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Author Topic: We are all (the Theotokos included) born in need of redemption?  (Read 2935 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 01, 2012, 06:47:51 PM »

CONTEXT NOTE - This thread started here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,43286.msg716954.html#msg716954

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Dogmatically, I think what makes the RC understanding of Mary problematic is the doctrine of Immaculate Conception, which itself is hinged upon the doctrine of Original Guilt. The Theotokos must be spared original guilt so that she can give birth to Christ (who must be sinless, and therefore cannot be guilty of Adam's sin). Orthodoxy rejects the notion of original guilt outright. We are not personally guilty of the sin of Adam.

Further, removing the Theotokos from our fallen nature also removed Christ from our fallen nature. That is, they have a different nature, an unfallen human nature. However, as the Fathers teach us, "That which is not assumed is not saved." How can Christ redeem our fallen nature if he does not assume it?

This means that, in Orthodoxy, the Theotokos is human just like we are human. She is the great example, not the great exception. There is nothing special about her. She's just as human (and only as human) as anyone else. We can all attain to similar glory, having the same starting point as her ourselves.

However, the idea that the Theotokos is a mediatrix or even a co-redemptrix, I think, does exist in Orthodoxy. However, this does not imply some active participation in the Passion of Christ. No, this ultimate and salvific act belongs to Christ alone. However, the Theotokos brings Christ into the world, and so it is through her that He accomplishes His work. As we sing at Sunday Matins,

"since Thou hast given birth to Christ, thou hast delivered Adam from his sin, thou has given joy to Eve instead of sadness through the God-Man who was borne of thee..."

It is through the Theotokos that Christ accomplishes these things, and we honor her for that participation. However, nothing in this implies that she participates especially in Christ's saving passion. Further, since she inherits the same fallen human nature as the rest of us, she is also in need of redemption through her Son, just as we are.
Quick question for clarification. Is it the Eastern Orthodox position that we are all born in need of redemption?
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2012, 08:47:16 PM »

Dogmatically, I think what makes the RC understanding of Mary problematic is the doctrine of Immaculate Conception, which itself is hinged upon the doctrine of Original Guilt. The Theotokos must be spared original guilt so that she can give birth to Christ (who must be sinless, and therefore cannot be guilty of Adam's sin). Orthodoxy rejects the notion of original guilt outright. We are not personally guilty of the sin of Adam.

Further, removing the Theotokos from our fallen nature also removed Christ from our fallen nature. That is, they have a different nature, an unfallen human nature. However, as the Fathers teach us, "That which is not assumed is not saved." How can Christ redeem our fallen nature if he does not assume it?

This means that, in Orthodoxy, the Theotokos is human just like we are human. She is the great example, not the great exception. There is nothing special about her. She's just as human (and only as human) as anyone else. We can all attain to similar glory, having the same starting point as her ourselves.

However, the idea that the Theotokos is a mediatrix or even a co-redemptrix, I think, does exist in Orthodoxy. However, this does not imply some active participation in the Passion of Christ. No, this ultimate and salvific act belongs to Christ alone. However, the Theotokos brings Christ into the world, and so it is through her that He accomplishes His work. As we sing at Sunday Matins,

"since Thou hast given birth to Christ, thou hast delivered Adam from his sin, thou has given joy to Eve instead of sadness through the God-Man who was borne of thee..."

It is through the Theotokos that Christ accomplishes these things, and we honor her for that participation. However, nothing in this implies that she participates especially in Christ's saving passion. Further, since she inherits the same fallen human nature as the rest of us, she is also in need of redemption through her Son, just as we are.
Quick question for clarification. Is it the Eastern Orthodox position that we are all born in need of redemption?

as far as i know, yes
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« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2012, 08:50:52 PM »

So, the fallen, unbaptized, woman remained sinless through her own effort and won the worth of bearing God.
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2012, 09:50:32 PM »

So, the fallen, unbaptized, woman remained sinless through her own effort and won the worth of bearing God.

Where does that come from?
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2012, 10:00:16 PM »

So, the fallen, unbaptized, woman remained sinless through her own effort and won the worth of bearing God.

Where does that come from?

A response to this:
Dogmatically, I think what makes the RC understanding of Mary problematic is the doctrine of Immaculate Conception, which itself is hinged upon the doctrine of Original Guilt. The Theotokos must be spared original guilt so that she can give birth to Christ (who must be sinless, and therefore cannot be guilty of Adam's sin). Orthodoxy rejects the notion of original guilt outright. We are not personally guilty of the sin of Adam.

Further, removing the Theotokos from our fallen nature also removed Christ from our fallen nature. That is, they have a different nature, an unfallen human nature. However, as the Fathers teach us, "That which is not assumed is not saved." How can Christ redeem our fallen nature if he does not assume it?

This means that, in Orthodoxy, the Theotokos is human just like we are human. She is the great example, not the great exception. There is nothing special about her. She's just as human (and only as human) as anyone else. We can all attain to similar glory, having the same starting point as her ourselves.
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2012, 10:01:33 PM »

Dogmatically, I think what makes the RC understanding of Mary problematic is the doctrine of Immaculate Conception, which itself is hinged upon the doctrine of Original Guilt. The Theotokos must be spared original guilt so that she can give birth to Christ (who must be sinless, and therefore cannot be guilty of Adam's sin). Orthodoxy rejects the notion of original guilt outright. We are not personally guilty of the sin of Adam.

Further, removing the Theotokos from our fallen nature also removed Christ from our fallen nature. That is, they have a different nature, an unfallen human nature. However, as the Fathers teach us, "That which is not assumed is not saved." How can Christ redeem our fallen nature if he does not assume it?

This means that, in Orthodoxy, the Theotokos is human just like we are human. She is the great example, not the great exception. There is nothing special about her. She's just as human (and only as human) as anyone else. We can all attain to similar glory, having the same starting point as her ourselves.

However, the idea that the Theotokos is a mediatrix or even a co-redemptrix, I think, does exist in Orthodoxy. However, this does not imply some active participation in the Passion of Christ. No, this ultimate and salvific act belongs to Christ alone. However, the Theotokos brings Christ into the world, and so it is through her that He accomplishes His work. As we sing at Sunday Matins,

"since Thou hast given birth to Christ, thou hast delivered Adam from his sin, thou has given joy to Eve instead of sadness through the God-Man who was borne of thee..."

It is through the Theotokos that Christ accomplishes these things, and we honor her for that participation. However, nothing in this implies that she participates especially in Christ's saving passion. Further, since she inherits the same fallen human nature as the rest of us, she is also in need of redemption through her Son, just as we are.
Quick question for clarification. Is it the Eastern Orthodox position that we are all born in need of redemption?

as far as i know, yes

This is also my understanding. However, we are not born guilty. The teaching of St. Augustine that all unbaptized infants are cast into hell would be rejected.

So, the fallen, unbaptized, woman remained sinless through her own effort and won the worth of bearing God.

Ummm...no. She remained sinless through the grace of God, though it was her own will that she had to submit to the will of God.
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2012, 10:04:47 PM »

So, the fallen, unbaptized, woman remained sinless through her own effort and won the worth of bearing God.

Ummm...no. She remained sinless through the grace of God, though it was her own will that she had to submit to the will of God.

So, baptism is really overrated then? We could otherwise just pray really hard to gain that kind of Grace?
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2012, 10:24:57 PM »

So, the fallen, unbaptized, woman remained sinless through her own effort and won the worth of bearing God.
Ummm...no. She remained sinless through the grace of God, though it was her own will that she had to submit to the will of God.
So, baptism is really overrated then? We could otherwise just pray really hard to gain that kind of Grace?

Are you saying that people born bearing the consequences of the fall are altogether incapable of cooperating at all with God's grace before they are baptized?
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 10:32:17 PM »

So, the fallen, unbaptized, woman remained sinless through her own effort and won the worth of bearing God.
Ummm...no. She remained sinless through the grace of God, though it was her own will that she had to submit to the will of God.
So, baptism is really overrated then? We could otherwise just pray really hard to gain that kind of Grace?

Are you saying that people born bearing the consequences of the fall are altogether incapable of cooperating at all with God's grace before they are baptized?

No. Are you saying that people bearing the consequences of the fall are capable of cooperating fully with God's Grace before they are baptized?
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 10:33:42 PM »

So, the fallen, unbaptized, woman remained sinless through her own effort and won the worth of bearing God.

Ummm...no. She remained sinless through the grace of God, though it was her own will that she had to submit to the will of God.

So, baptism is really overrated then? We could otherwise just pray really hard to gain that kind of Grace?

That's Pelagianism, which is a condemned heresy.

You seem to be missing the point. Mary was preserved by God's grace as sinless and bore Christ in her womb. She is a woman who united herself to God, and yet she does not attain salvation through her own sinlessness, because she is a still a fallen human being. In the end, the the Blessed Virgin dies, her body given over to the earth. It is only through the power and grace of her Son that she is raised from her dormition and assumed into heaven.

If we learn anything from the tradition of the Theotokos' sinlessness, I think it should be that our own works profit us nothing if we have not united ourselves to Christ.
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2012, 10:38:13 PM »

That's Pelagianism, which is a condemned heresy.

Precisely.

Mary was preserved by God's grace as sinless and bore Christ in her womb.

Preserved when?

She is a woman who united herself to God,

Was she worthy before the angel spoke to her?

and yet she does not attain salvation through her own sinlessness,

Irrelevant. Salvation isn't a matter of sinfulness, in an of itself.

because she is a still a fallen human being. In the end, the the Blessed Virgin dies, her body given over to the earth. It is only through the power and grace of her Son that she is raised from her dormition and assumed into heaven.

True.

If we learn anything from the tradition of the Theotokos' sinlessness, I think it should be that our own works profit us nothing if we have not united ourselves to Christ.

How was she sinless?
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2012, 10:47:36 PM »

Okay, let's go point-by-point.

That's Pelagianism, which is a condemned heresy.

Precisely.

Good, we agree.

Mary was preserved by God's grace as sinless and bore Christ in her womb.

Preserved when?

Preserved...permanently? Sin is an ever-present possibility. By uniting her own will to that of God's, the Theotokos does not willfully sin.

She is a woman who united herself to God,

Was she worthy before the angel spoke to her?

I don't believe that's my determination to make, sir. Regardless, she was worthy (hindsight being 20/20 and all).

and yet she does not attain salvation through her own sinlessness,

Irrelevant. Salvation isn't a matter of sinfulness, in an of itself.

But it's definitely related. Salvation is the unity of the human being to God (theosis), but sin prevents that unity. Regardless, the Blessed Virgin is born into a fallen state like the rest of humanity.

because she is a still a fallen human being. In the end, the the Blessed Virgin dies, her body given over to the earth. It is only through the power and grace of her Son that she is raised from her dormition and assumed into heaven.

True.

Agreement again.

If we learn anything from the tradition of the Theotokos' sinlessness, I think it should be that our own works profit us nothing if we have not united ourselves to Christ.

How was she sinless?

The tradition I'm defending, as I understand it, holds the the Theotokos was free from voluntary (i.e., willful) sin. However, it is possible or even likely she committed involuntary sin.
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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2012, 10:50:16 PM »

No. Are you saying that people bearing the consequences of the fall are capable of cooperating fully with God's Grace before they are baptized?

Baptism isn't about being able to cooperate with grace, it's about being united to Christ through His death and resurrection.
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« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2012, 11:12:38 PM »

No. Are you saying that people bearing the consequences of the fall are capable of cooperating fully with God's Grace before they are baptized?

Baptism isn't about being able to cooperate with grace, it's about being united to Christ through His death and resurrection.

Those are pretty words to avoid the fundamental nature of what Baptism does.
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« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2012, 12:09:52 AM »

No. Are you saying that people bearing the consequences of the fall are capable of cooperating fully with God's Grace before they are baptized?

Baptism isn't about being able to cooperate with grace, it's about being united to Christ through His death and resurrection.

Those are pretty words to avoid the fundamental nature of what Baptism does.

And what is it that baptism does? Does it prevent us from sinning? Does it enable the acquisition of grace?
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« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2012, 08:52:01 AM »

John 3:
Quote
5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

and in parallel, later in John 6:
Quote
53 Then Jesus said to them: "Amen, amen, I say unto you: unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.

And then in the 419 Council of Carthage canons that were made ecumenical at the Quinisext Council:
Quote
Canon CX.  (Greek cxii. bis)
That infants are baptized for the remission of sins.

Likewise it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother’s wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive from Adam no original sin, which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema.
For no otherwise can be understood what the Apostle says, “By one man sin is come into the world, and death through sin, and so death passed upon all men in that all have sinned,” than the Catholic Church everywhere diffused has always understood it.  For on account of this rule of faith (regulam fidei) even infants, who could have committed as yet no sin themselves, therefore are truly baptized for the remission of sins, in order that what in them is the result of generation may be cleansed by regeneration.

Canon CXI.  (Greek cxiij.)
That the grace of God not only gives remission of sins, but also affords aid that we sin no more.

Likewise it seemed good, that whoever should say that the grace of God, by which a man is justified through Jesus Christ our Lord, avails only for the remission of past sins, and not for assistance against committing sins in the future, let him be anathema.

Canon CXII.  (Greek cxiij. continued.)
That the grace of Christ gives not only the knowledge of our duty, but also inspires us with a desire that we may be able to accomplish what we know.

Also, whoever shall say that the same grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord helps us only in not sinning by revealing to us and opening to our understanding the commandments, so that we may know what to seek, what we ought to avoid, and also that we should love to do so, but that through it we are not helped so that we are able to do what we know we should do, let him be anathema.  For when the Apostle says:  “Wisdom puffeth up, but charity edifieth” it were truly infamous were we to believe that we have the grace of Christ for that which puffeth us up, but have it not for that which edifieth, since in each case it is the gift of God, both to know what we ought to do, and to love to do it; so that wisdom cannot puff us up while charity is edifying us.  For as of God it is written, “Who teacheth man knowledge,” so also it is written, “Love is of God.”

Canon CXIII.  (Greek cxiiii.)
That without the grace of God we can do no good thing.

It seemed good that whosoever should say that the grace of justification was given to us only that we might be able more readily by grace to perform what we were ordered to do through our free will; as if though grace was not given, although not easily, yet nevertheless we could even without grace fulfil the divine commandments, let him be anathema.  For the Lord spake concerning the fruits of the commandments, when he said:  “Without me ye can do nothing,” and not “Without me ye could do it but with difficulty.”
starting on http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.xv.iv.iv.cxi.html

The last one directly answers this discussion.

Baptism fills us with Grace in a special and unique way. Baptism not only remits sins, but also regenerates us. What is regeneration? It removes Original Sin (NOT ABOUT GUILT!) so that we may be reunited with God in His Grace (in this unique way), cleanse the darkening of our minds and concupiscence (which Mary had) that we could not otherwise resist.
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« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2012, 12:54:33 PM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.
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« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2012, 04:51:00 PM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.

So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?
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« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2012, 06:35:03 PM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.

So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?

I think she was very holy before the annunciation...as much as a person can be before the incarnation.
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2012, 06:40:54 PM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.
So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?

She inherited the same nature that her parents had, that they inherited from theirs, all the way back to the nature that Seth inherited from Adam and Eve. We are not only saved from our own personal sins, but also from the corruption that we are born with on account of the sins of our parents. Mary was not born exempt from this. To use the whole "she had to be exempt from original sin in order to postively respond to God" argument would also have to apply to Enoch who was taken up into heaven because he walked with God and Noah who was found to be righteous in the sight of God just to give a couple of examples to add to the previous one given of John the Baptist. Our personal obedience all by itself doesn't save us, only being united to Christ crucified and raised from the dead does that.
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« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2012, 08:52:53 PM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.
So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?

She inherited the same nature that her parents had, that they inherited from theirs, all the way back to the nature that Seth inherited from Adam and Eve. We are not only saved from our own personal sins, but also from the corruption that we are born with on account of the sins of our parents. Mary was not born exempt from this. To use the whole "she had to be exempt from original sin in order to postively respond to God" argument would also have to apply to Enoch who was taken up into heaven because he walked with God and Noah who was found to be righteous in the sight of God just to give a couple of examples to add to the previous one given of John the Baptist. Our personal obedience all by itself doesn't save us, only being united to Christ crucified and raised from the dead does that.

Not 'exempt', despite your polemics about natures of the parents, which is irrelevant. Enoch would certainly need to be preserved at some point in his life, if we are to understand the OT scriptures to mean something similar to that of Mary's gift. However, John the Baptist also received the Holy Spirit early (the womb), so the argument that she is singularly gifted by God through blessing is also incorrect. Before the RC dogma, some theologumena in the Latin west held her special Grace to have been bestowed in the womb at a similar time as St. John. This opinion was most notably held by St. Thomas Aquinas.
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« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2012, 08:53:02 PM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.

So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?

I think she was very holy before the annunciation...as much as a person can be before the incarnation.

So, no.
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« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2012, 04:17:15 AM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.

So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?

I think she was very holy before the annunciation...as much as a person can be before the incarnation.

So, no.

eh? I don't see why what I said exludes the possibility of being sinless...
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« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2012, 08:41:29 AM »

despite your polemics about natures of the parents, which is irrelevant.

We're gonna have to just disagree on this.
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« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2012, 09:22:46 AM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.

So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?

I think she was very holy before the annunciation...as much as a person can be before the incarnation.

So, no.

eh? I don't see why what I said exludes the possibility of being sinless...

Because if she didn't receive Grace similar to Baptism until the Annunciation, then there were 15 previous years of unbaptized Mary running around. If we are incapable of resisting sin without the Grace of God through regeneration, then she would have sinned. Even 60 year old holy monks have trouble resisting our nature, and that's with ALL the sacraments.
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« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2012, 11:59:00 AM »

The Mother of God was a spotless sacrifice when she was offered up to God in the Temple at the age of three.  We know that the Holy Spirit was upon her when she was in the Holy of Holies. If there was ever a "singular grace", I would say it was Our Lady's life in the Holy of Holies. 
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« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2012, 01:08:30 PM »

The Mother of God was a spotless sacrifice when she was offered up to God in the Temple at the age of three.  We know that the Holy Spirit was upon her when she was in the Holy of Holies. If there was ever a "singular grace", I would say it was Our Lady's life in the Holy of Holies. 

That's a good point, but didn't she get offered by Anne and Joachim to to fulfill a promise to God to do so? And doesn't Tradition say she was recognized as already Holy by the priest Zacharias?

Hymns
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Entrance_of_the_Theotokos
Quote
Troparion (Tone 4) [1]
Today is the preview of the good will of God,
Of the preaching of the salvation of mankind.
The Virgin appears in the temple of God,
In anticipation proclaiming Christ to all.
Let us rejoice and sing to her: Rejoice,
0 Divine Fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation.

Kontakion (Tone 4)
The most pure Temple of the Savior;
The precious Chamber and Virgin;
The sacred Treasure of the glory of God,
Is presented today to the house of the Lord.
She brings with her the grace of the Spirit,
Therefore, the angels of God praise her:
"Truly this woman is the abode of heaven."


Forefeast hymn

Troparion (Tone 4)
Today Anna bequeaths joy to all instead of sorrow by bringing forth her fruit, the only ever-Virgin.
In fulfillment of her vow,
Today with joy she brings to the temple of the Lord
the true temple and pure Mother of God the Word.

Kontakion (Tone 4)
Today the universe is filled with joy
At the glorious feast of the Mother of God, and cries out:
"She is the heavenly tabernacle."
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« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2012, 01:08:56 PM »

The Mother of God was a spotless sacrifice when she was offered up to God in the Temple at the age of three.  We know that the Holy Spirit was upon her when she was in the Holy of Holies. If there was ever a "singular grace", I would say it was Our Lady's life in the Holy of Holies. 

Are you trying to make this thread crazier than it has become?
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« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2012, 11:05:25 PM »

The Mother of God was a spotless sacrifice when she was offered up to God in the Temple at the age of three.   
Does that mean that, since she was spotless,  she was without original sin at the age of three, even though she was not baptised?
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« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2012, 11:14:42 PM »

The Mother of God was a spotless sacrifice when she was offered up to God in the Temple at the age of three.   
Does that mean that, since she was spotless,  she was without original sin at the age of three, even though she was not baptised?

Whose form of original sin are you referring to, The Orthodox Christian or the later Roman Catholic definition.
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« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2012, 11:15:54 PM »

The Mother of God was a spotless sacrifice when she was offered up to God in the Temple at the age of three.  We know that the Holy Spirit was upon her when she was in the Holy of Holies. If there was ever a "singular grace", I would say it was Our Lady's life in the Holy of Holies. 

That's a good point, but didn't she get offered by Anne and Joachim to to fulfill a promise to God to do so? And doesn't Tradition say she was recognized as already Holy by the priest Zacharias?

Hymns
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Entrance_of_the_Theotokos
Quote
Troparion (Tone 4) [1]
Today is the preview of the good will of God,
Of the preaching of the salvation of mankind.
The Virgin appears in the temple of God,
In anticipation proclaiming Christ to all.
Let us rejoice and sing to her: Rejoice,
0 Divine Fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation.

Kontakion (Tone 4)
The most pure Temple of the Savior;
The precious Chamber and Virgin;
The sacred Treasure of the glory of God,
Is presented today to the house of the Lord.
She brings with her the grace of the Spirit,
Therefore, the angels of God praise her:
"Truly this woman is the abode of heaven."


Forefeast hymn

Troparion (Tone 4)
Today Anna bequeaths joy to all instead of sorrow by bringing forth her fruit, the only ever-Virgin.
In fulfillment of her vow,
Today with joy she brings to the temple of the Lord
the true temple and pure Mother of God the Word.

Kontakion (Tone 4)
Today the universe is filled with joy
At the glorious feast of the Mother of God, and cries out:
"She is the heavenly tabernacle."

Orthodoxwiki aside, what book do they quote this from?
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« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2012, 11:18:06 PM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.

So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?

I think she was very holy before the annunciation...as much as a person can be before the incarnation.

So, no.

eh? I don't see why what I said exludes the possibility of being sinless...

Because if she didn't receive Grace similar to Baptism until the Annunciation, then there were 15 previous years of unbaptized Mary running around. If we are incapable of resisting sin without the Grace of God through regeneration, then she would have sinned. Even 60 year old holy monks have trouble resisting our nature, and that's with ALL the sacraments.

all the sacraments?  Orthodox Christians do not define how many sacraments there are, as we call them mysteries.  It's a Roman Catholic thing to number the sacraments. 
I don't think you can compare a monk with the theotokos.
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« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2012, 11:19:02 PM »

The Mother of God was a spotless sacrifice when she was offered up to God in the Temple at the age of three.   
Does that mean that, since she was spotless,  she was without original sin at the age of three, even though she was not baptised?

Whose form of original sin are you referring to, The Orthodox Christian or the later Roman Catholic definition.

Either one. Did she need to be baptised if she was spotless?
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« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2012, 11:20:56 PM »

So, the fallen, unbaptized, woman remained sinless through her own effort and won the worth of bearing God.

Ummm...no. She remained sinless through the grace of God, though it was her own will that she had to submit to the will of God.

So, baptism is really overrated then? We could otherwise just pray really hard to gain that kind of Grace?

So you are suggesting a created grace versus uncreated grace.  Orthodox Christians believe in uncreated grace not created grace.  Grace is always present, it isn't afforded to someone vis-a-vis a token act that grace is given as a reward.
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« Reply #34 on: March 03, 2012, 11:22:25 PM »

The Mother of God was a spotless sacrifice when she was offered up to God in the Temple at the age of three.   
Does that mean that, since she was spotless,  she was without original sin at the age of three, even though she was not baptised?

Whose form of original sin are you referring to, The Orthodox Christian or the later Roman Catholic definition.

Either one. Did she need to be baptised if she was spotless?

Jews are baptized, I'm sure she was baptized.  Jesus was baptized.  Why wouldn't Mary not be baptized.  Food for thought, was Jesus baptized twice?  Once per Judaism and once per John the Baptizer?
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« Reply #35 on: March 03, 2012, 11:23:40 PM »

The Mother of God was a spotless sacrifice when she was offered up to God in the Temple at the age of three.   
Does that mean that, since she was spotless,  she was without original sin at the age of three, even though she was not baptised?

Whose form of original sin are you referring to, The Orthodox Christian or the later Roman Catholic definition.

Either one. Did she need to be baptised if she was spotless?

But Orthodox don't see baptism as "washing away the original sin."  The original sin for us is that we are left with its mark, that we have the capability to sin. 
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« Reply #36 on: March 04, 2012, 12:58:57 AM »

So, the fallen, unbaptized, woman remained sinless through her own effort and won the worth of bearing God.

Ummm...no. She remained sinless through the grace of God, though it was her own will that she had to submit to the will of God.

So, baptism is really overrated then? We could otherwise just pray really hard to gain that kind of Grace?
We're bound by baptism. God isn't.

On a related note, I think this thread needs to be burned as a spotless sacrifice.
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« Reply #37 on: March 04, 2012, 04:08:45 AM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.
So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?

She inherited the same nature that her parents had, that they inherited from theirs, all the way back to the nature that Seth inherited from Adam and Eve. We are not only saved from our own personal sins, but also from the corruption that we are born with on account of the sins of our parents. Mary was not born exempt from this. To use the whole "she had to be exempt from original sin in order to postively respond to God" argument would also have to apply to Enoch who was taken up into heaven because he walked with God and Noah who was found to be righteous in the sight of God just to give a couple of examples to add to the previous one given of John the Baptist. Our personal obedience all by itself doesn't save us, only being united to Christ crucified and raised from the dead does that.

Not 'exempt', despite your polemics about natures of the parents, which is irrelevant. Enoch would certainly need to be preserved at some point in his life, if we are to understand the OT scriptures to mean something similar to that of Mary's gift. However, John the Baptist also received the Holy Spirit early (the womb), so the argument that she is singularly gifted by God through blessing is also incorrect. Before the RC dogma, some theologumena in the Latin west held her special Grace to have been bestowed in the womb at a similar time as St. John. This opinion was most notably held by St. Thomas Aquinas.

And from the Orthodox perspective, the immaculate conception is still a theologoumenon, and a theologoumenon it shall stay because belief in it has no bearing upon our salvation—something which the Roman Catholic Church seemed to have overlooked when the dogma was declared.
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« Reply #38 on: March 04, 2012, 09:41:18 AM »

all the sacraments?  Orthodox Christians do not define how many sacraments there are, as we call them mysteries.  It's a Roman Catholic thing to number the sacraments. 

I knew someone would play the name game card, and try to pull this down in irrelevancies.

I like the name "sacrament". I'm not going to change that.

I don't think you can compare a monk with the theotokos.

You're right. A monk has 30 - 60 years of experience in life and Graces of the fulfilled Church. The Theotokos has 15 years before the Annunciation. She definitely had it harder.
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« Reply #39 on: March 04, 2012, 09:43:59 AM »

Orthodoxwiki aside, what book do they quote this from?
How about you prove they are incorrect. They mimic the Tradition of the presentation, earliest written form being the Infancy Gospel of James or the Protoevangelium of James that was written in the second century.
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« Reply #40 on: March 04, 2012, 09:45:15 AM »

So, the fallen, unbaptized, woman remained sinless through her own effort and won the worth of bearing God.

Ummm...no. She remained sinless through the grace of God, though it was her own will that she had to submit to the will of God.

So, baptism is really overrated then? We could otherwise just pray really hard to gain that kind of Grace?

So you are suggesting a created grace versus uncreated grace.  Orthodox Christians believe in uncreated grace not created grace.  Grace is always present, it isn't afforded to someone vis-a-vis a token act that grace is given as a reward.

You're trying too hard. Unless you really think Baptism is overrated.
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« Reply #41 on: March 04, 2012, 09:46:05 AM »

So, the fallen, unbaptized, woman remained sinless through her own effort and won the worth of bearing God.

Ummm...no. She remained sinless through the grace of God, though it was her own will that she had to submit to the will of God.

So, baptism is really overrated then? We could otherwise just pray really hard to gain that kind of Grace?
We're bound by baptism. God isn't.

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« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2012, 09:47:06 AM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.
So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?

She inherited the same nature that her parents had, that they inherited from theirs, all the way back to the nature that Seth inherited from Adam and Eve. We are not only saved from our own personal sins, but also from the corruption that we are born with on account of the sins of our parents. Mary was not born exempt from this. To use the whole "she had to be exempt from original sin in order to postively respond to God" argument would also have to apply to Enoch who was taken up into heaven because he walked with God and Noah who was found to be righteous in the sight of God just to give a couple of examples to add to the previous one given of John the Baptist. Our personal obedience all by itself doesn't save us, only being united to Christ crucified and raised from the dead does that.

Not 'exempt', despite your polemics about natures of the parents, which is irrelevant. Enoch would certainly need to be preserved at some point in his life, if we are to understand the OT scriptures to mean something similar to that of Mary's gift. However, John the Baptist also received the Holy Spirit early (the womb), so the argument that she is singularly gifted by God through blessing is also incorrect. Before the RC dogma, some theologumena in the Latin west held her special Grace to have been bestowed in the womb at a similar time as St. John. This opinion was most notably held by St. Thomas Aquinas.

And from the Orthodox perspective, the immaculate conception is still a theologoumenon, and a theologoumenon it shall stay because belief in it has no bearing upon our salvation—something which the Roman Catholic Church seemed to have overlooked when the dogma was declared.

Agreed, but so what.
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« Reply #43 on: March 04, 2012, 10:46:49 AM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.
So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?

She inherited the same nature that her parents had, that they inherited from theirs, all the way back to the nature that Seth inherited from Adam and Eve. We are not only saved from our own personal sins, but also from the corruption that we are born with on account of the sins of our parents. Mary was not born exempt from this. To use the whole "she had to be exempt from original sin in order to postively respond to God" argument would also have to apply to Enoch who was taken up into heaven because he walked with God and Noah who was found to be righteous in the sight of God just to give a couple of examples to add to the previous one given of John the Baptist. Our personal obedience all by itself doesn't save us, only being united to Christ crucified and raised from the dead does that.

Not 'exempt', despite your polemics about natures of the parents, which is irrelevant. Enoch would certainly need to be preserved at some point in his life, if we are to understand the OT scriptures to mean something similar to that of Mary's gift. However, John the Baptist also received the Holy Spirit early (the womb), so the argument that she is singularly gifted by God through blessing is also incorrect. Before the RC dogma, some theologumena in the Latin west held her special Grace to have been bestowed in the womb at a similar time as St. John. This opinion was most notably held by St. Thomas Aquinas.

And from the Orthodox perspective, the immaculate conception is still a theologoumenon, and a theologoumenon it shall stay because belief in it has no bearing upon our salvation—something which the Roman Catholic Church seemed to have overlooked when the dogma was declared.

I think it really goes beyond the level of pious opinion to the level of heresy.  To argue for the immaculate conception is to argue for a host of positions which are heretical.
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« Reply #44 on: March 04, 2012, 09:41:38 PM »

The Mother of God was a spotless sacrifice when she was offered up to God in the Temple at the age of three.   
Does that mean that, since she was spotless,  she was without original sin at the age of three, even though she was not baptised?

Whose form of original sin are you referring to, The Orthodox Christian or the later Roman Catholic definition.

Either one. Did she need to be baptised if she was spotless?

But Orthodox don't see baptism as "washing away the original sin."  The original sin for us is that we are left with its mark, that we have the capability to sin. 
Was Mary spotless before her baptism?
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« Reply #45 on: March 04, 2012, 10:11:08 PM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.
So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?

She inherited the same nature that her parents had, that they inherited from theirs, all the way back to the nature that Seth inherited from Adam and Eve. We are not only saved from our own personal sins, but also from the corruption that we are born with on account of the sins of our parents. Mary was not born exempt from this. To use the whole "she had to be exempt from original sin in order to postively respond to God" argument would also have to apply to Enoch who was taken up into heaven because he walked with God and Noah who was found to be righteous in the sight of God just to give a couple of examples to add to the previous one given of John the Baptist. Our personal obedience all by itself doesn't save us, only being united to Christ crucified and raised from the dead does that.

Not 'exempt', despite your polemics about natures of the parents, which is irrelevant. Enoch would certainly need to be preserved at some point in his life, if we are to understand the OT scriptures to mean something similar to that of Mary's gift. However, John the Baptist also received the Holy Spirit early (the womb), so the argument that she is singularly gifted by God through blessing is also incorrect. Before the RC dogma, some theologumena in the Latin west held her special Grace to have been bestowed in the womb at a similar time as St. John. This opinion was most notably held by St. Thomas Aquinas.

And from the Orthodox perspective, the immaculate conception is still a theologoumenon, and a theologoumenon it shall stay because belief in it has no bearing upon our salvation—something which the Roman Catholic Church seemed to have overlooked when the dogma was declared.

Agreed, but so what.

Exactly. Who cares?
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« Reply #46 on: March 04, 2012, 10:26:15 PM »

The Mother of God was a spotless sacrifice when she was offered up to God in the Temple at the age of three.   
Does that mean that, since she was spotless,  she was without original sin at the age of three, even though she was not baptised?

Mary was a person.  Orthodox Christians don't believe that you are borne with the stain of original sin and that baptism washes it off you like the Catholics.  It's a different viewpoint. 

Whose form of original sin are you referring to, The Orthodox Christian or the later Roman Catholic definition.

Either one. Did she need to be baptised if she was spotless?

But Orthodox don't see baptism as "washing away the original sin."  The original sin for us is that we are left with its mark, that we have the capability to sin. 
Was Mary spotless before her baptism?
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« Reply #47 on: March 04, 2012, 10:48:21 PM »

Of course Mary was baptized and received the gift of the Spirit, as every Christian was. Although unlike other Christians, she had a particularly unique indwelling of the Spirit before that, at the annunciation. Until that point, she did the best with what she had available to her, much like the holy and righteous OT saints that came before her, along with John the Baptist. It is indeed our tradition that Mary was blameless in the eyes of God, as scripture attests to the same regarding Zechariah and Elizabeth: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." (Lk. 1:6) Considering what Jesus had to say about John, to say that he did not attain such a high state of perfection by God's grace is indeed Pelagianism.

Baptism remits sins and unites us to Christ through the power of the Spirit. Uniting ourselves with Christ is the only means to salvation.
So, she wasn't sinless before the Annunciation?

She inherited the same nature that her parents had, that they inherited from theirs, all the way back to the nature that Seth inherited from Adam and Eve. We are not only saved from our own personal sins, but also from the corruption that we are born with on account of the sins of our parents. Mary was not born exempt from this. To use the whole "she had to be exempt from original sin in order to postively respond to God" argument would also have to apply to Enoch who was taken up into heaven because he walked with God and Noah who was found to be righteous in the sight of God just to give a couple of examples to add to the previous one given of John the Baptist. Our personal obedience all by itself doesn't save us, only being united to Christ crucified and raised from the dead does that.

Not 'exempt', despite your polemics about natures of the parents, which is irrelevant. Enoch would certainly need to be preserved at some point in his life, if we are to understand the OT scriptures to mean something similar to that of Mary's gift. However, John the Baptist also received the Holy Spirit early (the womb), so the argument that she is singularly gifted by God through blessing is also incorrect. Before the RC dogma, some theologumena in the Latin west held her special Grace to have been bestowed in the womb at a similar time as St. John. This opinion was most notably held by St. Thomas Aquinas.

And from the Orthodox perspective, the immaculate conception is still a theologoumenon, and a theologoumenon it shall stay because belief in it has no bearing upon our salvation—something which the Roman Catholic Church seemed to have overlooked when the dogma was declared.

I think it really goes beyond the level of pious opinion to the level of heresy.  To argue for the immaculate conception is to argue for a host of positions which are heretical.

Heresy?! What have you contributed to start throwing around the H word?
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« Reply #48 on: March 13, 2012, 10:12:50 AM »

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nd from the Orthodox perspective, the immaculate conception is still a theologoumenon, and a theologoumenon it shall stay because belief in it has no bearing upon our salvation—something which the Roman Catholic Church seemed to have overlooked when the dogma was declared.

You could say the same thing about the assumption of Mary, or her dormition etc. So to say it has no bearing upon your salvation is irrelevent.

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« Reply #49 on: March 13, 2012, 11:59:38 AM »

This is such a difficult topic.  Over the past few years I have read more than a few Orthodox reflections on it.  I think it is fair to say that within Orthodoxy a fairly wide range of opinion exists on the questions that have been posed in this thread.  And given modern Catholic abandonment of the Augustinian notion of original guilt, it has become even more difficult to specify the points of dogmatic disagreement with Orthodoxy and Catholicism.  Over at Catholic Answers I recently posted the following comment:

Quote
The differences between the Latin and Eastern Churches on the Immaculate Conception reflects subtle disagreements on grace, nature, and freedom, disagreements that are difficult to articulate but which exist nonetheless.

One important reason, for example, that EO reject the Immaculate Conception is because it appears to ground the sanctity of the Theotokos in a singular bestowal of grace rather than in the sanctity of Israel, progressively embodied in the ancestors of Mary (particularly in her parents), and her synergistic, ascetical cooperation with divine grace. As Paul Evdokimov states: "Although she is of Adam's race, the Virgin is guarded from any personal impurity, all evil being rendered powerless to affect her by the successive purifications of her ancestors, by the special operation of the Spirit and by her outstanding act of free will" (Orthodoxy, p. 157).

I first became aware of this concern when I read Sergius Bulgakov's The Burning Bush and The Friend of the Bridegroom. EO do not see the Theotokos as "the great exception," as Orthodox polemicists sometimes like to put it. St John the Baptist also embodies an analogous sanctity! His conception, too, is commemorated in the liturgical calendar. He, too, manifested an incomparable sanctity. He, too, lived a sinless life. He, too, was "pre-determined" to exercise a unique role in the economy of salvation. Just as the Virgin Mary never knew separation from God, so did the Forerunner. And thus on the Deisis the Enthroned Christ is flanked by St John on his left and his Mother on his right.

I suspect it is simply impossible for us to categorize the grace and graces the Theotokos received at various points in her life.  On the one hand, we do not want to make her into the great Pelagian heroine who brought herself into a state of sinlessness and theosis by her own ascetical efforts.  On the other hand, we do not want to divorce her from the sanctity of Israel nor to diminish the salvific significance of her cooperation with God's grace at every point of her life. 

Did the Blessed Virgin ever sin at some point in her life?  Sergius Bulgakov certainly did not think so.  Consider these two passages:

Quote
In its countless divine services dedicated to the Mother of God, the Holy Orthodox Church firmly and clearly teaches the absolute sinlessness of Mary in her birth, her holy childhood and adolescence, in the Annunciation, in the birth of her Son and throughout her entire life. We shall pause at only the most important dogmatic witnesses borrowed from the services of Theotokos feasts. As is evident from these witnesses, the Most Holy Virgin is called in her very birth "Holy of Holies," "living heaven," "temple of all kings and thrones," "sole immaculate one," "the true temple pure from infancy on," "hostile to the course of sin," etc. The question arises: is the idea of any sort of assault of sin, which even some fathers of the church, and with them other orthodox theologians, allow, compatible with this veneration? Obviously not. The Mother of God was sinless, not a single attack of sin approached her most pure soul, the bearer of perfect virginity. But in that case is she not made equal "to the one sinless" Lord Jesus? No, and therein is the whole point. Sinlessness belongs in a unique and exclusive sense to the Son of God conceived without seed from a virgin who had never known a man, in that He was a stranger not only to every personal sin but also to original sin. The latter had absolutely no power over the new Adam. ... It is quite the opposite in the case of the Most Pure and Immaculate One: in her, original sin preserved its entire power with all its fatal consequences--weakness and mortality of the body (for death is only the final revelation of this weakness). The Theotokos died a natural death in fulfilment of the natural law, which she bore in her human nature. Death was defeated only by the salvific power of Christ's resurrection and was ultimately annulled by it. The Lord Jesus is in this sense the Saviour for the entire human race, and in it of His mother as well. ...

n as much as sin through the paralysis of human freedom engenders personal sinfulness, this latter can be weakened to a minimum and even brought down to the condition of full potentiality: posse non peccare (though before redemption and before baptism the condition of non posse peccare cannot be reached). To be sure, such a maximum achievement is unthinkable for fallen humanity without the help of Divine grace which, however, only assists freedom and does not compel it. In other words, when original sin as infirmity is kept in force, personal freedom from sins or personal sinlessness can be realized by the grace of God. In harmony with the firm and clear consciousness of the Church, John the Forerunner already approaches such personal sinlessness. The most holy Virgin Mary, the all-pure and all-immaculate, possesses such sinlessness. Only by virtue of this sinlessness was she able to say with her entire will, with her whole undivided essence, behold the handmaid of the Lord, to speak so that the answer to this full self-giving to God was the descent of the Holy Spirit and the seedless conception of the Lord Jesus Christ. The smallest sin in the past or the present would have broken the integrity of this self-giving and the power of this expression. This word, decisive for the whole human race and the entire world, was the expression not of a given moment only, but came out of the depths of Mary's unblemished being. It was the work and the sum of her life. The inadmissibility of personal sin in the Virgin Mary thus becomes axiomatically trustworthy provided we understand what kind of answer was demanded here of Mary. This was not the particular agreement of her will to a particular action, relating only to a given moment of life; no, this was the self-determination of her entire being.

Bulgakov is certainly not alone in believing this.  Having read St Gregory Palamas's homilies on the Theotokos, I believe that he too would affirm her absolute sinlessness. Compare also George Gabriel's Mary: The Untrodden Portal of God and Met Hierotheos's article "The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary."  In an essay on St John of Damascus and the Theotokos, Met Kallistos Ware writes:

Quote
John believes that Mary underwent a special purification and hallowing at the moment of the annunciation, when "the sanctifying power of the Spirit overshadowed, cleansed and consecrated her." But this does not signify that, in John's view, she was sinful prior to the annunciation; on the contrary, he clearly considers that she was always pure and guiltless. Moreover, he also states clearly that she was predestined from all eternity to be the Mother of God incarnate: "She was chosen from ancient generation, through the preordained counsel and good pleasure of God the Father ... The Father forechose her, the prophets through the Holy Spirit proclaimed her in advance.

But St John of Maximovitch appears to disagree.  He believes that that assertion of Mary's perfect sinlessness contradicts both Scripture and Tradition.   

The Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception is driven by the anti-Pelagian imperative.  Catholicism must insist, over against all forms of Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism, that the Virgin Mary possessed sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence.  Orthodoxy also rejects Pelagianism; but it's less clear (at least to me) how the Orthodox understanding of synergism can be reconciled with the canons of the Second Synod of Orange.  I suspect that it is here where the real disagreement may lie.   

Fr Aidan
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« Reply #50 on: March 13, 2012, 12:32:36 PM »

Sergei Bulgakov's writings don't carry much weight due to his heresies regarding Sophianism.
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« Reply #51 on: March 13, 2012, 12:42:31 PM »

This is such a difficult topic.  Over the past few years I have read more than a few Orthodox reflections on it.  I think it is fair to say that within Orthodoxy a fairly wide range of opinion exists on the questions that have been posed in this thread.  And given modern Catholic abandonment of the Augustinian notion of original guilt, it has become even more difficult to specify the points of dogmatic disagreement with Orthodoxy and Catholicism.  Over at Catholic Answers I recently posted the following comment:

Quote
The differences between the Latin and Eastern Churches on the Immaculate Conception reflects subtle disagreements on grace, nature, and freedom, disagreements that are difficult to articulate but which exist nonetheless.

One important reason, for example, that EO reject the Immaculate Conception is because it appears to ground the sanctity of the Theotokos in a singular bestowal of grace rather than in the sanctity of Israel, progressively embodied in the ancestors of Mary (particularly in her parents), and her synergistic, ascetical cooperation with divine grace. As Paul Evdokimov states: "Although she is of Adam's race, the Virgin is guarded from any personal impurity, all evil being rendered powerless to affect her by the successive purifications of her ancestors, by the special operation of the Spirit and by her outstanding act of free will" (Orthodoxy, p. 157).

I first became aware of this concern when I read Sergius Bulgakov's The Burning Bush and The Friend of the Bridegroom. EO do not see the Theotokos as "the great exception," as Orthodox polemicists sometimes like to put it. St John the Baptist also embodies an analogous sanctity! His conception, too, is commemorated in the liturgical calendar. He, too, manifested an incomparable sanctity. He, too, lived a sinless life. He, too, was "pre-determined" to exercise a unique role in the economy of salvation. Just as the Virgin Mary never knew separation from God, so did the Forerunner. And thus on the Deisis the Enthroned Christ is flanked by St John on his left and his Mother on his right.

I suspect it is simply impossible for us to categorize the grace and graces the Theotokos received at various points in her life.  On the one hand, we do not want to make her into the great Pelagian heroine who brought herself into a state of sinlessness and theosis by her own ascetical efforts.  On the other hand, we do not want to divorce her from the sanctity of Israel nor to diminish the salvific significance of her cooperation with God's grace at every point of her life.  

Did the Blessed Virgin ever sin at some point in her life?  Sergius Bulgakov certainly did not think so.  Consider these two passages:

Quote
In its countless divine services dedicated to the Mother of God, the Holy Orthodox Church firmly and clearly teaches the absolute sinlessness of Mary in her birth, her holy childhood and adolescence, in the Annunciation, in the birth of her Son and throughout her entire life. We shall pause at only the most important dogmatic witnesses borrowed from the services of Theotokos feasts. As is evident from these witnesses, the Most Holy Virgin is called in her very birth "Holy of Holies," "living heaven," "temple of all kings and thrones," "sole immaculate one," "the true temple pure from infancy on," "hostile to the course of sin," etc. The question arises: is the idea of any sort of assault of sin, which even some fathers of the church, and with them other orthodox theologians, allow, compatible with this veneration? Obviously not. The Mother of God was sinless, not a single attack of sin approached her most pure soul, the bearer of perfect virginity. But in that case is she not made equal "to the one sinless" Lord Jesus? No, and therein is the whole point. Sinlessness belongs in a unique and exclusive sense to the Son of God conceived without seed from a virgin who had never known a man, in that He was a stranger not only to every personal sin but also to original sin. The latter had absolutely no power over the new Adam. ... It is quite the opposite in the case of the Most Pure and Immaculate One: in her, original sin preserved its entire power with all its fatal consequences--weakness and mortality of the body (for death is only the final revelation of this weakness). The Theotokos died a natural death in fulfilment of the natural law, which she bore in her human nature. Death was defeated only by the salvific power of Christ's resurrection and was ultimately annulled by it. The Lord Jesus is in this sense the Saviour for the entire human race, and in it of His mother as well. ...

n as much as sin through the paralysis of human freedom engenders personal sinfulness, this latter can be weakened to a minimum and even brought down to the condition of full potentiality: posse non peccare (though before redemption and before baptism the condition of non posse peccare cannot be reached). To be sure, such a maximum achievement is unthinkable for fallen humanity without the help of Divine grace which, however, only assists freedom and does not compel it. In other words, when original sin as infirmity is kept in force, personal freedom from sins or personal sinlessness can be realized by the grace of God. In harmony with the firm and clear consciousness of the Church, John the Forerunner already approaches such personal sinlessness. The most holy Virgin Mary, the all-pure and all-immaculate, possesses such sinlessness. Only by virtue of this sinlessness was she able to say with her entire will, with her whole undivided essence, behold the handmaid of the Lord, to speak so that the answer to this full self-giving to God was the descent of the Holy Spirit and the seedless conception of the Lord Jesus Christ. The smallest sin in the past or the present would have broken the integrity of this self-giving and the power of this expression. This word, decisive for the whole human race and the entire world, was the expression not of a given moment only, but came out of the depths of Mary's unblemished being. It was the work and the sum of her life. The inadmissibility of personal sin in the Virgin Mary thus becomes axiomatically trustworthy provided we understand what kind of answer was demanded here of Mary. This was not the particular agreement of her will to a particular action, relating only to a given moment of life; no, this was the self-determination of her entire being.

Bulgakov is certainly not alone in believing this.  Having read St Gregory Palamas's homilies on the Theotokos, I believe that he too would affirm her absolute sinlessness. Compare also George Gabriel's Mary: The Untrodden Portal of God and Met Hierotheos's article "The Annunciation of the Virgin Mary."  In an essay on St John of Damascus and the Theotokos, Met Kallistos Ware writes:

Quote
John believes that Mary underwent a special purification and hallowing at the moment of the annunciation, when "the sanctifying power of the Spirit overshadowed, cleansed and consecrated her." But this does not signify that, in John's view, she was sinful prior to the annunciation; on the contrary, he clearly considers that she was always pure and guiltless. Moreover, he also states clearly that she was predestined from all eternity to be the Mother of God incarnate: "She was chosen from ancient generation, through the preordained counsel and good pleasure of God the Father ... The Father forechose her, the prophets through the Holy Spirit proclaimed her in advance.

But St John of Maximovitch appears to disagree.  He believes that that assertion of Mary's perfect sinlessness contradicts both Scripture and Tradition.    

The Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception is driven by the anti-Pelagian imperative.  Catholicism must insist, over against all forms of Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism, that the Virgin Mary possessed sanctifying grace from the first moment of her existence.  Orthodoxy also rejects Pelagianism; but it's less clear (at least to me) how the Orthodox understanding of synergism can be reconciled with the canons of the Second Synod of Orange.  I suspect that it is here where the real disagreement may lie.    

Fr Aidan

While we say that she was nurtured by grace throughout her life, this is something that is possible to all.  She was most receptive and obedient to this grace, and blameless in God's eyes. Also we also emphasize her free-will in co-operating with God's grace throughout her life, expressed the most clearly in the annunciation.

She did not need to be baptized in the womb (i.e. immaculate conception) to wash away the guilt of original sin, since she did not inherit it. Although Catholics today may shy away from the idea of inheriting guilt, this idea was commonly held during the inception of this dogma.

Again, great example rather than great exception.
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« Reply #52 on: March 13, 2012, 01:02:59 PM »

Quote
nd from the Orthodox perspective, the immaculate conception is still a theologoumenon, and a theologoumenon it shall stay because belief in it has no bearing upon our salvation—something which the Roman Catholic Church seemed to have overlooked when the dogma was declared.

You could say the same thing about the assumption of Mary, or her dormition etc. So to say it has no bearing upon your salvation is irrelevent.


The Orthodox Church had not dogmatized the Assumption (or for that matter her dormition).  So you proved his point.
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« Reply #53 on: March 13, 2012, 02:41:52 PM »

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nd from the Orthodox perspective, the immaculate conception is still a theologoumenon, and a theologoumenon it shall stay because belief in it has no bearing upon our salvation—something which the Roman Catholic Church seemed to have overlooked when the dogma was declared.

You could say the same thing about the assumption of Mary, or her dormition etc. So to say it has no bearing upon your salvation is irrelevent.


The Orthodox Church had not dogmatized the Assumption (or for that matter her dormition).  So you proved his point.


Liturgy isn't dogmatical? You have  liturgical feasts about the assumption but it is not a dogma?
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« Reply #54 on: March 13, 2012, 03:04:19 PM »

Quote
nd from the Orthodox perspective, the immaculate conception is still a theologoumenon, and a theologoumenon it shall stay because belief in it has no bearing upon our salvation—something which the Roman Catholic Church seemed to have overlooked when the dogma was declared.

You could say the same thing about the assumption of Mary, or her dormition etc. So to say it has no bearing upon your salvation is irrelevent.


The Orthodox Church had not dogmatized the Assumption (or for that matter her dormition).  So you proved his point.


Liturgy isn't dogmatical? You have  liturgical feasts about the assumption but it is not a dogma?

I'd have to agree... a universally celebrated feast is on the same level as dogma.
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« Reply #55 on: March 13, 2012, 03:08:13 PM »

The Orthodox Church had not dogmatized the Assumption (or for that matter her dormition).  So you proved his point.
What does it mean when the Orthodox Church approves and venerates all those icons depicting the falling asleep of Mary?
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« Reply #56 on: March 13, 2012, 03:25:49 PM »

The feast of the dormition is part of our rich liturgical tradition, and meant to be contemplated within the church by the faithful. It's not part of the doctrine or dogma of the church, which goes along with the gospel that we preach to the world and hold all the faithful accountable to.
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« Reply #57 on: March 13, 2012, 03:27:39 PM »

The feast of the dormition is part of our rich liturgical tradition, and meant to be contemplated within the church by the faithful. It's not part of the doctrine or dogma of the church, which goes along with the gospel that we preach to the world and hold all the faithful accountable to.

So Iconodule is incorrect?
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« Reply #58 on: March 13, 2012, 03:30:57 PM »

The feast of the dormition is part of our rich liturgical tradition, and meant to be contemplated within the church by the faithful. It's not part of the doctrine or dogma of the church, which goes along with the gospel that we preach to the world and hold all the faithful accountable to.

So Iconodule is incorrect?

I've never heard the feast of the assumption referred to as dogma of the church. Perhaps a resident priest can correct me. Dogma includes things like the virgin birth, the Trinity, etc.
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« Reply #59 on: March 13, 2012, 03:34:36 PM »

The feast of the dormition is part of our rich liturgical tradition, and meant to be contemplated within the church by the faithful. It's not part of the doctrine or dogma of the church, which goes along with the gospel that we preach to the world and hold all the faithful accountable to.

So Iconodule is incorrect?

I've never heard the feast of the assumption referred to as dogma of the church. Perhaps a resident priest can correct me. Dogma includes things like the virgin birth, the Trinity, etc.

So, the question to hopefully be answered by a priest is: "are universally celebrated feasts on the same level as dogma?"  Correct?
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« Reply #60 on: March 13, 2012, 04:13:10 PM »

Sergei Bulgakov's writings don't carry much weight due to his heresies regarding Sophianism.

The question of the alleged heterodoxy of Bulgakov's reflections on sophia are irrelevant at this point.  He died a faithful communicant of the Orthodox Church.  All that matters in this thread is whether his reflections on the Theotokos faithfully witness to the faith of the Church.  I believe that they do.   
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« Reply #61 on: March 13, 2012, 04:30:37 PM »

The feast of the dormition is part of our rich liturgical tradition, and meant to be contemplated within the church by the faithful. It's not part of the doctrine or dogma of the church, which goes along with the gospel that we preach to the world and hold all the faithful accountable to.

So Iconodule is incorrect?

I've never heard the feast of the assumption referred to as dogma of the church. Perhaps a resident priest can correct me. Dogma includes things like the virgin birth, the Trinity, etc.

So, the question to hopefully be answered by a priest is: "are universally celebrated feasts on the same level as dogma?"  Correct?

Every Orthodox theology text I've ever read says no. Being Orthodox while rejecting the Dormition of the Theotokos would be somewhat similar to being a flat-earther, but salvation is open to the stupid and insane as well. 'Dogma' is those things that are necessary to believe for salvation--and what  happened to the Theotokos at the end of her life simply has no actual impact on an individual's ability to be united to her Son.

'Theotokos' is 'dogma' because if you don't believe that Christ was God, you are directly rejecting your own ability to be united to God (i.e., its an implicit rejection of the very idea of salvation). The Dormition just doesn't have that implication.
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« Reply #62 on: March 13, 2012, 04:42:03 PM »

Quote
Every Orthodox theology text I've ever read says no. Being Orthodox while rejecting the Dormition of the Theotokos would be somewhat similar to being a flat-earther, but salvation is open to the stupid and insane as well. 'Dogma' is those things that are necessary to believe for salvation--and what  happened to the Theotokos at the end of her life simply has no actual impact on an individual's ability to be united to her Son.

So you can be a faithfull orthodox and deny what the CHurch teaches and celebrates? You can deny many points of the Liturgy and still be orthodox? And you are telling me that the flat earth is celebrated in the Liturgy? Is there a day for the feast of the "flat earth" in the calendar? Isn't obedience to the Church and its teachings necessary for salvation?
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« Reply #63 on: March 13, 2012, 04:51:15 PM »

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Dogma and Liturgy.

Harnack's thesis is faulty in other respects. He does not understand that Orthodox dogma does not occupy the same isolated position within the Church as do doctrine and creed in the Protestant churches. Rather, dogma is part and parcel of the liturgical life of the Church. The creeds of the Orthodox Church are not abstract formulations of a "pure doctrine." They are hymns of adoration which have their place in the liturgy. There is a statement of dogma in the baptismal creed that the proselyte speaks in praise of God and in proclamation of the divine truth of salvation. Similarly, in the Eucharistic liturgy God is adored in the words of the credo before the priest invokes the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Eucharistic elements. Thus dogma has fully preserved its original liturgical function in the Orthodox Church.

Moreover, in the view of the Orthodox Church the liturgy is the proper place for dogma, not theological summas and textbooks. This is particularly true for the Eucharistic liturgy, this liturgy being a mystical unfolding of the full abundance of divine acts of redemption and divinely revealed truths. Liturgy and dogma, worship and creed, prayer and theological meditation and speculation are therefore inseparable. The dogma is a component of the living worship. Intellectual definition of the truths of the Christian faith is necessary, of course, and certainly that is one of the functions of dogma. But in the Orthodox Church dogma is not limited to differentiating Christian principles from false doctrines. It governs the Christian's religious and moral life; that is, it has a practical side. It promotes growth in the Christian's spiritual life by keeping the facts of redemption ever present in his mind.
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/eastern_orthodox_church_e_benz.htm#_Toc49321364

I dont understand, he says "this liturgy being a mystical unfolding of the full abundance of divine acts of redemption and divinely revealed truths."
 


So isn't the liturgy dogmatical if it is divinely reavealed truth?
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« Reply #64 on: March 13, 2012, 05:04:20 PM »

Even though St. Epiphanius claimed that no one knew what happened to Mary after this life, we still recognize him as a saint. Last time I checked, the RC does too.
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« Reply #65 on: March 13, 2012, 05:08:40 PM »

So you can be a faithfull orthodox and deny what the CHurch teaches and celebrates? You can deny many points of the Liturgy and still be orthodox? And you are telling me that the flat earth is celebrated in the Liturgy? Is there a day for the feast of the "flat earth" in the calendar? Isn't obedience to the Church and its teachings necessary for salvation?
These are interesting questions.
I have a few more. From the Orthodox standpoint, what is the difference between a dogma, a doctrine, and a teaching of the Orthodox Church? What teachings of the Orthodox Church are you required to believe in, and what teachings are you free to reject. For example, are you free to reject the teaching of the Dormition of Mary, and can you be a good Orthodox Christian and believe that Mary was not taken up to heaven bodily?
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« Reply #66 on: March 13, 2012, 05:12:37 PM »

Even though St. Epiphanius claimed that no one knew what happened to Mary after this life, we still recognize him as a saint. Last time I checked, the RC does too.

So there is a liturgical development of doctrine and belief in the Autocephalous churches as well? But anyway this can be seen on many points like the Fathers who said that mary sinned or those who denied inspiration for the book of Revelation in the Bible.

St Photius, who died in communion with the Roman see, well said that saints are not infaillible and can do theological mystakes.
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« Reply #67 on: March 13, 2012, 05:28:56 PM »

So you can be a faithfull orthodox and deny what the CHurch teaches and celebrates? You can deny many points of the Liturgy and still be orthodox? ... Isn't obedience to the Church and its teachings necessary for salvation?

I find myself in agreement with you on these points, but just as I believe that we are to believe what we celebrate liturgically (the bodily assumption of the Theotokos is in our hymns for that feast day - despite what some say, I don't personally see it as "optional"), I also don't believe that everything has to be formally dogmatized in order to be true.
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« Reply #68 on: March 13, 2012, 06:00:15 PM »

The Orthodox Church had not dogmatized the Assumption (or for that matter her dormition).  So you proved his point.
What does it mean when the Orthodox Church approves and venerates all those icons depicting the falling asleep of Mary?
For one, that due to original/ancestral sin, she did fall asleep. The Vatican's Immortalists have no refuge in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #69 on: March 14, 2012, 01:01:35 AM »

Quote
Every Orthodox theology text I've ever read says no. Being Orthodox while rejecting the Dormition of the Theotokos would be somewhat similar to being a flat-earther, but salvation is open to the stupid and insane as well. 'Dogma' is those things that are necessary to believe for salvation--and what  happened to the Theotokos at the end of her life simply has no actual impact on an individual's ability to be united to her Son.

So you can be a faithfull orthodox and deny what the CHurch teaches and celebrates? You can deny many points of the Liturgy and still be orthodox? And you are telling me that the flat earth is celebrated in the Liturgy? Is there a day for the feast of the "flat earth" in the calendar? Isn't obedience to the Church and its teachings necessary for salvation?

Did you miss the 'somewhat similar' qualifier? My point was not that it is 'the same' but rather that being an Orthodox Christian today while rejecting the Assumption requires the same level of cognitive incoherence/willful ignorance that being a flat-earther in the modern world does. Aside from that, you are kind of throwing the kitchen sink at this so I'll just focus on the last question.

Obedience to the Church's *dogmas* is necessary for salvation, because those dogmas are the Gospel of Jesus Christ, salvation itself. But for that very reason, the Church does not dogmatize anything that is not actually necessary for salvation. It is God's desire that all men come to salvation--so why would we insert requirement that doesn't absolutely have to be there? Many things are true (the earth is round, the earth orbits the sun, the Theotokos' body was taken up into heaven, St. Constantine is a saint, fasting is an important spiritual discipline) which the Church does not dogmatize because their truth is not directly relevant to the ability of a sinful human being to be united with God.

So, for a different example, the Church has dogmatized the central point of Genesis 1 ("Creator of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible") because it is necessary to have some concept of the Creator in order to seek to be united with Him. But the Church has not dogmatized whether Genesis 1 is absolutely literal with 24-hour days, plants created before the sun, etc or whether the account is at some level symbolic/allegorized. Because *how* God created everything is not relevant to salvation.

I am not defending the Orthodox who rejects the Assumption (assuming he even exists). Maybe he thinks its an allegory and maybe that's as valid as the Orthodox who thinks Genesis 1 is an allegory. Or maybe he's just a fool. But as I said before, God wants fools to be saved too--and the Church is not in the business of making it harder for fools to be saved (thank God), but of getting them over the threshold (the dogmas) and then leading them ever closer to the Truth.
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« Reply #70 on: March 14, 2012, 01:05:02 AM »

Even though St. Epiphanius claimed that no one knew what happened to Mary after this life, we still recognize him as a saint. Last time I checked, the RC does too.

So there is a liturgical development of doctrine and belief in the Autocephalous churches as well? But anyway this can be seen on many points like the Fathers who said that mary sinned or those who denied inspiration for the book of Revelation in the Bible.

St Photius, who died in communion with the Roman see, well said that saints are not infaillible and can do theological mystakes.

St. Photius, a Pillar of Orthodoxy, was correct. St. Epiphanius was wrong on the topic of the Assumption. But the point is that being wrong on this topic did not keep him from being a saint--proof that being wrong on this topic does not prevent a person from being a saint; and therefore proof that it is not a 'dogma', not 'necessary for salvation'.
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« Reply #71 on: March 14, 2012, 01:06:15 AM »

Even though St. Epiphanius claimed that no one knew what happened to Mary after this life, we still recognize him as a saint. Last time I checked, the RC does too.

So there is a liturgical development of doctrine and belief in the Autocephalous churches as well? But anyway this can be seen on many points like the Fathers who said that mary sinned or those who denied inspiration for the book of Revelation in the Bible.

St Photius, who died in communion with the Roman see, well said that saints are not infaillible and can do theological mystakes.

St. Photius, a Pillar of Orthodoxy, was correct. St. Epiphanius was wrong on the topic of the Assumption. But the point is that being wrong on this topic did not keep him from being a saint--proof that being wrong on this topic does not prevent a person from being a saint; and therefore proof that it is not a 'dogma', not 'necessary for salvation'.

precisely.
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« Reply #72 on: March 14, 2012, 01:31:00 AM »

Even though St. Epiphanius claimed that no one knew what happened to Mary after this life, we still recognize him as a saint. Last time I checked, the RC does too.

So there is a liturgical development of doctrine and belief in the Autocephalous churches as well? But anyway this can be seen on many points like the Fathers who said that mary sinned or those who denied inspiration for the book of Revelation in the Bible.

St Photius, who died in communion with the Roman see, well said that saints are not infaillible and can do theological mystakes.

St. Photius, a Pillar of Orthodoxy, was correct. St. Epiphanius was wrong on the topic of the Assumption. But the point is that being wrong on this topic did not keep him from being a saint--proof that being wrong on this topic does not prevent a person from being a saint; and therefore proof that it is not a 'dogma', not 'necessary for salvation'.

Is the Palamite doctine dogmatical since the palamite synods? It is necesary to understand his speeches for salvation?
So St Augustine is a saint even if you consider him to have made theological mystakes? Or is he a heretic nonetheless as said this website:
http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_roman_catholics_augustine_refutation_veneration.shtml

And it didnt answer my intended question: Is the liturgy dogmatical? If it is considered as revealed truth?
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« Reply #73 on: March 14, 2012, 01:51:02 AM »

Even though St. Epiphanius claimed that no one knew what happened to Mary after this life, we still recognize him as a saint. Last time I checked, the RC does too.

So there is a liturgical development of doctrine and belief in the Autocephalous churches as well? But anyway this can be seen on many points like the Fathers who said that mary sinned or those who denied inspiration for the book of Revelation in the Bible.

St Photius, who died in communion with the Roman see, well said that saints are not infaillible and can do theological mystakes.

St. Photius, a Pillar of Orthodoxy, was correct. St. Epiphanius was wrong on the topic of the Assumption. But the point is that being wrong on this topic did not keep him from being a saint--proof that being wrong on this topic does not prevent a person from being a saint; and therefore proof that it is not a 'dogma', not 'necessary for salvation'.

precisely.
Only Christ is 100% Orthodox.  All Fathers fall short.  We all do. It only becomes a problem when we become obstinate about our mistakes.  IIRC, St. Epiphanius explicitely says he is expressing his own opinion, and that he doesn't really know.
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« Reply #74 on: March 14, 2012, 01:51:02 AM »

Even though St. Epiphanius claimed that no one knew what happened to Mary after this life, we still recognize him as a saint. Last time I checked, the RC does too.

So there is a liturgical development of doctrine and belief in the Autocephalous churches as well? But anyway this can be seen on many points like the Fathers who said that mary sinned or those who denied inspiration for the book of Revelation in the Bible.

St Photius, who died in communion with the Roman see, well said that saints are not infaillible and can do theological mystakes.
He also said that that included Popes of Rome.

Why wouldn't he be in communion with Rome?  Rome came to his understanding at the Fourth Council of Constantinople (879).
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« Reply #75 on: March 14, 2012, 01:51:02 AM »

Quote
Every Orthodox theology text I've ever read says no. Being Orthodox while rejecting the Dormition of the Theotokos would be somewhat similar to being a flat-earther, but salvation is open to the stupid and insane as well. 'Dogma' is those things that are necessary to believe for salvation--and what  happened to the Theotokos at the end of her life simply has no actual impact on an individual's ability to be united to her Son.

So you can be a faithfull orthodox and deny what the CHurch teaches and celebrates? You can deny many points of the Liturgy and still be orthodox? And you are telling me that the flat earth is celebrated in the Liturgy? Is there a day for the feast of the "flat earth" in the calendar? Isn't obedience to the Church and its teachings necessary for salvation?
It is, but the Church doesn't teach " if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined [on the Assumption], let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith."

It was never publically preached by the Church until after the Fourth Ecumenical Council (451), so it can never become a dogma.

We have never got an straight answer if "development of doctrine" means that doctrines go through the various degrees of "theological certitude" until they attain dogmatic status.

This is sort of an artificial question, as I've never met an Orthodox who denied the Assumption.  It seems we don't need a dogmatic definition with the threat of hell fire.
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« Reply #76 on: March 14, 2012, 02:17:30 AM »

Even though St. Epiphanius claimed that no one knew what happened to Mary after this life, we still recognize him as a saint. Last time I checked, the RC does too.

So there is a liturgical development of doctrine and belief in the Autocephalous churches as well? But anyway this can be seen on many points like the Fathers who said that mary sinned or those who denied inspiration for the book of Revelation in the Bible.

St Photius, who died in communion with the Roman see, well said that saints are not infaillible and can do theological mystakes.

St. Photius, a Pillar of Orthodoxy, was correct. St. Epiphanius was wrong on the topic of the Assumption. But the point is that being wrong on this topic did not keep him from being a saint--proof that being wrong on this topic does not prevent a person from being a saint; and therefore proof that it is not a 'dogma', not 'necessary for salvation'.

Is the Palamite doctine dogmatical since the palamite synods? It is necesary to understand his speeches for salvation?
So St Augustine is a saint even if you consider him to have made theological mystakes? Or is he a heretic nonetheless as said this website:
http://www.trueorthodoxy.org/heretics_roman_catholics_augustine_refutation_veneration.shtml

And it didnt answer my intended question: Is the liturgy dogmatical? If it is considered as revealed truth?

The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation. Your question on whether it is necessary to understand the writings of Gregory Palamas is a bit misleading, however. It is necessary for salvation to understand the writings of Gregory Palamas as much as it is necessary to understand the writings of St. Athanasius on the divinity of the Son, the Cappadocians Fathers on the divinity of the Holy Spirit, St. Cyril of Alexandria on the hypostatic union, Pope St. Leo on the two natures of Christ, The Council of Constantinople's clarification on the two natures of Christ, St. Maximus the Confessor on the two natures and wills of Christ, and St. John of Damascus on the use of holy images. For most people, this probably means in an incredibly condensed manner (as in, the teachings are each condensed into a paragraph or less). For others, this may be mean enough information to fill volumes, if they are knowledgeable enough.
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« Reply #77 on: March 14, 2012, 09:18:19 AM »

The Orthodox Church had not dogmatized the Assumption (or for that matter her dormition).  So you proved his point.
What does it mean when the Orthodox Church approves and venerates all those icons depicting the falling asleep of Mary?
For one, that due to original/ancestral sin, she did fall asleep. The Vatican's Immortalists have no refuge in Orthodoxy.

So the Dormition is on the level of dogma then.
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« Reply #78 on: March 14, 2012, 09:20:31 AM »

Quote
Every Orthodox theology text I've ever read says no. Being Orthodox while rejecting the Dormition of the Theotokos would be somewhat similar to being a flat-earther, but salvation is open to the stupid and insane as well. 'Dogma' is those things that are necessary to believe for salvation--and what  happened to the Theotokos at the end of her life simply has no actual impact on an individual's ability to be united to her Son.

So you can be a faithfull orthodox and deny what the CHurch teaches and celebrates? You can deny many points of the Liturgy and still be orthodox? And you are telling me that the flat earth is celebrated in the Liturgy? Is there a day for the feast of the "flat earth" in the calendar? Isn't obedience to the Church and its teachings necessary for salvation?
It is, but the Church doesn't teach " if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined [on the Assumption], let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith."

It was never publically preached by the Church until after the Fourth Ecumenical Council (451), so it can never become a dogma.

We have never got an straight answer if "development of doctrine" means that doctrines go through the various degrees of "theological certitude" until they attain dogmatic status.

This is sort of an artificial question, as I've never met an Orthodox who denied the Assumption.  It seems we don't need a dogmatic definition with the threat of hell fire.

There is a deacon on another forum who denies the entry of the Theotokos into the Holy of Holies. I asked him what he does on November 21... he hasn't answered yet.
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« Reply #79 on: March 14, 2012, 09:26:22 AM »

Quote
Every Orthodox theology text I've ever read says no. Being Orthodox while rejecting the Dormition of the Theotokos would be somewhat similar to being a flat-earther, but salvation is open to the stupid and insane as well. 'Dogma' is those things that are necessary to believe for salvation--and what  happened to the Theotokos at the end of her life simply has no actual impact on an individual's ability to be united to her Son.

So you can be a faithfull orthodox and deny what the CHurch teaches and celebrates? You can deny many points of the Liturgy and still be orthodox? And you are telling me that the flat earth is celebrated in the Liturgy? Is there a day for the feast of the "flat earth" in the calendar? Isn't obedience to the Church and its teachings necessary for salvation?
It is, but the Church doesn't teach " if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined [on the Assumption], let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith."

It was never publically preached by the Church until after the Fourth Ecumenical Council (451), so it can never become a dogma.

We have never got an straight answer if "development of doctrine" means that doctrines go through the various degrees of "theological certitude" until they attain dogmatic status.

This is sort of an artificial question, as I've never met an Orthodox who denied the Assumption.  It seems we don't need a dogmatic definition with the threat of hell fire.

There is a deacon on another forum who denies the entry of the Theotokos into the Holy of Holies. I asked him what he does on November 21... he hasn't answered yet.

And don't expect one from him, either.  He's not known for admitting his mistakes. Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 09:27:00 AM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #80 on: March 14, 2012, 11:27:53 AM »

The Orthodox Church had not dogmatized the Assumption (or for that matter her dormition).  So you proved his point.
What does it mean when the Orthodox Church approves and venerates all those icons depicting the falling asleep of Mary?
For one, that due to original/ancestral sin, she did fall asleep. The Vatican's Immortalists have no refuge in Orthodoxy.

So the Dormition is on the level of dogma then.
If not, as close as you can get.
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« Reply #81 on: March 14, 2012, 02:18:09 PM »

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Every Orthodox theology text I've ever read says no. Being Orthodox while rejecting the Dormition of the Theotokos would be somewhat similar to being a flat-earther, but salvation is open to the stupid and insane as well. 'Dogma' is those things that are necessary to believe for salvation--and what  happened to the Theotokos at the end of her life simply has no actual impact on an individual's ability to be united to her Son.

So you can be a faithfull orthodox and deny what the CHurch teaches and celebrates? You can deny many points of the Liturgy and still be orthodox? And you are telling me that the flat earth is celebrated in the Liturgy? Is there a day for the feast of the "flat earth" in the calendar? Isn't obedience to the Church and its teachings necessary for salvation?
It is, but the Church doesn't teach " if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined [on the Assumption], let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith."

It was never publically preached by the Church until after the Fourth Ecumenical Council (451), so it can never become a dogma.

We have never got an straight answer if "development of doctrine" means that doctrines go through the various degrees of "theological certitude" until they attain dogmatic status.

This is sort of an artificial question, as I've never met an Orthodox who denied the Assumption.  It seems we don't need a dogmatic definition with the threat of hell fire.

There is a deacon on another forum who denies the entry of the Theotokos into the Holy of Holies. I asked him what he does on November 21... he hasn't answered yet.

And don't expect one from him, either.  He's not known for admitting his mistakes. Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

I think Fr. Hopko questions the historical reality of such an event as well.
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« Reply #82 on: March 14, 2012, 02:23:00 PM »

The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation.
It is? What happens to all those people who don't understand it?
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« Reply #83 on: March 14, 2012, 02:38:39 PM »

The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation.
It is? What happens to all those people who don't understand it?

As Cavadarossi already pointed out, the same thing that happens to those people who don't understand Christ's gnomic will. You're only responsible for dogmas to the degree you are able to understand them. If you are content with a child's faith, "I believe whatever the Church says." then you don't need to understand ousia vs. hypostatis vs. physis, essence and energy, gnomic will, or why Theotokos and Christokos are both true but Theotokos is the dogmatic one.

Again going back to the point that dogmas are not set up to be preconditions for salvation ("You must understand X to be saved"--this is the Protestant approach with its' 'age of reason', etc). They are rather descriptions of the actual experience of salvation in the Church. You cannot deny them because to deny them is to deny salvation itself--but if your affirmation of them is through obedience (or actual experience) rather than intellectual comprehension of the decrees of the 6th Ecumenical Council et. al. that is sufficient.
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« Reply #84 on: March 14, 2012, 03:58:16 PM »

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The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation.

So there are "truths" necessary for salvation that are not proclaimed in any oecumenical council? Or do you consider the palamite synods oecumenicals?
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« Reply #85 on: March 14, 2012, 04:13:44 PM »

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The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation.

So there are "truths" necessary for salvation that are not proclaimed in any oecumenical council? Or do you consider the palamite synods oecumenicals?

This Christian truth was expressed before St. Palamas.
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« Reply #86 on: March 14, 2012, 04:37:21 PM »

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The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation.

So there are "truths" necessary for salvation that are not proclaimed in any oecumenical council? Or do you consider the palamite synods oecumenicals?

As made clear on the other thread, you do not even know what you are arguing about when you fuss about St. Palamas. St. Palamas' teaching is 'dogma' in the same sense that the Divinity of Christ and the Humanity of Christ are dogmas--because there has always been and will always only be one Gospel. Anything which expresses that Gospel correctly is dogma, by its very nature and regardless of human recognition. The only role of councils (whether it be the 7 Ecumenical Councils, the Palamite Councils, or any local synod called upon to deliberate a doctrinal issue) is to identify what is a correct expression and condemn what is false expression when some confusion about it has arisen.
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« Reply #87 on: March 14, 2012, 05:12:52 PM »

So you can be a faithfull orthodox and deny what the CHurch teaches and celebrates? You can deny many points of the Liturgy and still be orthodox? ... Isn't obedience to the Church and its teachings necessary for salvation?

I find myself in agreement with you on these points, but just as I believe that we are to believe what we celebrate liturgically (the bodily assumption of the Theotokos is in our hymns for that feast day - despite what some say, I don't personally see it as "optional"), I also don't believe that everything has to be formally dogmatized in order to be true.

Given that

"Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization.[1] It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers. Although it generally refers to religious beliefs that are accepted without reason or evidence, they can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, or issued decisions of political authorities.[2] The term derives from Greek δόγμα "that which seems to one, opinion or belief"[3] and that from δοκέω (dokeo), "to think, to suppose, to imagine".[4] Dogma came to signify laws or ordinances adjudged and imposed upon others by the First Century. The plural is either dogmas or dogmata, from Greek δόγματα. Today, It is sometimes used as a synonym for systematic theology."  from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogma

then something that is true could certainly be "dogma" without some kind of "formal" juridical act, no?
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« Reply #88 on: March 14, 2012, 05:55:16 PM »

So you can be a faithfull orthodox and deny what the CHurch teaches and celebrates? You can deny many points of the Liturgy and still be orthodox? ... Isn't obedience to the Church and its teachings necessary for salvation?

I find myself in agreement with you on these points, but just as I believe that we are to believe what we celebrate liturgically (the bodily assumption of the Theotokos is in our hymns for that feast day - despite what some say, I don't personally see it as "optional"), I also don't believe that everything has to be formally dogmatized in order to be true.

Given that

"Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization.[1] It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers. Although it generally refers to religious beliefs that are accepted without reason or evidence, they can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, or issued decisions of political authorities.[2] The term derives from Greek δόγμα "that which seems to one, opinion or belief"[3] and that from δοκέω (dokeo), "to think, to suppose, to imagine".[4] Dogma came to signify laws or ordinances adjudged and imposed upon others by the First Century. The plural is either dogmas or dogmata, from Greek δόγματα. Today, It is sometimes used as a synonym for systematic theology."  from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogma

then something that is true could certainly be "dogma" without some kind of "formal" juridical act, no?

I don't see that one can assume that a Wikipedia (or really any general) definition of the English word 'dogma' is conclusive for Orthodox usage--the common English usage will obviously more strongly reflect Protestant and Roman uses of the term.

However, I would actually agree with you. The reality of the Eucharist has always been dogma in the Orthodox Church--so much so that it has never needed a formal pronouncement because it was never in question.
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« Reply #89 on: March 14, 2012, 06:10:16 PM »

I don't see that one can assume that a Wikipedia (or really any general) definition of the English word 'dogma' is conclusive for Orthodox usage--the common English usage will obviously more strongly reflect Protestant and Roman uses of the term.

However, I would actually agree with you. The reality of the Eucharist has always been dogma in the Orthodox Church--so much so that it has never needed a formal pronouncement because it was never in question.


In what way does an Orthodox dogma differ from the Roman Catholic *spit* concept of a dogma?
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« Reply #90 on: March 14, 2012, 06:22:19 PM »

I don't see that one can assume that a Wikipedia (or really any general) definition of the English word 'dogma' is conclusive for Orthodox usage--the common English usage will obviously more strongly reflect Protestant and Roman uses of the term.

However, I would actually agree with you. The reality of the Eucharist has always been dogma in the Orthodox Church--so much so that it has never needed a formal pronouncement because it was never in question.


In what way does an Orthodox dogma differ from the Roman Catholic *spit* concept of a dogma?

I couldn't tell you. All I know is that anytime this question comes up (either as it has here with RC's trying to determine what Orthodox consider dogma, or on the threads about Byzantine Catholics and their relationship to Roman dogmas), Orthodox responses seem to confuse the RC's, as if the 2 groups are working from a different underlying definition.
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« Reply #91 on: March 14, 2012, 06:24:19 PM »

Quote
The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation.

So there are "truths" necessary for salvation that are not proclaimed in any oecumenical council? Or do you consider the palamite synods oecumenicals?

As made clear on the other thread, you do not even know what you are arguing about when you fuss about St. Palamas. St. Palamas' teaching is 'dogma' in the same sense that the Divinity of Christ and the Humanity of Christ are dogmas--because there has always been and will always only be one Gospel. Anything which expresses that Gospel correctly is dogma, by its very nature and regardless of human recognition. The only role of councils (whether it be the 7 Ecumenical Councils, the Palamite Councils, or any local synod called upon to deliberate a doctrinal issue) is to identify what is a correct expression and condemn what is false expression when some confusion about it has arisen.

You mean that Gregory Palamas teachings are like the divinity of Christ or his humanity? Well to know if a doctrine expresses correctly the Gospel is a matter of interpretation. I think the Filioque and immaculate conception do express the Gospel correctly, so it is dogma. WIll you accept it as well?
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« Reply #92 on: March 14, 2012, 06:25:50 PM »

I don't see that one can assume that a Wikipedia (or really any general) definition of the English word 'dogma' is conclusive for Orthodox usage--the common English usage will obviously more strongly reflect Protestant and Roman uses of the term.

However, I would actually agree with you. The reality of the Eucharist has always been dogma in the Orthodox Church--so much so that it has never needed a formal pronouncement because it was never in question.


In what way does an Orthodox dogma differ from the Roman Catholic *spit* concept of a dogma?

I couldn't tell you. All I know is that anytime this question comes up (either as it has here with RC's trying to determine what Orthodox consider dogma, or on the threads about Byzantine Catholics and their relationship to Roman dogmas), Orthodox responses seem to confuse the RC's, as if the 2 groups are working from a different underlying definition.

I don't think the definition is different, at all. I think the difference lies in the method of dogmatization. Where in the RCC a dogma is 'often' (though not always) definitvely pronounced, the EOC leans the other way and 'often' (though not always) affirms dogmas through common witness of the Saints.
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« Reply #93 on: March 14, 2012, 07:45:35 PM »

Quote
The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation.

So there are "truths" necessary for salvation that are not proclaimed in any oecumenical council? Or do you consider the palamite synods oecumenicals?

As made clear on the other thread, you do not even know what you are arguing about when you fuss about St. Palamas. St. Palamas' teaching is 'dogma' in the same sense that the Divinity of Christ and the Humanity of Christ are dogmas--because there has always been and will always only be one Gospel. Anything which expresses that Gospel correctly is dogma, by its very nature and regardless of human recognition. The only role of councils (whether it be the 7 Ecumenical Councils, the Palamite Councils, or any local synod called upon to deliberate a doctrinal issue) is to identify what is a correct expression and condemn what is false expression when some confusion about it has arisen.

You mean that Gregory Palamas teachings are like the divinity of Christ or his humanity? Well to know if a doctrine expresses correctly the Gospel is a matter of interpretation. I think the Filioque and immaculate conception do express the Gospel correctly, so it is dogma. WIll you accept it as well?
Of course not. They are heretical dogmas, as they express another gospel.
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« Reply #94 on: March 14, 2012, 08:22:51 PM »

Quote
The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation.

So there are "truths" necessary for salvation that are not proclaimed in any oecumenical council? Or do you consider the palamite synods oecumenicals?

As made clear on the other thread, you do not even know what you are arguing about when you fuss about St. Palamas. St. Palamas' teaching is 'dogma' in the same sense that the Divinity of Christ and the Humanity of Christ are dogmas--because there has always been and will always only be one Gospel. Anything which expresses that Gospel correctly is dogma, by its very nature and regardless of human recognition. The only role of councils (whether it be the 7 Ecumenical Councils, the Palamite Councils, or any local synod called upon to deliberate a doctrinal issue) is to identify what is a correct expression and condemn what is false expression when some confusion about it has arisen.

You mean that Gregory Palamas teachings are like the divinity of Christ or his humanity? Well to know if a doctrine expresses correctly the Gospel is a matter of interpretation. I think the Filioque and immaculate conception do express the Gospel correctly, so it is dogma. WIll you accept it as well?
Of course not. They are heretical dogmas, as they express another gospel.

Is it an answer to my first or to my second question?
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« Reply #95 on: March 15, 2012, 12:43:10 AM »

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The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation.

So there are "truths" necessary for salvation that are not proclaimed in any oecumenical council? Or do you consider the palamite synods oecumenicals?

As made clear on the other thread, you do not even know what you are arguing about when you fuss about St. Palamas. St. Palamas' teaching is 'dogma' in the same sense that the Divinity of Christ and the Humanity of Christ are dogmas--because there has always been and will always only be one Gospel. Anything which expresses that Gospel correctly is dogma, by its very nature and regardless of human recognition. The only role of councils (whether it be the 7 Ecumenical Councils, the Palamite Councils, or any local synod called upon to deliberate a doctrinal issue) is to identify what is a correct expression and condemn what is false expression when some confusion about it has arisen.

You mean that Gregory Palamas teachings are like the divinity of Christ or his humanity?

I'm saying that the fact that God is, God does things, we cannot know God in His Essence, but we know Him in His deeds were taught by the Apostles just as they taught that Christ is God and that Christ is human. All these things were taught by the Church from the beginning and the Church only needed to restate them concilliarly because of innovative heretics who came along later and thought they could 'develop' the Faith to something they found more acceptable.

Quote
Well to know if a doctrine expresses correctly the Gospel is a matter of interpretation. I think the Filioque and immaculate conception do express the Gospel correctly, so it is dogma. WIll you accept it as well?

If you can produce any evidence that the Apostles taught either rather than that they were invented out of thin air centuries later, then we'll have something to discuss.
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« Reply #96 on: March 15, 2012, 01:06:37 AM »

Quote
The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation.

So there are "truths" necessary for salvation that are not proclaimed in any oecumenical council? Or do you consider the palamite synods oecumenicals?

As made clear on the other thread, you do not even know what you are arguing about when you fuss about St. Palamas. St. Palamas' teaching is 'dogma' in the same sense that the Divinity of Christ and the Humanity of Christ are dogmas--because there has always been and will always only be one Gospel. Anything which expresses that Gospel correctly is dogma, by its very nature and regardless of human recognition. The only role of councils (whether it be the 7 Ecumenical Councils, the Palamite Councils, or any local synod called upon to deliberate a doctrinal issue) is to identify what is a correct expression and condemn what is false expression when some confusion about it has arisen.

You mean that Gregory Palamas teachings are like the divinity of Christ or his humanity?

Yes, those who explicitly deny the essence-energies distinction cannot experience theosis because they deny that man can truly experience God through His uncreated graces, and are accordingly left to the mercy of God.
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« Reply #97 on: March 15, 2012, 01:09:26 AM »

Quote
The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation.

So there are "truths" necessary for salvation that are not proclaimed in any oecumenical council? Or do you consider the palamite synods oecumenicals?

As made clear on the other thread, you do not even know what you are arguing about when you fuss about St. Palamas. St. Palamas' teaching is 'dogma' in the same sense that the Divinity of Christ and the Humanity of Christ are dogmas--because there has always been and will always only be one Gospel. Anything which expresses that Gospel correctly is dogma, by its very nature and regardless of human recognition. The only role of councils (whether it be the 7 Ecumenical Councils, the Palamite Councils, or any local synod called upon to deliberate a doctrinal issue) is to identify what is a correct expression and condemn what is false expression when some confusion about it has arisen.

You mean that Gregory Palamas teachings are like the divinity of Christ or his humanity? Well to know if a doctrine expresses correctly the Gospel is a matter of interpretation. I think the Filioque and immaculate conception do express the Gospel correctly, so it is dogma. WIll you accept it as well?
Of course not. They are heretical dogmas, as they express another gospel.

Is it an answer to my first or to my second question?
Your second, as Gregory Palamas is not a heretic, his teachings are not heretical, and neither is Christ's two natures.
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« Reply #98 on: March 15, 2012, 04:11:25 AM »

Quote
The essence-energy distinction is necessary for salvation.

So there are "truths" necessary for salvation that are not proclaimed in any oecumenical council? Or do you consider the palamite synods oecumenicals?

As made clear on the other thread, you do not even know what you are arguing about when you fuss about St. Palamas. St. Palamas' teaching is 'dogma' in the same sense that the Divinity of Christ and the Humanity of Christ are dogmas--because there has always been and will always only be one Gospel. Anything which expresses that Gospel correctly is dogma, by its very nature and regardless of human recognition. The only role of councils (whether it be the 7 Ecumenical Councils, the Palamite Councils, or any local synod called upon to deliberate a doctrinal issue) is to identify what is a correct expression and condemn what is false expression when some confusion about it has arisen.

You mean that Gregory Palamas teachings are like the divinity of Christ or his humanity? Well to know if a doctrine expresses correctly the Gospel is a matter of interpretation. I think the Filioque and immaculate conception do express the Gospel correctly, so it is dogma. WIll you accept it as well?
Of course not. They are heretical dogmas, as they express another gospel.

Is it an answer to my first or to my second question?
Your second, as Gregory Palamas is not a heretic, his teachings are not heretical, and neither is Christ's two natures.

Well if it is about my second question, it just proves it is a matter of interpretation and of what is the criteria.
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