Is the Pan Orthodox Counncil an ecumenical council?


#41

[quote="Phillip_Rolfes, post:39, topic:446149"]
So your primary concern is not that Eastern Catholics have ever "defined" the essence/energies distinctions as dogma, but that, according to your understanding of the debate, it is actually a form of polytheism?

If this is the case, then I would encourage to do some much more extensive research because your conclusions reveal a complete misunderstanding of the doctrine being professed.

[/quote]

How am I misunderstanding it? The 14th Century Consantinople councils said:

"That supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God."

"There is an unconfused union of God's essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable."

Please explain how these statements are supported by Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.


#42

[quote="PluniaZ, post:41, topic:446149"]
How am I misunderstanding it? The 14th Century Consantinople councils said:

"That supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God."

"There is an unconfused union of God's essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable."

Please explain how these statements are supported by Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.

[/quote]

I and others have pointed you to the resources that you should be reading if you really do want to gain a proper understanding of this issue. Go and read those. Until you do, please do not accuse Eastern (Byzantine) Catholics or Orthodox of practicing any form of polytheism.

Whether you like it or not, Eastern Catholics of the Byzantine tradition do embrace the teaching of Gregory Palamas with regards to the essence/energies distinction. No, there is no "definitive" statement to that point (at least not in the form that you're seeking). But Eastern Catholics have always been encouraged by Rome to fully embrace their own unique theologies and theological expressions. There are plenty of definitive statements from Rome to this point.


#43

[quote="Phillip_Rolfes, post:42, topic:446149"]
I and others have pointed you to the resources that you should be reading if you really do want to gain a proper understanding of this issue. Go and read those. Until you do, please do not accuse Eastern (Byzantine) Catholics or Orthodox of practicing any form of polytheism.

Whether you like it or not, Eastern Catholics of the Byzantine tradition do embrace the teaching of Gregory Palamas with regards to the essence/energies distinction. No, there is no "definitive" statement to that point (at least not in the form that you're seeking). But Eastern Catholics have always been encouraged by Rome to fully embrace their own unique theologies and theological expressions. There are plenty of definitive statements from Rome to this point.

[/quote]

I have not accused Eastern Catholics of polytheism. I came here to discuss whether the following statements are true or false:

"That supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God."

"There is an unconfused union of God's essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable."

Please provide support for these statements from Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.


#44

[quote="PluniaZ, post:43, topic:446149"]
I have not accused Eastern Catholics of polytheism. I came here to discuss whether the following statements are true or false:

"That supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God."

"There is an unconfused union of God's essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable."

Please provide support for these statements from Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.

[/quote]

You don't accept St. Gregory Palamas as part of Tradition, and you don't accept Byzantine liturgical texts as part of Byzantine magisterial teaching. There's no discussion to be had.


#45

[quote="Phillip_Rolfes, post:44, topic:446149"]
You don't accept St. Gregory Palamas as part of Tradition, and you don't accept Byzantine liturgical texts as part of Byzantine magisterial teaching. There's no discussion to be had.

[/quote]

Do the Byzantine liturgical texts contain these statements:

"That supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God."

"There is an unconfused union of God's essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable."


#46

[quote="PluniaZ, post:45, topic:446149"]
Do the Byzantine liturgical texts contain these statements:

"That supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God."

"There is an unconfused union of God's essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable."

[/quote]

I'm done.


#47

[quote="PluniaZ, post:45, topic:446149"]
Do the Byzantine liturgical texts contain these statements:

"That supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God."

"There is an unconfused union of God's essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable."

[/quote]

The fact that those statements were made at an Eastern (Byzantine) synod to deal with a uniquely Eastern (Byzantine) theological issue, prior to a number of Eastern (Byzantine) Churches being reunited with Rome answers your own question.


#48

[quote="PluniaZ, post:41, topic:446149"]
How am I misunderstanding it? The 14th Century Consantinople councils said:

"That supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God."

"There is an unconfused union of God's essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable."

Please explain how these statements are supported by Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium.

[/quote]

How about you explain what you think they are saying here.

Because the Churches of the Byzantine Rite (whether Catholic or Orthodox) do NOT practice polytheism.

And these statements are supported by Tradition because the Byzantine Rite Churches that returned to union with Rome (plus the Italo-Albanian Greek Catholic Church, which never left union with Rome) have never had to recant this.


#49

People seem to be taking for granted that the Eastern Catholic churches believe in the following statements:

"That supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God."

"There is an unconfused union of God's essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable."

But no one has provided any evidence to this effect, other than a claim that Byzantine churches did not have to renounce these statements as part of their reunion with Rome. But if the Eastern Catholic churches have never professed these statements in an official statement of belief, then one can hardly claim that it is Eastern Catholic doctrine.

In any event, the real focus is on the merit of the statements in and of themselves, which no one seems willing to discuss. I won't belabor the point any further. But if someone else comes across this thread and would like to discuss the support for these statements based on Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium, I will happily continue the conversation. But perhaps the Philosophy forum would be a better place.


#50

[quote="PluniaZ, post:49, topic:446149"]
People seem to be taking for granted that the Eastern Catholic churches believe in the following statements:

"That supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God."

"There is an unconfused union of God's essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable."

But no one has provided any evidence to this effect, other than a claim that Byzantine churches did not have to renounce these statements as part of their reunion with Rome. But if the Eastern Catholic churches have never professed these statements in an official statement of belief, then one can hardly claim that it is Eastern Catholic doctrine.

In any event, the real focus is on the merit of the statements in and of themselves, which no one seems willing to discuss. I won't belabor the point any further. But if someone else comes across this thread and would like to discuss the support for these statements based on Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium, I will happily continue the conversation. But perhaps the Philosophy forum would be a better place.

[/quote]

And you have not explained what it is you think those statements actually mean.

What do the following terms (in your mind) mean when reading these statements (in context)?

[LIST]
*]"Divine light"
*]"God's energy"
[/LIST]

In philosophy, St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that God is the "unmoved mover" and the "first cause"

Science & philosophy also teaches us that energy cannot be created or destroyed.

When God causes something to happen, He is using energy, just like when do when we cause something to happen. The only difference between God causing something to happen vs humans causing something to happen is that God is doing it in a supernatural way while we humans can only do it naturally.

When I'm reading these quotes, they very much appear to be referring to what we would call "God's Grace," "God's love," and perhaps even the "beatific vision."

Eastern Theology is much more mystical and less academic vs Western Theology. So it's more important to understand what they mean and less about what they say.

Furthermore, even if this a legit example of Neoplatonism, doing is simple wikipedia search for "Neoplatonism" shows that the influences it had in Eastern Orthodoxy were more philosophical and secular via theological. Plus, wikipedia even says it pretty much died out in the 15th century there.

Point it, whether they practiced or subscribed to a heresy in the past is irrelevant because the Church does not consider them to be heretical, simply schismatic.


#51

[quote="PluniaZ, post:38, topic:446149"]
It's polytheism because they posit the existence of two uncreateds:

"That supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God."

"If anyone shall not confess that the nature or essence of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is one, as also the force and the power; [if anyone does not confess] a consubstantial Trinity, one Godhead to be worshipped in three subsistences or Persons: let him be anathema. For there is but one God even the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ through whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit in whom are all things." newadvent.org/fathers/3812.htm

There is no hint in the first millennium of something in God that is not the divine essence.

When Catholics speak of "uncreated grace", we mean the Holy Spirit, who is the essence of God. newadvent.org/cathen/06701a.htm

[/quote]

The thread on "created grace" and "uncreated grace" might be helpful forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=5800944

This is also talks about "uncreated grace" and says it's God's Love.

ewtn.com/library/Theology/grace1.htm

So if you understand them to be talking about God's Grace and God's love, then there is no issue.


#52

[quote="PluniaZ, post:49, topic:446149"]
People seem to be taking for granted that the Eastern Catholic churches believe in the following statements:

"That supremely Divine light is neither a created thing, nor the essence of God, but is rather uncreated and natural grace, illumination, and energy which everlastingly and inseparably proceeds from the very essence of God."

"There is an unconfused union of God's essence and energy, so is there also an undivided distinction between them, for, among other things, essence is cause while energy is effect, essence suffers no participation, while energy is communicable."

But no one has provided any evidence to this effect, other than a claim that Byzantine churches did not have to renounce these statements as part of their reunion with Rome. But if the Eastern Catholic churches have never professed these statements in an official statement of belief, then one can hardly claim that it is Eastern Catholic doctrine.

In any event, the real focus is on the merit of the statements in and of themselves, which no one seems willing to discuss. I won't belabor the point any further. But if someone else comes across this thread and would like to discuss the support for these statements based on Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium, I will happily continue the conversation. But perhaps the Philosophy forum would be a better place.

[/quote]

We take for granted that Eastern (Byzantine) Catholic Churches believe those statements because it is a fact that they do. I know because I've heard it preached from the pulpit and taught by some of the most prominent Eastern (Byzantine) Catholic theologians in the world. Plus, as has been mentioned, those statements were made prior to many of the Eastern (Byzantine) Churches re-establishing communion with Rome. Rome did not demand that those churches, upon re-establishing communion, reject those statements. Those statements are definitive. Asking an Eastern Catholic to reaffirm them would be like asking Roman Catholics to reaffirm the dogma of Transubstantiation at every subsequent Council. As an Eastern Catholic, can I presume that Roman Catholics no longer believe in Transubstantiation because Roman Catholics entered into communion with the Melkite Greek (Byzantine) Catholic Church in the 18th Century without having again declared a belief in Transubstantiation? It's absurd.

You want to know what Eastern Catholics believe, and then you quote the very Council that we would point to that demonstrates what we believe (ahem, there's the Magisterial pronouncement, by the way). You want teaching from Tradition, but when we point you to Gregory Palamas or the liturgical texts, you reject them and say that we have to quote from the Fathers (by the way, we venerate Gregory Palamas as one of the Fathers). You want teaching from the Scriptures, but not even all Roman Catholic doctrines can be found explicitly in Scripture (I think of the idea of Mary as the "Mediatrix of all graces" as one example).

So in the end we're left wondering what it is that you think those texts actually say. And we're also left wondering what it is you're actually looking for. If you want us to say, "No. That's not what Eastern (Byzantine) Catholics believe," then you're not going to hear that from a single one of us. As to what our Magisterium and Tradition actually teach, we've pointed you in the right direction. As to Scripture, I would point you to the creation story itself. How can we maintain the complete transcendence of God, while at the same time get our puny minds around his immanence? The essence/energies distinction is one attempt (and from the Byzantine perspective, our best attempt) to come to terms with that mystery.


#53

And in case anyone is thinking that I'm a Roman Catholic commenting on what Eastern Catholics believe, I'm actually a Maronite Catholic who's worked in years past for Eastern Christian publishing companies, belonged to a Melkite Greek Catholic parish for about five years, and have helped organize conferences on Orthodox-Catholic ecumenical relations. I've also had the privilege of working with some of the best Orthodox and Eastern Catholic scholars in the world on many ecumenical topics. I don't say this to brag. This has just been my experience.


#54

The essence/energies distinction goes all the way back to the Old Testament. On Mt. Sinai, Moses had to hide his face from God’s face as God passed by, but was able to look at God’s “back”. A metaphorical expression of the fact that an aspect of God (His essence) is inaccessible to Man, but Man can encounter God through another aspect of God, His energies. It is also of course in the NT “No one has ever seen God”. 1 John 4:12. Yet Christ said the righteous “will see God”.


#55

[quote="phil19034, post:51, topic:446149"]
The thread on "created grace" and "uncreated grace" might be helpful forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=5800944

This is also talks about "uncreated grace" and says it's God's Love.

ewtn.com/library/Theology/grace1.htm

So if you understand them to be talking about God's Grace and God's love, then there is no issue.

[/quote]

Thanks. I have started a thread in the Philosophy section of the forum and am happy to continue the discussion there with anyone who would like to join.


#56

To answer the OP:

From the Catholic viewpoint
The Pan Orthodox Council was not an Ecumenical Council since it was not ratified by the Pope.

From the Orthodox viewpoint
The Pan Orthodox Council was not an Ecumenical Council. In the Orthodox church, it is not possible to convene a council that is declared ecumenical from the outset. A council is convened, and if the whole church accepts it, then it becomes an Ecumenical Council.

The Antiochian Orthodox refused to attend the council because there was a dispute between them and the Jerusalem church over a group of Orthodox in Qatar. The Bulgarian Orthodox church disagreed with some of the documents, and the fact that the documents could not be changed. The Georgian church had some disagreements over the documents as well. The Russian church felt that a council without the Bulgarians, Georgians and Antiochians could not be called Pan Orthodox, so they pulled out as well. The Orthodox Church in America was not invited, due to the fact that their autocephaly is not recognised by other autocephalous churches.

Since the whole Orthodox church did not accept the council, it is not an Ecumenical Council from the Orthodox perspective.

This just goes to show that practically speaking, the Eastern Orthodox church has no final authority able to issue infallible statements since they cannot seem to convene an Ecumenical Council. Also, how do they know if the entire church has accepted a council as ecumenical?


#57

You've got the beginning right but the end wrong. Even a Synod with a handful of participants could be deemed Ecumenical centuries later due to its significance and acceptance by the Church universal. That does not show a lack of authority, just a realization that a declaration from the top down is practically less authoritative than a wide-spread, on the ground acceptance promoted by the actions of the Spirit on the faithful. Both forms have their place.

Beside this, the "ratification" could occur by any later Pope, so it may not be "Ecumenical" by Catholic standards today but later may be


#58

This is the most succinct response to the OPs question. From an Orthodox perspective, we can not know going into the council if it will be ecumenical or not. It is only in how the Church in subsequent years views the council which will determine its nature.

I begin my class in Dogmatics this semester at seminary so I hope to be more learned on this topic in short order. Last semester I was fortunate to be at table with several professors and hierarchs discussing the council, the above was the most interesting point I took away from the conversation. The jurisdictional arguing holds little interest for me.

Reader John


#59

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