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Beyond dialogue: the quest for Eastern and Oriental Orthodox unity today


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#341 Scott Pierson

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 03:20 AM

Andrew,

I have read 2 of Matthew the Poors books (or rather one and half I never finished the second) and found both of them to be good reading. Nothing exceptional heretical jumped out at me so to speak. The fathers for over a thousand years however have found the OO to be heretical and the language they use for the expression of Christiological doctrine to be defective and dangerous. The council of Chalcedon found their leaders to be heretics, we have liturgical prayers which call them heretics, we have instances in the lives of the saints in which divine visions have been given in which OO heresiarchs (Severus of Antioch for example) are suffering the fires of hell, etc... If they are not heretics then I don’t see how we could but not admit that error has entered into the mind of the Church and I cant do that .

If the talks with the OO are different then why do high ranking players in the discussion make comments like Paulos Mar Gregorios and many others have?

I have done a very bad job at defending the fathers view of the OO ( as teaching heresy). I must admit that the OO here at monachos have done a very good job making their point as to our Christologies being similar. I kinda bit off more then I could chew going into the details of Christological doctrine. But I will find try to learn more and remedy the deficiency’s I have and then ( speaking in Arnold Shwarzenegger voice) " Ill be back " lol.

#342 Scott Pierson

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 03:25 AM

I don't think I have asked anyone here to decide what someone actually believed 1500 years ago - but reading what they actually wrote is a good start. But I have repeatedly asked to have what I myself actually and really believe right now be considered, and where it is different to the EO faith to have that explained.

I do think what was believed at the time is relevant as to which Church is the one holy catholic and apostolic Church and which group fell away from the Church. I also think the people of the time knew full well what it was the believed and what it was they rejected.

You seem rather stressed. You do not seem to wish to discuss or dialogue, merely to berate and polemicise.


Your right I am I apologize if I came off the wrong way, my son had his tonsils out today and some stuff is going on. I was also saddened by the fact that when researching the topic online I found literally hundreds web pages claiming that EO and OO have the same Christological doctrines and only a handful willing to stand up for views expressed by the 1000 plus year witness of the EO fathers on the topic. Of that small handful most of them are not that detailed and the one that is (Orthodox info) has articles that have been up for years and the other side has already came up with good counter arguments to the points made.

#343 Athanasius Abdullah

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 04:11 AM

Dear Scott,

+irini nem ehmot

You’ve made it quite evident that you’ve set yourself out on a mission to prove an already presumed case against the OO Church. If those presumptions secure you in your faith, such that to question their truth honestly and objectively would be to question the very core of your faith, then I would not want to compel you to go down that road. Regardless of what Fr. Raphael sadly implied in another thread, we are not here to disturb anyone’s faith.

However, as you’ve been quite candid about the fact you are consciously adopting a question-begging approach to this matter, I wander how it is that you could be serious about continuing discussion within the context of EO-OO dialogue? Your candid admission has, frankly speaking, pretty much stripped you of the credibility necessary to be taken seriously by a genuine seeker of honest and objective truth, and particularly by OO’s who do not share your presumptions and are indeed questioning their validity.

Again, I am not seeking to compel you to adopt an approach that may shake your faith, but I do encourage you (and please note, that I am not telling or ordering you to do anything—obviously I have no right to do that) to avoid dialogue if you have established yourself as unwilling and incapable of questioning presumptions which, according to the very nature of this dialogue, are supposed to be in question in the first place.

There is a subtle sense of hypocricy in your approach also, for I presume you would expect OO's to question their own presumptions objectively and honestly. Unless you just expect OO's to blindly and without reason disregard their own Tradition, which would be quite a ridiculous expectation at that.

In IC XC
-Athanasius

#344 Mina Soliman

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 06:42 AM

Dear Scott,

If many of the discussions here cause any additional stress other than what you have in your personal life, then by all means, I would never want you to engage in such a debate. I certainly apologize if I have done so to you.

Neither do I want you to question your faith. I only intend to challenge minds in a scholarly basis, not to convert anyone. I'm here to discuss interesting issues, to defend what might be misunderstood, and to understand new things that are brought up that has never been brought up to my attention.

If it's okay with you, I'll just answer one question you posed since this requires some defense.

There is a misconception that we as Oriental Orthodox do not find our terminology as superior. In a sense, it not superior when it comes to salvific purposes, but for our theological minds, we like to stick to it as superior. This is something that is not due to compromising or worries that we are indeed "inferior," but rather we follow what St. Athanasius and St. Cyril has always allowed, especially St. Cyril.

You find St. Cyril after two years of separation between Alexandria and Antioch that he and John of Antioch signed an agreement implying that regardless of the terminology Alexandrians and Antiochians use, we speak the same Christological faith (and it helped a lot when John of Antioch accepted the word "Theotokos"). We find St. Cyril even in his letters how he implied the "two nature" terminology as a weak terminology, but nevertheless Orthodox. He regarded his own "mia physis" as a much stronger one against Nestorianism. Many may disagree, and it's okay, so long as you have the right idea and principle in your mind.

St. Athanasius wrote a long Tome to the church of Antioch concerning Trinitarian terminological differences, and how differences in terminology should not cause division in the Church when we in actuality speak the same faith (and this was indeed a huge issue that was causing some division).

Thus, we only do this not to look for unnecessary unity or have some sort of "ecumenist agenda," but we engage in these dialogues in the spirit of what our holy fathers taught us. If we have truly found that the EO's were not speaking the same faith, then this discussion we are having right now would be totally different.

Nevertheless, this is something I personally believe, and I am not the one to convince you. This is something that everyone, if they truly feel obliged, to do the research on their own, and not rely on a bunch of internet posters like me. ;-) I only wish to learn, defend, and have fun.

As for +PMG (HE Metropolitan Paulose Mar Gregorious), the passage you posted could mean just about anything. I don't think he had a pluralistic mindset, especially since you provided quotes about how much Leo and Chalcedon were previously not acceptable to him ;-). If anything, he is probably writing in looking for peace, a share in common values, and to learn more from others, rather than cause trouble and more doubt in people's minds about religion. It actually sounds like a speech that has the intention of preventing New Agism and pluralism, rather than embrace them. If you are right, then I would definately agree with you that something gone a little wrong with +PMG, but that would not sound like him when he was in arguements with EO's. Nevertheless, I would like to read the whole speech in context. Do you know where I can read it? :-)

God bless you and keep you safe.

Mina

#345 Athanasius Abdullah

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 07:05 AM

Dear Scott,

+irini nem ehmot

At a minimum "acceptance" of Chalcedon would require the profession that " Chalcedon is an eccumenical council binding on all Christians and that it was God inspired and lead by God bearing fathers acting according to the will of almighty God ."


That sounds nice and flowery Scott; but this discussion could do with more substance/reason and less rhetoric.

Even if one is able to somehow avoide heretical views while holding to the said terminology the terminology itself is defective and easily lends itself to monophysitism.


Care to prove this? Why don’t we consider how our respective terminologies were in fact received and interpreted historically? There is concrete historical proof that before and after Chalcedon, Nestorians accepted Chalcedonian terminology as accurately representing the Nestorian faith. Nestorius himself, for example, read the Tome of Leo and proclaimed it to be a vindication of his own heresy. Peter Farrington has gone to lengths to prove that a substantial number of Chalcedonians interpreted Chalcedonian terminology in a manner compatible with the Three Chapters within the first century subsequent to Chalcedon.

Where in the history of the OO Church did any OO Father adopt Cyrillian One-Nature terminology in a manner compatible with this so-called “monophysitism” imputed upon them by your fathers?

Words mean something the insistance on the use of terminology rejected by the fathers of the EO Church has real Christological implications. Words such as these :


Be honest with me—did you actually sit down and read His Holiness’s book in its entirety, or did you come across a polemical online article or discussion in which these quotes were selectively taken out of context?

I’m going to safely presume the case to be the latter, since that is how you have dealt with pretty much every OO source you have cited. How do you expect us to seriously respond to you? You make it quite clear that your position on our Holy Fathers is set in stone, and then you quote texts out of context to try and prove what you have already presumed; what is the point of us even trying to respond? (That is not a rhetorical question by the way, i'd liek really like to know if there's any point).

Things like that scare me and make me question the whole ecumenical endeavor.


It scares me that you find it scary that all religions need to co-operate towards the purpose of promoting peace and tolerance. That’s pretty much all His Eminence is saying. The very preceding sentence to the one you highlighted emphasises this in its explicit reference to the idea of all nations living in peace.

His Eminence Paulos Mar Gregorios never crossed the boundaries in his Ecumenical pursuits and to appeal to a speech where he seeks to promote inter-faith peace to imply that he does is just ridiculous.

In fact, you may be interested to know that when His Eminence was confronted with the idea of cross-communing at the WCC, he vigorously opposed the idea and wrote an article against it which you can read here: http://www.paulosmar...ospitality.html

In IC XC
-Athanasius




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