Much of what is being discussed here is simply semantic differences. In the Cappadocian (and Antiochian) tradition -ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¥-ÃƒÆ’ -ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© became equated with ++-ÃƒÆ’ -ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦, whereas in the Alexandrian tradition -ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¥-ÃƒÆ’ -ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© became equated with -ÃƒÆ’ -ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡++-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¤+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©. 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 ++-ÃƒÆ’ -ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦ and -ÃƒÆ’ -ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡++-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¤+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© in these discussions, acknowledging different understandings of -ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¥-ÃƒÆ’ -ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© and perhaps avoiding it for political reasons.
As to the definition of 'monophysite' that would be a person who believes in one -ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¥-ÃƒÆ’ -ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©, presumably those who accept the Cappadocian termonology would say that a monophysite is one who believe that Christ has only one ++-ÃƒÆ’ -ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦ or substance and those who accept the Alexandrian termonology would say that a monophysite is one who believes that Christ has only one -ÃƒÆ’ -ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡++-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¤+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© 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 (++-ÃƒÆ’ -ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â»+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦/-ÃƒÆ’ -ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¡-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â®-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¤+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦-ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â©) 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 +Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦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...."