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Author Topic: What exactly is Oriental Orthodoxy?  (Read 9627 times) Average Rating: 0
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Fr. David
The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
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« Reply #45 on: May 23, 2005, 01:29:16 PM »

To all who'll read this --

What's funny about this INSANELY long post is that I just got through telling EA this morning that I liked to keep replies simple.  So much for that idea...

EA,

Just to clear something up before I address your points: my only reason for commenting in the first place was to question your own response to GiC -- he said that "the Councils are a proclamation of our Doctrine" (emph. mine), meaning the EO, to which you replied that this could not be, for the latter councils were not attended by the Non-Chalcedonian churches.  This, to me, is a logical fallacy, as councils held by the all EO churches were indeed considered ecumenical within our own communion, and this is all that is needed for our own peace of mind.  I agree, it's not going to get anywhere with a Non-Chalcedonian, but your response to his statement seemed illogical.  I see I didn't make that clear in my first post...which was important as, when you put all the rest of my stuff which you quoted in that context, it makes a lot more sense.  Sorry!

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.

I can see how my choice of words -- "after Chalcedon adjourned" etc. -- would lead one to think of an "automatic" cutoff of the Non-Chalcedonians, but really, our Councils have never worked that way -- and I mean "our" in the sense of pre-Chalcedon as well -- the Arians, for example were "technically" cut off from the communion of the Orthodox at once, but the continued separation over time is what "sealed the deal," etching the decision of the Council into the consciousness of the Church at large...sort of a "hindsight is 20/20" thing.  To continue the parallel between the Arians of Nicea and the Non-Chalcedonians, there have been times when those condemned in councils were restored to communion through subsequent councils.  We would say that, for all intents and purposes, the continued separation of the two churches over hundreds of years serves as the greatest testimony to the existence of two separate churches, with Chalcedon merely serving as the starting point.

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...the only way one's subjective belief can prevail or be held above another's is if that subjective belief finds objective support.

True enough, though even the acceptance by an individual of said objective support is, in and of itself, subjective, so we never absolutely solve the problem.

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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.

I understand your point, and I agree with your logic.  However, it is after having examined the Council (admittedly, not as much as I'd like, nor as much as, say, you and GiC have), that I've come to think that St. Cyril's confession of the two natures was, ultimately, the proper one, as I don't think it's "better" or "fuller" to say that Christ has only one nature as it is to say that he has a fully human nature, like mine, along with a divine nature, to which the human nature is perfectly and inseperably united and with which it acts, albeit independently, in perfect unity with the divine.  I think the Chalcedonian decisi+¦n better maintains the distinction between the two "substances" of Christ--his divinity and his humanity--while allowing for no separation of person.

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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.

Re: Nestorius: It matters not a bit if he liked Chalcedon.  Eutyches liked y'all's stance, but that doesn't mean anything.

Re: the Council: They were dismissed--and, again, this is according to my more limited knowledge--for downplaying the activity (not the existence) of the human nature of Christ.  The "one dynamic nature" you speak of does not parallel with the idea that Christ brought his human nature into conformity with his divine nature but did not make it "the same as" or “one nature from two natures with” his divine nature.  It only acted in unison - absolutely perfect and undisturbable unison - with it.  If he has one nature, his human nature is no longer like mine.

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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.

Granted, you're not guilty of Eutyches' heresy, but your definition does, to Chalcedonian ears, seem a bit weak in terms of affirming the unconfused humanity of Christ.  And this is what we've got a problem with.

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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.

Joe Iconoclast could make the same charge of "politics" to our Seventh Council, with Theodora's proclamation being, to human eyes, the "only" thing establishing the ultimate, "merely imperial" legitimacy of the Council.

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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?

It was never my intention to make this assertion; I'm sorry if you took it that way.  My contention is that your position is the weaker one and, though the original intent of the Council had some misguided participants and contributors who acted hastily, the ultimate result of the council served to preserve both the indivisibility of the one Person of Christ, as well as the unconfusable distinction between His one, active human nature and His one, active divine nature.

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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 toGǪ

But are not both Churches founded on a precept of infallibility, that is, that the Holy Spirit is definitely guiding SOME Church into all truth?  For either of our churches to “drop any arbitrariness” would be tantamount to saying that the claim to inspiration of the Holy Spirit within our communions is up for debate.  I don’t think you’ll find many EO who will go along with this, and I’m surprised that you seem to think there are many Non-Chalcedonians who would.

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- 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).

Heh.  Riiiiiiight.  Where’s he live again?

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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.

I agree.  However, I would pose this question to you: Say we do come to some common conclusion concerning Christology and hagiography that satisfies all on both sides.  How, then, would you recommend that our two communions, making the claim as they both are (as I understand it) to be the one Church of Christ, get themselves out of the corner of infallibility we seem to have painted ourselves into?  As I see it, saying we are “both together the Church” is unacceptable, as we don’t buy that from the Latins or anyone else; and saying that we are victims of a mere 1500 years of estrangement won’t work, as communion’s been broken for far too long to justify saying that; and saying that we can “roll back the clock,” as it’s been called, won’t work, as that would require us to declare that the movement of the Holy Spirit (as we see it) wasn’t really the Holy Spirit - and it would take something I can’t even CONCEIVE of (maybe the heavens parting?) for that to happen.

I just don’t see—apart from total “surrender” on one side—of there being a legitimate reunion, which would, for us, necessarily entail the keeping intact of at least one communion’s integrity of doctrine.
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« Reply #46 on: May 24, 2005, 10:36:59 AM »

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What's funny about this INSANELY long post is that I just got through telling EA this morning that I liked to keep replies simple.  So much for that idea...

Insanely long posts beget Insanely long posts... Wink Enjoy lol

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Just to clear something up before I address your points: my only reason for commenting in the first place was to question your own response to GiC -- he said that "the Councils are a proclamation of our Doctrine" (emph. mine), meaning the EO, to which you replied that this could not be, for the latter councils were not attended by the Non-Chalcedonian churches.  This, to me, is a logical fallacy, as councils held by the all EO churches were indeed considered ecumenical within our own communion.

I believe you misunderstood my intentions, and hence consequently you have set up an implicit straw man. First allow me to reiterate; I understand (and always did understand) that from the EO perspective, the absence of the non-Chalcedonian church from a council may be irrelevant to the subjective understanding of that particular council as Ecumenical - but my point is, that objectively speaking (since the context of our discussion was regarding the coming of a mutual agreement on the councils), this involves circular reasoning, for it is based on a presupposed idea of Chalcedon as Ecumenical in the first place. The argument is something along the lines of “Since Chalcedon is Ecumenical, those who do not adhere to it are not of the universal Orthodox Church, therefore Chalcedon represents the universal Orthodox Church, and is therefore Ecumenical.”

Now regarding that specific response of mine, and the context of that particular aspect of the discussion in which it was made, it actually concerned the non-Chalcedonian perspective i.e. our (the OO Church’s) stance with regards to the Council; why we cannot consider it Ecumenical despite our recognition of the Orthodox substance presented. My response to GiC concerned the fact that despite how the EO church views Chalcedon, that since we (OO) were not represented at the councils in question, therefore we (OO) cannot accept these councils as Ecumenical, but merely Orthodox councils at a local rather than Ecumenical level - and therefore, my ultimate point was, that re-union cannot and will not happen by us (OO) accepting these councils as Ecumenical, nor can you expect us (OO) to accept these councils as Ecumenical - because the fact of the matter is, if we do come to an agreement that we have the same doctrine, then that is in and of itself justification for our position against the councils which misunderstood, misrepresented, and consequently unfairly dismissed us in the first place (this is why I believe many EO’s strenuously go to lengths in order to try and prove that there is doctrinal dissonance in the first place; because to concede that there never was is damaging to the claim that the councils in question are Ecumenical)

I am using doctrine as the measuring stick of one’s Orthodoxy to conclude that the non-Chalcedonian Church does indeed have rightful title to The Orthodox Church, in order to consequently conclude that since councils 4-7 did not represent us, and did not take into consideration our Orthodox views and perspectives; that they were thus not Ecumenical in the truest sense of the word. If you can think of a better or more objective criterion then id love to hear it.

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We would say that, for all intents and purposes, the continued separation of the two churches over hundreds of years serves as the greatest testimony to the existence of two separate churches, with Chalcedon merely serving as the starting point.

I don’t understand your point, nor its relevance to this discussion to be honest; can you please elaborate?

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However, it is after having examined the Council (admittedly, not as much as I'd like, nor as much as, say, you and GiC have), that I've come to think that St. Cyril's confession of the two natures was, ultimately, the proper one

I don’t understand; proper relative to what? Are you saying that St Cyril’s confession “of the two natures” (an expression which is way too ambiguous for a discussion of this sort in which the prepositions and additional clauses modifying the term “two natures” make all the difference) is more proper than his confession “of the one nature”? Are you saying you want to arbitrarily and selectively pick and choose which of St Cyril’s formula’s and expressions to use and which of those to discard?

The thing you will find about post-St-Cyril Alexandrian Christology, is that it was absolutely faithful to everything St Cyril said. We did not pick and choose some of his doctrinal proclamations whilst disregarding others. Everything has been taken in context, and hence we have absolutely no problem confessing “the two natures” per se, but as I also said, this really says nothing by itself; it needs to be qualified. As Cyrillians, we re-iterate the qualifications of St Cyril, namely; that these two natures cannot be separated after the union (a danger one can fall into simply through the manner in which he speaks of the two natures, their functions, and interaction after the union, regardless of an affirmation that they are “inseparable”), and that they should be spoken of in contemplation/thought alone.

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as I don't think it's "better" or "fuller" to say that Christ has only one nature as it is to say that he has a fully human nature, like mine, along with a divine nature, to which the human nature is perfectly and inseperably united and with which it acts, albeit independently, in perfect unity with the divine.

Well neither do weGǪ we have never affirmed “The One nature of God the Logos Incarnate” to the exclusion of his full and perfect humanity (consubstantial with mankind) united without mingling, without confusion, and without alteration to His full and perfect divinity (consubstantial with the Father). So what exactly is the problem here? There will never be one formulary expression which encompasses all the necessary Christological principles. The affirmation of The One Nature of God the Logos Incarnate is simply our foundation, since the unity of The Word was the basis for the Orthodox Christology upheld at Ephesus 431.

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I think the Chalcedonian decisi+¦n better maintains the distinction between the two "substances" of Christ--his divinity and his humanity--while allowing for no separation of person.

I would say that it accepted documents whose language imply a lot more than mere distinction. I would also say that its lack of clarity with regards to what it means by "hypostatic union" also leaves open room for separation of the natures (a point i briefly touched on in my reply to DT in the orthodoxinfo's take on non-Chalcedonians thread). The way I see it, Ephesus 431 was a vindication of Strong Alexandrian Christology; the reunion formula was Strong Alexandrian Christology making concessions for Antiochene concerns; the home synod of 448 was a ratification of the Antiochene interpretation of the formularly reunion which St Cyril defended himself against, as the standard; Epehesus 449 in turn overturned 448 and its Antiochene regression, and Chalcedon overturned 449, once again ratifying Antiochene Christology against Alexandrian Christology. Many today believe that Chalcedon presented the perfect balance between Alexandrian and Antiochene Christology, but as Father V.C. Samuel points out in his book (which I have yet to complete) Chalcedon Re-examined, this is the result of studying Chalcedon in an anachornistic context. In response to the claim that Chalcedon presented this balance, he states on page 4 of his book:

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A voice of dissent has, however, been expressed from the side of the council’s ecclesiastical opponents. Tiran Nersoyan, for instance, asserts that in its historical context Chalcedon did not work out the balance claimed forit, and that this defence of the Chalcedonian  position is plausible only with reference to a theological development which took place in the sixth century. This itself, argues Archbishop Tiran, was made possible by the unceasing criticism of the council by the ‘Monophysites’5. Karekin Sarkissian shows that the council of Chalcedon did violence to the already established theological tradition of both the Armenian Church and a considerable part of Christian east. The theology underlying the council’s formula, for instance, and the treatment of persons like Theodoret of Cyrus and Ibas of Edessa were such that the Nestorian school could feel gratified, and the Tome of Leo which the council declared a document of the faith was hailed by Nestorius himself as a vindication of his position. It was these facts, insists bishop Sarkissian, not any adherence to Eutychianism. which led many Christian communities in the east to repudiate Chalcedon.6 In this way, maintains Sarkissian, the council of Chalcedon created, what he calls, ‘the ecumenical problem in Eastern Christendom’7

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Re: Nestorius: It matters not a bit if he liked Chalcedon.  Eutyches liked y'all's stance, but that doesn't mean anything.

I don’t think the parallel holds water. First of all, Nestorius was an able theologian who once held the authoritative position of Patriarch. He was stable in his doctrine (not that his doctrine in itself was stable), it was clear, it was known, it was consistent, and he persisted in it till the end. Clearly his doctrine was incompatible with true Orthodoxy - for there was no way Nestorius could read over St Cyril’s 12 chapters for example, and warmly receive it; yet this he did with leo’s tome, and I don’t think this is a negligible observation. It says a lot indeed.

In contrast, Eutyches was really nobody theologically speaking. He was just a simple old monk; certainly no theologian, and the only reason anyone made a big deal about what Eutyches may or may not have believed was due to the sort of influence he could exert at the court of Theodosius II through his godson. The confusion of this monk can be seen through a study of his dialogues at the home synod of 448 and Ephesus 449; the more he was interrogated the more lost he became about his own position; he simply just had no idea what he really believed, nor did he have any idea of what he was really supposed to believe; he was just not theologically consistent.

All the explicit heretical statements attributed to him these days, are those that were historically ascribed to him by his enemies, rather than stated by him in his own words, so we dont know for a fact whether he really held onto the position that Christ's humanity became consumed by his divinity etc.. In his own words he actually affirmed the perfect humanity and divinity of Christ, and implicitly (though hesitantly) affirmed the consubstantiality of Christ to both the divine and to mankind. Although he was a supporter of Alexandrian tradition, he on many occasions proved and admitted ignorance of what the fathers really taught; refraining to speak on matters pertaining to the faith in fear that he would be investigating the nature of God, only to be reminded by those interrogating him, that such matters have already been investigated by the fathers (including the Alexandrian ones).

So basically Eutyches supported our theology because as a person who wasn't a theologian or scholar, he was only adhering to it because it was reputed as the apostolic theology handed down through St. Cyril and was thus the standard of the issue, which of course he interpreted or misinterpreted for himself; in other words, its questionable from what we assert that he would have actually loved or supported the theology for its dogmatic content, or that he was even educated in the dogmatic content of Alexandrian Christology in the first place. The Chalcedonians would be straining to come to the same conclusions regarding Nestorius’ understanding of Chalcedon - Nestorius found in the tome of leo expressions and formula’s that he could put a twist on in order conform it with his heretical Christology.

To cut a long story short, your parallel is as fallacious as the parallel between, for example, a science professors understanding and reception of a particular scientific theory to that of a mere C-minus average science student who is simply following a line of thought his teacher told him to, without really understanding or grasping it. The former means something and hence worth consideration, whereas the latter does not.

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Re: the Council: They were dismissed--and, again, this is according to my more limited knowledge--for downplaying the activity (not the existence) of the human nature of Christ.


The condemnation of Nestorianism is significant in considering the intent of the council, which I find to be Orthodox. However, the warm reception of the council by the Nestorian church is significant in considering the non-Chalcedonian position that Chalcedon was a bow to Nestorianism, allowing it to creep in via various loopholes that it left open. The manner in which subsequent councils treated Chalcedon are also evidence of the acknowledgement of its “Nestorian defects”.

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The "one dynamic nature" you speak of does not parallel with the idea that Christ brought his human nature into conformity with his divine nature but did not make it "the same as" or “one nature from two natures with” his divine nature.

Actually the idea of Christ’s “One dynamic nature” has no bearing whatsoever regarding the nature of the union between his human and divine, it is simply an indication and affirmation of that inseparable union per se. It refers to the fact that after the Incarnation and hypostatic union, Christ functioned according to a new operative capacity, a new nature - that of the God-Man, the Logos Incarnate.

The non-Chalcedonian Church being strong and faithful Cyrillians, affirmed the miaphysis formula just as St Cyril affirmed it, and in the same context that St Cyril affirmed it also. Just as St Cyril qualified his miaphysis Christology, by maintaining that the union was without mingling, without confusion, and without alteration, such that the humanity of Christ remained consubstantial with mankind, as His divinity remained consubstantial with the Father, we also likewise make this qualification after him.

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If he has one nature, his human nature is no longer like mine.

That is a non sequitor committed precisely because you misunderstand the context in which we affirm that Christ has One nature. Furthermore, you challenge St Cyril with a statement like that, for he was clearly able to affirm the One physis of Christ whilst maintaining the consubstantiality of his humanity to mankind.

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, the term physis can be understood essentialistically or dynamically. With regards to the former, the term would be synonymous with ousia, yet with regards to the latter it would simply refer to operative capacity. Allow me to show you in what manner these terms would be employed in the heretical Eutychian context vs. the Orthodox Cyrillian context:

In Eutychian Christology, a new third essence (i.e. essentialistic physis or ousia) is formed through the divine essences’ dissolving reaction upon the human essence:

Ousia 1 (divine) + Ousia 2 (human) ---->* Ousia 3** (divine)

*Ousia 1 dissolves Ousia 2
** physis in it’s essentialistic context

In Cyrillian (Oriental Orthodox) Christology, Christ does not obtain a new third essence as a result of the reaction between the initial two, but rather the hypostasis of Christ which initially operated according to the capacity of the divine nature, obtains a new operative capacity - The One Dynamic nature of the God-man - such that He may operate according to the perfect attributes of a perfect humanity and the perfect attributes of a perfect divinity:

Ousia 1 (divine) + Ousia 2 (human) ---->* Nature 1** (God-Man)

*Ousia 1 unites with Ousia 2, without mingling, without confusion, and without alteration.
** physis in it’s dynamic context.

I think the most often made analogy, that which was made by St Cyril himself, concerns the union between body and soul. The body has its own nature distinct from soul, yet in their union they constitute a new ultimate nature i.e. the human nature. This One human nature is not the result of a reaction between sould and body, such that one or the other is "compromised", but rather it refers to the operative capacity. When we think of human nature, we think of a nature that allows one to eat, cry, bleed, and feel guilty etc. i.e. we have an operative capacity determined by the union of the body and soul.

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Granted, you're not guilty of Eutyches' heresy, but your definition does, to Chalcedonian ears, seem a bit weak in terms of affirming the unconfused humanity of Christ.  And this is what we've got a problem with.

Once the consubstantiality of Christ’s humanity to mankind, and the consubstantiality of Christ’s divinity to the Father is affirmed, the Eutychian heresy is automatically negated. Period. The Non-Chalcedonian Church has always affirmed this Christological principle and has never denied it - we cannot claim Cyrillian Christology without affirming this aspect which St Cyril himself affirmed. With regards to the Coptic Church, we have quotes from St Cyril’s successors - St Dioscorus, and St Timothy, who also both clearly affirmed this as I proved in my last response to GiC.

There is nothing weak about our definition, it is clear, and it is explicit about the Christological principles which directly contradict the defining exclusive attributes of the Eutychian heresy.

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the ultimate result of the council served to preserve both the indivisibility of the one Person of Christ, as well as the unconfusable distinction between His one, active human nature and His one, active divine nature.

The ultimate result of the council was to cause a schism with those who already preserved the indivisibility of the one person of Christ, as well as the unconfused distinction between His divine and human natures. There is no dispute with regards to this particular doctrinal principle.

However, generally speaking, apart from condemning the two heresies at the extreme ends of the spectrum, the council of Chalcedon did not provide any focal point within that spectrum regarding what constitutes Orthodox Christology. It affirmed documents which used language implying two centers of consciousness in Christ; language which challenged St Cyril’s terminology and qualifications, and it simply did not achieve anything productive - theologically speaking - which hadn’t already been achieved by Alexandrian Christology by 433.

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But are not both Churches founded on a precept of infallibility, that is, that the Holy Spirit is definitely guiding SOME Church into all truth?  For either of our churches to “drop any arbitrariness” would be tantamount to saying that the claim to inspiration of the Holy Spirit within our communions is up for debate.


No, not exactly. That all depends on how far you take this concept of infallibility, and whether or not taking it to that extreme level is really justified. The church is guided into all the truth by an infallible source but the church itself is not infallible and is capable of erring in one way or another, though not to the degree that the doctrinal and spiritual truth which the Church has been called to preserve is compromised. It seems that every “sect” except the OO church, claims a source of infallibility apart from God Himself - The Protestants have the Bible, the Roman Catholics have the pope, and the EO (or even just some EO’s - since I haven’t heard consistent opinion on the matter) have the councils. Each feels the need to ultimately assign infallibility to a source independent of God in order to feel secure.

I believe in human-divine synergy with regards to the Bible, Patriarch and the Church Councils. As such I can affirm that the church was guided into all truth on the level that counts - doctrinally speaking. The Holy Spirit worked through Chalcedon by making sure that heretical doctrines such as Nestorianism and Eutychism did not become “Orthodox”. The manner in which this was carried out however, and the schism that eventuated can be attributed to human actions - and those actions consequently need to be judged as valid or invalid. Though both Church’s maintained the fullness of truth (divinely inspired), human error was the result of our initiated and maintained dissonance.

Now this human error was either on part of the non-Chalcedonian Church:

a)   Doctrinally: The dissonance was the result of the fact that we truly were monophysites in the sense condemned by Chalcedon, and hence we doctrinally erred and need to repent. Or,
b)   Historically: We had Orthodox doctrine, yet we had no good reason to challenge Chalcedon or Leo, and other figures etc., for it was a legitimate council, with a legitimate purpose, and appropriate according to those historical circumstances, and hence we need to repent of our disobedience.

Or, this human error was on part of the Chalcedonian church:

a)   Doctrinally: The dissonance was the result of the Chalcedonians regressing from the Cyrillian Alexandrian Christology that was vindicated at Ephesus 431, back into the Antiochene tendencies that lead to Nestorianism in the first place, and hence the Chalcedonian Church needs to repent for this regression, and the disruption caused to the Christology developments of the Orthodox Church.
b)   Historically: The council of Chalcedon was uncalled for, and motivated for certain people’s own personal or political agendas, as opposed to for the purpose of maintaining and solidifying Church unity. It was tainted by over-zealous polemics as a result, and consequently certain figures were falsely condemned and quickly dismissed, resulting in an unholy and unwarranted schism within the church - hence, it was ultimately counter-productive to the ontology of the church and thus more of an anti-ecumenical council.
 
These issues we can resolve through a retrospective and objective analysis of the facts in question.

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Say we do come to some common conclusion concerning Christology and hagiography that satisfies all on both sides.  How, then, would you recommend that our two communions, making the claim as they both are (as I understand it) to be the one Church of Christ, get themselves out of the corner of infallibility we seem to have painted ourselves into?

My Church doesn’t have this extreme concept of infallibility that would preculde the sort of objective investigation im calling for, and I’m hoping that the hierarchs of the EO church don’t either. We can accept that the Church maintained Orthodox doctrinal truth via the infallible Holy Spirit, and that this evidence of Christ’s faithfulness to His promise to the Church; but we also need to concede that the Church operates through human/divine synergy. My Church needs to be open to the possibility that maybe it was a little pedantic with regards to its adherence to Cyrillian Christology, and that it had no justified reason to challenge or reject Chalcedon. Your Church needs to be open to the possibility that it did compromise a particular tradition of Christology that was established as the standard for Orthodoxy, by regressing into the opposing tradition through adopting particular conflicting traits inherent in that tradition, and that the council itself was superfluous and not concerned with genuine Ecumenical purposes, and that its dismissal of certain figures and our Church in gereal was just not justified.

For the record, I dont think that the non-Chalcedonian church denies that the Eastern Orthdox Church is a "genuine" Orthodox Church, simply because it adheres to councils as Ecumenical that we dont. You maintained Orthodox doctrine down one road, and we maintained Orthodox doctrine down another - the very maintainment of Orthodox doctrine is the infallible work of the Holy Spirit. The separation of paths in maintaining this Orthodox doctrine was the work of man. Man now needs to determine where man really went wrong.

Peace.
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« Reply #47 on: May 24, 2005, 02:03:07 PM »

Ohmyfriggingoodness...

Seriously.  I'm really only going to tackle a few of these issues, because, seriously, I'm not the guy to get into the minutes of Chalcedon or the historical events that happened around there.  Leave that to GiC, if he elects to respond.

I believe you misunderstood my intentions, and hence consequently you have set up an implicit straw man. First allow me to reiterate; I understand (and always did understand) that from the EO perspective, the absence of the non-Chalcedonian church from a council may be irrelevant to the subjective understanding of that particular council as Ecumenical - but my point is, that objectively speaking (since the context of our discussion was regarding the coming of a mutual agreement on the councils), this involves circular reasoning, for it is based on a presupposed idea of Chalcedon as Ecumenical in the first place. The argument is something along the lines of “Since Chalcedon is Ecumenical, those who do not adhere to it are not of the universal Orthodox Church, therefore Chalcedon represents the universal Orthodox Church, and is therefore Ecumenical.”

All right; I see what you're saying.  This would be like some long-lost-yet-still-extant iconoclast sect coming out of hiding and saying that, due to the political nature of the 7th Council, its status as Ecumenical should be reexamined.  Y'all definitely have the most reasonable grounds for "reopening the case."  Just don't plan on that happening, due to the fact that this would entail a "reopening" of the EO's entire identity as a Church, not just this one Council.  And thus, to quote another of your statements as a segue:

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My Church needs to be open to the possibility that maybe it was a little pedantic with regards to its adherence to Cyrillian Christology, and that it had no justified reason to challenge or reject Chalcedon. Your Church needs to be open to the possibility that it did compromise a particular tradition of Christology that was established as the standard for Orthodoxy, by regressing into the opposing tradition through adopting particular conflicting traits inherent in that tradition, and that the council itself was superfluous and not concerned with genuine Ecumenical purposes, and that its dismissal of certain figures and our Church in gereal was just not justified.

I wonder if there are any "traditionalists" or hardliners in your communion, for if I were to make a statement like this, folks from not only the more "traditionalist" parts of the EOC but also from the more "moderate" parts.  There is an essential problem with reuniting these two communions, and it doesn't seem to be from a christological pov (anymore), nor does it seem to be from a hagiographical (is that a word?) pov; rather it's ecclesiological.  The Church was given the power to bind and loose by the Lord Himself; the Church's councils are seen as the primary way they do this.  For us to question a Council which we have held as being honored in heaven as a move of the Holy Spirit would be nearly unthinkable.

The ONLY possibility I can see for this to happen is IF we were willing to concede that, rather than a perfect decision FOR ALL TIME, Chalcedon was the perfect decision AT THE TIME IT WAS ISSUED--it would at least need to be called as much from our pov--and that, based on where the two communions stood in reference to each other in that era of history, Chalcedon was the movement of the Holy Spirit to preserve Orthodox doctrine.  Now that we've reached a fuller understanding, we can reunite, but only by adding on to the Ecumenical Council of Chacedon (which, by your own admission, is Orthodox in content and therefore CAN be said to represent the true theology of the Church at the time) and "tweaking" the original decision to fit the two communions' mutual understanding.

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Once the consubstantiality of Christ’s humanity to mankind, and the consubstantiality of Christ’s divinity to the Father is affirmed, the Eutychian heresy is automatically negated. Period.

As is the Nestorian heresy when the solidarity of Christ's one hypostasis is affirmed by the Chalcedonians.  For you to mention supposedly "Nestorian defects" in our decision is dishonest, I think, for what heretics think of Orthodox statements is of no account; what ultimately matters is what we say in reactions to their excesses.

Paz.
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« Reply #48 on: May 25, 2005, 06:09:50 AM »

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This would be like some long-lost-yet-still-extant iconoclast sect coming out of hiding and saying that, due to the political nature of the 7th Council, its status as Ecumenical should be reexamined.


I’ve never studied the 7th council in any detail, nor its history, so this analogy is just meaningless at the surface level on which you mention it, and doesn’t serve any real purpose to this discussion for it doesn’t directly address the issue of negative political influence at Chalcedon, it only seeks to brush it aside via a red herring. Assuming that this "inconclast sect" was not justified in its claims against the 7th Council, this doesn't mean our claims against Chalcedon are unjustified and not worth considering simply because they are of a similar nature.

The political charge which you are trying to arbitrarily undermine, is a valid one to consider since the purpose of an Ecumenical council pertains to the ontology of the church, and politics should not negatively interfere with this. If it can be proven, or shown to be probable or plausible that Chalcedon was indeed instigated and influenced by political factors, this damages the claim to its Ecumenicity.

Its irrelevant to me whether the same charge was made by another group in reference to another council; pointing that out to me does not prove your case nor does it address the issue. Furthermore, the political aspect of Chalcedon is not even one I have delved into, let alone making it the foundation of my case against Chalcedon as you imply. There are plenty of other issues I have gone deeply into which have not been properly addressed yet; it would have been better for you to address those.

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The Church was given the power to bind and loose by the Lord Himself; the Church's councils are seen as the primary way they do this.  For us to question a Council which we have held as being honored in heaven as a move of the Holy Spirit would be nearly unthinkable.

That the Church has authority given by the Lord, is a different matter to the Church being infallible, especially in matters which do not pertain to doctrine. Questioning certain aspects of a Council does not negate the Holy Spirits involvement per se. As I said before, human-divine synergy is how the Church's operations through these councils should be understood, just as human-divine synergy is what formulated the Bible we have today, and just as human-divine synergy is how the Patriarch leads his Church. Finding human error and defects is only an affirmation of the “human” in “human-divine synergy”.

Your above claim is akin to that of a Protestant who makes the charge that it is unthinkable that we use history to prove that the Bible contains historical errors or contradictions, for this would question the work of the Holy Spirit. Clearly as Orthodox Christians, our position is that such defects do exist within the text, yet were not committed by The Holy Spirit, but a result of the fallible "human part". The Holy Spirit’s work was manifest through it’s inspiring the Apostles to convey the truth as it pertains to spiritual and doctrinal matters etc.
Just as we can look back at the Bible and note the errors, so too we should be able to look back at certain councils and note their errors; false condemnations, dismissals, ex-communications, unholy schisms, unholy motivations etc.

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The ONLY possibility I can see for this to happen is IF we were willing to concede that, rather than a perfect decision FOR ALL TIME, Chalcedon was the perfect decision AT THE TIME IT WAS ISSUED—

I really don’t think the historical context will support you on that one, in fact I believe it will directly oppose you; but you can try at least. Considering the documents, formulas, and expressions adhered to by Chalcedon, the figures it supported and upheld, and its consequent obvious regression into the Antiochene tradition opposed by St Cyril and which lead to Nestorianism in the first place; it is clear that the event of the Council of Chalcedon was most unsuitable and inappropriate considering the very sensitive historical circumstances at the time. Allow me to quote part of my response to Paradosis from another thread:

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Considering the sensitive atmosphere in which the Council of Chalcedon was held (i.e. Nestorianism still holding strong and strongly expanding and gaining influence to the extent that the Persian empire later accepted and proclaimed it as the official confession of faith), as well as the efforts of St Cyril and the lengths he went through in order to emphasize the unity of Christ in the face of the Nestorians - our proponents including St Dioscorus could not in all good consciousness risk compromising this, by accepting expressions and formulas - which though not heretical in their intended context, and thus technically speaking Orthodox, would leave open room for a Nestorian misinterpretation - and indeed many faithful Nestorians as well as Nestorius himself misconstrued Leo’s intentions and twisted his tome, and hence happily welcomed it.

If the Eutychian heresy was a real danger to the church at the time, posing any real or actual threat to Orthodoxy, then maybe Chalcedon’s Antiochene stress might be understood in this context. But in fact the only one person that the Eutychian heresy was ever really ascribed to at Chalcedon was Eutyches - and please allow me to stress that it was ascribed to him by his enemies - it was never affirmed in his own words, and in fact he affirmed the exact contradiction both explicitly and implicitly in his very own words. (Btw Im not trying to defend Eutyches here - he is actually condemned by our Church - but this is on the assumption that he ever subscribed to the Eutychian heresy. Im only pointing out the facts of history - Eutyches’ story is very important in understanding the motivations and happenings at Chalcedon).

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would at least need to be called as much from our pov--and that, based on where the two communions stood in reference to each other in that era of history, Chalcedon was the movement of the Holy Spirit to preserve Orthodox doctrine.

We can affirm that the Holy Spirit worked in Chalcedon by officially condemning the two extreme heresies: Nestorianism and Eutychism, without allowing these heresies to be adopted as the standard of Orthodoxy, but I do not find the manner in which this was performed, nor it's consequences - the schism, the condemnations etc. to be the work of the Holy Spirit at all. I believe man grieved the Holy Spirit because of mans personal and anti-ecumenical motivations.

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Once the consubstantiality of Christ’s humanity to mankind, and the consubstantiality of Christ’s divinity to the Father is affirmed, the Eutychian heresy is automatically negated. Period.

As is the Nestorian heresy when the solidarity of Christ's one hypostasis is affirmed by the Chalcedonians.


I don’t agree. I could imagine that a Theodorean could affirm that Christ is one person and yet still maintain a thoroughly defective Christology. There are other traits that need to be affirmed also in order to maintain a solid position against Nestorianism - affirming The Word as the sole subject of all His incarnational experiences, and hence the personal subject of His humanity and divinity. This, as I have discussed elsewhere is directly contradicted by leo’s tome, who divides The Word from the flesh, as if they are two distinct operative subjects.

I have labeled Chalcedon a bow to Nestorianism, since it accepts documents and standard expressions/formulas which employ language with corollary implications that directly contradict this affirmation that Christ is one hypostasis/person. Chalcedon affirms one person, but then it goes on to say that Christ’s two natures perform their respective functions independently; it thus explicates an Orthodox principle (that Christ is One person), but then it goes on to affirm the implications of an heretical principle (that Christ has two centres of consciousness).

It’s akin to X who says to Y, “It’s night over here, and the sunshine is beautiful." He explicates that it is night, yet he affirms the attributes of daytime. The result is nothing but confusion.

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For you to mention supposedly "Nestorian defects" in our decision is dishonest

You haven’t explained how it is dishonest with regards to the specific defects thus far mentioned. I reiterate my position - although Chalcedon is not Nestorian in intent and substance, it still allows Nestorianism to creep in via a backdoor, due to various defects. I could move on to more, but the above mentioned one has been repeated by me more than once now on this forum, and has yet to be addressed. Furthermore, I do believe these "defects" are evident by considering the manner in which the subsequent councils attempted to correct and edify certain aspects of Chalcedon.

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I think, for what heretics think of Orthodox statements is of no account; what ultimately matters is what we say in reactions to their excesses.

The reaction of the EOC ultimately matters when considering their intent, but the initial interpretation and reception of Chalcedon by the non-EOC ultimately matters when considering what is objectively inferred/interpreted (as opposed to subjectively intended). This is a fair and objective principle of justice, that is even employed by the common law in settling certain disputes (especially those with regards to contracts), in which X has interpreted a statement of Y in a conflicting manner to which Y intended. The courts do not just automatically accept the intended interpretation as the standard by which to pursue consideration of the case, for this would be unjust to the other party. Instead they employ an objective criterion, by seeking to determine how the reasonable person would have reasonably interpreted the statements in question.

Not only did the Nestorian church, and their leader Nestorius, interpret Chalcedon as Nestorian, but a true and genuine part of the Orthodox Church, who held to neither Nestorianism nor Eutychianism, also interpreted it as a dangerous compromise of the Orthodox Christology established at Ephesus 431 in the face of Nestorianism.  I don’t understand how you can consider this a negligible historical observation in considering whether or not  Chalcedon was indeed tainted by over-zealous polemics inter alia, that it ultimately only served to disrupt the Orthodox Christological achievements and hence consequently the unity of the Church, as opposed to adding anything positive to the Christological achievements in order to consequently strengthen the church.

The only positive thing I can extract from Chalcedon, is its condemnation of two heretical extremes - disallowing these heresies from being adopted as the Orthodox standard. However this certainly does not justify Chalcedon as Ecumenical.

Peace.


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« Reply #49 on: May 25, 2005, 06:47:06 AM »

Well -- and this just to respond at all -- I fold (which I said I would re: debating the christologies).  Not only are you obviously more well-versed than I on the goings-on of the council, but I don't have the time either to read up sufficiently nor to respond sufficiently to the lengthy posts you generate with such apparent ease.

So I'm out.  Tag, GiC?
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« Reply #50 on: May 25, 2005, 09:20:17 AM »

Well -- and this just to respond at all -- I fold (which I said I would re: debating the christologies). Not only are you obviously more well-versed than I on the goings-on of the council, but I don't have the time either to read up sufficiently nor to respond sufficiently to the lengthy posts you generate with such apparent ease.

So I'm out. Tag, GiC?

Pedro,
I get the feeling that our HC seminarians are taking a big break after term. And don't feel too bad about responding here (in the non-debate board, anyway). Our friend EA proves the new adage that he who has the most time wins internet forum debate.  Wink
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« Reply #51 on: May 25, 2005, 09:47:34 AM »

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Our friend EA proves the new adage that he who has the most time wins internet forum debate.   


 laugh What a cheap shot!

I’m a full time university student, studying a COMBINED degree mind you.

I believe I made reasonable and valid points. Just because I may be elaborate in making my points, it doesn’t mean one cannot respond to those very points in their own succinct manner - if indeed they’re able   Wink

Now, now... we’re not trying to get competitive here; who said anything about a debate? We’re merely trying to have a friendly, coherent, reasonable and logical discussionGǪ  :brew:

Peace.
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« Reply #52 on: May 25, 2005, 09:54:27 AM »

Pedro,

Thanks for your input to the discussion mate; GiC has told me that he will soon respond; however, as Aristokles just mentioned, he has just finished his final exams and so I believe he is having a bit of a break at the moment.

Peace.
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« Reply #53 on: June 13, 2005, 01:25:56 AM »

EkhristosAnesti,

Well, I've finished finals, Graduated, driven across country, giving a friend from England a tour, and hopefully I'll now have a little more time to spend on these fourms, though no promises. Wink I dont have time to read through everything that was posted after yoru last response to me on this threat right now, so please forgive me for starting there. Maybe I'll have time to read through them later in the week.

'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?

Authoritive, meaning just that. It is the closest thing we have to divine Revelation, it stands above the authority of any Individual Father or Bishop, above any Local Council, above any Patriarchal Synod, or above any non-Oecumenical Imperial or Endimousa Synod. If any of the aforementioned conflict with the Council, we are to assume that they are in Error and that the Oecumenical Council is correct. An implication of this is that even if the Christology of St. Cyril was at odds with Chalcedon (which I by no means concede), we would asume Cyril to be in Error and Chalcedon to be Correct, for Chalcedon is the Most Authoritive of the two, and can only be overturned by another Oecumenical Synod.

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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 itGÇ–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” GÇ´ 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” GÇ´ 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.

Rather than approach this issue from the perspective of who is right and who is wrong, I prefer to approach it from the question of do we believe the same thing or now, the typical religious debates between who's right who's wrong, who's a Christian who's an infidel, who's Orthodox and who's a heretic is what has lead to less than civil discussion on this board in the past. I'm simply stating what the Eastern Orthodox Believe about these Councils and their Authority, if you disagree you are certainly entitled to do so, you may find our posistions unreasonable, intolerant, and unreasonable at times...and at times you may be correct...but they are the posistions of the Church nonetheless, and frankly we find your insistance that we diminish the glory, authority, and significance of Chalcedon to be just as unreasonable, if not more unreasonable, than you find our insistance that you accept it.

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If you personally admit that the councils are NOT infallible contrary to the claims of many other EOGÇ–s GÇ´ 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 ChurchGÇ–s.

I have said that I do not believe the Oecumenical Synods to be infallible. But with that said, I can personally find in fault in Chalcedon. I believe its theology to be binding and sound. Though some future Oecumenical Synod may declare me to be in error, it has not yet. And I accept the Definition of Chalcedon as a Creed of my Faith.

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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.

And for us to reject Chalcedon would be for us to declare that the Fathers of that Council committed and Error where there was none. As far as the 'qualification' of Chalcedon by Constantinople II, it no more lessens the Authority of Chalcedon than Constantinople I lessened the Authority of Nicea I, which could also be said to have qualified the Decrees of the Previous Synod, as some of the Arians and other Heretics abused the wording of parts of Nicea I inorder to support their Heresy, necessitating Constantinople I. In like manner, some Heretics tried to twist the Words of Chalcedon to say what they neither said nor intended, and another Council was called to condemn them for trying to corrupt the Fourth Oecumenical Synod.

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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 GÇ´ the unity of The Word, is absolutely intrinsic to Alexandrian soteriology), nor the relevance of St MaximumsGÇ– 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.

By Alexandrian Thought, Philosophy, et cetera, I am refering to the method of Thought made popular by St. Clement of Alexandria, and Origen after him, which relied on Greek Philosophy as the Basis of Christian Thought, as opposed to the Antiochian Emphasis on Jewish thought. The Greeks and the Jews can be considered the Philosophical predecessors of these two Schools respectively. As far as the applicability of the Philosophy of Alexandria to the Christology that eventually became popular in Alexandria, it would require discussion, especially about the Christology of Arius and Athanasios, as well as Apollinarius along with the Enneads of Plotinus and writings of Philo. But suffice it to say that diophysitism can be reconciled with Greek thought as easily as miaphysitism can, though Arianism or Apollinarianism are probably both closer to the philosophy of the neo-platonics, but the conflict between Arius and St. Athanasios had a significant impact. So what I am refering to in St. Maximos the Confessor is his use of the Alexandrian Methodology and Philosophy in theological thought, not his experience in the Christological discussions within Alexandria, as I saidd, his Christology is neither anitochian nor alexandrian, it is, like Chalcedon, Cappadocian.

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I agree with everything, except with your last clause concerning the possession of the human will by the divine GÇ´ 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 WordGÇ–s] body”, the soul of Christ is “His [The WordGÇ–s] soul” and the human will of Christ is “His [The WordGÇ–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 GÇ´ it belongs to my head, and its existence is not independent from that of my head, but rather dependent on itGÇ–s relationship with my very head. Nonetheless, it still maintains a very real and actual existence, distinct from that of my head.

I'm going to leave this alone for now and qualify my statement first to avoid misunderstanding, if you still disagree we can discuss it further. The Divine Will of Christ no more (or less) Possesses the Human Will of Christ than It Possesses the Will of the Rest of Humanity.
 
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IGÇ–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 itGÇ–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 itGÇ–s reality and itGÇ–s capacity, but “independent” is a word that implies division. The humanity of Christ is not “independent” it is only “distinct”.

Independent does not imply distinction, only a lack of dependence, that is to say a freedom, that is to say that the consonance of the Human Will with the Divine Will is by the free Choice of the Human Will, not an ontological requirement of its existance. Concerning Will and Operations (Energies), we will have to disagree, as I profess with St. Maximos the Confessor and the Fathers of the Third Oecumenical Synod of Constantinople, that Christ had Two Wills and Two Energies, One Human and One Divine, each with their respective Natures, thus establishing that the Will is verily has its origin in the Nature.

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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 ChristGÇ–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 am aware that this is a distinction of Cyril, though have read only a little of him (I fear as an aspiring canonist I find more interest in the Canons of the Church, Laws of the Empire, and Society and Culture of the Times), nonetheless that was my understanding of Cyril's distinction. Furthermore, it is the theology of Chalcedon, though different terms are used...the 'Nature of Thought' is what Chalcedon would call 'Nature,' and the 'Nature of Reality' is what Chalcedon would call 'Person.' That the 'State of His Existance; was as one was assumed by Chalcedon, for Ephesus decreed that Christ was one 'Person,' that is to say, one being or one relational entity, thus one could not speak of a Human Christ and a Divine Christ, for there is only one Christ, with two natures.

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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 GÇ´ God the Logos Incarnate, who acts according to His respective natures.

Agreed...that is not only the Theology of Chalcedon, but the Language as well.

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The “ultimate One will” that I speak of, is simply the personal will of Christ.  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 GÇ´ 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” GÇ´ 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 GÇ´ The God-man who wills according to His humanity, or according to His divinity.

I shall respond by posting our Posistion as declared in the Sixth Oecumenical Synod.
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We recognize the miracles and the sufferings as of one and the same [Person], but of one or of the other nature of which he is and in which he exists, as Cyril admirably says. Preserving therefore the inconfused- ness and indivisibility, we make briefly this whole confession, believing our Lord Jesus Christ to be one of the Trinity and after the incarnation our true God, we say that his two natures shone forth in his one subsistence in which he both performed the miracles and endured the sufferings through the whole of his economic conversation, and that not in appearance only but in very deed, and this by reason of the difference of nature which must be recognized in the same Person, for although joined together yet each nature wills and does the things proper to it and that indivisibly and inconfusedly. Wherefore we confess two wills and two operations, concurring most fitly in him for the salvation of the human race.

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ThereGÇ–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.

Here we Disagree, I believe the Synod to have been Summon in direct Response to the Heresy of Eutyches and the Synod of Ephesus in 449. There were certainly politics on both sides, both Constantinople and Alexandria were vying for status of Oecumenical Patriarch, but the Key and Central issues were Christology, specifically Eutyches and the aforementioned synod.

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Condemning and dealing heresies is all well and good GÇ´ 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”.

I again politely disagree with you. Dealing with a heresy and preserving Orthodox Dogma, regardless of Cost, is a central and sufficient condition for an Oecumenical Council to be Summoned, whenever the Church feels such a Synod is Necessary. Also, as a technicality I would like to point out that Dioscorus was Deposed not on account of the heresies ascribed to him, be the accusations false or otherwise, but was rather deposed becase, in violation of the Canonical Tradition and Laws of the Orthodox Church, he refused to come before the Synod when summoned to make his defence.

Well, we seem to be making some Progress, but very little and very slowly with more questions coming up, and there is still a significant cultural and historical divide, for which no mutually acceptable solution seems to exist. Nonetheless, I have been enjoying the Conversation thus far, and am Sorry it took as long as it did for me to Respond.
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Dioscorus
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« Reply #54 on: June 21, 2005, 10:24:03 AM »

Hi all , it's my first message in this very nice faithfull community ,
I'm really happy to see something like that.
First of all , about Titinos question about OO christology , I just want to show what was Christological state before Chalcedon from writings of the Holy apostolic Catholic church of fathers (catholic means before 451 schism , not roman catholic).
                                              Christology of saint Athanasius

Although Nestorius came later than St. Athanasius, yet St. Athanasius offered a rigid teaching against Nestorian heresy.
   He wrote, “How did men called Christians venture even to doubt whether the Lord, who proceeded from Mary, while Son of God by Essence and Nature, is “of the seed of David according to the flesh” , and of the flesh of the Holy Mary? Or who have been so venturesome as to say that Christ who suffered in the flesh and was crucified is not Lord, Saviour, God, and Son of the Father? Or how can they wish to be called Christians who say that the Word has descended upon a holy man as upon one of the prophets, and has not Himself become man, taking the body from Mary; but that Christ is one person, while the Word of God, Who before Mary and before the ages was Son of the Father, is another? Or how can they be Christians who say that the Son is one, and the Word of God another?  He wrote also, “The Word of God came in His own Person, because it was He alone, the image of the Father, who could recreate man made after the Image” .

            St. Athanasius explained how the Word of God made the properties of the Body His own and wrote, “the incorporeal Word made His own the properties of the Body, as being His own Body. Why, when the Body was struck by the attendant, as suffering Himself He asked, “Why smittest thou Me?” . And being by nature intangible, the Word yet said, “I gave My back to the stripes, and My cheeks to blows, and did not turn My face from shame and spitting” . For what the Human body of the Word suffered, this the Word, dwelling in the Body, ascribed to Himself... And verily it is strange that He it was Who suffered and yet suffered not. Suffered, because His own body suffered; suffered not, because the Word, being by nature God, is impassible” .
  from which we can say that christological problem caused by Chalcedon was finished from a century before . Saint Athanasius CONFESSED THAT The christ has his very special own NATURE which has HUMAN AND DIVINE PROPERTIES IN ONE NATURE AND ONE HYPOSTASIS
and through the last qoute , he showed the one will which pushed himself to the cross without Confusion or CONFLICT.
                                        Christology of Saint Cyril of Alexandria
In His letter to Succensus Bishop of Diocaesarea in Isauria, Saint Cyril of Alexandria wrote:
   ‘Considering, therefore, as I said, the manner of His incarnation we see that His two natures came together with each other in an indissoluble union, without blending and without change, for His flesh is flesh and not divinity, even though his flesh became the flesh of God, and likewise the Word also is God and not flesh, even though He made the flesh His own according to the dispensation. Therefore, whenever we have these thoughts in no way do we harm the joining into a unity by saying that he was of two natures, but after the union we do not separate the natures from one another, nor do we cut the one and indivisible Son into two sons but we say that there is one Son, and as the holy Fathers have said, there is one  of the Word (of God) made flesh.
   Therefore, as far as concerns our understanding and only the contemplation by the eyes of the soul in what manner the only begotten became man. We say that they are two natures which are united, but that Christ the son and Lord is one, the Word of God the Father made and incarnate. And, if it seems best, let us accept as an example the composition in our own selves by which we are men. For we are composed of soul and body and we see two natures the one being the nature of the body and the other the nature of the soul. But there is one from both in unity, a man. And because man is composed of two natures, this does not make two men, but one, but one and the same man through the composition.’

In his next letter to Bishop Succensus, Saint Cyril wrote:
   ‘But although the body united to him is not consubstantial to the Word begotten of God the Father, even though it is united with a rational soul, still our thoughts certainly presents to our mind the difference of the two natures which have been united, and yet we confess one Son, Christ and Lord, since the Word was made flesh. And whenever we say flesh, we are saying man...
   For not only in the case of those who are simple by nature is the term ‘one’ truly used, but also in respect to what has been brought together according to a synthesis, as man is one being, who is of soul and body. For soul and body are of different species and are not consubstantial to each other, but united they produce one Natureof man, even though in the considerations of the synthesis the difference exist according to the nature of those which have been brought together into a unity. Accordingly they are speaking in vain who say that, if there should be one incarnate nature   ‘of the Word’ in every way and in every manner it would follow that a mixture and a confusion occurred as if lessening and taking away the nature of man. BUT THERE IS ONE NATURE (MIAPHISYS) for god incarnate without mixture nor confusion'
              ‘As far as concerns our understanding and only the contemplation by the eyes of the soul in what manner they only begotten became man. We say that they are two natures which are united, but that Christ the Son and Lord is one, the Word of God the Father made man and incarnate.’
So, Cyril and Athanasius and other first church fathers were on one doctrine , the one nature God-human .
in the next message I'll produce the following teachings :
Tome of leo and Chalcedon , and we can then compare these teachings with the christology of Cyril and Athanasius .
and sure I'LL SHOW THEE MIAPHISYS terminology OF GREEK CHURCH in the agreement of EO &OO
god be with you all , and I hope to see reactions from you on my work
thanks ,
yours in Christ
Dioscorus
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Dioscorus
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« Reply #55 on: June 21, 2005, 10:53:02 AM »

dear greekchristian ,
        Greek church christology is devided into two important fields :
1> ecumenical work of enlightened proffessors like John Romanides and H.G bishop Kalistos Ware
who confess that Chalcedon had a political roman style , and confess in Cyrill as the doctor of christology , supporting same chirstology of Coptic orthodox church.
    the result at all , the Agreement between OO and EE families caused mutual lifting of anathemas and accepting Baptism , Marriage and communion of both sides in a very historic massive step on unity .
I will extract the following parts of the agreement :
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 (

5. Both families agree that He who wills and acts is always the one Hypostasis of the Logos incarnate.

6. Both families agree in rejecting interpretations of Councils which do not fully agree with the Horos of the Third Ecumenical Council and the letter (433) of Cyril of Alexandria to John of Antioch.

7. The Orthodox agree that the Oriental Orthodox will continue to maintain their traditional cyrillian terminology of 'one nature of the incarnate Logos' (MIAPHYSIS TOU THE'OLOGO SESARKOMENE), since they acknowledge the double consubstantiality of the Logos which Eutyches denied. The Orthodox also use this terminology The Oriental Orthodox agree that the Orthodox are justified in their use of the two-natures formula, since they acknowledge that the distinction is ‘in thought alone (ï€Â ï€Â .  Cyril interpreted correctly this use in his letter to John of Antioch and his letters to Acacius of Melitene (PG 77, 184-201). to Eulogius (PG 77. 224-228) and to Succensus (PG 77, 228-245).


2> fanatics , who still this day publish books accusing alexandria church of Monophysitism!!
and they -them selves- ATTACKED THIS AGREEMENT SAYING THAT YOUR POPE IN THIS AGREEMENT IGNORED CHALCEDON COUNCIL!! and they still use the  terminology Dio-Physis however it was condemned in 553 , and the 7th point i showed up  declares that greek church use same Cyrilian terminology . the result is , increasing the gap between the brothers , why?
is it for dignity ? or for jesus?
The question is :
EO christianian must ask himself:
Am I with the enlightened church current which flows the spirit of unity and love over midetterenian?
or I am with the dio-physistes and chalcedonian supporters who support just for saying We ARE HERE BECAUSE WE ARE DIFFERENT?!
I hope we could be FULLY one ... we are now 80% one ... I hope we reach the top of unity , we are in the Christ any way.
Your's Mina
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« Reply #56 on: June 21, 2005, 05:31:59 PM »

Dear greekChristian ;
it's nice to defend for a certain belief  . but using logic , not taking the council results as bible scriptures , Impossible .
let us discuss two critical points in our history  , Ephisus 449  & Chalcedon 451
in the previous letter , I declared to you clearly the christology confession of the biggest fathers of the church .
now , in 449 Eutiches declared that he was wrong , and he follows the creed of Nicaea 325 , if you were in the position of Dioscorus , what will you do? honestly answer me please . Flavian refused the result because he was nestorian in the wittness of the greek and roman historians (John Romanides : Chalcedon devides or unites . John romanides : the one physis doctrine of cyril)
and the big evidence which was confermed in 451 council was the restoration of Theodore of mopsuista and Ibas who tought Nestour the Two nature doctrine . Dioscorus restored Eutiches , and this what happened depending on Eutiches right confession. but when Eutiches got back to his heresey we condemned him in Alexandria local council in 450 . revise history ,  about calling this council Rubber council , I'm waiting from you the reasons , any way some liar historians accused Dioscorus of killing Flavian , and Roman historians went further and said that flavian was killed three days after the council , ok again , more historians documented that he was killed in 450 !!! do you want more stories? ok thirdly , very very simple answer :
1) there are more than 4 letters between 449-450 sent by flavian to Leo , this denies the pretend of killing him in the council .
2) In Chalcedon council , flavian's and Roman's representatives confessed that they were forced to accept Eutiches . Dioscorus answered in chalcedon saying : they are cowards because they accepted a heresey under force , however they would have to martyre better than to accept this disastrous robber council . those representatives said : we were wrong and we want merci !!! hehehe
3) famous modern enlightened historians  said as following : James Stevenson showed a letter from flavian to leo in 13 october 450 , so , his conclusion was that Chalcedon accuse was a big historical fault . Frend mentioned that there are many evidences about flavian being alive to 450 . the sure thing which was confermed by historians was that FLAVIAN was alive to February 450.
4) Flavian was the violent factor in this story , he used violence with Eutichians in the local council of constantinople to keep his domination and control on this see . this what happened again in Chalcedon , I will explain it in detail . mrs.Botcher the most famous British historian said that violence of leo in Chalcedon managed to conferm his papacy through defeating Dioscorus by force and sending him to exile for his Cyrillian Confess!!
I think this was the wittness of historians , wittness of history ...and wittness of time.

next question is to you (second question in this letter to you , remember the first please)
why Chalcedon 451 if eutiches was anathematised totally through a chain of local councils beginning from Alexandria to constantinople . why Chalcedon 451 as Dioscorus confesses in cyriallian terminology? and flavian was the real Robber ?
 in christ ,
Dioscorus .
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