Theological Differences Between Assyro-Chaldean and Greek Catholics

ronyodish

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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.
Todd,

I realize that you are English speaking, but you received your theological perspectives from the Greek-Constantinopolitan-Orthodox tradition.  For those of us who are not of the Greek tradition, we prefer that we maintain the normative value of the original Aramaic language of Jesus and the Apostles as handed down to us by Holy Tradition.

As far as Holy Scripture, as I mentioned before, not all Christians agree with Greek Primacy.  In fact, the late Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, HH Mar Eshai Shimun, stated the following:

-----------------------------
"With reference to....the originality of the Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and Head of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East, we wish to state, that the Church of the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original, the language spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and that the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the East which has come down from the Biblical times without any change or revision."
-----------------------------

God bless,

Rony
 

ronyodish

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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.
Todd,

The Pope of Rome and the Patriarch of the non-Chalcedonian Malankara Orthodox Church signed an agreement which basically says that both miaphysite Christology and dyophysite Christology can co-exist in the same Communion:

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8. It is this faith which we both confess. Its content is the same in both communions; in formulating that content in the course of history, however, differences have arisen, in terminology and emphasis. We are convinced that these differences are such as can co-exist in the same communion and therefore need not and should not divide us, especially when we proclaim Him to our brothers and sisters in the world in terms which they can more easily understand.
-----------

Now that the Pope has done this (not just with the Malankara Orthodox, but agreements with the other Orientals as well), basically telling the Catholic world that a Church does not have to hold to a Chalcedonian terminological formula of the faith in order to be in the Catholic Communion, how do you perceive this action?

Do you agree that differences of formulas can coexist in the same Communion?

I personally have no problem with it.

God bless,

Rony
 

ronyodish

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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.
Todd,

Since no one has the original autographs written by the Apostles, then it is not certain they were all written in Greek.  Besides, you and I are not "sola scriptura" Christians (as if we draw our Content of the Faith from the Scriptures alone), and so we would have to account for Holy Tradition as well.

Perhaps you can explain to me how an Aramaic people such as my people would have received the Gospel via Holy Tradition in the Greek language, when Greek is not our language, and never was our language?  Do you think when St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Addai, St. Mari and St. Aggai were evangelizing us, they had interpreters standing by them as they spoke to us in Greek?  No, my brother, they evangelized us in the Aramaic language.  We received the Faith, "once delivered to the Saints", in Aramaic and kept it the same ever since.

We Aramaeans don't need to make a foreign language, such as Greek, the normative language for our theology.  We already have the language of Jesus and the Apostles, Aramaic, as normative for our theology.

God bless,

Rony
 

ronyodish

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I remain unconvinced that your position is reconcilable with Chalcedonian Orthodoxy.  Thus, as I see it, you are a Nestorian.
"As to the Easterners, however, because they would not change their true faith, but kept it as they received it from the Apostles, they were unjustly styled 'Nestorians', since Nestorius was not their Patriarch, neither did they understand his language" (Book of Marganitha, Part III, Chapter IV).

The ignorance of the Greeks towards us continues... :'(

Rony
 

ronyodish

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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.
Salpy,

The Church of the East was in substantial or essential agreement with Chalcedon, but not in form.  The reason for it was due to the two nature language that was employed, which was considered a vindication of their language over the one united nature language of the Alexandrians.

Here is what Mar Odisho (Abdisho) of Soba says about this Council:

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After this, tumult and discord went on increasing until the zealous and CHRIST-loving Marcian undertook to convene the great Council of the six hundred and thirty two in the town of Chalcedon, and commanded that both parties should be examined and judged, and that whosoever did not follow the truth and faith as declared by Ecumenical Councils should be expelled from the Church, in order that the Church might be in one accord in all matters of faith. This Council confirmed the confession, that there are two natures in CHRIST each distinct in its attributes, and also two wills, and anathematized all who should speak of mixture, which destroys the two natures. But because in Greek there is no distinction between Qnuma (hypostasis) and person, they confessed but one Qnuma in CHRIST. And when the party of Cyril was not satisfied with the expression “two Natures “, and the party of Nestorius with the expression “one Qnuma” an imperial edict was issued declaring all who did not consent to this doctrine degraded from their orders. Some were made to submit through compulsion; but the remainder maintained their own opinions.

Book of Marganitha, Part III, Chapter IV
-------------------

God bless,

Rony
 

ronyodish

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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.
Todd,

Jesus and the Apostles gave us the Deposit of Faith, all of it, the whole public revelation, once and for all in the beginning.  The same Church that convened the Councils can determine for whom the formulations/expressions of these councils are directed.  Our Faith doesn't originate from the Councils, it originates from Jesus and the Apostles.  The formulas that were used in the Councils can be re-expressed from a different angle, if need be, in order to better apply the Deposit of Faith within a particular culture.  The Pope, Patriarchs, and Bishops in full communion with one another have the authority to re-express the One Faith once delivered to the Saints.  The Pope, Patriarchs, and Bishops do not have the authority to give us a different Faith from that of the Apostles.  They can only hand on what they have received from Christ and the Apostles.

There is a difference between the one faith expressed differently among peoples and cultures, versus, multiple contradictory faiths.  I hold the former, not the latter.

God bless,

Rony
 

ronyodish

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That said, Chalcedon accepts the miaphysis theology of St. Cyril
Todd,

I'm curious, would you then say the following statement is heretical?

The Syriac Orthodox Church (Oriental Orthodox) confesses in Christ: one Kyono, one Qnomo, and one Parsopo.

This is not the phrasing of Chalcedon (Chalcedon mentions two Kyone - physeis).  I personally don't think it is heretical, because I know that by one Kyono, they mean a United Kyono, without change and without confusion, and that the Divine Kyono has not swallowed up the human Kyono.

Are you comfortable with a phrasing/expression such as this of the Syriac Orthodox that is not Chalcedonian?

God bless,

Rony
 

Salpy

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I have always felt it best to look not only at the language, but at what is meant by the language.  As I alluded to above, two people can use the same language and mean two very different things.  For that reason, I'd like to ask a couple of questions about the beliefs of the Chaldean Church, rather than perseverating on language.

My first question is, does the Chaldean Church accept the phrase, "One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh?"

My second question is, does the Chaldean Church teach that Christ's divinity and humanity ever seperated?  For example, on the Cross, when Christ said, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  Do you believe that at that moment Christ's divinity left Him and that is why He said that?

Answers to questions like these do more to tell me what someone believes about Christ than just analyzing Syriac and Greek words.  At least that's how it is for a simple person like myself.  :)
 

ronyodish

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My first question is, does the Chaldean Church accept the phrase, "One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh?"
Salpy,

Being in the Catholic Communion, we don’t consider that phrase as heresy, since it was accepted as orthodox at Constantinople II, but we would re-express it like this:

One of the Trinity became Man and suffered.

The Chaldean version of the Creed says:  “. . . one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God . . . descended from heaven, betook a body by the power of the Holy Spirit, was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary and became man, who suffered and was crucified in the days of Pontius Pilate, who died . . .”

So you see, the Son, who is one Qnoma of the Trinity, became man and suffered.

My second question is, does the Chaldean Church teach that Christ's divinity and humanity ever seperated? 
No.  The Union of the Son and the human Qnoma was inseparable.  Christ was always One Person, His Divinity and His Humanity remained inseparable.

For example, on the Cross, when Christ said, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  Do you believe that at that moment Christ's divinity left Him and that is why He said that?
No.  The one Person of the Union, the Lord Jesus Christ, cried that statement out as Man, not because a separation of the Union has occurred, but because the one Christ does certain things as God and certain things as Man.

Here is how Mar Narsai, a father of the Church of the East, describes Christ in the passion/death/resurrection:

------------------------------------------------
the  attendants seized Him and bound His hands, as Man;
and He healed the ear that Simon cut off, as God.
He stood in the place of judgement and bore insult, as Man;
and He declared that He is about to come in glory, as God.
He bore  His Cross upon His shoulder, as Man;
and He revealed and announced the  destruction of Zion, as God.
He was hanged upon the wood and endured the  passion, as Man;
and He shook the earth and darkened the sun, as God.

Nails were driven into His body, as Man;
and He opened the graves and quickened the dead, as  God.
He cried out upon the Cross 'My God, My God,' as Man;
and promised Paradise to the thief, as God.
His side was pierced with a spear, as  Man;
and His nod rent the temple veil, as God.
They embalmed His body and He was buried in the earth, as Man;
and He raised up His temple by His mighty  power, as God.
-----------------------------------------

By the way, in the Peshitta, the way to translate the phrase in Matt. 27:46 (ܐܝܠ ܐܝܠ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ) might be better done in English like this: “[my]God, [my]God, why have you spared me”.  This is how it is translated by Assyrian scholar Paul Younan.  In my opinion, this may be a better translation than the usual “forsaken me” translation.

Also, Jesus was utilizing Psalm 22:1 when he cried this out.

Thanks for the questions  :)

God bless,

Rony
 

Salpy

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Thank you, Rony.  For me, personally, this is more useful than examining obscure terms from a language I don't speak.  :)

I'm not at all an expert in these things, but I get a feeling some of what you wrote above may contain some "separatist" (if that's a real word) language that would make the OO's feel uncomfortable.

I'm wondering about the feelings of the non-Chaldean Catholics, as well as the EO's.  Do they feel comfortable with the above?

This is an interesting topic.  :)
 

Aristocles

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This EO is not 'comfortable with that, no. Especially Christ's quoting the 22nd Psalm from the cross being interpreted in this fashion.
 

ozgeorge

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Αριστοκλής said:
This EO is not 'comfortable with that, no. Especially Christ's quoting the 22nd Psalm from the cross being interpreted in this fashion.
Do you mean the quote from the Cross being interpreted as a separation of the Divinity and Humanity? If so, I fully agree.
I think Christ quoting the first line of the Psalm assumes the hearer is aware of the full text of the Psalm.
 

Aristocles

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ozgeorge said:
Do you mean the quote from the Cross being interpreted as a separation of the Divinity and Humanity? If so, I fully agree.
I think Christ quoting the first line of the Psalm assumes the hearer is aware of the full text of the Psalm.
Yes, and yes.
 

ronyodish

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There was never a separation between the Divinity and Humanity in Christ.  At no time did the Son ever separate from His human Qnoma.  No Apostolic Church and tradition maintains that the Union was separated.  Specifically, the Assyro-Chaldean tradition, or the Churches of the East, vigorously reject a division or separation in Christ.

It is the One Christ who shows us His Divinity and His Humanity.  In the Incarnation, there are not two Sons, but one Son who is God and Man.

I'm not at all an expert in these things, but I get a feeling some of what you wrote above may contain some "separatist" (if that's a real word) language that would make the OO's feel uncomfortable.
Salpy,

As far as I know (and you can correct me on this), the OO in general seem to be more comfortable with the language of the Incarnate God, rather than God and Man.  At least, that's what Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Orthodox says:

-----------
Similarly, we speak about the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ,
the Incarnate God, and we do not say "God and man".
-----------

For us, we speak of the one Lord Jesus Christ, God and Man.  I see this as having the same meaning as Enfleshed God or Incarnate God, just different wording.  The Alexandrians loved to speak in terms of "Word/Flesh" or "God/Flesh", whereas we preferred a "Word/Man" or "God/Man" terminology.

God bless,

Rony
 

ialmisry

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ronyodish said:
My first question is, does the Chaldean Church accept the phrase, "One of the Trinity suffered in the flesh?"
Salpy,

Being in the Catholic Communion, we don’t consider that phrase as heresy, since it was accepted as orthodox at Constantinople II, but we would re-express it like this:

One of the Trinity became Man and suffered.

The Chaldean version of the Creed says:  “. . . one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God . . . descended from heaven, betook a body by the power of the Holy Spirit, was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary and became man, who suffered and was crucified in the days of Pontius Pilate, who died . . .”

So you see, the Son, who is one Qnoma of the Trinity, became man and suffered.

My second question is, does the Chaldean Church teach that Christ's divinity and humanity ever seperated? 
No.  The Union of the Son and the human Qnoma was inseparable.  Christ was always One Person, His Divinity and His Humanity remained inseparable.

For example, on the Cross, when Christ said, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  Do you believe that at that moment Christ's divinity left Him and that is why He said that?
No.  The one Person of the Union, the Lord Jesus Christ, cried that statement out as Man, not because a separation of the Union has occurred, but because the one Christ does certain things as God and certain things as Man.

Here is how Mar Narsai, a father of the Church of the East, describes Christ in the passion/death/resurrection:

------------------------------------------------
the  attendants seized Him and bound His hands, as Man;
and He healed the ear that Simon cut off, as God.
He stood in the place of judgement and bore insult, as Man;
and He declared that He is about to come in glory, as God.
He bore  His Cross upon His shoulder, as Man;
and He revealed and announced the  destruction of Zion, as God.
He was hanged upon the wood and endured the  passion, as Man;
and He shook the earth and darkened the sun, as God.

Nails were driven into His body, as Man;
and He opened the graves and quickened the dead, as  God.
He cried out upon the Cross 'My God, My God,' as Man;
and promised Paradise to the thief, as God.
His side was pierced with a spear, as  Man;
and His nod rent the temple veil, as God.
They embalmed His body and He was buried in the earth, as Man;
and He raised up His temple by His mighty  power, as God.
-----------------------------------------

By the way, in the Peshitta, the way to translate the phrase in Matt. 27:46 (ܐܝܠ ܐܝܠ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ) might be better done in English like this: “[my]God, [my]God, why have you spared me”.  This is how it is translated by Assyrian scholar Paul Younan.  In my opinion, this may be a better translation than the usual “forsaken me” translation.

Also, Jesus was utilizing Psalm 22:1 when he cried this out.

Thanks for the questions  :)

God bless,

Rony
In the Pascha service we speak of the sun darkening of the sun, etc. as Creation suffering with the Creator.  The "My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me?" as the Creator suffering with His Creation.

Salpy said:
Thank you, Rony.  For me, personally, this is more useful than examining obscure terms from a language I don't speak.  :)

I'm not at all an expert in these things, but I get a feeling some of what you wrote above may contain some "separatist" (if that's a real word) language that would make the OO's feel uncomfortable.

I'm wondering about the feelings of the non-Chaldean Catholics, as well as the EO's.  Do they feel comfortable with the above?

This is an interesting topic.  :)
Depends on the context. In a historical context with that was Nestorian, with a separation in the hypostatic union of Christ, I'd have a problem with it.  In the Oriental Orthodox, with no such history, I wouldn't.  Quite the opposite.  In the EO Church there are lots of hymns that dwell on the paradox of the communication of idioms, which is what I think we have here, and would be no problem.
 

Eper04

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Apotheoun said:
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.
As a Christian Roman Catholic I can say that we(meaning in this case catholics) do believe in the council of Chalcedon.

We also say that Our Lady is the Mother of God.
In part of the Christological declaration by Pope John Paul II says "...  In the light of this same faith the Catholic tradition addresses the Virgin Mary as "the Mother of God" and also as "the Mother of Christ". We both recognize the legitimacy and rightness of these expressions of the same faith and we both respect the preference of each Church in her liturgical life and piety."

We do believe that Our Lord had two natures: Divine and human as described in the council of Chalcedon.
The Christological declaration was worded very carefully as you see, I'm the Vatican site to let the Assyrians know that our position will not change from all the ecumenical councils. From Holy mother church. Nothing in that respects will change.

The part that says in the 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."

The next part is meant as a reference not for proletelization in any means. It is to show how Catholics believes with reference:

From a Catholic standpoint in a book called "My Catholic Faith." By Most Reverend  Louis LaRavoire Morrow, S.T.D. Bishop of Krishnagar republished 1994 says pg 58-59 says ( "Is Jesus Christ more than one Person? - No. Jesus Christ is only one person; and that person is the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

throught the Gospels we can read about Jesus Christ as only one Person,  - eating, sleeping, talking, and dying, as only one Person.

1. A "person" is a being of intelligent and free, and responsible for his own actions. We attribute to him whatever good or evil he does in the use of his human powers, because he owns or controls those powers.

I am a human person, and everything I do is done by a human human person. But Christ is a Divine Person, since He is God. Whatever Jesus Christ did while He was on earth was of infinite dignity, since it was the work of a Divine Person.

2. Jesus Christ is Our Lord, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, true God and true Man. We call Him "Our Lord" because as God He is Lord and Master of all, and as our Savior He redeemed us with His Blood.

Christ is Our Creator, Redeemer, Lawgiver, Teacher, and Judge. All of these we mean when we say Our Lord. St. Paul says: "He is the Blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords... to whom be honor and everlasting dominion. Amen" (1 Tim. 6:15, 16).

3. There is one Person, the Devine Person, in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is not a human person. Everything in Him even as Man is divine and worthy of adoration.

When we adore the sacred Heart, or the Precious Blood, we do not adore mere flesh, but the flesh United to the divinity. In Christ the human and the divine are inseperable."

Before you say anything let's read further and you will see it does confirm with the council of Chalcedon.
Right after I finish quoting the first part it continues saying.

"How many nature's has Jesus Christ? Jesus Christ has two natures: the nature of God and the nature of man.

1. A "nature" is a substance that is complete in itself as a source of activity. It differs from "person" in that while "person" determines what an individual is, "nature" determines what an individual can do.

In Jesus Christ Our Lord there are two natures: His divine and His human nature. Therefore He could and did act as God; He could and did act as man, while all the time He was God the Son.

2. Because of His Divine nature, Christ is truly God; because of His human nature, He is truly man. In His Divine nature He is the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, God the Son, the Eternal Word. He took His human nature from His mother.

Therefore Jesus Christ is both God and man; He has both Divine and human powers; He has knowledge, can and will act as God and as man. For example, whith His Human nature Jesus worked , ate, spoke, felt pain. But it was His divine nature that enabled Him to become transfigured, walk on the waters, raise the dead.

3. These two natures were United in a Divine Person Jesus Christ, the God-Man. They were intimately united, but they remained distinct. Neither was absorbed by the other. When iron and gold are welded into one solid mass, they continue to retain all their individual properties distinct from each other. The union of the divine and human natures in Christ is called the hypocritical union.

Christ is true God and true man; this is why we call Him God-Man. Beings obtain their nature from their origins; for this reason a child has a human nature, from its human parents. Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Has a Divine nature; moreover, as a man He was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and thus His human nature, This is why Christ often referred to Himself indiscriminately as "Son of God" or "Son of Man"

4. As a consequence of these two natures, Christ had also two wills.

We can see this very clearly in His prayer in the Garden of Olives before His passion. He said: " Nevertheless, not My will, but thine be done." He was referring to His human will, for His divine will was surely the same as His Father's" )

I hope this helps to clarify the views from a Catholic perspective. There is more sources but I believe this is explains with much detail.

And yes we do believe that Our Lady is the Theotokos.
May God bless you.
 

Alpo

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^This is eight years old thread and the participants haven't been active for a while.
 
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