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Re: Orthodox Divorce #43013 10/16/03 05:39 PM
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[Thank you, LT, for your excellent analysis of the Patristic citations provided by Subdeacon Lance.

This issue has come up before in my message-board and private correspondence. On one occasion, my Orthodox (OCA) correspondent cited so-called "Basilian canons" supposedly permitting more laxity re divorce/remarriage. The sentence from St. Basil cited by Subdeacon Lance was supposedly among those "canons." At the time, I wrote to James Likoudis for his take. Here is his reply, drawn from the deepest recesses of my yahoo inbox. wink (Attention, all those who shoot down the messenger in order to avoid engaging the message: Please ignore the fact that this is from James Likoudis, Orthodoxy's favorite whipping-boy, and focus on the substance of what he's actually saying. Thank you, thank you, thank you! biggrin biggrin biggrin )

Quote
Dear Diane,
Your answer is good but could be strengthened, as follows.
It has been often claimed that the East (witness the canons of
St.Basil) was
less strict than the West by allowing remrriage after divorce. Some of
the
great Greek Fathers such as St. Basil are quoted as asserting the
lawfulness
of divorce with the right of remarriage on the grounds of adultery.
This is
to justify the present Eastern Orthodox practice of permitting divorce
and
remarriage in case of adultery, though this permission has now been
extended to over 20 cases! The teaching of Christ is flagrantly
contradicted.
This rendering of St. Basil's teaching is without foundation.
"Basilian
canons", is a reference to his two "canonical" letters to
Amphilochius,
archbishop of Iconium, which are concerned with ecclesiastical
discipline
and which has passed into Eastern canonical collections. St. Basil is
replying to an inquiry not concerned with the moral law but to
canonical
discipline. He is dealing with the question whether a married man
separated
from his wife and living with a mistress incurs in all cases the
canonical
penance for adultery as such. St. Basil replies to Amphilochius that he
does
not always do so, for the penance assigned by the canons of the Church
for
non-adulterous fornication is milder. The difference was considerable:
the
adulterer had to expiate his fault by 15 years penance; 7 years
sufficed for
fornication. If, however, the man had deserted his wife in order to
form the
illicit union, both he and his mistress incur the full punishment. In
St.Basil's "Epistle 188, ad Amphilochium" and "Epistle 199, ad
Amphilochium" (constituting his so-called "canons") there is not a word
to
suggest that there has been any marriage between the man and the woman
who
had replaced his real wife, so his words "I do not know whether she can
be
termed an adulteress" should not be construed (as some have done) as
Basil's
admitting her claim to the status of wife (and whose adultery would
therefore allow the man to marry another wife!).. The famous 12th c.
Byzantine canonist Balsamon (who, by the way,justified not giving Holy
Communion to the "heretical" Latins) recalled the same canonical
disciplline
in noting that the married man who cohabits with an unmarried woman,
and
does not go the length of pretending to marry her, falls under the
canonical
penance for fornication, and not for adultery.

In the light of the whole context of his 2 "canonical" Epistles, there
is no
ground for concluding that St. Basil tolerated divorce and remarriage
in
case of adultery. In his other work, the "Ethics", he declares clearly,
"It
is not lawful for a man to put away his WIFE and marry another. Nor is
it
permitted that a man should marry a wife who has been divorced by her
husband." ("Ethica", Regula 73, c.2) In his "De Virginitate" (if it be
indeed his, as some think, or by another hand giving witness to the
faith of
the Church in the 4th c.), there is no concession to the laxity in
morals
flowing from pagan Roman practice. This treatise addressed to Letoius,
a
younger contemporary of St. Basil, makes clear that marriage is totally
indissoluble. "Have you not heard that a man who married one who has
been
put away commits adultery. For even though she was put away with good
cause,
it is said, her husband still lives." ("De Virg., n.41)
There is no proof that the Church in the first 5 centuries
sanctioned
the dissolubility of Christian marriage. St. Gregory of Nazianzen
(+390)
leaves no doubt as to the mind of the Greek Fathers of the period:
"Divorce
is utterly repugnant to our laws, thought he laws of the Romans judge
otherwise." (Epistle 144)
The assertion that there was a twofold tradition in the first 5
centuries regarding divorce, and that Our Lord's words concerning
indisssolubility were viewed with less strictness in the East than in
the
West--- receives no support in any major Christian teacher or a decree
of
any council during that period. No proof can be provided that the
Church in
the first 5 centuries allowed the marriage-tie under certain
circumstances
to be severed.
From the 6th century as a result of Justinian's legislation,
however,
the resistance of the Byzantine Greek episcopate would slowly crumble
before
the provisions of the Imperial civil law tolerating divorce.By the
first
half of the 13th c., we see Demetrios Chromatianos, archbishop of
Bulgaria,
writing that the law of indissolubility proclaimed by Our Lord was
never
intended for the Christian Church. Such was merely designed as a
corrective
to the excessive license of divorce practiced by the Jews: that since
divorces are absolutely necessary, due provision has been made for the
needs
of the faithful in this respect by the religious Emperors: that
Justinian
above all produced a masterpiece of legislation on this subject. In
view of
the actual state of affairs in the separated autocephalous Byzantine
Greco-Slav churches where divorce is justified in many cases, it is a
falsehood for some of its theologians to claim that in Eastern
Orthodoxy
marriage can ONLY be dissolved for adultery. (The above drawn from the
pages of "Christian Marriage: an Historical and Doctrinal Study" by
George
Hayward Joyce -Sheed &Ward, 1933).
Hope the above helps,
In Christ,
JL
[quote]

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43014 10/16/03 05:41 PM
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Brian Offline
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That is some generalization! It is certainly not fair to the Orthodox and those in Protestant denominations who have good ecumenical relationships with the Roman Catholic Church despite differences.

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43015 10/16/03 05:49 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Brian:
That is some generalization! It is certainly not fair to the Orthodox and those in Protestant denominations who have good ecumenical relationships with the Roman Catholic Church despite differences.
It wasn't aimed at them--and it's also from the 19th century, 'member. smile Nonetheless, I've seen the same syndrome in action today. And in fact, I ran across this quote in an article discussing some Greek Orthodox Archimandrite who recently published a book calling the pope a "demon" and the papacy "demonic heresy"--rhetoric worthy of a Luther or a Calvin (or a Bob Jones III). So...it does happen!

Please forgive me if I've caused offense. In my sojourn on another board frequented by Calvinists, Orthodox, and Catholics--yeah, weird, but I kid you not!--I've seen numerous cases where the Orthodox and Calvinists team up against the Catholics. And even though strict Calvinists consider Orthodox idolators and whatnot, they are still far, far friendlier toward them than they are toward Catholics. Hatred of Rome is indeed a powerful glue.

But hey, let's not get too far adrift here. Back to divorce/remarriage.....

Blessings,

ZT

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43016 10/16/03 05:51 PM
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Here are some more patristic quotes (both East and West) re the indissolubility of marriage. They are culled from a Catholic Answers tract on the subject:

Quote
Hermas

"What then shall the husband do, if the wife continue in this disposition [adultery]? Let him divorce her, and let the husband remain single. But if he divorce his wife and marry another, he too commits adultery" (The Shepherd 4:1:6 [A.D. 80]).

Justin Martyr

"In regard to chastity, [Jesus] has this to say: ‘If anyone look with lust at a woman, he has already before God committed adultery in his heart.’ And, ‘Whoever marries a woman who has been divorced from another husband, commits adultery.’ According to our Teacher, just as they are sinners who contract a second marriage, even though it be in accord with human law, so also are they sinners who look with lustful desire at a woman. He repudiates not only one who actually commits adultery, but even one who wishes to do so; for not only our actions are manifest to God, but even our thoughts" (First Apology 15 [A.D. 151]).

Clement of Alexandria

"That Scripture counsels marriage, however, and never allows any release from the union, is expressly contained in the law: ‘You shall not divorce a wife, except for reason of immorality.’ And it regards as adultery the marriage of a spouse, while the one from whom a separation was made is still alive. ‘Whoever takes a divorced woman as wife commits adultery,’ it says; for ‘if anyone divorce his wife, he debauches her’; that is, he compels her to commit adultery. And not only does he that divorces her become the cause of this, but also he that takes the woman and gives her the opportunity of sinning; for if he did not take her, she would return to her husband" (Miscellanies 2:23:145:3 [A.D. 208]).

Origen

"Just as a woman is an adulteress, even though she seem to be married to a man, while a former husband yet lives, so also the man who seems to marry her who has been divorced does not marry her, but, according to the declaration of our Savior, he commits adultery with her" (Commentaries on Matthew 14:24 [A.D. 248]).

Council of Elvira

"Likewise, women who have left their husbands for no prior cause and have joined themselves with others, may not even at death receive Communion" (Canon 8 [A.D. 300]).
...
"Likewise, a woman of the faith [i.e., a baptized person] who has left an adulterous husband of the faith and marries another, her marrying in this manner is prohibited. If she has so married, she may not receive Communion—unless he that she has left has since departed from this world" (Canon 9).

"If she whom a catechumen [an unbaptized person studying the faith] has left shall have married a husband, she is able to be admitted to the fountain of baptism. This shall also be observed in the instance where it is the woman who is the catechumen. But if a woman of the faithful is taken in marriage by a man who left an innocent wife, and if she knew that he had a wife whom he had left without cause, it is determined that Communion is not to be given to her even at death" (Canon 10).

Basil the Great

"A man who marries after another man’s wife has been taken away from him will be charged with adultery in the case of the first woman; but in the case of the second he will be guiltless" (Second Canonical Letter to Amphilochius 199:37 [A.D. 375]).

Ambrose of Milan

"No one is permitted to know a woman other than his wife. The marital right is given you for this reason: lest you fall into the snare and sin with a strange woman. ‘If you are bound to a wife do not seek a divorce’; for you are not permitted, while your wife lives, to marry another" (Abraham 1:7:59 [A.D. 387]).
"You dismiss your wife, therefore, as if by right and without being charged with wrongdoing; and you suppose it is proper for you to do so because no human law forbids it; but divine law forbids it. Anyone who obeys men ought to stand in awe of God. Hear the law of the Lord, which even they who propose our laws must obey: ‘What God has joined together let no man put asunder’" (Commentary on Luke 8:5 [A.D. 389]).

Jerome

"Do not tell me about the violence of the ravisher, about the persuasiveness of a mother, about the authority of a father, about the influence of relatives, about the intrigues and insolence of servants, or about household [financial] losses. So long as a husband lives, be he adulterer, be he sodomite, be he addicted to every kind of vice, if she left him on account of his crimes, he is her husband still and she may not take another" (Letters 55:3 [A.D. 396]).

"Wherever there is fornication and a suspicion of fornication, a wife is freely dismissed. Because it is always possible that someone may calumniate the innocent and, for the sake of a second joining in marriage, act in criminal fashion against the first, it is commanded that when the first wife is dismissed, a second may not be taken while the first lives" (Commentaries on Matthew 3:19:9 [A.D. 398]).

Pope Innocent I

"[T]he practice is observed by all of regarding as an adulteress a woman who marries a second time while her husband yet lives, and permission to do penance is not granted her until one of them is dead" (Letters 2:13:15 [A.D. 408]).

Augustine

"Neither can it rightly be held that a husband who dismisses his wife because of fornication and marries another does not commit adultery. For there is also adultery on the part of those who, after the repudiation of their former wives because of fornication, marry others. This adultery, nevertheless, is certainly less serious than that of men who dismiss their wives for reasons other than fornication and take other wives. Therefore, when we say: ‘Whoever marries a woman dismissed by her husband for reason other than fornication commits adultery,’ undoubtedly we speak the truth. But we do not thereby acquit of this crime the man who marries a woman who was dismissed because of fornication. We do not doubt in the least that both are adulterers. We do indeed pronounce him an adulterer who dismissed his wife for cause other than fornication and marries another, nor do we thereby defend from the taint of this sin the man who dismissed his wife because of fornication and marries another. We recognize that both are adulterers, though the sin of one is more grave than that of the other. No one is so unreasonable to say that a man who marries a woman whose husband has dismissed her because of fornication is not an adulterer, while maintaining that a man who marries a woman dismissed without the ground of fornication is an adulterer. Both of these men are guilty of adultery" (Adulterous Marriages 1:9:9 [A.D. 419]).

"A woman begins to be the wife of no later husband unless she has ceased to be the wife of a former one. She will cease to be the wife of a former one, however, if that husband should die, not if he commit fornication. A spouse, therefore, is lawfully dismissed for cause of fornication; but the bond of chastity remains. That is why a man is guilty of adultery if he marries a woman who has been dismissed even for this very reason of fornication" (ibid., 2:4:4).

"Undoubtedly the substance of the sacrament is of this bond, so that when man and woman have been joined in marriage they must continue inseparably as long as they live, nor is it allowed for one spouse to be separated from the other except for cause of fornication. For this is preserved in the case of Christ and the Church, so that, as a living one with a living one, there is no divorce, no separation forever" (Marriage and Concupiscence 1:10:11 [A.D. 419]).
"In marriage, however, let the blessings of marriage be loved: offspring, fidelity, and the sacramental bond. Offspring, not so much because it may be born, but because it can be reborn; for it is born to punishment unless it be reborn to life. Fidelity, but not such as even the unbelievers have among themselves, ardent as they are for the flesh. . . . The sacramental bond, which they lose neither through separation nor through adultery, this the spouses should guard chastely and harmoniously" (ibid., 1:17:19).

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43017 10/16/03 05:53 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Dear LT,

Actually, you are right.

Alex
Woo-hoo! biggrin

Very gracious, Alex.

Now back to the salt-mines....

ZT

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43018 10/16/03 06:06 PM
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Orthodox Catholic Offline
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Dear Zoe,

That's great what Catholics believe about marriage!

Now if more of us actually practiced what we believe . . . wink

BTW, are you Irish too?

Alex

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43019 10/16/03 07:59 PM
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It is preposterous to argue that the canons allowing second and third marriages are not considering that the first and second marriages may have ended as the result of divorce.

The canon was put in place in the immediate aftermath of, and only because of, the emporer's own fourth marriage following his divorce(s).

Try as some may, they cannot escape that the Lord himself recognized, in the Gospel of Matthew, limited conditions (porneia) that allow for divorce and gave the Church the authority to interpret these conditions.

In Christ,
Andrew

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43020 10/16/03 09:20 PM
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LatinTrad Offline
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Andrew, your post does not seem to take into account most of what has been written here today.

And by the way, as far as I'm concerned "The Church" has interpreted Our Lord's words accurately.


LatinTrad

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43021 10/17/03 01:03 AM
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Dear Brothers and sisters in Christ's Light,

Here it is again: indisputable evidence that divorce and remarriage was allowed in the early Church. Some Fathers clearly show this, some hint at it, some (mostly Latin) were apparently against it. Although on this last point it might be argued they were speaking about civil divorce and not Church sanctioned ones.

This thread has become a debate about history. I think most people have already made up their minds about this one way or the other. So I don't -right now- see the purpose of coninuing on. What I think would be more interesting is a discussion on how these two Traditions may some day be reconcilled in a reunited Church. If we are as close as the Roman Catechism says, this shouldn't be too difficult to do.

Trusting in Christ's Light,

St. Epiphanius, Archbishop of Constantia on Cyprus during the fourth century wrote: “Divine Law does not condemn a man who has been abandoned by his wife, nor a woman who has been abandoned by her husband, for remarrying.”

“Better to break a marriage than be damned.” from Homily on 1 Corinthians by St. John Chrysostom (Minge: P.G. 61, 155)

“He who cannot keep continence after the death of his first wife for a valid motive, as fornication, adultery, or another misdeed, if he takes another wife, or if the wife [in similar circumstances] takes another husband, the Divine Logos does not condemn him or exclude him from the Church...” from Against Heresies by St. Epiphanius of Cyprus (Minge: P.G. 41, 1024)

Appendix: Support for the Eastern Tradition stated above

Tertullian:

“I maintain, then, that Christ now made the prohibition of divorce conditional: ‘If anyone should dismiss his wife for the purpose of marrying another.’ ‘Whoever dismisses his wife,’ He says, ‘and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who has been dismissed by her husband, is equally an adulterer’ -dismissed, then, for that very reason for which dismissal is not permitted: to marry another. And he that marries a woman who has been dismissed unlawfully is as much an adulterer as he that marries one who has not been dismissed. The marriage which is not rightly dissoved is permanent. To marry again, however, while there is a permanent marriage, is adultery. Therefore, if he conditionally forbade the dismising of a wife, He did not forbid it absolutely; and what He did not forbid absolutely, He permitted in certain cases, where the reason for prohibition was not present. ... Indeed, in your sect, what is a husband to do, if his wife commit adultery? Shall he keep her? But your own Apostle, you know, would not join the members of Christ to a prostitute. The justice of divorce, therfore, has Christ, too, for its defender. Henceforth Moses must be considered as confirmed by Christ, Moses having permitted divorce for the same cause that Christ permits it: if there sould be found any unchaste commerce on the part of the woman. For in the Gospel of Matthew He says: ‘Whoever dismisses his wife, except for the cause of adultery, makes her commit adultery.’ And thus he too is regarded as an adulterer, who marrries a woman who has beend dismissed by her husband.” - Against Marcion, 4, 34, 4-6

Origen:

Our Savior does not at all permit the dissolution of marriages for any other sin than fornication alone, when detected in the wife....” 9.511 (Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (DECB), David W. Bercot).

Novation:

“When being inquired of, Christ gave this judgment: He said that a wife must not be put away, except fro the cause of adultery.... Laws are prescribed to married women, who are so bound that they cannot thence be seperated.’ 5.589 (Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (DECB), David W. Bercot).

St. John Chrysostom:

“How then in this case is the uncleanness overcome, and therefore the intercourse allowed; while in the woman who prostitutes herself, the husband is not condemned in casting her out? Because here there is hope that the lost member may be saved through the marriage; but in the other case the marriage has already been dissolved; and there again both are corrupted; but here the fault is in one only of the two. ...For how will she who dishonored him in former times and became another’s and destroyed the rights of marriage, have power to reclaim him whom she had wronged; him, moreover, who still remains to her as an alien? Again, in that case, after the fornication the husband is not a husband...” - Homily on 1st Corinthians 19.4

“And not thus only, but in another way also He hath lightened the enactment: For asmuch as even for him He leaves one manner of dismissal when He saith, “Except for the cause of fornication;” since the matter had else come round again to the same issue. For if He had commanded to keep her in the house, though defiling herself with many, He would have made the matter end again in adultery.” - Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew 17

Ambrosiaster:

Neither can a man divorce his wife; [for he says]: ‘A man is not to divorce his wife.’ It presumes of course: ‘except for cause of fornication.’ And therefore does not subjoin what he says when speaking of a woman: ‘but if she has separated, she is to remain so;’ for it is permissible for a man to marry a wife, if he has divorced a sinful wife, because man is not bound by the law as a woman is; for man is head over woman.” Commentaries on Thirteen Pauline Epistles -on 1 Cor 7:11

Lactantius:

“He who marries a woman divorced from her husband is an adulterer. So is he who divorced a wife for any cause other than adultery, in order to marry another.” 7.190 (Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (DECB), David W. Bercot).

Apostolic Constitutions:

“Do not let it be considered lawful after marriage to put her away who is without blame. For He says, “ you will take care to your spirit and will not forsake the wife of your youth” [Mal. 2:14-15].... And the Lord says, ‘What God has joined together, let no man put assunder.’ For the wife is the partner of life, united by God into one body from two. However, he who divides back into two that body that has become one -he is the enemy ofthe creation of God and the adversary of His providence. Similarly, he who retains her who is corrupted [by adultery] is a transgressor fo the lwas of nature. For ‘he who retains an adulteress is foolish and impious [Prv. 18:22]. Also, He says, “Cut her off from your flesh” [Sir 25:26]. For she is no longer a helpmate, but a snare, havin turned her mind from you to another.”

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43022 10/17/03 05:24 AM
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ZoeTheodora Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Ghazar:
Dear Brothers and sisters in Christ's Light,

Here it is again: indisputable evidence that divorce and remarriage was allowed in the early Church.
Obfuscation alert!

Once again, most of the quotes produced here do NOT show what you claim they do. Most passages allowing for divorce (separation from bed and board) in cases of porneia say NOTHING about subsequent remarriage. Please do not try to pull the wool over our eyes, William.


Look at the last passage you've cited, for example:

Quote
Apostolic Constitutions:

“Do not let it be considered lawful after marriage to put her away who is without blame. For He says, “ you will take care to your spirit and will not forsake the wife of your youth” [Mal. 2:14-15].... And the Lord says, ‘What God has joined together, let no man put assunder.’ For the wife is the partner of life, united by God into one body from two. However, he who divides back into two that body that has become one -he is the enemy ofthe creation of God and the adversary of His providence. Similarly, he who retains her who is corrupted [by adultery] is a transgressor of the laws of nature. For ‘he who retains an adulteress is foolish and impious [Prv. 18:22]. Also, He says, “Cut her off from your flesh” [Sir 25:26]. For she is no longer a helpmate, but a snare, having turned her mind from you to another.”
Please show me where this passage says WORD ONE about a subsequent remarriage being OK...?

Eagerly awaiting your reply....

ZT

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43023 10/17/03 08:51 PM
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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ's Light,

Does anyone else have anything they'd like to discuss with me in a respectful manner? If so, I'd be glad to respond.

Trusting in Christ's Light,
Wm. DerGhazarian

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43024 10/17/03 10:10 PM
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LatinTrad Offline
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Dear Ghazar,

You know I have always respected you. Nevertheless I think you go astray here.

The Church is our guide when the Fathers disagree. Most of the Fathers who allow for divorce and remarriage are not canonized. I wonder why.

Origen and Tertullian were heretics about other things. Is there no possibility that they were wrong here?

St. Epiphanius also thought that the Theotokos could have rotted in the grave.

Do you see where I'm going here? There are two approaches to this question that are fundamentally at odds: 1) To take the teaching and praxis of Holy Church as our guide, or 2) To debate things ad nauseam the way Protestants debate Scripture.

I know which one I choose.

Trusting in Christ's Light,
LatinTrad

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43025 10/17/03 10:35 PM
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ZoeTheodora Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Ghazar:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ's Light,

Does anyone else have anything they'd like to discuss with me in a respectful manner? If so, I'd be glad to respond.

Trusting in Christ's Light,
Wm. DerGhazarian
Please pardon my disrespect and abrasiveness.

Not excusing myself or anything...but your post seemed pretty blunt, and so I responded bluntly (and a little impatiently) too.

Anyway...a thousand apologies.

I still think you are wrong as wrong can be, but I apologize for saying so too abrasively....

Blessings,

ZT

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43026 10/18/03 12:13 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by LatinTrad:
Dear Ghazar,

You know I have always respected you. Nevertheless I think you go astray here.

The Church is our guide when the Fathers disagree. Most of the Fathers who allow for divorce and remarriage are not canonized. I wonder why.

Origen and Tertullian were heretics about other things. Is there no possibility that they were wrong here?

St. Epiphanius also thought that the Theotokos could have rotted in the grave.

Do you see where I'm going here? There are two approaches to this question that are fundamentally at odds: 1) To take the teaching and praxis of Holy Church as our guide, or 2) To debate things ad nauseam the way Protestants debate Scripture.

I know which one I choose.

Trusting in Christ's Light,
LatinTrad
Dear LatinTrad,

Good to hear from you brother. Thank you for your respectful (as always) reply. Please allow me to point out a few things here.

1. I have nothing morally to gain from this position I present. I have been married to only one woman and she and I remain happily married for what will be our eleventh year (with six children) -thanks God! I have no friends or family who I am trying to justify here. I'm just being honest about what I understand to be the truth and historical reality in the East.

2. I have never said that the Latin Church was wrong or that its teachings were baseless. In the past, I've always affirmed the opposite about the Latin Church. But I also believe the East has always had a different practice than has the Latin Church. This is evidenced in the continued differnce in practice -across the board- of all historic Eastern Churches with that of the Latin Church. The following are some of reasons I believe this:

a. Many of the Fathers, canonized and uncanonized speak of the "dissolution" or "breaking" of marriage in the quotes I've given. This in my understanding, gives important creedence to the Eastern position. Inspite of the attempts of some to characterize these statements as simply referring to "separation of bed and board," I have seen no examples or reasons to buy this claim.

b. We have the witness of Origen (184-254), head of the catechetical school of Alexandria, who was -theologically- a good-standing member of the Church during his entire life. He writes very clearly that the dissolution of marriages was practiced in his day, in his Church of Alexandria. This is coupled with the witness of his Latin contemporary, Tertullian (160-223), the "founder of Latin theology," who -like Origen- was immensly authoritative for most of the Fathers who followed them, Oriental and Occidental. In them, we have two very powerful witnesses to the Eastern position from the early 3rd century! They were truly two of the most significant Fathers of their period who both clearly affirm that marriages were considered dissolvable by their respective Churches, and that remarriage was practiced. (1)

c. Then we have the writings of St. Epiphanios (315-403) who corroborates their witness. And, please, he did not say that it was possible that the Theotokos corrupted in the grave. This is an exaggeration based on Andrew's arguments in a previous thread. What this holy Father said was that he "did not know" what happened to her. Period. Apparently he was ignorant of what we agree was the prevailing Tradition about her body's assumption. But this "apparent" ignorance (we really don't know anything conclusive based on this isolated quote about St. Mary), to me, does dissolve his witness to the Church's practice in his day in regards to divorce and re-marriage. If one didn't see a commercial on the television that doesn't mean I'm going to doubt his report to me about the football game he watched. In one instance, through perhaps no fault of his own, he just doesn't know. In the other, he clearly attests to something he witnessed. Therefore, I think Epiphanios' witness is a legitmate one which can't be de-legitimized except for polemic, biased reasons. (2)

d. In addition to this we have the Holy golden-mouthed speaking of "breaking" a marriage. This seems to agree with the Eastern Tradition that marriage bonds can be broken (something Latins deny). (3) The next quote by St. Chrysostom (4) then clearly speaks of the "dissolution" of the marriage. This is not just separation from "bed and board" either. Rather, "a husband is not a husband." Again, this seems to me to be further clear support for the Eastern position. Btw, the Novatian (200-262) statement (5) is note-worthy simply because I saw it as reflecting the Father's prevailing understanding of "porneia" or "fornication" to be synonymous with "adultery" (in this particular Scripture passage). This seems to me to clearly contradict the argument posed by some modern RC writers who contend that our Lord really refers to an "illicit (e.g. incestual) marriage". St. John Chrysostom's quotes are a further support for this position.

e. Then there is the influential Latin writer dubbed "Ambrosiaster" (366-384) by Erasmus (if it is not St. Ambrose himself) who, again attests to the belief and practice in the early Church of men putting away a wife for fornication and re-marrying. (6)

f. Lactantius (240-320), the Latin philosopher -again- witnesses to the Eastern position of allowing re-marriage to an innocent party of a dissolved marriage.

g. The quote from the Apostolic Constitutions is there simply to witness again to the equivalence of "fornication" in St. Matthew's gospel to "adultery" as they do in these Constitutions.

h. My final point is this: based on the above witnesses, I think there is some significant reasons to believe that the East followed a legitimate Tradition coming from the earliest time of the Church. This, in my mind, does not mean that the Latin view is illegitimate. I think, if we could ever get past this stupid bickering we could find a lot of commonality over the proper applications of both Traditions. Dwelling on the abuses of these two respective Traditions (e.g. "20 reaons for divorce in the East" and "annulments are just Latin Catholic divorces") in my estimation, will get us exactly where this thread has gone: no where. I, for one, would welcome the reforming of these abuses in all of our modern Apostolic, Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Trusting in Christ's Light,
Wm. DerGhazarian

p.s. Is anyone having difficulties typing messages on this forum? Everything I write is delayed by a couple of seconds. This makes it very difficult to type a reply (I'm cutting and pasting from another word processor.)

Notes:

(1) Tertullian:
“I maintain, then, that Christ now made the prohibition of divorce conditional: ‘If anyone should dismiss his wife for the purpose of marrying another.’ ‘Whoever dismisses his wife,’ He says, ‘and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who has been dismissed by her husband, is equally an adulterer’ -dismissed, then, for that very reason for which dismissal is not permitted: to marry another. And he that marries a woman who has been dismissed unlawfully is as much an adulterer as he that marries one who has not been dismissed. The marriage which is not rightly dissoved is permanent. To marry again, however, while there is a permanent marriage, is adultery. Therefore, if he conditionally forbade the dismising of a wife, He did not forbid it absolutely; and what He did not forbid absolutely, He permitted in certain cases, where the reason for prohibition was not present. ... Indeed, in your sect, what is a husband to do, if his wife commit adultery? Shall he keep her? But your own Apostle, you know, would not join the members of Christ to a prostitute. The justice of divorce, therfore, has Christ, too, for its defender. Henceforth Moses must be considered as confirmed by Christ, Moses having permitted divorce for the same cause that Christ permits it: if there sould be found any unchaste commerce on the part of the woman. For in the Gospel of Matthew He says: ‘Whoever dismisses his wife, except for the cause of adultery, makes her commit adultery.’ And thus he too is regarded as an adulterer, who marrries a woman who has beend dismissed by her husband.” - Against Marcion, 4, 34, 4-6

Origen:
Our Savior does not at all permit the dissolution of marriages for any other sin than fornication alone, when detected in the wife....” 9.511 (Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (DECB), David W. Bercot).

(2) St. Epiphanius, Archbishop of Constantia on Cyprus during the fourth century wrote:
“Divine Law does not condemn a man who has been abandoned by his wife, nor a woman who has been abandoned by her husband, for remarrying.”

(3) St. John the Golden-Mouthed (Chrysostom):
“Better to break a marriage than be damned.” from Homily on 1 Corinthians by St. John Chrysostom (Minge: P.G. 61, 155)

(4) St. John the Golden-Mouthed:
“How then in this case is the uncleanness overcome, and therefore the intercourse allowed; while in the woman who prostitutes herself, the husband is not condemned in casting her out? Because here there is hope that the lost member may be saved through the marriage; but in the other case the marriage has already been dissolved; and there again both are corrupted; but here the fault is in one only of the two. ...For how will she who dishonored him in former times and became another’s and destroyed the rights of marriage, have power to reclaim him whom she had wronged; him, moreover, who still remains to her as an alien? Again, in that case, after the fornication the husband is not a husband...” - Homily on 1st Corinthians 19.4

“And not thus only, but in another way also He hath lightened the enactment: For asmuch as even for him He leaves one manner of dismissal when He saith, “Except for the cause of fornication;” since the matter had else come round again to the same issue. For if He had commanded to keep her in the house, though defiling herself with many, He would have made the matter end again in adultery.” - Homilies on the Gospel of St. Matthew 17

(5) Novation:
“When being inquired of, Christ gave this judgment: He said that a wife must not be put away, except fro the cause of adultery.... Laws are prescribed to married women, who are so bound that they cannot thence be seperated.’ 5.589 (Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (DECB), David W. Bercot).

(6) Ambrosiaster:
Neither can a man divorce his wife; [for he says]: ‘A man is not to divorce his wife.’ It presumes of course: ‘except for cause of fornication.’ And therefore does not subjoin what he says when speaking of a woman: ‘but if she has separated, she is to remain so;’ for it is permissible for a man to marry a wife, if he has divorced a sinful wife, because man is not bound by the law as a woman is; for man is head over woman.” Commentaries on Thirteen Pauline Epistles -on 1 Cor 7:11

(7) Lactantius:
“He who marries a woman divorced from her husband is an adulterer. So is he who divorced a wife for any cause other than adultery, in order to marry another.” 7.190 (Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs (DECB), David W. Bercot).

(8) Apostolic Constitutions:
“Do not let it be considered lawful after marriage to put her away who is without blame. For He says, “ you will take care to your spirit and will not forsake the wife of your youth” [Mal. 2:14-15].... And the Lord says, ‘What God has joined together, let no man put assunder.’ For the wife is the partner of life, united by God into one body from two. However, he who divides back into two that body that has become one -he is the enemy of the creation of God and the adversary of His providence. Similarly, he who retains her who is corrupted [by adultery] is a transgressor of the laws of nature. For ‘he who retains an adulteress is foolish and impious [Prv. 18:22]. Also, He says, “Cut her off from your flesh” [Sir 25:26]. For she is no longer a helpmate, but a snare, havin turned her mind from you to another.”

Re: Orthodox Divorce #43027 10/18/03 12:25 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by ZoeTheodora:
I still think you are wrong as wrong can be, but I apologize for saying so too abrasively....

Blessings, ZT
Thanks, this means so much and makes a big difference. I'm still learning the fact that the truth -itself- can be unappealing if I make it that way. My apologies to you all for the times I have failed to be charitable in my dealings on this forum. I still think I should refrain from dialoguing with those I'm prone to butt heads with in a very uncharitable way. My apologies if I can not make replies to some.

Trusting in Christ's Light,
Wm. DerGhazarian
Looys Kreesdosee
www.geocities.com/derghazar

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