OrthodoxChristianity.net
October 23, 2014, 04:03:52 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: « 1 2 3 »  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Church Unity!  (Read 2630 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
rakovsky
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 4,558



WWW
« 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.
Logged
Pharaoh714
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Rite
Posts: 148


Lord Have Mercy! Christ Save me.


« 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.
Logged

"If I say, "My foot slips," Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." Psalm 94:18-19
rakovsky
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 4,558



WWW
« 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.
Logged
lovesupreme
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 1,037



« 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!
Logged

I am prone to bouts of sarcasm. Please forgive me if my posts have offended you.
Pharaoh714
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Rite
Posts: 148


Lord Have Mercy! Christ Save me.


« 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.
Logged

"If I say, "My foot slips," Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." Psalm 94:18-19
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,126


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


WWW
« 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
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
rakovsky
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 4,558



WWW
« 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.
Logged
rakovsky
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 4,558



WWW
« Reply #52 on: December 10, 2013, 11:47:53 PM »

May God grant them safety and deliverance from their captors!
May He.
Logged
Pharaoh714
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Rite
Posts: 148


Lord Have Mercy! Christ Save me.


« 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
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 12:05:19 AM by Pharaoh714 » Logged

"If I say, "My foot slips," Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul." Psalm 94:18-19
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,126


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


WWW
« 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
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
mabsoota
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 2,568


Kyrie eleison


« 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.
Logged
Antonious Nikolas
Orthodox Christian, Miaphysite, Anagnostis
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox
Posts: 2,161


Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Myra


WWW
« 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.
Logged

"According to the Orthodox Faith, the teachings and traditions one upholds and believes in will necessarily influence and inform one's spiritual orientation and the way one worships..." - Harry Boosalis
mabsoota
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 2,568


Kyrie eleison


« 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.
Logged
lovesupreme
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 1,037



« 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.
Logged

I am prone to bouts of sarcasm. Please forgive me if my posts have offended you.
Antonious Nikolas
Orthodox Christian, Miaphysite, Anagnostis
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox
Posts: 2,161


Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Myra


WWW
« 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.
Logged

"According to the Orthodox Faith, the teachings and traditions one upholds and believes in will necessarily influence and inform one's spiritual orientation and the way one worships..." - Harry Boosalis
frjohnmorris
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 1,177


« 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.
Fr. John W. Morris
Logged
mabsoota
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 2,568


Kyrie eleison


« Reply #61 on: December 11, 2013, 01:38:50 PM »

this is true, my friend has met him.
Logged
frjohnmorris
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 1,177


« 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
Logged
rakovsky
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 4,558



WWW
« 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.
Logged
rakovsky
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 4,558



WWW
« 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?
Logged
Antonious Nikolas
Orthodox Christian, Miaphysite, Anagnostis
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox
Posts: 2,161


Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Bishop of Myra


WWW
« 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.
Logged

"According to the Orthodox Faith, the teachings and traditions one upholds and believes in will necessarily influence and inform one's spiritual orientation and the way one worships..." - Harry Boosalis
dzheremi
No longer posting here.
Warned
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 4,383


« 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.
Logged

dcointin
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 61


« 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.
Logged
frjohnmorris
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 1,177


« 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
Logged
dzheremi
No longer posting here.
Warned
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 4,383


« 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.)
Logged

dzheremi
No longer posting here.
Warned
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 4,383


« 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.
Logged

rakovsky
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 4,558



WWW
« 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.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 06:00:37 PM by rakovsky » Logged
Salpy
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,725


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« 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. 
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 10:16:12 PM by Salpy » Logged

frjohnmorris
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 1,177


« 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
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,126


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


WWW
« 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.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
frjohnmorris
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 1,177


« 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
Logged
minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,126


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


WWW
« 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!
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
rakovsky
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 4,558



WWW
« 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.
Logged
frjohnmorris
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 1,177


« 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
Logged
rakovsky
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 4,558



WWW
« 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?
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 01:20:06 AM by rakovsky » Logged
Salpy
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,725


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« 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
Logged

minasoliman
Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
Section Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America
Posts: 12,126


Strengthen O Lord the work of Your hands(Is 19:25)


WWW
« 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.
Logged

Vain existence can never exist, for \\\"unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.\\\" (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.
rakovsky
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 4,558



WWW
« 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.
Logged
frjohnmorris
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 1,177


« 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
Logged
rakovsky
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 4,558



WWW
« 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.
Logged
mabsoota
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 2,568


Kyrie eleison


« 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.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 08:53:29 AM by mabsoota » Logged
Mor Ephrem
"Mor is right, you are wrong."
Section Moderator
Hoplitarches
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 17,787


The Pope Emeritus reading OCNet


WWW
« 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? 
Logged

Apolytikion, Tone 1, by Antonis

An eloquent crafter of divine posts
And an inheritor of the line of the Baptist
A righteous son of India
And a new apostle to the internet
O Holy Mor Ephrem,
Intercede for us, that our forum may be saved.


Mor Ephrem > Justin Kissel
Salpy
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,725


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« 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. 
Logged

dzheremi
No longer posting here.
Warned
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 4,383


« 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
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 01:06:08 PM by dzheremi » Logged

rakovsky
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Posts: 4,558



WWW
« 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.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 01:13:13 PM by rakovsky » Logged
Tags: infallible councils 
Pages: « 1 2 3 »  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.178 seconds with 72 queries.