www.byzcath.org

Q?

Posted By: Gideon

Q? - 06/03/02 04:38 PM

For sanity and salvation I am seriously contemplating converting to the Orthodox faith, however my wife is a firm believer in the Baptist tradition and will not convert. So I ask is their salvation outside the Orthodox faith and is this common among new converts? (for only one person in a marriage to convert)

PS. Is it common for people to talk and walk up to light candles in front of the Holy Icons during the Liturgy?

[ 06-03-2002: Message edited by: Odo ]
Posted By: OrthodoxyOrDeath

Re: Q? - 06/03/02 07:09 PM

Odo,

I am a guest here myself and do not represent the pervasive views of it's other members.

And to be fair, I will say they consider me a schismatic and who knows what else.

But, since I seem to be the only renegade, I will offer to go out on the limb where noone dares to go and of those that have, few have survived. smile

It is true that there is no salvation without the baptism of the Church. That does not mean one is condemned to the Western notion of "Hell and eternal torment", but one could certainly not inheret the "Kingdom" (Vasilios, meaning the "uncreated Light") of God.

There is also no marriage outside the Church, so in the eyes of the Orthodox Church, you are not married and could not be married unless you were both Orthodox.

The departure I will have with the hosts of this board is what constitutes the Orthodox Church? Since I am just a guest, I will leave the rest to them...

But before I go, might I recommend a very nice website for more information...

www.fatheralexander.org

----------------------------

ps. It is very common for people to walk up and lite candles and venerate (kiss) the icons during the service.

For instance, just before Holy Communion, one Venerates the icons just before because one should not kiss anything after.

[ 06-03-2002: Message edited by: OrthodoxyOrDeath ]
Posted By: DavidB, the Byzantine Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/03/02 07:34 PM

Odo asked

Quote
So I ask is their salvation outside the Orthodox faith and is this common among new converts?


OOD answered

Quote
It is true that there is no salvation without the baptism of the Church. That does not mean one is condemned to the Western notion of "Hell and eternal torment", but one could certainly not inheret the "Kingdom" (Vasilios, meaning the "uncreated Light") of God.


Now my comment.

My answer would be that we do not know.

As for OOD's answer, I would like to request that he shows some evidence for this third place, that is Heaven, Hell, and now someplace else for those not baptized.

Or did I misunderstand what you said? confused


Your brother in Christ,
David

[ 06-03-2002: Message edited by: DavidB ]
Posted By: OrthodoxyOrDeath

Re: Q? - 06/03/02 08:02 PM

DavidB,

The typical understanding of Heaven and Hell is a Western idea and has never been Orthodox.

Now, given my history on this subject I would offer a link to the "River of Fire" by Alexandre Kalomiros who put't it together rather nice, but this is much shorter...

http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Orthodox-Faith/Spirituality/Heaven-and-Hell.html
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/04/02 12:39 PM

Dear OOD,

Excellent exposition!

Pervasive views of the members here? Are there such things? smile

Alex
Posted By: Moose

Re: Q? - 06/04/02 02:47 PM

The link provided by OoD gives and explanation that is very similar to what I learned as a kid. It is very Eastern but also very Russian. It would be wonderful if someone could take the time to examine the various Eastern Christian presentations of heaven and hell and the influences on each. The Russian approach is very much influenced by Dostoevsky and others (in that it is almost poetical or romantic). The Greeks seem to approach this topic from a more philosophical perspective.
Posted By: Christopher De Milo

Re: Q? - 06/04/02 05:02 PM

Glory to Jesus Christ!

Dear Odo,

I personally know two couples where one spouse became Eastern Orthodox before another. I know one couple where they became Eastern Orthodox together. Interestingly enough, all three couples exited the Presbyterian Church.

I have read about other cases (regarding confirmation in the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic churches). In particular, The Boston Globe ran an article a month ago about a husband following his wife into Roman Catholicism - a decade or so after they married!
Posted By: Gideon

Re: Q? - 06/04/02 07:26 PM

Why does the ROCOR hold to such a different view then the majority of the other Orthodox Churches? They seem less “catholic” in their thought, then say the Greek Orthodox Church. If I was to become Orthodox, would I be considered as “living in sin”? What is it that makes the Orthodox Church more universal then the Latin Church? Is it not God that gave us the Holy Church and is it not God alone that makes judgment against us? I understand that we are to “expel the immoral brother” but at the same time we must not over step the authority that Christ gave to his Church. (I’m probably far off but then again I’m still learning) Yours (struggling to understand) in the Faith,

odo
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/04/02 08:00 PM

Dear Odo,

ROCOR considers itself not in communion with "World Orthodoxy" for all intents and purposes.

I would recommend you become an Eastern Catholic. You'll have all the richness of Eastern theology and spirituality with none of the problems of jurisdictionalism . . .

Oh darn, I wasn't supposed to let my partisan bias show . . . sorry, sorry . . . smile

Alex
Posted By: Gideon

Re: Q? - 06/04/02 08:43 PM

Orthodox vs. Eastern Catholic what is the difference? I like the Greek Orthodox Church in Canada what do you all think?

Odo eek
Posted By: Pani Rose

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 06:02 AM

Well, I don't know about the Greek Orthodox in Canada. However, I do know about being a Baptist. When my husband, who was raised PNC and I prayed for the place God wanted us to be, where we would both be a peace(he didn't want Baptist and I didn't want Roman Catholic), God gave very clear directions through a series of events. We ended up in the Ruthenian Church. Never looked back and have loved every minute of serving the Lord in it. God knew where he wanted us to be and once we were willing to ask him to make it clear to us, he did.

Rose smile
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 12:59 PM

Dear Odo,

I just love the Orthodox to death! smile

But if you don't think there is a difference between the Orthodox and Eastern Catholics, then I would say you are already of the Eastern Catholic point of view. smile

(Right, Brendan? smile )

Alex
Posted By: OrthodoxyOrDeath

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 02:02 PM

Odo,

You asked for opinion...My recommendation, if it has to be a choice between the Greek Orthodox under Constantinople, and the Byzantine Catholics, I recommend the Byzantine Catholic.

Rather you be with the pope than to live you life thinking you are Orthodox. After all, at least this way you won't have organs smile

If you are serious about finding the Church, then you MUST find by frequent prayer and reading the Fathers the faith of the Apostles. Then you must find a priest and a bishop who hold that faith.

It is also very important to understand all things from both perspectives. For instance, you may find the Council of Florence was a union between the Orthodox and the Latins and that therefore the faiths must be very close if not the same. Upon further study you will find there was no union and that it was all about politics and nothing about faith, on boths sides.

How many people know that the pope and the Latin bishops were using this council to further their own authority and diminish the others? Truly, when the time for the coucil, the Latin bishops and the pope each sent a fleet to pick up the "Orthodox" delegation. Upon arrival at constantinople, both fleets nearly went to battle. All signatures were not found on the "union", and it was never accepted in any Orthodox lands.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 02:13 PM

Dear OOD,

However, and I'm just raising an historical point, many Greek Bishops did, in fact, sign that union, leaving St Mark of Ephesus and his group of supporters in the minority at the time.

St Mark came to that Council as a unionist, with the only demand that the Latins remove the "Filioque" from the Creed.

He apparently believed that God would heal the "Latin heresy" once the Filioque was removed.

The fact that many Greek Bishops did sign that union and meant it is also illustrated in St Mark's Last Will and Testament when he ordered his supporters to prevent any Greek Bishop who signed the union from assisting at his funerary rites.

The Russian Orthodox Church at the time just assumed that the entire Greek Church had gone into heresy with Rome and that was when the "Moscow as Third Rome" view took on a life of its own.

In addition, the Byzantine Emperor St Constantine XI, glorified by the Orthodox Church, DID in face receive Communion from a Latin Cardinal before he went to defend Constantinople.

Unless the Orthodox had Cardinals, this means that St Constantine, at that time, was an Eastern Catholic.

But I commend you for encouraging our friend to become an Eastern Catholic! smile

You are wonderful!

Alex
Posted By: Gideon

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 02:24 PM

Before I jump into anything, I do need a lot more study. However, I do already prefer the Orthodox Church from my limited experience. I had never heard of the Byzantine Catholics before, I had always just lumped Orthodox with the Byzantine Catholics. I live in a small town that has only two Orthodox Churches. One is Ukrainian and the other Greek. I prefer the Greek for the simple fact that the people attending that Church are going out of their way to help me learn more about Orthodoxy. I have also been in contact with a Coptic Church and was wondering what the differences are between Orthodoxy and the Coptic brand of Orthodoxy?

Odo
cool
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 03:45 PM

Dear Odo,

Yes, the Byzantine Catholics are the best kept secret in North America!

And certainly the fact that you do not have an Eastern Catholic Church, but Orthodox, will play a role in your decision-making in this important area.

The Coptic Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox family of Pre-Chalcedonian Churches that went their separate ways after the Fourth Ecumenical Council on the issue of the Natures of Christ.

Other Churches in this family include the Ethiopian, Eritrean, Syriac, Indian and Armenian Churches.

These Miaphysite Churches adhere to the wording concerning the Incarnation of the Son of God as put forth by St Cyril of Alexandria, "One Incarnate Nature . . ."

The rest of the Church saw in their insistence on "One Nature" in Christ a denial of the continuing reality of Christ's Divine and Human Natures after the Incarnation.

This heresy was condemned, along with a number of their teachers and saints, Severios of Antioch, Philoxenos of Mabbugh, Timothey Aelurus, Mar Jacob Bardeana and Dioscoros of Alexandria.

The Coptic Church with its Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria is therefore not in union with Constantinople and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Ecumenical discussions offer great hope of an eventual reconciliation between these Churches.

Alex
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 04:27 PM

Though it is OK to get other peoples opinions, they are just that - 'Other peoples opinions'. I suggest that you start to read. If you are at the point you claim, then it would be proper to look into the differences between Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Catholicism which are much more than some would claim in this discussion group. Since Eastern Catholicism is 'in union with' and therefore part of the Roman Catholic Church, and as such, obligated to believe in the doctrines of the RCC, it is necessary for you to understand it and compare it to what the OCC believes. I know there will be comments by some on what I just said. But they are the facts unless someone can prove to me that the RC administrative requirements for those 'in union with' or 'in communion with' them has changed where that 'union' or 'communion' is no longer tied into an authority recognition or doctrinal belief requirement. I would start by recommending the following books which dwell on the subject I have mentioned. All which can be ordered right on-line from Light & Life Publishing which is the largest Orthodox publishing supplier in the world -

http://www.light-n-life.com/

Books I recommend -


Against False Union

by A. Kalomiros

$ 12.95

Softbound

Item No: AGAI100

Humble thoughts of an Orthodox Christian concerning the attempts for union with the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church with the Churches of the West. Prologue by Photios Kontoglou.

----------------


Two Paths: Papal Monarchy-Collegial Tradition

by Michael Whelton

$ 22.95

Softbound

Item No: TWOP050

A brilliantly written book that explains compassionately, simply and factually the historic, theological and liturgical differences between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions.
Includes Peter and the Papacy, Collegial Tradition, Filioque and Schism, Donation of Constantine; Infallibility; the New Mass of Vatican II versus the Orthodox Liturgy and much more. 220 pages.

------------

[AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO ANYONE. WELL WORTH THE SMALL PRICE.]

Dance, O Isaiah: Questions and Answers on Some of the Differences Between
Eastern Orthodox and Other Faiths

by Constantine Platis

$ 11.75

Softbound

Item No: DANC275

Each page is separated into two columns: one column states the Protestant or Roman Catholic question and the second column provides the Orthodox Christian answer. Example: Why do you honor saints' relics? is followed by the Orthodox answer. Hundreds of questions with insightful answers. 160 pages.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 04:39 PM

Dear Orthoman,

No one is going to contradict you on the administrative thing you raised with respect to "union with Rome" my Friend!

As for the doctrinal matters, we will agree to disagree here, (as we often have in the past, but I am happy that despite that you still find something that is loveable in me!!) smile .

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 Epiclesis issue is dead, as Orthodox theologians have said, since the West now includes an Epiclesis in its liturgies.

The total holiness of the Mother of God and her being taken up into heaven have ALWAYS been a part of the liturgical tradition of Orthodoxy, and Orthodox theologians today don't see a problem with RCism here, except on the matter of Original Sin a la St Augustine.

But the new Roman Catechism and theologians say that this view of Original Sin isn't necessary for Catholics to hold and never was since it was never declared official doctrine.

Both RC's and OC's agree on prayer for the dead. "Purgatory" was never declared official doctrine and the Eastern practice in this regard is much more developed and spiritually enriching than that of the West anyway.

The only real difference here has to do with two out of three papal doctrines, the East having no problem with the "Primacy of Honour" for the Pope of Rome.

And John Meyendorff (+memory eternal!) wrote that even these papal doctrines, infallibity and jurisdiction, could foreseeably be accepted by Orthodoxy through a 're-presentation' before a union Ecumenical Council in future.

I accept these doctrines in anticipation of just such a Council smile . (Have I gotten your goat yet? smile )

And you say that the perspectives presented in books are "objective fact" and have nothing to do with subjective opinion?

It depends on the author, I think, and whether or not we like what he or she has to say . . .

Have a great day,

Your humble and sometimes annoying servant,

Alex
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 05:33 PM

Alex:

You are right. We will have to agree to disagree on his.

However, you bring up some good points that I would be interested in getting other Orthodox opinions on. Would you have any problem if I posted portions of your post on some of the Orthodox discussion groups I belong to? I think they would make good subject matter.

I would even be more than willing to forward any replies to you if you are willing to provide me with one.

OrthoMan

[ 06-05-2002: Message edited by: OrthoMan ]
Posted By: OrthodoxyOrDeath

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 05:38 PM

Allow me to save Odo $12.95 (US)...

Against False Union
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 06:18 PM

Dear Orthoman,

No problem, Big Guy, it's just I'll be out of commission for the next little while due to a leg injury that needs to be looked after before I am given a monk's staff to use permanently.

I'm not going to argue the Papal doctrines since the differences are clear cut and one either accepts them as they are or not, even with a dose of "Byzantinization" (i.e. collegiality and those other points Lance goes on about smile - isn't Lance loveable too? )

The other points of doctrine can be argued, fruitfully and responsibly I believe, about how closely they approximate each other or not.

Ultimately, one can always find a theologian, either contemporary or historical, on either side who could "prove" this or that.

And if we don't agree with him, then we always have the option to anathematize him. smile

Isn't theological discussion fun?

How's about you invite those people to join the Byzantine Forum and participate in the discussion directly as well, mano a mano? smile

And there is the matter of cross posting which we know you'll be careful about!

But do please let your friends know where this post came from, "Orthodox Catholic on the Byzantine Forum." You can use "Alex" but I prefer "Orthodox Catholic" smile .

Pray for me, Orthoman!

If something happens to my other knee, I really won't have a leg to stand on!

Alex

[ 06-05-2002: Message edited by: Orthodox Catholic ]
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 06:23 PM

Dear OOD,

A wonderful book - I paid full price for it way back then!

But this is a discussion about SOME of the historic theological points that have divided East and West, a comparison, a civil one-on-one.

If we can't speak nicely to one another in ways other than, "Here's the Truth, you better accept it or else," then life would be boring indeed.

How are you doing today, Zealous One?

Alex
Posted By: OrthodoxyOrDeath

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 06:55 PM

Alex,

I hope I am doing well; thank you for asking. Since people stop having children at the latest 40, and you knew I had a, well, now almost a one year old, I figured you would have to be at least 50 yourself to say "I was young". But I never figured a cain, grampa. smile

Quote
Originally posted by Orthodox Catholic:
Ultimately, one can always find a theologian, either contemporary or historical, on either side who could "prove" this or that.


Quite right, quite right.

Even the Mormons have their theologians so how much easier is it to deceive people the closer you get to the truth?

And I hope the leg injury is not to serious?

[ 06-05-2002: Message edited by: OrthodoxyOrDeath ]
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 06:59 PM

Dear OOD,

Very easy, my Friend, very easy, I am afraid . . .
to deceive and to hurt one's leg, that is smile

Happily, not at the same time!

God bless,

Alex

[ 06-05-2002: Message edited by: Orthodox Catholic ]
Posted By: Mexican

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 07:24 PM

What orthodoxyordeath said about interfaith mariage is not completely true and needs some clarification.

These links are taken from "Questions and Answers about Orhtodoxy" from the site of the Orthodox Church in America.


http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/Inter-Faith-Marriage.html


http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/Marriage-and-Baptism.html


http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/Second-Marriage-for-a-Roman-Catholic.html


http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/Marrying-in-Another-Christian-Church.html


http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/Marriage-and-Annulment.html
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 07:37 PM

Dear Remie,

I don't think OrthodoxyorDeath considers the OCA to be a harbinger of truth to begin with . . .

Alex
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 08:57 PM

[How's about you invite those people to join the Byzantine Forum and participate in the discussion directly as well, mano a mano?]

I have done that on many occassions including this one. For being a non Byzantine Catholic, I'm probably one of the best promoter of this Forum. Its one of the best and I make no bones about it here or anywhere else.

[And there is the matter of cross posting which we know you'll be careful about!]

Thats why I mentioned portions of your post.

[But do please let your friends know where this post came from, "Orthodox Catholic on the Byzantine Forum." You can use "Alex" but I prefer "Orthodox Catholic".]

All complied with my Ukie friend. If you want a copy of what I posted send me an email address and I forward it to you.

And, no you haven't gotten on my goat. Points you bring up or interesting but stretched to comply with you point of view.

I myself, will have to do some research to reply.

OrthoMan

Got to get ready for tonights Akfist and Bible study...Bye
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 09:01 PM

[I don't think OrthodoxyorDeath considers the OCA to be a harbinger of truth to begin with . . .]

By the way, Orthodoxy or Death, would you mind sharing your jurisdictional identity with us?

OrthoMan
Posted By: OrthodoxyOrDeath

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 09:01 PM

Remie,

For most people today, marriage is the result of a pragmatic social consideration whos bonds are disposable when it ceases to meet one's needs.

These are the very people who would enter into the Church to recieve Her Mysteries without accepting the faith or having any kind of communion with Her.

How can a person such as this be Mysteriously united into one flesh by God?

How could it be expected that this person would help raise the children in an Orthodox way?

What kind of an example would this person be for the children and other members of the Church?

When the honeymoon is over, a situation like this could easily develop into a devisive force and be perceived as a threat. Better for that person to have explored his soul and decided to be a part of the Church or not prior to a marriage.

But besides all of these comments, it is as simple as: One cannot partake in the Mysteries of the Church unless that person is in communion with Her.

That would be the worst kind of hypocrasy.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 09:06 PM

Dear Orthoman,

You really are wonderful . . .

Except when you say I stretch things to comply with my point of view.

I believe my point of view is that the Church of Christ.

Of course, there are certain subjective issues that I wind into my presentation.

But that's why God created me - and all of us, to bring our respective personalities to bear on these things.

Life wouldn't be exciting otherwise.

Faith would be reduced to answering all questions with our index fingers to point to books, articles and blackboards.

I do, humbly, take offense at your suggestion that I've stretched things to comply with my point of view.

If you are already convinced you have the truth and if your sole point in conversing is to show that to me no matter what else comes your way, why have a discussion?

My Akathist will be for your intensions, my Friend!

Alex

[ 06-05-2002: Message edited by: Orthodox Catholic ]
Posted By: OrthodoxyOrDeath

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 09:14 PM

My jurisdiction is the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece. Since that can be extremely confusing, I am what is referred to as a "Florenite".

To put that into perspective, there was a time "Christians" were simply members of "The Way". They were first called Christians in Antioch. They were later derisivly called "Nazarenes". They then had to later distinguish themselves from all of teh many other heresies by calling themselves Catholic, and still later Orthodox Catholic and now True Orthodox Catholic.

"True Orthodox Catholic" - that's like saying "True, True, True". What a slander when now the only people "officially" and simply called "Christians" should be the so-called "non-denominationals".
Posted By: Scandinavian

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 09:19 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by OrthodoxyOrDeath:

"My jurisdiction is the Genuine Orthodox Church of Greece. Since that can be extremely confusing, I am what is referred to as a "Florenite"."

But there are several Synods who refer to themselves as "Florinite", which one are yours?

Christian
Posted By: OrthodoxyOrDeath

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 09:55 PM

Even though you'll see my name in lights, I have nothing to do with this website and only recently found it...so please, read all about it yourself.

The GOC of Greece

and for some otyher great articles...

Articles

Alithos Anesti O Keedios!

[Linked Image]

[ 06-05-2002: Message edited by: OrthodoxyOrDeath ]
Posted By: Mexican

Re: Q? - 06/05/02 11:19 PM

It's agreat site. It ilustrates the history of the disident churches in Greece and the world.

In spite of their deffense of the faith, I see a lot of intolerance and personal differences among these groups and some of them are reactionary in their feelings and their ideas.
Posted By: OrthodoxyOrDeath

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 02:11 AM

Remie,

"Disident"? To whom?

I realize the web page was done very cheaply and our churches are usually just little half-wrecked former protestant churches, and in many cases our Iconostas's are homemade as well as teh icon stands and bishop's thrones. But all of these things are done with what little we have so that we can pray with a clear conscience that we are not disindent to God.

[ 06-05-2002: Message edited by: OrthodoxyOrDeath ]
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 02:26 AM

Alex my friend:

You say you are offended at my statement that you stretch the truth to back your beliefs. Let me give you an example -

You state:

[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.]

Whats your point here? Are you trying to say the Fillioque is now a non issue between us? Last time a I checked the dictionary the words 'AND' and 'THROUGH' had completely different meanings. To say the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father AND the Son is not the same as saying the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father THROUGH the Son. In one instanace the Holy Spirit is coming from two identified sources. In the other it is originating from ONE SOURCE by way of another source.
Examples: (1) Bob AND Joe give Alex a gift. Therefore, the gift comes from both Bob AND Joe. (2) Bob asks Joe to give this gift to Alex. The gift is given by Bob but is presented to Alex THROUGH Joe.
Point I'm trying to make is there is a big difference between the words AND & THROUGH.
I've heard the RC word game stating even though we say AND we really mean THROUGH but we are not deleting it or changing it even though it is a non issue with us. If it's a non issue drop it and go back to the original. Anything else is pure RC BS!
So, I still don't know your point for bringing it up.

[But the new Roman Catechism and theologians say that this view of Original Sin isn't necessary for Catholics to hold and never was since it was never declared official doctrine.]

But out of it new RC doctrine was declared such as the Immaculate Conception. So again whats your point?

[And John Meyendorff (+memory eternal!) wrote that even these papal doctrines, infallibity and jurisdiction, could foreseeably be accepted by Orthodoxy through a
're-presentation' before a union Ecumenical Council in future.]

I would very much appreciate it if you could give me the exact quote from Fr Meyendorff and reference the book and chapter it is from since I'd love to read it and the context it was written in.

OrthoMan
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 01:26 PM

Dear Orthoman,

My Meyendorff books are packed up as we've recently moved, but I will find that quote for you in good time!

The Filioque, and we've certainly had a few posts about it here, is about two issues. One is the theology behind it, the other the fact of its inclusion by the West in the universal creed.

"And" and "Through" are truly different words. But we need to go into some of the Roman Catholic theological background on this issue to understand usage as it applies here.

Roman Catholic Trinitarian theology has ALWAYS taught that the Father is the Fountainhead of the Holy Trinity.

In this it is in total agreement, of course, with Orthodoxy.

Where the problem lies is in the view that the Spirit proceeds also "from" the Son.

Roman Catholic theology, however, also has always taught that the Father "actively spirates" the Holy Spirit (in agreement with Orthodoxy) and that the Spirit is also "passively spirated" by the Son.

In other words, the Spirit proceeds from the Father as His Eternal Origin, but only proceeds "from the Son" passively, since the Son has His Eternal Origin in the Father as well.

Roman Catholicism has also always condemned the notion that there could be two Origins in the Trinity - everyone is agreed that would be intolerable heresy.

If Roman Catholicism taught that the Spirit is actively spirated by both the Father and the Son, then, by its own theological standards, it would be in heresy.

St Thomas Aquinas, the RC theologian and teacher (whom many Orthodox admired and who drew on his writings with respect to moral theology), taught that this was no different from the Orthodox position that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son.

"And" understood not as "proceeding equally from both," but with the qualification of "Actively" and "Passively" is truly the same as St John Damascene's and St Maximos's "From the Father through the Son."

There is no theological difference here, except in terms of wording. The understanding is the same. The Son, both sides agree, is not the Eternal Origin of the Spirit. ONLY the Father is.

I'm not stretching anything here. I'm just observing two theological traditions comment on the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.

Meyendorff in his "Byzantine Theology" indeed states emphatically that, at the Council of Florence, both sides could have reached full agreement on the Trinity if they accepted the term "Through the Son" as normative. Both sides, he correctly notes, had always accepted that explanation for the Spirit's procession and agreed with it.

The issue of the inclusion of the Filioque into the Creed is a problem involving church authority more than theology itself.

The West affirmed that the Pope had the right to unilaterally make this change to the Creed, the East denied that he could, since the Creed was established by Ecumenical Council, the highest authority in the One, Holy, Orthodox-Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ.

So this issue has to do with the whole Papacy/Collegiality issue. Ultimately, Roman Catholic theologians, as Fr. Prof. Bilaniuk discussed, agree that the Filioque was not in the original universal Creed and should be removed. The Pope already recites it without the Filioque whenever he celebrates the Latin Rite Mass in the Greek language.

The Pope has also issued a publication (and more?) where he ordered the removal of the Filioque. The Roman Catholic Church of Greece has Rome's blessing to recite the Nicene Creed without the Filioque. I see it as a "religious cultural symbol" of Roman Catholicism that they will eventually and slowly be weaned off of. They have already lost so many such symbols, the hierarchy needs to tread lightly.

But theologically, Orthodoxy admits that the Filioque is a legitimate theological opinion. Blessed Seraphim Rose, in his studies of Western Orthodoxy, showed how the "Filioque" was a popular term among Western Orthodox Saints and showed how they understood this to mean the economic sending of the Spirit into the world by both the Father AND the Son - a legitimate Orthodox theological expression.

It was the Orthodox theology of the Economic Trinity that first introduced the "Filioque" understood IN THIS WAY - the sending of the Spirit into the world by both the Father and the Son.

Frankish theologians later applied this to the Eternal relations of the Trinity, as the West, as Meyendorff also notes, understood the Trinity in terms of its internal relations only.

As Orthodox theologians affirm, there is an Orthodox Filioque then that is entirely legitimate to hold from the point of view of the Economic Trinity.

So there really is no theological difference between East and West on this important matter, only different theological nuances.

Original Sin as understood in the West takes its teaching from the writings of St Augustine.

Orthodoxy accepts St Augustine since this saint admitted that he might not know all the subtleties of the Eastern Fathers and accepted the correction of their teaching wherever necessary.

But the idea of inheriting the sin of Adam, rather than the human nature of Adam weakened by Original Sin, was NEVER a declared doctrine of the RC Church.

Thomas Aquinas himself understood Original Sin in the Orthodox sense, in terms of a weakened nature subject to death, concupiscence and temptation.

There is also the matter of Grace at birth, but we don't need to get into that now.

As Met. Kallistos Ware wrote in the "Orthodox Way," the Immaculate Conception doctrine was established to affirm the total and continual holiness and purity of the Mother of the Word Incarnate.

Ware himself said that if he accepted the West's view of Original Sin, he himself would want to believe in the Immaculate Conception.

As Meyendorff states again in his "Byzantine Theology," there were Orthodox theologians in history that understood the western Original Sin view and the Immaculate Conception, centuries before it was a declared doctrine by Rome, and accepted both.

Ware, in his "Orthodox Church" also said that the Immaculate Conception would be a valid theologoumena or theological opinion for any Orthodox Christian to accept - and he or she could not be branded a "heretic" for so believing.

There were Orthodox brotherhoods of the Immaculate Conception in Eastern Europe and their prayer was: "All Immaculate Mother of God, save us!"

They also made the "bloody vow," popular in the West, where someone swore to uphold to the death the belief in the Immaculate Conception.

And if you will go to the wonderful OCA Saints site on their general site, go to the "Feast of the Conception of St Ann."

In that remarkable and comprehensive article, the author actually describes Orthodox icons of the "Conception of St Ann" (known by RC's as the "Immaculate Conception") that are EXACT REPLICAS OF THE RC IMAGE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.

Several of these icons have been declared miraculous by the Orthodox Church and are listed in Professor Poselianin's "Bogomater" that is published by Jordanville.

Roman Catholic theology today is moving away from Augustinian views on human nature etc. as being rather negative.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the official catechism today, affirms the Orthodox theology of Original Sin as normative for RC's (of whatever Rite smile ).

Meyendorff was against the Augustinian version of the Immaculate Conception.

That the Mother of God was conceived in holiness and granted every gift of Grace from the Holy Spirit is celebrated by the Orthodox Church and Byzantine Catholics who use the same liturgical services on the Feast of Her Nativity and on the Feast of Her Conception, the Conception of St Ann.

It is impossible to celebrate the feast of someone who is not a saint i.e. who has not been sanctified by the Spirit.

Both the Mother of God and St John the Baptist have their Conceptions celebrated in Orthodoxy. This is because both were conceived in holiness.

So when we Byzantine Catholics or whatever you like to call us smile , say what the Western Immaculate Conception doctrine is about has always been held by the East, that is not a stretch, but a fact.

As for the papal doctrines, Meyendorff makes the statement I mention in a book of short articles by him.

Again, I'll have to find the reference for you.

But it is relatively well known, and when I've mentioned it to two OCA priests I know, they knew exactly the source and admitted that Meyendorff has a point from the Orthodox theological position.

The number one issue concerning the papal doctrines is not whether they agree with Orthodox theology or ecclesiology, but that they were not put through process of doctrinal validation of a significant point that is reserved to an Ecumenical Council.

The Pope of Alexandria of the Copts, for example, had long ago declared his jurisdictional primacy and control of every church and priest throughout Africa. The "New Pharaohs" did this at a time when Rome didn't even have full jurisdiction throughout Italy itself and the Bishop of Rome was addressed as "His Beatitude."

Again, I am not stretching anything, but basing myself on the facts, if theology can be said to deal in "facts."

If anything I have written here, from both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Catholic standpoints is wrong objectively or mistaken, and I can be shown how it is, I will withdraw it and apologise for the error.

And if, after having read this, Orthoman, you come to realize that what I have said here is not my own personal views, but actual positions and statements of representatives of the two Churches, I would ask you to withdraw your statement that I somehow "stretched" anything.

The only thing I stretch is people's patience with my sense of humour, Big Guy. Just ask Brendan and Reader Sergius.

Alex

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

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 02:51 PM

Dear OOD,

Interesting site that.

But could you explain to me why the OCA is "heretical?"

What specifically did they say or do to earn your church's excommunication or condemnation?

Is Met. Theodosius' shaven face considered a grave act of schism?

I can understand your condemnation of the Pope smile .

But the OCA?

Also, one of the pages condemns the Marian apparitions in Cairo, Our Lady of Zeitoun, as "demonic."

How in Heaven's Name do your people know that?

How have they determined that?

Or do they have a direct pipeline to the demons themselves?

Alex

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

[ 06-06-2002: Message edited by: Orthodox Catholic ]
Posted By: Moose

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 03:00 PM

Alex's understanding of Meyendorff is correct.

The filioque issue is dealt with quite comprehensively in Fr. Myendorff's book, "Byzantine Theology". It is also at least touched upon in most of his other books.

The original sin / Immaculate Conception issue is also addressed in the book and Fr. Meyendorff clearly states that the Western understanding of the IC is logical if one accepts the Augustinian view of original sin. He then does a marvelous job of developing our common Byzantine theology of original sin based upon mortality. Look in the middle of the book in the chapter on mankind.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 03:02 PM

Dear Moose,

It is always an honour to have you in my corner!

If we were tag-team wrestlers, we'd be TV champions in no time!!

Alex
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 04:10 PM

Alex my friend:

You write -

[So there really is no theological difference between East and West on this important matter, only different theological nuances. ]

Instead of the big discourse regarding the Fillioque, I have just one very simple question...

If it its such a non issue, just a matter of semantics & concept, and not obligatory for Eastern Catholics, then why doesn't the RCC just take it out? Or would that be against RC rules since it would indicate a mistake to begin with and thus question the 'infallibility' claim. Instead of trying to convince us 'and' and through' mean the same thing. And now you come up with a whole new word in your reply which is 'from'.
Make everyone happy and take a big step towards unity and take the damn thing out permanently. Since it is the cause of so much disunity. Contrary to the canons .. the RCC put it in, so take it out. All this double talk about what it really means only convinces us that the RCC isn't sincere about unity unless it is on own thei own terms. And the RCC will never admit past errors or sins. Even for the sake of unity. Once again, we didn't make the addition in the first place.

[Ware himself said that if he accepted the West's view of Original Sin, he himself would want to believe in the Immaculate Conception.]

Buzz word here is the word 'IF'. Small word with a big meaning. By using the terminology 'if' Ware inplies that he himself doesn't accept the wests concept of original sin and therefore, he doesn't accept the belief in the Immaculate Conception. All he is saying here is that he can understand HOW THE DOCTRINE CAME INTO BEING. Nothing more. This is an example of what I meant when I said you stretch things.

[Ware, in his "Orthodox Church" also said that the Immaculate Conception would be a
valid theologoumena or theological opinion for any Orthodox Christian to accept - and he
or she could not be branded a "heretic" for so believing.]

And there isn't one Orthodox priest or Bishop that agrees with this. Except maybe for Bishop Vsevolod who I'd rather not discuss.

[There were Orthodox brotherhoods of the Immaculate Conception in Eastern Europe and
their prayer was: "All Immaculate Mother of God, save us!"]

DUH! Isn't there a word missing here Alex? Where is the word CONCEPTION? Calling the Theotokos 'Immaculate and most pure' refers to the life she led. Not to her conception.
Another example of a stretched point my friend.

[And if you will go to the wonderful OCA Saints site on their general site, go to the "Feast
of the Conception of St Ann."
In that remarkable and comprehensive article, the author actually describes Orthodox icons of the "Conception of St Ann" (known by RC's as the "Immaculate Conception") that
are EXACT REPLICAS OF THE RC IMAGE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.]

And where is the above giving any agreement with the RC doctrine of the Immaculate Conception? Where does the word 'Immaculate' appear in the feast day title.
The feast is celebrating the conception of saint Ann. As human beings we were all conceived. In a way, when I celebrate my birthday I am recognizing my own conception nine months prior to the day I was born. For that is when life began for me and I received my soul.

[That the Mother of God was conceived in holiness and granted every gift of Grace from
the Holy Spirit is celebrated by the Orthodox Church and Byzantine Catholics who use the
same liturgical services on the Feast of Her Nativity and on the Feast of Her Conception,
the Conception of St Ann.]

The Orthodox Church teaches that Mary was chosen to be the Mother of God because of her holiness, purity, and goodness and the life she led. But she was born just as all human beings were, in need of redemption and salvation, that is, in the condition of original sin. The Orthodox point out that if it were true that the Virgin Mary were born without sin it would not be true that all persons have need for salvation. In addition, if it be held that the Immaculate Conception were needed so that Jesus was born without original sin, then this would also require that her parents Joachim and Anna were without original sin. This could logically be traced back to Adam and Eve, with the obvious result of negating the whole teaching regarding original sin.

But we seem to be getting off the original subject which just how close the Orthodox Catholic and Greek Catholic Churches really are. Where, you and I have to agree to disagree. It ain't just all ritual!

Now! stop sitting in front of your PC and get that leg checked!

OrthoMan
Posted By: Gideon

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 04:19 PM

My wife is having a hard time accepting the truth that lays in Orthodoxy. Her strong black baptist heritage is blinding her. Her faith is strong, often I feel stronger then mine but she uses what Scott Hahn calls the “protestant filter”. She only sees what she was taught as a protestant youth in bible study/camp. I come from an Anglican background and we were married in an Anglican Church with all the ceremony of a high church wedding. (She was baptised Anglican so she could partake of the Eucharist) She really didn’t feel comfortable, but trusted God and trusted me as well. I was wondering if there is any suggestion you could make, so I could help explain the true “c”atholic Orthodox faith?
to her.
I’m convinced that the Orthodox faith is the right path for me, just last night before I left work (I work at a library which has 95% protestant books in it’s religious section) I happened to find a book written by of St. Maximus the Confessor. When I open the book I found a section bookmarked describing the Church and how it represent two “worlds”. The visible and invisible. To make a long story short, I’m certain the Holy Spirit lead me to believe that the Orthodox Church was this Church. I spent some time after kneeling in front of a copy of an Icon of Christ, praying over and over again. In both thanksgiving and fear. I have nothing against Byzantine Catholics I just feel Orthodoxy is the path.

[ 06-06-2002: Message edited by: Odo ]
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 04:22 PM

[The original sin / Immaculate Conception issue is also addressed in the book and Fr. Meyendorff clearly states that the Western understanding of the IC is logical IF one accepts the Augustinian view of original sin.]

There's that "IF" word again.

"IF" i had a million dollars I'd donate it all to charity. But since I don't have a million dollars charity better erly on someone else for the lump sum million.

OrthoMan
"IF wishes were horses, beggars would ride!"
(From my deceased mothers mouth to your ears.)
Posted By: Our Lady's slave

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 04:27 PM

Odo,

Puzzled Scot asks - could you please give me a definition of a Baptist Anglican ?

According to my understanding - one church is Episcopal the other is not and when did they unite ?
confused confused
Posted By: Moose

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 04:40 PM

I believe that Pope John Paul II started laying the foundation for the removal of the filioque from the Creed on the Feast of Pentecost in 1985 when he himself began reciting the original creed (without the filioque). I would not be at all surprised if he did ask the Latin Church to remove it from the Creed permanently as a gesture of healing the painful separation. I agree with OrthoMan that it is time that the Latin Church returned to the original Symbol of Faith. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

I strongly disagree with OrthoMan's statement that the "the RCC will never admit past errors or sins". This is clearly untrue, as the Holy Father has spent the last 10 years of his ministry apologizing for the sins of those in the Church.

Regarding the Immaculate Conception, Fr. John Meyendorff is just one of many who also discuss the fact that there were several good Orthodox theologians who accepted the theology of the Immaculate Conception but attempted to build it upon a framework of the Eastern understanding of original sin. See the section in his book I referenced above for the references to other Orthodox theologians.

How close the Orthodox and Greek Catholic Churches are depends on your perspective. If one identifies what one believes from what one prays then there is no doubt that we are virtually identical in faith because we both inherit the liturgy of the Great Church of Constantinople. In order to claim that we have little in common one must first deny that the liturgy is our primary source of theology.

I do agree that we need a very good and well documented comparison of the theologies of the East and West on this issue. I think that this should include a clear presentation of what the Western doctrinal understanding of original sin is and what it is not. I seem to remember that David Brown posted an article on this several years ago. Maybe someone knows where we can get a copy?
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 04:40 PM

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 ]
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 04:56 PM

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
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 05:05 PM

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.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 05:34 PM

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 ]
Posted By: Moose

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 05:59 PM

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).
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 06:59 PM

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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 07:06 PM

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
Posted By: Gideon

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 07:18 PM

sorry i ment baptised Anglican...
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 07:19 PM

Dear Odo,

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

Alex
Posted By: Laus Tibi, Christe.

Re: Q? - 06/06/02 07:46 PM

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.]"
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/07/02 01:15 PM

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 ]
Posted By: OrthoMan

Re: Q? - 06/07/02 08:00 PM

{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
Posted By: Laus Tibi, Christe.

Re: Q? - 06/07/02 11:23 PM

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.
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/10/02 12:34 PM

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
Posted By: Orthodox Catholic

Re: Q? - 06/10/02 12:43 PM

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
Posted By: Dimitrius

Re: Q? - 08/07/02 07:42 PM

Dear Odo,

Welcome to the road of Holy Orthodoxy (Greek Orthodox Church in your case). Let me introduce myself. I am a Greek Orthodox Christian, a descendant of 25 consecutive generations of Greek Orthodox priests serving the Holy Sepulcher Church in Jerusalem. I myself am not a priest at this time. For the past 10 years or so I have been praying with the Coptic Orthodox Christians in my area, as I have studied their theology and find it truly Orthodox, though they prefer to use the wording of St. Cyril regarding the nature of Christ. I have not “converted” to the Coptic Church; as there is nothing to “convert to. Both their church and ours is Orthodox, so I am a Greek Orthodox that prays with the Coptic Church. Much like Theodora, wife of Emperor Justinian did in the 6th century. For those that will jump on my statement and attack the Orthodoxy of the Copts, please read this joint statement by both the Coptic and Eastern orthodox theologian regarding their agreed statement of faith:

http://www.uk-christian.net/boc/2church.shtml

http://www.uk-christian.net/boc/dialogue.shtml

The reason I am writing this post is because I saw your question regarding conversion to Eastern Orthodoxy and your dilemma regarding your wife being a Baptist and refusing Orthodoxy. Your concern is not unique nor are you the first to ask these questions. I would like to refer you to some articles that directly address these concerns of yours with your wife.

When “debating” with a protestant regarding truth of Orthodoxy vs the protestant church, a number of topics will usually surface such as Holy Tradition vs Scripture (sola scriptora), intersession of the saints, the True Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, Sacraments etc. Usually the protestants are week in the following areas: early church history, difference between Orthodox and catholic theology, how the Church operated and dealt with heresies prior to the canonization of the Holy scripture. Once the protestants see that Holy Tradition in conjunction with scripture constituted church teaching, they begin to see that many of their (protestant) beliefs are new innovations and not genuine Christian teaching as given by Christ through the Disciples and Apostles. So I will recommend for you a few web sites that deal with this issue:

http://www.protomartyr.org/finding.html
http://www.samford.edu/groups/global/ewcmreport/articles/ew03204.htm
http://www.sspeterandpaulonline.com/traditionfaq
http://www.antiochian.org/missions/Resources/ProtestantQuestions.pdf
http://www.fhc.org/holycrossmonastery/upload/en/apologetics_links.html
http://www.philthompson.net/pages/becoming/
http://www.craton.net/journey/
http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/
http://shop.store.yahoo.com/conciliarpress/becor1.html


In short, when dealing with your Baptist wife, she will raise the same objections to Orthodoxy that these sites state. Only when she realizes who and how the Bible was put together (Church history) will she realize that the reformation wasn’t the start of the true church. This is the theme you will find in all these apologetic sites and stories of conversions.

As for you living with your wife, St Paul make it very clear that if you being an (Orthodox) believer are able to live with you (unbelieving) wife then it is acceptable to dwell with her and a believing husband can lead his wife to Orthodoxy by example. Once she becomes Orthodox, the Church will probably anoint you both to sanctify your marriage making it a sacramental bond.

I hope this helps. If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me by e-mail at: eros111@aol.com

ODO, welcome home to Orthodoxy.

In Christ
Dimitrius
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