Orthodox Ethos

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​Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou


For approximately the last 20 years* our sacred Monastery has been theologically involved with the issue of the Dialogue held between the Orthodox and the Anti-Chalcedonians. During this period, it participated in the lengthy inter-Orthodox dialogue with a number of books and articles written for the sake of the truth of the Orthodox Faith and the unity of the Church. Our desire was to make known the divergence of the conclusions of the Dialogue from the Conciliar and Patristic Tradition.

During our involvement with this subject, the contents of the book “Restoring the Unity in Faith: The Orthodox-Oriental Orthodox Theological Dialogue”, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, USA, 2007, was recently [2009] brought to the attention of our venerable Abbot, Archimandrite George (Kapsanis).

The initiative for the publication came from the Joint Committee of Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonian churches in America (S.C.O.B.A. and S.C.O.O.C.), which has operated to promote the union of Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonians since the year 2000. The common texts produced by the informal and subsequently official Theological Dialogue, known as the Joint Declarations, are published within the book. The introduction to the book was written by Protopresbyter Fr. Thomas Fitzgerald, a clergyman of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, professor of Ecclesiastical History, History of Theology, and Dean of the Theological School of the Holy Cross in Boston. In it he supports the positions and proposals of the Joint Declarations.

The process of the restoration of full communion between the Orthodox Church and the Anti-Chalcedonian churches (in the Theological Dialogue these are referred to as Oriental Orthodox), as intended and proposed by the theologians behind the Joint Declarations who participated in the informal (1964-1979) and official (1985-1993) Theological Dialogue, is described in the Introduction as a “God-given opportunity for reconciliation, not to be missed” (p. 36). The author of the Introduction even recommends that the process for the restoration of full ecclesiastical communion be hastened through a more expansive and exact effort to inform bishops, clergy and laity as to the importance of the “historical conclusions of the Joint Committee” (p. 36). As an example of the practical implementation of this process, he refers to the activity of the Joint Committee of the Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonian churches of America (S.C.O.B.A. and S.C.O.O.C.) since 2000, which concerns “increased cooperation between the bishops, clergy and laity of the two families of churches.” Indeed, since 2001 these activities also included an “annual prayer ministry” in the New York area (p. 7). Note, however, that even 50 years ago there were “valuable opportunities for cooperation in the areas of theological education, youth ministry, and religious education (…) as well as in the fields of pastoral and priestly activities.” The final part of the book, instead of an epilogue, “provides practical suggestions contributing to the process of cooperation, reconciliation and unity, particularly here in North America” (p. 92).

Of course, the aforementioned publication does not constitute an original theology so as to require a specific theological intervention. Nevertheless, we make reference to it for three important reasons. Firstly, because the aforementioned publication bears witness and attests to the fact that the newer practical recommendations of the Joint Committee of local Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonian churches in America promotes an uncanonical sacramental intercommunion. Secondly, because it rejects official inter-Orthodox documents, studies, letters and articles critical of the agreements and proposals of the Dialogue, a fact that discredits the inter-Orthodox dialogue. Thirdly, because the effort to implement the proposals of the Dialogue in America does not have the consent of the Church, the consensus Ecclesiae.

In relation to the proposed sacramental intercommunion, the Joint Committee of the Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonian churches in America states,

"The members of each of the Churches must be encouraged to be present in the Divine Liturgy and in the other Sacraments in the parishes of other traditions. This practice gives the opportunity for joint prayer and respects the liturgical traditions of the other. On account of the formal division between the Orthodox Church and the Oriental Orthodox Church, a formal break of communion in the sacraments exists. This means, for example, that the clerics and faithful of the Orthodox Church, cannot canonically receive Divine Communion and the other Sacraments in a parish of the Oriental Orthodox. The inverse is also supported by canons. This is a tragic consequence of the division of Churches. Yet there have always been exceptions to this practice in cases of serious pastoral necessity. Indeed, the special relationship that exists between the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox offers the grounds for such specific practices, being pastorally necessary in the area of sacramental life. Already in the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Antioch there are official agreements with respect to the Sacraments. Here in the United States, the Oriental Orthodox faithful, who do not have their own parishes in some areas, are being accepted into the Orthodox parishes. With the blessing of the local bishop and the priest of the parish, it is permitted for them to receive Holy Communion. Baptisms and Marriages are performed separately. Likewise, Memorials and Funerals are performed separately. These things happen under the conditions that in a certain area there is neither a priest nor parish of an Oriental Orthodox Church. The Eastern Orthodox Churches follow, generally, the same practice” (p. 92-93).

Regarding the fact that the inter-Orthodox dialogue has been ignored, one must bear in mind that in the 20 years which have passed since the Joint Theological Committees of the Dialogue between Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonians concluded and submitted its Joint Declarations and Proposals (1989, 1990, 1993) for authorization by the hierarchies of the Local Orthodox Churches, a number of important academic studies were published that demonstrate the problems related to the Dialogue. Additionally, many prominent hierarchs, clergy, academic theologians, synodal committees, theological brotherhoods and the Holy Mountain have published various letters, articles and studies wherein they demonstrate the unorthodox findings and recommendations of the Dialogue with reliable scientific methodology and utmost faithfulness to the timeless Tradition of the Church. An informal inter-Orthodox dialogue on the Joint Declarations thus took place in order to clarify whether these should be accepted or rejected on the part of the Orthodox. The first to receive the Joint Declarations for appraisal and evaluation will naturally be the Holy Synods of hierarchs of the local Churches, but the ultimate judge of their orthodoxy will be the faithful Orthodox people themselves, “who desire their religious worship to be ever unchanged”, according to the decision of the Patriarchs of the East (1848). This is precisely the reason why the Orthodox people should be informed as to both the inter-Orthodox dialogue and the proposals of the Joint Declarations. Today, now 20 years after the Dialogue concluded and after such a rich interchange, the absence of every reference to the inter-Orthodox dialogue in the Introduction to this publication of S.C.O.B.A. and S.C.O.O.C. comes as a surprise.

Fr. Thomas FitzGerald believes that the theological agreement of the Joint Theological Committee of the past Dialogue is correct and that the Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonians (he refers to them as Oriental Orthodox) “share the same historical orthodox faith, despite their formal separation for more than fifteen centuries” (p. 6). After a historical and theological overview of the events that led to the creation and consolidation of the Anti-Chalcedonian schism (pp. 8-19), the author briefly refers to the history and conclusions of the informal conferences between Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonian theologians in the context created by the World Council of Churches (pp. 19-22), and completes his study with an extensive presentation of theological agreements and practical proposals resulting from the official meetings of the Joint Theological Committee of the Dialogue (pp. 22-32). The author’s positive assessment of the manner of restoring full communion, as prescribed by the Joint Declarations and proposals of the Joint Theological Committee (pp. 33-36), makes up the final and most critical section of the Introduction.

Summoning all the reserves of our good intention, we wish to understand the publication of the book and the contents of the Introduction as an expression of agony for the perpetuation of the Anti-Chalcedonian schism, but also as an expression of sympathy with our Anti-Chalcedonian brothers, pressured by the unbearable conditions of life in a populous and sometimes fanatical non-Christian environment, who seek unity with the Orthodox Church.

We believe, however, that the unity of Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonians under the terms of the Joint Declarations will not be a God-pleasing union, as it will not take place on the basis of the Orthodox Faith but following theological compromises. Furthermore, it bodes for schisms in the already unified body of the Church. Because we see that the book published by the Joint Committee of the Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonian churches in America contributes to such a dangerous union, we offer, with the blessing and supervision of our reverend Abbot, the following humble theological commentary.

The points in the Introduction to which we must critically turn our attention are as follows.

  1. The Formula of Reunion (433), the Robber Synod (449) and the “Dogmatic Monophysitism” of Eutyches.

These topics are dealt with in pages 11-12. He rightly states that the Formula of Reunion “speaks of Christ as one person in two natures and clearly renounces the extreme teaching of Eutyches.” It also describes the Eutychian teaching as “Dogmatic Monophysitism”, in which “the full humanity is not preserved after the union,” the “human nature of Christ was absorbed by the divine nature” and “with the ‘one nature’ of Christ the followers of Eutyches do not sufficiently affirm the integrity of the divine and the human in the one Christ.” He adds that the Eutychian “extreme views dominated another meeting of bishops in Ephesus in 449, under the leadership of Patriarch Dioscorus of Alexandria” and that “the bishops at Chalcedon denounced the synod of 449 and deposed Patriarch Dioscorus of Alexandria for his role in that meeting” (p.12).

While the above is generally correct, it fails to clarify two serious points: 1) that the Robber Synod, although heretical because it supported a heretical Christology, is a synod that until today is recognized and honored by the Anti-Chalcedonians and unfortunately, is not condemned as such by Orthodox theologians in the context of the Theological Dialogue, and that 2) Eutyches was vindicated by Dioscorus of Alexandria at the Robber Synod for precisely this “extreme teaching”, as revealed under the first session of the Council of Chalcedon. In other words, Dioscorus is deposed as “an advocate for the doctrine of Eutyches”, “of one faith and one mind with the delusional and heretical Eutyches”, because he had rejected the Formula of Reunion of 433 and defended a Monophysite Christology. “Behold, to this we hold fast: that after the union there are not two natures”, Dioscorus had declared according to the judgment of the 1st session of the Council. This clarification was not made in the Introduction, but is very useful for us with regards to what follows.

  1. The Council of Chalcedon (451), the theological complaints against the Council of Chalcedon and the “linguistic Monophysitism” of Dioscorus and Severus.

The Introduction makes sufficient mention of the teaching and stance of the Council of Chalcedon against the heresy of Nestorianism and Eutychianism (pp. 12-15). The dogmatic authority of the Terms of the Council, however, are undermined, reproducing without sufficient Orthodox commentary “a number of reasons” which show that both the Council and its Christology were understood differently by its opponents and thus discarded. However, apart from their historical significance, one does not find theological grounds for these reasons to be used as a justification for the aggressive Anti-Chalcedonian stance against the Council.

Regarding the first reason, that the terminology of “two natures” caused the Anti-Chalcedonians to dismiss the Council as Nestorian (p. 15), it should be borne in mind that the reason for their rejection of the Council was not a question of terminology, but of faith. It was the refusal of Dioscorus to accept the Formula of Reunion by which St. Cyril had himself specified that the difference of natures in Christ is not denied. The denial of a difference in natures is a matter of faith, it is Monophysitism. As we have already said, it was for this reason that Dioscorus was proved to be a “supporter of and of one mind with Eutyches” at the first session of the Council of Chalcedon.

As for the second reason (p. 16), namely the Anti-Chalcedonian claim that the “two natures” terminology was a setting aside of the Cyrilline phrase “One nature of the incarnate Word of God”, it must be noted that Timothy Aelurus and Severus of Antioch reacted negatively to the “two natures” terminology and furthermore to that of St. Cyril’s Formula of Reunion. Denouncing and anathematizing the Council of Chalcedon, they remained committed to a misinterpretation of the Cyrilline anti-Nestorian expression “One nature of the incarnate Word of God”. As clearly revealed in the anti-Severian writings of the Holy Fathers, Severus understood the above expression of St. Cyril to denote “a composite nature” in the one Christ, in which the human and divine natures could be distinguished “in thought alone”, with a Christological content that is entirely anti-Cyrilline. Severian Monophysitism, as highlighted in the polemical writings of St. Maximos the Confessor, John of Damascus and Photios of Constantinople, is not merely a “linguistic” variant of Cyrilline Christology, but a genuinely anti-Cyrilline Christology of confusion, which is therefore also monoenergist and monothelite in its perspective. According to the teaching of Severus, the two natures of Christ represent the total of divine and human properties, and are not essentially existing natures, but rather properties confused into one composite nature. Severus mischievously (according to St. Maximus the Confessor, PG 91, 40) regards these two natures as also being hypostatic entities (one constitutive and one “subsidiary”) unified in one composite hypostasis. This very important reference to Severus’ Christology of confusion is missing from the Introduction. It is relevant, however, for the lack of clarity regarding the subjects with which we will concern ourselves as we continue our commentary.

With respect to the third reason, related to the deposition of Dioscorus at the Council of Chalcedon and the orthodoxy of Leo’s Tome (p. 16), subjects to which Anti-Chalcedonians appeal in order to reject the Council, the Introduction is entirely devoid of an Orthodox perspective. Although “Dioscorus was not deposed for heresy”, as it rightly states, this fact does not, however, mean that his deposition is irrelevant to his heretical mind-set. On the contrary, it is because he was a supporter of Eutyches and of one mind with him that he did not appear before the Council in order to defend himself, for which reason he was deposed. This final element, confirmed by the anti-Monophysite writings of the Holy Fathers but dramatically absent from the contemporary academic theological writings that facilitate the conclusions of the Theological Dialogue, is well documented in contemporary literature. It is unnecessary to be reminded that the conciliar process at Chalcedon itself proves the Anti-Chalcedonian reservations about the Tome of St. Leo to be baseless, in that even if the orthodoxy of the Tome was initially contested by the fathers of the Council of Chalcedon, it was confirmed and ratified with their signatures on the basis of the teaching of St. Cyril. Also this final observation is not noted in the Introduction.

With regards to the fourth reason, which refers to the rejection of the Council of Chalcedon by the extreme “dogmatic Monophysites” [meaning here the Eutychians, in contrast to the “linguistic Monophysitism” of the Severian Anti-Chalcedonian party] because the Council seemingly veers towards Nestorianism (p. 16). It is useful to point out that both the “extreme” and “moderate” Monophysites in the period after Chalcedon, even if they disagreed on important Christological subjects and anathematised one another (e.g. Severians and Julianists), agreed on one thing: Monophysitism, seeing Nestorianism in the teachings of the Council. They admit one nature in Christ, whether it preserved the properties of its human nature (Severians) or whether it disappeared on account of the incomparable magnitude of the divine nature (Julianists). In light of this, those referred to in the Introduction as “linguistic Monophysites” (i.e. the Severians) should not, on account of their moderate position relative to that of the “dogmatic Monophysites”, be exempt from the essential characterization of “Monophysites”.

Lastly, referring to the political, cultural and geographical factors that led many peoples to reject the Council of Chalcedon (pp. 16-17), it should be borne in mind that: first, even if these factors serve as mitigating factors for the Anti-Chalcedonian peoples “who lived in the southern and eastern provinces of the empire” (p. 17), the Council should not for this reason be given the blame for their falling away from Orthodoxy. Secondly, a heretical mind-set was ultimately imposed on these peoples, whether independently or also because of these factors, which has endured until our own days.

The Introduction’s description of the history during the period that followed the Council of Chalcedon (pp. 17-19) is very problematic, almost applauding the Anti-Chalcedonians, but mainly because it is not based on conciliar and patristic Tradition. In particular, nowhere does it attest to that fact that the 5th Ecumenical Council was called to end the Anti-Chalcedonian schism (except that it esteems the monographs that serve the Orthodox - Anti-Chalcedonian reunion during the 20th century). The goal of the Council, as clearly attested to in the texts, is to free the Church from the heretics of that time. On the one hand were the supporters of the Three Chapters who misinterpreted the “in two natures”, and on the other the Monophysites who misinterpreted the Cyrilline phraseology “from two natures” and “one nature of the incarnate Word of God” as implying confusion; in other words the supporters of two Christologies wholly foreign to the Christology of the Council of Chalcedon. Whoever did not accept the four previous Ecumenical Councils were condemned in the minutes of the 5th Ecumenical Council. This is a clear condemnation of the Severians who had already been condemned since 536 by the local councils of Constantinople and Jerusalem. These points affirm that those who, according to the past Theological Dialogue, interpret the 5th Ecumenical Council as a justification of the anti-Chalcedonians and Severian Christology contradict history.

The 6th Ecumenical Council cannot be reconciled with some attempt to heal the Anti-Chalcedonian schism, as is stated in the Introduction (p. 17). On the contrary, it was the monothelite movement that was one such unorthodox attempt at a healing of the schism. With the condemnation of Monothelitism and Monoenergism, the 6th Ecumenical Council condemned (and did so by name in its Definition (Ὄρος)) Severus of Antioch and his heretical teaching, the fruit of which were the aforementioned heresies of the 7th century. Testimony of Armenian bishops taking part at the 6th Ecumenical Council is not a reason for the Introduction to support the idea that the 6th Ecumenical Council supposedly served some kind of role to reconcile the Orthodox and the Monophysite Armenians (p. 17). It was not the Armenian regions under the jurisdiction of the Monophysite synod of eastern Armenia that was represented at this holy Council, but rather the western regions that had joined the Orthodox Church during the negotiations for union at that time. In summarising the Church’s understanding of itself, the following statement of the Quinisext Council determines absolutely and unequivocally that Dioscorus of Alexandria was literally a heretic, meaning that he had a christologically confused mindset: “cast forth from the sacred precincts of the Church ... Nestorius and Dioscorus of whom the former was the defender and champion of the division, the latter of the confusion [of the two natures in the one Christ], both of whom fell away from the divergence of their impiety to a common depth of perdition and denial of God.” The Definition (Ὄρος) of the 7th Ecumenical Council followed as a catapult against the heresiarchs Dioscorus and Severus.

The attempts at reunion mentioned in the Introduction, in the 9th century by Photius the Great and in the 12th by Alexios Komnenos (p. 18) indeed brought the two sides to the verge of reconciliation, as the author remarks, but they also revealed the Christology of confusion held by Armenians and Syro-Jacobites, which they would have to abandon in the context of a union.

The Introduction’s observation that despite the mutual accusations of “dyophysitism” and “monophysitism”, “Both families of Orthodox (!) churches honored St. Cyril of Alexandria and confessed his Christological teachings” (p.18), does not express an Orthodox consciousness. The teachings of St. Cyril were preserved solely by the Orthodox Church, while the Christology supported by the Severians as Cyrilline is in reality a monophysitic misinterpretation thereof. The hymnology for the service of the Holy Fathers of the 4th Ecumenical Council (13-19 July) is disarming: “The two epistles of Cyril to Succensus, once having been sent, the presidency of dawn wholly put to shame the delusion of Severus, devoutly proclaiming Christ,” and “Cyril proclaims Christ in two natures, twofold in energies, and the heresy of Severus set about turning back; wherefore we abide in the former’s teaching".

Likewise, the observation that “the emperor Heraclius initially pursued a policy of reconciliation in 610” (p. 19), is not consistent with the Orthodox reading of history, but influenced by the Anti-Chalcedonian version thereof. The unifying policy of Heraclius following the ascension of Sergius to the throne of Constantinople in 610 was driven by a monothelitic idea and led to Monothelitism. Orthodox are not justified in speaking of a unifying policy, where the intended basis for unity is not the apostolic Faith, which is represented by the Christology of the Council of Chalcedon, and further developed by the teaching of the 6th Ecumenical Council on the two wills and two energies.

  1. The period of informal committees (1964 – 1979)

There was within the World Council of Churches “significant opportunities for theologians of the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches to meet and discuss matters of common interest,” as the author notes in the Introduction (p. 19). The unfortunate thing, however, is that the participants in these discussions, among them significant Orthodox theologians (Fr. Georges Florovsky, Fr. Dumitru Staniloae, Fr. John Romanides, Professor John Karmiris), had lost their initial enthusiasm for the expected outcomes of the Dialogue, which ultimately works against it. The mistakes made on the part of the Orthodox in this informal Dialogue have already been demonstrated. We will cite an example of the judgment of Professor Panagiotis Trembelas on one of the many such mistakes: “My colleague Mr. Karmiris developed his subject brilliantly, but on the assumption that those whom he was addressing were extreme Monophysites. But that they, whom Mr. Karmiris was elaborating on, were Severians and Monothelites is not disputable, but accepting these things in advance...three points would need to be touched upon significantly by them 1.) The acceptance of the four ecumenical councils, namely the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th. On this point, as we said, they have been proven by us to be extremely flexible. 2.) The character of Dioscorus as a heretic and the Synod of 449 as a robber council. But even with regard to this we have tried to be extremely polite. 3.) The great knot that was the precise clarification of the phrases 'in meaning', 'in concept', 'in thought', which not only have been avoided, but even have been darkened by much confusion. They were unintentionally for our confession against all monoenergites and monophysites, challenging the triumphant declarations of the Anti-Chalcedonians."

A basic problem with the unofficial conferences is that they were carried out outside of a secure Orthodox ecclesiological context. It is not allowed for someone to introduce an identity of Christological teaching between the Orthodox and the Anti-Chalcedonians (p. 21), inasmuch as anathemas have been pronounced by three Ecumenical Synods against the heresiarchs Dioscorus, Severus, etc., whom the Anti-Chalcedonians participating in conversation receive as their great teachers. The mistakes that were made in the unofficial conferences decisively influenced the course of the following official theological dialogue. The orthodox theologians of the Mixed Committee trusted in the theological authority of the theologians that had participated in the unofficial dialogue, and this fact influenced the theological developments on at least two points: in the false proclamation of the same Christological faith, and in the proposal for the lifting of the anathemas from each side.

The Introduction presented in the Encyclopedia of the Ecumenical Patriarch for the 1500th anniversary of the Fourth Ecumenical Council mentions the phrase of St. John of Damascus, which supposedly acknowledges the Anti-Chalcedonians as Orthodox. This phrase in English has been rendered as follows, "Those who did not receive the terminology of Chalcedon were nevertheless in all matters Orthodox' (p. 20). This represents a serious error of translation. The Greek text reads: "Egyptians, and Schematists, Monophysites, which, over the constitution of the Tome of Chalcedon, broke off from the Orthodox Church...are in all other things Orthodox" (Against Heresies, 83). This phrase clearly points to heterodoxy with respect to the precise point of the Anti-Chalcedonian teaching that lead to their secession from the Catholic Church, that is their Severian Monophysite Christology. The matter of the interpretation of this phrase has seriously concerned the inter-orthodox dialogue.

d) The Theological Problems of the Joint Declarations

The development of the themes and proposals of the Mixed Theological Committee on pp. 22-32 of the Introduction comes across as exceptionally interesting. The interest lies in the certainty of the author of "the fact that the (Joint) Declarations represent a precise and cogent affirmation of the common faith shared by both the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox" (p. 22). We wonder why the promotion of the agreement and proposals of the Mixed Committee of the Theological Dialogue must continue without taking into consideration the studies to the contrary; without having even the smallest (albeit negative) allusion to the dozens of studies and articles that reject the conclusions of the dialogue based upon the evidence. We understand that in this case, namely the Introduction, it would not be possible for such a study to be included in a book published under the care of the Mixed Committee of Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonian churches of America (S.C.O.B.A. and S.C.O.O.C.), but our responsibility is to show why we disagree with the positions of the author. And so, we will mention in part the points of the Joint Declarations that the Introduction deals with.

d1) The Common Apostolic Faith

The Author of the Introduction notes, "Most importantly, the statements solemnly affirm that both families of churches share the same faith" (p. 22). He cites the corresponding extract from the First Joint Declaration (par. 1-2) and certifies it by citing excerpts from the Second Joint Declaration (par. 1 and 2) that condemn the Eutychian and Nestorian heresy (p. 23). Yet it has been observed and sufficiently developed that the condemnation of Eutychianism and Nestorianism does not secure orthodoxy for the Anti-Chalcedonians, in so far as they do not renounce their Severian Monophysitism. The condemnation against them of Eutychianism and Monophysitism by the Holy Fathers after the council of Chalcedon, even though they had condemned Eutyches (p. 23) is absolutely justified. With this understanding, the view is inexplicable that "these unfortunate and inaccurate perceptions [he means the mutual condemnations of Monophysitism and Nestorianism] were frequently the basis of the anathemas that were exchanged in the period following Chalcedon" (pp. 23-24). Though indeed the accusation against the Orthodox of Nestorianism is an unfortunate and inaccurate perception, the accusation of the holy Fathers against the Anti-Chalcedonians for Monophysitism and Eutychianism is absolutely understandable and must be considered accurate, as it has been theologically supported. The Holy Fathers were neither unjustly nor excessively opposed to heresies.

With references to paragraph 8 of the First Joint Declaration and paragraph 3 of the Second Joint Declaration, the author of the Introduction repeats and highlights the claim of the Joint Declarations, that both families of churches understand in the same way the hypostatic unity of divinity and humanity in the unique theanthropic person of Jesus Christ, and that they condemn not only Eutychianism, but also Monotheletism (p. 24). But it presents a false claim. The hypostatic union, according to Orthodox Christology, is a union essentially of existing and countable natures (human and divine), while according to the ancient Severian and present day Anti-Chalcedonian Christology, it is union of divine and human properties in one composite theanthropic nature or (curiously and incomprehensibly) a union of divinity and humanity, existing hypostatically, in one composite hypostasis from two hypostases.

Concerning the claim that the Joint Declarations reject Monotheletism, since they refer to a divine will and a human will that belong to corresponding natures that were united inseparably without being mixed, under this point of view it should be acknowledged that this claim is unjustifiable. Monotheletism is not rejected with a simple acceptance that the natures have a source of will and energy (the progress of present day Anti-Chalcedonians is laudable, who accept the natural will and energy in a nature, except those sayings in opposition to their ancient tradition). But even with the modern acceptance that the composite hypostases of the incarnate Logos has two wills and two energies after the union, these things exactly have as a source the divinity and humanity contributing against that union. Because will and energy, even in the union of natures, remain natural properties. In Christ there does not exist a hypostatic personal will. A notable effort by the Coptic Metropolitan Damietis Bishoy to overcome this obstacle could not lead the contemporary Anti-Chalcedonian Christology to an essential denial of Monotheletism.

d2) Common Terminology

The author of the introduction believes that "While they do not deal directly with the Council of Chalcedon, the statements recognize that some of the important terminology used at that council is shared by both traditions" (p. 24). For substantiation he cites excerpts from par. 10 of the First Joint Declaration, in which the representatives of the two sides support that the four adverbs that describe the mystery of the hypostatic union (without fusion, unchangingly, inseparably, and indivisibly) belong to their common tradition (p. 24). But this is incorrect. The words on their own are not enough to describe the faith correctly because the real problem of homonyms plays a role. The adverb in question, 'without fusion'', has one meaning in Orthodox Christology and another in Severian: "St. Maximus the Confessor doubts the 'without fusion' of Severus, just as St. Cyril the 'indivisibly' of Nestorius, and speaks about the destruction of the natures on account of the one composite nature". The same words give differing content to the mystery of hypostatic union, corresponding to the theological presuppositions. The reason that makes "the theologians [i.e. of both sides] comfortable in citing terms that are so central to the dogmatic affirmation of the council [i.e. of Chalcedon]" (p. 25), as the author notes, is exactly this: because each side understands the hypostatic union in its own way! "The theologians indicate that both families of churches confess the same understanding of the relationship of the human and divine nature" (p. 25) precisely because they are mutually so bold as to call 'the same understanding' completely antithetical understandings.

d3) Different Formulas of Christological Faith

In the Introduction the strategy of the Joint Declarations is indicated: to recognize the different formulas of expression of the genuine Christological faith as legitimate, correct and thus not inconsistent (p. 25). An excerpt is provided from par. 9 of the First Joint Declaration in which the dogmatic content of the phrase 'two natures in Christ', when expressed not to deny the inseparable and indivisible union, is made equal to the content of the phrase 'one united theanthropic nature in Christ' when expressed not to deny the ongoing dynamic presence of the divine and human unchangingly and unfused in Christ. Yet another excerpt is provided from par. 7 of the Second Joint Declaration in which they mutually acknowledge the ability of the Anti-Chalcedonian side to keep the phrase 'one nature of the incarnate Word of God’ as long as it acknowledges the double-consubstantiality of the Word; and the possibility of the Orthodox side to use the formula 'two natures' as long as it acknowledges the distinction 'in thought alone', since it is indeed possible for both to express one Orthodox Christology. Then the author states that, unfortunately, the theologians on both sides after Chalcedon failed to grasp the possibility of expressing the same genuine faith with different formulations and on this account they rejected one another’s theological phraseology even though they had the exchanges of 433 as a precedent (p. 26)!

Nonetheless, the above positions of the Introduction, just as those of the Joint Declarations previously, are absolutely incorrect. Only ignorance or intentional oversight of the anti-Severian patristic literature leads to such positions. The two expressions considered to be synonymous by the writers of the First Joint Declaration are not theologically identical. The first expression is theologically correct. The phrase 'two natures in Christ' expresses the natural difference of the natures in Christ, and, in order to fully confess the mystery of the hypostatic union, it presupposes a formulation that expresses the inseparable and indivisible union (the hypostatic union), just as the Cyrilline expression 'one nature of the incarnate Word of God' or the Chalcedonian formulation of equal meaning, 'in no way is the difference of the natures destroyed through the union, but rather preserve the property of each nature and coincide in one person and one hypostasis.' The second phrase is dogmatically mistaken. The phrase 'one united theanthropic nature in Christ' expresses an absolutely Severian (anti-Orthodox) version of identity in Christ, the notorious 'composite nature'. The [phrase], ‘ongoing dynamic presence of the divine and human unchangingly and without fusion’ is a necessary addition that secures Severianism from falling into extreme Monophysitism. yet it is unable to describe the natural difference in Christ, the truth of the essential presence of the natures in the one hypostasis of the incarnate Word.

Consequently, it must be said that par. 7 of the Second Joint Declaration incorrectly deems that each side is justified to confess one of the two expressions as dogmatically equal. According to St. Maximus the Confessor, the mystery of the unity of the two natures in Christ requires each (of the following) expressions to be confessed together: the phrase 'one nature of the incarnate Word of God' for the declaration of hypostatic identity and the phrase 'two natures' for the declaration of natural difference. We are already obliged to accept that the ‘Definition' [Όρος] of the Council of Chalcedon masterfully included the two sides of the mystery in Christ; additionally, we should confess that it was an error that the Joint Declaration, as the author himself writes, did “not [deal] directly with the Council of Chalcedon" (p. 24). The Council of Chalcedon and its 'Definition' are the touchstones for the exposure of monophysitic mindset. The composition of other Christological expressions, other than the 'Definition' of Chalcedon, has proven harmful for the Dialogue. Metropolitan Chrysostomos (Constantides) of Ephesus has been vindicated for his insistence that other Christological formulas not be written up.

d4) The four latter Ecumenical Councils

The assurance of the Introduction transgresses every sense of fidelity to Orthodox Ecclesiology, just like another statement of the Joint Declaration from 20 years earlier: “The Joint Commission has wisely sought to deal with the doctrinal affirmations expressed at these councils rather than the more formal issue of the acceptance or rejections of particular councils. The statements affirm that the two families of churches are in full agreement in their understanding of the historic Orthodox faith. This means that the Oriental Orthodox churches recognize the faith of the church as expressed in the doctrinal decisions of the councils of 451, 553, 680, and 787, although they may not formally recognize these councils as being ecumenical” (pp. 26-27).

It has already been stated that Anti-Chalcedonian Christology has been censured as Monophysitic, both the ancient Severian Christology as preserved in the authentic texts of that age, and the modern Christology as expressed by contemporary Anti-Chalcedonian theologians. However, in the excerpt cited above another equally problematic matter is proposed.

Under the presupposition of the Introduction as mentioned above, the authority of the Ecumenical Councils is nullified. In so far as the Church Itself is expressed through the Council without error, how would we be one Church when some acknowledge them and others not? What type of union is being prepared, where the Ecumenical Councils are not taken into consideration? After serious theological discussions in the context of an Inter-Orthodox dialogue, it has been officially announced that a union without the acceptance of the Ecumenical Councils on the part of the Anti-Chalcedonians is forbidden. How we are now returning to the non-existent foundation of the spirit of the Joint Declaration after 20 years of Inter-Orthodox dialogue? This is a grave matter. The intention of the authors of the Joint Declaration is clear: to grant amnesty to the heresiarchs Dioscorus and Severus. We do not want to believe that this is also the intention of the author of the Introduction.

d5) The Lifting of Anathemas on Both Sides

It is noted in the Introduction: "These anathemas also reflected the inability of each tradition to recognize the fullness of the faith expressed in teachings of the leaders of the other" (p. 29). We mark out these lines with surprise and bewilderment. The Church, then, has been going astray for so many centuries? The Ecumenical Councils were not declared in the Holy Spirit? The Holy Fathers were mistaken when they accused the Anti-Chalcedonian heresiarchs of heterodoxy? What further meaning is there for us to trust in the Church as "the pillar and foundation of truth" (1Tim 3:15)?

The author of the Introduction, believing more in contemporary theological findings than the perennial unchanging stance of the Church, observes: “As a result of intensive studies of the period after Chalcedon, these teachers [he means Pope Leo, Philoxenus of Hieropolis, and Severus of Antioch] can be seen in a more accurate perspective...Given the fact that both the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox recognize that both families of churches have maintained the apostolic faith, they can now also recognize that these teachers bore witness to the faith, although they may have...preferred different terminology in their explication of Christology” (p. 29). This view falls in line with that of the Joint Declaration in favor of the removal of anathemas, insofar as the councils and Fathers which were anathematized or condemned are not heretics (par. 10, Second Joint Declaration). It would be necessary for him to have in mind that while there certainly were doctoral dissertations and other studies in which the heresiarchs Dioscorus and Severus were defended as being Orthodox in their teaching, the necessary theological answer was given in reply to this position.

We ought to repeat that the lifting of the anathemas that have been pronounced against heresiarchs is not possible, because this would mean that the Church refutes Herself and is no longer the "pillar and foundation of truth" (1Tim. 3:15). The anathemas of a dogmatic nature, which an Ecumenical Council imposes against councils and persons, are not refutable. If it is alleged that such anathemas can be refuted from a body of equal standing, such as a convoked Ecumenical Council, by necessity the former Ecumenical Council which had pronounced anathemas would need to be removed from the list of Ecumenical Councils, since it had incorrectly imposed anathemas upon heresies. So, which of the 7 Ecumenical Councils will we take away so that we can restore the heresiarchs Dioscorus and Severus?

d6) Liturgical Practice

It is noted in the Introduction that the union of churches will not harm the difference in liturgical practice, in the customs, the art and the language. The difference in these things, it is stressed, will manifest that the Church is truly Catholic (p. 31)! Yet we must note that, while the local churches being united in the truth of Orthodox Faith do not call for standardization of customs of secondary importance, the liturgical differences that exist between the Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonians are of a dogmatic nature, and they can not be ignored. For example, the Monophysite divine suffering of the phrase “He has been crucified for us” and the use of pure wine in the communion by the Armenians to represent the one nature of the divinity in Christ, are not simply customs. Besides, the catholicity of the Church is expressed mainly by the unity in Apostolic Faith and not at all in the difference in customs without dogmatic content.

d7) The Means of Restitution of Full Communion

The author if the introduction wonders "How will the unity of the two families of churches be formally proclaimed and restored?" (p. 33). And since procedural jurisdictional difficulties exist, so that there might not be a 'return' or 'submission' of one to the other, but 'restoration of full communion' he comments on two scenarios. The first scenarios is a local ("bilateral") application of intercommunion of mysteries, where the contacts between Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonians are for social reasons very close. The second scenario is the general ("multi-lateral) announcement of the union by all the Churches through representatives with the celebration of the Divine Eucharist. Yet we wonder; are these solutions permissible ecclesiologically?

From the Orthodox standpoint, by principle, the restoration of the Anti-Chalcedonians to the apostolic faith which the Ecumenical Councils express is most important. This means acceptance of Orthodox Christology and not proclaiming that both churches maintain faithfully the authentic apostolic faith. Simultaneously, it means a rejection of the Severian Christology and censure of the heresiarchs Dioscorus and Severus, and inclusion of the Ecumenical Councils. The jurisdictional discussions, which are mentioned and not negligible, are not a topic for our present small study.

The method of a local restoration of full communion according the example of the patriarch of Antioch that was already enacted in 1991 constitutes a blatant violation of the Holy Canons and a breach of Orthodox Ecclesiology itself. The divine Mysteries offered by Orthodox priests to heterodox Syro-Jacobites, Orthodox faithful receiving the 'mysteries' of the Syro-Jacobites, Orthodox clerics being blessed by Syro-Jacobite bishops to concelebrate with them, Syro-Jacobite clerics being blessed by Orthodox bishops to concelebrate. The authority of the Holy Canons has been lost, and so what remains?

The Holy Community of Mt. Athos in a letter to the All-Holy Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew dated August 12th/25th, 2002 expressed its distress about the agreements of the two legendary patriarchates of Alexandria and Antioch, since they place "in danger the Pan-Orthodox unity and create a precedence for greater anti-canonical activities against the basis of foundational principles of Orthodox Ecclesiology" and sought his intervention for the "annulments of the decisions of the patriarchs of Alexandria and Antioch, which led to these aforementioned activities." The response of the august Ecumenical Patriarch was immediate. On May 21st 2005, the head secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod wrote to the Holy Community: “relative to the agreement having been reached between the Patriarchate of Alexandria and the Coptic church...I am forwarding you a copy of the exchange of correspondence between the churches of Constantinople and Alexandria to inform your Sacred Body that a corresponding reverend patriarchal letter has been written to the blessed Patriarch of Antioch Ignatius; his reply has just been received and is being made known to you." The announcement letter of the All-Holy Ecumenical Patriarch (April 7, 2003) to the Patriarchate of Alexandria contains, among other things: "the most holy fathers practicing on the Holy Mountain express the view that the rumored agreement that was lately enacted....contravenes the Holy Canons because, according to them, it means an unacceptable communion in the Mysteries of the Orthodox with a heterodox church...we kindly, and in a brotherly manner, ask Your Beatitude to inform us about the specific state of the matter, so that we can reassure those scandalized if nothing debatable exists in the resolution given by Your Most Holy Church; if, however, there exist points provoking difference of opinion let us convoke a Pan-Orthodox discussion, so that the matter at hand may be faced in a Pan-Orthodox manner.”

As for the agreement of the Patriarch of Alexandria concerning mixed marriages, there was an interesting answer by the Patriarch of Alexandria Peter to the All-Holy Ecumenical Patriarch (May 14, 2003), in which he mentions among other things that, "The signed agreement is a product of much thought and abundant discussion between myself and the reverend hierarchs of our patriarchal throne...It does not have as a purpose the acknowledgement of the Mystery of Marriage of the Coptic church...It puts an end to the hemorrhaging of the Orthodox into the Egyptian flock, members of which are seeking their other half from the members of the Coptic church, with the result of their spiritual loss through their being cut off from Orthodoxy...to say in conclusion, the Alexandrian Church...according to the most extreme economy agreed to separate the sheep from the goats, the members of other churches should accept their responsibility, the churches should devote themselves to their own houses. Ending the discourse, we declare that inter-communion of the Alexandrian Church with the Coptic church does not exist under any circumstances, nor our participation in those (services) being performed by them."

From the above correspondence it is clear then that the agreement of the Alexandrian Church with the Copts should not be put forward as a precedent for a methodology of 'local' restoration of full communion, because in addition to it being seriously censured as anti-canonical, it has been been characterized as economy by the Patriarch of Alexandria himself. And every economy is temporary and enacted only for a specific reason, according the Holy Fathers.

The scenario wherein a synod of representatives of all Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonian churches announces the immediate lifting of the schism, and of immediate union with the performance of a Divine Liturgy contains the obvious danger of the immediate creation of a great schism of the entirety of Orthodoxy and the total collapse of the expectations of a decades-long theological dialogue.


Concluding our observation, we express the problem and our unrest about the fact that the Church in America is in danger of being lured away into a 'de facto' union of Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonians by means of so-called popular Ecumenism, albeit in the form of 'local' restoration of full communion according to the author of the Introduction. It is well known that there has been no synodical consent from the hierarchies of the Orthodox Churches for the promotion of union, despite the proposals being made by the Mixed Theological Committee for several decades now. The acceptance of the agreements and proposals by three or four local churches does not override the cautious stance of other churches. We shall cite but a few examples of the critical stance of important hierarchs and synodal bodies, because this shows that consent from the Church does not exist.

The Most Blessed Patriarch Diodorus of Jerusalem writes in his response letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch on Sept 12, 1992: "Wherefore justifiably, we wonder, in what way an agreement has been reached between our most Holy Orthodox Church and those Anti-Chalcedonians? 'What communion hath light with darkness?' (II Cor. 6:14). How shall we be able to call the heretical community the 'Venerable Church', that being composed of adherents having been judged by the Holy Ecumenical Councils and God-bearing Fathers of the heresy of Monophysitism? How then, do we dare in these days to proceed to a revision of those things decided by the Ecumenical Councils? On account of this we desire to express our concern to your All Holiness, with respect to the course of the so-called theological dialogue, and to express our bewilderment about the optimism with which it governs the sister Orthodox Church toward the removal of mutual condemnations...As such, the common Orthodox conscience dictates that those anathemas having been pronounced by the Ecumenical Councils and the Fathers of the Church against unrepentant heretics and those having deceased in heresy, that in the matter in hand, it is canonically impossible to deny or even attempt the removal of those being chastised and anathematized, in harmony with those things dogmatized in the 7th Ecumenical Council, 'anyone being of any condemned Christian heresy, if he ends his life in this, he is declared, anathema.' Those heretics according to the anathemas of the Orthodox, are ecclesiastically non-existent, and naturally, a removal of non-existence is not conceivable."

The Reverend Archbishop of Sinai Damianos, in reply to the Holy Community of the Holy Mountain about its book Commentary Concerning the Dialogue of Orthodox and Anti -Chalcedonians wrote on Sept. 1st/14th, 1996, among other things: “My personal stance, as well as that of the fathers of our monastery, was negative...because of the hasty maneuvering and the way in which the 'union' has been undertaken, at least so it seems from the Joint Declaration in Chambesy, which we think has swept us away into a most serious and quite harmful trap for the Orthodox faithful...I would say that...the Orthodox authors are murdering the authority of all the Ecumenical Councils...it would be more sincere for our Anti-Chalcedonian brethren to admit the mistaken perception about two natures that they had then and still have to this day, and passing over, out of leniency, the need for their written confession and tears [of repentance], to confess that they now accept unconditionally all of our Orthodox faith, starting from the 4th until the 7th Ecumenical Council.”

Archbishop of America Iakovos in his response (July 12, 1995) to the Holy Community of Mount Athos about the Commentary Concerning the Dialogue of Orthodox and Anti -Chalcedonians wrote: "We received in time your letter from May 14th/27th, 1995, as well as the truly scholarly annotation of your Holy Community concerning the dialogue of the Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonians, and having looked over these things with attention and interest, find the ‘observation’ a statement of faith and equal to a patristic text. Because this touches upon and analyzes more than any other text the danger of the most devastating rupture of Orthodox union, the very thing which is most essential, especially in our age. It is known that Orthodoxy is under attack on all sides and not only is it not being defended, but is leaving herself exposed to all sorts of influences and heresies. A dialogue of love, of course, must be continued yet without straying itself from the truth with respect to God and themselves...".

The synodal Theological Committee of the Church of Russia (Dec. of 1994) suggested, among other things, to the synod of hierarchs the evaluation that “the Second Joint Declaration and the proposal to the Church are not able to be considered as a final text.”

The synodal Committee for Dogmatic and Canonical Inquiries of the Church of Greece (Feb. 2, 1994) suggested to the synod of hierarchs, “The Church of Greece should not rush to accept these ‘Declarations,’ and it considers as essential dogmatic presuppositions of the union of Anti-Chalcedonians with the Orthodox Catholic Church, the following:

a.) The acceptance by the Anti-Chalcedonians of the Oros of the 4th Ecumenical Council.

b.) The acknowledgment of the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Ecumenical Councils as Ecumenical, and the acceptance of their dogmatic teaching (the Oros of each council) without interpretive statements.

c.) The discouragement of ‘concelebrating’ or of other ‘Joint Devotional Declarations’… In opposing circumstance the anti-Chalcedonians...shall remain heterodox."

The Holy Community of Mount Athos with the Commentary (May 14/27, 1995) has denounced, among other things"...1.)...2.) The affront to the validity and authority of the Holy Ecumenical Councils by the decisions of the Mixed Committee, such as the Anti-Chalcedonian heresiarchs Dioscorus, Iakovos, Severus, etc., being characterized as non-heretical, but rather Orthodox in their way of thinking....3.)...4)...5.) The Mixed Committee’s acknowledgement that today's Anti-Chalcedonians have the same Christological belief with us. 6.) The Mixed Committee’s restriction of the censure upon the Anti-Chalcedoniains to be applied only for the extreme Monophysitism of Eutyches...7.)...8.)...9.)...10.) The decision of the Holy Synod of the Church of Romania as foreign to the mindset of the Catholic Church...11.) The Mixed Committee’s extremely unsettling decision regarding the purging of liturgical books from passages citing the Anti-Chalcedonians as heretics...All these things we declare to the Venerable Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Venerable Hierarchy of the Orthodox Churches, the sacred clergy and the pious laity, and we humbly state that we were moved by a feeling of responsibility and are only aiming at setting the Theological Dialogue upright upon a correct foundation as quickly as possible."

The Reverend Metropolitan of Antinoe, Panteleimon, in his Christological study, with a specific reference to the dialogue with the Anti-Chalecedonians, writes conclusively: "By repentance and renunciation of all their heretical beliefs their return and true incorporation into the Canonical Body of the Orthodox Church will be realized. Because only by these conditions will a true union be realized for the glory of our one and only true God, of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit."

The Reverend Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, Hierotheos, in his specialized study about this inquiry writes: "The conclusion that an agreement has been achieved between Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonians in Christology and that a disagreement exists solely against the acknowledgment of the Ecumenical Councils cannot be supported from an Orthodox standpoint. Such a thing is contradictory. How would an agreement in Christological dogma be reached, when the Ecumenical Councils that determined it are rejected? Moreover, the most correct characterization of these men is not simply Anti-Chalcedonian or Pre-Chalcedonian, but as Monophysites, since they accept the view that Christ was constituted "from two natures" but simultaneously do not also admit the Orthodox teaching that Christ acts 'in two natures' 'in one hypostasis.'"

In conclusion: It is absolutely understandable from all of the above that the Orthodox cannot move toward an inter-communion of Mysteries with the Anti-Chalcedoniains, not even on a local ecclesiastical level (in America for example). A union without unity in Orthodox Faith, a union that bypasses the conciliar and patristic tradition, in accordance with which the Anti-Chalcedonians were deemed Monophysite heretics and continue to be, constitutes the utmost danger. It will create new schisms in the Church and our beloved Anti-Chalcedonians will not be saved, since they will not be lead to the faith of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. In order that the latter be helped to move toward a true union in the Orthodox Faith with the Orthodox Church, a new dialogue must now be realized upon an Orthodox basis.

Holy Mountain, September 1/14, 2011


*This article was written in 2011.

1 Some reaffirm that the Anti-Chalcedonians have a monophysite Christology. Indicatively, we cite the studies: 1.) Chrysostomos S. Konstantinidou, Met. Myron, Orthodox Overviews, vol. 3, 4th edition, Katerina 1991. 2.) Staniloae, Rev. Prof. Dr. Dumitru, Studii de teologie dogmatica, Craiova, 1991. 3.) St. Maximus the Confessor, Christological and Spiritual Writings and Epistles, trans. Prof. Dumitru Staniloae, EIBMBOR, Bucuresti 1990. 4.) Jean-Claude Larchet, The Christological Problem. Concerning the Studies of Union of the Orthodox Church and the Non-Chalcedonian churches: The consequent theological and ecclesiological problems. ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ 74/1 (2003), pgs. 199-234; 74/2 (2003), pgs. 633-670; 75/1 (2004), pgs 77-104. 5.) The introduction to the Serbian edition of his own work which Met. Athanasios Yevtitch, previous Bishop of Zachoumiou and Herzegovina, under the title Dr. Jean-Claude Larche, Christological Problems, 2nd edition, Vaskrs 2001. 6.) Elpidophoros B. Lambriniadis (now Metropolitan of Bursa of the Ecumenical Patriarchate), “The stance of Severus of Antioch against the Council of Chalcedon” (anecdotes of a doctoral dissertation) Thessaloniki 2001, who proves the monophysitism of Severus of Antioch and the "monophysite tradition of the Anti-Chalcedonian Ecclesiastical communion on the basis of its pastoral and catechetical activity" and he presents, also, an exceptionally insightful observation, that "the view of modern theologians that it is not correct to call them Monophysites, since the incarnational reality of Christ has been expressed in an equally wise manner as much from Severus as from Chalcedon, is a hypothesis either of their own self-determination or of the theological dialogues of the 20th century." (pgs 9-11, and footnote) 7.) George Metallidis, The Chalcedonian Christology of St. John Damascene (Philosophical Terminology and Theological Arguments), Durham 2003 (doctoral dissertation), who asks with dynamism the question: “Why do the Anti-Chalcedonians have, according to St. John Damascene, a heretical Christology?”. Aside from the above, the heterodoxy of the Anti-Chalcedonians is revealed patristically and by the many studies criticizing the Joint Declaration, about which see the following foot note.

2 The Patriarch of Jerusalem Diodorus (1992), Met. of Nafpaktos Hierotheos (2004), Met. of Kuryneia Paul (1998), The Synodal Dogmatic Committee of the Church of Greece (1994), the professors Nicholas Mytsopoulos (1994), Fr. Theodore Zissis (1994), Dimitris Tsellengidis (2002), Andrew Papabasileiou (2000), the theological brotherhood 'The Savior' (1995), the theologian Stavros Bozovitch (1999), with many texts of the Holy Community and of the Holy Fathers of Mt. Athos, as is apparent in the footnotes that follow. Also pious clerics and lay theologians from the pillars of the ecclesiastical mould. Specifically, we cite the letter of Met. Athanasius Yevtitch recently published in the Serbian periodical 'Teoloski Pogledi', issue 2/2011, in which by means of the article of the Coptic cleric Peter Farrington ‘The orthodox Christology of Severus of Antioch’ he proves the monophysitism of Severus of Antioch. See the greek translation of the letter of Met. Athanasius with the title ‘The Severian Christology is Monophysitism.’”

3 It is mentioned in paragraph 9 of the Second Joint Declaration (1990): “Both families of churches have always upheld faithfully the same genuine Orthodox Christological faith and the unbroken continuity of the apostolic tradition, and yet they used Christological terms in different ways. The same common faith and continuous fidelity to the apostolic tradition is proper to be become the base of our union and communion.”

4 St. John of Damascus, Against All Heresies, 83

5 ACO II, 1, ,1, 66.

6 About this that he means his phrase in a Monophysite way, enough has been written, cf. Pan. Trembela, On the Minutes of the Conference in Aarhus, ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑ, 15 Feb. 1966, issue 4, pgs 101-103. Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, Dioscorus and Severus, the Anti-Chalcedonian Heresiarchs (analysis of two doctoral dissertations), I.M Grigoriou, Mt. Athos, 2003, pgs. 31-78.

7 Extensive analysis of the term "in thought alone" according to the Orthodox (Cyrilline) and Severian meaning, is found in Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, Dioscorus and Severus...., (cited above), pgs 151-171. And concerning the present day anti-Chalcedonian understanding of the term "in thought alone" with the Severian meaning, Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, Theological Observations concerning the four recommendations of Metropolitan Bishoy of Damietti on the Joint Declarations of the Theological Dialogue of Orthodox and anti-Chalcedonian, July 11, 2004, pg. 22 (the full text has been submitted to the Ecumenical Patriarch, and an overview has been published in the periodical, ΠΑΡΑΚΑΤΑΘΗΚΗ, vol. 37/2004, pg. 7-12), where it is noted, "the format and comments, which are presented in the recommendation of Moscow, pg 6., and the text of Echmiadzin of Armenia, pg. 10, [the recommendation of Moscow and the text of Echmiadzin are two of the four recommendations of Metropolitan Bishoy that are criticized in the above article] do not clarify if they pertain to a Severian or Orthodox interpretation of this controversial term. That is, if the mind through a false concept refashions two imaginary constituent natures and it considers these as two, non-existent in the 'real' situation of the one composite nature, or if through a true conception it revises these realities, without two enhypostasized natures in the hypostasis of the Word."

8 For a detailed analysis of this aspect of the Severian Christology, cf. Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, Dioscorus and Severus.... (cited above), pg. 119.

9 Refutation of the claim that Dioscorus was condemned only for canonical reasons, cf. in Archim. George Abbot of Grigoriou, The 'Ideological' Orthodoxy of the anti-Chalcedonians. Answers to the views of prof. George Martzelos, published by the Holy Monastery of Grigoriou, Mt. Athos, 2005, pg. 43.

10 Met. Meletius of Nikopoli, The Fifth Ecumenical Council, Athens 1985, pgs. 120-121.

11 The Sacred Community of the Holy Mountain, Observations on the Theological Dialogue of Orthodox and anti-Chalcedonians. Answers to the critique of Met. Damascene of Switzerland, Mt. Athos, 1996, pgs. 69-69.

12 Archim. George Abbot of Grigoriou, The 'Ideological' Orthodoxy of the anti-Chalcedonians. Answers to the views of prof. George Martzelos, published by the Holy Monastery of Grigoriou, Mt. Athos, 2005, pg. 40. See also Protopresbyter Theodore Zisis, Photius the Great and the Union of the Armenians with the Orthodox Church, The 15th Minutes of the Theological Conference 'Photius the Great', Sacred Metropolis of Thessaloniki, 1995, pgs. 584-585.

13 Archimandrite George Abbot of Grigoriou, cited above, pgs 41-42.

14 Panagiotis Trebela, On the Minutes of the Deliberations in Aarhus, ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑ, Dec. 1, 1965, vol. 25, pgs. 598-601. Archim. George, Abbot of Grigoriou, The anti-Chalcedonians were not and are not Orthodox

(Answers to the study of Fr. John Romanides supporting the opposite opinion), ΚΟΙΝΩΝΙΑ, vol. 2/1999, pgs. 127-135 and vol. 3/1999, pgs. 253-262. On the same topic, Archim. George, Abbot of Grigoriou, The 'Ideological' Orthodoxy of the anti-Chalcedonians. Answers to the views of Prof. George Martzelos, published by the Holy Monastery of Grigoriou, Mt. Athos, 2005, pgs. 36-43. On the same topic, Concerning the 'Orthodoxy' of the Anti-Chalcedonians. A Second Answer to Prof. George Martzelos. ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ, vol. 78/2007, pg. 511. Also Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, The Contemporary Dialogue of the Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonians Under the Light of the Tradition of the Church, in the volume Orthodoxy and Heresy (Minutes of Emerida, September 22, 2001), published by the Sacred Coenobium of St. Nicodemus, Youmenissa, 2009, pgs. 137-138, footnote 11. Also on the same topic, Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, Dioscorus and Severus, the Anti-Chalcedonian Heresiarchs (analysis of two doctoral dissertations), I.M Grigoriou, Mt. Athos, 2003, pg. 116, footnote 54.

15 Panagiotis Trebela, On the Minutes...., cited above, January 15, 1966, vol. 2, pg 44.

16 Andreas N. Papabasileiou, The Theological Dialogue between Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonians, Leucosia, 2000, pgs. 84-89.

17 [Translator's Note] From Lampe's lexicon the original Greek word Σχηματικοί either means one who believes Christ's appearance is only in form, or it is a variant of the word 'schismatic'.

18 Archim. George Abbot of Grigoriou, The 'Ideological' Orthodoxy of the Anti-Chalcedonians. Answers to the Views of prof. George Martzelos, published by the Holy Monastery of Grigoriou, Mt. Athos, 2005, pgs. 26-34. On the same topic, Concerning the 'Orthodoxy' of the Anti-Chalcedonians. A Second Answer to Prof. George Martzelos. ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ, vol. 78/2007, pg. 520-527.

19 We write 'must continue', because the Introduction agrees in content with the preceding article of the author; "Towards the Reestablishment of Full Communion: The Orthodox - Oriental Orthodox Theological Dialogue", Greek Orthodox Theological Review 36:2 (1991), pgs. 169-188, despite that dozens of studies and articles with critical evidence on the Joint Declarations have been published and widely discussed since then.

20 Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, The Contemporary Dialogue...cited above, pg. 147.

21 Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, Dioscorus and Severus....cited above, pg. 79.

22 Archim. George Abbot of Grigoriou, ‘The Ideological Orthodoxy’...cited above, pgs. 54-58. On the same topic, Concerning the Orthodoxy...cited above, pgs. 505-508.

23 Panagiotis Booby, Concerning the Anti-Chalcedonians, John of Damascus, and Recent Dissertations, ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ, vol. 77/2006, pg.273. On the same topic, The misunderstood St. John of Damascus, ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ, vol. 79/2008, pgs. 42-50. See also Archim. George Abbot of Grigoriou, Concerning the 'Orthodoxy' of the Anti-Chalcedonians...cited above, pg. 508.

24 Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, Dioscorus and Severus....cited above, pgs 124-151.

25 Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, Theological Observations...cited above, pgs. 9-17.

26 The 'incomprehensibly' here is a figure of speech. The Nestorian conception of natures is absolutely understandable in the Severian system in which Severus of Antioch ended up after his dispute with Sergius the Grammarian and the other ancient Monophysites. St. Maximus the Confessor knew of this discussion and censured the 'evil machinations' of Severus, PG 91, 40-41.

27 Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, Theological Observations...cited above, pgs. 17-22.

28 Archim. George Abbot of Grigoriou, The ‘Ideological Orthodoxy’...cited above, pgs. 56-57. See also Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, Dioscorus and Severus....cited above, pgs. 43-44.

29 The reference by the author of the Introduction to the 10th paragraph to the Joint Declaration is clearly mistaken

30 The Sacred Community of the Holy Mountain, Observations on the Theological...cited above, pg. 57.

31 St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition..., 47. Archim. George Abbot of Grigoriou, The 'Ideological' Orthodoxy...cited above, pgs. 47-49, and footnote 66.

32 The introduction of the Committee of the Sacred Community of the Holy Mountain concerning the dialogue between Orthodox and Anti-Chalcedonian (Feb. 1994), in the collected volume, Are Anti-Chalcedonians Orthodox? Holy Mountain, 1995, pgs. 22-23.

33 Chrysostomos Konstantinidou, Dialogue of Orthodox Churches and Ancient Eastern Churches, ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ, vol. 51/1980, pgs. 229-230.

34 Stavros Bozoviti, The Eternal Boundary between Orthodoxy and the Anti-Chalcedonians, Theological Brotherhood 'The Savior', Athens 1999, pgs. 144-148.

35 Ilias D Kesmiri, The Christological and Ecclesiatical Politics of Dioscorus of Alexandria (summary of doctoral dissertation), Thessaloniki 2000. John Nikolopoulou, The Christology of Severus of Antioch and the 'Oros' of Chalcedon, Thessaloniki 2002 (summary of doctoral defense). George Martzelos, Orthodoxy and the Heresy of the Anti-Chalcedonians According to St. John of Damascus, ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ, vol. 75, issue 2, 2004. From the same, The "Orthodoxy" of the Anti-Chalcedonians According to St. John of Damascus and the Inter-Orthodox Dialogue. ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ, vol. 77/2006.

36 Hieromonk Luke of Grigoriou, Dioscorus and Severus....cited above. Archim. George Abbot of Grigoriou, The 'ideological' orthodoxy...cited above. Archim. George Abbot of Grigoriou, Concerning the 'Orthodoxy' of the Anti-Chalcedonians...cited above.

37 The Sacred Community of the Holy Mountain, Observations on the Theological...cited above, pgs. 88-95.

38 St. Photius the Great, Library, 277; 244.

39 In the collected volume, Are the Anti-Chalcedonians Orthodox? Holy Mountain, 1995, pg. 50.

40 ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΑ, vol. 1, January 1995, pg. 31. See also the collected volume, Are the Anti-Chalcedonians Orthodox? Holy Mountain, 1995, pg. 49.

41 In the collected volume, Are the Anti-Chalcedonians Orthodox? Holy Mountain, 1995, pgs. 41-53.

42 Met. of Antinoe, Panteleimon Lampadariou, The Incarnation of the Word (a theological answer to the question of the Anti-Chalcedonians), Hesychastyrion of St. George Anydrou, Johnitsa 2008, pg. 219.

43 Met. of Nafpaktos and St. Blaise, Hierotheos, Religion and Church in Community, Holy Monastery of the Birth of the Theotokos (Pelagias), 2006, pg. 167.

44 See also Andreas N. Papabasileiou, The Theological Dialogue...cited above, pg. 304. Jean-Claude Larchet, The Theological Problem....cited above, pgs. 77-104.

Posted on June 7th, 2018

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