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Author Topic: Coptic & Assyrian & True & Other Orthodoxies  (Read 1416 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 28, 2012, 09:32:58 PM »

As someone searching, I have a question:  Do the Orthodox believe, in general, that other Orthodox are... er... Orthodox?

For example:  I see people who list themselves as Coptic or Serbian or Ethiopian Tewahedo.  Would all of you see each other as Orthodox (in general)?  Or are there subgroups (e.g. Copts and Ethiopians intercommune, but not with Serbs who are on their own)?  Do Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians see each other as Orthodox, doctrinal disagreements notwithstanding?  Would the Russian church outside of Russia intercommune with the "true" Russian church?  Is it all individual or is there a general structure?

Part of my confusion in researching Orthodoxy are all the subsplits.  Even in the Greek Orthodox Church, there are subgroups that aren't in communion with each other, or at least it appears to be so.

Is there a chart somewhere?  Or some way I can discern what joining Orthodoxy would entail if I choose Greek vs. Antiochian vs. Coptic vs. Ethopian vs. whatever?


Apologies in advance if this is dense.
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 10:03:45 PM »

It's a good question. I think most of them are similar.
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 10:17:55 PM »

Hi Orthos,

There are a bunch of other threads already about how the different communions see each other. You might want to do a search. Opinions vary widely.

But as far as what it would mean to join any particular communion, that is an easier question.

If you join the Oriental Orthodox (non-Chalcedonian) communion, you are in communion with the Copts, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Indians (Syro-Malankara), Syriac Orthodox ('Syrians'), and the Armenians. You will also be in communion with the British Orthodox Church (within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate), and the French Coptic Orthodox Church (Métropole copte orthodoxe de France).

If you join the Eastern Orthodox, you will be in communion with all of these (basically all of Eastern Europe + Greek and Arab Christian minorities elsewhere + the OCA).

That's a very abbreviated way of looking at it. I'm sure someone who is more involved in tracking these things on the EO side can give a more detailed account of what I'm assuming is wrong with the list from wikipedia.  Smiley Their situation is a bit more complex than ours, perhaps, because of the larger number of individual nations/national churches in their communion, and the fact that some of them aren't autocephalous, but apparently would like to be.
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 10:22:36 PM »

As someone searching, I have a question:  Do the Orthodox believe, in general, that other Orthodox are... er... Orthodox?

For example:  I see people who list themselves as Coptic or Serbian or Ethiopian Tewahedo.  Would all of you see each other as Orthodox (in general)?  Or are there subgroups (e.g. Copts and Ethiopians intercommune, but not with Serbs who are on their own)?  Do Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians see each other as Orthodox, doctrinal disagreements notwithstanding?  Would the Russian church outside of Russia intercommune with the "true" Russian church?  Is it all individual or is there a general structure?

Chalcedonian/Eastern Orthodox and non-Chalcedonian/Oriental Orthodox are not in official communion. So Copts and Ethiopians (Oriental Orthodox) commune with each other, but Serbs are Eastern Orthodox and would not commune with any Oriental Orthodox churches. The ROCOR church is part of the Eastern Orthodox communion, and is in perfect communion with the Russian Orthodox Church. I believe ROCOR is actually a part of the ROC now.


Quote
Part of my confusion in researching Orthodoxy are all the subsplits.  Even in the Greek Orthodox Church, there are subgroups that aren't in communion with each other, or at least it appears to be so.
You're probably thinking of the Old Calendar schism. There are certain churches ("Genuine," "True," etc.) that are not in communion with any mainstream Eastern Orthodox churches.

And how we view each other is going to vary from person to person.
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 11:36:32 PM »

Y'all have beaten me to all the great answers already!

dzheremi's link is helpful for the EO side of things, as we have the 15 autocephalous churches but many national churches that aren't self yet governing, but exist in the structure of other autocephalous churches. Then, the youngest of the autocephalous churches, the Orthodox Church in America, is not universally recognized as autocephalous. Those that disagree with the autocephaly see the OCA as part of the Russian Orthodox Church, since that is their "mother" church.

Really, to know if an EO church is autocephalous, you have to look at the diptychs (the list of bishops), and see who's under who. If the line doesn't end with one of the 15 autocephalous primates, they aren't canonical and we do not commune with them. Then, in turn, all of the other autocephalous churches commemorates the others when their primate is serving, thus declaring the communion between those churches. When a church is "struck from the diptychs", it means a schism has occurred.

As for EO/OO communion. It doesn't generally happen, but sometimes it is allowed (usually only when there isn't a local parish of the proper communion). As far as seeing each other as "Orthodox"...well, opinions will differ among the laity and even the clergy. Personally, I believe the OO to be completely Orthodox and would commune with them if I had the blessing to do so. That said, I don't have that blessing and so I do not. I hope it is a schism that will soon be healed.

When you speak of "subgroups" I think of schismatics groups, like the Greek Old Calendarists, who aren't in communion with us. Again, it is a simple better of referring to the diptychs. Their bishops aren't commemorated by the rest of the EO communion, and so they are not with us.
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2012, 02:06:47 PM »

If you join the Oriental Orthodox (non-Chalcedonian) communion, you are in communion with the Copts, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Indians (Syro-Malankara), Syriac Orthodox ('Syrians'), and the Armenians. You will also be in communion with the British Orthodox Church (within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate), and the French Coptic Orthodox Church (Métropole copte orthodoxe de France).
Dear dzheremi ,
A point of clarification: Syro-Malankara is not an Oriental Orthodox Church. It is the name of an Eastern Rite Catholic (I mean under the Roman Pope) that was established in 1929; when Mar Ivanious (allegedly upset that he was not elected as Catholicose) left the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and joined with Rome.

The Oriental Orthodox jurisdictions in India are Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (autocephelous under the Catholicose of the East) and Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church (autonomous, but under the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East).
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2012, 02:11:26 PM »

The Oriental Orthodox are orthodox, the Assyrians are nestorians.

 The Oriental Orthodox and the Eastern Orthodox are not in communion (yet).

The rest has been explained already, I see.
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2012, 02:34:35 PM »

the Assyrians are nestorians.
What I'm gathered from Catholic-Assyrian dialogues, it seems that the Assyrians aren't Nestorian at all in their Christology. I believe, and may be wrong, that they're pretty much Chalcedonian in all but language.
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2012, 02:40:01 PM »

the Assyrians are nestorians.
What I'm gathered from Catholic-Assyrian dialogues, it seems that the Assyrians aren't Nestorian at all in their Christology. I believe, and may be wrong, that they're pretty much Chalcedonian in all but language.

As if the RC-christology isn't quasi-nestorian as well...

Oh, and here, this wonderful chart of Assyrian christology:



Nestorius could have made this would he have had MS Paint.
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2012, 03:12:43 PM »

the Assyrians are nestorians.
What I'm gathered from Catholic-Assyrian dialogues, it seems that the Assyrians aren't Nestorian at all in their Christology. I believe, and may be wrong, that they're pretty much Chalcedonian in all but language.

As if the RC-christology isn't quasi-nestorian as well...

Oh, and here, this wonderful chart of Assyrian christology:



Nestorius could have made this would he have had MS Paint.

To clarify, the Syriac words Kyana, Qnoma, and Parsopa would be translated as Ousia, Hypostasis, and Prosopon respectively in Greek. This shows that the Assyrian Church believes Christ is two Hypostasis, not the Orthodox view of a Hypostatic Union.
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2012, 03:55:26 PM »



To clarify, the Syriac words Kyana, Qnoma, and Parsopa would be translated as Ousia, Hypostasis, and Prosopon respectively in Greek. This shows that the Assyrian Church believes Christ is two Hypostasis, not the Orthodox view of a Hypostatic Union.

Not exactly and not with the same definitions.  An Antiochian Orthodox priest who was raided Assyrian does a good job of explaining the differences.

http://eastmeetseastblog.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2012, 04:09:58 PM »

IIRC the Syriacs (who speak Syriac natively, duh) speak of Christ as one Qnoma.
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2012, 08:57:08 PM »

If you join the Oriental Orthodox (non-Chalcedonian) communion, you are in communion with the Copts, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Indians (Syro-Malankara), Syriac Orthodox ('Syrians'), and the Armenians. You will also be in communion with the British Orthodox Church (within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate), and the French Coptic Orthodox Church (Métropole copte orthodoxe de France).
Dear dzheremi ,
A point of clarification: Syro-Malankara is not an Oriental Orthodox Church. It is the name of an Eastern Rite Catholic (I mean under the Roman Pope) that was established in 1929; when Mar Ivanious (allegedly upset that he was not elected as Catholicose) left the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and joined with Rome.

The Oriental Orthodox jurisdictions in India are Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (autocephelous under the Catholicose of the East) and Malankara Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church (autonomous, but under the Patriarch of Antioch and all the East).

Sorry. Sloppy wording on my part. I meant Malankara Orthodox, of course. I was using "Syro-" as a prefix to denote the language used (as is common in academia, as here). Didn't even have the Catholic group in mind. Apologies for the confusion.
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2013, 06:06:20 PM »

the Assyrians are nestorians.
What I'm gathered from Catholic-Assyrian dialogues, it seems that the Assyrians aren't Nestorian at all in their Christology. I believe, and may be wrong, that they're pretty much Chalcedonian in all but language.

As if the RC-christology isn't quasi-nestorian as well...

Oh, and here, this wonderful chart of Assyrian christology:



Nestorius could have made this would he have had MS Paint.

To clarify, the Syriac words Kyana, Qnoma, and Parsopa would be translated as Ousia, Hypostasis, and Prosopon respectively in Greek. This shows that the Assyrian Church believes Christ is two Hypostasis, not the Orthodox view of a Hypostatic Union.

Yet from what I have read and understand, the word hypostasis was used differently at the Council of Nicea to how it was used in later times; in the 5th century, its meaning was still being debated/redefined by the scholars of the Church. Given how the Assyrians define qnoma, it does not appear to carry the exact same meaning as the word hypostasis now does. It should also be noted that the way the Syriac Church defines qnoma appears to be more akin to how hypostasis is defined.
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2013, 06:13:03 PM »

I am an OO and I view the EO as being 100% orthodox. I consider myself a staunch ecumenism in this regard. As for the Assyrian church, I cannot but find them Nestorian regardless of the blogs I may read or the explanations I may hear. I cannot be an Alexandrian and a faithful disciple of the Great St. Cyril and find any unity with a church that accepts Nestorius or any version of his heresy.

That chart Cyrillic post is very accurate to Nestorian teaching. St. Cyril would be turning in his grave if he ever heard of an Orthodox believer accepting it.

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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2013, 08:52:54 PM »



To clarify, the Syriac words Kyana, Qnoma, and Parsopa would be translated as Ousia, Hypostasis, and Prosopon respectively in Greek. This shows that the Assyrian Church believes Christ is two Hypostasis, not the Orthodox view of a Hypostatic Union.

Not exactly and not with the same definitions.  An Antiochian Orthodox priest who was raided Assyrian does a good job of explaining the differences.

http://eastmeetseastblog.blogspot.com/


I think we're straying into deeper waters than required to answer the OP, but let me agree with Dn Lance that the Syriac terminology and definitions are a little more fluid than the strict equivalence with the Greek terms implied in sheenj's reply.  In most cases I'm familiar with, they are equivalent, but not always in every context.  Further complicating matters is that even in Syriac the Greek terminology is sometimes also used.  Syriac patristic and liturgical texts, for example, utilise both kyana/kyono and ousia

That said, I don't have time to read the blog post, but I knew that priest when he was a seminarian (great guy), and we had some very informal conversations about the terminology.  What I found interesting is that, with all his knowledge of Chalcedonianism and "Nestorianism", he was 100% certain that both of these were Orthodox in their Christology, but just as sure that the non-Chalcedonian position was 100% heretical, even though both EO and OO seem to agree that the Assyrian position remains flat-out wrong, despite RC assurances to the contrary.  Christology is not my preferred field, so I never pursued the subject with him, otherwise I would've been curious on what basis he made this evaluation.

He was definitely an atypical EO.  If he's right, either the non-Chalcedonians are heretical and the Assyrians are Orthodox, or the Eastern Orthodox are truly Nestorian heretics, despite their use of terms like Theotokos.  Personally, I think he went off-course at some point.     
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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2013, 08:54:12 PM »

LOL, this was from last year?  Thread anesti! 
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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2013, 10:11:00 PM »

LOL, this was from last year?  Thread anesti! 
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« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2013, 03:32:40 PM »

This topic was reopened after a year, I am closing it and would recommend if you want to reopen it please do so in the Oriental  Christian discussion group where this ended in discussion previously and where it more clearly belongs.

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