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Author Topic: Orthodoxinfo.com's take on Non-Chalcedonians  (Read 10508 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: May 09, 2005, 03:39:08 AM »

Dear EA,
there is a big difference between the relation of St.Dioscoros and Eutychus and between Leo of Rome and Theodret. There cannot be an equivalence between both for the following reason:

- St.Dioscoros did not accept Eutychus into communion before he had been exonerated by Ephesus II. Eutychus was condemned in the council chaired by Flavian of Constaninople in 448 a.d., and he was still under anathema according to church canons which state that no Bishop of any major See can abrogate a decision made by another Bishop, only a synod of higher authority can do so. As such, and respecting the church laws and giving time to study the issue of Eutychus more, he was never accepted by St.Dioscoros into communion until he was exonerated in Ephesus II.

Not the same with Leo of Rome and his friend Theodret. First, the writings of Theodret against St.Cyril are well known and are pure poison. Moreover, and this is beyond persons and affects the Faith, he wrote a vicious attack against the Twelve Chapters of St. Cyril. Note the difference in danger between Eutychus and Theodret, although not relevant to this discussion. This Theodret was anathemized in Ephesus II, a lawful church council even if Leo of Rome objects. Unless we believe in Papal Supremacy and Vicar of Christ dogmas, we cannot accept a single-handed abrogation by Leo of Rome, because "he said so". No bishop has any authority to do so. In between 449-451 a.d., Theodret was accepted into communion by Leo and anjoyed a celebrity status in Rome. There is HUGE DIFFERENCE between the two situations. Had Leo of Rome waited until his friend obtained exoneration in Chalcedon, it would have been a different story. He accepted him while under anathema.

Did Leo of Rome know that Theodret had Nestorian convictions ? Let us see. Theodret was not shy about expressing his opinion about Cyril and in his writings, and they are a vicious attack on Orthodoxy. Not only that, Leo, after Chalcedon, wrote a friendly letter to Theodret in which he congratulated his friend for victory and kindly asked him why he did not anathemize Nestorius and did that only under extreme pressure ? So, Leo of Rome knew all along that his best friend was a Nestorian.

Let us then examine the story of Theodret exoneration. He refused to do so twice during the early days of Chalcedon. Yet, he was allowed (while under anathema from the church) to sit in the council in a capacity of accuser of St.Dioscoros, following the models of unholy councils such as Tyre that excomunicated St.Athanasius. Before drafting the synodal letter, under severe pressure from the Roman Papal delegations, his issue was taken up again. Three times again he refused to anathemize Nestorius, and many times he evaded the questions about his true beliefs, until he finally (Glory be to the Lord for blessing him with Orthodox revelation 30 seconds after he vehemently refused to do so) expressed , in half-hearted and vague language that the council was so eager to pick up as Orthodox, his anathema of Nestorius IN CASE Nestorius really meant what he said. Never did Theodret express his views nor his beliefs or his adherence to Orthodoxy. Never. His letter to John of Agae, written after CHalcedon in which he confirms his Nestorian belief yet again, show that his exoneration is just a joke.

I want to note something: Anathemizing a heretics does not grant you automatic Orthodoxy. Apollinarius would definitely anathemize Nestorius, yet he is also a heretic. It is the substance of faith associated with these heretics that has to be rejected in a clear language. This would also make you understand His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy (HEMB) in a more adequate way. The quote of HEMB concerns the persons and the teachings, and not the person alone.
Also, heresies have a certain nature and cannot be viewed or treated in an Orthodox mind set. Because they are by definition a development away of the Apostolic faith, they can range between a wide variety of believes. Theodret's heresies are known as crypto-Nestorian, Theodore's is another variation and so are Diodore's blasphemies.

Theodret then was admitted with celebrations to the synodal committee that drafted the decisions of the councils that some in other threads consider orthodox. We have a heretic sitting within the committee examing Leo's Tome and saying what he thinks about the Twelve chapter of Cyril.

Let us also examine the way of the Orthodox fathers in dealing with heretics. St.Peter the Seal of martyrs, after his second exommunication against Arius, would never accept him again although Arius pretended he rejected his teachings. St.Athanasius never accepted vague languages like the different Arian formulas of faith that would omit a definitive confession of the divinity of Christ, playing with one letter in many cases. It is not rocket science to be clear about christology and theology. If not able to so so, appeal to the Fathers. Note that Rome never went wrong as long as blessed Julius followed St. Athanasius in theology, blessed Celestine and blessed Sextus followed St.Cyril.

And I also do not maintain that the church history is nothing but a series of miscommunications. For one, they understood perfectly what they are talking about. St.Dioscoros, being true to St.Cyril his teacher, expressed that he would accept the phrase (one natue "from" or "of" two natures), but not "in".
If we appeal to church history, it is clear that there were extensive discussions at many points of time for about a century after Chalcedon for reconcilation.Pope St.Theodosius and Patriarch St.Severus, the great theologian, were part of extensive discussions with Chalcedonians leaders, so was Pope St.Timothy Aurelus. Leaders from both sides must have lacked all intelligence to continue speaking past each other without recognizing the others did actually mean the same. I do not believe in continuous misunderstandings, not was it arrogance. It was pure difference in christological convictions that have to do drifting from the Apostolic Faith that was solely expressed by Alexandria.

I agree with your assessment that other factos contributed to the problem, but they were translated in the end in different christologies. And let us discuss these factors honestly. These factors are pride and politics. The latter had never affected the church before Chalcedon and can be hardly taken as an excuse , for it could not amount to the hardships that faced St.Athanasius during his 45 years of glorious Papacy or what St.Cyril faced against the imperial church powers. Nothing excuses the denial of Faith.

In any case, the traditional way of reunion if not to exonerate Chalcedon or try to excuse Leo of Rome. In looking back to the three short lived reunion between Alexandria and Constantinople and Antioch after CHalcedon, it was either based on rejection of CHalcedon like in the early 6th century or on a common declaration of faith without reference to Chalcedon. The OO church adopted the latter, which is perfectly Orthodox approach.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2005, 12:57:25 PM by Stavro » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: May 10, 2005, 08:44:57 AM »

Chalcedon, so called "Cyrillian Christology", etc.

Strictly speaking, "according to the letter", those who opt out of Chalcedon are heretics.  That this is news to anyone, or that it is news to those at all familiar with Orthodox Christianity, boggles my mind.  There won't be a real healing of the separation of the "Non-Chalcedonian" Churches with Holy Orthodoxy, until there is a formal acceptance of the Ecumenical Council in question (and those which followed.)  Attempts to by pass this, will only result in further schism and disunity, as this or that local Church enters into communion with the "Non-Chalcedonians" only to find themselves dropped from the Diptychs of Moscow, Athens, Jerusalem, etc.  I'm not saying this as some authority, but simply as one aware of the real situation - the fact is such rifts have nearly occured in modern times over far less.

As for the claim that "Non-Chalcedonians" are merely articulating a "Cyrillian" or "Council of Ephesus" Christology, this is only half true.  I'll explain my meaning with the following example...

A man (Stephen) walks down a long street, away from his two friends (Simon and Samuel).  He told his friends that after he turned right around a corner, that he would stop in a near-by market.  After Stephen runs to the store, Simon and Samuel part ways.  Stacy meets Simon, and asks him where Stephen went.  Simon says "he went down the street".  Suzy meets up with Samuel and asks where Stephen had disappeared to.  He tells Suzy, "he went down the street, and then 'round the corner to the market."

Neither man was lying, however one was being less specific than the other.  In a sense, the one who said less (Simon), was actually saying more, because his version of events (by being less specific) left themselves open to assumptions which may not in fact be correct.

Accepting the Council of Ephesus is obviously not the problem - the problem is in taking a view of it's doctrine which understands it to contradict the teaching of Chalcedon.  If one actually does not believe what the latter has to say, then one is holding to a heretical understanding of the former.  And that's why there was a problem, and to an extent, why there is still a problem to this day.

It's my observation that most "Non-Chalcedonians" are not really hard-died, doctrinal "monophysites", and their "simply catechized" laymen are probably no more "heretical" in their outlook than their "simply catechized" (or perhaps undercatechized!) laymen in the canonical Orthodox Churches.  In the basics, now the issue of Chalcedon is pretty much reduced to a schism - a stubborn resistance to repent, unless they ("Non-Chalcedonians") actually believe the Orthodox are Nestorians.  If that's the case, then they should not want any part of the Orthodox Church.

However, on a logical basis there are some very real theological problems involved in rejecting Chalcedon - monothelitism being an obvious one (which I've yet to see how "Non-Chalcedonians" avoid this charge...and last I checked this still is a heresy.)

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« Reply #47 on: May 10, 2005, 09:08:40 AM »

 :thumbsup: Good post Augustine (even though I had to read your analogy using Stephen, Simon Samuel and Suzy three times!).
I'm not sure about the non-chalcedon take on monotheletism. I may be wrong, but if the Two Natures are united without co-mingling, can't there also be Two Wills which are united without co-mingling? The problem I see is that if Christ's Human Will was perfectly united and aligned with His Divine Will, then He did not need to struggle as we all do to carry out the Divine Will by aligning our human will to God's Will- which then raises the whole question: "What then was going on in the Agony in the Garden?" Was Christ simply feigning spiritual/emotional distress to teach us? Have I misunderstood the non-chalcedon position on this?
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« Reply #48 on: May 10, 2005, 10:30:59 AM »

Augustine, with all due respect, your post was full of hot air, and merely regressed into the same fallacies committed by those who preceded you in this thread.

Quote
Strictly speaking, "according to the letter", those who opt out of Chalcedon are heretics. That this is news to anyone, or that it is news to those at all familiar with Orthodox Christianity, boggles my mind.


You assert a point as if it is axiomatic, void of any substance and dressed with some trivial rhetoric to try and re-enforce the illusory axioamtic nature of your already baseless and arbitrary claim. The validity inherent in your opening statement is equivalent to that of a mere counter-assertion stating: “All those who accept Chalcedon are heretics, that this is news to those at all familiar with Orthodox Christianity, boggles my mind.”

In the end it's a matter of "You said so" vs. "I said so"

So thank you, but try again.

Quote
There won't be a real healing of the separation of the "Non-Chalcedonian" Churches with Holy Orthodoxy, until there is a formal acceptance of the Ecumenical Council in question (and those which followed.)

More assertions falsely presented as axioms and still no substance. First of all, who made you the authority to decide what constitutes a reasonable pre-condition for a valid re-union process? Second of all, who made you the authority to decide what can be validly labeled an Ecumenical council?

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I'm not saying this as some authority, but simply as one aware of the real situation

Oh I see, so you’re presenting a personal belief - and that means what to anyone exactly, especially in light of the fact you presented no fact or valid reasoning to even support any sort of reasonable motivation for such a belief in the first place?

Quote
As for the claim that "Non-Chalcedonians" are merely articulating a "Cyrillian" or "Council of Ephesus" Christology, this is only half true. I'll explain my meaning with the following example...

Instead of resorting to ridiculous and non-sensical analogies which have no bearing on the facts - and which you did not even bother trying to connect to any sort of fact, why don’t you simply deal with the very historical and theological facts relevant to a discussion of this sort. Quit the rhetoric, and let’s get to the raw deal. We are waitingGǪ

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Accepting the Council of Ephesus is obviously not the problem - the problem is in taking a view of it's doctrine which understands it to contradict the teaching of Chalcedon.


The fallacy of circular reasoning. You presuppose that Chalcedonian Christology was a valid elaboration or understanding of Cyrillian Christology (which we mutually agree is valid Christology), in order to argue that those who reject Chalcedonian Christology yet claim adherence to Cyrillian Christology, have misunderstood Cyrillian Christology in the first place, and hence the problem lies with us.

Sorry sir, but the problem lies with you, and your inability to not only make substantial points, but your inability to make logical one's either...

Quote
If one actually does not believe what the latter has to say, then one is holding to a heretical understanding of the former.

GǪ.and hence, your conclusion is pushed through the rectum of voidness to be discarded as waste by anyone who is not stupid to the extent to take anothers beliefs, assertions or claims prima facie.....*flush*

Quote
In the basics, now the issue of Chalcedon is pretty much reduced to a schism - a stubborn resistance to repent

More hot air. Please allow me to assert the contrary to your assertion in a likewise axiomatic matter, as if it is all self-evident (I’m allowed to do that in response to one who doesn’t feel the need to substantiate anything he has to say).

The issue of Chalcedon is reduced to a stubborn resistance of the Chalcedonians to simply admit that they erred in history, and to abandon this concept or notion of infallible councils (which many seem to adhere to - and which has no grounds in pre-Chalcedonian patristic literature), and to re-consider from a study of pre-Chalcedonian history what it is that constitutes a real Ecumenical Council.

Both Protestant and Catholic scholars have recognized those factual aspects of Chalcedon that the Eastern Orthodox church has always stubbornly denied (and which ultimately lead to it’s anti-Christ ex-communication of a faithful Orthodox Cyrillian and ultimately the absence of a church truly representative of strong Orthodoxy to contribute and put in line those with heretical tendencies) - a) That it supports papal supremacy (which inter alia largely motivated the events and erroneous actions that took place) - which in turn motivated the insistence of the acceptance of the tome of leo by the Roman legates and the consequent submission to this insistence by the initially reluctant other members of the council who were initially embarrassed by how poorly worded and theologically weak it was, to the extent that Anatolius of Constantinople even dared to draw up a new formula which might by some chance have overshadowed Leo or challenged his papal supremacy, and b) That it was so far-removed from true Orthodox Christology (as propounded by St Cyril and St Athanasius) that some Protestant scholars view it as a “correction” of St Cyril and St Athanasius who had in their opinion stressed the unity of the Word beyond a reasonable extent. In this case we agree with the Protestant scholars objective perspective (since they have no particular bias or reason to favour or disfavour the doctrine of Chalcedon or St Cyril and St Athanasius) on the facts of history (i.e. that Chalcedonian Christology diverged from pre-Chalcedon Alexandrian Christology), but disagree with their conclusions (i.e that Chalcedon’s new Christology - which challenges the unity of the Word by the language used, takes precedence over and above that of St Cyril and St Athanasius - which stress the unity of the Word - to the extent that the former corrects the latter).

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unless they ("Non-Chalcedonians") actually believe the Orthodox are Nestorians.

Since we base one’s belief upn one’s subjective intentions, we do not consider the Chalcedonian church Nestorian. Just unfortunately, historically negligent, resulting in the acceptance of a document which prima facie divides Christ - the way Nestorius likes, and hence his happy reception of it (and the warm welcome of Chalcedon by the Nestorian church in general).

I believe Stavro also made a valid point in his last post. “By their fruits you shall know them” - the post-Chalcedonian aftermath, and the fruits shown by the two respective church's indeed cannot be disregarded if indeed the Lord's words hold true.

But then again, it doesn’t seem that you have read anything Stavro or I have had to say on this issue - or you did read our posts, and simply pretended like you hadn't in order that you may get away with presenting a personal belief in an axiomatic matter without actually directly dealing with anything we’ve had to say.

Quote
However, on a logical basis there are some very real theological problems involved in rejecting Chalcedon - monothelitism being an obvious one (which I've yet to see how "Non-Chalcedonians" avoid this charge...and last I checked this still is a heresy.)

Logic is meaningless in the real world, unless it is applied to facts. It would be nice of you to study the Christology of the Oriental Orthodox church, before actually commenting on it. Monothelitism is a heresy that was denounced by one of our major proponents - St Severus, when the heresy itself became a problem in history. I suggest you study the Christology of St Severus, a man who used to annihilate Chalcedonians in debate all the time (history speaks for itself) - you will not find a more balanced Christology which truly remains faithful to St Cyril, whilst successfully incorporating Antiochene concerns.

The Oriental Orthodox church proclaims as it always has, that Christ possesses a non-selfsubsistent human will which belongs to the self-subsistent divine will. St. Severus is quite adamant in teaching that the wills are distinct (suhlapha in Syriac) but never seperate (pulagha in Syriac). These two distinct and un-confused natural wills, belong naturally to the Incarnate Word who ultimately possesses one personal will (for He is not psychotic). The unity of the two distinct yet un-confused wills, is one stressed in the same manner that the unity of the two natures are stressed - the two wills never contradicting or departing from the other, but always harmonious - the human will being subject to the divine for all practical purposes (hence the ultimate submission of Christ to the Cross even unto death).

Peace.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2005, 10:45:45 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #49 on: May 10, 2005, 11:23:27 AM »

Dearest EkhristosAnesti

Please abandon this discussion now! You’re doing more harm than good believe me! Let them believe what they want about us, who cares!

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« Reply #50 on: May 10, 2005, 11:34:36 AM »

Copt.........

What is your concern with me?

I remember seeing this story from a previous post:

It was said concerning Abba Agathon that some monks came to find him, having heard tell of his great discernment. Wanting to see if he would lose his temper, they said to him, "Aren't you that Agathon who is said to be a fornicator and a proud man?" "Yes, it is very true," he answered. They resumed, "Aren't you that Agathon who lacks love for his fellow man?" "I am." Again they said, "Aren't you Agathon the heretic?" But at that, he replied, "I am not a heretic." So they asked him, "Tell us why you accepted everything we cast you, but repudiated this last insult." He replied, "The first accusations I take to myself, for that is good for my soul. But heresy is separation from God. Now I have no wish to be separated from God." At this saying they were astonished at his discernment and returned, edified.
- The Desert Fathers

....hence, I will continue this discussion as I see fit...btw, you don't need my email address to send me a personal message (as you implied in your last post) - you can send me a private message through this site without needing to post publically (scroll to the top of the page and see the options next to your nickname).

Peace.
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« Reply #51 on: May 10, 2005, 01:11:42 PM »

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It was pure difference in christological convictions that have to do drifting from the Apostolic Faith that was solely expressed by Alexandria.
This is what I don't get. How can one honestly say that the Apostolic faith was "solely expressed" in (or by) one particular location or "see"? How is this any different than the Latins making similar claims about Rome?

I guess in my ignorant way of seeing things, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and others were all involved in expressing the Apostolic faith in the face of heresy. In my undereducated view, and with all the historical and political baggage notwithstanding, the Ecumenical councils sought to express a common mind in "defining" the Apostolic faith, taking into consideration the particular emphases of all the major apostolic theological centers, not just one in particular.
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« Reply #52 on: May 10, 2005, 02:37:35 PM »

There won't be a real healing of the separation of the "Non-Chalcedonian" Churches with Holy Orthodoxy, until there is a formal acceptance of the Ecumenical Council in question (and those which followed.)

Given that Chalcedon was a defiance of Ephesus, I might as well consider you "heretical" and outside of Holy Orthodoxy  until you recant your Nestorian-influenced christology. This is like the pot calling the kettle black.

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« Reply #53 on: May 11, 2005, 06:49:59 AM »

The Oriental Orthodox church proclaims as it always has, that Christ possesses a non-selfsubsistent human will which belongs to the self-subsistent divine will. St. Severus is quite adamant in teaching that the wills are distinct (suhlapha in Syriac) but never seperate (pulagha in Syriac). These two distinct and un-confused natural wills, belong naturally to the Incarnate Word who ultimately possesses one personal will (for He is not psychotic). The unity of the two distinct yet un-confused wills, is one stressed in the same manner that the unity of the two natures are stressed - the two wills never contradicting or departing from the other, but always harmonious - the human will being subject to the divine for all practical purposes (hence the ultimate submission of Christ to the Cross even unto death).

Dear in Christ, EA,
Calmly, as brothers, may I ask again, (and I don't seek a debate, just a better understanding): How do the non-chalcedon Churches, in the light of your explanation above, understand what was happening in the Agony in the Garden of Gesthemene? Specifically, if Christ's Divine and human Wills were in perfect harmony, what do the non-chalcedonian Churches believe was happening when He sweated blood in the Garden of Gesthemene and "He went a little further and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." (Matthew 26:39)
I have always understood this as Christ's struggle to align His Human will with His Divine Will.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2005, 06:51:22 AM by ozgeorge » Logged

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« Reply #54 on: May 11, 2005, 08:41:18 AM »

EkhristosAnesti,

Quote
Augustine, with all due respect, your post was full of hot air, and merely regressed into the same fallacies committed by those who preceded you in this thread.

Spare me the feigned courtesy - you may as well have written "with all due respect, you're an idiot."

Quote
You assert a point as if it is axiomatic, void of any substance and dressed with some trivial rhetoric to try and re-enforce the illusory axioamtic nature of your already baseless and arbitrary claim. The validity inherent in your opening statement is equivalent to that of a mere counter-assertion stating: “All those who accept Chalcedon are heretics, that this is news to those at all familiar with Orthodox Christianity, boggles my mind.”

In the end it's a matter of "You said so" vs. "I said so"

So thank you, but try again.

No, not I, but an Ecumenical Council has pronounced your forefathers heretics; and there was a time, when the Monophysites were equally adamant about making the same counter claim.  Now a relative few Orthodox academics have basically told us the Holy Fathers did not know what they were talking about (your post indicates the contrary to me, btw.), while those Monophysites who are "ecumenically inclined" act as if they're doing us ignorant, unwittingly crypto-Nestorian Orthodox a favour by proposing to enter into communion with us.  I'm sorry you've been led to believe these private opinions trump universally accepted Ecumenical Councils and a lot of ink spilled by men far holier than any of us.

Also, your comment here makes little sense, given that they would only apply were the specific comment you were responding to the entirity of what I had wrote.

Quote
More assertions falsely presented as axioms and still no substance. First of all, who made you the authority to decide what constitutes a reasonable pre-condition for a valid re-union process? Second of all, who made you the authority to decide what can be validly labeled an Ecumenical council?

You cannot possibly be this ignorant.  Chalcedon is universally held as an Ecumenical Council by the Orthodox Church.  This should not be a surprise to you.  Obviously a pre-condition for re-union, from an Orthodox perspective, would be a recognition of said Council.  I'm sorry that a few (and this is in reality what they are) academics, and all too many within the Antiochian Orthodox Church (who are frankly playing with fire in this matter) have misled you and your brothers into believing otherwise.

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Instead of resorting to ridiculous and non-sensical analogies which have no bearing on the facts - and which you did not even bother trying to connect to any sort of fact, why don’t you simply deal with the very historical and theological facts relevant to a discussion of this sort. Quit the rhetoric, and let’s get to the raw deal. We are waitingGǪ

"We"?  Like the royal "we"?  Smiley

Quote
The fallacy of circular reasoning. You presuppose that Chalcedonian Christology was a valid elaboration or understanding of Cyrillian Christology (which we mutually agree is valid Christology), in order to argue that those who reject Chalcedonian Christology yet claim adherence to Cyrillian Christology, have misunderstood Cyrillian Christology in the first place, and hence the problem lies with us.

Sorry sir, but the problem lies with you, and your inability to not only make substantial points, but your inability to make logical one's either...

I think I was being quite clear, and was careful to be quite straight forward.  Sorry to rain on the parade.

Quote
GǪ.and hence, your conclusion is pushed through the rectum of voidness to be discarded as waste by anyone who is not stupid to the extent to take anothers beliefs, assertions or claims prima facie.....*flush*

Is this how a wind-bag tells someone he thinks they're full of sh..?

Quote
The Oriental Orthodox church proclaims as it always has, that Christ possesses a non-selfsubsistent human will which belongs to the self-subsistent divine will.

To subsist is to exist.  What you're essentially saying here, in obfuscating language, is that the human will of Christ does not in fact exist, but is a quality belonging to the real, existing Divine Will.  In other words, it's a farce, a put on by God which smacks of Docetism.

And exactly how is this supposed to change an Orthodox Christian's mind?  What you're describing is precisely the heresy condemned by the Holy Fathers and by the Council of Chalcedon.

Quote
St. Severus is quite adamant in teaching that the wills are distinct (suhlapha in Syriac) but never seperate (pulagha in Syriac).

God knows if he meant well, but this doesn't change that what he's saying does not make sense - "distinct" yet not really existant.

To say that something creaturely (which the human nature of Christ certainly is - it came into existance at a particular point in human history) is brought into being and upheld by will of God is a given - and this applies not only to the human nature of Christ, but to every creature...every rock, tree, dog, cat, etc.  I'll give Severus more credit than simply believe he's stating the obvious.  However in so "giving credit", we come back again to the latent problem with the Christology of the anti-Chalcedonians: we're talking about a "human nature" which is not real, only apparently so...not real in the sense that you and I are men.

Quote
These two distinct and un-confused natural wills, belong naturally to the Incarnate Word who ultimately possesses one personal will (for He is not psychotic). The unity of the two distinct yet un-confused wills, is one stressed in the same manner that the unity of the two natures are stressed - the two wills never contradicting or departing from the other, but always harmonious - the human will being subject to the divine for all practical purposes (hence the ultimate submission of Christ to the Cross even unto death).

Which would be all fine, were you not reducing the reality of Christ's humanity to a mirage, a sort of "put on" of God through His energies.

It seems to me what we have here is scandal on the part of the anti-Chalcedonians; like the Arians who were scandalized that One could be Three, and Three could be One...thus, they "dumbed it down" to make it more coherent to unaided reason.  In the same fashion, you will not accept two real wills in one hypostasis...and thus are reduced to implicitly accusing Orthodox Christians of making Christ into a "psychotic."

If the will of Christ is not real, then what are we to make (as others have asked) of Gethsemene?  Does the Divine Will recoil from pain (as is natural to men - pain isn't good, we naturally recoil from it if we do not make a firm act of will to do otherwise)?  It is quite clear that Christ as a man, a real man, knew the incredible suffering He was about to be subjected to...the full weight of it was upon Him.  We are told in Holy Writ, that this was so overwhelming (just imagine, infallibly knowing that a horrifying death was awaiting you...and that your knowledge was detailed, vivid!), that He was bathed in sweat and even asked that if our redemption could be purchased in some other means, that it happen this way..."if this cup could pass".

Sorry, but the quasi-docetic Christology you're describing doesn't add up with this picture...one of the "fact of history" you speak so much of.  I see a real man, and true God here.  What you're describing basically requires some kind of fakery on the part of God.  It sounds like so much trouble for nothing, when the Church of Christ already has a correct, and far more precise way of speaking of these things.

If I were ever tempted to believe the Holy Fathers of Chalcedon and the Orthodox really didn't understand "your side", people like you do them the supreme favour of showing me (and anyone else reading this) that no, they did not misunderstand those who rejected Chalcedon in the least.

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« Reply #55 on: May 11, 2005, 09:20:59 AM »

Augustine,

Great post. You've managed to clarify for me my misgivings regarding (and incomprehension of) non-Chalcedonian Christology. I wish I could have written (or even thought) so clearly. I still think most lay OOs probably believe the same thing we do as I'm sure unravelling their Christology can't be any easier for them than it was for me, but now I'm absolutely certain that Chalcedonian Christology is more precise and less prone to heretical misinterpretations than the alternative. Thanks.

James
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« Reply #56 on: May 11, 2005, 10:24:15 AM »

Ozgeorge,

Quote
Specifically, if Christ's Divine and human Wills were in perfect harmony, what do the non-chalcedonian Churches believe was happening when He sweated blood in the Garden of Gesthemene and "He went a little further and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." (Matthew 26:39)

What we have is an apparent paradox; Christ apparently does not want to die, yet on the other hand He wants to follow the divine will, which in turn wants him to die (hence a sort of contradiction in terms of what he actually wants), but if we make the necessary distinction between natural will and personal will, this apparent contradiction is resolved.

There was in reality no “struggle” between a human will of Christ and a divine will of Christ - the statement itself is fallacious for it implies division in the sense that it depicts an independently existing human will and attempts to describe or inquire into it’s relationship to an independently existing divine will. This directly contradicts St Cyril’s emphasise on the unity of Christ and the condition, that any distinction between the natures of Christ and hence His wills, is to be spoken of in thought alone after the union, and not as pertaining to His reality and hence concrete actions or decisions.

The One nature of God the Logos Incarnate possesses One ultimate personal will - to perform the will of the Father, regardless, for it is written: “I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” What verses like Matthew 26:39 reveal to us is that Christ both “humanly” and “divinely” wills a certain thing, according to the two distinct natural wills of the Incarnate Word manifesting the inclinations and tendencies of the two natures whose unconfused and undivided Union is the basis of His ultimate One nature (miaphysis) - yet ultimately (due to His unity) He always chooses i.e. He always ultimately wills (without struggle) to follow the divine will.

The verse you brought forth is only evidence for this, for He concludes “not as I will but let your will be done” - this wasn’t a reluctant submission ultimately performed after some internal struggle over whether He would actually submit to the divine will or not (this would contradict John 6:38). The agony of Christ is only an indication of the horror he experiences in foreseeing the suffering that He will incur according to His humanity, as a very result of His determined, definite, conclusive, certain and voluntary will to follow and subject Himself to the divine.

What we see happening in Matthew 26:39, is thus simply a difference in “want”, “desire” or “inclination” according to the distinct natural wills, but an ultimate, voluntary, and definite "want to want what the divine wants" (and no I didnt make any grammatical errors in that - I worded it that way deliberetaly), according to His personal will. The natural human will is naturally inclined to not desire pain, suffering and death (for Christ is not a masochist), yet ultimately, the personal will of Christ was not to submit to His only natural inclinations to avoid death according to His humanity, but rather to carry out that of the divine will and die the death that any man dreads.

Here is one of many agreed statements made with those who adhere to the Chirstology as pronounced in the latter councils, concerning the will of Christ:

Quote
Agreed Statement on Christology
Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission
Holy Etchmiadzin, Armenia, 5-10 November 2002

“We agree that God the Word became incarnate by uniting to His divine uncreated nature with its natural will and energy, created human nature with its natural will and energy. The union of natures is natural, hypostatic, real and perfect. The natures are distinguished in our mind in thought alone. He who wills and acts is always the one hypostasis of the Logos incarnate with one personal will.”

Peace.
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« Reply #57 on: May 11, 2005, 10:52:14 AM »

Augustine

Quote
Spare me the feigned courtesy - you may as well have written "with all due respect, you're an idiot."

Some people are idiots by nature; others are intellectually capable, yet they simply forget themselves because they’re either too narrow minded to re-consider what they’ve been fed for so long such that their objectivity becomes tainted by over-zealous polemics.

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No, not I, but an Ecumenical Council has pronounced your forefathers heretics;

A statement fun-packed with two fallacies; the first I already exposed, and which you have decided to once again regress into; namely arbitrariness. Give me an OBJECTIVE definition of what constitutes an ECUMENICAL COUNCIL - I will give you another chance to stop for a moment and actually think for yourself as to what reasonably constitutes an Ecumenical Council, in order that you may objectively justify your definitions, as opposed to you merely subjectively proclaiming and asserting that a certain council is Ecumenical because you or your church says so.

Carelessly throwing around subjective terms and labels as if they are axiomatic in the objective world, is only going to lead us round and round the merry go round of circular reasoning - which is all you have resorted to so far.

Second of all, assuming for arguments sake that the councils In question are Ecumenical - please then justify an implicit presupposition behind your statement, namely; that all proclamations and statements - including ex-communications are infallibly valid to the extent that they cannot be recognized and declared erroneous from a retrospective perspective, and hence overturned.

Someone is a heretic because of what they believe and teach, not because of what someone else (influenced by politics, greed, and satan himself) says they believe and teach.


Quote
More assertions falsely presented as axioms and still no substance. First of all, who made you the authority to decide what constitutes a reasonable pre-condition for a valid re-union process? Second of all, who made you the authority to decide what can be validly labeled an Ecumenical council?

You cannot possibly be this ignorant. Chalcedon is universally held as an Ecumenical Council by the Orthodox Church.


I am now reconsidering ascribing idiocy to you, for once AGAIN, for the second time, you have regressed into the same obvious fallacy of arbitrariness when AGAIN you make a subjective declaration and present it as an objective axiom. The Eastern Orthodox church subscribes to the Council of Chalcedon as Ecumenical, now what does that mean to ANYONE outside of the Eastern Orthodox Church? Nothing. Tell me why I should believe the Council of Chalcedon to be an Ecumenical Council, based on OBJECTIVE REASONS AND JUSTIFICATION. Again, I will simply state a mere counter assertion: “Chalcedon is NOT universally held as an Ecumenical council by the Orthodox church”

What I am doing is simply arbitrarily re-defining the Orthodox Church from your initial arbitrary definition of it, and thence declaring an axiom relative to my already presupposed definition.

Don;t make me repeat the same point again a third time...please stay focused, and concentrate.

Quote
I think I was being quite clear, and was careful to be quite straight forward. Sorry to rain on the parade.

This is a cop out. You made a non-sensical analogy about Suzy and Jo-blo and his father mo who went to the show and ordered a cone, and then went back home, and then maybe on his way back home he stopped at the gas station, and who knows what he did after that bla bla bla - I asked you to drop the amateur ridiculousness and deal with real historical figures and events and theological facts and develop an argument from there so we can have a real discussion; or AT LEAST connect the relevant elements of your stupid analogy to real historical figures, events and theological facts - you don’t seriously expect your opponent to assume the erroneous implicit connection or point that you’re trying to make, by attempting to interpret what Suzy was doing with Sam when Joe was with Uncle Bob do you? If you’re planning to waste my time, just say so.

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Is this how a wind-bag tells someone he thinks they're full of sh..?

It’s how someone with enough tolerance and patience tells you - you flunked kid, but I’m willing to give you another chance.

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The Oriental Orthodox church proclaims as it always has, that Christ possesses a non-selfsubsistent human will which belongs to the self-subsistent divine will.

To subsist is to exist. What you're essentially saying here, in obfuscating language, is that the human will of Christ does not in fact exist, but is a quality belonging to the real, existing Divine Will.

You do realize that when prefixes are added to a word, this usually alters their meaning? Sorry, I don’t mean to make you look stupid, but there is a difference between something subsisting and something self-subsisting - I am thus not speaking of the existence of the human will per se, but rather the fact it does not possess it’s own independent self-supporting existence - unless ofcourse you really are a Nestorian who believes that the humanity of Christ is a self-subsisting hypostasis in and of itself - but then again, you do hold onto the confused tome of leo as a doctrinally binding document (oh by the way, have I mentioned the smile that it put on Nestorius’ face when he actually read that piece of work?)

Quote
What you're describing is precisely the heresy condemned by the Holy Fathers and by the Council of Chalcedon.

Now that we’ve exposed the fact you truly are an idiot who is incapable of understanding the difference between something subsisting and something self-subsisting, let us just continue to expose the subsequent continual attack of a straw man, based on your initial misreading of my argument. So since my argument was that the human will of Christ has no existence independent of the hypostatic union, please show what proclomation or canon of the Council of Chalcedon this contradicts?

In fact, please allow me to save you the trouble, because you wont find anything. In fact, you really wont find anything concrete in the proclomations made at Chalcedon concerning this subject by which to measure my statement in any event. This hiatus in Chalcedonian Chirstology is mainly due to its obscurity concerning the definition of a hypostatic union in the first place. The Christology of St. John of Damascus' theologoumenon is usually anachronistically read back into Chalcedon, which is affirmative in so far as St. John of Damascus teaches that the humanity lacks a "hypostasis" of its own (WOW, St John of Damascus was essentially saying what I was when I declared that the human will of Christ is NOT self-subsistent - isnt that amazing?), and is en-hypostaitized by the Hypostasis of The Word.

Quote
Quote
St. Severus is quite adamant in teaching that the wills are distinct (suhlapha in Syriac) but never seperate (pulagha in Syriac).

God knows if he meant well, but this doesn't change that what he's saying does not make sense - "distinct" yet not really existant.

Ha ha oh nah I cant laughGǪit’s too easy. Ive never seen someone dance on a straw man so badly as you have. I EXPLICITLY declared that the human will is not SELF-subsistentGǪGǪPrefix = SGǪEGǪLGǪFGǪlearnGǪtoGǪreadGǪ

Is there a dilemma between the fact the human will is distinct from the divine will, yet not self-subsistent according to the fact it’s subsistence relies upon the hypostatic union? Um no, heck we are not even dealing with mutually exclusive categories here.

Geez what do we have so far - circular reasoning, analogies disconnected from the facts, straw man fallaciesGǪcategorical fallaciesGǪ

Let’s move on shall weGǪ

Quote
It seems to me what we have here is scandal on the part of the anti-Chalcedonians; like the Arians who were scandalized that One could be Three, and Three could be One...thus, they "dumbed it down" to make it more coherent to unaided reason. In the same fashion, you will not accept two real wills in one hypostasis...and thus are reduced to implicitly accusing Orthodox Christians of making Christ into a "psychotic."

In fact the only scandal here is on part of any Chalcedonian who adheres to your line of thought who; like the modalists were scandalized that One could be Three simultaneously, and thus they “dumbed it down” to make it more coherent to unaided reason. In the same fashion, you will not accept the fact that the two very real and natural wills of Christ constitute the ultimate One personal will of Christ, according to the unity of The Word which like your hero Leo, you still continue to challenge.

If you hold onto a belief that Christ has more than one personal will, you are indeed saying that Christ is psychotic, and hence you are a Nestorian, plain and simple - how you do not understand this is beyond me, it’s simple logic - there is a category of will which is corollary from personhood (personal will) and another category of will which relates to natural inclinations or tendencies relative to the properties of a particular essence (natural will). I suggest you go back and do you readings over the doctrinal pronouncements of the sixth council - for you are now forgetting yourself, and truly promoting Nestorian doctrine if you want to sit there and proclaim that Christ has more than One personal Will. Christ’s personal Will was to do the will of the Father, and nothing else. In fact that Christ has only one personal will yet two distinct wills is more or less affirmed by both Churchs in the following agreed statements:

Quote
Second Agreed Statement (1990)

3. Both families agree that the Hypostasis of the Logos became composite (sunqetoj) by uniting to His divine uncreated nature with its natural will and energy, which He has in common with the Father and the Holy Spirit, created human nature, which He assumed at the Incarnation and made His own, with its natural will and energy.

4. Both families agree that the natures with their proper energies and wills are united hypostatically and naturally without confusion, without change, without division and without separation, and that they are distinguished in thought alone (th qewria monh). 20

5. Both families agree that He Who wills and acts is always the one Hypostasis of the Logos incarnate [I.E. ONE PERSONAL WILL].


As for the rest of your garbage, it is nothing but an attack on the straw man you conveniently set up for yourself, when you claim that I denied the real existence of a natural human will, when in actual fact I merely denied the independent self-supporting existence of a human will apart from the hypostatic union.

I would usually go line by line and rub in the fact you are incapable of properly reading and addressing an argument, but I will have mercy on you tonight.

Peace.
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« Reply #58 on: May 11, 2005, 11:48:23 AM »

Given that Chalcedon was a defiance of Ephesus, I might as well consider you "heretical" and outside of Holy Orthodoxy until you recant your Nestorian-influenced christology. This is like the pot calling the kettle black.

May peace be upon thee nad with thy spirit.

Please clarify which council of Ephesus you are referring to. Chalcedon overturned the Robber Synod of Ephesus of 449, but definitely not the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus of 431.
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« Reply #59 on: May 11, 2005, 12:35:35 PM »

Augustine,

You know what, have the last word mate, I said I would quit this forum for the second time in less than 2 months and again ive been drawn back to fight lies.

Say what you want in your coming response, but I hope you at least apologise for your carelessness in misrepresenting my position, by twisting my words and claiming that I denied the subsistence of Christ's human will, as opposed to my ACTUAL position; namely, that Christ's humanity is not independently self-subsistent in and of itself and hence neither is the natural will which manfiests it.

The worst thing you can do is that which your forefathers did, which is to deliberetly misrepresent our position, and then attack and condemn that very straw man. Don't let the anti-Christ deceive you like he deceived them.

P.S. I do apologise for the name-calling and any hard feelings. Believe as you wish.

Peace.
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« Reply #60 on: May 11, 2005, 01:14:53 PM »

There are two false doctrines and one true as Orthodox Church accept it.

Let’s first see the false doctrines:
A)Arianism doctrine : The doctrines of Arius, deny that Jesus was of the same substance as God and holding instead that he was only the highest of created beings, viewed as heretical by most Christian churches. Arianism founded by Arius in the 4th cent. It was one of the most widespread and divisive heresies in the history of Christianity. As a priest in Alexandria, Arius taught (c.318) that God created, before all things, a Son who was the first creature, but who was neither equal to nor coeternal with the Father. According to Arius, Jesus was a supernatural creature not quite human and not quite divine. In these ideas Arius followed the school of Lucian of Antioch.

B)Nestorianism doctrine: Christian heresy that held Jesus to be two distinct persons, closely and inseparably united. In 428, Emperor Theodosius II named an abbot of Antioch, Nestorius (d. 451?), as patriarch of Constantinople. In that year Nestorius, who had been a pupil of Theodore of Mopsuestia, outraged the Christian world by opposing the use of the title Mother of God for the Virgin on the grounds that, while the Father begot Jesus as God, Mary bore him as a man. This view was contradicted by Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria, and both sides appealed to Pope Celestine I. The Council of Ephesus was convened in 431 to settle the matter. This council (reinforced by the Council of Chalcedon in 451) clarified Christian doctrine, pronouncing that Jesus, true God and true man, has two distinct natures that are inseparably joined in one person and partake of the one divine substance. The council, answered with the text 'The Word was made flesh' (John i, T4): Mary is God's mother, for 'she bore the Word of God made flesh'.' What Mary bore was not a man loosely united to God, but a single and undivided person, who is God and man at once. The name Theotokos safeguards the unity of Christ's person: to deny her this title is to separate the Incarnate Christ into two, breaking down the bridge between God and humanity and erecting within Christ's person a middle wall of partition. Thus we can see that not only titles of devotion were involved at Ephesus, but the very message of salvation. The same primacy that the word homoousios occupies in the doctrine of the Trinity, the word Theotokos holds in the doctrine of the Incarnation.

Now let's see the "non-Chalcedonian" issue: (I use the term Monophysitism, but you may use the term Non-Chalcedonians. I do not hold the term Monophysitism as an insult but as a historical "label").

Monophysitism grew out of a reaction against Nestorianism. Monophysitism challenged the orthodox definition of faith of Chalcedon and taught that in Jesus there were not two natures (divine and human) but one (divine). Discussion of this belief was clouded by misunderstandings of terms and by the lack of knowledge of Greek in the West.

Many modern scholars are inclined to think that the difference between 'Non-Chalcedonians' and 'Chalcedonians' was basically one of terminology, not of theology. The two parties understood the word 'nature' (physis) in different ways, but both were concerned to affirm the same basic truth: that Christ the Saviour is fully divine and fully human, and yet He is one and not two.

Let’s see what the official non-Chalcedonian point of view is:

Bishop Gregorios [Coptic]: We are asked why, if we accept the faith of Chalcedon, we do not accept the council itself. The fact is the we have difficulties about the horos [definition] of Chalcedon. Our fathers found Nestorianism in the horos of Chalcedon.... Even if we accept the teaching of Chalcedon, we are not obliged to accept Chalcedon.

Liqe Seltanat Habte Mariam [Ethiopian]: By all means, you continue to believe in Chalcedon; but do not expect us to accept Chalcedon.

Bishop Zakka [Syrian]: When we say we accept the faith, we mean the faith that the Church had before Chalcedon, formulated by the three ecumenical councils accepted by all. Let us be quite clear; Chalcedon is not acceptable to us.

Verghese: When the faith is already there without Chalcedon why insist on Chalcedon being accepted? There should be no misunderstanding of the position of the non-Chalcedonian Churches; there will be no formal acceptance of Chalcedon.


Now let’s see the Greek Orthodox Church thesis:
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
THE CHURCH OF THE COUNCILS: THE "ONSLAUGHT OF THE INTELLECT AND THE POTENTIAL OF DOUBT
GǪ.
At that stage another phenomenon came to the fore. It was what Daniel-Rops has called the 'great onslaught of the intellect'. The intellect marks the period of the Councils. People submit the faith to the criteria of their intellectual acceptance or rejection. Is it possible to believe this and that? Is it possible to accept such and such realities testified by the apostles and proclaimed by the Church? Can one reasonably be a Christian?

On the lowest level, it could have been seen that way. On a higher level, for instance that of Arius, the problem was more complex and more earnest. For Arius was a man of great culture and of outstanding intelligence. And he submitted the Christian faith to the test of philosophical assessment. One may see that he is an outstanding example of what a heresy can be when the intellect is considered as empowered to judge revelation, to judge the formulations of those who possess an experience which the observer himself does not possess, either at all or to the same degree. For Arius, the problem was basically that God could not become man since an infinite God could never become the prisoner of finitude. God was eternal, and could not become the prisoner of time. And in those days (and I refer once again to Florovsky, since for me his word has enormous value) no Arius could resolve the problem. Indeed, it took centuries of philosophical and scientific reflection and research to arrive at a vision of time which can accommodate the notion of eternity and space. For the first scientific book I know which really faces the problem (Emile Borel, Le temps et l'espace) was only written at the turn of the century. Before that, there was no scientific or philosophical basis that would allow someone to make the distinction and yet to realise that there is no contradiction in eternity pouring into time and not being a prisoner of it, or in infinity being within space and not being limited by it. Time and space, eternity and infinity were simply different categories.
GǪ
What we find in this period of the Councils is people who try to address the gospel proclaimed by the Church from the first days to their own time against the background of classical philosophy or of the various philosophies and mystery religions that had developed later. Some harm could have been done because some of the imagery could be compared with that of the gospel and could thus be used as an accusation that the gospel itself is simply a new mythology.

Doubts were engendered in the minds of many: is not Christianity simply a more elaborate and philosophically more acceptable myth, but still of the same kind (and as unreal) as the mythology of the various nations of the past? As philosophical thought developed, as philosophy taken from the ancient world acquired a new maturity, the intellect came to feel self-sufficient, no longer in need of being guided by God himself. Thus problems arose from the confrontation of a mature intellect with the problem of faith.
GǪ
Perhaps I should say a few words about the nature of doubt in this contextGǪ. Let me make a parallel between the doubt, or succession of doubts, which a fever can have, and the way in which a scientist confronts created reality. A scientist collects all the existing facts of which he is aware. To begin with they are disparate; they may belong together in any way. The scientist tries to group them and at a certain moment, when a number of facts are capable of being held together, a model is built that allows him to hold all these facts together and reason about in their totality. If the scientist is honest and creative, the first thing he will do is to ask himself whether his model holds, whether it is a model that has no intrinsic flaw within itself, whether it takes into account all the information possessed to date. If he is satisfied on these counts, his next move will be to look for new facts that will not fit in with his model and will explode it. For the aim of a scientist list is not to create a model for which he will be remembered in the history of science. His aim is to create temporary models, hypotheses; models that must explode in order to enlarge knowledge and to contain new knowledge. Doubt in that respect for a scientist is a creative activity, an activity which is elating because the discovery that something does not fit in a preconceived or ready-made model allows him to discover reality on a wider scale and to see that reality unfolds wider and wider, deeper and deeper, making it possible for him to discard one hypothesis after the other, one model after the other. For him reality is unshakeable and cannot be lost because the model is exploded.

What is tragic in the doubt which we find in a believer is that instead of saying that the model of God, of creation, of the Church, of man which satisfied him fifty years ago no longer satisfied him, can no longer satisfy his intellectual and spiritual development, he makes an either/or decision: either to retrench himself in the old or to abandon his former position altogether. Whereas the developing person who rejects the model he earlier had of God or the creation when confronted with the depths and range of science or of philosophy, is proceeding with something not only legitimate but essential. By contrast, a believer who at the age of eighteen or eighty would remain faithful to a model adequate for an eight-year-old would be spiritually and mentally backward, incapable for communing with all the vastness, depth and greatness of God and of his creation.

We are confronted with such problems in the period of the Councils. But has the Church of the Councils come to an end? I think not. It has not come to an end because the same onslaught of the intellect, the same onslaught of the godless approach to divine things, has continued throughout the ages. It is in action nowadays, within the Church and from without. And if we ask ourselves about heresies and heretics, what their position vis-a-vis the Church is, I would like to point out two things. First, the Church was right in condemning the heresies. But the Church which condemned the heresies from within an experience and a certainty often did so without explaining why this heresy could not be acceptable on the intellectual, rather than the spiritual plane. What I said about Arius, and the fact that in his time the distinction between time and eternity, space and infinity, was not philosophically and scientifically mature, allows people in our days to reason in the same terms. For the Church has not taken advantage of what philosophy and science have discovered and understood about these categories, has not explained what an Athanasius could not explain in his time in scientific or philosophical terms. And that could apply to every other heresy. Thus there is a task for people of our time who are conversant with philosophy or steeped in scientific knowledge. They have to reconsider the ancient heresies and ask themselves whether there is some sort of answer that can now be given from a point of view which is not simply the experiential point of view of the early centuries. For however intellectually mature that was, it failed to solve the problem on the level of the questioner who came from outside.
GǪ
We do not hold ecumenical councils, we are far too disorderly and too divided. But each and every Christian, each parish, diocese, denomination, is confronted with the same problem as the undivided Church when it had to face the outer world, heretical, pagan or godless. And we also need to go beyond condemnation of it in order to achieve its salvation.
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« Reply #61 on: May 11, 2005, 02:39:20 PM »

Fascinating post, it gives me something to think about!
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« Reply #62 on: May 11, 2005, 03:49:01 PM »

"Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon abandoned Cyrillian terminology and declared that Christ was one hypostasis in two natures. However, the Council's finding were rejected by many of the Christians on the fringes of the Byzantine Empire: Egyptians, Syrians, Armenians, and others. From that point onward, Alexandria would have two patriarchs: the "Melkite" or Imperial Patriarch, now known as the Eastern Orthodox Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria, and the non-Chalcedonian national Egyptian one, now known as the Coptic Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria. Almost the entire Egyptian population rejected the terms of the Council of Chalcedon and remained faithful to the national Egyptian Church (now known as the Coptic Church). Those who supported the Chalcedonian definition remained in communion with the other leading churches of Rome and Constantinople. The non-Chalcedonian party became what is today called the Oriental Orthodox Church."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coptic_Christianity#Council_of_Ephesus
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« Reply #63 on: May 11, 2005, 03:52:32 PM »

I believe this is rather pertinent information for a discussion such as this:

"Monophysitism and the Council of Chalcedon

1- According to some Scholars, there, was no need for it, but politics played
a big role. "It was only under constant pressure from the Emperor Marcian
that the Fathers of Chalcedon agreed to draw a new formula of belief."


2- The different expressions of the one faith are due in large part to
non-theological  issues, such as "unfortunate circumstances, cultural
differences and the difficulty of translating terms." It is debated whether
the opposition to Chalcedon was out of a Christological issue or an attempt
to assert Coptic and Syrian identity against the Byzantine.

3- Ecclesiastical politics had been very confused ever since the legislation,
in the Council of 381, of a primacy of honor for Constantinople, the "New
Rome," second only to that of the old Rome. It seems that both Rome and the
Emperors used the Council of Chalcedon to carry out their respective plans:
Rome for asserting its claim for primacy over the Church and the Emperors for
trying to bring the entire Church in the East under the jurisdiction of the
See of Constantinople.

4- No one can deny the disadvantages of the imperial interventions in the
dispute. Most probably, Chalcedon's decisions and terms would have been
different if the Emperor Marcian and his wife Pulcheria had not intervened.
Since 450, they were gathering signatures for the Tome of Leo, the bishop of
Rome. Many bishops of Chalcedon approved it only as a concession to the
bishop whom the imperial authority supported.

5- The definitions of the Tome were composed in a way that it could be
interpreted by different persons, each in his own way. It is known that
Nestorius, who was still alive in 451, accepted the Tome of Leo, while the
Alexandrines rejected it.

6- The Council of Chalcedon, which is believed to have condemned Eutyches,
did not deal with him but with Dioscorus, Patriarch of Alexandria. Eutyches
himself was not present at the council. Scholars state that Dioscorus was
deprived of office on procedural grounds and not on account of erroneous
belief. At Chalcedon Dioscorus strongly declared, "If Eutyches holds notions
disallowed by the doctrines of the Church, he deserves not only punishment
but even the fire. But my concern is for the catholic and apostolic faith,
not for any man whomsoever." The evidence is sufficient for us to look for
other reasons for his condemnation. Rome was annoyed by the extraordinary
vitality and activity of the Church of Alexandria and its patriarch.

7- As soon as the members of the council had assembled, the legates of Rome
demanded that Dioscorus be banished on account of the order of the bishop of
Rome whom they called, "the head of all churches". When the imperial
authorities asked for a charge to justify the demand, one of the legates said
that he "dared to conduct a council without the authorization of the
apostolic see, a thing which has never happened and which ought not to
happen." As a matter of fact, the Council of 381 had been held without the
participation, not to say the authorization, of the bishop of Rome, and the
Council of 553 against his wishes. It is evident that the delegates intended
by the words, "the head of all churches" to assert the claim of Rome of
ecumenical supremacy over the church.

8- Chalcedon rejected the Council of 449, and Leo of Rome considered it as
latrocinium, a council of robbers, a title which "has stuck for all time."

This may uncover the intention behind such an attitude. A council which
ignored Rome's authority, robbing its claim of supremacy, was not for Leo a
church council but a meeting of robbers.
The Council of Chalcedon, without
even examining the issue, denounced the Council of 449, putting the entire
responsibility for its decrees exclusively on Dioscorus. Only one hundred and
four years later, the decision, not of Chalcedon, but of the so called
latrocinium was justified. The Council of Constantinople in 553 anathematized
Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrus, and Ibas of Edessa, and condemned
their Three Chapters. It is remarkable that the desire of the Emperor
Justinian to reconcile the non-Chalcedonian churches was behind the decree."
http://www.coptic.net/articles/MonophysitismReconsidered.txt

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« Reply #64 on: May 12, 2005, 12:23:21 PM »

EnkhristosAnesti,

I'm sorry for getting obnoxious. I let myself get annoyed. I could have said everything I did (of substance) without becoming snide.

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« Reply #65 on: May 12, 2005, 01:07:22 PM »

Dear Augustine,

Your apology is not necessary, for your reaction was called for, according to the attitude presented in my response and in consideration of my undeniable arrogance and disrespect. Please understand that my harshness was not motivated by any real hate or disrespect towards your person, but rather a deep love ill-expressed (they do say that there’s a thin line between love and hate), and a weary heart at seeing my Eastern Orthodox brothers insisting on maintaining - what I believe to be out-dated views - in a manner which almost seems like they desire to strenuously find reasons to disagree with us in order that they may maintain an exclusivity to “The Orthodox faith”.

Certainly, no one wants false unity, but neither does anyone want false dis-unity. I believe both positions are as undesirable and satanically motivated as each other, and hence there needs to be as much objectivity and impartiality in weighing up the views of the other side; much humbleness in willing to admit error, combined with much prayer and fasting for divine guidance, to ultimately make sure that the church does not acquire a fixed and false mindset, allowing it to blindly accept and maintain any one of the above conditions. As I may have said to someone before - this significant process starts in the mindset of the layman, rather than the official statements or proclamations of the hierarchs. What is said on an internet forum should not and cannot be underestimated, and the practical effects can be more potent in de facto than for example the effects of officialy signed statements made between Bishops.

I really hope that you now truly understand the context of my frustration, even if you personally disagree with everything I have just said.

Before I do indeed leave this discussion (and this forum in general) at that, I kindly re-iterate a request I made to you, which was made not for the sake of a desire to prove some sort of a personal victory, but rather to vindicate my church from some innocently made yet nonetheless false charges:

I declared concerning the human will of Christ, that it was not self-subsistent i.e. it does not possess some self-supporting existence independent from the hypostatic union, and you mistakenly read this as a denial of its real or actual subsistence per se. I simply ask you to honestly look over the relevant paragraphs once more, and to please correct yourself if you do indeed agree with me that you made an honest mistake in properly presenting my position to the readers, if and only if, in all honesty you can see and understand the honest mistake that you made with regards to this specific point. (If you feel this is unecessary, or do not genuinly believe you erred, then that is fine.)

Thank you in advance.

Peace.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2005, 01:11:06 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

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« Reply #66 on: May 14, 2005, 12:59:16 PM »

I must admit im having trouble following the dialogue here (and I’m certainly not impressed by the un-Christian-like attitudes, come on guys! Where’s the love?! teehee) but my friend besides me here is a graduate from a theological seminary who perfectly understands everything you’re saying. She was just reading your posts with me and explaining to me what’s going on in layman’s terms. We both agree with you that Augustine either did misread your argument like you said or he was deliberetly misrepresenting our church’s position (I hope not!!! Sorry, that was my friends suggestion, not mine, I like to give people the benefit of the doubt Smiley). Or maybe he was just like me and had no idea what the difference between a self-subsisting thingy and a subsisting thingy is? lol! (I understand it now thanks to my friend though Smiley)

Anyhoo, thanks for that ekhristosanesti, I learn a lot from you Smiley Smiley keep up the good work.
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« Reply #67 on: May 14, 2005, 09:40:20 PM »

Copt,

Forgive me if my attitude seemed "un-christian-like", but I think the situation called for some bluntness without compromise. There is also no doubt Augustine could not establish any real case against me without misrepresenting my arguments, presupposing a conclusion in order to arrive at that very conclusion, or resorting to unequivocal and ambiguous analogies disconnected from any fact.

I'm still hoping he humbles himself and admits his grievous error with regards to the straw man attack concerning the will(s) of Christ. He needs not agree with my viewpoints, but he needs to present those viewpoints accurately, if he can indeed defend his anti-OO position with any real honesty.

Peace.
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« Reply #68 on: May 15, 2005, 01:50:48 PM »

To further support my position that the rejection of the self-subsistence of the humanity of Christ and the corollary of that - the rejection of the self-subsistence of the human will of Christ, as adopted by St Severus (a proponent of OO Christology), is not only Orthodox and the corollary of rejecting Nestorianism, but is also in fact the implicit position of your own EO proponents such as St John of Damascus - as I already argued in my last "heated" response to Augustine, I would like to paste the following quote:

“The human nature according to Severus is not “hypostatic” but was rather considered along with Leontius of Byzantium and John of Damascus ‘hypostatiszd’, received to the unity of the hypostasis of The Word” (Zambolotsy, 'Christology of Severus of Antioch', page 377)

i.e. It’s subsistence is reliant upon the hypostatic union.

Okay, there’s certainly no more I can possibly say on this issue unless anyone wishes to make further inquiries.

Peace.
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« Reply #69 on: May 16, 2005, 11:48:25 AM »

To further support my position that the rejection of the self-subsistence of the humanity of Christ and the corollary of that - the rejection of the self-subsistence of the human will of Christ, as adopted by St Severus (a proponent of OO Christology), is not only Orthodox and the corollary of rejecting Nestorianism, but is also in fact the implicit position of your own EO proponents such as St John of Damascus - as I already argued in my last "heated" response to Augustine, I would like to paste the following quote:

“The human nature according to Severus is not “hypostatic” but was rather considered along with Leontius of Byzantium and John of Damascus ‘hypostatiszd’, received to the unity of the hypostasis of The Word” (Zambolotsy, 'Christology of Severus of Antioch', page 377)

i.e. It’s subsistence is reliant upon the hypostatic union.

Okay, there’s certainly no more I can possibly say on this issue unless anyone wishes to make further inquiries.

Peace.


It seems to me that this is indeed what Chalcedon taught. Here is what the "Definition of Chalcedon" states:

"This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures, (1) unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, inseparably [united], and that without the distinction of natures being taken away by such union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature being preserved and being united in one Person and subsistence[/b], not separated or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-begotten, God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Prophets of old time have spoken concerning him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ hath taught us, and as the Creed of the Fathers hath delivered to us."

It seems Chalcedon taught one subsistence, not two--Christ's human nature had no previous existence or self-subsistence but only became substistent in the one hypostasis of the Incarnation. (Therefore, I'm having a little trouble seeing what's supposedly so "Nestorian" about Chalcedon, unless I'm missing something.)
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« Reply #70 on: May 16, 2005, 01:10:15 PM »

Doubting Thomas,

It seems you haven’t been following my posts in this thread to understand the context of my last post to which you responded, so please allow me to clarify a couple of things:

1) My last post concerning the non-self-subsistence of Christ’s human will, was not made as a challenge to Chalcedonian Christology as you imply, but rather had its purpose to further emphasize that Augustine had seriously misrepresented my position in his attempt to strenuously find doctrinal dissonance between OO and EO Christology. This he did, when he falsely interpreted my denial of the “self-subsistence” of Christ’s natural human will, as a denial of the actual and real existence of this human will per se; when in actual fact the prefix “self” qualifying the nature of the subsistence of the human will to which I am denying, clearly proves that what I have denied is the idea that the humanity of Christ is an hypostasis in and of itself; a self-supporting existence independent of the hypostatic union.

In any event, I disagree with you that Chalcedon makes the very point I made; the quotes you bring forth certainly not proving this to any extent. That Christ is ultimately "one subsistence" and "one person" says nothing concerning the relationship between the divine and human natures (and hence naturals wills), and their respective modes of subsistence/existence prior to (hence independently) and within the "hypostatic union" or their "hypostatic qualities". Chalcedon simply provides no clear definition for the "hypostatic union", and even the context in which the declarations in question are made are not sufficiently clear in order to necessarily restrict the intended implication to an Orthodox one, as I will show below.

2) My position has never been that Chalcedonian Christology is Nestorian (in substance and intent), but rather that a) it is so weak and ambiguous, that it can be twisted to conform to some level of Nestorianism (hence the tome of Leo was well received by Nestorius, and the Council of Chalcedon well received by the Nestorian church in general), and b) that as such those who rejected Chalcedon and the definitions proclaimed, did so legitimately in consideration of the historical context of Chalcedon - in which Nestorianism was still a significant influence in the Church, spreading and growing strong, such that it would be a dangerous risk for the Church to compromise the strong expressions of unity (“One Nature of God the Logos Incarnate”) for expressions that further the Nestorian cause and allow them to creep back in via a backdoor.

Consider the following expression contained in the tome of Leo:

“Each nature performs what is proper to it in communion with the other; the Word for instance, performing what is proper to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what is proper to the flesh.”

Surely this does not affirm the unity of Christ, but rather divides The Word from the flesh, depicting them as two differing centers of action. Now I don’t necessarily believe that leo subjectively intended to imply that Christ is two persons - but this is simply, more or less the corollary implication of such phraseology. That leo did not subjectively intend “The Word” to be a second person to the person of “the flesh” only proves that theology and metaphysics weren’t exactly leo’s strengths. How for example could he depict an impersonal nature as the performer of an act? The nature does not “act”, this is plainly ridiculous. The acts of Christ are ‘actualized’ by His person, whilst the natures simply provide the means or capacity of actualization.

Furthermore, there is grievous error in the manner that he divides The Word from the flesh in the first place (as opposed to for example the divine nature [of The Word] from the human nature [of The Word]). This was clearly a divergence and departure from the Christology of St Athanasius and St Cyril, who always regarded “The Word” as the ultimate subject of all the performances of Christ. Allow me to quote a scholar of this field, Professor Frances Young, who states in his book From Nicaea to Chalcedon:

“Who was the subject of the incarnate experiences of Jesus Christ? For the Alexandrians the subject remained The Word, who though transcendent accommodated himself to the conditions of human nature; for the AntiochenesGǪthe Word could not possibly be regarded as the immediate subject of the incarnate experiencesGǪnaturally this produced a dualistic Christology in which the unity of Christ as The Word Incarnate was dangerously undermined.” (page 180, bold emphasis mine)

In this sense, the OO maintain for example, that “The Word suffered according to His flesh”, whereas leonion Christology would demand that one express the sufferings of Christ in a conflicting manner: “The flesh suffered as opposed to The Word” - clearly the former maintains the unity of Christ in a perfectly Orthodox manner by affirming The Word as the subject of His Incarnational experience of suffering whilst in the same breath maintaing that such experiences were according to His humanity; a humanity belonging to The Word.

Peace.
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« Reply #71 on: May 17, 2005, 02:23:46 PM »

Let us pray that we become one again. The devil is so smart.
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« Reply #72 on: July 20, 2005, 04:24:49 PM »

Dear brethren,

Its too bad Ipap is no longer with us because I would have liked to have brought to his attention that I think he erred in his following statements:

"Monophysitism grew out of a reaction against Nestorianism. Monophysitism challenged the orthodox definition of faith of Chalcedon and taught that in Jesus there were not two natures (divine and human) but one (divine). Discussion of this belief was clouded by misunderstandings of terms and by the lack of knowledge of Greek in the West."

"Now let's see the "non-Chalcedonian" issue: (I use the term Monophysitism, but you may use the term Non-Chalcedonians. I do not hold the term Monophysitism as an insult but as a historical "label")."

Does anyone see the above contradiction?  There is not one Non-Chalcedonian Church which has ever taught "that in Jesus there were not two natures (divine and human) but one (divine)" as Ipap here suggests.  He is correct that what he describes is TRUE MONOPHYSITISM, viz. Eutcyian Monophysitism.  Yet we don't hold this.  Oriental Orthodoxy teaches Miaphysitism, i.e. that Christ is one Nature, fully human and fully Divine.  Its too bad Ipap was ignorent of this fact.  Our Orthodox Churches condemn the error he describes as well.  We also condemn Eutchyes.  All those quotes he gives from our prelates stating that Chalcedon was unnacceptable does not change this fact.

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« Reply #73 on: June 20, 2008, 09:03:45 PM »

It's the Eastern Orthodox position should they not be able to state it..........
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