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Offline Green

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Church Of The East?
« on: July 29, 2016, 08:01:04 AM »
Greetings,

What is heretical about the (Assyrian/Ancient) Church Of the East? How did they fall out of communion with the rest of Christendom? What are peoples objections to this church? Any good sources I can learn more about them and other related things?

Thank you.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 08:33:23 AM by Green »

Offline benjohn146

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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2016, 08:34:54 AM »
Good day.

They are teaching and accepting nestorianism, a doctrine that divide Christ's human and divine nature. It has been condemned by the Church at the councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon.
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2016, 11:39:28 AM »
There's an ongoing discussion on whether they're actually Nestorian, but denying that Mary is the Mother of God and that God suffered in the cross, both which I believe that they espouse, is already pretty grave.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2016, 11:58:54 AM by RaphaCam »
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2016, 11:47:53 AM »
and that God suffered in the cross, both which I believe that they espouse, is already pretty grave.

Can someone explain me briefly what's about theopasianism and is it heretical or just the contrary?
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2016, 12:14:32 PM »
and that God suffered in the cross, both which I believe that they espouse, is already pretty grave.

Can someone explain me briefly what's about theopasianism and is it heretical or just the contrary?
Theopassionism is the belief that God suffered in the cross, which is Orthodox. Mar Babai, who was an early champion of the Church of the East, questioned that.
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2016, 12:19:35 PM »
and that God suffered in the cross, both which I believe that they espouse, is already pretty grave.

Can someone explain me briefly what's about theopasianism and is it heretical or just the contrary?
Theopassionism is the belief that God suffered in the cross, which is Orthodox. Mar Babai, who was an early champion of the Church of the East, questioned that.

Wasn't the Chalcedonian split partly about that? There were a lot of people on the Chalcedonian side of the debate who also rejected it at first (they came around to supporting it later).
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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2016, 12:30:54 PM »
and that God suffered in the cross, both which I believe that they espouse, is already pretty grave.

Can someone explain me briefly what's about theopasianism and is it heretical or just the contrary?
Theopassionism is the belief that God suffered in the cross, which is Orthodox. Mar Babai, who was an early champion of the Church of the East, questioned that.

Wasn't the Chalcedonian split partly about that? There were a lot of people on the Chalcedonian side of the debate who also rejected it at first (they came around to supporting it later).
There was unfortunately still a lot of crypto-Nestorianism, or even open Nestorianism, in our side, as far as I've read around.
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Offline Georgios Scholarios

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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2016, 05:24:20 PM »
Do not forget that theopaschism can be plausibly understood in a heretical manner (i.e., by implying Christ suffered in his divine nature - something St. Cyril of Alexandria himself explicitly rejected) which is maybe why so many opposed it at first.

Anyway, the Church of the East denies that it has a Nestorian Christology. You have to be really careful when trying to understand the theology of a church that uses different language, since it may say something that sounds heretical but when properly understood is orthodox. Think of the problems Western Christians had when trying to translate ousia into Latin.

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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2016, 12:53:42 AM »
Do not forget that theopaschism can be plausibly understood in a heretical manner (i.e., by implying Christ suffered in his divine nature - something St. Cyril of Alexandria himself explicitly rejected) which is maybe why so many opposed it at first.

Anyway, the Church of the East denies that it has a Nestorian Christology. You have to be really careful when trying to understand the theology of a church that uses different language, since it may say something that sounds heretical but when properly understood is orthodox. Think of the problems Western Christians had when trying to translate ousia into Latin.

Indeed. The late Patriarch, Mar Dinkha IV, took steps to explicitly disavow hardline Nestorianism. I suspect, within the Church of the East you can find people all across the theological spectrum, with some being closer to the Orthodox, some being heavily Protestant-influenced, and others indeed being Nestorians. Much like Anglicanism (which, like the Assyrian Church, also has open communion and multiple theological "parties" like high- and low-church, etc.)
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Offline MalpanaGiwargis

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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2016, 01:25:50 PM »
Do not forget that theopaschism can be plausibly understood in a heretical manner (i.e., by implying Christ suffered in his divine nature - something St. Cyril of Alexandria himself explicitly rejected) which is maybe why so many opposed it at first.

Anyway, the Church of the East denies that it has a Nestorian Christology. You have to be really careful when trying to understand the theology of a church that uses different language, since it may say something that sounds heretical but when properly understood is orthodox. Think of the problems Western Christians had when trying to translate ousia into Latin.

Indeed. The late Patriarch, Mar Dinkha IV, took steps to explicitly disavow hardline Nestorianism. I suspect, within the Church of the East you can find people all across the theological spectrum, with some being closer to the Orthodox, some being heavily Protestant-influenced, and others indeed being Nestorians. Much like Anglicanism (which, like the Assyrian Church, also has open communion and multiple theological "parties" like high- and low-church, etc.)

The Church of the East disavowed what the Imperial Church called "Nestorianism" in antiquity; many of them are puzzled why they are called after a man who was not a member of their Church. The situation is terribly complicated linguistically. The translation of Greek theology into Syriac, and vice versa, is an obvious problem. An oft-overlooked problem is that the relevant Greek terms in Greek had always been a bit fluid depending on who was using them. And then within Syriac, terms such as "qnomo/qnoma" seem to be used by the East Syrians to mean one thing in Trinitarian theology and another in Christology–this is the origin of the charge that they believed in "two persons" in Christ. Among theologians, there was also the long-running feud between Antiochene and Alexandrian Christologies. And the (strong!) personalities of the various bishops involved in the dispute cannot be ignored, either.

The fundamental disagreement is whether the "communication of idioms" is permissible. "God suffered in the flesh." Is that Orthodox or heretical? Well, it depends on what you mean. If we mean that Jesus Christ suffered (in his passible human nature), and since Jesus is God, we can say that "God suffered in the flesh," then that is Orthodox. If we mean that the divine nature suffered, then that is heretical. Similarly with the statement "God was born of a woman" or any number of statements we want to bring forward. The East Syrian tradition has always been very uncomfortable with the communication of idioms; the other ancient Christian traditions have not had trouble with that.
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2016, 01:41:50 PM »
The Church of the East disavowed what the Imperial Church called "Nestorianism" in antiquity; many of them are puzzled why they are called after a man who was not a member of their Church. The situation is terribly complicated linguistically. The translation of Greek theology into Syriac, and vice versa, is an obvious problem. An oft-overlooked problem is that the relevant Greek terms in Greek had always been a bit fluid depending on who was using them. And then within Syriac, terms such as "qnomo/qnoma" seem to be used by the East Syrians to mean one thing in Trinitarian theology and another in Christology–this is the origin of the charge that they believed in "two persons" in Christ. Among theologians, there was also the long-running feud between Antiochene and Alexandrian Christologies. And the (strong!) personalities of the various bishops involved in the dispute cannot be ignored, either.
Makes a lot of sense.
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2016, 05:48:04 PM »
Do not forget that theopaschism can be plausibly understood in a heretical manner (i.e., by implying Christ suffered in his divine nature - something St. Cyril of Alexandria himself explicitly rejected) which is maybe why so many opposed it at first.

Anyway, the Church of the East denies that it has a Nestorian Christology. You have to be really careful when trying to understand the theology of a church that uses different language, since it may say something that sounds heretical but when properly understood is orthodox. Think of the problems Western Christians had when trying to translate ousia into Latin.

Indeed. The late Patriarch, Mar Dinkha IV, took steps to explicitly disavow hardline Nestorianism. I suspect, within the Church of the East you can find people all across the theological spectrum, with some being closer to the Orthodox, some being heavily Protestant-influenced, and others indeed being Nestorians. Much like Anglicanism (which, like the Assyrian Church, also has open communion and multiple theological "parties" like high- and low-church, etc.)

The Church of the East disavowed what the Imperial Church called "Nestorianism" in antiquity; many of them are puzzled why they are called after a man who was not a member of their Church. The situation is terribly complicated linguistically. The translation of Greek theology into Syriac, and vice versa, is an obvious problem. An oft-overlooked problem is that the relevant Greek terms in Greek had always been a bit fluid depending on who was using them. And then within Syriac, terms such as "qnomo/qnoma" seem to be used by the East Syrians to mean one thing in Trinitarian theology and another in Christology–this is the origin of the charge that they believed in "two persons" in Christ. Among theologians, there was also the long-running feud between Antiochene and Alexandrian Christologies. And the (strong!) personalities of the various bishops involved in the dispute cannot be ignored, either.

The fundamental disagreement is whether the "communication of idioms" is permissible. "God suffered in the flesh." Is that Orthodox or heretical? Well, it depends on what you mean. If we mean that Jesus Christ suffered (in his passible human nature), and since Jesus is God, we can say that "God suffered in the flesh," then that is Orthodox. If we mean that the divine nature suffered, then that is heretical. Similarly with the statement "God was born of a woman" or any number of statements we want to bring forward. The East Syrian tradition has always been very uncomfortable with the communication of idioms; the other ancient Christian traditions have not had trouble with that.

My contention is more than this.  It's not enough to say Christ is one person, God who suffered in the flesh.  The flesh is vibrating with divine power, insomuch as the suffering in the flesh becomes a source of our deification.  In the Eucharist, we do not partake of humanity without the divinity.  This is the question I'd like resolved by the Church of the East, which until now I haven't seen anything clear, except maybe Mar Bawai Soro, who interestingly enough left the Church of the East and joined the Chaldeans.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 05:48:57 PM by minasoliman »
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2016, 06:57:29 PM »
Do not forget that theopaschism can be plausibly understood in a heretical manner (i.e., by implying Christ suffered in his divine nature - something St. Cyril of Alexandria himself explicitly rejected) which is maybe why so many opposed it at first.

The logic being that the divine Logos did not Itself die, yeah?
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2016, 02:58:28 AM »
They are not Nestorian as they signed THIS agreement with the Catholic Church.
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2016, 03:47:00 AM »
They are not Nestorian as they signed THIS agreement with the Catholic Church.

Quote
Christ therefore is not an " ordinary man" whom God adopted in order to reside in him and inspire him, as in the righteous ones and the prophets. But the same God the Word, begotten of his Father before all worlds without beginning according to his divinity, was born of a mother without a father in the last times according to his humanity. The humanity to which the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth always was that of the Son of God himself. That is the reason why the Assyrian Church of the East is praying the Virgin Mary as "the Mother of Christ our God and Saviour". In the light of this same faith the Catholic tradition addresses the Virgin Mary as "the Mother of God" and also as "the Mother of Christ". We both recognize the legitimacy and rightness of these expressions of the same faith and we both respect the preference of each Church in her liturgical life and piety.

Didn't St Cyril defend the use of the word "Theothokos" vs the nestorians who will slanderously only say "christotokos" ?

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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2016, 07:53:10 AM »
They are not Nestorian as they signed THIS agreement with the Catholic Church.

Quote
Christ therefore is not an " ordinary man" whom God adopted in order to reside in him and inspire him, as in the righteous ones and the prophets. But the same God the Word, begotten of his Father before all worlds without beginning according to his divinity, was born of a mother without a father in the last times according to his humanity. The humanity to which the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth always was that of the Son of God himself. That is the reason why the Assyrian Church of the East is praying the Virgin Mary as "the Mother of Christ our God and Saviour". In the light of this same faith the Catholic tradition addresses the Virgin Mary as "the Mother of God" and also as "the Mother of Christ". We both recognize the legitimacy and rightness of these expressions of the same faith and we both respect the preference of each Church in her liturgical life and piety.

Didn't St Cyril defend the use of the word "Theothokos" vs the nestorians who will slanderously only say "christotokos" ?

Ive met at least one who has said Theotokos.  We also did manage to glorify St. Isaac, who was a Nestorian who to my knowledge never said Theotokos.  But I think Nestorianism is dead in the Church of the East; all that remains is a lingering animosity between ethnic Assyrians and Copts, but Nestorianism is alive and well in Protestantism, where the ideas of Nestorius, rearriculated by John Calvin and to a lesser extent even Martin Luther, predominate.   

The only major feature of Nestorian theology that is missing from Protestantism is a belief in apokatastasis, but this idea is not per se Nestorian, rather, this concept became popular with the Nestorian hierarchy probably after the era of Mar Babai the Great, but was certainly in force during the Catholicosate of Mar Timotheos, who was probably during his reign the most politically powerful leader of the largest Christian church geographically and numerically; evidence from this time suggests that concurrently the Syriac Orthodox were hanging on by a thread, limited to Tikrit, Tur Abdin, amd a few other regions, and had also been further reduced by the Maronite schism; the Maronites left the church and ser up their own fortresses on Mount Lebanon for obscure reasons possibly relating to Monothelitism.  Mar Timotheos for his part seemed to view the differences between Nestorianism, the Oriental Orthodox confession, and Chalcedonianism as trivial.   (see: The Lost History of Christianity, a very good book on this subject).
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2016, 09:27:38 AM »
They are not Nestorian as they signed THIS agreement with the Catholic Church.


They revere Nestorius as a Saint. If something looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
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Offline Rohzek

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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2016, 09:33:42 AM »
They are not Nestorian as they signed THIS agreement with the Catholic Church.

To follow this up, the Church of the East hasn't been Nestorian since at least the Crusader period.
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2016, 10:13:48 AM »
They are not Nestorian as they signed THIS agreement with the Catholic Church.
They have clearly swayed from the most polemical points. I wonder what the Ancient Church of the East would think of this.
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2016, 02:22:16 PM »
I do note that, unlike the Arians and Macedonians, but like the Oriental Orthodox, they have not completely disappeared up to this day despite being under as much, if not more, continuous persecution than the Orthodox. What does it all mean? I have no idea!

Yes, there are sects that have Arian beliefs, and even one that appears to openly make the Holy Spirit a creature, but I don't think they are the continuation of those heresies, but rather some sort of Protestants who read their Bibles and came up with the same heresies.
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2016, 10:42:26 AM »
Church of the East means Byzantine-Constantinople Eastern Astrology.

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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2016, 12:11:26 PM »
Church of the East means Byzantine-Constantinople Eastern Astrology.

Not astrology.
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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2016, 05:08:58 PM »
I do note that, unlike the Arians and Macedonians, but like the Oriental Orthodox, they have not completely disappeared up to this day despite being under as much, if not more, continuous persecution than the Orthodox. What does it all mean? I have no idea!



Do you mean the ethnic Macedonians living in the Republic of Macedonia?

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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2016, 05:50:25 PM »
They are not Nestorian as they signed THIS agreement with the Catholic Church.

Quote
Christ therefore is not an " ordinary man" whom God adopted in order to reside in him and inspire him, as in the righteous ones and the prophets. But the same God the Word, begotten of his Father before all worlds without beginning according to his divinity, was born of a mother without a father in the last times according to his humanity. The humanity to which the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth always was that of the Son of God himself. That is the reason why the Assyrian Church of the East is praying the Virgin Mary as "the Mother of Christ our God and Saviour". In the light of this same faith the Catholic tradition addresses the Virgin Mary as "the Mother of God" and also as "the Mother of Christ". We both recognize the legitimacy and rightness of these expressions of the same faith and we both respect the preference of each Church in her liturgical life and piety.

Didn't St Cyril defend the use of the word "Theothokos" vs the nestorians who will slanderously only say "christotokos" ?

Ive met at least one who has said Theotokos.  We also did manage to glorify St. Isaac, who was a Nestorian who to my knowledge never said Theotokos.  But I think Nestorianism is dead in the Church of the East; all that remains is a lingering animosity between ethnic Assyrians and Copts, but Nestorianism is alive and well in Protestantism, where the ideas of Nestorius, rearriculated by John Calvin and to a lesser extent even Martin Luther, predominate.   

The only major feature of Nestorian theology that is missing from Protestantism is a belief in apokatastasis, but this idea is not per se Nestorian, rather, this concept became popular with the Nestorian hierarchy probably after the era of Mar Babai the Great, but was certainly in force during the Catholicosate of Mar Timotheos, who was probably during his reign the most politically powerful leader of the largest Christian church geographically and numerically; evidence from this time suggests that concurrently the Syriac Orthodox were hanging on by a thread, limited to Tikrit, Tur Abdin, amd a few other regions, and had also been further reduced by the Maronite schism; the Maronites left the church and ser up their own fortresses on Mount Lebanon for obscure reasons possibly relating to Monothelitism.  Mar Timotheos for his part seemed to view the differences between Nestorianism, the Oriental Orthodox confession, and Chalcedonianism as trivial.   (see: The Lost History of Christianity, a very good book on this subject).

You make it sound like Copts have something against ethnic Assyrians, when in fact, I highly doubt you'll find a Copt who even met anyone from the Assyrian Church of the East, unless maybe you live in Chicago or Australia.  In any sense, the animosity is mostly among clergy and theologically inclined, which is like 1% maybe if I was to guess a number (and that might even be a gross overestimation).

I personally never met one (I met Chaldean Catholics, but I haven't met any Assyrian Christians from that church).  I only read some of the writings of the saints they revere.  Whether they believe what those men believed is a mystery all on its own.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2016, 05:54:29 PM by minasoliman »
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Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2016, 01:58:23 PM »
I do note that, unlike the Arians and Macedonians, but like the Oriental Orthodox, they have not completely disappeared up to this day despite being under as much, if not more, continuous persecution than the Orthodox. What does it all mean? I have no idea!



Do you mean the ethnic Macedonians living in the Republic of Macedonia?

Nope.
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Online rakovsky

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Re: Church Of The East?
« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2016, 02:51:20 PM »
Greetings,

What is heretical about the (Assyrian/Ancient) Church Of the East?
It's kind of like with the OO-EO split, the same kinds of terms were involved.
EOs, OOs, and the ACE/"Nestorians" agree that Christ has two essences, and is one person.
Chalcedon said that Christ is in and has two natures - human and divine ones - and only one hypostasis, which is human and divine.
The OOs historically rejected Christ as being in or having two natures, a denial that seen by EOs and Nestorians as implying a denial of his human nature, if not human essence.
The Nestorians taught that Christ has two "hypostases", a teaching that was seen by EOs and OOs as entailing Christ is two separate persons.

Currently the churches involved are in dialogue on the issue. Whether these churches are seen as heretical looks perhaps dependant on whether one focuses on the aspect of the debate that unites us (Christ being fully man and fully god in one person) or over which we have disagreed (the number of natures and hypostases). If one focuses on the fact that we all agree that Christ has one person, then one is less likely to see Nestorians as teaching Christ has two persons - the heretical implication of their teaching on hypostases when taken alone.


It's like someone promising to pick you up from the train station on Thursday the 2nd of the month, when Thursday is the 1st of the month. Your train will arrive on Thursday the 1st, so you like to expect that they will be there. At least that's what I found when talking with one of the more hardcore non-Chalcedonians on this question on another forum.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2016, 03:13:47 PM by rakovsky »
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