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Miaphysite vs Dyophysite #359472
02/03/11 08:28 PM
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Fr. Deacon Lance Offline OP
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It was raised in another thread that some consider miaphysis as an Orthodox expression. I disagreed because while I do not consider Miaphysites heretics the definition itself is insufficient since the fathers of Chalcedon decided that dyophysis was the fully orthodox expression and did not use St. Cyril's "one nature of God the Son incarnate" but that Christ was to confessed "in two natures". Comments.

The Definition of Chalcedon:

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin;
begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God (μονογενῆ Θεὸν), the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.


My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: Fr. Deacon Lance] #359479
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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
It was raised in another thread that some consider miaphysis as an Orthodox expression. [/i]


I think it's Orthodox, but that's me.

Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: Fr. Deacon Lance] #359481
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Again, go read Meyendorff's analysis. There is no contradiction between the Cyrilian formula and the Chalcedonian formula--and both are equally capable of being misinterpreted in a manner that contradicts the Church's understanding of the human and divine within the person of Jesus Christ. There were monophysite Cyrilians and diphysite Chalcedonians; conversely, there were Cyrilian Chalcedonians and Chalcedonian Cyrilians. At the end of the day, politics more than theology exacerbated and perpetuated the division between the two camps.

Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: Fr. Deacon Lance] #359482
02/04/11 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
It was raised in another thread that some consider miaphysis as an Orthodox expression. I disagreed because while I do not consider Miaphysites heretics the definition itself is insufficient since the fathers of Chalcedon decided that dyophysis was the fully orthodox expression and did not use St. Cyril's "one nature of God the Son incarnate" but that Christ was to confessed "in two natures". Comments.

The Definition of Chalcedon:

We, then, following the holy Fathers, all with one consent, teach people to confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Godhead and also perfect in manhood; truly God and truly man, of a reasonable [rational] soul and body consubstantial [co-essential] with the Father according to the Godhead, and consubstantial with us according to the Manhood; in all things like unto us, without sin; begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead, and in these latter days, for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to the Manhood; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved, and concurring in one Person and one Subsistence, not parted or divided into two persons, but one and the same Son, and only begotten God (μονογενῆ Θεὸν), the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ; as the prophets from the beginning [have declared] concerning Him, and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

The term mia physis was used by St. Cyril of Alexandria in his "Five Tomes Against Nestorius" in A.D. 430 in order to emphasize the reality of the incarnation in opposition to the Nestorian heresy; for, as he put it, after the union there is ". . . one nature of God the Logos incarnate (mia physis tou Theou Logou sesarkomene)" [St. Cyril of Alexandria, "Against Nestorius," I, 1, 6, 33]. Now, the use of this term (i.e., mia physis) does not involve the blending of divinity and humanity in Christ; instead, it simply affirms the interpenetration (perichoresis) of the two natures, which have been united without mixture or division, in the one person (hypostasis) of the incarnate Logos. To put it another way, St. Cyril held that the Hypostatic Union involves a union of the two natures in a way that affirms their actual inseparability, without confusion or change; while also affirming their proper distinction in contemplation only (tei theoriai monei).

Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: Fr. Deacon Lance] #359484
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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
. . . to be acknowledged in two natures . . .

The incarnate Logos is objectively of two natures as the Council of Ephesus proclaimed, and in contemplation alone in two natures as the Council of Chalcedon affirmed. Both of these expression are orthodox, but the latter expression is only permissible deductively (i.e., in the onlooker's mind) as the Council of Constantinople II declared in its seventh canon.

Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: StuartK] #359487
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Originally Posted by StuartK
Again, go read Meyendorff's analysis. There is no contradiction between the Cyrilian formula and the Chalcedonian formula--and both are equally capable of being misinterpreted in a manner that contradicts the Church's understanding of the human and divine within the person of Jesus Christ. There were monophysite Cyrilians and diphysite Chalcedonians; conversely, there were Cyrilian Chalcedonians and Chalcedonian Cyrilians. At the end of the day, politics more than theology exacerbated and perpetuated the division between the two camps.

I would also recommend reading Fr. McGuckin's book St. Cyril of Alexandria: The Christological Controversy Its History, Theology, and Texts, which is the most detailed analysis published to date on Cyrillian Christology and its impact on the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon.

Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: Apotheoun] #359488
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I just finished Fr. V.C Samuel's The Council of Chalcedonian Revisited and it was a very good view of the council and the Oriental Orthodox's response to it. Fr. Samuel explains how the non-Chalcedonians rejected monophysites and other extremes of the Alexandrian school. He also quotes extensively from the Oriental Fathers like Severus of Antioch and Peter the Iberian. I would highly recommend it. Fr. Kryillos, whom posts on the forum suggested it to me.

I think the one thing the non-Chalcedonians rejected the most was "in two natures." They had no argument in saying "from two nature" before the union but couldn't accept the "in two natures" of the council. I believe Pops Dioscorus said he could accept "from two natures" before the union and after the union spoke of "one hypostasis of the Word Incarnate."

I was reading the Festal Orations of Saint Gregory the Theologian. The introduction mentions something on his [St Gregory] Christology. I found it interesting and thought it could shed some light on some earlier Patristic thoughts on Christology. Its from page 51 under the Person of Christ.

Quote
"Oration 38.13 beings with a summary of salvation history, noting that nothing God did as recounted in the Hebrew Bible was enough to overcome the enormities of human sin. So God provided a greater help t overcome the enormities of human sin. So God provided a greater help in Christ's Incarnation. 'An innovation is made to natures,' Gregory says in Oration 39.14, ' and God became human...; not changing what he was, for he is immutable, but assuming what he was not, for he loves humankind.' That is, he remains God but takes upon himself humanity. The divine decent to our level turns the cosmic hierarchy upside down; its a new work of God, greater than creation itself. Thus, 'he shares with us a second communion, much more paradoxical than the first; then he gave us a share in what is superior, now he shares in what is inferior. This is more godlike than the first; this, to those who can understand, is more exalted' (Oration 38.13)."
'O the new mixture! O the paradoxocal blending!' Gregory exclaims, 'He who is comes into being, and the uncreated is created, and the uncontained is contained, through the intervention of the rational soul, which mediates between the Divinity and the coarseness of flesh' (Oration 38.13). The words translate here as 'mixture' and 'blending' are Stoic technical terms. They refer to a kind of mixing in which two ingredients are combined so that they permeate each other, yet each retains its own nature and characteristics, so they could be separated while retaining their integrity. For example, dried beans and peas can be stirred together while remaining beans and peas. Gregory uses this language to indicate how the Divine and human natures in Christ are completely united, yet each preserve its own character.

Last edited by Nelson Chase; 02/04/11 01:25 AM.
Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: Fr. Deacon Lance] #359490
02/04/11 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
I disagreed because while I do not consider Miaphysites heretics the definition itself is insufficient since the fathers of Chalcedon decided that dyophysis was the fully orthodox expression and did not use St. Cyril's "one nature of God the Son incarnate" but that Christ was to confessed "in two natures".

We must remember that Leo's Tome was only accepted as orthodox by the Fathers of Chalcedon after it had been diligently compared with the writings of St. Cyril, and that the in two natures expression was only accepted in the light of St. Cyril's letter 45, no. 7 (CUA Fathers of the Church series, volume 76, page 193; see also St. Cyril's letter to Acacius of Melitene).

Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: Fr. Deacon Lance] #359499
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These are all great explanations, but I think even more important is that we need to acquire a different mindset on what constitutes the unity of our common Faith.

"Pegging down orthodoxy to the authority of Councils and to the fixity of the theological propositions issued by them, and judging orthodoxy or otherwise of a section of the Church on the basis of its acceptance or rejection, as teh case may be, has failed to produce unity in the church, and most probably will continue to do so...On the other hand, when we take a Council dealing with doctrinal matters as a teaching organ rather than a legislative organ of the Church, and focus our attention on the insights contained in its exposition, then the desired consensus will be possible to produce..."
HG Tiran Nersoyan, Armenian Apostolic Church of America (of happy memory)

This is no novel attitude. It was tested during the Third Ecumenical Council, when the Council Fathers criticized Pope St. Cyril of Alexandria for using expressions beyond what was contained in previous, formal conciliar definitions of Faith in his remonstrances against Nestorius. St. Cyril correctly shot back that our Faith does not consist of formal definitions alone, but in the living Tradition of the Church.

Our common Faith consists in this: In Christ, there is a union of two natures, without confusion, without mixture, without division, without separation (asunchutos, atreptos, adiairetos, achoristos).

An OO should approach a Catholic or an EO and ask "Do you have this Faith?" When they say "Yes," then the OO will respond, "then you are my brother/sister in Christ." No questions asked. A Catholic should approach an OO and ask, "Do you have this Faith?" When he/she says "Yes," then the Catholic will respond, "you are my brother/sister in Christ." No questions asked. An EO should approach an OO and ask, "Do you have this Faith?" When he/she says "Yes," then the EO should be able to respond, "you are my brother/sister in Christ." No questions asked.

The difference in theological language between miaphysites and diophysites rests mainly in a difference in the interpretation of physis (among other corollary matters). Diophysites have a broader definition of the term physis than miaphysites do, which results in the distinction between "in two natures, and "of two natures." You have your theological Tradition, and we have ours. But do we share the same Faith? Yes.

Why argue over words, which St. Paul teaches us is of no use? Discussion over terminology can help us understand one another more, but it should already be premised on an acceptance of each other's theological orthodoxy. The expressions of our Faith are secondary to the Faith itself. We should be able to accept each other's theological differences, even while sharing a common Faith.

That is my personal belief as both an Oriental and a Catholic. I am a miaphysite Catholic and proud of it.

From what I have seen and read, Easterns are more apt to focus on the theological terminologies and definitions, and uniformity in theological terminologies and definitions.

Blessings,
Marduk

Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: Apotheoun] #359500
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Dear brother Todd,

Originally Posted by Apotheoun
Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
I disagreed because while I do not consider Miaphysites heretics the definition itself is insufficient since the fathers of Chalcedon decided that dyophysis was the fully orthodox expression and did not use St. Cyril's "one nature of God the Son incarnate" but that Christ was to confessed "in two natures".

We must remember that Leo's Tome was only accepted as orthodox by the Fathers of Chalcedon after it had been diligently compared with the writings of St. Cyril, and that the in two natures expression was only accepted in the light of St. Cyril's letter 45, no. 7 (CUA Fathers of the Church series, volume 76, page 193; see also St. Cyril's letter to Acacius of Melitene).

I'm pretty familiar with the Council of Chalcedon, and I am not aware of any statement from the Acts that could indicate that they were judging the Tome of Pope St. Leo by the letters of Pope St. Cyril. Can you please give us a direct quote (not an interpretation) from the Council of Chalcedon that could possibly be interpreted to that effect?

From the copy I have of the Acts, the reading of Pope St. Leo's Tome came right after the reading of Pope St. Cyril's letter to John of Antioch. The reading of the Tome is presented in this way:
After the reading of St. Cyril's letter, the bishops cried out:
"We all so believe. Pope Leo thus believes... this is the Faith of Archbishop Leo..."

But the Tome of Leo had not been read yet. So are we to assume that the bishops were judging St. Cyril's letter by what the bishops understood to have been the Faith of Pope St. Leo? Of course not.

After the reading of St. Cyril's letter, the acts state:
"The most glorious judges and the great senate said: Let there by read also the epistle of the most worthy Leo, Archbishop of Old Rome, the Imperial City."

It doesn't seem at all that the Tome was read so as to be judged through the lens of St. Cyril's letters. Rather, the Tome was read as an equal authority to St. Cyril's letters.

Perhaps you have other primary sources that I don't have, and I am willing to consider them. To repeat, can you please give direct evidence (not interpretations) that the Fathers of Chalcedon intended to judge Pope St. Leo's Tome by Pope St. Cyril's letters?

Blessings,
Marduk

Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: mardukm] #359501
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That is because the acts are not available in their entirety in English, but you can read historical articles about the council where the point is made that St. Leo's Tome was sent to a committee under the presidency of Anatolius of Constantinople for five days of review, so that the text of the Tome could be compared to the Synodical Letters of St. Cyril from Ephesus I.

I am sorry that you were unaware of this fact, but your ignorance of the historical events during the Council of Chalcedon is not relevant to the discussion at hand. It suffices to say that Leo's Tome was only accepted as orthodox (and as a refutation of Eutyches, but not Nestorios) only after it was found to be in agreement with the writings of St. Cyril. Now all of this was necessary (i.e., a close reading of the text of the Tome) simply because St. Leo was sloppy in his use of language and made it sound at times as if he thought that the two natures were subjects of action, when in fact there is only one subject of action in the incarnate Christ, i.e., the eternal and uncreated person (hypostasis) of the Logos.

Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: mardukm] #359502
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Originally Posted by mardukm
Perhaps you have other primary sources that I don't have, and I am willing to consider them. To repeat, can you please give direct evidence (not interpretations) that the Fathers of Chalcedon intended to judge Pope St. Leo's Tome by Pope St. Cyril's letters?

Mansi's Latin and Greek language collection of conciliar texts is the primary source for the information (volumes 6 and 7), but you can find plenty of secondary historical sources that quote (and refer to) the conciliar acts, and which mention the things I have brought up in my posts.

Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: Apotheoun] #359503
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Dear brother Todd,

Originally Posted by Apotheoun
That is because the acts are not available in their entirety in English, but you can read historical articles about the council where the point is made that St. Leo's Tome was sent to a committee under the presidency of Anatolius of Constantinople for five days of review, so that the text of the Tome could be compared to the Synodical Letters of St. Cyril from Ephesus I.

I'm not really interested in what went on outside the Council. Any act of a local Church does not automatically represent the mind of the universal Church, I'm sure you'll agree. I'm interested in what went on inside the Council. So can you please answer my question: Is there any indication in the Acts of the Councils that state that Pope St. Leo's Tome was intended to be judged by Pope St. Cyril's letters?

Quote
It suffices to say that Leo's Tome was only accepted as orthodox (and as a refutation of Eutyches, but not Nestorios) only after it was found to be in agreement with the writings of St. Cyril.

No problem there. The Decree on infallibility asserts that the Pope cannot exceed the boundaries of the Deposit of Faith. It is irrelevant whether a bishop decides to test the Pope's public teaching with Tradition. The only relevant consideration is whether the Pope's public teaching actually and objectively represented the Faith of the Church. Did it do so? Yes it did.

Quote
Now all of this was necessary (i.e., a close reading of the text of the Tome) simply because St. Leo was sloppy in his use of language and made it sound at times as if he thought that the two natures were subjects of action, when in fact there is only one subject of action in the incarnate Christ, i.e., the eternal and uncreated person (hypostasis) of the Logos.

As you admitted, Pope St. Leo's Tome was addressed against Eutyches, not Nestorius. So we should expect that it may express the Faith a little differently than if the focus of the remonstrance was Nestorius. So it wasn't "sloppy" in the least. Or perhaps you would rather admit that the Fourth Ecumenical Council was "sloppy." Or perhaps you would like to accuse the First Ecumenical Council of "sloppiness" as well? After all, the language of its Creed left open the possibility of supporting the Pneumatomachi. The fact is, brother Todd, just as the First Ecumenical Council used language which properly addressed a particular heresy, but was imperfect for other issues, Pope St. Leo likewise used language which properly addressed a particular heresy, but was imprefect for other issues. But just as we don't accuse the First Ecumenical Council of "sloppiness," we shouldn't go around accusing Pope St. Leo of "sloppiness."

Hope that helps.

Blessings,
Marduk

Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: mardukm] #359504
02/04/11 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by mardukm
Originally Posted by Apotheoun
That is because the acts are not available in their entirety in English, but you can read historical articles about the council where the point is made that St. Leo's Tome was sent to a committee under the presidency of Anatolius of Constantinople for five days of review, so that the text of the Tome could be compared to the Synodical Letters of St. Cyril from Ephesus I.

I'm not really interested in what went on outside the Council. Any act of a local Church does not automatically represent the mind of the universal Church, I'm sure you'll agree. I'm interested in what went on inside the Council. So can you please answer my question: Is there any indication in the Acts of the Councils that state that Pope St. Leo's Tome was intended to be judged by Pope St. Cyril's letters?

I find your comment hilarious. So you really want to say that what happened at the third ecumenical council is irrelevant?

As far as your question about primary sources is concerned, I answered it. I told you where to find the information. It is not my fault that it is in Latin and Greek. Nevertheless, as I pointed out, you can find many histories of the Council of Chalcedon that will confirm what I have said, and that even give - - on occasion - quotations in English of the sections of the acts I have alluded to in my posts. Look it up, and confirm it for yourself, or if you want me to supply you with some good history texts I will be glad to post a brief bibliography. I have already suggested a great text by Fr. McGuckin, a text which is readily available at libraries around the United States and which is for sale at Amazon.com.

I know you want to avoid saying that Leo's Tome was judged against the writings of St. Cyril, because you have to try and defend the late 19th century idea that the pope can teach infallibly in the official documents he issues. But I have no need to worry about that because I reject that idea, and it is very clear from the actions taken at the Council of Chalcedon that none of the bishops present thought that the pope was infallible, since they - with the cooperation of the imperial representatives who chaired the council - created a committee in order to examine Leo's Tome and confirm its orthodoxy. Sorry if that makes you upset, but history is replete with things that make ideologically motivated people upset.

Re: Miaphysite vs Dyophysite [Re: mardukm] #359505
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Originally Posted by mardukm
Quote
It suffices to say that Leo's Tome was only accepted as orthodox (and as a refutation of Eutyches, but not Nestorios) only after it was found to be in agreement with the writings of St. Cyril.

No problem there. The Decree on infallibility asserts that the Pope cannot exceed the boundaries of the Deposit of Faith. It is irrelevant whether a bishop decides to test the Pope's public teaching with Tradition.

Luckily this is not a concern for me one way or the other. The fact that Pope Leo's Tome was poorly formulated in some sections is not a problem, because I do not believe that he can teach infallibly anyway, so even though he made some mistakes in the text it is no big deal to me.

Originally Posted by mardukm
The only relevant consideration is whether the Pope's public teaching actually and objectively represented the Faith of the Church. Did it do so? Yes it did.

The Tome is orthodox when read in the light of St. Cyril's teaching, and so I am satisfied with it; but if taken alone it is open to a Nestorian interpretation, and so it must always be read in a Cyrilline fashion.


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