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Author Topic: Can an Orthodox Christian Believe in Transubstantiation as a Theologumen?  (Read 3940 times) Average Rating: 0
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samkim
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« Reply #45 on: September 23, 2011, 12:51:56 AM »

The reason we call sacraments holy Mysteries is not because "they work in mysterious ways," though they may, but because we keep them hidden from the unbaptized. The holy synod of Jerusalem had no problem using the word "transubstantiation:"
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We believe the All-holy Mystery of the Sacred Eucharist, which we have enumerated above, fourth in order, to be that which our Lord delivered in the night in which He gave Himself up for the life of the world. For taking bread, and blessing, He gave to His Holy Disciples and Apostles, saying: “Take, eat; This is My Body.” {Matthew 26:26} And taking the chalice, and giving thanks, He said: “Drink you all of It; This is My Blood, which for you is being poured out, for the remission of sins.” {Matthew 26:28} In the celebration of this we believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be present. He is not present typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, as in the other Mysteries, nor by a bare presence, as some of the Fathers have said concerning Baptism, or by impanation, so that the Divinity of the Word is united to the set forth bread of the Eucharist hypostatically, as the followers of Luther most ignorantly and wretchedly suppose. But [he is present] truly and really, so that after the consecration of the bread and of the wine, the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin, was baptized in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sits at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord, Which as He hung upon the Cross, was poured out for the life of the world. {John 6:51}

Source:http://www.cresourcei.org/creeddositheus.html
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 12:53:39 AM by samkim » Logged

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« Reply #46 on: September 23, 2011, 02:03:44 AM »

The following may be pointless. Just feel like tossing it out. Feel free to disregard it:

As a former protestant, i have a number of friends who's brains would explode if I told them I believed The Eucharist (or Communion so they would better understand it) was the actual body and blood of Christ.  This is whats ironic to me.  A lot of these same people take so many passages of scripture very literally (usually by ignoring the culture and context it was written).

Why are they so afraid to take it literally when Jesus says "....this is my Body... and this is my Blood..."Huh

Dont want to hijack the thread.  This thought just came into my head as I read through some of this.  Didnt read it all, so if this was already covered, i apologize.
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« Reply #47 on: September 23, 2011, 10:47:15 AM »

From Hapgood (1906 ed.), p 456.

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The Bishop questioneth the convert from the Lutheran Confession thus:

Bishop: Dost thou renounce the erroneous belief that in the
Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist the bread is not transmuted into
the Body of Christ, and doth not become the Body of Christ ; and
that the wine is not transmuted into the Blood of Christ, and doth
not become the Blood of Christ ; but that the presence of Christ's
Body only for a short time doth touch the bread, which remaineth
simple bread ?
Answer: I do.

I'm not sure that a modern Lutheran would assess this as an accurate characterization of present Lutheran beliefs. Most Episcopalians who have actually thought about the idea would find it acceptable modulo what "transmute" actually means.
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« Reply #48 on: September 23, 2011, 04:08:50 PM »

I suppose that if one is, philosophically, an Aristotlean, then the scholastic doctrine would be the natural way to understand the Mystery. One would have to acknowledge that the 'accidents' do not change, and therefore the mysterious transformation must occur at the level of 'substance'.

The early Fathers insofar as they draw on classical philosophy tend to be more Platonic (perhaps Middle or Neo-Platonic, which integrates some of Aristotle). Does that play into this question?

Quote from: Wikipedia
Some Greek Orthodox Church confessions of faith use the term "transubstantiation" (metousiosis), but most Orthodox Christian traditions play down the term itself, and the notions of "substance" and "accidents", while adhering to the holy mystery that bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ during a valid Divine Liturgy. Other terms such as "trans-elementation" (μεταστοιχείωσις metastoicheiosis) and "re-ordination" (μεταρρύθμισις metarrhythmisis) are more common among the Orthodox.
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« Reply #49 on: September 23, 2011, 04:29:39 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Does anyone know the OO view on all of this?
I've heard some Ethiopian Orthodox monks say (in a paraphrase): "some Orthodox theologians use the word 'transubstantiation' to explain the Eucharist, but, most will say that it is a mystery and that we don't know for sure how the mystery occurs". Then they cited a passage from John of Damascus which seemed to contradict transubstantiation.

The Ethiopian Fathers fully affirm what could be called "the Real Presence" in full accord with the Roman Catholic dogma, however where we differ, and what the monk from the Nine Saints website was insinuating, is that we do not believe it is the same mechanical process as the RCs teach.  We have had this discussion before on another thread somewhere.

In the Tewahedo Church, we believe that the Holy Communion is a process of becoming the Blood and Body of Christ, starting with the ringing bells and prayers of the Entrance, and culminating with the individual reception of the Eucharist by the members of the Church.  It is only the combination of all the factors of the Divine Liturgy that brings about this process, there is no particular moment during the Liturgy where the Ethiopians say "this is merely bread and wine" and then later "this is the actual Blood and Body of Christ" as the Catholic dogma teaches, rather we acknowledge that through the Liturgy in its entirety, the Eucharist Offering should be venerated as the actual, physical, Blood and Body of Our Lord. 

Perhaps we in Ethiopian Orthodox are misunderstanding the RC dogma, so if the RCs to not teach what I have explained above, I would say we are then in full agreement with them in regards to Transubstantiation.  The premise of Transubstantiation is perfectly Orthodox, its the theological logistics and arm-wrangling that we may differ between jurisdictions.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #50 on: September 23, 2011, 04:39:02 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Does anyone know the OO view on all of this?
I've heard some Ethiopian Orthodox monks say (in a paraphrase): "some Orthodox theologians use the word 'transubstantiation' to explain the Eucharist, but, most will say that it is a mystery and that we don't know for sure how the mystery occurs". Then they cited a passage from John of Damascus which seemed to contradict transubstantiation.

The Ethiopian Fathers fully affirm what could be called "the Real Presence" in full accord with the Roman Catholic dogma, however where we differ, and what the monk from the Nine Saints website was insinuating, is that we do not believe it is the same mechanical process as the RCs teach.  We have had this discussion before on another thread somewhere.

In the Tewahedo Church, we believe that the Holy Communion is a process of becoming the Blood and Body of Christ, starting with the ringing bells and prayers of the Entrance, and culminating with the individual reception of the Eucharist by the members of the Church.  It is only the combination of all the factors of the Divine Liturgy that brings about this process, there is no particular moment during the Liturgy where the Ethiopians say "this is merely bread and wine" and then later "this is the actual Blood and Body of Christ" as the Catholic dogma teaches, rather we acknowledge that through the Liturgy in its entirety, the Eucharist Offering should be venerated as the actual, physical, Blood and Body of Our Lord. 

Perhaps we in Ethiopian Orthodox are misunderstanding the RC dogma, so if the RCs to not teach what I have explained above, I would say we are then in full agreement with them in regards to Transubstantiation.  The premise of Transubstantiation is perfectly Orthodox, its the theological logistics and arm-wrangling that we may differ between jurisdictions.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I suspect that this question of when, precisely, the change occurs: after the words of institution: or after the epiclesis, which is deemed necessary by so many in order to have a valid eucharistic transformation: is just that:  a question.  It seems so in my Church.  Most of the documents on liturgy and Eucharist seem to indicate that the entire Eucharistic Canon is necessary.   I suppose that if one is under duress and had to know how much of the liturgical prayers were necessary: in matter of life and death: well then I expect the intent and the words of institution might be sufficient...but other than that...and curiousity...I don't think there's much to talk about with regard to angels and heads of pins.

M.
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« Reply #51 on: September 24, 2011, 06:33:45 PM »

I suppose that if one is, philosophically, an Aristotlean, then the scholastic doctrine would be the natural way to understand the Mystery.

Well, this lies at the heart of my objection. Modern science, the stuff that works, doesn't use a substance/accidents distinction. Also, I would tend to think that Aristotle might not accept the Thomist implicit redefinition of "accident" to subsume the properties which manifest the substance as well as those which are incidental. Given that we actually do know something know of what "substance" is actually like, it's easy to speculate at lots of different levels as to how body and blood could be manifest as bread and wine (or more precisely, how the latter could be the former while still presenting as their original substance), but I really can only find philosophically justifiable explanations which are compatible with modern scientific understandings of substance.

When it comes down to it, the division that matters is that between the substantial change group (trans/cons, encompassing Orthodox, Catholics, most Anglicans, and maybe a bunch of others), the temporary "real presence" group (Methodists, Presbies (in theory), and maybe most Lutherans), and the memorialists (the rest of Protestantism). These divisions are the ones that have an effect on what one does; the trans/cons dispute doesn't lead directly to difference in practice; the historical association with practice differences is increasingly weak: for instance, though benediction and adoration were historically associated with the "trans" group, that association is weaker now, and the argument against those practices, in any case, was that they had no dominical ordinance behind them.
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« Reply #52 on: September 24, 2011, 06:39:49 PM »


When it comes down to it, the division that matters is that between the substantial change group (trans/cons, encompassing Orthodox, Catholics, most Anglicans, and maybe a bunch of others), the temporary "real presence" group (Methodists, Presbies (in theory), and maybe most Lutherans), and the memorialists (the rest of Protestantism). These divisions are the ones that have an effect on what one does; the trans/cons dispute doesn't lead directly to difference in practice; the historical association with practice differences is increasingly weak: for instance, though benediction and adoration were historically associated with the "trans" group, that association is weaker now, and the argument against those practices, in any case, was that they had no dominical ordinance behind them.


Is it true that Orthodoxy reduces real presence to a matter of praxis?
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« Reply #53 on: September 26, 2011, 03:05:24 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


When it comes down to it, the division that matters is that between the substantial change group (trans/cons, encompassing Orthodox, Catholics, most Anglicans, and maybe a bunch of others), the temporary "real presence" group (Methodists, Presbies (in theory), and maybe most Lutherans), and the memorialists (the rest of Protestantism). These divisions are the ones that have an effect on what one does; the trans/cons dispute doesn't lead directly to difference in practice; the historical association with practice differences is increasingly weak: for instance, though benediction and adoration were historically associated with the "trans" group, that association is weaker now, and the argument against those practices, in any case, was that they had no dominical ordinance behind them.


Is it true that Orthodoxy reduces real presence to a matter of praxis?
Great question!!


Depends by what you mean, if you mean "application" in the sense of that the Offering isn't fully the Blood and Body until it is directly received (i.e., eaten) by the Communicant then yes and no.  Yes in the sense of the theosis and deification aspects of Holy Communion, no in the sense of Eucharistic Adoration.  The Orthodox fully affirm that folks must receive the Communion for the fullness of the Grace there in, however, we still agree with the premise behind the RC Eucharistic Adoration dogma as we believe that the Offering is fully the actual Blood and Body of Jesus Christ.  We are sort of in line with the "Real Presence" of the Lutherans in the sense that we do not believe it permanent, the Offering is not of itself forever changed from bread towards God's own Flesh.  This is a temporal manifestation of God's Presence in a truly tangible, substantial way.  Further, praxis can be interpreted as correct but only in certain contexts.  If folks are seeking a certain direct manifestation of the greater Grace of God found in this All-Holy Mystery, then they receive it by eating and drinking directly.  We can not limit God to suppose miracles can't happen by proxy, that is being in proximity of the Holy Communion, but to eat it is the apex, the application, the culmination of the liturgical process, just as being submerged with the water is the culmination of Baptism, or being anointed the culmination of Chrismation, or the laying of hands in the Absolution prayer the culmination of Repentance.  So, praxis in this sense, that eating the Blood and Body is the process, application, or realization of the Holy Communion is correctly Orthodox.  However, if praxis is assumed to mean that the miracles of the Holy Communion are limited to eating and drinking, well that is different story, and in that context we could be said to also agree with the RCs dogmas regardin Eucharistic Adoration (i.e., that praying near or in proximity of the Holy Communion is being near Jesus Christ physically).

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #54 on: October 06, 2011, 06:52:04 AM »

The reason we call sacraments holy Mysteries is not because "they work in mysterious ways," though they may, but because we keep them hidden from the unbaptized. The holy synod of Jerusalem had no problem using the word "transubstantiation:"
Quote
. . .the bread is transmuted, transubstantiated, converted and transformed into the true Body Itself of the Lord, Which was born in Bethlehem of the ever-Virgin, was baptized in the Jordan, suffered, was buried, rose again, was received up, sits at the right hand of the God and Father, and is to come again in the clouds of Heaven; and the wine is converted and transubstantiated into the true Blood Itself of the Lord . . .{John 6:51}

Source:http://www.cresourcei.org/creeddositheus.html

But the Jerusalem document continues:

"Further, we believe that by the word “transubstantiation” the manner is not explained, by which the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, — for that is altogether incomprehensible and impossible, except by God Himself, and those who imagine to do so are involved in ignorance and impiety, — but that the bread and the wine are after the consecration, not typically, nor figuratively, nor by superabundant grace, nor by the communication or the presence of the Divinity alone of the Only-begotten, transmuted into the Body and Blood of the Lord"
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« Reply #55 on: July 23, 2012, 05:05:50 AM »

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« Reply #56 on: July 24, 2012, 05:22:37 PM »

I am increasingly not liking how Transubstantiation is used by lay Roman Catholics.  I don't know if this is an inherent flaw to what Transubstantiation is, or the flawed understanding by these people misrepresent what is actually being taught by Transubstantiation.

Here's my beef.  There have been many discussion around "can the Eucharist transmit disease"?  Unlike in Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches where we share a common spoon, Roman Catholics have grown to the idea that this is not something sanitary.  And this is enforced by the recent threats of pandemic where the Cup was withheld from the laity for fear of transmitting the disease.  And another case is that on celiacs.  The people I come across on the internet would argue that because the accidents remain of bread and wine, the viruses cling on to the accidents and not the substance.  And if one is celiac, your body would still react to the accidents as if it is still bread even though it is not.

To me this is a lengthy exercise of going around in a full circle.  First you argue that the bread and wine is not bread and wine, then have a deep philosophical explanation to support that only to use the same philosophical argument to say in an indirect but hopefully intelligent-sounding way that yes, the bread and wine is just bread and wine.  Or to put it in another way, the bread and win is no longer bread and wine except when it is.  To me, through this scholastic process, we have basically brought the mystery of the sacrament down to the ground to be trampled on in mud.
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« Reply #57 on: July 26, 2012, 03:50:25 AM »

I do not think so. The real presence part is all that matters. Anything beyond that, such as how God turns the bread and wine into His flesh and blood seems kind of irrelevant to me, and such pointless questions can often lead to heresy or potentially be detrimental to someone's salvation. After all, if something is not broken then I see no reason to try and fix it. Besides, doesn't that defeat the whole meaning of being a 'Mystery' as we refer to the Sacraments?
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