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Author Topic: Proposed Formula of Reunion for the Byzantine & Oriental Orthodox  (Read 1485 times) Average Rating: 0
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Severian
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« on: July 07, 2011, 03:19:46 AM »

This was inspired by Iconodule's formula for reunion on another thread. I wrote this plan for reunion up and was wondering what you all thought of it.
Quote
Formula of Reunion
Byzantine Orthodox-Oriental Orthodox

1. Both families, after 1500 years of schism, have decided to pursue unity. Both families feel said unity is the desire of the All-Holy Trinity and is being guided by the Holy Spirit.
2. The Byzantine Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox both formally apologize for mutual persecutions against each other. Both families recognize that these acts of murder were not a fruit of the Holy Spirit, but, rather were led by men influenced by the socio-political circumstances of their day.
3. Both families recognize each other’s Christological phraseology as orthodox and equally valid. The Byzantine Orthodox confession of “in two natures” will be recognized as orthodox by the Oriental Orthodox because this distinction of two natures is in “theoria mono” (in theory only). The Oriental Orthodox confession of “ from two natures” and “one incarnate nature” will be recognized as orthodox by the Byzantine Orthodox because the Oriental Orthodox affirm the dynamic presence of Christ’s full divinity and full humanity and because the previously mentioned terminology was used by the Blessed Saint Cyril to guard the Church from Nestorianism.
4. Both families recognize each others theletic beliefs as orthodox. When the Oriental Orthodox speak of “one will” they are referring to Christ as being one subject of willing, so as to preclude the Nestorian heresy, they also use it to affirm Christ as having one object of willing (I.e. to obey the will of his Father), their belief is orthodox because they affirm that Christ has a complete and distinct human faculty of willing and a complete and distinct divine faculty of willing which he shares with the Father and Holy Spirit. The Oriental Orthodox will accept the Byzantine expression of “two wills” as orthodox. When the Byzantine Orthodox speak of “two wills”, they do so to express the completeness of Christ’s divine and human wills, they do not teach that Christ has two schizophrenic and contradictory faculties of willing. Both parties agree that his human will is always in conformity with his divine will, as Maximus the Confessor taught.  
5. Both families recognize each others “energetic” beliefs as orthodox. When the Oriental Orthodox speak of  “one energy” they mean that Christ has one theandric activity (e.g. healing with human spit). When the Byzantine Orthodox speak of “two energies” they simply emphasize the distinct fullness of Christ’s divine and human energies.
6. Both families have agreed to lift anathemas off of each others Saints and Fathers. The Byzantines will lift the anathemas off of Dioscoros, Severus, Timothy Aelurus, et al and the Orientals will lift the anathemas off of Flavian, Leo, Theodoret, et al. They have agreed to do this on the basis that the teachings of the aforementioned figures are amenable to an orthodox interpretation even though in the past both families have felt that their respective theologies were incomplete and imperfect.
(CONTROVERSIAL) 7. The Oriental Orthodox will accept the latter four councils of the Byzantines as ecumenical, they will not, however, have to commemorate said councils liturgically. They have decided to do this on the basis that these councils, as interpreted by the Byzantine Orthodox, are completely dogmatically orthodox. The Byzantine Orthodox will have to accept the Council of Ephesus II as orthodox even though they have labeled it a “robber-synod” for centuries, it condemned the three chapters a century before Constantinople II and it affirmed that Christ was “consubstantial with his mother”.
8. Neither party will have to admit being guilty of the schism, because in the eyes of both families, both parties are renouncing what the other family considers to be the contentious material which caused the schism in the first place.
9.  The Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria will merge into the Coptic Patriarchate, the staff of the Greek Patriarchate will keep their positions and will continue to practice the Byzantine rite. The Syriac Patriarchate of Antioch will merge into the Antiochian-Greek Patriarchate of Antioch, the staff of the Syriac Patriarchate will keep their positions and will continue to practice the West Syrian rite.
10. Both families will recognize each others sacraments as having always been mutually grace-filled.
11. Both families, after reviewing the doctrinal content of the other family, recognize this glorious reunion not as a reunion of the Orientals into the Byzantine fold or vice-versa, but, rather as a reunion of equals being brought together in one faith, one lord, and one baptism.
12. Finally, through the prayers of our common Christological father Saint Cyril, we hope to complete and finalize the unity of both venerable communions of Orthodox Churches in one Lord Jesus Christ who is God and man fully & completely, without mixture, without change, and without separation or division. At the same time we anathematize the doctrines of Nestorius and Eutyches.
13. *Eucharistic concelebration commences*
PLEASE NO POLEMICS!!! As always, I want a discussion not a debate. Please conduct yourselves in a Christian manner.

Seeking your prayers,
Severian
« Last Edit: July 07, 2011, 03:27:47 AM by Severian » Logged

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Father Peter
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2011, 03:39:38 AM »

I don't want to seem to nitpick, and by criticising certain passages I think that is what it would seem I was doing.

But I am not sure that such a statement is the proper means of reconciliation.

I believe that the proper text should be a compilation of all those conciliar documents, acts and canons which both sides wish to affirm, with whatever glosses and clarifications are necessary, and that any conclusion describing the restoration of unity should be couched in a much more theological and spiritual manner.

I don't think it is necessary to start talking at all about who did what. I am not sure that I do believe that there was mutual persecution to the same extent, but this should not preclude unity. I am not sure that one side is less blameworthy than another, but this should not preclude unity.

I will address point #1 for now. I don't believe that it is only after 1500 years that unity is being pursued. Dialogue between the Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians took place well into the 7th century under the sponsorship of the Emperor, and continued to take place through the centuries. There was discussion with Rome for instance in the 14th-16th centuries with our Coptic Church, and others also had dialogue with both Byzantium and Rome on different occasions. I would say that there has been a constant desire and witness for unity through the ages which has been subverted by sinful men, political conditions, and the oppression of Islam. In the mid-19th century, for instance, there was a possibility of the reunion of the Greeks and Copts in Egypt but the Coptic Patriarch was murdered by the Muslim authorities at the instigation of the British who did not want a united Christian community under the influence of the Russians. There are many texts from these intervening centuries which show that thoughtful Orthodox understood that there was no substantive difference in faith between the Chalcedonians and the non-Chalceodnians.

God bless

Father Peter
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Severian
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2011, 04:00:40 AM »

I don't want to seem to nitpick, and by criticising certain passages I think that is what it would seem I was doing.

But I am not sure that such a statement is the proper means of reconciliation.

I believe that the proper text should be a compilation of all those conciliar documents, acts and canons which both sides wish to affirm, with whatever glosses and clarifications are necessary, and that any conclusion describing the restoration of unity should be couched in a much more theological and spiritual manner.

I don't think it is necessary to start talking at all about who did what. I am not sure that I do believe that there was mutual persecution to the same extent, but this should not preclude unity. I am not sure that one side is less blameworthy than another, but this should not preclude unity.

I will address point #1 for now. I don't believe that it is only after 1500 years that unity is being pursued. Dialogue between the Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians took place well into the 7th century under the sponsorship of the Emperor, and continued to take place through the centuries. There was discussion with Rome for instance in the 14th-16th centuries with our Coptic Church, and others also had dialogue with both Byzantium and Rome on different occasions. I would say that there has been a constant desire and witness for unity through the ages which has been subverted by sinful men, political conditions, and the oppression of Islam. In the mid-19th century, for instance, there was a possibility of the reunion of the Greeks and Copts in Egypt but the Coptic Patriarch was murdered by the Muslim authorities at the instigation of the British who did not want a united Christian community under the influence of the Russians. There are many texts from these intervening centuries which show that thoughtful Orthodox understood that there was no substantive difference in faith between the Chalcedonians and the non-Chalceodnians.

God bless

Father Peter
You are right. I wrote this a while back ago, I was ignorant of things back then that I have come to know now. But, you are right that this dialogue isn't just a modern day thing. St Nersess came to the conclusion we believed the same thing. Centuries ago a Coptic Pope was invited to celebrate pascha in Jerusalem with the Greek patriarch, and the czar of Russia sent emissaries to Egypt to protect the Copts there (though his offer was declined by the Patriarch). When I talked about apologizing to each other I did that mostly in consideration of the 30,000 or so Copts who refused to submit to Chalcedonianism, however, in case non-Chalcedonians at other points in history reciprocated said persecution I thought as a courtesy we would apologize for that as well. Persecuting people, even perceived heretics, is not what God wants of us. This was the sentiment I was trying to express. 
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"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ

I am currently not an active poster on the forum. Please forgive any offense I might have caused in the past. Thank you.
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