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Author Topic: Christological Theology of St. Severus  (Read 3344 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 19, 2011, 07:56:53 PM »

Considering the fact that the Inter-Orthodox Consultation included OO participants, it is interesting that the anti-monothelite St. Maximus the Confessor was quoted.
Are you trying to imply that the OO are monothelites? We are not. Monothelites do not believe Christ had a human will, we believe that His Divine and human wills are united inseparably and unconfusedly. And I can provide you quotes from our Saint, Severus of Antioch, which elaborate on Christ's wills, if you are interested.

Yah I saw that too.  I wonder if it was a typo.  OO's are definitely not considered monothelites.  Although, the monothelites still do exist (in various & ancient forms) today. 
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« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2011, 08:13:21 PM »

^Well, he has accused us of being monothelites before, so I only assumed that's what he meant in his previous post. I do not want to hijack this thread, however. Wink
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2011, 08:23:03 PM »

^Well, he has accused us of being monothelites before, so I only assumed that's what he meant in his previous post. I do not want to hijack this thread, however. Wink

accused yes, proven no.  even in seminary the professors never went that far, even with severus. 
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2011, 08:26:51 PM »

^Well, he has accused us of being monothelites before, so I only assumed that's what he meant in his previous post. I do not want to hijack this thread, however. Wink

accused yes, proven no.  even in seminary the professors never went that far, even with severus. 
Interesting. Did your professors at seminary ever mention St. Severus and how he related to the monothelite controversy (without necessarily accusing him of monothelitism)? It is a common allegation against him within Chalcedonian circles that he taught monothelitism. As an OO, I actually think what Constantinople III says about Christ's will(s) is consistent with St. Severus' teachings, and the teachings of the OO Church.
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2011, 08:33:23 PM »

^Well, he has accused us of being monothelites before, so I only assumed that's what he meant in his previous post. I do not want to hijack this thread, however. Wink

accused yes, proven no.  even in seminary the professors never went that far, even with severus. 
Interesting. Did your professors at seminary ever mention St. Severus and how he related to the monothelite controversy (without necessarily accusing him of monothelitism)? It is a common allegation against him within Chalcedonian circles that he taught monothelitism. As an OO, I actually think what Constantinople III says about Christ's will(s) is consistent with St. Severus' teachings, and the teachings of the OO Church.

jeez that would take me going through my old notes & taking a look at what the professors said.  we talked about Severus in Church History, as well as Dogmatics (and partly in patristics as well), but from what I remember, the professor said that many have tried to claim that he was monothelistic but if at all, he was commenting on what others wrote, not making his own claims.  That's the way I remember it. 

What part of Constantinople III are you talking about specifically? 
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2011, 08:36:35 PM »

What part of Constantinople III are you talking about specifically? 
This excerpt from the definition is, IMHO, consistent with what the OOs teach:

"..these two natural wills are not contrary the one to the other (God forbid!) as the impious heretics assert, but his human will follows and that not as resisting and reluctant, but rather as subject to his divine and omnipotent will.  For it was right that the flesh should be moved but subject to the divine will, according to the most wise Athanasius.  For as his flesh is called and is the flesh of God the Word, so also the natural will of his flesh is called and is the proper will of God the Word, as he himself says:  “I came down from heaven, not that I might do mine own will but the will of the Father which sent me!” where he calls his own will the will of his flesh, inasmuch as his flesh was also his own.  For as his most holy and immaculate animated flesh was not destroyed because it was deified but continued in its own state and nature (ὄρῳ τε καὶ λόγῳ), so also his human will, although deified, was not suppressed, but was rather preserved according to the saying of Gregory Theologus:  “His will [i.e., the Saviour’s] is not contrary to God but altogether deified.”

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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2011, 10:33:46 PM »

What part of Constantinople III are you talking about specifically? 
This excerpt from the definition is, IMHO, consistent with what the OOs teach:

"..these two natural wills are not contrary the one to the other (God forbid!) as the impious heretics assert, but his human will follows and that not as resisting and reluctant, but rather as subject to his divine and omnipotent will.  For it was right that the flesh should be moved but subject to the divine will, according to the most wise Athanasius.  For as his flesh is called and is the flesh of God the Word, so also the natural will of his flesh is called and is the proper will of God the Word, as he himself says:  “I came down from heaven, not that I might do mine own will but the will of the Father which sent me!” where he calls his own will the will of his flesh, inasmuch as his flesh was also his own.  For as his most holy and immaculate animated flesh was not destroyed because it was deified but continued in its own state and nature (ὄρῳ τε καὶ λόγῳ), so also his human will, although deified, was not suppressed, but was rather preserved according to the saying of Gregory Theologus:  “His will [i.e., the Saviour’s] is not contrary to God but altogether deified.”



a)  where did you get this from?  ( please always link in the future  police )
b)  How is this consistent with OO teachings?  If you could be more specific please

-  Maybe we should start our own thread.  I would be happy to move our convo over to a new thread if you are OK with it.  I'll make sure to ask the moderator first  Wink Grin
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« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2011, 03:13:18 PM »

a)  where did you get this from?  ( please always link in the future  police )
b)  How is this consistent with OO teachings?  If you could be more specific please

-  Maybe we should start our own thread.  I would be happy to move our convo over to a new thread if you are OK with it.  I'll make sure to ask the moderator first  Wink Grin
Sorry about the link, but I got the definition of Constantinople III from another thread and not an outside source.

I think it is consistent with OO teachings in that it also teaches that Christ's human and Divine wills are united unconfusedly and inseparably. It affirms the integrity of Christ's human and Divine wills while at the same time teaching that the human will was subject to the Divine by virtue of the hypostatic union.

And yes, we can move this discussion if you would like. Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 06:43:47 PM »

a)  where did you get this from?  ( please always link in the future  police )
b)  How is this consistent with OO teachings?  If you could be more specific please

-  Maybe we should start our own thread.  I would be happy to move our convo over to a new thread if you are OK with it.  I'll make sure to ask the moderator first  Wink Grin
Sorry about the link, but I got the definition of Constantinople III from another thread and not an outside source.

I think it is consistent with OO teachings in that it also teaches that Christ's human and Divine wills are united unconfusedly and inseparably. It affirms the integrity of Christ's human and Divine wills while at the same time teaching that the human will was subject to the Divine by virtue of the hypostatic union.

And yes, we can move this discussion if you would like. Smiley

I think I didn't name this thread correctly.  lol. 

Anyway, in the future you can just click on the link to the post, and then just copy & paste the URL to that post & just cite it that way.  Hope that makes sense.


My other question too is how Severus connects to this.  Why would there be a connection b/w him and monotheletism?  other than the propoganda stuff, which I know was rampant in the 5th century & beyond. 
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« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2011, 06:48:09 PM »

My other question too is how Severus connects to this.  Why would there be a connection b/w him and monotheletism?  other than the propoganda stuff, which I know was rampant in the 5th century & beyond.
Well, I have heard several Chalcedonians, both ancient and modern, accuse him of teaching monothelitism due to the presuppositions of his theology. Alloys Grillmeier, Maximus of Constantinople, (Father?) Van Uhrs Boor and others have accused him of teaching monothelitism and monoenergism. But, this controversy did not arise until well after his repose.
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« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2011, 06:49:22 PM »

My other question too is how Severus connects to this.  Why would there be a connection b/w him and monotheletism?  other than the propoganda stuff, which I know was rampant in the 5th century & beyond.
Well, I have heard several Chalcedonians, both ancient and modern, accuse him of teaching monothelitism due to the presuppositions of his theology. Alloys Grillmeier, Maximus of Constantinople, (Father?) Van Uhrs Boor and others have accused him of teaching monothelitism and monoenergism. But, this controversy did not arise until well after his repose.

what are they basing their premise on?  In my (trust me very limited) research on him I NEVER came across him even discussing the will of God, just his natures (etc.).  but maybe I missed that book, or class..lol
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« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2011, 06:57:28 PM »

To be honest, I have never been able to pinpoint their exact argument against St. Severus' theology. He described Christ's humanity as "Hypostatic", or perhaps more precisely, "en-Hypostatic". And I think that because he then argued that the Divine hypostasis/nature controlled the en-Hypostatic human nature that this could lead to monotheletism/monoenergism or something like that. "The Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ", IINM, lays out Maximus' arguments against St. Severus. I, however, have not yet read the book.
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« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2011, 07:34:45 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
My other question too is how Severus connects to this.  Why would there be a connection b/w him and monotheletism?  other than the propoganda stuff, which I know was rampant in the 5th century & beyond.
Well, I have heard several Chalcedonians, both ancient and modern, accuse him of teaching monothelitism due to the presuppositions of his theology. Alloys Grillmeier, Maximus of Constantinople, (Father?) Van Uhrs Boor and others have accused him of teaching monothelitism and monoenergism. But, this controversy did not arise until well after his repose.

what are they basing their premise on?  In my (trust me very limited) research on him I NEVER came across him even discussing the will of God, just his natures (etc.).  but maybe I missed that book, or class..lol

St Severus says:
Quote
This has been said for our instruction. It is indeed most certain, since the will of the Son and of the Father is not different, but is one and the same will. Furthermore with these words he showed us again that he participated in the same nature as us, one who was fearful of death, and endured voluntarily the suffering of fear and of anguish, saying, "My soul is anguished even unto death", to the end that these sorrows, so that the sorrows which had come into conflict with Christ, the power of the Father, were radically uprooted from our race.

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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2011, 03:16:14 AM »

The Christology of St Severus is defined by the idea that we do not reject the distinction between the humanity and divinity but we reject a division into two independently operating subjects. That is pretty much the basis of his thought, which he took himself from St Cyril.

So we usually speak of one will, and one energy, not because we lack an awareness of the natural faculty of human will, or an awareness of the natural human energy, but because in the incarnation there is a union of humanity and divinity in Christ such that his own will and energy becomes composite and theandric. Not by a mixture or confusion, but by a true union.

St Severus occasionally references the two distinct but not divided components of the will of Christ. Clearly he understands and teaches that the humanity was not deficient in this regard, indeed it is a fundamental aspect of his Christology that it is necessary for one who is fully and properly human to take up the conflict with Satan which is a matter of the human will.

More generally he describes the comprehensiveness and integrity of the humanity of Christ by referring to it as rational and intelligent, which for him, following the Fathers, means a humanity with will, as well as thought and mind.

When writers are addressing St Severus in a polemical frame then it is very easy to take any use of the word 'one', ignore the substance of his Christology, and misrepresent what is being said. St Cyril faced the same objections to his own Christology. Even the most recent book I am reading, an excellent volume called 'Will, Action and Freedom' by Hovorun, lacks a proper understanding of the Cyrilline/Severan Christology and relies much too much on Grillmeiers very flawed presentation rather than a direct study of the texts of St Severus and others.

It is non-negotiable for us that the humanity belongs to the Word, and is the Word's own flesh, and that the Word works out His own will in His own humanity, willing humanly that which He wills divinely. This does mean that the union is a-symmetrical, but it is in any case. As I have said before, the Word did not become flesh to get an idea of what it is like to be a human without God, He became flesh for our salvation, which requires Him to become fully human, but not only or barely human.

The passage from the Sixth EO Council which was quoted is acceptable to the OO because it describes a humanity which is complete with the natural faculty of will, but a natural human faculty which is owned and used by the Word whose humanity it is, such that both the human and divine faculty of will (if we can even speak of God n such a way) express the one will of God, but in a diverse manner.
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« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2011, 01:25:52 PM »

Thanks father!  you have given me much to think about. 

speaking of which, anyone have any links to primary sources?  or even a good recommendation on a good book about Severus & his christology?
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« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2011, 02:42:26 PM »

Thanks father!  you have given me much to think about. 

speaking of which, anyone have any links to primary sources?  or even a good recommendation on a good book about Severus & his christology?
You can find 'Will, Freedom, and Action' on Google books, and it presents several very important quotes from St. Severus concerning the wills and energies in Christ.
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« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2011, 04:32:42 PM »

It's often (always) necessary to be a little cautious about secondary material since I do not believe that a lot of Catholic and Byzantine commentators have understood our Christology properly.

Fortunately there is a great deal of primary material available.

It might be useful to start with

Severus of Antioch by Pauline Allen.

I am not 100% in agreement with her introductory material, but she provides a very useful collection of translations of texts.

Do you read French?

There are letters, homilies, hymns, liturgies, and many major theological works all preserved for us. Some are translated into English, others into French. It is a very significant corpus of work.
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« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2011, 04:48:16 PM »

Jut a quote to illustrate St Severus' views on Apollinarianism..

In the same way the rod of Apollinaris, too, is a dry rod—Apollinaris, who cuts off the mind of the divine incarnation and declares it deprived of the first-fruits of our redemption. For if the Word of God indeed bore flesh of our flesh and a rational soul but, as that senseless individual supposes, abhorred a mind as ruler of the human soul, a mind which is most honourable and great in our creation by which we are made as the image and likeness of God, we have not received healing. For according to their talk, this healing came to what was not united with the one who came to redeem us..

(Synodal Letter to Theododius)

This passage also usefully shows that St Severus firmly holds to the view that what is not united to the Word is not not healed.
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« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2011, 07:13:47 PM »

what do ya'll think of this from a talk given at the third consultation between the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox theologians in Geneva in 1970 by Fr. Paul Verghese and printed in the Greek Orthodox Theological Review, Vol. XVI, nos. 1 and 2, 1971, pp. 133-143 (This talk is also printed in Does Chalcedon Divide or Unite?, pp. 127-137, under the name of Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios, the name Fr. Verghese took when he was consecrated a metropolitan)?:

Quote
To summarize: Acceptance of the Sixth Council is much more difficult for us than the acceptance of Chalcedon. The following are the chief reasons:...

b) We are unable to accept the dithelete formula, attributing will and energy to the natures rather than to the hypostasis. We can only affirm the one united and unconfused divine-human nature, will and energy of Christ the incarnate Lord.

c) We find that this Sixth Council exalts as its standard mainly the teaching of Leo and Agatho, popes of Rome, paying only lip-service to the teachings of the Blessed Cyril. We regard Leo as a heretic for his teaching that the will and operation of Christ is to be attributed to the two natures of Christ rather than to the one hypostasis. The human nature is as "natural" to Christ the incarnate Word as is the divine. It is one hypostasis who now is both divine and human, and all the activities come from the one hypostasis (Review, pp. 140-141; Does Chalcedon, pp. 134-135).
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« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2011, 04:40:47 AM »

Well I both agree with it, and wonder what the author meant.

I know that anti-reconciliation types love to bandy this passage around as if it means something awful, but it is fairly standard Orthodox Christology.

We attribute all the activities to the Word Incarnate, although we recognise that some are human and some are divine. But they all belong to the Word Incarnate.

Do you find the passage problematic? And if so, why?

When I walk it is with the legs that are a property of the human nature, but it is I myself who am walking. We do not say, 'my body will walk round your house later'. We say 'I will walk round your house later', and we attribute all the properties of the nature to the hypostasis who owns them.

When the properties are attributed to the natures separately, in the sense of ownership, then they become two subjects. If we say that the man Christ suffered while the Word received glory then we have set up two subjects. When we say properly that the Word Himself suffered in His own flesh then we are not denying the difference of humanity and divinity but refusing to allow a division.
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« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2011, 02:36:35 PM »

Well I both agree with it, and wonder what the author meant.

I know that anti-reconciliation types love to bandy this passage around as if it means something awful, but it is fairly standard Orthodox Christology.

We attribute all the activities to the Word Incarnate, although we recognise that some are human and some are divine. But they all belong to the Word Incarnate.

Do you find the passage problematic? And if so, why?

When I walk it is with the legs that are a property of the human nature, but it is I myself who am walking. We do not say, 'my body will walk round your house later'. We say 'I will walk round your house later', and we attribute all the properties of the nature to the hypostasis who owns them.

When the properties are attributed to the natures separately, in the sense of ownership, then they become two subjects. If we say that the man Christ suffered while the Word received glory then we have set up two subjects. When we say properly that the Word Himself suffered in His own flesh then we are not denying the difference of humanity and divinity but refusing to allow a division.

you and he seem to be saying that will is a property of person, but we believe that will is a property of nature. in this way there is one divine will, not 3, and in Christ there are 2 wills that perfectly cooperate.
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« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2011, 02:58:28 PM »

^The fourth article of the second agreed statement (1990) says:

Both families agree that the natures with their proper energies and wills are united hypostatically and naturally without confusion, without change, without division and without separation, and that they are distinguished in thought alone

http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state02.php

So the wills/energies are properties of the natures/essences, however the act of willing is attributed to the Theanthropic hypostasis.
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« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2011, 03:41:09 PM »

what do ya'll think of this from a talk given at the third consultation between the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox theologians in Geneva in 1970 by Fr. Paul Verghese and printed in the Greek Orthodox Theological Review, Vol. XVI, nos. 1 and 2, 1971, pp. 133-143 (This talk is also printed in Does Chalcedon Divide or Unite?, pp. 127-137, under the name of Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios, the name Fr. Verghese took when he was consecrated a metropolitan)?:

Quote
To summarize: Acceptance of the Sixth Council is much more difficult for us than the acceptance of Chalcedon. The following are the chief reasons:...

b) We are unable to accept the dithelete formula, attributing will and energy to the natures rather than to the hypostasis. We can only affirm the one united and unconfused divine-human nature, will and energy of Christ the incarnate Lord.

c) We find that this Sixth Council exalts as its standard mainly the teaching of Leo and Agatho, popes of Rome, paying only lip-service to the teachings of the Blessed Cyril. We regard Leo as a heretic for his teaching that the will and operation of Christ is to be attributed to the two natures of Christ rather than to the one hypostasis. The human nature is as "natural" to Christ the incarnate Word as is the divine. It is one hypostasis who now is both divine and human, and all the activities come from the one hypostasis (Review, pp. 140-141; Does Chalcedon, pp. 134-135).

At the end of the Third Consultation at Geneva, somehow, they found an agreement:

Quote
The human will and energy of Christ are neither absorbed nor suppressed by
His divine will and energy, nor are the former  opposed to the latter, but are
united together in perfect concord without division or confusion; He who wills
and   acts is  always  the One  hypostasis  of   the Logos Incarnate.   One is
Emmanuel, God and Man, Our Lord and Saviour, Whom we adore and worship and who
yet is one of us.

So while there were debates, it seems like the theologians were able to look past the misinterpretations and find the common faith that the Sixth Council according to the EO's teach.

http://www.coptic.net/articles/OrthodoxUnityDialog.txt
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« Reply #23 on: October 22, 2011, 03:50:39 PM »

Where have I said that will is a property of person? I said that will belongs to a person.

If you believe that will is only to be attributed to a nature then surely no-one is liable to judgement because of sin. A person cannot be guilty of having a damaged foot. Likewise a person cannot be guilty of having a sinful will if it is only ever to be described as being a property of a nature.

On the contrary, we become personally responsible because all of the natural properties associated with the concrete hypostasis which we are belong to us.

There is only one will in Christ because there is only one owner, one person, one subject, one identity who wills and has will. But of course what is willed is diverse, and the faculty of willing is diverse. But if there are two wills (not faculties of will) then there are two subjects. It is not possible for it to be otherwise because the will (not the faculty of willing) defines personhood. Two wills which co-operate is the same as saying two persons who co-operate. However closely they co-operate they are not the same.

I have never said that will is a property of person, nor does the bishop you quote. He and I insist that the properties of the natures of which Christ is composed are all to be attributed to the one Word of God. Attributed means to name the owner. The willing of Christ, which is expressed in the human faculty of willing, and the willing of Christ, which is expressed inexpressibly in the divine faculty of willing are the same will. It cannot be otherwise.

The diversity is found in the natural faculty of willing which expresses what is willed and how it is willed, but the will itself also belongs to and expresses the hypostasis itself. It cannot be otherwise, else we would only be animals who act by blind instinct.

No-one disagrees that the faculty of willing is found in the natural properties, but when you say that there are two wills in Christ, which hypostasis is expressed and manifested in the human will, and which is expressed and manifested in the divine will? And in what manner are these different wills - not faculties of willing but wills. If they are not different and belong to and express the same divine person of the Word then as far as we are concerned they are one composite will, which is in agreement with the Christology of one composite nature and hypostasis.

When Christ willed to heal the man who had sat by the pool of Bethsaida who was it who willed? Was it Christ the man who willed humanly and the Word who willed to act divinely in healing, or was it the one Word Incarnate who willed both humanly and divinely? If we say that the one Word Incarnate willed to heal the man then we already agree that the one subject of the Word has one will which is expressed in willing activity through both his own humanity and his own divinity.

It then becomes a matter of arguing about the same thing.

If you say that Christ had his own will and the Word his own will, or that in the Garden of Gethsemane we see that the human will resists the divine will, then we disagree and I must say that such a view is problematic.

I am willing to speak of two wills only if it is accepted that the human will is entirely the servant of the divine will, and acts as the divine will incarnate.

But let me stress. We don't think that the will is located only in the person, as if it did not exist in the human nature. What is not assumed is not healed. St Severus is absolutely clear that the incarnation is God becoming man to take up again the conflict with Satan and by the obedience and will of man to choose God and the good. If there is no human faculty of will then this is not possible. But the faculty of will does not exist in isolation from the hypostatic and personal aspect of being. It is especially the locus for the hypostatic expression of a man.

A man without a will is just a vegetable. But a man without a will which expresses his hypostatic quality is just an animal acting on instinct.

To be able to will is natural. But the content of the will is hypostatic. And the content of the human and divine will in Christ is the same will of the Word expressed appropriately. The Divine Word both wills to hold the universe in being and wills to eat fish with his disciples. It is the same will, the same intent, the same content of will, but expressed IN and THROUGH diverse natural faculties of willing which are distinct to careful contemplation but not divided because they are united in the one hypostasis of the Word Incarnate.
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« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2011, 05:00:01 PM »

Where have I said that will is a property of person? I said that will belongs to a person.

If you believe that will is only to be attributed to a nature then surely no-one is liable to judgement because of sin. A person cannot be guilty of having a damaged foot. Likewise a person cannot be guilty of having a sinful will if it is only ever to be described as being a property of a nature.

On the contrary, we become personally responsible because all of the natural properties associated with the concrete hypostasis which we are belong to us.

There is only one will in Christ because there is only one owner, one person, one subject, one identity who wills and has will. But of course what is willed is diverse, and the faculty of willing is diverse. But if there are two wills (not faculties of will) then there are two subjects. It is not possible for it to be otherwise because the will (not the faculty of willing) defines personhood. Two wills which co-operate is the same as saying two persons who co-operate. However closely they co-operate they are not the same.

I have never said that will is a property of person, nor does the bishop you quote. He and I insist that the properties of the natures of which Christ is composed are all to be attributed to the one Word of God. Attributed means to name the owner. The willing of Christ, which is expressed in the human faculty of willing, and the willing of Christ, which is expressed inexpressibly in the divine faculty of willing are the same will. It cannot be otherwise.

The diversity is found in the natural faculty of willing which expresses what is willed and how it is willed, but the will itself also belongs to and expresses the hypostasis itself. It cannot be otherwise, else we would only be animals who act by blind instinct.

No-one disagrees that the faculty of willing is found in the natural properties, but when you say that there are two wills in Christ, which hypostasis is expressed and manifested in the human will, and which is expressed and manifested in the divine will? And in what manner are these different wills - not faculties of willing but wills. If they are not different and belong to and express the same divine person of the Word then as far as we are concerned they are one composite will, which is in agreement with the Christology of one composite nature and hypostasis.

When Christ willed to heal the man who had sat by the pool of Bethsaida who was it who willed? Was it Christ the man who willed humanly and the Word who willed to act divinely in healing, or was it the one Word Incarnate who willed both humanly and divinely? If we say that the one Word Incarnate willed to heal the man then we already agree that the one subject of the Word has one will which is expressed in willing activity through both his own humanity and his own divinity.

It then becomes a matter of arguing about the same thing.

If you say that Christ had his own will and the Word his own will, or that in the Garden of Gethsemane we see that the human will resists the divine will, then we disagree and I must say that such a view is problematic.

I am willing to speak of two wills only if it is accepted that the human will is entirely the servant of the divine will, and acts as the divine will incarnate.

But let me stress. We don't think that the will is located only in the person, as if it did not exist in the human nature. What is not assumed is not healed. St Severus is absolutely clear that the incarnation is God becoming man to take up again the conflict with Satan and by the obedience and will of man to choose God and the good. If there is no human faculty of will then this is not possible. But the faculty of will does not exist in isolation from the hypostatic and personal aspect of being. It is especially the locus for the hypostatic expression of a man.

A man without a will is just a vegetable. But a man without a will which expresses his hypostatic quality is just an animal acting on instinct.

To be able to will is natural. But the content of the will is hypostatic. And the content of the human and divine will in Christ is the same will of the Word expressed appropriately. The Divine Word both wills to hold the universe in being and wills to eat fish with his disciples. It is the same will, the same intent, the same content of will, but expressed IN and THROUGH diverse natural faculties of willing which are distinct to careful contemplation but not divided because they are united in the one hypostasis of the Word Incarnate.

Now you are saying there is only one will in Christ. I don't mean to be argumentative. I'm just confused now. Before you posted, I thought we had the same faith. Now, I am not convinced we do.
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« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2011, 05:05:34 PM »

Well it depends what is meant. This is why it is necessary to ask what is meant and not rely on slogans.

Saying one will or two wills actually doesn't tell us very much.

Perhaps if I just repeat phrases which the EO use then all it means is that no one has to worry about what we all believe. But it actually requires a lot more careful consideration so that we can discover what we mean, which lies hidden beneath what we say.

I have dialogued with EO clergy who have expressed two wills in Christ in a Nestorian manner. It is certainly possible for this to occur. The teaching of one will does not diminish the human faculty of willing, nor deny that the humanity of Christ has all that is proper to it.

Where do you think there is a problem?
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« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2011, 06:50:22 PM »

This may seem like a dumb question, but would eating, e.g., be a human energy/operation?
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« Reply #27 on: October 22, 2011, 06:58:14 PM »

This may seem like a dumb question, but would eating, e.g., be a human energy/operation?
Yes.
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« Reply #28 on: October 22, 2011, 08:37:37 PM »

This may seem like a dumb question, but would eating, e.g., be a human energy/operation?
Yes.

Okay, then; all human beings eat; thus, we say that eating is a human energy. But it is obvious that energies do not eat. Human persons eat.

Is 'willing' also an energy/operation? If so, it seems clear enough to me it is not strictly speaking correct to speak of wills "cooperating", since the person operates/energizes, not the operation/energy. Two persons can 'cooperate' (work-together), but the 'works' they do together are not the things that are working. Am I getting this?
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« Reply #29 on: October 22, 2011, 08:42:01 PM »

BTW Fr. Peter,

I remember you once suggesting that moving away from Greeklish transliterated terms and using more familiar words might be helpful for all of this. Have you ever run across Joe Sachs' translations of Aristotle?
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« Reply #30 on: October 22, 2011, 08:48:43 PM »

Is 'willing' also an energy/operation?
Wills and energies are distinct concepts, from my understanding. But, I am willing (no pun intended Wink) to stand corrected. Wills and energies are both faculties of the distinct natures, though.

If so, it seems clear enough to me it is not strictly speaking correct to speak of wills "cooperating", since the person operates/energizes, not the operation/energy.
I agree. To me, "cooperate" indicates that the energies are in a state of an accidental union or a "close conjunction", and not a natural and hypostatic union. I think I would rather describe the wills and energies of Christ as "in communion" rather than "in cooperation". It is because of this "communion" that He heals (vis-a-vis the Divine energy) with human spit (vis-a-vis the human energy).

Two persons can 'cooperate' (work-together), but the 'works' they do together are not the things that are working. Am I getting this?
I think you are on the right track.
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« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2011, 09:33:39 PM »

selam all
selam Severian, I was wondering if you or anyone else can help me with this, the name of our father serverus when written in Geez and Amharic it is read like this ... saaweeross, or saawiiross, i am not good with phonetics at all, the names are usually directly written and translated as said in the Syriac , Arabic or Aramaic etc, not their English version, this makes knowing their English version names difficult. so my question is on our book entitled ' the faith of the fathers' i read his letters and excerpts of homilies and commentaries , they are very few, and on one of them he writes a letter addressed to someone called 'youlianos(in geez) the horse man or horse rider?, his name might translate as julianos/Julian with a title of a horse rider? i am not sure, do you know of such a letter to such man? or do you know of a name that is close to the above youlianos ? or is this man not refered as emperor , is he /could he be the same as the emperor Justinian I?

another question.. how many kings did he write a letter to? there is one letter to the emperor Anastasius, then the other excerpts do not mention the name of the king he writes to, it just says 'on his letter to the king'

if you know it that's great if not, do not worry about it, i was just curious.

thank you.
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« Reply #32 on: October 23, 2011, 05:12:40 AM »

JLatimer, as far as I understand, willing is a natural operation, but as you say, it belongs to the hypostasis who is willing, just as eating is a natural operation which belongs to the hypostasis who is eating.

We wish to insist that because the one who acts is one therefore the energy and will is one by union because it belongs to and expresses one subject who operates and wills and acts in a diverse manner and with a diverse energy.

Two human subjects might co-operate and produce one human work, but we are considering one divine subject who is both God and man and does not do a bit of divine action here, then a bit of human action here, but being incarnate is always divinely acting in both his humanity and his divinity at the same time and in complete union together.

We would not say that our two legs co-operate with each other to enable us to walk, although clearly both participate entirely according to their nature in the process of walking. Rather we understand that there is one agent, one subject of walking, who acts and operates in each leg together by union, preserving both the natural property of left-legness and the natural property of right-legness. But we would not normally speak of two activities engaged in walking, rather we would say that the person and hypostasis is walking, attributing the activity, energy and will to the one person and hypostasis.

Of course 'en theoria' (which does not mean in theory at all, but by careful contemplation) we see that there is a natural energy and activity of each leg, according to the natural property of left-legness and right-legness, but then we rise up again to consider the activity of walking and we see the legs acting as one, without ceasing to be perfectly left and right, completely different, yet also entirely and perfectly united into one activity and energy and will of walking.

Well I see it a lot like that.  Smiley

Does that work for anyone as a rough analogy?

JL, I'm now looking for Joe Sachs and Aristotle. It might be helpful for us to see if we can describe Christ from scratch without using technical terms, but also covering all the controversial areas?
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« Reply #33 on: October 23, 2011, 08:34:27 AM »

Well, Sachs thinks Aristotle's original meaning has been obscured over the years by the Scholastic heritage of Latin translations and Latinate 'philosophical' jargon. He translates from the Greek, using simple, Anglo-Saxon based words whenever possible.

He's come up with some interesting translations. For example, IIRC, he translates ενέργεια as 'being-at-work'. And ουσία as 'thinghood'.

Hexis is translated as 'active condition' instead of, for example, 'habit' (from L. habitus, which wasn't such a bad translation, but Eng. 'habit' now has very different connotations).
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« Reply #34 on: October 23, 2011, 11:24:22 AM »

@Hiwot I will try to answer your question. I am not sure who the "king" St. Severus is addressing, it could be the Emperor Justinian, but it could be someone else. Sorry. Undecided

However, Yoolianos, or Julian, probably refers to Julian of Halicarnassus. He was the founder of the Aphthartodocetic heresy, and St. Severus was his main opponent.

Perhaps Fr. Peter can more thoroughly answer you question, though.

Peace.
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« Reply #35 on: October 23, 2011, 01:25:03 PM »

JLatimer, I guess I am more interested in the lexicon that Sachs chooses to use rather than reading his whole volume.

Are you able to list all the key terms and how Sachs chooses to translate them?
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« Reply #36 on: October 23, 2011, 01:56:17 PM »

JLatimer, I guess I am more interested in the lexicon that Sachs chooses to use rather than reading his whole volume.

As am I (although I do feel the Nicomachean Ethics might have some relevance for the discussion about 'Could Christ have sinned?')

Quote
Are you able to list all the key terms and how Sachs chooses to translate them?

When I get home from work I'll get the book out and list the terms for you.
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« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2011, 02:10:21 PM »

Thanks a lot, JL.

It might be interesting to take a few of the texts from our histories and represent them using Sach's terms and see if we agree more easily than when we use our own 'proprietary' terminology.
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« Reply #38 on: October 23, 2011, 03:40:20 PM »

Well it depends what is meant. This is why it is necessary to ask what is meant and not rely on slogans.

Saying one will or two wills actually doesn't tell us very much.

Perhaps if I just repeat phrases which the EO use then all it means is that no one has to worry about what we all believe. But it actually requires a lot more careful consideration so that we can discover what we mean, which lies hidden beneath what we say.

I have dialogued with EO clergy who have expressed two wills in Christ in a Nestorian manner. It is certainly possible for this to occur. The teaching of one will does not diminish the human faculty of willing, nor deny that the humanity of Christ has all that is proper to it.

Where do you think there is a problem?

Did you believe they were Nestorian because you see Chalcedon as Nestorianism anyway, or were they actually saying what you and other EOs would say is Nestorian?  (Again, not trying to be argumentative.) I heard of an EO priest who said in a sermon, "When Jesus became God..." then he thought about it and actually repeated it. Obviously, the statement was completely wrong, but no one thought he meant to preach heresy, just that he was mistaken. A lot of EO clergy are not educated very well in theology from what I've seen. But I can see how OOs would think an EO would speak in a way leaning toward Nestorianism because most OOs think that anyway of Chalcedon, or so I have seen on this forum.
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« Reply #39 on: October 23, 2011, 04:07:55 PM »

Well the clergyman in question was writing a paper which he intended to present an authoritative rebuttal of Oriental Orthodox Christology but his intention led him to insist, and again in conversation with me until I pointed him to EO texts, that the will of the humanity was entirely different to the divine will and resistant to it in the Garden. I explained that this was not the EO position and that if that were the case then he was introducing a second subject who was not the Word.

I would say that on the (few) occasions when I have corresponded with EO who take a 'Nestorian' point of view (I mean one that could really be called Nestorian) it is usually because when I have stated the OO position they have felt that they must move further and further away from it to show that they are not in agreement with me.

I think that the 'weakness' from my POV in the bare Chalcedonian position can be seen in some Western Christologies which derive from Chalcedoniansm - though I don't mean to blame EO for them. There is a real tendency to set Christ the Man against God the Word.
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« Reply #40 on: October 23, 2011, 04:20:14 PM »

Well the clergyman in question was writing a paper which he intended to present an authoritative rebuttal of Oriental Orthodox Christology but his intention led him to insist, and again in conversation with me until I pointed him to EO texts, that the will of the humanity was entirely different to the divine will and resistant to it in the Garden. I explained that this was not the EO position and that if that were the case then he was introducing a second subject who was not the Word.

I would say that on the (few) occasions when I have corresponded with EO who take a 'Nestorian' point of view (I mean one that could really be called Nestorian) it is usually because when I have stated the OO position they have felt that they must move further and further away from it to show that they are not in agreement with me.

I think that the 'weakness' from my POV in the bare Chalcedonian position can be seen in some Western Christologies which derive from Chalcedoniansm - though I don't mean to blame EO for them. There is a real tendency to set Christ the Man against God the Word.

Thank you for the clarification, Father. I think, perhaps, that tendency to set the natures of Christ in opposition is something inherent in Western Christian thinking--not to bash the West.
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« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2011, 05:42:28 PM »

You can see the same train of thought with the authors of orthodoxinfo.com...

They try so hard to say that "from two natures" and "of two natures" are different from each other in meaning, when in fact, there is no difference.  They try so hard to prove that OO's believe in a "puppet" humanity of Christ, and not an independent human nature that only does things when it agrees with the divine will, cooperating with it.

It's sad that in the process of "refuting" OO theology, they become Nestorians.
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« Reply #42 on: October 23, 2011, 05:49:38 PM »

You can see the same train of thought with the authors of orthodoxinfo.com...

They try so hard to say that "from two natures" and "of two natures" are different from each other in meaning, when in fact, there is no difference.  They try so hard to prove that OO's believe in a "puppet" humanity of Christ, and not an independent human nature that only does things when it agrees with the divine will, cooperating with it.

It's sad that in the process of "refuting" OO theology, they become Nestorians.

I thought it was "in two natures" vs. "of/from two natures." Not that faith is dependent on prepositions. God forbid.

Although, with the Arians, it was dependent on one iota, literally.
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« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2011, 05:53:52 PM »

You can see the same train of thought with the authors of orthodoxinfo.com...

They try so hard to say that "from two natures" and "of two natures" are different from each other in meaning, when in fact, there is no difference.  They try so hard to prove that OO's believe in a "puppet" humanity of Christ, and not an independent human nature that only does things when it agrees with the divine will, cooperating with it.

It's sad that in the process of "refuting" OO theology, they become Nestorians.

I thought it was "in two natures" vs. "of/from two natures." Not that faith is dependent on prepositions. God forbid.

Although, with the Arians, it was dependent on one iota, literally.

No; it's written in that site that St. Dioscorus believed the "from two natures" and St. Cyril said "of two natures."  They also try to pinpoint "parallel" phrases between Eutyches and St. Severus/Dioscorus, trying to say that from that phrase, clearly they have to be heretical, not wondering if that phrase can also be identical to something Cyrillian.
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« Reply #44 on: October 23, 2011, 07:29:47 PM »

Selam to you Severian

Thank you brother, for your help, that answers my question.

Blessed day!
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