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Author Topic: What Went Wrong, And When?  (Read 3304 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: January 07, 2006, 09:20:02 PM »

A few things still confuse me about the whole EO/OO reunion stuff. These questions are specifically for those Eastern Orthodox who 1) believe that Chalcedon was an Ecumenical Council, and 2) believe that the Oriental Orthodox are perfectly orthodox.

1.Was the division between groups really just a mistake, or did someone (either OO or EO) change their beliefs somewhere along the way, and if so, who and when and why?

2. When did we realise that we were really saying the same thing; and therefore, how long have we both been orthodox but not in communion?
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2006, 02:17:10 AM »

1.Was the division between groups really just a mistake, or did someone (either OO or EO) change their beliefs somewhere along the way, and if so, who and when and why?
I'm a recent convert to Orthodoxy who ended up in the Coptic Church more due to external circumstance than conviction.  I've studied this issue somewhat but am not a sophisticated theologian.  I'm sure there are those on the forum who also feel more strongly about it all than I do, and are more informed.  Nevertheless, I'll give a few thoughts.

As I've come to see the problem, it seems to me one of overvigilance on both sides, the one towards monophysitism and on the OO side against Nestorianism.  Not that either side held to these heresies, but due to worries that the language used in the various formulations of Christ's nature could lead to them.  It also seems to me that Rome's growing, shall we say, "confidence" in its leadership role pushed the conflict into schism.  If Pope Leo had not been so convinced that his Tome was "the answer," the conflict may have been settled more organically.  So I see the OO response as also offsetting the early seeds of what really did bloom into trouble later- the growing role of the Roman bishop.

It may be overly optimistic for me to say so, but I believe God preserved the Orthodox faith not in spite of the schism but partly because of it.  However, I also very much hope to see a reunion in my lifetime.
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2006, 02:00:25 PM »

A few things still confuse me about the whole EO/OO reunion stuff. These questions are specifically for those Eastern Orthodox who 1) believe that Chalcedon was an Ecumenical Council, and 2) believe that the Oriental Orthodox are perfectly orthodox.

1.Was the division between groups really just a mistake, or did someone (either OO or EO) change their beliefs somewhere along the way, and if so, who and when and why?

2. When did we realise that we were really saying the same thing; and therefore, how long have we both been orthodox but not in communion?


Well I will refer you to my friends web site.


"Of vs. In
In the English language, two letters have caused the most tragic breach in all of Christendom. In the Aramaic langauge, the difference is in one letter, Dolath vs. Beth--the difference between the two is a small line on the bottom and dot in the center. These prepositions while short and subtle, contain within their meanings the difference between truth and fiction. In as far as these refer to the language of Chalcedon, the Oriental Orthodox follow the traditional terminology using the preposition "of," whereas the Byzantine Orthodox use the preposition "in."

The question then comes in how these terms are used in regards to Christology. In the Nicene-Contantinopolian Creed, we see that "Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary," thus the foundation is made clear. In terms of Christology the Oriental understanding is that Christ is "One Nature--the Logos Incarnate," of the full humanity and full divinity. The Byzantine understanding is that Christ is in two natures, full humanity and full divinity."


http://www.geocities.com/mfignatius/others/byzantine.html


By the way speaking of aramaic, I'm interested in your tag phrase "AramaicisnotChristian"?





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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2006, 11:11:30 PM »

StBrigid,

I haven't really studied enough to know the extent of the problem with Leo, I just know the basics (ok, I don't even know those very well). What you say is very interesting, though. I only worry about what it might mean if you are right--did we really have disunity for so long when we could have been together? That would be most unfortunate! (not that I like the alternative of having division because someone was wrong while the other side was right, of course... in a sense, no division is good division)

Addai,

I believe I've seen this distinction posted before... but to be quite honest I don't really have much sense of direction (so to speak) in these discussions, and had forgotten about this kind of idea. I'm not sure that the results of what you are saying, if I understand them aright, are any less saddening, though.

Regarding the aramaicisnotchristian, I will take that down and I hope it didn't offend. It was meant as a joke. A certain poster here was going to an extent that I thought was way over-the-top in trying to prove certain things about Aramaic. And of course we have a poster here name GreekisChristian, who is perhaps a bit overly zealous in favor of all things Greek/EP. A while back, many people started making jokes using the GreekisChristian name as a take-off point. I was sort of trying to make a joke in a similar manner. I of course do not think that Aramaic, or those who use Aramaic (including our Lord and the Apostles!) are unChristian.
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2006, 04:00:38 PM »

I only worry about what it might mean if you are right--did we really have disunity for so long when we could have been together? That would be most unfortunate! (not that I like the alternative of having division because someone was wrong while the other side was right, of course... in a sense, no division is good division)
It was not the ideal, no question about that.  I'm reminded of Jesus' words that Moses permitted divorce in certain cases not because it was "right," but because of hard hearts.  In studying this issue it doesn't take long to come across hard hearts and big egos on both sides!
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2006, 05:41:10 PM »

To be quite honest, this (along with a few other things) deals a significant blow to my trust that the Orthodox Church got things correct as often as it claims, and with the certainty/finality that it claims. When I became Orthodox, some stuff I took on trust, because I wasn't really totally convinced or persuaded by the arguments themselves, but Orthodoxy seemed like a "truth telling thing," and was at that point the way all arrows seemed to point for me. But if the Eastern Orthodox Church was wrong about an issue for so long, how can one know whether they were perhaps wrong on other issues...
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2006, 11:55:35 PM »

But if the Eastern Orthodox Church was wrong about an issue for so long, how can one know whether they were perhaps wrong on other issues...
I don't think they were wrong, not about the article of faith.ÂÂ  But neither do I think the OO's were wrong.

We ought to be able to handle paradox, no?ÂÂ  Wink

The fact that our fathers suffered from ego, even if in a very, very good cause, that should not surprise us.ÂÂ  Humble us, yes- and that will be the ultimate question when it comes to unity:ÂÂ  Can we as whole bodies be so humble??
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« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2006, 12:16:16 AM »

To tell you the truth, I am kind of surprised at the lack of responses from your fellow EO's on this topic. It's kind of weird that although your question was addressed to EO's, only OO's responded. It could be everyone is just too busy recovering from the holidays.  I know I'm still reeling.  It's like I need a vacation to get over my vacation.   Smiley

I wouldn't let this issue shake your faith in your Church.  My priest is always saying that although the Church is perfect, the people who run it are deeply flawed.  I think God lets us make mistakes, but eventually draws us back to the truth.

I personally think that is what happened with the EO Church and Chalcedon.  I'm one of those people who subscribe to the belief that Chalcedon was originally Nestorian in bent, but that this was corrected by Constantinople II.  (For ease of reference I like to call that council "the fifth council," even though my Church doesn't recognize it.)  The reason I believe this, is that the historical evidence supports the idea that there was a change during the time of the fifth council.  This has been discussed extensively in other threads.  The evidence includes such things as Chalcedon being supported before the fifth council by groups and churches which were blatantly Nestorian, but after the fifth council they all went into schism.  Also, the four Chalcedonian Eastern Patriarchs, as well as the Pope all initially refused to support the fifth council on the grounds that it contradicted Chalcedon, etc.  The fifth council, however, ended up being accepted and it eliminated the Nestorian interpretation which had previously prevailed. 

As I said, I wouldn't let this shake your faith in your Church. Again, every church will have flawed leaders who try to lead the people into one direction or another, but in Orthodoxy, God eventually leads us back to the truth.

One thing that has led me to believe that both the EO's and the OO's are the true Church, is how much we have in common after so many centuries of separation.  Think about it.  For over a thousand years, especially after Islam took over the Middle East, the EO's and OO's have been almost completely out of touch with each other.  We have been separated geographically, politically and theologically.  And yet, when the 20th century came and suddenly our leaders were able to communicate with each other (because of modern technology as well as diaspora) they found that there were really no differences between us.  Our liturgies, though superficially different, were really the same.  Our beliefs, practices and rituals were all basically the same.  Even our Christology, to the surprise of many, was the same.  When all the EO and OO theologians got together, they found that despite the different language, we really mean the same thing about who Christ is.

How could this happen without the Holy Spirit?  This is really humanly impossible.  The only way the EO's and OO's could be so much the same after so many centuries, is if the Holy Spirit were working in both bodies.

Contrast this, for example, with all the Protestant churches in Europe and America.  They have had constant contact with each other, and yet they are all very different in beliefs and practices.  So many Protestant movements have come and gone, disappearing after only a few generations, or splitting up into different bodies.  That is, in my opinion, what happens when a church is led only by men, and not God.

So don't doubt your Church.  It may have, like all churches, had some leaders who were less than perfect, but I believe God has preserved it in true Orthodoxy.  The Chalcedonian issue, I think, is almost a red herring, leading the Orthodox people into contention and anger, when we really should be thinking of unity.  I am not saying it is not important.  It is just that I think we should be spending our time and energy trying to think of ways of realizing here on earth the unity that God seems to have preserved for us spiritually.   Let us all pray for the day when we are all (EO and OO) fully reunited with each other!
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2006, 12:11:26 PM »

How could this happen without the Holy Spirit?  This is really humanly impossible.  The only way the EO's and OO's could be so much the same after so many centuries, is if the Holy Spirit were working in both bodies.
True, Salpy!  Thanks.
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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2006, 01:11:13 AM »

Salpy

Quote
I wouldn't let this issue shake your faith in your Church.  My priest is always saying that although the Church is perfect, the people who run it are deeply flawed.  I think God lets us make mistakes, but eventually draws us back to the truth.

I think you've said it well, here, together with your thoughts about not being able to communicate (effectively and regularly anyway) for many centuries.

Quote
I personally think that is what happened with the EO Church and Chalcedon.  I'm one of those people who subscribe to the belief that Chalcedon was originally Nestorian in bent, but that this was corrected by Constantinople II...

Well this is interesting... up till this time I've mostly run into a great dislike for (what we EO call) the 5th Ecumenical Council. I'm glad that things aren't quite so black and white, us vs. them (where the OO think it's worthless, and the EO consider it binding).

Justin
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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2006, 03:18:19 AM »

I actually have a theory on these matters.ÂÂ  

My basic theory, "Things wen't a little off" with Church history, the more coercive means were employed to enforce Orthodoxy.  So the basic idea is that the more Church, relies on things like executions, banishments, and torture, and other strong arm tactics, the greater the chance or making a schism.  ÃƒÆ’‚  But also the greater the chance of loosing it's moral ground.  ÃƒÆ’‚  (because you end up adopting the tactics of the pagan emperoros and other people that persecuted Christianity).
Anyway if you look at the schisms, you will find the Church relying on more and more coercive methods to enforce Orthodoxy.  ÃƒÆ’‚ And I believe that the politicking, especially when ruthless measures are employed brings a curse (namely schisms).


Later Church history also stands in contrast to that of earlier times.   When there was no violent/coercive means used by the Church.  (Church discipline was censure, excommunication, barring errant people from their ministerial office, etc.). but nothing involving bodily harm, or imposing force was done.   Infact if you look at early church history, it was the opposite of what happened later.   Heretics like the Arians, were the ones who used coercive methods against ORthodox bishops and priests.


Anyway that's my basic theory.
 
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2006, 11:08:31 AM »

I actually have a theory on these matters. 

My basic theory, "Things wen't a little off" with Church history, the more coercive means were employed to enforce Orthodoxy.  So the basic idea is that the more Church, relies on things like executions, banishments, and torture, and other strong arm tactics, the greater the chance or making a schism.    But also the greater the chance of loosing it's moral ground.    (because you end up adopting the tactics of the pagan emperoros and other people that persecuted Christianity).
Anyway if you look at the schisms, you will find the Church relying on more and more coercive methods to enforce Orthodoxy.   And I believe that the politicking, especially when ruthless measures are employed brings a curse (namely schisms).


Later Church history also stands in contrast to that of earlier times.   When there was no violent/coercive means used by the Church.  (Church discipline was censure, excommunication, barring errant people from their ministerial office, etc.). but nothing involving bodily harm, or imposing force was done.   Infact if you look at early church history, it was the opposite of what happened later.   Heretics like the Arians, were the ones who used coercive methods against ORthodox bishops and priests.


Anyway that's my basic theory.

Agreed - why religious liberty is a relative good.
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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2012, 06:49:43 AM »

About two years ago, one of the first things I heard about when I discovered Eastern Orthodoxy and started investigating its general claims (to Apostolic origin and unity over time) was this split between the Oriental Orthodox Church (OOC) and the Eastern Orthodox Church (EOC).    Whatever I was reading then was of the position that the OOC left the EOC due to a disagreement about whether Christ is two natures in one person or one person in two natures (or something to that effect).  The person I was reading was of the position that the OOC were wrong and out of communion with the true Orthodox Church.  However, as soon as I read what he was saying they were wrong about, I thought, "That's it!?"  It made no sense.  I figured if that was the only difference then I knew that the split had to be surface only.  This just looked too much like an obvious case of mis-communication, of people saying the same things but talking past one another for whatever cultural, linguistic, or even prideful reasons.  So I figured in my heart that, regardless of what the author was saying, both of those churches were orthodox.

Only recently did I learn that I was right.  I was reading the Timothy Ware's book "The Orthodox Church" (new edition).  On p. 312 he writes, "Unofficial consultations were held in Aarhus (Denmark) in 1964... by leading theologians from the two sides... it became clear there is no disagreement."  The delegates concluded, "We recognize in each other the one Orthodox faith of the Church... On the essence of the Christological dogma we found ourselves in full agreement."  "Some of us affirm two natures, wills, and energies hypostatically united in one Lord Jesus Christ... some of us affirm one united divine-human nature... But both sides speak of union without confusion, without change, without divisions, without separation."  "These findings were officially confirmed by a joint commission in Egypt in 1989 and Geneva in 1990.  All anathemas and condemnations were revoked, and at the 1989 meeting both sides expressed jointly, 'As two families of Orthodox Churches long out of communion with each other, we now pray and trust in God to restore that communion on the basis of the apostolic faith of the undivided Church... which we confess in our communion creed.'"

So... there you have it.  1500 years of division in the Church for no good reason at all.  Thank God the two sides have resolved their differences officially.  However, it seems like there is still a long road ahead getting the "lower levels" of each of the two sides to accept the unity.  I guess when people learn for 50 generations to hate and refuse to listen to one another, actual healing takes time.

A few things still confuse me about the whole EO/OO reunion stuff. These questions are specifically for those Eastern Orthodox who 1) believe that Chalcedon was an Ecumenical Council, and 2) believe that the Oriental Orthodox are perfectly orthodox.

1.Was the division between groups really just a mistake, or did someone (either OO or EO) change their beliefs somewhere along the way, and if so, who and when and why?

2. When did we realise that we were really saying the same thing; and therefore, how long have we both been orthodox but not in communion?
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« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2012, 12:21:13 PM »

Met. Kallistos often writes in a misleading way. Again, see my post in another thread bout him being a rather average theologian.
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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2012, 12:33:46 PM »

Quote
I was reading the Timothy Ware's book "The Orthodox Church" (new edition).  On p. 312 he writes, "Unofficial consultations were held in Aarhus (Denmark) in 1964... by leading theologians from the two sides... it became clear there is no disagreement."  The delegates concluded, "We recognize in each other the one Orthodox faith of the Church... On the essence of the Christological dogma we found ourselves in full agreement."  "Some of us affirm two natures, wills, and energies hypostatically united in one Lord Jesus Christ... some of us affirm one united divine-human nature... But both sides speak of union without confusion, without change, without divisions, without separation."  "These findings were officially confirmed by a joint commission in Egypt in 1989 and Geneva in 1990.  All anathemas and condemnations were revoked, and at the 1989 meeting both sides expressed jointly, 'As two families of Orthodox Churches long out of communion with each other, we now pray and trust in God to restore that communion on the basis of the apostolic faith of the undivided Church... which we confess in our communion creed.'"
See, when I read that for the first time not too long ago, I had to ask myself, "Ok, so why arent the two churches inter-communing then?"

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Met. Kallistos often writes in a misleading way
That would insinuate a nefarious purpose. I would say he writes in a way that presents his personal opinions as established fact.

PP
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« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2012, 12:36:46 PM »

That would insinuate a nefarious purpose. I would say he writes in a way that presents his personal opinions as established fact.

I didn't mean to imply that he was purposely trying to mislead. I agree with your second sentence here, and is what I was meaning to get at.
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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2012, 12:44:26 PM »

Quote
I didn't mean to imply that he was purposely trying to mislead. I agree with your second sentence here, and is what I was meaning to get at.
Maybe its because he speaks so slowly that you forget what the first half of his sentence was. Even when Im reading his writings, I cant help but think about how long it the book on cd would be.

I personally think that if I were to lsiten to his reading aloud the book of Philemon I'd have to use 2 or 3 days of vacation to hear it all :0

PP
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« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2012, 12:57:17 PM »

A few things still confuse me about the whole EO/OO reunion stuff. These questions are specifically for those Eastern Orthodox who 1) believe that Chalcedon was an Ecumenical Council, and 2) believe that the Oriental Orthodox are perfectly orthodox.

1.Was the division between groups really just a mistake, or did someone (either OO or EO) change their beliefs somewhere along the way, and if so, who and when and why?

2. When did we realise that we were really saying the same thing; and therefore, how long have we both been orthodox but not in communion?

The question of whether Dioscorus and Severus were "perfectly orthodox" is ambiguous to me. What I believe is that they wrongly rejected Chalcedon and therefore acted as schismatics. That is the main "mistake" that was made. That said, I don't think everything done or said at Chalcedon was "infallible" and there were some unfortunate lapses on the part of some of the bishops there. But the Council as a whole was Orthodox and the claim that it had a Nestorian leaning which was later corrected is nonsense. The anti-Chalcedonians did not have a legitimate reason to reject Chalcedon.

As for the OO today, I believe they are probably orthodox, though I think questions remain about whether their doctrine conforms to the teaching of the 6th ecumenical council.
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« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2012, 01:30:35 PM »

Quote
Met. Kallistos often writes in a misleading way
That would insinuate a nefarious purpose. I would say he writes in a way that presents his personal opinions as established fact.


When I was listened to his lecture I had the opposite feeling. For me he did everything not to present his personal opinion but to highlight every issue objectively.

For example he was asked, whether he, as a bishop, would allow a mixed couple to paricipate in sacraments of the RCC and the EOC. He presented the pro arguments, con arguments, arguments of a one more option and after 15 minutes of talking, in the last sentence of his answer, he answered that with sorrow he wouldn't allow it.
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2012, 01:41:11 PM »

what is EOC?
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« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2012, 01:42:50 PM »

Eastern Orthodox Church
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« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2012, 01:47:46 PM »

When I was listened to his lecture I had the opposite feeling. For me he did everything not to present his personal opinion but to highlight every issue objectively.

Which lecture?  Huh
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« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2012, 01:49:33 PM »

When I was listened to his lecture I had the opposite feeling. For me he did everything not to present his personal opinion but to highlight every issue objectively.

Which lecture?  Huh

He once visited Poland to give a series of lectures. I attended one. After the lecture the audience could ask questions.
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« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2012, 01:51:16 PM »

what is EOC?
Eastern Orthodox Church

Quote
When I was listened to his lecture I had the opposite feeling. For me he did everything not to present his personal opinion but to highlight every issue objectively.

For example he was asked, whether he, as a bishop, would allow a mixed couple to paricipate in sacraments of the RCC and the EOC. He presented the pro arguments, con arguments, arguments of a one more option and after 15 minutes of talking, in the last sentence of his answer, he answered that with sorrow he wouldn't allow it
I will have to restate as I've heard the talk of which you reference. It is not everything Met. Ware says are stated in fact. However, there are issues that he does this such as when he referred to the Western Rite as nothing more than a reverse "U-word" which is not only incorrect, but shocking that he would reference something like that. I also had some issue with something I heard on podcast on AFR. The title of it escapes me.

PP
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« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2012, 02:27:26 PM »

The anti-Chalcedonians did not have a legitimate reason to reject Chalcedon.

I can't agree.  If they misunderstood Chalcedonian due to a lack of proper communication (due to language, distance, culture, or anything else) then perhaps the anti-Chalcedonians *had* to reject it in order to keep a right conscience before God.  In that case, they did have a legitimate reason to reject Chalcedon (even if that reason was based on mis-communication).

Ultimately, both sides agreed that they were talking about the same thing all along.  So it is hard to say either was "illegitimate" in its stance.  That would be like saying I had no legitimate reason to buy you some Green tea if you had asked for some Ginseng but I had only mis-heard you.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 02:28:25 PM by acts420 » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2012, 02:43:21 PM »

Ultimately, both sides agreed that they were talking about the same thing all along.    

This is one of the places where you have been misled. "both sides" have not "officially" agreed to anything. That some individual theologians on both sides kissed and made up is really irrelevant at this pont.
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« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2012, 02:46:59 PM »

MODIFIED in light of Michal's moderatorial advice.

I think Asteriktos' purpose in this thread was just to see some explanation about how an EO can consider Chalcedon ecumenical and still think the OO's are orthodox. I hope I gave a reasonable explanation of at least one way that's possible. Polemics about who was really right about Chalcedon should go somewhere else and have already been done to death anyway.
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« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2012, 02:52:43 PM »

Don't start a Chalcedon polemic here unless you want a gift from the Easter Bunny. If you don't have anything more interesting to do discuss it in the private area.
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« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2012, 04:10:50 PM »

See, when I read that for the first time not too long ago, I had to ask myself, "Ok, so why arent the two churches inter-communing then?"

Isn't whether or not to offer communion to someone up to the priest of each parish?  My guess is that it has simply taken time for the reconciliation to trickle down from the conclusions of the official delegations.  1500 years of refusing to talk and even talking down towards one another can't be healed overnight, or perhaps even in a generation or two.  But thank God the necessary steps toward full communion were taken, and I imagine our children might see the actual full communion realized in their lifetime.
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« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2012, 04:17:15 PM »

Met. Kallistos often writes in a misleading way [or, rather, he writes in a way that presents his personal opinions as established fact]. [He is] a rather average theologian.

Good to know your opinion.  I haven't read read enough of his stuff to come to that conclusion.  Nor have I read enough of your's.  For all I know, you could be writing in a misleading way and be a rather average theologian.

My gut feeling the very first time I heard much of anything about this controversy is that both sides were probably in the right and were just mis-communicating.  I'm going to stick with that.  It is good to know that not everyone agrees with Met. Kallistos though.
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« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2012, 03:24:43 AM »

Met. Kallistos often writes in a misleading way [or, rather, he writes in a way that presents his personal opinions as established fact]. [He is] a rather average theologian.

Good to know your opinion.  I haven't read read enough of his stuff to come to that conclusion.  Nor have I read enough of your's.  For all I know, you could be writing in a misleading way and be a rather average theologian.

My gut feeling the very first time I heard much of anything about this controversy is that both sides were probably in the right and were just mis-communicating.  I'm going to stick with that.  It is good to know that not everyone agrees with Met. Kallistos though.

Please be mindful that the so-called Assyrian Church of the East makes certain claims about its christology being perfectly orthodox if understood correctly and, in my somewhat inflammatory opinion, likes to throw up various "theological language" and "cultural understanding" smoke-screens to distract from the fact that its christology is Nestorian.

Now, I am not saying the so-called Oriental Orthodox do this, but please just don't be in such a hurry to excuse every divergence in theology as "differences in theological language" or "cultural misunderstanding".

Arianism was denounced because of the poison contained in a single iota. There may, after all, be no difference between the so-called Oriental formulation and the so-called Eastern formulation, but we owe it to our respective fathers to take their perception that there are/were real differences between us seriously.
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« Reply #31 on: April 10, 2012, 10:28:18 AM »

Quote
if understood correctly
= the smoothest way to say someone is wrong Smiley

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