Re: Grace, Theotokos (was: Ave Maria)
|From:||Danny Wier <dawier@...>|
|Date:||Monday, July 10, 2000, 17:19|
--- John Cowan <cowan@...> wrote:
> Concedo. But I have a vague memory that part of the trouble between the
> Orthodox (both East and West at that time) and the Alexandrians (who
> repudiate the traditional label 'monophysite', so I will not use it)
> was over the propriety of imagery involving "God suckling at a human
> breast"; the Alexandrians (perhaps influenced by their Isis/Osiris
> heritage?) were for it, the Orthodox against it. Anybody know
> more about this?
this would be a great topic for conculture...
The "Monophysite" controversy came as a result of another heresy, Nestorianism.
Monophysitism and Nestorianism are fierce opposites.
The Nestorians taught that Jesus Christ is the mere manifestation of God the
Son. But Jesus is *not* the second Person of the Trinity. The man Jesus only
does the work of God, but is not God himself. There are no Nestorian churches,
not even the so-called "Nestorian" Church of Armenia and Assyria. (Those
are... well, I'm not sure, but probably a form of "Protestant".)
The dogma held by Alexandria, Constantinople and Rome considered Jesus Christ
and the Son of God as one and the same. The fullness of the Godhead dwells
within the body of Christ. As a result, Mary his mother is truly the
Theotokos, the Mother of God. Nestorians abhorred such an idea.
Now Alexandria and Antioch fully agreed with the mainstream Church in saying
that Christ is indeed God. However, the Monophysites went even further by
saying that Jesus was always God in his very nature, but he never was fully
human. Constantinople and Rome held that the Christ has two natures, divine
and human, and two complete natures at that. Only that the two natures are
inseperable, just as the three Persons of the Triune God are distinct, but
So the break between African-Asian and European Christianity. I think this
took place in either the 5th or 6th century.
The "Oriental" Churches -- Syriac and Coptic, and their offshoots Malankara
(South Indian) and Ethiopic -- do not teach monophytism as though Jesus was
never a man. Instead, they use a word "diaphysite", where the two natures
simply melted into one. (The Roman and Eastern Churches are "diphysite", two
natures.) So the doctrinal difference is kind of complicated. The main
barriers separating Catholic from Orthodox is political; the doctrinal
differences are not as marked as, say Catholic and Protestant. The Churches of
the East are fully sacramental and righfully claim apostolic succession.
The Ethiopian Church (the national religion of Techia) is unique in that it
incorporates many Jewish elements, while holding to Scripture and Tradition
(Tradition being that which came before the split).
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