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Do Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians share the same Christology?


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#41 Leandros Papadopoulos

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 10:51 AM

Dear Athanasius Abdullah,

I did not write that "the appropriation" is self-creation. I wrote that "the appropriation of a non-self-subsistent human essence" is self creation.

For what else creation of a being is, other than "the appropriation of a non-self-subsistent human essence" according to the specific hypostasis of the being that is substantiated by it? The problem in your statement is not in the actuality of the appropriation, but in who is the begetter of the appropriation, in who is the performer of the appropriation. You presented the appropriation to be performed by the actual hypostasis of the same being that is created through the appropriation. As you put it: "His humanity is received from the Virgin St. Mary and was individuated by Him".

This presentation has a circular pattern of creation of the being Christ. He "individuated" Himself. As Dr M.C. Steenberg already objected on this, this self individuation is unacceptable by Chalcedonians. You answered both to Dr Steenberg and to me that Christ operated on his humanity and not on His self, so it is not right to say that “His Self was individuated by Him”, rather the right thing to say is that “His humanity was individuated by Him”. But from the Chalcedonian point of view “His humanity” IS “His Self”, even in an abstract expression of “non-self-subsistent human essence”. For an essence is always “one’s essence” and it can not be an orphan essence(by "orphan" I mean non-self-subsistent, without a "parent" hypostasis) , other than an abstract be-less essence. Chalcedon proclaims that, what was Virgin’s essence became Christ’s essence and there was not an interstage of un-hypostatical essence that was individuated by a certain hypostasis, neither as time interval nor as essential actuality.

You present the essential actuality of an un-hypostatical essence in zero time, received by Christ from the Virgin and appropriated by Him, being thereafter God-man: “Virgin is the source and cause of the flesh that The Word instantaneously received and so appropriated” – “the human essence in and of itself is precisely non-self-subsistent because it receives its reality and actualization at the Incarnation, and not prior to it, and because its continued subsisting reality is contingent upon the hypostasis of The Word that so appropriated and hypostatised it”. There are two ontological paradoxes in this presentation: the actuality of the un-hypostatical essence is actualized by an orphan essence for zero time. Both the orphan essence and the zero time are ontologically unaccepted by Chalcedonian doctrine.

The Chalcedonian doctrine is that Christ was born from the Virgin’s essence subsistent according to her hypostasis appropriated according to Christ specific Hypostasis "as the Holy Spirit came upon her, and the power of the Highest overshadowed her". Thus, the to be appropriated essence, according to Christ's hypostasis, was not “non-self-subsistent”, but it was most certainly subsistent according to Virgin’s hypostasis appropriated "as the Holy Spirit came upon her, and the power of the Highest overshadowed her" in a certain time that the Virgin’s essence was substantial in and by itself, creating a new human being from and by Her, born as Mary’s Child, as the human being that essentially substantiated the Hypostasis of the Word.

The Chalcedonian doctrine is that Christ is the new born Virgin's Child, as a new born essence and newborn hypostasis both being the Word, the essense as His new born substantialness and the hypostasis as His new born configuration of being - if either is missing then the other is missing too and they both come in being instantaneously together. Yet, the created newborn hypostasis (Son of Man) is the uncreated hypostasis of Son of God and the created newborn essence of Son of Man is not the uncreated essence of Son Of God, but each essence substantiate in each own the one Son of the Father being in two substantialnesses. This is why the Virgin is God-mother and not Christ-Mother.

If your presentation that “Virgin is the source and cause of the flesh that The Word instantaneously received and so appropriated” was to be accepted, then she would have not been God-Mother, but only Christ-Mother as the mother of His flesh. But she is the Mother both of His flesh and of His hypostasis. The instantaneous reception and appropriation does not make her His mother presenting her offering only His flesh that Himself appropriated to be Himself, thus instead of having a mother, He is presented as the begetter of Himself by using Virgin as a donor of a body, thereafter adopted in His, regarding the cause of appropriation Christ-caused, substantiality.

So, do you see now how we differ in our Christology ?

May God bless us, all.

PS: I have also to pass three exams for a certification in my profession (computer engineer) during the coming month. I wish you success in your exams, and I have to offer for both of us a secure way for our success: there is an ancient Greek saying: "While the goddess Athena works for your success you should start using your hands”. Athena was the goddess of wisdom and of art, daughter of mighty pagan god Zeus. And the meaning of the saying is obvious: we should work our way for our success using the talents that God had put inside us, because as He does His work, we should also perform ours.

In our case the meaning of the ancient saying is clear: study, study, study.

(Message edited by lpap on 27 October, 2005)


#42 Fr Aaron Warwick

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 05:56 PM

Leandros said: "If your presentation that (quoting Athanasius) 'Virgin is the source and cause of the flesh that The Word instantaneously received and so appropriated' was to be accepted, then she would have not been God-Mother, but only Christ-Mother as the mother of His flesh."

I personally fail to see how Athanasius' statement brings you to this conclusion. To me, Athanasius' statement is perfectly 'Chalcedonian' Orthodox. He is simply saying that the Virgin is the source of Christ's humanity, which was received instantaneously (presumably at the Annunciation). There are absolutely no implications that I can see that would logically lead to the conclusion that Athanasius believes Mary to be only Christ-Mother rather than Theotokos. In fact, that would be contradictory to what he has previously professed.

If anyone besides Leandros can please point out to me where I am mistaken in this regards, please do so because I cannot see how the above statement is not Orthodox.

Aaron


#43 Theopesta

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Posted 27 October 2005 - 06:34 PM

as a non-chalchedonian: our faith in virgin mary is:

she is the laboratory for the union between the humanity and divinity that unite in her at the same moment of the incarnation she is the theotokos = mother of God as God the word take his humanity from her after the holy spirit purify her womb so, christ not heir the original sin from her she is not just a container (theodoxos) she is not mother of man as jesus as man as person not persent before the exact time of the incarnation in her body so the incarnated christ not two persona He is one persona because of the hypostatic union between his humanity and divinity

#44 Guest_Athanasius Abdullah

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 05:25 PM

Dearest to Christ Leandros,

Peace and blessings to you:

I think I will post this one last response before I get down to my study.

I did not write that "the appropriation" is self-creation. I wrote that "the appropriation of a non-self-subsistent human essence" is self creation.


It doesn’t make a difference. Neither can be considered "self-creation".

The problem in your statement is not in the actuality of the appropriation, but in who is the begetter of the appropriation, in who is the performer of the appropriation.


The Word is the performer of the appropriation. If it were not The Word who hypostatized humanity – individuating it and making it His very own – then the hypostatic union cannot be said to have been brought about voluntarily.

He "individuated" Himself.


No. He individuated His humanity – His humanity is not His “self”. His “self” = His Person, not His essence.

As Dr M.C. Steenberg already objected on this, this self individuation is unacceptable by Chalcedonians.


I don’t recall where Dr Steenberg ever addressed the notion of individuation, let alone objected to it.

I would also like to take this opportunity to note, that the language pertaining to Christ "individuating His manhood" was language adopted by Fr. V.C. Samuel of the OOC in his article "One Nature of God The Word Incarnate"; this paper was reviewed by both Fr. Romanides and Fr. Meyendroff of the EOC - neither of whom objected to anything that was said therein.

I find it hard to reconcile your assertion of representing the Chalcedonian position, with the fact that actual authoritative representatives of the Chalcedonian position have no problem with the language you are objecting to, and certainly do not interpret them in the manner you are.

But from the Chalcedonian point of view “His humanity” IS “His Self”


If this is truly the Chalcedonian point of view (which I doubt it is), then I reject it as I do Nestorianism. His Self functions humanly and experiences humanity subsequent to His Self’s appropriation of humanity; however, His Self is the second person of the Trinity eternally begotten of the Father, and not “His humanity” – a created human essence appropriated at the Incarnation.

For an essence is always “one’s essence” and it can not be an orphan essence(by "orphan" I mean non-self-subsistent, without a "parent" hypostasis)


I have already explicitly told you that the source of Christ’s humanity is the Virgin St Mary – she is the “parent” hypostasis if you will.

It is precisely the Nestorian notion of the Virgin St Mary giving birth to a mere man – an independent subsistence actualizing the humanity so received from her that thence was indwelt by The Word via conjunction – that the qualification of “non-self-subsistent” refutes.

It has no implications regarding the obvious fact that the humanity of Christ, being the derived from the very humanity of His Mother, obviously must have subsisted according to her hypostasis; when we speak of Christ’s humanity being non-self-subsistent, we refer to the status of the humanity so possessed by Him post-conception, which has implications regarding the very nature of this “possession” and the unity of His person i.e. it affirms the fact that the humanity so appropriated became the humanity of The Word; its subsequent subsistence thence contingent upon Him such that His humanity did not, precisely because it possibly could not, separate from The Word to thence subsist as an individual human being apart from The Word as is the practical consequence of Nestorianism.

If your presentation that “Virgin is the source and cause of the flesh that The Word instantaneously received and so appropriated” was to be accepted, then she would have not been God-Mother, but only Christ-Mother as the mother of His flesh


Nonsense. The title “Mother of-” qualifies the subject of her conception – who is the eternal Word, who is God. She is rightfully called Theotokos in this respect. She is however neither the source nor cause of God, for God being eternal is uncaused and has no source. She is precisely the source of Christ’s created humanity alone, for she is, in your own terms the “parent hypostasis” of His human essence, however certainly not of the divinity nor the eternally begotten Person of The Word, though The Word was indeed beheld in her womb which became the means of His “second birth.” As is said in the statement of faith of our sixth century non-Chalcedonian Patriarch Anthimus I:

“For He who was begotten without time and without a body of God the Father, the same underwent a second birth in flesh, inasmuch as in an ineffable manner He became incarnate of a virgin mother; and, after she had borne Him, she continued in her virginity; and we justly confess her to be the Theotokos, and that He who was born of her in the flesh is perfect God and perfect man, the same out of two natures one Son, one Lord, and one Christ, and one nature of God the Word who became incarnate”

P.S. Best of luck in your exams, may the Lord grant you success and prosperity.

In IC XC
-Athanasius

#45 Guest_Athanasius Abdullah

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 05:59 PM

Dearest to Christ all,

Peace and blessings be with you all:

I had planned to re-continue this discussion after my exams, however, after discussing the matter with a few friends, I have realised that this discussion has come down to the point where arguments are being made for arguments sake - it is thus neither practical nor spiritually befitting in order to pursue discussion any further.

I adhere to, and affirm all that I have professed and proclaimed, as a more than sufficient representation of Orthodox Christology, and likewise a more than sufficient refutation of the heresies historically and even presently ascribed to my Church by her ecclesiastical opponents. I also do not personally find any substantial difference between our two Christological faiths; this is more apparently evident in the fact that in my responses to virtually all the criticisms I have received (particularly from M.C. Steenberg) I have in fact agreed with the validity of such criticisms in principle, though denying that they apply to the actual position held.

Thank you all for the good discussion nonetheless, best wishes to you all, and again I apologize for any negative feelings I may have aroused.

In IC XC
-Athanasius


#46 Leandros Papadopoulos

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 12:02 AM

The Word is the performer of the appropriation. If it were not The Word who hypostatized humanity – individuating it and making it His very own – then the hypostatic union cannot be said to have been brought about voluntarily.


Dear Athanasius Abdullah,

You confuse the "result" with the "operation". Operation is the union and the result is the Incarnation. As St John of Damascus says: “Union, then, is one thing, and incarnation is something quite different. For union signifies only the conjunction, but not at all that with which union is effected. But incarnation (which is just the same as if one said “the putting on of man’s nature”) signifies that the conjunction is with flesh, that is to say, with man”.

No. He individuated His humanity – His humanity is not His “self”. His “self” = His Person, not His essence.

Leandros: «But from the Chalcedonian point of view “His humanity” IS “His Self»

If this is truly the Chalcedonian point of view (which I doubt it is), then I reject it as I do Nestorianism. His Self functions humanly and experiences humanity subsequent to His Self’s appropriation of humanity; however, His Self is the second person of the Trinity eternally begotten of the Father, and not “His humanity” – a created human essence appropriated at the Incarnation.


You confuse the uncreated Divine way of being of Son of God with the created way of being of Son of Man. I assure you, this is the pre-Chalcedonian, the Chalcedonian and the post-Chalcedonian point of view of the Orthodox Church. And Nestorianism has nothing to do with that. Nestorianism proclaimed that “His humanity was another Person”, Chalcedon proclaimed that “His humanity was His Self”. There can not be a self without an essence. A specific self is its essence and a specific essence substantiates the respective specific self and a specific hypostasis is a hypostasis of a specific essence, or else hypostasis is an illusion. Hypostasis operates always essentialy, but its operations can be found in otherness. There is no "I am" without essence. There is no "I work" without essence. Hypostasis can not operate by itself without essence, there is no such thing as non-essential hypostasis.

The title “Mother of-” qualifies the subject of her conception – who is the eternal Word, who is God.


For Chalcedonians the title “Mother of-” qualifies the Virgin herself, for she is a real mother of her Child. But the Child was God, therefore we call her: “Mother of God”. And as every real human mother does, she caused her Child’s birth as a newborn human Child, both as newborn human Hypostasis as well as newborn human essence(Body-Soul). And she did not caused her Child alone by herself, but "as the Holy Spirit came upon her, and the power of the Highest overshadowed her". And the newborn human hypostasis substantial in a human essence was no other than the uncreated Hypostasis of the Word substantial in His divine Essence. Thereafter the same Hypostasis had born twice in two substantialnesses, one created (from the essence of His human mother with no father in a specific time) and another uncreated (from the essence of His Divine Father with no mother before the ages).

I know that you named the Virgin as Theotokos- Mother of God, but the justification that you provide is unacceptable by Chalcedon. It reminds me the saying of Nestorius about the two persons, that he mistakenly supported was Jesus: "Through Him that bears I worship Him Who is borne". Likewise you present the Virgin as adopted mother of God rather than “Mother of God”, but you honour her as "Mother of" by the virtue of Whom she gave birth, which is a repetition of the theory of Nestorius in another form: Your proposal makes her a voluntary vehicle in His need for a mother, a kind of substitute mother which was not His real mother at all, but she deserved the title of "Mother of" for the sake of her pregnancy that born Him without qualifying her as His mother in reality, rather qualifying Him as God born by Her. Even then, you use the wrong term, the right term being "Vessel of God", instead of "Mother of God".

Our phraseology may be same or identical but its justification is not. I let you come to your own conclusions. As for me, I understand that we not only carry a different tradition but we still hold the same differences that were present in Chalcedon, which were not differences of semantics and the results of wilfulness, but they were real differences between us in the way that we worship God.

That does not make us enemies, neither excludes anyone from salvation. God’s paths are written in our hearts and He is the road.

Brother Athanasius, since you decided to leave the forum (if I understand you correctly) and this is probably the last time that I address you personally, I wish you to live in your life the authenticity of Life. Let me make a personal remark. In our discussions I had the feeling that you seek the validity and the rightness of the faith. Let me suggest that neither of these are important compared to the authenticity of the faith.

May God bless us, all.

#47 Guest_katya the nurse-aid

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 01:51 AM

it is like try to KNOW GOD as HE IS...we cannot cannot, becuse we are NOT GOD...only HE can COMPLETELY KNOWS HIMSELF and this is MYSTERY...so beter do not try to eat that fruit...


#48 Guest_katy the nurse-aid

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 02:12 AM

well... also my friend told me that she alawys wanted to know and was curious what God is? is this right conception? she made furtune a lot and other things from curiousity..i don't know.... HE can transform anything to the good, for good IF person loking for HIM..

my esxpirience is diferent, i wans't curious, i wanted to love and be loved, i fight for those who was accused or ignored, i felt pain...i never use my brain or try to be curious about..and i simply saw beaty around...HE also turned my life to HIM, to find what we are all is looking for...

why i'm saying this? just to show that using brain toward GOD it is like the same as use feelings toward math...will not work...will not help to know how much 7times 7 is? no meter how much you love you have toward math..untill you use your brain and memory, it willl not be solved..

thwe same with LOVE/HIM....untill you start use only heart, brain will not help!


#49 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 09:45 AM

Dear Aaron, you wrote:

I personally fail to see how Athanasius' statement brings you to this conclusion. To me, Athanasius' statement is perfectly 'Chalcedonian' Orthodox. He is simply saying that the Virgin is the source of Christ's humanity, which was received instantaneously (presumably at the Annunciation). There are absolutely no implications that I can see that would logically lead to the conclusion that Athanasius believes Mary to be only Christ-Mother rather than Theotokos. In fact, that would be contradictory to what he has previously professed.

If anyone besides Leandros can please point out to me where I am mistaken in this regards, please do so because I cannot see how the above statement is not Orthodox.


No, you are not mistaken. I whole-heartedly agree (not that my agreement is any sort of litmus-test, mind you; it just happens to be the case that I do).

INXC, Matthew

#50 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 09:51 AM

Dear Athanasius, Aaron, Theopesta and others,

I do not wish to let a very engaging conversation ‘die’ on account of being side-tracked into other realms. In that regard, I would hope we could get back to the previous focus, and not dwell too long over definitions such as this:

A specific “being” is essential/substantial in its specific configuration of its mode of being. Therefore a specific human being is defined by its “humanity” which is its mode of being, by its “hypostasis” which is the specific configuration of its mode of being, and by its “essence” which is the substantialness of “the specific configuration of the mode of being” of the specific human being.


This certainly does not work at all, and is not representative of Chalcedonian incarnational thought. The whole context in which it is articulated seems to me highly confused, and I think the subsequent posts have addressed that well.

Back to the matter at hand: At length I am coming to understand your distinction, Athanasius, of the non-pre-existence of the human in Christ, which you sum up in a recent response to one of my messages:

In human beings, the natural human reality is actualized as an individual subsistence that does not in itself precede the actualization of this human reality (i.e. there is no logically prior subsistence that thence actualises the human natural reality, for all human subsistences are actualisations of the human natural reality in the first place), but rather is the product thereof.


I’ve now been convinced that the language as you are using it is not in fact rendering compositional in the unitive process the ‘coming together’ of two realities. This had been a concern of mine, especially early on with some of the first definitions you were using (and I think it one of the inherent ‘risks-of-interpretation’ in speaking of Christ’s humanity as an ‘hypostasis’); but it has become clear as the dialogue has progressed that this is clearly not what you mean. I find that engagement a major step forward in mutual understanding.
I am also more and more of the suspicion that there is common ground in the conceptions of the realised union in the incarnate Christ that lie beneath the differing means of articulation we’ve been working with here. But I’m also convinced that authenticity warrants not simply professing that ‘we’re saying the same thing, really’, but hammering through the details to see why one is saying it the way one is, and the concerns met by the other in that language. It may be a slow process, but it seems to me fruitful in genuine dialogue.

Let me re-frame my concerns over the language of differing types of hypostatisation in the incarnate Christ, in the hope of getting to the heart of what I find problematic. If I may call upon Cyril very generally (and I realise we’re trying to speak in our own terms here, so I will keep this broad), his primary aim in speaking of the incarnation as a change in the hypostatic mode of being of the eternal Son, was to secure two realities: (1) that the single subjectivity of the Word was maintained, such that the subjective identity of the Son was not altered in the incarnational union such as to be other or different; and (2) to ensure that the full reality of the humanity was the Son’s, and that the Son as incarnate lived all things humanly since the fullness of human reality was fully and personally his, and not ‘proximately’ his (as Cyril would characterise Nestorius), or his in some diminished/mutated form (as per a reading of Apollinarius). Thus Cyril was convinced that the most authentic way to speak of this incarnation was as a change in the mode of hypostatisation: the one who is the hypostatisation of the divine is, in the incarnation, the hypostatisation of divine and human natures. It is the absolute insistence upon the continued reality of the single hypostasis, joined to no other but, rather, now hypostatising differently (two natures rather than one), that serves him to the above ends.

Now, that I may be absolutely clear, I am absolutely certain that you (Athanasius) maintain both these points and hold them as central, as is abundantly clear from your posts; so please do not feel as if I am in some way challenging that. My concern lies rather in the kind of language / conceptualisation one uses to express these realities; in whether such language maintains them effectively. It is in this regard that I struggle with the language of ‘non-self-subsisting hypostasis’ in reference to the human in the incarnate Christ, as I see it attempting to answer such concerns—but I am not sure it does not pose others. My reasoning here becomes clear in some of your comments:

His humanity is inseparable from His divinity by virtue of its continued subsistence being contingent upon the hypostasis of The Word (for this very hypostasis constitutes the actualised divinity and humanity subsequent to the incarnation)

A person’s manner of being is determined by the natural reality actualized according to their subsistence. Since time eternity, Christ has subsisted according to a divine state of existence; at the incarnation, this very subsistence hypostatised a natural human reality also, such that the One Christ thence subsisted according to both divinity and humanity – two states (rather than two grounds) of being. His humanity is non-self-subsistent since its reality was instantiated at, and not before, the Incarnation, and dependent upon the logically prior existing hypostasis of The Word, as opposed to an independent hypostasis adopted or assumed by The Word.


The first thing that is clear from these two quotations is in fact how closely you and I are speaking to the same ends: the language is very similar, and it is clear that we are concerned with the same matters. Yet it is the language of non-self-subsistence that concerns me (as you know), and from these quotations I can pin-point one specific source of that concern. As I mentioned in a previous post, there seems to me a differentiation in the realisation of human nature as it comes about in Christ, and in other humans: you differentiate between self-subsistent and non-self-subsistent, assigning the human in Christ the latter designation because ‘its reality was instantiated at, and not before, the Incarnation, and dependent upon the logically prior existing hypostasis of The Word’. But what of the reality of other human persons? Our human nature is instantiated at our conception, like Christ’s; but surely (as I am certain you would agree) our hypostatisation at all begins there, since we are not eternal beings. The concern here is that humanity is ‘real’ in one way for us, in another for Christ. Interestingly, what bothered the Cappadocian fathers about Apollinarius was not so much his thoughts on the soul of Christ, but his notion that the humanness of Christ was something different from the humanness of others, a ‘heavenly man’ as he at one point termed it. Clearly this is not what you wish to assert; but is there not the risk in this language of separating the way in which human nature is ‘real’ in Christ to the manner in which it is ‘real’ in us?

The fact that conceptions are close indeed is apparent to me from your following remark:

We thus affirm a composite union based on The Incarnate Words' hypostasis's "inclusion" or "possession" of humanity and divinity, though certainly not a synthetic union based upon the coming together of humanity and divinity constituting or forming the ultimate hypostasis of The Incarnate Word. The composite self-subsisting hypostasis of The Incarnate Word does not refer to some sort of a new hypostasis brought into existence via the union of the self-subsisting hypostasis of The Word with the non-self-subsisting hypostasis of The Word’s humanity; rather, it refers to the one and same self-subsisting hypostasis of The Word, which becomes “composite” as opposed to “simple” subsequent to the Incarnation, exclusively with respect to His possessing and actualising two distinct and continuing natural realities subsequent to the incarnation.


This seems to me a strong definition, clearly repudiating my earlier concern over compositional elements in ‘coming together’ (which you here call ‘synthetic union’—a good term). But I still find it challenged by what remains unstated: that the ‘composite hypostasis’ of the Word (to use your terms) who is the incarnate Jesus Christ exists as a union of self-subsisting hypostatisation of the Word and non-self-subsisting hypostatisation of humanity. Can we not say, rather, that the single hypostasis now realises/actualises two full and complete natures, admitting no qualification on either?

As an ending comment, I realise that you are studying for exams, so please feel no pressure in responding, though others may certainly wish to. The nice feature of on-line fora is the ability to come back to conversations at any time. Posted Image

INXC, Matthew

#51 Fr Aaron Warwick

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 01:39 PM

Dear Athanasius and others:

I have thoroughly enjoyed these discussions, though I must admit that much of the terminology being employed and the ideas being argued are simply 'over my head,' which is why I have made very few comments but have tried to sit back and learn from the discussions between Athanasius and Dr. Steenberg.

I must first of all say that I am very disappointed you are leaving, Athanasius, but I understand your reasoning. I must also say that you have given me much to think about regarding the non-Chalcedonian Orthodox. Quite frankly, I do not see any departure from the Orthodox faith on either side (i.e. Chalcedonian vs. non-Chalcedonian), at least as each side modernly interprets their language. Moreover, I can see, for example, the practical implications of the Papists departing from the faith in the modern debacle of Roman Catholicism. Simply put, this cannot be said of the Oriental Orthodox Communion. I cannot see, even if there is a slight difference in the language employed in our respective Christologies, any practical or real difference. As we are told, "you will know them by their fruits." I simply cannot see a different or defective fruit in the Oriental Orthodox Communion.

Finally, I have personally been disappointed with the Chalcedonian representation in this thread and the previous thread related to this subject. I think we all, myself included, need to remember that, as St. Isaac the Syrian said, if we were to take all of the virtues and pile them on one side of the scale and place silence on the other side, the latter would always outweigh the former. Please, let us leave deep theological discussions and refutations to those who are clearly capable of expressing our position.

Forgive.

Aaron


#52 Theopesta

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 03:44 PM

the reverend DR. MATTH. and reverend MR. aaron

I am so highly appreciated your kind tendency on trying to understand us the non-chalchedonian and the royal words and language of dr. MAT

Can we not say, rather, that the single hypostasis now realises/actualises two full and complete natures, admitting no qualification on either?


I excuse Athanasius and all till Athanasius will come back after 2.5 weeks --his exams time as I understand

can I answer this question:

yea, we can say one hypostasis now realises/actualises two full and complete natures,
we not say 2 hypostasis we not say the 2 nature confuses or mixed or changed but each nature remain as it is {the natural desire and will of each nature remain in presence of the other with one harmony (existance or subsistence)so, finally one action and one will
thanks to give me chance to answer and I will be gratful more in case of correcting

in one christ
theopesta

#53 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 06:34 PM

For myself these discussions have helped me to see how theologically we are close but in a very important way why we are still separated. In a word I feel from these discussions that the non-Chalcedonians now indeed have a Christology that is more acceptable to us but in other ways (most of all the hesitancy about a complete acceptance of Chalcedon) still leave crucial matters unresolved.

It is not enough to only be trying to make the same theological point. It is extremely important that we also accept the Patristic context that this theology comes from. To say that one has an Orthodox Christology while not openly accepting (or even rejecting) Chalcedon is to try to claim the fruit while rejecting the tree & ultimately to disfigure theology into subjective abstractions. In any case it is this ambiguity of acceptance and non-acceptance by the non-Chalcedonians that I think has prevented a true reconciliation between us. Not that we have to have a triumphalist approach of all or nothing- past precedent shows that more than we think from the past can be overlooked or rather healed within a proper faith. But we must have a truly common faith in order for reconciliation to be true and not collapse as soon as the ink is dry on the paper of official agreements & talks.

Perhaps the temptation for us here is as much in our methodology as in anything else. Talk and discussion definitely can have their place. But we must not mistake one particular fruit on the tree for the whole tree. The Tree is the theological vision of the Church achieved through an Orthodox-ascetic life in the Holy Spirit. This vision is akin to that of Holy Scripture and is not of this world. The writings of the Holy Fathers and especially the Councils express this vision. That is why it is the known teaching of the Church that we also must have a life in Christ as our Holy Fathers do in order to understand what they are trying to say. The point specific to our discussion is that it is from within the experience and mind of the Church that we are able to speak with the voice of the Church and that discussion is not always identical to this. Often the logic of discussion proceeds in its own at times separate way- a way that can open doors of charity while forgetting about deeper unresolved issues. In any case any claim that implies that we can speak 'the same theology' while rejecting or not accepting the saints & councils who proclaimed this theology is walking on very thin ice indeed. Indeed such a statement is no longer actually theological in its proper sense.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

PS: Please note that I am speaking in a general way. I am very well aware that there are some posters here from among the non-Chalcedonians who after great effort have been able to accept Chalcedon without compromising their own tradition. This effort needs to be praised. But others have not been able to come to this point- presumably due to the same concern not to compromise their own tradition.

So I see this split of attitudes as being a microcosm of the situation facing us and again of why there is hope on the one hand but realistically not yet the opportunity for true reconciliation.

#54 Theopesta

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 03:26 AM

dear all fathers and brothers:

just I need more clarification and also to what extant these thoughts orthodox, and how I can articulate them in orthoddox frame:

1- we not believe in pre-existence of the humanity of the incarnated Logos, but we believe in the everlasting persistency of the hypostatic union between humanity and divinity in the LOGOS hypostasis, this appear from what st. JN saw in the revelation:

" And I beheld, and, see, in the middle of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the middle of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain," REV 5: 6

now the logos with his humanity and divinty in their hypostatic union on the throne isn't that? or this is a mystery we not know?!!!

2- in the EUcharist: we take the true eternal life but we not take the divinity this never happen we take the flesh of incarnated LOGOS that HE take from theotokos also the humanity not sepertaed from devinity after the time of incarnation and for ever and ever. the hypostasis is subsistence of the ousia or nature according to my understanding we can not seperate the ousia from hypostasis may be in the contemplation realm only

now what I take in the EUCHARIST exactly ??

"It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life." Jn 6: 63

what I take in the EUCHARIST exactly ??

p.s. I hope you forgive me for imperfect language in between royal expressions

IN ONE CHRIST, theopesta

#55 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 03:57 AM

Dear Theopesta dem,

When we partake in the Eucharist we partake of the Deified Body & Blood of Christ.
Included in the Prayers Before Communion are these lines:

"Be awe-stricken, O mortal, beholding the deifying Blood;
For It is a fire that consumeth the unworthy.
The Divine Body both deifieth & nourisheth me.
It deifieth the spirit, and wondrously nourisheth the mind."


So the Mystery we share in is having true communion with the Incarnate Christ.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#56 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 04:17 AM

Theopesta Dem wrote:

1- we not believe in pre-existence of the humanity of the incarnated Logos, but we believe in the everlasting persistency of the hypostatic union between humanity and divinity in the LOGOS hypostasis, this appear from what st. JN saw in the revelation:

" And I beheld, and, see, in the middle of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the middle of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain," REV 5: 6

now the logos with his humanity and divinty in their hypostatic union on the throne isn't that? or this is a mystery we not know?!!!


Yes the Lamb always refers to the Incarnate Christ but of course set within the context of the Church in which He is surrounded by the saints and for whom He sacrifices His life.

A teaching of the Church we Orthodox often pay too little heed to is that at His Ascension Christ still remains fully Incarnate. Unconsciously almost many Christians think as if Christ's economy consists of adopting human nature upon His Incarnation and then setting this aside at His Ascension as if at this point His work among humanity is accomplished. This is very wrong: there is great significance in the fact that Christ does not lay aside the work of His Incarnation.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#57 Theopesta

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 09:14 AM

Excuse me all if I can not give the exact accurat expression. I do not want to repeate a privious expressions, but rather I want to progress in all fruitfull mutual understanding,
DR. Mat. previously more than one time give councel to us to study the theological issue of the council of chalcedon, reading the defintion of the faith in this link:

www.monachos.net/patristics/christology/chalcedon_definition

I am not find any thing we can refuse it as oriental orthodox this is the faith as I am already learning till now. may be the only word differ present in this quot -- with all deeply respection to the principl here of not take quotions but we say our faith:

This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures


instead we say:

This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be out of two natures --out of two natures

the use of the prepostions ek or en here only the diferrence I do not know this difference is intrinsically important in the theological critical expressions or not??? but I know generally that: the prepostions in the greek language is very senstive and st.Basil has an essy in this issue. also, we all not believe that: the nature of the flesh and of the Godhead is all one. our dogma about the incarnated Logos form as a servant --his humanity, is that not other than ours but rather morfhn doulou (php2: 7)

morfh: mean not the external appearance or shape of man only but also, the enternal nature of the man --internal and external --, except the sin, so HE can redeem every thing in our nature external and enternal, from the consequences of the sin and death,

so, finally, the peculiar property of each nature remain as it is, this make the redemption actual and effective and limitless. i think the theological issue is the same between the 2 family as I am not find any thing I refuse it. also, when we say that: what happen in chalcedon is political not theological this mean we not refuse the theological issue,
I hope I am not leave the core of the thread

IN ONE CHRIST, Theopesta

#58 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 30 October 2005 - 01:30 PM

Dear friends,

Just as an update here (since I know Athanasius is busy and away for a time, preparing for his examinations): a misunderstanding of intention recently has been seen as that through a series of pleasant e-mails, and all should rest assured that there is intention to carry on with this interesting discussion. As so many have noted, it is a rare opportunity to be able to discuss such things in a creative environment.

INXC, Matthew


#59 Guest_Athanasius Abdullah

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 11:56 AM

Dearest to Christ all,

Peace and blessings be with you all:

As Dr. Steenberg implied, I shall be returning to resume discussion after my exams, thanks to the loving kindness and support of many.

Till then, I beseech you all to remember the Copts of Egypt in your prayers, as they suffer in the wake of the recent events in Alexandria regarding the besieging of St George’s Church by thousands of Islamic radicals. Since this event - that resulted in the stabbing of a Coptic nun – Coptic businesses and churches in Alexandria and elsewhere in Egypt have been burnt down or attacked by other means, and the blood of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III declared lawful by Jihadists. The situation is so dramatic, that His Holiness Pope Shenouda III was brought to tears for his people in his speech to the congregation. His Holiness has always been regarded a man of strength, stamina and courage, and it was highly unusual to see him in the state shown in the afore-linked video clip (my father, who has been following His Holiness’ speeches and sermons for over 35 years, has never seen him like this before) - I cannot help but think that His Holiness (who has been known for clairvoyance) knows something beyond what we are able to deduce from the media reports.

The escalation of violence against the Copts in Alexandria, reminds me of the words of our previous Patriarch His Holiness St. Pope Kyrillos VI. When the plans for the development of St Menas monastery in the outer desert regions of Alexandria were being deliberated, Pope St Kyrillos ordered the design of a Cathedral. This Cathedral is really quite massive – probably one of the biggest Coptic churches in the world – and when he was asked why he requested that such an enormous Cathedral be built, especially in such a deserted region, he declared that there will be a day where Islamic terrorism in Alexandria will be so severe, that the Copts of Alexandria will be forced to abandon worship at their local Churches, and will migrate to the desert to worship at the cathedral of St Menas.

Sorry for distracting the discussion with this prayer request, but the Copts of Egypt truly need all the prayers they can get at the moment.

Looking forward to resuming discussion soon,

In IC XC
-Athanasius


#60 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 13 November 2005 - 09:33 AM

Dear Theopesta, Athanasius, Fr Raphael, Aaron and others,

I'm finally getting back to some of the posts in this conversation, having been away from the on-line world for a few weeks. I hope Athanasius' examinations went well; and I look forward to the continuing dialogue.

Theopesta wrote, regarding Chalcedon, that perhaps one of the few points of notable distinction was:

[Chalcedon says] This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be in two natures

instead we say:

This one and the same Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son [of God] must be confessed to be out of two natures -- out of two natures

the use of the prepostions ek or en here only the diferrence I do not know this difference is intrinsically important in the theological critical expressions or not???


This has traditionally been a highly controverted point, whether one uses 'in' (en) as was the preference of Chalcedon and Leo, but also Nestorius; or 'from/out of' (ek), as was preferred by Cyril, but also Eutyches. I actually think the focus of this particular thread (i.e. attempting to speak of the theological issues without direct reference to councils or specific teachings of specific fathers) will get us to this issue rather soon, as it's the logical 'next step' after the kinds of discussion we've been having over the past weeks.

I think it is in fact tied in with the central issue of some discussion: namely what constitutes the 'nature' of the human and the divine in Christ. Athanasius, I would be particularly curious to know what you would make of this particular question given the context of discussion on subsistent / non-self-subsistent hypostases.

INXC, Matthew




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