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eastern orthodox (eg greece, georgia) and oriental orthodox (ethiopia, syrians)

giorgi

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Hi everyone Im a new member, my name is Giorgi, I'm 19 years old and of Georgian Orthodox faith.  Growing up I have always been notified of nations which share my faith such as Greece, Russia, Serbia etc. but when I found out many Ethiopians, Syrians, Egyptians etc. (non-european countries) were also orthodox i started wondering why I never heard about them.  Later I discoverd that we kind of split over an ecumenical council which was about Jesus being fully god and fully man (their belief) and we believe that god and man are seperate but coexist together.  Now here is my issue, I don't understand why we split over this kind of arguement, as far as I'm concerned it is important we learn from jesus, thrive to be like him, conduct our prayers the proper way and do not let other elements which aren't part of gods teaching interfere with our religion.  Now I learned they share all this with us.  naturally when two churches split it means little to no communication, over time, this of course gives way differences in culture and it becomes harder to relate to one another.  To me its like this, if two brothers stop talking over one difference, after 10 years they'll have hundreds of differences, now in this world where there is so many problems and schisms, why are we not uniting with our brothers before we are too different from them to do so.  Having orthodox christians in these countries is such a blessing, it can broaden our faith and unity to different cultures. 

Anyway what do you guys think, should we unite and if so how can we come to a comprimise? after all the orientals arent some sect, they've been there all along and maybe im wrong but to me this ecumenical council doesn't make much difference.
 

dhinuus

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Giorgi,
As you said there are two types of Orthodox churches
1. Byzantine or Eastern (Chalcedonean Orthodox)
2. Oriental (Non - Chalcedonean Orthodox)

You may also find it interesting that your own church, the Georgian Orthodox Church was initially following the Oriental (Non Chalcedonean) Orthodox faith before accepting the Byzantine faith. Your next door neighbours, Armenians follow the Oriental (Non Chalcedonian) faith, so I am surprised that you have never heard of it so far.

Now about the question of unity. We all would like to unite. But so far there is no acceptable formula for unification.

The good news is there is some limited level of communion already in place with in the Byzantine and Oriental Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch. God willing, we will be united universally.

As a lay man, with no deeper theological training, all I can do right now is to pray for unity.

Mathew G M
 

Salpy

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Welcome to the forum, Giorgi!

Whatever our differences were fifteen hundred years ago, most theologians who have studied the issue say we share the same faith today.  For that reason, I believe we should find some way to be one Church.

The issues are complicated and somewhat sticky.  :)  Other discussions on this matter have often ended up in arguments, so much so that we have a private forum where people can argue over the council that divided us (Chalcedon.)

I think, however, that unity between us is a worthy cause and it is something that I pray for.
 

Ortho_cat

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I consider them as all members of the true faith with apparent misunderstandings between them.
 

Salpy

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An off-topic post about Catholics was moved here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,31882.msg502070/boardseen.html#new
 

deusveritasest

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We cannot yet unite because we haven't yet come to an agreement on whether the Confession of Chalcedon was indeed orthodox or not.
 

Hiywot

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As a matter of fact, together with her sister Oriental Orthodox Churches, the EOTC does not accept the definition fidei of the council of Chalcedon. In his logical and theologically sound comment on the definition of the council of Chalcedon, the Ethiopian scholar Jembere asserts that most of the points in the definition are biblically justified, and they agree with the teachings of our fathers as the definition claims. The definition of faith (dogmatic formula) of the council of Chalcedon begins with, "Following, then, the Holy Fathers, we all with one voice teach...." The statement in the definition with which the Oriental orthodox Churches do not agree is: "One and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, made known in two natures [which exist] without confusion, without changes, without division, without separation." But the phrase "in two natures" cannot be found in any writings of the fathers prior to Chalcedon, so that it is not acceptable to the EOTC. Obviously the "in two natures" is not accepted by the other Oriental Orthodox Churches as well. However, the definition of the council of Chalcedon may be accepted by the Oriental Orthodox Churches with "a textual variant" made on the phrase "in two natures". Except the phrase and the interpretations it bears, the rest statements of the definition are agreeable to the Oriental Orthodox Churches.


From: “Influence of Cyrillian Christology in the Ethiopian Orthodox Anaphora” By Abba Hailemariam Melese Ayenew. uir.unisa.ac.za/bitstream/10500/3363/1/thesis_ayanew_a.pdf
 

deusveritasest

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Actually, Hiywot, neither can this part of the Chalcedonian confession be accepted:

"And, for the confirmation of the orthodox doctrines, it has rightly added to these the letter of the President of the great and old Rome, the most blessed and holy Archbishop Leo, which was addressed to Archbishop Flavian of blessed memory, for the removal of the false doctrines of Eutyches, judging them to be agreeable to the confession of the great Peter, and as it were a common pillar against misbelievers."
 

Hiywot

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Yes. That is right. I do understand how significant the statement you quoted is. But once there is agreement on the basic doctrinal statement through the suggested “textual variant”, do you think that Orthodox Fathers will find it difficult to modify the statement you quoted and hence lift the anathemas? Or, is it this statement which could remain a stern stumbling block for lifting anathemas even after doctrinal agreement?

Hiywot
 

deusveritasest

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Hiywot said:
Yes. That is right. I do understand how significant the statement you quoted is. But once there is agreement on the basic doctrinal statement through the suggested “textual variant”, do you think that Orthodox Fathers will find it difficult to modify the statement you quoted and hence lift the anathemas? Or, is it this statement which could remain a stern stumbling block for lifting anathemas even after doctrinal agreement?

Hiywot
Why does there need to be use of the Chalcedonian confession in the first place?
 

Hiywot

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Well, I thought amending the confession would be an easier way for the Chalcedonians to accept than asking them to cancel the whole confession. But I may be wrong since I don’t know what their feeling is on this.
 

Shanghaiski

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Hiywot said:
Well, I thought amending the confession would be an easier way for the Chalcedonians to accept than asking them to cancel the whole confession. But I may be wrong since I don’t know what their feeling is on this.
Probably "over our dead bodies."
 

deusveritasest

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Hiywot said:
Well, I thought amending the confession would be an easier way for the Chalcedonians to accept than asking them to cancel the whole confession. But I may be wrong since I don’t know what their feeling is on this.
If they were to be convinced that the confession wasn't actually loyally orthodox in the first place then I doubt there would be any reason why they would care to retain it at all.

That was certainly the case with me.
 

Hiywot

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Shanghaiski said:
Probably "over our dead bodies."
I would say: probably “after we died”.

The link I gave in my post above indicates that so far seven consultations (four non-official and three official) has been held between EO and OO churches.

The first consultation was held in Aahrus, Denmark (1964). The theme of the consultation was "One Incarnate Nature of god the Word," central to the theology of St. Cyril of Alexandria.

The second consultation was in Bristol, England (1967). It mainly discussed "the manhood of Christ in the liturgical traditions of the two families," with particular reference to the will and operation of Christ.

The third consultation was in Geneva, Switzerland (1967). Here it was felt that the history of the Christological controversies before and after Chalcedon should be studied. The participants found themselves in full agreement with the teaching of the undivided church despite the fifteen centuries of separation.

The fourth consultation was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1971). Mutual lifting of anathemas was the main concern in this consultation. The participants agreed on the lifting of the anathemas pronounced by one side against those regarded as saints and teachers by the other side. But there was no imposition on either of the groups to recognize the saints who previously had been anathematized by them.

The fifth consultation was at Wadi Natrun (Abba Bishoy Monastery) in Egypt (1989). Here a joint commission of the EO and OO Churches was formed, and the commission issued a declaration. Based on previous conversations, the declaration underlined that the four adverbs: without confusion, without change, without separation and without division in the mystery of the hypostatic union belong to both traditions of the dialogue partners.

The sixth and seventh consultations were both in Chambesy, Switzerland in 1990 and 1993. These two meetings approved the doctrinal unity maintained in the beliefs of the EO and OO Churches, despite their breach on terminological differences.

 

Iconodule

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giorgi said:
Hi everyone Im a new member, my name is Giorgi, I'm 19 years old and of Georgian Orthodox faith.  Growing up I have always been notified of nations which share my faith such as Greece, Russia, Serbia etc. but when I found out many Ethiopians, Syrians, Egyptians etc. (non-european countries) were also orthodox i started wondering why I never heard about them.  Later I discoverd that we kind of split over an ecumenical council which was about Jesus being fully god and fully man (their belief) and we believe that god and man are seperate but coexist together. 
Giorgi, this is a completely wrong summary of what we believe. We believe that Jesus Christ is one person who is fully God and fully man. To say that "God and man are separate but coexist together" is the heresy of Nestorianism. Whatever the disagreements we may have over Chalcedon, we all reject Nestorianism utterly.
 

Salpy

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A post by Iconodule that quoted from the private forum, as well as the discussion that followed, was moved to the private forum thread from which it came.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,30930.msg504542.html#msg504542

Iconodule:
Quoting from the private forum in the public forum is not allowed.  You have been here long enough that I believe you should have known that.
 
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