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« on: November 30, 2013, 06:57:29 PM »

Hello everyone, Peace of Christ to all.


I was reading the Wiki Article on St. Basil the Great and read this;

"His zeal (St. Basil) for orthodoxy did not blind him to what was good in an opponent; and for the sake of peace and charity he was content to waive the use of orthodox terminology when it could be surrendered without a sacrifice of truth."


Can Church unity happen based on this? we all know by know if we study the E.O and R.C tradition that some of their terminology is a little far off for our tradition but they still keep the same faith. We also know St. Cyril of Alexandria did this he forgo some terminology in order to have Church peace but not at the expense of sacrificing the truth. Despite all other obstacles shouldn't this train of thought be used in order to bring unity among R.C E.O and O.O?


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« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2013, 07:01:35 PM »

Hi Pharaoh714,

I'm interested in church unity, of course, but I would also like to know what you mean by this:

Quote
we all know by know if we study the E.O and R.C tradition that some of their terminology is a little far off for our tradition but they still keep the same faith.

I do not agree that the RC or EO keep the same faith as we do. On some points we are closer and on some we are further away, but it is simply not true that the things that separate us are all matters of differing terminology. But perhaps I have misunderstood what you mean, so I await your explanation.
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2013, 07:14:25 PM »

Part of the problem here is that the softening (so to speak) was during a time in which the terminology was still in flux. So, for example, St. Basil affirmed the deity of the Holy Spirit, but did not go as far as St. Gregory the Theologian in the terms he used (which is something St. Gregory, in a roundabout way at least, chastised him for; though St. Gregory would also soften things at times when trying to reach agreement). However, once certain terms were put out there and accepted, you really couldn't go back. So, if St. Basil (and St. Gregory of Nyssa, etc.) did not go as far as some in how they spoke of the Holy Spirit, that was permitted; but for a theologian today to use the same vaguer or softer terms, after 1,500-1,600 years of orthodox use of more precise or detailed ones, it would be unacceptable. Sts. Gregory Nazianzen, Athanasius the Great, etc. all said that they wanted to come to an agreement and not argue over words... but you can't merely use words to come to a lowest-common-denominator agreement either.
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2013, 04:49:57 PM »

Hi Pharaoh714,

I'm interested in church unity, of course, but I would also like to know what you mean by this:

Quote
we all know by know if we study the E.O and R.C tradition that some of their terminology is a little far off for our tradition but they still keep the same faith.

I do not agree that the RC or EO keep the same faith as we do. On some points we are closer and on some we are further away, but it is simply not true that the things that separate us are all matters of differing terminology. But perhaps I have misunderstood what you mean, so I await your explanation.

I was trying to say by now we all know that most theologians think that both families have the same faith. On the ground of the quote posted above cant we find common ground to establish unity through the sacraments/faith but let jurisdictions/Rites continue? 
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2013, 04:54:03 PM »

What's all this about unity?  The Church is one already.  If people wish to believe what the Church believes, that's great.
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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2013, 05:06:00 PM »

Within the context Basil the great lived within, he probably could make that statement. But if he saw the differences today, he would not make that statement for sure.
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2013, 05:22:07 PM »

Hi Pharaoh714,

I'm interested in church unity, of course, but I would also like to know what you mean by this:

Quote
we all know by know if we study the E.O and R.C tradition that some of their terminology is a little far off for our tradition but they still keep the same faith.

I do not agree that the RC or EO keep the same faith as we do. On some points we are closer and on some we are further away, but it is simply not true that the things that separate us are all matters of differing terminology. But perhaps I have misunderstood what you mean, so I await your explanation.

I was trying to say by now we all know that most theologians think that both families have the same faith. On the ground of the quote posted above cant we find common ground to establish unity through the sacraments/faith but let jurisdictions/Rites continue? 

I don't know. Is it all about "rites"? That seems like what the Roman Catholic communion has tried to do with its Eastern Rites, but that's not the sort of thing I would want under any circumstances. Again, I don't know what you're basing this whole "both families have the same faith" idea on. I think the most honest thing we can say is that we are closer to the Eastern/Byzantine Orthodox in terms of praxis than to any other Church from whom we are separated, but not any sort of blanket statement that "both families have the same faith". That has clearly not been established to both families' satisfaction or else we would be in communion already. I agree with Jovan that the differences are much more pronounced today than they were in St. Basil's time. We are not to be pietists.

When you commune with someone, you are saying through that action "I accept and affirm the dogma and beliefs that you affirm". Well, not to sound like an extremist, but I do not accept Chalcedon/the Tome of Leo (the main stumbling block for the EO), nor the Universal Jurisdiction and Infallibility of the Roman Catholic Pope (the main stumbling block for the RC). So I don't particularly care what "most theologians" think, if they're looking to gloss over our very real differences and establish some sort of awful "communion that isn't communion" (since we don't hold the same faith). God forbid that such a thing should ever happen. Either we will unite (probably with the EO before the RC, if anyone) on the basis of a commonly understood, agreed upon, and proclaimed faith, or we'll stay apart because we don't actually believe what the Chalcedonians do. And they'll stay apart from us because they don't actually believe what we do.
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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2013, 05:26:18 PM »

The Roman Catholic Church isn't like Orthodoxy at all. Much of Catholic worship, doctrine, practice, devotion, artwork etc. are from the later medieval period. (Except Vatican II) They don't have much of their ancient selves left.

I think EOs and OOs are pretty alike though. But I still think many steps should be taken before any "unity."

But I am an outsider, what do I know?
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« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2013, 09:03:06 PM »

What the Gospel tells us that Jesus said to the disciples was to go out and tell all what they had learned and saw. This is evident in most Christian churches, I have seen faith in Catholic , Protestant, and Orthodox Churches, what God has done I believe is accomodate , just as he said divorce was possible through Moses in the Old Testament to accomodate our weaknesses.

So he also has shown mercy on the faithful who bicker over doctrine, just as they did when Jesus stood before the temple, and was accused of being a heretic. I believe he allows the separate churches just as he welcomed the prodigal son. And he will do all he can to gather his sheep.
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« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2013, 10:45:59 PM »

The Roman Catholic Church isn't like Orthodoxy at all.

...

But I am an outsider, what do I know?

If you really mean that, then I encourage you to learn more and comment less.  But if it is merely false modesty, carry on, I suppose, because there's nothing I can say or do to effect a meaningful difference.  

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« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2013, 11:18:12 PM »

Hello everyone, Peace of Christ to all.


I was reading the Wiki Article on St. Basil the Great and read this;

"His zeal (St. Basil) for orthodoxy did not blind him to what was good in an opponent; and for the sake of peace and charity he was content to waive the use of orthodox terminology when it could be surrendered without a sacrifice of truth."


Can Church unity happen based on this? we all know by know if we study the E.O and R.C tradition that some of their terminology is a little far off for our tradition but they still keep the same faith. We also know St. Cyril of Alexandria did this he forgo some terminology in order to have Church peace but not at the expense of sacrificing the truth. Despite all other obstacles shouldn't this train of thought be used in order to bring unity among R.C E.O and O.O?




I can definitely see the chances for an Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox unity in the near future. But, unity with RCC......sadly and maybe just as well, not in our lifetimes.
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« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2013, 11:20:31 PM »

If you really mean that, then I encourage you to learn more and comment less.  But if it is merely false modesty, carry on, I suppose, because there's nothing I can say or do to effect a meaningful difference.  

As an aside, you said something like that to me maybe 11-12 years ago, and it helped. Stay the same, Mor Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2013, 11:24:16 PM »

The Roman Catholic Church isn't like Orthodoxy at all.

...

But I am an outsider, what do I know?

If you really mean that, then I encourage you to learn more and comment less.  But if it is merely false modesty, carry on, I suppose, because there's nothing I can say or do to effect a meaningful difference.  



ISTM that xOrthodox4Christx is simply commenting on the frequent dismissal of his views by others because he's "only an inquirer" and "not part of the Church".  police
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2013, 11:37:47 PM »

If you really mean that, then I encourage you to learn more and comment less.  But if it is merely false modesty, carry on, I suppose, because there's nothing I can say or do to effect a meaningful difference.  

As an aside, you said something like that to me maybe 11-12 years ago, and it helped. Stay the same, Mor Smiley

How come you haven't bumped that thread yet?  Tongue
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2013, 11:38:58 PM »

If you really mean that, then I encourage you to learn more and comment less.  But if it is merely false modesty, carry on, I suppose, because there's nothing I can say or do to effect a meaningful difference.  

As an aside, you said something like that to me maybe 11-12 years ago, and it helped. Stay the same, Mor Smiley

How come you haven't bumped that thread yet?  Tongue

Don't encourage him ....   Wink
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2013, 11:44:03 PM »

ISTM that xOrthodox4Christx is simply commenting on the frequent dismissal of his views by others because he's "only an inquirer" and "not part of the Church"police

I didn't know that this was the reason why his views are dismissed by others: if true, that's stupid of them.  I presumed that his views were dismissed, if they were, because of statements like "The Roman Catholic Church isn't like Orthodoxy at all".  While it's true we don't share the same faith, it's not like Roman Catholicism is voodoo compared to Orthodoxy. 
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« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2013, 11:45:13 PM »

Don't encourage him ....   Wink

But I would've done so 11-12 years ago, and he told me to stay the same.  I have an adoring fan base I need to please.  Tongue
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« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2013, 11:47:30 PM »

Don't encourage him ....   Wink

But I would've done so 11-12 years ago, and he told me to stay the same.  I have an adoring fan base I need to please.  Tongue

Point taken.  laugh
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« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2013, 05:57:04 PM »

Hi Pharaoh714,

I'm interested in church unity, of course, but I would also like to know what you mean by this:

Quote
we all know by know if we study the E.O and R.C tradition that some of their terminology is a little far off for our tradition but they still keep the same faith.

I do not agree that the RC or EO keep the same faith as we do. On some points we are closer and on some we are further away, but it is simply not true that the things that separate us are all matters of differing terminology. But perhaps I have misunderstood what you mean, so I await your explanation.

I was trying to say by now we all know that most theologians think that both families have the same faith. On the ground of the quote posted above cant we find common ground to establish unity through the sacraments/faith but let jurisdictions/Rites continue? 

I don't know. Is it all about "rites"? That seems like what the Roman Catholic communion has tried to do with its Eastern Rites, but that's not the sort of thing I would want under any circumstances. Again, I don't know what you're basing this whole "both families have the same faith" idea on. I think the most honest thing we can say is that we are closer to the Eastern/Byzantine Orthodox in terms of praxis than to any other Church from whom we are separated, but not any sort of blanket statement that "both families have the same faith". That has clearly not been established to both families' satisfaction or else we would be in communion already. I agree with Jovan that the differences are much more pronounced today than they were in St. Basil's time. We are not to be pietists.

When you commune with someone, you are saying through that action "I accept and affirm the dogma and beliefs that you affirm". Well, not to sound like an extremist, but I do not accept Chalcedon/the Tome of Leo (the main stumbling block for the EO), nor the Universal Jurisdiction and Infallibility of the Roman Catholic Pope (the main stumbling block for the RC). So I don't particularly care what "most theologians" think, if they're looking to gloss over our very real differences and establish some sort of awful "communion that isn't communion" (since we don't hold the same faith). God forbid that such a thing should ever happen. Either we will unite (probably with the EO before the RC, if anyone) on the basis of a commonly understood, agreed upon, and proclaimed faith, or we'll stay apart because we don't actually believe what the Chalcedonians do. And they'll stay apart from us because they don't actually believe what we do.


How are R.C and E.O different in Faith? We all have the same Christology, it is not Nestorian or Arian but Orthodox. We believe that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man Incarnate. We believe in the grace filled Sacraments and the body and blood of the Lord in the Eucharist.

As far as the procession of the Holy Spirit most R.C I talk with believe the same thing we do just they don't mean proceed to mean originate yada yada. And E.O believe the same as we do.


Most of the problems come from old hatred, jurisdiction, politics, or a mix of all.   

The minor things such as unleavened bread, baptism without immersion can be accepted based on the Rite and is allowed in the Dedache.


I would agree that the E.O and O.O are much closer and Rome needs to work on a lot but my question was is it possible to have unity based on what St Basil said between O.O and E.O; with them keeping the 7-councils and we keep the 3 as long as there is no compromise to the faith?

Unity would be based on:

Orthodox Faith and Sacraments. Jurisdiction can be worked out later etc.
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2013, 08:03:54 PM »

I was trying to say by now we all know that most theologians think that both families have the same faith. On the ground of the quote posted above cant we find common ground to establish unity through the sacraments/faith but let jurisdictions/Rites continue? 

This is basically the case as it pertains to the EO, but honestly (and sadly) I don't think the same can be said for the RCC.  Do you really believe that there are not substantial doctrinal differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism?  I agree with you about the leavened vs. unleavened thing (we have that in our own Communion, after all) but I think you're glossing over some of the more substantial differences (including the filioque - read here: http://orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org/2013/09/10/dropthefilioque-org/).  Here are some articles outlining some of the differences.  Certainly, some of the them are minor (married vs. strictly celibate priests) but others are more significant.

http://orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org/category/roman-catholicism/

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/orthodoxyheterodoxy/orthodox_and_roman_catholic_differences

http://www.ocf.org/OrthodoxPage/reading/ortho_cath.html

And from an RC perspective:

http://vivificat1.blogspot.com/2009/08/twelve-differences-between-orthodox-and.html
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« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2013, 01:31:14 PM »

I was trying to say by now we all know that most theologians think that both families have the same faith. On the ground of the quote posted above cant we find common ground to establish unity through the sacraments/faith but let jurisdictions/Rites continue? 

This is basically the case as it pertains to the EO, but honestly (and sadly) I don't think the same can be said for the RCC.  Do you really believe that there are not substantial doctrinal differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism?  I agree with you about the leavened vs. unleavened thing (we have that in our own Communion, after all) but I think you're glossing over some of the more substantial differences (including the filioque - read here: http://orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org/2013/09/10/dropthefilioque-org/).  Here are some articles outlining some of the differences.  Certainly, some of the them are minor (married vs. strictly celibate priests) but others are more significant
+1

Actually, the unity of sacraments sometimes exists between EO and OO, as it's been proved by theological commissions, we share the same faith. One of the evidences is the fact that after so many years of isolation and this "separation" (I use this word because I don't think it's a schism) we still sharing the same spirituality, mentality, many feasts and fasts and above all, the teaching. And it's not the case with the Catholics, although the schism happened much more later. They've changed so many things in liturgical and doctrinal sense...

There is no problem with jurisdictions (ethnic/languages), which was probably one of the causes of this "separation" of the one Orthodox family, as nowadays both EO and OO have huge diaspora and overlapping jurisdictions. However, maybe it would be better to have one patriarch in each Holy See after the death of present ones.. I think the only serious problem for EO and OO are some saints, I'm not any theologian, so don't have any idea what we should to do with this fact. But I suppose it can be revised (I mean the reasons why the other side doesn't want to accept the particular saint). I hope that the reunification take place during my lifehood and that after all these meetings they (I mean hierarchy) are just waiting for the positive reception of the faithful, which is the norm in both Orthodox tradition and not in the Catholicism - there the pope introduces something or announces something (like e.g sainthood) and the faithful have to submit to his decisions.


And as for RC, I can add that they're so centred on the person of the pope and the newest "apparitions" and heresies having roots in them (like immaculate conception) that they would have to change the whole point of view to come back to the unity with the Holy Orthodox Church (EO & OO). What's more, because of these heresies and attempts to be "a Church for people" (I mean Vaticanum secundum) they've been losing step by step the Holy Liturgy and sainthood (e.g almost no asceticism because of the lack of fasting periods almost at all), for a few centuries they take Communion only by eating the Body, which is against the words of Christ, etc. etc.
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« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2013, 01:38:33 PM »

What the Gospel tells us that Jesus said to the disciples was to go out and tell all what they had learned and saw. This is evident in most Christian churches, I have seen faith in Catholic , Protestant, and Orthodox Churches, what God has done I believe is accomodate , just as he said divorce was possible through Moses in the Old Testament to accomodate our weaknesses.

So he also has shown mercy on the faithful who bicker over doctrine, just as they did when Jesus stood before the temple, and was accused of being a heretic. I believe he allows the separate churches just as he welcomed the prodigal son. And he will do all he can to gather his sheep.
The prodigal son came back.  Separate churches do not: if they do, they are just "Church."
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« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2013, 08:30:23 AM »

I think dzheremi is right.

Unity would be wonderful, and I don't condemn anyone for having that hope and dream.  But we should be frank and honest with each other.   It reminds me of the conversations that I have had and seen with Latins over the Filoque.   Like how many are saying now that it's "No Big Deal" and that we really believe the same thing,  we just word it differently....Really?

Sound familiar?
 

I bring up the issue of the Filoque because much of the rhetoric about that disagreement has been parroted in the disagreements with the Non-Chalcedonians.   "We believe the same thing,  just express it differently...."

I am just a layman, but I have a hard time accepting the idea that Our Church Fathers didn't know what they were talking about (And you no doubt feel the same about yours).  

These are real issues, and they are deep.   We have a few Ethiopians who attend my parish.  We don't debate Chalcedon, but hang out after Divine Liturgy and have coffee.   I am content to let the "Men in Black" sort it all out...

Are you Orthodox?  I want to think so.  And I know many of you want to think the same of us.
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« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2013, 09:19:25 AM »

Oh never mind my post.  I wiped it out as it wasn't very nice
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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2013, 09:31:01 AM »

Let's not hijack the Non-Chalcedonian Forum with talk about Rome exclusively.

Fabio:  I hope for Unity in the same way that I hope that the vast majority of humanity will be saved on the Last Day of Judgement.  There is nothing wrong with hoping that somehow we could figure it all out, or that Mercy will be given widely.

At the same time,  I believe in honesty about what we believe, and how we view the Non-Chalcedonians (as well as the Latins, Protestants and whoever else).   Honesty does not mean viciousness, or condemnation.  Only God can do that.   Politics will always be politics.   We can support and applaud each other as far as we support Orthodox teaching...and disagree and part ways when they don't (or we, in their POV).  

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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2013, 01:16:24 PM »

Hello everyone, Peace of Christ to all.


I was reading the Wiki Article on St. Basil the Great and read this;

"His zeal (St. Basil) for orthodoxy did not blind him to what was good in an opponent; and for the sake of peace and charity he was content to waive the use of orthodox terminology when it could be surrendered without a sacrifice of truth."


Can Church unity happen based on this? we all know by know if we study the E.O and R.C tradition that some of their terminology is a little far off for our tradition but they still keep the same faith. We also know St. Cyril of Alexandria did this he forgo some terminology in order to have Church peace but not at the expense of sacrificing the truth. Despite all other obstacles shouldn't this train of thought be used in order to bring unity among R.C E.O and O.O?

I agree, but not all are on board with this method.
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« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2013, 10:13:30 PM »

A polemical post by Fabio and an answer quoting it were moved to the private polemics forum:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,55301.msg1038487.html#msg1038487

Anyone who wants access to the private forum should pm Fr. George and ask him for access.
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« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2013, 01:57:42 PM »

Hi Pharaoh714,

I'm interested in church unity, of course, but I would also like to know what you mean by this:

Quote
we all know by know if we study the E.O and R.C tradition that some of their terminology is a little far off for our tradition but they still keep the same faith.

I do not agree that the RC or EO keep the same faith as we do. On some points we are closer and on some we are further away, but it is simply not true that the things that separate us are all matters of differing terminology. But perhaps I have misunderstood what you mean, so I await your explanation.

I was trying to say by now we all know that most theologians think that both families have the same faith. On the ground of the quote posted above cant we find common ground to establish unity through the sacraments/faith but let jurisdictions/Rites continue? 

I don't know. Is it all about "rites"? That seems like what the Roman Catholic communion has tried to do with its Eastern Rites, but that's not the sort of thing I would want under any circumstances. Again, I don't know what you're basing this whole "both families have the same faith" idea on. I think the most honest thing we can say is that we are closer to the Eastern/Byzantine Orthodox in terms of praxis than to any other Church from whom we are separated, but not any sort of blanket statement that "both families have the same faith". That has clearly not been established to both families' satisfaction or else we would be in communion already. I agree with Jovan that the differences are much more pronounced today than they were in St. Basil's time. We are not to be pietists.

When you commune with someone, you are saying through that action "I accept and affirm the dogma and beliefs that you affirm". Well, not to sound like an extremist, but I do not accept Chalcedon/the Tome of Leo (the main stumbling block for the EO), nor the Universal Jurisdiction and Infallibility of the Roman Catholic Pope (the main stumbling block for the RC). So I don't particularly care what "most theologians" think, if they're looking to gloss over our very real differences and establish some sort of awful "communion that isn't communion" (since we don't hold the same faith). God forbid that such a thing should ever happen. Either we will unite (probably with the EO before the RC, if anyone) on the basis of a commonly understood, agreed upon, and proclaimed faith, or we'll stay apart because we don't actually believe what the Chalcedonians do. And they'll stay apart from us because they don't actually believe what we do.

I honestly do not understand the Oriental Orthodox objection to the Tome of Leo. Before it was approved at Chalcedon, a committee studied it and  decided that Leo's Tome was in conformity with St. Cyril's 12 Anathemas against Nestorius. At the council, the Letter of St. Cyril to John of Antioch was read and entered into the minutes before the Tome of Leo. Lest there be any doubt that Chalcedon was not meant to contradict St. Cyril, the 5th Ecumenical Council, Constantinople II in 553, which condemned the Three Chapters, made it clear that Chalcedon was to be interpreted in conformity with the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria.
I agree that taken out of this context it is possible to accept the Tome of Leo and advocate a Nestorian Christology. Calvin did this and as a result Calvinist Christology is basically Nestorian.
I believe that the real division is not really over Christology, but over the interpretation of history. For example, the Oriental Orthodox consider Dioscorus a saint, while we Eastern Orthodox do not. Frankly, I find it rather difficult to read an account of the Council of Ephesus of 449 and come away with anything but a rather negative view of Dioscorus. On the other hand, Eastern Orthodox sing the hymn "O only begotten..." as the 2nd Antiphon of the Divine Liturgy. This hymn is usually attributed to Justinian. However, many historians believe that it was actually written by Servius of Antioch who is considered an heretic by Eastern Orthodox. If that is true, it would be rather difficult for us to consider someone's Christology heretical if we sing a summary of his Chrstological theology as an important part of our Liturgy.
But, I am only an historian. These differences can only be solved by theologians and Bishops who have the authority to deal with such matters.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2013, 02:55:06 PM »

father, there are many different views on the tome of the roman patriarch leo in our communion, it is the interpretations of chalcedon around the year 500AD that lead to the split as far as i can see (disclaimer: amateur church historian - i don't even have history books at home so don't take me too seriously).

this is the best OO book on chalcedon i have heard of so far; one day, i will get around to getting it:
http://www.lulu.com/shop/father-vc-samuel/the-council-of-chalcedon-re-examined/paperback/product-194480.html

we are mostly very keen for closer unity (those against are mainly the netodox!) and you won't find OO priests saying to people (about the EO) 'oh, don't go there, they are not really orthodox'.
as a historian, i am sure you know that history is reinterpreted by the victorious, which is why some accounts of chalcedon, even those written soon after the event are biased.

i see it (chalcedon) as being more about the roman empire trying to get a bigger tribute / tax of egyptian wheat and failing.
if you read into it too many theological nuances (Christology for example), you can easily miss the point that it was originally about the imperialism of the 'holy' roman empire and the fate of those who were not subservient  to it.

it would be like thinking that the decades of unrest in northern ireland were about the catholics and the protestants, instead of realising it was about the imperalist british trying to rob more power and resources from the irish warrior clans.

like at chalcedon, there have been true Christians on both sides trying to make sense of it all...
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« Reply #29 on: December 08, 2013, 08:32:50 PM »

I think that most historians would agree that Egyptian nationalism played a major role in the schism.  The Copts were already upset that their Patriarchate was demoted to third rank by giving Constantinople second rank at the 2nd Ecumenical Council, the 1st Council of Constantinople in 381. Pope Theophilus had played a role in the persecution of St. John Chrysostom in the affair of the Tall Brothers. There is also no doubt that Coptic nationalism expressed by their objection to the condemnation of Dioscorus by Chalcedon played a major role in the schism. However, a lot of the problem was that the followers of St. Cyril of Alexandria lacked the flexibility that he displayed in his letter to John of Antioch in which he acknowledged that the same Faith could be expressed in different terms. I believe that every effort was made by the Chalcedonians to convince the non-Chalcedonians that they had remained faithful to the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria. The Council of Chalcedon referred the Tome of Leo to a committee which compared it with the 12 Anathemas by St. Cyril against Nestorianism and decided that the Tome of Leo was in conformity with the teachings of St. Cyril before it was presented to the council.  The Letter of St. Cyril to John of Antioch was read and accepted at Chalcedon before the Tome of Leo was read and accepted. The 5th Ecumenical Council, Constantinople II, in 553 that condemned the Thre Chapters and reaffirmed the condemnation of Nestorianism should have ended all concern that the Chalcedonians had surrendered to Nestorianism.
I agree that if one takes the Tome of Leo and the Profession of Faith issued by Chalcedon out of context, it is possible to give them a Nestorian interpretation. Calvin and Calvinism shows that. Calvin and the growing number of American Evangelicals who follow him actually teach a Nestorian Christology.
By the way, usually when historians refer to the Holy Roman Empire, he or she means the German Empire founded by Charlemagne in 800.
Well qualified theologians on both sides have already agreed that we share a common Faith. It that is true, should we allow disagreements about historical events that took place 1,600 years ago keep us divided? 

Fr. John Morris
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« Reply #30 on: December 08, 2013, 09:43:47 PM »

I think that most historians would agree that Egyptian nationalism played a major role in the schism.  The Copts were already upset that their Patriarchate was demoted to third rank by giving Constantinople second rank at the 2nd Ecumenical Council, the 1st Council of Constantinople in 381. Pope Theophilus had played a role in the persecution of St. John Chrysostom in the affair of the Tall Brothers. There is also no doubt that Coptic nationalism expressed by their objection to the condemnation of Dioscorus by Chalcedon played a major role in the schism. However, a lot of the problem was that the followers of St. Cyril of Alexandria lacked the flexibility that he displayed in his letter to John of Antioch in which he acknowledged that the same Faith could be expressed in different terms. I believe that every effort was made by the Chalcedonians to convince the non-Chalcedonians that they had remained faithful to the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria. The Council of Chalcedon referred the Tome of Leo to a committee which compared it with the 12 Anathemas by St. Cyril against Nestorianism and decided that the Tome of Leo was in conformity with the teachings of St. Cyril before it was presented to the council.  The Letter of St. Cyril to John of Antioch was read and accepted at Chalcedon before the Tome of Leo was read and accepted. The 5th Ecumenical Council, Constantinople II, in 553 that condemned the Thre Chapters and reaffirmed the condemnation of Nestorianism should have ended all concern that the Chalcedonians had surrendered to Nestorianism.
I agree that if one takes the Tome of Leo and the Profession of Faith issued by Chalcedon out of context, it is possible to give them a Nestorian interpretation. Calvin and Calvinism shows that. Calvin and the growing number of American Evangelicals who follow him actually teach a Nestorian Christology.
By the way, usually when historians refer to the Holy Roman Empire, he or she means the German Empire founded by Charlemagne in 800.
Well qualified theologians on both sides have already agreed that we share a common Faith. It that is true, should we allow disagreements about historical events that took place 1,600 years ago keep us divided?  

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« Reply #31 on: December 08, 2013, 10:00:33 PM »

I think that most historians would agree that Egyptian nationalism played a major role in the schism.  The Copts were already upset that their Patriarchate was demoted to third rank by giving Constantinople second rank at the 2nd Ecumenical Council, the 1st Council of Constantinople in 381. Pope Theophilus had played a role in the persecution of St. John Chrysostom in the affair of the Tall Brothers. There is also no doubt that Coptic nationalism expressed by their objection to the condemnation of Dioscorus by Chalcedon played a major role in the schism. However, a lot of the problem was that the followers of St. Cyril of Alexandria lacked the flexibility that he displayed in his letter to John of Antioch in which he acknowledged that the same Faith could be expressed in different terms. I believe that every effort was made by the Chalcedonians to convince the non-Chalcedonians that they had remained faithful to the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria. The Council of Chalcedon referred the Tome of Leo to a committee which compared it with the 12 Anathemas by St. Cyril against Nestorianism and decided that the Tome of Leo was in conformity with the teachings of St. Cyril before it was presented to the council.  The Letter of St. Cyril to John of Antioch was read and accepted at Chalcedon before the Tome of Leo was read and accepted. The 5th Ecumenical Council, Constantinople II, in 553 that condemned the Thre Chapters and reaffirmed the condemnation of Nestorianism should have ended all concern that the Chalcedonians had surrendered to Nestorianism.
I agree that if one takes the Tome of Leo and the Profession of Faith issued by Chalcedon out of context, it is possible to give them a Nestorian interpretation. Calvin and Calvinism shows that. Calvin and the growing number of American Evangelicals who follow him actually teach a Nestorian Christology.
By the way, usually when historians refer to the Holy Roman Empire, he or she means the German Empire founded by Charlemagne in 800.
Well qualified theologians on both sides have already agreed that we share a common Faith. It that is true, should we allow disagreements about historical events that took place 1,600 years ago keep us divided? 

Fr. John Morris

Father bless!

And welcome to the Oriental Orthodox forum.   Smiley

I'm afraid that the issues surrounding the OO's and Chalcedon are pretty complicated.  For example, the claim that nationalism played a major part in the schism can be countered by the fact that the Armenians rejected Chalcedon when Emperor Zeno's Henoticon was in place, thus putting the Armenians in the position of being on the same side of the Emperor.  The claim also minimalizes the theological and historical objections to Chalcedon that the OO's feel they are justified in making.  And the fact that the Fathers of Chalcedon declared the Tome to be consistent with the teachings of St. Cyril can be countered by other things said and done during the council which make the OO's feel the homage paid to St. Cyril was really lip service.

It can be a messy and painful topic, which is why discussions about Chalcedon often end up in the private forum we have for polemics.  Of course as long as the discussion remains academic and polite, it can remain here in the public forum.  It's just that we normally can't get into too much detail about Chalcedon before someone says something that can offend someone else, and then it gets kicked into the private forum.   Smiley

I do look forward to hearing any ideas you might have about how our two Churches may one day unite.  That is something I and many others here hope and pray will happen.
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« Reply #32 on: December 08, 2013, 10:34:23 PM »

Hi Pharaoh714,

I'm interested in church unity, of course, but I would also like to know what you mean by this:

Quote
we all know by know if we study the E.O and R.C tradition that some of their terminology is a little far off for our tradition but they still keep the same faith.

I do not agree that the RC or EO keep the same faith as we do. On some points we are closer and on some we are further away, but it is simply not true that the things that separate us are all matters of differing terminology. But perhaps I have misunderstood what you mean, so I await your explanation.

I was trying to say by now we all know that most theologians think that both families have the same faith. On the ground of the quote posted above cant we find common ground to establish unity through the sacraments/faith but let jurisdictions/Rites continue? 

I don't know. Is it all about "rites"? That seems like what the Roman Catholic communion has tried to do with its Eastern Rites, but that's not the sort of thing I would want under any circumstances. Again, I don't know what you're basing this whole "both families have the same faith" idea on. I think the most honest thing we can say is that we are closer to the Eastern/Byzantine Orthodox in terms of praxis than to any other Church from whom we are separated, but not any sort of blanket statement that "both families have the same faith". That has clearly not been established to both families' satisfaction or else we would be in communion already. I agree with Jovan that the differences are much more pronounced today than they were in St. Basil's time. We are not to be pietists.

When you commune with someone, you are saying through that action "I accept and affirm the dogma and beliefs that you affirm". Well, not to sound like an extremist, but I do not accept Chalcedon/the Tome of Leo (the main stumbling block for the EO), nor the Universal Jurisdiction and Infallibility of the Roman Catholic Pope (the main stumbling block for the RC). So I don't particularly care what "most theologians" think, if they're looking to gloss over our very real differences and establish some sort of awful "communion that isn't communion" (since we don't hold the same faith). God forbid that such a thing should ever happen. Either we will unite (probably with the EO before the RC, if anyone) on the basis of a commonly understood, agreed upon, and proclaimed faith, or we'll stay apart because we don't actually believe what the Chalcedonians do. And they'll stay apart from us because they don't actually believe what we do.

I honestly do not understand the Oriental Orthodox objection to the Tome of Leo. [etc. ...]

Fr. John W. Morris

I am aware that you do not understand, Father, and I am aware that you and all Chalcedonians see the Tome as Orthodox. With due respect, there is little that I or anyone could say to convince you of Orthodoxy of the non-Chalcedonian stance, and frankly I am not really interested in trying to do so anyway. I have thoroughly studied the both the Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian stances from both period and modern sources and ultimately decided in favor of the non-Chalcedonian party. I find EO claims of ethnic nationalism on the part of what would become the OO to be a later rationalization that is faulty in many ways, but far be it for me to tell a historian how to do his job.

In short, just as in our previous conversations, you have your viewpoint that is very much on display and supported by like-minded partisans, but I am not one of them, so I do not know what you hope to accomplish by addressing my post as you have. Suffice it to say this is not a conversation I wish to have with you, as it will only bring forth more disagreement, and I am as secure and happy in my choice of communion as you are in yours (I did not become OO out of a hatred of Chalcedon or Chalcedonians, that's for sure). I do agree, however, that these matters can only be solved by those invested with the authority to solve them, i.e., not anyone on this message board.
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« Reply #33 on: December 09, 2013, 12:23:42 AM »

Very well put dzheremi!

Father bless!

May I add also, that after reading and studying the history for my own, while I support EO/OO unity, my support goes to my Church.  After reading the minutes, I have much sympathy with Pope Dioscorus, and actually see him in a very positive light.  In the same way as you see Ephesus 449, so do I for Chalcedon, in that negative light.

However, I'm a "progressive".  I'm willing to debate why I see the differences in historical interpretation, and I'm willing accept the different historical interpretation of the Chalcedonian side.  This acceptance of difference for me, a forgiveness of the past, and a moving on forward of a theological unity is what I personally advocate.  After all, even though St. Cyril lifted anathemas from St. John Chrysostom, he wasn't shy in stating how he continued to justify Pope Theophilus' condemnation of him.  I think we can learn from that precedent, that while we can justify our own positions, it does us nothing but leave us in an awkward position.  We both hold the same Orthodox faith, but we remain divided because we just are not comfortable for whatever reason with uniting with a church where for centuries carried in us respectively the condemnation of those fathers we conversely held dearly to, and I don't think there's anything we can do about that but accept it humbly and accept the obvious one faith we carry together humbly, and let the rest be history.  That is my take on unity.

The unity between St. Cyril and John of Antioch ironically is also another example to how we view unity to happen.  St. Cyril did not ask the patriarch John to accept Ephesus, but to accept the faith written in this paper.  It was enough for him to agree that St. Cyril rejoiced.  It seems to me that his view of ecumenical councils was not a name that people should adhere to, but the faith it represents.  Thus, our unity should not hinder the respective veneration of Ephesus 449 on our side or Chalcedon on your's, but equally recognizes that in each other's interpretation, we have precisely this one faith.

Finally, the fact that there are interpretations means that there needs to be a new way to think of our history.  We need to admit that deep beneath the interpretation, there are holes that allow room for speculation that leads one to justify their respective sides.  We need to admit that we are not going to look eye-to-eye on every little detail in this complex history of ours that have played so well into how this lead to this split until today.  We need to admit that even if we lean towards one way, we can sympathize with why the other side can lean towards the other way.  I think that's another way to move forward from all this.

Pray for me a sinner, Father.  Welcome to oc.net!
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« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2013, 12:53:39 AM »

Very well put dzheremi!

Father bless!

May I add also, that after reading and studying the history for my own, while I support EO/OO unity, my support goes to my Church.  After reading the minutes, I have much sympathy with Pope Dioscorus, and actually see him in a very positive light.  In the same way as you see Ephesus 449, so do I for Chalcedon, in that negative light.

However, I'm a "progressive".  I'm willing to debate why I see the differences in historical interpretation, and I'm willing accept the different historical interpretation of the Chalcedonian side.  This acceptance of difference for me, a forgiveness of the past, and a moving on forward of a theological unity is what I personally advocate.  After all, even though St. Cyril lifted anathemas from St. John Chrysostom, he wasn't shy in stating how he continued to justify Pope Theophilus' condemnation of him.  I think we can learn from that precedent, that while we can justify our own positions, it does us nothing but leave us in an awkward position.  We both hold the same Orthodox faith, but we remain divided because we just are not comfortable for whatever reason with uniting with a church where for centuries carried in us respectively the condemnation of those fathers we conversely held dearly to, and I don't think there's anything we can do about that but accept it humbly and accept the obvious one faith we carry together humbly, and let the rest be history.  That is my take on unity.

The unity between St. Cyril and John of Antioch ironically is also another example to how we view unity to happen.  St. Cyril did not ask the patriarch John to accept Ephesus, but to accept the faith written in this paper.  It was enough for him to agree that St. Cyril rejoiced.  It seems to me that his view of ecumenical councils was not a name that people should adhere to, but the faith it represents.  Thus, our unity should not hinder the respective veneration of Ephesus 449 on our side or Chalcedon on your's, but equally recognizes that in each other's interpretation, we have precisely this one faith.

Finally, the fact that there are interpretations means that there needs to be a new way to think of our history.  We need to admit that deep beneath the interpretation, there are holes that allow room for speculation that leads one to justify their respective sides.  We need to admit that we are not going to look eye-to-eye on every little detail in this complex history of ours that have played so well into how this lead to this split until today.  We need to admit that even if we lean towards one way, we can sympathize with why the other side can lean towards the other way.  I think that's another way to move forward from all this.

Pray for me a sinner, Father.  Welcome to oc.net!

Nothing written on this or any other web site will resolve the schism. The only way that it will be solved will be with the leaders of the two families of Orthodox Churches agree on a common Faith something following the example of the letter of St. Cyril to John of Antioch.
I do not understand why you find Chalcedon so objectionable, if you read the accounts of the council, it is clear that the Fathers of Chalcedon did not endorse Nestorianism. If Chalcedon was not clear enough, surely the II Council of Constantinople in 553 that mandated that Chalcedon must be interpreted in conformity with the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria should have shown that the Church had not fallen into Nestorianism, at least the Eastern Orthodox. It is true that Pope Vigilius only agreed to the condemnation of the Three Chapters after the council threatened to excommunicate him if he did not. It is also true that Milan and other Western Churches broke Communion with Rome over the Roman acceptance of Constantinople II. These facts show that the Ecumenical Councils as well as large segments of the West did not accept papal supremacy or infallibility on matters of doctrine at that time, but that is a different subject. On the other hand I find it difficult to justify the behavior of Dioscorus at Ephesus in 449. Just the refusal to allow the Tome of Leo to be considered and the brutal treatment of Patriarch Flavan are enough to discredit the council in my eyes.
However, history is for historians. As interesting as historical debates are they will not resolve the schism. No one can undo the mistakes of the past. What is important is not where we were in 451, but where we are now. That is a matter for theologians, not historians to decide. The theologians report to the leaders of the Churches and they make the decisions on what it takes to reunify our churches. I do pray that re-unity will be possible after further discussions between the leaders of both the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox.

Fr. John
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« Reply #35 on: December 09, 2013, 01:16:09 AM »

Father bless!

This is what I mean about interpretation Father.  It is not at all clear to me that Pope Dioscorus is directly responsible for Patriarch Flavius' beating.  We know that the imperial government was at times harsh to those who were condemned at a council endorsed by the empire (one can only understand the violent pursuit of St. Athanasius, or the beating of Pope Vigilius, or the suffering of Maximus the Confessor to know the danger of trying to stand against an imperially endorsed council).  And we feel that it is clear that Ephesus 449 was an Orthodox council affirming Ephesus 431.  What you see as clear of the Orthodoxy of Chalcedon was not clear to the Oriental Orthodox Church.  And if clarified in Constantinople 553, this clarification only is interpreted to the Oriental Orthodox that it just wasn't clear after all a century before that.  As dzheremi puts it, we feel it's nothing but "a later rationalization that is faulty in many ways."  But I'm not concerned with telling you to accept this or that council.  My concern is for the one faith.  If we have that, we shouldn't be concerned with why we don't accept or reject this or that person or council.
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« Reply #36 on: December 09, 2013, 01:32:01 AM »

Everyone:

At this point, I am going to ask that we stick to the OP, and avoid getting any further into the events surrounding Chalcedon and Ephesus 449.  Pursuant to forum rules, I want to prevent this from getting polemical, and I can see it starting to go in that direction.   Smiley

If anyone wants to continue the conversation about Ephesus 449, or the reasons for rejecting Chalcedon or the Tome, they may do so in the private forum.  If anyone who does not belong to the private forum wants to be admitted, they may pm Fr. George and ask for admission.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.   Smiley
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« Reply #37 on: December 09, 2013, 02:32:03 PM »

Hi Pharaoh714,

I'm interested in church unity, of course, but I would also like to know what you mean by this:

Quote
we all know by know if we study the E.O and R.C tradition that some of their terminology is a little far off for our tradition but they still keep the same faith.

I do not agree that the RC or EO keep the same faith as we do. On some points we are closer and on some we are further away, but it is simply not true that the things that separate us are all matters of differing terminology. But perhaps I have misunderstood what you mean, so I await your explanation.

I was trying to say by now we all know that most theologians think that both families have the same faith. On the ground of the quote posted above cant we find common ground to establish unity through the sacraments/faith but let jurisdictions/Rites continue? 

I do not see how unity could be achieved in any other way but to recognize unity in belief but diversity in worship. The Oriental Orthodox have ancient liturgical traditions that they should preserve, just as we Eastern Orthodox should preserve our liturgical traditions. All that matters is unity in doctrine, not unity in liturgics.
I do not think that anyone with any sense should expect the Oriental Orthodox to be absorbed by the Eastern Orthodox or the Eastern Orthodox to be absorbed by the Oriental Orthodox. Just as in America, Russian and  Greek Orthodox keep their own administration and liturgical practices, but are in Communion with the Antiochians who keep our own administration and liturgical practices, so can the Oriental Orthodox be in Communion with the Eastern Orthodox and keep their own administration and liturgical traditions.

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« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2013, 02:45:26 PM »

Hi Pharaoh714,

I'm interested in church unity, of course, but I would also like to know what you mean by this:

Quote
we all know by know if we study the E.O and R.C tradition that some of their terminology is a little far off for our tradition but they still keep the same faith.

I do not agree that the RC or EO keep the same faith as we do. On some points we are closer and on some we are further away, but it is simply not true that the things that separate us are all matters of differing terminology. But perhaps I have misunderstood what you mean, so I await your explanation.

I was trying to say by now we all know that most theologians think that both families have the same faith. On the ground of the quote posted above cant we find common ground to establish unity through the sacraments/faith but let jurisdictions/Rites continue? 

I do not see how unity could be achieved in any other way but to recognize unity in belief but diversity in worship. The Oriental Orthodox have ancient liturgical traditions that they should preserve, just as we Eastern Orthodox should preserve our liturgical traditions. All that matters is unity in doctrine, not unity in liturgics.
I do not think that anyone with any sense should expect the Oriental Orthodox to be absorbed by the Eastern Orthodox or the Eastern Orthodox to be absorbed by the Oriental Orthodox. Just as in America, Russian and  Greek Orthodox keep their own administration and liturgical practices, but are in Communion with the Antiochians who keep our own administration and liturgical practices, so can the Oriental Orthodox be in Communion with the Eastern Orthodox and keep their own administration and liturgical traditions.

Fr. John W. Morris
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Amen!  Smiley

I agree.  This is the tradition of the Church fathers, and if unity was to happen, this is the tradition that we will also uphold.  Unity in dogma while diverse in liturgical cultures.
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« Reply #39 on: December 10, 2013, 01:11:06 PM »

Welcome to the forum, Father John.

Here is H.E. Met. Hilarion's comment on St. Basil's quote.

Quote
It is necessary to mention that between Ecumenical Councils, i.e., during the process of reception, Church leaders belonging to different theological groups often broke eucharistie communion with each other. But this was not the norm. There were notable theologians who called for eucharistie communion based on a certain "minimum" which did not demand absolutely identical dogmatic formulations. St Basil the Great stood for the divinity of the Holy Spirit, yet in the effort to retain peace inside the Church of his day he did not confess this out loud, neither did he demand it as a prerequisite for communion:

"Let us then seek nothing more, but merely propose the Nicene faith to the brethren who wish to join us. And if they agree to this, let us demand also that the Holy Spirit shall not be called a creature, and that those who do so call him shall not be in communion with them. But beyond these things I think nothing should be insisted on by us. For I am convinced that by longer association together and by mutual experience without strife, even if there should be need of some addition being made for clarification, the Lord who works all things together unto good to such as love him will give it."

In this way, St Basil the Great understood that different Churches could have different levels of theology: the things acceptable in the eyes of some could seem unacceptable innovations for others. But "by longer association together and by mutual experience," and, he implies, through eucharistie communion together, those previously unacceptable formulations might come to be acceptable. For St Basil, the most important thing was Church unity. "It is good to unite what has been separated. If we should be willing to condescend to the weaker, whenever we can do so without causing harm to souls, we will reach that union."


The Reception of the Ecumenical Councils in the Early Church
by Met Hilarion Alfeyev
St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly 47:3-4 (2003) 413-30

scribd link
http://www.scribd.com/doc/61746234/The-Reception-of-the-Ecumenical-Councils-in-the-Early-Church

google docs
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B--5ekRID-SYclMxQUE5UVBHUFU/edit?usp=sharing
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« Reply #40 on: December 10, 2013, 01:24:54 PM »

Quote
St Basil the Great stood for the divinity of the Holy Spirit, yet in the effort to retain peace inside the Church of his day he did not confess this out loud, neither did he demand it as a prerequisite for communion:

Quote
"let us demand also that the Holy Spirit shall not be called a creature, and that those who do so call him shall not be in communion with them."

It sounds like he did in fact confess the Holy Spirit's divinity out loud and demand it as a prerequisite for communion. If the Holy Spirit isn't a creature, he must be the Uncreated.
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« Reply #41 on: December 10, 2013, 02:17:55 PM »

The key in my mind seems to be mutual acceptance of the faith statements of the Ecumenical Councils. This is because one of the main ideas in Orthodoxy is that Ecumenical Councils are either infallible when confirmed or at least of a maximum high level of authority, like Scripture.

Were there times in the past when some churches did not accept all the faith statements of Ecumenical Councils?

I know there were times when churches disagreed with some ritual things endorsed at Councils: The Roman Church did not agree with the Apostles' Canons' demand for rebaptising those with heretic baptisms, even though the Apostles' Canons were endorsed by an Ecumenical Council. But that is more of a ritual matter.
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« Reply #42 on: December 10, 2013, 02:33:51 PM »

Dear Pharaoh714,

I like what you are saying in this thread. Alot of the debate about Chalcedon is like whether a half full bottle is half empty, in my view.
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« Reply #43 on: December 10, 2013, 04:45:55 PM »

The key in my mind seems to be mutual acceptance of the faith statements of the Ecumenical Councils. This is because one of the main ideas in Orthodoxy is that Ecumenical Councils are either infallible when confirmed or at least of a maximum high level of authority, like Scripture.

Were there times in the past when some churches did not accept all the faith statements of Ecumenical Councils?

I know there were times when churches disagreed with some ritual things endorsed at Councils: The Roman Church did not agree with the Apostles' Canons' demand for rebaptising those with heretic baptisms, even though the Apostles' Canons were endorsed by an Ecumenical Council. But that is more of a ritual matter.

Canon 95 of the Council in Trullo allows for the reception of converts from schismatic and heretical groups by profession of faith, Chrismation or Baptism. Recognized by the 7th Ecumenical Council, Nicaea II in 787, the Council in Trullo has greater authority than the Apostolic Canons. Besides, what was considered an heretic at the time of the Apostles would be someone like a Gnostic or other sect that is not Christian. St. Basil defines an heretic as someone who worships  different God than Christians. In the U.S. most Eastern Orthodox jurisdictions receive those Baptized "in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" through Chrismation.  We have to be very specific because of the influence of feminist theology which rejects Biblical language for God, and uses "Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier," of whatever is politically correct this week instead of "Father, Son and Holy Spirit." Oriental Orthodox would be received by a simple profession of faith.  Moscow also received Roman Catholics by a profession of faith.

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« Reply #44 on: December 10, 2013, 07:18:06 PM »

Hi Pharaoh714,

I'm interested in church unity, of course, but I would also like to know what you mean by this:

Quote
we all know by know if we study the E.O and R.C tradition that some of their terminology is a little far off for our tradition but they still keep the same faith.

I do not agree that the RC or EO keep the same faith as we do. On some points we are closer and on some we are further away, but it is simply not true that the things that separate us are all matters of differing terminology. But perhaps I have misunderstood what you mean, so I await your explanation.

I was trying to say by now we all know that most theologians think that both families have the same faith. On the ground of the quote posted above cant we find common ground to establish unity through the sacraments/faith but let jurisdictions/Rites continue? 

I do not see how unity could be achieved in any other way but to recognize unity in belief but diversity in worship. The Oriental Orthodox have ancient liturgical traditions that they should preserve, just as we Eastern Orthodox should preserve our liturgical traditions. All that matters is unity in doctrine, not unity in liturgics.
I do not think that anyone with any sense should expect the Oriental Orthodox to be absorbed by the Eastern Orthodox or the Eastern Orthodox to be absorbed by the Oriental Orthodox. Just as in America, Russian and  Greek Orthodox keep their own administration and liturgical practices, but are in Communion with the Antiochians who keep our own administration and liturgical practices, so can the Oriental Orthodox be in Communion with the Eastern Orthodox and keep their own administration and liturgical traditions.

Fr. John W. Morris
Fr. John W. Morris

Amen!  Smiley

I agree.  This is the tradition of the Church fathers, and if unity was to happen, this is the tradition that we will also uphold.  Unity in dogma while diverse in liturgical cultures.


Strongly Agree!

Right now both families recognize some of  each others sacraments at least mildly.. example Baptism, Christmation and marriage. However, they don't allow communion unless special circumstances by the bishop. I would like to see unity in faith and in sacraments in my lifetime, where I can go into an E.O Church and receive communion and respect their Byzantine Rite and if they also choose they can come and partake the communion in the Coptic church and respect the rite.

Blessed Nativity to everyone!
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« Reply #45 on: December 10, 2013, 10:25:31 PM »

I would like to see unity in faith and in sacraments in my lifetime, where I can go into an E.O Church and receive communion and respect their Byzantine Rite and if they also choose they can come and partake the communion in the Coptic church and respect the rite.

Blessed Nativity to everyone!
Yes, that would be nice.
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« Reply #46 on: December 10, 2013, 10:41:56 PM »

I would like to see unity in faith and in sacraments in my lifetime, where I can go into an E.O Church and receive communion and respect their Byzantine Rite and if they also choose they can come and partake the communion in the Coptic church and respect the rite.

Blessed Nativity to everyone!
Yes, that would be nice.


Thumbs up. I think it will take a lot of education to reach that point though. There are still a lot of E.O calling us Monophasite. I'll be honest I get upset when I hear E.O calling us Monopasite, just as much as Muslims telling me I worship 3 gods... No matter how much you explain it to them these people will still call us that. I hope it is best if people from their communion explain it to them. I hardly see Copts that call E.O Nestorian but if I do I would correct them.

Anyways, sorry for rambling.
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« Reply #47 on: December 10, 2013, 10:56:20 PM »

I was reading the Wiki Article on St. Basil the Great and read this;
"His zeal (St. Basil) for orthodoxy did not blind him to what was good in an opponent; and for the sake of peace and charity he was content to waive the use of orthodox terminology when it could be surrendered without a sacrifice of truth."

Can Church unity happen based on this?
Basically, Orthodoxy teaches that Ecumenical Councils are divinely inspired, at a very high level of authority, and we accept them. But what does acceptance mean?

I did not really get an answer from anyone yet as to whether an Ecumenical Council has been dissented from about a statement of faith.

But Fr. John pointed out that a later council changed an issue of ritual, in the Apostolic Canons. And even at the time, Rome did not accept that prior council's endorsement of all Apostolic canons, which were basically church rules.

Based on this precedent, perhaps the answer would be: "We accept the Council and its faith declarations, but not do not agree with every organizational decision in it".

Further, to achieve unity in an Orthodox way, I think we should have another Ecumenical Council, or "Great and Holy Synod" to resolve the issues, as the case may be. Meetings like those in Chambessy would just be steps on the road to achieve better mutual agreement on theology.

Too often the discussions have been obscure, and they should be laid out in simple ways. Further, there should also be a mutual, positive desire to want to come together, and see things different ways.
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« Reply #48 on: December 10, 2013, 11:17:58 PM »

As an aside: Antiochians now formally include prayers for Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi and Metropolitan Youhanna Ibrahm, as well as the captured nuns and orphans, during the Great Litany. May God grant them safety and deliverance from their captors!
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« Reply #49 on: December 10, 2013, 11:21:10 PM »

I was reading the Wiki Article on St. Basil the Great and read this;
"His zeal (St. Basil) for orthodoxy did not blind him to what was good in an opponent; and for the sake of peace and charity he was content to waive the use of orthodox terminology when it could be surrendered without a sacrifice of truth."

Can Church unity happen based on this?
Basically, Orthodoxy teaches that Ecumenical Councils are divinely inspired, at a very high level of authority, and we accept them. But what does acceptance mean?

I did not really get an answer from anyone yet as to whether an Ecumenical Council has been dissented from about a statement of faith.

But Fr. John pointed out that a later council changed an issue of ritual, in the Apostolic Canons. And even at the time, Rome did not accept that prior council's endorsement of all Apostolic canons, which were basically church rules.

Based on this precedent, perhaps the answer would be: "We accept the Council and its faith declarations, but not do not agree with every organizational decision in it".

Further, to achieve unity in an Orthodox way, I think we should have another Ecumenical Council, or "Great and Holy Synod" to resolve the issues, as the case may be. Meetings like those in Chambessy would just be steps on the road to achieve better mutual agreement on theology.

Too often the discussions have been obscure, and they should be laid out in simple ways. Further, there should also be a mutual, positive desire to want to come together, and see things different ways.


Everyone has different ideas of what Ecumenical Council is.

For my understanding in order for a council to be Ecumenical it must be Orthodox in teaching, be accepted by the entire Church and by approved by all Apostolic Sees.  (Hence why Chalcedon was not Ecumenical for us  Cheesy)

I remember someone from the E.O said that it must be called by the Emperor, some say its the Pope of Rome.... I disagree. Anyways, I think we need someone as courageous as St. Athanasius to hammer out the unity. In the mean time we can pray and ask God to guide us and to bring the right person for us if it is His will.
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« Reply #50 on: December 10, 2013, 11:33:35 PM »

I would like to see unity in faith and in sacraments in my lifetime, where I can go into an E.O Church and receive communion and respect their Byzantine Rite and if they also choose they can come and partake the communion in the Coptic church and respect the rite.

Blessed Nativity to everyone!
Yes, that would be nice.


Thumbs up. I think it will take a lot of education to reach that point though. There are still a lot of E.O calling us Monophasite. I'll be honest I get upset when I hear E.O calling us Monopasite, just as much as Muslims telling me I worship 3 gods... No matter how much you explain it to them these people will still call us that. I hope it is best if people from their communion explain it to them. I hardly see Copts that call E.O Nestorian but if I do I would correct them.

Anyways, sorry for rambling.

Pharaoh, you spell like an Egyptian  Wink

I say that jokingly with all love of course.  I have cousins in Egypt, and I always enjoy making fun of their grammar and accents and they in turn make fun of my Arabic grammar  Embarrassed
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« Reply #51 on: December 10, 2013, 11:46:55 PM »

Thumbs up. I think it will take a lot of education to reach that point though. There are still a lot of E.O calling us Monophasite. I'll be honest I get upset when I hear E.O calling us Monopasite... I hope it is best if people from their communion explain it to them.
I understand what you mean about education.

I sat in on a catechism class and it talked about monophysites negatively in regard to a Council. I pointed it out to the priest, thinking it was a misportrayal, and he agreed with me that it looked like OOs might be misportrayed there.

Later though I looked at it again, and the passage in question actually did not really specify OOs. It was just talking about Monophysites and did not really get into whether OOs and Dioscorus counted as Monophysites. It did not really mention them either.

However, I am learning too as we go, Pharaoh.
I'm an open-minded person. So far what I read- the Tome, the Creed of Chalcedon, St. Cyril's writings made sense to me. I get more nervous when I see statements calling others heretics. Chalcedon did not declare Dioscorus heretical or Monophysite, so that is helpful for both sides. The Tome did not mention Dioscorus either, and only named the Monophysite Eutyches as heretical. The Armenian statements I read so far in Solyagin's work made sense to me too.
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« Reply #52 on: December 10, 2013, 11:47:53 PM »

May God grant them safety and deliverance from their captors!
May He.
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« Reply #53 on: December 11, 2013, 12:02:26 AM »

I would like to see unity in faith and in sacraments in my lifetime, where I can go into an E.O Church and receive communion and respect their Byzantine Rite and if they also choose they can come and partake the communion in the Coptic church and respect the rite.

Blessed Nativity to everyone!
Yes, that would be nice.


Thumbs up. I think it will take a lot of education to reach that point though. There are still a lot of E.O calling us Monophasite. I'll be honest I get upset when I hear E.O calling us Monopasite, just as much as Muslims telling me I worship 3 gods... No matter how much you explain it to them these people will still call us that. I hope it is best if people from their communion explain it to them. I hardly see Copts that call E.O Nestorian but if I do I would correct them.

Anyways, sorry for rambling.

Pharaoh, you spell like an Egyptian  Wink

I say that jokingly with all love of course.  I have cousins in Egypt, and I always enjoy making fun of their grammar and accents and they in turn make fun of my Arabic grammar  Embarrassed

Trust me, my grammar is terrible in both languages. I hate spelling and in school it took me longer to edit and correct things than to actually write them. If I take the time to actually read what I write things would be a little better  Cheesy.


Oh, I forgot to mention that once in a class I wrote something online without checking it, which was an insult (I wont use the language here). Also, another time on my friends wedding I wrote on their card and on facebook: Congratulations on your WEEDING  -- LOL
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« Reply #54 on: December 11, 2013, 12:13:55 AM »

I would like to see unity in faith and in sacraments in my lifetime, where I can go into an E.O Church and receive communion and respect their Byzantine Rite and if they also choose they can come and partake the communion in the Coptic church and respect the rite.

Blessed Nativity to everyone!
Yes, that would be nice.


Thumbs up. I think it will take a lot of education to reach that point though. There are still a lot of E.O calling us Monophasite. I'll be honest I get upset when I hear E.O calling us Monopasite, just as much as Muslims telling me I worship 3 gods... No matter how much you explain it to them these people will still call us that. I hope it is best if people from their communion explain it to them. I hardly see Copts that call E.O Nestorian but if I do I would correct them.

Anyways, sorry for rambling.

Pharaoh, you spell like an Egyptian  Wink

I say that jokingly with all love of course.  I have cousins in Egypt, and I always enjoy making fun of their grammar and accents and they in turn make fun of my Arabic grammar  Embarrassed

Trust me, my grammar is terrible in both languages. I hate spelling and in school it took me longer to edit and correct things than to actually write them. If I take the time to actually read what I write things would be a little better  Cheesy.


Oh, I forgot to mention that once in a class I wrote something online without checking it, which was an insult (I wont use the language here). Also, another time on my friends wedding I wrote on their card and on facebook: Congratulations on your WEEDING  -- LOL


LOL!

My father told me a story when he was in middle school in Egypt, they were translating Amr ibn el-Aas in English, but instead of "Aas", it became "Ass", and the teacher was like, "we have a broblem"  Grin laugh
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« Reply #55 on: December 11, 2013, 07:14:40 AM »

As an aside: Antiochians now formally include prayers for Metropolitan Boulos Yazigi and Metropolitan Youhanna Ibrahm, as well as the captured nuns and orphans, during the Great Litany. May God grant them safety and deliverance from their captors!

may God give them much peace and comfort during their troubles.
something tells me they are not discussing chalcedon...

may we all learn from their example.
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« Reply #56 on: December 11, 2013, 09:56:46 AM »

Based on this precedent, perhaps the answer would be: "We accept the Council and its faith declarations, but not do not agree with every organizational decision in it".

This could cover the deposition of St. Dioscoros.


may God give them much peace and comfort during their troubles.
something tells me they are not discussing chalcedon...

may we all learn from their example.

Amen and amen.  The circumstances surrounding the kidnapping of the bishops speaks to the unity of the OO and EO Patriarchates of Antioch.  As I understand it, H.E. Metropolitan Yohanna Ibrahim was traveling with H.E. Metropolitan Poulos Yazigi to help the latter negotiate the release of one of his kidnapped priests.  The two had performed many similar missions of mercy together in the past and are good friends.  May God strengthen, encourage and keep safe Their Eminences, the nuns, and all others kidnapped by the Islamist militias and deliver the Orthodox Christians (EO & OO) of Syria from oppression and violence.
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« Reply #57 on: December 11, 2013, 11:34:45 AM »

amen.
and may the good news of Jesus Christ and the love of God flow out to all in the region who suffer.
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« Reply #58 on: December 11, 2013, 12:45:29 PM »

something tells me they are not discussing chalcedon...

I get the sense that Chalcedon is probably a very distant thing for Christians living in persecuted lands. The friendship of our bishops and their suffering at the hands of oppressors should serve as a sober reminder to us. Of course, that doesn't mean we should capitalize on this tragedy as a call for unity, but the it does mean we can look to it as a very real sign of shared suffering for the sake of Christ.
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« Reply #59 on: December 11, 2013, 01:02:16 PM »

Of course, that doesn't mean we should capitalize on this tragedy as a call for unity

Of course not.  But I think we all know how close the Syriac and Greek Patriarchates of Antioch were - pastorally and otherwise - before this most recent wave of persecutions began.  The level of cooperation between their clergy, the de facto communion folks who live there report on a regular basis, the official documents, et cetera.  I don't think that the present wave of persecutions has done anything but strengthen what was already there.  Really, I think that the EO and OO Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria are the ones doing the most outside of cyberspace to demonstrate how the kind of unity posited by the OP might be achieved.
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« Reply #60 on: December 11, 2013, 01:30:04 PM »

Of course, that doesn't mean we should capitalize on this tragedy as a call for unity

Of course not.  But I think we all know how close the Syriac and Greek Patriarchates of Antioch were - pastorally and otherwise - before this most recent wave of persecutions began.  The level of cooperation between their clergy, the de facto communion folks who live there report on a regular basis, the official documents, et cetera.  I don't think that the present wave of persecutions has done anything but strengthen what was already there.  Really, I think that the EO and OO Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria are the ones doing the most outside of cyberspace to demonstrate how the kind of unity posited by the OP might be achieved.

I have heard that the new Patriarch of Antioch, John X, is pledged to work for unity between Eastern and Oriental Orthodox unity.
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« Reply #61 on: December 11, 2013, 01:38:50 PM »

this is true, my friend has met him.
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« Reply #62 on: December 13, 2013, 12:07:22 PM »

Father bless!

This is what I mean about interpretation Father.  It is not at all clear to me that Pope Dioscorus is directly responsible for Patriarch Flavius' beating.  We know that the imperial government was at times harsh to those who were condemned at a council endorsed by the empire (one can only understand the violent pursuit of St. Athanasius, or the beating of Pope Vigilius, or the suffering of Maximus the Confessor to know the danger of trying to stand against an imperially endorsed council).  And we feel that it is clear that Ephesus 449 was an Orthodox council affirming Ephesus 431.  What you see as clear of the Orthodoxy of Chalcedon was not clear to the Oriental Orthodox Church.  And if clarified in Constantinople 553, this clarification only is interpreted to the Oriental Orthodox that it just wasn't clear after all a century before that.  As dzheremi puts it, we feel it's nothing but "a later rationalization that is faulty in many ways."  But I'm not concerned with telling you to accept this or that council.  My concern is for the one faith.  If we have that, we shouldn't be concerned with why we don't accept or reject this or that person or council.

It seems to me that if both EO and OO accept the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria as we both do, it is rather difficult to argue that we disagree on Christology. We may never agree on certain historical events. However as a professional historian, I am the first person to recognize that history is not truth. History is the opinion of historians based on the material they have to study filtered through their own personal presuppositions. If we both recognize the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria as Orthodox, I find it hard to believe that we do not agree on Christology. St. Cyril set the example that we can agree on Christology but use different terms to describe our beliefs in his Letter to John of Antioch in 433. It is obvious that such terms as hypostasis had different meanings to different people in different places. From what I have read about OO theology, I find very little difference and none on essential doctrine. But, I may be wrong. This is a matter for theologians to decide. Theologians representing both the EO and the OO have had extensive discussions and have found agreement on Christology.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #63 on: December 13, 2013, 12:16:55 PM »

Of course, that doesn't mean we should capitalize on this tragedy as a call for unity

Of course not.  But I think we all know how close the Syriac and Greek Patriarchates of Antioch were - pastorally and otherwise - before this most recent wave of persecutions began.  The level of cooperation between their clergy, the de facto communion folks who live there report on a regular basis, the official documents, et cetera.  I don't think that the present wave of persecutions has done anything but strengthen what was already there.  Really, I think that the EO and OO Patriarchates of Antioch and Alexandria are the ones doing the most outside of cyberspace to demonstrate how the kind of unity posited by the OP might be achieved.
The fact that they cooperate during a tragedy is very good.
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« Reply #64 on: December 13, 2013, 12:24:15 PM »

It seems to me that if both EO and OO accept the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria as we both do, it is rather difficult to argue that we disagree on Christology. We may never agree on certain historical events. However as a professional historian, I am the first person to recognize that history is not truth. History is the opinion of historians based on the material they have to study filtered through their own personal presuppositions. If we both recognize the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria as Orthodox, I find it hard to believe that we do not agree on Christology. St. Cyril set the example that we can agree on Christology but use different terms to describe our beliefs in his Letter to John of Antioch in 433. It is obvious that such terms as hypostasis had different meanings to different people in different places. From what I have read about OO theology, I find very little difference and none on essential doctrine. But, I may be wrong. This is a matter for theologians to decide. Theologians representing both the EO and the OO have had extensive discussions and have found agreement on Christology.

Fr. John W. Morris
EOs accept the idea of two natures existing in Christ, or vice verse, or Christ continuing to have two natures, and they also accept St. Cyrill's ideas, focusing on how there is a united nature that includes two natures.

But do OOs accept the idea about Christ continuing to have two natures or there being two natures in Christ or vice verse? If so, is that idea in their literature?
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« Reply #65 on: December 13, 2013, 12:44:32 PM »

The fact that they cooperate during a tragedy is very good.

Yes, it is, but I think they cooperate on a regular basis even when extraordinary tragedies are not occurring.
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« Reply #66 on: December 13, 2013, 01:45:48 PM »

But do OOs accept the idea about Christ continuing to have two natures or there being two natures in Christ or vice verse?

No. Our Fathers accepted that He is from two natures, but after the union at the incarnation, they are no longer separate, and hence no longer two. There are many fractions, theotokias, etc. that testify to this belief (see, for instance, the Syrian Fraction: "One is Emmanuel our God, who cannot be divided after the union -- there is no division into two natures...", or the Theotokia for Wednesday which calls the Theotokos "the uniting place of the unparted natures"). Of course Chalcedonians will say that they are not divided in the hypostatic union, either, and good for them, but the point is that as you have phrased it in your question, we'd have to say no.
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« Reply #67 on: December 13, 2013, 02:01:09 PM »

dzheremi,

It's good to see you on these forums, I didn't know you posted here as well Smiley  I once had a long discussion with an Oriental Orthodox brother on Christology, and after about two hours I realize that we were confessing the same understanding of Christ but with different terminology and emphasis.  I also read an essay by Pope Shenouda which left me with the same impression.  I have always regarded the Oriental Orthodox as our brothers, which is why I like to refer to us as just "Orthodox" without qualification.    Before I joined a Western Rite parish I attended a Byzantine parish that had a few OO families who would visit frequently, and our parish priest always welcomed and communed them without hestitation. 

I would love to hear your thoughts on the biggest obstacles to the establishment of communion between our churches.
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« Reply #68 on: December 13, 2013, 03:13:15 PM »

But do OOs accept the idea about Christ continuing to have two natures or there being two natures in Christ or vice verse?

No. Our Fathers accepted that He is from two natures, but after the union at the incarnation, they are no longer separate, and hence no longer two. There are many fractions, theotokias, etc. that testify to this belief (see, for instance, the Syrian Fraction: "One is Emmanuel our God, who cannot be divided after the union -- there is no division into two natures...", or the Theotokia for Wednesday which calls the Theotokos "the uniting place of the unparted natures"). Of course Chalcedonians will say that they are not divided in the hypostatic union, either, and good for them, but the point is that as you have phrased it in your question, we'd have to say no.

The EOs teach that after the Incarnation the human and divine natures of Christ were eternally united "without separation." In other words, God the Son became man in Jesus Christ at the Incarnation and remained divine and human. He never ceased to be divine, but never ceased to be human, although the humanity of Christ was deified by its union with His divinity. How does your answer to the question not mean that at some point, either the human or the divine nature of Christ ceased to exist, are divided or one nature is absorbed by the other nature? We EOs believe that the union of the two natures after the Incarnation is eternal and that the two are never separated, but neither is one nature absorbed by the other.  I used the term "nature" because I do not know how else to describe Christ as both God and man. I have the feeling reading your post that you do not make a distinction between the meaning of "person" and the meaning of "nature." The doxastakon for Sat. evening Vespers speaks of Christ as being duel in nature, but one  in person. Thus Christ is one person who is both divine and human in eternal union. Christ is of one essence with the Father in His divinity, but also of one essence with us humans in His humanity. He never ceases to be divine, but also never ceases to be human.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #69 on: December 13, 2013, 03:54:47 PM »

Hi Dcointin. I likewise didn't know that you posted here. Good to "see" you.

As to obstacles, I think I'm too new to this whole thing to say much of substance regarding the Christological controversies (though I do recognize them as real, for lack of a better way to put it; I'm not among those who think that it was or is a big misunderstanding or what have you, and I'm not really sure that we are saying the same thing; it seems like until/unless both sides agree to that officially, which we don't, it doesn't matter what anybody thinks, since we're talking about restoration of communion not impressions from talking to one another on forums like this). One thing I can say, though, is that there seems to be an awful lot of parallel history that neither side wants to give up (nor should they, in my view) which gets in the way of better understanding, and I don't just mean the biggies like whether or not HH St. Dioscoros should be considered a heretic or not (obviously I've made my decision on that by becoming Coptic Orthodox), but things like...in conversations with EO, I have noticed that there is a tendency to assume that the Byzantine way of doing things is synonymous with the Orthodox way (naturally), which is fine from where I'm sitting (why would I expect them to believe otherwise?) but rapidly becomes not fine when I'm then told that the way we do things is "wrong" or otherwise unacceptable, which does happen quite a bit even as EO also insist that we would not have to give up our ancient and venerable modes of worship. I'm sorry to be so blunt and possibly whiny, but my experiences in chatting with Byzantines says otherwise. (Note: I know that none of these informal chats actually mean anything relative to the very real and commendable work being carried out in both of our communions to grow closer together and heal the schism; my point is more that at the level at which any individual layperson such as you or I experience it, there is a lot of circling the wagons going on, and yes, from my vantage point it seems insurmountable so long as EO cannot accept the diversity that is part and parcel of OO life...not to say that none of you can, or that this is somehow the chief characteristic of some kind vague "Chalcedonian mindset", but that there is a certain inflexibility or stuffiness involved that I cannot relate to that places Byzantine prerogatives and histories above all else, such that it suddenly becomes important to at least some people that we don't have cheesefare week, or that our monks can't explain and defend "hesychasm" since that was chiefly developed in a Byzantine/Chalcedonian context, etc. And why are all these things important? Why, they're what the Orthodox do and believe in, of course...  Roll Eyes

Synposis: Differing histories lead to differing mindsets to at least some degree, and I would like to think that if Byzantine Christianity had made sense to me I wouldn't have had to move 1,200 miles away from my very much already EO home area (the historic southern tip of the Russian empire, in fact) to become Orthodox. That might not explain why our communions are estranged still, but it certainly does it for me (since, as others have said, in terms of the actual substance of the faith we might in fact be saying the same thing but with different emphases). I don't see anything of the Orthodox faith in this (for the lack of a better way to put it, and I'm sorry to any people I'm inadvertently about to upset) imperial mindset that I find in common among Byzantine and Latin Chalcedonians. Neither to Rome, nor to Constantinople.

So in essence, you have your Orthodoxy and I have mine, and while many recognize them as being the same, while we are on the outside looking in at the other, they can be quite inscrutable and that in itself can be a problem for some when combined with an idea that your standard is the standard that all should follow. That said, I quite like you guys as people and find your liturgies to be very beautiful and holy, at least so far as I can appreciate them on an aesthetic level without having quite as "developed" a sense of what it all entails (i.e., I have a copy of the Introduction to the Philokalia by Anthony Coniaris on my bookshelf beside my copy of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers...100% of the time, I will reach for the Desert Fathers, as I find this "nous" and purification business in the former to be completely beyond me; for all I know the wisdom contained in both could be saying the exact same thing, but one is understandable to me while the other is not; I suppose I don't have an appropriately "Greek" mind or whatever, but anyway...hopefully all this anecdotal nonsense has added up to something of an answer to your request! Haha.)
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« Reply #70 on: December 13, 2013, 04:10:51 PM »

Thank you for your explanation, Fr. John. I tried to emphasize in my reply to Rakovsky that the question as he asked it would yield a no from the OO, but of course I do also recognize that there is more nuance in the EO position than such a simple question can convey.
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« Reply #71 on: December 13, 2013, 05:52:57 PM »

Fr. John,

Thanks for questioning why there needs to be a disunity between our Churches and seeing whether our beliefs were really different.

I wish people could look at this question in a simple way. At its root is not really something spiritual about whether Christ is man or God, but a question of logic.
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« Reply #72 on: December 13, 2013, 10:11:46 PM »

A post asking more detail about OO Christology was split off and merged with another thread by the same author, in the private forum, also asking about our Christology:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,55469.msg1044672.html#msg1044672

Again, I would like to keep this thread on the topic of the OP.

There are several threads about OO Christology both in the OO section and the Private Forum.  I invite people to explore those threads to learn more about what we believe.  Let's keep this one on topic.  Thanks. 
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« Reply #73 on: December 13, 2013, 11:06:55 PM »

Fr. John,

Thanks for questioning why there needs to be a disunity between our Churches and seeing whether our beliefs were really different.

I wish people could look at this question in a simple way. At its root is not really something spiritual about whether Christ is man or God, but a question of logic.

I have always felt that we should not let arguments over historical issues divide us. If we actually believe the same thing, we should not let historical disagreements continue to divide us. We cannot go back and undo Ephesus 449 or Chalcedon 451. Perhaps the solution is for the leaders of the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox to appoint a commission to draw up a common profession of faith that deals strictly with theology and use that as a basis for union and to let historians argue over Ephesus 449 and Chalcedon 451. I am not anti-history, but as a PhD in  history, I know that history is not absolute truth, but is the opinion of fallible historians who interpret the materials that they study through their own personal presuppositions.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #74 on: December 13, 2013, 11:10:01 PM »

Fr. John,

Thanks for questioning why there needs to be a disunity between our Churches and seeing whether our beliefs were really different.

I wish people could look at this question in a simple way. At its root is not really something spiritual about whether Christ is man or God, but a question of logic.

I have always felt that we should not let arguments over historical issues divide us. If we actually believe the same thing, we should not let historical disagreements continue to divide us. We cannot go back and undo Ephesus 449 or Chalcedon 451. Perhaps the solution is for the leaders of the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox to appoint a commission to draw up a common profession of faith that deals strictly with theology and use that as a basis for union and to let historians argue over Ephesus 449 and Chalcedon 451. I am not anti-history, but as a PhD in  history, I know that history is not absolute truth, but is the opinion of fallible historians who interpret the materials that they study through their own personal presuppositions.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father bless!  We actually have in four unofficial as well as four official meetings in the past.  It all started in Bristol and Aarhus in the 1960s.
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« Reply #75 on: December 14, 2013, 12:25:28 AM »

Fr. John,

Thanks for questioning why there needs to be a disunity between our Churches and seeing whether our beliefs were really different.

I wish people could look at this question in a simple way. At its root is not really something spiritual about whether Christ is man or God, but a question of logic.

I have always felt that we should not let arguments over historical issues divide us. If we actually believe the same thing, we should not let historical disagreements continue to divide us. We cannot go back and undo Ephesus 449 or Chalcedon 451. Perhaps the solution is for the leaders of the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox to appoint a commission to draw up a common profession of faith that deals strictly with theology and use that as a basis for union and to let historians argue over Ephesus 449 and Chalcedon 451. I am not anti-history, but as a PhD in  history, I know that history is not absolute truth, but is the opinion of fallible historians who interpret the materials that they study through their own personal presuppositions.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father bless!  We actually have in four unofficial as well as four official meetings in the past.  It all started in Bristol and Aarhus in the 1960s.

Yes I know, but then the dialogue fell apart as a result of disagreement over historical controversies. What I am saying is that we must rise above historical debates about the past, and concentrated on what we actually believe today. If we agree on what we believe, we should not let historical debates keep us divided.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #76 on: December 14, 2013, 12:27:41 AM »

Fr. John,

Thanks for questioning why there needs to be a disunity between our Churches and seeing whether our beliefs were really different.

I wish people could look at this question in a simple way. At its root is not really something spiritual about whether Christ is man or God, but a question of logic.

I have always felt that we should not let arguments over historical issues divide us. If we actually believe the same thing, we should not let historical disagreements continue to divide us. We cannot go back and undo Ephesus 449 or Chalcedon 451. Perhaps the solution is for the leaders of the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox to appoint a commission to draw up a common profession of faith that deals strictly with theology and use that as a basis for union and to let historians argue over Ephesus 449 and Chalcedon 451. I am not anti-history, but as a PhD in  history, I know that history is not absolute truth, but is the opinion of fallible historians who interpret the materials that they study through their own personal presuppositions.

Fr. John W. Morris

Father bless!  We actually have in four unofficial as well as four official meetings in the past.  It all started in Bristol and Aarhus in the 1960s.

Yes I know, but then the dialogue fell apart as a result of disagreement over historical controversies. What I am saying is that we must rise above historical debates about the past, and concentrated on what we actually believe today. If we agree on what we believe, we should not let historical debates keep us divided.

Fr. John W. Morris
I agree!
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« Reply #77 on: December 14, 2013, 12:48:50 AM »

Sure, to return to the OP, I think the answer is Yes:
I was reading the Wiki Article on St. Basil the Great and read this;

"His zeal (St. Basil) for orthodoxy did not blind him to what was good in an opponent; and for the sake of peace and charity he was content to waive the use of orthodox terminology when it could be surrendered without a sacrifice of truth."

Can Church unity happen based on this? ... We also know St. Cyril of Alexandria did this he forgo some terminology in order to have Church peace but not at the expense of sacrificing the truth. Despite all other obstacles shouldn't this train of thought be used in order to bring unity among R.C E.O and O.O?
Sure. The issue is that we do not sacrifice Truth or Orthodoxy, but we can sacrifice terminology if surrendering it does not go against those two.

The main thing in Orthodoxy, as I see it, is that we accept the Councils and their faith, but not every administrative rule from Councils, since some local churches opted out of some rules. Does acceptance mean accepting every faith statement in a Council?

Considering the central role of the main statement announced by Chalcedon, we would ideally say that the statement is at least one valid, legitimate way of talking about Christology. If we cannot agree that the Council's main statement is at least one possible, legitimate, correct way to talk about Christology, then it would not really be accepting the Council. I am also saying this in sympathy with you.

Let me give an example:
If you have some friends who draw a portrait of you and they draw you with a hearty smile, you can chuckle and say "Yes, that's me", even if you just sitting at rest. There is artistic license, and occasionally you look that way. Often language does not really give the whole picture either, as they say "A picture is 1000 words". Maybe something can be said better, but there are thousands of variations.

On the other hand, if they draw it so far out of whack that it is just incorrect, like if you have no ears in the picture, then why say that it is valid?

So that's my thought. If the main statement at the Ecumenical Council is at least a possible, legitimate way to talk about things, then the statement should be considered OK, and then in my estimate it means the Council can be considered acceptable, and the rest is just terminology issues.
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« Reply #78 on: December 14, 2013, 01:00:02 AM »

Sure, to return to the OP, I think the answer is Yes:
I was reading the Wiki Article on St. Basil the Great and read this;

"His zeal (St. Basil) for orthodoxy did not blind him to what was good in an opponent; and for the sake of peace and charity he was content to waive the use of orthodox terminology when it could be surrendered without a sacrifice of truth."

Can Church unity happen based on this? ... We also know St. Cyril of Alexandria did this he forgo some terminology in order to have Church peace but not at the expense of sacrificing the truth. Despite all other obstacles shouldn't this train of thought be used in order to bring unity among R.C E.O and O.O?
Sure. The issue is that we do not sacrifice Truth or Orthodoxy, but we can sacrifice terminology if surrendering it does not go against those two.

The main thing in Orthodoxy, as I see it, is that we accept the Councils and their faith, but not every administrative rule from Councils, since some local churches opted out of some rules. Does acceptance mean accepting every faith statement in a Council?

Considering the central role of the main statement announced by Chalcedon, we would ideally say that the statement is at least one valid, legitimate way of talking about Christology. If we cannot agree that the Council's main statement is at least one possible, legitimate, correct way to talk about Christology, then it would not really be accepting the Council. I am also saying this in sympathy with you.

Let me give an example:
If you have some friends who draw a portrait of you and they draw you with a hearty smile, you can chuckle and say "Yes, that's me", even if you just sitting at rest. There is artistic license, and occasionally you look that way. Often language does not really give the whole picture either, as they say "A picture is 1000 words". Maybe something can be said better, but there are thousands of variations.

On the other hand, if they draw it so far out of whack that it is just incorrect, like if you have no ears in the picture, then why say that it is valid?

So that's my thought. If the main statement at the Ecumenical Council is at least a possible, legitimate way to talk about things, then the statement should be considered OK, and then in my estimate it means the Council can be considered acceptable, and the rest is just terminology issues.

Chalcedon was always meant to conform to the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria, a fact that was made clear at the 5th Ecumenical Council, II Constantinople in 553.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #79 on: December 14, 2013, 01:18:59 AM »

Yes I know, but then the dialogue fell apart as a result of disagreement over historical controversies. What I am saying is that we must rise above historical debates about the past, and concentrated on what we actually believe today. If we agree on what we believe, we should not let historical debates keep us divided.
I sympathize with what you are saying and do not think historical debates about administration or cutting away every statement a theologian made in his life is correct: We have many saintly theologians who do not agree on things, like Augustine.

On another note, Orthodoxy teaches that Ecumenical Councils are a primary authority on the faith, after, say the Bible. To be Orthodox, one must accept the councils. Acceptance does not mean accepting every rule on church life. But can you tell me if our Church takes it to mean accepting every sentence on faith that the Council agreed on at some point in its proceedings?
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« Reply #80 on: December 14, 2013, 01:37:47 AM »


Chalcedon was always meant to conform to the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria,

That's something not everyone has always agreed upon.  In the private forum, it's been debated ad nauseam.

Quote
a fact that was made clear at the 5th Ecumenical Council, II Constantinople in 553.

Fr. John W. Morris

There are those who would assert that Constantinople II was a corrective, or, at best, a clarification, of Chalcedon.  Again, this is the sort of thing that gets debated in the private forum.   Smiley
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« Reply #81 on: December 14, 2013, 01:54:50 AM »

Yes I know, but then the dialogue fell apart as a result of disagreement over historical controversies. What I am saying is that we must rise above historical debates about the past, and concentrated on what we actually believe today. If we agree on what we believe, we should not let historical debates keep us divided.
I sympathize with what you are saying and do not think historical debates about administration or cutting away every statement a theologian made in his life is correct: We have many saintly theologians who do not agree on things, like Augustine.

On another note, Orthodoxy teaches that Ecumenical Councils are a primary authority on the faith, after, say the Bible. To be Orthodox, one must accept the councils. Acceptance does not mean accepting every rule on church life. But can you tell me if our Church takes it to mean accepting every sentence on faith that the Council agreed on at some point in its proceedings?
because this is the OO forum, I can tell you that Orthodoxy does not teach the councils are a "primary authority", but rather a part of tradition, just as the Bible is a part of tradition. In the end it's the faith of the Church that prevails, not the literal statements or events of tradition.  The Scriptures, the Liturgies, the individual fathers of the Church, the stories of the saints, the collective sacramental life, the service the Church offers outside the sacraments, the councils, the canons, the prayers, fastings, and almsgivings are all part of the faith and tradition of the church. Taken collectively, they form a spirit of authoritative understanding with appreciation of those who contributed.  The faith defines them all, not the other way around.
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« Reply #82 on: December 14, 2013, 02:57:39 AM »

On another note, Orthodoxy teaches that Ecumenical Councils are a primary authority on the faith, after, say the Bible. To be Orthodox, one must accept the councils. Acceptance does not mean accepting every rule on church life. But can you tell me if our Church takes it to mean accepting every sentence on faith that the Council agreed on at some point in its proceedings?
because this is the OO forum, I can tell you that Orthodoxy does not teach the councils are a "primary authority", but rather a part of tradition, just as the Bible is a part of tradition. In the end it's the faith of the Church that prevails, not the literal statements or events of tradition.  The Scriptures, the Liturgies, the individual fathers of the Church, the stories of the saints, the collective sacramental life, the service the Church offers outside the sacraments, the councils, the canons, the prayers, fastings, and almsgivings are all part of the faith and tradition of the church. Taken collectively, they form a spirit of authoritative understanding with appreciation of those who contributed.  The faith defines them all, not the other way around.
Hi Mina,

I understand what you mean about putting faith first, and how you use that in looking at passages. What I am thinking about is a possible situation where some OOs might find a sentence in the minutes of a Council or in Leo's Tome and do not think the sentence reflects the faith. My impression is that it is only Christological Creeds are considered infallible by the Eastern Orthodox Church (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infallibility_of_the_Church), while one can disagree with a phrase about faith someplace in the minutes.

I noticed on one Catholic forum:
Quote
It is not true to suggest that every sentence in every document of every Ecumenical Council is an infallibly defined doctrine and sacrosanct as though it proceeded from the mouth of God like Sacred Scripture... This is a gross exaggeration and actually a heresy condemned at the First Vatican Council (in regard to the pope).
http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=581661&page=9

Quote
The Bible was often described as inspired by God, but no Ecumenical Council ever said anything as precise as that every sentence in it was true. And the major reason for that is that it was quite unclear what it would be like for some of its sentences to be true. "Was Jesus God?" By Richard Swinburne
There are places in the Bible that I do not really agree with their morality because they instruct to do things that I think were neither good then nor now, although I can see them as prophecying the punishment that Christ endured for us.

So I am not sure that I have to accept every sentence in the Bible as expressing correct faith or morals.

I think Russians will say something that bears relation to what you said when it comes to looking at each sentence. Namely, if a sentence is wrong, we still look to the faith of the document, not picking on each phrase. If a sentence plays such a major role in the document, or if there are a couple sentences like it in a role in a major place, then one can say that there is an issue with that sentence.

It's helpful. It suggests to me that OOs do not have to agree to each sentence in the Tome if they think the substance of the Council's faith was correct.


Still, I think that when it comes to the Creed that was approved, you would want to say whether the sentences in it were a logically possible way of talking about the faith. If the sentences in that condensed, central announcement said that the earth is flat, then it is harder to say that the statement's faith is correct.

On the other hand, if it was just another possible way of talking about things, although not the one OOs prefer to use, then the statement itself can be considered to line up with Orthodox faith, especially in light of a viewpoint that the Council's underlying faith was Orthodox too.
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« Reply #83 on: December 14, 2013, 04:04:24 AM »

Yes I know, but then the dialogue fell apart as a result of disagreement over historical controversies. What I am saying is that we must rise above historical debates about the past, and concentrated on what we actually believe today. If we agree on what we believe, we should not let historical debates keep us divided.
I sympathize with what you are saying and do not think historical debates about administration or cutting away every statement a theologian made in his life is correct: We have many saintly theologians who do not agree on things, like Augustine.

On another note, Orthodoxy teaches that Ecumenical Councils are a primary authority on the faith, after, say the Bible. To be Orthodox, one must accept the councils. Acceptance does not mean accepting every rule on church life. But can you tell me if our Church takes it to mean accepting every sentence on faith that the Council agreed on at some point in its proceedings?

I agree that the Ecumenical Councils are the highest authority within the Church. However, would it be possible to agree on a statement that listed the dogmatic decisions of the Councils, all of which since Ephesus 431 are Christological except the condemnation of iconoclasm at the 7th, but even that decision actually has Christological implications, as a substitute for approving every individual council. That way we avoid debating over Chalcedon itself, but concentrate on finding a mutually acceptable way to express the doctrine affirmed at Chalcedon and agree to disagree about Dioscous and Servius of Antioch. It is just an idea. Obviously, I have no authority over the matter.
It is absolutely necessary to agree completely on matters of doctrine, but that effort should not get bogged down in arguments about what specific terms like hypostasis mean because it meant different things to different people in different places. That is one reason why we had the schism in the first place. We also do not need to derail dialogue by arguing about the role played by the Byzantine emperors in the schism, since the Byzantine Empire is long gone and will not come back. For example, someone from the Coptic side wrote that the Copts felt that the Emperor wanted to insure control over Egyptian grain by controlling the Church. Obviously that is no longer an issue.

Fr. John  W. Morris
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« Reply #84 on: December 14, 2013, 05:44:04 AM »

However, would it be possible to agree on a statement that listed the dogmatic decisions of the Councils, all of which since Ephesus 431 are Christological... as a substitute for approving every individual council. That way we avoid debating over Chalcedon itself, but concentrate on finding a mutually acceptable way to express the doctrine affirmed at Chalcedon and agree to disagree about Dioscous and Servius of Antioch. It is just an idea.
It sounds like accepting the dogmatic decisions of the Councils is the same as accepting the Council's faith decisions itself. We do not have to accept the Councils' regulatory decisions, as for example we need not accept the science in Genesis or how the Roman Pope recognized heretic baptisms to some extent, despite the canon. Nor, I suppose, do we need to accept every phrase put someplace in the Councils about faith, like I suppose not every Orthodox need accept every phrase in the Bible as right on faith.

But in any case the Councils have to be accepted, or else it would have major consequences for Orthodox thought.

First, it would means that one need not accept Ecumenical Councils to be Orthodox.

Second, if Orthodox can reject the Councils, then it disproves a common belief that the Councils are infallible once they have been confirmed by the Church. You could get someone claiming: "Orthodoxy says that Ecumenical Council C certainly cannot be wrong, but Bishop Y says Council C's faith is wrong, and Bishop Y is fully Orthodox. So Orthodoxy does not make sense."

Perhaps some Orthodox do not believe in the Councils' infallibility, but it is common enough that nonacceptance of the Councils would have a profound impact on EO thinking.

Third, to get out of this conundrum, one can try to argue that the Councils were not confirmed as Ecumenical in the first place because of OO nonacceptance, but that creates another big problem. If OO nonacceptance prevents it from being Ecumenical, it means that the OOs were a major part of the church, even though we were in schism and out of communion. This goes along with ideas like the Invisible Church, Universal Church, Branch Theory, after which perhaps Anglicans, Lutherans, and Catholics could be rationalized to be part of the Church as well. It would be much easier to avoid saying that there was an absolute schism within the Orthodox Church and to resolve this issue as was done in the case of ROCOR by reinstating communion without having to make a judgment on the status during schism.

But by saying that the Councils were not Ecumenical because of OO nonacceptance, it forces the issue and proves that the Invisible Church/Branch Theory idea is in force, and that the visible church can be completely divided and out of communion with itself.

Perhaps you will agree with this ecumenical idea about the Church. I have some symapthy for it and do not dismiss it, but accepting it does have profound consequences for Orthodox thought.

In conclusion, the problem with avoiding approval of the Councils is because it means A) acceptance of Ecumenical Councils is unneeded for Orthodoxy and that Ecumenical Councils are certainly not officially considered infallible, or that B) Our Councils were not really Ecumenical because OOs were part of the Church and did not accept them, meaning that the Church is not always an organizational unity, but can be divided without even indirect full communion (like existed between OCA and ROCOR through intermediaries like Jerusalem and Serbia).

For me, the ideal answer should just be to look at the Creed statements passed by the Councils and ask whether they can be accepted as a valid way of talking. I also like what Mina and I discussed about accepting a Council's overall substance without having to accept every word in a Council's minutes as exact.
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« Reply #85 on: December 14, 2013, 08:52:44 AM »

For example, someone from the Coptic side wrote that the Copts felt that the Emperor wanted to insure control over Egyptian grain by controlling the Church. Obviously that is no longer an issue.

Fr. John  W. Morris


that was me, father.
i was saying that there were several different motives for the council being called by the roman emperor.
we should not think it was just about some church patriarchs getting together to discuss something and then somehow wondering how they ended up with an unholy mess when they were all holy men who wanted to advance the understanding of the Christian faith.

there were forces from outside the church with wicked political motives getting involved, and that (in my opinion at least) is one major reason why there was such a mess.

in my opinion, as i have mentioned in other threads, state involvement in the church is always going to end up in a mess.
it is very easy for the devil to attack the church (using state power) when the church allies itself with state power and throws away it's independence.

as further examples, please look at other aspects of byzantine history, and also the russian orthodox church (especially 1917 - 1990) and the anglican church in britain.

i am making this point that there was very significant outside interference to explain one of the reasons why it all went wrong.

it's like in a marriage, if you have an interfering mother in law (or any friend or relative who does not support the marriage),
she can start sowing anger and resentment among the husband and wife and magnify any differences there are.
the husband and wife can't hope to solve their differences and avoid divorce while remaining financially dependent on the mother in law.
they have to move out and get their own place and accept the hardship that goes with that in order to save the marriage.

i personally think that all those church fathers in chalcedon were under massive spiritual and psychological stress and some of them (if not many) from both sides reacted more in irritation than in love.
i believe God forgave them and now they are hugging each other in heaven and praying for us to do the same.
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« Reply #86 on: December 14, 2013, 12:06:31 PM »

If OO nonacceptance prevents it from being Ecumenical, it means that the OOs were a major part of the church, even though we were in schism and out of communion. This goes along with ideas like the Invisible Church, Universal Church, Branch Theory, after which perhaps Anglicans, Lutherans, and Catholics could be rationalized to be part of the Church as well.

Yeah, because there's no difference between OO, Anglicans, Lutherans, and Catholics.  All the same.   Roll Eyes

Quote
It would be much easier to avoid saying that there was an absolute schism within the Orthodox Church and to resolve this issue as was done in the case of ROCOR by reinstating communion without having to make a judgment on the status during schism.

How is this different from what you are objecting to above? 
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« Reply #87 on: December 14, 2013, 12:55:26 PM »


But in any case the Councils have to be accepted, or else it would have major consequences for Orthodox thought.

First, it would means that one need not accept Ecumenical Councils to be Orthodox.

Second, if Orthodox can reject the Councils, then it disproves a common belief that the Councils are infallible once they have been confirmed by the Church.

And I think this underscores a major difference between the OO's and the Chalcedonians.  As Mina indicated earlier, we just have a different mindset.  EO's have a belief in infallible councils, and from their point of view there can be no unity without their councils being accepted.  Similarly, the Catholics have infallible decrees from the Pope, and the Protestants have an infallible Bible.  We OO's just don't get that.  I don't think we have that infallibility concept the way the various types of Chalcedonians do.  Like Mina said, from our point of view many different things are taken collectively as a part of Tradition, and it's the Faith that matters.  I suspect that is why I find more OO's who accept EO's as Orthodox than the other way around.  We just look at the Faith, and don't fuss about "infallible" councils. 

I kind of wonder if in the end this is what will keep us from union.  There is no way the OO's are going to accept Chalcedon as ecumenical.  The reasons for that have been discussed and debated ad nauseam in the private forum and it would be inappropriate to discuss them here, but it is just not realistic for the EO's to expect that to happen.  However if we don't accept Chalcedon as an ecumenical council, the EO's will not unite with us.  Even if some agree to union, many others would go into schism because of the belief that seven councils = Orthodoxy.  It's a problem, and I'm not sure we will be able to overcome it. 
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« Reply #88 on: December 14, 2013, 01:05:42 PM »

I kind of wonder if in the end this is what will keep us from union.

What do you mean "in the end"? That's what's keeping us from union now. The Chalcedonians say we have to accept all of their councils and all of the decisions of them, and we say no. I don't see that changing.

Quote
It's a problem, and I'm not sure we will be able to overcome it.  

It's a problem alright, but it's not exactly our problem. Just like dealing with the wacky beliefs of the other Chalcedonians (the Latins), we cannot stop the EO from believing what they've long held about infallibility in their Church, and they're probably not just going to magically come around to agreeing with our viewpoint when it means that they'd have to jettison their own.

We're simply too far apart in mindset, even if a majority on both sides were to agree that the substance of the faith is exactly the same. Sad
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« Reply #89 on: December 14, 2013, 01:12:53 PM »

Yeah, because there's no difference between OO, Anglicans, Lutherans, and Catholics.  All the same.   Roll Eyes
Deciding for sure that what we consider an Ecumenical Council was certainly not Ecumenical is a major blow to Orthodox thinking, and would also completely disprove the idea that the Church is a visible unified entity. It would enshrine as truth the invisible / universal Church / Branch Theory idea that even though the Church is divided with no crossover, both halves are fully valid parts of it.

While Orthodoxy rejects the Branch theory, I am not fully convinced that Branch Theory is wrong. But in any case it would be easier for Orthodoxy as a system of thought to avoid enshrining Branch Theory by simply agreeing on whether the Councils' main statements were "Orthodox".

The reason I point to Anglicans, etc. is that by accepting the invisible church idea, it opens the door to applying Branch Theory to other groups, so long as their faith is considered correct.

Quote
Quote
It would be much easier to avoid saying that there was an absolute schism within the Orthodox Church and to resolve this issue as was done in the case of ROCOR by reinstating communion without having to make a judgment on the status during schism.
How is this different from what you are objecting to above?  
In the case of ROCOR, we can say that ROCOR was in communion with Jerusalem and Serbia, which were in communion with the OCA, and so the Church was not split down the middle completely with two unconnected branches.

The other difference is that it did not mean rejecting that a Council was Ecumenical. Nor did it mean enshrining branch theory as fact in the case of ROCOR. The two churches did not resolve whether ROCOR was really noncanonical. I remember reading that this was made clear when it came to reunion.

Saying that the Ecumenical Council was for sure not ecumenical would therefore make branch theory a certainty because it would mean a group cut off from the visible Church was still part of the Church for sure, as the group's rejection of the Council would be what disproved its Ecumenicity. ROCOR's reunion did not involve rejecting their Ecumenicity. not did it prove that a Church cut off from communion with the visible Church could still be part of it, since ROCOR was not fully cut off, nor did the agreement say that ROCOR had been canonical.

There are three categories: What can happen, what will most likely happen, and what should happen.


What can happen is that we can accept the Councils or we can say that they are not Ecumenical, leading to those consequences.

What will most likely happen, in my estimation, is that Churches around the would will more and more intercommune, making the theology debates a non-issue. I say this based on what has happened so far with intercommunion and the growth thereof. Protestants now do intercommunion while they did not in the past, and we see growing ecumenism and concelebration between the branches of Christianity. The end result will be that closed communion will not be considered part of being the visible church. EOs and OOs each can say that we are the visible Church, but we commune and concelebrate with other traditional Christians outside of the Church.

What should happen is that if EOs and OOs are going to be one body and mind, as well as spiritually One, then they should decide about the Creedal statements and whether they are a valid way of talking. If so, the churches should say that and accept the statements as valid. If not, they should reject the Creedal statements as incorrect.
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« Reply #90 on: December 14, 2013, 01:30:25 PM »

And I think this underscores a major difference between the OO's and the Chalcedonians.  As Mina indicated earlier, we just have a different mindset.  EO's have a belief in infallible councils, and from their point of view there can be no unity without their councils being accepted.  Similarly, the Catholics have infallible decrees from the Pope, and the Protestants have an infallible Bible.  We OO's just don't get that.  I don't think we have that infallibility concept the way the various types of Chalcedonians do.  Like Mina said, from our point of view many different things are taken collectively as a part of Tradition, and it's the Faith that matters.  I suspect that is why I find more OO's who accept EO's as Orthodox than the other way around.  We just look at the Faith, and don't fuss about "infallible" councils.  

I kind of wonder if in the end this is what will keep us from union.  There is no way the OO's are going to accept Chalcedon as ecumenical.  The reasons for that have been discussed and debated ad nauseam in the private forum and it would be inappropriate to discuss them here, but it is just not realistic for the EO's to expect that to happen.  However if we don't accept Chalcedon as an ecumenical council, the EO's will not unite with us.  Even if some agree to union, many others would go into schism because of the belief that seven councils = Orthodoxy.  It's a problem, and I'm not sure we will be able to overcome it.  
I don't want to exagerrate the infallibility issue. Traditional protestants do not necessarily consider the Bible more infallible than OOs or EOs do. Also, EOs are more open on infallibility as an idea about Councils than RCs are. If you check Wikipedia, EOs do not usually use the term infallible when talking about Councils. But the fact that a number of EO theologians consider the Councils' Creed statements infallible when confirmed is something to consider, even though infallibility is not the only EO belief on the topic.

The other issue you highlighted is one of acceptance of Councils themselves. This is also considered a hallmark of the EO Church. I get the idea that Councils are just one of many sources of tradition. But for EOs they play a major role. Imagine how OOs would feel if some OOs decided that OOs did not have to accept the Nicene Creed. (Putting aside for the sake of argument the Nicene Creed's role in the liturgy.)

Considering the importance of Ecumenical Councils, even if they are not infallible, I think it's best if Christians simply look at whether the Creed Statement is a possible, valid way of looking at things. Just try to make it a simple, clear cut issue people can understand. Is X a rational, possible statement? If so, then if you want unity with someone, say that.
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« Reply #91 on: December 14, 2013, 01:33:55 PM »

There is no branch theory in Orthodoxy. Where the Orthodox bishop is, there is the Catholic Church. This is what we believe.  We are "Catholic", that is "according to the whole." That is why one can say, and I know this is an EO bishop saying it, "we know where the Church is, we don't know where it isn't."
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« Reply #92 on: December 14, 2013, 02:13:44 PM »

There is no branch theory in Orthodoxy. Where the Orthodox bishop is, there is the Catholic Church. This is what we believe.  We are "Catholic", that is "according to the whole." That is why one can say, and I know this is an EO bishop saying it, "we know where the Church is, we don't know where it isn't."

I agree, that's how I've always understood it. 
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« Reply #93 on: December 14, 2013, 02:17:03 PM »

The reason I actually go into all this is because I like the OO Church, as well as the EO Church. We should want to have the best resolution possible.
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« Reply #94 on: December 14, 2013, 02:29:26 PM »

The reason I actually go into all this is because I like the OO Church, as well as the EO Church. We should want to have the best resolution possible.

Agreed, and I cant see any good reason why we should not be in serious discussions at the hierarchial level to resolve these differences.
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« Reply #95 on: December 14, 2013, 03:16:22 PM »

Unity will come when we begin to read and appreciate (and dare I say venerate) one another's saints.
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« Reply #96 on: December 14, 2013, 03:51:57 PM »

Unity will come when we begin to read and appreciate (and dare I say venerate) one another's saints.

How dare you  Wink

That may be also be beneficial to our health for unity, maybe not in the first generation of united people, but the second or afterwards
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« Reply #97 on: December 14, 2013, 05:37:46 PM »


But in any case the Councils have to be accepted, or else it would have major consequences for Orthodox thought.

First, it would means that one need not accept Ecumenical Councils to be Orthodox.

Second, if Orthodox can reject the Councils, then it disproves a common belief that the Councils are infallible once they have been confirmed by the Church.

And I think this underscores a major difference between the OO's and the Chalcedonians.  As Mina indicated earlier, we just have a different mindset.  EO's have a belief in infallible councils, and from their point of view there can be no unity without their councils being accepted.  Similarly, the Catholics have infallible decrees from the Pope, and the Protestants have an infallible Bible.  We OO's just don't get that.  I don't think we have that infallibility concept the way the various types of Chalcedonians do.  Like Mina said, from our point of view many different things are taken collectively as a part of Tradition, and it's the Faith that matters.  I suspect that is why I find more OO's who accept EO's as Orthodox than the other way around.  We just look at the Faith, and don't fuss about "infallible" councils. 

I kind of wonder if in the end this is what will keep us from union.  There is no way the OO's are going to accept Chalcedon as ecumenical.  The reasons for that have been discussed and debated ad nauseam in the private forum and it would be inappropriate to discuss them here, but it is just not realistic for the EO's to expect that to happen.  However if we don't accept Chalcedon as an ecumenical council, the EO's will not unite with us.  Even if some agree to union, many others would go into schism because of the belief that seven councils = Orthodoxy.  It's a problem, and I'm not sure we will be able to overcome it. 

I think we need to capitalize on the fact that this is what some EOs have encultured into their thinking of the faith of the Church a meaning of "ecumenicity" as infallible, whereas even in the ancient church when ecumenical councils happened, the word "ecumenical" meant nothing more than imperially convened. In other words, if we have in common the acceptance of 3 and there might be 2 more on our side, 4 or 6 more on their's, plus all the heretical ecumenical councils, we can find as a matter of mere fact that there have been much more than 11 "ecumenical" councils, just by merely defining "ecumenical" as "imperial". 

However, I'm moved by other EO traditions like this one:

Quote from: Elder Sophrony, Life of St. Silouan the Athonite
Suppose that for some reason the Church were to be bereft of all her books, of the Old and New Testaments, the works of the holy Fathers, of all service books—what would happen?

Sacred Tradition would restore the Scriptures, not word for word, perhaps—the verbal form might be different—but in essence the new Scriptures would be the expression of that same ‘faith which was once delivered unto the saints’.

They would be the expression of the one and only Holy Spirit continuously active in the Church, her foundation and her very substance.

The Scriptures are not more profound, not more important than Holy Tradition but, as said above, they are one of its forms—the most precious form, both because they are preserved and convenient to make use of.

But removed from the stream of Sacred Tradition, the Scriptures cannot be rightly understood through any scientific research.

If the Apostle Paul had the ‘mind of Christ’, how much more does this apply to the whole body of the Church of which St Paul is one member!

And if the writings of St Paul and the other Apostles are Holy Scripture, then new Scriptures of the Church, written supposedly after the loss of the old books, would in their turn become Holy Scripture, for according to the Lord’s promise God, the Holy Trinity, will be in the Church even unto the end of the world.

Men go wrong when they set aside Sacred Tradition and go, as they think, to its source—to the Holy Scriptures. The Church has her origins, not in the Scriptures but in Sacred Tradition.

The Church did not possess the New Testament during the first decades of her history. She lived then by Tradition only—the Tradition St. Paul calls upon the faithful to hold.

Source

This is what OO's believe!  (and sometimes I fear that this is what needs to happen for true unity to happen...that we lose all material expressions of the faith to gain the Spirit of unity that unites these expressions)
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« Reply #98 on: December 14, 2013, 05:46:49 PM »


But in any case the Councils have to be accepted, or else it would have major consequences for Orthodox thought.

First, it would means that one need not accept Ecumenical Councils to be Orthodox.

Second, if Orthodox can reject the Councils, then it disproves a common belief that the Councils are infallible once they have been confirmed by the Church.

And I think this underscores a major difference between the OO's and the Chalcedonians.  As Mina indicated earlier, we just have a different mindset.  EO's have a belief in infallible councils, and from their point of view there can be no unity without their councils being accepted.  Similarly, the Catholics have infallible decrees from the Pope, and the Protestants have an infallible Bible.  We OO's just don't get that.  I don't think we have that infallibility concept the way the various types of Chalcedonians do.  Like Mina said, from our point of view many different things are taken collectively as a part of Tradition, and it's the Faith that matters.  I suspect that is why I find more OO's who accept EO's as Orthodox than the other way around.  We just look at the Faith, and don't fuss about "infallible" councils. 

I kind of wonder if in the end this is what will keep us from union.  There is no way the OO's are going to accept Chalcedon as ecumenical.  The reasons for that have been discussed and debated ad nauseam in the private forum and it would be inappropriate to discuss them here, but it is just not realistic for the EO's to expect that to happen.  However if we don't accept Chalcedon as an ecumenical council, the EO's will not unite with us.  Even if some agree to union, many others would go into schism because of the belief that seven councils = Orthodoxy.  It's a problem, and I'm not sure we will be able to overcome it. 

I think we need to capitalize on the fact that this is what some EOs have encultured into their thinking of the faith of the Church a meaning of "ecumenicity" as infallible, whereas even in the ancient church when ecumenical councils happened, the word "ecumenical" meant nothing more than imperially convened. In other words, if we have in common the acceptance of 3 and there might be 2 more on our side, 4 or 6 more on their's, plus all the heretical ecumenical councils, we can find as a matter of mere fact that there have been much more than 11 "ecumenical" councils, just by merely defining "ecumenical" as "imperial". 

However, I'm moved by other EO traditions like this one:

Quote from: Elder Sophrony, Life of St. Silouan the Athonite
Suppose that for some reason the Church were to be bereft of all her books, of the Old and New Testaments, the works of the holy Fathers, of all service books—what would happen?

Sacred Tradition would restore the Scriptures, not word for word, perhaps—the verbal form might be different—but in essence the new Scriptures would be the expression of that same ‘faith which was once delivered unto the saints’.

They would be the expression of the one and only Holy Spirit continuously active in the Church, her foundation and her very substance.

The Scriptures are not more profound, not more important than Holy Tradition but, as said above, they are one of its forms—the most precious form, both because they are preserved and convenient to make use of.

But removed from the stream of Sacred Tradition, the Scriptures cannot be rightly understood through any scientific research.

If the Apostle Paul had the ‘mind of Christ’, how much more does this apply to the whole body of the Church of which St Paul is one member!

And if the writings of St Paul and the other Apostles are Holy Scripture, then new Scriptures of the Church, written supposedly after the loss of the old books, would in their turn become Holy Scripture, for according to the Lord’s promise God, the Holy Trinity, will be in the Church even unto the end of the world.

Men go wrong when they set aside Sacred Tradition and go, as they think, to its source—to the Holy Scriptures. The Church has her origins, not in the Scriptures but in Sacred Tradition.

The Church did not possess the New Testament during the first decades of her history. She lived then by Tradition only—the Tradition St. Paul calls upon the faithful to hold.

Source

This is what OO's believe!  (and sometimes I fear that this is what needs to happen for true unity to happen...that we lose all material expressions of the faith to gain the Spirit of unity that unites these expressions)

So, in other words, Ecumenical means Consensus or majority agreement?
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« Reply #99 on: December 14, 2013, 06:13:48 PM »

No...ecumenical merely means imperial.
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« Reply #100 on: December 14, 2013, 06:19:12 PM »

No...ecumenical merely means imperial.

Thank you for that clarification.
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« Reply #101 on: December 14, 2013, 07:31:14 PM »

So, in other words, Ecumenical means Consensus or majority agreement?
For EOs it means a Church Council with delegates from across the Church that is accepted by the whole Church. It is somewhat like the word "Catholic". Please correct me if I misconstrue that.

Certainly it does not mean imperial, since we could have another Ecumenical Council, even without an empire.
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« Reply #102 on: December 14, 2013, 07:59:51 PM »

So, in other words, Ecumenical means Consensus or majority agreement?
For EOs it means a Church Council with delegates from across the Church that is accepted by the whole Church. It is somewhat like the word "Catholic". Please correct me if I misconstrue that.

Certainly it does not mean imperial, since we could have another Ecumenical Council, even without an empire.

In order for a council to be ecumenical, it must be accepted by the Church. The EO has had many councils since 787. Out of respect for the 7 Ecumenical Councils, we call them Pan-Orthodox Councils. Why could not  Pan Orthodox Council write up a statement of the doctrine affirmed by the 7 Ecumenical Councils in way that the truth of Orthodoxy is not sacrificed, but that the doctrine of the Church is expressed in such way that Oriental Orthodox can accept? St. Cyril set the example for this through his letter to John of Antioch.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #103 on: December 14, 2013, 08:07:45 PM »

The reason I actually go into all this is because I like the OO Church, as well as the EO Church. We should want to have the best resolution possible.

You cant force Gods hand to do ones will. It is best to learn to love one another and pray that God brings us unity. There are those who think its impossible but God moved mountains ans split the sea nothing is impossible for Him. Fortunately, things are much better now between us in comparison to the past. 
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« Reply #104 on: December 14, 2013, 08:13:57 PM »

It's not "impossible", but is it fair to say that to do so from where we are now, respectively (even if it is better than it was before, in terms of relating to one another), would conceivably involve making changes that neither side actually wants to make? I mean, we're never accepting Chalcedon as an ecumenical council. That's pretty well established, I'd think. And just the same, those EO for whom "Orthodoxy is seven councils, not three" won't accept anything less from us. So neither of us are moving. This is why only God can get us there. Moqattam didn't want to move on its own, either. Smiley
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« Reply #105 on: December 14, 2013, 09:32:34 PM »

It's not "impossible", but is it fair to say that to do so from where we are now, respectively (even if it is better than it was before, in terms of relating to one another), would conceivably involve making changes that neither side actually wants to make? I mean, we're never accepting Chalcedon as an ecumenical council. That's pretty well established, I'd think. And just the same, those EO for whom "Orthodoxy is seven councils, not three" won't accept anything less from us. So neither of us are moving. This is why only God can get us there. Moqattam didn't want to move on its own, either. Smiley

I may be wrong, but I think that the OOs have no real objections to the doctrinal conclusions of the 5th, 6th, and 7th Ecumenical Councils. Their chief objection to the 4th Council is its acceptance of the Tome of Leo. I read the Tome of Leo this afternoon. I can see why the OOs find fault with this document. It lacks the precision to prevent one from interpreting it as expressing a Nestorian Christology. Alone the Tome of Leo is an inadequate expression of sound Christology.  It lacks the important defining words of the final declaration of Chalcedon, "without division," and "without separation" which prevent a Nestorian interpretation of the actual declaration of Chalcedon because these words make it clear that the humanity was never, ever, separated, from the divinity of Christ not even as the Coptic Liturgy correctly states, "for the twinkling of the eye." Forgive me for mentioning Chalcedon, I know that it is not encouraged on this thread, but I do not know how to respond to the quote above which mentions the Ecumenical Councils without mentioning the proper interpretation of Chalcedon.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #106 on: December 14, 2013, 09:55:51 PM »

The word "ecumenical" was used to describe anything that has to do with the emperor or the capital.  The emperor was "ecumenical".  The patriarch of Constantinople was/is "ecumenical".  The royal guards are "ecumenical".  The archivists in Constantinople are "ecumenical".  If the emperor had a barber, the barber would be called "ecumenical".

Ecumenical is nothing but an honorary title that reflects imperial politics.  Nothing more, nothing less.  The whole theologizing on the word "ecumenical" came much much later in Church history, which reduced the "ecumenical councils" to 7 in the EOs.  The fact of the matter is there is more than 11 "ecumenical" councils in history, not because they're Orthodox or accepted by the whole Church, but because the emperor presided and ruled for them at times.
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« Reply #107 on: December 14, 2013, 10:19:56 PM »

The word "ecumenical" was used to describe anything that has to do with the emperor or the capital.  The emperor was "ecumenical".  The patriarch of Constantinople was/is "ecumenical".  The royal guards are "ecumenical".  The archivists in Constantinople are "ecumenical".  If the emperor had a barber, the barber would be called "ecumenical".

Ecumenical is nothing but an honorary title that reflects imperial politics.  Nothing more, nothing less.  The whole theologizing on the word "ecumenical" came much much later in Church history, which reduced the "ecumenical councils" to 7 in the EOs.  The fact of the matter is there is more than 11 "ecumenical" councils in history, not because they're Orthodox or accepted by the whole Church, but because the emperor presided and ruled for them at times.

It is true that the Emperors called the 7 Ecumenical Councils However, the emperor only presided over the 1st Ecumenical Council, Nicea I in 325 and part of the 6th Ecumenical Council, Constantinople III in 680.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #108 on: December 14, 2013, 10:26:46 PM »

It's not "impossible", but is it fair to say that to do so from where we are now, respectively (even if it is better than it was before, in terms of relating to one another), would conceivably involve making changes that neither side actually wants to make? I mean, we're never accepting Chalcedon as an ecumenical council. That's pretty well established, I'd think. And just the same, those EO for whom "Orthodoxy is seven councils, not three" won't accept anything less from us. So neither of us are moving. This is why only God can get us there. Moqattam didn't want to move on its own, either. Smiley

I may be wrong, but I think that the OOs have no real objections to the doctrinal conclusions of the 5th, 6th, and 7th Ecumenical Councils. Their chief objection to the 4th Council is its acceptance of the Tome of Leo. I read the Tome of Leo this afternoon. I can see why the OOs find fault with this document. It lacks the precision to prevent one from interpreting it as expressing a Nestorian Christology. Alone the Tome of Leo is an inadequate expression of sound Christology.  It lacks the important defining words of the final declaration of Chalcedon, "without division," and "without separation" which prevent a Nestorian interpretation of the actual declaration of Chalcedon because these words make it clear that the humanity was never, ever, separated, from the divinity of Christ not even as the Coptic Liturgy correctly states, "for the twinkling of the eye." Forgive me for mentioning Chalcedon, I know that it is not encouraged on this thread, but I do not know how to respond to the quote above which mentions the Ecumenical Councils without mentioning the proper interpretation of Chalcedon.

Fr. John W. Morris

Thank you, Father, for making the effort to look at the situation from our point of view.  Few people try to do that.  It is appreciated.   Smiley

And mentioning Chalcedon is OK.  It's just that more lengthy and involved discussions belong in the private forum.
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« Reply #109 on: December 14, 2013, 10:46:08 PM »

It's not "impossible", but is it fair to say that to do so from where we are now, respectively (even if it is better than it was before, in terms of relating to one another), would conceivably involve making changes that neither side actually wants to make? I mean, we're never accepting Chalcedon as an ecumenical council. That's pretty well established, I'd think. And just the same, those EO for whom "Orthodoxy is seven councils, not three" won't accept anything less from us. So neither of us are moving. This is why only God can get us there. Moqattam didn't want to move on its own, either. Smiley

I may be wrong, but I think that the OOs have no real objections to the doctrinal conclusions of the 5th, 6th, and 7th Ecumenical Councils. Their chief objection to the 4th Council is its acceptance of the Tome of Leo. I read the Tome of Leo this afternoon. I can see why the OOs find fault with this document. It lacks the precision to prevent one from interpreting it as expressing a Nestorian Christology. Alone the Tome of Leo is an inadequate expression of sound Christology.  It lacks the important defining words of the final declaration of Chalcedon, "without division," and "without separation" which prevent a Nestorian interpretation of the actual declaration of Chalcedon because these words make it clear that the humanity was never, ever, separated, from the divinity of Christ not even as the Coptic Liturgy correctly states, "for the twinkling of the eye." Forgive me for mentioning Chalcedon, I know that it is not encouraged on this thread, but I do not know how to respond to the quote above which mentions the Ecumenical Councils without mentioning the proper interpretation of Chalcedon.

Fr. John W. Morris

Thank you, Father, for making the effort to look at the situation from our point of view.  Few people try to do that.  It is appreciated.   Smiley

And mentioning Chalcedon is OK.  It's just that more lengthy and involved discussions belong in the private forum.

If you have been reading my posts, you will see that I have argued all along that without the qualification that Chalcedon must be interpreted in conformity with the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria, that it is quit possible to give a Nestorian interpretation to Chalcedon. Calvin did and as a result the Reformed Movement adheres to what is basically a Nestorian Christology.

Fr. John W. Morris
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« Reply #110 on: December 15, 2013, 12:29:10 AM »

Fr. John,

Certainly
what you wrote here can occur:
Why could not  Pan Orthodox Council write up a statement of the doctrine affirmed by the 7 Ecumenical Councils in way that the truth of Orthodoxy is not sacrificed, but that the doctrine of the Church is expressed in such way that Oriental Orthodox can accept? St. Cyril set the example for this through his letter to John of Antioch.
St. Cyril set a good example about reconciling two views on a topic, or two sides of the same coin. He did this by affirming both his own view (Miaphysitism) and accepting the views of others (Duophysitism), and in his writings you can see him accepting both sides. I think that is a good idea, and that both of them are correct.

I think joint statements are helpful, but they only express a viewpoint as far as the other side will accept it, and thus unlike St. Cyril's method it may not really affirm both views. Deacon Kuraev, a leading Russian theologian, felt that the joint statement ended up repeating Monoelithism, which was an attempt to create a theology that was halfway between two views.

Not only was St. Cyril affirming both perspectives as OK, but he also did not have the task of defending the acceptability of Ecumenical Councils. At that point no one was rejecting such a Council.

I think you can propose a solution where accepting Ecumenical Councils is considered unnecessary, but this comes up against the issues I mentioned in messages 84 and 89:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,55215.msg1045091.html#msg1045091
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,55215.msg1045197.html#msg1045197
Namely, it would require rejecting the Councils' Ecumenicity (being Pan-Orthodox as you put it), as well as either rejecting forever some theologians' idea of the Councils' infallibility or accepting for certain the idea of the Invisible Church / Branch Theory.

Further, I do think that the outcome you are proposing is possible, because the Church can define things as it wishes, and I can entertain different views on Ecumenicity, acceptance of Councils, infallibility, and the Branch Theory.

Personally I do not prefer this outcome or making such revisions because I think that the Councils' main creedal statements made were logical and valid. I would prefer that Christians be of one mind and resolve whether those statements were OK.

It would be helpful if it was true as you suggested that:

Quote
I think that the OOs have no real objections to the doctrinal conclusions of the 5th, 6th, and 7th Ecumenical Councils.

You noted:
Quote
Their chief objection to the 4th Council is its acceptance of the Tome of Leo. It lacks the important defining words of the final declaration of Chalcedon, "without division," and "without separation" which prevent a Nestorian interpretation
The Tome notes that Christ said:
Quote
"See My hands and feet, that it is I. Handle Me and see that a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see Me have ;" in order that the properties of His Divine and human nature [singular] might be acknowledged to remain still inseparable: and that we might know the Word not to be different from the flesh...
I find this passage as remarkably accepting Miaphysitism for two reasons, and explain this in the private section:
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,52873.msg1045510.html#msg1045510

Regards.
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« Reply #111 on: December 15, 2013, 12:41:43 AM »

The word "ecumenical" was used to describe anything that has to do with the emperor or the capital.  The emperor was "ecumenical".  The patriarch of Constantinople was/is "ecumenical".  The royal guards are "ecumenical".  The archivists in Constantinople are "ecumenical".  If the emperor had a barber, the barber would be called "ecumenical".

Ecumenical is nothing but an honorary title that reflects imperial politics.  Nothing more, nothing less.  The whole theologizing on the word "ecumenical" came much much later in Church history, which reduced the "ecumenical councils" to 7 in the EOs.  The fact of the matter is there is more than 11 "ecumenical" councils in history, not because they're Orthodox or accepted by the whole Church, but because the emperor presided and ruled for them at times.

It is true that the Emperors called the 7 Ecumenical Councils However, the emperor only presided over the 1st Ecumenical Council, Nicea I in 325 and part of the 6th Ecumenical Council, Constantinople III in 680.

Fr. John W. Morris
At the very least perhaps convened or made them into imperial law in some way.
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« Reply #112 on: December 15, 2013, 12:49:55 AM »

Father, without discussing Chalcedon in detail (so as to not drag this into private forum land), what I meant to convey in my post is that when people say that such and such a thing need happen or needn't happen, I think it is sort of missing the point. What either communion views as necessary is almost secondary in the context of what they're actually willing to do. We are unwilling to accept Chalcedon just as there are those on the Chalcedonian side who are unwilling to be in communion with any who do not accept Chalcedon. In some sense this boils down to a difference in understanding between EO and OO regarding the nature of Councils themselves, in that EO apparently (?) view them as infallible while OO do not (someone -- Mina, Mor Ephrem...can't remember -- recently posted about this, but I can't recall the thread; may have been in the private forum; it's worth finding if you're curious). So while EO may tells us over and over that we ought to accept this or that council as there is nothing objectionable in it, I have a hard time believing that this argument would have much traction with OO. This is not how things are done. Saying any more than that may delve into polemics, and that's not an appropriate response to such a good post as yours. I only mean to highlight that there is a difference in understanding here that underlies why we're fine with you having other councils that even proclaim things that we agree with (e.g., the veneration of icons, from the 7th council), without agreeing formally to them (in the sense of 'signing on' to their declarations) ourselves. Put simply, they weren't and aren't needed to preserve the faith we already have, so they're your councils. You needed them in your own context and for your own theology and outlook regarding the substance of the Orthodox faith, so you affirm them. It's natural, but it's also one of the reasons why all this "Orthodoxy = 7" and "hurry up and agree with everything we say and do already" style of sub-apologetics from some EO has very little effect on OO other than causing pain from excessive eye-rolling.
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« Reply #113 on: December 15, 2013, 01:03:45 AM »

Fr. John,

Certainly
what you wrote here can occur:
Why could not  Pan Orthodox Council write up a statement of the doctrine affirmed by the 7 Ecumenical Councils in way that the truth of Orthodoxy is not sacrificed, but that the doctrine of the Church is expressed in such way that Oriental Orthodox can accept? St. Cyril set the example for this through his letter to John of Antioch.
St. Cyril set a good example about reconciling two views on a topic, or two sides of the same coin. He did this by affirming both his own view (Miaphysitism) and accepting the views of others (Duophysitism), and in his writings you can see him accepting both sides. I think that is a good idea, and that both of them are correct.

Unfortunately, as subsequent events demonstrated, the agreement with John of Antioch didn't really work.  Fr. Peter puts it well here:

Quote
Clearly the Formula of Reunion, like the Henotikon, could not be a lasting basis for reunion since it was understood as meaning something different by the various parties. The letter of Ibas to Maris the Persian shows that those in his circle understood it as meaning that St Cyril had abandoned his Christology and accepted that of Theodore of Mopsuestia!

St Cyril hoped it meant that the Easterners were Orthodox enough, but came to realise that many of them did not accept an Orthodox Christology at all. Theodoret and Ibas were both loyal followers of Theodore after all, and never rejected his teachings, even after Chalcedon.

Father Peter

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,28222.msg445329.html#msg445329

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« Reply #114 on: December 15, 2013, 01:11:30 AM »

Also, EOs are more open on infallibility as an idea about Councils than RCs are.

Are you saying EO's are less strict than RC's about insisting that Ecumenical Council's are infallible?  I always heard differently.  I heard that the RC's allow the Eastern Catholics to not accept all 21 councils considered Ecumenical by the Vatican.  That's a more relaxed attitude than we find among many EO's who consider Orthodoxy to equal Seven Councils.  My understanding is that the Catholics put infallibility on ex cathedra statements by the Pope, while the EO's put infallibility on the Seven Councils.

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« Reply #115 on: December 15, 2013, 03:11:08 PM »

Also, EOs are more open on infallibility as an idea about Councils than RCs are.

Are you saying EO's are less strict than RC's about insisting that Ecumenical Council's are infallible?  I always heard differently.  I heard that the RC's allow the Eastern Catholics to not accept all 21 councils considered Ecumenical by the Vatican.  That's a more relaxed attitude than we find among many EO's who consider Orthodoxy to equal Seven Councils.  My understanding is that the Catholics put infallibility on ex cathedra statements by the Pope, while the EO's put infallibility on the Seven Councils.



Not exactly. It is the Church that is infallible. A council is only an infallible Ecumenical Council if it is recognized by the Church as such. For example the Council of Hieria called by Emperor Constantine V in 754 had all the outward markings of an Ecumenical Council, but was rejected by the Church at the II Council of Nicea in 787, because Hiria accepted the heresy of iconoclasm.
The dogmatic decisions of the 7 Ecumenical Councils established the standard for correct Eastern Orthodox doctrine. However, I do not think that arguments about the imperialistic ambitions of an empire that has not existed for centuries or arguments about semantics should keep EOs and OOs divided if we share a common doctrine.
I find Eastern Catholics doctrinally confusing. Some seem very close to Eastern Orthodoxy, while others are very highly Latinized. Rome's chief concern seems acceptance of papal authority rather than doctrine.

Fr. John W Morris
 
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 03:29:40 PM by frjohnmorris » Logged
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