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Author Topic: Did Augustine Split The Church?  (Read 2164 times) Average Rating: 0
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Orthodoc
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Those who ignore history tend to repeat it.


« on: February 14, 2003, 10:49:43 AM »


Article posted on another site -

2003.02.13 Telegraph:

Re: Augustine split the church

Date: 13 February 2003

Sir - In your interview of Dr Rowan Williams and your leading article (
Leader, Feb 12 ), you show an enthusiasm for Augustine of Hippo that is not
shared by the Eastern Orthodox Church.

It was Augustine who first argued for the inclusion of the filioque clause
in the Nicene Creed - "the Holy Spirit who proceedeth from the Father and
the Son" - which was a major cause of the split between the Western and
Eastern churches. Almost as bad has been Augustine's influence on our
understanding of humanity, believing as he did in original guilt and,
therefore, the tacit denial of human freedom.

This teaching led ultimately to Calvinism and its pessimistic view of our
humanity, and other Protestant aberrations. The logic of Augustine's
position led him to the view that unbaptised babies, because they are
tainted with original guilt, are consigned to hell. These views of human
nature have always been rejected by the Orthodox Church.

From:
Rev Michael Harper Dean, British Antiochian, Orthodox Church, Cambridge

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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2003, 11:31:34 AM »

Read Fr. Seraphim Rose's "The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church" to find out the Orthodox opinion of Augustine. Nik has it linked on the portal, and it's a very good book about a venerable Orthodox saint whose theology is exaggerated and thus not accepted in Orthodoxy.

Fr. Seraphim argues that we shouldn't get into "Augustine Bashing" and start blaming him for all the errors that came much later in the West. Rather, we should take Augustine as a man of Christ who saw his own limitations and thus oozed out the love of Christ and was quite Orthodox in piety. Augustine is, after all, considered a father in the Orthodox Church, but his spurious teachings on grace and predestination are also rightfully rejected. To say that Augustine caused the schism and Calvinism is outright foolishness. Give credit where credit is due. Those who ignore/bash western saints are the most "western" of all.

In Christ,

Matt
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2003, 03:20:35 AM »

It's clear that Augustine wasn't the sole cause of the split.  I've been studying philosophy a lot longer than I've been in the conversion process.  I've understood since I'd began studying Augustine that his doctrine played a very large part in the schism.

One of the major changes I've had to make has been unlearning Augustinian Christianity.  My worldview is much different now, and has changed for the better, I believe.

I respect Augustine and certainly don't hold him accountable for the fact that his beliefs became the foundation for Western Christianity, but I also realize that these beliefs themselves have some horrific implications.
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« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2003, 10:29:28 AM »

Frobisher, I'm glad you noticed the link in our portal. Indeed it is a great book and explains a lot.

Also, if you anyone is interested, there are some great articles on the many things that slowly caused the split here as well.
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2003, 12:37:37 PM »

Frobisher, I'm glad you noticed the link in our portal. Indeed it is a great book and explains a lot.

Also, if you anyone is interested, there are some great articles on the many things that slowly caused the split here as well.

Before disdaining everything "Augustinian," let's remember that the Blessed Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in North Africa and son of St. Monica, is not only considered as one of the Fathers by the Western Church, but even in Eastern Orthodoxy he is still venerated as a Saint (there is an Orthodox church named for him in Denver, CO, where Fr. Alexey Young, now a ROCOR hieromonk, once served).  Blessed Augustine's "Confessions" can be read for greater edification of the soul during the upcoming Lenten season.  The mistake the West makes is in making *all* of St. Augustine's teachings "infallible."  But we know that even saints can make mistakes, and the Blessed Augustine *never* intentionally taught heresy.

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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2003, 01:03:39 PM »

Yes Hypo, that is part of the point of the book. Many Orthodox converts from Roman Catholicism will quickly disdain everything Augustinian, but Father Seraphim Rose shows us the error in such thinking.
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2003, 01:11:55 PM »

Yes Hypo, that is part of the point of the book. Many Orthodox converts from Roman Catholicism will quickly disdain everything Augustinian, but Father Seraphim Rose shows us the error in such thinking.

Thank God for Father Seraphim [Rose], Nik!  And even though I think that he also made some mistakes, I still regard him as a very holy man--possibly a saint himself!

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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2003, 08:46:25 PM »

A great read indeed, Nik. I look forward to further recommendations!  Smiley

The book on Augustine is good, not only to read about a great Orthodox saint, but also to understand the Church's attitude toward western saints whose successors took things to the extreme. Speaking of Augustine, I would recommend his Confessions for good lenten reading. Fr. Seraphim would do the same.

Matt

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