Friday, August 9, 2013

It's not necessary for me to give a response

To Drake's 68 Theses Against Jnorm's Eastern Orthodox Theology Proper: Case Studies in Ad Hoc Reasoning.

 I saw his response as insufficient, and error filled (most of what I said still stands). And not only that, he recently changed his mind again on some things (he has a tendency to change his mind a lot) and he doesn't seem to notice that it's in conflict with some of his past responses to us. And so he is (once again) the black knight.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Orthodox Church

 Written by Rev. Antonios Alevizopoulos, Th.D., Ph.D, and translated by Rev. Stephen Avramides

The link:
THE ORTHODOX CHURCH Its Faith, Worship and Life

Expiation and the Atonement

The link:
Expiation, Blood & Atonement
by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon

Third, the word hilasterion, which I have translated as the substantive “expiatory,” seems to have in Paul’s mind a more technical significance. In Hebrews 9:5, the only other place where the word appears in the New Testament, hilasterion designates the top, the cover, of the Ark of the Covenant, where the Almighty is said to throne between and above the Cherubim. In this context, the term is often translated as “mercy seat,” and it seems reasonable to think that this is the image that Paul too has in mind.
On Yom Kippur, the annual Atonement Day, the high priest sprinkled sacrificial blood on that hilasterion,
“because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions of all their sins” (Leviticus 16:16).
Therefore, by saying that God “set forth” (proetheto) Jesus as the expiatory, or “instrument of expiation,” for our sins, Paul asserts that the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the Cross fulfilled the prophetic meaning and promise of that ancient liturgical institution of Israel, reconciling mankind by the removal of the uncleanness,
“their transgressions of all their sins.”
The Cross was the supreme altar, and Good Friday was preeminently the Day of the Atonement. The removal of sins was not accomplished by a juridical act, but a liturgical act performed in great love:
“Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2).
Loving both the Father and ourselves, Jesus brought the Father and ourselves together by what He accomplished in His own body, reconciling us through the blood of His Cross.
In the Bible,
“the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11).
The victim slain in sacrifice was not the vicarious recipient of a punishment, but the symbol of the loving dedication of the life of the person making the sacrifice.
This sacrificial dedication of life is the means by which the sinner is made “at one” with God.

To read the rest please visit the link

The Patristic concept of the person

More about the idea of Person, and what it means.

The link:
The contribution of the Cappadocian fathers – The Patristic concept of the person
  by Rev. John Zizioulas

The Road to Nicea

The link:
The Road to Nicea
by John Anthony Mcguckin

Creed and Catchword

The origin of these "confessional acclamations" of Christ ("God from God, Light from Light" etc.) was Alexander's party, but since it had become clear in years of wrangling that even their opponents could accept Christ's title as "god from God" (as meaning a nominal, inferior deity from the superior, absolute deity), many of the Alexandrians demanded a firmer test of faith. It was possibly Ossius [see Saints and Heretics], the theological adviser of the emperor, who suggested that the magic word to nail the Arian party would be homoousios. 

The term meant "of the same substance as," and when applied to the Logos it proclaimed that the Logos was divine in the same way as God the Father was divine (not in an inferior, different, or nominal sense). In short, if the Logos was homoousios with the Father, he was truly God alongside the Father. The word pleased Constantine, who seems to have seen it as an ideal way to bring all the bishops back on board for a common vote. It was broad enough to suggest a vote for the traditional Christian belief that Christ was divine, it was vague enough to mean that Christ was of the "same stuff" as God (no further debate necessary), and it was bland enough to be a reasonable basis for a majority vote. It had everything going for it as far as the politically savvy Constantine was concerned, but for the die-hard Arian party, it was a word too far. They saw that it gave the Son equality with the Father without explaining how this relationship worked. (In fact, it would be another 60 years before anyone successfully articulated the doctrine of the Trinity) Therefore they attacked it for undermining the biblical sense of the Son's obedient mission. The intellectuals among the group (chiefly Eusebius of Nicomedia) also attacked it for its crassness—it attributed "substance" (or material stuff) to God, who was beyond all materiality. Moreover, the term was unsuitable because it was "not found in the Holy Scriptures," and indeed this did disturb many of the bishops present for the occasion.

The great majority of bishops still endorsed the idea, however, and so with Constantine pressing for a consensus vote the word entered into the creed they published. It was not that the bishops at Nicaea were themselves simply looking for a convenient consensus in the synod's vote. Many synods had been held before this extraordinarily large one at Nicaea, and ancient bishops predominantly worked on the premise that decisions of the Church's leadership required unanimity. Their task was to proclaim the ancient Christian faith against all attacks, and this was not something they felt they had to seek out or worry over—they simply had to state among themselves a common and clear heritage, one that could be proclaimed by universal acclamation. They believed that they were the direct continuance of the first apostolic gathering at Jerusalem, when the Holy Spirit led all the apostles to the realization of the gospel truth. Because of this, when a few bishops dissented and refused their vote, the remaining bishops excommunicated and deposed them, accusing them of having refused to be part of the family of faith. Among this group was Eusebius of Nicomedia. All of the deposed bishops received harsh sentences from the emperor (although Eusebius was confident he could wiggle out of his disgrace, as soon he did).

To read the rest please visit the  link

Mary's Role in the economy of salvation

From the book  Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought by Luigi Gambero

Mary's Role in the Economy of Salvation

It is in this context of the doctrine of recapitulation of all things in Christ that Irenaeus explains the role of the Blessed Virgin in the divine plan of salvation, referring to the Eve-Mary parallel. While Justin, as we have seen, had touched on this theme casually, Irenaeus produces a more developed and profound theological reflection:

Even though Eve had Adam for a husband, she was still a virgin... By disobeying, she became the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race. In the same way, Mary, though she also had a husband, was still a virgin, and by obeying, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race....The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience. What Eve bound through her unbelief, Mary loosed by her faith.

Irenaeus clearly establishes a perfect parallel between the two women, in terms of both convergence and divergence, just as the apostle Paul had done with Adam and Christ. Eve and Mary, though both were married, were still virgins. But while Eve disobeyed, causing ruin and death for herself and the human race, Mary by obeying became the cause of salvation. Eve's disobedience imposed the bonds of spiritual slavery upon the human race; Mary's obedience is the fruit of her faith. In another passage, where the Eve-Mary comparison is discussed in parallel with the Pauline comparison between Adam and Christ, Irenaeus attributes to the Virgin the title "advocate of Eve":

Eve was seduced by the word of the [fallen] angel and transgressed God's word, so that she fled from him. In the same way, [Mary] was evangelized by the word of an angel and obeyed God's word, so that she carried him [within her]. And while the former was seduced into disobeying God, the latter was persuaded to obey God, so that the Virgin Mary became the advocate (advocata) of the virgin Eve.

And just as the human race was bound to death because of a virgin, so it was free from death by a Virgin, since the disobedience of one virgin was counterbalanced by a Virgin's obedience.

If, then, the first-made man's sin was mended by the right conduct of the firstborn Son [of God], and if the serpent's cunning was bested by the simplicity of the dove [Mary], and if the chains that held us bound to death have been broken, then the heretics are fools; they are ignorant of God's economy, and they are unaware of his economy for [the salvation of] man.

These texts clearly show that Irenaeus not only attributes to Mary a role within the work of redemption; he specifies that this role is strictly connected to the Savior's action, in the same fashion that Eve had a role, albeit negative, with regard to the first Adam. Finally, the holy Virgin is not limited to carrying out her role on her own separate plane, parallel to that of Eve. She does something more: she interferes with Eve's historical plane because, by her simplicity, she destroys the pride and cleverness of the serpent, the author of the evil that befell Eve.
But Irenaeus goes even farther. In his Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, he expressly states that, just as Adam was recapitulated in Christ, even so Eve has been recapitulated in Mary:

Adam had to be recapitulated in Christ, so that death might be swallowed up in immortality, and Eve [had to be recapitulated] in Mary, so that the Virgin, having become another virgin's advocate, might destroy and abolish one virgin's disobedience by the obedience of another virgin.

We have cited these three texts in chronological order, and it is easy to observe a certain progressive development. The principle of recapitulation is integrated with the principle of "recirculation", which introduces a note of salvation history into the the theology of Irenaeus. While the principle of recapitulation affirms that humanity (fallen because of its first head, Adam) had to be brought back to God by another man - Christ- who would be its second head, the principle of recirculation affirms that this process of restoration accomplished by the Savior had to correspond step by step, but in an opposite way, to the story of the fall. Mary enters this process as the antitype of Eve.

pages 53 to 55 from the book  Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought by Luigi Gambero

Friday, August 2, 2013

Who is the Theotokos?

This is a series of lectures by Fr. Thomas Hopko on the topic "The Theotokos".

As seen from the website:
"A 3 part lecture delivered at the Northern California Antiochian Diocesan Women's Retreat Nov 9-11 2007 at the San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, CA. We provide the 3 lectures in increments of approximately 30 minutes each."

The Audio Lectures:

Father Thomas Hopko - Who is the Theotokos - Lecture 1.1

Father Thomas Hopko - Who is the Theotokos - Lecture 1.2

Father Thomas Hopko - Who is the Theotokos - Lecture 2.1

Father Thomas Hopko - Who is the Theotokos - Lecture 2.2

Father Thomas Hopko - Who is the Theotokos - Lecture 2.3

Father Thomas Hopko - Who is the Theotokos - Lecture 2.4

Father Thomas Hopko - Who is the Theotokos - Lecture 3.1

Father Thomas Hopko - Who is the Theotokos - Lecture 3.2

Father Thomas Hopko - Who is the Theotokos - Lecture 3.3

Father Thomas Hopko - Who is the Theotokos - Lecture 3.4


The Human Being: A Mask or a Person?

The link:

Intro to Saint Maximus

The link:
Introduction to Maximus the Confessor

Saint Photius the Great - Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit

The link





Christian Gifts

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