Greetings my friends,
This is my first post on Tasbeha, and I hope you all find it acceptable. I am an Eastern Orthodox Catechumen, in the process of conversion (Reception through baptism and chrismation) to holy Orthodoxy from the RCC. There was a time a few years ago when I briefly looked into the Non-Chalcedonian perspective, but then sort of moved away from it.
I recently read the two papers by Fr. John Romanides at the Aarhus unofficial dialogues between EO and OO in 1964. Needless to say, I was deeply impressed by his sympathy and empathy with the OO perspective, to the degree where he justifies Dioscorus's anathematization of Pope Leo, which is pretty epic for a Chalcedonian to admit.
So, after having read many of the historical documents, the acts of Chalcedon (Which reveal how Dioscorus was pretty much smeared through the entire first session and third), I have come to a realization: Pope Leo's tome has some pretty novel language in it, and it sounds ALOT like Theodoret. In fact, upon analyzing it, it seems like there are almost two voices in it, Theodoret of Cyrus, emphasizing that each form does what is proper to it, but then a more Orthodox voice talking about the full unity of the Person of the Logos. I asked myself the question, "Where did Leo get it in his head to explain things in such a non-Cyrillian way?"
And I found the answer.
When Leo was Archdeacon of Rome, he asked a certain Eastern priest living in the West to write him a paper on the incarnation that refutes Nestorius. Can you guess who it was? St. John Cassian!http://www.synaxis.org/cf/volume34/ECF00038.htm
And in that Writing on the incarnation, I see the source of Leos terminology. A heretic named Leporius was a Pelagian. But he repented, and sent a confession of faith to the Bishops of Gaul. Here is the part of his confession as recorded by St. John Cassian:
"For Leporius, then a monk, now a presbyter, who followed the teaching or rather the evil deeds of Pelagius, as we said above, and was among the earliest and greatest champions of the aforesaid heresy in Gaul, was admonished by us and corrected by God, and so nobly condemned his former erroneous persuasion that his amendment was almost as much a matter for congratulation as is the unimpaired faith of many...
He then acknowledging the perverseness of his views, and seeing the light of faith, wrote to the Gallican Bishops, and thus began:
... But because the Word of God vouchsafed to come down upon manhood by assuming manhood, and manhood was taken up into the Word by being assumed by God, God the Word in His completeness became complete man. For it was not God the Father who was made man, nor the Holy Ghost, but the Only Begotten of the Father; and so we must hold that there is one Person of the Flesh and the Word: so as faithfully and without any doubt to believe that one and the same Son of God, who can never be divided, existing in two natures
(who was also spoken of as a "giant") in the days of His Flesh truly took upon Him all that belongs to man, and ever truly had as His own what belongs to God: since even though He was crucified in weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God."
And St. John says in regard to this confession:
"THIS confession of his therefore, which was the faith of all Catholics was approved of by all the Bishops of Africa,(4) whence he wrote, and by all those of Gaul, to whom he wrote. Nor has there ever been anyone who quarreled with this faith, without being guilty of unbelief: for to deny what is right and proved is to confess what is wrong."
In addition St. John also says in this work
"And so in the two natures the Word and Flesh become one, so that while each substance continues naturally perfect in itself, what is Divine imparteth without suffering any loss, to the humanity, and what is human participates in the Divine; nor is there one person God, and another person man, but the same person is God who is also man: and again the man who is also God is called and indeed is Jesus Christ the only Son of God; and so we must always take care and believe so as not to deny that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Very God (whom we confess as existing ever with the Father and equal to the Father before all worlds) became from the moment when He took flesh the God-man."
I see in this work St. John emphasizing very effectively the unity of Christ, and at the same time speaking of a union in two natures that have come together into a personal union, such that as a result, the incarnate Logos is referred to by him as God-man.
Such as this:
"He then employed no subtilty or circumlocution, nor did he when he preached the gospel of the Lord blush at the mention of the cross of Christ. And though it was a stumbling-block to the Jews, and foolishness to the Gentiles to hear of God as born, God in bodily form, God suffering, God crucified, yet he did not weaken the force of his pious utterance because of the wickedness of the offence of the Jews
: nor did he lessen the vigour of his faith because of the unbelief and the foolishness of others: but openly, persistently, and boldly proclaimed that He, whom a mother(6) had borne, whom men had slain, the spear had pierced, the cross had stretched--was "the power and wisdom of God, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Gentiles foolishness."
Clearly, St. John was no Nestorius, given that the entire work was written by him against Nestorius. I think that in this work is the best of what Chalcedon MEANT to say.
However, Leo is a different story. Let's reasonably assume that this work of St. John influenced Leos Christology. Okay, fine. But then, Theodoret comes along. Flattering with his silver tongue, he uses expressions and terms that Leo could not see through, and as such influenced his Christology also. So the Tome of Leo becomes a hybrid of the Orthodoxy of St. John Cassian where it speaks of the One Person Incarnate, but of the Heresy of Nestorius where it speaks of each form acting independently.
For the record, I personally think that Chalcedon was complex, and that it is certainly not a simple matter. I acknowledge in full and with my whole heart the entirely Orthodox Christology of the Copts and those in communion with them. I say Dioscorus commited no Heresy, I say that he was calumniated.
I look at it this way; Israel in the old Testament was an image of the Church. And that image was epitomized under the reign of the prophet-king St. David and his Son, Solomon.
But what happened?
The kingdom was divided. The House of Israel centered in Samaria, and the House of Judah, centered in Jerusalem. Yet our merciful Christ treats them as one, he calls them one, and he does not exclude either from his promises. Is it possible that we, the more Numerous Chalcedonians were like the House of Israel? We insisted on our right of succession! We insisted that we are the chosen! We are the heir! We are, after all, eldest!
Are we Rehoboam? Who shouted, "My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions!" who formed the house of Judah, the legitimate successors of Solomon, Or Jeroboam, who rose up against this injustice, but formed a new Kingdom?
Regardless, the kingdom was divided, but God's promise to them was one, because even though the tribes had different political centers, yet they were all inheritors of the promise, they were all ISRAEL. No tribes were added, and no tribes were subtracted. If we do not differ in dogma (And I do not see how we do, even on the issues of monothelitism and monoenergism, which I am familiar with) then what else is there to say but we are one in faith?
Now, this does NOT mean we condemn the work of our fathers! They labored hard to set forth true doctrine. But it is one thing to say they are wrong doctrinally (impossible) and another to say that they may have had the wrong target in their sights. I see no reason to anathematize Severus of Antioch. But remember, communication back then was not like now. There was a certain amount of hearsay, and very little face-to-face deliberation. Views could more easily be misrepresented. Suppose St. Maximos anathematized St. Severus. Yet, today, if we held them side by side and compared them on the basis of their own teaching, what contradiction is there? Zero.
That's where I am now.
FYI, that analogy can ONLY hold water among the Chalcedonians and Non-Chalcedonians, between every other sect and body of heresy, to include the teachings of the Latins, there is zero comparison.
Sincerely in Christ,