Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception

Fr. George

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Dan-Romania said:
Well, his expositions on Hesychia/Hesychasm and the ability to know God are nearly dogmatic principles in the Orthodox Church (I say "nearly" because there could be argument as to whether or not it is; I accept it as dogmatic); he has been glorified with two commemorations in the year (his usual feast in November, and the Sunday of Lent mentioned earlier); and his writings are considered integral to any study of our Church and its theology.

However, like many other Fathers of the Church, only some of his writings are considered excellent theological treatises, and others are considered opinions of his.
 

PoorFoolNicholas

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cleveland said:
However, like many other Fathers of the Church, only some of his writings are considered excellent theological treatises, and others are considered opinions of his.
But, we as Orthodox, are allowed to have opinions that favor the Immaculate Conception?
 

Demetrios G.

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Papist said:
Dan-Romania said:
I didn`t read anything from Palama , i don`t usually treasure post schism fathers as much a the fathers before schism , if he says what you said he says he is a cook , sorry for the expression but i thing your misinterpret it , or i misunderstand cause i don`t speak english that good.
:eek: St. Gregory Palamas is considered one of the greatest of the Eastern Orthodox theologians.
After reading through most of this thread.  It does appear to me that the RCC position is that Mary somehow didn’t need Jesus in order to be sinless. Am I correct to assume so?
 

Fr. George

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PoorFoolNicholas said:
cleveland said:
However, like many other Fathers of the Church, only some of his writings are considered excellent theological treatises, and others are considered opinions of his.
But, we as Orthodox, are allowed to have opinions that favor the Immaculate Conception?
Well, as I see it: it's not a part of our dogmatic corpus, so it wouldn't be good to integrate it into one's worship or prayer life.  If one piously believes it, so be it, but they shouldn't teach it to others as an Orthodox Christian.
 

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cleveland said:
Well, as I see it: it's not a part of our dogmatic corpus, so it wouldn't be good to integrate it into one's worship or prayer life.  If one piously believes it, so be it, but they shouldn't teach it to others as an Orthodox Christian.
So what you are saying, and what Met. Kallistos says as well, is that it is not dogma, but can be accepted, and believed by the Orthodox faithful?
 

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Demetrios G. said:
Papist said:
Dan-Romania said:
I didn`t read anything from Palama , i don`t usually treasure post schism fathers as much a the fathers before schism , if he says what you said he says he is a cook , sorry for the expression but i thing your misinterpret it , or i misunderstand cause i don`t speak english that good.
:eek: St. Gregory Palamas is considered one of the greatest of the Eastern Orthodox theologians.
After reading through most of this thread.  It does appear to me that the RCC position is that Mary somehow didn’t need Jesus in order to be sinless. Am I correct to assume so?
WRONG. The Immaculate Conception was merited by Christ's death on the cross through God's foreknowledge of the saving sacrifice.
As for her personal sinfulness, of course we believe that God's grace aided her in her sanctity. However, it did not force her to be sinless. She still had to choose to cooperate with grace.
 

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PoorFoolNicholas said:
So what you are saying, and what Met. Kallistos says as well, is that it is not dogma, but can be accepted, and believed by the Orthodox faithful?
Well, I guess my position would be more along these lines:

Because it has not been added to the core of beliefs of the Orthodox Christian Church, despite the presentation of the argument and the available resources on the subject, and because it is instead propagated as a dogmatic principle in a Church not in communion with Holy Orthodoxy, I would not suggest either teaching others about the IC, nor would I suggest espousing that belief.  However, holding such a belief as a private devotion will probably not endanger one's salvation, so the belief may be permissible to hold, although I would discourage it (not only because of the non-acceptance by Orthodoxy, but also because the resources related to the belief in the IC are all from {Orthodox POV} heterodox sources).
 

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PoorFoolNicholas said:
cleveland said:
Well, as I see it: it's not a part of our dogmatic corpus, so it wouldn't be good to integrate it into one's worship or prayer life.  If one piously believes it, so be it, but they shouldn't teach it to others as an Orthodox Christian.
So what you are saying, and what Met. Kallistos says as well, is that it is not dogma, but can be accepted, and believed by the Orthodox faithful?
I would say that the Orthodox teaching is that the Mother of God was conceived in exactly the same state as you were and I was and the Dalai Lama was.  This Orthodox belief is one of the major reasons for the Orthodox rejection of the Immaculate Conception.

However, if people would like to take that to mean we were all conceived immaculately, so be it.  :laugh:
 

Second Chance

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cleveland said:
PoorFoolNicholas said:
So what you are saying, and what Met. Kallistos says as well, is that it is not dogma, but can be accepted, and believed by the Orthodox faithful?
Well, I guess my position would be more along these lines:

Because it has not been added to the core of beliefs of the Orthodox Christian Church, despite the presentation of the argument and the available resources on the subject, and because it is instead propagated as a dogmatic principle in a Church not in communion with Holy Orthodoxy, I would not suggest either teaching others about the IC, nor would I suggest espousing that belief.  However, holding such a belief as a private devotion will probably not endanger one's salvation, so the belief may be permissible to hold, although I would discourage it (not only because of the non-acceptance by Orthodoxy, but also because the resources related to the belief in the IC are all from {Orthodox POV} heterodox sources).
I would add two things:

1. I think it matters if it is a matter of piety by an ordinary Orthodox lay person or if it is matter of belief by Orthodox clergy, bishops, and teachers. If the former, I would say no great harm. But, if it is the latter, it should not be held.

2. In addition to the fact that it comes from a heterodox source (the less important factor IMO), the very doctrine of IC seems to go against basic Christian beliefs, no matter how the RC Church now explains it. I must admit that I am coming to this thread rather late, but I have had discussions on this issue at other times and places. Nothing that I have heard has convinced me that this doctrine (akin to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility) is justifiable, reasonable or believable. In essence, both doctrines create another category--that of a demi-God.
 

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Second Chance said:
I would add two things:

1. I think it matters if it is a matter of piety by an ordinary Orthodox lay person or if it is matter of belief by Orthodox clergy, bishops, and teachers. If the former, I would say no great harm. But, if it is the latter, it should not be held.

2. In addition to the fact that it comes from a heterodox source (the less important factor IMO), the very doctrine of IC seems to go against basic Christian beliefs, no matter how the RC Church now explains it. I must admit that I am coming to this thread rather late, but I have had discussions on this issue at other times and places. Nothing that I have heard has convinced me that this doctrine (akin to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility) is justifiable, reasonable or believable. In essence, both doctrines create another category--that of a demi-God.
Give the man a cigar! The "demigod" analogy is completely apt.
 

Demetrios G.

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Papist said:
Demetrios G. said:
Papist said:
Dan-Romania said:
I didn`t read anything from Palama , i don`t usually treasure post schism fathers as much a the fathers before schism , if he says what you said he says he is a cook , sorry for the expression but i thing your misinterpret it , or i misunderstand cause i don`t speak english that good.
:eek: St. Gregory Palamas is considered one of the greatest of the Eastern Orthodox theologians.
After reading through most of this thread.  It does appear to me that the RCC position is that Mary somehow didn’t need Jesus in order to be sinless. Am I correct to assume so?
WRONG. The Immaculate Conception was merited by Christ's death on the cross through God's foreknowledge of the saving sacrifice.
As for her personal sinfulness, of course we believe that God's grace aided her in her sanctity. However, it did not force her to be sinless. She still had to choose to cooperate with grace.
Lets see if I understand. She was saved before she had to cooperate in order for her to cooperate to be saved.
 

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Dear brother Demetrios,

Demetrios G. said:
Lets see if I understand. She was saved before she had to cooperate in order for her to cooperate to be saved.
Yes, that would be the case.  And it should not surprise you at all, since we ourselves are saved as mere babies before we had a chance to cooperate.

Blessings
 

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Dear brother Mickey,

Brother Papist has given a solid defense to which you did not respond at all, but when your use of a verse was refuted, you just came up with another verse, which is then again refuted, and then you come up with another verse without bothering to refute brother Papist’s statements, and so on and so on.

Like I said, brother Papist has already done an excellent job of refuting your use of these verses, but permit me to add my own comments, a good portion of which has already been presented earlier in this thread to refute your claims. 

“Of all those born of women, there is not a single one who is perfectly holy, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, Who in a special new way of immaculate birth-giving, did not experience earthly taint”
(St. Ambrose, Commentary on Luke, ch. 2)

“One Man alone, the Intermediary between God and man, is free from the bonds of sinful birth, because He was born of a Virgin, and because in being born He did not experience the touch of sin”
(St. Ambrose, Against Julian, Book 2)
Brother Papist gave an ample refutation of your use of these verses against the IC – namely, that it refers to the unique conception of Jesus Christ – a conception of the Holy Spirit without a human father.  His Immaculateness was completely natural by virtue of his exceptional birth.  In distinction, Mary’s conception and its immaculateness came about in an altogether different manner – that is, by Grace, as indeed St. Ambrose states in another place that Mary was she “whom Grace has made inviolate, free of every stain.” 

We also need to understand the context of these quotes.  Why was St. Ambrose so concerned about the unique nature of Jesus’ conception? Answer – because he was immersed in the battle against the Arian heresy and its relatives that taught that Jesus was simply a creature.  His statements do not deny in any way the teaching of the IC.  As Father Ambrose himself has pointed out, St. Ambrose maintained that St. Joachim’s seed was immaculate – which would account for Mary’s IC.

“There is none without stain before Thee, even though his life be but a day, save Thou alone, Jesus Christ our God, Who didst appear on earth without sin, and through Whom we all trust to obtain mercy and the remission of sins.”
(St. Basil the Great, Third Prayer of Vespers of Pentecost.)
Same thing. St. Basil is speaking here of the natural state of Jesus.  Mary’s freedom from every stain was not natural, but was so by virtue of GRACE.  In his treatise on the Holy Spirit, St. Basil states that even the holiness of the angels is “external to their substance.” In another place, St. Basil speaks of continency (the opposite of concupiscence) as a Grace of God, while speaking of Jesus as continency itself.  It is easy to see that St. Basil’s statement here does not dictate against the teaching of the IC of Mary.

“I am frightened now, seeing that certain of you have desired to change the condition of important matters, introducing a new festival unknown to the Church, unapproved by the reason, unjustified by ancient tradition. Are we really more learned and more pious than our fathers? You will say, ‘One must glorify the Mother of God as much as possible.’ This is true; but the glorification given to the Queen of Heaven demands discernment. This Royal Virgin does not have need of false glorifications, possessing as She does true crowns of glory and signs of dignity. Glorify the purity of her flesh and the sanctity of Her life. Marvel at the abundance of the gifts of this Virgin; venerate Her Divine Son; exalt Her Who conceived without knowing concupiscence and gave birth without knowing pain. But what does one yet need to add to these dignities? People say that one must revere the conception which preceded the glorious birth-giving; for if the conception had not preceded, the birth-giving also would not have been glorious. But what would one say if anyone for the same reason should demand the same kind of veneration of the father and mother of Holy Mary? One might equally demand the same for Her grandparents and great-grandparents, to infinity. Moreover, how can there not be sin in the place where there was concupiscence? All the more, let one not say that the Holy Virgin was conceived of the Holy Spirit and not of man. I say decisively that the Holy Spirit descended upon Her, but not that He came with Her.”
Bernard of Clairvaux
In arguing the “veneration of the father and mother of Holy Mary…the same for Her grandparents and great-grandparents,” St. Bernard seems to have forgotten a VERY important fact.  Mary was not divine, but Jesus IS.  So the honor of the IC need not extend beyond the Theotokos.  Obviously, the “conceived of the Holy Spirit” argument is merely a straw man.  The concupiscence argument I address in the next section.

“I say that the Virgin Mary could not be sanctified before Her conception, inasmuch as She did not exist. If, all the more, She could not be sanctified in the moment of Her conception by reason of the sin which is inseparable from conception, then it remains to believe that She was sanctified after She was conceived in the womb of her mother. This sanctification, if it annihilates sin, makes holy Her birth, but not Her conception. No one is given the right to be conceived in sanctity; only the Lord Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and He alone is holy from His very conception. Excluding Him, it is to all the descendants of Adam that must be referred that which one of them says of himself, both out of a feeling of humility and in acknowledgement of the truth: Behold I was conceived in iniquities (Ps. 50:7). How can one demand that this conception be holy, when it was not the work of the Holy Spirit, not to mention that it came from concupiscence? The Holy Virgin, of course, rejects that glory which, evidently, glorifies sin. She cannot in any way justify a novelty invented in spite of the teaching of the Church, a novelty which is the mother of imprudence, the sister of unbelief, and the daughter of light-mindedness.”
Bernard of Clairvaux
This excerpt clearly demonstrates the Latin understanding at the time that Mary’s sanctification occurred at some time after the physical conception (the common Latin belief being at the time of her ensoulment which occurrs after physical conception) yet before her birth.  Notice that his argument against a holy conception is that, unlike Christ’s, it was not “of the Holy Spirit.” This demonstrates that he is speaking of the physical conception. But you have been shown several times that the dogma of the IC does not refer to her physical conception, but to her spiritual conception, the moment of her ensoulment.  So St. Bernard’s argument does not even touch upon the dogma of the IC, and – conversely – the dogma of the IC does not violate St. Bernard’s teaching that only Jesus’ physical conception was unique (since it was “of the Holy Spirit”). The only point of contention would be the idea that Mary’s conception came from concupiscence.  Of course, the Eastern Tradition differently taught that Sts. Joachim and Anne did not conceive her in lust. 

You simply have to remember that St. Bernard was opposing the introduction of the EASTERN Feast of the Conception of St. Anne into the West.  In fact, his “conceived by the Holy Spirit” argument may not have been a straw man at all, but something he heard from an Eastern proponent of the IC.  All his arguments against it indirectly demonstrate that the Eastern Fathers believed in the IC, not to mention the direct testimony of Eastern Fathers themselves at the time.

"And as it pertains to the excellent dignity of Christ, that He is the Redeemer and Savior of all, and that He opens the door to all, and that He alone died for all, the Virgin Mary is not excluded from this generality, lest while increasing the Mother's excellence, the glory of the Son be lessened: and so the mother attests, who wishes the Son to be more extolled and honored than she herself, the Creator than the creature."
Bonaventure (d. 1274)
That coincides exactly with the teaching that Mary received the Grace of the IC by virtue of the merits of Christ’s Sacrifice, which are eternal. Even Mary needed Christ as her Redeemer, as St. Bonaventure stated.

None of the ancient Holy Fathers say that God in miraculous fashion purified the Virgin Mary while yet in the womb; and many directly indicate that the Virgin Mary, just as all men, endured a battle with sinfulness, but was victorious over temptations and was saved by Her Divine Son.
St John Maximovitch
It would be well to keep our discussion to the sources, instead of the polemics of MODERN EO’xy.  It is plainly evident that this statement by this EO saint is staggeringly false, given the numerous testimonies of the EO Fathers prior to the mid-19th century on the IC of Mary.

“Despite the righteousness and the immaculateness of life which the Mother of God led, sin and eternal death manifested their presence in Her. They could not but be manifested: Such is the precise and faithful teaching of the Orthodox Church concerning the Mother of God with relation to ancestral sin and death”
(Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, “Exposition’ of the Teaching of the Orthodox Church on the Mother of God”)
Another MODERN EO witness, which is not patristic, and not very faithful to the teaching of HISTORIC EO’xy (though it *might* be faithful to the teaching of MODERN EO’xy).

It is not for nothing that the Orthodox Church, in her liturgical texts, calls David 'the ancestor of God' and gives the same name of 'holy and righteous ancestors of God' to Joachim and Anna. The Roman Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception seems to break up this uninterrupted succession of Old Testament holiness, which reaches its fulfillment at the moment of the Annunciation, when the Holy Spirit came down upon the Virgin to make her fit to receive the Word of the Father in her womb. The Orthodox Church does not admit the idea that the Holy Virgin was thus exempted from the lot of the rest of fallen humanity - the idea of a 'privilege' which makes her into a being ransomed before the redemptive work, by virtue of the future merits of her Son.
Vladimir Lossky
As a response, first consider Pope St. Athanasius’ teaching on original sin.  He taught that man was made NATURALLY mortal and corruptible, and that it was by Grace that he was immortal and incorruptible (read the first 6 chapters of Athanasius’ De Incarnatione Verbi Dei).  On the other hand, he had other faculties which were NATURAL to him, such as reason, a knowledge of his own eternity, etc., and other faculties which were also BY GRACE that allowed him to live in communion with the holy ones (read the first 4 chapters of Athanasius’ Contra Gentes). What the Fall did was remove the Grace that made man immortal (making him mortal and corruptible), the various Graces that allowed him to be in communion with the Holy ones (loss of original Justice and Holiness), and also wounded his natural powers (another cause of the loss of original Holiness).  In other words, the Fall caused Man to have spiritual damage (the “stain”), and devolve to his merely natural state of being subject to death and corruption.

What the Grace of the IC did for Mary was PREVENT the SPIRITUAL damage (the “STAIN”) of the Original Sin from touching her SOUL, which returned to Mary the Graces of Original Justice and Original Holiness (the same Graces we receive at Baptism), but nevertheless left Mary in the NATURAL state of man before the Fall (subject to death and corruption, while having an undamaged use of reason).  It is this NATURAL state that Jesus acquired from Mary.  The promise of Jesus’ Resurrection gives to humankind something GREATER than the NATURAL state of mortality and corruptibility.  The promise of Jesus’ Resurrection actually TRANSFORMS our bodies to incorruptibility and immortality (and other spiritual blessings besides).

So the ancestry of God was not broken by the IC, since Mary was still a natural creature.  And like everyone else, Mary had to await the Resurrection of Jesus for its promise to be fulfilled at her Assumption.

Personally, though I fully accept the teaching of the dogma of the IC, I don’t think the “merits of Christ” clause is necessary for my own belief in the dogma.  It was included to satisfy particularly LATIN concerns, but can do fully well without it, IMO.  After all, as Pope St. Athanasius taught, even Sts. Jeremiah and John (the Forerunner) were made holy and clean from all sin from their mothers’ womb – and this even BEFORE the Son of Man was born, died and resurrected.  The ability of God to do so, as expressed by Father Athanasius, is sufficient for me, even without the clause about the “merits of Christ.”

BTW, the relation of St. Athanasius’ teaching on original sin above demonstrates why the dogma of the IC does not take away Mary’s free will.  St. Athanasius, faithfully followed by the Catholic Church, taught that concupiscence is the disordered use of reason (a definition pretty much consistent among all the early Fathers).  Having a lack of concupiscence (as did Adam and Eve before the Fall) does NOT mean that one will not sin – it simply means that one possesses the full, undamaged use of one’s reason, which STRENGTHENS one’s free will against sin, but by no means takes away one’s free will.  The problem is that a lot of people think “concupiscence” SIMPLY means “the propensity to sin.” But that is not how the Fathers defined it, nor is it how the Catholic Church, faithful to the Fathers, defines it.

Nothing you have quoted so far makes a case against the teaching of the IC.  If you don’t accept it, fine, but are you willing to admit that it is not heresy?

Blessings,
Marduk
 

Mardukm

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Dearest Father Ambrose,

Forgive me for not noticing earlier your request to respond to post #239:

Catholics place on awful amount of emphasis on the Archangel's greeting to the Mother of God "Hail, FULL  OF  GRACE" and this greeting is a strong plank in their argumentation for the Immaculate Conception.

Now if "Full" in fact means "Full" and not half-full or 7/8ths full does this mean that Mary was necessarily fully deified (as in theosis) from the moment of her conception?  Does it mean that she has existed from the first moment of her existence in the supreme condition of total final theosis?  This is something which the rest of us willl never obtain since theosis is a never-ending journey into the infinity of God.
As a matter of fact “full of grace” as I’m sure you know, is not a transliteration of the original Greek, but an interpretive translation, which seems to be pretty much unanimously accepted, even by members of other apostolic Churches.  It actually really only means that she has been greatly blessed, and in some way this great blessing was completed in the past (according to the grammar). I’m sure that even according to your understanding of theosis, “full of grace” does not in any way equate to a COMPLETION Of theosis.  I think this is an area where the difference between theosis and theopoiesis becomes relevant, but this thread is not the place to discuss that.

In any case, I hope the explanation I gave above to brother Mickey of St. Athanasius’ teaching on original sin helps to answer your question.  Mary only received certain Graces from the IC, and it was by no means the Grace of glorification (which Grace she received at her Assumption).

If you go back to message #50 in this thread ( http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20612.msg308255.html#msg308255 ) you will see that his Primate, Patriarch Bartholomew, denies the Immaculate Conception.
I already responded to that.  The Grace of the IC did not preserve Mary from the physical corruption nor death that resulted from the original sin of Adam and Eve. As authoritatively asserted by Pope Alexander VII in 1661, the IC refers to her soul, not her body. So whatever it is that HH Patriarch Bartholomew rejects is not really what the dogma of the IC teaches, is it?  There is, of course, the question of whether one can properly consider the soul separately from the body with regards to sanctification/purification.  I will address that fully this weekend when I respond to brother Mina’s post.

Finally, concerning your comments on St. Palamas:
First, thank you for providing the material. I’m glad I didn’t have to do the research.
Second, and more importantly, the only thing that is --- unique --- about St. Palamas’ understanding of the IC is HOW it came about.  There were several competing theories in the Catholic Church herself regarding the HOW of the matter before the dogma - e.g.: that Mary was born of a virgin (condemned by Pope Benedict XIV); that St. Joachim’s seed was immaculate; that Sts. Joachim and Anne did not conceive in lust; that an unsullied part of Adam was transmitted throughout history; that God through the Holy Spirit prevented the stain of original sin from touching Mary. It was the last one that finally gained the magisterial support of the Church that resulted in the dogma. In any case, you cannot deny that he believed that Mary was immaculately conceived (like many other EO Fathers before the mid-19th century), regardless of the HOW of the matter.

Humbly,
Marduk
 

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Irish Hermit said:
PoorFoolNicholas said:
cleveland said:
Well, as I see it: it's not a part of our dogmatic corpus, so it wouldn't be good to integrate it into one's worship or prayer life.  If one piously believes it, so be it, but they shouldn't teach it to others as an Orthodox Christian.
So what you are saying, and what Met. Kallistos says as well, is that it is not dogma, but can be accepted, and believed by the Orthodox faithful?
I would say that the Orthodox teaching is that the Mother of God was conceived in exactly the same state as you were and I was and the Dalai Lama was.  This Orthodox belief is one of the major reasons for the Orthodox rejection of the Immaculate Conception.

However, if people would like to take that to mean we were all conceived immaculately, so be it.   :laugh:
Are you the mother of God, charged with the upbringing of God-made-man?  Are you all-Holy, all-pure, free and preserved from every taint of sin? Did even the Forerunner obtain such prerogatives in Tradition?  Why should you, or I, or anyone presume such things?

Humbly,
Marduk
 

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LBK said:
Second Chance said:
I would add two things:

1. I think it matters if it is a matter of piety by an ordinary Orthodox lay person or if it is matter of belief by Orthodox clergy, bishops, and teachers. If the former, I would say no great harm. But, if it is the latter, it should not be held.

2. In addition to the fact that it comes from a heterodox source (the less important factor IMO), the very doctrine of IC seems to go against basic Christian beliefs, no matter how the RC Church now explains it. I must admit that I am coming to this thread rather late, but I have had discussions on this issue at other times and places. Nothing that I have heard has convinced me that this doctrine (akin to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility) is justifiable, reasonable or believable. In essence, both doctrines create another category--that of a demi-God.
Give the man a cigar! The "demigod" analogy is completely apt.
WOW!  St. Athanasius says we are to become God.  And Mary, the greatest creation of God, is merely a demi-god. :D

Blessings
 

Demetrios G.

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Mardukm said:
Dear brother Demetrios,

Demetrios G. said:
Lets see if I understand. She was saved before she had to cooperate in order for her to cooperate to be saved.
Yes, that would be the case.  And it should not surprise you at all, since we ourselves are saved as mere babies before we had a chance to cooperate.

Blessings
This may sound as a silly question to you, but why than do we need to cooperate if we are saved?
 

Mardukm

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Dear brother Second Chance,

Second Chance said:
cleveland said:
PoorFoolNicholas said:
So what you are saying, and what Met. Kallistos says as well, is that it is not dogma, but can be accepted, and believed by the Orthodox faithful?
Well, I guess my position would be more along these lines:

Because it has not been added to the core of beliefs of the Orthodox Christian Church, despite the presentation of the argument and the available resources on the subject, and because it is instead propagated as a dogmatic principle in a Church not in communion with Holy Orthodoxy, I would not suggest either teaching others about the IC, nor would I suggest espousing that belief.  However, holding such a belief as a private devotion will probably not endanger one's salvation, so the belief may be permissible to hold, although I would discourage it (not only because of the non-acceptance by Orthodoxy, but also because the resources related to the belief in the IC are all from {Orthodox POV} heterodox sources).
I would add two things:

1. I think it matters if it is a matter of piety by an ordinary Orthodox lay person or if it is matter of belief by Orthodox clergy, bishops, and teachers. If the former, I would say no great harm. But, if it is the latter, it should not be held.
Theoretically, what if a group of bishops expresses belief in it?  And what if your own particular Synod expresses belief in it?  Would you accept it, or transfer to another jurisdiction?

2. In addition to the fact that it comes from a heterodox source (the less important factor IMO), the very doctrine of IC seems to go against basic Christian beliefs, no matter how the RC Church now explains it. I must admit that I am coming to this thread rather late, but I have had discussions on this issue at other times and places. Nothing that I have heard has convinced me that this doctrine (akin to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility) is justifiable, reasonable or believable. In essence, both doctrines create another category--that of a demi-God.
Yet, if you read through the entire thread, no one seems able to prove that it goes "against basic Christian beliefs." Please do take the time to read through the entire thread, and if you have anything else to add, your input would be appreciated (in truth, I am itching to participate in other threads, but I don't have time to do so, and want to focus on this one until all questions have been answered).

Blessings,
Marduk
 
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