Eastern and Oriental Orthodox?

So I was a little confused about what the difference is between our Christologies. It seems like the EO and the OO are saying the same thing with different semantics?


  • The difference is basically how we use the terms nature and hypostasis really that's it father peter actually has an article explaining miaphysis If you would want to read it
  • So, it is just semantics? 
  • To be Frank, yes.
  • But if it is just semantics and we all know it is just semantics, then what is putting off restoring full communion? 
  • That just leads to more arguments and semantics. When I converted from the Roman Catholic church, I was not told about the issues regarding the Council of Chaledon. When I tried to talk to Eastern Orthodox folks, did I get a wake up call! I am not learned enough to give you a satisfactory answer.

    Even our Coptic Sunday School booklets make it look as of it was the fault of the Greeks and Romans, while they blame us. What you'll hear from Copts is that it was mostly political, and even credible EO clergy would say the same when you boil it down. There were a lot of factors that played a role in the separation of our churches, and for a few centuries afterwards there were a number of attempts for reconciliation. My best advice is gather information from all sides and come up with what you feel is the best determination of the why there was a split.
  • edited August 2017
    If it is just semantics then in a united church we would accept the roman bishop as first among equals as the Eastern Orthodox do and that God intended peter to be first among equals. Some church fathers did go to the roman bishop to settle a matter considering his authority greater but we have our own interpretation

    Also a major problem is the coptic church is being deceitful if they have the same faith. Do we believe in prayer for all the dead and helpful for all  ? The Eastern Orthodox might have that as official doctrine. Does the coptic church believe in remarriage as they do ?
    Some teach the church will always be infallible while the truth is it is only able to be infallible as jesus promised He would guide us into all truth and the gates of hades would not prevail and paul says in doctrine show incorruptibility
    It won't be infallible if the votes of good people who made the right decision is ignored. Always there are people who agree on the truth but it is ignored and the official church teaching is made by people without the truth

    I guess we are the same as Eastern Orthodox who are guided by the Holy Spirit to be in the time of split between two orthodox. They are in the Eastern Orthodox Church but they do not accept their new doctrines and they think they represent it and truly do but no one person is likely to know the truth on all matters but all the members together do know
  • I'll just throw my two cents in. From the Copts I have spoken with, this forum not included, I am hard pressed to find any huge disagreements on Christology. I actually think we (I belong to the EO Antiochians) have a much larger problem with Roman Catholicism. It continues to baffle me why the EO & OO are still separate. I know there are details that hinder our reunion, but, I would think that we would have a much more concerted effort with the Orientals than we would any other Christian group. Maybe someone can touch on this? 
  • edited August 2017
    It depends on who you talk to in the EO church. EOs tend to have this feeling that you cannot be Orthodox unless you accept 7 councils as "ecumenical". Such an idea seems to place an emphasis on 7 specific councils as final authority that all must bring themselves into, rather than on the substance of the Orthodox faith. Then you have OOs (us) that shatter this idea and some EOs get into a bit of despair, while others become overprotective, they give this ultimatum: "if you're so Orthodox, why don't you just accept the last four councils?"

    Meanwhile, they don't want to believe that we were always Orthodox without these councils. Either we are "playing games" and compromising the faith, or we are being "petty" for not accepting the councils. Either way, when I get into discussions with EOs, it's always "our fault". It must be we used to be heretical and now we're Orthodox, or we are heretical and pretend to be Orthodox, or we are Orthodox but we are schismatic and stubborn, or that we are Orthodox but our theology and terminology are inferior compared to Chalcedonian theology and terminology. Seldom do I meet an EO that "gets it", that understands Orthodoxy does not necessarily equate seven councils, and it becomes equally petty to demand that we accept them.

    But what pains me even more are those EOs who out of pious and ignorant obedience to their spiritual fathers lose their faith when they meeting someone like me who knows more about their councils than they do, that I can hold my own in a debate, but they can't. That happened one time in the EO monachos forum. And so I think the best way to approach this is first know who you talk to. If some scholar, then I think you can be aggressive in discussions. If someone simple, smile and just ask, "where in my church is there heresy?"

    And for any EOs coming here, ask us if you're confused about anything in particular from our theology, and we'll be more than happy to explain it to you. For any OO who is confused from an EO attacking us, ask what exactly is their attack, and we'll be more than happy to elucidate that for you.
  • top tip:
    talk to real life EOs about this. 
    the ones that aren't on the internet are much more accepting, especially once they see you and see your sincere faith when you visit their church.
    (exception being menas17, thanks for your lovely comments - i had a lovely time visiting my friends's antiochian church not too long ago)
  • Even many EO's who are online know just enough about the Coptics to know that we aren't that different. In my experience we are actually a little bit more confused about the Ethiopian Church than about any other OO Church. 

    I actually visited a Coptic parish last weekend, it was great, really nice people. I also got to see a relic of St. Philopateer!
  • I feel sad that such issues that seemingly have more to do with semantics than theology have hindered our unity. I guess this is simply evidence of our human weakness. But I am young and still learning. I was wondering, is it still possible to hold such ecumenical councils, and if so, what would be factors that might make it difficult to convene a new council between the EO and OO bishops to define an agreement and restore unity?
  • edited September 2017
    we have been holding official councils among each side's most elite theologians since the 1960s. Agreements have been signed, but this needs to convert into the rest of the Churches on either side, which is yet to happen. So a grass roots level of interaction is at least recommended to actualize the union we hope one day will happen. I believe that when only a significant amount of grass roots interaction will happen will local bishops start to put this in their agenda to put forward for their local and worldwide churches to make a council for. But it requires years and maybe decades of work for that to be prepared.
  • Hi Menas17,

    In my experience we are actually a little bit more confused about the Ethiopian Church than about any other OO Church. 

    I did not get what you mean by bit confusion about the Ethiopian Church?

  • The main difference between Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox is the way they interpret Christ's Nature. Christ's Divinity and Humanity.

    In 431, the First Council of Ephesus held that Jesus, while both divine and human, is only one being or person. Both the Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox accept these three councils.

    Twenty years later, however, the Council of Chalcedon declared that Jesus is one person in two complete natures, one divine and the other human.

    The Oriental Orthodox churches considered this to be heresy and likened it to the beliefs of Nestoria, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428 to 431, who said that Christ was two distinct beings, one divine (the Logos) and one human (the man Jesus).

    While the terminology caused the main point of contention, the refusal of the Oriental Orthodox churches to accept the declarations at Chalcedon was coupled with political and imperial issues.

  • But then don't we now have the same interpretation of His nature? 

  •     One problem, of course, is that emperors of this and every age tend to become impatient when their initiatives are not immediately crowned with success.  In Christian antiquity imperially sponsored dialogue too often alternated with imperially sponsored persecution of dissidents.  No doubt some churchmen were happy to go along with the persecutions, just as they went along with the dialogues.  But there also were those who rejected force.  One such was John the Faster, a sixth-century patriarch of Constantinople.  “What did the dissidents do or say that deserves persecutions?” he asked.  “If pagans have been justified and amnestied, how can I persecute Christians who are blameless in their Christianity and, so it seems to me, have more faith than we?”[8]   Another noteworthy figure is John the Merciful, Chalcedonian patriarch of Alexandria, who is honored as a saint by both sides because of his even-handed charity.

    According to the 1990 agreed statement of the Joint Commission, “Both families agree that all the anathemas and condemnations of the past which now divide us should be lifted by the Churches in order that the last obstacle to the full unity and communion of our two families can be removed by the grace and power of God.  Both families agree that the lifting of anthemas and condemnations will be consummated on the basis that the Councils and fathers previously anathematized or condemned are not heretical.” (para. 10)  But so far this has not been done.

    The Joint Commission in 1993 urged that “the lifting of anathemas should be made unanimously and simultaneously by the heads of all churches of both sides.”  But are “the heads of the all the churches” the juridically competent body?  Not according to the memorandum from Mount Athos, which denounces this “decision of the Joint Commission concerning the possibility of lifting an anathema placed by an ecumenical council.”  According to the memorandum, this is “alien to the sound mind of the Church” and “offends the fundamental consciousness of the Church concerning the authority of the ecumenical councils.” 


    Beyond Dialogue: The Quest for Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Unity Today

    Rev John H Erickson, Dean

    Symposium on 1700th Anniversary of Christian Armenia
    October 27-28, 2000 



  • binC, hello!
    long time no 'see'.
    happy new year :)
  • binC, I read your summary of the article. It was quite helpful, thank you. :)  
    It seems we know the issue is semantics rather than theology. Does this mean the divide is largely political at this point? If you think so, what do you think we can do to help reconcile? Do you think it needs to be left to the bishops, or do you think the congregation as a whole can contribute to bridging the divide? 
  • @Lovejoypeace_ the original dispute was more linguistic than theological, and I think it still is a matter of misunderstanding to this day
  • let the bishops do their work and we should do our work. eg. if u have transport and time, you can visit other orthodox churches in your neighbourhood from time to time. make friends there.
    if u are the only orthodox Christian in your village, you can pray for this issue and greet anyone you meet in a non judgemental way, developing a welcoming attitude. when you talk about your church, describe it as orthodox rather than coptic or russian etc.
    but don't take Holy Communion in a different church without checking with your priest that you are in communion with them.
    it is good to be concerned about unite but remember that it is God's church, so we should humbly ask Him to guide us to make a positive difference and not try to sort it all out ourselves ; )
    (i was orthodox for more than a year before I figured that one out!)
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