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Author Topic: Oriental theologians against union?  (Read 2480 times) Average Rating: 0
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Yirmiyahu
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« on: December 21, 2004, 01:30:00 PM »

Dear friends,

Are there any theologians in the non-Chalcedonian Oriental churches writing today who oppose reunion with the Chalcedonian Orthodox from a christological or ecclesiological standpoint?  Have any of them written in English or French or otherwise been translated into one of those two languages?  I know a bit of Arabic, too, but I would have considerable trouble reading something of this nature in Arabic.

Also, could any of the more knowledgeable non-Chalcedonians here suggest an author in their history who might compare with Maximus the Confessor?  What I mean is that Maximus the Confessor is regarded as a brilliant defender and explicator of what one might call the "Cyrillian dyophysitism" of my own Eastern Orthodox Church.  Does Severus of Antioch hold a similar position in the history of Oriental theology?  Is there any later writer who best articulates the traditional "moderate" monophysite response to "moderate" dyophysitism, as well as the monothelite and monoenergist compromises?

Thank you  in advance, and forgive me if this topic has already been discussed.

-Jeremiah
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« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2004, 06:41:36 PM »

Dear Jeremiah,

First of all, we do not consider ourselves "monophysites." Rather, it is more accurate to say that we are "miaphysites." Our Churches' historic position never implied a numerical oneness but rather a oneness of unity (we too anathamatized Eutchyes). Just as 1) God is One and 2) two become one flesh in marriage, we believe Christ's Nature was also One. A good modern-day writer would be the late Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan. His book, "Armenian Church Historical Studies" has several essays on the Christological debate and the relationship between our hisotirc Churches. See: http://www.narek-store.com/shop/SearchResults.asp?ProdStock=BK-5164

Also, I have a page dedicated to the topic of Chalcedon with some informitive links.  If interested see: http://www.geocities.com/derghazar/chalcedon.html
« Last Edit: December 22, 2004, 06:44:06 PM by Ghazaros » Logged

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Yirmiyahu
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2004, 02:18:36 AM »

Dear Ghazaros,

Thank you for you reply.

First of all, we do not consider ourselves "monophysites."  Rather, it is more accurate to say that we are "miaphysites."  Our Churches' historic position never implied a numerical oneness but rather a oneness of unity (we too anathamatized Eutchyes).

I understand that you are not Eutychians.  The Severan formula was "one composite (-â-ì+++++¦-ä++-é) nature," was it not?  Admitting that this incarnate nature is considered to be composite, is it not still (numerically as well as in terms of its unity) one nature?  Whatever the case may be, please allow me to explain why I chose (after some deliberation) to use the word "monophysite" in what I hoped would be understood as merely a descriptive, not pejorative, fashion.

You (the non-Chalcedonians) prefer the formula "+++»+¦ -Ã¥-ì-â+¦-é -ä++ß+ª +++¦++ß+ª ++-î+¦++-Ã  -â+¦-â+¦-ü+¦-ë+++¡++++," and for this reason the word "miaphysite" has been (quite recently) used to describe your Christology.  I have at times used this term (or the another recent coinage: "henophysite") to describe your position.  But now I prefer not to do so.

"+++»+¦" is simply the feminine form of the cardinal number "one" in Greek, and can therefore certainly imply numerical oneness.  "+++»+¦" is also not used in compounds the way that "++++++++-" is.  At least I know of no no example of it being used this way in classical Greek, and I seem to remember one modern Greek speaker remarking that the construction "miaphysite" sounded rather odd.  On the other hand in words such as ++++++-î-Ã¥-Ã ++++-é (LSJ: of one tribe, race, or kind), it seems that "mono-" itself conveys the sense of a oneness of unity rather than exclusively a numerical oneness.  It is quite simply the the proper morpheme to be used in compounds of this nature- "mia" is not.

So I fail to see why the term miaphysite is preferable, much less "more accurate," and this is not simply because I am Chalcedonian Orthodox.  Your own Archbishop Tiran, in his article "Problems of Consensus in Christology: The Function of Councils", linked from your webpage, seems quite comfortable using the word "monophysite" to describe his own position.

A good modern-day writer would be the late Archbishop Tiran Nersoyan.  His book, "Armenian Church Historical Studies" has several essays on the Christological debate and the relationship between our hisotirc Churches.

I do appreciate your recommendation and will look into it.  However, if his aforementioned article is any indication, he seems to have taken a quite favorable view towards reunion (though I only read through the article once and rather quickly- did I miss something?).  I was hoping to find some information on the writings of Oriental theologians who are opposed to these efforts.

Also, I have a page dedicated to the topic of Chalcedon with some informitive links. If interested see: http://www.geocities.com/derghazar/chalcedon.html

Thank you.  I will look through these links more thoroughly.

-Jeremiah
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« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2004, 12:50:19 PM »

Dear Jeremiah,

I appreciate your explanation of why you chose to use the term "monophysite".  Unfortunately, that term has become perjorative through use; in fact, you are the only one I've spoken with online who seems to use it in a non-perjorative fashion.  Because it does have that and other inaccurate connotations now, we have asked that it not be used here.  You are invited to use "Oriental Orthodox", or, if you do not feel like using this term, "Non-Chalcedonian", a term most people have no problem with. 

The non-Chalcedonian Churches feel no word used currently by those outside the fold is an accurate description of their faith; for them, the only accurate term is "Orthodox".  Barring the full acceptance of that, however, they are content to use some of the other terms which are understood by others.  This, perhaps, is why Abp. Tiran refers to his Church's position as "monophysite"; I have a suspicion that OO literature using that term is dated, and that modern authors do not use the term, a point I recently had to make to a professor who thought this use constituted the "self-identification" of these Churches as "monophysite". 

Regarding your original questions, I am unaware of any OO theologians against reunion.  There may be some, but I've never heard of them.  I will ask around and see what I can find.  When you asked about an OO equivalent to Maximus the Confessor, my first thought (before proceeding to your next sentence) was Severus of Antioch.     
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« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2004, 03:15:13 PM »

I have also seen the word "miaphysite" crop up on the internet to refer to the Non-Chalcedonian Churches and their christological beliefs...not knowing much Greek, could someone tell me what it means, and where the term comes from?
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2004, 03:24:01 PM »

Miaphysite is a term coined relatively recently as an alternative to "monophysite", which has acquired perjorative connotations.  From my own private reading and elementary knowledge of Greek, "mia-" implies a composite unity (in this case, fully divine and fully human), whereas "mono-" implies a strict unity (either divine or human).  According to this line of thinking, OO prefer miaphysite as it more accurately reflects our theology.  Jeremiah's post will have me doing some extra research on the linguistic issue here.   
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« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2004, 06:19:56 PM »

Thanx for cluing us (me) in about the term "miaphysite," Mor. Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2004, 08:17:29 PM »

Dear Friends,

I agree with Mor Ephrem here. The term Monophysite is commonly coupled with the idea that we believe that Christ has only one Divine Nature. This is erroneous. The simple reason why many prefer mia-physite to monophysite, besides all that has been said above is the very language employed by St. Cyril of Alexandria. After all, he did not say "mono physis hypostasis tou Theou Logou sesarkomene" but rather, "mia physis hypostasis tou Theou Logou sesarkomene." If it is improper in Greek to use mia as a compound then you can just throw a hyphen in there and the problem is solved. We do "improper" things like this all the time in English, like the word "Chrismation" which joins a Greek word to a Latin ending. But this is the theology we affirm: one that is mia-pysite, with all of its proper implications -not monophysite which is synonymous with Eutchyism.

If Yirmiyahu finds this word unnacceptable, at least he can understand the reason behind its adoption by many Oriental Orthodox. When OO's use the word Monophysite it is not because they embrace it, but rather they are just utilizing common terminology, albeit inaccurate.

Yirmiyahu, if you are looking for Oriental Orthodox polemics, I came across a website you can check out: http://www.geocities.com/mfignatius/others/byzantine02.html

But with our Churches moving closer to one another, I'm not sure why are you interested in this? As for Church Fathers on the Ephesian (as opposed to the Chalcedonian) side, there are several important ones. But I'm not sure if their writings are available in English. I could list some of them out for you but an excellent book which chronicles the entire debate and history from the Armenian Church's perspective is, "The Council of Chalcedon and the Armenian Church," by H.H. Karekin I of blessed memory. You can find it at the following site: http://www.armenianprelacy.org/booksrelig.htm
« Last Edit: December 23, 2004, 10:03:45 PM by Ghazaros » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2004, 03:35:05 PM »

Just wanted to mention that I love Ghazaros' web site.  Nicely done, my friend.  I would also like to "shout out" to brother Mor. 
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2004, 03:49:40 PM »

Quote
Are there any theologians in the non-Chalcedonian Oriental churches writing today who oppose reunion with the Chalcedonian Orthodox from a christological or ecclesiological standpoint?

I recently reinstalled Paltalk and began chatting on there again. On the second night there I met some Copts and we started discussing this subject, and much to my suprise some of them (though certainly not all) had concerns about the current talks. They sometimes have an Orthodox room open there at night, perhaps they would know some sources which speak about caution regarding unity. At the very least, perhaps you could discuss the issue with them. The Orthodox community on Paltalk is small, but very friendly and knowledgable.

Paradosis
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2004, 05:51:06 PM »

Hey Paradosios,

I am on Paltalk also on a daily basis and I attend the Orthodox room in the "Christianity" scetion. I use the nicname "ER0S_". As a matter of fact I remember seeing you there a couple of times. In that room we avoid speaking about the differences between Eastern and Oriantal Orthodox Churches because it is not a debate room. Rather, it is a room to explain what Orthodoxy is to those not familiar with it. Many of the Orthodox people who attend that room are Greek, Russian and Coptic.

Hope to see you all in there.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2004, 07:43:40 PM by Dimitrius » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2004, 05:58:38 PM »

Ahh, ok, well I apologize if I got the wrong impression, and compounded the problem by making the suggestion I did above! Both bushbush and Carepassi (and others) seemed willing to discuss the issue(s), but perhaps it was the context and the way we were going about things (not debate, just chat/friendly asking). I used to chat on Paltalk back in 2002, at which time I was an admin in curious cat's room, but I fell out of the habit of going there and only recently (ie. this week) began using it again, so I'm still trying to get reoriented to things.
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2004, 07:19:28 PM »

"Saint Shenouti,"

Thank you, brother, for your kind words on the site.
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Trusting in Christ's Inextinguishable Light,
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2004, 10:17:19 PM »

No problem, dear brother.  I particularly liked our fathers the patriarchs' pictures.  Very nice.
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