenian Orthodox faithful can venerate Severus as a Saint? Out of curiosity, do you know how your own Priest views St. Severus?
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« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2011, 08:07:46 PM »

greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Quote
Well if that is indeed the case then it is true then I fear that the split is permanent, because OO will never accept the only real fundamental theological difference, Energies-Essence doctrine of the EO
But, Habte, we do accept the essence-energies distinction that the EOs teach.

Then my mistake, but the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church explicitly rejects this teaching of a distinction between God's Energies and God's Essence, and I was taught by my Coptic neighbors here in town that the Coptic Church, including as expounded by HH Shenouda III, also rejects the idea of a distinction between "energies" and "essence" of God.  For example, it has been explained to me that in the EO it is the Energies of God which are present in the Holy Communion, but we in the Tewahedo Church teach specifically that the Divine Godhead (not merely the energies) in its Essence, through the Incarnation, is ever-present in the Flesh and Blood which we receive.

I was taught that the OO are in agreement regarding the rejection of Energies-Essence distinction but I am willing to stand corrected.  Either way, I don't personally feel these are enough to keep the Church in schism, rather they are just jurisdictional differences. True they amount to fundamental theological differences, but should these honestly divide us considering how much else we agree on?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2011, 08:15:39 PM »

Habte, what did Peter, James and John see when the Lord was transfigured on the mount?
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« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2011, 08:17:56 PM »

greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Quote
Well if that is indeed the case then it is true then I fear that the split is permanent, because OO will never accept the only real fundamental theological difference, Energies-Essence doctrine of the EO
But, Habte, we do accept the essence-energies distinction that the EOs teach.

Then my mistake, but the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church explicitly rejects this teaching of a distinction between God's Energies and God's Essence, and I was taught by my Coptic neighbors here in town that the Coptic Church, including as expounded by HH Shenouda III, also rejects the idea of a distinction between "energies" and "essence" of God.  For example, it has been explained to me that in the EO it is the Energies of God which are present in the Holy Communion, but we in the Tewahedo Church teach specifically that the Divine Godhead (not merely the energies) in its Essence, through the Incarnation, is ever-present in the Flesh and Blood which we receive.

I was taught that the OO are in agreement regarding the rejection of Energies-Essence distinction but I am willing to stand corrected.  Either way, I don't personally feel these are enough to keep the Church in schism, rather they are just jurisdictional differences. True they amount to fundamental theological differences, but should these honestly divide us considering how much else we agree on?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
The topic of Energies/Essence has rarely come up in discussions of the Eucharist, but when it has the theologoumen has always been that the Essence is involved, as it involves the Incarnation, and Christ was not an embodied Energy, but the Person of the Son made flesh.  I've theorized (but not thought through) that this is the difference between, for instance, the waters of baptism and the water of Theophany, between Chrism and unction.
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« Reply #30 on: July 07, 2011, 08:20:31 PM »

greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Quote
Well if that is indeed the case then it is true then I fear that the split is permanent, because OO will never accept the only real fundamental theological difference, Energies-Essence doctrine of the EO
But, Habte, we do accept the essence-energies distinction that the EOs teach.

Then my mistake, but the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church explicitly rejects this teaching of a distinction between God's Energies and God's Essence, and I was taught by my Coptic neighbors here in town that the Coptic Church, including as expounded by HH Shenouda III, also rejects the idea of a distinction between "energies" and "essence" of God.  For example, it has been explained to me that in the EO it is the Energies of God which are present in the Holy Communion, but we in the Tewahedo Church teach specifically that the Divine Godhead (not merely the energies) in its Essence, through the Incarnation, is ever-present in the Flesh and Blood which we receive.

I was taught that the OO are in agreement regarding the rejection of Energies-Essence distinction but I am willing to stand corrected.  Either way, I don't personally feel these are enough to keep the Church in schism, rather they are just jurisdictional differences. True they amount to fundamental theological differences, but should these honestly divide us considering how much else we agree on?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
I could PM you a Facebook discussion between a Coptic Orthodox and an Eritrean Orthodox where the Eritrean Orthodox affirms theosis and the essence-energies distinction, being that the Eritrean Church was originally a part of your church until a few decades ago, I would think that if the Church of Eritrea taught this doctrine that the Church of Ethiopia would also teach it. Of course, just because a single Eritrean laymen affirms it doesn't necessarily make it true, but, it shows that it is not unheard of in Ethiopian Orthodox theology. Without the essence-energies distinction, our whole understanding of salvation as Orthodox Christians would crumble.
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« Reply #31 on: July 07, 2011, 08:27:28 PM »

Some pre-Chalcedon quotes:
Quote
“Is it not ridiculous to say that the creative power is an essence, and similarly, that providence is an essence, and foreknowledge, simply taking every energy as essence?” Basil the Great, Contra Eunomius, I.8, PG 29, 528B

“The energies are various, and the essence simple, but we say that we know our God from His energies, but do not undertake to approach near to His essence.  His energies come down to us, but His essence remains beyond our reach.” Basil the Great, Epistle 234

“And if we may reckon that the Cause of our existence did not come to the creation of man out of necessity but by benevolent choice, once more we say that we have seen God in this way too, arriving at an understanding of his goodness, not of his being…He who is by nature invisible becomes visible in his operations, being seen in certain cases by the properties he possesses.” Gregory of Nyssa, Homily on the Beatitudes, VI.

“Essence and energy are not identical.” Cyril of Alexandria Thesaurus 18, PG 75:312c

http://energeticprocession.wordpress.com/2008/01/20/essence-and-energies-in-the-fathers/
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« Reply #32 on: July 07, 2011, 08:30:25 PM »

So I assume individual Armenian Orthodox faithful can venerate Severus as a Saint?

I don't see why not, and I personally don't have a problem calling him a saint.

You got to realize that 99.9% of all Armenians are completely unaware of these issues.  (Same thing can be said about Chalcedon.)  Among those that are aware of the issues surrounding St. Severus, you'll find different opinions.

I know a deacon with a Master of Divinity degree, who studied at Etchmiadzin.  He's very scholarly, and in addition to knowing Classical Armenian, is also proficient in Syriac.  In fact, he is currently translating the works of St. Isaac the Syrian from Syriac into Armenian.  He has told me that the Armenian Church has nothing to do with Julianism anymore, that our Christology is identical to that of all the other OO Churches, that the anathemas against Severus of Antioch are no longer in effect, and that Armenians are perfectly free to venerate St. Severus, even though he is not on our calendar.  I've heard some others express the same opinion.

Then I've known a couple of people who insist that the Armenian Church is still Julianist in its Christology, that we have a different Christology than the other OO's, that Severus is still actively under anathema, and that we should never under any circumstances call him a saint.

And then I've heard everything in between.   Smiley

I have serious trouble giving credibility to the second opinion (we are still Julianist and Severus is still a condemned heretic.)  This is for the following reasons:

For one thing, Julian's writings do not survive in Armenian.  To put this in perspective, scholars have found the massive collection of ancient manuscripts in the Matenataran in Armenia to be a treasure trove when it comes to finding very early copies of manuscripts that have been lost elsewhere.  And yet, absolutely nothing of Julian has been preserved.  If his system had survived the Council of Manzikert, his writings would be found preserved in Armenian.  My understanding, however, is that not only have they not been preserved in Armenian, there is no evidence that they were ever even translated into Armenian, which calls into question how widespread or entrenched Juianism ever was in the Armenian Church.

Secondly, if St. Severus were still under anathema, there would still be anathemas pronounced against him.  There would, at the very least, be something dating past the early 700's.  And yet it is my understanding that none have been produced since then.  As I stated earlier, our priests have to read a very lengthy anathema when they get ordained.  This anathema is very long and thorough, takes forever, and condemns every obscure person who ever made a mistake about God.  Severus of Antioch is nowheres in there.

Thirdly, to the extent that I have met people who take the attitude that St. Severus is still a heretic, I find they can't really articulate what it is he taught that was heretical.  I've asked for specifics of what it was he said or wrote that was wrong, or that differs from what the Armenian Church teaches, and I can't get an answer.  Similarly, when I've asked for the difference between our Christology and that of the Syriac and Coptic Churches, I can't get a specific answer.  In fact their position seems to be based on the attitude that our Church leaders of the past cannot have been wrong about something, and that if some of them once condemned Severus, then he must still be condemned and it must be for good reason.  I have a problem with that attitude.  While I have great respect for our leaders of the past, I don't believe any of them were infallible.  

Lastly, if the Armenians still actively anathematized St. Severus, or had a different Christology from the Syriac and Coptic Churches, there would be no way that we would still be in communion with them.  People are just not that tolerant.  

Anyway, to answer your question above, whether an Armenian can venerate Severus of Antioch will depend on whom you ask.  Like I said, I don't have a problem with it, and I get the feeling that most Armenians who know who he is won't have a problem with it.  
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« Reply #33 on: July 07, 2011, 08:34:49 PM »

Well, that's a relief. Thanks for taking the time to write that explanation.

In Christ,
Severian
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« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2011, 08:37:07 PM »

What about the tome of Leo? Can we say that the OO Churches will tolerate the EOs using it so long as they don't confess that...
Quote
the activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh. One of these performs brilliant miracles; the other sustains acts of violence.
The OO Fathers were uncompromising critics of the tome all throughout history.
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« Reply #35 on: July 07, 2011, 08:39:41 PM »

What about the tome of Leo? Can we say that the OO Churches will tolerate the EOs using it so long as they don't confess that...
Quote
the activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh. One of these performs brilliant miracles; the other sustains acts of violence.
The OO Fathers were uncompromising critics of the tome all throughout history.

This language is reproduced is the definition of the 6th Ecumenical Council, so if that's a game-changer for you, we're out of luck.
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« Reply #36 on: July 07, 2011, 08:47:13 PM »

Quote
This language is reproduced is the definition of the 6th Ecumenical Council, so if that's a game-changer for you, we're out of luck.
Perhaps both groups should explain what is meant by:
Quote
"the activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh. One of these performs brilliant miracles; the other sustains acts of violence."
We could say that Leo meant to say that the one Christ "performs brilliant miracles" in accordance with his divinity and "sustains acts of violence" in accordance with his humanity. This language is far more Cyrillian. We don't need to drop the tome all-together, just rearrange its language. I am not asking you to second guess your own Saint, all I'm asking is that we re-word his vocabulary a bit.

Let's put it this way, do you really believe that the Word does one thing and the flesh does another thing independently from the Word, or do you believe that God the Word does everything either touching upon his humanity or divinity? If you believe the latter, like I'm sure you do, then in a sense you are already reworking Leo's language to an Orthodox interpretation.
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« Reply #37 on: July 07, 2011, 08:53:21 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

What about the tome of Leo? Can we say that the OO Churches will tolerate the EOs using it so long as they don't confess that...
Quote
the activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh. One of these performs brilliant miracles; the other sustains acts of violence.
The OO Fathers were uncompromising critics of the tome all throughout history.

This language is reproduced is the definition of the 6th Ecumenical Council, so if that's a game-changer for you, we're out of luck.

Yes indeed, that pesky Sixth Council utterly wiped out a century's worth of Ecumenical gains when the Coptic Church and the Byzantine Church were ready to find an agreement Christologically using the Essence-Energies concepts, and formulated a way to explain both Christological interpretations mutually but alas, suddenly all these ideas were condemned in the Sixth Council and a diophysis interpretation of Chalcedon was reaffirmed and the OO only felt even more burned by it then the first time!

I still believe we can reunite, but we both have to be willing to respect each others' theological and Christological distinctions, as they have become concrete over the centuries.  We have come close with the Christological matters since 1965 and we have the EO, the OO, and even the RC all affirm that there is "no distinction, no separation" of Jesus Christ's Humanity and Divinity, but in regards to the languages of the Councils and Canons and later theologians we probably can't harmonize.  

I also will do some more research and ask around within the Tewahedo Church to get clarification on the Energies-Essence issue, again its not that we in the Tewahedo Church do not believe in the concept of the Energies of God, its just that we don't teach a specific distinction between the Essence and Energies as is custom in the EO and it manifests into our Christology, our theological outlooks, our Liturgy.  We do believe in Theosis, but our conception of it not one which makes specific distinctions between Energies (ie, activities) of God and the Essence of the Godhead which is its source.  If the EO also do not make a distinction then surely we can easily agree, but St Gregory Palamas specifically affirms a distinction, and I was explained that the EO agrees with this, and I was further taught that the Tewahedo Church could not.  But again, I will of course clarify this issue so as not to misrepresent the Church, however the Ethiopian Fathers and Canons that I've read teach specifically against a distinction.

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
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« Reply #38 on: July 07, 2011, 09:28:37 PM »

Furthermore, I wholeheartedly think that St Severus is praying for this unity. He was a reasonable man, he was even willing to accept the phrase "in two natures" so long as the Chalcedonians:

1.Balanced their Christology out with more Cyrillian phrases like "from/of/out of two natures" and "one incarnate (I.e. hypostasis)" and "hypostatic union"

2.Preclude any Nestorian interpretation to their Christology

There is can be no doubt whatsoever that modern-day EOs fulfill these two prerequisites. I have heard many EOs describe Christ as being "in both natures and from both natures" and they also teach the "hypostatic union/one incarnate hypostasis (which for us means 'physis')". And Constantinople II confessed that "God suffered in the flesh", leaving no room for Nestorianism. I'm sure St. Dioscorus would have had the same sentiment.

Sts. Cyril, Severus, and Dioscorus pray for this unity that Christ our God may grant it in due season!
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« Reply #39 on: July 07, 2011, 09:33:09 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

What about the tome of Leo? Can we say that the OO Churches will tolerate the EOs using it so long as they don't confess that...
Quote
the activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh. One of these performs brilliant miracles; the other sustains acts of violence.
The OO Fathers were uncompromising critics of the tome all throughout history.

This language is reproduced is the definition of the 6th Ecumenical Council, so if that's a game-changer for you, we're out of luck.

Yes indeed, that pesky Sixth Council utterly wiped out a century's worth of Ecumenical gains when the Coptic Church and the Byzantine Church were ready to find an agreement Christologically using the Essence-Energies concepts, and formulated a way to explain both Christological interpretations mutually but alas, suddenly all these ideas were condemned in the Sixth Council and a diophysis interpretation of Chalcedon was reaffirmed and the OO only felt even more burned by it then the first time!

I still believe we can reunite, but we both have to be willing to respect each others' theological and Christological distinctions, as they have become concrete over the centuries.  We have come close with the Christological matters since 1965 and we have the EO, the OO, and even the RC all affirm that there is "no distinction, no separation" of Jesus Christ's Humanity and Divinity, but in regards to the languages of the Councils and Canons and later theologians we probably can't harmonize.  

I also will do some more research and ask around within the Tewahedo Church to get clarification on the Energies-Essence issue, again its not that we in the Tewahedo Church do not believe in the concept of the Energies of God, its just that we don't teach a specific distinction between the Essence and Energies as is custom in the EO and it manifests into our Christology, our theological outlooks, our Liturgy.  We do believe in Theosis, but our conception of it not one which makes specific distinctions between Energies (ie, activities) of God and the Essence of the Godhead which is its source.  If the EO also do not make a distinction then surely we can easily agree, but St Gregory Palamas specifically affirms a distinction, and I was explained that the EO agrees with this, and I was further taught that the Tewahedo Church could not.  But again, I will of course clarify this issue so as not to misrepresent the Church, however the Ethiopian Fathers and Canons that I've read teach specifically against a distinction.

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
If the Ethiopian Church does not make a distinction between the Divine Essence and Enegies, that would mean that would mean that in theosis we become not like Him, but become Him, and I know the OO do not teach this.

Btw, when the OO say Christ had one will, they are not confessing what the Monothelites believed, which was condemned at the Sixth Council.
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« Reply #40 on: July 07, 2011, 10:19:24 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

What about the tome of Leo? Can we say that the OO Churches will tolerate the EOs using it so long as they don't confess that...
Quote
the activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh. One of these performs brilliant miracles; the other sustains acts of violence.
The OO Fathers were uncompromising critics of the tome all throughout history.

This language is reproduced is the definition of the 6th Ecumenical Council, so if that's a game-changer for you, we're out of luck.

Yes indeed, that pesky Sixth Council utterly wiped out a century's worth of Ecumenical gains when the Coptic Church and the Byzantine Church were ready to find an agreement Christologically using the Essence-Energies concepts, and formulated a way to explain both Christological interpretations mutually but alas, suddenly all these ideas were condemned in the Sixth Council and a diophysis interpretation of Chalcedon was reaffirmed and the OO only felt even more burned by it then the first time!

I still believe we can reunite, but we both have to be willing to respect each others' theological and Christological distinctions, as they have become concrete over the centuries.  We have come close with the Christological matters since 1965 and we have the EO, the OO, and even the RC all affirm that there is "no distinction, no separation" of Jesus Christ's Humanity and Divinity, but in regards to the languages of the Councils and Canons and later theologians we probably can't harmonize.  

I also will do some more research and ask around within the Tewahedo Church to get clarification on the Energies-Essence issue, again its not that we in the Tewahedo Church do not believe in the concept of the Energies of God, its just that we don't teach a specific distinction between the Essence and Energies as is custom in the EO and it manifests into our Christology, our theological outlooks, our Liturgy.  We do believe in Theosis, but our conception of it not one which makes specific distinctions between Energies (ie, activities) of God and the Essence of the Godhead which is its source.  If the EO also do not make a distinction then surely we can easily agree, but St Gregory Palamas specifically affirms a distinction, and I was explained that the EO agrees with this, and I was further taught that the Tewahedo Church could not.  But again, I will of course clarify this issue so as not to misrepresent the Church, however the Ethiopian Fathers and Canons that I've read teach specifically against a distinction.

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
If the Ethiopian Church does not make a distinction between the Divine Essence and Enegies, that would mean that would mean that in theosis we become not like Him, but become Him, and I know the OO do not teach this.

Btw, when the OO say Christ had one will, they are not confessing what the Monothelites believed, which was condemned at the Sixth Council.

That would be your interpretation of it, but I disagree.  Just because the Grace of God in the verb sense emanates from the Godhead which it is source in the noun sense, does not automatically assume that in such Theosis we become the Godhead, just as Christ's Human nature was not absorbed or replaced by the Godhead in the Incarnation.  We simply don't try to get so microscopic in our analysis, that's all, much like the pre-Chalcedonian Cyrilian language which we prefer, we like to keep it simple in the spirit of the Mysteries.  But again, I will definitely recheck, I could of course always be mistaken.  But as for now, I understand that we do not teach a distinction between the Activities of God and the Divinity of God.  Does the EO in fact maintain a distinction? Could someone give me a succinct explanation on behalf of the EO to clarify since I am Tewahedo I'm not exactly an EO expert Smiley

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
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« Reply #41 on: July 07, 2011, 10:30:04 PM »

The Armenian Church anathematized Severus based on a misunderstanding of what his teachings were, but none of the other Oriental Churches saw this as a problem; they remained in communion with the Armenians. Therefore, I don't see anathemas against Severus and Dioscuros as being a barrier to full communion between the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Or whether the condemned texts were actually written by Severus at all.   Really, if the miaphysite understanding does not even accept certain condemned writings, then they are those of "Severus the heretic" (i.e. pseudo-Severus), not of Severus the actual Bishop who is acclaimed a saint.   And even if some of them were authentic writings, later writings which confirm Orthodox teaching and reject former objectionable teachings (as with St. Augustine, for example, where certain questionable theologoumena or rejected teachings were later rejected by the same Saint himself in the Retractions and other writings) surely weigh into whether he was actually a heretic or not.   We can move past this people.  It is possible. 
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« Reply #42 on: July 07, 2011, 10:37:16 PM »

@FatherHLL Exactly! We can condemn pseudo-Severus and pseudo-Dioscorus without at all condemning the persons of Severus and Dioscorus themselves. Look at this "pseudo-Dioscorian" passage for example:
Quote
"If the Blood of Christ is not by nature (katà phúsin) God's and not a man's, how does it differ from the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer? For this is earthly and corruptible, and the blood of man according to nature is earthly and corruptible. But God forbid that we should say the Blood of Christ is consubstantial with one of those things which are according to nature (‘enos tôn katà phúsin ‘omoousíon).."
This is attributed to St Dioscorus, yet its content is clearly heretical and is completely inconsistent with St Dioscorus' other works where he teaches the dynamic presence of Christ's humanity in the one incarnate hypostasis of God the Word.
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« Reply #43 on: July 07, 2011, 10:42:38 PM »

My Priest seems to have expressed some apprehension towards the EO in the past, but when I asked him about the whole EO-OO situation, he said that he believed that you guys were Orthodox. For him to say that definitely means something, my Priest is quite traditional and conservative, especially when it comes to non-OO.
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« Reply #44 on: July 08, 2011, 02:33:10 AM »

Quote
This language is reproduced is the definition of the 6th Ecumenical Council, so if that's a game-changer for you, we're out of luck.
Perhaps both groups should explain what is meant by:
Quote
"the activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh. One of these performs brilliant miracles; the other sustains acts of violence."
We could say that Leo meant to say that the one Christ "performs brilliant miracles" in accordance with his divinity and "sustains acts of violence" in accordance with his humanity. This language is far more Cyrillian. We don't need to drop the tome all-together, just rearrange its language. I am not asking you to second guess your own Saint, all I'm asking is that we re-word his vocabulary a bit.

Let's put it this way, do you really believe that the Word does one thing and the flesh does another thing independently from the Word, or do you believe that God the Word does everything either touching upon his humanity or divinity? If you believe the latter, like I'm sure you do, then in a sense you are already reworking Leo's language to an Orthodox interpretation.

Why do you want to change it? Is it because you are confident that the way it is worded is erroneous?
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« Reply #45 on: July 08, 2011, 02:36:31 AM »

@Deusveritasest Well... let's just say this... the tome is a going to be somewhat of a speed bump on the road to reunion. Now, I'm not asking anyone to change the text of the tome itself, but, I think it's best the EOs clarify what Leo meant when he said:
Quote
"the activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh. One of these performs brilliant miracles; the other sustains acts of violence."
If we could, let's say, sign a document which says: "What Leo really meant was..." then that would be sufficient. The issue of the tome has to be dealt with. *Sigh* but even a wimpy ecumenist like me (haha) admits that this passage is highly problematic. If Leo had just said:
Quote
"the activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the [divinity] performs what belongs to the [divinity], and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh. One of these performs brilliant miracles; the other sustains acts of violence."
It would still have been problematic, but, it would be easier to bring it in line with Orthodox Cyrillianism which emphasizes the oneness of the subject of the incarnation.
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« Reply #46 on: July 08, 2011, 03:07:06 AM »

It is ambiguous at the least.

Therefore it needs explanation if it is to be received in any manner by the non-Chalcedonians.

What would be received would be a document based on the Tome, even the words of the Tome with explanatory material, but it would not be receiving 'the Tome of Leo' because that is and has always been considered deficient as a clear statement of Christology.
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« Reply #47 on: July 08, 2011, 03:11:07 AM »

Well, I'm off to bed, but, before that I'm going to reread the tome, highlight the passages I find most controversial and in the morning we can discuss how to resolve the issues surrounding said passages.

God bless,
Severian
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« Reply #48 on: July 08, 2011, 03:30:54 AM »

On the matter of St Severus...

My understanding is that it is much more complex, and that a party within the Armenian Church was influenced by Julianists, but that the whole community was not Julianist.

Most Armenian saints are not commemorated on the Coptic calendar, this does not mean they are not saints.

The Explanation of the Faith by St Nerses IV Schnorhali, written in 1166 says..

..He received from her (the Virgin Mary) flesh which was corruptible and mortal as is ours. The soul, the spirit and the flesh were united with His flawless essence, free from corruption, and made one in an indivisible manner. He did not change the physical nature of His flesh into an immaterial nature, but from a sinful body he made, as He willed, a perfect body; from corruption, incorruptibility; of what was mortal, immortality, conserving in this union the divine nature and the human without confusion.

He says in the same document..

...He who died is none other than the one who triumphs over death, but it is the same who is both dead and alive, and life-giving, and the one and the same Jesus Christ, both man a mortal nature and God a immortal nature.

It is also noteworthy that at this point in history the Byzantine Emperor imposed a list of conditions on St Nerses (who I do not think is in the Coptic calendar but is no less a saint.. which shows that we exclusion from a list is not the same as a lack of veneration) for union with the Empire. This included the insistence that St Severus be condemned. Clearly at this time in the 12th century the Armenians did not condemn St Severus.

Clearly also from these quotations, the Armenians believed that the humanity of the Word was mortal and corruptible, and that He truly suffered on the cross.
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« Reply #49 on: July 08, 2011, 03:32:44 AM »

If you are going to read the Tome, which of course you should, then you also need to study the criticisms of it by our Fathers.

Both St Severus and St Timothy wrote extensively against the Tome, and it is necessary for us to have their criticisms in mind when considering positive ways forward.
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« Reply #50 on: July 08, 2011, 08:11:05 AM »

It is ambiguous at the least.

Therefore it needs explanation if it is to be received in any manner by the non-Chalcedonians.

What would be received would be a document based on the Tome, even the words of the Tome with explanatory material, but it would not be receiving 'the Tome of Leo' because that is and has always been considered deficient as a clear statement of Christology.

I may be wrong, but don't think accepting the Tome has been a condition of re-union. The Tome of course was received by Chalcedon together with the synodical letters of St. Cyril, so, from the perspective of Chalcedon, it should be read in a way consistent with St. Cyril's Christology.
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« Reply #51 on: July 08, 2011, 08:58:50 AM »

Iconodule, I guess it depends on who is speaking for the EO. I know some EO convert types and 'hardliners' who insist that there must be a complete and utter repudiation of every aspect of the OO tradition and historical narrative, and that this would include not only accepting all aspects of all EO councils, but also genuinely accepting and believing that St Severus, St Dioscorus etc are God-hated.

I personally believe that all important documents must be presented and glossed with whatever explanations are necessary so that the Tome+Explanations are accepted as Orthodox, but not ecumenical, and the Definitio of Chalcedon+Explanation are accepted as Orthodox, but not ecumenical.

This is necessary because if it is the case, as I believe, that an EO can accept the Tome of Leo and be Orthodox, then there must be an Orthodox way of reading the Tome. This does not mean that the Tome cannot also be understood, and even was understood, in an ambiguous and even heterodox manner, not even that Leo may have understood his own Christology in a deficient manner in some sense. But it does mean that it is possible to read it in accordance with the Orthodox Faith.
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« Reply #52 on: July 08, 2011, 09:02:07 AM »

I note that St Nerses,

..wrote a new letter to the emperor, in which he emphasized the need to restore unity, not as "master and servant," but as equals on the basis of scriptures and tradition.

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« Reply #53 on: July 08, 2011, 11:34:46 AM »

I note that St Nerses,
..wrote a new letter to the emperor, in which he emphasized the need to restore unity, not as "master and servant," but as equals on the basis of scriptures and tradition.
Unfortunately, too many EOs will not tolerate that. St Nerses was certainly unsuccessful with a unity of equals.
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« Reply #54 on: July 08, 2011, 11:36:53 AM »

Father, can you give me specific writings of Sts. Severus and Timothy Aelurus where they scrutinized the tome? I remember the fromer grealty disliking it, and I have unfortunately not had any access to the latter's works as of yet.
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« Reply #55 on: July 08, 2011, 11:42:50 AM »

Here's an example of St Severus' criticism of the tome:
"Again the Tome of Leo says: «For each of the natures preserves its own property without diminution» 21, distributing the properties to the two natures severally, as one who divides the one and only Christ into two natures. For the property of the natures of which Emmanuel consists, which is shown in the natural characteristics, continues constant and fixed, as the holy Cyril also says in the second letter to Succensus: «But, while each of them both remains and is perceived in the property which is. by nature, according to the principle which has just been enunciated by us, the ineffable and incomprehensible union has shown us one nature of the Son, yet, as I have said, an incarnate nature»22. But God the Word did not permit his flesh in all things to undergo the passions proper to it, in order that its |11 property might be preserved undiminished, as the impious disputer said. For observe what the wise doctor Cyril says, in answer to the objections made by Theodoret, in the defence of the tenth anathema: «When the lowness arising from the exinanition seems hard to you, wonder greatly at the love of the Son toward us. For, what you say is a mean thing, this he did voluntarily for your sake. He wept in human fashion, that he might take away your weeping. He feared by dispensation, inasmuch as he sometimes permitted his flesh to undergo the passions proper to it, that he might make us valiant»23. If he sometimes permitted his flesh by dispensation to undergo the passions proper to it, he did not preserve its property undiminished: for in many instances it is seen not to have undergone the things which manifestly belong to its nature; for it was united to the Word, the Maker of nature. The Word therefore who had become incarnate walked upon the sea, and after his death under the wound of the lance caused a stream of salvation to well forth from his side: again, after the Resurrection, he came in while the doors were shut, and appeared to the disciples in the house; whom he also allowed to touch him, showing that his flesh was tangible and solid, and of one essence24 with us, and was also |12 superior to corruption; and thereby he subverted the theory of phantasy. It belongs therefore to those who part the one Christ into two natures and dissolve the unity to say, «For each of the natures preserves its property unimpaired». But those who believe that, after God the Word had been hypostatically united to flesh that possessed an intelligent soul, he performed all his own acts in it, and changed it not into his nature (far be it!), but into his glory and operation, no longer seek the things that manifestly belong to the flesh without diminution, to which flesh the things that manifestly belong by nature to the Godhead have come to belong by reason of the union. But, if they senselessly divide it from God the Word by speaking of two natures after the union, it then walks in its own ways following its nature, and preserves its properties undiminished on the principle of the impious men. But these things are not so (how could they be?), but indeed very different: for union rejects division, as the holy Cyril said: «For, though it is said that he hungered and thirsted, and slept and grew weary after a journey, and wept and feared, these things did not happen to him just as they do to us in accordance with compulsory ordinances of nature; but he |13 himself voluntarily permitted his flesh to walk according to the laws of nature, for he sometimes allowed it even to undergo its own passions»25. For from Cyril's words, as from a sacred anchor, I do not depart"
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« Reply #56 on: July 08, 2011, 11:44:30 AM »

It is ambiguous at the least.

Therefore it needs explanation if it is to be received in any manner by the non-Chalcedonians.

What would be received would be a document based on the Tome, even the words of the Tome with explanatory material, but it would not be receiving 'the Tome of Leo' because that is and has always been considered deficient as a clear statement of Christology.

I may be wrong, but don't think accepting the Tome has been a condition of re-union. The Tome of course was received by Chalcedon together with the synodical letters of St. Cyril, so, from the perspective of Chalcedon, it should be read in a way consistent with St. Cyril's Christology.
I don't mean to be rude to you, but, I can't find a single Cyrillian phrase in the tome.
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« Reply #57 on: July 08, 2011, 11:52:23 AM »

I've searched through the letters of St. Severus that I've found on tertullian.org and I've heard of him calling the tome "wicked" and "impious" amongst other things, but, I can't find him analyzing a specific passage of the tome and commenting on it (well except for what I had already posted above).
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« Reply #58 on: July 08, 2011, 11:57:29 AM »

If it means anything, here are what I consider the most 'eye-opening' passages of the tome:
Quote
Without detriment therefore to the properties of either nature and substance which then came together in one person
St Severus criticized this passage, furthermore, I would say that speaking of one "person" (personum in Latin) is not enough to emphasize the oneness of Christ. But then again, may be in Latin "personum" can also mean hypostasis? If anyone knows if that is the case please say so.

Quote
one and the same Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, could both die with the one and not die with the other.
It seems fine, but once again, there is nothing explicitly anti-Nestorian. All it says is that "Christ Jesus" died in accordance with one nature and remained incapable of death in the other. In order to repudiate Nestorianism the Word must be the center of action, not "Christ Jesus".

Quote
as the form of God did not do away with the form of a slave, so the form of a slave did not impair the form of God.
This is okay, but once again, nothing anti-Nestorian about it.

*Drum roll* the tome's most infamous passage:
Quote
For as God is not changed by the showing of pity, so man is not swallowed up by the dignity. For each form does what is proper to it with the co-operation of the other ; that is the Word performing what appertains to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what appertains to the flesh. One of them sparkles with miracles, the other succumbs to injuries.
This passage has been discussed to death before, so I won't even bother, this is clearly flawed.

Quote
The nativity of the flesh was the manifestation of human nature: the childbearing of a virgin is the proof of Divine power.
He makes the flesh the subject of the nativity, not God the Word, which is clearly anti-Cyrillian.

Quote
And thus Him whom the devil's craftiness attacks as man, the ministries of angels serve as God.
This reminds of St. Dioscorus' letter to the monks of the Hennaton where he says: "Behold Him walking on the earth as man, and behold Him creator of heavenly angels as God. Behold Him sleeping in the ship as man, and behold Him walking on the waters as God." Meaning that the "he" who is tempted by the devils is the same "he" as the one who is served by the angels. This is a start, but, even Theodore could agree to this.

Quote
For although in the Lord Jesus Christ God and man is one person, yet the source of the degradation, which is shared by both, is one, and the source of the glory, which is shared by both, is another.
Once again, one person sharing both natures is not anti-Nestorian.

Quote
Therefore in consequence of this unity of person which is to be understood in both natures
This is practically a paraphrase of what Nestorius said: "You should not accuse me as if I did not confess a single person in two natures.."


I'll continue my analysis of the tome after reading the materials I was given by Father Peter.
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« Reply #59 on: July 08, 2011, 12:09:14 PM »

The two main writings are:

St Severus - The Philalathes
Severe d’Antioche, Le Philalèthe, ed. and trans. R.Hespel, CSCO 133 (text) and 134 (trans.), Louvain: Secrétariat du CorpusSCO, 1952.

and

St Timothy - Against the Definition of the Council of Chalcedon
Ebied and Wickham in Laga, Munitz, Van Rompay: After Chalcedon
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« Reply #60 on: July 08, 2011, 12:17:43 PM »

Thanks, I'll reread St. Severus letter to Philalethes. I'll also try to find St. Timothy's work.
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« Reply #61 on: July 08, 2011, 12:28:37 PM »

St Severus' Philalathes is not a letter, it is a major theological work.

You can get it here...

http://www.peeters-leuven.be/boekoverz.asp?nr=853

It's in French, unless you can read Syriac! I am in the process of translating it into English.
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« Reply #62 on: July 08, 2011, 12:51:07 PM »

St Severus' Philalathes is not a letter, it is a major theological work.

You can get it here...

http://www.peeters-leuven.be/boekoverz.asp?nr=853

It's in French, unless you can read Syriac! I am in the process of translating it into English.
Yes, I realized that shortly after my post, then my computer froze and I couldn't edit my post. My dad knows fluent French so maybe he can translate it for me, albeit an ancient document like this might be a bit tough for him. Thanks Father.
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« Reply #63 on: July 08, 2011, 12:52:12 PM »

It's in modern French, lol! St Severus didn't write in French!

I can understand it fairly well.
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« Reply #64 on: July 08, 2011, 12:57:05 PM »

It's in modern French, lol! St Severus didn't write in French!

I can understand it fairly well.
Great, then my dad should be easily able to translate it. When I said 'ancient document' I meant that it might retain some archaic words not too often heard of in modern French. I have encountered many archaic English words in St Severus' writings that I have never heard of before in my life.
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« Reply #65 on: July 08, 2011, 03:39:52 PM »

Just a reminder that polemics about the Tome and Chalcedon belong in the private forum.  Thanks.   Smiley
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« Reply #66 on: July 08, 2011, 03:44:08 PM »

Just a reminder that polemics about the Tome and Chalcedon belong in the private forum.  Thanks.   Smiley
So far everyone seems to be behaving themselves. Do you think things are starting to get polemical? Sorry if I started to get controversial. Arrgh! Why was I cursed with such an argumentative nature!?! Lol. Okay then guys, please, if we want to discuss the tome let's do it on a separate thread. I want to keep this thread public.
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« Reply #67 on: July 08, 2011, 03:55:26 PM »

The thread has not crossed the line yet, but experience tells me it's getting close.  Hence the warning.

The Tome and everything that is wrong with it has already been discussed ad nauseum on this site.  To be fair, if we are going to go into lengthy discourses on how horrible and heretical the Tome is, then we should allow the EO's to respond with their point of view.  

Then the arguing starts and it never comes out pretty.  People on this site have actually lost their faith and given up on Christianity because of the polemics over Chalcedon.  That's how bad it can get, and that is why the private forum exists.  There is nothing wrong with succinctly stating what our problems with the Tome and Chalcedon are, but going on and on about it always leads to trouble.  

There are OO websites, such as Tasbeha.org, which are probably better places for a public discussion of this sort of thing.  
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« Reply #68 on: July 08, 2011, 06:17:23 PM »

The thread has not crossed the line yet, but experience tells me it's getting close.  Hence the warning.

The Tome and everything that is wrong with it has already been discussed ad nauseum on this site.  To be fair, if we are going to go into lengthy discourses on how horrible and heretical the Tome is, then we should allow the EO's to respond with their point of view.  

Then the arguing starts and it never comes out pretty.  People on this site have actually lost their faith and given up on Christianity because of the polemics over Chalcedon.  That's how bad it can get, and that is why the private forum exists.  There is nothing wrong with succinctly stating what our problems with the Tome and Chalcedon are, but going on and on about it always leads to trouble.  

There are OO websites, such as Tasbeha.org, which are probably better places for a public discussion of this sort of thing.  
Sorry, I should have thought of that. If you would like to remove the posts I made about the tome so as to prevent polemics, go ahead.
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« Reply #69 on: July 08, 2011, 07:02:44 PM »

If it makes anyone feel better, I don't think the tome is heretical per se. I just think it can lend itself towards that interpretation. It's flawed, but, adequately orthodox if explained in context. Setting the tome aside, can anyone give me other specific writings of his where he wrote about christology? Sorry if I offended anyone by my remarks on the tome, forgive me.
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« Reply #70 on: July 08, 2011, 09:36:31 PM »

Don't worry, I'm just being proactive.   Smiley
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« Reply #71 on: July 08, 2011, 10:33:35 PM »

"As to the manner of the incarnation of the Only Begotten, then theoretically speaking (but only in so far as it appears to the eyes of the soul) we would admit that there are two united natures, but only one Christ and Son and Lord, the Word of God made man and made flesh" (1st Letter to Succensus, 7).

I would not say that the Tome is flawed.  I would say that the Tome is in some places ambiguous, but only because it is adapting Scripture with little explanation, such as the famously disputed clause at Chalcedon:  "Each form (cf. Phil. 2.6) effects what is proper to it in common with the other; that is the Word operated what belongs to the Word, and the flesh operated what belongs to the flesh.  One of these shines forth in miracles, the other succumbs to injuries."  Of course, the Fathers of Chalcedon couldn't stand the language of this paragraph as it seemed to allow the possibility of one to interpret that only "part" of Christ was "the Word," rather than being wholly the Word made flesh.  As we see from the Acts of Chalcedon, the fathers of the council, would accept the Tome with a few doctrinal conditions, and only through the Cyrillic lens.   Unlike Ephesus, which simply received St. Cyril's writings as its dogmatic capitula/horoi, Chalcedon drafted its own because it did not like the ambiguities of the Tome of St. Leo, as well as adopting St. Cyril's second letter to Nestorius as a complete expression of Christology to counterbalance any wrong Nestorian readings of St. Leo's tome.  Of course, Constantinople II made things even more clear by simply adopting the language of St. Cyril from his epistle to Succensus into its capitula, that it is only kat'theoria that we see two natures, that they are not divided nor divisible, but ever united, emphasizing one Christ, one prosopon, one hypostasis.   Constantinople III in its Acts would even furthermore affirm St. Maximos' firm affirmation of the one theanthropic physis, when such indicates the one and only hypostasis of Christ our God.  
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« Reply #72 on: July 08, 2011, 10:48:22 PM »

"As to the manner of the incarnation of the Only Begotten, then theoretically speaking (but only in so far as it appears to the eyes of the soul) we would admit that there are two united natures, but only one Christ and Son and Lord, the Word of God made man and made flesh" (1st Letter to Succensus, 7).

I would not say that the Tome is flawed.  I would say that the Tome is in some places ambiguous, but only because it is adapting Scripture with little explanation, such as the famously disputed clause at Chalcedon:  "Each form (cf. Phil. 2.6) effects what is proper to it in common with the other; that is the Word operated what belongs to the Word, and the flesh operated what belongs to the flesh.  One of these shines forth in miracles, the other succumbs to injuries."  Of course, the Fathers of Chalcedon couldn't stand the language of this paragraph as it seemed to allow the possibility of one to interpret that only "part" of Christ was "the Word," rather than being wholly the Word made flesh.  As we see from the Acts of Chalcedon, the fathers of the council, would accept the Tome with a few doctrinal conditions, and only through the Cyrillic lens.   Unlike Ephesus, which simply received St. Cyril's writings as its dogmatic capitula/horoi, Chalcedon drafted its own because it did not like the ambiguities of the Tome of St. Leo, as well as adopting St. Cyril's second letter to Nestorius as a complete expression of Christology to counterbalance any wrong Nestorian readings of St. Leo's tome.  Of course, Constantinople II made things even more clear by simply adopting the language of St. Cyril from his epistle to Succensus into its capitula, that it is only kat'theoria that we see two natures, that they are not divided nor divisible, but ever united, emphasizing one Christ, one prosopon, one hypostasis.   Constantinople III in its Acts would even furthermore affirm St. Maximos' firm affirmation of the one theanthropic physis, when such indicates the one and only hypostasis of Christ our God. 
Interesting point. Not to deviate from the topic, but, FatherHLL whose icon is that in your avatar?
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« Reply #73 on: July 08, 2011, 10:53:54 PM »

"As to the manner of the incarnation of the Only Begotten, then theoretically speaking (but only in so far as it appears to the eyes of the soul) we would admit that there are two united natures, but only one Christ and Son and Lord, the Word of God made man and made flesh" (1st Letter to Succensus, 7).

I would not say that the Tome is flawed.  I would say that the Tome is in some places ambiguous, but only because it is adapting Scripture with little explanation, such as the famously disputed clause at Chalcedon:  "Each form (cf. Phil. 2.6) effects what is proper to it in common with the other; that is the Word operated what belongs to the Word, and the flesh operated what belongs to the flesh.  One of these shines forth in miracles, the other succumbs to injuries."  Of course, the Fathers of Chalcedon couldn't stand the language of this paragraph as it seemed to allow the possibility of one to interpret that only "part" of Christ was "the Word," rather than being wholly the Word made flesh.  As we see from the Acts of Chalcedon, the fathers of the council, would accept the Tome with a few doctrinal conditions, and only through the Cyrillic lens.   Unlike Ephesus, which simply received St. Cyril's writings as its dogmatic capitula/horoi, Chalcedon drafted its own because it did not like the ambiguities of the Tome of St. Leo, as well as adopting St. Cyril's second letter to Nestorius as a complete expression of Christology to counterbalance any wrong Nestorian readings of St. Leo's tome.  Of course, Constantinople II made things even more clear by simply adopting the language of St. Cyril from his epistle to Succensus into its capitula, that it is only kat'theoria that we see two natures, that they are not divided nor divisible, but ever united, emphasizing one Christ, one prosopon, one hypostasis.   Constantinople III in its Acts would even furthermore affirm St. Maximos' firm affirmation of the one theanthropic physis, when such indicates the one and only hypostasis of Christ our God. 
Interesting point. Not to deviate from the topic, but, FatherHLL whose icon is that in your avatar?

Holy Hieromartyr Haralambos (Haralampij, Charalampous, etc.). 
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« Reply #74 on: July 08, 2011, 10:55:50 PM »

Thanks, it's very nice.
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« Reply #75 on: July 10, 2011, 06:38:06 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In regards to the latter Councils being a non-starter for the OO, I suppose perhaps that is not exactly accurate:

Quote
In this spirit, we have discussed also the continuity of doctrine in the Councils of the Church, and especially the monenergistic and monothelete controversies of the seventh century. All of us agree that the human will is neither absorbed nor suppressed by the divine will in the Incarnate Logos, nor are they contrary one to the other. The uncreated and created natures, with the fullness of their natural properties and faculties, were united without confusion or separation, and continue to operate in the one Christ, our Saviour. The position of those who wish to speak of one divine-human will and energy united without confusion or separation does not appear therefore to be incompatible with the decision of the Council of Constantinople (680-81), which affirms two natural wills and two natural energies in Him existing indivisibly, inconvertibly, inseparably, inconfusedly.
From the I. Second Unofficial Consultation Eastern Orthodox-Oriental Orthodox Theologians

AGREED STATEMENT Bristol, England July 25-29, 1967

So long as we clearly elaborate the mutual definitions of these Councils and Canons, anathemas and Saint's aside it seems we may be able to bridge the gap and perhaps settle our differences.

Speaking on the Essence-Energies issue:

Since it seems I can't necessarily speak on the other OO churches, talking around Church today others including the clergy affirmed that we do not deviate the Energies and Essence as concretely in our theological language as does the EO.  It is indeed a rather foreign concept for our Church, rather we attribute much of what EO theology attributes to the Divine Energies to the Holy Spirit.  We do believe mutually in Grace or the Activities of God, however we do not necessarily agree in the ontological interpretations from these theological concepts, specifically in how it plays out in the Divine Mysteries, especially the Holy Communion, and also Christ's Death on the Cross as the Incarnate Word of God, the Second Person of the Trinity Consubstantial as to the Godhead/Essence.

I am going to have a conference with my Confessor either this week or next Sunday to really clarify and outline the Tewahedo perspective and specific interpretations of the Energies/Activities/Grace of God in the context of the EO conceptualization of the same, and also the Ethiopian interpretation of Theosis.

From my own opinion, it seems to me that when early Fathers like Saint Cyril, or Saint Basil, or even Saint Gregory the Theologian speak of a difference between God's Energies and Essence, that in light of how the Ethiopian Fathers think, that perhaps these Patristic Fathers are speaking in the same way the EO elaborates that the Energies are responsible for God's physical interactions with the material Universe (ie, both sustaining physicality and also the miracles), but not necessarily connecting these Creation based Activities with more Divine acts such as soteriology, the Incarnation, the Death on the Cross, and the Holy Communion, but I can only speak of my own interpretations at this time, I will talk with my priests soon as possible about their opinions. However, what I have read of the Ethiopian Fathers, and especially how our theology is elaborated in our Liturgies, Hymnals, Prayers, and Commemorations, it seems to me that Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church most definitely agrees with the Orthodox concept of Theosis, but diverges from the EO in regards to the Holy Communion and other ontological interpretations of the Godhead's interaction with us.  Essentially, from the Ethiopian Fathers' perspective, the Incarnation is what has made the Godhead accessible in the context of Holy Communion and soteriology in general.

Could any in the EO please elaborate the EO interpretation of the Real Presence of the Holy Communion and also the Death of the Incarnate Word on the Cross and Descent in Hell in the context of the EO Energies differentiation?  Is the Godhead actually present in consecrated Offering in the EO tradition? Did the Godhead participate jointly, inseparably with the Death and Descent into Hell of the Incarnate Word? I am very very curious so as to better understand the EO perspective to better explain and understand my own.

stay blessed,
habte selassiie
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« Reply #76 on: July 11, 2011, 01:02:22 AM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

In regards to the latter Councils being a non-starter for the OO, I suppose perhaps that is not exactly accurate:

Quote
In this spirit, we have discussed also the continuity of doctrine in the Councils of the Church, and especially the monenergistic and monothelete controversies of the seventh century. All of us agree that the human will is neither absorbed nor suppressed by the divine will in the Incarnate Logos, nor are they contrary one to the other. The uncreated and created natures, with the fullness of their natural properties and faculties, were united without confusion or separation, and continue to operate in the one Christ, our Saviour. The position of those who wish to speak of one divine-human will and energy united without confusion or separation does not appear therefore to be incompatible with the decision of the Council of Constantinople (680-81), which affirms two natural wills and two natural energies in Him existing indivisibly, inconvertibly, inseparably, inconfusedly.
From the I. Second Unofficial Consultation Eastern Orthodox-Oriental Orthodox Theologians

AGREED STATEMENT Bristol, England July 25-29, 1967

So long as we clearly elaborate the mutual definitions of these Councils and Canons, anathemas and Saint's aside it seems we may be able to bridge the gap and perhaps settle our differences.

Speaking on the Essence-Energies issue:

Since it seems I can't necessarily speak on the other OO churches, talking around Church today others including the clergy affirmed that we do not deviate the Energies and Essence as concretely in our theological language as does the EO.  It is indeed a rather foreign concept for our Church, rather we attribute much of what EO theology attributes to the Divine Energies to the Holy Spirit.  We do believe mutually in Grace or the Activities of God, however we do not necessarily agree in the ontological interpretations from these theological concepts, specifically in how it plays out in the Divine Mysteries, especially the Holy Communion, and also Christ's Death on the Cross as the Incarnate Word of God, the Second Person of the Trinity Consubstantial as to the Godhead/Essence.

I am going to have a conference with my Confessor either this week or next Sunday to really clarify and outline the Tewahedo perspective and specific interpretations of the Energies/Activities/Grace of God in the context of the EO conceptualization of the same, and also the Ethiopian interpretation of Theosis.

From my own opinion, it seems to me that when early Fathers like Saint Cyril, or Saint Basil, or even Saint Gregory the Theologian speak of a difference between God's Energies and Essence, that in light of how the Ethiopian Fathers think, that perhaps these Patristic Fathers are speaking in the same way the EO elaborates that the Energies are responsible for God's physical interactions with the material Universe (ie, both sustaining physicality and also the miracles), but not necessarily connecting these Creation based Activities with more Divine acts such as soteriology, the Incarnation, the Death on the Cross, and the Holy Communion, but I can only speak of my own interpretations at this time, I will talk with my priests soon as possible about their opinions. However, what I have read of the Ethiopian Fathers, and especially how our theology is elaborated in our Liturgies, Hymnals, Prayers, and Commemorations, it seems to me that Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church most definitely agrees with the Orthodox concept of Theosis, but diverges from the EO in regards to the Holy Communion and other ontological interpretations of the Godhead's interaction with us.  Essentially, from the Ethiopian Fathers' perspective, the Incarnation is what has made the Godhead accessible in the context of Holy Communion and soteriology in general.

Could any in the EO please elaborate the EO interpretation of the Real Presence of the Holy Communion and also the Death of the Incarnate Word on the Cross and Descent in Hell in the context of the EO Energies differentiation?  Is the Godhead actually present in consecrated Offering in the EO tradition? Did the Godhead participate jointly, inseparably with the Death and Descent into Hell of the Incarnate Word? I am very very curious so as to better understand the EO perspective to better explain and understand my own.

stay blessed,
habte selassiie
I am going to refrain from answering most of your questions as I am not EO, but, I think it's only natural their emphasis on the energies-essence distinction is a little different from ours. The EO placed a lot more emphasis on it after their schism from the Roman Catholic Church and naturally our view of the 'energies' of God is going to be different from the view taught by Gregory Palamas.
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« Reply #77 on: October 03, 2011, 06:31:07 PM »

Thread resurrection!

In what ways would these last four councils be "accepted"? How does one "accept" a council? I think I would be willing to receive the definitions of these councils as adequately orthodox statements of faith (so long as the anathemas off of our Blessed Fathers are lifted and the issues surrounding the Tome are solved), but I am not comfortable commemorating these councils liturgically, and I do not think we can accept them ecumenically as they were in their immediate historical contexts. How would the Chalcedonians on this board define "accepting" an "ecumenical council"?

I like Fr. Peter's suggestion of accepting a document based on the Tome without accepting the Tome itself and the wording contained therein. The Fathers and the hymns of our church are clear about Leo and his Tome, they cannot be accepted. I would like to think of lifting Leo's anathema as a case of economia, the same way St. Cyril allowed the Antiochians to revere Theodore so long as they were substantially orthodox in confession. The lifting of his anathema should in no way be interpreted as meaning that our Saints were wrong in condemning him.

What are your thoughts?
« Last Edit: October 03, 2011, 06:38:11 PM by Severian » Logged

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« Reply #78 on: October 04, 2011, 01:43:19 AM »

How would the Chalcedonians on this board define "accepting" an "ecumenical council"?
I would define it as affirming the Orthodoxy of those councils and not acting contrary to the declarations of faith in those councils. (For example, Chalcedon's definition would have to be acceptable, but the Tome of Leo is not the definition of Chalcedon).

It seems logical that if OO representatives assent to the validity of the latter four EO councils, they would gain de-facto ecumenical status in the eyes of the OO.
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« Reply #79 on: October 04, 2011, 03:11:35 AM »

I don't see accepting a statement as Orthodox as being the same as granting ecumenicity.

We had a local synod a couple of months ago. It was entirely Orthodox, but that didn't make it ecumenical.

I also think that the EO will need to come to terms with Ephesus 449. I think that the extent to which you, Nicholas, must come to terms with it, is similar to the way that we might come to terms with Chalcedon.

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« Reply #80 on: October 04, 2011, 03:13:58 AM »

I don't see accepting a statement as Orthodox as being the same as granting ecumenicity.

What about councils 5-7? Wouldn't universal acceptance make them ecumenical?
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« Reply #81 on: October 04, 2011, 03:53:27 PM »

I don't see why. I can consider most of the output of Constantinople 553 as being consistent with my Orthodoxy, but that doesn't require me to consider it an ecumenical council.

Will you consider Ephesus 449 as an ecumencial council, which is what it was described as.

The later councils contain inaccurate and offensive anathemas on our Fathers, how can they be accepted? And I am not entirely in agreement with the 6th Council since it seems to me to not reflect the Cyrilline/Severan understanding of will. And the 7th Council is not really relevant. The OO have not accepted iconoclasm.

Since the OO have already condemned at Ephesus 449 those people condemned at Constantinople 553 why would we need to accept Constantinople 553 as ecumenical? Since we have not taught that the humanity of Christ is without a faculty of will then why do we need to accept that council as ecumenical. And since we have not taught that icons are not permitted why do we need to consider the 7th council as ecumenical?

The issues addressed in these latter councils seem to me to be internal to the EO communion and therefore could perhaps be considered local councils.
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