Transubstantation?

Wyatt

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HabteSelassie said:
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I am not quite sure that Consubstantiation is Orthodox teaching, because it affirms that there is both the substance of bread and Body, wine and Blood.  Christ is not joined by essence or even hypostasis to the Bread and Wine, rather they become His Body and Blood, through metousiosis.  Ethiopian Fathers have explained to me that the Holy Communion only appears as bread and wine, but there is no longer bread nor wine, but the Living and Glorious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  Consubstantiation tries to explain why the Holy Communion remains bread and wine, by suggesting that Christ is joined to them, either by essence (doubtful) or hypostasis (illogical) so as to explain how we do not see Human Flesh and Blood on the altar.  It is a pseudo-scientific explanation, but such is a Mystery. :police:  Metousiosis is a simplistic explanation, there was bread and wine, there becomes the Body and Blood substantively.  This is both by essence and hypostasis, as no essence can exist without a manifested form (hypostasis) and no hypostasis can exist without a defining essence/nature.  The Holy Communion IS Jesus Christ, so how could He also be by essence or substance bread and water?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
Great post. It sounds as if the Ethiopian Orthodox Eucharistic theology is essentially the same as ours. A full change has taken place, and the gifts are no longer bread and wine, but fully and entirely the Body and Blood of Christ. I always thought that this was the Eastern Orthodox position as well, but after having participated in this thread I am a bit confused what the Eastern Orthodox believe about the Eucharist. Both consubstantiation and Sacramental Union teach that the bread and wine remain along with the Body and Blood of Christ. I cannot wrap my head around why the Eastern Orthodox Church would consider either teaching anything less than heretical.
 

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Samn! said:
Those Orthodox who are disinclined to accept the philosophical language of transubstantiation need to be able to explain why they are willing to accept the philosophical language canonized by the ecumenical councils with regard to Christology. Many of the objections being made here to the language of transubstantiation are pretty much identical to the objections made to the use of 'homoousios' in the creed.......


Also, I'm surprised that no one has brought up the Council of Jerusalem of 1672, which explicitly endorses transubstantiation....
Correct me if I am wrong here, but I believe no council accepted by the Orthodox (and thus the Fathers of the Council are Orthodox) ever taught us that we should ascribe to one way of understanding a mystery of our faith.  They may talk using theological language to explain the issue at hand and to clarify what the belief is, but they never hold anyone to exclusively use such language when stating what the Orthodox belief is.

Contrary is the Catholic Church at Trent saying that one must believe in Transubstantiation.  Meaning even if you believe in the Real Presence, if you do not subscribe to the philosophical explanation of Transubstantiation, then you are anathemized.

That is the point of contention.  Transubstantiation is one really good way to explain what goes on in the Eucharist and why it still looks like bread and wine.  Even the Orthodox would accept that.  The problem is, why is that essential to belief?  Why can't someone just accept that the bread and wine is no longer and only the body and blood of Christ are there, and not be cursed?
 

Achronos

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Apotheoun said:
I still think it is best to focus upon what is the common teaching of the Church from the earliest times, that is, that the bread and wine of the Eucharist become the Body and Blood of Christ by being consecrated during the anaphora, and not worry about how this can be so.
I have always enjoyed reading your posts, and I think you posted on another Christian forum that I can't seem to recall (Maybe ByzCath).

Anyway, just a quick question. You are Melkite Catholic right? I am curious as to how you can venerate St. John Maximovitch since he is a saint in the Orthodox Church? Or maybe your Faith thing is confusing me.

I mean no offense.
 

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Achronos said:
Apotheoun said:
I still think it is best to focus upon what is the common teaching of the Church from the earliest times, that is, that the bread and wine of the Eucharist become the Body and Blood of Christ by being consecrated during the anaphora, and not worry about how this can be so.
I have always enjoyed reading your posts, and I think you posted on another Christian forum that I can't seem to recall (Maybe ByzCath).

Anyway, just a quick question. You are Melkite Catholic right? I am curious as to how you can venerate St. John Maximovitch since he is a saint in the Orthodox Church? Or maybe your Faith thing is confusing me.

I mean no offense.
No offense taken.  And yes, I am a Melkite Catholic, and I do venerate St. John Maximovitch because I believe that he is a saint.  I've seen and venerate his relics, which are enshrined at Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco about 45 minutes away from where I live.
 

Achronos

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Apotheoun said:
Achronos said:
Apotheoun said:
I still think it is best to focus upon what is the common teaching of the Church from the earliest times, that is, that the bread and wine of the Eucharist become the Body and Blood of Christ by being consecrated during the anaphora, and not worry about how this can be so.
I have always enjoyed reading your posts, and I think you posted on another Christian forum that I can't seem to recall (Maybe ByzCath).

Anyway, just a quick question. You are Melkite Catholic right? I am curious as to how you can venerate St. John Maximovitch since he is a saint in the Orthodox Church? Or maybe your Faith thing is confusing me.

I mean no offense.
No offense taken.  And yes, I am a Melkite Catholic, and I do venerate St. John Maximovitch because I believe that he is a saint.  I've seen and venerate his relics, which are enshrined at Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco about 45 minutes away from where I live.
Maybe this could be a discussion made privately, but I am interested in what is stopping you from becoming a member in the Orthodox Church. I ask you because I genuinely value your thoughts and opinions.
 

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Achronos said:
Apotheoun said:
Achronos said:
Apotheoun said:
I still think it is best to focus upon what is the common teaching of the Church from the earliest times, that is, that the bread and wine of the Eucharist become the Body and Blood of Christ by being consecrated during the anaphora, and not worry about how this can be so.
I have always enjoyed reading your posts, and I think you posted on another Christian forum that I can't seem to recall (Maybe ByzCath).

Anyway, just a quick question. You are Melkite Catholic right? I am curious as to how you can venerate St. John Maximovitch since he is a saint in the Orthodox Church? Or maybe your Faith thing is confusing me.

I mean no offense.
No offense taken.  And yes, I am a Melkite Catholic, and I do venerate St. John Maximovitch because I believe that he is a saint.  I've seen and venerate his relics, which are enshrined at Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco about 45 minutes away from where I live.
Maybe this could be a discussion made privately, but I am interested in what is stopping you from becoming a member in the Orthodox Church. I ask you because I genuinely value your thoughts and opinions.
Although I have never stated publicly my reasons for remaining Melkite Catholic, beyond the obvious, which is that I am attached the Melkite Church (and I am even attached to the Ruthenian mission that I attend once a month).  I remain Eastern Catholic because I hold a very traditional viewpoint on matters related to sexual ethics, and some of the Orthodox Christians I have associated with over the years hold views that I cannot in good conscience agree with, and so I remain Melkite Catholic.  There is one other thing that keeps me Eastern Catholic, something of a very personal nature, and that is the recent (i.e., back in July) conversion of my dearly departed mother to the Ruthenian Catholic Church.  She suffered terribly from emphysema, and eventually died (9th of August 2012) from the disease, and I was her caregiver for more than seven years.
 

Achronos

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Apotheoun said:
Achronos said:
Apotheoun said:
Achronos said:
Apotheoun said:
I still think it is best to focus upon what is the common teaching of the Church from the earliest times, that is, that the bread and wine of the Eucharist become the Body and Blood of Christ by being consecrated during the anaphora, and not worry about how this can be so.
I have always enjoyed reading your posts, and I think you posted on another Christian forum that I can't seem to recall (Maybe ByzCath).

Anyway, just a quick question. You are Melkite Catholic right? I am curious as to how you can venerate St. John Maximovitch since he is a saint in the Orthodox Church? Or maybe your Faith thing is confusing me.

I mean no offense.
No offense taken.  And yes, I am a Melkite Catholic, and I do venerate St. John Maximovitch because I believe that he is a saint.  I've seen and venerate his relics, which are enshrined at Holy Virgin Cathedral in San Francisco about 45 minutes away from where I live.
Maybe this could be a discussion made privately, but I am interested in what is stopping you from becoming a member in the Orthodox Church. I ask you because I genuinely value your thoughts and opinions.
Although I have never stated publicly my reasons for remaining Melkite Catholic, beyond the obvious, which is that I am attached the Melkite Church (and I am even attached to the Ruthenian mission that I attend once a month).  I remain Eastern Catholic because I hold a very traditional viewpoint on matters related to sexual ethics, and some of the Orthodox Christians I have associated with over the years hold views that I cannot in good conscience agree with, and so I remain Melkite Catholic.  There is one other thing that keeps me Eastern Catholic, something of a very personal nature, and that is the recent (i.e., back in July) conversion of my dearly departed mother to the Ruthenian Catholic Church.  She suffered terribly from emphysema, and eventually died (9th of August 2012) from the disease, and I was her caregiver for more than seven years.
Lord have mercy on you and may her memory be eternal!

I apologize for trying to pry into your reasons, since they are private. However your mention of sexual ethics is very interesting, are you saying we are not as conservative as the Melkites are?
 

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Achronos said:
Apotheoun said:
Achronos said:
Maybe this could be a discussion made privately, but I am interested in what is stopping you from becoming a member in the Orthodox Church. I ask you because I genuinely value your thoughts and opinions.
Although I have never stated publicly my reasons for remaining Melkite Catholic, beyond the obvious, which is that I am attached the Melkite Church (and I am even attached to the Ruthenian mission that I attend once a month).  I remain Eastern Catholic because I hold a very traditional viewpoint on matters related to sexual ethics, and some of the Orthodox Christians I have associated with over the years hold views that I cannot in good conscience agree with, and so I remain Melkite Catholic.  There is one other thing that keeps me Eastern Catholic, something of a very personal nature, and that is the recent (i.e., back in July) conversion of my dearly departed mother to the Ruthenian Catholic Church.  She suffered terribly from emphysema, and eventually died (9th of August 2012) from the disease, and I was her caregiver for more than seven years.
Lord have mercy on you and may her memory be eternal!
Thank you.  I appreciate your concern and prayers for my mother.  She was a good Christian woman.

Achronos said:
I apologize for trying to pry into your reasons, since they are private. However your mention of sexual ethics is very interesting, are you saying we are not as conservative as the Melkites are?
There is no reason to apologize.  My reasons (except for the one connected to my mother) are not private or even secret, I just had never stated them publicly on an internet forum.
 

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Achronos said:
However your mention of sexual ethics is very interesting, are you saying we are not as conservative as the Melkites are?
My guess is that divorce and contraceptives are an option for the Orthodox even though it is by ekonomia.  Both are non-negotiable for the Catholic Church (we all know the issues about annulments, but let us not go there).
 

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Achronos said:
However your mention of sexual ethics is very interesting, are you saying we are not as conservative as the Melkites are?
It is not so much about not being as "conservative" as Melkites (or as conservative as me, for that matter), it is simply that I reject the use of artificial contraception.  But I suppose I should also point out that I am not enamored of natural family planning either. 

I support the marital fast, but the meaning of the marital fast, and its proper purpose or end, is not about spacing births; instead, it is focused upon the growth of the married couple in the spiritual life through self-discipline and prayer, or to put it another way, its purpose is theosis, which is what all human activity should be directed toward.
 

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Wyatt said:
I am quite aware that Lutherans use the term "Sacramental Union" to describe their Eucharistic theology. I went to a Lutheran School from the sixth to the eighth grade, and have read their Eucharistic theology in Luther's Small Catechism. What I do not see is how their belief in "Sacramental Union" is any different from consubstantiation, other than perhaps slightly different wording. They believe that the bread and wine remain along with the Body and Blood of Christ. This is exactly what consubstantiation is. How could consubstantiation be considered compatible with Orthodoxy and not Sacramental Union? Why would consubstantiation be considered an acceptable opinion while Sacramental Union is considered heretical and must be renounced?
From the Lutherans I know, they tell me that Sacramental Union absolutely =/= Consubstantiation. With the former, Christ somehow exists "around" the Bread and Wine. Consubstantiation confesses that the Body is also still bread, and the Blood is also still wine. Both are present. These are very different things.

Apotheoun said:
I still think it is best to focus upon what is the common teaching of the Church from the earliest times, that is, that the bread and wine of the Eucharist become the Body and Blood of Christ by being consecrated during the anaphora, and not worry about how this can be so.
I agree. My issue is not with Transubstantiation. It's perfectly acceptable. But, it should not be dogma.
 

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Apotheoun said:
Achronos said:
However your mention of sexual ethics is very interesting, are you saying we are not as conservative as the Melkites are?
It is not so much about not being as "conservative" as Melkites (or as conservative as me, for that matter), it is simply that I reject the use of artificial contraception.  But I suppose I should also point out that I am not enamored of natural family planning either. 

I support the marital fast, but the meaning of the marital fast, and its proper purpose or end, is not about spacing births; instead, it is focused upon the growth of the married couple in the spiritual life through self-discipline and prayer, or to put it another way, its purpose is theosis, which is what all human activity should be directed toward.
I agree with your point but I am sympathetic to the Orthodox approach.  Not everyone can just fast right off the bat.  It's like asking an alcoholic to just stop drinking just like that, or a smoker to just stop smoking.  There is a goal and it should be worked on little by little.  I hope priests use ekonomia in the correct sense, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are those who just approves contraception left and right.  But the same can be found in the Catholic Church.  There are priests out there who would just come up with their own teaching right there and then to make the couple not feel slighted.
 

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choy said:
Apotheoun said:
Achronos said:
However your mention of sexual ethics is very interesting, are you saying we are not as conservative as the Melkites are?
It is not so much about not being as "conservative" as Melkites (or as conservative as me, for that matter), it is simply that I reject the use of artificial contraception.  But I suppose I should also point out that I am not enamored of natural family planning either. 

I support the marital fast, but the meaning of the marital fast, and its proper purpose or end, is not about spacing births; instead, it is focused upon the growth of the married couple in the spiritual life through self-discipline and prayer, or to put it another way, its purpose is theosis, which is what all human activity should be directed toward.
I agree with your point but I am sympathetic to the Orthodox approach.  Not everyone can just fast right off the bat.  It's like asking an alcoholic to just stop drinking just like that, or a smoker to just stop smoking.  There is a goal and it should be worked on little by little.  I hope priests use ekonomia in the correct sense, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are those who just approves contraception left and right.  But the same can be found in the Catholic Church.  There are priests out there who would just come up with their own teaching right there and then to make the couple not feel slighted.
But everyone should be striving for that self-discipline, and oikonomia is not the norm, nor does it abrogate the canons and tradition of the Church, even though some people present it in that manner. 

I have no problem with a spiritual father, who - for the sake of the good of the married couple to whom he is giving spiritual guidance - applies oikonomia for a period of time so that the couple does not lose faith, but oikonomia is not a permission to sin in order to make things easier.  We all must take up our cross as Christ said.
 

choy

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Apotheoun said:
choy said:
Apotheoun said:
Achronos said:
However your mention of sexual ethics is very interesting, are you saying we are not as conservative as the Melkites are?
It is not so much about not being as "conservative" as Melkites (or as conservative as me, for that matter), it is simply that I reject the use of artificial contraception.  But I suppose I should also point out that I am not enamored of natural family planning either. 

I support the marital fast, but the meaning of the marital fast, and its proper purpose or end, is not about spacing births; instead, it is focused upon the growth of the married couple in the spiritual life through self-discipline and prayer, or to put it another way, its purpose is theosis, which is what all human activity should be directed toward.
I agree with your point but I am sympathetic to the Orthodox approach.  Not everyone can just fast right off the bat.  It's like asking an alcoholic to just stop drinking just like that, or a smoker to just stop smoking.  There is a goal and it should be worked on little by little.  I hope priests use ekonomia in the correct sense, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are those who just approves contraception left and right.  But the same can be found in the Catholic Church.  There are priests out there who would just come up with their own teaching right there and then to make the couple not feel slighted.
But everyone should be striving for that self-discipline, and oikonomia is not the norm, nor does it abrogate the canons and tradition of the Church, even though some people present it in that manner. 

I have no problem with a spiritual father, who - for the sake of the good of the married couple to whom he is giving spiritual guidance - applies oikonomia for a period of time so that the couple does not lose faith, but oikonomia is not a permission to sin in order to make things easier.  We all must take up our cross as Christ said.
Sorry if I didn't present it in the way you did.  But I agree with your point.  Like I said, there is a goal, and ekonomia should be something that helps them to get to that goal.  As with quitting smoking or recovering from alcoholism, it must be a gradual withdrawal.  Most people are incapable of just stopping.
 

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choy said:
Apotheoun said:
choy said:
Apotheoun said:
Achronos said:
However your mention of sexual ethics is very interesting, are you saying we are not as conservative as the Melkites are?
It is not so much about not being as "conservative" as Melkites (or as conservative as me, for that matter), it is simply that I reject the use of artificial contraception.  But I suppose I should also point out that I am not enamored of natural family planning either. 

I support the marital fast, but the meaning of the marital fast, and its proper purpose or end, is not about spacing births; instead, it is focused upon the growth of the married couple in the spiritual life through self-discipline and prayer, or to put it another way, its purpose is theosis, which is what all human activity should be directed toward.
I agree with your point but I am sympathetic to the Orthodox approach.  Not everyone can just fast right off the bat.  It's like asking an alcoholic to just stop drinking just like that, or a smoker to just stop smoking.  There is a goal and it should be worked on little by little.  I hope priests use ekonomia in the correct sense, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are those who just approves contraception left and right.  But the same can be found in the Catholic Church.  There are priests out there who would just come up with their own teaching right there and then to make the couple not feel slighted.
But everyone should be striving for that self-discipline, and oikonomia is not the norm, nor does it abrogate the canons and tradition of the Church, even though some people present it in that manner. 

I have no problem with a spiritual father, who - for the sake of the good of the married couple to whom he is giving spiritual guidance - applies oikonomia for a period of time so that the couple does not lose faith, but oikonomia is not a permission to sin in order to make things easier.  We all must take up our cross as Christ said.
Sorry if I didn't present it in the way you did.  But I agree with your point.  Like I said, there is a goal, and ekonomia should be something that helps them to get to that goal.  As with quitting smoking or recovering from alcoholism, it must be a gradual withdrawal.  Most people are incapable of just stopping.
Yes, I think we are in basic agreement, but I have seen things presented in such a way that oikonomia sounds like permission to sin.  I mean, I am a single man, and I certainly would not go to my spiritual father and ask for permission to fornicate because abstinence from sexual activity is difficult, and it would be easier for me to simply have sex.
 

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Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Apotheoun said:
choy said:
Apotheoun said:
choy said:
Apotheoun said:
Achronos said:
However your mention of sexual ethics is very interesting, are you saying we are not as conservative as the Melkites are?
It is not so much about not being as "conservative" as Melkites (or as conservative as me, for that matter), it is simply that I reject the use of artificial contraception.  But I suppose I should also point out that I am not enamored of natural family planning either. 

I support the marital fast, but the meaning of the marital fast, and its proper purpose or end, is not about spacing births; instead, it is focused upon the growth of the married couple in the spiritual life through self-discipline and prayer, or to put it another way, its purpose is theosis, which is what all human activity should be directed toward.
I agree with your point but I am sympathetic to the Orthodox approach.  Not everyone can just fast right off the bat.  It's like asking an alcoholic to just stop drinking just like that, or a smoker to just stop smoking.  There is a goal and it should be worked on little by little.  I hope priests use ekonomia in the correct sense, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are those who just approves contraception left and right.  But the same can be found in the Catholic Church.  There are priests out there who would just come up with their own teaching right there and then to make the couple not feel slighted.
But everyone should be striving for that self-discipline, and oikonomia is not the norm, nor does it abrogate the canons and tradition of the Church, even though some people present it in that manner. 

I have no problem with a spiritual father, who - for the sake of the good of the married couple to whom he is giving spiritual guidance - applies oikonomia for a period of time so that the couple does not lose faith, but oikonomia is not a permission to sin in order to make things easier.  We all must take up our cross as Christ said.
Sorry if I didn't present it in the way you did.  But I agree with your point.  Like I said, there is a goal, and ekonomia should be something that helps them to get to that goal.  As with quitting smoking or recovering from alcoholism, it must be a gradual withdrawal.  Most people are incapable of just stopping.
Yes, I think we are in basic agreement, but I have seen things presented in such a way that oikonomia sounds like permission to sin.  I mean, I am a single man, and I certainly would not go to my spiritual father and ask for permission to fornicate because abstinence from sexual activity is difficult, and it would be easier for me to simply have sex.
We don't ask our Spiritual Fathers for permission, but absolution. True, in the Orthodox approach, our fathers are not dogmatic as to how to apply the Canons on an individual, case by case basis.  Our Fathers understand each individual person's struggles and where they are at according to spiritual maturity, and so they may appear more lenient in what they absolve in Confession from time to time from the outside.  Our fathers have this "leniency" not because they tolerate sin, but because we are more in tune with the the gradual process of spiritual healing.  The Latin approach from the Orthodox perspective, sometimes comes across as too legalistic.  To be sure, Orthodox and Catholic have identical goals and ideals, its our approach and delivery that is variable.

I think the difference between Transubstantiation as a Latin dogma and Metousiosis as an Orthodox doctrine is highly symbolic of this divide in approach between the two groups. We are not just saying the same thing in different ways, we are approaching the same thing through varying approaches.

stay blessed,
habte selassie

 

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HabteSelassie said:
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

We don't ask our Spiritual Fathers for permission, but absolution. True, in the Orthodox approach, our fathers are not dogmatic as to how to apply the Canons on an individual, case by case basis.  Our Fathers understand each individual person's struggles and where they are at according to spiritual maturity, and so they may appear more lenient in what they absolve in Confession from time to time from the outside.  Our fathers have this "leniency" not because they tolerate sin, but because we are more in tune with the the gradual process of spiritual healing.  The Latin approach from the Orthodox perspective, sometimes comes across as too legalistic.  To be sure, Orthodox and Catholic have identical goals and ideals, its our approach and delivery that is variable.
I have no problem with a spiritual father giving guidance to a married couple, and even applying oikonomia in particular instances, but sometimes the way oikonomia has been presented on various internet fora is that it functions as a kind of permission to sin, rather than being - as it truly is - a temporary measure applied to help a couple grow in self-discipline. 

HabteSelassie said:
I think the difference between Transubstantiation as a Latin dogma and Metousiosis as an Orthodox doctrine is highly symbolic of this divide in approach between the two groups. We are not just saying the same thing in different ways, we are approaching the same thing through varying approaches.

stay blessed,
habte selassie
I do not think, and this is just my personal take on the issue, that describing how the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ is all that important.  What is important is that the Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of Christ, and that the reception of communion conveys to us the grace of theosis.
 

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Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Apotheoun said:
HabteSelassie said:
We don't ask our Spiritual Fathers for permission, but absolution. True, in the Orthodox approach, our fathers are not dogmatic as to how to apply the Canons on an individual, case by case basis.  Our Fathers understand each individual person's struggles and where they are at according to spiritual maturity, and so they may appear more lenient in what they absolve in Confession from time to time from the outside.  Our fathers have this "leniency" not because they tolerate sin, but because we are more in tune with the the gradual process of spiritual healing.  The Latin approach from the Orthodox perspective, sometimes comes across as too legalistic.  To be sure, Orthodox and Catholic have identical goals and ideals, its our approach and delivery that is variable.
I have no problem with a spiritual father giving guidance to a married couple, and even applying oikonomia in particular instances, but sometimes the way oikonomia has been presented on various internet fora is that it like a permission to sin, rather than a means toward growth in self-discipline.  


The first rule of Orthodox is you don't trust internet interpretations of Orthodox.

The second rule of Orthodox is you don't trust internet interpretations of Orthodox.

As we always say, ask a priest (e.g. in person)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
 

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Apotheoun said:
I do not think, and this is just my personal take on the issue, that describing how the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ is all that important.  What is important is that the Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of Christ, and that the reception of communion conveys to us the grace of theosis.
Transubstantiation does not deal with the "how," it deals with "what." What actually takes place is not that Christ's Body and Blood are united with the bread and wine, nor is His Body and Blood in, with, around, above, or below the bread and wine. The bread and wine are fully and completely transformed into His Body and Blood. Nowhere in that teaching is the "how" addressed. The "how" is quite simply a mystery. The most we can say is that the transformation takes place through the action of the Holy Spirit working through the man at the altar who has received Holy Orders. Understanding the "what" is very important though, because it distinguishes orthodox Eucharistic theology from all the nuances of Protestant heresies.
 

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Wyatt said:
Apotheoun said:
I do not think, and this is just my personal take on the issue, that describing how the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ is all that important.  What is important is that the Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of Christ, and that the reception of communion conveys to us the grace of theosis.
Transubstantiation does not deal with the "how," it deals with "what." What actually takes place is not that Christ's Body and Blood are united with the bread and wine, nor is His Body and Blood in, with, around, above, or below the bread and wine. The bread and wine are fully and completely transformed into His Body and Blood. Nowhere in that teaching is the "how" addressed. The "how" is quite simply a mystery. The most we can say is that the transformation takes place through the action of the Holy Spirit working through the man at the altar who has received Holy Orders. Understanding the "what" is very important though, because it distinguishes orthodox Eucharistic theology from all the nuances of Protestant heresies.
Describing "how" something happens and describing "what takes place" is the same thing.  You are trying to describe how the bread and wine consecrated during the anaphora become the Body and Blood of Christ, and that really is not something that one needs to know.

A man will not be divinized because he can describe how the mystery works; instead, he is divinized by receiving the Eucharist in faith.
 

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Apotheoun said:
Wyatt said:
Apotheoun said:
I do not think, and this is just my personal take on the issue, that describing how the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ is all that important.  What is important is that the Eucharist is the true Body and Blood of Christ, and that the reception of communion conveys to us the grace of theosis.
Transubstantiation does not deal with the "how," it deals with "what." What actually takes place is not that Christ's Body and Blood are united with the bread and wine, nor is His Body and Blood in, with, around, above, or below the bread and wine. The bread and wine are fully and completely transformed into His Body and Blood. Nowhere in that teaching is the "how" addressed. The "how" is quite simply a mystery. The most we can say is that the transformation takes place through the action of the Holy Spirit working through the man at the altar who has received Holy Orders. Understanding the "what" is very important though, because it distinguishes orthodox Eucharistic theology from all the nuances of Protestant heresies.
"How" and "what takes place" mean the same thing.  You are trying to describe how the bread and wine consecrated during the anaphora become the Body and Blood of Christ, and that really is not something that one needs to know.
Not at all. They are entirely different. The answer to "how?" is "by the Holy Spirit." The answer to "what takes place?" is "the bread and wine are truly and fully transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ." They are no longer bread and wine. In the history of the Church, it has always become necessary to define things very precisely whenever teachings are challenged by heretics. This is exactly what the Catholic Church did when she described the teaching of the Real Presence using the term "transubstantiation." The idea of "Real Presence" became ambiguous when Protestants started inventing their own ideas about what exactly takes place at the altar. I'm sure if you ask many Lutherans today if they believe in the "Real Presence" they would say yes, but that does not mean they hold orthodox Eucharistic theology. In a similar way, I'm sure if someone asked Arius if he believed the Gospels he would have said yes. Didn't mean he wasn't a heretic.
 

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Transubstantiation does not explain the mechanism ofhow the change occurs beyond "by the Holy Spirit." What it does achieve is an unambiguous explanation of what occurs. This is a very important distinction!
 

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Samn! said:
Transubstantiation does not explain the mechanism ofhow the change occurs beyond "by the Holy Spirit." What it does achieve is an unambiguous explanation of what occurs. This is a very important distinction!
Thank you. Glad someone gets it.  :laugh:
 

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Samn! said:
Transubstantiation does not explain the mechanism ofhow the change occurs beyond "by the Holy Spirit." What it does achieve is an unambiguous explanation of what occurs. This is a very important distinction!
And there is no need to explain what occurs.  Describing the indescribable is pointless.  And subscribing to Aristotle's antiquated metaphysics is problematic.

That the Eucharist is Christ's Body and Blood is a truth of faith, but no one can ever prove that it is so linguistically or scientifically, so why try?
 

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Samn! said:
Transubstantiation does not explain the mechanism ofhow the change occurs beyond "by the Holy Spirit." What it does achieve is an unambiguous explanation of what occurs. This is a very important distinction!
What is the substance of Christ's body and blood?  The whole Aristotelian framework of substance and accidents has been found vacuous, pointless, and irrelevant.  If I subscribed to Aristotle's antiquated metaphysics the term substance in connection with the Eucharist might have some value to me, but since I do not subscribe to his view of things it really is just an empty term.  So explain to me why an Orthodox Christian should use outmoded pagan philosophy to speak about a holy mystery of faith?
 

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Apotheoun, would you reject the Aristotelian language used by the Ecumenical Councils to define our Christology?
 

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Apotheoun said:
Samn! said:
Transubstantiation does not explain the mechanism ofhow the change occurs beyond "by the Holy Spirit." What it does achieve is an unambiguous explanation of what occurs. This is a very important distinction!
And there is no need to explain what occurs.
There was a need once Protestants began wrongly explaining what occurs, just as there was a need to use very specific terms to describe Christological and Trinitarian theology after Arianism began to increase in popularity. Simply saying things are mysteries of our faith that defy explanation is all well and good, but in the midst of heresy, precision becomes necessary.

Apotheoun said:
Describing the indescribable is pointless.  And subscribing to Aristotle's antiquated metaphysics is problematic.
What takes place in the Eucharist is quite describable.

Apotheoun said:
That the Eucharist is Christ's Body and Blood is a truth of faith, but no one can ever prove that it is so linguistically or scientifically, so why try?
Who's talking about proving? You cannot prove to anyone what the Eucharist is. That is where faith comes in. Proving and describing are two different things. I could thoroughly describe the Holy Trinity to someone, but I cannot prove the existence of the Holy Trinity to someone who doesn't believe. Transubstantiation isn't about proving scientifically. I am beginning to wonder if you are actually opposed to transubstantiation because I don't think you have a grasp on what it actually means.

Apotheoun said:
What is the substance of Christ's body and blood?
Beats me. Who is asking? no...even better.........who is claiming to have an answer?

Apotheoun said:
The whole Aristotelian framework of substance and accidents has been found vacuous, pointless, and irrelevant.
By whom?

Apotheoun said:
If I subscribed to Aristotle's antiquated metaphysics the term substance in connection with the Eucharist might have some value to me, but since I do not subscribe to his view of things it really is just an empty term.
We are using terms used by Aristotle as tools to describe our faith. Nothing more.

Apotheoun said:
So explain to me why an Orthodox Christian should use outmoded pagan philosophy to speak about a holy mystery of faith?
Who's saying they should? If "Real Presence" is good enough for them, whatever. We didn't have the luxury here in the West once Luther opened Pandora's box. "Real Presence" isn't as meaningful once various Protestant groups claim to profess it and yet nevertheless believe something quite different than orthodox Eucharistic theology.
 

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I wonder how the Orthodox Church would react if I was a member but I said I disagreed with the overly specific terms used for the Trinity? Hey...guys, sounds too scientific, legalistic, and unnecessarily philosophical to me. Can't we just agree that God is a mystery and leave it at that?
 

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Wyatt said:
I wonder how the Orthodox Church would react if I was a member but I said I disagreed with the overly specific terms used for the Trinity? Hey...guys, sounds too scientific, legalistic, and unnecessarily philosophical to me. Can't we just agree that God is a mystery and leave it at that?
Welcome to the rest of the laity. :D

All joking aside, it really is a mystery and any attempts we try to construct using language for the Trinity are not sufficient. But an understanding of the Trinity may be important in how we define say, love, for example or the Incarnation.
 

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Wyatt said:
I wonder how the Orthodox Church would react if I was a member but I said I disagreed with the overly specific terms used for the Trinity? Hey...guys, sounds too scientific, legalistic, and unnecessarily philosophical to me. Can't we just agree that God is a mystery and leave it at that?
Simply not the same. Besides, you all believe all of that, too. Or don't you?

The definitions of the PRE-SCHISM Catholic Church (East and West) assert the deity of Christ in the face of heresy. Transubstantiation goes above and beyond this. I understand the need to affirm the Real Presence in the face of the Protestant heresy. However, essence/accidents language is not necessary to uphold belief in the Real Presence. It is one valid manner in which to discuss it, but it should not be dogma.

I can easily confess that the Eucharist is truly, physically the Body and Blood of Christ. Not merely in "spirit", nor is it a memorial, but when I partake of the Eucharist, I eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ. I have not used your essence/accidents language. Would you anathematize me for this?
 

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The anathema doesn't apply to using other language. It applies to rejecting transubstantiation as a valid explanation. It's one thing to say "we could also put the same explanation in these words" and other to say "transubstantiation as an explanation is false." I'm perfectly capable of explaining Orthodox Christology in terms other than used by the Ecumenical Councils. It's when I reject the Councils' explanation of the Incarnation that I fall under their anathemas.
 

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Samn! said:
Apotheoun, would you reject the Aristotelian language used by the Ecumenical Councils to define our Christology?
First of all, I do not believe that any of the Councils used Aristotelian metaphysics in their horoi.  Using a word is one thing, but even when the Fathers used Greek philosophical terms they gave them a new meaning, e.g., the terms ousia and hypostasis in Greek philosophy were synonyms, but the Cappadocians changed them so that they stood for two different things.  So I can say with certainty that I reject now, and always will reject, any "Christology" that embraces Aristotelian metaphysics.  But of course none of the Councils adopted Aristotelian metaphysics as a standard for Christian theology; in fact, the Synodikon of Orthodoxy condemns pagan Greek philosophy as a type of - and even as the mother of - heresy.
 

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Wyatt said:
I wonder how the Orthodox Church would react if I was a member but I said I disagreed with the overly specific terms used for the Trinity? Hey...guys, sounds too scientific, legalistic, and unnecessarily philosophical to me. Can't we just agree that God is a mystery and leave it at that?
I think you would make a good Orthodox Christian if you rejected the terms because they were being used as a kind of "philosophical metaphysic" that describes what God is, or even how God exists.
 

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Benjamin the Red said:
Wyatt said:
I wonder how the Orthodox Church would react if I was a member but I said I disagreed with the overly specific terms used for the Trinity? Hey...guys, sounds too scientific, legalistic, and unnecessarily philosophical to me. Can't we just agree that God is a mystery and leave it at that?
Simply not the same. Besides, you all believe all of that, too. Or don't you?
Yes we do. I was speaking hypothetically.

Benjamin the Red said:
The definitions of the PRE-SCHISM Catholic Church (East and West) assert the deity of Christ in the face of heresy. Transubstantiation goes above and beyond this. I understand the need to affirm the Real Presence in the face of the Protestant heresy. However, essence/accidents language is not necessary to uphold belief in the Real Presence. It is one valid manner in which to discuss it, but it should not be dogma.
It should be dogma whenever there are competing theologies, some of which also claim to be "Real Presence" theology.

Benjamin the Red said:
I can easily confess that the Eucharist is truly, physically the Body and Blood of Christ. Not merely in "spirit", nor is it a memorial, but when I partake of the Eucharist, I eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ. I have not used your essence/accidents language. Would you anathematize me for this?
Well I don't have the authority to anathematize anyone, but I doubt one would be anathematized for what you said above because you essentially professed what we mean by transubstantiation without using the words substance, accidents, or transubstantiation. I'm still confused about why those words are so taboo to the Eastern Orthodox. They just describe something you say you already believe in anyway, and they remove the ambiguity of "Real Presence" that existed after the Reformation. As I mentioned earlier, most Lutherans would probably say that their "Sacramental Union" doctrine is belief in the Real Presence too, even though it is heretical and not what Catholics or Orthodox mean by Real Presence.
 

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The Trinitarian terms used by the Cappadocians must always be seen as apophatic in nature, that is, they are never to be understood as defining or even as describing what God is or how He exists, because God is - to put it simply - beyond created human concepts and forms of human linguistic predication.
 

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Apotheoun, have you ever read St John of Damascus' Dialectica side-by-side with Porphyry's Isagoge? The Aristotelian philosophical tradition has never been as rigid a thing as you imagine, nor have the Fathers-- Certainly, the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils never rejected anything coming from Aristotle out-of-hand. The Neoplatonic reading of Aristotle was very much the basic assumption of the intellectual world they lived in.


Again, I'll say--- what could possibly be unacceptable about transubstantiation if we read the terms 'accidens' and 'substantia' as corresponding to 'ousia' and 'symbebekos' as defined by the Damascene?!
 

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Benjamin the Red said:
I can easily confess that the Eucharist is truly, physically the Body and Blood of Christ. Not merely in "spirit", nor is it a memorial, but when I partake of the Eucharist, I eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ. I have not used your essence/accidents language. Would you anathematize me for this?
And your statement represents the belief of the ancient Church, which should be sufficient to prove your orthodoxy.

 

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Samn! said:
Apotheoun, have you ever read St John of Damascus' Dialectica side-by-side with Porphyry's Isagoge? The Aristotelian philosophical tradition has never been as rigid a thing as you imagine, nor have the fathers-- especially the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils, rejected anything coming from Aristotle out-of-hand.
Yes, and I have read it, but where in his texts on Christ does he use Aristotelian metaphysics?  I don't know of any place that he does that.  Instead, all St. John does is regurgitate what earlier Fathers said about Christ.

Samn! said:
Again, I'll say--- what could possibly be unacceptable about transubstantiation if we read the terms 'accidens' and 'substantia' as corresponding to 'ousia' and 'symbebekos' as defined by the Damascene?!
And again I will say that there is simply no need to use Aristotle's outmoded metaphysics when affirming the truth that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ.  Moreover, why should I contradict Pope Gelasius, who said - point blank - that there is no substantial change in the elements, simply because a 16th century Roman Catholic council later said that there is a substantial change.

I think it is better to simply stick to the Apostolic Tradition and say that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ without creating fantastical theories or going into endless debates about how this can be so, or what happens to make it so.
 
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