Author Topic: Do the Oriental Orthodox have the same Christology as the Chalcedonians?  (Read 1650 times)

Offline Xavier

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Re: Do the Oriental Orthodox have the same Christology as the Chalcedonians?
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2019, 02:18:08 AM »
Dom John Chapman, about a 100 years ago, mentions this new synthesis, and doesn't appear very sympathetic: "It is urged by Bethune-Baker that Nestorius and his friends took the word hypostasis in the sense of nature, and by Lebon that the Monophysites took nature in the sense of hypostasis, so that both parties really intended the Catholic doctrine. There is a prima facie argument against both these pleas. Granted that for centuries controversialists full of odium theologicum might misunderstand one another and fight about words while agreeing as to the underlying doctrines, yet it remains that the words person, hypostasis, nature (prosopon, hypostasis, physis) had received in the second half of the fourth century a perfectly definite meaning, as to which the whole Church was at one. All agreed that in the Holy Trinity there is one Nature (physia or physis) having three Hypostases of Persons. If in Christology the Nestorians used hypostasis and the Monophysites physis in a new sense, not only does it follow that their use of words was singularly inconsistent and inexcusable, but (what is far more important) that they can have had no difficulty in seeing what was the true meaning of Catholic councils, popes, and theologians, who consistently used the words in one and the same sense with regard both to the Trinity and the Incarnation. There would be every excuse for Catholics if they misunderstood such a strange "derangement of epitaphs" on the part of the schismatics, but the schismatics must have easily grasped the Catholic position. As a fact the Antiochene party had no difficulty in coming to terms with St. Leo; they understood him well enough, and declared that they had always meant what he meant. How far this was a fact must be discussed under NESTORIANISM."http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10489b.htm

In brief, The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are Three Divine Persons in One Divine Nature. If we rightly say the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity by the admirable and ineffable Hypostatic Union of the Divine and Human Natures assumed a Human Nature to His Most Sacred Person when He became flesh by His Incarnation and birth from the Most Holy Virgin, so that She is Truly Mother of God, and that He, the Second Person of the Trinity, is truly both God and Man because the Divine and Human Natures are Hypostatically United in His One Person, all difficulties seem to disappear.

I would personally take an approach like this, to the reconciliation and reunion of Orthodox Christians with the Catholic Church,

1 (a) Do we agree that in The Holy Trinity is Three Divine Persons in One Divine Nature? Then, when the Second Person of the Trinity became Man by assuming human Nature in the hypostatic Union (b) if we say there is One Nature in God the Son, don't we seem to make it as if the Father also became flesh, because He is One Nature with the Son? lastly, (c) the expression or something to the sense of We believe Christ is "consubstantial" (which seems to be similar to "one nature with"; controversial perhaps, based on what was said above in earlier posts) with the Father in His Divinity by His eternal birth from Him, and consubstantial with us in His humanity by His temporal birth from the holy Virgin" was proposed as a possible formula for union. Nature seems to be related to nativity. We say a being is of the same nature as its parent, because of its birth or nativity from that parent. The Fathers of Nicaea taught that the Son was of the Nature of the Father, Consubstantial with Him, because of His Divine Birth as the Only-Begotten Son of God before all ages. Thus, from the time of His Incarnation and birth from His Virgin Mother in time, doesn't it seem as if Two Natures from His Two Nativities are United in One Person?

2. The Tome of Pope St. Leo the Great, Voice and Mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit and of St. Peter the Apostle, proceeds exactly along these lines, "II. Concerning the twofold nativity and nature of Christ ... IV. The properties of the twofold nativity and nature of Christ are weighed one against another ... "And as the Word does not cease to be on an equality with His Father's glory, so the flesh does not forego the nature of our race. For it must again and again be repeated that one and the same is truly Son of God and truly son of man. God in that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God John 1:l; man in that the Word became flesh and dwelt in us.  God in that all things were made by Him , and without Him was nothing made: man in that He was made of a woman, made under law Galatians 4:4 . The nativity of the flesh was the manifestation of human nature: the childbearing of a virgin is the proof of Divine power." And the same appears in the Creed of St. Athanasius - some attribute it to St. Ambrose or St. Vincent, though Tradition says St. Athanasius handed it down to Pope St. Julius, who thereafter was ever assured of the orthodoxy of the Father of Orthodoxy; at any rate, it won't matter even if St. Ambrose or whoever modernists want to claim wrote it; it was known in Rome at this time - "As God, He was begotten of the substance of the Father before time; as man, He was born in time of the substance of His Mother. He is perfect God; and He is perfect man, with a rational soul and human flesh ... He is one, not by a mingling of substances, but by unity of person." [Latin: Deus est ex substantia Patris ante saecula genitus: et homo est ex substantia matris in saeculo natus.   Perfectus Deus, perfectus homo: ex anima rationali et humana carne subsistens ...Unus omnino, non confusione substantiae, sed unitate personae.] Eutyches plainly erred in this matter, imho.

3. Now, all this is nicely agreeable to what Patriarch St. Cyril of Alexandria confessed in his own words in his reconciliation formula with Patriarch John of Antioch: "With regard to the Evangelical and Apostolic expressions concerning the Lord, we know that men who are skilled in theology make some of them common to the one Person, while they divide others between the two Natures, ascribing those that are fitting to God to Divinity of Christ, and those that are lowly to His Humanity. On reading these sacred utterances of Yours, and finding that we ourselves think along the same lines—for there is one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism—, we glorified God the Saviour of all".
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Offline TheReturnofLive

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Re: Do the Oriental Orthodox have the same Christology as the Chalcedonians?
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2019, 08:54:34 PM »
They do not have the same Christology; the question is whether the two Christologies are compatible. Both claim to follow the teaching of St. Cyril; the OO have the advantage of using the terminology he did.

Pardon me.

When I meant "same," I mean the "same" in terms of every single implication of each formula, rather than the exact formula that is used - for really, if all the implications of each formula are exactly the same, then it's the same exact theology just in different words.


I'm aware of the fact that they don't have the same Christology in terms of the formula they use, which is very clear from the very name itself - "Miaphysite" (one united nature / physis) and "Dyophysite" (two natures / physis).

And even then, I don't think the question is even the formula. The 5th Ecumenical Council dogmatically recognized the "from two natures" formula used even by Pope Dioscorus as completely correct, insofar as there is a recognition that the two natures don't mix or compromise each other.

Canon 8 of the 5th Ecumenical Council:
"If anyone uses the expression of (from) two natures, confessing that a union was made of the Godhead and of the humanity, or the expression the one nature made flesh of God the Word, and shall not so understand those expressions as the holy Fathers have taught, to wit: that of the divine and human nature there was made an hypostatic union, whereof is one Christ; but from these expressions shall try to introduce one nature or substance [made by a mixture] of the Godhead and manhood of Christ; let him be anathema. For in teaching that the only-begotten Word was united hypostatically [to humanity] we do not mean to say that there was made a mutual confusion of natures, but rather each [nature] remaining what it was, we understand that the Word was united to the flesh. Wherefore there is one Christ, both God and man, consubstantial with the Father as touching his Godhead, and consubstantial with us as touching his manhood. Therefore they are equally condemned and anathematized by the Church of God, who divide or part the mystery of the divine dispensation of Christ, or who introduce confusion into that mystery."

The question is the most important one - "what is the meaning of these words?"
I think that there's hope because both do recognize Saint Cyril as authoritative, so if someone is wrong, they must admit they go against Saint Cyril.

Another important question is about Christology that doesn't involve the natures, but rather the energies and wills.

The Oriental Orthodox admit "one will," and this "one will" can be Orthodox if it follows what Pseudo-Dionysius taught about "one will" - that is, "One Theandric Will," where there are two wills, but they are unified into one.

But it's a condemned heresy to say Christ had solely one Will (the Divine Will) or one Energy (the Divine Energy).
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 09:04:51 PM by TheReturnofLive »
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Offline TheReturnofLive

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Re: Do the Oriental Orthodox have the same Christology as the Chalcedonians?
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2019, 08:58:24 PM »
Dom John Chapman, about a 100 years ago, mentions this new synthesis, and doesn't appear very sympathetic: "It is urged by Bethune-Baker that Nestorius and his friends took the word hypostasis in the sense of nature, and by Lebon that the Monophysites took nature in the sense of hypostasis, so that both parties really intended the Catholic doctrine. There is a prima facie argument against both these pleas. Granted that for centuries controversialists full of odium theologicum might misunderstand one another and fight about words while agreeing as to the underlying doctrines, yet it remains that the words person, hypostasis, nature (prosopon, hypostasis, physis) had received in the second half of the fourth century a perfectly definite meaning, as to which the whole Church was at one. All agreed that in the Holy Trinity there is one Nature (physia or physis) having three Hypostases of Persons. If in Christology the Nestorians used hypostasis and the Monophysites physis in a new sense, not only does it follow that their use of words was singularly inconsistent and inexcusable, but (what is far more important) that they can have had no difficulty in seeing what was the true meaning of Catholic councils, popes, and theologians, who consistently used the words in one and the same sense with regard both to the Trinity and the Incarnation. There would be every excuse for Catholics if they misunderstood such a strange "derangement of epitaphs" on the part of the schismatics, but the schismatics must have easily grasped the Catholic position. As a fact the Antiochene party had no difficulty in coming to terms with St. Leo; they understood him well enough, and declared that they had always meant what he meant. How far this was a fact must be discussed under NESTORIANISM."http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10489b.htm

Then Dom John Chapman must either admit that Saint Cyril is a heretic, because Saint Cyril specifically says "One Incarnate Nature of the Word," or admit Chalcedon is false.

He, ironically enough, agrees with Severus of Antioch, who makes this literal same argument in regards to the Chalcedonian Definition. Severus of Antioch explicitly argued that Chalcedon wasn't acceptable because "In Two Natures" was Nestorius's formula which had specific, implied, universal meaning at that point in Church History. Regardless if Saints used it, the Nestorian controversy was a game changer which added specific and permanent meanings to the words, which alone warrants an anathema of Chalcedon.
http://www.monachos.net/library/index.php/patristics/themes/252-severus-of-antiochs-objections-to-the-council-of-chalcedon-a-re-assessment

I do think that there needs to be caution, because while it may be possible that the Fathers didn't know what they were doing, that conclusion seems more unlikely.

But again, one has to consider if perhaps the theologies of each communion changed after the passing of a few zealous individuals.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2019, 09:09:00 PM by TheReturnofLive »
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Offline TheReturnofLive

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Re: Do the Oriental Orthodox have the same Christology as the Chalcedonians?
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2019, 11:51:48 PM »
To Kreuztringer and St.Justin,

I was looking at the Tome in Latin (my knowledge of is limited), and assuming that your argument is true, I came across this much to my bewilderment:

Section 3 of the Tome:

“Salva igitur proprietae utriusque naturae et substantia, et in unam coente personam...”

Assuming “substantia” always means “hypostasis,”

Did Pope Leo here just admit two hypostases of Christ?

The Assyrian Church of the East admits two hypostases of Christ and one Prospon of Christ, and rejected Ephesus (the 3rdEcumenical Council) for that reason.

According to New Advent, Substantia can mean both a particular and a general depending on the context - that is, a hypostasis or an ousia.

But I question why Leo uses “natures” and “substances.”
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 11:55:46 PM by TheReturnofLive »
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