OO and EO difference (hurdles to Reunification)

Do you believe that OO and EO together are truly the same church?

  • Yes

    Votes: 77 52.0%
  • After reunification

    Votes: 49 33.1%
  • No

    Votes: 22 14.9%

  • Total voters
    148

prodromas

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I have been doing research on the Oriental Orthodox churches and Eastern Orthoodox church so as to truly understand what seperates us and to see if reunification is possible. Now although I can be VERY wrong the difference in Christology are the only major difference (major enough for split) and that the specific difference are truly only linguistic as they express the same idea with different words! I mean in regards To Duophysitism and Miaphysitism they essentially express the same idea that christ's nature is both  inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably linked but the words expressed seem to make it sound so different to the chalcedonian creed. Then there is Monothelitism and Duothelitism which are talking about the wills of Christ that say he had two will that wanted the same thing (EO) where the Monothelitists say that christ had one will (OO) but I see that they are essentially the same idea because OO say that he had one will but EO say he had two will which strived for the same thing so isn't that the same thing?! My main question after reading this is first of all a minor yes or no question if anyone can answer which is the 7th EO ecumencial council which was about the veneration of icons if the council after Chalcedon is not accepted by the OO do they venerate Icons? Then the other question is is reunification between EO and OO going to be in my lifetime (I am 17 years old)?
 

Eleos

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prodromas said:
Then the other question is is reunification between EO and OO going to be in my lifetime (I am 17 years old)?
at what age will you die?

 

_Seraphim_

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"at what age will you die?"
Eleos

LOL  :D

But seriously...
I certainly hope God grants His Orthodox Church to be completely re-unified before the 2,000 year anniversary of Christ's Ascension!
What a blessed "birthday" gift that would be!
 

Salpy

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Many years ago, His Holiness Vazken I came to Los Angeles and, among other things, engaged in an ecumenical service at a Greek Orthodox Church.  I was there and I listened intently to the talk His Holiness gave after the service.  He stressed everything our two Churches have in common and I specifically recall him saying the Armenian Church saw nothing objectionable about the veneration of icons established by what the EO's call the Seventh Council.  That being said, I've heard that council also contained in it a condemnation of some OO saints.  That part would of course be objectionable to us, but the veneration of icons is not a problem.
 

_Seraphim_

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"the [Oriental] Church saw nothing objectionable about the veneration of icons established by what the [Eastern Orthodox] call the Seventh Council."

I find it very interesting that the "crisis" of iconoclasm did not even effect western europe (which at the time was VERY Eastern Orthodox).  Until this current discussion, it never occurred to me that there was yet another "body" of Christians that never had to deal with the crisis of iconoclasm: which is the "Oriental" Orthodox.  It would certainly make sense that the Byzantine empire would be the most insistent on "accepting the 7th Ecumenical council" if they were the only ones that had to deal with that crisis in the first place!

This is not to diminish the VAST differences between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism... however, I hope this "insight" leads all readers of this thread (especially EO) to an awareness that perhaps the "7th Ecumencial Council" was perhaps more local than "ecumenical."

God bless
 

Trevor

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That's extremely dangerous ground there. The infallibility of ALL Seven Ecumenical Councils is one of the bedrocks of our faith. Putting ourselves, as Eastern Orthodox, in the position of denying one of the fundamental tenants of our faith in order to speed the process of reunion is ecumenism of the worst kind.
 

Salpy

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That's probably the biggest issue in the discussions concerning reunification.  Our theologians admit we all believe the same thing, but these other issues are pretty big and need to be resolved.  I think it is fair to say the EO's define themselves as the Church of the Seven Councils.  Setting aside any of those councils, or redesignating them as local, is not going to happen.  The OO's, on the other hand, will not accept any councils beyond Ephesus.  The reasons for this are not only doctrinal, but also historical and psychological, as it's really hard to accept a council in the name of which your ancestors were persecuted, slaughtered, etc.

Then there is the issue of saints.  Both sides have condemned saints venerated by the other.  I don't think that is as formidable a barrier as the councils, but it is still sticky.  This was discussed in this other thread:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,10408.0.html

There are other issues having to do with liturgical practice.  The EO's tend to be more uniform in their liturgical practices, while the OO's allow more diversity.  I don't see this as being as big an issue as the others, but it's still something to deal with.

There are other issues that are more administrative in nature, like the way the EO's rank their patriarchs, etc.  Again, these issues are not as big, but they are there to be dealt with.

So, while I believe that in a spiritual sense we are really one Church, there's a lot to be overcome before that becomes more of a concrete reality.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Trevor said:
The infallibility of ALL Seven Ecumenical Councils is one of the bedrocks of our faith. Putting ourselves, as Eastern Orthodox, in the position of denying one of the fundamental tenants of our faith in order to speed the process of reunion is ecumenism of the worst kind.
What makes an Ecumenical Council infallible?  Is the infallibility intrinsic to the Council, such that we must accept EVERY decision of the Council as authoritative?  Or do we recognize an Ecumenical Council as authoritative because that which it proclaims is the faith of the Church?  What if a particular decision of a council recognized as Ecumenical does not represent the faith of the Church as manifested in the catholic consciousness of the faithful?  For instance, can we recognize a council as truly ecumenical if one entire half of the church never accepted it as ecumenical?  Is it possible for that half of the Church to reject the council while still holding fast to the faith proclaimed by that council?


A couple of threads that speak on this topic so that we don't hijack this thread:

Ecumencial Councils

Oriental Orthodox Do Not Believe Church is Infallible?
 
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The reasons for this are not only doctrinal, but also historical and psychological, as it's really hard to accept a council in the name of which your ancestors were persecuted, slaughtered, etc.
I would definitely put more weight on the historical issues.

In my opinion, I think many people have unwittingly developed a rather innovative conception of an "Ecumenical Council" which insists on dogmatising the formalities and historical incidents associated with it. It's almost as if some would regard every cough and sneeze at a Council believed to be Ecumenical to be something absolutely God-inspired and hence not capable of being questioned.

Each side can insist that every historical movement and decision of their Communion in response to the incidents in question was made with the absolute authority of God, as if each Communion's Fathers were stripped of their human autonomy and possessed by God to say and do everything that was said and done. Or...we can take off those rosy coloured lenses and face the reality that God does not operate through His Church in such a mechanical and simplistic manner (as much as we may wish that He does). PeterTheAleut's signature is pertinent in this regard: "Truth is often in the paradox."

I think this sense of legalism, this claim to a monopoly of God and His Truth, this sense of arrogance which lays claim to knowing, in an almost absolute sense, the workings of God,  was the very problem with the Pharisees, and I cannot help but think that many Orthodox (EO and OO) will be judged side by side with the Pharisees for applying the same mindset in opposition to God's will (simply in different historical stages of God's redemptive plan for mankind.)
 

minasoliman

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PJ said:
Dear PeterTheAleut,

This is completely off-topic, so I apologize in advance, but I just have to ask:
when you say " ... if one entire half of the church never accepted it as ecumenical" do you mean to imply that the EO churches and the OO churches were "two halves" of the Church, back in the fifth century? (That is to say, do you mean that the Latin Church didn't count as a part of the Church, as early as the fifth century?)

God bless,
Peter.
I'm not sure what Peter meant, but I have to stress that the OO Church did present a huge chunk of Christianity that rejected Chalcedon, not to mention an even more diverse array of cultural traditions.

I also like to make note early that OO's do not believe in "Mono"theletism, but, as cliche as this sounds, "Miatheletism."  We truly believe in all characters of humanity and divinity unconfusedly and inseparably united, included will and operations.  There are also other instances where "will" can be defined differently as well, not as an energy of the nature, but rather an action of the person or hypostasis.

I think Fr. John Romanides makes note that Monotheletism was solely a problem in the Chalcedonian Church, just as Iconoclasm was.  (He also makes note that Nestorians are the ones that suffer from Monotheletism.  I have not found anyone question or challenge this point as of yet, which is a very very interesting point, imo.)

I have to say that I enjoyed this part of EA's post:

It's almost as if some would regard every cough and sneeze at a Council believed to be Ecumenical to be something absolutely God-inspired and hence not capable of being questioned.
I think the Chalcedonians need another ecumenical council simply for the sake of defining for us dogmatically what "ecumenical" means for the sake of moving on to whatever desire of union exists today.
 

Salpy

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Note:  At this point in the thread there was a tangent about the state of the EO and Catholic Churches during the fifth century.  This was eventually moved to another folder: 

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,12562.0.html

The tangent was a little heated.  Hence my comment here and in the next post:


Wait.  Are the Chalcedonians having a bit of a squabble amongst themselves in the OO folder?  That's not right.  You're supposed to be squabbling with the OO's.  We're feeling very neglected right now.   :) 
Just kidding.  Actually, let's try to keep this on the topic of how to heal the devision between EO's and OO's.  Thanks.
 

Salpy

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lubeltri said:
Nope, it isn't. They mean that me and many others are unbaptized heretics, descended from apostates.
Hey, that's supposed to be us OO's whom the EO's are calling the "unbaptized heretics, descended from apostates."  Again, let's keep this on how to heal the division caused by Chalcedon, not that other division caused by the filioque.
 

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Salpy said:
Wait.  Are the Chalcedonians having a bit of a squabble amongst themselves in the OO folder?  That's not right.  You're supposed to be squabbling with the OO's.  We're feeling very neglected right now.   :) 
Just kidding.  Actually, let's try to keep this on the topic of how to heal the devision between EO's and OO's.  Thanks.
Strange, isn't it? And we Chalcedonians don't even have a council that drove us apart to squabble over.

It seems to me, though, that the intra-EO debate about the place of RC in their ecclesiology is similar to the one about OO.

Ooh! Ooh! 1,000 posts!!!
 

lubeltri

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Salpy said:
Hey, that's supposed to be us OO's whom the EO's are calling the "unbaptized heretics, descended from apostates."  Again, let's keep this on how to heal the division caused by Chalcedon, not that other division caused by the filioque.
Well, much of the difficulty in the reunification is the trouble of how to accomplish it while saving face about the past. It's hard to repudiate past battles over which many of your Church's saints stood to the death (even if, in our eyes today, the battles were really cultural/political/linguistic misunderstandings).
 

PeterTheAleut

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lubeltri said:
Well, much of the difficulty in the reunification is the trouble of how to accomplish it while saving face about the past. It's hard to repudiate past battles over which many of your Church's saints stood to the death (even if, in our eyes today, the battles were really cultural/political/linguistic misunderstandings).
Yes, there is that mentality to deal with.  "How dare we call such great luminaries as St. John of Damascus and St. Maximos the Confessor (from the EO side) ignorant and claim that we know more than these great fathers do!"  And I know the OO have their great anti-EO saints, too.  You read the traditionalist polemics that come from such places as the Holy Mountain (Mt. Athos) and find publication on orthodoxinfo.com and you often see something akin to the following: "In keeping with this spirit, the phrase, 'We now clearly understand...,' has no place among Orthodox.  The classical Patristic dictum, 'Following the Holy Fathers...,' is the only one which expresses how Orthodox understand themselves."1


1 www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/monoph_preface.aspx
 

Ian Lazarus

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Truly, I think we just want to be divided.  Both sides, as far as I can recon, believe the very same thing.  We hold on to the same faith in the same God, and much the same practices.  It is the human factor which gets in the way.   No one is willing to sit at the table and say, "You know, we messed up here.  Our pride got in the way.  We want to be the only ones in charge and the only ones with the keys to the kingdom, so we figured you can't be.  We goofed.  But instead of making excuses, were gonna put our heads together, and pray that God make our minds and hearts one in the Holy Spirit, so that we can mend this long festering wound and begin to walk together again, like God intended.  We have the world to contend with, and that's more than enough."  And we can point fingers at eachother for ever and say that either of us are the arrogant ones.  The truth really is that, at least in my view, we are too ready to wave documents and claim correctitude, much as the pharasee in the temple.  We need look to the publican in this case, and until we do, there will be no healing.  There will be no union.  This is not an overly emotional person speaking here, but one who has seen these debates, read these threads, talked to my OO and EO bretheren, and see the same weariness about fighting over minutiae.  If we want to come together, we will find a way with God's help.  If we don't, we stay as we are: divided brothers, wanting to talk but refusing to take the first step.  

And yes, I know of the many dialogues that have take place between our two churches.  And I know the above seems overly simplified.  Maybe that's the point.

Peace, Brothers.
 

PeterTheAleut

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Ian Lazarus said:
Truly, I think we just want to be divided.
I think you speak truth here.  I often think that the division has existed for so long that it is now self-perpetuating.  We on both sides maintain the split only because we have been divided for so long, though we cannot remember why.
 

serb1389

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If you read the dialogues and talk to the people who have been in them then you see that this is the truth. 

Its always been up to the "bishops" and that is the human factor.  If they can get around their own differences, then they will see that the theology has worked around ITS differences. 

As far as I can remember even the question of the Councils and Icons and Saints have been resolved....

Maybe EkhristosAnesti has further to add on this since I know he's followed the dialogues much more thoroughly than I have....
 
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