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The Filioque, Doctrines, and Eastern Catholicism #418518
09/04/18 12:02 PM
09/04/18 12:02 PM
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Posts: 3
Christiansburg, Virginia
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rileyewen Offline OP
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rileyewen  Offline OP
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Hey Everyone,

Grace and peace to you all. First-time poster, here. I am a Roman Catholic, and a convert from Evangelical Protestantism. I am interested in Eastern Catholic traditions. I hope that my question has not been address ad-nausea too much; I did some searching through the forums and couldn't quite find an adequate explanation for my question. Perhaps I searched poorly, so please forgive me if this has been addressed multiple times. Also forgive me if posted in the wrong forum.

As a background, I had some exposure to the Chaldean Catholic and Syriac Orthodox Churches when I was in Iraq during the offensive against ISIS in Mosul. I came to greatly appreciate their witness there amidst tremendous persecution, and their perseverance in the midst of great suffering. It seems as though many here in America are almost unaware that there even are Eastern Catholic churches with different traditions than the Latin rite. I want to understand the Church both East and West and am just an inquirer seeking after Christ in all things.

Recently I was introduced to the Chotki and the Jesus Prayer. It is now an integral part of my daily devotion and prayers, and I am very much interested in the spirituality of Christians/Catholics in the East. Some of my prayer styles have become increasingly more Eastern in that I identify with this type of spirituality. In researching the Byzantine Daily Office, I noticed that the Morning Prayer uses the recitation of the old Nicene Creed as opposed to the new, similarly to Eastern Orthodox.

On to my inquiry: I know that some of the particular Churches in the East are allowed to maintain their traditions and remain in communion with Rome. I don't see this as an issue, since it is not over doctrinal disputes. But from reading around this forum and some light research (you'll have to forgive me on not being able to get extremely in depth with this - I am a medical student and don't have a lot of time to read), I am confused. It seems to me that many individual Eastern Catholics do not necessarily agree with the dogmas of the Catholic Church on some issues - the Immaculate Conception, for example (a topic for another time, perhaps). But my primary question is in reference and regard to the Filioque. My understanding is that the Filioque is one of the two key issues that originally caused a schism between the (primarily Eastern) Orthodox and the (Roman) Catholic Church. What I can't wrap my head around is 1) why the Filioque is problematic (having been developed to respond to heresy) and 2) why some Churches that are in Communion with Rome do not use it in their recitation of the Creed. Of course the old Creed is not at all heretical, so I understand that in that sense the use of the Creed as it was originally formulated is not wrong. But my confusion is that the use of the old Creed in spite of or instead of the new the new seems to be subversive to the Church's ever deepening understanding of the truth. If Communion with the Church in Rome means agreement on all points of doctrine, wouldn't it be more appropriate to recite the Nicene Creed with the Filioque?

Perhaps this isn't an issue at all and merely a matter of perspective, but I am not sure. I don't think there is necessity for uniformity except for when it comes to doctrine/dogma - because the truth is fixed and unchangeable. If this is such a major issue that contributed to the Great Schism, shouldn't those in communion with Rome want to stand on the side of the use of the Filioque?

Maybe I am completely misunderstanding this topic! But that's why I thought I'd ask a question to get a good answer from some of my Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ. Thanks in advance for your help, and God Bless you!

In Christ,

R

Re: The Filioque, Doctrines, and Eastern Catholicism [Re: rileyewen] #418519
09/04/18 01:55 PM
09/04/18 01:55 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
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Hollidaysburg, PA
theophan Offline
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rileyewen:

Christ is in our midst!!

Welcome to the forum. I hope that your time with us will be fruitful.

Briefly, the "filioque" argument,from the Eastern perspective, is that Rome chose to change the original Creed unilaterally, without consultation with the rest of the Church. Regardless of the argument that this addition is in response to heresy, the intent of the Fathers of the Fist Ecumenical Council was that the Creed was to be a single, fixed statement of the Faith that everyone would use--period. Additionally, my understanding is that there are anathemas attached to the Creed that are to accrue to anyone who dares to add to or subtract from it.

The filioque was not the only issue that lead to the Great Schism. It has been one of the reasons cited that everyone seems to remember.

There seems to me to be an idea in the West that early Ecumenical Councils can be ignored at will. That is, one can pick and choose what one observes and what one ignores. My understanding of the view of the Eastern Churches is that these Councils are foundational and not to be trifled with. Basically, we are to understand and live the Faith as the Fathers and teachers in the earliest era did. Innovation in the Faith is not something that we ought to tolerate because there is no guarantee that we will not lose our way when we do so. So there is much more to the Great Schism than the filioque issue. There is the idea of what the Faith is and how we are not only to live it but how we are to transmit it to the next generation.

Bob
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Re: The Filioque, Doctrines, and Eastern Catholicism [Re: rileyewen] #418524
09/04/18 06:08 PM
09/04/18 06:08 PM
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Posts: 1,341
Las Vegas, NV
Yuhannon Offline
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Shlomo (Syriac-Aramaic for Peace/Hello) Riley,

A really great book that can introduce and give you great direction to understanding the Antiochene branch of the Church is "Captivated by Your Teachings: A Resource Book for Adult Maronite Catholics" by Anthony J. Salim. The price on Amazon is way over what the true price is: it should be around $20.00 new and $5.00 for used. If you can not find it at that price contact Abuna (Fr.) Anthony and he can get the book to you.

Another great resource for you is the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA http://www.cnewa.org/home.aspx?ID=26&pagetypeID=12&sitecode=HQ) that helps out the Eastern Churches and gives you information on us in their award winning magazine. For $20.00 a year you make a tax deductible donation that helps us Easterns worldwide.

Here are some prayers in Syriac-Aramaic to uplift you I hope:

OUR FATHER (http://www.beith-morounoye.org/prayers/aboon_dbashmayo_b.pdf)

a-boon (Our Father)
dbas-ma-yo (of Heaven/in Heaven)
net-qa-das (Holy is)
smok (Your Name)
tee-te (come)
mal-koo-tok (Your Kingdom)
neh-we (Be done)
seb-yo-nok (Your Will)
ay-ka-no (as)
dbas-ma-yo (of Heaven/in Heaven)
of (so)
bar-'o (on Earth)
hab-lan (give us)
lah-mo (the bread)
dsoon-qo-nan (of our need)
yaw-mo-no (this day)
was-booq (and forgive)
lan (us)
haw-bayn (our offices)
wah-to-hayn (and our sins)
ay-ka-no (as)
dof (also)
hnan (we)
sbaqn (have forgiven)
lha-yo-bayn (those who have offended us)
wlo (and not)
ta'-lan (bring us)
lnes-yoo-no (into trial)
e-lo (but)
fa-son (deliver us)
men (from)
bee-so (the evil one)
me-tool (for)
dee-lok (Thine)
ee (Is {He})
mal-koo-to (the Kingdom)
whay-lo (and the Power)
wtes-booh-to (and the Glory)
l'o-lam (forever)
'ol-meen (and ever)
a-meen (Amen)

HAIL MARY (http://www.beith-morounoye.org/prayers/shlom_lekh_maryam.pdf)

slom-lek (Peace be to you)
Mar-yam (Mary)
mal-yat (Full of)
tay-boo-to (Grace)
mo-ran (Our Lord)
'a-mek (Is with you)
mba-rak-to (Blessed)
at (You are)
bne-se (Among women)
wam-ba-rak (And Blessed)
oo (is your)
fee-ro (The Fruit)
dkar-sek (Of Your Womb)
ye-soo' (Jesus)
msee-ho (The Messiah {Christ})

HOLY MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

mort (Lady)
e-meh (Mother)
da-lo-ho (Of God)
et-ka-saf (Pray)
hlo-fayn (For Us)
hnan (We)
ha-to-ye (Sinners)
ho-so (Now)
wab-so'-to (and in the hour)
dmaw-tan (Of our death)
a-meen (Amen)

Please feel free to contact me. And also feel free to use this forum for learning and growing The vast majority of members are true Christians and will help you in any and all ways possible.

Fush BaShlomo (Stay at Peace/ Goodbye)
Yuhannon (Shawn)

Re: The Filioque, Doctrines, and Eastern Catholicism [Re: rileyewen] #418525
09/04/18 06:36 PM
09/04/18 06:36 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,341
Las Vegas, NV
Yuhannon Offline
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Shlomo Bob,

I would also say that a major reason for the schism is power politics. The members of the Roman and Greek Churches wanted to maintain and accrue power. A great examples of this are the First Council of Ephesus in 431 was pure politics dressed up as a Christological dispute. The Persian Empire wanted to make sure that their Christians where not as close to the Christians of the Roman Empire, so they used this issue as a way to place a wedge between the two groups.

The greatest example of a power-play was the schism caused by the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The Greek members of the Council started and ended the Council before the Eparchs from Egypt, Ethiopia, Armenia and the Levant (Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia) could get to the Council in the numbers that they represented.

Even though I am a Maronite and totally agree with what the Council said, they Council itself was seeking to maintain and further the power of the Greek Church. Of the 520 members of the Council well over 400 where Greek and the other 120 were to represent the Western, Egyptian, et al Churches.

I feel that modern politics affects the Church today. Present policy of the Catholic Church is that for Union to occur all Churches that are members of a Communion (Eastern Orthodox - Oriental Orthodox et al.) That is why back in the 60's the Macedonian Orthodox Church was denied Communion with the Catholic Church because we did not wish to upset the rest of the Orthodox Communion.

What I hope for is that the Catholic Church will one day respect the Eastern Churches enough so that if an Orthodox Church wished to join our Communion they could just as an Eastern Catholic Church would have the right to leave the Communion.

Fush BaShlomo,
Yuhannon

Re: The Filioque, Doctrines, and Eastern Catholicism [Re: rileyewen] #418527
09/05/18 09:31 AM
09/05/18 09:31 AM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 3
Christiansburg, Virginia
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rileyewen Offline OP
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Thank you for your replies. This is helpful to me!

Bob,

Grace and peace to you. Christ is indeed in our midst! I wonder, what objects of the original ecumenical councils are ignored by Western Catholics? I'm clearly not familiar enough with all of the original councils so I suppose it's hard for me to know what is picked and chosen from those councils and what is not. But that does seem terribly inconsistent on the part of Westerners if that is true. If it is true that the Filioque was added without consultation I understand how this is/was an issue. I still don't see necessarily how it conflicts with the previous councils, but I can understand how some may see Rome's imposition of a new phrase in something as important as the Creed without common consensus could be very problematic for many. As a Catholic of course I believe in the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, but I also don't see why the Pontiff must be a dictator and not "first among equals" as many Orthodox say... certainly the sinfulness of men and the wiles of Satan has contributed more greatly to the divisions between Christians than any other thing.

At the same time it kind of makes sense to me that in some cases an individual person may have authority over others in matters of doctrine (if rightly placed into said position by God) - this is essentially what God did with the High Priest of the Old Covenant, is it not? There have been a whole lot of awful Popes yet despite their authority the Catholic Dogmas have remained incredibly consistent and congruent with one another for two thousand years. Perhaps this is also a matter of perspective those.

"Innovation in the Faith is not something that we ought to tolerate because there is no guarantee that we will not lose our way when we do so."

I wholeheartedly agree. But I've never seen something such as the Filioque as an innovation (something absolutely brand new) so much as an additional phrase that simply provides further clarity to the original intent of the Creed. But maybe I'm the one using twisted logic to justify a thing that is not necessary or even unjustifiable? As with the other dogmas proclaimed after the initial ecumenical councils, I've never seen any of those as contradictory to the early Apostolic Faith but providing a deeper understanding of them - the Marian dogmas for example.

Anyway, thank you for your reply. Lots for me to look into and ponder.

Yuhannon,

Grace and peace to you. Thank you for the beautiful prayers! I love Maronite Catholics, your witness for the Kingdom of Heaven is incredible! I will try to get my hands on that book, I would love to to learn more about the Maronite Tradition. There is a Maronite Catholic Church in Roanoke, VA nearby where I live and my family and I have been thinking about making the drive up to attend on occasion, simply because it seems to me that as a community their Christian faith is much more evident than many of the RC parishes in my area (although my parish in Christiansburg is great and we have a great pastor).

Politics... I agree that politics, racial divisiveness, languages, pride, arrogance, greed, and all those earthly things act as major barriers to the unity of Christians. I think you have a valuable point in saying that the hope is for the Catholic Church to respect Eastern Churches enough for communion to occur... it is evident that the Catholic Church has not respected the Eastern Churches nearly enough. But if a Church is unwilling to accept a Dogma, and the Catholic Church feels like it cannot contradict itself or go back on such a thing (and stands by the idea of Pontifical authority)... I don't know how unity can occur unless the Roman Church is altogether destroyed so there is no issue of Pontifical authority, or the Orthodox Churches entering into communion are willing to consent to the dogmas of the Catholic Church. Perhaps I am wrong in the way I am looking at this issue, I am not sure.

In Christ,

Riley

Re: The Filioque, Doctrines, and Eastern Catholicism [Re: rileyewen] #418528
09/05/18 11:55 AM
09/05/18 11:55 AM
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Hollidaysburg, PA
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Quote
At the same time it kind of makes sense to me that in some cases an individual person may have authority over others in matters of doctrine (if rightly placed into said position by God)


Riley:

Christ is in our midst!!

This is exactly what the schism is about. The East maintains that no single individual has that authority. Christ made St. Peter the leader of the Apostles, but He did not make him a superior Apostle to the others. The disputes are, as Yuhannon has stated, largely political and power oriented, but that is the sad side of human nature.

The idea behind the Ecumenical Councils was to bring everyone onto the same page in what the Church was teaching. And they were meant to be stable, something like "settled law" in our court system. Otherwise it would be difficult to understand and to pass along the Deposit of Faith from one generation to another.

The addition to the Creed is akin to the exercise in communication I have done in the classroom with students. I whisper to the first one that tomorrow will be a study day and have him/her whisper to the next student. By the time it gets to the last one, the message is that I'm bringing donuts for the class tomorrow. So it is with passing along the Faith. There need to be defining moments that are not changeable.

Bob

Re: The Filioque, Doctrines, and Eastern Catholicism [Re: rileyewen] #418529
09/05/18 03:59 PM
09/05/18 03:59 PM
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Christiansburg, Virginia
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rileyewen Offline OP
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Bob,

Grace and peace to you. Thank you for your reply! Lots to think about. I appreciate your help. God bless!

In Christ,

Riley

Re: The Filioque, Doctrines, and Eastern Catholicism [Re: rileyewen] #418534
09/06/18 05:17 PM
09/06/18 05:17 PM
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Charlottetown, PE, Canada
RyanOwens Offline
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Riley,

May the Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the protection of Our Lady be with you always, and may the Holy Ghost abound in you.

From a Latin perspective, the question of the Eastern churches and the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed is thus: it is the right of those churches, which are sui iuris, to maintain their respective traditions. This is even moreso true of their liturgical traditions, which are the bedrock of the differences between, say, Antioch and Rome, and which, to a large degree, inform the differences in spiritual praxis and belief. Since the Creeds are primarily liturgical formula in their nature (that is, they are intended not so much as being read and passively held, but they are to be recited and actively believed), it is perfectly fine for those churches of the East and Orient to maintain the formula for the Creed which was originally implemented.

Latins will say, in defense of the addition to the Creed, that this is for the sake of clarification. To Latin ears, as mine are, this is not a problem since we are steeped in a tradition of scholasticism and a more regimented, philosophical kind of theology; however, to Eastern ears, this means nothing. Theirs is a primarily mystical theology and their spirituality (as evidenced by the Divine Liturgies) goes with it. To the East, there was no need to alter a Creed in order to clarify something; there was only need to clarify it. Indeed, by changing the Creed, the East views the West as having assaulted tradition (as we are want to do it seems) and therefore done a grievous harm to the Church.

The filioque, while a thorn in the East's side for a long time and still to this day, is not the sole cause of the Great Schism. As others have mentioned, it was largely a matter of power--both ecclesial and temporal--and the filioque is a very convenient scapegoat. As for my position, I am happy to see the East maintain the original formula for the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed and I would not be unhappy if it were restored in the West, so as to eliminate this issue from the discussion of Church unity.

That said: one issue which this raises, to some degree, is the level of integration necessary between East and West. I would be interested to hear the forum's take on the "Latinization" of the East, including the use of vernaculars which are foreign to the diaspora of the particular church, the use of vernaculars which are not the traditional language of the church or rite (e.g.: the use of Ukrainian in place of Old Church Slavonic), and the use of vestments which are particularly Latin. Have any of the more seasoned members seen such things? What has been the collective experience here?

God be with you all,

Ryan

Re: The Filioque, Doctrines, and Eastern Catholicism [Re: rileyewen] #418548
09/10/18 09:34 PM
09/10/18 09:34 PM
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ast82401 Online content
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To respond to the vernacular being used, that has always been the tradition of the East. When Sts. Cyril and Methodius evangelized the Slavic lands, they translated the Liturgy into Slavonic so the people could understand. The use of English in a Ukrainian parish is not a latinization, it's used because people want to understand the Liturgy in the language that is most accessible to them. I've never seen byzantine priests wearing latin vestments in a byzantine parish, although they may if serving in a latin parish. Certain latinizations that you'll see in more Americanized eastern rite churches would be reciting the rosary before Liturgy, kneeling, recited liturgies, pre cut prosphora, and incense not being used at all liturgies. There are many others but these are the main ones that are most common across the board in the United States.

Re: The Filioque, Doctrines, and Eastern Catholicism [Re: ast82401] #418559
09/14/18 06:15 PM
09/14/18 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ast82401
To respond to the vernacular being used, that has always been the tradition of the East.


^^This.

Also, in the Middle East, the churches in the Byzantine tradition originally used Greek. As the Christians in those lands adopted Arabic, the churches eventually translated the Divine Liturgy into Arabic. When they came to America, they translated the Divine Liturgy into English. This actually got them into TROUBLE with Latin authorities. Not in Rome, but in the surrounding area. The Latin Bishop of Birmingham ordered the Melkite priest Joseph Raya (later Archbishop) to stop using English in the Divine Liturgy because it was confusing to Roman Catholics. The priest wrote to his Bishop who took it up with Rome, and Rome responded by allowing the use of English in Melkite churches in the United States because it was the tradition of the Eastern churches to use the local vernacular. This issue predated Vatican II by several years. So in this context, Rome affirmed to the longstanding Eastern tradition on the question of the vernacular at a time when all Roman Catholic liturgies were in Latin.


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