Yet, on OO forums they consistently reject this term and call themselves miaphysites. Fr. Meyendorff I thought was always ecumenically sensitive so I was curious whether this was formerly an accepted term that the OO have only recently begun to object to?
The reason why the OOC rejects the monophysite misnomer, is simply that in our declaration of the Cyrillian formula, 'One Nature of God the Logos Incarnate', the Greek term for 'One' that is, and has been, consistently employed, is mia
(the very Greek term St. Cyril himself employed). The reason for this, is that in the context of this declaration, we are using physis
to denote the hypostasis
that so actualises the natural reality/realities. In qualifying this hypostasis with mia
, that, as opposed to mono
which denotes a strict singularity, in fact denotes a composite unity, we imply that there is in fact more than one distinct natural reality so actualised by this hypostasis. So, far from actually implying a confusion or dissolution of the humanity and divinity of Christ, the phrase "mia physis" in fact implies that there are at the very least, two natural realities (essences/natures)
realised by this One hypostasis. Since the only natural realities in question regarding the nature of Christ, are that of humanity and that of divinity, then both must have been preserved unadulterated, according to the logical implications of the mia physis
formula - logical implications that simply do not, nay, cannot, follow from a mono physis
It was copyrighted in 1989. And Fr. Meyendorff doesn't seem to be using the term derogotarily.....
I would have to say that Fr. Meyendroff has no excuse, especially considering that he in particular has been a very strong and supportive participant in the rigorous dialogues undertaken with leading Christologians of our Church; he is quite aware of the fact that the term in and of itself is derogatory and even painful for OO's, yet he continued to employ the monophysite misnomer even in his 1997 publication Christ in Eastern Thought
There have been other Orthodox writers who have taken a much more honest approach to their academics. Take for example Juroslav Pelikan, who consistenly employed the monophysite misnomer in his older works, especially his famous series The Christian Tradition
. In his most recent work (published 2005), he has the following to say:
“The name ‘monophysite’ has all but disappeared from the theological vocabulary, being replaced by ‘Oriental Orthodox’ (as distinguished from ‘Eastern Orthodox’)." (Pelikan, Acts, (Brazos Press: 2005), page 202.
Just so as to make it clear, Pelikan is not merely observing a fact here; he is in fact agreeing with this movement. To give you further clarification regarding the context of this quote, he is using the OO/EO dispute as an example of divisions "following upon divergent ways of expressing rather than upon genuine and substantive divergence in doctrine" in his commentary on Acts 18:15: "If it is some bickering about words and names...you may see it to yourselves; i have no mind to be a judge of these matters."
A further question on this topic would be: can anyone recommend a fair, balanced discussion of the differences between the EO and OO Christologies?Fr. V.C. Samuel, Chalcedon Re-Examined.
He can use Non-Chalcedonians.
I am beggining to have very strong objections to this label also, and am hoping to diffuse this sentiment into the mindset of our OO brothers and sisters. Why should the identity of our Church be based on our relationship to a council we do not even accept, and that has nothing to do with our faith? Let us be called OO, or Ephesians, or Miaphysites, or Cyrillians; let us be called the Church of the Three Ecumenical Councils...anything but the monophysite misnomer, or the condescending non-Chalcedonian title.