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Christology and Chalcedon
  • With great pleasure I would like to inform you of a book produced by one great Coptic scholar and a theologian Fr. Shenouda Maher.

    The name of the book is: Christology and the Council of Chalcedon
    ISBN-10:1478712929

    You can purchase the book at the following sites:

    Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Christology-Council-Chalcedon-Shenouda-Ishak/dp/1478712929/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382800990&sr=8-1&keywords=Christology+and+the+Council+of+Chalcedon

    Outskirts Press:
    http://www.outskirtspress.com/bookstore/9781478712916.html
  • Had the Chalcedonian terminology been


    "MiaPhysis, DyoOusiai" perhaps the divisions that ensued due to the fourth council might have been averted.

  • Chalcedonian: (Rome, Antioch, etc.): Physis = Ousia

    Pre-Chalcedonian: (Alexandria, Syria, etc): Physis = similar to Hypostasis

    Natura (as used by Rome, I think): Could mean either


    Coming from these roots, for a Cyrillian/ non-Chalcedonian: To say Two Physis meant two hypostases in Christ, which is unacceptable
    for a Roman/Greek or Chalcedonian: To say Two Physis meant two Ousiai

    When Dioscorus or any non-chalcedonia was asked by a Chalcedonian: Do you believe in two Physis? Dioscurs would say, "definitely not", because, for him,
    he was not at all accustomed to speaking in anythingm but Physis meaning something simiar to Hypostasis. He could not confess two physis or two naturas because to him and most
    non-chalcedonians, it does not mean "Ousiai" as it did for the native Greek speakers.

    Ask St. Doscorus if he confesses that Jesus Christ is completely Man, lacking nothing at all in His Humanity, being completely consusbstantial with us in body, soul and spirit, and
    also consubstantial with the Father, he will, along with the chalcedonians, say "Yes, of Course." Is he everything that the Father is in Essence? Yes. Is He everything that Humanity is, in essence?
    Yes! (Two Ouiai, One MiaPhysis?)

    It is a fact that St. Cyril used "one Physis of the Logos Incarnate" and "one Hypostsis of the Logos Incarnate" synonymously. You can easily see how followers of Cyril and the non-chalcedonians
    would have been exteremly suspicious of someong then saying "two physis" in Christ, because Physis did not mean Ousia to everyone.




    What do you think? Can we today work toward unity with the non-chalcedonians by using a formula to honour the understanding of both the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox by saying,

    "Christ is from/ of Two Physies, One Miaphysis, in Two Ousiai"

    Christ's "natura" is a "Miaphysite DyoOusiai"





  • I have never heard of any controversy over dyoousiai or natura. These words are not found in theological circles.  Natura in Latin gives the idea of nature (or mother nature in modern colloquialism). It has nothing to do with nature as the essence or being of a thing or person. Additionally the Greek plural of ousia, is not ousiai. It is ousies. The Chalcedonians believe in dyophysis, not dyoousia because they see a differences between physis and ousia. (As do the OO) And if you are going to quote St Cyril, please give references. To the best of my knowledge, St Cyril said "miaphysis to theo sesarkomen", not "mia hypostasis..." He did say "of two natures." I will try to find references.

    Unity for the laity does not need a formula. Theological formulae are for theologians, bishops and patriarchates to resolve. It is enough for us to understand the differences in the two families, while looking for and focusing on similarities only. The EO parishioner I meet worships the Trinity in Orthodoxy. That's all I need for now. 
  • By the way, I just picked up Fr Shenouda's book 2 days ago and I learned more in the 40 pages I've read then in all my years of internet forums and Coptic catechesis. The best part is that there is over 600 more pages of wonderful information. Such an excellent source of Christology. 
  • True.  There was no controversy over such terms as Dyoousiai.  That lack of controversy is what contributed to the split.  This is becasue we understood Physis to mean Hyostasis whereas the EO understood it to mean Ousiai, as per Fr. J. Romanides.


     


    What I am saying is that if at Chalcedon they clearly spoke of Two Ousiai in the One Hypostasis in Christ instead of Two Physeis and explicitly noting that Physis and Ousia mean different things to each party, the split may not have occured as it it did.


    I imaging Dioscorus may have been more amenable to accepting that Christ is in One Miaphysis, "Dyoousiai" if such a term had come into use with a clearer distingction between both parties, as there is today that Ousia is not Physis.


    What is the hinderance in doing so today among the theolgians on both sides.  I wonder if there would be any hinderance in doing so today?


    Because He is Constubstantial/Coessential/of One Essence with the Father and also of One Essence with us, He therefor has Two Essences united in one Miaphysis.

  • We are often accused of confusing "nature" with "person" and are afraid to admit that the Person of the Logos took upon Himself a Human Nature and Made it One with His Person, not one and the same as His Divine Nature. 


    Is this accusation true?


    When we say, from two natures, one.  What do we mean?  What WHAT?  One person or one Nature?


     


    If we replace the word Nature with the word essence, should we not admit that the One Person in His Divine Essence united Himsef with a Human Essence and that this person has 1 Essence that is the same as the Fathers and another 1 completely different, distinct essence that is the same as humanity's?  Though united in One Person Incarnate (Miaphysis) without separtation, alteration or confusion, they are still two esences and not one?


     

  • 1)  When reading the book the Nature of Christ, I read a statement to the effect that


    "both become one in essence and in nature, so we say that this is one nature and one person."


     


    I am wondering if this is a mistranslation from the Arabic. Although the Author is making an analogy here between the unity of fire and iron with that of the Incarnation, the statement seems to be saying that the Divine Essence and the Human Essence became One Essence in Christ, and the statmenet distinguishes essence from "nature" so that it is not just Miaphysis but, on a deeper level, MiaOusiai, whic is not possible or acceptable as a thought in Christology because the two essences did not mingle or mix or become one essence, but they united in teh One Physis or Hypostasis fo the Logos Incarnate. 


    can anyone clarify this statement?  Is it a mistranslation?


     


    We can find that on page 7 here http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/theology/nature_of_christ.pdf


     
     
    2) The book also  stated:
    "Do we not all admit that the nature which we call Human Natures contained before the
    unity two Natures: the soul and the body? yet, those who claim that there are two
    natures in Christ: a divine and a human, do not mention the two natures of manhood i.e.
    However, should we not see the body, soul and spirit of humantiy as belonging to one "essence" since they all belong to the human kind or essence? 
     
    3)  Why does our Church seem to fail to converse in the language of the Chalcedonians to explain to them that we do believe in the Two Distinct Essences of Christ (as they do) which underlies our insistence of the Cyrillian Terminology of the  Miaphysis of the Logos Incarnate?
     
    4) Do we belive that in Christ there is only one Essence united from Two Essences?  This is what we seem to be portraying to the EO/ or at least this is what they perceive that we are saying.  IS THIS WHAT "THE NATURE OF CHRIST" BOOK IS SAYING?? 
    if not, then what is mean by
    "both become one in essence and in nature, so we say that this is one nature and one person"
     
    5) "although man is formed of these two natures [body and soul], we never say that He is two, but one person." page 8 
    But doesn't that One Person have Two Essences, one Consubstantial with the Father and One consubstantial with us.?
    Do we believe that Person = Nature or that Person possesses a nature? 
    The Chalcedonians accuse us of mistaking Nature for Person, do the above statements mean that we believe that nature = person?
    Are we mistaken in refusing to define and distinguish "essence" from "person"

     
     
  • Metouro,

    Rather than HH Pope Shenouda, I advise Fr. Peter Farrington's:


    HH Pope Shenouda writes in extremely simplistic terms that could easily be misunderstood.  It's not an academic understanding.  Unfortunately, some people have taken his book and used it as a way to discredit Coptic Christology through it, treating it as something it's not supposed to be.  If you want something that goes into a consistency and accuracy of details, Fr. Peter Farrington is the leading professional in this field.  I've learned most of my thoughts of Christology from him, and I would entrust him before anyone else on a study of Oriental Orthodox Christological thinking.

    God bless.
  • Here is also a website dedicated to Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox unity, with a lot of neat articles and ancient writings as well:

  • If I'm not mistaken, it seems that a lot of people are indeed reading Pope Shenouda's books and STILL coming to the wrong conclusion.

    Apparently, our miaphysis is not the same as theirs (I'm talking with respect to Catholics and EO's)

    I said to one fellow that we believe in the complete unity of TWO natures in the person of Christ.

    He said: 'No! You don't. You believe in the unity of two natures into a single nature'.

    I said to him that he was misunderstanding St Cyril who said that we should no longer talk about Christ as having two natures after the incarnation: given that the two natures were never separated - why should we separate them in our terminology either? So we believe in the ONE NATURE of the INCARNATE LOGOS.

    It's not Pope's shenouda's writing that is causing problems, but the wording of st Cyril's miaphysis.

    Pope Shenouda clearly understands that it is st Cyril's definition that is problematic for them, and he states clearly: if you are accusing us of only worshipping One Nature of Christ: which would that be? Would it be the human nature only - and hence we fall into the heresy of Arianism, or would it be the divine nature only , and hence we fall into the heresy of Nestorianism??

    Now, the good thing is this: I presented them this argument, and they refuted it saying that we were still Monophysites.

    Now, I could be wrong, but it really seems to me, after talking with a few of their theologians, that this issue has NOTHING to do with theology, it's purely a deep rooted hatred against us.

    It's as if you are talking to someone who is hell bent on hating you because of a misunderstanding , and yet they are not interested in any clarfication to iron out any misconceptions. They want us to be Monophysites.

    I said to this man: 'but if we separated the two natures, we would fall into the heresy of Duophysism: Christ was one day a man, the next day he performed a miracle, he was divine- as if the nature of Christ was such that each nature would come and go as it pleased or as the situation required.

    They asked me: how many Wills does Christ have? Now , I can't answer this:

    How many wills does Christ have? If I say it's one will (the Will of the incarnate logos) they will attack me and say that we are Monophysite as where then is the will from the divine hypo static union with the Trinity? But if I say he has 2 wills, then have we not split Christ's nature into 2 SEPARATE natures where the unity of those natures becomes confused or dissassociated between each other??

    Can someone kindly answer this??
  • I think the term: the ONE NATURE OF THE INCARNATE LOGOS is clear:

    The Logos is always Divine.
    The Incarnation is where, in the fullness of time, the Word of God took flesh. His divinity united with every single aspect of our humanity.

    How many wills did Christ have? One or two?
  • Zoxasi,

    I think it's "one incarnate nature of the logos", not "one nature of the incarnate logos"

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong
  • Regardless Qawe,

    How many Wills does Christ have?
  • Hi Zoxsasi,

    Christ is born. Happy Feast of the Nativity of our Lord.



    From the link that minasoliman shared (thank you mina), the first article on Unity in Antioch by Abouna Charles Baz mentions:


    With regard to the charge of “monothelitism (i.e. one will),” the charge brought against Severus in the previously mentioned Letter to the Emperor after the Council of Constantinople III, Professor John Behr has shown that Severus cannot be charged with that heresy. According to Severus, “Jesus Christ had both a human will and a human energy, although they are no more self-subsistent than His human hypostasis: they exist within, and are operated by, the one composite hypostasis of Christ.”

    The emphasis in Severus, as was already seen in St. Cyril, is on the ”One Christ.” Although Severus acknowledged two types of activity in Christ (i.e. human and divine), yet it is the One and the same Christ who worked both:

    Between the things performed and done by the one Christ, the difference is great. Some of the acts are befitting the divinity, while the others are human…Yet the one Word performed the latter and the former, … Because the things performed are different, we shall [not however] on this account rightly define two natures or forms operating.

    According to the preceding passage, it can be seen that although there are two sets of activity, yet it is One who operates both. In affirming communicatio idiomatum (άντίδοσις ίδιωμάτων), Severus taught that the human nature in Christ is not passive. It is in, through, and as a human being that the Word of God brings about salvation. Finally, there is at least one passage which can be quoted from Severus which shows that he did not uphold a monothelite view of Christ with respect to the Incarnation:

    The Word of God is united hypostatically not only to flesh, but also to a soul endowed with will and reason, for the purpose of making our souls bent towards sinfulness incline towards the choice of good and the aversion of evil.

    According to this passage (as well as others), Professor John Behr states that “Severus emphatically affirms the unimpaired continuity of the two realities out of which the one hypostasis of Christ is composed.” In addition, this preceding passage shows that although the Subject (i.e. the Logos) is always One according to Severus, which is very consistent with St. Cyril of Alexandria, yet Severus admits that the (human) soul of Christ does indeed possess its own “will and reason” for our salvation, a teaching which the Monothelites cannot accept.

  • Dear Cyril,

    Many thanks for this post. 

    I think it will take me time to fully understand this. Why do you mention the "One" Christ for?

    The problem of hardline latin Catholics is that they think when we say One Nature of the Incarnate Logos, they assume we've removed one of Christ's Nature, rather than uniting both of them in the person of Christ.

    But then, simply put, how many "Wills" does Christ have? If I understand your post correctly - you are saying that Christ has ONE Will?? The human will, hypo statically united with the Divine Will? 

    That would make sense (for me personally), but I still maybe in err.

    Thanks for your confirmation.

    - if my conclusion above IS correct, then it would appear that we are definitely at a difference with the Catholics - they do not see this. They see that Christ has TWO wills: a Human Will and a Divine Will (united in the person of Christ).

    - i.e. that's two different wills united in the person of Christ.

    The Holy Trinity, always had ONE Will, because we believe in One Godhead, and in One God. Hence, the Will of the Son (Logos) is always going to execute the Will of the Father. In the fullness of time, the Son took flesh (from the Holy Theotokos). Christ's Divinity united with every aspect of His Humanity - that would mean unity of the Divine Nature with the human soul, body, will, spirit, flesh, personality, etc... 

    I think the problem maybe in terms of understanding the Will of the Logos BEFORE the incarnation. Before the incarnation, did the Word of God have a Will? yes or no? Did the Holy Spirit have a will??

    No - they executed the Will of the Father. The Father is the source, and from Him proceeds His Holy Spirit and Word.

    So, in Christ, what happened was not the unity of TWO wills in the person of Christ, but the unity of the Divine Nature and Human Nature, with the Human Soul of Christ STILL submitting to the Will of the Father (after the incarnation). 

    So, yes, Christ did have a human will, but even before the incarnation, He submitted to the Will of the Father. After the incarnation, its not as if He had TWO wills, and was schizophrenic (as per the definition of Schizophrenia) - but he had ONE will, hypo statically united with the Trinity, and STILL under submission to the Will of the Father.

    Would you agree with that??

  • Hence, if I'm correct, then that would mean that we are truly different than the Catholics on the Nature of Christ.

    The indifference doesn't come from the Nature of Christ, but the Nature of the Holy Trinity.

    If I'm not correct, then I'm very confused.

  •  

    you said that," ... he was misunderstanding St Cyril who said that we should no longer talk about Christ as having two natures after the incarnation: given that the two natures were never separated - why should we separate them in our terminology either? So we believe in the ONE NATURE of the INCARNATE LOGOS. "

     

    They Chalcedonians do not separate the two essences in Christ.  They emphasise the distinction of the essences.

     

    St. Cyril spoke of One Physis as equivalent to "One Hypostasis."

     

    In that One Physis or One Hypostasis, there really are two distinct Essences that did not comingle, change or mix. This is what makes the one One Physis of Christ consubstantial with the Father and with Us.

     

    The Book, the nature of CHrist is written in such a way that it gives the impression that there is only one essence that is both human and divine.  To my knowledge, neither Cyril nor any of our Fathers actually taught this.
  • Christ does indeed have two distinct essences that continue to exist in Him


    without mixture, without alteration, without mingling together.  They Unitiy is in One Person, One Hypostasis, One Physis.


     


    The two essences make His Physis a MiaPhysis.


     


    But to say that Christ is One Essence is not what we believe. 

  • FROM A LETTER OF THE BLESSED DIOSCORUS THE ARCHBISHOP OF ALEXANDRIA, WRITTEN FROM EXILE IN GANGRA, TO THE MONKS OF THE HENNATON

    I am fully aware, having been educated in the Faith, respecting Him (Christ) that He was born of the Father, as God, and that the Same was born of Mary, as Man. Men saw Him as Man walking on the Earth and they saw Him, the Creator of the Heavenly Hosts, as God. They saw Him sleeping in the ship, as Man, and they saw Him walking upon the waters, as God. They saw Him hungry, as Man, and they saw Him feeding (others), as God. They saw Him thirsty, as Man, and they saw Him giving drink, as God. They saw Him stoned by the Jews, as Man, and they saw Him worshipped by the Angels, as God. They saw Him tempted, as Man, and they saw Him drive away the Devils, as God. And similarly of many (other) things. But in order not to make much din (trouble) in writing, I will leave the matter for the purpose of collecting testimonies of everyone of the heads together; and I mean to collect them, by the help of God, when a convenient opportunity bids me to it.


     


    (You'd think the above was written by Pope Leo of Rome!  It sounds line the Tome of Leo!, but this was written by Dioscorus)


     


    It is clear that Christ is consubstantial with the Father and Consubstantial with us at the same time without his "substances" being mixed with each other, comingled with each other or changed by each other, or being alterned, and without them being separated from their unity after the incarnation.  But they are distinct and not one and the same.  Both "substances"  or "essences", each "ousia" remains distinct.


     


    The two concrete realities of St. Cyril, in my understanding, that is the two Physies of Godhead and Humanity are disntinguished in thought alone so that Christ is never two but One Incarnate Logos.  This is different , I think, that stating that there are two Ousiai in Christ. 


     



  • Can we talk about Wills??

    I think we all agree on essences and consubstantiality of the Incarnat Logos.

    How many Wills did Christ have?
  • When we say One Nature from Two.  We really , really, desperately need to clarify when speakuing to the Chalcedonians what we mean and preferably avoid the word "nature" altogether.

     

    We should cleary state that Christ is One Hypostasis and One Miaphysis in who there are two distinct Ousiai.

     

    There were two concrete realitities (what we call Physis) - Humanity and Divinity.  From these two concrete realities there was a unity and they became united in one concrete reailty- Miaphysis in Christ.  (This is what we mean by "One Nature from Two" and I believe this is what St. Cyril meant. 

     

    When we say this, we are not talking about One Ousia from two.  This is not what we mean when we say, one nature from two.

     

    I don't understand why we can not simply say this to the Chalcedonians instead of repeating the misunderstood, One Nature from two.

     



  • The Holy Trinity (Three Hypostasis) has One Divine Nature (Ousiai) Only.


     


    In the Hypostasis of the  Christ the One Divine Nature (ousia) was united to the human nature (Ousia).

  • Regarding the will of Christ, Christ has all the natural will and energy of humanity and all the natural will and energy of Divinity united in Him.


    In this sence He has two wills, united together.


    But we speak of One Will in Christ the Incarnate Logos who wills and acts.  It is this One Will that makes decisions in Christ.


    Fr. Peter Farrington speaks of a will in Christ in terms of instinct- for example- he is hungry and wants to eat.... this is a human will an not a divine will because divinity or the divine essence has no desire or or need to eat.  But the human insintct (will) of Christ needs to eat.  together, His Human Will freely submitting to and in accord with His Divine Will, together acting as one will make a decision to eath or to fast.


     

  • Zoxsasi,
    Just as we believe in one composite nature of the Incarnate Logos, so we believe in one composite will and energy of the Incarnate Logos. Just like Christ retains the properties of both natures, so also Christ retains His two will and two energies (human and divine). 

    We can't say that the Divine will of Christ swallowed the human will of Christ. That would be like demonic possession. We can't say the human will forced itself on the Divine will. That would imply the Divine will is subversent to human desires. But at the Incarnation, both wills act as one, even though each nature has its own will and energy. This why we say a "natural union without confusion, mixing or alteration". 

    I would like to make 2 points on your Catholic friends who insist on monophysite. 
    1. May people simply translate a composite nature as one nature and therefore assume a composite nature is identical to a single nature. This is not exclusive to St Cyril's writings. Since this topic started out on Fr Shenouda's book "Christology and the Council of Chalcedon", I would like to quote it,
    "We may note that Origen, in his teaching on our Lord's Person, said that "Jesus Christ is "one composite being" εν σύνθετου (Contra Celsum Book 2:9). I checked that same chapter in the English translation from here. On page 32, it says "For the soul and body of Jesus formed, after the oikonomia, one being with the Logos of God."  Notice, how they dropped the word "composite"? It is undeniable that even today that Chalcedonians can not come to grips what has been said by the earliest fathers concerning the composite nature of Christ.

    Of course I can give plenty of examples where St Cyril used the terms "composite nature" or "composition". The fact is St Cyril spoke more about a composite nature than he did about two natures. 

    2. What Chalcedonians fail to understand is that they are required to confess a "composition" union. The 5th ecumenical council says, "If anyone shall not acknowledge as the Holy Fathers teach, that the union of God the Word is made with the flesh animated by a reasonable and living soul, and that such union is made synthetically and hypostatically...For in the mystery of Christ the synthetical union not only preserves unconfusedly the natures which are united, but also allows no separation"

    For us, a synthetic union is synonymous with a composite union. A hypostatic union means a union where the result is not two persopona or two people. There are many types of synthetic unions. Marriage is a type of synthetic. The synthesis of male and female uniting is one flesh but two persons. A marriage cannot be a hypostatic union, nor is the union of the Antiochenes who said the Word of God took the man Jesus as a flesh and temple for himself, nor is the union of the Holy Spirit with a prophet. The only other legitimate hypostatic union, which St Cyril consistently wrote about, was the union of the soul and body. There are two different substances that unite in such a way that are not separate it till death. (Ask your Catholic friend if the human nature consists of two natures or one. If they say one, then they acknowledge a hypostatic composite nature since humanity is not flesh only nor soul only)

    Therefore, if Chalcedonians acknowledge a composite union of humanity maintaining that the human nature is not a monophysis, and they are required to maintain a hypostatic and synthetic union of the Incarnate Logos, then the resulting union of the Incarnate Logos can not be a monophysis. And if they do acknowledge a composite nature of the Logos, then by their standards, they are monophysites and heretics. By our standards, they are miaphysites and Orthodox. 

  • Metouro,
    You wrote: "I don't understand why we can not simply say this to the Chalcedonians instead of repeating the misunderstood, One Nature from two."
    1. They will laugh at you for using the term ousiai since it is grammatically incorrect to begin with. 
    2. They understand physis and ousia differently to begin with. Again from Fr Shenouda's ooh, "Even St Athanius 'when explaining his doctrinal terms after the Synod of Alexandria in 362, had set out for his listeners that 'hypostasis means ousia (essence), nothing more.' The term had actually begin life in this way. Etymologically, it consisted of the prefix hypo meaning 'underneath' and stasis - meaning 'standing' and thus it was a direct parallel of the Latin word Sub-stantia (substance/ousia)....Although etymologically hypostasis was equivalent tosubstantial, yet now with the development of its meaning in the theological application, the West used substantial (substance)where the Greeks applied ousia (essence)".  

    Thus for the Greeks, one can't understand "One Miaphysis in who there are two distinct Ousiaibecause a thing can't have two distinct essences. A thing can't exist in two simultaneously. It would automatically become plural. A thing may have two distinct substances, as you are claiming applies to the Incarnate Logos, but always one ousia or one essence. On the other hand, an essence can be differentiated or personalized into multiple hyposteses. Thus, the Trinity has one essence (the Godhead) that subsists in three hypostases. Now if you add that Christ is one divine ousia (which is not ousia but physis) united to the human ousia (again not ousia), then you are saying the ousia or essence of the eternal Logos, the Second Hypostases of the Trinity, united its essence to human essence and thereby making the the Logos two essences or two Logoi and the Trinity becomes a Quaternity. This why ousia cannot equal physis. St Cyril said, the Incarnate Logos, the Second hypostasis which has a divine physis, made the human physis His own, thereby maintaining one hypostasis and becoming a composite nature or miaphysis.

    Again from Fr Shenouda's book, "What was in dispute now, between Cyril and Nestorius, was much the same issue - whether or not hypostasis should be imported into yet another theological arena to stand service as a key christological cipher. Nestorius was arguing that such an importation was indefensible and confusing. Cyril, on the other hand, was implying that the Trinitarian use of hypostasis had already defined it as indicative of the subjectivity of God, and in the case of the incarnation to speak about the hypostasis of God in the flesh meant precisely the Word of God." 


  • Remenkimi,


     


    Fr. John Romanides writes


    "To speak about two natures in Christ would be somewhat equivalent to a Chalcedonian speaking about two Hypostases in Christ. In this respect 'a Chalcedonian would accept and does accept everything Cyril says but would use Cyril's One Hypostasis of God the Logos Incarnate, since for him Physis means Ousia." 


    in his paper often used by non-chalcedonians to better understand each other, called ST. CYRIL'S "ONE PHYSIS OR HYPOSTASIS OF GOD THE LOGOS INCARNATE" AND CHALCEDON


     


    here http://www.romanity.org/htm/rom.08.en.st._cyrils_one_physis_or_hypostasis_of_god_the_log.htm


     


     


    He also used the Term Ousiai. 


     


    "As we shall see he assailed even those who could accept One Nature of the Logos Incarnate, but who preferred to speak of two Physeis which to them meant two ousiai."

  • Is Fr. John Romides analisis of teh underatnding of physis equaling Ousia wrong?


     


    He also in multiples places used the wourd "Ousiai" as plural for Ousia.


     


    According to Wikipedia, Aristotle defined protai ousiai, or “primary substances..."  Using Ousiai as plural for Ousia.


     

  • We find the common usage of the plural of Ousia as with Ousiai, so I don't think they would laugh at hearing ousiai.
  • I do not find any common usge of Ousies except to refer the femenine in the Afrikans language.    Ousiai is the common plural of Ousia
  • Its been said that


    "in Orthdox theology there must be a consistency between Christology and Trinitarian theology. In any case one crucial aspect of this consistency is that will always goes with nature. Otherwise the Most holy Trinity is three gods, not one. In other words in Orthodox theology these two go together- Holy Trinity- one nature- one will; Christ- two natures- two wills. Just as the one nature of the holy Trinity does not deny the Three Persons, so the two natures of Christ do not deny that He is one Person. This however is not a reality in reflection of human reason (as anyone can see) but of a basic theological reality without which neither the Trinity nor Christ as One of the Holy Trinity is capable of saving anyone.  I say this not to make a polemical point, but only rather to say what is fundamental to Orthodox theology so that we are actually speaking of a Christ Who saves mankind."

  • Christ therefore has all the dynamic will and energy of humanity (one Ousia) and all the will and energy of Divinity (another Ousia)... umited in One Physis
  • We do not believe in one composite essence.
  • If we use English terms and avoid the word "nature" we can say that there are two essences in the One Person of Christ, by which He is co-essential with us and coessential with the Father.

    He is of one Substamce with the Father and of One substance with us, by which He is Consubstantial with us and consubstantial withe Father.


    Each of the two distinct substances with their distinct properties are are not mingled, confused, alteted, or separated by their union Hypostatically in the One Person of the Incarnate Logos.

    Can such a statement not be accepted by the non Chalcedonians as a point of Christological unity?

  • If we insist on saying "One from two" or "from two, One" why can we not drop the word "nature" and say from two essences One Hypostasis
  • Metouro,
    For future references, can you place all your comments in one post (assuming you haven't hit the maximum character limit)? It's really hard to follow and respond to your comments. 

    A few things.
    1. Outside of Fr. John Romindes, no one speaks of ousiai, as far as I can. In fact, ousiai is only connected to Aristotle's Categories, not any other philosophical work. This is why I wrote, that no one speaks of ousiai or natura in theological circles. The same is true of ousiai in philosophical discussions. 
    2. I was wrong. The plural of οὐσία is οὐσίαι
    3. You asked if I thought "Fr John Romindes analysis of the understanding of physis equaling ousia is wrong?" I would say that Fr John analysis does not equate the two as you describe. Ousia is not the same as physis as such we can't say One miaphysis from two distinct ousiai. In the article by Fr John that you quoted, he writes "Of course, this would be true if Physis meant Ousiai but this is not how Cyril used the term in this phrase. He could not and never does speak of One Ousia of God the Logos Incarnate. This paralleling of Cyril's One Physis with Incarnate in order to prove that Cyril speaks of Two Physeis in Christ was and is a mistake repeated by all Chalcedonians till today. The approach was and is a bad one since it could only lead to two Hypostases and Prosopa."  This is exactly what I said in Point #2 in my last response. Here you see Fr John does not believe St Cyril understood ousia as physis. I qualified it even further to say that if one were to say "one ousia out of two ousiai", then Chalcedonians will understand it as "one essence and two essences at the same time." The use of two ousiai leads to two hypostases and two prosopa. 
    4. I'm not sure people (Chalcedonian and Non-Chalcedonian) will agree that physis is a synonym for ousia, as you are advocating. Ousia usually has a theological understanding of essence or being, the being of Christ. Christ didn't have two beings. In that same Wikipedia article on ousia, it says, "The generally agreed-upon meaning of ousia in Eastern Christianity is "all that subsists by itself and which has not its being in another"[7] - in contrast to hypostasis, which is used to mean "reality" or "existence".[8]" Since we have evidence that Chalcedonians do not understand ousia as physis, it is much more difficult to have Chalcedonians understand one physis outside of St Cyril's writing. St Cyril never wrote one ousia from two ousia. Anything outside St Cyril or any agreed patristic writing is "playing with fire" as the saying goes. 
    5. We drop the word "nature" because that is how St Cyril writes. But in English when we drop the word nature, it opens the room for a wrong understanding of christology. "One [nature] from two [natures]" was important to explain the inadequacies of "One [nature] in two [natures]". But it does't mean "One [nature] from two" can become "One [ousia] from two [ousiai]". 
    6. You are correct, we do not believe in a composite essence. However, we do believe in the composite (miaphysis) nature of Christ. This is further evidence that ousia cannot be identical to physis.


  • This is in response to Zoxsasi's comments concerning one will for the Trinity. I don't think it is proper to say the Trinity has one will. I believe each hypostasis of the Trinity had a will but it never existed in opposition to the other persons of the Trinity. I base this on the following reasons.

    1. Scriptures says that the Son and the Father have two wills. "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me." John 6:38. This verse would not make sense if each person of the Trinity shared one and only one will. One can argue that Jesus meant He came in the flesh to do the will of the Father, submitting his human will to the Father. But this borders on Nestorianism where the subject of the will is not the Logos but only the human will. 

    Concerning the Holy Spirit, the scriptures alludes to the same concept. In Acts 15:28, it says, "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things:" Here there is a clear allusion to the Spirit and man have their respective wills. If then the Holy Spirit has a will, how can we say that there is only one and only will for the Trinity? I know that this verse doesn't say the Holy Spirit has its own will but rather that the Holy Spirit is acting on the Father's will. But I think this is reading too much into. St Luke didn't say, "For it seemed good to the Trinity and to us, to lay...." or "For it seemed good to God and to us, to lay...." The subject of this sentence, describing a will not to lay greater burdens, belongs to both the Holy Spirit and the Apostles. The use of the subject "Holy Spirit" over God implies a greater specification of the subject (i.e., the particular hypostasis). Thus, it also implies a difference between each hypostasic "wills". I use the word "wills" despairingly because the language implies conflicting wills in the Trinity, which doesn't exist. 

    2. If there was only one will for the Trinity, and the Father is the source of that one will, it implies that the Son and the Holy Spirit are forced to act because they don't have their own individual will. This is different than saying each hypostasis of the Trinity submitted their respective will in infinite uniformity. 

    3. I think we can say the God has one will in His essence but each hypostasis must include a will to act on. I don't have any patristic evidence to support this. I hope Minasoliman, RO or anyone else can chime in to verify or correct this theory with patristic evidence.
  • childoforthodoxy,
    Can you elaborate on this passage by St Gregory of Nyssa? I do not see how it addresses the questions of will(s) of the Trinity.
  • Peace and grace to you Remnkemi,


    you stated that  "we do not believe in a composite essence. However, we do believe in the composite (miaphysis) nature of Christ. This is further evidence that ousia cannot be identical to physis."


    I fully agree with this.  I was not saying that Ousia  = Physis, only that modern (and maybe the ancient) Chalcedonians perceive that we are saying Mia Ousia when we say Miaphysis, when we say One compasite Nature.


    What I am espousing is that since this is so, it would go a long way with the Chalcedonians if we explicitly say that we do not mean a composite essence when we say Miaphysis.


    Does this not naturally then mean that we do believe that in Christ there are two distinct essences?


    Granted that they are united hypostatically without separation


    yet becasue they are without mingling, confusion, or alteration, they remain two


    Otherwise, how can we say that we do not belive in a composite essence and yet say that the essence is one?


    If the essence is not one composite essence that was formed by mixing, confusion or alteration, then there must be two essences in the One Hypostasis, or two essences in the One Miaphysis.


    The One Miaphysis (the One Nature) has all the properties of humanity (including natural human will and energy, one essence) and all the properties of Divinity united together without these two sets of properties ( essences)  mixing together, mingling together or being confused with each other.


    If this is true, then we believe the same thing as the Chalcedonians.  There are two Essences in Christ.


    One Set of Properties belonging to the Hypostasis of the Logos united without confusion, alteration, or mixing to another set of properties belonging to humanity  without confusion, alteration, or mixing = two distinct sets of properties united together without separation. 


    These two sets of properties exist in the One Physis of the Incarnate Logos.


     

  • This is equivalent to what the Chalcedonians mean by "two natures"
  • I still have a problem with saying two essences. I think all Chalcedonians would have a problem with the phrase and concept of two essences. Anyone who claims we mean miaousia when we say miaphysis is not correct and we should not see any need to placate them. 

    What confuses me more is that you say you agree that ousia does not equal physis, but then you wrote, "If this is true, then we believe the same thing as the Chalcedonians.  There are two Essences in Christ.."  Yes it is true that that the two natures of Christ remain intact, but we can't say there are two essences in Christ. I don't think the Chalcedonians would concede with the phrase "two essences" either.  

    "One Set of Properties belonging to the Hypostasis of the Logos united without confusion, alteration, or mixing to another set of properties belonging to humanity  without confusion, alteration, or mixing = two distinct sets of properties united together without separation. "
    What you have described here is the dyophysite Christology. We Oriental Orthodox take it on step further (because that is what St Cyril taught) that after the union, the distinction of the two natures exists but one cannot speak of a set of properties belonging to one nature over the other since the subject of all of Christ's properties and actions is always the Logos of God, the Second hypostasis incarnated with a human flesh. 

  • FROM A LETTER OF THE BLESSED DIOSCORUS THE ARCHBISHOP OF ALEXANDRIA, WRITTEN FROM EXILE IN GANGRA, TO THE MONKS OF THE HENNATON


    I am fully aware, having been educated in the Faith, respecting Him (Christ) that He was born of the Father, as God, and that the Same was born of Mary, as Man. Men saw Him as Man walking on the Earth and they saw Him, the Creator of the Heavenly Hosts, as God. They saw Him sleeping in the ship, as Man, and they saw Him walking upon the waters, as God. They saw Him hungry, as Man, and they saw Him feeding (others), as God. They saw Him thirsty, as Man, and they saw Him giving drink, as God. They saw Him stoned by the Jews, as Man, and they saw Him worshipped by the Angels, as God. They saw Him tempted, as Man, and they saw Him drive away the Devils, as God. And similarly of many (other) things. But in order not to make much din (trouble) in writing, I will leave the matter for the purpose of collecting testimonies of everyone of the heads together; and I mean to collect them, by the help of God, when a convenient opportunity bids me to it.


     


    We don't consider St. Dioscorus to be splitting Christ into two when he wrote this.  Chalcedonians would have no problem interpreting dioscorus Here as espousing two essences.

  • HI  Remnkemi,

    You stated that you

     

    "still have a problem with saying two essences."   

     

    and

     

    "Yes it is true that that the two natures of Christ remain intact, but we can't say there are two essences in Christ."

     

    What do you mean by "natures" ?  Physies? or Ousia?

     

    If the "natures" are unmingled, unmixed, unconfused that they remain in tact then they are both there.  What ever is not mixed, what is it and what is the "other" "thing" that it is not mixed with?  Can we say two unconfused substances?  There still has to be two of something that is in Christ or that continue in Him, if not Physis, or Essence or Substance, then what?  What are the two things that are unmixed in Christ?  Should we just say that Christ has Divnity and Humanity unmixed in Christ?  What is unmixed and remains distinctas a result of being unmmixed.?

     


     




    "One Set of Properties belonging to the Hypostasis of the Logos united without confusion, alteration, or mixing to another set of properties belonging to humanity  without confusion, alteration, or mixing = two distinct sets of properties united together without separation. "

    What you have described here is the dyophysite Christology. We Oriental Orthodox take it on step further (because that is what St Cyril taught) that after the union, the distinction of the two natures exists but one cannot speak of a set of properties belonging to one nature over the other since the subject of all of Christ's properties and actions is always the Logos of God, the Second hypostasis incarnated with a human flesh. 
  • St Dioscorus never used the word ousia here. He is not espousing two essences. He espouses two natures. No one person can have two essences without making himself plural. It's a logical impossibility. If St Dioscorus was espousing two essences, every time he wrote "They saw Him", it would need to change to "They saw them".

     As Fr John Romindes claimed that St Cyril does not speak of one ousia out of two, but one physis out of two. 

    I think at this point, we are simply repeating material. Normally I would say let's agree to disagree. But when it comes to theology and the core fundamental of the Orthodox faith, we cannot have conflicting truths. I believe you are conflating ousia and physis, even though you agreed that they are not synonyms. I also believe that Chalcedonians will not agree that ousia is synonymous with physis, as you are advocating.  Unless you can provide a specific claim or reference from any father (most preferably from St Cyril or St Athanasius) that says we believe in one ousia out of two ousiai, you need to reevaluate your stand on this. 
  • To be honest I'm having trouble following along the terminological issue here.  So perhaps I could help by putting forward definitions of terms and use, oh, a rock.

    Ousia--it's abstract, and it means the essence of something..."rock-ness"

    Hypostasis--it's the concrete form of the abstract; it's the actual specimen or existence of the essence, translated as "subsistence"..."this rock".  In Nicea 325, hypostasis became synonymous with ousia.  In Constantinople 381, hypostasis became concrete form of ousia.  In Chalcedon 451 (which we dissented from), hypostasis became prosopon.  In other words, if rock was intellectually alive and had a name, "Rocky" would be the "hypostasis/prosopon".

    Physis--can be either one or the other.  It's a very complicated terminology, and when St. Cyril was using it, it vacillated back and forth in meaning.  The issue here is not consistency in terminology, but the idea behind the terminology.  He wanted to be provocative in order to explain a paradoxical truth of the incarnation.

    This is the simplest way of putting it, but of course, starting out with this fundamental simplicity, one can then work his way up to see where all the debates lie.  As one can see, it's not just physis, but also the word hypostasis that also has non-Chalcedonians and Chalcedonians split.  Chalcedonians were concerned more about scientific consistency of terminology, whereas non-Chalcedonians were concerned about mystical experience and salvation, and allowed inconsistency in terminology to explain our salvation.  Chalcedonians were concerned about the "what" in Christ, while non-Chalcedonians were primarily concerned with "the Christ in us".  It is why the former always sees it in terms of the integrity of humanity and divinity whereas the latter sees it in terms of unity of humanity and divinity.  This is of course a gross generalization that has not touched on specifics yet that seems to get both sides into much debate, but this has been the gist of my debate with Chalcedonians.
  • Thank you Mina. I was wondering when you were going to help us. A few questions.

    Using your specific example of a rock,
    1. Can a rock have two abstract essences? Can a specific rock have rockness and softness? Put another way, if we speak of rockness and softness, doesn't that necessarily mean we are speaking of two abstracts that can't be combined into one? This is the core of the debate metouro and I were having. While I believe he was using conflating different terms to mean the same thing, the question that concerns me is the use of ousiai (plural). Please share your thoughts.

    2. Can you explain why if a rock was intellectually alive and had a name, "Rocky", would that be exclusively a Chalcedonian formula? While I understand Rocky is the concrete form of rockness, what changed in Chalcedon? Do we object to prosopon per se? I know we object because the Chalcedonian formula equates hypostasis and prosopon as synonyms. But my question is how does prosopon differ from hypostasis in your example of the rock.

    3. Your last paragraph also corroborates my clam that I don't think the Chalcedonians would approve of one essence from two essences.

    4. Can you discuss your thoughts on the one will of the Godhead vs. one will of each hypostasis of the Trinity?  
  • Can we say their are two unmixed substances in the Miaphysis of Christ the incarnate logos?

     

  • Peace and grace to all

    Please fill in the blank in the following sentence.  You can use any word in English or Greek.

     

    The fact that He made His Humanity One with His Divinity without mingling, confusion or alteration

    means that there are still two distinct _________________ in Christ.

     

    a) Physies

    b) Ousiai

    c) Substances

    d) sets of properties

    e) other (please specify)

     

    Since we already agree that the Incarnate Logos is one United Physis and not two Physies, in St. Cyril's way of speaking, then what is it UNDERLYING that,  that remains TWO UNconfused, UNmixed, and UNaltered ?   Since whatever (___________) is, remains unconfused, unmixed, and unaltered, it can not be one and the same thing, and therefore must be more than one. 

     

    Please help and clarify.

     

  • Since we already agree that the Incarnate Logos is one United Physis and not two Physies, in St. Cyril's way of speaking, then what is it UNDERLYING that, that remains TWO UNconfused, UNmixed, and UNaltered ? Since whatever (___________) is, remains unconfused, unmixed, and unaltered, it can not be one and the same thing, and therefore must be more than one.  Otherwise they are the same thing and therefore mixed, altered or confused.  We know they are not two persons or hypostasis.

     

    X and Y 

    are not mixed, confused, or altered with each other to

    make 1

    X+Y = 1

    Humanity and Divinity = 1 Person or Hypostasis of the Logos Incarnate

     

    X is not Y and never will be, they are not confused or altered with each other.

     

    X and Y are (___________________) different categories and terms using Letters than the Number 1.

     

    "1" representes the MiaPhysis and the Hypostasis of the Logos Incarnate

    "X and Y" represent the Humanity and Divnity of Christ that were not changed, altered, or confused with each other.  They are called by a differnt category (Letters) than the Number 1

    What are we calling the Divinity and Humanity (two essences, substances?) that remain unconfused and unaltered and unmixed?

     

    If we say Complete Divnity and Complete Humanity are hypostatically united in the One Logos Incarnate then He is BOTH (two) of those (_____________) things, though He Himself is Only One Single Person before and After the Incarnation.

    What are we calling both of those unmixed and unaltered things?

    The Chalcedonians conceive of those "things" that are umixed are (_____________) "things" that the Logos possesses, they are not the Person Himself. 

     

  • Miaphysis does not mean that two sets of properties united together to make one new set of properties that is both, does it?  This would be a third new "nature" or Physis, which is what some Chalcedonians would accuse us of, which would be tantamount to mixing, confusion or alteration.

    That is why I dont' think that the above is what we mean when we say, "One Nature from two Natures"

    I suspect that in the phrase "One Nature from two Natures"  the first words must mean something different than the two sets of properties.. perhaps it coul mean from two sets of concrete realities one concrete reality... from an UNINcarnate Logos to an INcarnate Logos,

    not from two substantces one united substance, not from one esssence, one united essence, "Nature(s)" then must mean something other than just those things.



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