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Discussion on Ecumenism

minasoliman

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Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman, I am sorry if I have offended you personally. I respect your decision to maintain your own beliefs. I don't believe in lying for the sake of Orthodoxy, and I am not opposed, as I have said, to dialog. I don't believe participation in dialog constitutes ecumenism.

However, one thing I cannot swerve from, and that is my firm belief that the true and saving dogmas of the Orthodox faith have been bequeathed to us by the Seven Ecumenical Councils, and that any deviation from the dogmas defined by those Councils only results in separation from the Church.
That's fair enough.  I am not telling you to leave your faith, nor do I want to convince you to agree with the so-called "Ecumenists."  I just don't want you to blindly follow a bunch of articles without you doing the heavy duty research yourself.  And even if you still maintain your loyalty to your faction, at least I want you to have a sense of a rewarding feeling and a better appreciation of why you believe the things you believe.

God bless you.
One thing I object to in this is that the implication that to uphold the dogmas of Chalcedon and subsequent Councils is the merely the predilection of some 'faction'. It is in fact the traditional teaching of the Orthodox Church. Other than that, I absolutely agree that research is important. The problem comes when certain theologians come to the conclusion that the dogmatic definitions of the Church are mere words and not necessary for salvation.
I don't understand.  Is the word "faction" offending?  I only meant it as the group you are part of.  Call your group "the Orthodox Church", fine.  The important thing is I'm not debating Chalcedon with you.  That was not my intention.  And you still don't seem to get it.  You agree research is important, but you make an blanket assumption right after that.  There's a whole slew of issues you have to research, such as "Can I verify that 'certain theologians' don't take dogmatic definitions seriously?"  "Can I verify that the concensus of the Orthodox church fathers really wanted people to follow in an inerrant fashion every iota of an ecumenical council?"  "Do I even know what happened in these councils?"  "What does the other side believe in rebuttal to the claims made by their opposing division?"  In other words, don't make blanket claims unless you can back them up yourself.

Have you considered that maybe, just maybe, those "certain theologians" treat the dogmatic definitions of the Church very seriously, instead of stereotypically lump summing everyone again?

God bless.
 

Salpy

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Give it a rest, Mina.  :)  Our EO friends view the 7 Councils the way the Evangelicals view the Bible.  Thus our favorite poster down in the private forum can venerate Nestorius and still be Orthodox, since he has seven councils, whereas you and I are heretics, even if we believe exactly as St. Cyril did.  It's a matter of allegiance to a set number of councils, over what is actually believed.  It's their way, and we're not going to change it.  We just have a different way of viewing councils.

I think what we see among some of our EO friends is an unquestioning allegiance to some of their earlier Church Fathers.  They don't want to question them, or admit the possibility that they may have made some mistakes, along with all the good that they undoubtedly did.  I can kind of respect that, although it is somehow different from how we deal with things.  I think that is what prevents the monks of Mt. Athos from even engaging in dialogue, and why you and I really can't get beyond a certain point in our discussions with some persons here on this forum.

Personally, I think if it is God's will that we are one day reunited, it will happen.  Until then we can try our best to dialogue with those who are willing.

 

minasoliman

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Ya, but what I don't understand is that there should always be an instinct to be AT LEAST moved with some zeal to defend their Church fathers from being accused of making alleged mistakes with some sound research.  Instead, they just put their fingers in their ears and say "bla bla bla bla" not wanting to know how we justify such claims.  I was always brought up with a curiosity to understand what they said about us, and how I can try to study to defend us and understand why they say that about us.  I was hoping at least our friend Jonathan can get that, rather than make assumptions as if he knows something already.
 

Jonathan Gress

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My point about 'certain theologians' needs no other substantiation than the existence of the decision of the Antiochian Synod in 1991 to recognize the mysteries of the non-Chalcedonian church. This was only possible since they had already determined that there was no difference in faith between the Orthodox and the non-Chalcedonians, and that determination depends upon the disregard of the Chalcedonian dogma of Christ's two natures as necessary for salvation. If the hierarchs at Antioch had upheld the dogma of Chalcedon, they would not have been able to recognize the mysteries of the non-Chalcedonians, because the non-Chalcedonians, as the label indicates, have not accepted the dogma of Chalcedon.

Regarding your question about iotas:

“…Be it known unto thee that even the slightest rejection of things
which have been transmitted will bring contempt upon the entire
doctrine.” “…Even if one alter the least part of it (religion and the
Faith), one does a great act of unseemliness and immediately receives
censure…” (4th and 6th Epistles of Photius the Great).

“All these things are truly common unto all and it is necessary before
all else to guard those things which pertain to the Faith, from which, if
one turns aside but a little, one sins a sin that is unto death” (Letter of
St. Photius the Great to Pope Nicholas).

“We would prefer to shed our blood rather than add one iota” (St.
Sabbas the Sanctified to the Emperor Anastasius).

“Do not speak to me of James and John, for even if one of the first
angels of heaven corrupts the doctrine, let him be anathema. Now he
(Paul) did not say: ‘if they proclaim things which are contrary’ or ‘if
they preach any other gospel than that which we have preached unto
you’ (Gal. 1:8), -- even if they altered anything whatever, ‘let them be
anathema’” (St. John Chrysostom, Commentary on Galatians).

“We shall in no wise permit either ourselves or any one else to change
those things set down here or to change even one word or one
syllable” (Fourth Ecumenical Council).

“He is a heretic and is subject to the laws concerning heretics who
deviates in the slightest degree from the right Faith” (George
Scholarius, later Patriarch Gennadius of Constantinople).

“It is necessary to drive from the communion of the Church, not only
those who think erroneously concerning primary matters and the essentials concerning the Mysteries, but also those who sin against
secondary things; we reject these likewise as being teachers of ‘evil
doctrines’” (Athanasius of Paros, Epitomy, Ch 7).
 

simplygermain

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Salpy said:
Give it a rest, Mina.  :)  Our EO friends view the 7 Councils the way the Evangelicals view the Bible.  Thus our favorite poster down in the private forum can venerate Nestorius and still be Orthodox, since he has seven councils, whereas you and I are heretics, even if we believe exactly as St. Cyril did.  It's a matter of allegiance to a set number of councils, over what is actually believed.  It's their way, and we're not going to change it.  We just have a different way of viewing councils.

I think what we see among some of our EO friends is an unquestioning allegiance to some of their earlier Church Fathers.  They don't want to question them, or admit the possibility that they may have made some mistakes, along with all the good that they undoubtedly did.  I can kind of respect that, although it is somehow different from how we deal with things.  I think that is what prevents the monks of Mt. Athos from even engaging in dialogue, and why you and I really can't get beyond a certain point in our discussions with some persons here on this forum.

Personally, I think if it is God's will that we are one day reunited, it will happen.  Until then we can try our best to dialogue with those who are willing.
I know quite a bit of Eo converts on the west coast that view the councils as (although they are tied to them through their particular churches) historical points of reference which even some of the Ec. Councils were predominantly Councils of value to the west and Byzantium...These friends I speak of would also, I'm sure, back me up in saying that the Saints of the church who Anathematized this or that, were still just men. Granted they lived saintly lives but that does not mean that the proclamations made at these Councils were some how Infallible. This is not to say that they somehow got the pronouncement of the faith wrong, but to say that they were hasty in throwing the word heretic aroung without knowing what the other churches were saying.
I have studied much on the OO side of things and can find no fault in the way they speak. But it takes a listening ear, one without preconcieved notions.
 

Salpy

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simplygermain said:
I know quite a bit of Eo converts on the west coast that view the councils as (although they are tied to them through their particular churches) historical points of reference which even some of the Ec. Councils were predominantly Councils of value to the west and Byzantium...These friends I speak of would also, I'm sure, back me up in saying that the Saints of the church who Anathematized this or that, were still just men. Granted they lived saintly lives but that does not mean that the proclamations made at these Councils were some how Infallible.
Forgive me for over-generalizing.  :)

I do think, however, that the EO's view the concept of an Ecumenical Council and what it is in the life of the Church a little differently than the OO's view it.  I think that may why the OO's tend to be a little more positive toward the idea of ecumenical dialogue.  The difference in how we view ecumenical councils was touched on in a thread in the OO section, but I can't recall where it is.
 

minasoliman

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Jonathan,

Another question.  Have you considered that maybe these Antiochian theologians feel that they are not contradicting those quotes you are giving?  Have you considered that maybe the "iota" you're quoting from is not the "iota" I was thinking?

No, of course not.  Obviously, once again, you make assumptions.  Do you notice how many EO's here in this thread could use these quotes against you (in fact, have implied that you are outside the true faith), one of them being Fr. Ambrose?

But you still don't get it.  You don't delve much deeper into the issue because either you're afraid or you like to remain ignorant.

If you still don't get it, Jonathan, Salpy is right.  There's no point in trying to make you understand.
 

simplygermain

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Salpy said:
simplygermain said:
I know quite a bit of Eo converts on the west coast that view the councils as (although they are tied to them through their particular churches) historical points of reference which even some of the Ec. Councils were predominantly Councils of value to the west and Byzantium...These friends I speak of would also, I'm sure, back me up in saying that the Saints of the church who Anathematized this or that, were still just men. Granted they lived saintly lives but that does not mean that the proclamations made at these Councils were some how Infallible.
Forgive me for over-generalizing.   :)

I do think, however, that the EO's view the concept of an Ecumenical Council and what it is in the life of the Church a little differently than the OO's view it.  I think that may why the OO's tend to be a little more positive toward the idea of ecumenical dialogue.  The difference in how we view ecumenical councils was touched on in a thread in the OO section, but I can't recall where it is.
Salpy - would you give a brief explanation?
 

Jonathan Gress

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minasoliman said:
Jonathan,

Another question.  Have you considered that maybe these Antiochian theologians feel that they are not contradicting those quotes you are giving?  Have you considered that maybe the "iota" you're quoting from is not the "iota" I was thinking?

No, of course not.  Obviously, once again, you make assumptions.  Do you notice how many EO's here in this thread could use these quotes against you (in fact, have implied that you are outside the true faith), one of them being Fr. Ambrose?

But you still don't get it.  You don't delve much deeper into the issue because either you're afraid or you like to remain ignorant.

If you still don't get it, Jonathan, Salpy is right.  There's no point in trying to make you understand.
Whether or not they 'feel' they are upholding the dogmas of the Seven Councils, I am demonstrating as an objective fact that they are not upholding them.

I'd be interested to see just how Fr Ambrose uses these quotes against me, considering that I am not in the World Council of Churches, consider the anathemas against the Latin church still to be in force so long as they continue to teach their non-Orthodox doctrines, and that I continue to believe in all the dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils and hence do not recognize the Orthodoxy of non-Chalcedonians.
 

minasoliman

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Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Jonathan,

Another question.  Have you considered that maybe these Antiochian theologians feel that they are not contradicting those quotes you are giving?  Have you considered that maybe the "iota" you're quoting from is not the "iota" I was thinking?

No, of course not.  Obviously, once again, you make assumptions.  Do you notice how many EO's here in this thread could use these quotes against you (in fact, have implied that you are outside the true faith), one of them being Fr. Ambrose?

But you still don't get it.  You don't delve much deeper into the issue because either you're afraid or you like to remain ignorant.

If you still don't get it, Jonathan, Salpy is right.  There's no point in trying to make you understand.
Whether or not they 'feel' they are upholding the dogmas of the Seven Councils, I am demonstrating as an objective fact that they are not upholding them.

I'd be interested to see just how Fr Ambrose uses these quotes against me, considering that I am not in the World Council of Churches, consider the anathemas against the Latin church still to be in force so long as they continue to teach their non-Orthodox doctrines, and that I continue to believe in all the dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils and hence do not recognize the Orthodoxy of non-Chalcedonians.
Objective?  Hardly!  Objective is trying to understand and address WHY....WHY....again...WHY they believe the way they do, and then make your argument.  Otherwise, you enter into the ranks of trolling.

Fr. Ambrose already explained it to you.  He felt his church does it no differently than St. Mark.
 

Jonathan Gress

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minasoliman said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Jonathan,

Another question.  Have you considered that maybe these Antiochian theologians feel that they are not contradicting those quotes you are giving?  Have you considered that maybe the "iota" you're quoting from is not the "iota" I was thinking?

No, of course not.  Obviously, once again, you make assumptions.  Do you notice how many EO's here in this thread could use these quotes against you (in fact, have implied that you are outside the true faith), one of them being Fr. Ambrose?

But you still don't get it.  You don't delve much deeper into the issue because either you're afraid or you like to remain ignorant.

If you still don't get it, Jonathan, Salpy is right.  There's no point in trying to make you understand.
Whether or not they 'feel' they are upholding the dogmas of the Seven Councils, I am demonstrating as an objective fact that they are not upholding them.

I'd be interested to see just how Fr Ambrose uses these quotes against me, considering that I am not in the World Council of Churches, consider the anathemas against the Latin church still to be in force so long as they continue to teach their non-Orthodox doctrines, and that I continue to believe in all the dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils and hence do not recognize the Orthodoxy of non-Chalcedonians.
Objective?  Hardly!  Objective is trying to understand and address WHY....WHY....again...WHY they believe the way they do, and then make your argument.

Fr. Ambrose already explained it to you.  He felt his church does it no differently than St. Mark.
Well 'why' the Synod of Antioch did what it did is another matter. For that, you can read their statement, and the theological justifications in earlier documents like the statement of the Chambesy conference. But for my purposes I only need to demonstrate that the Synod made the decision it did, since that is all I need to know that they have trampled on the conciliar dogmas.

I don't know how you feel about the Ecumenical Councils, but among the Orthodox the dogmas of the Seven Councils are considered immutable, since they represent the voice of the Holy Spirit.
 

minasoliman

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Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Jonathan,

Another question.  Have you considered that maybe these Antiochian theologians feel that they are not contradicting those quotes you are giving?  Have you considered that maybe the "iota" you're quoting from is not the "iota" I was thinking?

No, of course not.  Obviously, once again, you make assumptions.  Do you notice how many EO's here in this thread could use these quotes against you (in fact, have implied that you are outside the true faith), one of them being Fr. Ambrose?

But you still don't get it.  You don't delve much deeper into the issue because either you're afraid or you like to remain ignorant.

If you still don't get it, Jonathan, Salpy is right.  There's no point in trying to make you understand.
Whether or not they 'feel' they are upholding the dogmas of the Seven Councils, I am demonstrating as an objective fact that they are not upholding them.

I'd be interested to see just how Fr Ambrose uses these quotes against me, considering that I am not in the World Council of Churches, consider the anathemas against the Latin church still to be in force so long as they continue to teach their non-Orthodox doctrines, and that I continue to believe in all the dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils and hence do not recognize the Orthodoxy of non-Chalcedonians.
Objective?  Hardly!  Objective is trying to understand and address WHY....WHY....again...WHY they believe the way they do, and then make your argument.

Fr. Ambrose already explained it to you.  He felt his church does it no differently than St. Mark.
Well 'why' the Synod of Antioch did what it did is another matter. For that, you can read their statement, and the theological justifications in earlier documents like the statement of the Chambesy conference. But for my purposes I only need to demonstrate that the Synod made the decision it did, since that is all I need to know that they have trampled on the conciliar dogmas.

I don't know how you feel about the Ecumenical Councils, but among the Orthodox the dogmas of the Seven Councils are considered immutable, since they represent the voice of the Holy Spirit.
If you don't know how we feel about the Ecumenical Councils, you have no right to lay judgment on what the Synod of Antioch did in the first place.  Hence, you are proving yourself to be willfully ignorant, and thus being a troll.  Since you're ignorant, you SHOULD HAVE extended your "I don't know" to your "why" on the Synod of Antioch, because the mere reading of the statements is not a clear answer to "why."  They feel they haven't trampled on the conciliar dogmas, and they continue to teach and proclaim those same dogmas (in fact, it even says so in those statements that you allegedly read).

Hmmmm......If I say I profess conciliar dogmas and they say they profess conciliar dogmas, then....

Oh gosh...how am I going to prove to them that they're really not?
 

Jonathan Gress

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PeterTheAleut said:
Jonathan Gress said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Jonathan Gress said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Jonathan Gress said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Jonathan Gress said:
John Larocque said:
I came across this interesting bit in Bishop Eucharist Church. They were discussing the significance of Novatianist baptism. I've bolded an interesting sentence.

http://www.oodegr.com/english/biblia/episkopos1/kef2_2.htm

Fortunately, however, there is preserved a contemporary work by an anonymous African Bishop entitled De Rebaptismate, written probably around 256,305 which sets out in detail the arguments against Cyprian's views on baptism. This text expounds not so much the teaching on the Church as that on the sacraments, but it reveals the writer's ecclesiological principles. The writer accepts that there is only one Church outside which the Holy Spirit is not. But he maintains that baptism is performed by Christ at the invocation of His name. Starting from this premise, this writer holds that when the name of the Lord is invoked, even by those who are outside the Catholic Church, in the course of a baptism, the invocation operates in such a way that the baptism which thus takes place is authentic. Exactly what value such a baptism has is not defined by this author. It seems, however, that he too retains many doubts as to its efficacity, since he says that if someone thus baptized outside the Catholic Church dies a schismatic, in other words before he repents and returns to the Catholic Church, his baptism is of no significance for his salvation.306

These views can be taken as those of the Church of Rome and her Bishop Stephen because they come to the conclusion that the rebaptism of those returning to the Catholic Church is not required which is exactly as Stephen of Rome maintained.
Apparently this was the Latin Church view in the Cyprian era. Schismatic baptism is efficacious, but only if you return to the Catholic Church. If you update this by about 1700 years it translates to, "of course, we may recognize your non-Orthodox baptism... if you become Orthodox."
That's an interesting piece of evidence for what SOME Latin bishops taught at the time of Cyprian. Obviously, Cyprian represented another position, a position, moreover, that is actually in accord with the teaching of the universal Church.
But how do you know that it's Bishop St. Cyprian's position that's in accord with the teaching of the universal Church?  At the time of his argument with Pope St. Stephen, Rome was still very much orthodox and claimed as her authority the tradition handed them by the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
This discussion by Met Hierotheos ought to clarify the Church's teaching:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/methierotheos_baptism.aspx
You miss my point, though.  How did our current teaching on baptism and the sacraments become Church teaching, especially considering that it was not universal to the Church of St. Cyprian of Carthage and St. Stephen of Rome?  At that time, it appears that St. Cyprian and a Firmilian of Asia Minor preached an Eastern view of baptism that is now our [Eastern] Church teaching (a teaching later supported by the Apostolic Constitutions and Canons, a 4th century Eastern document we believe to represent the traditions of the Apostles).  Yet St. Stephen taught a different idea that he claimed was passed on to the Church of Rome by the Apostles Peter and Paul themselves.  Which side has faithfully preserved the traditions of the Apostles?  What evidence can you provide to support your argument?
Well if I believed the West had faithfully preserved the right teaching on baptism, with their doctrine of ex opere operato, then I would be a Catholic. As it is, I am Eastern Orthodox. I don't feel it's appropriate to debate the teaching on baptism with other Orthodox, since we should all be agreed on what the Orthodox teaching is. If you don't agree with the Orthodox teaching, then you should change churches.

That being said, here is another patristic witness for the Orthodox doctrine of baptism:

"There are many other heresies, too, which use the names only [of the Trinity], but not in the right sense, as I have said, nor with sound faith, and in consequence the water which they administer is unprofitable, as deficient in piety, so that he who is sprinkled by them is rather polluted by irreligion than redeemed." St Athanasius, Second Discourse against the Arians

St Paul also says there is 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism' in the epistle to the Ephesians. I understand this to mean that faith and the mystery of baptism are inseparable, and that by faith is meant Orthodox faith.
By continuing to argue from Fathers subsequent to the first three centuries of the Church's history, you  show that you still miss my point.  How did St. Cyprian of Carthage and St. Stephen of Rome derive opposite conclusions on baptism from what each claimed was the Tradition of the Apostles?
PtA, I don't know what St Stephen was thinking. I am prepared to believe he genuinely thought it was the apostolic tradition, while St Cyprian recognized it to be a misinterpretation of the custom of granting economy in certain situations. Aren't you Orthodox? Don't you believe in what your Church teaches about the unity between faith and baptism? You can often find errors here or there even in the writings of Saints: St Augustine is of course a textbook example. It doesn't mean you can pick and choose which writings suit your personal theological fancy; you have to accept what the Church as a whole has taught.
You still miss my point.  I'm not voicing any disbelief in the Church's teaching on the unity between the Church and baptism, so please stop trying to play that card.  My question is focused on how our teaching won out within the Orthodox Church from all the competing understandings of St. Cyprian's and St. Stephen's day.  What evidence can you offer to prove that the Orthodox doctrine on baptism is THE definitive teaching of the Apostles and that the Western understanding argued by Pope St. Stephen is not?  How do you know for certain that they're not both apostolic in their origins (even though their contradictory nature seems to indicate that they cannot both be)?  So far, all you've offered us is a statement of what you are "prepared to believe", which appears to be nothing more than conjecture on your part (not to mention that it also strikes me as little more than an attempt to revise history to make it fit our current beliefs).
Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier on this. I confess I don't know that well the history of the teaching that heretical baptism is valid, other than that the words of St Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians prove that the Church at his time believed faith to be inseparable from baptism, which is hardly compatible with the notion that baptism outside the Church can be salvific. It is a matter of considerable interest I admit. That being said, as an Orthodox Christian I believe the doctrine of the Church doesn't change, and therefore the teaching of the Church now is the teaching of the Apostles.
 

Jonathan Gress

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minasoliman said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Jonathan,

Another question.  Have you considered that maybe these Antiochian theologians feel that they are not contradicting those quotes you are giving?  Have you considered that maybe the "iota" you're quoting from is not the "iota" I was thinking?

No, of course not.  Obviously, once again, you make assumptions.  Do you notice how many EO's here in this thread could use these quotes against you (in fact, have implied that you are outside the true faith), one of them being Fr. Ambrose?

But you still don't get it.  You don't delve much deeper into the issue because either you're afraid or you like to remain ignorant.

If you still don't get it, Jonathan, Salpy is right.  There's no point in trying to make you understand.
Whether or not they 'feel' they are upholding the dogmas of the Seven Councils, I am demonstrating as an objective fact that they are not upholding them.

I'd be interested to see just how Fr Ambrose uses these quotes against me, considering that I am not in the World Council of Churches, consider the anathemas against the Latin church still to be in force so long as they continue to teach their non-Orthodox doctrines, and that I continue to believe in all the dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils and hence do not recognize the Orthodoxy of non-Chalcedonians.
Objective?  Hardly!  Objective is trying to understand and address WHY....WHY....again...WHY they believe the way they do, and then make your argument.

Fr. Ambrose already explained it to you.  He felt his church does it no differently than St. Mark.
Well 'why' the Synod of Antioch did what it did is another matter. For that, you can read their statement, and the theological justifications in earlier documents like the statement of the Chambesy conference. But for my purposes I only need to demonstrate that the Synod made the decision it did, since that is all I need to know that they have trampled on the conciliar dogmas.

I don't know how you feel about the Ecumenical Councils, but among the Orthodox the dogmas of the Seven Councils are considered immutable, since they represent the voice of the Holy Spirit.
If you don't know how we feel about the Ecumenical Councils, you have no right to lay judgment on what the Synod of Antioch did in the first place.  Hence, you are proving yourself to be willfully ignorant, and thus being a troll.  Since you're ignorant, you SHOULD HAVE extended your "I don't know" to your "why" on the Synod of Antioch, because the mere reading of the statements is not a clear answer to "why."  They feel they haven't trampled on the conciliar dogmas, and they continue to teach and proclaim those same dogmas (in fact, it even says so in those statements that you allegedly read).

Hmmmm......If I say I profess conciliar dogmas and they say they profess conciliar dogmas, then....

Oh gosh...how am I going to prove to them that they're really not?
I believe Christ has two natures in one hypostasis, as the Council of Chalcedon said. Do you believe this?
 

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Completely sidestepped the focus here, dude.  If you want to know what we believe, read the EO/OO private forum like I told you.  Here's a post that might answer your question.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Oh and the question I want you to answer is: how do you resolve the contradictions in your own church?

To help you answer this question, you might consider the following: Does Patriarch Bartholomew believe that the Orthodox Church is the Body of Christ in and of itself? If so, why does he speak of restoring the unity of the Church, if it was never lost?
I think that he really means the restoration of unity to a divided Christendom.

Why does he say theology does not divide us from the non-Chalcedonians, when they still teach that Christ has one nature, whereas the truth according to the Council of Chalcedon is that He has two natures?
The non-Chalcedonians have made strenuous efforts, in particular in dialogue with the Church of Rome, to show that their Christology is not what Rome and the Orthodox have always thought it was.    It is obviously important to them to demonstrate that their Christology conforms to ours.   Not being a theologian my head starts to spin when I consider these matters (the madness which Saint Gregory warns awaits those who try to delve into the Trinity?)  I await to hear word from my Church (and also from the Holy Mountain.)   

Why has the Ecumenical Patriarch lifted the anathemas against the Pope, when the Pope has not renounced the heresies for which he was anathematized?
The Pope was not anathematized back in 1054.   The Patriarch Michael Cerularius excommunicated merely Cardinal Humbert and the other two Roman legates.  It is a piece of mythology that the Pope was anathematized.  It is an even worse piece of nonsense to pretend to "lift" a non-existent anathema.  I take it as a mere PR exercise and a sign of goodwill, a sign that Rome and Constantinople were hoping to establish better future relationships.
Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier on this. Yes, I think at times the Ecumenical Patriarch may simply mean restoration of unity to divided Christendom, a term that I agree does not necessarily have ecclesiological implications. But at other times he definitely talks of a divided Church, which is, of course, an impossibility given Christ's promise that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church:

"As you know, these unique encounters are more than merely historical; they are sacred, inasmuch as they restore healing to a broken Church and trust to the people of God. Moreover, they enable us to affirm our shared roots and vision for unity, as well as to deliver common declarations on critical issues of our world and our time, such as the statement in Venice signed by our Modesty with Pope John Paul II on environmental ethics (being the first ever by our two Churches on the burning problem of climate change and ecological degradation) and the statement in Istanbul signed by Pope Benedict and ourselves on our solidarity in the effort for peace and mutual understanding."

These words are from his speech to the Roman Catholic Bishops' Conference of Southeastern Europe, held this year in March.

It is interesting to see the lengths to which the non-Chalcedonians go to convince us they believe the same faith as that taught by Chalcedon, without ever, of course, accepting the Christological definition of Chalcedon. As for waiting to hear the voice from the Holy Mountain, they have already spoken:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/ea_mono.aspx

As for the lifting of the anathemas, whether or not we have written evidence of the excommunication itself, it is a fact that the Patriarch ceased to commemorate the Pope after 1054. You may want to consider the words of Metropolitan Philaret of New York (in his protest to Patriarch Athenagoras):

We heard many expressions of perplexity when Your Holiness in the face of the whole world performed something quite new and uncommon to your predecessors as well as inconsistent with the 10th Canon of the Holy Apostles at your meeting with the Pope of Rome, Paul VI, in Jerusalem. We have heard that after that, many monasteries on the Holy Mount of Athos have refused to mention your name at religious services. Let us say frankly, the confusion was great. But now Your Holiness is going even further when, only by your own decision with the bishops of your Synod, you cancel the decision of Patriarch Michael Cerularius accepted by the whole Orthodox East. In that way Your Holiness is acting contrary to the attitude accepted by the whole of our Church in regard to Roman Catholicism. It is not a question of this or that evaluation of the behaviour of Cardinal Humbert. It is not a matter of a personal controversy between the Pope and the Patriarch which could be easily remedied by their mutual Christian forgiveness; no, the essence of the problem is in the deviation from Orthodoxy which took root in the Roman Church during the centuries, beginning with the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope which was definitively formulated at the First Vatican Council. The declaration of Your Holiness and the Pope with good reason recognises your gesture of "mutual pardon" as insufficient to end both old and more recent differences. But more than that, your gesture puts a sign of equality between error and truth. For centuries all the Orthodox Church believed with good reason that it has violated no doctrine of the Holy Ecumenical Councils; whereas the Church of Rome has introduced a number of innovations in its dogmatic teaching. The more such innovations were introduced, the deeper was to become the separation between the East and the West. The doctrinal deviations of Rome in the eleventh century did not yet contain the errors that were added later. Therefore, the cancellation of the mutual excommunication of 1054 could have been of meaning at that time; but now it is only an evidence of indifference in regard to the most important errors, namely new doctrines foreign to the ancient Church, of which some, having been exposed by St. Mark of Ephesus, were the reason why the Church rejected the Union of Florence.
 

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minasoliman said:
Completely sidestepped the focus here, dude.  If you want to know what we believe, read the EO/OO private forum like I told you.  Here's a post that might answer your question.
I don't have permission to read posts on that forum, 'dude'. Do you not know how to answer the question yourself? Yes or no will do.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Completely sidestepped the focus here, dude.  If you want to know what we believe, read the EO/OO private forum like I told you.  Here's a post that might answer your question.
I don't have permission to read posts on that forum, 'dude'. Do you not know how to answer the question yourself? Yes or no will do.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,9368.0.html

If I answer the question here, I'd probably turn it into an EO/OO discussion, which doesn't belong here according to forum rules.  So, no, I am unable to answer the question due to forum restrictions smart guy.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Completely sidestepped the focus here, dude.  If you want to know what we believe, read the EO/OO private forum like I told you.  Here's a post that might answer your question.
I don't have permission to read posts on that forum, 'dude'. Do you not know how to answer the question yourself? Yes or no will do.
Ask Fr. Chris for permission.
 

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It's all right Fr George. I already have the answer I wanted.

The point I'm trying to make here is this: you, a non-Chalcedonian, obviously have your beliefs about Christ, and I have my beliefs. My beliefs follow the dogma of Chalcedon, which I consider to be an Ecumenical Council and to express the voice of the whole Church, the voice of the Holy Spirit in other words. It's clear you do not accept it as the voice of the Holy Spirit, and I respect your decision. Faith is an act of free will. However, what I cannot accept is the argument that you and I have the same faith, when you can't even answer a simple question like I just gave you. Since we manifestly do not have the same faith, the decision of the Synod of Antioch cannot possibly be correct insofar as it is based on the assumption of shared faith.

Below is an extract from the definition of faith of the Council of Chalcedon:

Following the holy Fathers we teach with one voice that the Son [of God] and our Lord Jesus Christ is to be confessed as one and the same [Person], that he is perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood, very God and very man, of a reasonable soul and [human] body consisting, consubstantial with the Father as touching his Godhead, and consubstantial with us as touching his manhood; made in all things like unto us, sin only excepted; begotten of his Father before the worlds according to his Godhead; but in these last days for us men and for our salvation born [into the world] of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God according to his manhood.  This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures, unconfusedly, immutably, indivisibly, inseparably [united], and that without the distinction of natures being taken away by such union, but rather the peculiar property of each nature being preserved and being united in one Person and subsistence, not separated or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son and only-begotten, God the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Prophets of old time have spoken concerning him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ hath taught us, and as the Creed of the Fathers hath delivered to us.

These things, therefore, having been expressed by us with the greatest accuracy and attention, the holy Ecumenical Synod defines that no one shall be suffered to bring forward a different faith (ἑτέραν πίστιν), nor to write, nor to put together, nor to excogitate, nor to teach it to others.  But such as dare either to put together another faith, or to bring forward or to teach or to deliver a different Creed (ἕτερον σύμβολον) to as wish to be converted to the knowledge of the truth, from the Gentiles, or Jews or any heresy whatever, if they be Bishops or clerics let them be deposed, the Bishops from the Episcopate, and the clerics from the clergy; but if they be monks or laics:  let them be anathematized.
 

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ozgeorge said:
When Our Lord Jesus Christ told us to become fishers of men, I don't think that He meant that we should bait each other.
I apologize for the frustration I've obviously shown.
 

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simplygermain said:
Salpy said:
simplygermain said:
I know quite a bit of Eo converts on the west coast that view the councils as (although they are tied to them through their particular churches) historical points of reference which even some of the Ec. Councils were predominantly Councils of value to the west and Byzantium...These friends I speak of would also, I'm sure, back me up in saying that the Saints of the church who Anathematized this or that, were still just men. Granted they lived saintly lives but that does not mean that the proclamations made at these Councils were some how Infallible.
Forgive me for over-generalizing.   :)

I do think, however, that the EO's view the concept of an Ecumenical Council and what it is in the life of the Church a little differently than the OO's view it.  I think that may why the OO's tend to be a little more positive toward the idea of ecumenical dialogue.  The difference in how we view ecumenical councils was touched on in a thread in the OO section, but I can't recall where it is.
Salpy - would you give a brief explanation?
This is taken from a post by Fr. Peter in another thread:


"I think the whole issue of ecumenicity is different in the OO, and indeed that the EO view is one which developed later during the controversial period as a response to criticisms.

It does not seem to me that the OO tend to say simply 'accept only three councils', in the way that many EO just state 'accept the seven or eight or nine councils'. This is because it seems to me that the OO Fathers have been more concerned to deal with the substance of faith rather than using the councils as either a polemical tool, without reference to their substance. Chalcedon is rejected because it is not considered Orthodox, the issue of ecumenicity is not the main one. Indeed all Imperial councils were called as being ecumenical, this did not mean what it has later come to mean within EOxy.

...

I do consider Ephesus II important within the OO tradition, but ecumenicity is not understood in the same way. Indeed I believe that it is in modern times that the EO has come to consider the councils an infallible authority over and above the Church, in the same way that the Roman Catholic Church have defined the Pope as the infallible authority over and above the Church, and Protestants have defined the Bible as the infallible authority over and above the Church. I believe that OOxy preserves the teaching that it is the Holy Spirit alone who is over and above the Church and who is the only infallible foundation of the life of the Church.

This allows OOxy to recognise both the human and divine aspect in all conciliar activity, while EOxy seems to me to be truly monophysite or docetic in its view of some councils by eliminating the human aspect and making the council little different to the means by which the Koran was apparently produced. I do not say this polemically, but because it does seem to me that this is the case.

...

Within OOxy I believe that councils are accepted as authoritative in so far as they expound the truth, in so far as they are Orthodox, and that which is not Orthodox is passed over and that which is Orthodox is simply a re-iteration of that which has always been true. It is quite possible for me to find some things to criticise in the Acts of the Second Council while also considering it essentially Orthodox and authoritative. It is even possible for me to find those things with which I agree in Chalcedon and pass over the rest, or understand it within a context. This is because the Holy Spirit does not overwhelm human activity but works through human agency.

Yet it seems to me, from over 15 years discussion with many EO, that it is much harder for the EO to be reflective in regard to the councils since they must either be entirely true (though no-one can tell me authoritatively what that includes) or are false. This seems to me to be a wrong attitude towards the councils, indeed any conciliar activity and stands in the way of unity and agreement. It is even necessary to show that if Chalcedon must be accepted entirely as a divine work in all of its statements, and if to reject any part of it is to fail to be Orthodox (and many EO have said this to me) then Pope Leo is not Orthodox because he always rejected Canon 28 of Chalcedon.

This does not seem to me to be absolutely problematic in an OO context, since the OO Fathers, it seems to me, would want to ask what a person did believe about the issue in view, not what they thought about something that a council had said. It was not so important to St Cyril, that John of Antioch accept that Ephesus I was 'ecumenical', it was more important that he thought in an acceptably Orthodox manner about the issue that Ephesus I tried to deal with. This seems to me to be different to the modern EO view which I have often met with, which says 'accept the seven councils' even while the person insisting on this does not actually have a clue what the seven councils stand for.

...

it seems to me that the OO would see that the Holy Spirit can work in such situations, but it does not seem to me that such events should be set up as infallible and above the Church. What does infallible mean? Surely we should be asking only how far the councils represented that which is true, that is all that matters. If the label of infallible is added in modern times simply to mean that no questions can be asked, then it seems that there is something wrong and that there is a difference in view between the EO and OO..."

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,21726.msg330316.html#msg330316



See also reply 13 here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,15195.msg336034.html#msg336034


"I think that the case of Constantinople 381 allows us to see that ecumenical first had the meaning of a universal gathering of bishops from across the Empire to deal with a matter of concern to the whole Church and Empire. That it then came to mean a council which had a lasting authority throughout the Empire, and then finally to the concept that it was infallible in every word and aspect and must be received as a divine fiat.

...

in my opinion the OO preserve the middle concept in which a council has authority because it is true and because it represents the mind of the universal Church. I don't see that the OO have developed the later concept in regard to councils, though this does not mean that those councils which are considered authoritative are not greatly respected, especially Nicaea and Ephesus I, and then at some time between the 4th and 6th centuries also Constantinople 381. (I don't know when we started using the Nicene-Constantinopolitan version of the creed). But they are understood as events within the life of the Church and as manifestations of the conciliar activity in the Church seen in a continuum from the humblest local synod of a minor bishop, through metropolitan synods, up to universal councils of bishops from the whole empire. It is the same Holy Spirit at work, and the same humanity which sometimes obscures and confuses the work of the Spirit. Yet when there is that which is seen to be true then it is recognised by the Church and has the authority of the truth, no further authority is needed."
 

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Myaphysitism and Dyophysitism are Identical?

As my old Irish brain understands it.

1. We the Dyophysites (Orthodox and Roman Catholic)  believe that Christ has two natures, human and divine.

2. The classical Monophysite position was the Christ had one divine nature.

3. The Myaphysite position is that Christ is human and divine in one nature.

Now, may I ask a question which could cause conniptions in some of our forum members.

During the time of Pope John Paul II the dialogue with the Myaphysite Churches succeeded in demonstrating to Rome that their Christology was identical.  In other words (and this seems a bit of a paradox!)  Myaphysitism and Dyophysitism are one and the same.

Could someone from the Myaphysite Churches guide us through all this -- how was this decision reached theologically with Rome and how has it been expressed/formulated.

And the all important question from the Eastern Orthodox viewpoint:  Is this agreement as to Christology between Rome and the Myaphysites acceptable/convincing for the EO?  Are there any Orthodox responses?

 

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Irish Hermit said:
Could someone from the Myaphysite Churches guide us through all this -- how was this decision reached theologically with Rome and how has it been expressed/formulated.
I have absolutely no idea how that all came about.  I really don't know the history.  I think the agreements are online somewhere, but I can't recall where.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Myaphysitism and Dyophysitism are Identical?

As my old Irish brain understands it.

1. We the Dyophysites (Orthodox and Roman Catholic)  believe that Christ has two natures, human and divine.

2. The classical Monophysite position was the Christ had one divine nature.

3. The Myaphysite position is that Christ is human and divine in one nature.

Now, may I ask a question which could cause conniptions in some of our forum members.

During the time of Pope John Paul II the dialogue with the Myaphysite Churches succeeded in demonstrating to Rome that their Christology was identical.  In other words (and this seems a bit of a paradox!)  Myaphysitism and Dyophysitism are one and the same.

Could someone from the Myaphysite Churches guide us through all this -- how was this decision reached theologically with Rome and how has it been expressed/formulated.

And the all important question from the Eastern Orthodox viewpoint:  Is this agreement as to Christology between Rome and the Myaphysites acceptable/convincing for the EO?  Are there any Orthodox responses?
I've only read the first dialogue that occurred between the Catholics and the OO on Christology.  Basically, they used the OO/EO unofficial agreements as a source of discussion to guide them through an agreement.  From what I understand, the agreement never reached the extent of defining the acceptance of councils with EO/OO dialogues, since the Roman Catholic interpretation of Chalcedon is quite different and requires Petrine Primacy to be mingled in with the beliefs.  Nevertheless, despite these differences, in the end an agreement at least on Christology has been made.

Recently however, the Coptic Church is questioning that agreement due to Catholic/Assyrian agreement on Christology, and so while they haven't officially revoked it, they are working with Catholics to go back to square one on Christology and understand why they made that decision.

The expression of the Catholic/Coptic agreement is actually taken with cross reference to the Coptic Great Confession before the Eucharist, and it goes like this:

We believe that our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Incarnate-Logos is perfect in His Divinity and perfect in His Humanity. He made His Humanity One with His Divinity without Mixture, nor Mingling, nor Confusion. His Divinity was not separated from His humanity even for a moment or twinkling of an eye.

At the same time, we anathematize the Doctrines of both Nestorius and Eutyches.
That is the only agreement there is between Catholic and Coptic churches, and now the integrity of this agreement is being questioned.

There are other separate similar agreements made by other OO churches, particularly Malankara, Syrian, and Armenian, I believe.  There wasn't really a joint OO/Catholic agreement because other matters were dealt like intermarriage and sacramental unity, where we would not accept.

God bless.
 

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minasoliman said:
Recently however, the Coptic Church is questioning that agreement due to Catholic/Assyrian agreement on Christology, and so while they haven't officially revoked it, they are working with Catholics to go back to square one on Christology and understand why they made that decision.
The appropriate Roman Catholic Christology is that Peter is the Rock of the Church, and his throne is in Rome and he is the vicar of Christ.  Peter = Pope = Christ.  Roman Catholic Christology in a nutshell.  Next!
 

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Here's what the Ecumenical Patriarch said a while back (I believe almost a decade back this audio), who expressed optimism in theological understanding between the two, but also believed interestingly enough that we should accept the seven councils, but that also the anathemas must be mutually lifted:

http://www.zeitun-eg.net/members_contrib/EcumenicalPatriarchBartholomewIOnE-OUnion.mp3

I think though that the acceptance of councils and the lifting of anathemas seem to contradict.  If he's saying to accept the dogmas behind them without regard of all the canons and all those minutes and condemnations made against our Church, then in my opinion, they have always been accepted.
 

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Alveus Lacuna said:
minasoliman said:
Recently however, the Coptic Church is questioning that agreement due to Catholic/Assyrian agreement on Christology, and so while they haven't officially revoked it, they are working with Catholics to go back to square one on Christology and understand why they made that decision.
The appropriate Roman Catholic Christology is that Peter is the Rock of the Church, and his throne is in Rome and he is the vicar of Christ.  Peter = Pope = Christ.  Roman Catholic Christology in a nutshell.  Next!
Do you intend for anyone to take you seriously? ???
 

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minasoliman said:
Here's what the Ecumenical Patriarch said a while back (I believe almost a decade back this audio), who expressed optimism in theological understanding between the two, but also believed interestingly enough that we should accept the seven councils, but that also the anathemas must be mutually lifted:

http://www.zeitun-eg.net/members_contrib/EcumenicalPatriarchBartholomewIOnE-OUnion.mp3

I think though that the acceptance of councils and the lifting of anathemas seem to contradict.  If he's saying to accept the dogmas behind them without regard of all the canons and all those minutes and condemnations made against our Church, then in my opinion, they have always been accepted.
How so? Setting aside the issue of the individual anathemas (not because I agree or disagree with the Patriarch but simply because I don't feel qualified to make a comment at this point) what do you mean by 'always been accepted'?

I'm thinking in particular of the Tome of Leo which EO's considers an Orthodox text but which I thought I had seen some OO's still considered a heretical or at least highly questionable text. Wouldn't 'formal acceptance' mean a synodical statement (by each OO church) that they agree that the Tome can be and is to be read and understood in an Orthodox manner? (something like the agreement between St. Cyril and John of Antioch about how the decisions of Ephesus were to be understood)
 

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witega said:
I'm thinking in particular of the Tome of Leo which EO's considers an Orthodox text but which I thought I had seen some OO's still considered a heretical
Yes, this is very true of the theologian Fr Paul Verghese (Metropolitan Paulos Gregorios.)  He considers "the Sixth Council which appears to us badly muddled, not to say in grievous error"  Regarding the dogmatic definition of the 6th Council, he states:

Here, as earlier in the decree, the Tome of Leo is expressly affirmed. The decree actually calls the Tome "the pillar of the right faith." You can perhaps understand that all this is rather difficult for us to accept. For us Leo is still a heretic. It may be possible for us to refrain from condemning him by name, in the interests of restoring communion between us. But we cannot in good conscience accept the Tome of Leo as "the pillar of the right faith" or accept a council which made such a declaration. The council approves explicitly what I clearly regard as heresy in the Tome of Leo: "Each form does in communion with the other what pertains properly to it, the Word, namely doing that which pertains to the Word, and the flesh that which pertains to the flesh." If one rightly understands the hypostatic union, it is not possible to say that the flesh does something on its own, even if it is said to be in union with the Word. The flesh does not have its own hypostasis. It is the hypostasis of the Word which acts through the flesh. It is the same hypostasis of the Word which does the actions of the Word and of his own flesh. The argument of the horos [dogmatic definition] in this Sixth Council is basically unacceptable to us (Does Chalcedon Divide or Unite?)

We are unable to say what this council says when it affirms "two wills and two operations concurring most fitly in him"....

To summarize: Acceptance of the Sixth Council is much more difficult for us than the acceptance of Chalcedon. The following are the chief reasons:...

b) We are unable to accept the dithelete formula, attributing will and energy to the natures rather than to the hypostasis. We can only affirm the one united and unconfused divine-human nature, will and energy of Christ the incarnate Lord.

c) We find that this Sixth Council exalts as its standard mainly the teaching of Leo and Agatho, popes of Rome, paying only lip-service to the teachings of the Blessed Cyril. We regard Leo as a heretic for his teaching that the will and operation of Christ is to be attributed to the two natures of Christ rather than to the one hypostasis. The human nature is as "natural" to Christ the incarnate Word as is the divine. It is one hypostasis who now is both divine and human, and all the activities come from the one hypostasis (Review, pp. 140-141; Does Chalcedon Divide or Unite?)

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/mono_share.aspx


 

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witega said:
minasoliman said:
Here's what the Ecumenical Patriarch said a while back (I believe almost a decade back this audio), who expressed optimism in theological understanding between the two, but also believed interestingly enough that we should accept the seven councils, but that also the anathemas must be mutually lifted:

http://www.zeitun-eg.net/members_contrib/EcumenicalPatriarchBartholomewIOnE-OUnion.mp3

I think though that the acceptance of councils and the lifting of anathemas seem to contradict.  If he's saying to accept the dogmas behind them without regard of all the canons and all those minutes and condemnations made against our Church, then in my opinion, they have always been accepted.
How so? Setting aside the issue of the individual anathemas (not because I agree or disagree with the Patriarch but simply because I don't feel qualified to make a comment at this point) what do you mean by 'always been accepted'?

I'm thinking in particular of the Tome of Leo which EO's considers an Orthodox text but which I thought I had seen some OO's still considered a heretical or at least highly questionable text. Wouldn't 'formal acceptance' mean a synodical statement (by each OO church) that they agree that the Tome can be and is to be read and understood in an Orthodox manner? (something like the agreement between St. Cyril and John of Antioch about how the decisions of Ephesus were to be understood)
Well, I don't want to get too much detail, but the summary of all the dialogues we had, official and unofficial can be read here:

http://www.coptic.net/articles/OrthodoxUnityDialog.txt

Consider this part made in the 1970 agreement:

As for the   Councils and their  authority for   the tradition, we  all  agree
that the  Councils should be seen as  charismatic  events in  the life of  the
Church  rather  than as an authority over  the Church; where some Councils are
acknowledged  as true Councils,  whether as  ecumenical or  as  local,  by the
Church's tradition,  their authority is  to  be seen as coming from   the Holy
Spirit. Distinction is to be  made  not only between the doctrinal definitions
and canonical legislations of  a Council, but also  between the true intention
of the dogmatic  definition of a  Council and  the  particular terminology  in
which it is expressed,  which latter has less  authority than  the  intention.
Assuming the EP agrees with this, if he asks us to merely accept the intentions of the councils, then by all means, there's no need to even ask.  If the intentions have always agreed with our faith, as is the case, then we always accepted.  But if it's more than that, then it border-line contradicts the parts where we are to lift anathemas against one another, notably Leo, Dioscorus, and Severus among others:

The  reuniting  of  the  two  traditions  which  have their  own  separate
continuity poses certain problems  in relation to  certain revered teachers of
one  family being condemned   or anathematized  by the other.   It may  not be
necessary formally to  lift these  anathemas,   nor for these  teachers to  be
recognised as Saints by the condemning side.  But the restoration of Communion
obviously implies, among other  things, that formal anathemas and condemnation
of revered teachers of the other side should be discontinued as in the case of
Leo, Dioscurus, Severus, and others.
And very clearly in 1990:

A.  The Orthodox  should  lift all  anathemas  and condemnations  against  all
Oriental Orthodox councils and  fathers    whom  they have  anathematised   or
condemned in the past.

B. The  Oriental Orthodox  should at  the  same time  lift all   anathemas and
condemnations against  all  Orthodox  councils and   fathers  whom  they  have
anathematised or condemned in the past.
So honestly, this means our church has to let's lift anathemas from the four councils, from Leo, from his Tome, based on the intention of Orthodoxy.  Likewise, you would probably lift anathemas from Dioscorus, Severus, probably even Ephesus 449 and 475, from their writings, etc.  So it's important to understand that this is not one church joining another, but a mutual recognition of one another's share in the Orthodox faith, at least that's how these dialogues are showing it.  That's what it means to say "always been accepted."

I know I got suckered in to answer this question in a lengthy manner, but I really really really really hope no one takes this as a debate.  This is simply an answer to a question, not an opinion to spark a fight.
 

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Fr. Ambrose,

I think you opened a can of worms.  I think after that post, I have a feeling everything written will be separated from this discussion and put into the private forum.
 

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minasoliman said:
Fr. Ambrose,

I think you opened a can of worms.  I think after that post, I have a feeling everything written will be separated from this discussion and put into the private forum.
Soprry, I did not mean to do that.  I am really interested in the questions I asked in Message 183, and I appreciated your answers in Message 185.  It is clear that I was thinking a bit naively that the christological matter had been settled with the Roman Catholic Church.  It has become more complicated than I was aware.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
ialmisry said:
I just got a copy of St. Cyril's "On the Unity of Christ."  We of course believe it (us world Orthodox that is).  The Copts believe it.  Care to explain the difference, Mr. Gress?
Do you wish to discuss Chalcedon, or do you wish to discuss how Chalcedon should shape our understanding of ecumenism?  This is a significant distinction.
Me?  Neither.

Mr. Gress is rather intent on lumpiing the OO with the heretics by revisiting Chalcedon and sloganeering rather than what has happened since then, i.e. the EO discovery that the Miaphysites are not Eutychians.

Yes, the OO"s have a different view on Chalcedon from the EO, which is a problem.  But then so too  does the Vatican which accepts the Council and the Protestants who accept it without knowing.  And yet I would say with share the same Faith with the former, but not with the latter. It seems to me that Mr. Gress would llump myself and other EO's with all of the above, along with New Calendarists and those on the Old Calendar still in communion with them, although no Ecumenical Council has condemned us (with the plausible exception of my defense of the Miaphysites).

Since he insists that there is a difference between us World EOs and the Miaphysites, I just chose "On the Unity of Christ" as a litmus test: written just over a decade before the Fourth Ecumenical Council, and shortly after the Third by its protagonist, both EO ("World Orthodox" and otherwise).  Both Miaphysites and EO claim the work, and St. Cyril (and did so at Chalcedon).  Can they both claim him and this work?  I would say yes, I presume Mr. Gress would say no, and so I ask him to explain why the Copts, for instance, cannot claim St. Cyril on the basis of this pre-Chalcedon work
http://books.google.com/books?id=x0Lnu_cm-GAC&pg=PA1&dq=on+the+unity+of+christ+cyril&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false
, as a concrete example.

Btw, for "contrast":
Coptic Christology in practice: incarnation and divine participation in late Antique and Medieval Egypt, By Stephen J. Davis
http://books.google.com/books?id=R9mIHbO_NeIC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=chalcedon&f=false
Cyril of Alexandria By Saint Cyril (Patriarch of Alexandria), Norman Russell
http://books.google.com/books?id=PNGrjSsDh1AC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=&f=false
The appropriation of divine life in Cyril of Alexandria By Daniel A. Keating
http://books.google.com/books?id=-Kp7lJOGANwC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=&f=false
St. Cyril of Alexandria: the Christological controversy : its history, theology and texts, By John Anthony McGuckin
http://books.google.com/books?id=QxhR9ihUAWkC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q=&f=false
Cyril of Alexandria and the Nestorian controversy: the making of a saint and a heretic By Susan Wessel
http://books.google.com/books?id=HWpne39PRHAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=on+the+unity+of+christ+cyril&source=gbs_similarbooks_s&cad=1#v=onepage&q=on%20the%20unity%20of%20christ%20cyril&f=false
 

ialmisry

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Irish Hermit said:
witega said:
I'm thinking in particular of the Tome of Leo which EO's considers an Orthodox text but which I thought I had seen some OO's still considered a heretical
Yes, this is very true of the theologian Fr Paul Verghese (Metropolitan Paulos Gregorios.)  He considers "the Sixth Council which appears to us badly muddled, not to say in grievous error"  Regarding the dogmatic definition of the 6th Council, he states:

Here, as earlier in the decree, the Tome of Leo is expressly affirmed. The decree actually calls the Tome "the pillar of the right faith." You can perhaps understand that all this is rather difficult for us to accept. For us Leo is still a heretic. It may be possible for us to refrain from condemning him by name, in the interests of restoring communion between us. But we cannot in good conscience accept the Tome of Leo as "the pillar of the right faith" or accept a council which made such a declaration. The council approves explicitly what I clearly regard as heresy in the Tome of Leo: "Each form does in communion with the other what pertains properly to it, the Word, namely doing that which pertains to the Word, and the flesh that which pertains to the flesh." If one rightly understands the hypostatic union, it is not possible to say that the flesh does something on its own, even if it is said to be in union with the Word. The flesh does not have its own hypostasis. It is the hypostasis of the Word which acts through the flesh. It is the same hypostasis of the Word which does the actions of the Word and of his own flesh. The argument of the horos [dogmatic definition] in this Sixth Council is basically unacceptable to us (Does Chalcedon Divide or Unite?)

We are unable to say what this council says when it affirms "two wills and two operations concurring most fitly in him"....

To summarize: Acceptance of the Sixth Council is much more difficult for us than the acceptance of Chalcedon. The following are the chief reasons:...

b) We are unable to accept the dithelete formula, attributing will and energy to the natures rather than to the hypostasis. We can only affirm the one united and unconfused divine-human nature, will and energy of Christ the incarnate Lord.

c) We find that this Sixth Council exalts as its standard mainly the teaching of Leo and Agatho, popes of Rome, paying only lip-service to the teachings of the Blessed Cyril. We regard Leo as a heretic for his teaching that the will and operation of Christ is to be attributed to the two natures of Christ rather than to the one hypostasis. The human nature is as "natural" to Christ the incarnate Word as is the divine. It is one hypostasis who now is both divine and human, and all the activities come from the one hypostasis (Review, pp. 140-141; Does Chalcedon Divide or Unite?)

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/mono_share.aspx
We had a lengthy inter-EO discussion on this in the private forums: " Jesus Christ the God-Man, A Divine Person, Also a Human Person?"  It would seem that this isn't an issue that divides EO from OO (but EO from EO, and OO from OO?).
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Jonathan Gress said:
minasoliman said:
Jonathan,

Another question.  Have you considered that maybe these Antiochian theologians feel that they are not contradicting those quotes you are giving?  Have you considered that maybe the "iota" you're quoting from is not the "iota" I was thinking?

No, of course not.  Obviously, once again, you make assumptions.  Do you notice how many EO's here in this thread could use these quotes against you (in fact, have implied that you are outside the true faith), one of them being Fr. Ambrose?

But you still don't get it.  You don't delve much deeper into the issue because either you're afraid or you like to remain ignorant.

If you still don't get it, Jonathan, Salpy is right.  There's no point in trying to make you understand.
Whether or not they 'feel' they are upholding the dogmas of the Seven Councils, I am demonstrating as an objective fact that they are not upholding them.

I'd be interested to see just how Fr Ambrose uses these quotes against me, considering that I am not in the World Council of Churches, consider the anathemas against the Latin church still to be in force so long as they continue to teach their non-Orthodox doctrines, and that I continue to believe in all the dogmas of the Ecumenical Councils and hence do not recognize the Orthodoxy of non-Chalcedonians.
Objective?  Hardly!  Objective is trying to understand and address WHY....WHY....again...WHY they believe the way they do, and then make your argument.

Fr. Ambrose already explained it to you.  He felt his church does it no differently than St. Mark.
Well 'why' the Synod of Antioch did what it did is another matter. For that, you can read their statement, and the theological justifications in earlier documents like the statement of the Chambesy conference. But for my purposes I only need to demonstrate that the Synod made the decision it did, since that is all I need to know that they have trampled on the conciliar dogmas.
Is it dogma of the Sixth Council that the Fourth Council anathematized Pope Dioscoros as a heretic?  Because the Fourth Council did no such thing.



I don't know how you feel about the Ecumenical Councils, but among the Orthodox the dogmas of the Seven Councils are considered immutable, since they represent the voice of the Holy Spirit.
By which Council do you anathematize the Miaphysites, as they are NOT Eutychians?
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
It's all right Fr George. I already have the answer I wanted.

The point I'm trying to make here is this: you, a non-Chalcedonian, obviously have your beliefs about Christ, and I have my beliefs. My beliefs follow the dogma of Chalcedon, which I consider to be an Ecumenical Council and to express the voice of the whole Church, the voice of the Holy Spirit in other words. It's clear you do not accept it as the voice of the Holy Spirit, and I respect your decision. Faith is an act of free will. However, what I cannot accept is the argument that you and I have the same faith, when you can't even answer a simple question like I just gave you. Since we manifestly do not have the same faith, the decision of the Synod of Antioch cannot possibly be correct insofar as it is based on the assumption of shared faith.
Then it should be an equally simple question to ask: do the Miaphysites share the same Faith of Pope St. Cyril?

 

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I'm sorry the way this has turned into an EO/OO discussion. I am not interested in proving to the OO that they are heretics. I am not even interested in going to special lengths to prove to EO that they do not share the same faith as the OO, because I take it to be self-evident that the EO and the OO do not share the same faith by the simple fact that the EO consider the Chalcedonian dogma to be Orthodox, but the OO do not. As IH noted, this also means the OO do not accept the Orthodox teaching that Christ has two wills corresponding to His two natures. I am interested only in proving to conservative New Calendarist Orthodox, who believe in traditional Orthodox teaching but deny that their hierarchs have fallen into ecumenism, that in fact they are mistaken and that their hierarchs _have_ fallen into ecumenism. One example of their hierarchs' fall is the decision of the Synod of Antioch to recognize the mysteries of the non-Chalcedonians.

If you take it as self-evident that the EO and the OO have different doctrines, as I do, then of course any evidence that EO hierarchs deny this difference is evidence of ecumenism. If you try to claim that the EO hierarchs did nothing wrong, because in fact we do share the same faith as the OO, that only tells me that you have succumbed to ecumenism yourself.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
I'm sorry the way this has turned into an EO/OO discussion. I am not interested in proving to the OO that they are heretics. I am not even interested in going to special lengths to prove to EO that they do not share the same faith as the OO, because I take it to be self-evident that the EO and the OO do not share the same faith by the simple fact that the EO consider the Chalcedonian dogma to be Orthodox, but the OO do not. As IH noted, this also means the OO do not accept the Orthodox teaching that Christ has two wills corresponding to His two natures. I am interested only in proving to conservative New Calendarist Orthodox, who believe in traditional Orthodox teaching but deny that their hierarchs have fallen into ecumenism, that in fact they are mistaken and that their hierarchs _have_ fallen into ecumenism. One example of their hierarchs' fall is the decision of the Synod of Antioch to recognize the mysteries of the non-Chalcedonians.

If you take it as self-evident that the EO and the OO have different doctrines, as I do, then of course any evidence that EO hierarchs deny this difference is evidence of ecumenism. If you try to claim that the EO hierarchs did nothing wrong, because in fact we do share the same faith as the OO, that only tells me that you have succumbed to ecumenism yourself.
You have side stepped the question again.  The question was simple: do the present day Copts share the same Faith with Pope St. Cyril of Alexandria?
 
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