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EOC & Immaculate Conception #272181 01/09/08 05:56 AM
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Dandelion Offline OP
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The Immaculate Conception is a good example. The EOC rejects this, primarily on the grounds that it is based on the Augustinian doctrine of Original Sin, which declares all of Adam's descendants to have received the "stain" of his sin at their conception. However, this doctrine can be understood as nothing more than the RCC's traditional way of explaining the more fundamental doctrine that all men stand in need of salvation. Now we have a standpoint from which a common ground could be reached regarding OS, from which the IC could then be addressed. Since the EOC already confesses Mary to be "most pure" and "without stain," this actually seems possible.

This could be considered a dumb question,
well anyway here it goes;

Can it be possible that the temple sacrifices or offerings with good intentions performed in the O.T. before the birth of our Lord could have cleansed Mary from original sin/stain,
St. Anne & St. Joachim , I thought that her parents fasted & prayed too?.

Dandelion


Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: Dandelion] #272201 01/09/08 08:46 AM
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Lets say it this way God preserved the BVM
from any sin since she was to be the Mother of her all holy Son.
Stephanos I
Could we agree on that?

Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: Dandelion] #272207 01/09/08 11:30 AM
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ebed melech Offline
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Originally Posted by Dandelion
The Immaculate Conception is a good example. The EOC rejects this, primarily on the grounds that ...


Dandelion,

Christ is baptized in the Jordan River!

Just to clarify, I do not believe that it is entirely accurate to say that the EOC rejects the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. I say this for two reasons:

1. There is no corporate magisterial body (apart from an ecumenical council) in the worldwide communion that constitutes the Eastern Orthodox Churches and which could thereby officially condemn this doctrine and thus make its rejection binding on all Orthodox Christians. Ergo, it has not been officially rejected by the EOC.

2. There are some Orthodox who view belief in the Immaculate Conception as a legitimate theologuemena (theological opinion).

But the argument that you have presented regarding issues around the Augustinian view of original sin is a common one presented by many Orthodox theologians, the majority of which, at least among those who are published that I have run across, do seem to reject the doctrine, or at least how it is formulated officially by the Catholic Church.

A notable and partial exception to this is Archbishop Kallistos Ware in his praiseworthy classic, The Orthodox Church:

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The Orthodox Church calls Mary ‘All-Holy;’ it calls her ‘immaculate’ or ‘spotless’ (in Greek, achrantos); and all Orthodox are agreed in believing that Our Lady was free from actual sin. But was she also free from original sin? In other words, does Orthodoxy agree with the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, proclaimed as a dogma by Pope Pius the Ninth in 1854, according to which Mary, from the moment she was conceived by her mother Saint Anne, was by God’s special decree delivered from ‘all stain of original sin?’ The Orthodox Church has never in fact made any formal and definitive pronouncement on the matter. In the past individual Orthodox have made statements which, if not definitely affirming the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, at any rate approach close to it; but since 1854 the great majority of Orthodox have rejected the doctrine, for several reasons. They feel it to be unnecessary; they feel that, at any rate as defined by the Roman Catholic Church, it implies a false understanding of original sin; they suspect the doctrine because it seems to separate Mary from the rest of the descendants of Adam, putting her in a completely different class from all the other righteous men and women of the Old Testament. From the Orthodox point of view, however, the whole question belongs to the realm of theological opinion; and if an individual Orthodox today felt impelled to believe in the Immaculate Conception, he could not be termed a heretic for so doing.


Here Archbishop Kallistos states very clearly his very learned observation that there is neither consensus nor condemnation with regards to this doctrine within the Orthodox communion. This may not be to the liking of those who presume to speak for worldwide Orthodoxy, but there you have it.

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Can it be possible that the temple sacrifices or offerings with good intentions performed in the O.T. before the birth of our Lord could have cleansed Mary from original sin/stain,
St. Anne & St. Joachim , I thought that her parents fasted & prayed too?


The Old Testament sacrifices themselves did not forgive sins (otherwise how could they be said to be NOT pleasing to God, cf. Hebrews 10:5-6), but were rather corporate and personal penances for Israel, as well as prophetic types of the Paschal redemption accomplished by Christ. This is why I think you are right to add "with good intentions" to your statement above.

To be sure, the blessing of the conception of Mary by St. Ann was in recognition of the personal righteousness of Joachim and Ann, but the dogma of the Immaculate Conception clearly states that the cause of the fully sanctified nature of the Theotokos at her creation/conception as the New Eve was the anticipated saving action of Christ - particularly the Cross and Resurrection. To the extent that the OT sacrifices prefigured both that redemption accomplished by Christ and the New Testament signs through which we participate in that redemption, I think you could argue that there is some causal connection, but only in a secondary or even tertiary and completely contingent sense.

Some have argued against the notion of the saving action of Christ being applied to Mary prior to their historical realization on the Cross and in the Tomb. To that I would only point to the saving event of Theophany, which we are still celebrating, in which Christ was baptized in the Jordan River. This event prefigured His redemptive "exodus" (Cross and Tomb) prior to their historical occurrence, and yet the Gospels clearly note that Jesus (His apostles under His direction, of course) baptized disciples from that time forward. If we accept the Pauline interpretation of baptism as an immersion into the saving death and resurrection of Christ, how would such a thing be possible unless it was in anticipation of the Passover event some three years later? Clearly God's "time" (kairos) is not bound by our time (chronos)!

Otherwise, the disciples of Jesus would have had to be re-baptized as John the Forerunner's were in Acts 19:1-10.

Just some further thoughts...

God bless!

Gordo

Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: ebed melech] #272209 01/09/08 12:12 PM
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Gordo,

Do both East & West agree on what original sin is?

ps. could you please remind me of what it is again.

Thank You,

Dandelion

Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: Dandelion] #272226 01/09/08 02:21 PM
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My dear Latin friends,

Christus Natus Est!

"Original Sin" in the East is the impact of the Sin of Adam on our human nature. This impact (such as death) is communicated to us. At no time is the personal sin of Adam communicated to us, however.

So, from the Eastern standpoint, was the Mother of God without Original Sin? Since the services of the Feast of the Dormition point to the fact of her death, then the answer is "No."

Was the Conception of the Mother of God holy? Absolutely. She is addressed in the liturgical prayers of December 9th as a Saint, as is John the Baptist on the feast of his Conception.

The Theotokos was sanctified by the Holy Spirit at her Conception, one of several such sanctifications that we know of (although she continues to grow in Theosis even in Heaven).

Her sanctification as the Most Holy, All-Holy and Ever-Holy Mother of God mitigated the effects of Original Sin to the nth degree. Thus, she felt no pain in giving birth to Christ. Her death was a sweet falling asleep etc. etc.

The purpose of the RC dogma of the IC was to basically prevent anyone from ever saying the Mother of God was born with the stain of Original Sin (whatever RC theologs say that means today, it is rather confusing).

Both East and West agree that the Most Holy and Ever-Virgin Mary had no sin at any time, and how could she have since God the Word took His Body and Blood, by which we are nourished unto salvation and Theosis in Holy Communion, from her?

Once again, the IC is a dogma necessitated by a certain theological "straight-jacket" imposed by particular Latin a priori's (in this case, the "stain of Original Sin" which suggests the inheritance of Adam's personal sin).

And if it can be argued that the above is NOT the RC understanding of Original Sin - why did the RC Church need to define the IC dogma?

And "sin" in the East is not always a "mark or stain" on the soul i.e. a particular sin. It is also a state of rebellion against God and we may also sin without being fully aware that we are (see the Eastern prayer of repentance following the Creed in the Daily Prayers).

Alex


Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 01/09/08 02:23 PM.
Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #272235 01/09/08 02:50 PM
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Quote
There are some Orthodox who view belief in the Immaculate Conception as a legitimate theologuemena (theological opinion).


This is possible, but I have never spoken with anybody who holds such a view; but even such a view wouldn't make sense from a Roman perspective, much less in my opinion an Orthodox one.

Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: AMM] #272247 01/09/08 03:26 PM
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Certainly, in the time of the Kyivan Baroque where Orthodox students studied at Western universities, there were Orthodox Brotherhoods of the Immaculate Conception who wore a form of the Miraculous medal with the inscription "O All-Immaculate Theotokos, save us!" and even took the "Bloody Vow" (to defend to the death the IC). (This information is contained in an article published by the Marian Library at the university of Dayton that I have somewhere at home).

Fr. John Meyendorff also mentions certain Greek theologians who held the same and accepted the "Western view of Original Sin."

St Dmitri of Rostov was one Orthodox Saint who belonged to this group and was even called up on the carpet by the ROC Synod to explain himself.

Alex

Last edited by Orthodox Catholic; 01/09/08 03:26 PM.
Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #272248 01/09/08 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
My dear Latin friends,

Christus Natus Est!

"Original Sin" in the East is the impact of the Sin of Adam on our human nature. This impact (such as death) is communicated to us. At no time is the personal sin of Adam communicated to us, however.


Great summary! I agree completely.

Quote
So, from the Eastern standpoint, was the Mother of God without Original Sin? Since the services of the Feast of the Dormition point to the fact of her death, then the answer is "No."


There is a tradition that Mary's Dormition was not only fitting given her role in the redemption, but completely voluntary. Her Dormition, like her role as Theotokos at the Annunciation, required her fiat. This is why I come down in the middle between the immortalists and the mortalists when it comes to the death of the Theotokos: her death was not a necessity of nature, but was in fact a fitting end to her life as the first and perfect disciple of her Son, and, by extension, as the Mother of the Church.

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Was the Conception of the Mother of God holy? Absolutely. She is addressed in the liturgical prayers of December 9th as a Saint, as is John the Baptist on the feast of his Conception.

The Theotokos was sanctified by the Holy Spirit at her Conception, one of several such sanctifications that we know of (although she continues to grow in Theosis even in Heaven).


As always, beautifully put. (When is that book coming out? wink )

Quote
Her sanctification as the Most Holy, All-Holy and Ever-Holy Mother of God mitigated the effects of Original Sin to the nth degree. Thus, she felt no pain in giving birth to Christ. Her death was a sweet falling asleep etc. etc.

The purpose of the RC dogma of the IC was to basically prevent anyone from ever saying the Mother of God was born with the stain of Original Sin (whatever RC theologs say that means today, it is rather confusing).


To my mind, there is no difference theologically between "effects" and "stain". The Catholic position is that both were completely erradicated, rather than mitigated, at the moment of her sanctification by the Holy Spirit at her conception in the womb of St. Ann.

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Both East and West agree that the Most Holy and Ever-Virgin Mary had no sin at any time, and how could she have since God the Word took His Body and Blood, by which we are nourished unto salvation and Theosis in Holy Communion, from her?


Agreed. Her sinlessness is also "fitting" given her role as Theotokos and New Eve.

Quote
Once again, the IC is a dogma necessitated by a certain theological "straight-jacket" imposed by particular Latin a priori's (in this case, the "stain of Original Sin" which suggests the inheritance of Adam's personal sin).


Not sure if binding teaching is the same as a "straight-jacket"!

I have yet to see anything where the Catholic Church explicitly teaches that we inherit Adam's personal sin (or guilt, rather)...

In ICXC,

Gordo

Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: ebed melech] #272249 01/09/08 03:32 PM
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Dear Gordo,

Great - I don't know about the Western view on Original Sin so thanks for explaining.

Certainly, any "stain" would not be "eradicated" according to the IC dogma, because that would suggest it was "there" to be eradicated - so "she was prevented from incurring" rather than eradicated (no?).

With respect to your use of eradicated rather than mitigated - agree totally.

Then again, here I'm trying to explain the Eastern view.

I myself accept the Most Holy and Immmaculate Conception of the Theotokos, belong to the Archconfraternity etc.

As did my Orthodox brothers of the Kyivan Baroque era! smile

Some are "Renaissance men" - I'm "Baroque" when you come right down to it! smile

Thanks for all your help and advice (that will never become public, I assure you!) - you've no idea what a blessing you really are and how God uses you to bring healing to others (me and my family for one!).

Thank you and God bless you, Man of God!

Alex

Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #272250 01/09/08 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Dear Gordo,

Great - I don't know about the Western view on Original Sin so thanks for explaining.

Certainly, any "stain" would not be "eradicated" according to the IC dogma, because that would suggest it was "there" to be eradicated - so "she was prevented from incurring" rather than eradicated (no?).


Alex,

Great distinction! Yes - the term that I have run across here is "preventitive redemption", which seems to capture what you are saying here.

Quote
With respect to your use of eradicated rather than mitigated - agree totally.

Then again, here I'm trying to explain the Eastern view.

I myself accept the Most Holy and Immmaculate Conception of the Theotokos, belong to the Archconfraternity etc.

As did my Orthodox brothers of the Kyivan Baroque era! smile

Some are "Renaissance men" - I'm "Baroque" when you come right down to it! smile

Thanks for all your help and advice (that will never become public, I assure you!) - you've no idea what a blessing you really are and how God uses you to bring healing to others (me and my family for one!).

Thank you and God bless you, Man of God!

Alex


You are too kind, brother! I feel the same way over the years of discussion with you as well.

God bless!

Gordo

Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: Orthodox Catholic] #272256 01/09/08 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Certainly, in the time of the Kyivan Baroque where Orthodox students studied at Western universities, there were Orthodox Brotherhoods of the Immaculate Conception who wore a form of the Miraculous medal with the inscription "O All-Immaculate Theotokos, save us!" and even took the "Bloody Vow" (to defend to the death the IC). (This information is contained in an article published by the Marian Library at the university of Dayton that I have somewhere at home)


Indeed, it is also mentioned by Fr. Georges Florovsky who described the period and the Latinizing influence of the White Russian clergy as the "pseudomorphosis" of Orthodox thought. Though one could say it extended in to all areas - liturgical art, music, etc. It is not a period I look to in order to understand the issue.

In the end the theology doesn't make sense to me, and secondarily the manner of proclamation of the dogma would not be acceptable to the church either; and as I said I've never spoken with anyone in person who accepts it even as a valid private opinion.

Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: AMM] #272278 01/09/08 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by AMM
In the end the theology doesn't make sense to me ...
Andrew,

I will certainly agree that it does not seem reasonable that God should hold us responsible for someone else's sin. However, our friend Gordon made an interesting point when he said:
Originally Posted by ebed melech
To my mind, there is no difference theologically between "effects" and "stain".

This would be, I presume, because to say otherwise would mean that we still get the same effect even when the cause (i.e. personal sin) is not there. My own take on this is that the Augustinian/Tridentine teaching on OS (which underlies the teaching on the IC), can be understood as nothing more than the RCC's traditional way of explaining the more fundamental doctrine that all men stand in need of salvation.

Having said that, though, I have to admit my understanding of the "Eastern" theology of Adam's sin and the Fall is a bit meager. Is it that Adam and Eve became aware of the certainty of their own eventual death as a result of their sin, which caused them (and their descendents) to have a constant sense of fear, which in turn is the cause of all concupiscence and thus of all personal sin?


Peace,
Deacon Richard

Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: Epiphanius] #272289 01/09/08 07:34 PM
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Schmemann discusses both "knowing" a thing and "hating" it. So that you can have full knowledge (as the angels did in his example) of God and at the same time reject Him. This flies in the face of many who would say that turning away from the Good is done out of ignorance - had the person fully known what they were doing by his actions he would never consciously sin.

"Christ's life is made up entirely, totally, exclusively of His desire to save man, to free him from that death into which man had transformed his life, to restore him to that life which he lost in sin.

...

He does not "abolish" or "destroy" the physical death because He does not "abolish" this world of which death is not only a "part" but the principle of life and even growth."

Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: Epiphanius] #272290 01/09/08 07:35 PM
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Dear Father Deacon Richard,

There can be no doubt that the Eastern understanding is that the Most Holy Theotokos stood in need of the Salvation of her Son. In fact, the Eastern understanding underlines this to the nth degree and emphasizes the Theotokos as the bridge between the East and the West in so doing.

It is the IC that CAN leave the impression otherwise.

In addition, where (extreme) Augustinianism is left wanting is in the extent to which it affirms the complete corruption of our nature following the impact of Original Sin (which also lies at the root of Calvinism and its predestinationism).

It would have to be proved that today's affirmations by RC theologians about Original Sin are those of yesteryear's affirmations about it as "stain" i.e. as the communication to all mankind of the personal sin of Adam (for which we are held to account) rather than its impact.

Our nature could indeed be said to be "stained" by Original Sin. But "stain" as the proverbial "black mark of sin on the soul" which is the communication of Adam's personal sin to us - that is something which would truly be foreign to the Eastern Fathers and the Christian East as a whole.

Alex

Re: EOC & Immaculate Conception [Re: AMM] #272291 01/09/08 07:38 PM
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Dear AMM,

Interesting phrase "White Russian clergy."

If by that is meant the clergy of the Kyivan Metropolia, then yes certainly. And for about 400 years, both Ukrainians and Belarusyans were called "White Ruthenians/Russians."

But Russia itself (aka "Muscovy") tended to steer clear of these issues, even though Westernization (encouraged by Peter I et al.) was likewise prevalent.


Alex

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