Author Topic: The Trinity in the Assyrian Church of the East  (Read 1264 times)

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Offline Perennial1

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The Trinity in the Assyrian Church of the East
« on: August 14, 2015, 11:25:10 AM »
(This is not about the Oriental Orthodox churches but I don't know what other forum area to put it in.)

This is about the Assyrian Church of the East. Do they talk about three characters/persons in the Trinity or just three gnome (the closest Greek equivalent of which is hypostasis but it doesn't mean quite that much)?

Offline wgw

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Re: The Trinity in the Assyrian Church of the East
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2015, 09:58:25 PM »
They confess three persons in the Trinity.  The qnome are used to refer to what the Orthodox regard as the human and divine natures of Christ.  Since Mar Dinkha IV, the Assyrian church has become markedly less Nestorian and like the Oriental Orthodox, signed  a common statement on Christology with the Vatican.  Which in theory means that, at least through the back door of Roman Catholicism, the OO and Assyrians now peofess a compatible Christology, leaving the Assyrian veneration of Nestorius as the main obstacle to unity.

There are however a few enthusiasts of Nestorianism out there, like the owner of nestorian.org.   Also its possible the Ancient Church of the East is more hardline Nestorian.
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Offline Severian

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Re: The Trinity in the Assyrian Church of the East
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2015, 02:37:00 AM »
They confess three persons in the Trinity.  The qnome are used to refer to what the Orthodox regard as the human and divine natures of Christ.  Since Mar Dinkha IV, the Assyrian church has become markedly less Nestorian and like the Oriental Orthodox, signed  a common statement on Christology with the Vatican.  Which in theory means that, at least through the back door of Roman Catholicism, the OO and Assyrians now peofess a compatible Christology, leaving the Assyrian veneration of Nestorius as the main obstacle to unity.

There are however a few enthusiasts of Nestorianism out there, like the owner of nestorian.org.   Also its possible the Ancient Church of the East is more hardline Nestorian.
Shy of confessing that one of the Trinity suffered in the flesh, they are still quasi-Nestorian at the very least
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Re: The Trinity in the Assyrian Church of the East
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2015, 12:44:56 PM »
They confess three persons in the Trinity.  The qnome are used to refer to what the Orthodox regard as the human and divine natures of Christ. 

I don't think qnume are "natures".  In the the service for the blessing of the waters on Epiphany, the supplicatory hymn after Psalm 50/51 contains a verse which says* "At the Jordan, three qnume were proclaimed: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies all."  There is a distinction between "qnumo" and "hypostasis", as well as between "qnumo" and "prosopon", but it is closer to "hypostasis". 



*quick and dirty translation from Syriac
I think you can say ~ In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and post with charitable and prayerful intentions.

Offline Perennial1

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Re: The Trinity in the Assyrian Church of the East
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2015, 12:59:46 PM »
They confess three persons in the Trinity. 

Are there any references for this? Thanks...


Offline wgw

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Re: The Trinity in the Assyrian Church of the East
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2015, 10:24:55 PM »
They confess three persons in the Trinity. 

Are there any references for this? Thanks...

Yes.  Look up the text of the Liturgy of the Holy Apostles Addai and Mari and you will find the Nicene Creed sans the filioque.  The Nestorian schism postdated the Council of Chalcedon by about 50 years; the Nestorians venerate Ss. Athanasius, Ephrem the Syrian, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and also the Antiochene theologians Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia, who were for all their flaws solidly Trinitarian and fully Orthodox according to the standards of the Second Ecumenical Council.  Even today we would probably accept a difference of opinion between the Antiochene and Alexandrian schools as water under the theologocal bridge were it not for Nestorius attempting to use it to justify suppressing the veneration of St. Mary as the Theotokos; its worth considering St. Ephrem, St. John Chrysostom and St. Isaac the Syrian all came from this Antiochene, Edessan and Assyrian theological tradition.
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: The Trinity in the Assyrian Church of the East
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2015, 10:58:28 PM »
They confess three persons in the Trinity. 

Are there any references for this? Thanks...

Yes.  Look up the text of the Liturgy of the Holy Apostles Addai and Mari and you will find the Nicene Creed sans the filioque.  The Nestorian schism postdated the Council of Chalcedon by about 50 years; the Nestorians venerate Ss. Athanasius, Ephrem the Syrian, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and also the Antiochene theologians Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia, who were for all their flaws solidly Trinitarian and fully Orthodox according to the standards of the Second Ecumenical Council.  Even today we would probably accept a difference of opinion between the Antiochene and Alexandrian schools as water under the theologocal bridge were it not for Nestorius attempting to use it to justify suppressing the veneration of St. Mary as the Theotokos; its worth considering St. Ephrem, St. John Chrysostom and St. Isaac the Syrian all came from this Antiochene, Edessan and Assyrian theological tradition.

Well, technically the Nestorian schism wasn't a discrete event. The 431 council condemned Nestorius, but at the time "ecumenical" only meant Roman and the councils were not seen as universal or as binding upon non-Roman Christians. Hence, the Roman (I. e. Byzantine) church remained for the most part in communion with the Persian church, despite the latter never affirming the council (it was not expected that they would need to). However, both sides gradually drifted apart with the Byzantines becoming more solidly anti-Nestorian after the Three-Chapter Controversy, while the Persian Church became more pro-Nestorian after Byzantines who were exiled for promoting Nestorianism fled there. The two churches continued to intercommune until around 700 or so. Geographic isolation as much as theological drift led to the split becoming final after that point.

The Persian Church did not participate in or ratify Nicea itself, but rather they accepted its Trinitarian teachings at their own synod (of Seleucia-Ctesiphon), later on in the 4th century.

I think the attitude of "universal jurisdiction" in various forms (of ecumenical councils on the part of some EO, of the papacy on the part of the RC, and of the Biblical canon on the part of Protestants), born out of arrogance, might have ended up fueling more schisms than any other single factor.

Such an idea might be seen by some as promoting "unity" but in reality only accomplished the exact opposite.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2015, 11:04:13 PM by Minnesotan »
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Offline wgw

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Re: The Trinity in the Assyrian Church of the East
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2015, 01:03:12 AM »
They confess three persons in the Trinity. 

Are there any references for this? Thanks...

Yes.  Look up the text of the Liturgy of the Holy Apostles Addai and Mari and you will find the Nicene Creed sans the filioque.  The Nestorian schism postdated the Council of Chalcedon by about 50 years; the Nestorians venerate Ss. Athanasius, Ephrem the Syrian, Basil the Great, John Chrysostom, and also the Antiochene theologians Diodore of Tarsus and Theodore of Mopsuestia, who were for all their flaws solidly Trinitarian and fully Orthodox according to the standards of the Second Ecumenical Council.  Even today we would probably accept a difference of opinion between the Antiochene and Alexandrian schools as water under the theologocal bridge were it not for Nestorius attempting to use it to justify suppressing the veneration of St. Mary as the Theotokos; its worth considering St. Ephrem, St. John Chrysostom and St. Isaac the Syrian all came from this Antiochene, Edessan and Assyrian theological tradition.

Well, technically the Nestorian schism wasn't a discrete event. The 431 council condemned Nestorius, but at the time "ecumenical" only meant Roman and the councils were not seen as universal or as binding upon non-Roman Christians. Hence, the Roman (I. e. Byzantine) church remained for the most part in communion with the Persian church, despite the latter never affirming the council (it was not expected that they would need to). However, both sides gradually drifted apart with the Byzantines becoming more solidly anti-Nestorian after the Three-Chapter Controversy, while the Persian Church became more pro-Nestorian after Byzantines who were exiled for promoting Nestorianism fled there. The two churches continued to intercommune until around 700 or so. Geographic isolation as much as theological drift led to the split becoming final after that point.

The Persian Church did not participate in or ratify Nicea itself, but rather they accepted its Trinitarian teachings at their own synod (of Seleucia-Ctesiphon), later on in the 4th century.

I think the attitude of "universal jurisdiction" in various forms (of ecumenical councils on the part of some EO, of the papacy on the part of the RC, and of the Biblical canon on the part of Protestants), born out of arrogance, might have ended up fueling more schisms than any other single factor.

Such an idea might be seen by some as promoting "unity" but in reality only accomplished the exact opposite.

Agreed, and your history is a good summary of what transpired, although it should be noted the Assyrians do confess a minor textual variant of the Nicene Creed sans the filioque.
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!