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Chaldean Catholicism

Katechon

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Now, from the RC perspective, there are two a priori considerations. First, the Catholic Church venerates both St. Thomas and St. Palamas as Saints. Hence, it is almost dogmatically certain that they could not have radically contradicted each other.
That's demonstrably untrue since the "Chaldaean Catholics" commemorate Nestorius in their Liturgy while all other "sui iuris churches" of the Vatican's communion formally condemn him as a heretic.
 

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That's demonstrably untrue since the "Chaldaean Catholics" commemorate Nestorius in their Liturgy while all other "sui iuris churches" of the Vatican's communion formally condemn him as a heretic.
Proof? I have not seen it. Unless it is the rather vague Feast of the Greek Doctors.
 

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That's demonstrably untrue since the "Chaldaean Catholics" commemorate Nestorius in their Liturgy while all other "sui iuris churches" of the Vatican's communion formally condemn him as a heretic.
That would be problematic if true, but I am more concerned by the terms that they use in Christology, which are more or less Nestorian. As I see it, their focus upon a "parsopa union" in Christ is too weak, and their use of the term "qnoma" concretizes Christ's human nature in a way that is contrary to the teaching of the Councils of Ephesus, Chalcedon and Constantinople II. Basically, they seem to advocate a union like the one promoted by Nestorius (i.e., a prosopic union rather than a hypostatic union), and of course that brought about his excommunication.
 

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Proof? I have not seen it. Unless it is the rather vague Feast of the Greek Doctors.
Both the Chaldeans and the Syro-Malabar "sui iuris churches" use the anaphora of Theodoret and Nestorius. And indeed they refer to them as "Greek Doctors". I don't really see how their supposed ambiguity about it serves your point.
 

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That would be problematic if true, but I am more concerned by the terms that they use in Christology, which are more or less Nestorian. As I see it, their focus upon a "parsopa union" in Christ is too weak, and their use of the term "qnoma" concretizes Christ's human nature in a way that is contrary to the teaching of the Councils of Ephesus, Chalcedon and Constantinople II. Basically, they seem to advocate a union like the one promoted by Nestorius (i.e., a prosopic union rather than a hypostatic union), and of course that brought about his excommunication.
I found this video to be very informative about the whole Assyrian can of worms, although this is not really the topic of the thread:

 

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Both the Chaldeans and the Syro-Malabar "sui iuris churches" use the anaphora of Theodoret and Nestorius. And indeed they refer to them as "Greek Doctors". I don't really see how their supposed ambiguity about it serves your point.
My point is they do not commemorate him. Scholarship has shown the Anaphoras of Nestorius and Theodore are interpretations of the Anaphoras of Basil and of the Apostles by Mar Aba the Great. Ther are referred to by Catholics as the second and third Hallowings. The Syro-Malabars suppressed them and only recently (2013) started using them again. The Chaldeans may keep the feast of the Syriac and Greek doctors but Nestorius was expunged from the commemorations. When the Chaldeans came back to union their books were edited by Rome as were Coptic and Syriac, etc. books.
 

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My point is they do not commemorate him. Scholarship has shown the Anaphoras of Nestorius and Theodore are interpretations of the Anaphoras of Basil and of the Apostles by Mar Aba the Great. Ther are referred to by Catholics as the second and third Hallowings. The Syro-Malabars suppressed them and only recently (2013) started using them again. The Chaldeans may keep the feast of the Syriac and Greek doctors but Nestorius was expunged from the commemorations. When the Chaldeans came back to union their books were edited by Rome as were Coptic and Syriac, etc. books.
So they keep him as a "Greek Doctor" and use his anaphora, but they don't commemorate him? That does not make any sense.
 

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So they keep him as a "Greek Doctor" and use his anaphora, but they don't commemorate him? That does not make any sense.
It’s not his Anaphora but a reworking of St Basil’s, there is nothing Nestorian about the Anaphora other than the attribution. They keep the feast of the Greek Doctors but don’t include him. It’s not hard to understand. Eastern Catholic’s can keep their traditions as long as they are orthodox. An attribution alone doesn’t make a prayer unusable.
 

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I have major doubts about the Orthodoxy of Catholic Chaldean Christology, because their approach appears to mirror that of the position taken by Nestorius.


Here is a summary of the Nestorian and Catholic Chaldean positions:

(1) Nestorius confessed that Christ is two essences (ousia), two subsistences (hypostaseis), and one person (prosopon).

(2) The Chaldean Catholics confess that Christ is two essences (kyane), two subsistences (qnome), and one person (parsopo).


Now, here is a summary of the Orthodox position, based upon the Councils of Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Constantinople II:

(3) The Orthodox confess that Christ is two essences (ousia), one subsistence (hypostasis), and one person (prosopon).


Finally, here is a summary of the Maronite Catholic position, which is important because the Maronites use the same terminology as the Catholic Chaldeans, but the Maronite formulation is clearly Orthodox:

(4) The Maronites confess that Christ is two essences (kyone), one subsistence (qnomo), and one person (parsopo).


Taking into account the foregoing information, the Catholic Chaldean position on Christology - for all intents and purposes - looks like the position of Nestorius; so whether or not the Chaldeans "venerate" Nestorius as a saint is really not that important, but what is important is the fact that the Christological doctrine of the Chaldeans does not appear to be Orthodox, because it diverges from the teaching of the Councils of Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Constantinople II.
 

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Taking into account the foregoing information, the Catholic Chaldean position on Christology - for all intents and purposes - looks like the position of Nestorius; so whether or not the Chaldeans "venerate" Nestorius as a saint is really not that important, but what is important is the fact that the Christological doctrine of the Chaldeans does not appear to be Orthodox, because it diverges from the teaching of the Councils of Ephesus, Chalcedon, and Constantinople II.
And that's propably even rubberstamped by the Vatican, given that it takes the position that the Assyrian Church of the Easts christology is not Nestorian.
 

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At least from an Orthodox perspectives, keeping everything attached to Nestorius, including his doctrine of two hypostases, but refraining from saying his name, is simply Jesuitical dishonesty.
 

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Some people say qnuma ≠ (not equal to) hypostasis wherefore your and Orthodox Shahada's attempt to pin Nestorius onto the eastern churches seem rather unfortunate. Is it based in frustration with the difficulty of obtaining a definition of the word qnuma?
 

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Some people say qnuma ≠ (not equal to) hypostasis wherefore your and Orthodox Shahada's attempt to pin Nestorius onto the eastern churches seem rather unfortunate. Is it based in frustration with the difficulty of obtaining a definition of the word qnuma?
Nestorius and Theodore of Mopsuestia wrote in Greek. When Babai definitively imported their theology, 'qnoma' was simply how he translated 'hypostasis'. Medieval Nestorian writers, such as Elias of Nisibis, are quite upfront about 'qnoma' and 'uqnum' meaning the same as 'hypostasis', in terms of being a concrete instantiation of a thing, just as they are very open about their debt to Nestorius himself. There's a large literature, especially in Arabic, where the different Christological communities explain what they understand their technical terminology to mean, so there was in practice much less confusion than modern ecumenically-minded scholars pretend there to have been.
 

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Yes, I don't think it is so much about ecumenism as about letting languages remain different and independent from each other, so that people can think differently. I have seen many words, in modern languages, that used to be distinct, become synonyms, but if a Nestorian says so, and if a consensus has been formed among Arabic authors, then I was probably misinformed in this case. ^^
 

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Yes, I don't think it is so much about ecumenism as about letting languages remain different and independent from each other, so that people can think differently. I have seen many words, in modern languages, that used to be distinct, become synonyms, but if a Nestorian says so, and if a consensus has been formed among Arabic authors, then I was probably misinformed in this case. ^^
It's a common view, in all fairness, coming from a scholarly misperception, encouraged by people who ought to know better, that the Church of the East's christological vocabularly is somehow purely Syriac, neglecting the absolutely formative role of Theodore of Mospuestia, and then also the fact that the modern Assyrian Church of the East, through its tragic circumstances over the past few centuries, does not have much of a connection to its theological tradition apart from what exists in its service-books. So, it's understandable that, given how poorly treated they are by some other Middle Eastern Christian communities-- the Copts in particular-- they feel the need to downplay the extent of their historical veneration of Nestorius.
 

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It's a common view, in all fairness, coming from a scholarly misperception, encouraged by people who ought to know better, that the Church of the East's christological vocabularly is somehow purely Syriac, neglecting the absolutely formative role of Theodore of Mospuestia, and then also the fact that the modern Assyrian Church of the East, through its tragic circumstances over the past few centuries, does not have much of a connection to its theological tradition apart from what exists in its service-books. So, it's understandable that, given how poorly treated they are by some other Middle Eastern Christian communities-- the Copts in particular-- they feel the need to downplay the extent of their historical veneration of Nestorius.
Dr Sebastian Brock, an Armenian Orthodox, would disagree with you. He outlines very concisely the divergence in terminology and meaning between Greek and Syriac and Syriacs within the Empire and those outside it.

 

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Dr Sebastian Brock, an Armenian Orthodox, would disagree with you. He outlines very concisely the divergence in terminology and meaning between Greek and Syriac and Syriacs within the Empire and those outside it.

Brock's articles on the topic are what I was referencing as the scholarly misperception. While obviously it's impossible to overstate his erudition and importance to Syriac studies, he really doesn't get what's at stake in the Christological debates and has a pretty clear (and, to be honest, understandable and not entirely misplaced) ecumenical agenda in his attempts at glossing things over.

An important corrective to how Brock portrays the position of Nestorius in the Church of the East is the article "Nestorius of Constantinople: Condemnation, Suppression, Veneration, With special reference to the role of his name in East-Syriac Christianity" by Nikolai Seleznyov, who, tragically, recently died of Covid. Seleznyov also wrote quite a lot of theological studies in Russian from a rather pro-Nestorian (in the theological sense) position, some published by the Assyrian archdiocese of Moscow.
 

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Brock's articles on the topic are what I was referencing as the scholarly misperception. While obviously it's impossible to overstate his erudition and importance to Syriac studies, he really doesn't get what's at stake in the Christological debates and has a pretty clear (and, to be honest, understandable and not entirely misplaced) ecumenical agenda in his attempts at glossing things over.

An important corrective to how Brock portrays the position of Nestorius in the Church of the East is the article "Nestorius of Constantinople: Condemnation, Suppression, Veneration, With special reference to the role of his name in East-Syriac Christianity" by Nikolai Seleznyov, who, tragically, recently died of Covid. Seleznyov also wrote quite a lot of theological studies in Russian from a rather pro-Nestorian (in the theological sense) position, some published by the Assyrian archdiocese of Moscow.
I have read Seleznyov and I find him supportive rather than corrective of Brock. As to Brock, I think he gets exactly what is at stake but is willing to set aside polemic and rhetoric for the sake of a true and fair historical evaluation.
 

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I just finished watching the video posted earlier in this thread and it explained the Nestorian nature of Chaldean Christology fairly well. The Maronites are Orthodox in their approach; but alas, the Chaldeans are not in their approach, because they concretize Christ's human nature, and in the process they make that nature a distinct subject (i.e., subsistence).
 

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As to Brock, I think he gets exactly what is at stake but is willing to set aside polemic and rhetoric for the sake of a true and fair historical evaluation.
I disagree, of course. The Father's evaluation of Nestorius- that teaching that there are two separate instantiations of natures in Christ is tantamount to teaching two sons- holds up. The polemical reaction to his theology was justified because he was fundamentally teaching a different gospel.
 

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I just finished watching the video posted earlier in this thread and it explained the Nestorian nature of Chaldean Christology fairly well. The Maronites are Orthodox in their approach; but alas, the Chaldeans are not in their approach, because they concretize Christ's human nature, and in the process they make that nature a distinct subject (i.e., subsistence).
Except they don’t.

“Although hypostasis was always rendered into Syriac as qnoma, the term qnoma has much a wider range of sense than does hypostasis, and in any discussion of the christology of the Church of the East, it would seem advisable to retain the Syriac term qnoma, rather than retrovert it as hypostasis. This is especially important when dealing with the distinctive teaching of the Church of the East which emerged in the course of the sixth century concerning the two qnome. (We shal return to this development in due course). In early Syriac qnoma simply means self, and can sometimes be translated person, as in the phrase, ܒܲܩܢܘܿܡܹܗ in his own person. It never, however, renders πρὀσωπου, and in a christological context it should never be translated person, though a number of scholars have, at least in the past, most misleadingly done so. For most writers of the Church of the East in the sixth century qnoma represents the individual example, or manifestation, of a kyana, or nature – a term which, as we have seen, they understood as having a generic or abstract sense.” from Brock’s article I linked above.
 

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I don't think you're reading Brock's article correctly. Saying that something is " the individual example, or manifestation, of a kyana, or nature " and that it "makes that nature a distinct subject" aren't incompatible at all. Nestorius' understanding of predication, and thus his rejection of "Theotokos" wouldn't make sense otherwise.
 

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I don't think you're reading Brock's article correctly. Saying that something is " the individual example, or manifestation, of a kyana, or nature " and that it "makes that nature a distinct subject" aren't incompatible at all. Nestorius' understanding of predication, and thus his rejection of "Theotokos" wouldn't make sense otherwise.
“The teaching of two qnome is primarily associated with the theologian Babai the Great49, and it was probably under his influence that we find this phraseology in the document of 612. For Babai, qnoma certainly does not have the sense of self-existent hypostasis. It is significant that the phrase he most frequently used is the two natures and their qnome. For him kyana, nature is the abstract, i.e. divinity, humanity, while qnoma is the individual instance of a particular kyana, an individuated nature. Such a qnoma does not necessarily have to exist independently, and in the case of Christ this is definitely not the case: here the qnoma of the divinity is Christ’s divinity, and the qnoma of the humanity is Christ’s humanity. Babai emphasizes on a number of occasions that these two qnome have been united since the very moment of conception of the one Son.”
 

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I just finished watching the video posted earlier in this thread and it explained the Nestorian nature of Chaldean Christology fairly well. The Maronites are Orthodox in their approach; but alas, the Chaldeans are not in their approach, because they concretize Christ's human nature, and in the process they make that nature a distinct subject (i.e., subsistence).
This video examines this further:

 

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Except they don’t.

“Although hypostasis was always rendered into Syriac as qnoma, the term qnoma has much a wider range of sense than does hypostasis, and in any discussion of the christology of the Church of the East, it would seem advisable to retain the Syriac term qnoma, rather than retrovert it as hypostasis. This is especially important when dealing with the distinctive teaching of the Church of the East which emerged in the course of the sixth century concerning the two qnome. (We shal return to this development in due course). In early Syriac qnoma simply means self, and can sometimes be translated person, as in the phrase, ܒܲܩܢܘܿܡܹܗ in his own person. It never, however, renders πρὀσωπου, and in a christological context it should never be translated person, though a number of scholars have, at least in the past, most misleadingly done so. For most writers of the Church of the East in the sixth century qnoma represents the individual example, or manifestation, of a kyana, or nature – a term which, as we have seen, they understood as having a generic or abstract sense.” from Brock’s article I linked above.
You didn't watch the video, did you?
 

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You didn't watch the video, did you?
I did. I disagree with his conclusion. Did you read the article? It does a much better job of explaining the nuances.
 

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“The teaching of two qnome is primarily associated with the theologian Babai the Great49, and it was probably under his influence that we find this phraseology in the document of 612. For Babai, qnoma certainly does not have the sense of self-existent hypostasis. It is significant that the phrase he most frequently used is the two natures and their qnome. For him kyana, nature is the abstract, i.e. divinity, humanity, while qnoma is the individual instance of a particular kyana, an individuated nature. Such a qnoma does not necessarily have to exist independently, and in the case of Christ this is definitely not the case: here the qnoma of the divinity is Christ’s divinity, and the qnoma of the humanity is Christ’s humanity. Babai emphasizes on a number of occasions that these two qnome have been united since the very moment of conception of the one Son.”
None of this contradicts the point that for Nestorians, each qnoma is a separate subject of predication and the parsopa of "Christ" is a moral construct- simply the unity of their will and their unity as an object of worship. They might not exist separately, but there's very little keeping them together ontologically.
 

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None of this contradicts the point that for Nestorians, each qnoma is a separate subject of predication and the parsopa of "Christ" is a moral construct- simply the unity of their will and their unity as an object of worship. They might not exist separately, but there's very little keeping them together ontologically.
Sounds like quite a bit to me.

“The short statement of the synod of 55442 reaffirms that we preserve the characteristics (ܕܝܠܝܬܐ, corresponding to ἰδιότητεϚ) of the natures, thereby getting rid of confusion, disturbance, alteration and change. At the same time, anyone who speaks of two Christs or two Sons, is anathematized. In subsequent credal statements we find such phrases as single union of the divinity and the humanity of Christ, Jesus Christ in the unification of His natures (Synod of 585)43, in an indivisible union, prosopic union (confession of faith by Isho’yahb I)44, (the divinity and the humanity are united in a true union of the one person (πρὀσωπου) of the Son, Christ (Synod of 605)45, the wonderful conjunction (ܢܩܦܐ) and inseparable union that took place from the very beginning of the fashioning (Assembly of bishops in 612)46.”
 

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Are you a nominalist?
I’m a realist. The Assyrians really believe in One Lord Jesus Christ, 100%God and 100%Man as do the Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, and Latin & Eastern Catholics. The technical terms used to explain that reality in the various languages are a means to an end, not the end in itself.
 

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It's not simply a difference in technical terms, though. It's a completely different account of the incarnation, where the Word unites with a man (= a particular instantition of human nature), rather than to our common human nature (where the Word Himself comes to instantiate our nature). The Orthodox account of redemption doesn't work with the Church of the East's Christology.
 

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I’m a realist. The Assyrians really believe in One Lord Jesus Christ, 100%God and 100%Man as do the Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, and Latin & Eastern Catholics. The technical terms used to explain that reality in the various languages are a means to an end, not the end in itself.
So Pentecost didn't happen and the Church guided by the Holy Spirit pronounced false anathemas over translation errors at an Ecumenical Council?
 

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It's not simply a difference in technical terms, though. It's a completely different account of the incarnation, where the Word unites with a man (= a particular instantition of human nature), rather than to our common human nature (where the Word Himself comes to instantiate our nature). The Orthodox account of redemption doesn't work with the Church of the East's Christology.
In fact it does.

“Two main concerns can be identified as underlying the Church of the East’s insistence on duality in Christ, and its firm distinction between the two natures. First is the concern to maintain the utter transcendence of the divinity, and the abhorrence of the idea that suffering could touch the divinity (here it should be noted that suffering, hasha/πάθοϚ, evidently had overtones of fallen human nature for them). More important from our present point of view, is the second concern, which is a soteriological one. This concern has already come to our notice in the third of the passages quoted from Narsai. Exactly the same concern emerges clearly from a Letter on christology written c.68O by the Catholicos George56

“If Christ had not been truly human and accepted death in His humanity for our sake, – being innocent of sin – and had not God Who is in Him raised Him up, it would not have been possible for us sinners, condemned to death, to acquire hope of resurrection from the dead; for if it had been God who died and rose – in accordance with the wicked utterance of the blasphemers – then it would only be God, and those who are innocent, like Him, who would be held worthy of the resurrection, and He would have provided assurance of resurrection only to those who were consubstantial with Him (ܒܢܝ ܟܝܢܗ), and not to our guilty mortal nature.”
 

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First is the concern to maintain the utter transcendence of the divinity, and the abhorrence of the idea that suffering could touch the divinity
If God the Word is not the subject of suffering, then the Gospel is meaningless. That's the whole point of the condemnation of Nestorianism.
 

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If God the Word is not the subject of suffering, then the Gospel is meaningless. That's the whole point of the condemnation of Nestorianism.
Jesus Christ, suffered in his human nature, his divine nature remained impassable.

“Being God, You were present in the tomb by Your body, and yet in Hades by Your soul, in Paradise with the thief, and enthroned, O Christ, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, filling all things but encompassed by none.” Tropar for censing of the Altar said at every Divine Liturgy
 

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Jesus Christ, suffered in his human nature, his divine nature remained impassable.
Right. But "God the Word" is not another term for "the divine nature". Jesus Christ is God the Word who for our sake became man. In the Nestorian account, the parsopa of Christ is the moral conjunction of the man Jesus with God the Word (the qnome of the humanity and the divinity, respectively), the former suffering and the latter remaining impassible.

In the Orthodox account, natures are not subjects and do not have separate instantiations in Christ to act as separate subjects. Rather, God the Word is the sole subject.
 

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Right. But "God the Word" is not another term for "the divine nature". Jesus Christ is God the Word who for our sake became man. In the Nestorian account, the parsopa of Christ is the moral conjunction of the man Jesus with God the Word (the qnome of the humanity and the divinity, respectively), the former suffering and the latter remaining impassible.

In the Orthodox account, natures are not subjects and do not have separate instantiations in Christ to act as separate subjects. Rather, God the Word is the sole subject.
We speak of Christ doing things in one nature vs the other all the time. From Good Friday:

“In the flesh Thou wast of Thine own will enclosed within the tomb, yet in Thy divine nature Thou dost remain Uncircumscribed and limitless. Thou hast shut up the treasury of hell,O Christ, and emptied all his palaces. Thou hast honored this Sabbath with Thy divine blessing, with Thy glory and Thy radiance.”

(Apostichon of Vespers)

This is how we respect the impassibility of the divine nature and why we refused the insertion of the Theopaschite clause in the Trisagion.
 

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We speak of Christ doing things in one nature vs the other all the time.
This is completely different from having two subjects. We can, and must, say "God the Word suffered in the flesh", which is not something that Nestorians can say. For them, God the Word is distinct from the parsopa of Christ.

This is how we respect the impassibility of the divine nature and why we refused the insertion of the Theopaschite clause in the Trisagion.
No. The addition to the Trisagion is rejected because for the Orthodox, it's a hymn to the Trinity, while in those churches where it is used, it's interpreted as a hymn to Christ.
 

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This is completely different from having two subjects. We can, and must, say "God the Word suffered in the flesh", which is not something that Nestorians can say. For them, God the Word is distinct from the parsopa

Nope. They confess One Lord Jesus Christ. One parsopa. The natures are differentiated from each other not the person of Jesus Christ.
 
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