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.
 

ronyodish

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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?
 

ronyodish

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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.
 

Apotheoun

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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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