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Author Topic: Sinless Mary?  (Read 3805 times) Average Rating: 0
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primuspilus
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« Reply #45 on: July 16, 2012, 10:16:50 AM »

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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.



In all seriousness, that is a very bold claim. So your contention is that the Church "created" a kind of wiggle-room for protestant converts?

Personally, I just say she is holy and leave it at that. If she was sinless or not, wont lead you one step closer towards theosis.

PP
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« Reply #46 on: July 16, 2012, 10:37:25 AM »

Quote
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.



In all seriousness, that is a very bold claim. So your contention is that the Church "created" a kind of wiggle-room for protestant converts?

Personally, I just say she is holy and leave it at that. If she was sinless or not, wont lead you one step closer towards theosis.

PP

More the other way around. Without dogma by council and to sound less "Latin", the converts feel more than comfortable rejecting it.
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« Reply #47 on: July 16, 2012, 11:32:47 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.

And you were complaining about sophistry!

This undermines your 'patristic' argument. Chrysostom and co. (also I'd like to see a reference to Basil and Cyril's position on Mary if you don't mind) were pointing out post Annunciation "sins" (like the wedding at Cana) so that goes against your sophistic explanation that Mary was only made sinless at the Annunciation.

Speaking of St. John Damascene's views on Mary:

Further, Joachim was born in the house of the Probatica , and was brought up to the temple. Then planted in the House of God and increased by the Spirit, like a fruitful olive tree, she became the home of every virtue, turning her mind away from every secular and carnal desire, and thus keeping her soul as well as her body virginal, as was meet for her who was to receive God into her bosom: for as He is holy, He finds rest among the holy. Thus, therefore, she strove after holiness, and was declared a holy and wonderful temple fit for the most high God.

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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).

Sts. Basil, John and Cyril called Mary immaculate?

Quote
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.

They both call her free of stain and sin. St. Ephrem even says she and Christ alone are "in all things fair" in the Nisibene hymns, but I'm sure you'll equivocate out of that.
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« Reply #48 on: July 16, 2012, 11:35:57 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.

The Holy Spirit is a Him, not an it.

Since I never quoted any hymnography I don't see how what I did can be called "proof-texting." In fact, I pointed out a general trend in hymnograpy, which is pretty much the exact opposite of proof-texting.
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« Reply #49 on: July 16, 2012, 11:37:12 AM »

Quote
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

LBK, don't tell me you of all people think Mary sinned!  Sad
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« Reply #50 on: July 16, 2012, 11:59:28 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?

Frankly, that's none of your business. As I stated earlier in this thread, I haven't been chrismated because I can't be.

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You should consider a number of facts before you criticise or judge Orthodoxy :

I am not criticizing or judging Orthodoxy. I know what the Orthodox tradition on this matter is.

Quote
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.

It wasn't meant to. I was countering an ad hominem against me.

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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

He's actually a deacon.

Thank you for linking that thread, wherein an archimandrite opposed Deacon Brian's statements (reply #45, #46).

My favorite part: "Yes, one can indeed call himself 'Orthodox' and simultaneously actively disbelieve that the Theotokos never sinned, so long as by 'Orthodox' one does not mean that he is adhering to the faith of the Fathers and services of the Orthodox Church." New signature!

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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

50% say she never personally sinned. Thank you for reassuring me that the error that our all-holy Lady was a sinner is not common in Orthodoxy.

Quote
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

St. John of San Francisco said she "resisted every impulse of sin."

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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?

I believe it is the truth and the tradition of the church. I find the acceptance of only "dogma" to be very legalistic. The faith is catholic, kata holos, according to the whole, not according to the dogma.
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« Reply #51 on: July 16, 2012, 12:03:00 PM »

Quote
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.



In all seriousness, that is a very bold claim. So your contention is that the Church "created" a kind of wiggle-room for protestant converts?

Yes. Or maybe they're creating their own wiggle room.

Quote
Personally, I just say she is holy and leave it at that. If she was sinless or not, wont lead you one step closer towards theosis.

PP

I don't agree. I believe our Lady's sinlessness is essential for maintaining Christian anthropology and free will.
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« Reply #52 on: July 16, 2012, 12:26:20 PM »

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I don't agree. I believe our Lady's sinlessness is essential for maintaining Christian anthropology and free will
Then Im glad you're not a bishop.

PP
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« Reply #53 on: July 16, 2012, 12:32:53 PM »

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

Sorry if I offend with this comment, but you are 100% incorrect. Sinning does not make you human nor does an absence of sin make you not human. Very bizzare theological point you have made here and I wonder where you learned this or read this? It is not Orthodox! In fact, we know that the Theotokos was human just as we are because she died!
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« Reply #54 on: July 16, 2012, 12:34:57 PM »

Here is a link to one of the most excellent articles I have ever read about this topic:
http://sttikhonsmonastery.org/sinlessness.html
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« Reply #55 on: July 16, 2012, 01:40:49 PM »

Christ was completely human.

...And Divine.
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Kerdy
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« Reply #56 on: July 16, 2012, 01:45:01 PM »

I am not 100% sure if Mary spent her entire life without ever committing sin, but I do know if anyone did (outside Jesus) it would be her.  I once thought no man could not go even a day without sin, but have learned it is possible.  A lifetime?  Who knows?  But Mary is special in every way.  I have no problems with anyone who believes she lived her life without voluntary sin.  God picked her for a reason.
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« Reply #57 on: July 16, 2012, 02:54:07 PM »

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.

The Holy Spirit is a Him, not an it.

Since I never quoted any hymnography I don't see how what I did can be called "proof-texting." In fact, I pointed out a general trend in hymnograpy, which is pretty much the exact opposite of proof-texting.

My apologies to the Holy Spirit for carelessly omitting His gender.  And thanks for the correction, William; you're clearly awesome at arguing.

But you basically said "the hynography said this, so that means this."  While I actually agree with your overall point--that it does indicate she was sinless--it can still be problematic.  I'll drop the charges of proof-texting for now though. 

But my advice is to settle down on the anger and lecturing a bit.
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« Reply #58 on: July 16, 2012, 02:58:52 PM »

I don't agree. I believe our Lady's sinlessness is essential for maintaining Christian anthropology and free will.

Can you name a single father who supports your view that the sinlessness of anyone besides the God-man Christ is 'essential' to Christian anthropology?
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« Reply #59 on: July 16, 2012, 03:51:12 PM »

Cognomen, I don't get angry at internet debates.

No, witega, I can't. Maybe because the teaching has not been seriously challenged until recently.
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« Reply #60 on: July 16, 2012, 04:52:30 PM »

The 4th century is recent? Although it's possibly true that one can't speak of Sts. John, Basil and Cyril 'challenging' a teaching that didn't yet exist in their time. But in any case, the fact that you were not aware of the fullness of Patristic teaching on this matter until 'recently' does not make your understanding of the one strain you were aware of the 'Universal Teaching of the Church.'

I asked if you had any Patristic backing for your contention, because it is one thing to argue that Sts. John, Basil, and Cyril all got it wrong (though it is significant that none of their contemporaries, not even those who opposed them on other matters, seem to have felt they needed correction on this matter). It is a whole other level of presumption to argue that they got something 'essential' wrong, and that you understand what is 'necessary' for Christian anthropology and free will better than such Pillars of the Church.

If there is one thing that all Orthodox hold on this matter, both those who believe the Theotokos was completely sinless and those who believe she was the most pure human ever who became all pure through activity of the Trinity, it is that the Roman Church erred in taking this question and attempting to move it from the realm of opinion into the area of dogma, of what is 'necessary'.
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« Reply #61 on: July 16, 2012, 05:18:25 PM »

William wrote:
Quote
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.
And then...
Quote
I am not criticizing or judging Orthodoxy. I know what the Orthodox tradition on this matter is.

Yes you are. You accused Holy Orthodoxy of making a concession to Evangelicals converts, which is a completely unfounded accusation. The whole notion that Orthodoxy decided (who?) to change for Evangelicals is preposterous.

Quote
He's actually a deacon.

Fr Dcn Brian Patrick Mitchell is not your average deacon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Patrick_Mitchell. Thanks for pointing out the debate on that thread, since that is precisely my point: there is a spirited debate on this issue within mainstream Orthodoxy, characterised by thoughtful Orthodox believers on both sides. You seem to want to deny this.

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St. John of San Francisco said she "resisted every impulse of sin."

Proof-text much? Sounds like you did not read him very closely. The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God
Quote
The teaching of the complete sinlessness of the Mother of God (1) does not cor­respond to Sacred Scripture, where there is repeatedly mentioned the sinles­sness of the One Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ (I Tim. 2:5); and in Him is no sin U John 3:5); Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth (I Peter 2:22); One that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15); Him Who knew no sin, He made to be sin on our behalf (II Cor. 5:2 1). But concerning the rest of men it is said, Who is pure of defilement? No one who has lived a single day of his life on earth (Job 14:4). God commendeth His own love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. If, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life (Rom. 5:8–10).

(2) This teaching contradicts also Sacred Tradition, which is contained in numerous Patristic writings, where there is mentioned the exalted sanctity of the Virgin Mary from Her very birth, as well as Her cleansing by the Holy Spirit at Her conception of Christ, but not at Her own conception by Anna. “There is none without stain before Thee, even though his life be but a day, save Thee alone, Jesus Christ our God, Who didst appear on earth without sin, and through Whom we all trust to obtain mercy and the remission of sins” (St. Basil the Great, Third Prayer of Vespers of Pentecost).

Is it your contention that St John Maximovitch was also just making concessions to Evangelicals? St Basil as well?

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50% say she never personally sinned. Thank you for reassuring me that the error that our all-holy Lady was a sinner is not common in Orthodoxy.

How can you be "reassured" when you write in another post
 
Quote
I believe our Lady's sinlessness is essential for maintaining Christian anthropology and free will.

50% of Orthodox posters disagree with a belief that you have described as essential and you are "reassured"? That's putting an interesting spin on things. So you want to join a church where 50% of the dedicated adherents, including clergy and modern saints, reject something you view as essential? Is that why you are lobbying to change the Orthodox Church--to effectively dogmatise theologoumenon--before you join?


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« Reply #62 on: July 16, 2012, 05:31:51 PM »

Quote
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

Just for the record, I think LBK and I have been orthodox the longest of those participating in this thread and neither of us have said that agreeing with Sts John Chrysostom, Basil and Cyril is a concession to evangelicals (though I wouldn't be surprised if LBK does hold the view that the virgin never sinned).
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« Reply #63 on: July 16, 2012, 05:48:30 PM »

Thanks for pointing out the debate on that thread, since that is precisely my point: there is a spirited debate on this issue within mainstream Orthodoxy, characterised by thoughtful Orthodox believers on both sides. You seem to want to deny this.

And now I'm going to disagree a bit with you Clemente, because I don't think it's really accurate to assert that 'there is a spirited debate on this issue within mainstream Orthodoxy.' I believe the normative position is the one primuspilus' priest gave "she is a holy person" (indeed, the holiest human being who wasn't also Incarnate God who ever lived), and beyond that it's not really our concern (even when I point out the teachings of Sts. John, Cyril, and Basil, none of them were focusing on the matter as a critical or even specific teaching, rather they simply mention it in passing showing that they had no a priori belief that the Theotokos couldn't have possibly sinned).

To the extent that the debate does occur in Orthodox circles, William and Aindriu are right to detect 'external sources'. They are just wrong in attempting to fix the source on 'evangelical converts' rather than on the West in general--which was the point I was trying to make in my first post on this thread. The West has divided into extreme, armed camps on the topic, with Rome insisting on her utter sinlessness, from the very point of Conception, and Protestants generally rejecting anything and everything that might be associated with that idea. To the extent that Orthodox enters into debate on the topic, its in reaction to those who can't leave that debate behind and accept that it's really not relevant to our salvation (or to our respect for the Mother of God) to try to come up with some kind of definitive statement about anyone (including the Theotokos)'s sins other than our own.
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« Reply #64 on: July 16, 2012, 06:19:24 PM »

Thanks for pointing out the debate on that thread, since that is precisely my point: there is a spirited debate on this issue within mainstream Orthodoxy, characterised by thoughtful Orthodox believers on both sides. You seem to want to deny this.

And now I'm going to disagree a bit with you Clemente, because I don't think it's really accurate to assert that 'there is a spirited debate on this issue within mainstream Orthodoxy.' I believe the normative position is the one primuspilus' priest gave "she is a holy person" (indeed, the holiest human being who wasn't also Incarnate God who ever lived), and beyond that it's not really our concern (even when I point out the teachings of Sts. John, Cyril, and Basil, none of them were focusing on the matter as a critical or even specific teaching, rather they simply mention it in passing showing that they had no a priori belief that the Theotokos couldn't have possibly sinned).

To the extent that the debate does occur in Orthodox circles, William and Aindriu are right to detect 'external sources'. They are just wrong in attempting to fix the source on 'evangelical converts' rather than on the West in general--which was the point I was trying to make in my first post on this thread. The West has divided into extreme, armed camps on the topic, with Rome insisting on her utter sinlessness, from the very point of Conception, and Protestants generally rejecting anything and everything that might be associated with that idea. To the extent that Orthodox enters into debate on the topic, its in reaction to those who can't leave that debate behind and accept that it's really not relevant to our salvation (or to our respect for the Mother of God) to try to come up with some kind of definitive statement about anyone (including the Theotokos)'s sins other than our own.
Maybe I should qualify that as "spirited Internet debate", as evidenced by the many debates and polls here and elsewhere. I agree with your observations; in my ROC the "she was holy" line is pretty standard.

I do see a few "armed camps" of RCs and ex RC Orthodox posters here and on other Internet forums who insist that the utter sinlessness of the Theotokos is the only legitimate Orthodox position. By contrast, I have seen no ex Protestant Orthodox who would seemingly dogmatise the contrary (though they probably exist).

I personally am quite happy to "accept that it's really not relevant to our salvation", as you note.

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« Reply #65 on: July 16, 2012, 07:19:10 PM »

Quote
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

Good point!  "Athiaphthoros" is sometimes translated as I wrote it, but "without corruption" is a much better translation.  I especially appreciate you noticing this error because when I wrote it, I said to myself,  "Better chant it in Greek to confirm," but I was tired and didn't do that.
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« Reply #66 on: July 16, 2012, 07:22:24 PM »

Quote
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

Good point!  "Athiaphthoros" is sometimes translated as I wrote it, but "without corruption" is a much better translation.  I especially appreciate you noticing this error because when I wrote it, I said to myself,  "Better chant it in Greek to confirm," but I was tired and didn't do that.

Since this has been brought up, for those of us who do not have the full comprehension of "corruption", could someone clearly define this?  I only ask because I have learned many times problems arise when we place different definitions to words. 
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« Reply #67 on: July 16, 2012, 07:49:29 PM »

I would not recommend putting any stock in Fr Dcn Brian Patrick Mitchell's pronouncements on the Mother of God, or in matters involving the roles of men and women in Orthodoxy. Many of his views on the feasts and person of the Mother of God are contrary to established Orthodox thought; he also has a tendency to put words in people's mouths, and doesn't like it at all when he's called out.
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« Reply #68 on: July 16, 2012, 07:52:59 PM »

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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

LBK, don't tell me you of all people think Mary sinned!  Sad

William, I have no opinion as to whether she did or did not. Only God and His Mother know the answer to that one - anything else is mere speculation. My post was to simply point out Basil320's understandable error, which, I'm glad to see, he has corrected.  Smiley
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« Reply #69 on: July 16, 2012, 07:59:11 PM »

The whole notion that Orthodoxy decided (who?) to change for Evangelicals is preposterous.

Not that preposterous when you take into consideration how the Greek Orthodox Church in America has taken up pews and Bible studies in their Churches.

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.

That's like telling your doctor not to speak up because he is not the ill one or an alcoholic telling someone not to speak up or try to help him because the person in question is not an alcoholic like him. Going further, I've known William for a very long time and he wanted to join the Orthodox Church even before I did, like almost a year before I even started inquiring. The only reason he has not officially been Chrismated is because of his Roman Catholic parents who think that he is just a hormone-driven teenager that cannot decide for himself so I demand that you apologize to my friend William.
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You're really on to something here. Tattoo to keep you from masturbating, chew to keep you from fornicating... it's a whole new world where you outsource your crosses. You're like a Christian entrepreneur or something.
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« Reply #70 on: July 16, 2012, 08:23:41 PM »

The 4th century is recent? Although it's possibly true that one can't speak of Sts. John, Basil and Cyril 'challenging' a teaching that didn't yet exist in their time.

You keep bringing them up and yet you have yet to respond to my point that even by your own standard of when Mary became sinless (the Annunciation) they were wrong.

And there's your falsification of church history and patristics again ("a teaching that didn't yet exist in their time").

So is the belief that Mary was a sinner a part of the organic tradition? Can you name a single father after antiquity who held that? Or is this just another example of digging up three idiosyncratic proof-texts and making theology out of them? 

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(though it is significant that none of their contemporaries, not even those who opposed them on other matters, seem to have felt they needed correction on this matter).

Offhand statements in sermons generally don't generate that much attention.

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It is a whole other level of presumption to argue that they got something 'essential' wrong, and that you understand what is 'necessary' for Christian anthropology and free will better than such Pillars of the Church.

Almost as presumptuous as dismissing the church's tradition as Pelagian.

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If there is one thing that all Orthodox hold on this matter, both those who believe the Theotokos was completely sinless and those who believe she was the most pure human ever who became all pure through activity of the Trinity, it is that the Roman Church erred in taking this question and attempting to move it from the realm of opinion into the area of dogma, of what is 'necessary'.

That is not what is objected to. The problem is that the Immaculate Conception says that Mary was not subject to original sin.
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« Reply #71 on: July 16, 2012, 09:11:59 PM »

William wrote:
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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.
And then...
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I am not criticizing or judging Orthodoxy. I know what the Orthodox tradition on this matter is.

Yes you are. You accused Holy Orthodoxy of making a concession to Evangelicals converts, which is a completely unfounded accusation. The whole notion that Orthodoxy decided (who?) to change for Evangelicals is preposterous.

I said it "might" be. Now I'm more of the opinion that it's just an error against tradition which needs to be addressed.

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He's actually a deacon.

Fr Dcn Brian Patrick Mitchell is not your average deacon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Patrick_Mitchell.

And St. John Chrysostom is not your average bishop. Wrong is wrong.

Again, my point in appealing to Fr. Ambrose was to show neon_knights that it is not simply overzealous inquirers who think that this is an important issue which is not a theologoumenon.

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Proof-text much? Sounds like you did not read him very closely. The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God
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The teaching of the complete sinlessness of the Mother of God (1) does not cor­respond to Sacred Scripture, where there is repeatedly mentioned the sinles­sness of the One Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ (I Tim. 2:5); and in Him is no sin U John 3:5); Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth (I Peter 2:22); One that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15); Him Who knew no sin, He made to be sin on our behalf (II Cor. 5:2 1). But concerning the rest of men it is said, Who is pure of defilement? No one who has lived a single day of his life on earth (Job 14:4). God commendeth His own love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. If, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life (Rom. 5:8–10).

(2) This teaching contradicts also Sacred Tradition, which is contained in numerous Patristic writings, where there is mentioned the exalted sanctity of the Virgin Mary from Her very birth, as well as Her cleansing by the Holy Spirit at Her conception of Christ, but not at Her own conception by Anna. “There is none without stain before Thee, even though his life be but a day, save Thee alone, Jesus Christ our God, Who didst appear on earth without sin, and through Whom we all trust to obtain mercy and the remission of sins” (St. Basil the Great, Third Prayer of Vespers of Pentecost).

St. John was speaking of original sin and writing against the Immaculate Conception. The sentence I bolded is relevant. He then goes on to say that she "overcame all temptations," "resisted every impulse to sin" and quotes St. Ambrose, saying she was "a stranger to any fall into sin."

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St Basil as well?

I'd still appreciate the reference to St. Basil and Cyril, by the way. Not that I doubt they made such statements. I'm just interested in seeing them.

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50% say she never personally sinned. Thank you for reassuring me that the error that our all-holy Lady was a sinner is not common in Orthodoxy.

How can you be "reassured" when you write in another post
 
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I believe our Lady's sinlessness is essential for maintaining Christian anthropology and free will.

50% of Orthodox posters disagree with a belief that you have described as essential and you are "reassured"?

Actually 50% did not disagree, 30% said they didn't know. So the remaining 20% disagreed. You're right, that is far too much, but we're talking about netodoxy here. I have it on good authority from a long time pastor that this is not really a common thing in real life Orthodoxy.

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Is that why you are lobbying to change the Orthodox Church--to effectively dogmatise theologoumenon--before you join?

At what point in this thread did I "lobby" for anything?
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« Reply #72 on: July 16, 2012, 09:17:24 PM »

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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

Just for the record, I think LBK and I have been orthodox the longest of those participating in this thread and neither of us have said that agreeing with Sts John Chrysostom, Basil and Cyril is a concession to evangelicals (though I wouldn't be surprised if LBK does hold the view that the virgin never sinned).

I have not seen anyone in this thread agree with these Fathers that Mary sinned at the wedding at Cana and at the foot of the cross. The standard line seems to be "she only became sinless at the Annunciation." A disagreement with these Fathers.

This is not patristics. If it was patristics (the archaeological, believe whatever isolated unaccepted statements from antiquity kind) you all would be condemning Mary at the wedding at Cana for her vanity. But nobody does that so I'm forced to conclude that this is a concession to evangelicals (which some cradles have unfortunately picked up on) with a thin veneer of patristic justification.
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« Reply #73 on: July 16, 2012, 11:51:41 PM »

The 4th century is recent? Although it's possibly true that one can't speak of Sts. John, Basil and Cyril 'challenging' a teaching that didn't yet exist in their time.

You keep bringing them up and yet you have yet to respond to my point that even by your own standard of when Mary became sinless (the Annunciation) they were wrong.

*I* have not proposed any specific time/event as the point at which the Theotokos became the 'all-pure' we celebrate, as in the absence of a clear Patristic consensus, I don't pretend to know. I quoted St. John of Damascus on how she was purified (by the action of the Holy Spirit). Since the Damascene never, to my knowledge, takes up the question of whether she ever sinned after that initial purification or needed any additional purification, I don't know whether he disagrees with the earlier saints on the specifics or not. I do know that he agrees with them that she needed purification.

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And there's your falsification of church history and patristics again ("a teaching that didn't yet exist in their time").

This is the third time you have accused me of falsification, and yet you have yet to provide a single piece of evidence that anything I have stated is factually incorrect much less deliberately falsified. You need to produce evidence or admit that in your zeal for your personal opinion, you have borne false witness against me. Certainly this will be my last response to you until you have raised your level of discourse above a second-grader's 'nuh-uh!!!'

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So is the belief that Mary was a sinner a part of the organic tradition? Can you name a single father after antiquity who held that? Or is this just another example of digging up three idiosyncratic proof-texts and making theology out of them? 

Given that you haven't produced a single Father *in* antiquity that who clearly held your position (vague hand-waving that Sts. Ambrose and Ephraim referred to the Theotokos as Immaculate--as does everyone, including myself, doesn't count) why should I? By definition, tradition is that which is handed down--if more modern Fathers didn't get it from antiquity, then it is their opinion, not tradition.

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It is a whole other level of presumption to argue that they got something 'essential' wrong, and that you understand what is 'necessary' for Christian anthropology and free will better than such Pillars of the Church.

Almost as presumptuous as dismissing the church's tradition as Pelagian.

Your opinion != the church's tradition. But in any case I did not call the opinion Pelagian. I pointed out that the first person we have evidence of clearly teaching that opinion was Pelagius--what conclusions you draw from that are your own. Again, if you have any contrary evidence then produce it, though I'm obviously not holding my breath.
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« Reply #74 on: July 17, 2012, 12:39:03 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.

Thought I'd jump in here.

Substitutionary Atonement: Orthodox.
Penal Substitutionary Atonement: Not Orthodox.

Neon is correct.
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« Reply #75 on: July 17, 2012, 06:54:06 AM »


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At what point in this thread did I "lobby" for anything?

Well how about here:

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it's just an error against tradition which needs to be addressed

So glad you are here to police all those errors against tradition in Holy Orthodoxy!

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I'd still appreciate the reference to St. Basil

In your alacrity to change Holy Orthodoxy to fit with your Roman dogma, you seem to have suspended basic reading skills:

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. The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God
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The teaching of the complete sinlessness of the Mother of God (1) does not cor­respond to Sacred Scripture, where there is repeatedly mentioned the sinles­sness of the One Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ (I Tim. 2:5); and in Him is no sin U John 3:5); Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth (I Peter 2:22); One that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15); Him Who knew no sin, He made to be sin on our behalf (II Cor. 5:2 1). But concerning the rest of men it is said, Who is pure of defilement? No one who has lived a single day of his life on earth (Job 14:4). God commendeth His own love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. If, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life (Rom. 5:8–10).

(2) This teaching contradicts also Sacred Tradition, which is contained in numerous Patristic writings, where there is mentioned the exalted sanctity of the Virgin Mary from Her very birth, as well as Her cleansing by the Holy Spirit at Her conception of Christ, but not at Her own conception by Anna. “There is none without stain before Thee, even though his life be but a day, save Thee alone, Jesus Christ our God, Who didst appear on earth without sin, and through Whom we all trust to obtain mercy and the remission of sins” (St. Basil the Great, Third Prayer of Vespers of Pentecost).

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St. John was speaking of original sin and writing against the Immaculate Conception.

Do you or do you not accept the teaching of the complete sinlessness of the Theotokos? Are you contending that St. John agrees with you in the utter sinlessness of the Theotokos? What about St. John Maximovitch's phrase
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"The teaching of the complete sinlessness of the Mother of God does not cor­respond to Sacred Scripture where there is repeatedly mentioned the sinles­sness of the One Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ "
do you find difficult to comprehend?
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« Reply #76 on: July 17, 2012, 07:31:28 AM »

I would not recommend putting any stock in Fr Dcn Brian Patrick Mitchell's pronouncements on the Mother of God, or in matters involving the roles of men and women in Orthodoxy. Many of his views on the feasts and person of the Mother of God are contrary to established Orthodox thought; he also has a tendency to put words in people's mouths, and doesn't like it at all when he's called out.
Actually, I find him rather refreshing sometimes in his williness to sail between the scylla of fundamentalism, where theologoumenon disappear and every scintilla of a certain Orthodox tradition is dogmatised, and the charybdis of liberalism, where Tradition is trampled in favour of modernism. His views on the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos are also similar to those of Fr. Thomas Hopko and Frederica Mathewes-Green, so he is in good company on that one, in my opinion.

I do not always agree with him, however and don't always like his debating style.
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« Reply #77 on: July 17, 2012, 07:46:10 AM »

I would not recommend putting any stock in Fr Dcn Brian Patrick Mitchell's pronouncements on the Mother of God, or in matters involving the roles of men and women in Orthodoxy. Many of his views on the feasts and person of the Mother of God are contrary to established Orthodox thought; he also has a tendency to put words in people's mouths, and doesn't like it at all when he's called out.
Actually, I find him rather refreshing sometimes in his williness to sail between the scylla of fundamentalism, where theologoumenon disappear and every scintilla of a certain Orthodox tradition is dogmatised, and the charybdis of liberalism, where Tradition is trampled in favour of modernism. His views on the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos are also similar to those of Fr. Thomas Hopko and Frederica Mathewes-Green, so he is in good company on that one, in my opinion.

I do not always agree with him, however and don't always like his debating style.

When he stubbornly battles against the established hymnographic and iconographic deposit of the Church, he crosses lines that no ordained clergyman should cross. In doing so, he is proclaiming a distorted faith contrary to the mind of the Church.
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« Reply #78 on: July 17, 2012, 02:00:27 PM »

*I* have not proposed any specific time/event as the point at which the Theotokos became the 'all-pure' we celebrate, as in the absence of a clear Patristic consensus, I don't pretend to know. I quoted St. John of Damascus on how she was purified (by the action of the Holy Spirit). Since the Damascene never, to my knowledge, takes up the question of whether she ever sinned after that initial purification or needed any additional purification, I don't know whether he disagrees with the earlier saints on the specifics or not. I do know that he agrees with them that she needed purification.

Purification from original sin, as I have already demonstrated that St. John held that Mary never sinned.

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Given that you haven't produced a single Father *in* antiquity that who clearly held your position (vague hand-waving that Sts. Ambrose and Ephraim referred to the Theotokos as Immaculate--as does everyone, including myself, doesn't count) why should I? By definition, tradition is that which is handed down--if more modern Fathers didn't get it from antiquity, then it is their opinion, not tradition.

"Vague hand-waving"? Like your refusal to give any reference to the specific writings of Sts. Basil and Cyril despite my asking several times?

I have absolutely no reason to believe your desperate, convoluted equivocation. Baptism is also said to 'purify' us. So can I call all Orthodox Christians immaculate now?

St. Ambrose says that Mary is a "stranger to any fall into sin" in his commentary on Psalm 118. This is quoted by St. John of San Francisco in the work Clemente referenced in this thread (unfortunately for him and his position). He really could not be any clearer.

In the Nisibene hymns, St. Ephrem addresses Christ, saying "You alone and your Mother are more beautiful than any others, for there is no blemish in you nor any stains upon your Mother. Who of my children can compare in beauty to these?" Once again, hard to get much clearer. He is directly comparing her sinlessness to Christ's and he can't mean original sin as Christ alone is without original sin.
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« Reply #79 on: July 17, 2012, 02:09:11 PM »

Quote
Quote
I'd still appreciate the reference to St. Basil

In your alacrity to change Holy Orthodoxy to fit with your Roman dogma, you seem to have suspended basic reading skills:

Quote
. The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God
Quote
The teaching of the complete sinlessness of the Mother of God (1) does not cor­respond to Sacred Scripture, where there is repeatedly mentioned the sinles­sness of the One Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ (I Tim. 2:5); and in Him is no sin U John 3:5); Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth (I Peter 2:22); One that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15); Him Who knew no sin, He made to be sin on our behalf (II Cor. 5:2 1). But concerning the rest of men it is said, Who is pure of defilement? No one who has lived a single day of his life on earth (Job 14:4). God commendeth His own love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. If, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by His life (Rom. 5:8–10).

(2) This teaching contradicts also Sacred Tradition, which is contained in numerous Patristic writings, where there is mentioned the exalted sanctity of the Virgin Mary from Her very birth, as well as Her cleansing by the Holy Spirit at Her conception of Christ, but not at Her own conception by Anna. “There is none without stain before Thee, even though his life be but a day, save Thee alone, Jesus Christ our God, Who didst appear on earth without sin, and through Whom we all trust to obtain mercy and the remission of sins” (St. Basil the Great, Third Prayer of Vespers of Pentecost).

Yes, my Roman dogma which the majority of Orthodox accept.

I am asking for a reference to a time when St. Basil said "and when Mary did this, it was sinful." Not a general "all have sinned" statement.

Once again, this clearly refers to original sin. Unless when the prayer says that even those who have lived a day are sinners it means personal sins. Can you educate me as to what types of personal sins one day old babies commit?

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St. John was speaking of original sin and writing against the Immaculate Conception.

Do you or do you not accept the teaching of the complete sinlessness of the Theotokos?

In personal sins, yes. In original sin, no.

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Are you contending that St. John agrees with you in the utter sinlessness of the Theotokos?

In terms of personal sins rather than original sin, yes.

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What about St. John Maximovitch's phrase
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"The teaching of the complete sinlessness of the Mother of God does not cor­respond to Sacred Scripture where there is repeatedly mentioned the sinles­sness of the One Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ "
do you find difficult to comprehend?


Nothing. I comprehend it fine, because I looked up the context and saw that it was in the section of his work arguing against the Immaculate Conception and saw that he later, in the same work, says she resisted every sinful impulse and was a stranger to any fall into sin.

Can you explain to me how one can never fall into sin and resist every sinful impulse yet still have committed personal sins?
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« Reply #80 on: July 17, 2012, 02:11:20 PM »

I would not recommend putting any stock in Fr Dcn Brian Patrick Mitchell's pronouncements on the Mother of God, or in matters involving the roles of men and women in Orthodoxy. Many of his views on the feasts and person of the Mother of God are contrary to established Orthodox thought; he also has a tendency to put words in people's mouths, and doesn't like it at all when he's called out.
Actually, I find him rather refreshing sometimes in his williness to sail between the scylla of fundamentalism, where theologoumenon disappear and every scintilla of a certain Orthodox tradition is dogmatised, and the charybdis of liberalism, where Tradition is trampled in favour of modernism. His views on the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos are also similar to those of Fr. Thomas Hopko and Frederica Mathewes-Green, so he is in good company on that one, in my opinion.

I do not always agree with him, however and don't always like his debating style.

When he stubbornly battles against the established hymnographic and iconographic deposit of the Church, he crosses lines that no ordained clergyman should cross. In doing so, he is proclaiming a distorted faith contrary to the mind of the Church.

He is, at the very least, honest. He acknowledges his position that our Lady sinned is contrary to the church's hymnography.
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« Reply #81 on: July 17, 2012, 04:23:35 PM »

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He is, at the very least, honest. He acknowledges his position that our Lady sinned is contrary to the church's hymnography
Sounds awfully Pelagian to me. If she could be sinless her whole life, she didnt need Christ, and it directly goes against what scripture said.

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« Reply #82 on: July 17, 2012, 07:46:51 PM »

I would not recommend putting any stock in Fr Dcn Brian Patrick Mitchell's pronouncements on the Mother of God, or in matters involving the roles of men and women in Orthodoxy. Many of his views on the feasts and person of the Mother of God are contrary to established Orthodox thought; he also has a tendency to put words in people's mouths, and doesn't like it at all when he's called out.
Actually, I find him rather refreshing sometimes in his williness to sail between the scylla of fundamentalism, where theologoumenon disappear and every scintilla of a certain Orthodox tradition is dogmatised, and the charybdis of liberalism, where Tradition is trampled in favour of modernism. His views on the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos are also similar to those of Fr. Thomas Hopko and Frederica Mathewes-Green, so he is in good company on that one, in my opinion.

I do not always agree with him, however and don't always like his debating style.

When he stubbornly battles against the established hymnographic and iconographic deposit of the Church, he crosses lines that no ordained clergyman should cross. In doing so, he is proclaiming a distorted faith contrary to the mind of the Church.

He is, at the very least, honest. He acknowledges his position that our Lady sinned is contrary to the church's hymnography.

Honest is not a word I would use to describe him. All too often, he twists and distorts what people say, as well as what the Church teaches. His stubbornness and belligerence is conduct unbecoming for an ordained clergyman. Various threads on Monachos are testimony to his behavior.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 07:47:16 PM by LBK » Logged
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« Reply #83 on: July 17, 2012, 10:48:53 PM »

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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

Just for the record, I think LBK and I have been orthodox the longest of those participating in this thread and neither of us have said that agreeing with Sts John Chrysostom, Basil and Cyril is a concession to evangelicals (though I wouldn't be surprised if LBK does hold the view that the virgin never sinned).

I have not seen anyone in this thread agree with these Fathers that Mary sinned at the wedding at Cana and at the foot of the cross. The standard line seems to be "she only became sinless at the Annunciation." A disagreement with these Fathers.

I've certainly not put forward either case.
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« Reply #84 on: July 18, 2012, 03:53:17 AM »

Yes, my Roman dogma which the majority of Orthodox accept.

No Orthodox accept your Roman dogma. Some (I've no way of knowing if it is most or merely many) adhere to a theologoumenon which is consistent with your said Roman dogma, but it is not dogma, it is not necessary for salvation. You seem to want it to be dogma for the Orthodox but it simply is not, nor should it be. The only apparently Marian dogma we do have so far as I can see (and I say apparently because it is in fact Christological) is that she is the Theotokos.

James
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« Reply #85 on: July 18, 2012, 05:13:15 AM »

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The only apparently Marian dogma we do have so far as I can see (and I say apparently because it is in fact Christological) is that she is the Theotokos.

There is another Marian dogma we have: That she remained a virgin before, during and after her conceiving and giving birth to Christ. The three stars on her garment (forehead, and each shoulder) in her icons express this.
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jmbejdl
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« Reply #86 on: July 18, 2012, 06:37:25 AM »

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The only apparently Marian dogma we do have so far as I can see (and I say apparently because it is in fact Christological) is that she is the Theotokos.

There is another Marian dogma we have: That she remained a virgin before, during and after her conceiving and giving birth to Christ. The three stars on her garment (forehead, and each shoulder) in her icons express this.

I wondered about that one. I know nobody who questions it but when I went to look it up I could find nothing to suggest that it is in fact dogma, though I don't doubt that it's the universal Tradition. Universal belief does not necessarily equal dogma after all. If it is in fact dogma (though despite adhering to the belief myself I struggle to see how it could be necessary that I do so) then I'd argue that it is the only Marian dogma we do have. Theotokos is definitely Christological in nature.

James
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We owe greater gratitude to those who humble us, wrong us, and douse us with venom, than to those who nurse us with honour and sweet words, or feed us with tasty food and confections, for bile is the best medicine for our soul. - Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
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« Reply #87 on: July 18, 2012, 07:01:38 AM »

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The only apparently Marian dogma we do have so far as I can see (and I say apparently because it is in fact Christological) is that she is the Theotokos.

There is another Marian dogma we have: That she remained a virgin before, during and after her conceiving and giving birth to Christ. The three stars on her garment (forehead, and each shoulder) in her icons express this.

I wondered about that one. I know nobody who questions it but when I went to look it up I could find nothing to suggest that it is in fact dogma, though I don't doubt that it's the universal Tradition. Universal belief does not necessarily equal dogma after all. If it is in fact dogma (though despite adhering to the belief myself I struggle to see how it could be necessary that I do so) then I'd argue that it is the only Marian dogma we do have. Theotokos is definitely Christological in nature.

James

From the Fifth Ecumenical Council:

If anyone shall not confess that the Word of God has two nativities, the one from all eternity of the Father, without time and without body; the other in these last days, coming down from heaven and being made flesh of the holy and glorious Mary, Mother of God and always a virgin, and born of her: let him be anathema.
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« Reply #88 on: July 18, 2012, 10:41:13 AM »

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He is, at the very least, honest. He acknowledges his position that our Lady sinned is contrary to the church's hymnography
Sounds awfully Pelagian to me. If she could be sinless her whole life, she didnt need Christ, and it directly goes against what scripture said.

PP

The doctrine that the fall made us lose our free will and incapable of not committing personal sins is Calvinistic total depravity, not the Orthodox concept of original sin.

I'd like to know how it goes against scripture.
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« Reply #89 on: July 18, 2012, 10:58:22 AM »

Yes, my Roman dogma which the majority of Orthodox accept.

No Orthodox accept your Roman dogma. Some (I've no way of knowing if it is most or merely many) adhere to a theologoumenon which is consistent with your said Roman dogma, but it is not dogma, it is not necessary for salvation. You seem to want it to be dogma for the Orthodox but it simply is not, nor should it be. The only apparently Marian dogma we do have so far as I can see (and I say apparently because it is in fact Christological) is that she is the Theotokos.

James

I'm not interested in a legalistic divvying up of the faith into different categories of doctrine, the less important of which we are free to dismiss at our leisure. I'm interested in truth. And the hymnography and fathers of the church speak for themselves.

Unfortunately for you, I have it on the good authority of several experienced pastors that disbelief in the Theotokos' sinlessness is simply an unorthodox error, not a valid "theologoumenon." One of them was convinced that this is just an internet phenomenon among converts and said he'd be shocked to find such a (dis)belief within his own parishes. And the only poll I've ever seen on the subject indicates that the majority accept my "Roman dogma" rather than your Protestant dogma of picking and choosing whatever traditions we don't like.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 10:59:08 AM by William » Logged

Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. - Immanuel Kant

Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. - Matt. 5:24
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