Author Topic: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers  (Read 502 times)

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Offline Severian

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The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« on: September 01, 2015, 11:01:46 PM »
How did the early OO Fathers view the Eucharist of the Chalcedonian Churches? John Rufus did not seem to think of their Eucharist as grace-filled, from what I've read of/about him. What about Sts. Severus, Timothy, Theodosius, Philoxenus, etc.?

This thread isn't supposed to be polemical. I just want an analysis of the historical OO view of Chalcedonian sacraments. As much as possible I would like direct quotes from the writings of our Fathers.

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« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 11:02:42 PM by Severian »
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2015, 11:29:56 PM »
There is a book out, the "Practical Christology of Philoxenus".  There was a chapter that explained the polemics against Chalcedonians.  I was reading snippets of that book and it seems it says that at times, he and St. Severus were very clear cut against any grace in the sacraments, but at other times, when push comes to shove, they did not think it was a completely graceless, which is why they would accept Chalcedonians by a confession of faith.  If they were bishops, they were received as bishops as well, despite the fact they received their ordinations from Chalcedonians!
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Offline Severian

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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2015, 11:58:54 PM »
There is a book out, the "Practical Christology of Philoxenus".  There was a chapter that explained the polemics against Chalcedonians.  I was reading snippets of that book and it seems it says that at times, he and St. Severus were very clear cut against any grace in the sacraments, but at other times, when push comes to shove, they did not think it was a completely graceless, which is why they would accept Chalcedonians by a confession of faith.  If they were bishops, they were received as bishops as well, despite the fact they received their ordinations from Chalcedonians!
Interesting... Although, based on what you're saying, there does seem to be a discrepancy between ancient and modern OO practice in this regard, as the modern OOC pretty much universally considers the Byzantine Eucharist to be grace-filled, based on our unanimous acceptance of the agreed statements.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 12:03:30 AM by Severian »
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Offline Severian

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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2015, 12:12:20 AM »
I wonder, how did our Saints receive the non-Ephesian Nestorians into the Church?
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2015, 12:18:28 AM »
If I'm not mistaken, I believe the same rule applied to anti-Ephesians or Nestorians.
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Offline Severian

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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 12:19:54 AM »
If I'm not mistaken, I believe the same rule applied to anti-Ephesians or Nestorians.
Really?! :o

Does that mean they believed they were grace-filled as well? Or was it just some sort of oikonomia?
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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2015, 12:21:22 AM »
this is all for œconomia
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Offline Severian

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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 12:23:16 AM »
this is all for œconomia
Well, if that's the case then it seems they both maintained that the Chalcedonian sacraments were no more efficacious than Nestorian ones. 

EDIT: Fixed grammar error
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 12:40:07 AM by Severian »
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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2015, 03:58:17 AM »
I am not sure I believe it was economia at all. The way that term is used now does not seem to be ancient or patristic at all. It seems to be used by EO to do whatever they want.

The reason that Chalcedonians were received as they were was because they were considered schismatic and in error but not outside the Church. The controversy was one WITHIN the Church. St Severus never wished to see a separate hierarchy established and hoped that the Emperor could be convinced of his error, and he insisted that ordinary lay people within the Chalcedonian party should have as few restrictions placed on them as possible since the theological controversy was usually beyond them.

When the chrismation of some Chalcedonians was performed by a bishop it was called an abomination. This is not the language of economy.

Every time the two parties met they agreed that they had the same faith, but they did not know what to do about Chalcedon. By 553 it was clear that we had the same faith, as the objectionable aspects of Chalcedon were moderated. And from them onwards the practice of receiving EO and ACE by prayer and confession of faith was always used, as already being the canonical form.

Indeed it seems that it is only in the last decades that any other practice as far as members of the Apostolic Churches is concerned has been used, including, regrettably the baptism of some EO and certainly their chrismation in some cases.
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Offline Severian

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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2015, 09:11:03 PM »
^Thank you, Father. This still leaves me with a few questions, though.

1. Did, in fact, St. Severus and others also receive non-Ephesian Nestorians through confession? If this is the case, does that mean that they believed the Nestorians were part of the Church or that they had true sacraments?
2. Are there any clear statements by our Fathers stating that the Chalcedonian Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ?
3. Did our Fathers allow Chalcedonian laity to be communed in Orthodox churches (without having to renounce their Chalcedonian faith) under any circumstance?
4. Did they ever grant dispensation to Orthodox laity to commune in Chalcedonian Churches when they could not attend an Orthodox church?
5. Also, given that St. Severus explicitly states in letter XLVII that we cannot enter into communion with those who receive Chalcedon and the Tome, how does this affect the EO-OO rapprochement efforts in modern times?

FTR, I am of the belief that the EO should be received through confession, as this is the historic practice of the Churches of Alexandria and Antioch. My Confessor Father has stated that he believes the Byzantines to have a true Eucharist and I am inclined to agree with him, but I am wondering if our Fathers and teachers share this belief.

Thank you, as always, for your time and patience
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 09:35:06 PM by Severian »
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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2015, 04:42:19 AM »
Hi Severian

Good questions.

I think it is an anachronism to refer to non-Ephesine Nestorians at this time. The issue was, and should be, Theodore of Mopsuestia. Ibas was his disciple and was circulating his materials. I think that had Ibas been alive a little later, and sought to be admitted to the non-Chalcedonian communion he would have been received by prayer and confession and the rejection of error, and as a bishop. This was the documented practice of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria when the division between the ACE, EO and OO had concretised.

I think that the Fathers of this controversial period did not believe, essentially, that adopting an error led immediately to losing all grace. I think this is a later view, even a very modern view. When we read in the Histories of those monks who had adopted a rather physical view of God, which was certainly error, they were not treated as those who had lost all grace and whose monastic enterprise was utterly repugnant to God, but as those who needed correction in love so that their effort might be more properly directed.

Likewise all of the schisms which took place in those times and during the first millenia. I cannot think of any occasion when the other party was considered to not be the Church at all, allowing for intemperate polemic. We see this in the fact that even after generations of schism such groups were reconciled without baptism or chrismation.

When we start insisting on Orthodoxy being essentially a matter of accepting the right propositions (and you know how much an accurate theology matters to me) then we rapidly end up in tiny groups calling themselves the Last True Genuine Really Orthodox Church. I mean that there are members of even my own Coptic Orthodox Church who I consider to be in error on serious matters, and even to teach error. But I do not rush to assume they have no grace, far from it, since I know that I sin in a hundred ways each day and am much more worthy of being abandoned by God as a fruitless vine.

Yet, when the Church deals with such error, as she must, it is the response of those who are in error which perhaps determines how they are received. If the person or movement accepts correction in love, and we must correct in love, then they are reconciled and we see the working of grace not the absence of grace. They were those who are Orthodox but held error.

If they reject correction, and worse, seperate themselves in schism, then they are, I believe, still Orthodox, but Orthodox not only in error, which is bad, but those who are in schism, which is worse. It seems to me that it is this schismatic spirit, which is not the same as genuinely being convinced of error, which is understood by the Fathers as being poison, and which from St Ignatius of Antioch onwards has been resisted.

It was not that Nestorius was a teacher of the views of Theodore of Mopsuestia which was the gravest problem, though do not doubt that I consider that serious. But these views had been around for a while. It was that he would not receive correction.

I am saying this because I am suggesting that in a community such as the Chalcedonians in the early period, what was significant to the Fathers was not that they had held error, that could be corrected, but whether or not a particular person persisted in what was essentially schism. I mean the separation from those who are also Orthodox Christians. When a Chalcedonian came to the non-Chalcedonian community he was both rejecting schism (and most people just found themselves in situations by birth or circumstance and were not deliberately schismatic on either side), and he was confessing the truth and rejecting error.

By the time of Constantinople II, but already in the Henotikon, and in the various conferences that had taken place, it was clear that most people on both sides believed the same thing. But they had different views about what Chalcedon and the Tome meant, especially as these became totemic.

I would not expect clear statements early on about the EO eucharist. But St Severus writes about those who commemorate names that he would rather were not. He insists that this does not corrupt the eucharist when the faith is pure. And he states that this sort of pragmatism is the tradition of our Fathers. He says this several times, for instance...

"They are not acting rightly who think that our oblation is not pure on account of the names of those who have already died, and who have fallen into heretical tenets, and have not been removed from the sacred tablets; because in fact such matters did not affect the oblation of orthodoxy of the holy fathers also".

Here he is responding to those who think they are more Orthodox than even he is. He says that some of these things don't matter in the long run.

and

"If we search into this, there is no time at which we shall see the church to be pure. If is already well-known that such things have not and never will cause any injury to the whole fulness of the body of Christ".

This seems to me to show that St Severus absolutely rejected the narrow hyperdoxy which is always a temptation. But there was error and it did matter. Nevertheless this seems to describe the approach of St Severus...

"For I believe that we incur equal danger if we abate anything from strictness in the case of strict and perfect men, and if we show untimely strictness in the case of men who need a dispensation and lawful concession, and give our neighbour, as it is written, turbid dregs to drink".

Of course this requires discretion, and many people prefer a law that can be applied ruthlessly. But this does seem to me to represent the OO policy even in the controversial period. Some people need to be dealt with strictly, others with dispensation, for the sake of the salvation of all.

I note that St Severus states in one of his letters that none of those coming over has been re-ordained, and that those who anywhere dare to re-ordain are anathematised. This in a letter about the reality of the priesthood of the non-Chalcedonians. He is responding to the accusation that people were operating without ordination in the non-Chalcedonians, but he insists both on the reality of the priesthood in the n-C and that the Cs are not re-ordained. This seems to me to quite clearly represent a high view of the sacrament of ordination in the C.

He also states elsewhere that it has been determined that not all those who come from heresies should be baptised, but that indeed those who do so, in the case of Chalcedonians especially, are subject to penalty. This suggests, as we know from the general practice from St Timothy onwards, represents a high and compassionate view of the sacrament of baptism among the Cs.

St Severus does write somewhere to an Imperial official about the requirement that he attends Church services, but I can't find the reference at the moment. Do you remember it?

As far as laity goes, the Fathers are very clear that no obstacles are to be placed in their way. I also think we need to be careful what we mean by Chalcedonianism. Until 553 there had not been that clear exclusion of objectional possibilities which then took place. There are indeed no such things as Chalcedonians, it seems to me. But they are Chalcedonian/Constantinopolitans. This must be taken into account. For myself, when an EO attends Church he has already repudiated any false understanding of Chalcedon by his very presence. Not indeed that I am suggesting he would have held false understandings. And his acceptance of Constantinople 553 seems to me to already have rejected that which St Severus would have required be rejected.

My view is that in the time of St Severus there was no such thing as Chalcedonian laity and non-Chalcedonian laity, as if they were clearly distinguished. I believe that laity made the most of the sacraments they were offered. They could choose the priest to some extent, but not always, and they could not easily choose their bishop. If they were a strict Chalcedonian (and this would not include the vast majority of laity it seems to me) then they would not seek to receive communion from an anti-Chalcedonian priest. And vice-versa. The Fathers seem to have understood that most laity, most rural and working peasantry and tradespeople, were in a different situation to priests, and especially to bishops.

As to the last point. Well I am a disciple of St Severus, but I receive Chalcedon and the Tome in an appropriate manner. We all do. But we are also critical. Things have changed. We do not live in the 5th/6th century, and our Fathers worked towards reconciliation and did not believe there were two Churches, but only one which was disturbed by the teaching of error.  We are the disciples of our Fathers living in the 21st century. The EO are not bare Chalcedonians and our later Fathers have also taught that they have the same faith as us. We have never baptised them, or chrismated them, or ordained them, but we believe that they had accepted error.

Shall we look at ourselves? There is error in our own communion. Do we cease to be the Church because of it? We might do. But I believe the Holy Spirit preserves us from such ruin in the end. I believe that he has already corrected that which was objectionable in the 5th/6th centuries.

In that controversial period things were being driven apart. That calls for one response. The creation of schism does demand strictness. But now we are in a different time, where there is the possibility of reconciliation, and where a different response is required. No one living today participated in the events of Chalcedon, or lived in the time before 553. We cannot treat EO as if they are personally responsible, nor we be treated in such a way ourselves. We have manifestly the same faith it seems to me and the Chalcedonian sacraments have never been repeated even in the most difficult of times.
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Offline Severian

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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2015, 08:47:56 AM »
^Thank you very much for your comprehensive response, Father.

Regarding your question:

Quote
St Severus does write somewhere to an Imperial official about the requirement that he attends Church services, but I can't find the reference at the moment. Do you remember it?

I am not sure if this is to whom you are referring:

Quote from: Severus of Antioch, by Pauline Allen and CTR Hayward
Although Severus states in one of his letters to the noblewoman Caesaria, translated below (Text 23), that ‘one should not even offer an ordinary greeting to those who bring another doctrine and do not teach the orthodox faith’, his position regarding Chalcedonians was somewhat more nuanced. In the same letter, he acknowledges that those who occupy official positions, like Caesaria herself, may at times be required to be present at ceremonies in a Chalcedonian church: it is legitimate for them on those occasions to listen to the readings and prayers, as long as they do not communicate.

Here is the text of said letter from the same book:

Quote
Translated from SL IV.10:306–9
Of the same, to Caesaria the hypatissa
Because you have asked (out of the devoutness which loves doctrine) if some of the orthodox are acting properly when they do not communicate with the heretics, but only hear the reading of the holy Gospel, or even remain at the time of the eucharistic prayers but do not communicate in those things which are being confected: the reply is absolutely clear to those who are not ignorant of the divine laws. For John the Evangelist, speaker of divine things, wrote: You are our letter, written in our heart, and known and read by all people (2 Cor 3:2).
If, therefore, one should not even offer an ordinary greeting to those who bring another doctrine and do not (p. 307) teach the orthodox faith, how could anyone take part in the prayers and lections or in Page 147 anything else of this kind, with people who are like these? And that wise man Paul also commands that we should turn away our sight from those who serve the work of heresy, when he writes thus to Titus: A man who is a heretic after one admonition and two avoid: knowing that such a man is perverted and sins, being self- condemned (Ti 3:10). Therefore, the one who assembles with the sinners makes himself liable to the same verdict. But the holy canons of the church have also plainly rejected the notion that a person might pray with the heretics. For the 135th canon says: ‘lt is not lawful to receive the blessings of the heretics, which are not blessings, but rather non-blessings’. And immediately next to it is the 136th canon, which states: ‘lt is not lawful to pray with the heretics or schismatics’.16 And these matters are stated with some exactitude. But when I (lowly individual that I am, in accordance with my lowly knowledge) observe the extent of the Scripture inspired by God, then I find that those who are in ministerial appointments or in high offices of state and who are required to be near and follow around those who hold power, are counted worthy of a dispensation; so that when they go in with them and hear the lections and the prayers, they may preserve their integrity. By this I mean that they do not participate in the communion from which they are divided. For observe this: in the Fourth Book of Reigns17 is written something along these lines. (p. 308) A man, captain of the army of the king of Syria (which is Damascus), whose name was Na’aman, and he was a leper, went to the prophet Elisha and was counted worthy of cleansing from his disease. And as a result of his being healed, he acknowledged the one and unique true God of Israel, even the maker and creator of all; and he spat out the gods which were false in name, and his ancestral worship, and idolatry And when he was about to go back to his homeland, he said to the prophet that he would not again give heed to foreign gods and empty demons. He said: ‘But even if the king of Syria goes into the temple of the demon who is called in their land Rimmon, and I go in with him too (when I
75
show honour to him and support him with my hand), I will do obeisance to the true God in my own mind, and him alone will I acknowledge; but I will not participate with the king in the idolatry and bow down with him to the demon’. He said: ‘Only pray for me, that God may indeed pardon me in this affair, because (I act out) of necessity’.
And the prophet was silent, and neither gave praise nor found fault; but pursued something of a middle way through silence, and gave him a dispensation. And when he had said farewell to him, he let him go away And it is good that we should also quote the words of Page 148 the divine Scripture which Na’aman uttered to the prophet, which are along these lines: ‘Your servant will never again make burnt offering or sacrifice to other gods, except to the Lord only. And because of this thing, may the Lord pardon your servant when my lord goes into the house of Rimmon to bow down to him there, since he (p. 309) will be supported by my hands. And when he bows down in the house of Rimmon, I will bow with him, but to the Lord God. And may the Lord pardon your servant because of this business. And Elisha said to Na’aman: ‘Go in peace’ (4 Kgs 5:17–19). Since, therefore, Your Illustrious Honour is aware of these things, I pray that with a faith pure and clear you may travel along the Lord’s paths in deed and word. For along with these other outstanding qualities of yours, I am amazed also at your reading and meditation in the divine words which your divine-loving letters bring forth as flowers and fruits, and which gladden those they reach.
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« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 08:48:46 AM by Severian »
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Offline Iconodule

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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2015, 10:29:50 AM »
Fr. Georges Florovsky's The Byzantine Fathers gives a pretty in-depth look at the period after Chalcedon up to Nicaea II.

http://www.holytrinitymission.org/books/english/fathers_florovsky_3.htm

There appears to be a period or two where communion was shared begrudgingly between Chalcedonians and anti-Chalcedonians, such as during Emperor Zeno's henotikon. At other times, Chalcedonians and anti-Chalcedonians shouted rival versions of the trisagion at the same service, which would suggest they shared the same cup. Again, at other times, anti-Chalcedonians received communion only from their own clergy though it might after a common service. Patriarch John Scholasticus was extremely heavy-handed and reportedly forced anti-Chalcedonians to swallow eucharist consecrated by Chalcedonian clergy.
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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2015, 01:11:09 PM »
Yes, thanks Severian, that is the letter I am thinking of. And it seems to me that he does not dismiss out of hand what is happening. There is a confection, and it is a communion from which we are divided. But he naturally speaks in a strict way because he is in the middle of a division that is forming and in which it is necessary to take sides.
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Offline Severian

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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2015, 03:54:50 PM »
^Thank you both for your contributions
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Re: The Chalcedonian Eucharist in the Perception of the OO Fathers
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2015, 03:25:34 AM »
It must be remembered that St Severus never wished to insititute a formal division, and the final consecration of bishops was due to absolute need in the end.

He understood this as a controversy within the Church and always hoped that the Emperor would see reason and bring about necessary conditions. I think it is a modern sectarian attitude which looks for error everywhere and the separates from it. At Nicaea, for instance, we know that there were a variety of views represented, which were not all as accurate as others. And we know that the Easterners were received by St Cyril on the basis of them explaining themselves as best they could, not by accepting the most accurate Christology.

In the one, disturbed Church, there were bishops and priests teaching error, others swaying this way and that depending on the Imperial opinion, others not really seeing that there was a big argument, while most ordinary laity and priests did their best to get up in the morning and pray, and find somewhere to worship.

This is why the policy was that laity were not to be burdened very much at all. Even now, we do not make academic theology the test of membership of the Church.
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