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EO/OO views on Empress Theodora


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#1 Peter Farrington

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 06:05 PM

Dear John

I am interested also in the EO view of the Empress St Theodora?

She is a highly venerated saint in the OO tradition and found faith under the anti-Chalcedonian Patriarch Timothy III. As is well known she protected the anti-Chalcedonians throughout her life and many of the bishops forced into exile by Justinian found refuge in her palace in Constantinople. It was she who helped establish the anti-Chalcedonian hierarchy when it had almost been completely wiped out by Chalcedonian violence.

Yet the EO also consider her a saint?

I wonder how, except on the basis that she pre-deceased Justinian and he would certainly have wanted her remembered with honour.

Peter

#2 John Charmley

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Posted 27 October 2006 - 11:51 PM

Dear John

I am interested also in the EO view of the Empress St Theodora?

She is a highly venerated saint in the OO tradition and found faith under the anti-Chalcedonian Patriarch Timothy III. As is well known she protected the anti-Chalcedonians throughout her life and many of the bishops forced into exile by Justinian found refuge in her palace in Constantinople. It was she who helped establish the anti-Chalcedonian hierarchy when it had almost been completely wiped out by Chalcedonian violence.

Yet the EO also consider her a saint?

I wonder how, except on the basis that she pre-deceased Justinian and he would certainly have wanted her remembered with honour.

Peter


Dear Peter,

Having had a little more time this evening, I still cannot find any evidence that St. Isaac himself was anything but a 'nestorian'; the fact that much of his writing is impeccably orthodox is, in a sense, what excites my interest; the same would be true of Theodora.

I have sense that there is something important here that it would be good to know more about. There is clearly a process going on here analagous to the one described thus by Fr. Meyendorff when he writes that doctrines and creeds:

reflect and bear witness to an absolute and unchageable Truth, but this Truth is a living one, which exists in the organic continuity of the One Church of Christ. A council is ecumenical and its decision is infallible when it has defined something of this permanent and organic Truth


By the same process, the Church can decide to make Isaac and Theodora a saint, and to accept and reject the Three Chapters. If it can do these things, then it can, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, do what is needful in terms of unity - surely?

Sorry to stray onto the EO/OO theme here - it slipped out. But I would be grateful for comments on this. Have I quite misunderstood something important? Or have is this process one that can still go on as part of a 'living Truth' that exists in the 'organic continuity' of the Church?

In Christ,

John




#3 Peter Farrington

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 08:33 AM

Hi John

I was doing some more research last night and I see that the Georgian EO Church venerates quite a few figures who were definitely anti-Chalcedonian.

These were the Syriac Fathers who had come from the West due to persecution by the Byzantine powers. They arrived in Georgia between the end of the 5th century and the middle of the 6th during a period when anti-Chalcedonians suffered severe persecution from the Chalcedonians.

In the middle of this period the Georgian Church had anathematised Chalcedon, and was most definitely anti-Chalcedonian.

These Syriac Fathers are all found in a spiritual biography of the 10th century, and were all deifinitely anti-Chalcedonians.

Examples of such anti-Chalcedonian EO saints are:

St David of Garesja

St Eustace of Mtskheta

St. Iese of Tsilkani

St. John Zedazneli

St. Shio

and of course the great OO saint Peter the Iberian, a Georgian prince, is also presented in Georgian EO tradition as an EO saint, by a vigorous revision of the text of his OO Life.

There are many others from this period. All anti-Chalcedonian, and all EO saints. I am just about to contact some scholars to get a longer list.

Best wishes

Peter

#4 John Charmley

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 11:27 AM

Hi John

I was doing some more research last night and I see that the Georgian EO Church venerates quite a few figures who were definitely anti-Chalcedonian.

..........

Examples of such anti-Chalcedonian EO saints are:

St David of Garesja

St Eustace of Mtskheta

St. Iese of Tsilkani

St. John Zedazneli

St. Shio

Peter


Dear Peter,
An interesting list.

What interests me is the process by which such Saints become adopted by the EO and by the OO. Over time their lives and/or their teachings must come to be recognized as exemplars of the pure Orthodox faith.

This can only happen when what they did/said is examined over time and circumstance to reveal the Orthodoxy beneath the surface. There is no reason a similar process cannot happen here.

Of course there are always going to be problems here - I can't see anyone in the EO or OO communions accepting 'St. Nestorius' any time this side of Eternity!

In Christ,

John




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