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Author Topic: What exactly is Oriental Orthodoxy?  (Read 9220 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ntinos
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« on: April 14, 2005, 04:21:36 PM »

I have not read much about Oriental Orthodoxy, not before I came to this forum, where I seem to find material about it. In my mind, I have formed a view that Oriental Orthodoxy is not a single Church, but the term rather refers to the Churches that are not in communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Is this so? Did I understand this well enough? Which Churches are Oriental Orthodox and which not? And what is the difference with the Eastern Orthodox Churches (Patriarchates: Constantinople, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Antioch, Moscow, Bulgaria, Servia, Romania, Georgia)?

As I view it till now, the Oriental Orthodox Churches are the Armenian Apostolic Churches and the Coptic Church of Alexandria.

Please correct me where I am mistaken, and explain to me what Oriental Orthodoxy is.
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EkhristosAnesti
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2005, 07:18:06 PM »

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Which Churches are Oriental Orthodox...?

Coptic, Armenian, Syrian, Ethiopian, Eiterean, and Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church's.

Quote
And what is the difference with the Eastern Orthodox Churches

We only accept the first three councils (Nicea, Constantinople, and Ephesus) as ecumenical and hence doctrinally binding. Theologically speaking, my personal viewpoint is that our Christology’s (Christology being the central focus of Chalcedon which caused the schism) are not mutually exclusive or contradictory, but rather that one (St Cyril’s - following the Alexandrian school of thought) is stronger and fuller than the other (Leo’s - attempting a synthesis between Alexandrian and Antiochene school of thought - something we believe the formula of re-union between St Cyril and John of Antioch had already accomplished) such as to necessarily complement it.

Peace.
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2005, 08:05:48 AM »

Isn't the Syrian Church under the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch? Or are we talking about a different Syrian Church?
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2005, 08:15:49 AM »

Different.
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2005, 08:25:22 AM »

What is about the other four Oecumenical Councils of that Church that Non-Chalcedoinian Churches of the East  find 'heterodox'? Can you please explain because I really do not see the reason for division, unless we talk about the politics of Chalcedon and Imperial 'impact'.
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2005, 08:47:40 AM »

Aren't the Copts Monophysites? That makes a difference with the criteria of just not accepting Chalcedon and the next Ecumenical Councils.
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2005, 09:15:45 AM »

Im probably jumping into such a discussion prematurely, since I wanted to do some further investigation and research into it before finishing a discussion that I started on this very topic with greekischristian. I will let down my guard however, and just learn from any mistakes i may make.

Ntinos:

Quote
Isn't the Syrian Church under the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch? Or are we talking about a different Syrian Church?

I think just as with Alexandria, there exists two patriarchates ever since the 5th century schism: a Chalcedonian and non-Chalcedonian patriarchate.

Quote
Aren't the Copts Monophysites?


Let me quote for you the Priest's last confession that he chants at the end of the liturgy before the partaking of the Holy Eucharist, and you tell me if it sounds monophysite to you:

Quote
"Amen, Amen, Amen. I believe, I believe, I believe and confess unto my last breath, that this is the Life-Giving Body which Your Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ, took of our lady and queen of us all, the Mother of God, the Pure Saint Mary.

He made it One with His Divinity without mingling, without confusion and without alteration......
I believe that His Divinity never parted from His Humanity for a single moment, nor the twinkling of an eye. Given for salvation, and the remission of sins, and Eternal Life to those who partake of Him. Truly I believe that this is so in Truth. Amen."

Optxogokoc:

Quote
What is about the other four Oecumenical Councils of that Church that Non-Chalcedoinian Churches of the East find 'heterodox'?

I’m not sure if I can speak generally on this issue, but as for my own personal views which are in accord with H.H. Pope Shenouda III Patriarch of the See of Alexandria and Metropolitan Bishoy, we don’t find anything ‘heterodox’ about these councils, we simply don’t see them as ecumenical or doctrinally binding. We accept the substance of these councils as Orthodox, and can agree to such substance and intent, yet we do not want to be doctrinally bound by them. We believe they are one-sided since they are unrepresentative of Orthodoxy as a whole (failing to take into account the criticism of the Alexandrine tradition), and hence they are viewed merely as local councils at best.

We believe a balance in Christology was already resolved by A.D. 433, and that Chalcedon did nothing but shake that balance due to it’s being tainted by overzealous polemics, the Roman legate’s insistence on the tome of Leo being accepted in toto without its Orthodoxy being questioned (probably because of the Roman idea of papal supremacy, of which Leo was of course a major proponent), and other political factors. While I would not label Leo’s tome as heterodox, I still believe it to be weak and full of holes, and would prefer to accept it merely as a theologoumenon, in contrast to the Alexandrian Christology of St Cyril that was explicated in his 12 chapters, and which was further refined in his clarification and elaboration of the reunion formula between himself and John of Antioch, which I would consider doctrinally binding.

Though some extreme OO’s would mistakingly consider Chalcedon a Nestorian council (just as some extreme EO’s would mistakingly consider those OO who reject Chalcedon as “monophysites” in the Eutychian sense of the word), my belief is that it certainly cannot be Nestorian since it officially condemned Nestorianism, however it is a “bow to Nestorianism” in the sense that it left many gaps and loopholes for Nestorianism to creep in via some backdoor - which is why Nestorians were generally content with the tome of Leo in the first place, and why it took the later councils to patch up the gaps.

Quote
I really do not see the reason for division

Neither do I. If there wasn’t an unholy rivalry between certain Sees, and the furtherance of political interests to the detriment of true ecumenism, ultimately leading to the ex-communication of St Disocorus, then maybe the Cyrillians and Leonians could have worked around their semantical preferences and worked out a compromise. I have only started looking into the recent ecumenical dialogues between our church's and am so far pleased by the progress and look forward to a healthy reunion based on the truth, very soon - according to His good and blessed will.

Peace.
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2005, 10:49:37 AM »

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Let me quote for you the Priest's last confession that he chants at the end of the liturgy before the partaking of the Holy Eucharist, and you tell me if it sounds monophysite to you:

"Amen, Amen, Amen. I believe, I believe, I believe and confess unto my last breath, that this is the Life-Giving Body which Your Only-Begotten Son, Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ, took of our lady and queen of us all, the Mother of God, the Pure Saint Mary.

He made it One with His Divinity without mingling, without confusion and without alteration......I believe that His Divinity never parted from His Humanity for a single moment, nor the twinkling of an eye. Given for salvation, and the remission of sins, and Eternal Life to those who partake of Him. Truly I believe that this is so in Truth. Amen."

I was taught at school that the monophysites believe the Divine Nature of Jesus competely absorbed His Human Nature. The above sentence therefore does not sound monophysite to me.

You didn't answer clearly enough, are the Copts Monophysites? Also, are all Oriental Churches in communion with each other, and do they have the same dogma?
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2005, 11:42:49 AM »

Isn't the Syrian Church under the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch? Or are we talking about a different Syrian Church?
Aren't the Copts Monophysites? That makes a difference with the criteria of just not accepting Chalcedon and the next Ecumenical Councils.


When we say accepting Ecumenical councils, it means accepting the faith of the Ecumenical councils. There are decisions of Ecumenical council not followed by any Church,for example jurisdictional boundaries. Which Church strictly follows the boundaries defined in Ecumenical councils?   So, it is not about accepting the cardinality of councils as three or seven. Many EO think that if you accept 7, then you are Orthodox and OO that if you accept 3 then you are Orthodox. Three Ecumenical councils means the faith of these three councils.

So, Ecumenical councils are understood in terms of faith and other essential aspects. In this sense, if we try to answer to your question about the councils 4-7, is the faith of these councils acceptable? Theologians of both sides were engaged in a series of dialogue and came to the conclusion that the expression of faith of both sides can be interpreted to mean the same faith.

When you say Monophysite, first there should be a definition of what it really means. There is no consistent definition of this term.  Generally the West is very keen on having a definition for everything, but for Monophysitism this is somehow ignored (was it intentional act of Rome and others?). Some say it means Euthycian faith and others give alternate definitions. First, let there be a consistent definition of what it means to be Monophysite. Only then there is any relevance to comparing Monophysitism with Orthodox faith.

Peace

Paul

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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2005, 12:36:51 PM »

We Copts are not monophysite, but rather miaphysite in accordance with St. Cyril's Christological explanantions.  "Mia physis to Theo Logo sesarkomeni."  We reject the council of Chalcedon (451) and only recognize the first three (Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus). 

I recommend reading the older posts by blessed subdeacon Peter Farrington of the British Orthodox (Coptic Patriarchate).  His lengthy and edifying responses to Linus were glorious to say the least.

Also, our brethren in the Syriac Orthodox Church are under Moran Mar Ignatius Zakka Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, in communion with the other Oriental Orthodox churches, including my Pope Abba Shenouda III of Alexandria and the See of St. Mark, as well as the Armenian Apostolic Church- Catholicos Karekin II as Patriarch of All Armenians.  We also include Baselios MarThoma Mathews II of the Indian Orthodox Church, See of St. Thomas, and their Holinesses the Patriarchs of Ethiopia and Eriteria.  May the Lord preserve their lives!
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2005, 01:34:32 PM »

As Shenouti and EA explained, we hold to the christology of St.Cyril, Pillar of Faith, and his interpretation to the formula of reunion. If by monophysites you mean followers of the Eutychian heresy, we are definitely not and our church has never been condemned with such a heresy, even in Chalcedon. Sometimes, labels are exchanged without actually understanding what they mean.

As for Chalcedon, let is discuss its Orthodoxy later if there is a need to, although an excellent book by Father V.C. Samuel titled "Chalcedon Re-examined" can be consulted for an objective view, a masterpiece in research. CHalcedon is orthodox as much as the EO interpret it, but:

-The Tome is definitely an inferior work of theology and a departure of St.Cyril's work. It will never be admitted as an Orthodox document in our Church. If its acceptance is a condition for union, then it will never happen.

-Chalcedon accepted the heretical writings of Theodret, Ibas and Theodore, which are pure blasphemy. Later, the 5th council corrected this error and deemed them heretical, condemning the person of Theodore. 102 years before the Chalcedonian made this discovery, we rejected this council, for there is no way St.Dioscoros and later St.Timothy, St.Theodosius or St.Severus would have signed on acceptance of these writings. The problem in accepting the four councils from OO persepctive is the contradiction between the 5th and 4th council.

-Chalcedon was an imperial council and not a church council, dominated by the heavy tactics of Marcian and Pulcharia, and Leo of Rome. Leo of Rome is the Father of Papacy, his teachings established the Supremacy of Rome against the Tradition of the Church, and the council of Chalcedon saw his triumph on expense on many other issues. OO reject the any supremacy claims by Rome and accepting Chalcedon will result in accepting Rome as the dominant See, which is a heresy in our opinion and against our Tradition.

- The question of Theodret drafting the council's theological positions and actually reviewing the Orthodoxy of the Tome while his christology is clearly Nestorian cannot be overlooked. His half-hearted repentence is left to your judgement to figure out its sincerity, but his letter to John of Agae afterwards shows that he clinged to his Nestorian christology all along. We consider Theodret a heretic, his exoneration a mistake and his sitting in the council very suspecious.

- We never had to deal with any of the heresies that initiated councils 5, 6 and 7. While the dogma of these councils is sound, why should confess something we were not attending 14 centuries ago and are local in councils in every sense of the word ? We do not ask the EO to confess the council of Adess Ababa in 1965, nor to accept the decisions of every Holy Synod meeting in Alexandria. The councils 5,6,7 have the same weight as those councils for the Coptic Church and the OO churches.

Before we get into the obstacles of reunion, let us define the OO position on the reunion:

- Lifting of anathemas between the churches will be simultenous once the EO decide on a position regarding the OO. This means that we are ready to life anathemas anytime the EO come to an agreement regarding their view on the christology of the OO.

- No mutual confession of saints is necessary, which means that Dioscoros of Alexandria or Severus of ANtioch do not have to be added to the congregation of the saints in the EO churches, nor will Leo of Rome or Emperor Justinian for example be confessed as a saint in the OO church.

- No supremacy claims of either churches of the other.

- The basis for union is the same proclaimation of faith and the joint agreement in 1994. This is the Traditional way the Fathers from both sides approached the issue between 451 and 641. Three unions were achieved between Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople in this time, and they all went past Chalcedon and based their short-lived union on a common declaration of faith.

- Based on the last point, the councils 4,5,6,7 are locally binding and not universal councils, binding for the churches that attended it.

Why there is not union till now has to be addressed by the EO and what points mentioned above are not acceptable to them.

Please note that the union comes at a very heavy price for the OO and free for the EO. Between 451 and 641, under Marcian, Justin I, Justinian and Hercules and other EO Emperors and with the approval of the Chalcedonian side, whether Rome or Constaninople, millions have lost their life defending their faith on the OO side in Palestine, Antioch, Syria and in Egypt. Not so much as an apology was issued by the EP or any bishop. Note that the EO demanded a Roman apology for 1204.

In addition, there are other issues that might hinder the union. For example, EO allow mixed marriages of Orthodox and unorthodox , while we totally reject this. This is a problem in the West. If united, a Coptic Orthodox can marry a Protestant in an EO church and the marriage will be perfectly sacramental, yet in the Coptic Church eyes it is adultery.Such issues have to be resolved as well. It has to do with the ultra conservative nature of the OO churches in general, like the COptic Church, which looks with doubt to some liberal trends in the other churches.


 
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« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2005, 02:08:31 PM »

The whole issue is in the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon then. Are there any other dogmatic differences? Sacramental differences? The Church life is the same, or is anything different from the EO Church?

Also, why are you using the term Orthodox as well? The name Orthodox was used after 1054 by the Eastern Church in order to parallel with the name 'Roman' of the Western Church. Since the Oriental Orthodox Churches parted from the main Church in 451, when was the name Oriental Orthodox first used?

And a few more questions:
1) How far are we from a re-union? What exactly would the reunion mean for the Oriental Orthodox Patriarchs, that they resign and the Eastern Orthodox take their position?
2) Do you have Saints ever since 451 that could do miracles, or have the prophetic gift, or any other gift? A small list (if they are many) could do.
3) How many followers does the OO Church count?
4) Are all the Oriental Orthodox Patriarchates following the same disciples in faith?
5) Does the Oriental Orthodox Church consider the Eastern Orthodox Church heretical/unorthodox?

No evil intended, as religion is a controversial topic, and I do not want to cause controversy. Let's not discuss Chalcedon please.
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2005, 02:10:53 PM »

I'm not going to get involved in this discussion in considerable depth yet, as I told EkhristosAnesti that I will wait until he is ready to discuss this in detail, but I will make a few comments for the sake of clarification.

Much of what is being discussed here is simply semantic differences. In the Cappadocian (and Antiochian) tradition -å-à -â+¦-é became equated with ++-à -â+¦+¦, whereas in the Alexandrian tradition -å-à -â+¦-é became equated with -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é. This difference must be acknowedged if we are to even have a place to begin our discussion on the matter, and it would seem to be to be more benificial to simply use ++-à -â+¦+¦ and -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é in these discussions, acknowledging different understandings of -å-à -â+¦-é and perhaps avoiding it for political reasons.

As to the definition of 'monophysite' that would be a person who believes in one -å-à -â+¦-é, presumably those who accept the Cappadocian termonology would say that a monophysite is one who believe that Christ has only one ++-à -â+¦+¦ or substance and those who accept the Alexandrian termonology would say that a monophysite is one who believes that Christ has only one -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é or person...to the former the monophysite would be a heretic and to the latter Orthodox...but they are actually talking about two different things.

Now with that said, though I have read various documents relating to the dialogue between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox I am not very certain as to the Oriental Christology. From the official documents there seems to be an agreement on the one -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é of Christ and everyone is over-joyed by this realization that we agree on that; however, I have seen very little discussing whether or not they accept two ++-à -â+¦+¦ in Christ or their differentiations between ++-à -â+¦+¦ and -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é. I believe there are many points of theology that are accepted as Dogma by the Eastern Orthodox that we have simply not addressed in dogma, and I am uncertain as to the dogmatic posistions of the Oriental Orthodox on these posistions, and even whether or not they have addressed them.

Finally to address just a couple of Stavor's points, though the Tome of Leo is certainly Orthodox, it is a rather poor theological work and is not the standard of Chalcedon, rather the Synodal Letters and ultimately the Definition of the Synod are the Standards of the Council. And concerning the fourth to seventh oecumenical synods, if they must be accepted as only local synods and not as oecumenical, reunion will never occur...for any Bishop who made such a declaration would be regarded as anathema in the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2005, 03:08:42 PM »

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GC: And concerning the fourth to seventh oecumenical synods, if they must be accepted as only local synods and not as oecumenical, reunion will never occur...for any Bishop who made such a declaration would be regarded as anathema in the Orthodox Church.
The nature of any councils is decided by history facts, and not by agreement between churches. Chalcedon was rejected by what is now known as the OO, which makes it a local synod by those who accepted it. Councils 5-7 are local because the OO were not invited to it. They might be ecumenical for the EO because the OO do not exist in their frame of hierarchy, but if we reunite, then they will be local de facto.

But it is true that unity is unlikely under such conditions. The churches came to the conclusion of having the same faith back in the 1960's, and since then issues such as councils 5-7 and the veneration of saints in each Tradition have been the problem, and I do not see them resolved in the near future. Therefore, a confession of same faith should be the cornerstone for unity.
Quote
I believe there are many points of theology that are accepted as Dogma by the Eastern Orthodox that we have simply not addressed in dogma, and I am uncertain as to the dogmatic posistions of the Oriental Orthodox on these posistions, and even whether or not they have addressed them.
Can you name a few ? It will help also understanding how EO approach theology.

Quote
Finally to address just a couple of Stavor's points, though the Tome of Leo is certainly Orthodox, it is a rather poor theological work and is not the standard of Chalcedon, rather the Synodal Letters and ultimately the Definition of the Synod are the Standards of the Council

That is true, and that is why the OO churches have said that as long as the interpretation of the Synodal letter of 451 a.d. by the EO is Orthodox, then we confess their Orthodoxy. But what issues did this Synodal letter address that were not covered before by the writings of St.Cyril, St Athanasius and the Fathers of the Church?
In addition, Chalcedon contains the Tome of Leo, whether we like its formulation or not. The bishops were reluctant to accept it, yet they did , and it became a document of faith. The synodal committee judged it as perfectly Orthodox and in accordance with the letters of St.Cyril. If we eliminate the Tome, the Three Chapters, reverse the exoneration of Ibas and of Theodret, and definitely reject the excommunication of St.Dioscoros and his treatment at this council, and having a Synodal letter that adds nothing to our Orthodox understanding of Faith, then what is left of Chalcedon to confess from an OO point of view?
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« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2005, 03:55:09 PM »

The whole issue is in the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon then. Are there any other dogmatic differences? Sacramental differences? The Church life is the same, or is anything different from the EO Church?

Also, why are you using the term Orthodox as well? The name Orthodox was used after 1054 by the Eastern Church in order to parallel with the name 'Roman' of the Western Church. Since the Oriental Orthodox Churches parted from the main Church in 451, when was the name Oriental Orthodox first used?

And a few more questions:
1) How far are we from a re-union? What exactly would the reunion mean for the Oriental Orthodox Patriarchs, that they resign and the Eastern Orthodox take their position?
2) Do you have Saints ever since 451 that could do miracles, or have the prophetic gift, or any other gift? A small list (if they are many) could do.

Many. 

A 20th century Indian saint:
http://manoramaonline.com/advt/pambadi_thirumani/page03.htm


Quote
3) How many followers does the OO Church count?

Around 15 million Copts, 2.5 million Indians, 36 million Ethiopians, 1.4 million Eritreans, 6 million Armenians, 0.5 million Syrians and then several hundred members of mission Churches.

Quote
4) Are all the Oriental Orthodox Patriarchates following the same disciples in faith?

5) Does the Oriental Orthodox Church consider the Eastern Orthodox Church heretical/unorthodox?

Some of the EO fathers such as Pope Leo of Rome etc. are considered heretical in litury.

Peace

Paul
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« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2005, 04:23:09 PM »

The nature of any councils is decided by history facts, and not by agreement between churches. Chalcedon was rejected by what is now known as the OO, which makes it a local synod by those who accepted it. Councils 5-7 are local because the OO were not invited to it. They might be ecumenical for the EO because the OO do not exist in their frame of hierarchy, but if we reunite, then they will be local de facto.

Which is why our Hierarchs must insist on an acceptance of these Synods as Oecumenical before reunion can be possible...making the possibility of reunion very difficult, since we both seem to have posistions that we are unwilling, or perhaps more to the point, unable, to move from. We have had theological development since Ephesus, and are neither willing nor able to 'roll back the clock.'

Can you name a few ? It will help also understanding how EO approach theology.

First of all, let me state that I had a typo here, I meant to say 'I believe there are many points of theology that are accepted as Dogma by the Eastern Orthodox that we have simply not addressed in dialogue...' I hope this wasn't too confusing.

Well, one is, as I stated, if you say you hold the Cyrllian view of equating -å-à -â+¦-é and -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é, what of the distinction between ++-à -â+¦+¦ and -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é? Are you willing to speak of two ++-à -â+¦+¦, of two substances or essences, in Christ while maintaining one -å-à -â+¦-é, on -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é? Or how about which attributes are attributed to the Person and which attributes are attributed to the Nature? (this was the primary question of Constantinople III)

That is true, and that is why the OO churches have said that as long as the interpretation of the Synodal letter of 451 a.d. by the EO is Orthodox, then we confess their Orthodoxy. But what issues did this Synodal letter address that were not covered before by the writings of St.Cyril, St Athanasius and the Fathers of the Church?

What is ultimatley discussed is the two ++-à -â+¦+¦ of Christ, whereas Ephesus was a synod that dealt with the Personhood of Christ, Chalcedon dealt with another aspect of Christ, His Natures and Essences. Moreover, we refuse to reject the Tome of Leo and consider it to be Orthodox, but it must be understood within the Context of the Synod (it does not discuss a dual personhood of Christ like some Oriental Orthodox try to claim).
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« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2005, 06:13:25 PM »

Quote
Which is why our Hierarchs must insist on an acceptance of these Synods as Oecumenical before reunion can be possible...making the possibility of reunion very difficult, since we both seem to have posistions that we are unwilling, or perhaps more to the point, unable, to move from. We have had theological development since Ephesus, and are neither willing nor able to 'roll back the clock.'
How can the hierarchs of the EO insist on making a council ecumenical when it was not when it adjorned ? Applying the same logic, the EO have to confess all OO councils as ecumenical as well, and all local synods of each church as ecumenical as well. In addition, these councils were assembled to address heresies that arose on the Chalcedonian side, heresies that have their basis in a insufficient understanding of the Nature of Christ, including the iconoclast heresy. We never suffered from such heresies.
You are asking a perfectly healthy man to take a medicine for a disease he never suffered, just because you did once.

The underlying reason is not perserving the sound faith, for we confess the dogmas expressed by these councils before these councils even took place. There is a huge difference in approach here. The OO approach has been always to focus on the content of faith and would like to approach unity as between equals, which is already a huge step for the OO. It does not seem the EO share the same approach, one of equals. Anything else than equality must be rejected.
Quote
We have had theological development since Ephesus, and are neither willing nor able to 'roll back the clock.'

There should not be theological development to begin with in Orthodoxy. You might express the Apostolic Faith in different terms, different languages, but you cannot develop it. Nicea, Constantinople I, Ephesus are not developments, just confirmation of faith.
Quote
Well, one is, as I stated, if you say you hold the Cyrllian view of equating -å-à -â+¦-é and -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é, what of the distinction between ++-à -â+¦+¦ and -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é? Are you willing to speak of two ++-à -â+¦+¦, of two substances or essences, in Christ while maintaining one -å-à -â+¦-é, on -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é?
Thanks for your clarification, but to have a meaningful discussion, please define first what you mean by physis (Nature), hypostasis (essence) and maybe also ousia, prospon, in English. Conceeding the superiority of Greek as a language when it comes to theological matters, my Greek is limited and sometimes it is more beneficial to agree on a definition first, ot just simply explain the belief regarding the one incarnate Nature of Christ.
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What is ultimatley discussed is the two ++-à -â+¦+¦ of Christ, whereas Ephesus was a synod that dealt with the Personhood of Christ, Chalcedon dealt with another aspect of Christ, His Natures and Essences.

Already covered by St.Cyril and by Ephesus I and confirmed by Ephesus II, which took care of Nestorianism and is sufficient to expose Eutychian-like heresies.
Quote
we refuse to reject the Tome of Leo and consider it to be Orthodox, but it must be understood within the Context of the Synod
The last part of the sentence is very important, and key to understanding Chalcedon. I believe you hurt Pope Leo of Rome badly by this statement, for in the context of the council, knowing the presence of the likes of Ibas and Theodret and other members who championed Nestoriansim, who were condemned by a church council, and knowing the gravity of Nestorianism and that it was not totally rooted out, he sends a Tome that opens the door back for Nestorianism.
The Tome by itself is very weak, as we agreed. Why did Pope Leo of Rome chose such language ? Maybe because :

- It reflects his true belief. This is dangerous, for his Tome, together with his relation to Theodret, Ibas, Nestorius himself and the actions of his delegation at Chalcedon, and rejecting the Tradition of St.Cyril, does not reflect his Orthodoxy.

- Leo of Rome lacks knowledge about theological matters. The primary responsibility of any Bishop, let alone the Bishop of Rome, is to conserve the Orthodox faith. He should have left the issue to Alexandria as blessed Pope Celestine and blessed Pope Sextus did when they submitted to the superiority of St.Cyril in christology.

As for his Tome, we will disagree. I believe it to be very vague and poor. ...
"the activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh. One of these performs brilliant miracles; the other sustains acts of violence. As the Word does not lose its glory which is equal to that of the Father, so neither does the flesh leave the nature of its kind behind."
Does this sound orthodox to you ?

Confessing one person (Christ) does not automotically guarantee Orthodoxy, for the union in prospon (Nestorian) would assume one person / one nature as long as it is a mask or just a union like in matrimony as Theodret wrote.

I am trying to explain why the OO have serious objection to the dogmatic positions of Chalcedon as well as its procedures, and that the only way for union (after both sides confessed the Orthodoxy of the other) is by starting with the agreed statement.
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« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2005, 06:15:21 PM »

Thanks for keeping it non-Chalcedonian.

To me the issue seems simple: Just priests fighting again over who is superior and who has better views on the subject of Christology.

Since we don't have the mind to explain the divine ourselves, and not even the biggest Saint, if not given the gift of theology by Jesus himself cannot explain Jesus, why do we even mess with the issue?
Hint: We won't solve the issue in this thread.

A question to greekischristian: Does the Orthodox Church consider the Copts Orthodox?

A question to Oriental Orthodox Christians: Since I'm a Chalcedonian Orthodox Christian, am I considered anathematised/heretical by your Church?
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« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2005, 07:30:06 PM »

Brother Ntinos,

You may find usefull information in this links:

http://www.romanity.org/htm/ro4enfm.htm
http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.08.en.st._cyrils_one_physis_or_hypostasis_of_god_the_log.htm
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« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2005, 07:48:22 PM »

GreekisChristian,

Quote
Which is why our Hierarchs must insist on an acceptance of these Synods as Oecumenical before reunion can be possible...

That’s very unlikely to happen. Why cannot intercommunion be re-established primarily upon recognition of the agreed Orthodoxy of our respective doctrines, and the OO agreement of the intent and substance of what these Synods taught, without having to accept every pronouncement or article of faith as infallible or doctrinally binding?

Proposals for Lifting Anathemas (1993)
1. In the light of our Agreed Statement on Christology at St. Bishoy Monastery 1989, and of our Second Agreed Statement at Chambesy 1990, the representatives of both Church families agree that the lifting of anathemas and condemnations of the past can be consummated on the basis of their common acknowledgement of the fact that the Councils and Fathers previously anathematized or condemned are Orthodox in their teachings. In the light of our four unofficial consultations (1964, 1967, 1970, 1971) and our three official meetings which followed on (1985, 1989, 1990), we have understood that both families have loyally maintained the authentic Orthodox Christological doctrine and the unbroken continuity of the apostolic tradition, though they may have used Christological terms in different ways.
http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state04.html

Why don’t we learn from the precedent established between St Cyril and John of Antioch? What exactly did St Cyril expect from John in order that his Orthodoxy be reinstated?

Quote
Well, one is, as I stated, if you say you hold the Cyrllian view of equating -å-à -â+¦-é and -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é, what of the distinction between ++-à -â+¦+¦ and -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é?

I’m still looking into it, but nowhere have I found that physis and hypostasis are equated as metaphysical equivalents in Cyrillian Christology. I think the term physis has two differing contexts in which it can be employed: A static sense vs. a dynamic sense. In its static sense, physis is essentialistic, and is thus equivalent to it’s essence or intelligible form. In it’s dynamic sense, nature relates more to operative capacity. I believe Cyrillian Christology affirms two natures in the static sense, and one nature in the dynamic sense - such that all the operations of Christ flow from His One nature - The nature of God the Logos incarnate -  yet can also in thought alone be ascribed to the respective properties of the divine and human nature (essentialistically speaking) which constitute the One nature of God the Logos incarnate, in their perfect union without mingling, without confusion, and without alteration.

Maybe St Cyril did use what I call "dynamic physis" as the equivalent of "hypostasis", whilst using what I have called "static physis" as the equivalent of "ousia". I will have to look further into it.

Peace.


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« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2005, 08:29:54 PM »

Well, one is, as I stated, if you say you hold the Cyrllian view of equating -å-à -â+¦-é and -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é, what of the distinction between ++-à -â+¦+¦ and -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é?

Brother EkhristosAnesti,
 
May be you can find this link helpfull (in case you do not know about it) : http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.08.en.st._cyrils_one_physis_or_hypostasis_of_god_the_log.htm

Extract:
"Another objection, and perhaps the most serious, which Chalcedonian Orthodox have with the Ephesine Council of 449 is its rejection of Cyril's allowance for two natures after the union and its one-sided exclusiveness in this regard. This comes out clearly in the fact that at the Flavian Synod of 448 the minutes of Ephesus were read and accepted  and also by the fact that both Flavian and Eusebius accepted One Nature of God the Logos Incarnate so long as Christ's consubstantiality with us is clearly professed.  However, Dioscoros simply rejected all talk of two natures after the union. When the imperial representatives asked why Flavian was deposed since he did accept One Nature of the Logos Incarnate, Eustathius of Berytus admitted making a mistake.  Dioscoros, however, claimed that Flavian contradicted himself by accepting two natures after the union. The strange thing is that both were correct, since for Flavian physis meant ousia, whereas for Dioscoros it meant hypostasis. Nevertheless, knowingly or not Dioscoros was bent on erasing what Cyril had done in 433.

 In confronting Eutyches denial that Christ is consubstantial with us Flavian and Eusebius were clearly speaking of two physeis as equivalent to two ousiai. For them double consubstantiality meant two natures. For Eutyches physis and ousia were also synonymous and he evidently at first believed that Cyril's One Nature meant One Ousia, hence his hesitation to accept them as names for Christ's humanity. Cyril does use ousia and physis as synonymous when speaking of the Holy Trinity.  There is no question of course about his use of physis as equivalent to hypostasis. Yet he never speaks of there being one ousia in Christ and clearly speaks of the flesh of Christ as being consubstantial with ours.  In Christology he uses physis, hypostasis, and prosopon as synonymous, yet he never, as far as I know, speaks of Two Prosopa before the union and one after, as he does with the other two terms. Equivalent to his One Nature of God the Logos Incarnate is his One Hypostasis of God the Logos Incarnate of his Third Letter to Nestorius  and his Defense of the Twelve Chapters.  In the light of all this and all which was said at Chalcedon, the anathema pronounced in the definition on those who say two natures before the union and one after the union was intended for anyone with Eutyches who denied that Christ is consubstantial with us. There is no doubt that the definition should have contained the phrase or ousia as one finds after the phrase one physis in the eighth and ninth anathemas of the Fifth Ecumenical Council. This would have avoided much misunderstanding. It perhaps was not done at the Fourth because possibly Cyril's One Nature of God the Logos was taken as equivalent to One Ousia and the word Incarnate as equivalent to a second ousia or physis. That this was possible is borne out clearly by the Flavian Synod of 448, as well as the explanations given by both Eusebius and Flavian at Ephesus in 449, as we have already indicated.

 It should be noted that One Hypostasis of God the Logos Incarnate and not One Physis of God the Logos Incarnate is to be found in Cyril's Third Letter to Nestorius approved by Ephesus and Chalcedon. These terms are, of course, absolutely synonymous for Cyril. Yet it seems very obvious that at the Flavian Synod of 448 and at Chalcedon, the true Cyrillian meaning or usage of One Nature was overlooked simply because the phrase One Nature after the union was not contained in the synodical letters of Cyril which alone were familiar to all participants of both Councils.

 At the Endemousa Synod of Constantinople in 448  and in his confession of faith of 449 Flavian says that Christ is out of or from two natures. yet he spoke in the same breath of two natures after the union. At the Council of Chalcedon Dioscoros vigorously rejected any talk of a union of two natures (as found in the formulary of reunion approved by Cyril) and insisted exclusively on a union out of or from two natures. For Dioscoros this meant that after the union there could be only one nature. Had this term had the same function for Flavian as it did for Dioscoros, the bishop of New Rome would have found himself believing with Eutyches in one ousia after the union, since for him physis meant ousia. Nevertheless, the imperial representatives were so impressed by the fuss Dioscoros made over this question, that they used this as an example to convince the bishops of the need of drafting a statement of faith. It is at this point that Anatolius intervened to remind the assembly that Dioscoros was not deposed for heresy, but because he excommunicated Leo.  In their interlocution at the fifth session the imperial representatives said that Leo says union of two natures whereas Dioscoros says union out of two natures. Whom do you follow ?" they asked. The Reverend Bishops cried, "As Leo, thus we believe. Those who gainsay are Eutychinists".  In the light of what happened in sessions two and four with Leo' s Tome, one wonders if a deliberate attempt was made wit the minutes to make Leo look a little better at Chalcedon in order to offset the obvious humiliation he underwent. Keeping in mind the Council's subordination of Leo to Cyril one must take seriously the fact that in the letters of Cyril which served as the basis of the Council's deliberations the terms from two natures or from two One occur several times. It is understandable that Dioscoros made this a big issue and it so became subsequently. One can understand the imperial representatives trying to make the question look like a big victory for Leo. Attila had to be met by the force of an empire united in everything and especially helpful was the bishop of Rome who must not now be humiliated. But even when in two natures is accepted as the original reading of the Chalcedonian definition (although from two natures is what the rnanuscripts contain), it should be taken as an anti-Eutychianist statement meaning in two ousiajs, since this is what had been denied. Thus the Fifth Ecumenical Council rejects as heretical from two natures only when its proponents mean to teach one ousia in Christ. It stands to reason that had anyone proposed in two natures in the sense of rejecting Cyril's from two natures he would have certainly been challenged. Anatolius reply to the imperial representatives is indicative of the fact that the leaders of the Council were not in any mood to see in these phrases any contradiction, and in fact there were none. Would the non-Chalcedonian say that Christ is out of two ousiai in the same way he says out of two physeis? If not then he can t expect a Chalcedonian to do what he won't. What is then left is to speak of Christ as of two ousiai or in two ousiais. This is all a Chalcedonian means by of two natures and in two natures. It seems that bickering over such terms was the result of a heresy hunting temper which lumped Leo and Theodoret into one theological camp because of the alliance between them. "
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« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2005, 09:52:26 PM »

 
Quote
A question to greekischristian: Does the Orthodox Church consider the Copts Orthodox?

 A question to Oriental Orthodox Christians: Since I'm a Chalcedonian Orthodox Christian, am I considered anathematised/heretical by your Church?

I can't speak for everyone here, but I can tell you my experiences.

I have been told by several EO's that the Coptic church is heretical, it is not a matter of semantics that seperated us, and that we are not Orthodox. Is that the consensus...I hope not. But I was very disturbed to read this. They continued to claim we follow Euytches(sp?) the man we excommunicated who taught that Jesus was only Divine. Now clearly if anyone were to learn anything about our church you would learn that we do not believe any of that. They would quote Pope Shenouda's book The Nature of Christ to prove we are Monophysites, and would refer to us as the Monophysite Coptic Church. They further explained how they are the only true Orthodox Church and if we want to join them we would have to repent and accept their 7 ecumenical councils.

They also explained how a reunion of the churches would be wrong because it would be a false union. And that participating in the ecumenical discussions is wrong as well.

One the other hand, in my opinion, the EO church is just as Orthodox as we are. And I consider them my brothers and sisters, but...it has been made clear to me that they do not agree.

God Bless,
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« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2005, 10:01:17 PM »

lpap,

Thank you for referring me to this article, I will certainly get around to it once ive done my other readings. However skimming over it, I believe it speaks too generally in some areas, and hence needs to be qualified, else it can be easily misinterpreted.

In my previous post I made what I feel to be a most necessary distinction: that between static physis and dynamic physis, and I feel that once this distinction is made, a lot of misconceptions (as those which I prima facie see inherent in that article) can be cleared up. Hence I feel it appropriate in discussion to employ the four terms: 1) static physis, 2) dynamic physis, 3) hypostasis, and 4) ousia, as separate terms, where we can determine from the context of the usage of physis, which type is implied (i.e. 1 or 2), and how each type relates to 3) and 4). So for example, I will just randomly pick out one sentence that I feel needs to be qualified:

Quote
However, Dioscoros simply rejected all talk of two natures after the unionGǪ.


Since the Christological discussions of Chalcedon concerned the Incarnation (i.e. after the union), and hence nothing to do with some static object of contemplation, but rather with concrete operations/functions on the part of God become man, then it is in this sense that St Dioscorus in remaining faithful to Cyrillian Christology, chose to reject speaking of two natures in relation to the Incarnate Word (i.e. after the union). To speak of two natures after the union as pertaining to reality (as opposed to abstract thought) is to implicitly speak of two differing operative capacities, and a such is to implicitly suggest two dynamic natures and hence two hypostasis.

In this sense, St Dioscorus was in complete harmony with St Cyril in affirming that the union arose out of two natures (essentialistically) which resulted in the One dynamic nature of God the Logos Incarnate - such that from then on (i.e. after the union), one cannot speak of two natures since in reality there is none, but only in thought. It wasn’t the divine nature which offered the bread of life, and the human nature which hungered for bread, it was God the Logos Incarnate who both hungered for bread and offered the bread of life, due to the composite nature of the dynamic nature (The One nature of God the Logos Incarnate) of two perfectly united (without mingling, confusion or alteration) static natures (the human and divine).

Peace.

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« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2005, 11:19:42 PM »

Stavro,
How can the hierarchs of the EO insist on making a council ecumenical when it was not when it adjorned ? Applying the same logic, the EO have to confess all OO councils as ecumenical as well, and all local synods of each church as ecumenical as well. In addition, these councils were assembled to address heresies that arose on the Chalcedonian side, heresies that have their basis in a insufficient understanding of the Nature of Christ, including the iconoclast heresy. We never suffered from such heresies.
You are asking a perfectly healthy man to take a medicine for a disease he never suffered, just because you did once.

The more I think of the issue and actually discuss I fear that I am coming to the realization that we actually do express different theologies, perhaps union is not really the option we once thought it was, the EO must insist on the Oecumenicity of these Synods, because we accept the Dogmas as Absolute and unquestionable. To allow one to enter the Church without confessing these Dogmas would effectively reduce them to theologumena, which is simply not an option for us, we would rather remain separate than compromise our faith by reducing the Authority of our Oecumenical Synods.

Thanks for your clarification, but to have a meaningful discussion, please define first what you mean by physis (Nature), hypostasis (essence) and maybe also ousia, prospon, in English. Conceeding the superiority of Greek as a language when it comes to theological matters, my Greek is limited and sometimes it is more beneficial to agree on a definition first, ot just simply explain the belief regarding the one incarnate Nature of Christ.

Let's see, I'm not a psychologist but I shall make an attempt to define these as best I can. Prosopon, I believe, was used by the School of Antioch and is regarded as equivalent to hypostasis (Person). Physis, to us, is the equivalent of ousia (Essence or Substance). As far as the definitions of ousia and hypostasis, I believe the best thing we have to go off of are the dogmatic writings on the Holy Trinity and the dogmatic decrees of Nicea I and Constantinople I. Ousia is that in God which is One, and hypotasis is that in God which is Three. From Ephesus I believe we can state that relationship is determened by personhood (hypostasis) and thus we say that Mary is Theotokos, and also from Nicea I we get hypostasis as the soruce of relationship within the Trinity. From Constantinople III I can say that Ousia is the source of the Energies and of the Will, thus we speak of one Energy and Will in God, and of Two Energies and Wills in Christ.

As for his Tome, we will disagree. I believe it to be very vague and poor. ...
"the activity of each form is what is proper to it in communion with the other: that is, the Word performs what belongs to the Word, and the flesh accomplishes what belongs to the flesh. One of these performs brilliant miracles; the other sustains acts of violence. As the Word does not lose its glory which is equal to that of the Father, so neither does the flesh leave the nature of its kind behind."
Does this sound orthodox to you ?

Yes, it sounds perfectly Orthodox to me. Will and Energy are elements of the Ousia, Christ had two Ousiai; thus, Christ also had two Wills and two Energies...to say otherwise would be either Monophysite or Monothelite. (They are still worshiped as One Christ, not as two Christs, or as a Christ inhabited by a divine logos...relationship is an element of Personhood, Christ is only one being...if this is what you were getting at)


EkhristosAnesti,
That’s very unlikely to happen. Why cannot intercommunion be re-established primarily upon recognition of the agreed Orthodoxy of our respective doctrines, and the OO agreement of the intent and substance of what these Synods taught, without having to accept every pronouncement or article of faith as infallible or doctrinally binding?

Proposals for Lifting Anathemas (1993)
1. In the light of our Agreed Statement on Christology at St. Bishoy Monastery 1989, and of our Second Agreed Statement at Chambesy 1990, the representatives of both Church families agree that the lifting of anathemas and condemnations of the past can be consummated on the basis of their common acknowledgement of the fact that the Councils and Fathers previously anathematized or condemned are Orthodox in their teachings. In the light of our four unofficial consultations (1964, 1967, 1970, 1971) and our three official meetings which followed on (1985, 1989, 1990), we have understood that both families have loyally maintained the authentic Orthodox Christological doctrine and the unbroken continuity of the apostolic tradition, though they may have used Christological terms in different ways.
http://www.orthodoxunity.org/state04.html

Why don’t we learn from the precedent established between St Cyril and John of Antioch? What exactly did St Cyril expect from John in order that his Orthodoxy be reinstated?

The Councils are the Proclimations of our Doctrine, I dont really see how either side could acknowledge, or even desire, a union in which half viewes council as Oecumenical, Authoritive, and the Closest thing on this earth to Infallible, and the other side rejects them. If the Oriental Orthodox truly do embrace the Dogmas that we Proclaim I do not see why they would have a problem accepting Councils that teach what they Believe...if on the otherhand they reject the Dogmas of those Councils, I do not see why they would want to be in communion with us. Concerning Cyril and John of Antioch, if I recall properly, John of Antioch had to accept the Decisions of Ephesus. As far as the agreements go, I've been reading them as part of a class (the Monophysite Controversy) that I have been taking this Semester, and as I said before, I dont believe they really address many issues, and the theologians on both sides seem afraid to dig too deep.

In my previous post I made what I feel to be a most necessary distinction: that between static physis and dynamic physis, and I feel that once this distinction is made, a lot of misconceptions (as those which I prima facie see inherent in that article) can be cleared up. Hence I feel it appropriate in discussion to employ the four terms: 1) static physis, 2) dynamic physis, 3) hypostasis, and 4) ousia, as separate terms, where we can determine from the context of the usage of physis, which type is implied (i.e. 1 or 2), and how each type relates to 3) and 4). So for example, I will just randomly pick out one sentence that I feel needs to be qualified:

I fear I am not entirely certain about how 'static physis' and 'dynamic physis' fit into the picture as I have only come across these terms a few times and have not worked with them; however, from what you wrote, I doubt we would be in agreement using the terms that you have.

Since the Christological discussions of Chalcedon concerned the Incarnation (i.e. after the union), and hence nothing to do with some static object of contemplation, but rather with concrete operations/functions on the part of God become man, then it is in this sense that St Dioscorus in remaining faithful to Cyrillian Christology, chose to reject speaking of two natures in relation to the Incarnate Word (i.e. after the union). To speak of two natures after the union as pertaining to reality (as opposed to abstract thought) is to implicitly speak of two differing operative capacities, and  a such is to implicitly suggest two dynamic natures and hence two hypostasis.

We believe energy and will to be the realm of ousia, not hypostasis, so in the terms of dynamic vs. static physis, we would equate dynamic physis with the ousia if I properly understand your use of the terms (also, from your definitions, as we consider will and energy to be properties of the ousia we would consider 'operative capacities' to be part of the ousia, and we do believe there to be two of them present in Christ, one Human and One Divine). Thus as we speak of two ousiai we would also speak of two natures (dynamic) after the union (as well as before).

In this sense, St Dioscorus was in complete harmony with St Cyril in affirming that the union arose out of two natures (essentialistically) which resulted in the One dynamic nature of God the Logos Incarnate - such that from then on (i.e. after the union), one cannot speak of two natures since in reality there is none, but only in thought.

Going off your previous examples of use for static and dynamic physis (the best I can guess is that we would consider static physis to be the equivalent of hypostasis and dynamic physis to be the equivalent of ousia), we would have to confess two dynamic physes in Christ, as there are two Energies and two Wills in Christ.

It wasn’t the divine nature which offered the bread of life, and the human nature which hungered for bread, it was God the Logos Incarnate who both hungered for bread and offered the bread of life, due to the composite nature of the dynamic nature (The One nature of God the Logos Incarnate) of two perfectly united (without mingling, confusion or alteration) static natures (the human and divine).

There was only one Person who both offered the Bread of Life and and hungered for bread; but in this one person we can speak of two wills and two energies, each a part of a different nature, one of which willed to give the Bread of Life and the other of which hungered for bread...but there was only one person, only one hypostasis. At this point, the best I can guess is that our disagreement is in the location of the will (hypostasis or ousia) and the number of wills in Christ, I am not entirely certain on your posistion in this matter; ours was defined at Constantinople III which established will and energy as an element of the ousia (or physis, as long as physis is understood in the tradition of Chalcedon which assumes that physis and ousia are the same) and that as there are two ousia in Christ, there are also two Wills and two Energies.
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« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2005, 04:33:47 AM »

GreekIsChristian,

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The Councils are the Proclimations of our Doctrine

But they were a doctrine proclaimed in the absence of our fathers, and in the absence of the flavor of our own Alexandrian tradition, and hence one-sided and not representative of universal Orthodoxy. Nothing can change this, because this is history.

Quote
I dont really see how either side could acknowledge, or even desire, a union in which half views council as Oecumenical, Authoritive, and the Closest thing on this earth to Infallible, and the other side rejects them.

Because it is the substance of our faith which is essential to re-union - unless both sides acknowledge this then it seems that there will never be re-union. What’s done is done, it cannot be changed, and it cannot be forgotten.

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If the Oriental Orthodox truly do embrace the Dogmas that we Proclaim I do not see why they would have a problem accepting Councils that teach what they Believe...

We do not embrace Leonian Christology as dogmatic and never will; the best we can do is embrace it as Orthodox. I believe the tome of Leo if understood in its appropriate context, can be interpreted as Orthodox, but I do not want to be bound by such a weak Christology, nor do I accept that it is an infallible, close to infallible, or even a reasonable explication of Orthodox Christology - OO is more than content with the Christology that was affirmed by 433 A.D. Nor do I believe that the council of Chalcedon achieved anything productive; as I said before it was tainted by overzealous polemics, and it merely used a double condemnation (i.e. that of Nestorius and Eutyches) as it’s positive affirmation of Orthodox doctrine, and as such, failed to provide any clarity or focal point for Orthodox Christology, but rather left open a vast spectrum in between two extremes.

Re-union is not going to happen by making the OO accept councils that unfairly dismissed and disregarded them, and that discussed essential issues in their absence, failing to take into account their traditions and views; no matter how Orthodox the substance and intent of the councils in question really are in retrospect. The EO request that the OO accept these councils as Ecumenical, is just as valid as an OO request that the EO reject these councils as Ecumenical. Neither is going to happen, nor do I believe this was ever a point pressed upon in those ecumenical dialogues which have shown psotivie progress - as shown in the agreed statement pasted in my previous post which was purely concerned with the Orthodoxy of doctrine.

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if I recall properly, John of Antioch had to accept the Decisions of Ephesus.

Let me be more specifc here; John of Antioch merely had to proclaim the substance of what was pronounced Ephesus. Nowhere can I find that St Cyril required that John of Antioch accept or recognize Ephesus as ecumenical or doctrinally binding, nor did he even try pressing upon every point in every canon, or even the acceptance of his 12 chapters. What was essential however and what John of Antioch did according to the reunion formula between him and St Cyril, was accept and confess the substance, and hence the intent of the Council itself. It is highly doubtful that John of Antioch even changed his opinion concerning the actual events of Ephesus 431, however his confession - one of basic agreement rather than one of full identity of the teachings and traditions - was accepted by St Cyril upon the basis that it was in sufficient harmony with the substance of the Council of Ephesus.

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As far as the agreements go, I've been reading them as part of a class (the Monophysite Controversy) that I have been taking this Semester, and as I said before, I dont believe they really address many issues

It nonetheless achieved a well balanced synthesis between Alexandrian and Antiochene Christology - a balance that Chalcedon only disrupted. I think the best that we have with regards to a complete Christology which avoids the deficiencies of and overcomes the weaknesses of the Alexandrian, Antiochene, and Leonian Christology’s, is the Christology of St Severus which he maintains remains absolutely faithful to St Cyril, yet integrates Antiochene concerns much more profitably. St Severus’ Christology being an interpretation of Cyrillian Christology proves the Alexandrian tradition to be superior to the Antiochene and Chalcedonian in the sense that it is capable of adapting to the critical questions posed to it.

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We believe energy and will to be the realm of ousia, not hypostasis

I'm not quite sure what your implications are concerning the use of your expression "in the realm of". I believe will flows from the hypostasis/person and reflects/manifests the dynamic nature in which this hypostasis/person exists, and which determines the energies/acts according to the operative capacity of that very nature.

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we would equate dynamic physis with the ousia

We wouldn’t. The dynamic physis of Christ is The One nature of God the Logos Incarnate, which is itself comprised from two ousia - the human and divine.

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as we consider will and energy to be properties of the ousia we would consider 'operative capacities' to be part of the ousia, and we do believe there to be two of them present in Christ, one Human and One Divine.

We certainly affirm the divine and human ousia in Christ, but we believe that their union constitutes the ultimate One dynamic nature of God the Logos Incarnate, and that Christ thus possesses One Will and One act that ultimately flow from this One dynamic nature, and which are determined by it’s operative capacity which in itself is determined by the respective properties of the two distinct yet inseparable static physis - the human and divine. Therefore, (In thought alone ) this One will does reflect/manifest at various times the humanity of Christ, whilst at other times it reflects His divinity, and hence the abstract distinction between the “human will” and the “divine will” - however we believe that to speak of these as “two wills” pertaining to the reality of the Unified incarnate Word is simply to imply division as opposed to mere distinction - the union of the “two wills” means essentially that Christ possesses one will which naturally belongs to the Incarnate Word. The human will is not self-subsistent, but rather belongs to the divine will which is, and hence there is ultimately one will.

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Thus as we speak of two ousiai we would also speak of two natures (dynamic) after the union (as well as before).

Thus as we speak of the One nature of God the logos incarnate from two natures(static)/ousiai, we therefore speak of one dynamic nature after the union.

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I am not entirely certain on your posistion in this matter; ours was defined at Constantinople III which established will and energy as an element of the ousia (or physis, as long as physis is understood in the tradition of Chalcedon which assumes that physis and ousia are the same) and that as there are two ousia in Christ, there are also two Wills and two Energies.

Our position is clearly defined in the following agreed statements made between our two churches:

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.

 
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« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2005, 06:32:42 AM »

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Coptic: I have been told by several EO's that the Coptic church is heretical, it is not a matter of semantics that seperated us, and that we are not Orthodox.
And this might be true... it was not just semantic that made the split in Chalcedon. There was different theology and different tradition adopted than Nicea, Constantinople and Ephesus, and extreme politics involved. The idea that the Chalcedonian body was -officially- Nestorian between 451 a.d. and 553 a.d. until they corrected the mistakes of Chalcedon cannot be dismissed easily. The claim that it was just semantic also assumes that after 451 a.d., there was no more talks between the two sides, which is a common misconception. There has been attempts of unity on local levels as well as universal levels, and the two sides moved past Chalcedon. Three unity attempts were successful.
This excuse of misconception does not do justice to the intelligence of the theologians from both sides, who sit together, discuss the facts together, and yet remain unable to understand each other.
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But I was very disturbed to read this. They continued to claim we follow Euytches(sp?) the man we excommunicated who taught that Jesus was only Divine. Now clearly if anyone were to learn anything about our church you would learn that we do not believe any of that
First,no reason for being disturbed. The confession of our Orthodoxy by any party will not make us more Orthodox than we already are. In addition, the EO do not seem to be united on their view on the Orthodoxy of the OO, with some influential leaders believing in our Orthodoxy. Moreover, the claim that OO are Eutychian is unsubstantiated, for there are no writings, sermons or any resources that would validate this claim. The heresy of Monophysites has been condemned by St.Timothy III, St.Theodosius, St.Philoxenus and by the great writings by the great St.Severus.
In addition, this claim lacks fundamentalism in its true sense. The OO church has never been condemned in Chalcedon for this heresy, so on what basis are we condemned now, after 16 centuries, for a dogma never adopted by our Church ?
As for the book by H.H. Pope Shenouda, it is the standard of Orthodoxy because it is nothing more or less than what St.Athanasius wrote and St.Cyril explained.
Quote
They further explained how they are the only true Orthodox Church and if we want to join them we would have to repent and accept their 7 ecumenical councils.

Difference in approach and sincerity of efforts to reach reunion.

Greek christian,
we will differ regarding the Tome, it cannot be accepted as Orthodox. Confessing one person of Christ does not exclude Nestoriansim, as I mentioned in my last post.
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« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2005, 06:57:40 PM »

Much of what is being discussed here is simply semantic differences. In the Cappadocian (and Antiochian) tradition -å-à -â+¦-é became equated with ++-à -â+¦+¦, whereas in the Alexandrian tradition -å-à -â+¦-é became equated with -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é. This difference must be acknowedged if we are to even have a place to begin our discussion on the matter, and it would seem to be to be more benificial to simply use ++-à -â+¦+¦ and -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é in these discussions, acknowledging different understandings of -å-à -â+¦-é and perhaps avoiding it for political reasons.

As to the definition of 'monophysite' that would be a person who believes in one -å-à -â+¦-é, presumably those who accept the Cappadocian termonology would say that a monophysite is one who believe that Christ has only one ++-à -â+¦+¦ or substance and those who accept the Alexandrian termonology would say that a monophysite is one who believes that Christ has only one -à -Ç++-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é or person...to the former the monophysite would be a heretic and to the latter Orthodox...but they are actually talking about two different things.

I agree with your remarks but I wonder how many non-monophysite are aware of Trinity essense/person (++-à -â+»+¦/-à -Ç-î-â-ä+¦-â+¦-é) relation ?

Let me present a part of John Zizioulas , metropolitan of Pergamon essay regarding "A brief presentation of the main points of the Orthodox Church from the point of view of contemporary people in the East" http://www.trinitylight.net/theology/japan_orthodoxy_eng.htm

"A brief presentation of the main points of the Orthodox Church from the point of view of contemporary people in the East"

"...God is Love, is the Trinity, Yet is One

These three persons are distinguishable, but not separable. We see here something very deep; we do not know what God is, but we know how God is. God is a communion of three persons. This is why God is love. Not because He has love (for humanity, for the world, etc.) actually when world did not exist. Whom did God love? Himself? This is selfishness. As we see if God is only one person He cannot be love; we can only say He has love.

It is different to have love and it is different to be love. Only God can be love, and the way this love exists is in the coexistence of three persons. To make it clearer: every one of us exists as an individual. I exist even if you like me or not. I am what I am (my job, my name, etc.), and even if you accept it or not, I have papers, so I can prove it. But the Trinity is not like that. The Father is the Father because he has the Son, and the Son calls Him Father. The Son is the proof, let us say, of the Father.

Here Love becomes a major definition of life, not only an attribute! We live in a society seeking love, but we are unable to find a proper or satisfactory answer. God, being love, loves anybody, without any particular reason, without any obligation, without distinguishing between good or bad people. God loves us whether we are good or not. God does not love the way we love, or as in the famous platonic dialog about love, where we must love the good. God loves us freely not because he has to do so.

I will try to clarify a little more. There is knowledge that is obligatory and knowledge in love. The first one is the knowledge of God that the devils have. They know Him like power, but they do not recognize Him as the Father and their Father. People who want to see miracles in order to believe have the same knowledge. The other knowledge is to recognize Him as the Father.

If there is reincarnation or not, even if I have experience and knowledge, this does not means that definitely I will change, that I will choose the good. The Greek idea that we are bad because of ignorance, which means that I need many lives to be educated to be good, does not work, because our relationship with God [or others] is a matter of free choice, not of knowledge. The loving relation always maintains a privacy, a uniqueness, the unexpected; not everything is resolved, so we can accept many conflicting questions, i.e. Why did God not prevent the bad things?

This has very deep consequences for our life. For we do not live this way but we should. Instead, we live divided. This division in humans is the hell. The other is my hell, as Sartre says, for in him I see my constraints, my restrictions, he is the restriction to my freedom, and more, in his death I first realize my death.

Yes, we live in a different way. This is why we feel pain, why our life is pain. To make it simpler, we suffer a space and a time separation, so we cannot be united even-if we really want to, but for God there is no space, no time. So the Persons of the Trinity live in perichoresis (or mutual interpenetration), (Greek term) distinct but not separate, interchanging everything except their personal identity; the Father is still the Father, not the Son, the Holy Spirit is not the Father, etc.

The fathers of the church use the word person, but they do not describe completely how God is when they use this term, unlike the way we use the word person with a positive, descriptive meaning to identify somebody. (There are no words to describe the “what” that is the Father, or what the divine birth is.) Somebody can ask why there are three persons and not four or two. We simply do not know. God told us that it is three, but we humbly can suspect that may be there are no other ways of existing. One who is the reason (the Father, out of time), to be Begotten (the Son) to be proceeded (the Holy Spirit). There may be no other way. And each of these persons is unique. This is why the Father has no need to have many sons, because then we would have many gods. He is called Father and not Mother out of any concept of feminism, for God has no gender. More important than gender is the idea of family. This is the first time we see a father giving birth.!!!!

Then how can we say that God is one? For the Orthodox Church, God is one first because there is one Reason, one Source, the Father, and second because the three persons have one essence. When we say essence of God, even though we cannot know what it is, or how it exists, we nevertheless understand that it is one, and that the three persons do not share the essence (the power, the wisdom, the identities of God). Neither do they divide the essence (for example, each person having 1/3), but each person is a perfect God. (This is why the church does not accept the so called filioque, the incorrect Roman Catholic theory about the Holy Spirit, that the Holy Spirit also proceeds from the Son, because then the Spirit would have two reasons—the Father and the Son, so we would no longer have one God. - this happened from the misunderstanding of the Greek term +¦kporeyetai thinking that the Spirit goes somewhere—to the world. Yet how God is in Himself and how God acts to the world is different. The term “proceed” describes the special way that the Holy Spirit exists, not how He acts toward us. For example, I proceed from Greece, I am Greek;, this is how I exist. So proceed does not describe where I go, but my way of existing.

How can God be one God and not three Gods? Because of the Father. One would therefore have said that the unity of God, the ontology of God consists in the substance of God: God first is God (His substance or nature, His being), and then He exists as Trinity, that is, as persons. This interpretation in fact prevailed in Western theology, and actually this is what most people know about the Trinity, but it is not correct.

The significance of this interpretation lies in the assumption that the ontological principle of God is not found in the person but in the substance, that is, in the being itself of God. Indeed the idea took shape in Western theology that that which constitutes the unity of God is the one divine substance, the one divinity; the unity of God, the one God, and the ontological principle or cause of the being and life of God does not consist in the one substance of God but in the hypostasis, that is, the person of the Father.

The one God is not the one substance but the Father, who is the cause both of the generation of the Son and of the procession of the Spirit.

Consequently, the ontological principle of God is traced back, once again, to the person. Thus when we say that God is, we do not bind the personal freedom of God; the being of God is not an ontological necessity or a simple reality for God but we ascribe the being of God to His personal freedom.

In a more analytical way this means that God, as Father and not as substance, perpetually confirms His existence through His free will to exist. And it is precisely His Trinitarian existence that constitutes this confirmation: the Father that out of love, that is, freely, begets the Son and brings forth the Spirit.

If God exists, He exists because the Father exists, that is, He who out of love freely begets the Son and brings forth the Spirit. Thus God as person as the hypostasis of the Father makes the one divine substance to be that which it is: the one God.

As St. Athanasios the great says, “The Father wants his substance to exist”. So God exists on account of a person, the Father, and not on account of a substance. Let us try to analyze more the concept of person.

The Person: Biological Existence is Not Enough

Each one of us seeks to be a person, But in man’s case this quest comes into conflict with his created-ness: as a creature he cannot escape the necessity of his existence. The person, consequently, cannot be realized as a fully human reality.

Philosophy can arrive at the confirmation of the reality of the person, but only theology can treat the genuine, the authentic person, because the authentic person, as absolute ontological freedom, must be uncreated, that is, unbounded by any necessity, including its own existence. We can say this is perfection, this is the state of enlightment.

The ultimate challenge to the freedom of the person is the necessity of existence.

But what is this freedom of self-affirmation of existence? How is it expressed? How is it realized?

Existence is given to me from my biological conditions, from the laws of the universe, from the power of karma if you prefer. It seems that the only way of exercising absolute ontological freedom for man is to commit suicide (as expressed in literature, Dostoyevsky, for example); but suicide does not solve the problem. But from this we understand that we cannot in the human condition define the person. Buddhism also expresses the burden of existence, the ultimate pain of existing or non-existing. This is the cry for the no self, especially in Zen, for no constraints, the ultimate freedom of existence out of any constraints of existence.

So only from the Holy Trinity we can understand the concept of the person, for only the three persons are real persons. We are also a kind of person, yet we are incomplete persons. The first man became a person, because god blew to him the special spirit of life, according to the Bible, and made him also according to God’s image. God made Adam to be in a very unique and deep relationship with Him, i.e. to be a person. So with the original fall Adam refused this unique relationship.

To be a person means to be in communion, in relation primarily to God and secondary to others. The main characteristic of the “I” have is not the soul but the person. I become what I choose to become.

Person Means Communion, Coexistence

As we can see, according to the Church we are relational beings. We know also that we have a body. We know that we have something more than this. Some call it a soul. But the person is the whole being. We can say that the Church integrates all the theories for human beings:

The idea that there is a substance which makes up a human being
The idea that a human is a relational creature, a set, as David Hume and Dereck Parfit in the west support.
As I said we do not do psychology, but we can appreciate and accept the idea of ‘no self’' if we are out of our selfishness, if we are in ‘relation’ with God and others.

Otherness is crucial for existence

This is why when we pray using the prayer of the heart, we say, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” I do not say mercy for this or that brother, but for me, because he is me, I am he, in Christ’s grace. He came to unite me with the others...."
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« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2005, 10:09:49 PM »

For your reading enjoyment, I am providing the contents of my church's brochure and other cool stuff...

"Saint Gregorios Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church

The Oriental Orthodox Churches are the original Christian churches of North Africa, the Middle East, and India. Founded by the holy apostles themselves, they have maintained the original, primitive and ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN faith taught by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through the past 2000 years, despite many hardships and persecutions.

After the day of Pentacost, the apostles began to carry the gospel beyond their homeland. While St. Paul brought the faith to the Greeks and later to Rome, the other apostles and disciples began to move beyond the boundaries of the Roman Empire. St. Peter, before traveling to Rome, went first to Babylon (in Iraq) and then to Antioch (in modern day Turkey), while St. Thomas (Mar Thoma), carried the new faith to Persia (Iran) and India (in 52 A.D.), and St. Simon (Mar Shimun Knanaya), St. Thaddeus (Mar Addai) and St. Bartholomew (Mar Bartolmi) preached to Armenia and parts of Persia.

After spending some time in Rome with St. Peter, St. Mark went to Alexandria (Egypt) where he too made many converts. Where the apostles went, they established churches, ordained bishops, priests and deacons by the laying on of the hands. They imparted the faith they had learned from our Lord, and entrusted their followers with the apostolic traditions still preserved by the Oriental Orthodox Churches -- the celebration of the Holy Eucharist (called 'Qurbana' in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus and the apostles) and the other sacraments or "mysteries" of the Church. Long before all the books of the New Testement were written and put together, Christianity had found a home among people of many ethnic groups around the world.

The Oriental Orthodox Churches are: The Armenian Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches, the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church of India. Each church has its own distinctive features due to differences in culture, language and history, but all share the faith summed up in the Nicene creed and venerated in the Holy Scripture and apostolic traditions.

Each church is governed by its own Synod of Bishops, and local churches are under the care of the priests and deacons.

The name "Orthodox" means "right worship" and was adopted by the Christians in the early centuries (rather than the term "catholic" used in western Europe) because of the many heresies such as Gnosticism, Arianism, Eutychianism and many others with which they had to contend.

Over 20 million people belong to the Oriental Orthodox Churches and their numbers are increasing in the United States and Canada.

If you are interested in leading a life of holiness, in following our Lord in the path of peace and charity, you may be interested in joining an Oriental Orthodox Church.

St. Gregorios Church in Spokane was established as a mission parish in 1987 and has members from many diverse communities including Egyptian, Ethiopian, Turkish, Syrian, Eritrean, Iranian, African-American, Asian Indian, Jordanian, English, Irish, Mexican and German.
We welcome you with open arms and we know you will feel included in our church."

There is a very interesting history surrounding the founding of the church in my town. In the 1980's, Father Michael Hatcher was a seminarian at Gonzaga University's Bishop White Seminary but he had doubts about celibacy and the Roman church's lack of adherence to Apostolic Tradition. At Gonzaga, he met Gita, a woman from India and a member of India's Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. They eventually fell in love, he left the seminary, and then they got married. Still desiring to become a priest and dissatisfied with Catholicism, he became a priest in the Orthodox Church and founded the first Malankara church in Spokane. Subsequently, two friends he had in Bishop White's Seminary joined Hatcher, one becoming a deacon and the other becoming a priest.

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« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2005, 10:15:10 PM »

What is about the other four Oecumenical Councils of that Church that Non-Chalcedoinian Churches of the East find 'heterodox'? Can you please explain because I really do not see the reason for division, unless we talk about the politics of Chalcedon and Imperial 'impact'.

The miaphysite christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria is the christology accepted by the Council of Ephesus. The Byzantine and Latin Churches, on the other hand, accepted a conflicting christology in Chalcedon which one could mistake for Nestorian.
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« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2005, 10:18:34 PM »

Aren't the Copts Monophysites? That makes a difference with the criteria of just not accepting Chalcedon and the next Ecumenical Councils.

No, we are miaphysites. We believe that Christ is fully divine and fully human in one incarnate nature.
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« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2005, 04:05:45 PM »

But they were a doctrine proclaimed in the absence of our fathers, and in the absence of the flavor of our own Alexandrian tradition, and hence one-sided and not representative of universal Orthodoxy. Nothing can change this, because this is history.

It would seem to me that either you would consider them Orthodox or you wouldn't, if you do you should have no trouble accepting them, if you don't then since we still have theological disagreements this discussion is moot. Plus, I dont believe that the Alexandrian tradition was entirely absent, actually the theology of Maximos the Confessor is heavily based in the Alexandrian Tradition...he is probably closer to Clement of Alxenadria and Origen than even Cyril was.

We do not embrace Leonian Christology as dogmatic and never will; the best we can do is embrace it as Orthodox. I believe the tome of Leo if understood in its appropriate context, can be interpreted as Orthodox, but I do not want to be bound by such a weak Christology, nor do I accept that it is an infallible, close to infallible, or even a reasonable explication of  Orthodox  Christology - OO is more than content with the Christology that was affirmed by 433 A.D. Nor do I believe that the council of Chalcedon achieved anything productive; as I said before it was tainted by overzealous polemics, and it merely used a double condemnation (i.e. that of Nestorius and Eutyches) as it’s positive affirmation of Orthodox doctrine, and as such, failed to provide any clarity or focal point for Orthodox Christology, but rather left open a vast spectrum in between two extremes.

Re-union is not going to happen by making the OO accept councils that unfairly dismissed and disregarded them, and that discussed essential issues in their absence, failing to take into account their traditions and views; no matter how Orthodox the substance and intent of the councils in question really are in retrospect. The EO request that the OO accept these councils as Ecumenical, is just as valid as an OO request that the EO reject these councils as Ecumenical. Neither is going to happen, nor do I believe this was ever a point pressed upon in those ecumenical dialogues which have shown psotivie progress - as shown in the agreed statement pasted in my previous post which was purely concerned with the Orthodoxy of doctrine.

I'm still not understanding how you can say something is Orthodox and not Embrace it...either it is Orthodox, and thus what you believe, or it is Heterodox. And if reunion is to occur, there also has to be an acknowedgement that agreement on theological issues is not enough, there is more to the Church than simply theology (e.g. rejecting councils is just as serious as rejecting theology), which is why I dont think reunion is even a consideration anytime in the near future.

It nonetheless achieved a well balanced synthesis between Alexandrian and Antiochene Christology - a balance that Chalcedon only disrupted. I think the best that we have with regards to a complete Christology which avoids the deficiencies of and overcomes the weaknesses of the Alexandrian, Antiochene, and Leonian Christology’s, is the Christology of St Severus which he maintains remains absolutely faithful to St Cyril, yet integrates Antiochene concerns much more profitably. St Severus’ Christology being an interpretation of Cyrillian Christology proves the Alexandrian tradition to be superior to the Antiochene and Chalcedonian in the sense that it is capable of adapting to the critical questions posed to it.

Our theology has always been apophatic, someone starts a heresy and the Church reacts. Ephesus reacted against those who overemphasized the Humanity of Christ and underemphasized his Divinity. Chalcedon did the opposite, it reacted against those who overemphasized his Divinity and underemphasized his Humanity. We believed Chalcedon that created the well balanced synthesis between Alexandrian and Antiochian Christology, prohibiting the division or confusion of the Humanity and Divnity of Christ, and establishing that Christ is homoousious with both God and Man.

I'm not quite sure what your implications are concerning the use of your expression "in the realm of". I believe will flows from the hypostasis/person and reflects/manifests the dynamic nature in which this hypostasis/person exists, and which determines the energies/acts according to the operative capacity of that very nature.

We wouldn’t. The dynamic physis of Christ is The One nature of God the Logos Incarnate, which is itself comprised from two ousia - the human and divine.

We certainly affirm the divine and human ousia in Christ, but we believe that their union constitutes the ultimate One dynamic nature of God the Logos Incarnate, and that Christ thus possesses One Will and One act that ultimately flow from this One dynamic nature, and which are determined by it’s operative capacity which in itself is determined by the respective properties of the two distinct yet inseparable static physis - the human and divine. Therefore, (In thought alone ) this One will does reflect/manifest at various times the humanity of Christ, whilst at other times it reflects His divinity, and hence the abstract distinction between the “human will” and the “divine will” - however we believe that to speak of these as “two wills” pertaining to the reality of the Unified incarnate Word is simply to imply division as opposed to mere distinction - the union of the “two wills” means essentially that Christ possesses one will which naturally belongs to the Incarnate Word. The human will is not self-subsistent, but rather belongs to the divine will which is, and hence there is ultimately one will.

The here we disagree, for our Sixth Oecumenical Synod establishes for us that there are two Independent Wills in Christ, and the Human Will is neither assumed nor marginalized by the Divine Will, but is equally present and influential in the actions of Christ. Now I guess for semantic reasons one could define the ultimate actions of Christ as they actions of one will that is a synthesis of some sort derived from His two Wills, but it would have to be empahsized that this one Will is not merely the Will of the Divine Logos, but it is equally the Human Will of Christ, with neither taking precedence over the other, though we believe that the human Will of Christ follows the Divine Will, this does not mean that they are always the same nor does it mean that the human will is subject to the Divine Will, only that it is consonant with it. But in the end this creation of a one 'ultimate will' is an artificial creation that no one would have no difficultiy agreeing with, for the Actions of Christ came out as one Action, even if they believe he is two Persons; but our Christology is not so much concerned with the lack of a split personality in Christ as it is about the metaphysical attributes of Christ.


Our position is clearly defined in the following agreed statements made between our two churches:

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.

3, provided that both the Natures are Preserved as distinct after the incarnation, is the Christology of Chalcedon. 5 is the Christology of Ephesus. And 4 is the Christology of Constantinople III, but it seems that the disagreement is coming in how we view this 'combined will' you defined relates to the Human and Divine Will, you seem to be implying that the Divine Will dominates over the Human Will and thus the 'combined will' of Christ is little more than the Will of the Divine Logos, to the exclusion of the Will of the Human Ousia. Whereas we believe that this 'combined will' is more of a Synergy of these two Wills, which are equally present and though always in agreement, not always the same (e.g. the Human Will did not want to die on the Cross, but was willing to because it was the Will of God, which was the Divine Will, they were in agreement as to the act and consonant with each other, but they were different).


lpap,
It's a good article, like much of our theology, it has its philosophical basis in Plotinus, Metropolitan John simply makes a step to equate being and love in certain ways. For our conversation here, it makes the important point that relationship is personal, it belongs to the person/hypostasis/prosopon and not to the Nature/Essence/Ousia...thus the confessing of two Natures has no effect on the relationships of Christ to God and Man or His relatinship to Himself the God-Man, and the Great problem with Nestorian Christology is that it affected the relationship, humanity was related to the Human Christ and God was related to the Divine Logos, but there was no Unity in Christ on account of the Division of Person and thus there was no Relationship between God and Man...as Chalcedon establishes the one person/hypostasis of Christ it does not run this Risk when speaking of two Natures or two Wills because these do not affect this salvific and deifying relationship.
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« Reply #31 on: April 17, 2005, 06:17:57 PM »

the Human Will did not want to die on the Cross, but was willing to because it was the Will of God, which was the Divine Will, they were in agreement as to the act and consonant with each other, but they were different

Brother greekischristian

I agree with your analysis but I think that the above passage may need to be clarified in the following way (this of course is my opinion):

I think that: Jesus as a human Person accepted the reality of His human nature. That is “to die”. The place and condition of dying is irrelevant. When He prayed at the Mountain before his arrest he was not struggling against His death. He was not having the will to live in contrast to the mortal human nature of His, nor was He seeking to avoid death at all. He absolutely realized that “to be human” is “to die”. That was the point in the first place in His embracement of our human way of being: to get personally involved in living all realities of human life.

I think that what is usually perceived as “disagreement” between human-Christ and Divine-Christ that was manifested at the Mountain prayer is a misunderstanding of His words.

Mark 14:34-36 And He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch."
And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by.
And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will."


We presume that each one of His natures had its own will. Natures do not have will. Persons do. What we are not realizing is that He was One Person living two separate incompatible ways of life: the created human one, as a man among us and the un-created Devine one, as the second Person of Trinity. Being Person as Logos of Holy Trinity defined both His un-created Devine nature as well as His created human one. That is a mystery to us because we do not define out nature. Our human nature is given to us.

In this context Jesus did not have two wills. What Orthodox Fathers and Church are saying is that Christ as a man-God has One will. This one will comes from One Person, the Logos, Who by living in two realities he is not considering himself as a divided Person with two “combined wills”.

Nevertheless for us, participating only in our own human reality that is absolutely alienated from His uncreated life, it seems that there are two wills in Him: one human and another Devine one. Because His will is expressed in regards to a human reality that we may understand and at the same time in regards to a Devine reality that we can not comprehend, we are making the mistake to separate His will into two instead of accepting a non understandable unification of a known reality and of an transcendental one. It’s an old mistake made by humans to define everything in our way of life.

In this frame, as humans are having separate wills regarding of whom are they talking with, turning apart their personalities, likewise we may as well assume that Christ has a “human” Divinity that needs to unify/combine two distinct wills.

This is just no so. Christ is One Person that has One will.

So in Christ there is not a 'combined will', but a “combined way of life”. The “combination” is in regards to uncreated Devine life and created human one that Christ Himself as a Person combines living by His One will. This combination is truly a unification in regards of the One Person that combines the two lives but at the same time it maintains the discrimination of the one life being created and the other life being uncreated. This “paradox” is hard to be accepted from several Oriental Christian homologies that are not capable to participate in such a self-denying reality because they fail to realize that Trinity Persons are not defined by their Devine nature but actually they are the Devine Persons themselves that define their Devine nature. 
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« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2005, 01:52:47 PM »



No, we are miaphysites. We believe that Christ is fully divine and fully human in one incarnate nature.


We are not Miaphysites or Monopysites. We are Orthodox! We reject any name other than Orthodox. 

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« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2005, 02:00:46 PM »


We are not Miaphysites or Monopysites. We are Orthodox! We reject any name other than Orthodox.

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Paul

Given that the term "orthodox" began to be used in the Catholic Church far earlier than 451- in fact to refer to the non-Arian Church - it seems pointless to argue over the names of our churches (as some have done here in the past to no good purpose).
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« Reply #34 on: April 19, 2005, 03:31:39 PM »

"Miaphysite" is the name which Oriental Orthodox theologians use to describe our christology.
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« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2005, 11:19:53 AM »

Dear Matthew, In my understanding, the Church was never called 'Miaphysite' or 'Jacobite' or 'Henophysite'.  Church fathers always called it Orthodox.  It is only in recent times that terms like 'Miaphysite' is attributed to the Church.  'Miaphysite' is just one aspect of the faith of the Church expressed in the Christological writings of St. Cyril.   Considering all aspects, the Church is Orthodox.

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« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2005, 12:37:07 PM »

Dear Matthew, In my understanding, the Church was never called 'Miaphysite' or 'Jacobite' or 'Henophysite'. Church fathers always called it Orthodox. It is only in recent times that terms like 'Miaphysite' is attributed to the Church. 'Miaphysite' is just one aspect of the faith of the Church expressed in the Christological writings of St. Cyril. Considering all aspects, the Church is Orthodox.

-Paul

Excellent point Paul!  The terms "monophysite" and "miaphysite" have become means of painting the Oriental Orthodox as something unique and unusual.  Even the term "oriental" is new...In the writings of the Fathers for several centuries after Chalcedon...we were simply called the Orthodox of Alexandria, or the Orthodox of Antioch or Jerusalem...

All of these terms are used for convenience but we should not allow ourselves to accept labels that are imposed on us.

In Christ,
Raouf
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« Reply #37 on: April 20, 2005, 05:52:37 PM »



Excellent point Paul! The terms "monophysite" and "miaphysite" have become means of painting the Oriental Orthodox as something unique and unusual. Even the term "oriental" is new...In the writings of the Fathers for several centuries after Chalcedon...we were simply called the Orthodox of Alexandria, or the Orthodox of Antioch or Jerusalem...

All of these terms are used for convenience but we should not allow ourselves to accept labels that are imposed on us.

In Christ,
Raouf

Brothers of the Orthodox of Alexandria, or the Orthodox of Antioch or Jerusalem,
there is a reason for the so called "monophysite" or "miaphysite" label existance.

I really hate to label others of anything let alone faith issues.

So I ask you a honest and straight and simple question:
Do you accept that Mary mother of Jesus is truly the Mother of God ? (theotokos)
If your answer is “no” then you have a “monophysitic” faith, and nobody is calling names at you for that.

If someone have called me “dual-physite” I would have no problem with that. Although he may used that label to dissociate me from his believes I have no problem with that because he talks about my faith in a truthful manner.

Do you want to be called “Orthodox” and the others eastern churches to be called “dualphysite”?. There is no problem with name conventions. The problem is in the intention to distort the faith of others by using fake names.

A Greek Orthodox priest, Fr. J. Romanidis, that had participated in many inter-Orthodox talks with the eastern churches of Afrika and Middle East, said in his books that: ”One must emphasize that acceptance of the Three or Seven Ecumenical Councils does not in itself entail agreement in faith. The Franco-Latin Papacy accepts these Councils, but in reality accepts not one of them. In like manner there are Orthodox, since Peter the Great, who in reality do not accept the soteriological and Old Testament presuppositions of these Councils. On the other hand those of the Oriental Orthodox, who have not been Franco-Latinised in important parts of their theology, accept the first three of the Ecumenical Councils, but in reality accept all Seven, a fact which has now become clear in recent agreements”.

So brothers I agree with you that the "form" kills and the Spirit is the Breath of Life. We should not stay in naming issues, there are important faith issues to talk about.
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« Reply #38 on: April 20, 2005, 07:08:32 PM »

Lpap,

I think you missed the point of Paul's message to which I replied.  You cannot define the Church by reducing it to one aspect of her faith, namely her Christological formulas. That is like saying that the Church should be defined as "homoousiasts" or "homoiousiasts" or some other such distinction.  I think it suffices to distinguish between the Orthodox using Eastern/Oriental...while still flawed.

Then you wrote:

Quote
So I ask you a honest and straight and simple question:
Do you accept that Mary mother of Jesus is truly the Mother of God ? (theotokos)
If your answer is “no” then you have a “monophysitic” faith, and nobody is calling names at you for that.

I have no idea what you are saying, since to to answer "no" would be more likely Nestorianism than Monophysitism.  Of course, the answer for us is yes, it was, after all our Partriarch, St. Cyrill who defended this title against those that later went on to agree with Chalcedon.

In Christ,
Raouf
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« Reply #39 on: April 20, 2005, 08:56:14 PM »

Lpap,

I think you missed the point of Paul's message to which I replied. You cannot define the Church by reducing it to one aspect of her faith, namely her Christological formulas. That is like saying that the Church should be defined as "homoousiasts" or "homoiousiasts" or some other such distinction. I think it suffices to distinguish between the Orthodox using Eastern/Oriental...while still flawed.

Then you wrote:



I have no idea what you are saying, since to to answer "no" would be more likely Nestorianism than Monophysitism. Of course, the answer for us is yes, it was, after all our Partriarch, St. Cyrill who defended this title against those that later went on to agree with Chalcedon.

In Christ,
Raouf

Brother I agree with you, that's why I included the followin passage: "One must emphasize that acceptance of the Three or Seven Ecumenical Councils does not in itself entail agreement in faith. The Franco-Latin Papacy accepts these Councils, but in reality accepts not one of them. In like manner there are Orthodox, since Peter the Great, who in reality do not accept the soteriological and Old Testament presuppositions of these Councils. On the other hand those of the Oriental Orthodox, who have not been Franco-Latinised in important parts of their theology, accept the first three of the Ecumenical Councils, but in reality accept all Seven, a fact which has now become clear in recent agreements”.
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« Reply #40 on: April 21, 2005, 06:01:40 AM »

greekischristian,

As I told you in PM, I have been waiting for a brother to confirm for me whether my particular stance on the councils does indeed represent the general position of OO as held by the authorities and official representatives; however it seems that he is taking too long to reply, and I wanted to get a reply in to you before pascha week. Therefore, I am going to continue arguing my own position which I believe represents the OO view, however I am open to correction by anyone if what I say seems to go against the general consensus.

Quote
It would seem to me that either you would consider them Orthodox or you wouldn't, if you do you should have no trouble accepting them,

I do consider them Orthodox and as such I accept them as Orthodox councils (and councils 5-7 probably as doctrinally binding), but as I already mentioned; just because I may consider the substance and intent of a council as Orthodox, it does not necessarily follow that I must accept that council as ecumenical or even doctrinally binding. There are other essential qualifying factors regarding the latter two titles I believe. A doctrinally binding council, is not one which merely proclaims Orthodoxy in substance and intent, but also with clarity, focus, and strength - in the expressions used and terminology employed. An ecumenical Council requires further qualification; it is a council which truly accounts for the inner wholeness of theology and which represents the universal church and Orthodoxy as a whole, and hence taking into account all the flavours, traditions, contributions and criticisms that that can be offered. Ecumenicity based on a representative selection of Bishops however, is I believe secondary to the most important qualifying factor; and that is, the contribution of a council to the ontology of the life of the church.

Quote
And if reunion is to occur, there also has to be an acknowedgement that agreement on theological issues is not enough, there is more to the Church than simply theology (e.g. rejecting councils is just as serious as rejecting theology), which is why I dont think reunion is even a consideration anytime in the near future.

From what I have read so far (which I admit is not much) of the recent ecumenical dialogues regarding a possible future re-union; an agreement between EO and OO regarding the status of certain councils is a non-issue. It seems that you want a re-union based on formality, rather than a re-union based on essence.

What exactly is “serious” about rejecting a council as Ecumenical based on a retrospective analysis of that council, and the conclusion that it did more damage to the church (by resulting in an unholy and unjustified schism), than it did good (by condemning two extreme heresies)? What exactly is “serious” about choosing to maintain as a matter of preference, one’s own line of tradition, expressional formulas, and terminology, when it can be agreed that in context we are proclaiming the same theology?

I fail to see how you can compare conflicting theologies with conflicting stance’s on councils as if they are “just as serious” as the other, considering that the former defines the essence of one’s faith, whilst the latter simply defines one’s position and perspective on history - one that cannot change unless history itself were to change, which it obviously will not.

I think the modern day EO’s need to drop this arbitrary and unwarranted view of “infallible” or “close to infallible” councils. I believe the point I brought up concerning the precedent established by St Cyril and John of Antioch regarding the process towards re-inter-communion, is a valid one. St Cyril certainly didn’t view Ephesus as infallible to the point that John had to formally accept it as an ecumenical council, along with every pronouncement, canon or even the 12 chapters. I believe this at least provides some basis to our position, whereas i see none for yours.

Why should we try and even define the work of the Holy Spirit through these councils? Is it really impossible to conceive that serious errors were made at Chalcedon without this necessarily negating the Holy Spirit’s work at Chalcedon per se? Human/divine synergy is always how the church has operated.

Quote
Plus, I dont believe that the Alexandrian tradition was entirely absent, actually the theology of Maximos the Confessor is heavily based in the Alexandrian Tradition..

Maximos the Confessor leaned more towards Antiochene Christology with his stress on the two wills of Christ, and hence he can be seen to depart from (yet not necessarily conflict with) Alexandrine Cyrillian Christology which emphasized the unity of The Word, and hence the ultimate one will. I must stress however that the heresy of monothelitism was one rejected by non-Chalcedonian proponents such as St Severus just as it was rejected by Maximos the Confessor. St Severus stressed the distinction between the human will and the divine will, but also stressed the fact that the human will being non self-subsistent, was reliant upon the hypostatic union for it’s subsistence; and was also perfectly aligned with the divine for all practical purposes.

Quote
We believed Chalcedon that created the well balanced synthesis between Alexandrian and Antiochian Christology

That’s where we have to agree to disagree, without allowing such an agreement inhibit a re-union process. I can accept that Chalcedon had good intentions to attempt to find a synthesis; but an attempt is one thing and achievement is another. Nestorians received the tome of Leo quite well; not because it was actually Nestorian in it’s intended context, but because it left open a wide spectrum in between the two extremes such that it could be easily misinterprted as Nestorian at face value. I think this is enough evidence to prove the point that it was not well balanced.

Quote
The here we disagree, for our Sixth Oecumenical Synod establishes for us that there are two Independent Wills in Christ, and the Human Will is neither assumed nor marginalized by the Divine Will, but is equally present and influential in the actions of Christ.

I don’t think there is any disagreement between what I said, and what was proclaimed at the Sixth council. The idea of the “ultimate One will” of Christ, without this compromising the reality of the distinction between the divine and human will, I believe is very well supported in the following definition of faith proclaimed during the 18th session of the sixth council:


"...defining all this we likewise declare that in him are two natural wills and two natural operations indivisibly, inconvertibly, inseparably, inconfusedly, according to the teaching of the holy Fathers. And these two natural wills are not contrary the one to the other (God forbid!) as the impious heretics assert, but his human will follows and that not as resisting and reluctant, but rather as subject to his divine and omnipotent will. For it was right that the flesh should be moved but subject to the divine will, according to the most wise Athanasius. For as his flesh is called and is the flesh of God the Word, so also the natural will of his flesh is called and is the proper will of God the Word, as he himself says: "I came down from heaven, not that I might do mine own will but the will of the Father which sent me!" where he calls his own will the will of his flesh, inasmuch as his flesh was also his own. For as his most holy and immaculate animated flesh was not destroyed because it was deified but continued in its own state and nature (orw te kai logw), so also his human will,although deified, was not suppressed, but was rather preserved according to the saying of Gregory Theologus: "His will [i.e., the Saviour's] is not contrary to God but altogether deified." (http://www.ccel.org/fathers/NPNF2-14/6const3/faith.htm)

The deification of the human will, it’s subjection to the divine, as well it’s “belonging” to the divine, in so far as it’s subsistence is reliant upon it’s union with the self-subsistent Word, we have I believe an expression of the unity of the will of Christ which we defend, without compromising the continuing integrity and reality of the human and divine wills.

It is not distinction that we oppose, but rather division. This has always been the stance of OO proponents, including H.H. Pope Shenouda III.

Peace.
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« Reply #41 on: May 05, 2005, 12:53:20 AM »

I think the modern day EO’s need to drop this arbitrary and unwarranted view of “infallible” or “close to infallible” councils...

The view that our Imperial and Oecumenical Synods are authoritive (not 'invallible') is something that we are neither willing nor able to drop...they are an integral part of our ecclesiology. We can no more dismiss the universal authority of Chalcedon than we can dismiss the universal authority Nicea or Ephesus, in our Ecclesiology all the Seven Oecumenical Synods are of Equal Authority, and altering or diminishing the decrees of Chalcedon would be an act of the same magnitude as removing the anathemas and decrees against Arius or Nestorius; it would essentially require another Oecumenical Synod, especially after 1550 years, otherwise, it would simply be unacceptable by our ecclesiology...and since we believe Chalcedon to be a precise and accurate expression of Orthodox Christology, it would also be theologically unsound from our perspective. As far as John of Antioch goes, he accepted the Theology and Formulae of Ephesus, and though a vocal acceptance of the Synod was not required, a rejecting of the rejection of the Council essentially was, and the fact that Anitoch did accept Ephesus is demonstrated by the fact that by the Council of Chalcedon, Ephesus was accepted, without reservation, as an Oecumenical Synod.

Maximos the Confessor leaned more towards Antiochene Christology with his stress on the two wills of Christ, and hence he can be seen to depart from (yet not necessarily conflict with) Alexandrine Cyrillian Christology which emphasized the unity of The Word, and hence the ultimate one will.

Actually I was talking about things like the Philosophy, Soteriology, and General Theology of St. Maximos the Confessor (who's Christology was not Antiochian, it was Chalcedonian, which as I said before we view to be the centre between Antioch and Alexandria). Part of my point is that the Philosophical and Soteriological tradition of Alexandria does not mandate 'miaphysitism' but can be equally consonant with 'diophysitism.'

That’s where we have to agree to disagree, without allowing such an agreement inhibit a re-union process. I can accept that Chalcedon had good intentions to attempt to find a synthesis; but an attempt is one thing and achievement is another. Nestorians received the tome of Leo quite well; not because it was actually Nestorian in it’s intended context, but because it left open a wide spectrum in between the two extremes such that it could be easily misinterprted as Nestorian at face value. I think this is enough evidence to prove the point that it was not well balanced.

It's been a while since I've read through the Tome of Leo, though when I read through it I, of course, read it in the Context of the Council of Chalcedon. The Tome of Leo was not the Dogmatic statement of the Council, it was merely a received document, comprable to the minutes of the Synod. The dogmatic statement of the Synod can be found in her Definition and Anathemas, seeing how the Synod anathematized the Nestorians it would be difficult to call it Nestorian. Furthermore, I do not really see how the theology could even be confused as Nestorian. The interpretation of physis as hypostasis as opposed to ousia could cause temporary confusion until the definition itself is actually read, which is quite clear in maintaining that Christ has but one hypostasis and two ousiai. Now if one wants to argue against two distinct ousiai in Christ, that is something else, but it is fundamentally different to the question of two hypostases, that issue was solved and a new one was being dealt with.

The deification of the human will, it’s subjection to the divine, as well it’s “belonging” to the divine, in so far as it’s subsistence is reliant upon it’s union with the self-subsistent Word, we have I believe an expression of the unity of the will of Christ which we defend, without compromising the continuing integrity and reality of the human and divine wills.

The Human Will is deified because it follows the Divine, but it is not forced to follow the divine, it is not subjugated by the divine, nor is it posessed by the divine. It is its own Distinct and Free Will, Independent in its Operations (Energies) of the Divine Will. Now with that said, though the Human Will Follows the Divine Will by its own accord, and not because it is follow it, the Human Will does freely choose to follow the Divine Will; insofar as it Chooses to Follow the Divine will it Subjects itself (middle voice) to the Divine Will, but is not subjected by the Divine Will (passive voice), and is always free to do otherwise, without the interference of the Divine Will, but it is our belief that it will never do otherwise because it is a Perfect Human Will.

The question here is not over the oneness of the person of Christ, whether or not there is distinction in the hypostasis, that was decided at Ephesus, and was assumed to be a given at later Synods. The question is restricted to the Ousiai and Energies alone, independent of the question about the hypostasis. The Fact that the Person of Christ is one, and that he was manifested on Earth as one Person is not in question, nor has the question really been considered since Ephesus, of course he is one Person, but that tells us nothing of His Essences or Energies, those were separate questions dealt with at Chalcedon, Constantinople II, and Constantinople III. At times you seem to make this distinction between 'thought' and 'reality' I presume this notion of 'reality' is dependent on 'what we observe from the outside' (Is this is what this idea of 'ultimate One will' is?). Perhaps this is where the confusion comes from, these Councils were not summoned to deal with the question of 'what did people observe,' Ephesus had already decreed that Christ is one Person, these issues were solved nothing to discuss. Rather the Fourth through Sixth Oecumenical Synods were summoned to deal with purely Philosophical questions about the Nature of Christ, perhaps all restricted to the realm of 'thought,' but this 'thought' is not less real than observation, and has practical implications because establishing that Christ was consubstantial with the Father and consubstantial with humanity effects our salvation, and hence is of vital importance to the Church and the heresies had to be dealt with in Synod. Though I would think that the highly Philosophical school of Alexandria would understand the extreme importance of these Philosophical and Theoretical Questions about Christ.

It is not distinction that we oppose, but rather division.

It is not unity that we oppose, but rather confusion.
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« Reply #42 on: May 19, 2005, 04:44:30 AM »

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The view that our Imperial and Oecumenical Synods are authoritive (not 'invallible') is something that we are neither willing nor able to drop...they are an integral part of our ecclesiology.

'Authoritative' is an ambiguous term for me, for it is one I could still apply as a qualifying adjective to complement the three terms ive thus far introduced to describe the status of a council: Ecumenical, doctrinally binding, or Orthodox. So Authoritative in what sense and to what extent?

Even whenyou answer this, the fundamental question still remains; why should the OO church be expected to accept the council of Chalcedon as anything more than merely Orthodox (which is the most we will attribute to it, after a proper study of it in it’s appropriate context), in light of everything I have said thus far? The general answer I have been inferring from what has been said so far is very generally, no more or less an arbitrary: “because we said so”. I have not yet heard a clear and objective definition justifying the position of councils 4-7 as “Ecumenical” or “Infallible” - the two terms I have heard and seen ascribed to them (the former consistently and the latter by a majority) as if they are simply self-evident.

It seems that the EO Church wants to approach this matter with a purely close-minded mentality: “We are right, you are wrong, that is that, either you concede to us and our demands i.e. accept the 7 councils, or be on your way and forget it” - This sort of one-sidedness, outright unreasonableness and unjustified unwillingness to fairly compromise such an extreme position based on an open-minded and humble consideration of the justified position of the other side concerning the nature of these councils, is as I see it, the only stumbling block to re-union, and hence the consequent continuity of a false dissonance in the church (I say false, since in all reasonableness, nothing should divide a church unless it is a matter of faith), maintained by nothing more than pride, arrogance, and narrow-mindedness.

If you personally admit that the councils are NOT infallible contrary to the claims of many other EO’s - then you should see no problem in at least objectively considering that significant errors were made at these councils, since the presupposition that errors cannot possibly be made should not exist, and hence the ability to overturn the declared ecumenicity of a council, or to seek to formally re-establish (through perhaps, another future and truly genuine ecumenical council) the Orthodox substance presented at that council, in a more Orthodox manner satisfying the concerns of both our Church’s.

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altering or diminishing the decrees of Chalcedon would be an act of the same magnitude as removing the anathemas and decrees against Arius or Nestorius it would essentially require another Oecumenical Synod, especially after 1550 years,


To accept Chalcedon as a legitimate Ecumenical Council would be for the Oriental Orthodox Church to concede to an error it never committed, or to admit to a fault that it was never guilty of. Concerning the decrees made at Chalcedon, they need to be “altered” through further refinement, because they were ambiguous, lacking any real focus or clarity, and hence the requirement of subsequent councils to correct the errors committed and to qualify many of the proclamations made. Like Stavro mentioned earlier, to accept Chalcedon and the subsequent councils, would be like to affirm or accept certain acts and statements, and then their abrogation as found in subsequent councils. It would be ridiculous.

I have no idea how you can compare the need to qualify or correct some of the decrees made at Chalcedon with the lifting of the anathemas of Nestorius or Arius, especially when your subsequent councils already did this to an extent. Furthermore, the anathema’s placed on St Dioscorus and St Severus would definitely need to be lifted - as we have agreed to lift the anathema on Leo. No one has been able to prove anything against these two as of yet, nor will they be able to despite their vain attempts. These saints have been vindicated over and over again, and it is time to let go of out-dated views, and to recognize that their condemnation as heretics was simply wrong and cannot be substantiated by any sort of fact

That another Ecumenical Council be called to truly, finally, officially and formally resolve this issue between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Church’s is the most reasonable solution to this problem. After all, what is the purpose of an Ecumenical Council apart from the promotion of church unity? We cant lose sight of what essentially constitutes an Ecumenical Council, and what it’s purpose essentially was - before perception and understanding of that very purpose and essence became corrupted at Chalcedon.

The only way I see the Church’s uniting - would be for them to initially establish re-inter-communion solely on the basis of the substance of our faith (if we can come to an agreement that it is essentially the same, putting aside any prima facie differing nuances arising from the respective emphasis’ placed on differing aspects of Christology). After that, I believe an Ecumenical Council would be called for in order to discuss and reach a final and mutual agreement concerning how we express the Christology we both share. THIS is what I would call a legitimate Ecumenical Council, for it’s concern is for the unity of the Church. It wouldn’t undermine the council of Chalcedon any more than councils 5-6 which were also concerned with overcoming the defects of this council.

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Actually I was talking about things like the Philosophy, Soteriology, and General Theology of St. Maximos the Confessor (who's Christology was not Antiochian, it was Chalcedonian, which as I said before we view to be the centre between Antioch and Alexandria).

Well I beg to differ, and I would argue that Chalcedonian Christology was certainly Antiochene in its concerns. It did not affirm The Word as the subject of all Christ’s experiences but rather regarded The Word and flesh as two distinct subjects and centers of action (as explicitly depicted in Leo’s tome); a fundamental dividing trait between Alexandrian and Antiochene Christologs.

Professor Frances Young, 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)

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Part of my point is that the Philosophical and Soteriological tradition of Alexandria does not mandate 'miaphysitism' but can be equally consonant with 'diophysitism.'

Im having trouble understanding what your point is exactly (what do you mean by the fact Alexandrian philosophical and soteriological tradition does not “mandate” miaphysitism? Miaphysitism - the unity of The Word, is absolutely intrinsic to Alexandrian soteriology), nor the relevance of St Maximums’ philosophy, soteriology or general theology, to the Christology of Alexandrian tradition, whose concerns and perspectives were not considered at Councils 4-7 precisely because the Alexandrians themselves were too quickly and unjustly dismissed at council 4, and not even invited to councils 5-7; a justified and valid reason as to why we cannot consider these councils “Ecumenical” which is the point I initially made.

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The Human Will is deified because it follows the Divine, but it is not forced to follow the divine, it is not subjugated by the divine, nor is it posessed by the divine.

I agree with everything, except with your last clause concerning the possession of the human will by the divine - which is an essential aspect of Cyrillian Christology. The divine Word “possesses” the humanity of Christ (and hence consequently the natural human will which manifests it), in so far that His humanity “belongs” to the Word such that it is “en-hypostasized” by the hypostasis of The Word. As such, the body of Christ is “His [The Word’s] body”, the soul of Christ is “His [The Word’s] soul” and the human will of Christ is “His [The Word’s] will”. St Cyril stressed this point in order to emphasize the fact that the humanity of Christ (and hence his human will), is not an independent self-subsistent reality in and of itself.

To put forward an analogy (maybe a rather a crude one at that), I could speak of my head “possessing” my hair. My hair, is the hair of my head - it belongs to my head, and its existence is not independent from that of my head, but rather dependent on it’s relationship with my very head. Nonetheless, it still maintains a very real and actual existence, distinct from that of my head.

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It is its own Distinct and Free Will, Independent in its Operations (Energies) of the Divine Will.


I’m not satisfied with the soundness of your wording. A will does not operate; rather the person or hypostasis operates according to the will. Furthermore, the nature does not execute it’s consequent will, nor does the consequent will execute itself, but rather it is executed by the person. There are indeed two distinct and inseparable natural wills in Christ, according to the two distinct and inseparable natures whose unconfused union constitutes The One nature of God the Logos Incarnate; however such wills are actualized by the person rather than in and of themselves. The natural human will is not “independent” of the divine will, since as it voluntarily submits to the divine will, it is thus dependent on the nature of that very divine will. It is “distinct” according to it’s reality and it’s capacity, but “independent” is a word that implies division. The humanity of Christ is not “independent” it is only “distinct”.

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Now with that said, though the Human Will Follows the Divine Will by its own accord, and not because it is follow it, the Human Will does freely choose to follow the Divine Will; insofar as it Chooses to Follow the Divine will it Subjects itself (middle voice) to the Divine Will, but is not subjected by the Divine Will (passive voice), and is always free to do otherwise, without the interference of the Divine Will, but it is our belief that it will never do otherwise because it is a Perfect Human Will.

Agreed.

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At times you seem to make this distinction between 'thought' and 'reality' I presume this notion of 'reality' is dependent on 'what we observe from the outside'


First of all, let me make it clear that the necessary distinction between speaking of the two natures (and hence wills of Christ) in “thought/contemplation” or “reality”, is not one I invented, but rather one that St Cyril himself made. To speak according to the reality of Christ, is to speak in reference to concrete actions or events. The logical consequences are; that when the distinction is made in thought/contemplation it bears on the reality of Christ’s existence as opposed to the state of His existence, likewise, if the distinction is made as pertaining to His reality this bears on the state of his existence rather than the reality of His existence. (NOTE: I have used the word 'reality' in two different senses here, so try not to confuse my intentions).

I think the best way to describe this distinction however is through an analogy, albeit imperfect, and then a real example:

We know that in thought, the body and soul constitutes the being of Bob. However we do not regard Bob as a body and soul pertaining to the state of his existence. It is as a human that Bob exists, as opposed to as a body and soul, though we do not negate the abiding dynamic reality of the existence of Bob's body and soul. As such Bob eats and feels emotion according to the operative capacity of his humanity (which is in itself determined by means of the respective attributes of his body and soul); which is a more appropriate way of expressiong Bob's functions (i.e. his reality or state of existence), as opposed to saying that the body eats whilst the soul feels emotion.

Likewise, we know that the inseparable and unconfused union of the two distinct natures of Christ constitute His person, but we do not say for example that the human nature acts out one thing, and that the divine nature acts out another. It is the God-Man - God the Logos Incarnate, who acts according to His respective natures.

Allow me to quote His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy on this issue for further elucidation:

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The Non-Chalcedonian side had wished to discard Nestorianism by confirming the doctrine of the one nature of God the Word incarnate, of two natures without intermixing or fusion or change. The expression ‘the one nature’ is the truest expression on ‘the natural union’ which Saint Cyril had taught in his third letter to Nestorius, and which was approved by both the Council of Ephesus and the Council of Chalcedon.

The Chalcedonian side wished to discard Eutychism by confirming the doctrine and expression of the two natures, non-separated, or non-partitioned, in order to affirm the continuance of the existence of the two natures and that they were not annihilated in the union, and to affirm the non-annihilation of the distinction in the attributes of the two natures due to the union.

Perhaps each of the two sides was complementary to the other in its expression of the one truth. For those who professed one incarnate nature of two natures have added “without mixture or change” in order to refute Eutychism. And those who professed two natures added “without separation or partition” in order to refute Nestorianism. Both sides spoke of one truth that the Lord Jesus Christ is one divine-human being, i.e. they spoke of one being of two essences united in the one Christ.

Those who used the expression ‘one incarnate nature’ had meant to express the state of existence; those who used the expression 'two natures' had meant to express the reality of the continuance of the existence of the two natures.

In other words, some have spoken about the state of existence, and some have spoken about the reality of the existence, and because they both used the same word 'nature', they clashed.

Those who meant the ‘state of existence’ said “one nature”, and those who meant the ‘reality of existence’ said “two natures”. The proof is that both sides have together accepted that there can be no distinction between the two natures except in thought alone. This means that there can be no actual distinction between them in reality, but rather in imagination and contemplation. This does not mean abolishing the reality of their existence, but abolishing the state of their existence not in union. Unity is the truest expression of the 'natural union'.

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(Is this is what this idea of 'ultimate One will' is?).

The “ultimate One will” that I speak of, is simply the personal will of Christ. A nature (physis) does not in and of itself “will” or “act” since these are attributes pertaining to intellectual realities i.e. It requires a personal subject to will. However the nature provides the means by which the person wills or acts. Since there are two distinct natures, there are hence two distinct means by which the person of The Word may ultimately will and act i.e. two natural (as opposed to personal) wills. Thus, it is The Word who utilizes the natural will inherent to the particular nature, in order to will in a manner peculiar to that nature - hence, Christ “wills humanly” and “wills divinely”, but ultimately He wills “personally” (and since the actualization of such a personal will also resides in the person, there is also the “ultimate One act” - following the same reasoning).

In short: It is not the humanity that wills nor is it the divinity that wills (which suggests two centers of consciousness and hence Nestorianism), it is The Word - The God-man who wills according to His humanity, or according to His divinity.

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Rather the Fourth through Sixth Oecumenical Synods were summoned to deal with purely Philosophical questions about the Nature of Christ, perhaps all restricted to the realm of 'thought,' but this 'thought' is not less real than observation, and has practical implications because establishing that Christ was consubstantial with the Father and consubstantial with humanity effects our salvation,


There’s a number of issues I have with the above paragraph. The first, is the assumption that Chalcedon was in actuality genuinely summoned for anything more than political purposes, as opposed to Christological ones. Second of all; that Christ is consubstantial with the Father and with humanity is a principle that was already established prior to Chalcedon and adhered to by the church. It was affirmed by our Patriarch St Cyril:

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"Accordingly we confess that the only begotten Son of God is perfect God, consubstantial to the Father according to divinity, and that the same Son is consubstantial to us according to humanity. For there was a union of two natures. Wherefore, we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord.”

And subsequently affirmed by his successor St Dioscorus:

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"God the Logos, consubstantial with the Father, at the end of the ages for our redemption became consubstantial with man in the flesh, remaining what he was before.”

And subsequently affirmed again by St Doscorus’ successor St Timothy:

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"Let no-one, thinking to honour God, insult his mercy by refusing to abide by the teaching of our holy fathers, who have confessed that our Lord Jesus Christ became consubstantial with us in the flesh."

Hence, further support for my contention that the Oriental Orthodox Church, is indeed justifiably “The Orthodox Church” for it upheld a purely Orthodox faith, without the need of these further councils which we feel were illegitimate and superfluous, regardless of the Orthodox doctrine affirmed.

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and hence is of vital importance to the Church and the heresies had to be dealt with in Synod.

Condemning and dealing heresies is all well and good - but that is not in and of itself the purpose of an Ecumenical Council (though it is the corollary of that purpose). Anyone can condemn a heresy, the Oriental Orthodox Church condemned Eutychian Christology without the need for Chalcedon, and his heresy was incompatible with the Christology already established by us. Once it is affirmed that Christ is consubstantial with both the Father and humanity, the Eutychian heresy is automatically negated. The monothelete heresy was also condemned by the Oriental Orthodox Church without the need for the subsequent councils.

When heresies are dealt with properly by a Council such that the true faith is maintained and solidified for the sake of Orthodox Church unity, then it is an Ecumenical Council, and this can be decided by looking at the fruits of that Council and it's achievements pertaining to the ontology of the Church. When heresies are dealt with over-zealously in a manner that such polemics taint a truly “Ecumenical” purpose, such that it becomes a matter of pride and politics resulting in the unjustified dismissal of a particular church and the condemnation of their saints and hierarchs, who never held onto the heresies falsely ascribed to them, it becomes nothing more than a “council of schism”.

Peace.
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« Reply #43 on: May 19, 2005, 04:39:56 PM »

Great dialogue, guys. One question, though, for EkhristosAnesti,

But [the later EO Ecumenical Synods] were a doctrine proclaimed in the absence of our fathers, and in the absence of the flavor of our own Alexandrian tradition, and hence one-sided and not representative of universal Orthodoxy. Nothing can change this, because this is history.

Forgive my ignorance here--and the coming bluntness--but do you believe that, after Chalcedon adjourned the Chalcedonians still thought the Non-Chalcedonians to be a part of the Church? That input from the Non-Chalcedonians would be needed in any further meetings of what was thereafter considered (by us) to be the entirety of the Orthodox Church?

ISTM that, though the doctrines were proclaimed in the absence of those whom you consider fathers--we would dispute (and GiC already has disputed) that they were proclaimed in the absence of an Alexandrian position...perhaps your Alexandrian position was absent--this poses no problem for Chalcedonians, as (here's the bluntness) we do not see you to be a part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church (though you are, by far, the most right-believing heterodox group). So for you to say that Chalcedon was "one-sided" would be tantamount to saying that you believed yourself--or, better said, that we should believe you--to be as much a part of the Church as we are. For us, Chalcedon is already universal and in no need of further clarification from Non-Chalcedonian Alexandrian thought.

I trust you already know this, and that the Non-Chalcedonians see themselves as the only formal members of Christ's one Church. We may mesh with you on doctrine, but I can hardly see you calling us a part of the Church.

This, to my way of thinking, is why reunion will cost everything either for one side, or for both--the former would be true union, the latter would be false.
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« Reply #44 on: May 19, 2005, 10:01:17 PM »

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Forgive my ignorance here--and the coming bluntness--but do you believe that, after Chalcedon adjourned the Chalcedonians still thought the Non-Chalcedonians to be a part of the Church? That input from the Non-Chalcedonians would be needed in any further meetings of what was thereafter considered (by us) to be the entirety of the Orthodox Church?

Obviously, not. But this is irrelevant to the point I’m making which is namely that there is no objectivity in anything that’s been said so far pertaining to what constitutes an “Ecumenical Council” and hence “The Orthodox Church” (in my dialogues with Sabbas, Augustine, and GiC) and so the claims and arguments being made in relation to these subjects are not cogent in and of themselves precisely because they have no objective support, and hence they really mean nothing, and should not be expected to mean more than nothing to anyone outside of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Now with regards to your response, you have simply regressed into an arbitrary justification of that already arbitrary understanding of an Ecumenical Council. Allow me to make this point clearer to anyone who is not comprehending the issue i have here:

Agreed (by EO and OO) proposition #1: An Ecumenical Council is represented by the Universal Orthodox Church.
Arbitrary proposition (by EO) #1: The true Universal Orthodox Church adheres to a set 7 (or 9 - irrelevant) Councils as Ecumenical.
Factual proposition #1: Non-Chalcedonians do not adhere to councils 4-7 as Ecumenical.
Arbitrary conclusion (by EO): Non-Chalcedonians are not part of the true Universal Orthodox Church.

As you can see Pedro, and as is plain to anyone, you are begging the question - you are presupposing that any church dismissed by these councils you adhere to, is automatically not part of the Universal Orthodox Church, to justify the Ecumenicity of your councils on the basis that they did represent the Universal Orthodox Church in order to challenge my claim that these councils did not represent the Universal Orthodox Church. We can run around in circles all day like this (like i did with Sabbas and like i did with Augustine) but I am here concerned with persuasive objective arguments since we are here in a dialogue in which the subjective beliefs of each party are conflicting, and hence the only way one's subjective belief can prevail or be held above another's is if that subjective belief finds objective support.

You need to let down you guard, and assume the possibility for arguments sake that your council could have unfairly and unjustly dismissed a group with rightful title to “The Universal Orthodox Church”, and hence consequently the fact that such a council did not therefore represent “The Universal Orthodox Church” and hence was not in the true sense of the word "Ecumenical", rather than to presuppose that our rejection from Chalcedon per se negates us from “The Universal Orthodox Church” to conclude that Chalcedon did indeed represent “the Universal Orthodox Church”; for this is circular reasoning. To put it very succintly and plainly: do not presuppose the Ecumenicity of a council in order to prove it's Ecumenicity.

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though the doctrines were proclaimed in the absence of those whom you consider fathers--we would dispute (and GiC already has disputed) that they were proclaimed in the absence of an Alexandrian position...perhaps your Alexandrian position was absent—

It is the Alexandrians who represent the Alexandrian position, and who are (in a genuine Ecumenical Council) to offer their criticisms, such that their concerns be taken into account. The Alexandrians were unjustly and unfairly dismissed, and hence THEIR position was not represented - their concerns for the unity of The Word were not considered - since their position on Christology was initially deceptively misrepresented in the first place, and hence a one-sided Christology with obvious Antiochene tendencies and consequently a council of schism, well received by nestorians, adhering to a binding document of faith well received by the president of heretics, Nestorius himself.

If it is recognised today, as all the evidence necessarily leads us to conclude; that the Alexandrian Church never adhered to the heresy falsely ascribed to them, then this is indication that our dismissal and absence from these councils is not justified. A true Ecumenical Council does not just unjustifiably dismiss the presence of a certain tradition constituting the Universal Church, hence negating it from "the Universal Orthodox Church" based on a misunderstanding motivated by whatever anti-Christ force was behind it; pride, politics, jealousy, etc etc.

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this poses no problem for Chalcedonians, as (here's the bluntness) we do not see you to be a part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church

Again, you’re merely regressing to arbitrary presuppositions to justify a subjective belief as I already showed above. This is not a fruitful or effective way to approach a dialogue with someone who does not hold onto the same subjective beliefs with you concerning this matter.

Let’s recall the initial context of this particular subject:

It is YOU (EO) who is trying to convince ME (OO) that WE (OO) have to accept Chalcedon as Ecumenical. WE (EO & OO) agree that an Ecumenical Council represents the Universal Orthodox Church.

Now do you see the absolute ridiculousness in YOU (EO) trying to convince ME (OO) that my mere lack of participation at Chalcedon makes me NOT part of the Universal Orthodox Church, because of your already presupposed understanding of Chalcedon as Ecumenical, and that I should thus accept Chalcedon as Ecumenical?

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This, to my way of thinking, is why reunion will cost everything either for one side, or for both--the former would be true union, the latter would be false.

Well OBVIOUSLY, if each side is arrogantly and narrow-mindedly determined to hold tight to arbitrary propositions justifying arbitrary and conflicting subjective beliefs, then there can be NO re-union. The only way re-union can occur is for BOTH sides to drop any arbitrariness, where one side dictates that they’re right and the other is wrong, and to see where the objective facts lead to - consult a third party and see what Mr Objectivity has to say on this issue (I’ve met Mr Objectivity btw, he's quite a reasonable, prudent, and just man).

So though a re-union which would arbitraily compromise one's subjective beliefs for another, would be false, I would still maintain that the resulting maintained dissonance would also be FALSE, for I don’t see how any other reason apart from matters of faith can reasonably divide The Church in this manner. This only goes to show that this sticky issue concerning Councils needs to be worked out, and it needs to be worked out objectively.

Peace.
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