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Author Topic: Sinless Mary?  (Read 4193 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 14, 2012, 11:15:14 AM »

I have read that the Orthodox church believes that the Theotokos never sinned during her entire life?
This is one thing I cannot agree with the church. If someone lives a life without any sin then they cant be human.

It seems that I'm not the only one too. The priest in this video agrees with me and says it is not Orthodox to believe that she was sinless.
Go to 5:40 of the video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhqJSLY0p_M
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2012, 11:19:01 AM »

Some Orthodox believe that, others don't. It's not a dogma and you aren't required to believe one or the other (or either).
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2012, 11:34:08 AM »

Some Orthodox believe that, others don't. It's not a dogma and you aren't required to believe one or the other (or either).
Thank you for the information, its makes more sense that the Orthodox Church does not have a dogma on this issue like the Catholic Church because this is a very debatable issue.
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2012, 11:51:50 AM »

I have read that the Orthodox church believes that the Theotokos never sinned during her entire life?
This is one thing I cannot agree with the church. If someone lives a life without any sin then they cant be human.

I don't agree. Christ was completely human.

The priest you linked to was arguing more against the dogma of "immaculate conception."
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2012, 12:04:31 PM »

If someone lives a life without any sin then they cant be human.

Is it? That would indicate that we were created to sin.

Instead, to live a life without sin is to be fully human, as we were originally created/intended in a life with God.
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2012, 12:05:06 PM »

What Iconodule said.  One could argue that to be truly human is to be sinless.

As far as the Theotokos being sinless goes, I have heard people differentiate between voluntary and involuntary sin.  I haven't yet decided if that is particularly helpful or not.
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2012, 12:07:43 PM »

If someone lives a life without any sin then they cant be human.

Is it? That would indicate that we were created to sin.

Instead, to live a life without sin is to be fully human, as we were originally created/intended in a life with God.
But the priest in the video said because Catholics say she is sinless they are comparing her to God
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2012, 12:20:43 PM »

If someone lives a life without any sin then they cant be human.

Is it? That would indicate that we were created to sin.

Instead, to live a life without sin is to be fully human, as we were originally created/intended in a life with God.
But the priest in the video said because Catholics say she is sinless they are comparing her to God

Her sinlessness makes her divine? Hardly.

A couple question-answers: In comparison, what then is theosis? Were Adam and Eve created with the desire to sin/reject God?
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2012, 12:21:02 PM »

It is a tradition in the Church that Mary was so in close communion with God her entire life, so in-step with His will, that she never committed any voluntary sin (that is, willing herself to sin). Chances are, she did commit involuntary sins.

She was also in need of a Savior, just like the rest of us. She, like us, inherited a fallen human nature that was exposed to corruption and death, and she died involuntarily just like the rest of us (only Christ dies voluntarily), and therefore has to trust in Christ to raise her from the dead.

The Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception, however, is quite different. This argues that the Theotokos was prevented from receiving guilt of Adam's sin, and therefore did not inherit sin so that Christ could be born without sin. This is borne out of how the RCC understands Original Sin, believing that all humanity is actually guilty of Adam's sin, and so if Christ is borne human he would be guilty, too, and that can't happen. For the Orthodox, there is no "original guilt" and so there is no need for the Immaculate Conception doctrine.

On the contrary, many Orthodox argue that it removes the Virgin Mary from humanity by changing her nature, and therefore would give Christ a different nature than the rest of humanity. Extrapolating based on the Patristic quote, "what is not assumed is not saved"...if Christ's humanity is different than ours, we cannot be saved. Therefore, Christ must inherit our fallen nature, when he received from the Mother of God.
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2012, 12:36:34 PM »

If someone lives a life without any sin then they cant be human.

Is it? That would indicate that we were created to sin.

Instead, to live a life without sin is to be fully human, as we were originally created/intended in a life with God.
But the priest in the video said because Catholics say she is sinless they are comparing her to God

Just to be clear, this is the section that you are referring to, correct?

Assuming the translation is correct:

Quote
"And then the Immaculate Conception, that the Mother of God was born without sin!  A great error!  We know who the Theotokos is!  It is mind-boggling!  But you compare her to God, you make her identical to Him?  She is, still, His servant.  "All nations shall call me blessed."  That's another thing.  But she was born with the original sin she inherited from Adam and through the intercession of the Holy Spirit at birth, the sin was lifted.  We escape from its bonds at Holy Baptism."  -Father Arsenie Papacioc

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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2012, 12:45:53 PM »

This is borne out of how the RCC understands Original Sin, believing that all humanity is actually guilty of Adam's sin

Hereditary Guilt?
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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2012, 01:12:01 PM »

If someone lives a life without any sin then they cant be human.

Is it? That would indicate that we were created to sin.

Instead, to live a life without sin is to be fully human, as we were originally created/intended in a life with God.
But the priest in the video said because Catholics say she is sinless they are comparing her to God

Just to be clear, this is the section that you are referring to, correct?

Assuming the translation is correct:

Quote
"And then the Immaculate Conception, that the Mother of God was born without sin!  A great error!  We know who the Theotokos is!  It is mind-boggling!  But you compare her to God, you make her identical to Him?  She is, still, His servant.  "All nations shall call me blessed."  That's another thing.  But she was born with the original sin she inherited from Adam and through the intercession of the Holy Spirit at birth, the sin was lifted.  We escape from its bonds at Holy Baptism."  -Father Arsenie Papacioc


Yes this is the exact quote I'm referring to
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« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2012, 03:49:00 PM »

If someone lives a life without any sin then they cant be human.

Is it? That would indicate that we were created to sin.

Instead, to live a life without sin is to be fully human, as we were originally created/intended in a life with God.
But the priest in the video said because Catholics say she is sinless they are comparing her to God

Just to be clear, this is the section that you are referring to, correct?

Assuming the translation is correct:

Quote
"And then the Immaculate Conception, that the Mother of God was born without sin!  A great error!  We know who the Theotokos is!  It is mind-boggling!  But you compare her to God, you make her identical to Him?  She is, still, His servant.  "All nations shall call me blessed."  That's another thing.  But she was born with the original sin she inherited from Adam and through the intercession of the Holy Spirit at birth, the sin was lifted.  We escape from its bonds at Holy Baptism."  -Father Arsenie Papacioc


Yes this is the exact quote I'm referring to

Father Arsenie is not arguing that the Theotokos was voluntarily sinful.  He is arguing that she is of the same humanity that all humans are.  However, it does not necessarily follow that she was sinful.  But this really isn't a quote that should be used in this debate.  This does not seem to be the main focus of what he is saying.  How familiar are you with the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception?
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« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2012, 03:57:32 PM »

Quote
Father Arsenie is not arguing that the Theotokos was voluntarily sinful.  He is arguing that she is of the same humanity that all humans are.  However, it does not necessarily follow that she was sinful.  But this really isn't a quote that should be used in this debate.  This does not seem to be the main focus of what he is saying.  How familiar are you with the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception?
I know that it means that Mary did no inherit the original sin.

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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2012, 06:09:03 PM »

It is a tradition in the Church that Mary was so in close communion with God her entire life, so in-step with His will, that she never committed any voluntary sin (that is, willing herself to sin). Chances are, she did commit involuntary sins.

Just for balance, St John Chrysostom, a relatively early Saint of the Church of unimpeachable orthodoxy, did not take this view.
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« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2012, 06:50:03 PM »

It is a tradition in the Church that Mary was so in close communion with God her entire life, so in-step with His will, that she never committed any voluntary sin (that is, willing herself to sin). Chances are, she did commit involuntary sins.

Just for balance, St John Chrysostom, a relatively early Saint of the Church of unimpeachable orthodoxy, did not take this view.

Every saint has his faults, I suppose.

To the OP: it does seem like there are some Orthodox who think Mary sinned. It's very disconcerting to me that this opinion is allowed but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to evangelical convert types.
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« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2012, 07:08:23 PM »

It's very disconcerting to me that this opinion is allowed but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to evangelical convert types.

Your condescension in this matter is greatly appreciated!
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« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2012, 08:30:42 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I have read that the Orthodox church believes that the Theotokos never sinned during her entire life?
This is one thing I cannot agree with the church. If someone lives a life without any sin then they cant be human.

It seems that I'm not the only one too. The priest in this video agrees with me and says it is not Orthodox to believe that she was sinless.
Go to 5:40 of the video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhqJSLY0p_M

You misunderstand, Mary was indeed sinless, but it was not because of a lack of ability to Sin.  Mary was fully human, and like the rest of us was perfectly susceptible to the potentiality for sin just as we are all.  However, She is the Full of Grace, which is to say, that God filled Her with His Grace, and through mechanism She was preserved from sin.  She didn't necessarily avoid sin entirely by Her own strength or merit, rather, God helped Her to remain without sin.  The emphasis then in Her sinlessness is not Her, but rather God.

stay blessed,
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« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2012, 08:39:34 PM »

romanian fathers are proud extremists.. and can`t wait to slap the RCC when they get the ocasion.. Fr Arsenie Papacioc was like that from my pov and Elder Cleopa also , but i didn`t hear a strong argumentation for their proud claims..
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« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2012, 09:08:35 PM »

It is a tradition in the Church that Mary was so in close communion with God her entire life, so in-step with His will, that she never committed any voluntary sin (that is, willing herself to sin). Chances are, she did commit involuntary sins.

Just for balance, St John Chrysostom, a relatively early Saint of the Church of unimpeachable orthodoxy, did not take this view.

Every saint has his faults, I suppose.

To the OP: it does seem like there are some Orthodox who think Mary sinned. It's very disconcerting to me that this opinion is allowed but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to evangelical convert types.

Yes. Got to watch out for those evangelical convert types like Sts. John Chrysostom, Basil, and Cyril.

It's very disconcerting to me that an opinion first propounded by Pelagius is allowed, but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to roman convert types.
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« Reply #20 on: July 14, 2012, 09:15:59 PM »

It is a tradition in the Church that Mary was so in close communion with God her entire life, so in-step with His will, that she never committed any voluntary sin (that is, willing herself to sin). Chances are, she did commit involuntary sins.

Just for balance, St John Chrysostom, a relatively early Saint of the Church of unimpeachable orthodoxy, did not take this view.

Every saint has his faults, I suppose.

To the OP: it does seem like there are some Orthodox who think Mary sinned. It's very disconcerting to me that this opinion is allowed but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to evangelical convert types.

Yes. Got to watch out for those evangelical convert types like Sts. John Chrysostom, Basil, and Cyril.

It's very disconcerting to me that an opinion first propounded by Pelagius is allowed, but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to roman convert types.

It's disconcerting to you that the universal tradition of the Orthodox Church is allowed within the Orthodox Church?

Yeah, that worries me even more. In addition to the falsification of patristics.
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« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2012, 10:17:53 PM »

It is a tradition in the Church that Mary was so in close communion with God her entire life, so in-step with His will, that she never committed any voluntary sin (that is, willing herself to sin). Chances are, she did commit involuntary sins.

Just for balance, St John Chrysostom, a relatively early Saint of the Church of unimpeachable orthodoxy, did not take this view.

Every saint has his faults, I suppose.

To the OP: it does seem like there are some Orthodox who think Mary sinned. It's very disconcerting to me that this opinion is allowed but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to evangelical convert types.
My mother is Orthodox and my father is Catholic, so how am I an evangelical convert???
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« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2012, 10:43:54 PM »

It is a tradition in the Church that Mary was so in close communion with God her entire life, so in-step with His will, that she never committed any voluntary sin (that is, willing herself to sin). Chances are, she did commit involuntary sins.

Just for balance, St John Chrysostom, a relatively early Saint of the Church of unimpeachable orthodoxy, did not take this view.

Every saint has his faults, I suppose.

To the OP: it does seem like there are some Orthodox who think Mary sinned. It's very disconcerting to me that this opinion is allowed but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to evangelical convert types.
My mother is Orthodox and my father is Catholic, so how am I an evangelical convert???

I don't think he meant you.
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« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2012, 10:54:00 PM »

Of course she sinned in her life.   She was certainly accused of adultery and not believed.   If she never sinned and never had faults, then they wouldn't have questioned her.  (Esp in book of John).

But she is the Theotokos, and she is blessed amongst women.  I hope she is praying for me!
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« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2012, 11:26:07 PM »

It's very disconcerting to me that this opinion is allowed but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to evangelical convert types.

William, you aren't even Orthodox, you're an inquirer. Chill your beans.
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« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2012, 11:56:07 PM »

It's very disconcerting to me that this opinion is allowed but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to evangelical convert types.

William, you aren't even Orthodox, you're an inquirer. Chill your beans.

Because I CAN'T be anything more than an inquirer.

Anyway, I've seen a priestmonk post on this forum agreeing with me that Orthodox people saying Mary sinned is somewhat scandalous.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37028.msg685667.html#msg685667
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« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2012, 12:04:51 AM »

It's very disconcerting to me that this opinion is allowed but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to evangelical convert types.

William, you aren't even Orthodox, you're an inquirer. Chill your beans.

Because I CAN'T be anything more than an inquirer.

Anyway, I've seen a priestmonk post on this forum agreeing with me that Orthodox people saying Mary sinned is somewhat scandalous.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37028.msg685667.html#msg685667

I apologize for misunderstanding your current condition, but I still don't think that you have the authority to say which theological opinions should be "allowed" or not. Mary's sinlessness isn't dogmatized, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Mary may have committed some involuntary sin, especially before she bore Christ.
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« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2012, 12:09:40 AM »

It's very disconcerting to me that this opinion is allowed but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to evangelical convert types.

William, you aren't even Orthodox, you're an inquirer. Chill your beans.

Because I CAN'T be anything more than an inquirer.

Anyway, I've seen a priestmonk post on this forum agreeing with me that Orthodox people saying Mary sinned is somewhat scandalous.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37028.msg685667.html#msg685667

I apologize for misunderstanding your current condition, but I still don't think that you have the authority to say which theological opinions should be "allowed" or not. Mary's sinlessness isn't dogmatized,

I wasn't saying I have the authority to make the decision. Just that I'm uncomfortable with  the decision that I accept has been made.

Quote
and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Mary may have committed some involuntary sin, especially before she bore Christ.

 Sad
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« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2012, 12:50:13 AM »

It's disconcerting to you that the universal tradition of the Orthodox Church is allowed within the Orthodox Church?

 Roll Eyes
In order to be 'the universal tradition' of the Orthodox Church a teaching would need to be
a) declared by an Ecumenical Council
b) taught by every significant Father who touched on the subject
c) declared in the lex orendi

or, preferably, all 3 of the above.

The theologoumena that the Theotokos never sinned does not fit any of the above criteria.

a) The Councils of the Church are silent on the issue
b) Sts. John Chrysostom, Basil, and Cyril, recognized by the Church as three of the greatest teachers of Orthodoxy ever not only did not believe the Theotokos was sinless but there is no evidence that their teaching on the matter was even considered controversial in the 4th century. The only significant Father in the first 8 centuries to explicitly acknowledge even the possibility that the Theotokos was completely without sin was St. Augustine--and he  only did so in the context of Pelagius' claim that multiple human beings (including the Theotokos) had lived completely without sin. In response, St.  Augustine said, "well, I won't dispute with you about the Theotokos because who knows about the Mother of God--but you are definitely wrong about all the others".
c) Every liturgy calls Christ "the only Sinless One"--and yes, I'm aware of sophistic arguments that somehow 'only' doesn't really mean only.  The problem with all of them is that the phrase in question was put there by Sts. Basil and St. John Chrysostom--and we know that when they said Christ was the only sinless One, they didn't think the Theotokos was an exception. So everytime you participate in the liturgy and repeat the words/teachings of St. Basil and St. John, the lex orendi declares the actual 'univeral teaching' of the Church.

Quote
Yeah, that worries me even more. In addition to the falsification of patristics.

That's an interesting charge. Care to back it up?
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« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2012, 12:59:04 AM »

The reason many find it unsettling is because they are used to legalistic Atonement way of looking at things where guilt and sin are the primary problems whereas in Orthodoxy sin is not so much the problem as death is. Whether or not she sinned is irrelevant, but what we do know is that she still inherited the consequences (not guilt!) of Adam's sin--which is death. The real problem that Jesus fixed.
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« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2012, 12:59:26 AM »

Of course she sinned in her life.   She was certainly accused of adultery and not believed.   If she never sinned and never had faults, then they wouldn't have questioned her.  (Esp in book of John).

But she is the Theotokos, and she is blessed amongst women.  I hope she is praying for me!

Not to terribly nit-picky, but this sort of "If there's smoke there's fire" logic could also be applied to Jesus, then: "If He never sinned and never had faults, then they wouldn't have questioned/accused Him."
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« Reply #31 on: July 15, 2012, 01:06:20 AM »

If she never sinned and never had faults, then they wouldn't have questioned her.  (Esp in book of John).

I find this logic unsettling. They constantly questioned, accused, distrusted, attempted to arrest, tortured and arrested and Crucified Jesus Himself. Does this mean that He had faults or else they would not have done all of this to Him?
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« Reply #32 on: July 15, 2012, 01:35:30 AM »

The reason many find it unsettling is because they are used to legalistic Atonement way of looking at things where guilt and sin are the primary problems whereas in Orthodoxy sin is not so much the problem as death is. Whether or not she sinned is irrelevant, but what we do know is that she still inherited the consequences (not guilt!) of Adam's sin--which is death. The real problem that Jesus fixed.

Jesus didn't just defeat death, he also bore our sins.
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« Reply #33 on: July 15, 2012, 01:44:19 AM »

The reason many find it unsettling is because they are used to legalistic Atonement way of looking at things where guilt and sin are the primary problems whereas in Orthodoxy sin is not so much the problem as death is. Whether or not she sinned is irrelevant, but what we do know is that she still inherited the consequences (not guilt!) of Adam's sin--which is death. The real problem that Jesus fixed.

Jesus didn't just defeat death, he also bore our sins.

You clearly do not understand Orthodox teaching. Jesus did bear our sins, but the way He did that was through defeating death. Sin leads to death. So Jesus defeated death because our sins brought death upon us. He did not bear our sins to satisfy some grudge that His pissed off Father had. If that were true then God would be an unjust despot who contradicts Himself by demanding human sacrifice and scapegoating the innocent and on top of that an abusive father.
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« Reply #34 on: July 15, 2012, 01:55:13 AM »

It's disconcerting to you that the universal tradition of the Orthodox Church is allowed within the Orthodox Church?

 Roll Eyes
In order to be 'the universal tradition' of the Orthodox Church a teaching would need to be
a) declared by an Ecumenical Council
b) taught by every significant Father who touched on the subject
c) declared in the lex orendi

or, preferably, all 3 of the above.

Nicaea II calls Mary immaculate. So do plenty of hymns.

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b) Sts. John Chrysostom, Basil, and Cyril, recognized by the Church as three of the greatest teachers of Orthodoxy ever not only did not believe the Theotokos was sinless but there is no evidence that their teaching on the matter was even considered controversial in the 4th century. The only significant Father in the first 8 centuries to explicitly acknowledge even the possibility that the Theotokos was completely without sin was St. Augustine--and he  only did so in the context of Pelagius' claim that multiple human beings (including the Theotokos) had lived completely without sin. In response, St.  Augustine said, "well, I won't dispute with you about the Theotokos because who knows about the Mother of God--but you are definitely wrong about all the others".

Let's not forget St. Ephrem and St. Ambrose. That's the falsification of patristics I was talking about.

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c) Every liturgy calls Christ "the only Sinless One"--and yes, I'm aware of sophistic arguments that somehow 'only' doesn't really mean only.  The problem with all of them is that the phrase in question was put there by Sts. Basil and St. John Chrysostom--and we know that when they said Christ was the only sinless One, they didn't think the Theotokos was an exception. So everytime you participate in the liturgy and repeat the words/teachings of St. Basil and St. John, the lex orendi declares the actual 'univeral teaching' of the Church.
I'm sure you've got your own sophistic explanations about how Orthodox hymnography's references to the Panagia don't mean she was really all holy.

The Holy Spirit inspired the liturgy writers, preventing them from putting their errors into it.
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« Reply #35 on: July 15, 2012, 02:00:08 AM »

The reason many find it unsettling is because they are used to legalistic Atonement way of looking at things where guilt and sin are the primary problems whereas in Orthodoxy sin is not so much the problem as death is. Whether or not she sinned is irrelevant, but what we do know is that she still inherited the consequences (not guilt!) of Adam's sin--which is death. The real problem that Jesus fixed.

Jesus didn't just defeat death, he also bore our sins.

You clearly do not understand Orthodox teaching. Jesus did bear our sins, but the way He did that was through defeating death. Sin leads to death. So Jesus defeated death because our sins brought death upon us. He did not bear our sins to satisfy some grudge that His pissed off Father had. If that were true then God would be an unjust despot who contradicts Himself by demanding human sacrifice and scapegoating the innocent and on top of that an abusive father.

I never said that He bore our sins to satisfy a pissed off Father. That's a misrepresentation of substitutionary atonement. Substitutionary atonement is a perfectly Biblical and Patristic doctrine and is taught in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #36 on: July 15, 2012, 02:20:36 AM »

Nicaea II calls Mary immaculate. So do plenty of hymns.

That she is is all-immaculate (and most pure, most blessed, more honorable than the Cherubim, etc, etc.) is not in question. As St. John of Damascus says "So then, after the assent of the holy Virgin, the Holy Spirit descended on her, according to the word of the Lord which the angel spoke, purifying her". That is simply a separate question from whether she ever did anything that required her to be purified in the attainment of her present state.

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b) Sts. John Chrysostom, Basil, and Cyril, recognized by the Church as three of the greatest teachers of Orthodoxy ever not only did not believe the Theotokos was sinless but there is no evidence that their teaching on the matter was even considered controversial in the 4th century. The only significant Father in the first 8 centuries to explicitly acknowledge even the possibility that the Theotokos was completely without sin was St. Augustine--and he  only did so in the context of Pelagius' claim that multiple human beings (including the Theotokos) had lived completely without sin. In response, St.  Augustine said, "well, I won't dispute with you about the Theotokos because who knows about the Mother of God--but you are definitely wrong about all the others".

Let's not forget St. Ephrem and St. Ambrose. That's the falsification of patristics I was talking about.

I'm not aware of anything written by St. Ephrem or St. Ambrose that disagrees with the understanding of the Theotokos 'immaculateness' given by St. John of Damascus (or, for that matter, Sts. Basil, John Chrystom, and Cyril). If you are aware of any statement by either saint that says that not only is the Theotokos all-immaculate now, but has always been so, then please provide it. You have accused me of 'falsifying' patristics. The onus is on you to demonstrate that I have made any false statements.

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c) Every liturgy calls Christ "the only Sinless One"--and yes, I'm aware of sophistic arguments that somehow 'only' doesn't really mean only.  The problem with all of them is that the phrase in question was put there by Sts. Basil and St. John Chrysostom--and we know that when they said Christ was the only sinless One, they didn't think the Theotokos was an exception. So everytime you participate in the liturgy and repeat the words/teachings of St. Basil and St. John, the lex orendi declares the actual 'univeral teaching' of the Church.
I'm sure you've got your own sophistic explanations about how Orthodox hymnography's references to the Panagia don't mean she was really all holy.

I have never questioned the Church's teaching that the Theotokos is all-holy. This discussion would proceed better if you addressed what was actually stated rather than inventing claims.

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The Holy Spirit inspired the liturgy writers, preventing them from putting their errors into it.

And yet, He inspired them to put in their belief that Christ is the only Sinless One.
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« Reply #37 on: July 16, 2012, 12:59:16 AM »

St. John the Wonderworker believed she did not sin and said so in his book on her.

Be that as it may…the middle ground, I think, for those who have difficulty with this is….the Holy Scriptures do not accuse her of any sin, far be it from me to do so.

It is not an entirely clear area of discourse, for there are prayers that address Christ as the only sinless One, and other prayers that address the Theotokos in very similar terms…so it is natural to ask which is it.

Most Orthodox I know accept both propositions without trying to reconcile them…for others this is just an invitation to dig deeper and come to either a fuller understanding of Orthodox theology and anthropology…or a deeper understanding of our own dullness and ignorance…sometimes both.

The answer probably lies somewhere in one of the liturgical texts and prayers of the Church that are heard less often by most people than others.

Consider that we know Christ is the Saviour but regularly encounter pleas for the Theotokos to save us….how can she do this if she is not herself a/the saviour?  But if you stay around long enough you eventually hear the fuller form of that entreaty to the Theotokos. It says, "save us by your prayers…" Ah…now it makes sense.  Perhaps this issue of her purity and sinlessness with respect to that of Christ has a similar resolution.

My guess is that this "difficulty" is an invitation to step closer and dig deeper in the in the liturgical guise of an anomaly or paradox.
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« Reply #38 on: July 16, 2012, 01:28:21 AM »

I'm sure you've got your own sophistic explanations about how Orthodox hymnography's references to the Panagia don't mean she was really all holy.

The Holy Spirit inspired the liturgy writers, preventing them from putting their errors into it.

I think it's difficult to argue that hymnography doesn't contain statements that are rhetorically worded and potentially problematic, particularly if taken too literally.  Rather than doubt the Holy Spirit, I'm keen to doubt the statement about it preventing writers from erring.

Broader discussion on whether hymnography is inerrant or not deserves to be in a thread on that topic, but my point is that "proof-texting" bits of hymnography is equally, if not more troublesome than doing the same with Scripture.
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« Reply #39 on: July 16, 2012, 02:52:23 AM »

I'm sure you've got your own sophistic explanations about how Orthodox hymnography's references to the Panagia don't mean she was really all holy.

The Holy Spirit inspired the liturgy writers, preventing them from putting their errors into it.

I think it's difficult to argue that hymnography doesn't contain statements that are rhetorically worded and potentially problematic, particularly if taken too literally.  Rather than doubt the Holy Spirit, I'm keen to doubt the statement about it preventing writers from erring.

Broader discussion on whether hymnography is inerrant or not deserves to be in a thread on that topic, but my point is that "proof-texting" bits of hymnography is equally, if not more troublesome than doing the same with Scripture.

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« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2012, 04:26:57 AM »

The oft-repeated liturgical phrase "panayias, ahrantou, yperevloghimeni, endhoxou" does not rise as high as "never sinned at any time", though I suppose it does not exclude such an interpretation.
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« Reply #41 on: July 16, 2012, 04:58:11 AM »

Some Orthodox believe that, others don't. It's not a dogma and you aren't required to believe one or the other (or either).

True, but who among us would challenge the language of Orthodox hymnology?

"It is truly meet to praise thee....Thou who without sin didst bare God the Word..."

"Spotless one, who by a word did bring to us the Word eternal..."

"A fountain of pureness, and a tower of safety is she who carried You..."

"You who are the spotless one..."

"Spotless, undefiled, immaculate, unstained pure Virgin..."

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« Reply #42 on: July 16, 2012, 05:12:34 AM »

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Thou who without sin didst bare God the Word..."

Ahem. The Magnificat/Megalynarion known as It Is Meet (Axion Estin, Dostoyno Yest') does NOT say "without sin". It says "without corruption". Adhiaphtoros does not mean without sin.

Please, do not put words in hymnographers' mouths.  police
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« Reply #43 on: July 16, 2012, 07:25:32 AM »

I would say what my priest said during my catechism, "We say that Mary is a holy person...thats it."

I would say this is as good an explanation as I've heard. She is a holy person and we really should not add anything to her, lets we distract ourselves from the fruit of her womb Smiley

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« Reply #44 on: July 16, 2012, 10:05:01 AM »

It's very disconcerting to me that this opinion is allowed but I guess it might be a necessary economic concession to evangelical convert types.

William, you aren't even Orthodox, you're an inquirer. Chill your beans.

Because I CAN'T be anything more than an inquirer.

Anyway, I've seen a priestmonk post on this forum agreeing with me that Orthodox people saying Mary sinned is somewhat scandalous.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,37028.msg685667.html#msg685667

Wow. Stirring up polemics already and not yet chrismated? You should consider a number of facts before you criticise or judge Orthodoxy :

Quote
Anyway, I've seen a priestmonk post on this forum agreeing with me that Orthodox people saying Mary sinned is somewhat scandalous
1. That does not prove your argument. I have seen a priest post on another forum disagreeing with you that Orthodox people saying Mary sinned is somewhat scandalous. See Father Brian Patrick Mitchell's comments here
http://www.monachos.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-8486.html?s=265484dc7e540b5a84805f13fed593d8
2. A sizable share of the posters here disagree with your position and they are Orthodox. http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?topic=28645.0
3. A number of saints, both ancient (St. John Chrysostom) and modern (St. John Maximovitch) have assumed that the Theotokos sinned in some minor way. Here is a summary of St. John Maximovitch's view: http://johnbalouziyeh.blogspot.com.es/2009/11/orthodox-veneration-of-mary-birthgiver.html

The sinlessness of Mary is relegated to the status of theologoumenon in Orthodoxy rather than dogma, as in Roman Catholicism. Why do you want to challenge that, even before actually becoming Orthodox?
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