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Author Topic: OO on Constantinople III (or other post-Chalcedon councils)  (Read 816 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 10, 2013, 12:36:51 PM »

Would the Oriental Orthodox Church have difficulty accepting Constantinople III as ecumenical? Are the condemnations of monoenergism and monothelitism seen as opposed to your Christology, or are those ideas problematic to you as well?

(I mention just Constantinople III because as far as I know, Constantinople II is generally considered a good thing insofar as it blocked possible Nestorian interpretations of Chalcedon, while I can't imagine OOs objecting to Nicea II, but if there are issues with either of those, or with some of the other post-Chalcedon councils occasionally thought of as ecumenical, I'd like to hear about them as well.)
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2013, 12:42:33 PM »

From what I understand the OOs don't like Chalcedon (that much is obvious) but they are fine with the post-Schism interpretations of Chalcedon that come from the other Ecumenical councils.
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2013, 12:48:11 PM »

Would the Oriental Orthodox Church have difficulty accepting Constantinople III as ecumenical? Are the condemnations of monoenergism and monothelitism seen as opposed to your Christology, or are those ideas problematic to you as well?

(I mention just Constantinople III because as far as I know, Constantinople II is generally considered a good thing insofar as it blocked possible Nestorian interpretations of Chalcedon, while I can't imagine OOs objecting to Nicea II, but if there are issues with either of those, or with some of the other post-Chalcedon councils occasionally thought of as ecumenical, I'd like to hear about them as well.)

These later councils include and assume the acceptance of Chalcedon, and explicitly condemn Dioscoros and Severus, which is a non-starter for most OO.
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2013, 02:58:26 PM »

Would the Oriental Orthodox Church have difficulty accepting Constantinople III as ecumenical? Are the condemnations of monoenergism and monothelitism seen as opposed to your Christology, or are those ideas problematic to you as well?

(I mention just Constantinople III because as far as I know, Constantinople II is generally considered a good thing insofar as it blocked possible Nestorian interpretations of Chalcedon, while I can't imagine OOs objecting to Nicea II, but if there are issues with either of those, or with some of the other post-Chalcedon councils occasionally thought of as ecumenical, I'd like to hear about them as well.)

These later councils include and assume the acceptance of Chalcedon, and explicitly condemn Dioscoros and Severus, which is a non-starter for most OO.

That is also true, I know that post-Schism councils even anathematize Jacobites.
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2013, 04:13:06 PM »

actually we are happy with most of the conclusions of the post chalcedon 1 councils and we also oppose monoenergism and monothelitism.
you won't find that much from OO sources on those councils for the same reason you don't find much orthodox literary critique on calvinism versus arminianism (a debate which happened outside both the eastern and oriental orthodox churches).
the councils happened at events the OO were specifically not invited to, and they were busy evangelising their countries more then commenting on events outside their juristiction.
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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2013, 05:09:23 PM »

I recall, months ago and in some thread or another, an accusation being made that Pope Shenouda's On the Nature of Christ actually argued in favor of monothelitism. Nothing came of it and no one argued in one way or another but is this true?

If it is, how would the rest of the Orient respond?
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2013, 05:58:09 PM »

It could be taken that way, honestly (there is a section subtitled "The One Will and the One Act"), and I think it is likely to be so taken by EO who do not understand miaphysite Christology. It is important to reiterate here that why we are "mia" physites and not "mono" physites is that the oneness that is spoken about in Christological discussions among OO is not a simple oneness such that we could say that Christ has only one of the two natures spoken of by both OO and EO in different contexts (we could not say, for example, that Christ is solely divine and not human), or in any way a hybrid or mixed nature (this can be confirmed by simply reading the liturgical texts that we employ, particularly the priest's confession in the Coptic Basil). Rather it is one nature in which, at their union in the incarnation, the humanity and divinity are united inseparably in the person of Jesus Christ, such that it is no longer appropriate or even possible to treat the humanity and the divinity as being in any way separate or separatable (as is prayed in the Syrian Fraction [emphasis added]: "One is Emmanuel our God who cannot be divided after the union; there is no division into two natures - thus we believe, thus we confess, and thus we affirm that this body belongs to this blood, and this blood belongs to this body"). It is a deeply incarnational Christology, and nothing that follows from it can be understood without first understanding this context in which later writings are composed.

Given that, it is written in the referenced booklet of HH Pope Shenouda (I don't know the translation or page number, since I only have it in PDF form):

Quote
We believe in One Will and One Act:
Naturally, as long as we consider that this Nature is One, the Will and the Act must also
each be one. What the Divine nature Chooses is undoubtedly the same as that chosen
by the human nature because there is not any contradiction or conflict whatever
between the will and the action of both.

Again, this could be looked at as "monothelitism", but only if one did not understand the Christology of the Church -- that the one nature is not divinity without humanity or humanity without divinity. In fact, even in the quote itself, you can see a sort of "round about" meeting with Chalcedonianism that I would think EOs, if they are willing not to cast us immediately into the flames for having written "We believe in one will", would be most receptive to and hopefully likely to agree with, particularly when HH writes "What the Divine nature chooses is undoubtedly the same as that chosen by the human nature because there is not any contradiction or conflict whatever [sic] between the will and the action of both." This strikes me as being essentially the same as the explanations I have read from EO writers, historical and modern, concerning this controversy: Christ is not schizophrenic, and for those who believe in dyophysitism, this is evidenced by the fact that His human will is in perfect unity with His divine will. And for the miaphysites, this is even less of a problem, as there is no sense in which He may divided such that the human and the divine would be considered to operate separately.

I hope this clears things up, and if I have written anything incorrect I invite my OO brothers and sisters to correct me on this account. (I have not read much from OO that touches upon this topic, probably because we were out of the picture by the time the Chalcedonians solved this amongst themselves, so there could be something I'm misunderstanding here.)
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2013, 07:43:00 PM »

One is the person who wills and acts, as the God-Man.
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2013, 07:35:04 AM »

thanks, dzheremi, that's beautifully explained and this is what we believe.
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2013, 07:24:34 PM »

So then, the Miaphysites did not put forward the concept of Monothelitism? are there any Miaphysite bishops from the 7th century explicitly rejecting it? J/C.
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2013, 09:45:26 PM »

So then, the Miaphysites did not put forward the concept of Monothelitism? are there any Miaphysite bishops from the 7th century explicitly rejecting it? J/C.

Monothelitism originated among the Greeks and Latins, so no, we didn't put it out there first. 

I could be absolutely wrong, but I doubt there are any 7th century OO bishops who wrote about it one way or the other "just because"; if it affected our Church, however, perhaps it was dealt with.  I don't know. 
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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2013, 11:45:16 PM »

Actually, one of the strong proponents of Monotheletism was a persecutor of non-Chalcedonian Copts and an inappropriate negotiator with the prophet of Islam.  The name "Mukawkus" is as every bit caustic to the ears of a Copt (who knows his/her history and who reads the Coptic Synexarium) as is the name "Hitler" to the Jews.
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« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2013, 01:49:58 AM »

Wow. Muqawqis was a proponent of monothelitism? I didn't know that. Gross.
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« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2013, 10:02:14 PM »

Wow. Muqawqis was a proponent of monothelitism? I didn't know that. Gross.

He's also better known by EOs as the infamous Cyrus of Alexandria.  It's really sad that a common enemy of EOs and Copts became the final nail on the coffin for any talks between EOs and Copts as well as the "welcoming" invasion of Islam afterwards in reaction to the Byzantine Roman association of Muqawqus.

The aHadith stories of "Mariam el-Qiptiya" (Mary the Copt) of being one of Mohamed's favorite concubines was a direct result of Muqawqus' diplomatic agreements with the prophet so as not to attack Egypt, which was short-lived when Mohamed died and Amr ibn el-Aas came by.
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« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2013, 10:16:26 PM »

...ibn el-Aas came by.

Is it wrong that I read that real fast and in a mix of Arabic, Spanish, and English, yielding "Son of the Ass"? 
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« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2013, 10:24:45 PM »

...ibn el-Aas came by.

Is it wrong that I read that real fast and in a mix of Arabic, Spanish, and English, yielding "Son of the Ass"? 

Funny story...my father was in grammar school, and when they were translating the Muslim conqueror of Egypt, they did initially write "Ass" before they realized they have a problem....lol!  Aas or 'As are usually the generally accepted spellings.

But you can also think of it as a built-in feeling for the Egyptian non-Muslims who later regretted the "Muslim welcome"  Wink
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« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2013, 10:29:18 PM »

To build on the Muqawqus story, he is mentioned in our Synexarium in the story of the famous St. Samuel the Confessor (who rigidly opposed the council of Chalcedon), who had quite a remarkable story.  First beaten by a Byzantine envoy, then beaten by Cyrus himself, then beaten by desert pagan Berbers, and he survived to found a monastery that exists under his name to this day (monks of the monastery are called "El Samweeli") as well as legend has it that he prophesied the Muslim Arab invasion.  In one of his beatings, he lost an eye, which is how he is depicted in iconography.

He is commemorated on the 17th of December (8th of Kiahk) in the Coptic calendar.

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« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2013, 10:50:05 PM »

I love St Samuel. 
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