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Re: Q? #85183 06/06/02 04:40 PM
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Dear Orthoman,

Actually, as I got up from my knees in prayer last night, I felt a "click" in my leg, and the pain was gone right there and then. I thanked you as well on the Prayer thread!

I hope I wasn't doing a discourse on the theology of the Filioque. Happy you enjoyed it . . .

Again, we are in agreement, as so many RC theologians are also, that the Filioque should be dropped from the Creed, as I said.

My main point is that theologically there is no difference today, but that the Filioque is offensive because it was introduced by one Particular Church outside an Ecumenical Council.
And there is every indication that Rome will have it removed. RC's are nervous about this, and all I'm saying is that we need to be a bit sensitive to them in this respect.

I myself grew up with the Filioque. When I understood the issues involved, I stopped using it and it took me a while to get used to it. I'm O.K. with the Creed minus the Filioque today though smile .

But it should be removed and before full union between East and West can be achieved, it MUST be removed.

And no stretching involved here, except when I get up from my chair to walk around . . .

The Immaculate Conception RC dogma CAN be held as a private theological opinion by any Orthodox Christian without him or her being branded a heretic.

Ware said this and I've had this confirmed to me by EVERY Orthodox priest or bishop I have had the pleasure of meeting and discussing a few things with.

It has been held as such by Orthodox theologians in the past, as Meyendorff mentions in "Byzantine Theology" and in his book on imperial unity. And these theologians were not excommunicated as a result.

That the theology of the Immaculate Conception is a based on Augustinianism - that's a fact and it is therefore not reflective of the best Theotokological and Soteriological traditions of the East at all.

You are using, however, "Original Sin" in a Roman Catholic way, at least I think you are.

For the East, "Original Sin" is death, not an actual sin.

For the West, it is an actual "mark on the soul" or sin.

The Mother of God truly did repose or die, as the liturgical services show. She therefore had Original Sin, in this Eastern sense.

And God's choice of Her as Mother of God was entirely unmerited on her part, as you SEEM to suggest.

She was chosen by God and was filled with every Grace and sanctified from her Conception, as was St John the Baptist.

Otherwise, the feasts of the Conception of these two Holy Persons would NOT and could not be celebrated by the Church.

The Mother of God never had ANY kind of stain of sin, original or later, on her soul at ANY time.

The liturgical tradition of Orthodoxy states otherwise. The person who absolutely convinced me of this is Brendan who once way back posted a whole slew of liturgical references concerning the All-Holiness and sinlessness of the Mother of God, including one that discussed the fact that she felt no pain in giving birth to Christ, something that highlighted her Grace-filled life and soul.

Again, there is no disagreement between East and West on this issue. Never was, never will be.

It is in the "how" that there are differences.

But Orthodoxy never condemned theological opinions or other theologies.

Meyendorff, for example, states that the western view of Redemption, that Christ died to atone for our sins before the Father, while not Orthodox, is entirely legitimate as a theological tradition (although not to be imposed on other Churches).

He even said that this Latin view of Redemption served the entire Church well in the Nestorian and other controversies, as it helped highlight the Humanity of Christ etc.

So, all we are saying is that RC Immaculate Conception = Mary has no sin on her soul.

Orthodoxy affirms that Mary never had any sin on her soul because it doesn't understand Original Sin in terms of "stain of sin."

Both sides agree, in their own ways, that She was conceived in holiness.

And the West, as the CCC shows, has turned to the Orthodox understanding of Original Sin, as it has never dogmatically defined Augustine's notion of Original Sin.

Augustine himself said he didn't quite understand all the subtleties of the Greek Father's theology and asked for forgiveness and correction whenever he fell short in his own explications.

Again, no stretching at all, but full agreement in both East and West theologically on the main issues that separate us, apart from the papacy and the non-theological issue of removal of the Filioque from the Creed that is meant to express the faith of the Universal Church.

None of this I get from RC theologians. It is all from Orthodox theologians, especially the OCA theologians who are both very learned and very ecumenically minded without compromising on truth etc.

Remember that one of the closest friends to John Meyendorff, who actually helped edit his books, was the Jesuit Byzantine expert, Fr. Gustave Weigel, SJ.

It was this Jesuit who once criticized Meyendorff's writing on the Filioque to say that he didn't go 'far enough' in critiquing the West!

I know this from a lecture I had the privilege of attending here at the University of Toronto.

O.K., time to stretch a bit . . . but not here smile

Stretch Alex

[ 06-06-2002: Message edited by: Orthodox Catholic ]

Re: Q? #85184 06/06/02 04:56 PM
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Dear Moose,

An excellent idea!

The thing is that the West has shifted toward Orthodoxy in its understanding of Original Sin and therefore the continual holiness of Mary.

And that is a good thing.

As for who admits more errors, Catholics or Orthodox, I'm not getting into that.

My point is simply that when it comes to the central doctrines that have historically separated East and West, it is often a case of difference of perspective rather than a case of "error."

Whether one accepts that Original Sin is an actual "stain" on one's soul when one is conceived and that therefore our Lady was prevented from getting that "stain" by the future merits of the Cross of Christ, OR, whether one accepts that Original Sin is death and that the Mother of God was conceived in holiness - it comes down to the same belief about the total holiness of the Mother of God.

And then there's the fact that East and West have traditionally allowed for local theological schools of thought.

The imposition of the Filioque Church-wide is wrong. The holding of the Filioque as a theological opinion is not.

The imposition of the Augustinian view of Original Sin is wrong but the holding of it as a theological opinion is not.

The imposition of a doctrine of Purgatory is wrong, but the holding of it as a theological opinion is not (Byzantine Theology again and the Creed of St Peter Mohyla).

Kallistos Ware in his "Orthodox Church" notes that there are Orthodox Christians who hold to the personal view that Orthodoxy should submit to ALL the claims of the Papacy (!).

Again, one cannot be excommunicated for holding such a PERSONAL theological opinion.

So, at any time when we discuss the comparison of East and West, we are working on two levels, what is to be accepted as public, universal faith by all, and what MAY be accepted as private opinion.

The same private opinion that is innocuous as such can lead to church division, and has, when it has been proclaimed as dogma for universal belief.

The only point in which Byzantine Catholics legitimately differ from Orthodox is on the papacy doctrines.

On every other point, we adhere to Orthodoxy.

And what is happening is that Rome is now beginning to see that the theological western opinions it once imposed on everyone else are not necessary for the fullest expression of the undivided faith of the first thousand years.

Alex

Re: Q? #85185 06/06/02 05:05 PM
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Response I received from my inquiry:

<< St. John of Damascus teaches in his Orthodox Faith that the Spirit
proceeds
from the Father through the Son.
The RC Church accepts this, as did St Thomas Aquinas, and so we need not
change or
add anything to Eastern Triadology here. >>

The person who wrote this and the other RC teachings in relation to Orthodoxy
is in error. Regarding the above, St John of Damascus does not say this. In
his "Exposition of the Orthodox Faith" (Book I, ch 8),, St. John of Damascus
says that Spirit "originates [or has His origin] from the Father and rests in
the Son." There is nothing here or in the entire work that teaches the
procession (ekporefsis) of the Spirit from the Father **and the Son** , i.e.,
the Latin "filioque." There are two points to keep in mind and the difference
between them is crucial:
1) The matter of the "filioque" and the procession of the Spirit from the
Father and the Son refers to the manner in which the Spirit as a unique
hypostasis (or Person) has His co-beginningless being from the Father. This
refers to theology per se' which means the nature and Persons of the Trinity
within itself apart from any operations or acts of the Trinity outside of
itself in relation to the world or creation. In other words, the reference is
to God alone as if there were no creation.
2) The second point is about the Spirit being sent **into the world.** This
has to do with the economy of God, which means His relation with, and
operations, in the world and particularly in Church. In God's economy and not
in the origin and manner of the Spirit's being, the Spirit is sent into the
world through the Son. Our Savior promised to send the Spirit after His
Ascension. This is part of the economy of God and not the theology of God.
St. John of Damascus, then, was referring to the theology of God, that is to
say, that the Spirit has His co-beginningless origin, in His case ekporefsis,
from the Father and rests in the Son. This means that the Son and Spirit have
their separate co-beginningless origins, ekporefsis of the Spirit and
generation of the Son, from the Father and "rest in one another, unique in
their individual manner of being yet ever indivisible from each other and
from the Father. The unity of the Trinity, in Orthodox theology, refers to
the unity of Persons existing in the Fatherhood of one Father. The sharing of
the divine nature or essence as the unity of the Trinity is the West's error.
On one of the other matters mentioned by your friend...
The Theotokos' translation to heaven in body and soul appears to be the same
teaching in the Orthodox Church and the RCC, however...the devil is in the
details. The ancient Church taught that she reposed, she died, and on the
third day was raised bodily. The papal dogma refused to say she died, stating
vaguely that she passed through the course of life on earth and continued on
to heaven. The Pope (Pius X) did not believe in the ancient Church's teaching
on her death and burial by the Apostles, although many Catholics still did at
the time (c. 1950?). He couldn't say she died because that would mean she was
not all pure, not free of guilt of original sin, and deserved to be punished;
after all, a Dogma of the Council of Trent stated that God created death to
justly punish all men who inherited guilt of original sin. So Pius X, in
formally stating the Dogma of the Assumption made no reference to death with
regard to the Theotokos' bodily translation from her tomb to heaven. He
merely said when asked, with regard to question if she died, the traditional
theology of the RCC answers the question. The answer in RCC theology of
course is that she could not have died because the Immaculate Conception
dogma exempted her from inherited guilt of original sin, hence she could not
be justly punished with death. And all of this is obviously related to the
vast differences in soteriology and in many presuppositions as well.
The idea that Orthodoxy can ever accept the ex-officio infallibility of the
pope is preposterous.

Re: Q? #85186 06/06/02 05:34 PM
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Dear Orthoman,

I believe I did differentiate between the "Economic Trinity" and the "Trinity in terms of internal relations."

And both East and West are agreed on the Economic Trinity which is where the "Through the Son" comes forward.

St John of Damascus, speaking of the Spirit, in Chapter 8 (and again he is truly speaking of the Economic Trinity), "He (the Holy Spirit) is manifested and imparted to us THROUGH the Son."

Later on in the same chapter, he says, "Just as the sun imparts its rays and radiance . . .the sun is the cause of both . . . so too it is through the rays that the radiance comes to us.

Again, Meyendorff himself said that agreement at Florence could have been reached on the principle of "through the Son." I think of Meyendorff as the strongest authority here.

And I hope you and your friend do too. When someone attacks the OCA and her theologians - well, that's where I draw the line! smile

The unity of the Persons based on the "sharing of the Divine Nature," while Latin, was never considered a "heresy" by the East until much later.

Yet, this Latin theological school of thought can hardly be said to be justification for the separation of the Churches. It does lead into the Filioque issue since it focuses on the internal relations of the Trinity alone. But hardly a heresy.

Also, your friend has said nothing about the Roman Catholic understanding of the Filioque and I take it he understands it at face value alone.

Neither Meyendorff nor Ware nor others did, however.

The Filioque as taught by RCism throughout the centuries never denied the FACT that the Cause of both the Son and the Spirit is the Father. And it never affirmed that the Son was somehow ever a "Cause" of the Spirit either. Enough said, but as an Eastern Catholic who does not accept Latin theological views, I think there is always a tendency to make a caricature of what RC theology really teaches and says. I think that happened here with your friend's statement.

It is absolutely true that the papal definition of the Assumption, rather than the Immaculate Conception, deliberately leaves out the question of the death of the Mother of God.

But rather than see this as somehow suspicious, we should see this as evidence that the West did indeed share an understanding of Original Sin as death and that if the Mother of God died, and our liturgical tradition says she did, then she could not be said to have been without Original Sin.

In fact, the RC doctrine of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception are actually better suited to one another within the framework of the Orthodox understanding of Original Sin, which is why the CCC maintains it, rather than the old Augustinian version.

The Immaculate Conception simply states that the Mother of God was conceived in holiness and that she never had any 'stain' of sin.

The Eastern Church has always believed this. The Augustinian Original Sin was never a doctrine of Rome, and it is something that has been officially dropped as popular doctrine.

Again, Meyendorff NEVER denied the pith and substance of this doctrine, ONLY the Augustinian backdrop in which it originated.

With respect to the papal doctrines, I only reiterated what Meyendorff said, and that is that they could be "re-presented" at an ecumenical council.

Roman Catholics AND Orthodox are agreed today that the Petrine Ministry of the Pope should be reformed, especially with respect to a future role for him within a united Church between East and West.

An Ecumenical Council of both Eastern and Western representatives who are agreed to accept its laws can establish the parameters of a renewed papacy.

I don't know what such a future Council will say about primacy of jurisdiction and infallibility.

We can only surmise.

I have said that this is a stickler issue - who can dispute that?

I have also said that a Council in another time could renew or transform the papal role.

And I said that there are Orthodox, mentioned by Ware, who hold as private opinions that Orthodoxy should submit to all current and existing papal claims.

I don't hold to that, even though I am a Byzantine Catholic.

Alex

[ 06-06-2002: Message edited by: Orthodox Catholic ]

Re: Q? #85187 06/06/02 05:59 PM
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For reference, the entire section of the Exposition of the Orthodox Faith by St. John of Damascus is as follows (Book I, Chapter VII, Concerning the Holy Trinity)

Likewise we believe also in one Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life: Who proceedeth from the Father and resteth in the Son: the object of equal adoration and glorification with the Father and Son, since He is co-essential and co-eternal(2): the Spirit of God, direct, authoritative(3), the fountain of wisdom, and life, and holiness: God existing and addressed along with Father and Son: uncreate, full, creative, all-ruling, all-effecting, all-powerful, of infinite power, Lord of all creation and not under any lord(4): deifying, not deified(5): filling, not filled: shared in, not sharing in: sanctifying, not sanctified: the intercessor, receiving the supplications of all: in all things like to the Father and Son: proceeding from the Father and communicated through the Son, and participated in by all creation, through Himself creating, and investing with essence and sanctifying, and maintaining the universe: having subsistence, existing in its own proper and peculiar subsistence, inseparable and indivisible from Father and Son, and possessing all the qualities that the Father and Son possess, save that of not being begotten or born. For the Father is without canst and unborn: for He is derived from nothing, but derives from Himself His being, nor does He derive a single quality from another(6). Rather He is Himself the beginning and cause of the existence of all things in a definite and natural manner. But the Son is derived from the Father after the manner of generation, and the Holy Spirit likewise is derived from the Father, yet not after the manner of generation, but after that of procession. And we have learned that there is a difference(7) between generation and procession, but the nature of that difference we in no wise understand. Further, the generation of the Son from the Father and the procession of the Holy Spirit are simultaneous.

The issue here is one of perspective, not of error. What Orthodoxy rejects is not that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son (i.e., "rests on the Son" or "communicates through the Son") but the idea that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son as if from a single principal. This is also the teaching of the Byzantine Catholic Church which uses "On the Orthodox Faith" by St. John of Damascus as a catechetical text. [Keep in mind that the issue of the filioque in the Symbol of Faith is a separate issue.]

Quote
The papal dogma refused to say she died, stating vaguely that she passed through the course of life on earth and continued on to heaven.


I think that this statement is unfair. Pius X was not addressing the death of the Mother of God but rather her Assumption into heaven. It is a fair criticism to note that he should have addressed the very real physical death of the Mother of God but to conclude that he denies the teaching of the early Church because he did not specifically address it in this text is unfair. He clearly discuss her dead body of the Mother of God. If that's not enough to convince someone that she died then I don't know what to think.

The following excerpt from Munificentissimus Deus by Pope Pius XII:

They [the Church Fathers and Doctors] offered more profound explanations of its meaning and nature, bringing out into sharper light the fact that this feast shows, not only that the dead body of the Blessed Virgin Mary remained incorrupt, but that she gained a triumph out of death, her heavenly glorification after the example of her only begotten Son, Jesus Christ-truths that the liturgical books had frequently touched upon concisely and briefly.

21. Thus St. John Damascene, an outstanding herald of this traditional truth, spoke out with powerful eloquence when he compared the bodily Assumption of the loving Mother of God with her other prerogatives and privileges. "It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God."[17]



I agree that the Western theology of original sin and all the follows (the IC and the Assumption) are clumsy. But one should never judge the best of one's own theology with the poorest of someone else's. I believe that the Western theology of original sin is very clumsy and poor but not unorthodox (or unOrthodox). What the West speaks of regarding the death of the Mother of God is that as "full of grace" of the Holy Spirit she is preserved from the sin and corruption of death (i.e., she was preserved in holiness and justice, but not preserved from mortality).

Re: Q? #85188 06/06/02 06:59 PM
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Dear Orthoman,

Re: "If"

I apologise for being less rigidly dogmatic than yourself.

Perhaps it's my social science background. Perhaps it's my good nature - I don't know.

I do know I'd be the same if I were Orthodox. As Schmemann stated, if the Church expects us to leave our personality at the door, I wouldn't go in.

And I used the word "if" in that context from the point of view of RC theology that allows for both the Augustinian view of Original Sin and the Eastern Patristic view.

So I said "if you accepted the former, then . . ."

There is more than one theological tradition or set of ideas within Orthodoxy as well.

So that "if" you accepted one of them in particular . . .

But "if" I was overly dogmatic and "if" I had an inner need to see everything in terms of black and white and "if" I didn't admit to any variation in theological opinions within the context of the apostolic faith - then I just might agree with you.

But, as you said, that's a big "if" smile .

Alex

Re: Q? #85189 06/06/02 07:06 PM
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Dear Moose,

Just a point of clarification, earlier you mentioned Pope Pius X - it was Pius XII who declared the Dogma of the Assumption, but I know you know that! smile

Also, while Pius XII certainly didn't deny the reality of the Dormition of the Mother of God, he did deliberately leave that out of the actual dogmatic definition.

There were Catholics who tended toward the view that the Mother of God actually died as we do.

And certainly the Orthodox Church venerates saints who did not die (although the East does indeed believe in the Dormition of the Mother of God) such as Elias and even John the Theologian who, by Eastern tradition, was buried alive and taken directly to Heaven (see his Akathist and Life).

By the word "Dormition," the Orthodox Church also wishes to emphasize that her death was unlike that of any other, that it was a "falling asleep" that was free of all the terrors and pain that we experience.

This is why the icon of the Dormition depicts Her Son above her bier, having come from Heaven to take His mother under His Protection and to Heaven, body and soul.

Alex

Re: Q? #85190 06/06/02 07:18 PM
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sorry i ment baptised Anglican...


Abba Isidore the Priest:
When I was younger and remained in my cell I set no limit to prayer; the night was for me as much the time of prayer as the day.
(p. 97, Isidore 4)
Re: Q? #85191 06/06/02 07:19 PM
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Dear Odo,

I guess it depends on how many times and how deeply one is dunked in the water! smile

Alex

Re: Q? #85192 06/06/02 07:46 PM
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Hi Alex,
in a previous post you wrote: "Thomas Aquinas himself understood Original Sin in the Orthodox sense, in terms of a weakened nature subject to death, concupiscence and temptation."

Are you saying that the Angelic Doctor did not teach that the sin of Adam is transmitted to all humanity? St. Thomas ofcourse agrees that as a result of Adam's sin we are infected with a weakened nature subject to death, concupiscence and temptation,but St. Thomas also clearly taught that we also inherit the Original sin itself.

in his Summa Theolgiae St. Thomas Says:

"I answer that, According to the Catholic Faith we are bound to hold that the first sin of the first man is transmitted to his descendants, by way of origin. For this reason children are taken to be baptized soon after their birth, to show that they have to be washed from some uncleanness. The contrary is part of the Pelagian heresy, as is clear from Augustine in many of his books [For instance, Retract. i, 9; De Pecc. Merit. et Remiss. ix; Contra Julian. iii, 1; De Dono Persev. xi, xii.]"

Re: Q? #85193 06/07/02 01:15 PM
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Dear Laus,

Aquinas did not hold to classic Augustinianism. He agreed, with the rest of the historic Church, that baptism of infants is necessary. But his understanding of Original Sin agreed with the majority of the Fathers.

Aquinas was, as we know, widely read in the Eastern Fathers and although one may question his juxtaposing the procession of the Spirit in both Eastern and Western traditions, the fact is that Orthodox theologians in his time applauded not only his theological genius, but also his understanding of Greek Orthodox theology, as Meyendorff notes.

Meyendorff actually quotes a personal prayer to "Blessed Thomas Aquinas" by an Orthodox Christian who added "If you were not born in the West, you would not have defended the Filioque."

Aquinas did defend the Filioque, but only from the point of view that he didn't see a difference between it and the "through the Son" formulation of the East.

If he saw the "Through the Son" as an expression of the internal relations of the Trinity, then, yes, he was mistaken about the meaning of that expression in Orthodoxy - it refers to the Economic Trinity, the sending of the Spirit into the world from the Father through the Son.

However, I personally cannot, for the life of me, see how the phrase "Through the Son" when applied to the internal relations of the Trinity can be said to be wrong or heretical. The "Monarchy" of the Father is still kept in tact, the role of the Son is not advanced to that of another Eternal Originator of the Spirit - I don't know what is wrong with that.

The real issue with respect to the internal relations of the Trinity, as St John Damascus discusses, is that the Fathers are agreed that the distinction of the Persons are found in the manner in which the Son and the Spirit emanate from the Father. In other words, the Son is Only-Begotten of the Father, the Spirit proceeds from the Father. The Damascene says that the two ways of emanating are different or distinct, but that we cannot know how they are.

RC theology, however, has always posited that the distinctness of the Persons in the Trinity come from the fact that that Father is Unoriginate, the Son is Only-Begotten of the Father alone, and the Spirit proceeds, according to RC theology, from both the Father and the Son. RC theology has maintained, in the past, that without this sense of the internal relations, the Persons of the Trinity would be indistinguishable, at least the Son and the Spirit would be.

The phrase, "Through the Son," applied to both the Economic Trinity and to its internal relations MIGHT just be the sword with which to cut through this Gordion Knot.

As for Augustine and Pelagius, that is a major controversy, as we know, in and of itself.

Augustine's view of Original Sin was NEVER declared the official teaching of the RC church, even though it was very popular for centuries.

The fact is that Augustine's view is outside of that of traditional Patristic teaching.

The idea that we inherit the "stain" of a sin that someone else has committed - that was a novel idea not adhered to by any other Father, East or West.

The fact is that the Bishops of Gaul, and St John Cassian himself, opposed Augustine's view on Original Sin and its concomitant idea of the radical corruption of human nature as a result.

Pelagius himself, research is showing, never adhered to the ideas of Pelagianism, that we can somehow save ourselves without Grace.

The Catholic Church in its official Catechism today stands firmly on the side of the ancient Patristic tradition in this respect, and there is no longer any disagreement between the RC and Orthodox Churches.

The fact is that we inherit the punishment for Original Sin that is meted out to the human nature that we inherit from Adam. And we need to rely totally and radically on the Grace of God through the Sacraments/Mysteries, prayer and the Life in Christ through the Church for as long as we sojourn here.

As a result of St John Cassian's opposition to Augustine, however, his cult as a saint was never approved in the Western Church, but is confined to the City of Marseilles in France alone.

That Aquinas was on the side of the Eastern Fathers with respect to Original Sin is also shown in the fact that he denied that Our Lady did not have "Original Sin" but yet he believed in her total holiness. That he could believe this way is only because he understood, as the Eastern Church does, Original Sin as death and not as "stain."

Alex

[ 06-07-2002: Message edited by: Orthodox Catholic ]

[ 06-07-2002: Message edited by: Orthodox Catholic ]

[ 06-07-2002: Message edited by: Orthodox Catholic ]

Re: Q? #85194 06/07/02 08:00 PM
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{This is why the icon of the Dormition depicts Her Son above her bier, having come from Heaven to take His mother under His Protection and to Heaven, body and soul.]

The Orthodox Icon of the Dormition depicts Christ standing beside the bier holding an infant which represents the soul of the Theotokos which he has come to take with him to heaven.

OrthoMan

Re: Q? #85195 06/07/02 11:23 PM
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Dear Alex,
First off let me say that I always appreciate the very charitable tone of your posts, it's a valuable witness. In St. Thomas' Summa Theologiae quoted by me above the Angelic Doctor says: "I answer that, According to the Catholic Faith we are bound to hold that the first sin of the first man is transmitted to his descendants, by way of origin. For this reason children are taken to be baptized soon after their birth, to show that they have to be washed from some uncleanness."

I have always understood this "uncleanness" St. Thomas speaks of to be synonymous with "the stain". But perhaps you know of a passage from the saints writings that will shed more light on this topic for me. Am I right in guessing that this uncleanness that St. Thomas speaks of is present in Eastern understanding?

Also you said: "The fact is that Augustine's view is outside of that of traditional Patristic teaching." I have read that in Augustin's work "Contra Jul., II, x, 33," that he uses no less that eleven Fathers of both the Latin and Greek Church to support his position. Unfortunately the source does not list which of these Fathers St. Augustine uses. All this is very interesting to a nerd like me. Let me contact a priest I know who is probably one of the most classical Thomists (as opposed to neo-thomists) in the Church and see what he says and get back to you.

Re: Q? #85196 06/10/02 12:34 PM
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Dear Orthoman,

You are right - Christ is holding the SOUL of the Mother of God as He stands over Her bier.

My two icons of the Dormition also depict Her above Christ in heaven, enthroned as well.

I defer to your expertise. Our common liturgical tradition does affirm that She was taken to Heaven body and soul, and I take Her enthronement in Heaven to signify this.

But what the heck do I know?

Alex

Re: Q? #85197 06/10/02 12:43 PM
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Dear Laus,

While I'm no Thomist, Aquinas did emphasize the Eastern perspective of the impact on human nature more than the "stain" notion with respect to Original Sin.

I'm not questioning Aquinas or Augustine, nor am I calling their sanctity into question either (!).

Aquinas has the "rite" to represent his own theological tradition, and I'm simply trying to understand how he has been influenced by the Eastern Fathers.

It would be wrong to assume that since the schism of 1054 there was no communication or theological sharing and appreciation between East and West.

St Nicholas Cabasilas, for example, wrote about the Divine Liturgy to the admiration of so many Roman Catholic theologians who, to this day, just love him.

One of them called him "solid" and coming from an RC, that is a compliment indeed!

What truly impressed me, and this is discussed in the OCA publication of Cabasilas' work on the Divine Liturgy, is his comments regarding devotion to the Heart of Christ. Yes, this is qualitatively different from the Western devotion, but the fact that it is even raised by so great an Orthodox theologian . . .

The Orthodox Church of America has produced many excellent theologians to begin with. What I like most about this remarkable Orthodox jurisdiction is the way in which it is conversant with Western streams of theological and philosophical thought and relates Orthodoxy to them.

The OCA not only communicates Orthodox Christianity well to the West, but it shows how the West itself can benefit from its well-springs of devotion, theology and thought.

Alex

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