Hi, these articles were on www.orthodoxinfo.com
which is a traditionalist old calendarist orthodox website. Here is what it has to say:
1. Eastern Orthodoxy and "Oriental Orthodoxy"
The superficial theological milieu of our era has proven most advantageous for ecumenical ideology, which seeks to gloss over the fundamental and abiding differences which distinguish the heterodox confessions from the Orthodox Faith. All too often, such differences are now conveniently dismissed as merely long-standing miscommunications of alternative, yet equally valid, terminological emphases. This perfunctory approach has been eagerly employed by Orthodox modernists in their theological dialogues with the so-called "Oriental Orthodox" churches. The designation "Oriental Orthodox" itself clearly illustrates the ecumenistic tendency to obfuscate essential theological differences with euphemisms. This deceptive appellation, popularized by the defective world view of Western Christian thought—a world view which lumps together such mutually exclusive ecclesiastical entities as the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Assyrian Church of the East (i.e., Nestorians), "Oriental Orthodox" churches, and Eastern Rite Papists (i.e., Uniates, such as Melkites and Maronites) under the umbrella term "Eastern Christians"—, masks the intransigent heresies held for centuries by three main groups: 1) Armenians, 2) Copts and Ethiopians (Abyssinians), and 3) Syrian and Malabarese Jacobites.
The adjective Oriental is synonymous with the adjective Eastern. There is thus no real distinction between the term Eastern Orthodox (which identifies the only True Church) and the term "Oriental Orthodox" (which denotes several false churches). More importantly, although the "Oriental Orthodox" have appropriated the title Orthodox for themselves (e.g., the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, etc.), it was precisely their failure to embrace the Christology of the Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Synod in 451 that led to their departure from the domain of Orthodoxy to the hinterlands of heresy. They are therefore correctly and accurately designated either as Non-Chalcedonians, reflecting their rejection of this Divinely-inspired Ecumenical Synod, or Monophysites, characterizing their specific heterodox confession of Christianity.
These three groups of Non-Chalcedonians are united in their common profession of Monophysitism, as well as its logical consequents, Monotheletism and Monoenergism—the doctrines that in Christ there are, respectively, only one nature, one will, and one energy. The Fourth Ecumenical Synod anathematized Monophysitism, the Fifth Ecumenical Synod confirmed this decision, the Sixth Ecumenical Synod condemned Monotheletism and Monoenergism, and the Seventh Ecumenical Synod reaffirmed all of the foregoing. Therefore, in addition to being Non-Chalcedonians, the "Oriental Orthodox" are also Non-Second Constantinopolitans, Non-Third Constantinopolitans, and Non-Second Nicaeans. Their unyielding opposition to four of the seven Ecumenical Synods makes it not just a little difficult for us to consider the Monophysite churches Orthodox. After all, even the Latins, not to mention some Protestants, ostensibly abide by all seven of the Ecumenical Synods, and they are never referred to as "Orthodox" churches.
To bear the name Orthodox, one must confess—without equivocation—the Ecumenical Christology of the Catholic and Apostolic Tradition: Jesus Christ united without confusion within His Own Hypostasis His Divine Nature and His Human Nature, His Divine will and His Human will, and His Divine energy and His Human energy. There is no room here for semantic sidestepping. A recent study of Non-Chalcedonianism by the Monastery of Saint Gregory (Gregoriou) on Mt. Athos, The Non-Chalcedonian Heretics: A Contribution to the Dialogue Concerning the "Orthodoxy" of the Non-Chalcedonians, came to this same conclusion (see "Publications" at the back of this issue):
A great ecclesiological chasm exists between us and the Non-Chalcedonians, which only the explicit confession of the holiness and ecumenicity of the Fourth and the following three Holy Ecumenical Synods on the part of the Non-Chalcedonians can bridge. Any manifest or hidden deviation whatsoever from Orthodox dogma, for the sake of some union contrary to the truth, will occasion only harm to immortal souls and suffering for the Church [p. 41].
Because of their subconscious ecclesiastical insecurities, the New Calendarists in America have a pathological craving for worldly recognition, making them only too willing to accept the "harm to immortal souls and suffering for the Church" already occasioned by dialogues between the "official" Orthodox and the Monophysites. For example, as reported in an earlier issue of Orthodox Tradition, several modernist theologians recently participated in an "Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Symposium" co-sponsored by St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary and St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, a symposium obviously mimicking the union dialogues held in Europe in 1989 and 1990. On the Orthodox side, the symposium included representatives from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America, the Orthodox Church in America, and the Romanian Orthodox Church in America; on the Monophysite side, it included representatives from the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, the Coptic Orthodox Church, and the Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch.
As reported by Solia (Vol. 60, No. 6 [June 1995]), the symposium, in heinous violation of the ecclesiological self-definition of the Orthodox Church as the One and Only Church of Christ, blasphemously referred to "‘the two Orthodox Churches’" as "‘one Orthodox family,’" to quote the heretical phrase of one Coptic priest (p. 16). Relying on the results achieved by past conferences and commissions which have examined the "Orthodoxy" of the Monophysites, the participants glibly concluded "that there exists full agreement on the substance of the faith of the two churches, notwithstanding the differences in terms" (p. 13)—and this, apparently, notwithstanding the Divine Grace which enlightened such God-bearing Fathers as Saints Flavian of Constantinople, Leo the Great, and Proterios of Alexandria (all of whom struggled against and suffered because of the Monophysite heresy) to develop and to refine a precise Christological nomenclature delineating the Orthodox Faith.
Having thus summarily disposed of the insuperable dogmatic barrier between the Truth of Orthodoxy and the falsehood of Non-Chalcedonianism, the symposium quickly turned its attention to the "practical steps...which could be implemented at the global and local levels to ultimately achieve [sic] unity," and "this includes among other things, a statement of reconciliation, academic cooperation, and common catechesis of young people" (ibid.). Deciphering this "ecumenically correct" jargon and restating it in plain Orthodox language, this symposium embraced the renunciation of Patristic Tradition, the scholarly prostitution of sacred theology, and the sacrifice of the next generation of Orthodox to appease the Moloch of Monophysitism. And for this, we have to thank "the great contribution of modern scholarship and the current worldwide ecumenical movement" (ibid.)! The words of the Savior ring with prophetic force: "Ye shall know them by their fruits" (St. Matthew 7:16).
In contrast to our ecumenist counterparts, who—to the detriment of their fellow man—reinforce the Monophysites in their error, we traditionalists, out of love both for the Truth and for those who have deviated from it, challenge the Monophysites to accept the standard of True Orthodox Christianity. Let the Non-Chalcedonian heretics become truly Oriental Orthodox: Let their spiritual orientation turn eastward, facing the Chalcedonian sunrise that dawns universally from the noetic Anatolia of Eastern Orthodoxy, where the Theanthropic One, "Whose Name is Orient" (Zechariah 6:12 [LXX]), the God-Man Christ Jesus, rises in Truth. Only then, when they have renounced their heterodox beliefs, can we genuinely address these theologically disoriented Easterners as Orthodox brethren.
2. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Copts and Orthodoxy
A priest that I know says that the Copts are Orthodox, that they have been the victims of a theological misunderstanding by the Orthodox Church, and that they have a valid priesthood. He communes them and says that they are part of our Faith....You seem to think differently. Can you explain your position, which this priest says is old and outdated. He gave me an article by Bishop Maximos of Pittsburgh of the Greek Archdiocese. He says that Bishop Maximos is a great Patristic scholar and that his word, which supports the Copts as Orthodox, is final. (M.K., NY)
The Copts are Monophysites and thus heretics. Their Mysteries are invalid and, should they join the Orthodox Church, they must be received as non-Orthodox. Indeed, now that most Copts have rejected the errors of the Monophysite heresy, this is a time for their reunion with Orthodoxy. Here is a place for true ecumenism. But despite the fact that the time seems ripe, we must still rest on the Providence of God and restore the Copts to Orthodoxy in a proper way. One cannot say that he is Orthodox simply because he believes correctly and recites the Creed. He must be received into the Church by Chrismation or Baptism. The fact that the Copts were once Orthodox, fell away, and have now come to right belief is neither here nor there. Grace does not withstand generations of heresy and separation from the Church.
Anyone who believes that the Orthodox Fathers were wrong in condemning the Monophysites, and that the Copts have always been Orthodox, is guilty of blasphemy against the Church Fathers and the Ecumenical Synod at Chalcedon, which condemned the Monophysite heresy. He is also guilty of heresy, in that such a proposition presupposes not only that the Fathers of the Church were in error and that this error entered into the conscience of the Church, but that the Orthodox Church has for centuries been "divided" between the two "families" of right-believing Orthodox and the supposedly "right-believing" Copts. Moreover, such a view presumes that our Orthodox Fathers, ignorant of the truth, "divided" the Church over semantics and over word games.
There are even some conservative Orthodox, insufficiently familiar with the primary historical materials and following Western historiographical views of the events surrounding the Council of Chacedon (which have often shown, as Father Florovsky has observed, sympathies both for Monophysitism and the Nestorian heresy which provoked it), who imagine that misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and intransigence are the sources of the Chalcedonian schism. This mimicking of Western scholarship, however popular, breeds an un-Orthodox approach to the Christological debate between the Orthodox and heterodox parties. The Orthodox party was staunchly defending the truth, the non-Orthodox party staunchly defending a false view of Christ. While "objective" historians may thus attribute to the two sides in this debate "intransigence," it is obviously not consistent with Orthodox piety to accuse those who defend the truth of intransigence. It is heresy, a resistance to the truth, which actually has its roots in, and which is defined by, intransigence.
What, too, can we say of the Monophysite Churchmen and theologians who condemned our Orthodox Fathers as heretics and who are today revered by the Copts? Are we to praise and honor them along with the Monophysite "Saints" whose intercession the Copts invoke? Are we to commemorate together the memories of Churchmen who stood diametrically opposed to one another and pretend that such commemorations are consistent with the "one mind" of the Apostolic Church? And must we now reject the counsel of the great Abba Evthymios, who warned St. Gerasimos of the Jordan against the Monophysite heresy, bringing the latter to bitter tears for his former errors?
Theologians and Churchmen who do not read the Fathers, who do not lead spiritual lives, and who see the union of men as something more important than our union with God in the unity of Faith have no business conducting dialogues between the Orthodox and the Copts. They are not acting in a spiritual way, and the results which they achieve will not be spiritual. They are too weak to speak the truth and to lead the Copts, as they must be led, back to the Church in humble submission.
We deeply respect and admire Coptic piety. Many Copts far exceed Orthodox in their dedication to God and fidelity to their faith. But our respect must not impede us from telling them the truth, bringing them into the Church properly, and offering them bread, rather than the stone of cheap ecumenical politics. Spiritual men pine for unity in the truth. Ecumenical politicians seek to exalt themselves by great feats of human prowess. Those spiritual men who have been misled by their understandable enthusiasm for Church unity should reflect seriously on who is leading them into this false unity and what their motives are. When the Copts, too, reflect on this, we will undoubtedly see a cooling in what is now unfounded enthusiasm. And as the Copts grow in their desire to return to Orthodoxy, they will themselves wish to do so in an orderly way and not through the back door which has been opened to them by ecumenical politicians and spiritually irresponsible clergymen.
Bishop Maximos' article on the Monophysites (The Illuminator, Vol. XII, No. 86) rests wholly on the theological opinion of Jean Lebon, A Roman Catholic Priest and scholar, who wrote an interesting thesis on a Monophysite figure. His Grace suggests that all "serious scholars and patrologists" follow the writings of this "great professor and scholar of our century" and find no ultimately essential differences, save those of terminology, between Orthodoxy and Monophysitism. "It is only ignorant and narrow[-]minded[,] irreponsible people who can oppose the work of God's Holy Spirit" and such views, he argues. I doubt, given the prevailing hatred for traditionalists in his jurisdiction, that His Grace would apologize to me and other Old Calendarists under this umbrella of condemnation, but he certainly owes an apology to other theologians who think as we do: the late Protopresbyter Georges Florovsky, the Blessed Archimandrite Justin (Popovich), Professor P. Trembelas, and others.
As for Bishop Maximos' suggestion that "church politicians" and "administrators" settle this question, res ipsa loquitur. Whenever the Church's conscience is violated, we turn to church politicians and administrators—the source and product of modernism and innovation. When that conscience is defended, we look to the Fathers, the Ecumenical Councils, and Church Tradition. And these have already spoken, as we have noted.
We are astonished at and deeply saddened by Bishop Maximos' ill-advised words.
From Orthodox Tradition, VOL. IX, NO. 1, pp. 8-10.
+ + +
Excerpt from a letter from Bishop Auxentios regarding my question about the Copts and their claim to be Orthodox:
The short answer, Patrick, is, what do you really expect them to proclaim, that they are heretics? Sorry for my tone in this, but you have to step back and look beyond the particulars, which have been complicated by centuries of self-justification on the parts of the various monophysite groups. The basic questions are really quite simple (even though the professional ecumenists think we are "simple minded" for seeing things in this way): Do we believe in a branch theory of the Church or not? Is the Divine Bridegroom of the Church—Who assures us that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the will of our Heavenly Father—incapable of maintaining the integrity of His Body, or does He allow it to fracture, for the various components to anathematize one another, and yet for all portions/branches to maintain their unity with Him (and separation with one another) over centuries? In some way or another, the Copts do presume this in their contemporary argumentation for the "Orthodoxy" of their confession. Stange as it may sound, if they had a truly Orthodox mentality, they would be arguing for our un-Orthodoxy (based on the centuries of our separation from them), rather than trying to prove that we are one and the same. If the historical descendants of the monophysite heresy have come full circle and rejected the heretical components of their ancient confessions, this is for them to prove and for them to correct in a contrite spirit. There is a blasphemous disregard for the divinely-inspired conciliar polity of the Church and for the well-known consequences of schism hidden within their argumentation. For the right-reasoning Orthodox believer, this is proof enough that they have lost the fullness of Grace and that, as Father Florovsky so wisely observed, "the history of the Christian divisions can...not be deduced from or built on the basis of the principle of intolerance, nor the principles of pride, lust for power, concupiscence or meanness [and one can certainly add 'cultural' and 'linguistic' idiosyncrasies to this list]. Of course, human passion in all its power is 'decked out' and exposed in the divisions of Christianity. But the initial source of these Christian schisms was not moral depravity or human weakness, but delusion."
...The Monophysite's fundamentalistic insistence on one formula ["one nature of the Word incarnate"]—to the exclusion of another that even St. Cyril had come to understand as synonymous [dual consubstantiality]—reflects an un-Orthodox view of dogma. Those of Orthodox spirit know that dogma is imperfect symbols describing Revelation, but not Revelation itself. What is critical for Orthodox is the integrity of that Revelation, not terminological rigidity.
3.A Humorous and Instructive Reply to a Question Concerning the Monophysites
Dear Father xxx,
I think the question has less to do with "apologies" (and I basically agree with your position on that) and more to do with ecclesial matters: ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š if, hypothetically, it were determined that there were no doctrinal impediments to communion between the Chalcedonian Church and the Copts, what do we do with the veneration of saints who were persecuted and martyred by the other side, and who were each other's sworn enemies? ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Would we give them a list of saints that had to be removed from their calendar? ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Would they present us with such a list? ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š Or do you overlook everything while everyone continues to venerate whom they have always venerated? ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š And what about Coptic saints who may have been indisputably radical Monophysites for whom the Coptic Church has a continuing attachment?
I certainly do not presume to know the answers; however, these are, as I understand them, some of the questions.
With love in Christ,
+ + +
May God bless you.
I came up with a fantastic solution to this dilemma. It is amazingly clever and novel. Let us pretend that Bishops of spiritual vision, meeting together in the belief that the Holy Spirit guides those who are gathered in Christ's name and among whom He thus dwells, were to conclude, in conformity with the confession of the Fathers before them, that the Monophysites taught something contrary to the Orthodox Faith preserved within the boundaries of the Church.
Let us then pretend that the Orthodox Church is characterized by its fidelity to these Bishops and that the Fathers of the Church would never have cut off for untold centuries people who really were of correct faith; but rather, that they would have acted only responsibly and in a way pleasing to the Holy Spirit. And let us pretend that we are not more spiritual and more learned than these Fathers, or that the Fathers and believers and Saints in the many centuries after them were not simply cretins and sycophants blindly accepting the errors of the ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢cumenical Synods, waiting for our enlightened contemporaries bravely to open our eyes.
Then let us pretend that we are bound by our Baptisms and Confession of Faith to follow the infallible statements of the ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢cumenical Synods which these Bishops convened. Let us pretend that the very conscience of the Church and Her self-identity lie in these Synods. And let us pretend that one of these Synods actually condemned the Non-Chacedonians and removed them from the bosom of Orthodoxy. And finally, let us pretend that these Bishops represent the True Church established by Christ, from which all in error have been removed, and that fidelity to their pronouncements makes us True Orthodox Christians. And let us pretend that contemporary Orthodox ecumenists, men (at least of late) of rather obviously limited intellectual gifts and little spiritual prowess, are not wiser than the Fathers before us. Would this not be a wonderful solution to the dilemma of our relationship to those in heresy, and specifically the heresy of Monophysitism?
Now, going beyond the foregoing game of "pretend," let us further pretend that Christians live in love and that, because of this, they would never want others to believe that what is false is true, but always wish to bring people to the Truth. Let us pretend that we could teach the Monophysites that they are wrong, rather than apologizing to them for the Truth and for human historical errors that have nothing to do with the criterion of Truth itself. Let us pretend that we could bring the Copts into the Church, rather than prostitute the Truth by conforming it to error. Would this not add much to the wonderful solution that I proposed in the paragraph above?
On second thought, all of this would entail faith in the Truth, the authority of the Church, the inspiration of the Fathers, the infallibility of the ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢cumenical Synods, and the primacy of the Orthodox Faith.
How foolish I am! A mere fundamentalist!
Least Among Monks,
+ Archbishop Chrysostomos
Right now I'm quite confused because I believe that the Oriental Orthodox are truly Orthodox but I just can't understand one thing. If the Copts now truly believe that Chalcedon is Orthodox then why won't they accept it? It would make things so much more less complicated. On the other hand, if the Eastern Othodox truly believe that the Oriental Orthodox are truly Orthodox then why won't they just let them be and accept them without having them to accept the other 3 councils??
Furthermore on the other hand, both churches believe that the Holy Spirit directly influences the councils so therefore even if the copts use the argument that "these councils did not affect us" wouldn't they be automatically obliged to accept the councils since they are ecumenical and therefore inspired by God??"