First of all, please accept my apologies. In my time on this forum, I have seen many threads on Eucharistic theology. I've just dug through a few of them myself. Some of them come VERY close to talking about what I'm about to say here, but not quite close enough for my liking, so I want to submit this to you good folks here. I am about to compare and contrast various Eucharistic theologies in an attempt to understand what the Orthodox Church has called "metousiosis." While this is in the Faith Issues forum, and my primary goal is a greater understanding of the Orthodox Eucharistic theology, I will be speaking about and defining theologies from the Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist and Anglican traditions as well. I want to make sure I'm understanding those in my comparing and contrasting, so I ask that members from those groups be allowed to speak to their tradition's teaching on the matter for purposes of clarification.
Now, onto what I actually want to talk about! I've heard from various sources different understandings on the Orthodox theology of the Eucharist. Most recently, I've been looking to the use of the term Metousiosis (Greek: meta + ousia = change/transformation of essence). This phrase has been used in Orthodox circles since the 16th century. Most important, it is found in the Greek language version of the Catechism of St. Philaret of Moscow and in the Eucharistic definition of the Synod of Jerusalem (1672).
The Synod, as quoted by J.M. Neale in his History of the Eastern Church, stated,
"When we use the word metousiosis, we by no means think it explains the mode by which the bread and wine are converted into the Body and Blood of Christ, for this is altogether incomprehensible . . . but we mean that the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, not figuratively or symbolically, nor by any extraordinary grace attached to them . . . but . . . the bread becomes verily and indeed and essentially the very true Body of the Lord, and the wine the very Blood of the Lord."
St. Philaret's Catechism states,
"In the exposition of the faith by the Eastern Patriarchs, it is said that the word transubstantiation is not to be taken to define the manner in which the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord; for this none can understand but God; but only thus much is signified, that the bread truly, really, and substantially becomes the very true Body of the Lord, and the wine the very Blood of the Lord."
To me, the most interesting statement on the use of the word comes from the Confession of Dositheus from the Synod of Jerusalem which states,
"In the celebration of [the Eucharist] 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."
Now, the first above quotes make it clear that metousiosis doesn't quite equal transubstantiation, because it doesn't speak of how (essence vs. accidents language is not present in any way) but it does state that the Eucharistic gifts transform into the Body and Blood. To me, this implies that the bread and wine are no more Bread and Wine, which is very similar to the what of Catholic dogma, though omitting the how.
What strikes me most, though, in this last quote, it is said that,
"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."
I've not found this list of "we don't believe..." anywhere else, and the Synod of Jerusalem is the most important local council in the modern history of the Church, its declarations having received nearly Ecumenical recognition as the Orthodox response to Protestant teachings. It has been compared to the Council of Trent.
Now, the meat of what I'm trying to figure out. Orthodoxy refuses to answer the how of the Eucharist, and metousiosis does not answer how, but the definition set forth here seems to state the Orthodox Christians may not believe in the sacramental union, implanation or consubstantiation. It, to me, seems to state that the bread and wine are no longer bread and wine but truly and only the Body and Blood of Christ. Now, where this particularly concerns me is that I have heard from Orthodox (even some priests) seem to hold rather firmly to consubstantiation, saying that Christ is truly present, but alongside the bread and wine, which remain.
My question is, given the above definitions, which say the bread and wine are transformed into Body and Blood, can we say that the bread and wine remain? Is Consubstantiation a validly Orthodox dogma, given the definitions set forth by St. Philaret and the Synod of Jerusalem? Right now, I'm leaning quite heavily towards "no." Thoughts?