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ByzantineSerb
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« on: August 23, 2004, 04:53:46 PM »

   Have there been any polls to see what percentage of Eastern Orthodox believers actually believe in transubstantiation?
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2004, 07:06:36 PM »

The answer lies in that prayer that we all say and hear:

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. And I believe that this is truly Thine Immaculate Body, and that this is truly Thine Own Precious Blood. Wherefore I beseech Thee, have mercy and me and forgive my transgressions both voluntary and involuntary, of word and of deed, of knowledge and of ignorance; and make me worthy to partake uncondemned of Thine Immaculate Mysteries, unto remission of my sins, and unto life everlasting. Amen.

O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant of Thy Mystic Supper: for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither will I give Thee a kiss as did Judas; but like the thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.

And let not this partaking of Thy Holy Mysteries be unto judgement upon me, or unto condemnation, O Lord, but unto the healing of soul and body.

As to what percentage.............. who knows what is in the hearts and minds of each us?
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2004, 08:24:14 PM »

   The words are beautiful and a confirmation of truth, but they are feckless to those who repeat them without meaning them.

   I'm just wondering if any polls have been conducted.

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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2004, 08:32:15 PM »

The answer lies in that prayer that we all say and hear:

I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ....

Believe it or not, this prayer is not said at all in my GOA Church. It is not even printed in the copy of the Divive Liturgy utilized in the service.

I always found this strange.
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2004, 10:09:57 PM »

It seems to me that repeating the prayer without meaning it and then taking communion could be a dangerous undertaking.  I can guarantee you that when I recite the prayer at every liturgy, I mean every word of it.
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2004, 12:20:34 AM »

I feel a bit weird when a Byzantine serb (sta ti to znaci burazeru Smiley il si srbin il si grk... ili si kao ja, pogrceni srbin) is talking about latin term, such as transubstantiation. We, eastern christians never went so far in theological "manipulation" and explaining something that is rather unexplanable if you want.

It is a characteristic of the scholastic theology to explain the faith in scientific terms. We, eastern faithful, are a bit more "mysterical" and we belive in some things because it was belived ALWAYS, EVERYWHERE AND BY ALL, and not because it was explained by somebody or other.

As to the answer on your question, if you redefine it (the question) in more eastern terms, I might give you an answer (or more correctly, my oppinion), thus far, I will refuse to comment on something that is bringing LATINISATION OF EASTERN THEOLOGY about.

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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2004, 12:42:17 AM »

Not to dodge the question, but what precisely is the point of such an inquiry? Why poll the faithful on any one particular article of faith? The Church affirms its own beliefs at each and every Divine Liturgy in which the people participate fully. More than being irrelevant, I think such a poll would produce inaccurate results, as most folks do not wish to be singled out as someone who does not believe in the tenets of the faith.

As someone has already pointed out, the term "transubstantiation" is wholly foreign to Orthodox theology, but the Church unequivocably affirms that the bread and wine actually become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, our God. You'll find that the Christian East is not at all concerned with attempts to rationally define the Holy Mysteries of God, which quite literally defy any rational definition. It is a Mystery of God manifested by the power of the Holy Spirit -- that's about as far as we would take it.

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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2004, 01:13:57 AM »

I feel a bit weird when a Byzantine serb (sta ti to znaci burazeru Smiley il si srbin il si grk... ili si kao ja, pogrceni srbin) is talking about latin term, such as transubstantiation. We, eastern christians never went so far in theological "manipulation" and explaining something that is rather unexplanable if you want.

It is a characteristic of the scholastic theology to explain the faith in scientific terms. We, eastern faithful, are a bit more "mysterical" and we belive in some things because it was belived ALWAYS, EVERYWHERE AND BY ALL, and not because it was explained by somebody or other.

As to the answer on your question, if you redefine it (the question) in more eastern terms, I might give you an answer (or more correctly, my oppinion), thus far, I will refuse to comment on something that is bringing LATINISATION OF EASTERN THEOLOGY about.

Pomaze Bog!



Sorry, but you are repeating the usual oversimplifications. The Byzantines most definitely enjoyed enagaging in extremely detailed theological definitions, not content to leave it to mystery alone.  Look at St Gregory Palamas's theology for instance (he was a trained Aristotelian).

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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2004, 01:58:57 AM »

"Sorry, but you are repeating the usual oversimplifications. The Byzantines most definitely enjoyed enagaging in extremely detailed theological definitions, not content to leave it to mystery alone.  Look at St Gregory Palamas's theology for instance (he was a trained Aristotelian)".

Dear borther, The question asked was How many Orthodox belive in transubstantiation and WAS NOT WHAT IS the term t. (If i am not mistaken).

And my answer was of militant nature given that very term (t.) used was of latin origin, post-schizmatic. ( for e.g. immaculate conception is a very bad term for me even though the science of it might be in its nature orthodox,  the reason that it  comes from the latin understanding of original sin is enough for me and therefore is not orthodox).

I WAS NOT SAYING that out theology is simple, stupid or childish, I WAS, however, SAYING that brother Byzantin Serb would have to use OUR (ORTHODOX) terms.
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2004, 02:57:27 AM »

Sorry, but you are repeating the usual oversimplifications. The Byzantines most definitely enjoyed enagaging in extremely detailed theological definitions, not content to leave it to mystery alone.
I don't know if that ever extended to the Eucharist though. I believe that is one mystery that the East is very reluctant to get into in terms of detailed theological definitions out of sheer awe and respect.

There was the recent case of the young Catholic girl with Celiac Sprue disease whose intestines are harmed by the gluten in wheat. In the Orthodox church we state simply that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The bread is no longer bread and the wine is no longer wine and as such, if the girl was Orthodox I believe she could safely partake of both the body and blood of Christ in communion (and if Catholic sacraments are valid then she shouldn't have a problem as a Catholic either). With the Catholic doctrine on  transubstantiation however (and I am the first to admit that I am not well read on this, so correct any errors I make), it states that whileh the "substance" of the bread changes, the "accidents" remain the same so that while there is no longer any gluten there, it will still for all intents and purposes act like gluten as far as our bodies are concerned and so still cause harm to sufferers of Celiac Sprue disease. Consequently they only partake of the blood of Christ.

Am I wrong in believing this, that disease sufferers can partake of both the body and blood of Christ without fear? Has the church ever believed that people could suffer physical harm from partaking of the body and blood of Christ (apart from partaking in an unworthy manner of course)?

John.
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« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2004, 03:35:49 AM »

For reasons allready mentioned, I do not believe in transsubstantiation cos to me it implies too much reliance on Aristotelian monism which is incompattible with Orthodox Trinitarianism. I believe the Bread and wine are transmuted into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

I think the patristic term for the fact that the Eucharistic Elements become, truly and wholly the Body and Blood of the Risen  Jesus Christ is "transmutation." I'll stick to that.  I am aware that some Orthodox' have used the term transsubstantiation to describe the becoming Body and Blood of Christ of the Eucharistic Elements (St. John of Kronstadt among them), but I would argue that we Orthodox should not limit our Eucharistic theology to the Latin dependence on Aristotle. The "trained aristotelian" St. Gregorios Palamas never attempted to fit theology into Aristotelian categories, in the West, St. Thomas Aquinas, however, did. Thomism, as an attempt to theologize Aristotle, suffers from the same defects of Aristotle's philosophy and is of no great service to Christian theology.

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« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2004, 09:09:22 AM »

Given that any number of Orthodox catechisms and symbolic books have used the word transubstantiation, I am comfortable with the term.  Do I believe the usage of the term is a commitment to the entirity of Aristotle's philosophy, or less still, Roman Catholic scholasticism?  Of course not, and I do not think that is how the Orthodox who took advantage of this useful term thought about it either - since they still professed ideas and in did things in the area of praxis which go well beyond what the strict, RC "dogmatic definition" of transubstantiation would allow for or mandate.

For example, the RC teaching is that once the "accidents" break down (which doesn't take long in the stomach), the Christ is no longer "substantially present."  While it's true scholasticism was not totally beholden to Aristotelianism, in this case it seems to have been.  According to Orthodox tradition, not only is this not the case, but there is actually a mingling of the body and blood of the communicant with that of our Lord after receiving Holy Communion.  That doesn't "fit" into the RC definition.

I think the term "transubstantiation" is useful, in a basic way - the "substance" (understood as the "whatness" of the bread and wine) is transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, while the appearances (as far as all of our physical senses are concerned - sight, taste, smell, sound, texture) remain those of bread and wine.

I have to agree with Anastasios, regarding attempts by some to equate Orthodoxy with a sort of theological ludditism.  What does separate Orthodoxy from Catholicism, is more in the realm of "extremes" when it comes to depending on the abilities of logic and language to define mysteries - but not that any sort of description is impossible.  That Orthodoxy does not have a universal description of the change of the Holy Gifts, has more to do with it never being a widely doubted matter in the Orthodox-Eastern context, than the absolute impossibility of the Church adopting a universal, uniform way of speaking on this subject.

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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2004, 11:26:11 AM »

  Have there been any polls to see what percentage of Eastern Orthodox believers actually believe in transubstantiation?


Probably none, since the concept is not one that we use.  I'm thinking that you want to ask how many Eastern Orthodox Christians believe that Holy Communion is truly the Body and Blood of Christ.  Your answer, then, would be 100% (of believing Orthodox).  One would (should) not dare to approach the chalice with any other belief!
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2004, 12:26:38 PM »

There was the recent case of the young Catholic girl with Celiac Sprue disease whose intestines are harmed by the gluten in wheat. In the Orthodox church we state simply that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The bread is no longer bread and the wine is no longer wine and as such, if the girl was Orthodox I believe she could safely partake of both the body and blood of Christ in communion (and if Catholic sacraments are valid then she shouldn't have a problem as a Catholic either).

Well, it's not even clear that this is a fair test: a host is such a small thing that there may not even be enough gluten in it to produce symptoms. But be that as it may, the whole reason the Scholastics picked up on the substance/accidents distinction is because it "answers" the question you do not ask: why the blood still exhibits the properties of wine, and why the body still exhibits the properties of bread. It is as if there were a veil left covering the divine which allows it to continue to manifest its old appearance. But in the case of this girl, the thickness of this veil has become an issue. You are saying, in essence, that it is relatively thin and that it is only thick enough to "fool" the outer senses. By your theory the blood/wine should not elicit the symptoms of alcohol consumption either. The Roman theory, by contrast, holds the veil to be so dense and thick that no material interaction can penetrate it; it every way the elements maintain their physical properties.

The point that I invariably make is thus that our modern understanding and knowledge of material substance tends to make this whole veil theory difficult to defend. If our physical bodies perceive the elements down to the level of molecules, then how corpuscles with their various proteins manifested to the physical body as a dilute solution of ethyl alcohol and other chemicals? The difference is so profound that the veil analogy just fails for me.

That's part of the reason I think that asking whether anyone believes in transubstantiation without an explicit reference to the RC theory is likely to give you an inaccurate answer. Plenty of people will say "yes" when they mean conssubstantiation, because they are contrasting themselves with memorialist or certain real presence theories. Some people will say "no" because the specifically reject the RC theory but also reject memorialist/weak real presence theories. Now, if you ask the Orthodox about memorialist theories, I'll bet you'll get overwhelming rejection of them; and I suspect they would tend to say that real presence isn't a strong enough statement. Beyond that, I just don't think that most people are that sensitive to the philosophical subtleties to give an accurate answer.
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2004, 06:07:11 PM »

I feel a bit weird when a Byzantine serb (sta ti to znaci burazeru Smiley il si srbin il si grk... ili si kao ja, pogrceni srbin) is talking about latin term, such as transubstantiation. We, eastern christians never went so far in theological "manipulation" and explaining something that is rather unexplanable if you want.

Brother Opt,

   You must forgive me, as I know little Serbian- govorim malo, ali uchim jezik.  Wink

   I am a Byzantine Serb in that I pride Serbian as "first among equals" of my heritage- I greatly love that nation and culture! But I am a, er, "Roman" Catholic (relunctant as for now). I ask your pardon for my ambiguous handle.

   Well, I seem to differ slightly from everyone here (besides the first obvious point), for while I greatly respect the apophatic traditions of the East (some which seem to be shared in the West), I see no manipulation in the Church defining them for the faithful, as long as the definitions are relevent and true to the Word of God.

Quote
As to the answer on your question, if you redefine it (the question) in more eastern terms, I might give you an answer (or more correctly, my oppinion), thus far, I will refuse to comment on something that is bringing LATINISATION OF EASTERN THEOLOGY about.

    Perhaps you should redefine it, then. I find it irrelevent not to answer an inquiry because of one word.


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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2004, 06:53:36 PM »

  Also,

   I ask you all to pardon for using any terms that may be offensive to the ears of some Orthodox faithful; I intend not to be rude or divisive.

   What is an appropriate term for the mystery of the Eucharist (or is that the accurate term)?
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2004, 06:56:38 PM »

   Ok,

     So I guess that the answer to my original inquiry is "no"?  Wink


    IC XC
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« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2004, 07:07:42 PM »

I think people are making way to much out of the idea of accidents.  Can you get drunk off of communion? Yes. I know a deacon who that happened to, and he was quite embarassed.  Hence, the accidents remain. We may not call them accidents but it's the same concept.

As far as celiac spruce, I read on another website that a woman has the disease and even partaking of the host causes her an immediate blood sugar drop and she passes out. Hence she must receive only the Precious Blood. Granted, she is Roman Catholic and maybe their sacraments are not valid so that's why, but at the same time, if you can get drunk off of communion I am sure you can have allergic reactions to it.

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« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2004, 10:22:19 PM »

Brothers and sisters in our Lord and Saviour, to you all greetings.

I am sorry if it seems that my post was overly critical. It was more like a smart  comment (in a negative sense) and a post of one serb to the another (Byzantine Serb in this case).

As far as the actual question of transmutation I do see it as a tenant of the faith (Fides Catholicam). Which does mean that I do, completely agree with 4Truth. No one should receive the Evharistia without acknowlidgement of this postulate in their mind.

There are many questions which have been asked and they can lend as in explaining things that will require the sacred tools; prayer, fast and service.

Dear brother Byzantine Serb. you have nott been offensive, not at all.

The term for the mystery of thanksgiving is indeed Evharistia or Eucharist and it designates the Holy Communion, the central act of out Service (Worship) as shown in Mt 26,27 and Cor A 11,24 as well as Didache 9,1.

As far as the apofatik tradition of the east is concerned it should not be confused with scholastic phylosophy of the middle ages in the west. Some articles can be similar and indeed same, but the ways of (methodology) by which our brothers in separation and we came to those end results are very different.

God bless.


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« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2004, 11:37:56 AM »

Brothers and sisters in our Lord and Saviour, to you all greetings.

I am sorry if it seems that my post was overly critical. It was more like a smart  comment (in a negative sense) and a post of one serb to the another (Byzantine Serb in this case).

As far as the actual question of transmutation I do see it as a tenant of the faith (Fides Catholicam). Which does mean that I do, completely agree with 4Truth. No one should receive the Evharistia without acknowlidgement of this postulate in their mind.

There are many questions which have been asked and they can lend as in explaining things that will require the sacred tools; prayer, fast and service.

Dear brother Byzantine Serb. you have nott been offensive, not at all.

The term for the mystery of thanksgiving is indeed Evharistia or Eucharist and it designates the Holy Communion, the central act of out Service (Worship) as shown in Mt 26,27 and Cor A 11,24 as well as Didache 9,1.

As far as the apofatik tradition of the east is concerned it should not be confused with scholastic phylosophy of the middle ages in the west. Some articles can be similar and indeed same, but the ways of (methodology) by which our brothers in separation and we came to those end results are very different.

God bless.
WHat is the apotafik tradition? I have never heard that term. But I am a Roman Catholic,so that's the reason.
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« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2004, 11:59:07 AM »

CatholicEagle,

Try this page on apophatic theology.
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« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2004, 01:05:55 PM »

For us Orthodox it is sufficient to know that the change takes place during the Epiclesis and are not concerned at the exact moment it happens.

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« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2004, 07:04:40 PM »

Believe it or not, this prayer is not said at all in my GOA Church. It is not even printed in the copy of the Divine Liturgy utilized in the service.

I always found this strange.

In Slavic usages this prayer is said aloud in church.
In the Greek tradition this is a private prayer, and is found in prayer books in the Order of Preparation for Holy Communion.

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« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2004, 11:57:50 PM »

CatholicEagle,

Try this page on apophatic theology.

Oh, now I get it. I have read about apophatism many times in ROman Catholic books, but we never gave it such a name. Thank you
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« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2004, 08:29:49 AM »

Believe it or not, this prayer is not said at all in my GOA Church. It is not even printed in the copy of the Divive Liturgy utilized in the service.

I always found this strange.

What may be strange is the version or pew copy your parish is using, TomΣ.
In our ACROD parish the entire congregation recites this prayer.
In our Greek parish this prayer IS in our pew copy WITH the notation that the communicants recite/pray it silently.

Demetri
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« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2004, 08:46:59 AM »

What may be strange is the version or pew copy your parish is using, TomΣ.

Yes. We don't have the hardcover standard Liturgy published by Holy Orthodox Press in our pews; we use a small bound version developed by the Priest.
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« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2004, 04:02:20 PM »

Actually the traditional usage even in the Russian Church is for this prayer to be said silently.  This is not done in many places anymore, though.  However, at my pilgrimage to St. Tikhon's in 1998, this prayer was still said silently in the Divine Liturgy and it somewhat caught me off guard.  I started praying it outloud as I am accustomed to do, and I noticed no one else was.  Later, after Liturgy, I asked one of the priests about it.  In a very nice way, he told me to open up the Liturgy book and read the rubrics. I did and on page 81 (the 1967 OCA edition) it does specific that the PRIEST says this prayer.  He wasn't judgemental about it at all. He said there is nothing wrong with everyone praying it aloud together. He just said that St. Tikhon's follows the older edition of having the priest recite it alone.
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