Inaccurate Understanding of the Immaculate Conception

Cosmos

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The foundation of the Roman Catholic Dogma of the Immaculate Conception is the belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary was herself conceived without Original Sin by her mother, even though her mother biologically conceived and birthed Mary in the usual manner. Orthodoxy has always viewed the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception as totally unnecessary and theologically troublesome. The primary problem that Orthodoxy perceives is the theological implication that God is not Omnipotent, but is in fact limited in the scope of His Divine Manifestation.

This is to say that since all things are possible for an Omnipotent God, the Miracle of the Divine Incarnation does not require Mary to be conceived without sin, but depends solely on the Will of God to Personally enter into human history in order to lead mankind back to Himself through the vehicle of whomever He chooses and however He chooses to do so.

If the Immaculate Conception of Mary was a prerequisite for her to become the Mother of God, the Theotokos, and thus also a prerequisite for God's subsequent Divine Incarnation as Our Lord, Jesus, then the Unlimited Perfection and Omnipotence of God was essentially restricted and made limited by Mary's material and spiritual imperfection, which is absurd, is it not?

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Mardukm

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Dear brother Cosmos,

Cosmos said:
The foundation of the Roman Catholic Dogma of the Immaculate Conception is the belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary was herself conceived without Original Sin by her mother, even though her mother biologically conceived and birthed Mary in the usual manner.
Not true.  The teaching does not say she was conceived without Original Sin by her mother.  It simply says she was preserved from the STAIN of original sin at the moment of her conception, the stain being the spiritual consequences of original sin.  And yes, the Orthodox and Catholic Churches believe that Mary was not conceived in sin  - that is, she was not conceived in lust.

Orthodoxy has always viewed the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception as totally unnecessary and theologically troublesome.
Thank you.  At least you are being honest, unlike brother Isa, who has repeatedly stated that the teaching is definitely a heresy.

The primary problem that Orthodoxy perceives is the theological implication that God is not Omnipotent, but is in fact limited in the scope of His Divine Manifestation.  This is to say that since all things are possible for an Omnipotent God, the Miracle of the Divine Incarnation does not require Mary to be conceived without sin, but depends solely on the Will of God to Personally enter into human history in order to lead mankind back to Himself through the vehicle of whomever He chooses and however He chooses to do so.

If the Immaculate Conception of Mary was a prerequisite for her to become the Mother of God, the Theotokos, and thus also a prerequisite for God's subsequent Divine Incarnation as Our Lord, Jesus, then the Unlimited Perfection and Omnipotence of God was essentially restricted and made limited by Mary's material and spiritual imperfection, which is absurd, is it not?
Wow!  That IS a new one! :)  Thanks for bringing it to my attention.  Your argument is known as a reductio ad absurdum.  It is generally recognized  as an invalid form of argumentation where one tries to convince someone of a certain proposition by simply assuming something is false (without actually proving it is false) and trying to prove from that assumption that it contradicts something that is true.  Here you have not even challenged the Truth of the teaching on the IC, yet you claim it contradicts the Omnipotence of God.  You have not even proven it actually does contradict the Omnipotence of God.  For your argument to be valid, you have to prove to us that the Immaculate Conception is NOT how God chose to involve himself in his Creation in that manner.  But who are you to attempt to know the depths of God on the matter?  There are not a few fathers in the early Church, common to OO, EO and CC, and even Fathers NOT in common to each Tradition, who attest that the salvation of the world began with the creation of Mary.  Some fathers use the terms "the first adoption for our salvation." Others yet state that the kingdom of God was established at the first instanct of Mary's existence in the world.  Very hyperbolic language, but it nevertheless demonstrates your assumption is false.

I've heard of philosophers opine, "could not God have saved the world any other way but by killing his Son?"  Your speculations are basically of the same order.  You can speculate, but I seriously doubt you can get away with saying that such mere speculation is the BASIS for Orthodoxy's "problems" with the teaching.

It is best for those who do not believe in the dogma to avoid trying to prognosticate the purposes and ways of God.  Just stick to the matter of the teaching itself - then again, if you do that, I'm convinced you will not find anything objectionable about it.

Blessings,
Marduk
 

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Mardukm said:
And, as I've many times stated, the dogma does not say that Mary was preserved from original sin, but rather that she was preserved from the STAIN of original sin.  
Right, so do we understand that it is official Catholic teaching that:

1.. Mary was NOT preserved from original sin

2.. Mary was preserved only from the STAIN of original sin

3.. It is therefore authentic Catholic doctrine to say that Mary was not preserved from original sin.

Marduk, Marduk!  I don't know what Catholic academy you have studied at but I think you would be skirting the edges of heresy.

 

Irish Hermit

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Mardukm said:
I have never ever claimed to be EO. 
You claim to be Orthodox.

In your previous message you say that

1.  I [Irish Hermit] am Orthodox not in communion with Rome
2.  You are Orthodox in comunion with Rome.

So you are claiming some sort of equivalence with me who am EO.

Or do you now deny what you were saying?  Do you have one definition of Orthodox for me and a quite different one for you?
 

Irish Hermit

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ialmisry said:
Irish Hermit said:
But here you are, on an Orthodox Forum. claiming that you are Orthodox.  Lucky you, that the Moderators here who do not follow the dictatorial policy on CAF which compels the Orthodox to deny who we are.
I'm afraid I have to disagree, Father. Marduk usually tries to seperate us EO from the OOs as far as possible
These are Marduk's word in message #190 where he draws an equivalence between me (who am EO) and himself...

Marduk:   "All we need to understand as Orthodox Christians (you, not in communion with Rome, and me in communion with Rome)"
 

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Dear Father Ambrose,

We have to distinguish between the CC/OO understanding of original sin on the one hand, and the EO understanding of original sin on the other.  The EO have an EXCESSIVE attachment of the concept of physical death to your doctrine of ancestral sin.  Whenever you speak of ancestral sin, you can mostly (if not only) think in terms of the consequence of physical death.  If one has physical death, then one has ancestral sin.

OO and Catholics, on the other hand, have a more nuanced understanding that equally takes into account the spiritual as well as the physical consequences of original sin.  I find it easier to speak to OO on this matter than EO.  But to answer your question:
Irish Hermit said:
Mardukm said:
And, as I've many times stated, the dogma does not say that Mary was preserved from original sin, but rather that she was preserved from the STAIN of original sin.  
Right, so do we understand that it is official Catholic teaching that:

1.. Mary was NOT preserved from original sin

2.. Mary was preserved only from the STAIN of original sin

3.. It is therefore authentic Catholic doctrine to say that Mary was not preserved from original sin.
Being able to properly distinguish between the spiritual and physical consequences of original sin, I, as a Catholic and Oriental, believe that:
1) Mary was NOT preserved from the physical/tactile consequences of original sin.  This would indeed be tantamount to an Eastern Christian (Catholic or Orthodox) saying that Mary was not preserved from ancestral sin, since you can mostly (if not only) think in terms of the physical/tactile consequences.

2) Mary was preserved only from the STAIN of original sin. This is true, and this is all that the dogma teaches.

3) Since I do not think ONLY in terms of physical consequences, I absolutely anathemize the statement that "Mary was not preserved from original sin."  If I admitted that, knowing that the term "original sin" refers to BOTH the physical AND spiritual consequences, then I would admittedly be in error and in heresy.
HOWEVER, an Eastern Catholic (not an Oriental Catholic like myself), IMO, who might think of ancestral sin ONLY in terms of physical death, would not be in error or in heresy if he or she says that Mary was not preserved from ancestral sin.  Eastern Catholics who would make that statement, however, should always be prepared to explain that all the statement means to an Eastern Catholic is that Mary was not preserved from the physical/tactile consequences of original sin.
 

Irish Hermit

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Mardukm said:
Dear Father Ambrose,

We have to distinguish between the CC/OO understanding of original sin on the one hand, and the EO understanding of original sin on the other.  The EO have an EXCESSIVE attachment of the concept of physical death to your doctrine of ancestral sin.  Whenever you speak of ancestral sin, you can mostly (if not only) think in terms of the consequence of physical death.  If one has physical death, then one has ancestral sin.

OO and Catholics, on the other hand, have a more nuanced understanding that equally takes into account the spiritual as well as the physical consequences of original sin.  I find it easier to speak to OO on this matter than EO.  But to answer your question:
Irish Hermit said:
Mardukm said:
And, as I've many times stated, the dogma does not say that Mary was preserved from original sin, but rather that she was preserved from the STAIN of original sin.  
Right, so do we understand that it is official Catholic teaching that:

1.. Mary was NOT preserved from original sin

2.. Mary was preserved only from the STAIN of original sin

3.. It is therefore authentic Catholic doctrine to say that Mary was not preserved from original sin.
Being able to properly distinguish between the spiritual and physical consequences of original sin, I, as a Catholic and Oriental, believe that:
1) Mary was NOT preserved from the physical/tactile consequences of original sin.  This would indeed be tantamount to an Eastern Christian (Catholic or Orthodox) saying that Mary was not preserved from ancestral sin, since you can mostly (if not only) think in terms of the physical/tactile consequences.

2) Mary was preserved only from the STAIN of original sin. This is true, and this is all that the dogma teaches.

3) Since I do not think ONLY in terms of physical consequences, I absolutely anathemize the statement that "Mary was not preserved from original sin."  If I admitted that, knowing that the term "original sin" refers to BOTH the physical AND spiritual consequences, then I would admittedly be in error and in heresy.
HOWEVER, an Eastern Catholic (not an Oriental Catholic like myself), IMO, who might think of ancestral sin ONLY in terms of physical death, would not be in error or in heresy if he or she says that Mary was not preserved from ancestral sin.  Eastern Catholics who would make that statement, however, should always be prepared to explain that all the statement means to an Eastern Catholic is that Mary was not preserved from the physical/tactile consequences of original sin.
Thank you for clarifying that, Marduk.  The complexities of Catholic theolgy have progressed since my time.  I did not know that the Immaculate Conception was only a partial Immaculate Conception, not liberating her totally from original sin.  Thanks for explaining.
 

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Pardon me for breathing, but I would be happy to provide the full liturgical texts for the Orthodox vigils (the festal vespers and matins) for the feasts of the Nativity of the Mother of God, the Entry into the Temple of the Mother of God, and the Annunciation. As I have stated previously (perhaps ad nauseam for some), the liturgical texts represent the consensus patrum of the Orthodox Church. In other words, they are what is read, said and sung in every Orthodox church, irrespective of ethnicity or geographic location; i.e. they represent the universal teaching of the Orthodox Church, delivered to, and believed by, ALL Orthodox Christians.

Any takers for my offer?
 

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Dearest Father Ambrose,

I humbly, humbly, humbly, humbly, humbly, humbly, humbly (to infinity) ask for your forgiveness.  I accused you of malice and bearing false witness when you were being genuine in your questions.  The sin of lack of understanding and charity was my own.  I shall do much penance.  

Earlier, you had stated something to the effect that at least you were actually trying to address the topic, unlike brother Isa, and I had originally intended to thank you for that.  But when you kept asking and asking about matters that I felt I had sufficiently answered, I, in my lack of understanding and wisdom, perceived your questions to be mere attacks, and failed to express my appreciation.  I'd like to express that appreciation now, though it is certainly not enough reparation for the insult I hurled at you.  You have been a model of patience in the face of my lack of understanding.

Irish Hermit said:
Thank you for clarifying that, Marduk.  The complexities of Catholic theolgy have progressed since my time.  I did not know that the Immaculate Conception was only a partial Immaculate Conception, not liberating her totally from original sin.  Thanks for explaining.
Humbly,
Marduk
 

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LBK said:
Pardon me for breathing, but I would be happy to provide the full liturgical texts for the Orthodox vigils (the festal vespers and matins) for the feasts of the Nativity of the Mother of God, the Entry into the Temple of the Mother of God, and the Annunciation. As I have stated previously (perhaps ad nauseam for some), the liturgical texts represent the consensus patrum of the Orthodox Church. In other words, they are what is read, said and sung in every Orthodox church, irrespective of ethnicity or geographic location; i.e. they represent the universal teaching of the Orthodox Church, delivered to, and believed by, ALL Orthodox Christians.

Any takers for my offer?
I think there is a Liturgy section in this website(?) Perhaps you can post it there for our perusal, and just provide a link to us here in this thread? I would like to check them out.  Do you have the liturgical text for the Feast of the Conception of St. Hannah?  Do the EO have a Feast for Sts. Eliakim and Hannah?  I would be interested in those too, if possible.

Blessings,
Marduk
 

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Mardukm said:
Do the EO have a Feast for Sts. Eliakim and Hannah? 
The Ethiopian Orthodox celebrate the feast of Ss. Eliakim and Hannah on the 11th of every month?  Are you able to access their texts?
 

ialmisry

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LBK said:
Pardon me for breathing, but I would be happy to provide the full liturgical texts for the Orthodox vigils (the festal vespers and matins) for the feasts of the Nativity of the Mother of God, the Entry into the Temple of the Mother of God, and the Annunciation. As I have stated previously (perhaps ad nauseam for some), the liturgical texts represent the consensus patrum of the Orthodox Church. In other words, they are what is read, said and sung in every Orthodox church, irrespective of ethnicity or geographic location; i.e. they represent the universal teaching of the Orthodox Church, delivered to, and believed by, ALL Orthodox Christians.

Any takers for my offer?
YES.

I was just looking at the parish copy of "Byzantine Worship" put out by the Melkites.  There was nothing in Hapgood (no suprise there).  Found a lot on St. Anne's barrenness, but nothing on the Theotokos' "immaculate conception."

The intro did say something about the soul of the Holy Theotokos.  Maybe that is where Mardukm got his ideas about the IC involving only her soul, as, as I posted, he didn't get them from the "Apostolic Constitutions."
 

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Dearest Father Ambrose

Irish Hermit said:
Mardukm said:
Do the EO have a Feast for Sts. Eliakim and Hannah? 
The Ethiopian Orthodox celebrate the feast of Ss. Eliakim and Hannah on the 11th of every month?   Are you able to access their texts?
I've only heard about it from the Ethiopian Orthodox I've spoken to.  The ones I've spoken to about the IC seem to have no problem with it at all, and they always talk about Sts. Hannah and Eliakim very highly in that regard.  I know they have the Feast, but don't have the text.  Do you have access to it?  I've also read in the Old Catholic Encyclopedia that the Greeks have the Feast.  I'm not sure if, by that, they mean the EO in general, or only the Greek Orthodox.  Maybe the OP has the texts for that Feast in the Greek Orthodox Church.

Humbly,
Marduk
 

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Dear brother Isa,

ialmisry said:
The intro did say something about the soul of the Holy Theotokos.  Maybe that is where Mardukm got his ideas about the IC involving only her soul, as, as I posted, he didn't get them from the "Apostolic Constitutions."
I was actually apprised of the fact from the Old Catholic Encyclopedia (1917). When I first started looking into the CC, I was informed that the best unofficial Catholic source of info on the CC was the Old Catholic Encyclopedia. So I bought a copy of it.  The NewAdvent site does not have the original text.  And the idea that the dogma only refers to her spiritual conception is not that obvious according to its format.  Here is the text from the 1917 Encyclopedia:

The term conception does not mean the active or generative conception of her parents.  Her body was formed in the womb of the mother, and the father had the usual share in its formation. The question does not concern the immaculateness of the generative activity of her parents. Neither does it concern the passive conception absolutely and simply (conceptio seminis, carnis, inchoata), which, according to the order of nature, precedes the infusion of the rational soul. The person is truly conceived when the soul is created and infused into the body. Mary was preserved from all stain of original sin at the first moment of her animation, and sanctifying grace was given to her before sin could have taken effect on her soul.

I think the Eastern Catholics are probably more knowledgeable of this fact than the run-of-the-mill Latin Catholic (if that text you mentioned is any indication).  There's probably a lot of inadequate, if not downright bad, catechesis going on in the Latin Church.  That would be the main reason that there is even an immortalist camp in Latin Catholicism. 

Interestingly, Latin Catholic proponents of the IC in the Middle Ages revived an ancient (though defunct) tradition from the Eastern Church that St. Mary was conceived by St. Anne without the "knowledge of man," and the Pope at the time specifically condemned the notion (not sure if it was called a heresy).

Blessings,
Marduk
 

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Mardukm said:
I think there is a Liturgy section in this website(?) Perhaps you can post it there for our perusal, and just provide a link to us here in this thread? I would like to check them out.  Do you have the liturgical text for the Feast of the Conception of St. Hannah?  Do the EO have a Feast for Sts. Eliakim and Hannah?  I would be interested in those too, if possible.
There is only three conception feasts in the EO tradition I am aware of: the Conception of the Virgin Mary by Anna; the Conception of John by Elizabeth; and the Conception of Christ by the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit.
 

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Irish Hermit said:
Papist said:
Irish Hermit said:
Mardukm said:
  All we need to understand as Orthodox Christians (you, not in communion with Rome, and me in communion with Rome)
On Catholic Answers Forum it is an offence punishable by expulsion from the Forum for any Orthodox to use the term "Catholic" of himself or his Church.  Several Orthodox have been banned for doing it.

But here you are, on an Orthodox Forum. claiming that you are Orthodox.  Lucky you, that the Moderators here who do not follow the dictatorial policy on CAF which compels the Orthodox to deny who we are.

My last post on CAF was occasioned by this:

"The Orthodox are at sixes and sevens at the moment, and trying to discern if they have a place here. The theological determination that we are not permitted to call ourselves Catholics on the Forum has already caused consternation and I have had two messages on the topic. I referred them to their parish priests to ask him if they may continue to participate without sinning. I shall have to make the same determination in my own case."

and prior to that:

"There is no doubt that it *is* now difficult for us Orthodox to participate without the danger of denying our faith. For the purpose of this Forum the Moderator has made the decision that we are defined as non-Catholics and she has affirmed this decision several times.

This puts us in a bind since at the Liturgy and at morning prayers we proclaim that we are members of the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."

I am not sure how far and under what circumstances we can deny that without denying Christ and His Church. And does our participation here constitute such a denial? We need a couple of theologians (not me!) to decide on this.

Therese, I am not questioning your right to decide the running of the Forum. That's a given. I am just wondering whether Orthodox can participate here without sinning against their own self-understanding."


http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=2936265#post2936265
This is on topic... ::) not.
Take it up with Marduk.  Marduk introduced into this thread the claim that he is just as much an Orthodox Christian as I am.  When he speaks with EOs he claims to be the same as us.  When he speaks with Copts he claims to be the same as them.  I find that he is using terminology dishonestly and it needs to pointed out.
You are the one who made it an issue when this was not what the thread was about at all.
 

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The linked articles below may provide some additional theological perspective on this subject from an Orthodox point of view:

http://www.antiochian.org.au/content/view/61/22/

http://www.ukrainian-orthodoxy.org/questions/2006/immaculate.htm

http://eirenikon.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/the-immaculate-conception-and-the-orthodox-church-4/

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Cosmos said:
The linked articles below may provide some additional theological perspective on this subject from an Orthodox point of view:

http://www.antiochian.org.au/content/view/61/22/

http://www.ukrainian-orthodoxy.org/questions/2006/immaculate.htm

http://eirenikon.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/the-immaculate-conception-and-the-orthodox-church-4/
Dear Cosmos,

Thanks for these links but I want to note that the second article is NOT from an Orthodox point of view.  The author is a member of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and like nearly all members of these Churches he displays the typical confusion and ambiguity over the Roman Catholic dogmas which do not sit easily with what the Greek Catholics have inherited from their Orthodox past.

 

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Brother Marduk, you are continually asking the Eastern Orthodox to not dictate to you or any other Catholic what the Catholic Church believes. I do not know how you can not honestly expect others to tolerate you telling them what their church believes and that their Fathers are not as knowledgeable as you on theological matters.

I would advise that you bear this in mind when trying to elucidate the Catholic faith, for while you certainly do help some of your fellow Eastern Catholics understand your perspective, you push away a good many, not to mention the apparent rifts it does to EO/OO/CC relations as in this foray. You are no longer Coptic Orthodox, you are Coptic Catholic, and the fact that you believe there is no difference between the two outside of who is venerated on the diptychs does not give you credence to speak for the total sum of your previous church, the Oriental Orthodox Communion, or the Oriental Christian community---not to mention denying the actual members of those churches and the EO the same capacity in speaking about your Church.
 

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Dear brother Yeshua,

yeshua said:
Brother Marduk, you are continually asking the Eastern Orthodox to not dictate to you or any other Catholic what the Catholic Church believes. I do not know how you can not honestly expect others to tolerate you telling them what their church believes and that their Fathers are not as knowledgeable as you on theological matters.

I would advise that you bear this in mind when trying to elucidate the Catholic faith, for while you certainly do help some of your fellow Eastern Catholics understand your perspective, you push away a good many, not to mention the apparent rifts it does to EO/OO/CC relations as in this foray. You are no longer Coptic Orthodox, you are Coptic Catholic, and the fact that you believe there is no difference between the two outside of who is venerated on the diptychs does not give you credence to speak for the total sum of your previous church, the Oriental Orthodox Communion, or the Oriental Christian community---not to mention denying the actual members of those churches and the EO the same capacity in speaking about your Church.
I have NEVER spoken FOR anyone except myself, if you want to go over all the posts again.  I have only ever pointed out what IS in our Tradition, and how it is AMENABLE to the Faith of Catholicism (as regards this issue, at least).  And I have pointed out several times that I am NOT here to try to persuade ANYONE to ACCEPT the teaching.  That is a HUGE difference from someone calling my belief a HERESY.  I am only proposing matters for people's consideration and explicitly asking people to SUSPEND JUDGMENT, while others have explicitly made a DEFINITE judgment on my beliefs.  Please try to understand the difference.

As for my identity as an Orthodox Christian, I already explained to my fellow Copt what that means TO ME - namely, the reality of the early Church when we were all united.  He didn't seem to have a problem with my self-understanding, so I don't know why you, who have never been a formal member of the Orthodox Church (I use "formal" concisely, because I know you are Orthodox in spirit), should.  And you're right, I don't see a difference.  And that is probably because I did not grow up in the Catholic Church where the Eastern and Oriental members have had historic problems with Latinization.  Whereas it is of great concern to you to distinguish yourself from the Latins because of your lifetime experience, I have come into the Catholic Church relatively recently, and at a time when the Eastern and Oriental Churches have, IMO, gained much respect.  And since Latinization has never been my overarching concern - where the need for differentiation is preening - I think that has freed up my mental and emotional energies to be able to focus on similarities instead.

Blessings,
Marduk
 

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Mardukm said:
We have to distinguish between the CC/OO understanding of original sin on the one hand, and the EO understanding of original sin on the other. 

...

OO and Catholics, on the other hand, have a more nuanced understanding that equally takes into account the spiritual as well as the physical consequences of original sin. 
Marduk,

Please stop speaking on behalf of the OO's and asserting that we are the same as the Catholics.  You are not an OO.  You have been told by real OO's here that you are not representing us properly, yet you still pretend to do so.  This is getting very irritating.  We OO's are not the same as the Catholics. 
 

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Salpy said:
Mardukm said:
We have to distinguish between the CC/OO understanding of original sin on the one hand, and the EO understanding of original sin on the other. 

...

OO and Catholics, on the other hand, have a more nuanced understanding that equally takes into account the spiritual as well as the physical consequences of original sin. 
Please stop speaking on behalf of the OO's and asserting that we are the same as the Catholics.  You are not an OO.  You have been told by real OO's here that you are not representing us properly, yet you still pretend to do so.  This is getting very irritating.  We OO's are not the same as the Catholics. 
So, please show me where Oriental Orthodoxy does not distinguish between the spiritual and physical consequences of original/ancestral sin.

I've never said OO are the same as Catholics.  I've only ever stated that we have many things we share in common.  Please don't try to put words in my mouth.

And what have I not represented properly?  That the IC is definitely not condemned, because that's all I've ever said?  Show me a formal declaration even from your Church that calls the IC a heresy, and I will believe you.

Blessings,
Marduk
 

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Mardukm said:
LBK said:
Pardon me for breathing, but I would be happy to provide the full liturgical texts for the Orthodox vigils (the festal vespers and matins) for the feasts of the Nativity of the Mother of God, the Entry into the Temple of the Mother of God, and the Annunciation. As I have stated previously (perhaps ad nauseam for some), the liturgical texts represent the consensus patrum of the Orthodox Church. In other words, they are what is read, said and sung in every Orthodox church, irrespective of ethnicity or geographic location; i.e. they represent the universal teaching of the Orthodox Church, delivered to, and believed by, ALL Orthodox Christians.

Any takers for my offer?
I think there is a Liturgy section in this website(?) Perhaps you can post it there for our perusal, and just provide a link to us here in this thread? I would like to check them out. 
Dear Marduk,

I see that you have now checked them out and find that we Eastern Orthodox, according to our texts, hold to the same concept of immaculate conception as the RCs.  That will be quite a surprise to many of us, including me who have been using the liturgical texts for 30 years now.

You wrote:
I just found out quite by accident (while researching another topic) a couple of hours ago that the EOC celebrates the Feast of the Conception of Mary on December 9 where it is admitted that the Holy Spirit gave Mary all the graces a creature could receive at the moment of her conception. This is exactly what the dogma of the IC teaches.
Would you mind refererencing the sections in the text which I have obvioulsy completely overlooked for all these years.

As LBK says very eloquently above, our liturgy embodies our doctrine and so if our liturgy teaches the immaculate conception then we are all of us heretics for denying it. 


 

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Irish Hermit said:
Mardukm said:
LBK said:
Pardon me for breathing, but I would be happy to provide the full liturgical texts for the Orthodox vigils (the festal vespers and matins) for the feasts of the Nativity of the Mother of God, the Entry into the Temple of the Mother of God, and the Annunciation. As I have stated previously (perhaps ad nauseam for some), the liturgical texts represent the consensus patrum of the Orthodox Church. In other words, they are what is read, said and sung in every Orthodox church, irrespective of ethnicity or geographic location; i.e. they represent the universal teaching of the Orthodox Church, delivered to, and believed by, ALL Orthodox Christians.

Any takers for my offer?
I think there is a Liturgy section in this website(?) Perhaps you can post it there for our perusal, and just provide a link to us here in this thread? I would like to check them out. 
Dear Marduk,

I see that you have now checked them out and find that we Eastern Orthodox, according to our texts, hold to the same concept of immaculate conception as the RCs.   That will be quite a surprise to many of us, including me who have been using the liturgical texts for 30 years now.

You wrote:
I just found out quite by accident (while researching another topic) a couple of hours ago that the EOC celebrates the Feast of the Conception of Mary on December 9 where it is admitted that the Holy Spirit gave Mary all the graces a creature could receive at the moment of her conception. This is exactly what the dogma of the IC teaches.
No, I based my statement on the comment in an EO website on WHAT the Feast of the Conception celebrates.  According to comment, the Feast mentions that Mary received all the graces at her conception but it was also sure to point out that the Feast does not have any reference to taking away original sin.  I have not had the opportunity to check them out.  As you will notice, the comment I made here about checking them out is several days after the comment I made in the CAF above.  I am indeed eager to see the texts, since I looked but have not found them.

BTW, do you have those texts from the Feast of Sts. Hannah and Eliakim. Thanks.

Humbly,
Marduk
 

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Mardukm said:
Show me a formal declaration even from your Church that calls the IC a heresy, and I will believe you.
My Church has stated that it is not a belief that we we hold.  That should be enough for you.  What are you looking for?  A formal council of Armenian bishops held for the purpose of condemning this and other recent innovations?  Didn't the IC only become a controversy in the last couple of centuries?  Don't you know anything about Armenian history?  Exactly how and when are we to hold a council to address this and other Latin innovations that keep popping up at head-spinning speed?  During this time our Church has been oppressed at every level by Muslims and Communists, our people killed off, our clergy killed off, and what's left has been thrown into diaspora.  Our Church leaders haven't even convened a council to address the Protestant heresies that keep popping up.  Does that mean we are OK with Predestination and Once-Saved-Always-Saved?  After all, the only thing we have on those are the statements of our leaders saying those doctrines are not beliefs of our Church.  No official council that I know of officially proclaiming them as heresies.  We just can't hold a council every time some Western Church pops out a new belief.    
 

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Mardukm said:
BTW, do you have those texts from the Feast of Sts. Hannah and Eliakim. Thanks.
Sorry no.  This feast is observed on the 11th of every month by the Ethiopian Orthodox.

Since you are Coptic Orthodox it would be easier for you to find the texts.  We don't have an Ethiopian parish in this city.

 

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Salpy said:
Mardukm said:
Show me a formal declaration even from your Church that calls the IC a heresy, and I will believe you.
My Church has stated that it is not a belief that we we hold.  That should be enough for you.  What are you looking for?  A formal council of Armenian bishops held for the purpose of condemning this and other recent innovations?  Didn't the IC only become a controversy in the last couple of centuries?  Don't you know anything about Armenian history?  Exactly how and when are we to hold a council to address this and other Latin innovations that keep popping up at head-spinning speed?  During this time our Church has been oppressed at every level by Muslims and Communists, our people killed off, our clergy killed off, and what's left has been thrown into diaspora.  Our Church leaders haven't even convened a council to address the Protestant heresies that keep popping up.  Does that mean we are OK with Predestination and Once-Saved-Always-Saved?  After all, the only thing we have on those are the statements of our leaders saying those doctrines are not beliefs of our Church.  No official council that I know of officially proclaiming them as heresies.  We just can't hold a council every time some Western Church pops out a new belief.    
Well, your Supreme Catholicos only states that it is not accepted as an article of Faith.  I guess it depends on whether you and I have a different understanding of the term "article of Faith." I understand that to mean that it is not to be believed as a dogma, not that it is not to be believed PERIOD.  So what does the term "article of Faith" mean to an Armenian?  Do you have beliefs in your Church that are not "articles of Faith?"  Or are ALL beliefs in your Church "articles of Faith?"

Blessings,
Marduk
 

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Salpy said:
He is not Coptic Orthodox.
Sister Salpy is correct.  I would never CALL myself simply "Coptic Orthodox."  I would consider myself "Coptic Orthodox in communion with Rome" or simply "Coptic Catholic." I am Coptic Orthodox in heritage, but not in name.

Blessings
 

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Mardukm said:
Salpy said:
He is not Coptic Orthodox.
Sister Salpy is correct.  I would never CALL myself simply "Coptic Orthodox."  I would consider myself "Coptic Orthodox in communion with Rome"
Oh come on!  Isn't that just word games and deceptive.   It's the kind of doublespeak we would expect from bad lawyers.

Besides, this strange terminology of "something Orthodox in communion with Rome" but not with the Orthodox is of very recent coinage.  Five years?  Eight years?  What were they before the term was coined?
 

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Mardukm said:
Well, your Supreme Catholicos only states that it is not accepted as an article of Faith.  I guess it depends on whether you and I have a different understanding of the term "article of Faith."
It means it is not a belief of the Armenian Church.  It means anyone who states it is a belief of the Armenian Church is a no good liar.
 

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Salpy said:
Mardukm said:
Well, your Supreme Catholicos only states that it is not accepted as an article of Faith.  I guess it depends on whether you and I have a different understanding of the term "article of Faith."
It means it is not a belief of the Armenian Church.  It means anyone who states it is a belief of the Armenian Church is a no good liar.
Well, then, I'm glad I always qualified my statements with the phrase "as theologoumenon."

BTW, do you have any documents in the Armenian Church that state that mere belief is ALWAYS an article of Faith? That's the only way you'll convince me that the teaching of the IC is CONDEMNED in your Church (well, apart from a formal statement that it is heresy).  That's probably also the only way you will convince ANYONE who understands that not all beliefs are "articles of Faith".  I'm not going to take your word for it. Why?  Because you get insulted at the very idea of me claiming that the OO and the CC have many things in common, whereby you claim I am misrepresenting the OO.  That demonstrates to me your statements might be blinded by anti-Catholic bias, and prejudice is not a trustworthy thing at all.  I'll understand if by "Armenian Church" you mean the Armenian Church in the U.S., but can you speak for ALL Armenian Orthodox?

If this comment by me gets me banned from this website like you banned me from the Oriental Orthodox forum, while I was trying to point an inquirer to hierarchical OO documents - well, so be it.  Small minds, here.

I think I will take my leave now.  I have overstayed my welcome just for trying to point out similarities between the Churches.  Have a blessed Pascha.

Blessings,
Marduk
 

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Mardukm said:
BTW, do you have any documents in the Armenian Church that state that mere belief is ALWAYS an article of Faith? That's the only way you'll convince me that the teaching of the IC is CONDEMNED in your Church (well, apart from a formal statement that it is heresy).  That's probably also the only way you will convince ANYONE who understands that not all beliefs are "articles of Faith".  I'm not going to take your word for it.
Mardum,

Again you are digging yourself into a big hole.  I imagine that if we applied your logic we could attribute the most outrageous beliefs to the Catholic Church.

Where is the formal RC condemnation of the teaching of the Quasi-Incarnation of the Spirit?  Should we infer, in its absence, that it is a legitimate belief?
 

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Mardukm said:
If this comment by me gets me banned from this website like you banned me from the Oriental Orthodox forum, while I was trying to point an inquirer to hierarchical OO documents - well, so be it.  Small minds, here.
Goodness gracious.  I haven't banned you from anything.  I don't think I could ban a person, even if I wanted to.  In fact, in all the years I've been a moderator, I've never even warned anyone.  I usually find another way of dealing with the problem.  For example, in the case of people who lie about my Church (you are not the first,) I usually just kick their lying posts down into the private forum where I can have it out with them.  That's probably what I will eventually do with you, if you don't stop.
 

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Mardukm said:
BTW, do you have any documents in the Armenian Church that state that mere belief is ALWAYS an article of Faith?
Exactly when would those documents have been written?  Between the massacres of Abdul Hamid and the Genocide?  Or perhaps between the Genocide (when about 95% of all our clergy was killed,) and the Communist takeover? 

What do you mean by "article of faith," vs. "belief?"

I still remember a lecture by a deacon in my church, where he told us that one of the big differences between us and the Chalcedonians (both EO and Catholic) is that we OO's believe in using as little language as possible to define things.  We don't elaborate.  We don't over-define things.  We don't get into lots of fancy terminology.  We don't have lots of official documents and councils.  Believe me, we haven't gotten into the difference between an "article of faith" and a "belief."  A Church either believes something, or it doesn't. 


 

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Dear Mardukm (is it pronounced Mardooq, with the Arabic letter "qaf" at the end?),

Mardukm said:
I believe a differentiation needs to made between the grace she received at the conception and the grace she received at the Annunciation (I mentioned this already in my prior post regarding St. Jacob of Sarug - the Grace necessary for her to be the Ark of the Covenant is a of wholly different order than the Grace she received at her conception, which is simply the same Grace we receive at our Baptism).  Having made that differentiation, then we can proceed to ask, "did she know her role and why she was sanctified from her conception?" Yes, she did know.  And St. Luke implies that by the very fact that she asked, "How can this be for I know not a man?" The reason she was sanctified from the moment of her conception was to indicate that she would be TOTALLY God's.  We know she must have known this because according to our Tradition Sts. Hannah and Eliakim promised her to God. Thus, she indeed grew up with the knowledge that in body and soul, she belonged to God - that is why she was dedicated as a Virgin.  I'm sure you are aware that St. Eliakim had a vision of a white dove entering St. Hannah upon Mary's conception. Who do you think the White Dove refers to?

Now, the Grace of being the Ark of the Covenant, to be OVERSHADOWED by FULL DIVINITY is a Grace of a totally different order. Her purpose for receiving THAT Grace was revealed to her at the Annunciation.
As I said before, the sanctification by the Holy Spirit is not the same as the grace of the Holy Spirit in baptism.  He sanctified many in the Old Testament, and even descended on a pagan king to speak prophecy.  Just because the Holy Spirit descends on such people doesn't mean the Holy Spirit takes away their "stain" (I'm using the word stain now, since you believe something differently than I had imagined, and I'll explain why I feel there's a contradiction between your belief and what I learned).

The Holy Spirit sanctified even Judas Iscariot, for he was performing miracles in the name of Christ along with the other Apostles.  The Holy Spirit sanctified even Saul the King, who betrayed the kingly honor, in which David had to be chosen afterwards.  These men chosen by God are an example of God showing us that those He had chosen still had the freedom to leave.  In addition, their sanctifications are not removal of "stains" either.

This goes to the crux of the point of this whole thread - are those who oppose the IC simply misunderstanding it?  Let's analyze what St. Severus is saying?  If he is referring to the fact that all experience corruption and death, then I don't see how the Coptic Church can oppose the teaching of the IC, for the IC implicitly admits that.  And neither does the Scripture effect the integrity of the teaching of the IC, since, as repeatly stated (I mean to Fr. Ambrose, not to you) the teaching only admits that she was SPIRITUALLY purified at conception, and did not affect her physically in any way.  If the COC is using St. Severus and Scripture to prove that Mary was actually spiritually impure (i.e., a sinner), then that would simply run counter to the Traditional teaching of the Church.
St. Severus teaches us that death causes us to sin.  Nevertheless, there are some who have the law of death in the members and do not sin.  That is death reigned in the likeness of Adam "even unto those who have not sinned" (Romans 5:14).  Death was the issue that needed to be conquered, as it is the cause of sin for most people.  Thus, when Christ died destroying death, the sting of death, which is sin, no longer exists, for death is destroyed, and thus no more stings (1 Cor. 15).  The Oriental Orthodox Church does not differentiate between "stain" as you define it and "Original Sin."  Stain to us is the act of sinning.  Stain to you is removing the propensity to sin.  However, to us the propensity to sin comes from death.  Thus, it contradicts our tradition (especially St. Severus) if one is to say that one can remove the propensity of sin without death.  This is an affront to our own dogma, and contradicts it tremendously, much worse than what I had previously thought the IC meant.

Well, EVERY apostolic Christian in the world believes in the Assumption, and Orthodox STILL complain that it was dogmatized. So I don't think the rest of Orthodoxy would view such a move by the Coptic Church with very much favor.
My friend, yes we all believe in the Assumption.  But not all of us believe in the IC.  Big difference.  Thus, why do you join a church that doesn't give us the freedom for the IC to be theologemoun?

You seem to be backtracking a bit here.  You admitted earlier that she did not need to know that she would be Theotokos until her Annunciation, remember?  Why are you now arguing she needed to know this beforehand?
No, I said that according to Luke, she DID NOT know until her Annunciation.  If she was IC'ed, then she should have known before the Annunciation.  That's my argument.

I believe just the opposite.  Since the Forerunner was NOT IC'd, then the Theotokos must be IC'd.  For the one who was considered by our Lord the greatest among those born of woman was purified from the womb of his mother; how much more should the one greater than him, the humblest one of all, (i.e., the least) who is Mary, have been purified even earlier than him.

...

True, but I believe St. John was not only anointed, but also purified in his mother's womb, was he not?
Now, I'm confused.  What's the difference between "purification" and "removal of the stain of Original Sin?"

But the dogma does not teach that Original sin was removed.  It simply says that the STAIN of original sin was removed (i.e., the spiritual consequences).  If the dogma actually stated that Original Sin itself was removed, then she would not have had the possibility of dying.  But all the dogma basically says is that Mary was purified from the moment of her conception (as evidence by the vision of St. Eliakim, and the testimony of several Fathers in the early Church)
My friend, I had this dialogue before with a Catholic who was a convert from Protestantism.  He explained to me that Christ's being both God and man, outside time and within time.  In time His death destroyed Original Sin and can have its effects outside time.  One of these effects therefore was the IC.  He used this understanding to clear any misunderstanding that the Theotokos did not need Christ for her salvation.  But supposedly, it was Christ's death working back in time to bring salvation to the Theotokos in her conception from St. Anna.  This lead me to the understanding that the Latins understand that Original Sin was removed from her, and there was no differentiation between "stain" and "Original Sin."  Now, I get a different understanding.

Nevertheless, I tell you this.  Don't we believe that baptism removes "Original Sin?"  But what you say that if Original Sin is removed, we shouldn't die.  So does that mean we only removed the stain as well?

This is why I find your interpretation of the IC to be actually more dangerous than the previous interpretation I understood.  Alexandrian tradition, through Sts. Athanasius, Cyril, and Severus (although he's really Syriac) teach us that the sin of one lead to the death of all, and that the spiritual death we all have leads us to sin.  St. Paul even teaches this as well in Romans 5:12.

Thus, if the IC was a removal of her "stain" by the Holy Spirit, and it is the "stain" that leads all to sin, then this is dogmatically in contradiction with the belief that our spiritual death causes us to sin.

That was not the point of the quote.  The point was that St. Ephrem regarded Mary and Eve as "UTTERLY EQUAL" before they made their respective decisions.  I  believe that indicates that St. Ephrem believed Mary - like Eve - was in a state of spiritual purity from the moment of their existence.
I have to respectfully disagree.  I saw "equality" as a matter of previous actions, not state of the soul.  Equality can also be a matter of humanity.  Christ is equal to us by His human nature, equal to the Father by His divine nature.  In this case, it is clear the "equality" is in the matter of their "innocence," and I interpret this to mean their previous actions of sinlessness.

But alas, even you should concede that even the state of the soul, there's no "real" equality, for Original Sin was not removed (as was the case with Eve), but merely the "stain."  So, then what does St. Ephraim mean then?  It is stain, Original Sin, or actions?

I can see where you are coming from. I was thinking more along the lines of his very comparison of Mary to Jesus Himself. What does that imply? I mean I agree that when we say Mary is all-pure and all-holy singularly does not NECESSARILY dictate the IC, but to compare her holiness to Jesus' own holiness is saying a lot more.
The comparison between Christ and the Virgin Mary can be why Christ chose the Theotokos as His mother, not necessarily as some sort of removal of "stain".  St. Jacob of Serug said that if there was anyone else more perfect than Mary, Mary wouldn't have been chosen.

The IC does not affect free will any more than Baptism affects free will.
You misunderstand my question.  I'm not questioning free will brother.  I'm simply asking which is more amazing?  Those under the curse who don't sin or those not under the curse who don't sin?  This is a matter of contemplation that I find why the Theotokos is most amazing, stainless even under the curse of Original Sin (in the way I understand though, since there's no belief in our church of some sort of "stain").

Your observation that "Context clues to me make me interpret this as while others receive taint from intercourse, the Virgin received purification from conception of Christ" has great relevance here.  St. Augustine tells us that the reason that intercourse is considered sinful (i.e., the "taint of intercourse") is because of the element of lust.  However, as you well know, our Tradition states that Sts. Hannah and Eliakim did not conceive the Theotokos in lust.  That should give you a further clue as to the orthodoxy of the Catholic teaching on the IC (as I've stated before, I'm just arguing for its orthodoxy, not its status as a dogma).
My friend, forgive me but the actions of intercourse require actions of sexual feelings.  If it is this sexual feeling besides intercourse that is considered "lustful" and thus "sinful," then this has dire consequences socially.  Yes, I understand St. Augustine may have taught thus, but I don't think this teaching is held consistently through the Fathers.  This sounds to me semi-Manichean.  The Coptic Church does not hold to this belief.

If it's lust in bed, and not merely male seed, that transmits "stain", why didn't Christ have an earthly father?  Assuming it's possible to not have sexual feelings in bed, wouldn't it be possible that some people in the past might have been born without the "stain" as well, and that the Theotokos was not the only one who was IC'ed according to your beliefs?

3) As to the specific quote you mentioned, I think it refers to BOTH the fact that (a) original sin was not transitted because original sin was thought to be transmitted through the male seed, and (b) that Mary was also purified in some mysterious way not known to us in order to be able to receive the FULL divinity.
So now we have two immaculate events?  One at conception and one at the Annunciation?  I thought the Latins thought the conception was enough for the Incarnation?

The idea that her Virginity, her celibacy, her lustless thought was the primary reason for Christ being born without Original Sin was something that St. Severus fought against Julian with.  Julian thought the same, but St. Severus said this wasn't the primary reason.  The primary reason was for Christ to become the first fruits of salvation, a New Seed for mankind, so that "in Adam, all die, but in Christ, all live."  Not merely the act of Virginity itself, but what this Virginity entails, i.e. that no male seed means a New Seed is born, and a New Life is to be obtained.  It signifies as well spiritual birth, for just as Christ was born from the Virgin, so we are reborn from the baptismal font.

Finally, some word documents (HE Metropolitan Bishoy's website) from the dialogues between the Coptic and the Catholic churches, and what the Coptic Church finds problems with:

http://metroplit-bishoy.org/files/Dialogues/Catholics/The%20Immaculate%20conception.doc

Here, though, HE Metropolitan Bishoy is talking about Original Sin, not the "stain."  It has come to my attention that the Coptic Church had dialogue with the Catholic Church concerning christology, purgatory, indulgences, and the Filioque, and then ended the dialogue on account of the agreement made between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church, so I could not find anything on the dialogue there.  As I read the Catholic Encyclopedia, you seem to hold a correct interpretation of your church's beliefs, i.e. that there's a distinction between "stain" and "Original Sin."  There is no such belief in the Coptic Orthodox Church to begin with, thus the IC is not a dogma since the idea of the "stain" doesn't even exist anyway, and in fact seems to contradict the ideas of the Alexandrian fathers, as I have mentioned before.  It would be interesting to hear what the Coptic Church has to say about the particular belief of the "stain."

God bless.

PS I advise you my friend that instead of defining what other churches believe, just defend your own church's faith, and leave the beliefs of other churches to be defined by those within those churches.  It is why Salpy is upset, but she wouldn't ban you.
 

ialmisry

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Salpy said:
Mardukm said:
If this comment by me gets me banned from this website like you banned me from the Oriental Orthodox forum, while I was trying to point an inquirer to hierarchical OO documents - well, so be it.  Small minds, here.
Goodness gracious.  I haven't banned you from anything.  I don't think I could ban a person, even if I wanted to.  In fact, in all the years I've been a moderator, I've never even warned anyone.  I usually find another way of dealing with the problem.  For example, in the case of people who lie about my Church (you are not the first,) I usually just kick their lying posts down into the private forum where I can have it out with them.  That's probably what I will eventually do with you, if you don't stop.
LOL.
Now I know why the Turks are terrified of the Armenians.
 

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Just so, Salpy.

Why would the Armenian church, or any church, hold a synod to condemn an error to which it, or its members, or even some of its members, do NOT ascribe?
 

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Αριστοκλής said:
Just so, Salpy.

Why would the Armenian church, or any church, hold a synod to condemn an error to which it, or its members, or even some of its members, do NOT ascribe?
You have to forgive the Vatican, where dogmas are proclaimed for doctrines no one in their communion disputes (e.g. IC, Assumption) and of course they know that all focus in on the pope of Rome, we Orthodox craving his legitimizing power.

You get this a lot on CAF.  But of course when you have a synod to condmen an error that a member has, say, like the Fifth Ecumenical Council anathematizing Pope Honorius or the ban by the Second and Fourth Ecumenical councils and the 8th/Pan Orthodox Council of Constantinople (879) on changing the Creed, etc. then we are told that the Fathers didn't mean what they said.
 

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Just coming back to this thread to ask a question of the Catholic members.  It was posed to me today by a visitor.

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.
 
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