Theological Differences Between Assyro-Chaldean and Greek Catholics

Apotheoun

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All of this (i.e., the christological controversy) is really beside the point. 

The original disagreement between Rony and I stands unaffected by the present dialogue, because I do not accept the idea that the Holy Spirit as person (both as prosopon and hypostasis) proceeds (ekporeusis) through or from the Son.  Instead, the Spirit as person (both as prosopon and hypostasis) receives His personal subsistent being from the Father alone, and not from or through the Son. 

Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit as energy (energeia), but not as person (i.e., prosopon and hypostasis), progresses (proienai) from the Father through the Son, but -- as I have already indicated above -- this progression (proienai) does not concern the eternal origin (ekporeusis) of the Spirit, but only His manifestation (phanerosis).
 

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Apotheoun said:
All of this (i.e., the christological controversy) is really beside the point. 

The original disagreement between Rony and I stands unaffected by the present dialogue, because I do not accept the idea that the Holy Spirit as person (both as prosopon and hypostasis) proceeds (ekporeusis) through or from the Son.  Instead, the Spirit as person (both as prosopon and hypostasis) receives His personal subsistent being from the Father alone, and not from or through the Son. 

Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit as energy (energeia), but not as person (i.e., prosopon and hypostasis), progresses (proienai) from the Father through the Son, but -- as I have already indicated above -- this progression (proienai) does not concern the eternal origin (ekporeusis) of the Spirit, but only His manifestation (phanerosis).
But if, as I suspect, the concept of Qnoma is neither hypostasis, prosopon, ousia, energia or physis, but rather, an entirely different concept which has no equivalent in Greek, English or Latin; then it could very well be that Rony is not talking about a prosopic or hypostatic procession of the Spirit from both the Father and the Son. This is what I am trying to establish by examining the concept of Qnoma in Assyro-Chaldean Christology. If, as Rony says, Assyro-Chaldean Christology holds that the Incarnate Christ has two Qnoma, then clearly they can't mean "hypostases" or "prosopa" unless they are Nestorians. Therefore the "Qnomic Procession" of the Spirit does not refer to a Prosopic or Hypostatic Procession.
 

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As I see it, it is impossible to reconcile your position to the teaching of the Cappadocians on the Trinity, and the Council of Chalcedon on Christology.
Todd,

That's fine, even though I disagree that they are irreconcilable.  I see non-essential differences, but not essential contradictions, and you seem to be seeing essential contradictions.

We express the one Faith using our Aramaic Fathers, and in the Aramaic language.  The Cappadocians and Chalcedon dealt with issues that popped up in the Roman Empire, and were done in Greek.  We were outside the Roman Empire to the East, and these issues essentially had nothing to do with us, though later it affected how were were perceived by you guys and the rest of the Churches, in that, we were perceived falsely as Nestorian.  As part of the Catholic Communion, we appreciate all the Fathers and Councils, but we theologize specifically by looking at the tradition that we received from our particular Aramaic Fathers and Synods.  We reject nothing of what is official in the Catholic Communion of Churches, and we accept the essentials of being a Catholic, but we express what is essential in the language, concepts, idioms, and formulas that we understand.

Christ is one divine hypostasis and prosopon in two natures (physeis).
We say that Christ is one Parsopa who is a Unity of the Son and a Human Qnoma.

I cannot accept the orthodoxy of the following comment:  "We don't equate the Parsopa (what you call prosopon) with the Qnoma (what you call hypostasis)," because this is basically the teaching of the heretic Nestorius, who said that there is one prosopon (face / person / countenance) of Christ, but two hypostaseis (subsistences) and two physeis (natures).
Our Parsopa might not be the exact equivalent of your prosopon, if your prosopon in itself is not the Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God. Our Parsopa is stronger than merely a "face". Our Parsopa is the Person, who is the the Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God.

Our theological views are clearly different, and I do not believe that they can be reconciled, either as it concerns the Trinity or the Incarnation.
Yes they are different, but our theology is allowed among the major theologies in the Catholic Communion.  With regards the Trinity, we've always confessed 3 Qnome in one God.  And with regards the Incarnation, if the 2 Qnome language were not allowed, then you would not see the Pope signing a Christological agreement with the Assyrian Church of the East!

God bless,

Rony
 

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Decree of Chalcedon

Therefore, following the Holy Fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one essence with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one essence with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the Theotokos; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person (prosopon) and subsistence (hypostasis), not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.
Chalcedon uses Greek terms, but it is essentially the same as this:

--------------------
Common Christological Declaration:

Therefore our Lord Jesus Christ is true God and true man, perfect in his divinity and perfect in his humanity, consubstantial with the Father and consubstantial with us in all things but sin. His divinity and his humanity are united in one person, without confusion or change, without division or separation. In him has been preserved the difference of the natures of divinity and humanity, with all their properties, faculties and operations. But far from constituting "one and another", the divinity and humanity are united in the person of the same and unique Son of God and Lord Jesus Christ, who is the object of a single adoration.
--------------------

God bless,

Rony
 

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Hi Apotheoun,

Apotheoun said:
The original disagreement between Rony and I stands unaffected by the present dialogue, because I do not accept the idea that the Holy Spirit as person (both as prosopon and hypostasis) proceeds (ekporeusis) through or from the Son.  Instead, the Spirit as person (both as prosopon and hypostasis) receives His personal subsistent being from the Father alone, and not from or through the Son. 
What is the difference between prosopon and hypostasis?
 

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The teaching of Chalcedon is that the incarnate Logos is one divine prosopon and one divine hypostasis in two natures (physeis), divine and human.  This means that Christ is not a human prosopon or human hypostasis, while what you are advocating appears to conform to the teaching of Nestorius, who accepted the fact that in the incarnation Christ was one prosopon, but who then went on to deny the unity of His hypostasis, asserting instead that Christ had a human hypostasis and a divine hypostasis, and a human physis and a divine physis.  Now prescinding from the christological problems inherent in your posts, as I see it our positions are still not compatible in triadology (any more than they are compatible in christology), because even though you argue that the qnoma corresponds to hypostasis in trinitarian theology (but not in christology), the problem of the procession (ekporeusis) of origin of the Spirit remains, because the Son is not a cause or principle in the origination of the person (understood as both prosopon and hypostasis) of the Spirit; instead, He (i.e., the Son) only participates in the Spirit's manifestation (phanerosis) as energy (cf. St. Gregory Palamas, "Dialogue between an Orthodox and a Barlaamite," no. 49).
Todd,

For my Christological position, the Assyro-Chaldean theological position (shared by the two Chaldean/Syro-Malabar Catholic Churches of the East, and by the other two Assyrian/Ancient Churches of the East), re-look and study the picture chart I posted earlier.  Based on that chart, you can then determine for yourselve if we are what you think we are: "Nestorians"

As far as the Trinity, and St. Gregory Palamas, he is not a theologian of our Church of the East, and very few Chaldeans have even heard of him.  For Greek-Catholics, he is a great teacher, but for us, we have our equivalent:  Mar Odisho of Soba.

God bless,

Rony
 

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ozgeorge said:
But if, as I suspect, the concept of Qnoma is neither hypostasis, prosopon, ousia, energia or physis, but rather, an entirely different concept which has no equivalent in Greek, English or Latin; then it could very well be that Rony is not talking about a prosopic or hypostatic procession of the Spirit from both the Father and the Son. This is what I am trying to establish by examining the concept of Qnoma in Assyro-Chaldean Christology. If, as Rony says, Assyro-Chaldean Christology holds that the Incarnate Christ has two Qnoma, then clearly they can't mean "hypostases" or "prosopa" unless they are Nestorians. Therefore the "Qnomic Procession" of the Spirit does not refer to a Prosopic or Hypostatic Procession.
I would agree with you, but the Maronite position appears to be perfectly coordinate with the dogmatic decree (horos) of Chalcedon, while the position of Rony's own Church coordinates with that of the position taken by Nestorius.

Now whether Rony (or the Latin Church for that matter) likes it or not, the Greek language has a theological primacy in Christian theology, because it is the language of the inspired New Testament, and as a consequence it has a normative value.  Interestingly, the theology professors I had at the Latin Catholic university that Rony is presently attending insisted upon this fact.

As I see it, it is the primacy of the Greek language that ultimately makes the Latin Church's attempts to justify the use of the filioque in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed problematic, because the fact that in the past the Latin Church has mistranslated the Greek words ekporeusis and proienai with the single Latin word processio is not a sufficient justification for causing confusion in connection with the Spirit's existential procession of origin (i.e., ekporeusis), which is from the Father alone, with His eternal energetic manifestation (phanerosis) or progression (proienai), which is from the Father through the Son. 

Moreover, based upon Rony's own comments in connection with qnoma it appears that the term is related to the word hypostasis, since both terms seem to concern something that is essentially existent, and the Maronite Catholics appear to use the term in this precise fashion in their theology. 

Finally, the Cappadocian Fathers chose the term hypostasis precisely for that reason (i.e., because it conveys the idea of concrete existence), and they used the word in order to complete and make concrete the term prosopon, which when taken alone was open to a Sabellian interpretation (cf. St. Basil's letters 38 and 236).

That said, based upon what Rony has said so far in this thread, I remain unconvinced that his christological and triadological views coordinate with historic Orthodoxy.  I also am concerned by his apparent dogmatic relativism in christology and triadology, because it involves what I can only describe as a misguided attempt to make a form of Nestorianism acceptable.
 

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ronyodish said:
As far as the Trinity, and St. Gregory Palamas, he is not a theologian of our Church of the East, and very few Chaldeans have even heard of him.  For Greek-Catholics, he is a great teacher, but for us, we have our equivalent:  Mar Odisho of Soba.
St. Gregory Palamas, great as he is, is personally irrelelvant; while the distinction between essence (ousia) and energy (energeia) or power (dynamis), which goes back to the New Testament itself, and to the Fathers of the first four centuries, is quite relevant.
 

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If -- as you have indicated -- "qnoma" corresponds to hypostasis, then it appears as if you only accept a prosopic union, and not a hypostatic union, in Christ.  Historically Nestorius also rejected a hypostatic union in favor of a prosopic union, and so your christological position does appear to mirror his position.
Todd,

In the Incarnation, the way we understand it is that the two Qnome, the Son and the Human Qnoma, unite, but do not become one Qnoma, rather they become the one Parsopa of the Union, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God.

So, since you confess a single Hypostasis, and we don't confess a single Qnoma, then Qnoma can not correspond to Hypostasis.

God bless,

Rony
 

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ronyodish said:
Chalcedon uses Greek terms, but it is essentially the same as this:

--------------------
Common Christological Declaration:

Therefore our Lord Jesus Christ is true God and true man, perfect in his divinity and perfect in his humanity, consubstantial with the Father and consubstantial with us in all things but sin. His divinity and his humanity are united in one person, without confusion or change, without division or separation. In him has been preserved the difference of the natures of divinity and humanity, with all their properties, faculties and operations. But far from constituting "one and another", the divinity and humanity are united in the person of the same and unique Son of God and Lord Jesus Christ, who is the object of a single adoration.
--------------------
This "common christological declaration" has no dogmatic value, and is simply an agreement signed between the Roman Church and the Assyrian Church.  It certainly cannot be held to have the same value as Chalcedon, which is a binding decree (horos) of an ecumenical council.

The reason that Chalcedon is worded the way it is, i.e., by using the terms prosopon and hypostasis in order to assert the fully unity of the incarnate Logos, was precisely in order to exclude the Nestorians, who could not in good conscience endorse the decree because it contradicted their own theological position.
 

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ronyodish said:
Todd,

In the Incarnation, the way we understand it is that the two Qnome, the Son and the Human Qnoma, unite, but do not become one Qnoma, rather they become the one Parsopa of the Union, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God.

So, since you confess a single Hypostasis, and we don't confess a single Qnoma, then Qnoma can not correspond to Hypostasis.

God bless,

Rony
Rony,

I understand your position, I simply do not agree with it, because I do not see how it can be said to be Orthodox in light of the decree of Chalcedon.
 

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wynd said:
Hi Apotheoun,

What is the difference between prosopon and hypostasis?
Prosopon means face / mask / or person, and is a less concrete term than hypostasisProsopon is ultimately open to modalistic interpretations and that is why the Cappadocian Fathers used the word hypostasis in connection with it (i.e., prosopon) in order to exclude a Sabellian view of the Trinity (cf. St. Basil, Letter 236).
 

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ozgeorge,

This is why Qnome caanot be quivalent to Hypostasis.
I agree that in the Incarnation, our two Qnome and your single Hypostasis can not be equivalent if we are both using the same definition for Qnoma/Hypostasis.

This makes me think that Qnome cannot be equivalent to ousia either. Like Qnome, Ousia does not exist in the abstract, but must exist withing an hypostasis, yet:
We say that a Qnoma is a particularized or individuated Kyana (equivalent to Ousia).  So in the Trinity, we say 1 Kyana (Divine Nature) and  3 Qnome (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).

In the Incarnation, 2 Kyane (the Kyana of Divinity, and Kyana of Humanity), 2 Qnome (the Son, and the Human Body/Human Soul), 1 Parsopa (The Person of the Union, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God).

whereas in the Trinity, we confess One Ousia.
But you do say, one Ousia, three Hypostases (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) right?  If so, would you say that the Hypostasis of the Father (or Son or Spirit) is a particularized essence?  By particularized essence, I don't mean a general essence (Divinity, Ousia).  In other words, would you define "that which stand under" as a particular essence?

God bless,

Rony
 

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Hypostasis means subsistence, i.e., concrete essential existence.  In Greek pagan philosophical thought ousia and hypostasis are used synonymously; while the Cappadocian Fathers, knowing that this is how the terms had been used in the past, reformulated them in order to make them stand for different things.  Ousia, for the Cappadocians, came to stand for that which is absolutely one in God, i.e., His unknowable and incommunicable essence; while hypostasis came to stand for that which is three in God, but understood in a concrete fashion in order to defend the reality of the Father, Son, and Spirit as distinct persons (prosopon).  Thus, hypostasis was connected with the word prosopon in order to avoid modalism.

That said, it appears to me that hypostasis and qnoma are connected.
 

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Apotheoun said:
That said, it appears to me that hypostasis and qnoma are connected.
They seem somehow connected to me, but I wouldn't define hypostasis as "individualized ousia" as Rony defines Qnoma.
Another thing I can't get my head around is what seems to me the fact that if Kyana is the One Divine Ousia, and Qnomo is "individualized ousia" then each Person of the Trinity has "two ousias"- the General one, and Their individual one. And of course, this would mean that Christ had three ousias at the Incarnation.
 

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ronyodish said:
But you do say, one Ousia, three Hypostases (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) right?  If so, would you say that the Hypostasis of the Father (or Son or Spirit) is a particularized essence?  By particularized essence, I don't mean a general essence (Divinity, Ousia).  In other words, would you define "that which stand under" as a particular essence?
Rony,

Hypostasis, as used by St. Gregory of Nyssa, is basically understood to be a concrete or particular essence, and so in some sense it parallels (but is not identical to) Aristotle's ousia prote; while the divine ousia, which for the Cappadocians is utterly transcendent and unknowable, tends to be connected with Aristotle's ousia deutera, except that the apophaticism of Basil and the two Gregories means that it (i.e., the divine ousia) is ultimately beyond human thought and predication (cf. Diogenes Allen, "Philosophy for Understanding Theology," pages 66-72).  So it does appear as though there is a connection between the use of the word hypostasis by the Cappadocian Fathers and qnoma understood as a particular essence, which means that the Maronite usage of that term, in both triadology and christology, corresponds to the teaching of the Cappadocians and Chalcedon, while the use of the term by your sui juris Church does not.

Todd
 

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The original disagreement between Rony and I stands unaffected by the present dialogue, because I do not accept the idea that the Holy Spirit as person (both as prosopon and hypostasis) proceeds (ekporeusis) through or from the Son.  Instead, the Spirit as person (both as prosopon and hypostasis) receives His personal subsistent being from the Father alone, and not from or through the Son.

Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit as energy (energeia), but not as person (i.e., prosopon and hypostasis), progresses (proienai) from the Father through the Son, but -- as I have already indicated above -- this progression (proienai) does not concern the eternal origin (ekporeusis) of the Spirit, but only His manifestation (phanerosis).
Todd,

You should accept what Greek theology teaches you, and since you are already doing that, then it really has nothing to do with me.  I am not a Greek Catholic, nor do I express the faith using Greek theology, but if I was, then this whole discussion would make more sense, because then we would be discussing the correct understanding of Greek theology.

Since I am an Assyro-Chaldean Catholic, then I try to express the faith using Assyro-Chaldean theology.  I am not allowed to be Byzantinzed or Latinized, etc., because our Church is being asked by Rome to restore what we lost in our Assyro-Chaldean theology, and so that we and the Assyrian/Ancient Churches of the East can re-establish full communion.  Some Assyrians have already united with us, and they were not required to abandon their theology.

I do not consider Byzantine theology to be superior to Assyro-Chaldean theology, nor vice versa.  If I should express the faith using your Greek-Catholic theology, then you'd be basically asking me to Byzantine my Church.  I can't do that, because I have no authority to introduce Greek theological concepts into our Aramaic Church.

God bless,

Rony
 

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ozgeorge said:
They seem somehow connected to me, but I wouldn't define hypostasis as "individualized ousia" as Rony defines Qnoma.
Another thing I can't get my head around is what seems to me the fact that if Kyana is the One Divine Ousia, and Qnomo is "individualized ousia" then each Person of the Trinity has "two ousias"- the General one, and Their individual one. And of course, this would mean that Christ had three ousias at the Incarnation.
It should be borne in mind that the Cappadocians are reformulating Greek pagan terminology in order to make it serve Christian revealed theology.  In other words, the Cappadocians are not doing philosophy; instead, they are doing theology.  Problems only arise when one tries to do the opposite, i.e., conform Cappadocian usage to Greek pagan thought. 

ozgeorge,

Your post highlights the reason for conservatism in the use of theological terminology.  The Cappadocians formulated their theology very precisely in order to exclude certain heretical viewpoints.  The problem I have with Rony's position is that it seems to be absolutely relativistic, especially when you look at the Maronites, whose theological viewpoint seems to coordinate well with the teaching of the Cappadocians and the Council of Chalcedon.
 

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ronyodish said:
Todd,

You should accept what Greek theology teaches you, and since you are already doing that, then it really has nothing to do with me.  I am not a Greek Catholic, nor do I express the faith using Greek theology, but if I was, then this whole discussion would make more sense, because then we would be discussing the correct understanding of Greek theology.

. . .

God bless,

Rony
I speak English not Greek, but I recognize the normative value of the Greek language in theology, because -- for whatever reason -- God chose to inspire the New Testament authors by having them use Greek.

Translations of the Greek scriptures, and translations of Greek theological terminology, is fine with me, but the original language always retains its normative value.
 

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ozgeorge said:
Thanks for that explanation Rony.
This is why Qnome caanot be quivalent to Hypostasis.
This makes me think that Qnome cannot be equivalent to ousia either. Like Qnome, Ousia does not exist in the abstract, but must exist withing an hypostasis, yet:whereas in the Trinity, we confess One Ousia.
It seems as if the word "Qnome", may have more than one meaning. It would be interesting to see what the word is used for in Assyro - secular literature.

It also seems as if one can "reshape" what "Qnome" means.







JNORM888
 

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I would agree with you, but the Maronite position appears to be perfectly coordinate with the dogmatic decree (horos) of Chalcedon, while the position of Rony's own Church coordinates with that of the position taken by Nestorius.
Todd,

I am not intending to answer for ozgeorge here, I just want to add a few comments.

The Maronites accepted Chalcedon from the beginning, because they were in the Roman Empire.

As for us, who were not in the Rome Empire, we fell out of communion with the rest of the Western Churches (Western meaning West of the Euphrates river) at the Synod of Mar Dadisho in 424 for political, not Christological reasons.  Later, we were accused of Nestorianism.  when we re-established full communion, we were required to revise certain things that seemed to be "Nestorian".  The 1994 Declaration with the Assyrian Church effectively put an end to the accusation that the Assyrian Church was "Nestorian", therefore we Chaldeans are no longer forbidden to reclaim our traditional Christological position.

A small example:

In our liturgy, the traditional way was to speak of the Mother of Christ.  When we re-established full communion, we were required to change it to Mother of God (because we were thought to be "Nestorian").  Now, when our liturgy was recently revised, we have both Mother of God and next to it in a paranthesis, Mother of Christ, to show that both titles are ok.

Now whether Rony (or the Latin Church for that matter) likes it or not, the Greek language has a theological primacy in Christian theology, because it is the language of the inspired New Testament, and as a consequence it has a normative value.  Interestingly, the theology professors I had at the Latin Catholic university that Rony is presently attending insisted upon this fact.
The Greek language does not have a theological primacy in our Church of the East.  We accept Holy Tradition which we received in Aramaic, as the Pentecost passage in Acts 2 says when the residents of Mesopotamia received in their own language the Gospel, and subsequently when we were evangelized by the Apostolic mission.  We represent a continuity with the early Semitic Christianity which was a non-hellenized Aramaic Christianity, as this form of Christianity spread to the Aramaic East into Iraq and further East.

We also accept Holy Scripture, but we have no original copies of the New Testament, and so it not 100% certain among scholars that the NT were originally written in Greek (Greek Primacy), as there is a minority among scholars that accepts Aramaic Primacy.  Personally, I accept that most of the New Testament was written in Greek, but I do hold that Matthew was written in Aramaic as there is Patristic mentioning of this.  Some Assyrians and Chaldeans hold to Aramaic Primacy.  In any case, we use the Pshytta version of the Bible, an Aramaic Bible, in our theology and liturgy.  Therefore, the Aramaic NT that we have has normative value for our Church of the East.

Of course, the Latin professors would insist on Greek Primacy, as this the majority view.

As I see it, it is the primacy of Greek language that ultimately makes the Latin Church's attempts to justify the use of the filioque in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed problematic, because the fact that in the past the Latin Church has mistranslated the Greek words ekporeusis and proienai with the single Latin word processio is not a sufficient justification for causing confusion in connection with the Spirit's existential procession of origin (i.e., ekporeusis), which is from the Father alone, with His eternal energetic manifestation (phanerosis) or progression (proienai), which is from the Father through the Son.
This is a squabble between you and the Latins, and has nothing to do with us Assyro-Chaldeans.

Moreover, based upon Rony's own comments in connection with qnoma it appears that the term is related to the word hypostasis, since both terms seem to concern something that is essentially existent, and the Maronite Catholics appear to use the term in this precise fashion in their theology.
I've explained this above.  Maronites are of the Antiochene tradition, distinct from us.  We are not Antiochenes, and never were, as our Apostolic Succession and See is different from that of the Apostolic Succession and See of the Antiochenes.  They define Qnoma differently than we do.

Finally, the Cappadocian Fathers chose the term hypostasis precisely for that reason (i.e., because it conveys the idea of concrete existence), and they used the word in order to complete and make concrete the term prosopon, which when taken alone was open to a Sabellian interpretation (cf. St. Basil's letters 38 and 236).
That is good Greek theology, and as I keep saying, I am not opposed to Greek theology, we merely just don't theologize in Greek.

That said, based upon what Rony has said so far in this thread, I remain unconvinced that his christological and triadological views coordinate with historic Orthodoxy.  I also am concerned by his apparent dogmatic relativism in christology and triadology, because it involves what I can only describe as a misguided attempt to make a form of Nestorianism acceptable.
They are not of that of historic Orthodoxy, because our theology is not that of Orthodoxy, rather, it is that of the Church of the East.  You are seeing relativism in what I am saying because as I mentioned earlier, you've developed a uniformest rather than a pluriformest mind, and so you are uncomfortable with a multiplicity of theologies in a Communion.  I reject relativism, this is not a relativism issue, it is an issue of a multiplicity of complementary theologies that are allowed in the Catholic Church.  We confess two Kyane, two Qnome, one Parsopa, and if you see this as "Nestorianism", then there is nothing I can do about it other than to tell you that it is not "Nestorianism".  This is our heritage in the Church of the East, and I have no authority to change anything of it.  If you want, you can try to contact our bishops and discuss it with them, I highly recommend you to talk with Bishop Mar Bawai Soro, and he will explain this Christology to you.  If you want to buy his book, you can get it here: http://www.lulu.com/content/1670586

God bless,

Rony
 

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ronyodish said:
Todd,

I am not intending to answer for ozgeorge here, I just want to add a few comments.

The Maronites accepted Chalcedon from the beginning, because they were in the Roman Empire.

As for us, who were not in the Rome Empire, we fell out of communion with the rest of the Western Churches (Western meaning West of the Euphrates river) at the Synod of Mar Dadisho in 424 for political, not Christological reasons.  Later, we were accused of Nestorianism.  when we re-established full communion, we were required to revise certain things that seemed to be "Nestorian".  The 1994 Declaration with the Assyrian Church effectively put an end to the accusation that the Assyrian Church was "Nestorian", therefore we Chaldeans are no longer forbidden to reclaim our traditional Christological position.
Just as the bishop of Rome does not have the power to unilaterally alter the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed by adding the word "filioque" to it; so too he does not have the authority to authorize any Church to accept a christological position at variance with the teaching of the Council of Chalcedon.
 

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ronyodish said:
The Greek language does not have a theological primacy in our Church of the East.  We accept Holy Tradition which we received in Aramaic, as the Pentecost passage in Acts 2 says when the residents of Mesopotamia received in their own language the Gospel, and subsequently when we were evangelized by the Apostolic mission.  We represent a continuity with the early Semitic Christianity which was a non-hellenized Aramaic Christianity, as this form of Christianity spread to the Aramaic East into Iraq and further East.

We also accept Holy Scripture, but we have no original copies of the New Testament, and so it not 100% certain among scholars that the NT were originally written in Greek (Greek Primacy), as there is a minority among scholars that accepts Aramaic Primacy.  Personally, I accept that most of the New Testament was written in Greek, but I do hold that Matthew was written in Aramaic as there is Patristic mentioning of this.  Some Assyrians and Chaldeans hold to Aramaic Primacy.  In any case, we use the Pshytta version of the Bible, an Aramaic Bible, in our theology and liturgy.  Therefore, the Aramaic NT that we have has normative value for our Church of the East.
I have never heard anyone seriously argue the position that you are advocating.  The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and so the Greek language is theologically normative.  Clearly, we will never come to an agreement on this issue.
 

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ronyodish said:
We confess two Kyane, two Qnome, one Parsopa, and if you see this as "Nestorianism", then there is nothing I can do about it other than to tell you that it is not "Nestorianism".  This is our heritage in the Church of the East, and I have no authority to change anything of it.  If you want, you can try to contact our bishops and discuss it with them, I highly recommend you to talk with Bishop Mar Bawai Soro, and he will explain this Christology to you.  If you want to buy his book, you can get it here: http://www.lulu.com/content/1670586
Rony,

I remain unconvinced that your position is reconcilable with Chalcedonian Orthodoxy.  Thus, as I see it, you are a Nestorian.

Todd
 

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Apotheoun said:
The reason that Chalcedon is worded the way it is, i.e., by using the terms prosopon and hypostasis in order to assert the fully unity of the incarnate Logos, was precisely in order to exclude the Nestorians, who could not in good conscience endorse the decree because it contradicted their own theological position.
And yet the Persian Church (the Church of the East) accepted the Chalcedonian definition, at least initially prior to Constantinople II.  The reason why the Armenian Church rejected Chalcedon in the early sixth century is because the Persian Church was asserting that Chalcedon vindicated its position.  Also, Nestorius lived long enough to read Pope Leo's tome and he speaks favorably of Pope Leo in the Bazaar of Heracleides.  So there must be something that allows the language of Chalcedon to be interpreted in a way that is friendly to to Rony's Church.

 

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There is nothing inherent to the Chalcedonian decree that would make it amenable to the Nestorians.  Nevertheless, as Grillmeier points out, Leo's tome is somewhat imprecise and can be misread in a Nestorian fashion, but – of course – the Fathers of Chalcedon refused to make Leo's tome the dogmatic horos of the council, while also insisting that the tome had to be read in the light of St. Cyril's theology. 

Fr. Romanides has written about this, and it was brought up and discussed years ago in the Orthodox / Oriental dialogue: 

http://www.orthodoxunity.org/article07.html
 

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Apotheoun said:
There is nothing inherent to the Chalcedonian decree that would make it amenable to the Nestorians. 
And yet it was amenable to the Nestorian Persian Church of the early sixth century.  This is well documented, as that was the reason why the Armenians ended up rejecting Chalcedon. 

A strong argument can be made, however, that Chalcedon read together with Constantinople II is not amenable to the Nestorians.
 

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The fact that Persian Nestorians misinterpreted the decree of Chalcedon does not change the Council Fathers teaching itself, any more than a man who misinterprets John 1:14 in an Apollinarian fashion alters the real meaning of the sacred text.

The Fathers of Chalcedon rejected the idea that there is more than one prosopon or hypostasis in Christ, and those same Fathers also insisted that the two natures (divine and human) can only be held to be distinct, but inseparable, tei theoriai monei.
 

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St. Gregory Palamas, great as he is, is personally irrelelvant; while the distinction between essence (ousia) and energy (energeia) or power (dynamis), which goes back to the New Testament itself, and to the Fathers of the first four centuries, is quite relevant.
Good Greek theology.

We say: "Now in the manner of the soul which is possessed of three-fold energy; mind, word, and life, and is one and not three; even so should we conceive of the Three in One, One in Three" (Book of Marganitha, Part I, Chapter V).

This "common christological declaration" has no dogmatic value, and is simply an agreement signed between the Roman Church and the Assyrian Church.  It certainly cannot be held to have the same value as Chalcedon, which is a binding decree (horos) of an ecumenical council.
The Assyrian Church of the East officially only accepts the first two Councils of the Roman Empire as Ecumenical, in addition to the acceptance of the Church Synods, and so this Common Christological Declaration is the next step up, and since it was signed by their Patriarch, who, in the Church of the East Ecclesialogy, has Primacy over the local bishops, then this is binding on them.

For us members of the Chaldean Catholic Church of the East, we see this Declaration signed by the Pope as the official acceptance of the orthodoxy of the traditional Church of the East Christology in the Catholic Church.  As regards the Church of the East ecclesiology on the Pope, this is how Mar Odisho (Church Father in both our Church, as well as, the Assyrian Church) teaches about him:

----------------
“. . . . And as the patriarch has authority to do all he wishes in a fitting manner in such things as are beneath his authority, so the patriarch of Rome has authority over all patriarchs, like the blessed Peter over all the community, for he who is in Rome also keeps the office of Peter in all the church. He who transgresses against these things the ecumenical synod places under anathema.” (Memra 9; Risha 8 ).
---------------

And So, this Common Christological Declaration signed by the Pope allows us to Interpret the Christological Councils of the Roman Empire in accordance with the traditional Christology of the Church of the East.  We take what is essential in these Christological Councils, and express them in our Aramaic tradition in accordance with the traditional Church of the East theology.

The reason that Chalcedon is worded the way it is, i.e., by using the terms prosopon and hypostasis in order to assert the fully unity of the incarnate Logos, was precisely in order to exclude the Nestorians, who could not in good conscience endorse the decree because it contradicted their own theological position.
Ok.  In any case, the Church of the East was outside the Roman Empire, in the Persian Empire, having already fallen out of communion with the rest of the Churches to their west, for political reasons.

God bless,

Rony
 

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ronyodish said:
The Assyrian Church of the East officially only accepts the first two Councils of the Roman Empire as Ecumenical, in addition to the acceptance of the Church Synods, and so this Common Christological Declaration is the next step up, and since it was signed by their Patriarch, who, in the Church of the East Ecclesialogy, has Primacy over the local bishops, then this is binding on them.

For us members of the Chaldean Catholic Church of the East, we see this Declaration signed by the Pope as the official acceptance of the orthodoxy of the traditional Church of the East Christology in the Catholic Church.  As regards the Church of the East ecclesiology on the Pope, this is how Mar Odisho (Church Father in both our Church, as well as, the Assyrian Church) teaches about him:

----------------
“. . . . And as the patriarch has authority to do all he wishes in a fitting manner in such things as are beneath his authority, so the patriarch of Rome has authority over all patriarchs, like the blessed Peter over all the community, for he who is in Rome also keeps the office of Peter in all the church. He who transgresses against these things the ecumenical synod places under anathema.” (Memra 9; Risha 8 ).
---------------

And So, this Common Christological Declaration signed by the Pope allows us to Interpret the Christological Councils of the Roman Empire in accordance with the traditional Christology of the Church of the East.  We take what is essential in these Christological Councils, and express them in our Aramaic tradition in accordance with the traditional Church of the East theology.

Ok.  In any case, the Church of the East was outside the Roman Empire, in the Persian Empire, having already fallen out of communion with the rest of the Churches to their west, for political reasons.

God bless,

Rony
As I said, we aren't going to agree.  The Pope does not have the power to alter anything taught by the seven great councils.
 

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Apotheoun said:
The fact that Persian Nestorians misinterpreted the decree of Chalcedon does not change the Council Fathers teaching itself, any more than a man who misinterprets John 1:14 in an Apollinarian fashion alters the real meaning of the sacred text.
How about all those people at the time of Justinian (including the Catholic Pope and some Eastern patriarchs) who didn't want to condemn the Three Chapters or adopt the phrase "One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh" because they thought it would undermine Chalcedon?  Did they also misinterpret the decree of Chalcedon?

I'm not trying to pick a fight.  I just want to see where you are coming from in this.   :)
 

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Todd and everyone else,

This weekend and next week up to Saturday, I will not be available to post due to my academic commitments in this Summer.  God willing, I will be back not on this Sunday, but next Sunday, and will try to catch up with more postings.  I tend to take a lot of time when posting, and so I'm not as fast in replying as others  :D

Till next time, take care everyone, and God bless,

Rony
 

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Salpy,

Anyone can misinterpret things, and that is why one must always return to the original sources.

That said, Chalcedon accepts the miaphysis theology of St. Cyril, while simply rejecting monophysitism, which the Oriental Orthodox also reject.

The canons of Constantinople II make it clear that Chalcedon must not be read in such a way that it causes division in Christ (the Chalcedonian decree is pretty clear about that itself), for the difference of the two natures can only be taken in a "theoretical manner" (canon 7).
 

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ronyodish said:
Todd and everyone else,

This weekend and next week up to Saturday, I will not be available to post due to my academic commitments in this Summer.  God willing, I will be back not on this Sunday, but next Sunday, and will try to catch up with more postings.  I tend to take a lot of time when posting, and so I'm not as fast in replying as others   :D

Till next time, take care everyone, and God bless,

Rony
Have a good weekend.
 

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Apotheoun said:
Salpy,

Anyone can misinterpret things, and that is why one must always return to the original sources.

That said, Chalcedon accepts the miaphysis theology of St. Cyril, while simply rejecting monophysitism, which the Oriental Orthodox also reject.

The canons of Constantinople II make it clear that Chalcedon must not be read in such a way that it causes division in Christ, for the difference of the two natures can only be taken in a "theoretical manner" (canon 7).
Thank you for your replies.  They helped me understand where you are coming from.  :)
 

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Hey guys,

Just wanted to drop by for a quick post.

Go to these videos on Patristic Christology given by Fr. Andrew Younan, a Chaldean Catholic priest.

Part I - History - http://kaldu.org/Theology_Course_2007/03_B_PChristology_01_Video.html
Part II - Councils & Synods - http://kaldu.org/Theology_Course_2007/05_B_PChristology_02_Video.html
Part III - Christ in the East - http://kaldu.org/Theology_Course_2007/06_B_PChristology_03_Video.html

These videos (mostly in English) should explain further the discussions here, and should keep you busy for a little bit while I'm gone for about a week.

God bless you,

Rony
 

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Apotheoun said:
Rony,

Hypostasis, as used by St. Gregory of Nyssa, is basically understood to be a concrete or particular essence, and so in some sense it parallels (but is not identical to) Aristotle's ousia prote; while the divine ousia, which for the Cappadocians is utterly transcendent and unknowable, tends to be connected with Aristotle's ousia deutera, except that the apophaticism of Basil and the two Gregories means that it (i.e., the divine ousia) is ultimately beyond human thought and predication (cf. Diogenes Allen, "Philosophy for Understanding Theology," pages 66-72).  So it does appear as though there is a connection between the use of the word hypostasis by the Cappadocian Fathers and qnoma understood as a particular essence, which means that the Maronite usage of that term, in both triadology and christology, corresponds to the teaching of the Cappadocians and Chalcedon, while the use of the term by your sui juris Church does not.

Todd
One further point of clarification in relation to what I said in the post quoted above:  the correspondence between Aristotle's ousia deutera and the divine ousia, according to the Cappadocians, is only by way of analogy, because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not one in the sense of a species, but are strictly one, and so the divine ousia must not be confused with Aristotle's ousia deutera, which really refers to the unity of a group of beings within a particular species.
 

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Hi everyone,

I'm back, and I will try to post a little.  I'm starting another course tomorrow, and so my postings will be limited.

I understand your position, I simply do not agree with it, because I do not see how it can be said to be Orthodox in light of the decree of Chalcedon.
Todd,

That's fine.  As I said, the Church of the East Theology on Christ is not that of the Orthodox.  It is peculiar to only four Churches (two of them Catholic: Chaldean/Syro-Malabar, and two non-Catholic: Assyrian/Ancient).  Our Christology is not Latin, not Constantinopolitan, not Antiochene, not Armenian, and not Alexandrian.

The problem I have with Rony's position is that it seems to be absolutely relativistic, especially when you look at the Maronites, whose theological viewpoint seems to coordinate well with the teaching of the Cappadocians and the Council of Chalcedon.
I see why you see it as absolutely relativistic, and I think it is because you are equating the essence of a teaching, with the formula that is used to expresses it.  I don't equate essence with formulas.  I hold that in the Catholic Communion, we are all to accept the essence of the Faith, but we may differ in its formulations, so long as our differentiations are not essentially in contradiction to one another.

I firmly hold and agree that there is One Faith, One Baptism, and One Lord of all.  But, I don't accept that all in the Catholic Communion must be uniformed, that is, using one formulation for all in the expression of Faith.  The Maronites accepted the formulation of Chalcedon.  I hold that it is necessary for all to accept the essence of the Councils, but not necessary for all to use the formulations given.

So, for example, with regards to the members of the Syriac Catholic Church, I do not see a problem with it if they were to expresses the Faith like the Syriac Orthodox Church, in saying one united Kyono in Christ, rather than two (as in the Chalcedon formula of two physeis).

I think our problem boils down to this: When it comes to the Faith, I make a differentiation between essence and form, and to me, it appears that you do not make the same differentiation.

So it does appear as though there is a connection between the use of the word hypostasis by the Cappadocian Fathers and qnoma understood as a particular essence, which means that the Maronite usage of that term, in both triadology and christology, corresponds to the teaching of the Cappadocians and Chalcedon, while the use of the term by your sui juris Church does not.
There is a difference between the Maronites and us.  They defined Qnoma in the way that you guys defined Hypostasis.  We define Qnoma in the way Mar Babai (Bawai) the Great defines it.  By the way, here is some info. I found on Mar Babai the Great:

---------------------
Babai's christology

The main theological authorities of Babai were Theodore of Mopsuestia and Diodorus of Tarsus. He also relied on John Chrysostomos, the Cappadocian fathers and on Ephrem the Syrian, which were also accepted in the west. In his exegetical methods he synthesized between the rational Theodore and mystical writers like Evagrius.

And most important, instead of breaking with Theodore because of some extreme interpretations of his teachings, like others did, Babai clarified his position to the point that differences with western Christology became superficial and mostly an issue of terminology. His Christology is built in great part on sound exegesis and an interesting anthropology and is far less dualistic than the one Nestorius seems to have presented. Babai in the 'Book of Union' teaches two qnome (hypostasis--not the Chalcedonian use of this term, essence), which are unmingled but everlastingly united in one parsopa (person, character, identity, also "hypostasis" in Chalcedonian usage.). It is essential to use the Syrian terms here and not any translations, because the same words mean different things to different people, and the words must be accepted in the particular sense of each. In Greek Christology, hypostasis is used specifically to refer to what would correspond to Babai's parsopa, and ousion would correspond to qnome. In the period in which Babai and others formulated their respective Christological models, words such as "hypostasis" and "ousion" had less specifically fixed definitions. Thus, it was possible for two individuals to honestly use a single term to mean two distinctly different things.
-----------------------------

God bless,

Rony
 
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