Cough

My response to my critics has been a while in coming. So too have the posts. This is because I am sick. When I am sick, everything slows down and only those things that are necessary get attention. Sorry, you, dear reader are not necessary. But I will respond to critics later. In the mean time, here is something that might make you cough.

Perry Robinson

“The position of the Council of Paris (823) was similar, [to that of Frankfurt 794], confirming the theological mistrust which henceforth would dominate East-West relations. By 871-possibly much earlier-it became known in New Rome that the Franks took their military successes and the Roman defeats to be God-given proof that they themselves were orthodox and the Romans heretics and therefore not Romans but Greeks. Only the papal states, according to the Franks, constituted the remnant of the Res Publica Romana and so only the citizens of this tiny empire were to be called Romans. They were the only remanining orthodox Romans because God had given them to the Franks to be guided by them. In his letter of 871 to the Emperor Basil I (867-86) the Emperor Louis II (855-75) claimed: ‘We have received the government of the Roman Empire for our orthodoxy. The Greeks have ceased to be the emperors of the Romans for their cacodoxy.’  This is why ‘we received from heaven this people and city (Rome) to guide and the mother of all the churches of God to defend and exalt.’ The military successes of the Franks gave them the confidence to reject both the authority of the emperor and the theology of the council of 787.

Ambrosios Giakalis, Images of the Divine: The Theology of Icons at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, Brill 2005. p. 21

20 Responses to Cough

  1. Sophocles says:

    Dear STK (and Photios),

    I ask for your forgiveness and Photios your point will be heeded. I only ask, not to needle, because I’m genuinely interested in STK’s story. But perhaps if he so wishes, it would be good for another time, in the spirit of fellowship only, of course. I do not want to burden you with any unwelcome prying on my part.

    In Christ and in fellowship,

  2. TR Val,

    I agreed. Except that STK has very little to learn from us Orthodox in this case on the issues that divide east and west. He’s a staunch supporter of Palamas and is firmly against the Carolingian filioque doctrine. I’ve never been disappointed by his book recommendations, and I would easily welcome him as a contributor to this blog. Trust me, he gets bugged enough of why he’s ecclesiastically not Orthodox. I REALLY don’t want him to be bugged about that here.

    Photios

  3. STK,

    I think readers should be careful reading what anyone writes here or anywhere on the Internet (though I think the quality here is much better than typically found online).

    I certainly meant no offence and and humbly apologise if any was given.

    After too many years of exposure to the ‘Orthodox in communion with Rome’ shtick (perhaps ‘canard’ would be more appropriate) and attempts by Uniates to make Orthodox belief appear compatible with Papal Christianity[*], I tend to give readers of Orthodox fora in which I participate — and expect to receive when appropriate — a ‘heads up’ when something from a Uniate source is recommended. It isn’t always easy to discern the difference without an explicit caution.

    [*] IMNSHO, I see a vast gulf separating Eastern Chalcedonian Christianity from Papal Christianity and believe Papal Christianity much closer to Protestant Christianity; I likewise believe Eastern Chalcedonian Christianity is much closer to Eastern Anti-Chalcedonian Christianity.

    Thomas

  4. Sophocles says:

    Dear Steven,

    I’m curious as to why you are a Uniate. With all your knowledge and your obvious love of the Faith, knowing the history of the Church, why?
    (I’m not asking for debate, but I really want to know. Your sympathies, as far as I’ve seen, lie with the Orthodox Catholic Church).
    If you choose not to answer, I understand.

  5. I’m a uniate too, so I suppose that people should be careful reading what I write.

    God bless,
    Todd

  6. Just a word of caution. The Byzantine-Slav Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is a very useful resource, but it was written by a Uniate priest. As I recall (I read it at least 12-ish years ago), it does have some biases, though nothing overt.

    Thomas

  7. The following is a favorite quotation of mine from a book called “The Byzantine-Slav Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom,” by Fr. Kucharek, which fits nicely in this thread:

    “There is a fundamental difference between Byzantines and Westerners in the interpretation of sacred images. The latter merely regard them as representations of one whose presence is elsewhere, in heaven. For the Byzantine Christian, the icon is a veritable theophany, a dynamic manifestation of divine energy at work on earth. The person represented is in some spiritual way actually present in the icon. From this presence flow streams of grace upon the sinful world, purifying and sanctifying it.

    How [does one] explain this mysterious presence in the icon? To define this presence would be as difficult as explaining the Shekinah or the mysterious presence of Christ amid two or three gathered together in His name (Matt. 18:20). Yet such a presence was no less true. The mystical teaching concerning icons stems from the master idea of all Eastern typology, the idea of the Church building as ‘Heaven on earth.’ Gregory of Nyssa was probably the first to set out the main lines of such teaching. His doctrine was taken up and developed by others. The author of the eighth-century ‘Rerum Ecclesiasticarum Contemplatio,’ for example, expresses it boldly: ‘The heaven wherein the Triune God lives and moves on earth is the Christian holy place, the Church. . . .’ The presence of heaven passed easily from the Church to the icon.

    The West never understood the iconoclastic controversy. It did not see the veneration of icons as a dogmatic matter but simply as a disciplinary matter. The Byzantine East, on the other hand, saw clearly in the decision of the seventh general council a contribution toward a better understanding of the mystery of the Incarnation or, more precisely, the mystery of God’s communication of Himself to the world and to man in particular. That is why iconography was always such a serious science. It was never merely an art form. To be worthy of the task, the ancient icon painters prayed and fasted for days before taking up their brush – only then could they communicate the Divine through their image-making. Because icons represent human forms that have been ‘regenerated into eternity,’ holy bodies of persons transformed, transfigured by grace in prayer, iconographers attempted to convey theological meanings through symbolical colors and forms. Saints, for example, are represented facing forward so that their entire face is showing, for a spiritual man cannot be incomplete, with one eye only. ‘A soul that has been illuminated by divine glory,’ teaches Macarius the Great, ‘becomes all light and all face. . . and has no part with that which is behind but stands altogether facing forward.'” [Fr. Kucharek, “The Byzantine-Slav Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom,” pages 228-230]

  8. Death Bredon says:

    Bloody Franks. Now if I could just persuade my English brethren that the English Reformation should not just go behind Scholasticism but also behind the Norman invasion . . . .

  9. Sophocles says:

    Dear Perry,

    Thank you for your reply. I stand 100% behind you in what you’re doing on this blog and I’m sure in your field and in your personal life. And I agree with you that such popular works can only go so far, but as in my own case, such popular works can serve to fire the imagination to spur one on to a deeper Faith, to be on solid food and not just on milk.
    Also, with me, it drives me nuts when the “traditional” doctrine of God is presented from this Latin perspective. I so want people to know that this is not the case, that in a sense, what they think they know about Christianiy is not even close, its not even Christianity truly.
    And you’re right, the one-liners about “mystical” and “rational”, do not count. But, we cannot dismiss that there is truth in these one-liners and the Orthodox Faith, since it IS true, penetrates into the very fabric of reality in such a way, that he who seeks empirical evidence for its truth will find a seamless whole waiting intact for him and I believe you stated that your conversion occured along these lines. But, this Faith also provides a mystical reality whole and intact for such a person that seeks such a thing. I believe that the complete human person, healed and divinized, is both and more, but that truth, as it is interfaced with by any given person, will yield its own proper fruit. Its like when I attend a Divine Liturgy with a friend. We both experience the same Liturgy, yet it speaks to us differently, perhaps at whatever need or longing is present within us. And of course, the Liturgy itself has no special power in and of itself, but our Lord uses it a as a chosen means to communicate to us.
    I may have, for instance, just gotten off your blog site with some new insights into history or the Fillioque and I step into the Liturgy, into the kingdom but my friend is reading, say, “Mountain of Silence”, so his thoughts are perhaps on a different aspect of the kingdom. But even here, the Apostle promises us that we are to grow up into the fullness of Christ, to a complete man, pulling together these different fragmented parts and creating me whole, in Him.
    Anyway, thatnk you for letting me share some of my thoughts with you and as you said,I too am in the process of forming and articulating, and as such, I am a student here on your blog because I have much to learn, but I keep praying.

    In fellowship and in Christ,

  10. acolyte says:

    Joseph Farrell, Free Choice in St. Maximus the Confessor.

  11. EYTYXOΣ says:

    “What drove me nuts prior to being Orthodox was the fact that I knew there had to be something more coherent than the, “We’re Orthodox because we have pretty pictures and spiritual liver shivers” line. All I got was Ware’s simple and inadequate explanations. In any given tradition, there are authors who crystalize the tradition in their writings, who give detailed and coherent answers. Ware, Conaris, et al don’t do that. All I kept getting from the Orthodox were popular type works. It wasn’t tell I “chance” happaned upon Farrell’s book that I could figure out where all of the bases were, how to play the language game, and see the inner logic of the system.

    From that point it was easy to trace out how biblical texts were going to be understood, arguments made in its defence, etc. So I am convinced that half of our “apologetic” is just articulating clearly the problems and how the Orthodox view answers them. The “Latin’s are rational and the East is mystical” or “Scholasticism is bad” lines don’t count.”

    Which book by Farrell are you referring to?

  12. acolyte says:

    Sophocles,

    The short answer is to deal with it in part by education. The story of the East is a either a rather large blank to western Christians, even to those better read or is viewed through the lens of a different model. By bringing out citations like these, I hope to enlighten others.

    I myself, even after becoming Orthodox wasn’t aware of an Orthodox take on some crucial areas of history. I converted laragely on the basis of the out that Maximus gave me from the problem of evil and predestinarianism. The two together formed an unbearable load. My options, barring Maximus, were either atheism or forced ignorance.

    Ironically, some light broke through with a book given to me a long time before by Richard Haugh, Photios and the Carolingians, in which I could re-interpret the re-interpreted history. (I am still learning so this is an ongoing project.) Much of this re-evaluation is already underway. Some by Dvornik and Chadwick for example. So the first step is to just articulate an alternative model and present it.

    In my field, I am constantly questioning the intellectual imperialism of the Latins. Analytic philosophers of religion are constantly speaking of “the traditional Christian doctrine of God.” And by that phrase they mean the Latin-Augustinian speculative model. Be they Protestant or Catholic, they are always refering to the same thing, even if they, like Open Theists, disagree with it. I always object, whose tradition exactly? Not mine and mine counts for a heck of a lot. Forcing Latins to admit, to become conscious of the parochial status of their beliefs is a first step.

    What drove me nuts prior to being Orthodox was the fact that I knew there had to be something more coherent than the, “We’re Orthodox because we have pretty pictures and spiritual liver shivers” line. All I got was Ware’s simple and inadequate explanations. In any given tradition, there are authors who crystalize the tradition in their writings, who give detailed and coherent answers. Ware, Conaris, et al don’t do that. All I kept getting from the Orthodox were popular type works. It wasn’t tell I “chance” happaned upon Farrell’s book that I could figure out where all of the bases were, how to play the language game, and see the inner logic of the system.

    From that point it was easy to trace out how biblical texts were going to be understood, arguments made in its defence, etc. So I am convinced that half of our “apologetic” is just articulating clearly the problems and how the Orthodox view answers them. The “Latin’s are rational and the East is mystical” or “Scholasticism is bad” lines don’t count.

  13. Perry Robinson says:

    Jack,

    Don’t feel bad. My family is from Calabria!

  14. Jack,

    You haven’t read the Biological Sickness of Religion by Romanides and the 85% of the French population were serfs and villains have you. You might be a Frank, do you descend from nobility? If not, you might have more roots as a Gallic-Roman. But then, who cares? Ethnicity doesn’t make you Orthodox. St. Paschasius Radbertus was a Frank, and a great one.

    Photios

  15. Jack says:

    Sigh. That is entirely believable. The Franks had a tough time with icons. My ancestors come from Lyon. Does that make them Franks?

  16. I love Giakalis’ book, and I am sorry to hear about his being ill. I will pray diligently for him.

  17. Apostolos says:

    Greetings from Greece.
    His Eminence Ambrosios (Giakalis) is a former hierarch of the Church of Greece (Metropolis of Kozani). His Eminence was elected Metropolitan of Kozani in 1998 by the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Church of Greece, at the age of 58. Unfortunately he abdicated the throne a couple of years ago, due to incurable disease.

  18. acolyte says:

    Ochlo,

    Don’t know much other than what the flap of the book tells. ITs a decent book. It could be tighter in places, especially given the price, but over all, its a good book.

  19. ochlophobist says:

    Wow.

    Who is Ambrosios Giakalis? What do you know about him?

    I will pray thee well, by the way.

  20. Sophocles says:

    Dear Perry,

    This is what is to me the most frustrating aspect of speaking to our Roman Catholic friends. The present reality we have inherited, which me move in, live in, and have our being in, is negated by this history of the “East”(even this nomenclature as well as others like “Byzantine” or “Orthodox”, “Orthodox” having been taken by necessity to describe the True Church and Faith in contrast to the claims of the papacy and her adherents. The term “Orthodox” especially is lost on our “Western” friends in an adjectival usage and to them it registers as noun, relegating the Church as a choice to be chosen in comparison to other choices, say like deciding which ice cream is best, the choice being one of taste, not truth.)
    To my present understanding, what we contend with is not two opposing ecclesial structures per se, but we are forced to contend with a counterfeit reality, of which said opposing ecclesial structure is merely a manifestation of this reality, protruding into real time and space, obscuring the really real reality. I think, among us Orthodox Catholic Christians, this is why we sometimes get so frustrated with our Western friends because we can “see” this reality, at some level, depending how open the soul is to God and how purified the nous. Our efforts, in my opinion, should be directed with the understanding that these souls are in bondage and that we are dealing with fallen wills as well. Logic alone is not the answer, but a logic infused with the Divine Spirit tempered with restraint to curb our intentions when we sense we have entered the arena of debate simply for the sake of debate.
    I will probably post some more thoughts along these lines in the future on my own blog, but I would love to hear thoughts on thses present remarks.

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