Author Topic: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?  (Read 18443 times)

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Offline Severian

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Offline Punch

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I think that many probably believe in it as the Truth.  For my part, I believe that I am partaking of the real Body and real Blood of Christ.  By what mysterious means God wants to do that is really not something that concerns me.  That is why I, personally, do not consider either the Roman Catholic view of communion (Transubsination) or the Lutheran view (Real Presence) to be different enough from what we supposedly believe to be heretical.  But then again, may be I am just a heretic.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

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I would assume so, but I've heard different opinions on the matter. Some say that transubstantiation. denies that the bread and wine remain, in some since, bread and wine, and that this is not Orthodox, but that rather we believe the Eucharist to be truly body and blood, but that does not mean it ceases to be bread and wine. I believe this is true, but I'm not sure this perspective conflicts with transubstantiation.

I guess, ultimately, I would find this particular dogma too scholastic for my taste, but I don't see anything dogmatically troubling.
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Offline Papist

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I would assume so, but I've heard different opinions on the matter. Some say that transubstantiation. denies that the bread and wine remain, in some since, bread and wine, and that this is not Orthodox, but that rather we believe the Eucharist to be truly body and blood, but that does not mean it ceases to be bread and wine. I believe this is true, but I'm not sure this perspective conflicts with transubstantiation.

I guess, ultimately, I would find this particular dogma too scholastic for my taste, but I don't see anything dogmatically troubling.
I remember Fr. Ambrose or Izzy, or some one, posting the rejection of heresies that one must make when they convert from Lutheranism to Orthodoxy. From what I remember, they must reject that the Eucharist is still bread and wine, i.e. they must reject consubstantiation. Is this correct?
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

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I would assume so, but I've heard different opinions on the matter. Some say that transubstantiation. denies that the bread and wine remain, in some since, bread and wine, and that this is not Orthodox, but that rather we believe the Eucharist to be truly body and blood, but that does not mean it ceases to be bread and wine. I believe this is true, but I'm not sure this perspective conflicts with transubstantiation.

I guess, ultimately, I would find this particular dogma too scholastic for my taste, but I don't see anything dogmatically troubling.
I remember Fr. Ambrose or Izzy, or some one, posting the rejection of heresies that one must make when they convert from Lutheranism to Orthodoxy. From what I remember, they must reject that the Eucharist is still bread and wine, i.e. they must reject consubstantiation. Is this correct?

From Hapgood (1906 ed.), p 456.

Quote
The Bishop questioneth the convert from the Lutheran Confession thus:

Bishop: Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief that in the
Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist the bread is not transmuted into
the Body of Christ, and doth not become the Body of Christ ; and
that the wine is not transmuted into the Blood of Christ, and doth
not become the Blood of Christ ; but that the presence of Christ's
Body only for a short time doth touch the bread, which remaineth
simple bread ?
Answer: I do.
"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen

Offline Punch

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I was never asked that question, either in the Antiochian or the Russian Church.  On the other hand, I would not have known how to answer since neither I, nor most of the Lutherans that I hung around with, believed that anyway.  I guess that I would have had to answer "I do" since I rejected that even as a Lutheran.

I would assume so, but I've heard different opinions on the matter. Some say that transubstantiation. denies that the bread and wine remain, in some since, bread and wine, and that this is not Orthodox, but that rather we believe the Eucharist to be truly body and blood, but that does not mean it ceases to be bread and wine. I believe this is true, but I'm not sure this perspective conflicts with transubstantiation.

I guess, ultimately, I would find this particular dogma too scholastic for my taste, but I don't see anything dogmatically troubling.
I remember Fr. Ambrose or Izzy, or some one, posting the rejection of heresies that one must make when they convert from Lutheranism to Orthodoxy. From what I remember, they must reject that the Eucharist is still bread and wine, i.e. they must reject consubstantiation. Is this correct?

From Hapgood (1906 ed.), p 456.

Quote
The Bishop questioneth the convert from the Lutheran Confession thus:

Bishop: Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief that in the
Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist the bread is not transmuted into
the Body of Christ, and doth not become the Body of Christ ; and
that the wine is not transmuted into the Blood of Christ, and doth
not become the Blood of Christ ; but that the presence of Christ's
Body only for a short time doth touch the bread, which remaineth
simple bread ?
Answer: I do.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline ialmisry

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I was never asked that question, either in the Antiochian or the Russian Church.  On the other hand, I would not have known how to answer since neither I, nor most of the Lutherans that I hung around with, believed that anyway.  I guess that I would have had to answer "I do" since I rejected that even as a Lutheran.
Ditto, though I said it out of obedience, besides never believing that.  Only decades later did I find confessional Lutherans do indeed believe that.
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Offline Punch

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I was never asked that question, either in the Antiochian or the Russian Church.  On the other hand, I would not have known how to answer since neither I, nor most of the Lutherans that I hung around with, believed that anyway.  I guess that I would have had to answer "I do" since I rejected that even as a Lutheran.
Ditto, though I said it out of obedience, besides never believing that.  Only decades later did I find confessional Lutherans do indeed believe that.

I don't know about that.  I was a Confessional Lutheran and here is what I believed (and still do):

From the Augsburg Confession
Article X: Of the Lord's Supper.
1] Of the Supper of the Lord they teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed 2] to those who eat the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise.
 
From the Apology of the Augsburg Confession
Article X: Of the Holy Supper.

The Tenth Article has been approved, in which we confess that we believe, that in the Lord's Supper the body
and blood of Christ are truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered, with those things which are
seen, bread and wine to those who receive the Sacrament. This belief we constantly defend as the subject has
been carefully examined and considered. For since Paul says, 1 Cor. 10, 16, that the bread is the communion
of the Lord's body, etc., it would follow, if the Lord's body were not truly present, that the bread is not a
communion of the body, but only of the spirit of Christ. And we have ascertained that not only the Roman
Church affirms the bodily presence of Christ, but the Greek Church also both now believes, and formerly
believed, the same. For the canon of the Mass among them testifies to this, in which the priest clearly prays
that the bread may be changed and become the very body of Christ. And Vulgarius, who seems to us to be not
a silly writer, says distinctly that bread is not a mere figure, but is truly changed into flesh. And there is a
long exposition of Cyril on John 15, in which he teaches that Christ is corporeally offered us in the Supper.
For he says thus: Nevertheless, we do not deny that we are joined spiritually to Christ by true faith and
sincere love. But that we have no mode of connection with Him, according to the flesh, this indeed we
entirely deny. And this, we say, is altogether foreign to the divine Scriptures. For who has doubted that Christ
is in this manner a vine, and we the branches, deriving thence life for ourselves? Hear Paul saying 1 Cor. 10,
17; Rom. 12, 5; Gal. 3, 28: We are all one body in Christ; although we are many, we are, nevertheless, one in
Him; for we are all partakers of that one bread. Does he perhaps think that the virtue of the mystical
benediction is unknown to us? Since this is in us, does it not also, by the communication of Christ's flesh,
cause Christ to dwell in us bodily? And a little after: Whence we must consider that Christ is in us not only
according to the habit, which we call love, but also by natural participation, etc. We have cited these
testimonies, not to undertake a discussion here concerning this subject, for His Imperial Majesty does not
disapprove of this article, but in order that all who may read them may the more clearly perceive that we
defend the doctrine received in the entire Church, that in the Lord's Supper the body and blood of Christ are
truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered with those things which are seen, bread and wine. And
we speak of the presence of the living Christ [living body]; for we know that death hath no more dominion
over Him, Rom. 6, 9.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline Papist

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that in the Lord's Supper the body and blood of Christ are
truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered with those things which are seen, bread and wine. And
we speak of the presence of the living Christ [living body]; for we know that death hath no more dominion
over Him, Rom. 6, 9.

What does this part mean?
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Punch

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that in the Lord's Supper the body and blood of Christ are
truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered with those things which are seen, bread and wine. And
we speak of the presence of the living Christ [living body]; for we know that death hath no more dominion
over Him, Rom. 6, 9.

What does this part mean?

If I were to do a chemical analysis of the "body", I would find it to be baked mixture of flour, water, yeast and salt.  If I were to do a chemical analysis of the "blood", I would find Mavrodaphne mixed with warm water.  However, in spite of this, those elements are truly the Body and Blood of Christ, changed in a manner that is a mystery and beyond our comprehension. 
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline Punch

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with those things which are seen, bread and wine. And
we speak of the presence of the living Christ [living body];
What does this part mean?

Perhaps this, taken from the Smalcald Articles written during the Reformation, will explain the difference between what the Lutherans understood and what they thought that Rome taught.

From the Smalcald Articles
Part III, Article VI. Of the Sacrament of the Altar.
1] Of the Sacrament of the Altar we hold that bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ, and are given and received not only by the godly, but also by wicked Christians.
2] And that not only one form is to be given. [For] we do not need that high art [specious wisdom] which is to teach us that under the one form there is as much as under both, as the sophists and the Council of Constance teach. 3] For even if it were true that there is as much under one as under both, yet the one form only is not the entire ordinance and institution [made] ordained and commanded by Christ. 4] And we especially condemn and in God's name execrate those who not only omit both forms but also quite autocratically [tyrannically] prohibit, condemn, and blaspheme them as heresy, and so exalt themselves against and above Christ, our Lord and God [opposing and placing themselves ahead of Christ], etc.
5] As regards transubstantiation, we care nothing about the sophistical subtlety by which they teach that bread and wine leave or lose their own natural substance, and that there remain only the appearance and color of bread, and not true bread. For it is in perfect agreement with Holy Scriptures that there is, and remains, bread, as Paul himself calls it, 1 Cor. 10:16: The bread which we break. And 1 Cor. 11:28: Let him so eat of that bread.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline recent convert

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From a 1944 prayer book for American Orthodox (imprimatur: Metr. Antony Bashir), "The doctrine of transubstantiation is taught. In the Eucharist, leavened bread is used, which is consecrated and placed in the consecrated Chalice from which all lay members of the Eastern Orthodox Churches receive both the Holy Body and the Precious Blood of Christ, by means of a spoon, after Confession and Priestly Absoluton. Children under 7 years of age, however, receive the Sacrament without Confession." (p.11, doctrine,) (contents of prayer book compiled by Rev. Peter H. Horton- Billard & Rev. Vasile Hategan. Translated by V. Rev, Archpriest Michael G.H. Gelsinger).
« Last Edit: August 18, 2011, 02:40:38 PM by recent convert »
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Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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that in the Lord's Supper the body and blood of Christ are
truly and substantially present, and are truly tendered with those things which are seen, bread and wine. And
we speak of the presence of the living Christ [living body]; for we know that death hath no more dominion
over Him, Rom. 6, 9.

What does this part mean?

If I were to do a chemical analysis of the "body", I would find it to be baked mixture of flour, water, yeast and salt.  If I were to do a chemical analysis of the "blood", I would find Mavrodaphne mixed with warm water.  However, in spite of this, those elements are truly the Body and Blood of Christ, changed in a manner that is a mystery and beyond our comprehension. 

I agree with you. This is the reason why we call it a Holy Mystery. If we had believed in a complete transformation of the bread into flesh and of the wine into blood (as perceived by our senses or identified by chemical analysis) we would not call it a Holy Mystery.

Offline Shanghaiski

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From a 1944 prayer book for American Orthodox (imprimatur: Metr. Antony Bashir), "The doctrine of transubstantiation is taught. In the Eucharist, leavened bread is used, which is consecrated and placed in the consecrated Chalice from which all lay members of the Eastern Orthodox Churches receive both the Holy Body and the Precious Blood of Christ, by means of a spoon, after Confession and Priestly Absoluton. Children under 7 years of age, however, receive the Sacrament without Confession." (p.11, doctrine,) (contents of prayer book compiled by Rev. PeterH Horton- Billard & Rev. Vasile Hategan. Translated by V. Rev, Archpriest Michael G.H. Gelsinger).

I don't think that word means what he thinks it means.

I've always thought that Orthodox use "transubstantiation" in a less precise way than Roman Catholics, since the mystery it attempts to explain is beyond us.
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Offline Punch

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The following is from the official website of the OCA, and is not in conflict with what I have read from the Greeks:

One of the most unfortunate developments took place when men began to debate the reality of Christ's Body and Blood in the eucharist. While some said that the eucharistic gifts of bread and wine were the real Body and Blood of Christ, others said that the gifts were not real, but merely the symbolic or mystical presence of the Body and Blood. The tragedy in both of these approaches is that what is real came to be opposed to what is symbolic or mystical.

The Orthodox Church denies the doctrine that the Body and the Blood of the eucharist are merely intellectual or psychological symbols of Christ's Body and Blood. If this doctrine were true, when the liturgy is celebrated and holy communion is given, the people would be called merely to think about Jesus and to commune with him "in their hearts." In this way, the eucharist would be reduced to a simple memorial meal of the Lord's last supper, and the union with God through its reception would come only on the level of thought or psychological recollection.

On the other hand, however, the Orthodox tradition does use the term "symbols" for the eucharistic gifts. It calls, the service a "mystery" and the sacrifice of the liturgy a "spiritual and bloodless sacrifice." These terms are used by the holy fathers and the liturgy itself.

The Orthodox Church uses such expressions because in Orthodoxy what is real is not opposed to what is symbolical or mystical or spiritual. On the contrary! In the Orthodox view, all of reality -- the world and man himself -- is real to the extent that it is symbolical and mystical, to the extent that reality itself must reveal and manifest God to us. Thus, the eucharist in the Orthodox Church is understood to be the genuine Body and Blood of Christ precisely because bread and wine are the mysteries and symbols of God's true and genuine presence and manifestation to us in Christ. Thus, by eating and drinking the bread and wine which are mystically consecrated by the Holy Spirit, we have genuine communion with God through Christ who is himself "the bread of life" (Jn 6:34, 41).
I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh (Jn 6:51).
Thus, the bread of the eucharist is Christ's flesh, and Christ's flesh is the eucharistic bread. The two are brought together into one. The word "symbolical" in Orthodox terminology means exactly this: "to bring together into one."

Thus we read the words of the Apostle Paul:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death, until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread and drinks the cup in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord (1 Cor 11:23-26).
The mystery of the holy eucharist defies analysis and explanation in purely rational and logical terms. For the eucharist -- and Christ himself -- is indeed a mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven which, as Jesus has told us, is "not of this world." The eucharist -- because it belongs to God's Kingdom -- is truly free from the earth-born "logic" of fallen humanity.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline Heorhij

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I think that unless there is a clear and strong negative statement made in some Oros of one of the Ecumenical Councils, Transubstantiation does remain a Theologumen and, as such, can be privately belieeved by any Orthodox Christian.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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I think that unless there is a clear and strong negative statement made in some Oros of one of the Ecumenical Councils, Transubstantiation does remain a Theologumen and, as such, can be privately belieeved by any Orthodox Christian.

Only to the extent that it has been epoused before by local Orthodox councils. There are other things which are wrong and have no official statement against them from an ecumenical synod.
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Offline orthonorm

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I would assume so, but I've heard different opinions on the matter. Some say that transubstantiation. denies that the bread and wine remain, in some since, bread and wine, and that this is not Orthodox, but that rather we believe the Eucharist to be truly body and blood, but that does not mean it ceases to be bread and wine. I believe this is true, but I'm not sure this perspective conflicts with transubstantiation.

I guess, ultimately, I would find this particular dogma too scholastic for my taste, but I don't see anything dogmatically troubling.

This was point to Devin the hyperdox in the other thread.

RE: transubstantiation

It is the "accidents" of bread and wine which remain. After all it doesn't taste like flesh and blood nor look like nor would be able to shown to be under scientific inquiry.

The substance has changed, essence has changed.

I don't care really and the mechanics behind the above get insane.

But I don't see you couldn't believe in this in a general sense as I put it and remain Orthodox.


Offline Benjamin the Red

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I would assume so, but I've heard different opinions on the matter. Some say that transubstantiation. denies that the bread and wine remain, in some since, bread and wine, and that this is not Orthodox, but that rather we believe the Eucharist to be truly body and blood, but that does not mean it ceases to be bread and wine. I believe this is true, but I'm not sure this perspective conflicts with transubstantiation.

I guess, ultimately, I would find this particular dogma too scholastic for my taste, but I don't see anything dogmatically troubling.

This was point to Devin the hyperdox in the other thread.

RE: transubstantiation

It is the "accidents" of bread and wine which remain. After all it doesn't taste like flesh and blood nor look like nor would be able to shown to be under scientific inquiry.

The substance has changed, essence has changed.

I don't care really and the mechanics behind the above get insane.

But I don't see you couldn't believe in this in a general sense as I put it and remain Orthodox.



Exactly. I am aware of the Thomistic distinction of accident and essence, and believe that it may be a legitimate theologumen.

And just to be clear concerning my previous post, I am not denying the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The bread is truly the Body, and the wine is truly the Blood, and in the act of communicating, the Orthodox Christian does "eat His Flesh" and "drink His Blood."
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Offline jckstraw72

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my thought has always been that for the Eucharist to be Christologically correct it must have two natures as does Christ - so bread and wine and Body and Blood. IIRC this is the position that St. Irenaeus takes.

Offline Punch

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my thought has always been that for the Eucharist to be Christologically correct it must have two natures as does Christ - so bread and wine and Body and Blood. IIRC this is the position that St. Irenaeus takes.

I believe this to be correct, and this was one of the reasons that the Lutherans rejected the idea of Transubstination as was being espoused by some of the Latins at the time.  In fact, as I was taught, the idea of Transubstination led to the heresy of giving communion in one kind.  How much of this was actually the teaching of Rome, and how much was due to local innovations is another matter. 
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

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my thought has always been that for the Eucharist to be Christologically correct it must have two natures as does Christ - so bread and wine and Body and Blood. IIRC this is the position that St. Irenaeus takes.

But it being Christ, isn't already of two natures, even if you truck with transubstantiation?

Although, I like the Christological speculation.


Offline orthonorm

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I would assume so, but I've heard different opinions on the matter. Some say that transubstantiation. denies that the bread and wine remain, in some since, bread and wine, and that this is not Orthodox, but that rather we believe the Eucharist to be truly body and blood, but that does not mean it ceases to be bread and wine. I believe this is true, but I'm not sure this perspective conflicts with transubstantiation.

I guess, ultimately, I would find this particular dogma too scholastic for my taste, but I don't see anything dogmatically troubling.

This was point to Devin the hyperdox in the other thread.

RE: transubstantiation

It is the "accidents" of bread and wine which remain. After all it doesn't taste like flesh and blood nor look like nor would be able to shown to be under scientific inquiry.

The substance has changed, essence has changed.

I don't care really and the mechanics behind the above get insane.

But I don't see you couldn't believe in this in a general sense as I put it and remain Orthodox.



Exactly. I am aware of the Thomistic distinction of accident and essence, and believe that it may be a legitimate theologumen.

And just to be clear concerning my previous post, I am not denying the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The bread is truly the Body, and the wine is truly the Blood, and in the act of communicating, the Orthodox Christian does "eat His Flesh" and "drink His Blood."

I know you are informed, just explaining. Afterall we are singing to rafters here.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2011, 04:34:22 PM by orthonorm »

Offline Punch

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But it being Christ, isn't already of two natures, even if you truck with transubstantiation?

Although, I like the Christological speculation.


I am not sure I believe this way.  The priest calls down the Holy Spirit to make the Bread and Wine the Body and Blood of Christ, to me at least, in the same way He overshaddowed Mary during the Incarnation.  Do both natures of Christ exist in the communion, or does the Divine Nature of Christ fuse with the physical Bread and Wine as it did when it fused with the living egg of Mary?  I suppose that we could think on this all day, and I am sure that some Theologians somewhere have speculated this to death.  My opinion?  If I could explain it, it would not be a mystery.  So, while I equate the communion with the two natures of Christ, I dare not say how that happens.
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline Benjamin the Red

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But it being Christ, isn't already of two natures, even if you truck with transubstantiation?

Although, I like the Christological speculation.


I am not sure I believe this way.  The priest calls down the Holy Spirit to make the Bread and Wine the Body and Blood of Christ, to me at least, in the same way He overshaddowed Mary during the Incarnation.  Do both natures of Christ exist in the communion, or does the Divine Nature of Christ fuse with the physical Bread and Wine as it did when it fused with the living egg of Mary?  I suppose that we could think on this all day, and I am sure that some Theologians somewhere have speculated this to death.  My opinion?  If I could explain it, it would not be a mystery.  So, while I equate the communion with the two natures of Christ, I dare not say how that happens.

I'm weary of that. For us to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, the incarnation is required. Surely his divinity is fully contained within his humanity, but Christ is one united person of two natures that cannot be considered apart from the other. To think of only the "divine nature" of Christ coming down without the human, to me, sounds quite Nestorian.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2011, 04:49:33 PM by Benjamin the Red »
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But it being Christ, isn't already of two natures, even if you truck with transubstantiation?

Although, I like the Christological speculation.


I am not sure I believe this way.  The priest calls down the Holy Spirit to make the Bread and Wine the Body and Blood of Christ, to me at least, in the same way He overshaddowed Mary during the Incarnation.  Do both natures of Christ exist in the communion, or does the Divine Nature of Christ fuse with the physical Bread and Wine as it did when it fused with the living egg of Mary?  I suppose that we could think on this all day, and I am sure that some Theologians somewhere have speculated this to death.  My opinion?  If I could explain it, it would not be a mystery.  So, while I equate the communion with the two natures of Christ, I dare not say how that happens.

I'm weary of that. For us to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, the incarnation is required. Surely in His Humanity his Divinity is fully contained, but Christ is one united person of two natures that cannot be considered apart from the other. To think of only the "divine nature" of Christ coming down without the human, to me, sounds quite Nestorian.

I am somewhat wary of that, too, hence my using such uncertain terminology.  What I wrote is how my mind understands it currently, not an expression of what I believe to be the Truth.  The second to the last sentence is the only part of my post that I confess as the Truth.  My brain accepts pseudo-Nestorian Christology in this instance easier than it accepts a triple nature of Christ – Divine, Human, and Cereal.  Believe me, I am not saying you are wrong!
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline Benjamin the Red

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But it being Christ, isn't already of two natures, even if you truck with transubstantiation?

Although, I like the Christological speculation.


I am not sure I believe this way.  The priest calls down the Holy Spirit to make the Bread and Wine the Body and Blood of Christ, to me at least, in the same way He overshaddowed Mary during the Incarnation.  Do both natures of Christ exist in the communion, or does the Divine Nature of Christ fuse with the physical Bread and Wine as it did when it fused with the living egg of Mary?  I suppose that we could think on this all day, and I am sure that some Theologians somewhere have speculated this to death.  My opinion?  If I could explain it, it would not be a mystery.  So, while I equate the communion with the two natures of Christ, I dare not say how that happens.

I'm weary of that. For us to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, the incarnation is required. Surely in His Humanity his Divinity is fully contained, but Christ is one united person of two natures that cannot be considered apart from the other. To think of only the "divine nature" of Christ coming down without the human, to me, sounds quite Nestorian.

I am somewhat wary of that, too, hence my using such uncertain terminology.  What I wrote is how my mind understands it currently, not an expression of what I believe to be the Truth.  The second to the last sentence is the only part of my post that I confess as the Truth.  My brain accepts pseudo-Nestorian Christology in this instance easier than it accepts a triple nature of Christ – Divine, Human, and Cereal.  Believe me, I am not saying you are wrong!


Lol. Nor am I calling you a Nestorian!

I believe that the only two viable answers to the question are transubstantiation and consubstantiation. That is, the bread and wine are changed into bread and wine or that the real presence of Christ (human and divine) exists in the Eucharist along side the bread and wine. I believe both are Orthodox, as long as it is made clear that Christ is truly present, and not only spiritually present.

Personally, I tend to be more a consubstantiationist, but I don't reject transubstantiation as an equally valid theologumen.

EDIT: Well, actually, I guess it depends on how the transubstantiationist defines "accident" and "essence." As has been stated, people with allergies to bread and wine sometimes have adverse affects from the Eucharist (yet...other's don't!) and so if the gifts being bread and wine in "accident" includes those possible results, then I guess I'm technically a transubstantiationist!
« Last Edit: August 18, 2011, 05:34:37 PM by Benjamin the Red »
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Offline akimori makoto

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I believe both are Orthodox, as long as it is made clear that Christ is truly present, and not only spiritually present.

I don't like this distinction. Doesn't this postulate that noetic things are not "real" because they are not physical?

Just thinking aloud ...
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I believe both are Orthodox, as long as it is made clear that Christ is truly present, and not only spiritually present.

I don't like this distinction. Doesn't this postulate that noetic things are not "real" because they are not physical?

Just thinking aloud ...

With you completely. And the metaphysics of Presence weighs heavily in all this . . .

Offline Benjamin the Red

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I believe both are Orthodox, as long as it is made clear that Christ is truly present, and not only spiritually present.

I don't like this distinction. Doesn't this postulate that noetic things are not "real" because they are not physical?

Just thinking aloud ...

The way I've understood it is thus:

Christ cannot be separated. He is made of two natures (divine and human) fused as one person. We cannot speak of "Jesus the Man" and "Christ the Son" as separate entities. Therefore, his body and blood must be present alongside his "spirit." The only time a human entity is spirit without body is in death, an unnatural state. Christ is not in this state. He is risen.

So, when I say Christ can't be only spiritually present, I mean to say that this is a quasi-Nestorian way of looking at Christ (separating fully his divinity from his humanity), and is heretical. Of course the noetic is real, just not physical. The angels are real, but do not have physical bodies. However, Christ does have a physical body, since the Son of God has become incarnate.
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Offline elijahmaria

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However, Christ does have a physical body, since the Son of God has become incarnate.

This would be his glorified risen body, yes?

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However, Christ does have a physical body, since the Son of God has become incarnate.

This would be his glorified risen body, yes?

Yes.

...And?
"Hades is not a place, no, but a state of the soul. It begins here on earth. Just so, paradise begins in the soul of a man here in the earthly life. Here we already have contact with the divine..." -St. John, Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, Homily On the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Offline elijahmaria

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However, Christ does have a physical body, since the Son of God has become incarnate.

This would be his glorified risen body, yes?

Yes.

...And?

And that's it.  I was just askin' what is believed.

Offline Benjamin the Red

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However, Christ does have a physical body, since the Son of God has become incarnate.

This would be his glorified risen body, yes?

Yes.

...And?

And that's it.  I was just askin' what is believed.

Ah. Okie. ;D
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However, Christ does have a physical body, since the Son of God has become incarnate.

This would be his glorified risen body, yes?

Yes, and thinking of it in this way would help me overcome some of my blocks.  I am still too inclined to think of the Jesus of the Gospels, and not the risen and glorified Jesus.  I need this wake-up now and then that he is not longer the Jesus of the Gospels. 
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

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I need this wake-up now and then that he is not longer the Jesus of the Gospels.  

I think you then need to wake up again and realize that He is.

But this line of thought is similar what I am pursuing in the "did the Church change thread".

Once you get a relatively decent ontology down, which is to say to let it go, then questions above become false dichotomies.

« Last Edit: August 18, 2011, 10:26:23 PM by orthonorm »

Offline Benjamin the Red

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However, Christ does have a physical body, since the Son of God has become incarnate.

This would be his glorified risen body, yes?

Yes, and thinking of it in this way would help me overcome some of my blocks.  I am still too inclined to think of the Jesus of the Gospels, and not the risen and glorified Jesus.  I need this wake-up now and then that he is not longer the Jesus of the Gospels. 

No. He's the exact same Jesus, risen and glorified, manifested in the Church.

If it helps, think about this...

"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.  And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
Apocalypse of St. John the Theologian (ch. 1, vv. 10-8)

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Offline akimori makoto

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I believe both are Orthodox, as long as it is made clear that Christ is truly present, and not only spiritually present.

I don't like this distinction. Doesn't this postulate that noetic things are not "real" because they are not physical?

Just thinking aloud ...

The way I've understood it is thus:

Christ cannot be separated. He is made of two natures (divine and human) fused as one person. We cannot speak of "Jesus the Man" and "Christ the Son" as separate entities. Therefore, his body and blood must be present alongside his "spirit." The only time a human entity is spirit without body is in death, an unnatural state. Christ is not in this state. He is risen.

So, when I say Christ can't be only spiritually present, I mean to say that this is a quasi-Nestorian way of looking at Christ (separating fully his divinity from his humanity), and is heretical. Of course the noetic is real, just not physical. The angels are real, but do not have physical bodies. However, Christ does have a physical body, since the Son of God has become incarnate.

I thought you would answer this way -- thank you for that.

Our culture is doing its best to convince us that anything not physical is not real, and I am just wary of the dichotomy some people set up between the "real" and the noetic/spiritual.
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Does anyone know the OO view on all of this?
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

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Several years ago I published an article on the eucharistic presence that may be germane to this discussion:  "Eating Christ: Recovering the Language of Real Identification."

Regarding the OP's original question:  I believe it is accurate to say that historically some Eastern Christians have said things about the Eucharist that seem to approach the historic Catholic position on transubstantiation (without employing the Aristotelian distinction between substance and accidents).  I'm thinking here of St Cyril of Jerusalem: after the consecration what lies before us is Body and Blood, not bread and wine.  Other Eastern Christians are more comfortable interpreting the eucharistic presence through a Chalcedonian prism, as analogous to the hypostatic union (though that also raises questions: Christ does not hypostatically unite himself to bread and wine).  The OCA statement quoted above clearly shows the influence of Fr Alexander Schmemann, who seeks to overcome all dualism in our thinking of the Euccharist; but it should be noted that after II Nicaea, Byzantine Christianity became reluctant to employ symbolic language to speak of the eucharistic presence.  

All of which is to say that historically Orthodoxy has expressed its faith in the Eucharistic presence in a  diversity of ways.

As far as how Catholics understand transubstantiation today, you will not find one single understanding.  The transubstantiation dogma functions more as a grammatical rule:  it both authorizes and excludes specific construals and practices, but it most certainly does not dogmatize an Aristotelian formulation of the eucharistic presence.  One can argue that even Thomas Aquinas does not assert an Aristotelian formulation.  I would maintain that the one thing that transubstantiation does authorize is the adoration and worship of the Holy Gifts.  It was precisely because of this that most of the Reformers, who regarded eucharistic adoration as idolatry, rejected transubstantiation.  For Aquinas and the Council of Trent, it is necessary to insist that after the consecration the substance of bread and wine does not remain on the altar; otherwise, all adoration would be idolatrous.  I have not yet come across an Orthodox reflection on this aspect of the transubstantiation dogma.  Clearly we Orthodox do not hesitate to worship and adore the Holy Gifts within the liturgy; we do not believe we are worshipping bread and wine.  So on a practical level, I think that Catholics and Orthodox are very close.      

« Last Edit: August 19, 2011, 12:55:55 AM by akimel »

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When I say "the Jesus of the Gospels", I am refering to his ministry here on Earth, prior to the completion of his mission, death and Ressurection.  While He remains the same in many ways, He is also different, just as He was prior to the Incarnation.  As He is now, we will one day be.  As we are now, He once was, only He was empty of sin.  I seriously doubt that Jesus is still tempted in the way that we are, or that he suffers the effects of heat and cold, physical pain and suffering, hunger, thirst and the like of the unresurrected human race.  If He is, he accomplished nothing and conquered nothing.  I reject this.  I don't think that it is I that need the wake-up in this regard.  My goal in life is to become, by Grace, what Jesus is now - post Resurrection and after His victory over sin and death.  I believe that those that do not see this difference to be in error. 

I need this wake-up now and then that he is not longer the Jesus of the Gospels.  

I think you then need to wake up again and realize that He is.

But this line of thought is similar what I am pursuing in the "did the Church change thread".

Once you get a relatively decent ontology down, which is to say to let it go, then questions above become false dichotomies.


I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

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Does anyone know the OO view on all of this?
I've heard some Ethiopian Orthodox monks say (in a paraphrase): "some Orthodox theologians use the word 'transubstantiation' to explain the eucharist, but, most will say that it is a mystery and that we don't know for sure how the mystery occurs". Then they cited a passage from John of Damascus which seemed to contradict transubstantiation.
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Offline Benjamin the Red

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Does anyone know the OO view on all of this?
I've heard some Ethiopian Orthodox monks say (in a paraphrase): "some Orthodox theologians use the word 'transubstantiation' to explain the eucharist, but, most will say that it is a mystery and that we don't know for sure how the mystery occurs". Then they cited a passage from John of Damascus which seemed to contradict transubstantiation.

Curious. I would be interested to know what passage they're quoting...
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Does anyone know the OO view on all of this?
I've heard some Ethiopian Orthodox monks say (in a paraphrase): "some Orthodox theologians use the word 'transubstantiation' to explain the eucharist, but, most will say that it is a mystery and that we don't know for sure how the mystery occurs". Then they cited a passage from John of Damascus which seemed to contradict transubstantiation.

Curious. I would be interested to know what passage they're quoting...
I would give you the link to the site, but unfortunately these monks had to close their Monastery's website because it was too much of a financial burden to maintain. The name of the Monastery is "Nine Saints Ethiopian Orthodox Monastery", keep them in your prayers.
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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #44 on: September 22, 2011, 10:12:06 PM »
Now in regards to OO patristics concerning the Eucharist, St. Severus of Antioch says:

For the bread that is consecrated on the holy tables and mystically transmuted is itself truly the body, the body of him in whose name it was in |91 fact transmuted, that is of him who voluntarily died and rose for our sakes. But, if it is the body of him who rose, it is plain that it is impassible and immortal. If we do not look at the bread that is mystically transmuted, but at that which comes under the eyes of the senses, and, seeing it broken, do not confess it to be indeed immortal, it is time for us to say that neither is it God's body: for what is seen is indeed bread. By the faith therefore by which we understand and believe it to be the body of God who became incarnate without variation for our sakes, and voluntarily suffered and rose, by the same faith we understand and confess that it is also immortal and impassible, and bestows impassibility and immortality on us. For he who allowed it to be cut and divided, because indeed it was otherwise impossible for us to partake of it, in the same mercifulness also allows God's body which has been already transmuted to appear as bread. And for a confirmation of the transmutation that is accomplished this has been seen by many even with the eyes of their senses themselves, and they have seen bloodstained flesh being broken, not the bread that is laid upon the altar.

It is interesting to see that St. Severus says that the bread transmutates and that the body only appears to be bread after the consecration. Thus, St. Severus rules out the idea that the bread and wine continue to remain bread and wine (consubstantiation). What he is saying seems similar to the Latin Catholic concept of transubstantiation, am I wrong? Of course we would have to see the original Greek or Syriac texts of St. Severus' words to be completely sure of what he is saying, but it is interesting.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 10:13:51 PM by Severian »
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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #45 on: September 23, 2011, 12:51:56 AM »
The reason we call sacraments holy Mysteries is not because "they work in mysterious ways," though they may, but because we keep them hidden from the unbaptized. The holy synod of Jerusalem had no problem using the word "transubstantiation:"
Quote
We believe the All-holy Mystery of the Sacred Eucharist, which we have enumerated above, fourth in order, to be that which our Lord delivered in the night in which He gave Himself up for the life of the world. For taking bread, and blessing, He gave to His Holy Disciples and Apostles, saying: “Take, eat; This is My Body.” {Matthew 26:26} And taking the chalice, and giving thanks, He said: “Drink you all of It; This is My Blood, which for you is being poured out, for the remission of sins.” {Matthew 26:28} In the celebration of this we believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be present. He is not present typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, as in the other Mysteries, nor by a bare presence, as some of the Fathers have said concerning Baptism, or by impanation, so that the Divinity of the Word is united to the set forth bread of the Eucharist hypostatically, as the followers of Luther most ignorantly and wretchedly suppose. But [he is present] truly and really, so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin, was baptized in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sits at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord, Which as He hung upon the Cross, was poured out for the life of the world. {John 6:51}

Source:http://www.cresourcei.org/creeddositheus.html
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 12:53:39 AM by samkim »
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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #46 on: September 23, 2011, 02:03:44 AM »
The following may be pointless. Just feel like tossing it out. Feel free to disregard it:

As a former protestant, i have a number of friends who's brains would explode if I told them I believed The Eucharist (or Communion so they would better understand it) was the actual body and blood of Christ.  This is whats ironic to me.  A lot of these same people take so many passages of scripture very literally (usually by ignoring the culture and context it was written).

Why are they so afraid to take it literally when Jesus says "....this is my Body... and this is my Blood..."???

Dont want to hijack the thread.  This thought just came into my head as I read through some of this.  Didnt read it all, so if this was already covered, i apologize.
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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #47 on: September 23, 2011, 10:47:15 AM »
From Hapgood (1906 ed.), p 456.

Quote
The Bishop questioneth the convert from the Lutheran Confession thus:

Bishop: Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief that in the
Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist the bread is not transmuted into
the Body of Christ, and doth not become the Body of Christ ; and
that the wine is not transmuted into the Blood of Christ, and doth
not become the Blood of Christ ; but that the presence of Christ's
Body only for a short time doth touch the bread, which remaineth
simple bread ?
Answer: I do.

I'm not sure that a modern Lutheran would assess this as an accurate characterization of present Lutheran beliefs. Most Episcopalians who have actually thought about the idea would find it acceptable modulo what "transmute" actually means.

Offline Japheth

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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #48 on: September 23, 2011, 04:08:50 PM »
I suppose that if one is, philosophically, an Aristotlean, then the scholastic doctrine would be the natural way to understand the Mystery. One would have to acknowledge that the 'accidents' do not change, and therefore the mysterious transformation must occur at the level of 'substance'.

The early Fathers insofar as they draw on classical philosophy tend to be more Platonic (perhaps Middle or Neo-Platonic, which integrates some of Aristotle). Does that play into this question?

Quote from: Wikipedia
Some Greek Orthodox Church confessions of faith use the term "transubstantiation" (metousiosis), but most Orthodox Christian traditions play down the term itself, and the notions of "substance" and "accidents", while adhering to the holy mystery that bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ during a valid Divine Liturgy. Other terms such as "trans-elementation" (μεταστοιχείωσις metastoicheiosis) and "re-ordination" (μεταρρύθμισις metarrhythmisis) are more common among the Orthodox.

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #49 on: September 23, 2011, 04:29:39 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Does anyone know the OO view on all of this?
I've heard some Ethiopian Orthodox monks say (in a paraphrase): "some Orthodox theologians use the word 'transubstantiation' to explain the Eucharist, but, most will say that it is a mystery and that we don't know for sure how the mystery occurs". Then they cited a passage from John of Damascus which seemed to contradict transubstantiation.

The Ethiopian Fathers fully affirm what could be called "the Real Presence" in full accord with the Roman Catholic dogma, however where we differ, and what the monk from the Nine Saints website was insinuating, is that we do not believe it is the same mechanical process as the RCs teach.  We have had this discussion before on another thread somewhere.

In the Tewahedo Church, we believe that the Holy Communion is a process of becoming the Blood and Body of Christ, starting with the ringing bells and prayers of the Entrance, and culminating with the individual reception of the Eucharist by the members of the Church.  It is only the combination of all the factors of the Divine Liturgy that brings about this process, there is no particular moment during the Liturgy where the Ethiopians say "this is merely bread and wine" and then later "this is the actual Blood and Body of Christ" as the Catholic dogma teaches, rather we acknowledge that through the Liturgy in its entirety, the Eucharist Offering should be venerated as the actual, physical, Blood and Body of Our Lord. 

Perhaps we in Ethiopian Orthodox are misunderstanding the RC dogma, so if the RCs to not teach what I have explained above, I would say we are then in full agreement with them in regards to Transubstantiation.  The premise of Transubstantiation is perfectly Orthodox, its the theological logistics and arm-wrangling that we may differ between jurisdictions.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #50 on: September 23, 2011, 04:39:02 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Does anyone know the OO view on all of this?
I've heard some Ethiopian Orthodox monks say (in a paraphrase): "some Orthodox theologians use the word 'transubstantiation' to explain the Eucharist, but, most will say that it is a mystery and that we don't know for sure how the mystery occurs". Then they cited a passage from John of Damascus which seemed to contradict transubstantiation.

The Ethiopian Fathers fully affirm what could be called "the Real Presence" in full accord with the Roman Catholic dogma, however where we differ, and what the monk from the Nine Saints website was insinuating, is that we do not believe it is the same mechanical process as the RCs teach.  We have had this discussion before on another thread somewhere.

In the Tewahedo Church, we believe that the Holy Communion is a process of becoming the Blood and Body of Christ, starting with the ringing bells and prayers of the Entrance, and culminating with the individual reception of the Eucharist by the members of the Church.  It is only the combination of all the factors of the Divine Liturgy that brings about this process, there is no particular moment during the Liturgy where the Ethiopians say "this is merely bread and wine" and then later "this is the actual Blood and Body of Christ" as the Catholic dogma teaches, rather we acknowledge that through the Liturgy in its entirety, the Eucharist Offering should be venerated as the actual, physical, Blood and Body of Our Lord. 

Perhaps we in Ethiopian Orthodox are misunderstanding the RC dogma, so if the RCs to not teach what I have explained above, I would say we are then in full agreement with them in regards to Transubstantiation.  The premise of Transubstantiation is perfectly Orthodox, its the theological logistics and arm-wrangling that we may differ between jurisdictions.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I suspect that this question of when, precisely, the change occurs: after the words of institution: or after the epiclesis, which is deemed necessary by so many in order to have a valid eucharistic transformation: is just that:  a question.  It seems so in my Church.  Most of the documents on liturgy and Eucharist seem to indicate that the entire Eucharistic Canon is necessary.   I suppose that if one is under duress and had to know how much of the liturgical prayers were necessary: in matter of life and death: well then I expect the intent and the words of institution might be sufficient...but other than that...and curiousity...I don't think there's much to talk about with regard to angels and heads of pins.

M.

Offline Keble

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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #51 on: September 24, 2011, 06:33:45 PM »
I suppose that if one is, philosophically, an Aristotlean, then the scholastic doctrine would be the natural way to understand the Mystery.

Well, this lies at the heart of my objection. Modern science, the stuff that works, doesn't use a substance/accidents distinction. Also, I would tend to think that Aristotle might not accept the Thomist implicit redefinition of "accident" to subsume the properties which manifest the substance as well as those which are incidental. Given that we actually do know something know of what "substance" is actually like, it's easy to speculate at lots of different levels as to how body and blood could be manifest as bread and wine (or more precisely, how the latter could be the former while still presenting as their original substance), but I really can only find philosophically justifiable explanations which are compatible with modern scientific understandings of substance.

When it comes down to it, the division that matters is that between the substantial change group (trans/cons, encompassing Orthodox, Catholics, most Anglicans, and maybe a bunch of others), the temporary "real presence" group (Methodists, Presbies (in theory), and maybe most Lutherans), and the memorialists (the rest of Protestantism). These divisions are the ones that have an effect on what one does; the trans/cons dispute doesn't lead directly to difference in practice; the historical association with practice differences is increasingly weak: for instance, though benediction and adoration were historically associated with the "trans" group, that association is weaker now, and the argument against those practices, in any case, was that they had no dominical ordinance behind them.

Offline elijahmaria

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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #52 on: September 24, 2011, 06:39:49 PM »

When it comes down to it, the division that matters is that between the substantial change group (trans/cons, encompassing Orthodox, Catholics, most Anglicans, and maybe a bunch of others), the temporary "real presence" group (Methodists, Presbies (in theory), and maybe most Lutherans), and the memorialists (the rest of Protestantism). These divisions are the ones that have an effect on what one does; the trans/cons dispute doesn't lead directly to difference in practice; the historical association with practice differences is increasingly weak: for instance, though benediction and adoration were historically associated with the "trans" group, that association is weaker now, and the argument against those practices, in any case, was that they had no dominical ordinance behind them.


Is it true that Orthodoxy reduces real presence to a matter of praxis?
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 06:40:21 PM by elijahmaria »

Offline HabteSelassie

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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #53 on: September 26, 2011, 03:05:24 PM »
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


When it comes down to it, the division that matters is that between the substantial change group (trans/cons, encompassing Orthodox, Catholics, most Anglicans, and maybe a bunch of others), the temporary "real presence" group (Methodists, Presbies (in theory), and maybe most Lutherans), and the memorialists (the rest of Protestantism). These divisions are the ones that have an effect on what one does; the trans/cons dispute doesn't lead directly to difference in practice; the historical association with practice differences is increasingly weak: for instance, though benediction and adoration were historically associated with the "trans" group, that association is weaker now, and the argument against those practices, in any case, was that they had no dominical ordinance behind them.


Is it true that Orthodoxy reduces real presence to a matter of praxis?
Great question!!


Depends by what you mean, if you mean "application" in the sense of that the Offering isn't fully the Blood and Body until it is directly received (i.e., eaten) by the Communicant then yes and no.  Yes in the sense of the theosis and deification aspects of Holy Communion, no in the sense of Eucharistic Adoration.  The Orthodox fully affirm that folks must receive the Communion for the fullness of the Grace there in, however, we still agree with the premise behind the RC Eucharistic Adoration dogma as we believe that the Offering is fully the actual Blood and Body of Jesus Christ.  We are sort of in line with the "Real Presence" of the Lutherans in the sense that we do not believe it permanent, the Offering is not of itself forever changed from bread towards God's own Flesh.  This is a temporal manifestation of God's Presence in a truly tangible, substantial way.  Further, praxis can be interpreted as correct but only in certain contexts.  If folks are seeking a certain direct manifestation of the greater Grace of God found in this All-Holy Mystery, then they receive it by eating and drinking directly.  We can not limit God to suppose miracles can't happen by proxy, that is being in proximity of the Holy Communion, but to eat it is the apex, the application, the culmination of the liturgical process, just as being submerged with the water is the culmination of Baptism, or being anointed the culmination of Chrismation, or the laying of hands in the Absolution prayer the culmination of Repentance.  So, praxis in this sense, that eating the Blood and Body is the process, application, or realization of the Holy Communion is correctly Orthodox.  However, if praxis is assumed to mean that the miracles of the Holy Communion are limited to eating and drinking, well that is different story, and in that context we could be said to also agree with the RCs dogmas regardin Eucharistic Adoration (i.e., that praying near or in proximity of the Holy Communion is being near Jesus Christ physically).

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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Offline Irish Hermit

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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #54 on: October 06, 2011, 06:52:04 AM »
The reason we call sacraments holy Mysteries is not because "they work in mysterious ways," though they may, but because we keep them hidden from the unbaptized. The holy synod of Jerusalem had no problem using the word "transubstantiation:"
Quote
. . .the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin, was baptized in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sits at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord . . .{John 6:51}

Source:http://www.cresourcei.org/creeddositheus.html

But the Jerusalem document continues:

"Further, we believe that by the word “transubstantiation” the manner is not explained, by which the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, — for that is altogether incomprehensible and impossible, except by God Himself, and those who imagine to do so are involved in ignorance and impiety, — but that the bread and the wine are after the consecration, not typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, nor by the communication or the presence of the Divinity alone of the Only-begotten, transmuted into the Body and Blood of the Lord"

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Offline choy

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I am increasingly not liking how Transubstantiation is used by lay Roman Catholics.  I don't know if this is an inherent flaw to what Transubstantiation is, or the flawed understanding by these people misrepresent what is actually being taught by Transubstantiation.

Here's my beef.  There have been many discussion around "can the Eucharist transmit disease"?  Unlike in Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches where we share a common spoon, Roman Catholics have grown to the idea that this is not something sanitary.  And this is enforced by the recent threats of pandemic where the Cup was withheld from the laity for fear of transmitting the disease.  And another case is that on celiacs.  The people I come across on the internet would argue that because the accidents remain of bread and wine, the viruses cling on to the accidents and not the substance.  And if one is celiac, your body would still react to the accidents as if it is still bread even though it is not.

To me this is a lengthy exercise of going around in a full circle.  First you argue that the bread and wine is not bread and wine, then have a deep philosophical explanation to support that only to use the same philosophical argument to say in an indirect but hopefully intelligent-sounding way that yes, the bread and wine is just bread and wine.  Or to put it in another way, the bread and win is no longer bread and wine except when it is.  To me, through this scholastic process, we have basically brought the mystery of the sacrament down to the ground to be trampled on in mud.

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I do not think so. The real presence part is all that matters. Anything beyond that, such as how God turns the bread and wine into His flesh and blood seems kind of irrelevant to me, and such pointless questions can often lead to heresy or potentially be detrimental to someone's salvation. After all, if something is not broken then I see no reason to try and fix it. Besides, doesn't that defeat the whole meaning of being a 'Mystery' as we refer to the Sacraments?

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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #58 on: October 25, 2015, 10:06:10 PM »
We OO, like our EO counterparts, do not dogmatize the transubstantiation theory or the Aristotelian terminology surrounding it. However, the theory seems to have some basis in the OO Patristic tradition. In his Refutation of the Calvinists, the 17th century Coptic Pope Matthew IV explicitly says that the substance ('jawhar' in Arabic) of the bread and wine ceases to exist and becomes the substance of Jesus Christ's true body and blood. He also says that in the same way the divinity was hidden in the womb of the Theotokos, likewise it is now veiled under the 'accidents' of bread and wine. Take a look, it's an interesting read:

http://orthokairos.weebly.com/uploads/5/7/3/1/57311059/refutation_of_the_calvinists.pdf
« Last Edit: October 25, 2015, 10:10:03 PM by Severian »
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Offline Keble

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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #59 on: October 26, 2015, 10:09:47 AM »
We OO, like our EO counterparts, do not dogmatize the transubstantiation theory or the Aristotelian terminology surrounding it. However, the theory seems to have some basis in the OO Patristic tradition. In his Refutation of the Calvinists, the 17th century Coptic Pope Matthew IV explicitly says that the substance ('jawhar' in Arabic) of the bread and wine ceases to exist and becomes the substance of Jesus Christ's true body and blood. He also says that in the same way the divinity was hidden in the womb of the Theotokos, likewise it is now veiled under the 'accidents' of bread and wine. Take a look, it's an interesting read:

http://orthokairos.weebly.com/uploads/5/7/3/1/57311059/refutation_of_the_calvinists.pdf

I would note that, at least following Chalcedon, the exact analogue of the incarnation would be conssubstantiation.

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Re: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?
« Reply #60 on: October 26, 2015, 10:28:16 AM »
Now in regards to OO patristics concerning the Eucharist, St. Severus of Antioch says:

For the bread that is consecrated on the holy tables and mystically transmuted is itself truly the body, the body of him in whose name it was in |91 fact transmuted, that is of him who voluntarily died and rose for our sakes. But, if it is the body of him who rose, it is plain that it is impassible and immortal. If we do not look at the bread that is mystically transmuted, but at that which comes under the eyes of the senses, and, seeing it broken, do not confess it to be indeed immortal, it is time for us to say that neither is it God's body: for what is seen is indeed bread. By the faith therefore by which we understand and believe it to be the body of God who became incarnate without variation for our sakes, and voluntarily suffered and rose, by the same faith we understand and confess that it is also immortal and impassible, and bestows impassibility and immortality on us. For he who allowed it to be cut and divided, because indeed it was otherwise impossible for us to partake of it, in the same mercifulness also allows God's body which has been already transmuted to appear as bread. And for a confirmation of the transmutation that is accomplished this has been seen by many even with the eyes of their senses themselves, and they have seen bloodstained flesh being broken, not the bread that is laid upon the altar.

It is interesting to see that St. Severus says that the bread transmutates and that the body only appears to be bread after the consecration. Thus, St. Severus rules out the idea that the bread and wine continue to remain bread and wine (consubstantiation). What he is saying seems similar to the Latin Catholic concept of transubstantiation, am I wrong? Of course we would have to see the original Greek or Syriac texts of St. Severus' words to be completely sure of what he is saying, but it is interesting.

If I may offer a second OO opinion by St. Philoxenus' Third Ascetic Discourse (pp. 56-7):

Quote
Now to the soul which becometh unto it a pure dwelling-place faith giveth such power that it doth not look upon things as they are, but as it wisheth to see them. For behold thou bearest upon thy hands the live coal of the Mysteries, which in their nature are common bread, but faith seeth therein the body of the Only One. The eye of faith seeth not as the eye of the body, but faith compelled! the vision of the body to see what is invisible to it. For the body seeth bread, and wine, and oil, and water, but faith compelleth it to see with its vision spiritually that which corporeally cannot be seen, that is to say, instead of bread we eat the Body, and instead of wine we drink the Blood, and instead of water we see the baptism of the Spirit, and instead of oil the power of Christ.

[p. 57] And faith possesseth the power of God, and the will and dominion of God are in it, and it gathereth together excellent things wheresoever it wisheth. Faith draweth nigh to the bones of the saints, and instead of dead men it looketh at them as living men, and speaketh with them as with the living, and entreateth them concerning its needs. For faith revealeth itself to the dead body in order that what it lacketh it may receive from the Giver of requests, and faith is persuaded that through this dead body it will receive this gift, without considering that the dead body is without life, and silent, without speech, and still without voice, and. incapable of movement, and a stranger to all the movements of nature. And faith doth not entreat the dead body to be a mediator by these things, for it knoweth that as concerns the things of its nature the dead body is insufficient in death, even as it was in life, to be a mediator for it with the Creator for this creation. But inasmuch as the dead body is superior to nature, and some of the power of Christ hath been mingled in the saints, and they also possess it, even though they are laid in the tomb, upon this faith looketh, and it entreateth the dead as if they were living, and speaketh unto those who are silent as unto those who have the power of speech.

So by corporeal nature, there is bread and wine, but by faith, this is the Body and Blood.  I tend to like this explanation.  It is neither transubstantiation or consubstantiation.  It is quite unique, especially in how he powerfully explains faith as implicatively uncreated.
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