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Author Topic: OO Monophysite or Miaphysite?  (Read 3501 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: February 15, 2013, 02:49:06 PM »

Was there any Church father before Nicea that used the word "homoiousios" in an Orthodox manner?

Homoiousios couldn't have been used in an Orthodox manner.
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« Reply #91 on: February 15, 2013, 02:58:00 PM »

Was there any Church father before Nicea that used the word "homoiousios" in an Orthodox manner?

Homoiousios couldn't have been used in an Orthodox manner.

Didn't St. Basil at one point use it in an Orthodox manner but abandoned it because it was too imprecise? Just asking.
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« Reply #92 on: February 15, 2013, 02:59:31 PM »

Was there any Church father before Nicea that used the word "homoiousios" in an Orthodox manner?

Homoiousios couldn't have been used in an Orthodox manner.
Then that could be another reason why OOs wouldn't see the same case in Chalcedon as it was in Nicea.
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« Reply #93 on: February 15, 2013, 03:08:57 PM »

Was there any Church father before Nicea that used the word "homoiousios" in an Orthodox manner?

Homoiousios couldn't have been used in an Orthodox manner.
Then that could be another reason why OOs wouldn't see the same case in Chalcedon as it was in Nicea.

I see your point, but the dyophysite formula of Chalcedon is not a compromise solution between Cyrill and Nestorius like homoiousios was between Eunomians and the Orthodox.   
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« Reply #94 on: February 15, 2013, 03:11:18 PM »

Was there any Church father before Nicea that used the word "homoiousios" in an Orthodox manner?

Homoiousios couldn't have been used in an Orthodox manner.
Then that could be another reason why OOs wouldn't see the same case in Chalcedon as it was in Nicea.

I see your point, but the dyophysite formula of Chalcedon is not a compromise solution between Cyrill and Nestorius like homoiousios was between Eunomians and the Orthodox.   

How sure are you of that statement?
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« Reply #95 on: February 15, 2013, 03:25:27 PM »

Was there any Church father before Nicea that used the word "homoiousios" in an Orthodox manner?

Homoiousios couldn't have been used in an Orthodox manner.
Then that could be another reason why OOs wouldn't see the same case in Chalcedon as it was in Nicea.

I see your point, but the dyophysite formula of Chalcedon is not a compromise solution between Cyrill and Nestorius like homoiousios was between Eunomians and the Orthodox.   

It's not the dyophysite formula I'm against.  I think Chalcedonians might have a good argument there, if it wasn't for the fact that the terminologies we adhered to were attacked, such as the one made by St. Cyril, "two natures in thought (before the union), one nature after the union."
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« Reply #96 on: February 15, 2013, 03:31:15 PM »

Quote from: Romaios
I see your point, but the dyophysite formula of Chalcedon is not a compromise solution between Cyrill and Nestorius like homoiousios was between Eunomians and the Orthodox.   

How sure are you of that statement?

Pretty sure. As Rabbi Gamaliel put it, "if it be of men, it will come to naught, but if it be of God, ye will not be able to overthrow it". I revere St. Maximus as one of the greatest and dearest Saints and a true champion of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #97 on: February 15, 2013, 03:35:42 PM »

I revere St. Maximus as one of the greatest and dearest Saints and a true champion of Orthodoxy.

OK. I like St. Maximus too. But what does this to do with Chalcedon being a compromise between Alexandria and Antioch?
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« Reply #98 on: February 15, 2013, 03:41:08 PM »

I revere St. Maximus as one of the greatest and dearest Saints and a true champion of Orthodoxy.

OK. I like St. Maximus too. But what does this to do with Chalcedon being a compromise between Alexandria and Antioch?

If Chalcedon were not divinely inspired, St. Maximus would be but deluded "flesh and blood".
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« Reply #99 on: February 15, 2013, 03:46:39 PM »

I revere St. Maximus as one of the greatest and dearest Saints and a true champion of Orthodoxy.

OK. I like St. Maximus too. But what does this to do with Chalcedon being a compromise between Alexandria and Antioch?

If Chalcedon were not divinely inspired, St. Maximus would be but deluded "flesh and blood".

Translation: "I'd rather condemn the entire OO communion than admit someone I like was wrong."
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« Reply #100 on: February 15, 2013, 03:49:32 PM »

I revere St. Maximus as one of the greatest and dearest Saints and a true champion of Orthodoxy.

OK. I like St. Maximus too. But what does this to do with Chalcedon being a compromise between Alexandria and Antioch?

If Chalcedon were not divinely inspired, St. Maximus would be but deluded "flesh and blood".

Look...if we avoid attacking each other's traditions, I think we can have this discussion without it being thrown in the private sector.  I don't think anyone here called St. Maximus "deluded."  I usually would say, in his context, he had every right to say what he said considering the resources he had and what he was taught.

We just simply say there needs to be a clearer vindication of OO theology and persons, which we feel weren't presented well in Chalcedon and the subsequent traditions.  It is in the OO theology and persons we adhere to, and we invite anyone to study their, we would would say, Orthodoxy, and if indeed it agrees with your Orthodoxy, then this should lead to the other much tougher questions that the EO/OO consultations since the 1970s have tirelessly been trying to answer.

Perhaps one way to start is to first realize, these questions are being asked here is in an OO forum.  This means that inevitably, you are talking to people who also believe that their "fathers' rejection of Chalcedon" was "divinely inspired".  So, let's avoid "divinely inspired" and figure out what happened.
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« Reply #101 on: February 15, 2013, 03:53:16 PM »


Translation: "I'd rather condemn the entire OO communion than admit someone I like was wrong."

You just summed up the all anti-miaphysite rhetorics in one sentence.
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« Reply #102 on: February 15, 2013, 04:13:00 PM »


Translation: "I'd rather condemn the entire OO communion than admit someone I like was wrong."

You just summed up the all anti-miaphysite rhetorics in one sentence.

It's truly not about rhetorics to me, and - but for their rejection of Chalcedon - I sincerely love and admire the OO. I don't want to insult or hurt them. I don't want to turn this into polemical non-sense.

I could not admit that St. Maximus was wrong any more than I could admit that St. Gregory Palamas or St. Mark of Ephesus were wrong and the Latins were right. I revere these Saints precisely because I genuinely believe what they stood for to be the truth.
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« Reply #103 on: February 15, 2013, 04:18:45 PM »


Translation: "I'd rather condemn the entire OO communion than admit someone I like was wrong."

You just summed up the all anti-miaphysite rhetorics in one sentence.

It's truly not about rhetorics to me, and - but for their rejection of Chalcedon - I sincerely love and admire the OO. I don't want to insult or hurt them. I don't want to turn this into polemical non-sense.

I could not admit that St. Maximus was wrong any more than I could admit that St. Gregory Palamas or St. Mark of Ephesus were wrong and the Latins were right. I revere these Saints precisely because I genuinely believe what they stood for to be the truth.

I think one of the most serious questions one has to ask, can one stand up for the Truth while being mistaken for who the enemy is?

You will find many OOs quoting and sometimes revering writings of St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Gregory Palamas, St. John of Damascus not because we agree with their Chalcedonian views, but because we find in them the OO truth we teach.
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« Reply #104 on: February 15, 2013, 04:26:18 PM »

I greatly revere St. Gregory of Nyssa myself yet I know that some things he said aren't all true or orthodox.
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« Reply #105 on: February 15, 2013, 04:32:01 PM »

I revere St. Maximus as one of the greatest and dearest Saints and a true champion of Orthodoxy.

OK. I like St. Maximus too. But what does this to do with Chalcedon being a compromise between Alexandria and Antioch?

If Chalcedon were not divinely inspired, St. Maximus would be but deluded "flesh and blood".

Look...if we avoid attacking each other's traditions, I think we can have this discussion without it being thrown in the private sector.  I don't think anyone here called St. Maximus "deluded."  I usually would say, in his context, he had every right to say what he said considering the resources he had and what he was taught.

We just simply say there needs to be a clearer vindication of OO theology and persons, which we feel weren't presented well in Chalcedon and the subsequent traditions.  It is in the OO theology and persons we adhere to, and we invite anyone to study their, we would would say, Orthodoxy, and if indeed it agrees with your Orthodoxy, then this should lead to the other much tougher questions that the EO/OO consultations since the 1970s have tirelessly been trying to answer.

Perhaps one way to start is to first realize, these questions are being asked here is in an OO forum.  This means that inevitably, you are talking to people who also believe that their "fathers' rejection of Chalcedon" was "divinely inspired".  So, let's avoid "divinely inspired" and figure out what happened.

Thank you for this. That's what I meant to get to at my last post, in response to questions of where the Holy Spirit is, if such-and-such is "divinely inspired", etc. These are not good standards by which to come to belief or disbelief in something if all can claim similarly for their own belief and against that of their neighbor. It is much more profitable to me to address supposed deficiencies or errors as seen by either side than to say, as we both (EO and OO) may have done in the past, "everything of your tradition is wrong, stemming from acceptance or rejection of this [not] divinely inspired council". Most of the objections I have heard from my priests have to do with the Tome itself and some of the actions that, strictly speaking, can be considered separately from the Orthodoxy of this agreed statement of the Chalcedonian fathers, such as the deposition of St. Dioscoros (which, if it is to prove the the Orthodoxy of the council, or even just St. Dioscoros' having gotten what he deserved for ceasing to commemorate Pope Leo -- even though Leo had done the same to him first -- must've been a point lost on some of the Chalcedonian replacements set up in the wake of the Council, such as Timothy III [Salophakiolos] who continued to commemorate St. Dioscoros in the Alexandrian church's diptychs until that got him in trouble...haha).

I like St. Maximus, though not to the point of thinking that he cannot be wrong. I like St. John Damascene, though not to the point of thinking that he cannot be wrong. I feel the same about our own (OO) saints, and modern patriarchs, too. When nobody is infallible, then anybody can be wrong. I thought this was one of the strengths of Orthodoxy (of whatever communion you believe that moniker belongs to). It does not rest on one man's ideas alone, be he saint, Pope or Patriarch, etc. So if St. Maximus is wrong on one particular account, the whole thing does not collapse.
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« Reply #106 on: February 15, 2013, 05:20:31 PM »

I think one of the most serious questions one has to ask, can one stand up for the Truth while being mistaken for who the enemy is?

The Fathers often used references to nature when making theological points. The fact that they were factually incorrect in their science does not undermine the theological truths they were using it to illustrate. To give an example, St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite says that even the holiest of people will never be immune to the criticism and slander of others. He illustrates his point by saying that certain scientists of his day had begun suggesting that there were black spots on the surface of the sun, the most splendid of all of God's creations, and dismisses their theories, calling them impious for trying to find faults in God's work. I don't believe anyone would today reject the existence of sunspots on the grounds that it would compromise St. Nikodemos' Orthodoxy.

Likewise, I think it's perfectly possible to say that some of the Fathers, based on the sources they had in front of them, were factually incorrect in their presentation of the theology of someone like Severus without that in any way undermining or compromising the accuracy and truthfulness of their Orthodox defence against it.
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« Reply #107 on: February 15, 2013, 05:37:31 PM »

I like St. Maximus, though not to the point of thinking that he cannot be wrong. I like St. John Damascene, though not to the point of thinking that he cannot be wrong. I feel the same about our own (OO) saints, and modern patriarchs, too. When nobody is infallible, then anybody can be wrong. I thought this was one of the strengths of Orthodoxy (of whatever communion you believe that moniker belongs to). It does not rest on one man's ideas alone, be he saint, Pope or Patriarch, etc. So if St. Maximus is wrong on one particular account, the whole thing does not collapse.

IMHO not agreeing with St. Athanasius (Nicaea) makes you more or less Arian.

Not agreeing with St. Cyrill (Ephesus) - more or less Nestorian (ACoE?).

Not agreeing with St. Leo and St. Maximus - OO miaphysite, Eutychian monophysite or monothelite.   

Not agreeing with St. Photios, St. Gregory Palamas and St. Mark of Ephesus - more or less a Latinophron.

Not agreeing with any of them - an anarchist Protestant, an agnostic or an atheist.

I don't believe they were completely infallible in everything they taught, but I revere them as defenders of truth and pillars of Orthodoxy in the polemics they were involved in. 

I greatly enjoy reading Origen, Jacob of Serugh's homilies, Philoxenus of Mabbugh, Fr. Matta el-Maskin, some Aquinas, Bernard of Clairvaux, Guillaume of St. Thierry, many medieval Latin authors, and I revere St. Isaac of Niniveh as sublime. 
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« Reply #108 on: February 15, 2013, 05:43:32 PM »

I think one of the most serious questions one has to ask, can one stand up for the Truth while being mistaken for who the enemy is?

The Fathers often used references to nature when making theological points. The fact that they were factually incorrect in their science does not undermine the theological truths they were using it to illustrate. To give an example, St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite says that even the holiest of people will never be immune to the criticism and slander of others. He illustrates his point by saying that certain scientists of his day had begun suggesting that there were black spots on the surface of the sun, the most splendid of all of God's creations, and dismisses their theories, calling them impious for trying to find faults in God's work. I don't believe anyone would today reject the existence of sunspots on the grounds that it would compromise St. Nikodemos' Orthodoxy.

Likewise, I think it's perfectly possible to say that some of the Fathers, based on the sources they had in front of them, were factually incorrect in their presentation of the theology of someone like Severus without that in any way undermining or compromising the accuracy and truthfulness of their Orthodox defence against it.

Indeed!  That's exactly how I think of it!
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« Reply #109 on: February 15, 2013, 05:47:34 PM »


Not agreeing with St. Leo and St. Maximus - OO miaphysite, Eutychian monophysite or monothelite.   


You have to be careful what you're saying here.  Are you bunching OO theology and placing it in one and the same category with Eutychianism and Monotheletism?

For instance, there are at least two passages in Leo's Tome OOs won't agree with on the basis that it compromises what they have learned from St. Cyril.  Therefore, technically, we would say that the Tome of Leo was at odds with St. Cyril's theology (or at the very least terminology), despite the fact that Chalcedon claims to say that it is consonant with him.

As for St. Maximus, I always got the sense he wrote against the Chalcedonian Monothelites, and assuming that by extension, this is the type of Monotheletism anti-Chalcedonians held to.  When I read the disputation with Pyrrhus however, I can't help but think that there are some things Pyrrhus said that St. Severus himself wouldn't agree to, or at the very least, would have made better arguments.
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« Reply #110 on: February 15, 2013, 05:57:03 PM »


My impression, if I'm not mistaken, from those posters here knowledgeable in Greek is "Miaphysite" is a distinction without a difference from "Monophysite".  But Henophysite may more clearly indicate the intent of the union of natures. I think I came across that point from something Fr. John McGuckin wrote.

There is a difference.  Mono=one singular.  Mia=one composite.  Eutyches believed in one singular divine nature, in which the divine consumes the human.  Miaphysites believe in one composite divine/human nature with both attributes remaining intact.  The Chalcedonian problem with this is it can sound like Christ has one nature that is 50%divine and 50% human, rather than that Christ is 100% divine and 100% human.
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« Reply #111 on: February 15, 2013, 06:06:51 PM »


Not agreeing with St. Leo and St. Maximus - OO miaphysite, Eutychian monophysite or monothelite.   


You have to be careful what you're saying here.  Are you bunching OO theology and placing it in one and the same category with Eutychianism and Monotheletism?

No - I know that the issues are far too complex and complicated to be lumped together like that, but for all practical purposes I use Saints to find my way through the intricacies of the long history of theological controversy. I know that for some they might be stumbling-blocks, but to me they are guiding lights. Their names function like the Litmus test for Orthodoxy when reading theology or talking to theologically knowledgeable people.
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« Reply #112 on: February 15, 2013, 06:15:53 PM »


Not agreeing with St. Leo and St. Maximus - OO miaphysite, Eutychian monophysite or monothelite.   


You have to be careful what you're saying here.  Are you bunching OO theology and placing it in one and the same category with Eutychianism and Monotheletism?

No - I know that the issues are far too complex and complicated to be lumped together like that, but for all practical purposes I use Saints to find my way through the intricacies of the long history of theological controversy. I know that for some they might be stumbling-blocks, but to me they are guiding lights. Their names function like the Litmus test for Orthodoxy when reading theology or talking to theologically knowledgeable people.

Fair enough!  I just want to point out at the very least, Orthodox11 made a great post about how to consider these stumbling blocks in your life, especially if you want to keep the reverence to these saints.
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« Reply #113 on: February 15, 2013, 06:19:07 PM »

I think one of the most serious questions one has to ask, can one stand up for the Truth while being mistaken for who the enemy is?

The Fathers often used references to nature when making theological points. The fact that they were factually incorrect in their science does not undermine the theological truths they were using it to illustrate. To give an example, St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite says that even the holiest of people will never be immune to the criticism and slander of others. He illustrates his point by saying that certain scientists of his day had begun suggesting that there were black spots on the surface of the sun, the most splendid of all of God's creations, and dismisses their theories, calling them impious for trying to find faults in God's work. I don't believe anyone would today reject the existence of sunspots on the grounds that it would compromise St. Nikodemos' Orthodoxy.

Likewise, I think it's perfectly possible to say that some of the Fathers, based on the sources they had in front of them, were factually incorrect in their presentation of the theology of someone like Severus without that in any way undermining or compromising the accuracy and truthfulness of their Orthodox defence against it.

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« Reply #114 on: February 15, 2013, 06:25:08 PM »

Was there any Church father before Nicea that used the word "homoiousios" in an Orthodox manner?

Homoiousios couldn't have been used in an Orthodox manner.

Didn't St. Basil at one point use it in an Orthodox manner but abandoned it because it was too imprecise? Just asking.

The Cappadocians St. Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian, and St. Gregory of Nyssa originally prefered it because homoousios was associated with the Sabellians.  St. Basil adopted homoousios only after refining it by reference to the homoiousios tradition to protect the distinctiveness of the divine persons and thereby winning most homoiousians for Nicea.
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« Reply #115 on: February 15, 2013, 06:33:17 PM »

Was there any Church father before Nicea that used the word "homoiousios" in an Orthodox manner?

Homoiousios couldn't have been used in an Orthodox manner.

Didn't St. Basil at one point use it in an Orthodox manner but abandoned it because it was too imprecise? Just asking.

The Cappadocians St. Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian, and St. Gregory of Nyssa originally prefered it because homoousios was associated with the Sabellians.  St. Basil adopted homoousios only after refining it by reference to the homoiousios tradition to protect the distinctiveness of the divine persons and thereby winning most homoiousians for Nicea.

So would homoIousios be a valid part of Church tradition so long as it is interpreted correctly?  Or were they asked to abandon the term?
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« Reply #116 on: February 15, 2013, 06:35:30 PM »

The Cappadocians St. Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian, and St. Gregory of Nyssa originally prefered it because homoousios was associated with the Sabellians.  St. Basil adopted homoousios only after refining it by reference to the homoiousios tradition to protect the distinctiveness of the divine persons and thereby winning most homoiousians for Nicea.

Exactly. The notion that the term homoiousios was simply a compromise is a mistaken one.

So would homoIousios be a valid part of Church tradition so long as it is interpreted correctly? 

Had the Orthodox continued to use it until today, I don't see why not. However, after homoousios gained universal acceptance and became the common way of expressing the Orthodox position, the re-introduction of homoiousios would not be valid.
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« Reply #117 on: February 15, 2013, 06:53:29 PM »

The Cappadocians St. Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian, and St. Gregory of Nyssa originally prefered it because homoousios was associated with the Sabellians.  St. Basil adopted homoousios only after refining it by reference to the homoiousios tradition to protect the distinctiveness of the divine persons and thereby winning most homoiousians for Nicea.

Exactly. The notion that the term homoiousios was simply a compromise is a mistaken one.

Using it seems to have been a compromise that the Cappadocian Fathers initially made. They obviously didn't agree with the interpretation moderate Arians (they coined it, didn't they?) gave it, but didn't want to repel them from Orthodoxy either.   

They were navigating between Arian Scylla and Sabellian Charybdis.
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« Reply #118 on: February 15, 2013, 07:48:19 PM »

I think one of the most serious questions one has to ask, can one stand up for the Truth while being mistaken for who the enemy is?

The Fathers often used references to nature when making theological points. The fact that they were factually incorrect in their science does not undermine the theological truths they were using it to illustrate.

It's one thing not to agree with a Father's scientific observations once they are proven wrong by contemporary science and quite another to disagree with his theology. Is Christological dogma falsifiable and prone to correction and amendments in the same/similar manner that scientific theories are?

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« Reply #119 on: February 15, 2013, 07:55:30 PM »

I think one of the most serious questions one has to ask, can one stand up for the Truth while being mistaken for who the enemy is?

The Fathers often used references to nature when making theological points. The fact that they were factually incorrect in their science does not undermine the theological truths they were using it to illustrate.

It's one thing not to agree with a Father's scientific observations once they are proven wrong by contemporary science and quite another to disagree with his theology. Is Christological dogma falsifiable and prone to correction and amendments in the same/similar manner that scientific theories are?


He didn't say their dogma or theology is wrong, but that they could be wrong about what the person they are condemning is believing.

St Nicodemus is correct theologically, but misunderstood the intentions of the scientist.
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« Reply #120 on: February 15, 2013, 07:57:42 PM »

It's one thing not to agree with a Father's scientific observations once they are proven wrong by contemporary science and quite another to disagree with his theology. Is Christological dogma falsifiable and prone to correction and amendments in the same/similar manner that scientific theories are?

If you have a document in front of you that says "Mr X taught that Christ's humanity and divinity were mingled and confused into a single nature" and you respond to that heresy with an Orthodox formula, your defence of Orthodoxy will not be undermined if it is later shown that Mr. X did not in fact teach the thing he was accused of teaching.

I see no difference between a Father making an incorrect scientific statement based on the scientific information available to him and a Father wrongly attributing a particular view to a historical figure based on the information available to him. In neither case is the theological teaching of that Church Father compromised.
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« Reply #121 on: February 15, 2013, 08:08:26 PM »

He didn't say their dogma or theology is wrong, but that they could be wrong about what the person they are condemning is believing.

So if contemporary historico-critical research clears Nestorius of "Nestorianism" or Patriarchs Severus and Dioscorus of "Monophysism" and the Church lifts the anathemas against the persons - not the heresies (even if in the end no one actually embraced them), then the ACoE could receive Ephesus and the OO Chalcedon, and the rest of the EO Councils, or should these simply be dismissed as fighting wind mills and straw men? St. Cyrill, St. Leo, St. Maximus, St. John of Damascus etc. were so many Don Quijotes?  Undecided
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« Reply #122 on: February 15, 2013, 08:22:55 PM »

He didn't say their dogma or theology is wrong, but that they could be wrong about what the person they are condemning is believing.

So if contemporary historico-critical research clears Nestorius of "Nestorianism" or Patriarchs Severus and Dioscorus of "Monophysism" and the Church lifts the anathemas against the persons - not the heresies (even if in the end no one actually embraced them), then the ACoE could receive Ephesus and the OO Chalcedon, and the rest of the EO Councils, or should these simply be dismissed as fighting wind mills and straw men? St. Cyrill, St. Leo, St. Maximus, St. John of Damascus etc. were so many Don Quijotes?  Undecided

If you see them as "Don Quijotes", and this troubles your faith, then I say you are walking on thin ice.  I've provided some quotes by St. Dioscorus in another thread, and there's plenty of information about St. Severus in over the internet, and over many books.  They never failed to teach the full humanity and full divinity of Christ, without division, without separation, without confusion, and without alteration.

It is not merely "contemporary historico-critical research" that vindicates the anti-Chalcedonian saints of our tradition.  It is the life of the OO Church continually throughout centuries, through her practice, and her Church fathers' writings preserved for us.  Therefore, if we present to you the writings of Dioscorus or Severus, and you can't find anything wrong with them, then "historico-critical" is not fair, isn't it?  We have our defenses. 

You have to understand that throughout centuries, the "ancient research" dominant in its days, usually Chalcedonian Western-European Christianity, were very biased.  For centuries, they have research that "shows" the Pope of Rome was the head of the Church "unquestioned".  Is it "contemporary historico-critical research" that refutes all these claims, or is it an objective seeking of truth based on real material from the Eastern fathers?

Likewise, the ignored Church fathers of the OO tradition also deserve to be taken a look at.  Just because Western Christian scholars have lead us to think we are Monophysites does not mean it's set in stone by scholars.

As for Nestorius, in my personal opinion, based on reading what he wrote, he fails to clearly make the case that Christ is different from a prophet who unites himself with the Word.  This isn't based on reading St. Cyril, but based on reading what Nestorius and Theodore of Mopsuestia wrote.
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« Reply #123 on: February 15, 2013, 08:36:51 PM »

No - I know that the issues are far too complex and complicated to be lumped together like that, but for all practical purposes I use Saints to find my way through the intricacies of the long history of theological controversy. I know that for some they might be stumbling-blocks, but to me they are guiding lights. Their names function like the Litmus test for Orthodoxy when reading theology or talking to theologically knowledgeable people.

While we can all appreciate simplifying complex issues like theology, sometimes simplicity brings errors. Let's suppose we gave 100 people a survey with two questions.
Question #1: Do you believe in the Virgin Mary is the Theotokos and she gave birth to Christ in the flesh?
Question #2: Do you believe anyone who disagrees with St Cyril is a Nestorian?

Let's suppose all 100 people responded yes to question 1 and no to question 2. Well according to your litmus test, all 100 would be Nestorian because you are basing heretic confession on solely on sainthood canonization. In reality your litmus test has 0% specificity (many false positives).  IMHO, any test that diagnoses or adjudicates disease or heresy that has 0% specificity is pretty much useless.

Maybe in a black and white world, a complete faith in a sainthood test is beneficial. I think its prudent to acknowledge and learn how to deal with shades of grey.
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« Reply #124 on: February 15, 2013, 08:46:40 PM »

In the end, I hope you understand, we're not telling you to believe in something different that you believe.  You do well if you believe in full humanity and full divinity, without mingling, without confusion, without separation, without division.  One person, one hypostasis, hypostatic union, and that St. Mary is Theotokos also is what we have in common.

We are not like the Roman Catholic Church, asking you to believe in Petrine Primacy of the Pope of Rome, when in fact, this is a clear difference that both churches fully realize separates them.  We are simply saying, if you examine the OO fathers, they in essence do not believe what your EO fathers accuse them of believing.  This is completely different than the anti-Photian history of the Roman Catholic Church, which results in a real division of belief, and is acknowledged as such by the Roman Catholic Church itself.

That's the difference here.  Do you hear any Roman Catholic Church saying "You completely misunderstand us, we're not saying the Pope of Rome gets ex cathedra infallible primacy like a council"?
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« Reply #125 on: February 15, 2013, 08:54:09 PM »

If you see them as "Don Quijotes", and this troubles your faith, then I say you are walking on thin ice.  I've provided some quotes by St. Dioscorus in another thread, and there's plenty of information about St. Severus in over the internet, and over many books.  They never failed to teach the full humanity and full divinity of Christ, without division, without separation, without confusion, and without alteration.

I admit I haven't read much by either of them, but, to be honest, I don't think of any of the Saints I mentioned before as Don Quijotes - no more than you do about St. Cyrill, I'm sure. It's hard to form an objective opinion after so many (allegedly) heretical writings were destroyed or lost, being preserved only in hardly accessible translations. In the end, one has to trust St. Irenaeus when he refutes the Gnostics (even if there might be straw men or excessive rhetoric in Against heresies too), the Cappadocian Fathers against Apollinarius and so on.   

As for the non-Chalcedonian Saints, I've read bits of their spiritual writings or festal homilies which I found very good and profitable, but I usually avoid the Christological polemics. I also enjoy OO liturgies. I believe your liturgical books to be less ridden with polemics than our own. There are some appalling texts against (alleged) heretics and heresiarchs in the EO books.   
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« Reply #126 on: February 15, 2013, 08:57:43 PM »

If you see them as "Don Quijotes", and this troubles your faith, then I say you are walking on thin ice.  I've provided some quotes by St. Dioscorus in another thread, and there's plenty of information about St. Severus in over the internet, and over many books.  They never failed to teach the full humanity and full divinity of Christ, without division, without separation, without confusion, and without alteration.

I admit I haven't read much by either of them, but, to be honest, I don't think of any of the Saints I mentioned before as Don Quijotes - no more than you do about St. Cyrill, I'm sure. It's hard to form an objective opinion after so many (allegedly) heretical writings were destroyed or lost, being preserved only in hardly accessible translations. In the end, one has to trust St. Irenaeus when he refutes the Gnostics (even if there might be straw men or excessive rhetoric in Against heresies too), the Cappadocian Fathers against Apollinarius and so on.   

As for the non-Chalcedonian Saints, I've read bits of their spiritual writings or festal homilies which I found very good and profitable, but I usually avoid the Christological polemics. I also enjoy OO liturgies. I believe your liturgical books to be less ridden with polemics than our own. There are some appalling texts against the (alleged) heretics and heresiarchs in the EO books.   

Oh you haven't read our Synexarium and Midnight Tasbeha prayers  Wink

Lucky for us, the writings of those condemned on our side are still preserved.  I agree with you on St. Irenaeus and the Cappadocian fathers.  In fact, we do have Gnostic writings today, don't we?  And we found out St. Irenaeus wasn't wrong after all. Wink
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« Reply #127 on: February 15, 2013, 09:10:53 PM »

Oh you haven't read our Synexarium and Midnight Tasbeha prayers  Wink

I've read a translation of a Syriac life of St. Maximus that really put me off. Angry

I think I downloaded a Coptic Synaxarium in English, but it's probably the abridged and ecumenically correct version.  Smiley
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« Reply #128 on: February 15, 2013, 09:31:28 PM »

Oh you haven't read our Synexarium and Midnight Tasbeha prayers  Wink

I've read a translation of a Syriac life of St. Maximus that really put me off. Angry

I think I downloaded a Coptic Synaxarium in English, but it's probably the abridged and ecumenically correct version.  Smiley
The Syriac Life, is it the Maronite one that says St. Maximus had "his blasphemous" hand cut off etc.?
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« Reply #129 on: February 15, 2013, 09:36:47 PM »

He didn't say their dogma or theology is wrong, but that they could be wrong about what the person they are condemning is believing.

So if contemporary historico-critical research clears Nestorius of "Nestorianism" or Patriarchs Severus and Dioscorus of "Monophysism" and the Church lifts the anathemas against the persons - not the heresies (even if in the end no one actually embraced them), then the ACoE could receive Ephesus and the OO Chalcedon, and the rest of the EO Councils, or should these simply be dismissed as fighting wind mills and straw men? St. Cyrill, St. Leo, St. Maximus, St. John of Damascus etc. were so many Don Quijotes?  Undecided
Pope Dioscoros was not condemned for Monophysitism, and Patriarch Severus was never at nor the subject of an Ecumenical Council.

Eutyches and his Monophysism and Nestorius and his Nestorianism were condemned at the Ecumenical Councils that were summoned over them.
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« Reply #130 on: February 15, 2013, 09:39:53 PM »

He didn't say their dogma or theology is wrong, but that they could be wrong about what the person they are condemning is believing.

So if contemporary historico-critical research clears Nestorius of "Nestorianism" or Patriarchs Severus and Dioscorus of "Monophysism" and the Church lifts the anathemas against the persons - not the heresies (even if in the end no one actually embraced them), then the ACoE could receive Ephesus and the OO Chalcedon, and the rest of the EO Councils, or should these simply be dismissed as fighting wind mills and straw men? St. Cyrill, St. Leo, St. Maximus, St. John of Damascus etc. were so many Don Quijotes?  Undecided
Pope Dioscoros was not condemned for Monophysitism, and Patriarch Severus was never at nor the subject of an Ecumenical Council.

Eutyches and his Monophysism and Nestorius and his Nestorianism were condemned at the Ecumenical Councils that were summoned over them.


He might not have been the subject of an Ecumenical Council but he was mentioned and condemned in the 6th one IIRC.
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« Reply #131 on: February 15, 2013, 09:42:39 PM »


Translation: "I'd rather condemn the entire OO communion than admit someone I like was wrong."

You just summed up the all anti-miaphysite rhetorics in one sentence.

It's truly not about rhetorics to me, and - but for their rejection of Chalcedon - I sincerely love and admire the OO. I don't want to insult or hurt them. I don't want to turn this into polemical non-sense.

I could not admit that St. Maximus was wrong any more than I could admit that St. Gregory Palamas or St. Mark of Ephesus were wrong and the Latins were right. I revere these Saints precisely because I genuinely believe what they stood for to be the truth.
St. Maximus and St Gregory are wrong on some points.  St. Mark might be as well, but I haven't come across his error yet.

Only Christ never errs.
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« Reply #132 on: February 15, 2013, 09:45:01 PM »

He didn't say their dogma or theology is wrong, but that they could be wrong about what the person they are condemning is believing.

So if contemporary historico-critical research clears Nestorius of "Nestorianism" or Patriarchs Severus and Dioscorus of "Monophysism" and the Church lifts the anathemas against the persons - not the heresies (even if in the end no one actually embraced them), then the ACoE could receive Ephesus and the OO Chalcedon, and the rest of the EO Councils, or should these simply be dismissed as fighting wind mills and straw men? St. Cyrill, St. Leo, St. Maximus, St. John of Damascus etc. were so many Don Quijotes?  Undecided
Pope Dioscoros was not condemned for Monophysitism, and Patriarch Severus was never at nor the subject of an Ecumenical Council.

Eutyches and his Monophysism and Nestorius and his Nestorianism were condemned at the Ecumenical Councils that were summoned over them.


He might not have been the subject of an Ecumenical Council but he was mentioned and condemned in the 6th one IIRC.
Yes, I'm aware of that, in the preamble of the Definition.  The preamble just parroted a party line, nothing more, and did not examine the actual beliefs.  What they call dicta in common law.
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« Reply #133 on: February 15, 2013, 09:55:40 PM »

Oh you haven't read our Synexarium and Midnight Tasbeha prayers  Wink

I've read a translation of a Syriac life of St. Maximus that really put me off. Angry

I think I downloaded a Coptic Synaxarium in English, but it's probably the abridged and ecumenically correct version.  Smiley

I have yet to read the history of the Monothelite doctrine myself in detail, and how the OO Churches were involved in it.  Needless to say, on the Coptic end, one of the Monothelites was an Alexandrian Chalcedonian patriarch named Cyrus, who we called "Mukaukas", and was famously ruthless in ordering the killing of non-Chalcedonians.  It's also well known, in Coptic polemical history, that he sent the famous "Maria al-Qibtiya" (Mary the Copt) as well as other Coptic concubines to Mohamed the Prophet of Islam at the time, and thus made peace with him in this manner.

It's very interesting how history plays out that despite his Monothelite moves to try to attract our OO Church to him, both the Coptic Church and St. Maximus the Confessor have a common enemy.

From what I can gather, it seems also that the "Syriac life of Maximus" was written by a Maronite who praised Cyrus of Alexandria, among other Monothelite Chalcedonians.  I think the Chalcedonian churches of Antioch and Alexandria still were respectively Syriac and Coptic for centuries before they were ordered to revert to the Byzantine rite.
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« Reply #134 on: February 16, 2013, 11:18:44 AM »

Quote from: Romaios
I see your point, but the dyophysite formula of Chalcedon is not a compromise solution between Cyrill and Nestorius like homoiousios was between Eunomians and the Orthodox.   

How sure are you of that statement?

Pretty sure. As Rabbi Gamaliel put it, "if it be of men, it will come to naught, but if it be of God, ye will not be able to overthrow it". I revere St. Maximus as one of the greatest and dearest Saints and a true champion of Orthodoxy.

Rabbi Gamaliel is also an Orthodox saint, celebrated on Aug. 2.
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I would suggest most persons in general avoid any question beginning with why.
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