Church of the East and Oriental Orthodox and Universalism

Hi, I’ve been wondering if there are any members of these two Churches here on these forums or an expert in these two Churches at least if one could give me a strict position on their view of Heaven and Hell and Universalism.

Is Annihilationism accepted in these two Churches? And is Universalism, considering that they broke apart before the fifth ecumenical council which condemned Universalism, would that be considered heretical or coinciding with their view on orthodoxy?

I was just curious about this.

The Orthodox Churches follow closely to the Catholic position. Their version of Heaven and Hell, at least per my understanding, is similar.

So no Annihilationism (destruction of the damned), nor do they preclude to Universalism (that all are saved).

By Church of the east do you mean Nestorian? And by Oriental do you mean Coptic/Ethiopian Christianity?

As far as I know the only two religious bodies I know of to teach anialationism are cults the Jehowahs Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventists.

The Church of the East is the Assyrian Church of the East. Nestorian is an incendiary term used to refer to a heresy that the Assyrians do not hold, much the same way “Monophysite” is applied to the Syriac Church.

The Oriental Communion includes the Syriacs (and their constituents, the Malankara), the Copts, the Armenians, the Ethiopians and the Eritreans.

Anyway, no, neither communion accepts universalism or annihilationism (in fact I’m pretty sure Ephrem implies in one of his works, perhaps the Hymns on Paradise, that God not destroying the souls in the fire is an act of mercy). Some try to suggest that one of our saints’, Mor Ishaq (St. Isaac), writings suggest universalism but I’ve never been convinced. The Syriac teaching on Heaven and Hell is pretty standard; the select of God go to Heaven and those who reject God burn in Gehenna (hell). Previously souls would go to Sheol (“the Pit” - the shadowy post-death nonexistence the Jews believed in) but by Jesus’s death He destroyed the gates of Sheol and made it irrelevant.

Yes. The ones that broke off before the fifth ecumenical council which condemned Universalism. I know that High Anglicans, Anglo-Catholics, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox hold to all seven ecumenical creeds. I think this was missed by the first answerer who mistook Oriental Orthodox for Eastern Orthodox.

Actually, John Wenham was an annihilationist. He was Anglican. But then again, just about anybody can be Anglican. And Philip Edgcumbe Hughes was another Anglican that held to this teaching. I don’t think Edward Fudge would identify as Seventh Day Adventist or Jehovah’s Witnesses either. The website, has refutations of JW’s and SDA’s. Unfortunately, it’s a very anti-Catholic website.

By the way, being an Anglican is so easy, I could be one tomorrow just by saying “I’m an Anglican!”

Yet nevertheless, becoming a bishop in the Anglican Church seems to take more qualification than it does in the Unification Church.:confused:

Actually being an Anglican is a bit more complicated than that. I know that from several years in the Episcopal church.
To be an Anglican you must be baptized and confirmed and receive Holy Communion four times a year. But they are more free wheeling than the Catholic and Orthodox churches by far.

Yeah, I would have guessed there’s a little bit more formalities that would have to be passed. I was just throwing out a general comment on how the Anglican Church is the strictest, free-for-all society in the world. How this works? Baffles me.

I guess that depend on what you mean by “similar” (or “closely”). Certainly the two sides are not in complete, total disagreement. :slight_smile:

The Church of the East (a.k.a. Ancient Church of the East, ACoE) isn’t Nestorian. People get confused about that b/c the ACoE regards Nestorius as a saint and don’t believe that he believed/taught the heresy that is named after him.

This still technically makes them holding to a heretical teaching if he is named as a Saint by them since he rejected the position of Mary as the Mother of God (which High Anglicans and the Anglo-Catholics believe and more and more Protestants of all varieties are actually starting to believe).

“If anyone does not believe that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is severed from the Godhead.” (Gregory Nazianzen, Letters: To Cledonius the Priest Against Apollinarius. (Ep. CI.)

The statement wasn’t that the Assyrians are or are not heretics it’s that Nestorian is an incorrect designator.

Right, now can we get back to the original question?

I just now contacted a Reverend at an Assyrian Church of the East in Glendale, AZ about this topic. I’ll let you know what he says.

No, it doesn’t. The ACoE doesn’t claim that Christ was 2 persons or that Mary isn’t the Mother of God. But they claim that Nestorius didn’t believe those things either. (I.e. that Nestorius wasn’t a Nestorian. ;))

According to this site, a bishop that the ACotE relies heavily on was a universalist. Of course, he also lumps Gregory of Nyssa in the universalist camp and does not mention whether these are forgeries or not.

Still waiting to hear back from the ACotE reverend I contacted last night.

You didn’t say who that bishop was, so I checked the link. It was Theodore of Mopsuestia.

I’m kind of surprised not to see St. Isaac of Nineveh on there; there’s usually allegations that he’s a universalist.

I wouldn’t take this website too serious though…

The Nestorians were another branch of early Christianity — originating separately from the Alexandria school, in the cities of Constantinople and Antioch. Nestorianism eventually broke away from the Eastern Orthodox (Byzantine) churches

In this small tidbit, apart from the fact the author uses Nestorian, it claims:
(1) the Assyrians broke away from Alexandria (it’s a Syriac Church, if it broke away from anyone’s authority it would be the Catholicos of Persia breaking away from Antioch) and
(2) that they were part of the EO when none of the Syriac Churches were ever part of the EO (and in fact the Oriental schism predates the EO communion).

Okay, so I contacted and heard back from Fr. Lawrence Namato and this is what he says in respect the concept of universalism within the Church of the East.

“Secondly, with regard to universalism (or ‘universal salvation’ along the lines of Origen’s teaching) has never been a part of the faith or dogma of the Church of the East. What Christ has taught us concerning hell–that which is necessary for us to hold for our salvation–is contained in the Gospels. Origen has had more influence in Alexandrian Christianity, so might want to look closer at the Coptic belief concerning universalism; just a thought.”

So this seems that they might accept universalism but at the same time, they don’t hold to it as a necessary school of thought but go with the Bible when it comes to Hell and salvation (which could mean…anything). Contacting a Copt now.

Hi. Sorry I’m late. I don’t spend much time on this specific sub-forum. No, we don’t believe in universalism. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’ll let HH Pope Shenouda III explain it for me, since he’s better with words than I am (forgive the sappy music and inappropriate art; the only versions I could find translated into English all have this…just focus on the words, please):

Pope Shenouda III - After Death (ba3d el mout)

It seems very clear to me, but if you have any other questions as to the Oriental Orthodox position regarding Universalism, feel free to ask.

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