Heart is pulling me towards Orthodoxy


#207

Moreover, you will notice something-

The Schismatics are always the founders of the Church of either a single father or a selective reading.

For example- the Persian Church refused to give up their fascination with Theodore of Mopsuestia. His Christogy is deeply problematic and leads to the errors we condemn in Nestorius. Because the Persian Church saw Nestorius as a faithful follower of Theodore, they refused to anathematize him and, on the contrary, canonizes him. All because of a failure to look at a single ecclesial figure correctly.

The Monophysites did the same with St. Cyril of Alexandria- they put all their stock in his work “On the Unity of Christ” and forsook unity with anyone who used a different terminology to speak of the union of Humanity and Divinity in Christ, even though St. Cyril himself allowed for a diversity of expression.

Again with the iconoclasts who basically find one Church father with an iconoclast streak (St. Epiphanius of Salamis) and construct an entire icon-destroying schism.

And it is the same with the Orthodox. The appeal to fathers is limited to eastern fathers who can be easily misread to support an innovative theology- yet they can also be read to state the opposite.

The conclusion? The Church in her authoritative pronouncements is greater than any one or several fathers and can alone give the true meaning of their common teaching. Moreover, the scholastics always made a generous use of eastern fathers alongside the western fathers, and in doing this they were the more faithful, for they expounded the truth as found everywhere- not just Cappadocia.


#208

Thanks for your response :slight_smile:

I understand Palamas to have claimed & alleged, that that one singular uniting

  • Ousia
  • Essence
  • Substance
  • Physis
  • Nature

has two aspects:

  • Accessing Essence = God’s Energies / Actions / Operations / Communications into creation and the creatures therein
  • Inaccessible Essence = God’s remote transcendent nature beyond creation and all of the contemplations of all of the creatures therein

The former is the actus purus humans on earth have been made aware of – God as we know Him, in practice, defined by the specific actions He chose to manifest in creation. This more practical definition of what God means is the focus of Thomas Aquinas. In analogy, “rays of sunlight reaching earth”.

The latter includes “unrealized potentialities”, all of the other actions God could have freely chosen to manifest in creation but did not, “rays of sunlight going off in other directions and so not reaching earth”. Also includes the remote transcendent nature of God, “the sun”. More theoretical, even to the point of being impractical, this was the focus of Palamas.

As Catholic scholars have already observed, these views are not incompatible.


#209

St. Gregory Palamas has had support from Western theologians in the 20th century:

https://melkite.org/faith/seeing-the-divine-light

ZP


#210

This is very interesting, SA. Not to hijack the thread, but do you know of a good place on the net to read brief accounts of the principle heresies? What I would love would be a brief (a paragraph or two) description of what the Arians, Nestorians, Monosophites, Pelagians, etc., believed. This would be most helpful to me, as I know many of these heresies are still around, simply under different names.


#211

That’s not saying much given the quality of 20th century theologians, :wink:

Best Latins- Reginald Garrigou Lagrange, Joseph Clifford Fenton.

Best Orthodox- Hilarion Troitsky, Michael Pomazansky.

Best Eastern Catholic- Sheptytsky and probably the Romanian Bishops who suffered under the Orthodox.

Palamas can only be reconciled if there is an admission that the operations of God are one and identical with one another IN HIM as the Supreme Good- for if all acts of God flow from the Good and are oriented toward the Good and are essentially good, they are identical with one another via their source and their telos- the Good. They are only distinct in creatures.


#212

The book you want is St. John of Damascus’ work “On heresies.” I’ll see if I can find a link.

Here ya go.


#213

Most modern Catholics are inadvertent pelagians. Ask them how God works in ya to save us-

“Well, God does his part to try and save ya, but the free response is up to us.”

Pelagianism. God himself is also the author of the free response and every response which yet leaves our wills free. Just watch how much people hate hearing that.


#214

How do you feel about the countless Byzantine Catholic Churches who will be celebrating St. Palamas’ feast day?

ZP


#215

I feel sorry for Catholics siding with a man who fought against Catholicism and attacked the theology of saints. I don’t accept him. He was an anti-Catholic and no Catholic has any business venerating him honestly.

This is NOT the return to authentic Byzantium the Vatican would ask of an eastern Catholic. Authentic Byzantium is Akindynos, Prochoros Kydones, Demetrius Kydones, John Bekkos, and all those who fought against the innovations of the ditheistic palamites and the monopatrism of Photios while retaining an authentic Eastern Experience of theology, which is-

  1. The Emphasis on the Trihypostatic God as revealed in scriptures before all else.
  2. The Monarchy of the Father.
  3. The reality of theosis.
  4. The use of liturgy as mystagogy in theology.
  5. Following the fathers in all things where they AGREE (and I would add working hard to synthesize them where they appear to differ! For example- St. Augustine and Dionysius the Areopagite teach the same thing regarding theophanies).
  6. A special emphasis on the reality of the icon and iconographic theology (which is actually the death of Palamism, ironically, since the theology of the icon is precisely an encounter with the glorified via a created medium, the icon itself! If the icon is a window into heaven, it’s clear as day that in the theophanies of the prophets, angels presented to the minds of men images and patterns of God that acted as real mediums of communication between God and men. If you deny this, you not only deny the theological significance of the icon, you destroy the possibility of the incarnation, which is Uncreated God communicating via a created medium with men, the medium being the enhypostatized Christ! And yet the prophets really saw the Logos, just as those who saw Christ really saw the Logos, and through his created humanity no less!)
  7. A special love of and emphasis for beauty.
  8. Fidelity to dogmatic decrees wherever they are found.

Eastern Catholics ought not to pretend to be Orthodox. On the contrary, because we actually have a wider pool of saints, our theology should be way richer and founded in the best of spirituality and scholasticism. John of Damascus meets Aquinas meets Dionysius the Areopagite meets Augustine meets Leontius of Jerusalem meets Bekkos.

We have no need of anti-Catholics.


#216

Too often I see people take cheap shots at any group that could be viewed as a threat to theirs, which is based in fear. Or that acknowledging what is good and admirable in an outside group is somehow showing a lack of faithfulness to their own group. I have Orthodox friends who I admire deeply- I honestly respect Orthodox Churches more than I have anything bad to say about it. I’ve considered going to the Orthodox side in the past. But I encountered too many members who presented their faith by what they are not- especially in distancing themselves from Latin Rite Catholicism, than their faith resting in who they are. Especially convert parishes- they seemed to be running from something than to something. They had a pleasure, a form of pride in distancing themselves from others and how they were better- basically a modern day Donatism. A Manichaen outlook on all things Western. And too often their ideas of Western Christianity was misrepresented- even at times arguing on what Catholics “really” believe with Catholics themselves! I’ve had mature and well informed Orthodox admit to me that there is a development of doctrine in Orthodox communions. There have been changes in teachings and rituals. What is marketed to the Orthodox masses and converts is not always accurate- it usually isn’t with any group! :). There is much I admire in eastern spirituality, perhaps I would get a better feel for Byzantine Catholic rites if there was one close to me. I prefer eastern iconography for my own usage, having such composing my prayer corner at home and I wish I could go to a local Catholic parish and hear just plainchant. I envy my Orthodox friends who being a part of a rarer religion in this country also share a deeper sense of comoroderie with their fellow members. But there’s no way my conscience could let me break the Apostles fast with them on June 29th and not be in communion with the city of Peter and Paul. There’s no way I can hang among them saying untrue things about the Latin Rite- which they do too often. There’s no way I can be in a communion that has so much forsaken authority that every member seems to view themselves as the next Mark of Ephesus, ready to point fingers even in their own communion on who isn’t “Orthodox” enough. It feels too much like being in a junior high school click and I’m a grown man with kids. I have no interest in stroking my own ego with them in their condemnation of everyone else. The problems within my communion, the Church in communion with Rome can at times burn like an affliction, but for me it’s still a purgation fire; when I was an Inquirer at a local Orthodox Church, it just began to suck my soul dry.


#217

This is exactly my experience when I converted. The converts form a self-assuring minicircle that enters into conflict with the old guard and tries to win over the priest.

We DID define ourselves as “Not like those legalists” all the while trying to justify non-canonical violations quite legalistically.


#218

I’m Byzantine Catholic and often attend Divine Liturgy at the local OCA. They all know I’m Byzantine Catholic (I make no bones about it) and they see me also as Orthodox. Never once have I heard a parishioner there, a deacon or priest say anything at all offensive about Catholics (Byzantine or Latin). The only time I hear anything negative from the Orthodox are on Internet forums or Facebook groups.

ZP


#219

Sure you would mention these guys, each of the men mentioned above either opposed Saint Gregory Palamas or played some role in Latin/Orthodox reunification attempts. Not anything against full communion between the Latin and Orthodox. I pray for it constantly.

So you know better than, let’s say, Patriarch emeritus Gregorios III Laham or Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk?

ZP


#221

Patriarchs have been wrong before, I might be wrong but some even became heresiarchs.

Disclaimer: I do not mean to say that those mentioned in your post are wrong or are heresiarchs, but in the end you are reducing argument to “but this is opinion of xy” instead of presenting direct arguments for actual validity of opinion. I don’t take such approach as very effective, contrary to one StAugustine uses by explaining basic theological points that have yet to be disproved.

Perhaps that is reason he mentioned them? To present that Eastern tradition is not clearly Palamite, and I believe that what was made at Latin/Orthodox reunification attempts was nice step towards full unity of Church, something we ought to pray for just like you do, which I commend you for.


#222

Saint Gregory Palamas is a saint of the Melkite Church. The Vatican, when accepting the Melkite Church back into communion, apparently raised no issue with his veneration, otherwise the Melkites would not have kept venerating him. If it’s good enough for the Vatican, it’s good enough for me. Correct me if I’m wrong about anything. Perhaps you mean the Melkites venerate Saint Palamas illicitly?


#223

Hm, I do not think this is necessarily about veneration- we all venerate St. Cyprian yet he wanted to rebaptize those baptized by heretics, something that is of course wrong. St. Cyprian is venerated in spite of his error, not for it.

The discussion here is mostly about whether Palamite theology is wrong or not. If Palamite theology is wrong, it does not necessarily mean (St.) Gregory Palamas is wrong to venerate. By veneration of certain Saint we do not acknowledge he was infallible in life, nor that he was never in error or that he did not die in one or anything like that, we simply acknowledge (via infallibility of Church) that person is in Heaven and can pray for us. That’s it kinda. Technically speaking, problem with veneration applies only if those two conditions are true;

  1. Palamite theology is wrong
  2. Gregory Palamas is believed to be in Heaven because of his theology.

Being good theologian does not equal being Saint, neither does being bad theologian imply one is not a Saint. Unless second point is proven to be true, I suggest we keep veneration of Gregory Palamas and this theology two separate “issues” (as in conversation issues, not implying it’s an issue within EC churches, neither denying it, etc) to move forward. I however also think this is very interesting debate that might lead to fruits if approached correctly.

Of course, if however my second point is true, veneration of Gregory Palamas stands solely on validity of his theology.


#224

According to Aquinas:

  • The divine only interacts in this world through created effects and created grace and various created causes…
  • all that is ever known of God are created effects in this life
  • The divine is never accessed or experienced directly, just a series of created causes

How does the remote and transcendent God bring about those created effects in Creation space-time?

How does Thomas’ idea of an absolutely simple being of Pure Act bring about effects in our created world?


#225

I do not mean to diminish Aquinas, but those things are far from dogmatic by themselves. I myself hold view Aquinas is right, but that does not prove much as it’s very subjective. There is clearly a presumption on which this is based and that would be :

If I understand correctly, this is exactly what Palamite theology contradicts.


#226

Yes, that is true that is completely correct, I just want to understand. The Thomasine perspective.

According to the Orthodox perspective of Saint Gregory Palamas. At the Transfiguration atop Mount Tabor. The Apostles present witnessed divine energies directly. They witnessed divine light. Not ordinary photons. But supernatural super photons. In scientific terms, they somehow observed particles not part of the particle physicists standard model. They did observe horneri protons neutrons electrons neutrinos quarx photons or other ordinary particles of the standard model. Instead, they observe some sort of supernatural super photons conveying supernatural divine light directly to them.

Whereas Catholics and Thomas Aquinas would say so I understand. That the miracle of the Transfiguration. Manifested here on Earth. As ordinary light. Ordinary photons. Which were nevertheless? Generated supernaturally.

So if you’re following and this is making sense for you. Then the Orthodox say that God’s divine energies. Can reach 2? And then also into creation space time.

Whereas Catholics say that God’s divine energies. Reach 2 but not into. Creation. At creation. God’s energies are converted into. Normal. Created. Matter and energy. Normal created. Atoms and molecules and photons.

Honestly, I’m kind of skeptical of the Orthodox clean. From a purely scientific perspective. Even if there was some sort of supernatural super photon? How would your eyes detected? Your eyes have normal created photon receptors. Your eyes can detect normal visible photons. But if there was a neutrino your eyes couldn’t detect it because your eyes don’t have. Neutrino. Detecting proteins. In the rods and cones. So even if God somehow generated. Raw divine UNcreated eternel supernatural super photons. How would your eyes possibly detect them? For you to perceive an experience them unless they were converted into ordinary photons. What your eyes know how to deal with?


#227

As a Catholic who converted to Orthodoxy 15+ years ago and in April this year, God-Willing, will revert officially back to the Catholic Faith, I’m really curious as to which of the Orthodox Churches you’re attracted to & believe has never changed.

Are you thinking of an Old Calendar Church or a New Calendar Church? If an Old Calendar, an Old Calendar Church in communion, or not in communion, with the New Calendar Churches? An Eastern Orthodox Church or a Western Orthodox Church or a Coptic Orthodox Church? One of the Orthodox Churches that accept the use of Contraception or one that continues to officially reject it while offering “economia” to those who practice it? One where maintaining all the Fasts is required for Communion reception or just where it’s just suggested? One where women are required to wear head coverings or one that it’s optional in or one that doesn’t have women cover their heads. One where girls walk in the Eucharist procession or one where only boys do? One that allows you to brush your teeth before & after receiving the Eucharist or one that forbids one or the other or forbids both? One that allows menstrating women to receive the Eucharist or one that doesn’t. One that requires a new Confession before every time receiving communion or one that doesn’t? One that accepts Catholic Communion as being the actual Body & Blood of Jesus or one that doesn’t accept Catholic communion as valid or one that doesn’t even accept other Orthodox Churches communion as real and valid? One that’s in union with the Ecumenical Patriarch or one that’s not? One that requires all of the St. John Chrystostom pre-communion prayers or one that doesn’t? One that mandates attendance at Great Vespers Saturday night or one that doesn’t offer it.

Let me know, I’m sincerely interested.


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