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There is a tendency among some scholars to assume that if something is not mentioned in a text, the author had no knowledge of it. This is a fundamentally erroneous presupposition and hence an erroneous methodology. The assumption of this methodological approach or perspective misses the prime reality — a living Church was already in existence since Pentecost and that living Church knew the deposit about, which they preached, knew the tradition, which they had received and continued to impart in their missionary activity.

Again, the statement by Karl Adam is significant: And during that time, the Apostolic and Sub-Apostolic Church flourished with and in the fullness of faith. Ignatius is an excellent example of this precisely because his seven occasional letters were written so early and especially because of what he has to say about the "documents," "the archives. The New Testament is not the criterion, precisely because it was still in process in the days of the early Church and it was certainly not used as a canonical authority in the earlier days of the life of St.

It is the reality of the living Church, which gives rise to the New Testament and it is the Church, which determines the "canon" of the New Testament — there were numerous writings circulating, which claimed apostolic authorship and it was the Church, which determined, which of those were authentic.

Ignatius then makes a statement, which confirms how the early Church understood its reality, its faith, its tradition, its authority: The inviolable archives are his Cross and Death and his Resurrection and the faith that came by him.

Ignatius needs no written "documents," needs no written "archives. He knows of this through the tradition, through that which was delivered, through the deposit, which was preserved and handed down in its original purity of content and fullness. It is historically interesting to take even a casual look at St.

Ignatius just happens to touch on many of the basic principles of the faith of the living Church, a faith not recorded in a "document" but a faith that has been preserved and delivered faithfully from Christ to the Apostles to the episcopate. The main purpose of all seven letters is two-fold: He has no hesitation to speak of grace and deeds, of a justification by grace and one of deeds, implying an existential understanding of the synergistic relationship between grace and spiritual freedom, between grace and "works.

It is also clear that man participates in this gift, in his salvation. Ignatius also has no hesitation in speaking about predestination, election, and freedom. They all cohere for him in one theological vision. For him there is no tension between predestination and freedom. This is not a result of his inability to see a potential theological problem.

Rather it is natural, instinctive, intuitive, and apostolic understanding of the vision of salvation, a salvation which comes from God and in which man participates, a salvation which is a gift but one, which must be received. Ignatius speaks equally of the spiritual nature and the external structure of the Church — the bishops, presbytery, deacons the "bishops reflect the mind of Jesus Christ;" the Church has a unique "intimacy" with Jesus Christ, as Jesus Christ has with the Father; the Church is "a choir, so that in perfect harmony and with a pitch taken from God," it "may sing in unison and with one voice to the Father through Jesus Christ".

His specific idea of the "imitation of the Passion of Jesus Christ" is expressed in vivid, fervid terms "Let me be fodder for wild beasts — that is how I can attain to God. This has struck many as an exaggerated form of spirituality, as one of arrogance. Ignatius is quite humble in this respect.

For him the process of salvation is dynamic and he in no sense sees his desire as a superior spirituality "I am only beginning to be a disciple;" — "I am going through the pangs of being born … Do not stand in the way of my coming to life". He is ever conscious of the importance, the necessity of a spiritual solidarity among Christians "I needed your coaching in faith, encouragement.

Only what you do together is right. Hence, you must have one prayer, one petition, one mind, one hope, dominated by love and unsullied joy — that means you must have Jesus Christ!

He knows the pain he is to face, yet he is ever mentioning the God-given joy and the overflowing mercy of God. He is on guard against pride and boasting: For what I need most at this point is to be on my guard and not to heed flatterers. Those … are my scourge. He exclaims that what he needs is "gentleness. Ignatius stresses that we must "not only be called Christians but we must be Christians.

Through "initiation" into the mysteries [sacraments], through faith, love, continual prayer, and fasting, we can have Christ "within us.

Ignatius highlights a basic theology of worship and sacramental, liturgical life. The Eucharist is for him "the medicine of immortality.

Conversely, he has a theological attitude towards heresy: Such a vile creature will go to the unquenchable fire along with anyone who listens to him.

A theology of faith and love weaves its way through his letters: Ignatius has an interesting theological insight into the spiritual importance of silence: Thus, he will be perfect: The deepest parts of the interior life of a person are not neglected in his thought: It is clear that the Church already at the time of St.

Ignatius believed that marriage must be approved and blessed by the Church: Simultaneous with his theology of the active Christian spiritual life of continual prayer, humility, love, faith, constant participation in the sacramental life of the Church, simultaneous with his theology of the "imitation of the Passion of Christ God" is a theology of the "social gospel.

His social concern extends to slaves who must not be treated "contemptuously. This sketch of some of the subjects St. Ignatius just happens to address in his seven occasional letters reveals that he certainly had a grasp of the fullness of the Christian life and faith. The early date of these letters and their spontaneous, occasional nature cannot be overstressed.

They are vital "documents" of a faith that was not rooted in "documents" or "archives" but rather rooted in the delivered tradition about the living person of Jesus Christ, divine and human, yet One Lord and One Eternally with the Father.

It is not an exaggeration to point out that the definition of the Council of Chalcedon can is foreshadowed in general idea in the brief, occasional letters of St.

Ignatius, letters, which predate Irenaeus tells us that he sat at the feet of St. Polycarp had been personally acquainted with St. Polycarp was consecrated bishop by the apostles — Tertullian claims by St. Polycarp was held in great esteem, and that he was the last witness of the Apostolic Age. That he was held in great esteem is attested by his visit to Rome to discuss ecclesiastical matters with Pope Anicetus, especially the problem of the date of celebration of Easter.

It was in Rome where St. Polycarp apparently met Marcion. Marcion, it is claimed, asked St. Polycarp if he recognized him whereupon St. Polycarp is recorded as having replied: Polycarp was born about 70, consecrated bishop before , and died probably in or What is historically important is that St. Irenaeus claims that St. Polycarp wrote many letters, letters to Christian communities as well as to fellow-bishops.

But of these "many letters" only one has come down to us. Once again we find ourselves in the reality of history, in that encounter of an age now past in which there was a vibrant, living faith and a busy exchange of letters, the nature of which we shall never have knowledge. But it can be safely assumed that whatever the content of those lost letters they would in no way give us a full knowledge of that living Christian faith that was active and complete, that faith, which prompted those letters.

It is the deposit, the delivered faith, the handed down tradition, which is the catalyst of the letters. But we do possess one letter — St. The Letter to the Philippians is very brief and, again, it is an occasional letter. About that original, living deposit and that tradition which has been delivered St. Polycarp writes, "Let us turn back to the word delivered to us from the beginning … this is what we believed. Polycarp appeals to "the word delivered to us from the beginning" is in opposition to "false brethren," in opposition to those "who bear in hypocrisy the name of the Lord, who deceive empty-headed people.

Polycarp becomes more concrete: And what is St. This Christological statement is quite consonant with the understanding of Christ in the New Testament documents and with the definitions of the later Ecumenical Councils. Polycarp upholds the concrete humanity of Jesus, the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and his eternality. The Martyrdom of St. The Letter of the Church of Smyrna to the Church of Philomelium — and "to all those of the holy and catholic Church everywhere — is an important document in early Christian literature.

It was written shortly after St. It too is brief and an occasional letter. When asked by the Proconsul to renounce Christ, St. If the prayer is not precisely, as St. Polycarp delivered it, then it may contain much of what he did say. What is certain is that it reflects the "mind of the Church" at Smyrna and hence its content is important: I bless Thee because Thou hast found me worthy of this day and hour that I may participate with the number of the martyrs in the cup of Thy Christ in die resurrection to eternal life both in soul and in body by virtue of the immortality of the Holy Spirit.

May I be received in Thy presence this day as a rich and pleasing sacrifice, just as Thou, the true God incapable of falsehood, hast prepared and revealed in advance and consummated. The Christological and Trinitarian nature of this prayer is unambiguous.

God is the Creator of all things. Through Jesus Christ, who is eternal, a "perfect knowledge" of God the Father has been revealed. Immortality is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and that is a resurrection of both body and soul. Absent here is the Platonic idea of the immortality of the soul by nature — and this is precisely the Christian teaching: One other aspect of this letter deserves brief comment. It is the first time that we encounter the "veneration of the saints" in a document of this type in the early Church.

Polycarp, the "apostolic and prophetic teacher and bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna," is now "crowned with the wreath of immortality. Polycarp wanted "to have fellowship with his holy flesh. Indeed, it is fortuitous that the context affords the writer of the letter an explanation. The authorities hesitated to give the remains of St. For we worship only One as Son of God, while we deservedly love the martyrs as disciples and imitators of the Lord because of their unsurpassable devotion to their own King and Teacher.

There the Lord will permit us… to gather together in joy and gladness to celebrate the day of his martyrdom as a birthday, in memory of those athletes who have gone before, and for the training and preparation of those yet to walk in their steps.

Polycarp "was not only a noble teacher but also a distinguished martyr, whose martyrdom all desire to imitate as one according to the gospel of Christ ". Indeed, some parts of it may be the earliest records we possess of early Christianity. The Didache does not offer us much Christological insight but we precisely should not expect this of any document from the early Church.

The Christology was known, was delivered, and hence was a part — rather the base — of the Christian faith. It is because knowledge of Christ is assumed that no document must feel compelled to write on the subject. The document is in essence a moral exhortation, an ethical outline of certain Christian teachings, which lead to "the way of life," presentations of "what these maxims" of life, of Christianity teach.

To walk in the "way of life" rather than the "way of death" the Christian sacraments are thought to be necessary. Only those who have been baptized are permitted "to eat and drink of the Eucharist, which is considered "holy. Elsewhere the author declares that "through Jesus" "knowledge and faith and immortality" have been "revealed. The inner connection between the Eucharist and Baptism is clear. Baptism is not just Christological but Trinitarian.

Twice the author speaks of the Trinitarian nature of Baptism. If you cannot be in cold, then be in warm. Sheep will turn into wolves and love into hatred" The preservation of the faith as it was received is stressed: They must always be on guard against false teachers and, as is implied, false documents masquerading as Christian. The Oldest Extant Christian Homily. That it was not written by St. Clement of Rome is certain and even the ancients did not accept it as such.

We are not even certain if the ancient writers used it. One view, shared by Lightfoot, Kruger, and Funk, is that it originated in Corinth. Another view, which has valid considerations, is that it originated in Alexandria. Where the homily originated is not an important issue — it is its content that is important. All that can safely be said of this valuable document is that it is a homily, not a letter, and that it was probably delivered in the first half of the second century.

If it is a homily given in Corinth, then its connection with St. It is known that it was included among the Scriptures by the Syrian Church.

Whether this homily was delivered in , or is not important. What is important is that it is early, that it is a homily, and that it gained a good reputation in the early Church. As a homily, it provides us with a glimpse of what the early Church preached to its flock. Here, on one occasion we encounter what was the reality of the early Church — that the Church knew its faith.

In the course of the homily 14 the speaker reveals this when he says: Through Christ we "have come to know the Father of truth" and we must "think of Christ as God. The essence of this homily is precisely what one would expect of a homily — a call to repentance and Christian living.

Man no longer must die. The objective reality of redemption is presented in brief glimpse, is ejected into the homily; and then, the emphasis as consonant with the essence of a homily is how we participate in this objective reality of redemption. We must "acknowledge him through whom we are saved" by our actions, by repentance and by living a "holy and upright life. By repenting with a sincere heart" "Let us do the will of the Father who called us, so that we may have life. But I am anxious to pursue righteousness.

My aim is to manage at least to approach it. Much has been made about the fact that the preacher of this homily quotes a few times from the Gospel of the Egyptians. What must not be lost sight of is the fact that the quotations from the Gospel of the Egyptians are in essence the same as those found in the canonical Gospels. The quotations are consonant with the original deposit, with the tradition of the Church and not at variance with anything in the kerygmatic deposit.

The Letter of Barnabas. The Letter of Barnabas was in all probability not written by Barnabas, the disciple of St. Paul, whose name, originally Joseph, was given to him and, according to the Acts of the Apostles 4: What can be said concerning The Letter of Barnabas is that it was written between 70 and and hence is one of the older documents of early Christianity.

Regardless of what one thinks about his allegorical interpretation of the Old Testament, the fact remains that this letter was held in high esteem in the early Church. In the Codex Sinaiticus from the fourth century it is considered canonical. Jerome in his De viris illustribus 6 considered it apocryphal — inter apocryphas scripturas. Still, the fact remains that it was highly regarded and used often — Clement of Alexandria quotes from it frequently.

Not only is the pre-existence of Christ taught but also his divine creative activity. And he will come again as Judge in divine omnipotence 15, 5. He "manifested himself as the Son of God" in a non-Docetic sense: Let us believe that the Son of God could not have suffered except for our sakes. The Letter of Diognetus. The Epistula ad Diognetum has been one of the puzzles of early Christian documents. It is in the form of a letter to a highly placed pagan, Diognetus. Nothing is known of the author and scholars have exercised much creativity in attempting to ascribe it to someone.

In its present form it could very well be the work of two writers, Quadratus and Hippolytus. Authorship is not the important issue but rather content. The letter has been praised by many scholars as the single, most impressive document of early Christianity.

It was written probably between and Unlike the literature, which sprang from within the Christian Church to other Christians, this letter is written to a pagan. Hence, one would expect that distinctive doctrines of the Christian faith would be mentioned. And we are not disappointed. The heart of Christian faith is spoken: On the contrary, it was really the Ruler of all, the Creator of all, the Invisible God himself, who from heaven established the truth and the holy, incomprehensible word among men, and fixed it firmly in their hearts.

And, as might be assumed, he did not do this by sending to men some subordinate — an angel, or a principality, or one of those to whom the government of things in heaven is entrusted. Rather, he sent the Designer and Maker of the universe himself, by whom he created the heavens and confined the sea within its own bounds — him whose hidden purposes are carried out by all the elements of the world faithfully… He sent him by whom all things have been set in order and distinguished and placed in subjection … God sent him to men He sent him out of kindness and gentleness He sent him as God; he sent him as man to men.

Yet he will indeed send him someday as our Judge… And when he had planned a great and unutterable design, he communicated it to his Child alone … he revealed it through his beloved Child and made known the things that had been prepared from the beginning … He had planned everything by himself in union with his Child… Then, when we had proven ourselves incapable of entering the Kingdom of God by our own efforts, the power of God made it possible for us to do so … O, the overflowing kindness and love of God toward man!

God did not hate us or drive us away or bear us ill will. Rather, he was long-suffering and forbearing. In his mercy, he took up the burden of our sins. He himself gave up his own Son as a ransom for us — the Holy One for the unholy, the Innocent One for the guilty, the Righteous One for the unrighteous, the Incorruptible One for the corruptible, the Immortal One for the mortal.

For what else could cover our sins except his righteousness? In whom could we, lawless and impious as we were, be made holy except in the Son of God alone? O, most sweet exchange! O, unfathomable work of God! O, blessings beyond expectation! After this brief presentation of the Christian teaching of the redemptive work of Christ, the author turns to the subject of how one acquires, of how one appropriates, of how one takes hold of this faith. Think how you will love him, who first loved you so!

And when you love him, you will be an imitator of his goodness. He can because God wills it. Justin was born about to in Flavia Neapolis, the former Shechem in Palestinian Samaria and the present Nablus.

The old city of Shechem had been razed to the ground by Vespasian in the Jewish war and rebuilt as the Graeco-Roman city of Flavia Neapolis. He tells us in his Dialogue with Trypho that he was a pagan in quest of truth, that he first was a Stoic, then a Peripatetic, and then a Pythagorean.

He was deeply influenced by Plato when, according to his account in his Dialogue with Trypho 8 , he had a discussion with an old man who gave him convincing reasons that Platonism could never strike to the heart of man and brought St.

I have not seen him since then. But at once a flame was kindled in my soul and developed into a love of the prophets and of those men who are friends of Christ. I found this philosophy alone to be safe and profitable. His conversion to Christianity might have taken place in Ephesus. During the reign of Antoninus Pius St.

Justin came to Rome and established a school there. Justin was beheaded probably in The account of his death in the Martyriwn S. Justini et Sociorum is based on the official court transcript when Junius Rusticus was prefect during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, the Stoic philosopher. The sentence pronounced against St. Justin and six other Christians reads: Justin wrote prolifically but only three of his works have come down to us — his two Apologies which may be one work and his Dialogue with Trypho , the oldest extant apology Against the Jews.

We possess only fragments — often only a title — of the other works written by St. One book, to which he himself refers in his First Apology 26 , was written against "all heresies" — Liber contra Omnes Haereses. Another, mentioned by Eusebius 4, 11 and used by St. Irenaeus, was in opposition to Marcion — Adversus Marcionem. Eusebius claims that St. Justin wrote a Psalter , of which nothing remains.

Three substantial fragments of the latter were preserved in St. Several works have been attributed to St. Justin is in dialogue with the pagan thinkers and hence it would be expected that he would touch upon most of the teachings of the Christian faith, unlike the earlier Christian documents, which were written within the Christian community and assumed knowledge of the faith on the part of the reader.

Justin presents Christianity as a philosophy, as a reality of thought that embraces all of life and death, as the reality of philosophy. In his First Apology 5 he writes that the Logos "took form and became man, and was called Jesus Christ" The "truest God" is the "Father of righteousness," the "unbegotten and impassible God.

The Logos is Divine 10 , "begotten by God" The historical Jesus is emphasized: He was born for this purpose and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, who was procurator in Judea in the time of Tiberius Caesar" He is "the Son of the true God himself… in the second place and the prophetic Spirit in the third rank. He is not only really called the Son of God but really is the Son of God In reference to baptism St.

In reference to the Eucharist St. Justin writes that "praise and glory" is given "to the Father of the universe through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" At the end of a service , they "bless the Maker of all things through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit" It is significant that when St.

Justin is discussing Christian worship, he writes that a sermon is delivered. Here, again we confront the communication within the Christian community and the content of the sermon is precisely the same as we have observed in the earlier Christian documents — it "urges and invites us to the imitation of these noble things" This is precisely the living Christian faith, the life of active Christian striving, and the ethical and moral dimension of Christian teaching.

Justin declares that "to the Father of all, who is Unbegotten, no name is given … the words Father, and God, and Creator, and Lord, and Master, are not names but appellations coming from the goodness of his deeds and activity" 6. Christ is the "power of the ineffable Father and not the mere instrument of human reason" Together with God the Father Christians "worship and love the Logos who is from the Unbegotten and Ineffable God and became man for our sakes so that, in becoming a partaker of our sufferings, he might also bring us healing" Justin has much to say about the nature of Christ in his lengthy Dialogue with Trypho.

In brief, however, he writes that "Christ is Lord and God, the Son of God" and Christ it is who brings the gospel from the Father to men but he "remains indivisibly and inseparably" with the Father. Athenagoras of Athens, the most lucid and eloquent writer among the Apologists, was most probably a pagan who converted to Christianity. Bossuet considered him the author "of one of the finest and earliest Apologies of the Christian religion.

Athenagoras is the first to write so penetratingly about the unity of God. God is "uncreated" and "eternal" 6. God is "uncreated, impassible, and indivisible. He does not therefore consist of parts" 8.

God is the "Creator" 8. He is grasped only by mind and intelligence, and surrounded by light, beauty, spirit, and indescribable power. For by him and through him all things were made, the Father and the Son b eing one.

Who, then, would not be astonished to hear thos e called atheists who admit God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and who teach their unity in power and their distinction in rank? Tatian found in Christianity the only true philosophy. Justin, who sees elements of truth throughout the world and in all cultures, Tatian has a narrow view of Christianity, — indeed, he despises all "culture," anything that is not Christian.

His tendency for extremism has more in common with Tertullian than with his teacher, St. He was probably born in Eastern Syria about Nothing is known about his death. Irenaeus tells us that Tatian "apostatized" after the martyrdom of St.

Justin and that, "puffed up with conceit," he fell into Gnostic heresy little different than that of Valentinus and, like Marcion and Saturninus, taught that marriage was corrupt St. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses , The Encratites survived well into the fifth century. They condemned the eating of any meat and the drinking of any wine. This practice of using water instead of wine in the Eucharist was condemned by Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian, and St.

John Chrysostom — it was prohibited in by Emperor Theodosius. Tatian most probably wrote it originally in Greek; it was then translated into Syrian. Excavations at Dura Europos in Syria in uncovered a fourteen line fragment of the Greek text.

The entire text can be reconstructed from the versions that exist in Latin, Arabic, and Franconian. Ephraem the Syrian wrote a commentary on the Diatessaron , which is extant in an Armenian translation. In these two extant works, there is not much of a trace of Gnosticism.

No creature had as yet come into being. The Logos is not separate from God but belongs to God, is in God by essence. The Logos himself was with him by the power of the Logos, was in him. And by his simple will the Logos issues forth. And the Logos, not issuing forth in vain, becomes the First-Begotten work of the Father. We know the Logos to be the beginning [or source] of the cosmos. But the Logos came into being by participation, not by abscission, for what is cut off is separated from the original but that which comes by participation … does not make him deficient from whom it is taken.

For just as from one torch many fires are lighted but the light of the first torch is not lessened by the kindling of many torches, so the Logos, issuing forth from the logical power of the Father, has not divested of the logical power him who begat him" 5. God is "ineffable," "perfect," "in need of nothing," "without beginning," but "the beginning of all things. Matter is "brought into existence" by God 5. He will "resurrect" our bodies after "the consummation of all things" but "not as the Stoics affirm" with their "return of certain cycles, the same things being produced and destroyed for no useful purpose.

From nothingness, we have come into existence. We shall die but "shall exist again" in a restored body. The Logos, "in imitation of the Father from whom he is Begotten, made man an image of immortality" so that man, participating in the Divine, might have immortality 7.

That Tatian was an extremist, that he left the Church to establish a "purer" form of Christianity seems indisputable. He has a special task to accomplish in this work and that he does extraordinarily well. His task is not to present Christian doctrine — indeed, he touches on the nature of God, on the Logos, on the Spirit, on the depth of created freedom, on the resurrection of the body and the immortality of the soul by grace, on the meaning of time and death, and on the coming judgment.

But he touches on these subjects only parenthetically and only in relationship to his on-going commentary, which has a completely different purpose than the " Apologies " of other early Christians. Tatian is engaged in a heated dispute with not only pagan Greek philosophy but also with all of pagan Greek culture.

His knowledge of his subject is impressive. Herein is its uniqueness. I have visited many lands. I have followed rhetoric, like you.

I have been captivated by many arts … I wish to give you a distinct account of what I have seen and felt myself" Tatian does not explicate the Christian faith except on occasion.

He is in dialogue. Indeed, it appears he is in dialogue with persons whom he knows. His main objective is to prepare them that the "barbarian" philosophy, which he has accepted, Christianity, should be given a hearing, especially in light of the fact that their entire culture is far inferior to this "barbaric" philosophy at which they scoff without knowing it. His logistical approach is to strike a serious blow to their entire culture so that they may be somewhat incapacitated, somewhat immobilized.

In one instance, Tatian compares quickly: You assert that the world is indestructible, but I assert that it is to be destroyed. You assert that a conflagration will take place at various times, but I assert that it will come to pass once for all. You assert that the soul alone is endowed with immortality, but I assert that the flesh also is endowed with it" Tatian admits that he has neglected to speak of the doctrines of Christianity in order "to discuss matters that demanded more immediate attention.

By his closing words, it appears that he intended to present himself to them, and at that time to discuss and to be examined on the teachings of Christianity: Those who expect to find a Christian theology miss the entire essence of this work. There is no mention of Christology except in the brief passages quoted above on the nature of God and the Logos. There is no mention or theology of the human and Divine nature of Christ precisely because the nature of this work does not require it.

In his dialogue with the Greeks about their philosophy, religion, and culture, it is appropriate to speak briefly about the nature of God, of time, of the Logos. These are references to which they can relate.

But if he began to present the deposit, the kerygma , the apostolic teaching, then that would be counterproductive. He has laid groundwork for future discussion and a mightily interesting one. No more can be expected from this fascinating work that allows us a first hand look into the wide-ranging aspects of Greek pagan society and life.

Indeed, there may be expressions at times, which can be interpreted in more than one way. But Tatian is writing a deeply personal and impassioned critique and does not intend to present his theology of the faith in any detail.

He is not writing to a Christian community, he is not writing a traditional "apology" To the Pagans. Rather, he is engaged in a personal critique and intends to present himself for examination on Christian doctrines. Those who judge him or dismiss him on the basis of this work have missed the whole point of his critique. That he in essence says nothing about Christ becomes meaningless in context. That he was concerned about Christ, that he was focused on Christ becomes clear from his work on the Gospels.

If he had no interest in the historical Christ would he have expended so much time to produce his "harmony" of the Gospels? But even in this work, Tatian does mention the Incarnation: So he later fell as a prey to schism, and heretical ideas are not disputed. So did Tertullian and yet what Tertullian wrote on Christology and the Trinity remained a precious part of Church literature and the beginning of Latin theological expressions that obtained in the Latin Church.

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AG] sub download -2 Portuguese subtitle Spider-Man:. AG] sub download 0 Romanian subtitle Spider-Man. AG] zgudu download 3 Serbian subtitle Spider-Man:. AG] sub download 0 Spanish subtitle Spider-Man:. AG] sub download 0 Swedish subtitle Spider-Man. Revelation is not only Revelation about God but also about the world, for the fullness of Revelation is in the image of the God-Man, in the fact of the ineffable union of God and Man, of the Divine and human, of the Creator and the creature — in the indivisible and unmerged union of God and Man in Jesus Christ.

The path to Chalcedon is present in the New Testament. It is precisely the Chalcedonian dogma of the unity of the God-Man — despite what we shall see as great imprecision in the language of the councils and in the language of the "Fathers" —, which is the true, decisive point of Revelation, of the experience of faith and of Christian vision. Modern man is in general very critical of the definition of the Council of Chalcedon. It fails to convey any meaning to him. The "imagery" of the creed is for him nothing more than a piece of poetry if anything at all.

The whole approach, I think, is wrong. The "definition" of Chalcedon is a statement of faith and therefore cannot be understood when taken out of the total experience of the Church.

It is precisely for that reason that I have included an overview of the statements about Christology in the New Testament and it is precisely for that reason that an overview of the Christological thought of the early centuries must be presented as a background not only for Chalcedon but also for the whole of Byzantine theology. The definition of the Council of Chalcedon is, in fact, an "existential statement.

Our Redeemer is not a man, but God himself. Here, lies the existential emphasis of the definition of Chalcedon and of the work of Byzantine theology accepted by the Church. Our Redeemer is one who "came down" and who, by "becoming man," identified himself with men in the fellowship of a truly human life and nature.

Not only was the initiative Divine but the "captain of our salvation" was a Divine Person. The fullness of the human nature of Christ means, as we shall see, precisely the adequacy and truth of this redeeming identification.

God enters human history and becomes an historical person. Indeed, there is a mystery. But this mystery is a revelation — the true character of God is disclosed in the Incarnation. God was so much and so intimately concerned with he destiny of man — and precisely with the destiny of every one of "the little ones" — as to intervene in person in the chaos and misery of the lost life.

God is therefore not merely an omnipotent ruling of the universe from an august distance by divine majesty. Rather, there is the Divine kenosis , a "self-humiliation" of the God of glory. There is a personal relationship between God and Man. There is an amazing coherence in the body of the traditional doctrine of Christ — from the earliest Christians to the New Testament to the Councils and to the positive contributions of Byzantine theology.

True, the definitions of the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Chalcedon will cause a sore disruption in the Church, for not only is truth preserved and defined but also there is an imprecision in the human language used by the councils, an imprecision that gravely wounded the body of the Church. But the truth was there, the truth was defined. It can be apprehended and understood only in the living context of faith, by a personal communion with the personal God.

Faith alone makes formulas convincing; faith alone makes formulas live, for Christ is not a text but a living Person and He abides in his body, the Church. It may seem ridiculous to modern man to suggest that we should accept and preach the doctrine of Chalcedon "in a time such as this. It brings man a true freedom.

The Christological disputes of the past are unfortunately continued and repeated in the controversies of our own age. Modern man, deliberately or subconsciously, is tempted by the Nestorian extreme — modern man does not take the Incarnation in earnest, he does not dare to believe that Christ is a Divine Person; he wants to have a human redeemer, one assisted by God.

Modern man is more interested in the human psychology of the Redeemer than in the mystery of Divine love precisely because, in the last resort, he believes optimistically in the dignity of man. On the other extreme, we have in our age a revival of "Monophysite" tendencies in theology and religion — man is reduced to complete passivity and is allowed only to listen and to hope.

The present tension between "liberalism" and "neo-orthodoxy" is in fact a re-enactment of the old Christological struggle, albeit on a new existential level and in a new spiritual guise.

Unless a wider vision is acquired, the conflict will never be settled or solved. In the early Church, the preaching was emphatically theological. The New Testament itself is a theological book. Neglect of theology, of the theology of the God-Man, is responsible both for the decay of personal religion and for that sense of frustration which dominates the modern mood. The whole appeal of the "rival gospels" in our time is that they offer some sort of pseudo-theology, a system of pseudo-dogmas.

They are gladly accepted by those who cannot find any theology in the reduced Christianity of "modern" style, by those who have been cut off from the organic Christology of the New Testament, of the definitions of the Councils, and of the work of the Eastern and Byzantine Fathers.

I have often a strange feeling. When I read the ancient classics of Christian theology, the fathers of the Church, I find them more relevant to the troubles and problems of my own time than the production of modern theologians.

The fathers were wrestling with existential problems, with those revelations of the eternal issues, which were described and recorded in Holy Scripture. It is precisely the Chalcedonian dogma of the unity of the God-Man, which is the true, decisive point of Revelation, of the experience of faith, and of the Christian vision. A clear knowledge of God — that for which Byzantine theology was striving and striving to protect — is impossible for man if he is committed to vague and false conceptions of the world and of himself.

That is precisely why St. In this respect, a true philosophy is necessary for faith. And, on the other hand, faith is committed to specific metaphysical presuppositions. Dogmatic theology, as the explanation of Divinely revealed truth in the realm of thought, is precisely the basis of a Christian philosophy, of a sacred philosophy, of a philosophy of the Holy Spirit.

Dogma, a word disliked by modern man, presupposes experience, and only in the experience of vision and faith, does dogma reach its fullness and come to life. And dogmas do not exhaust this experience, just as Revelation is not exhausted in "words" or in the "letter" of Scripture.

The experience and knowledge of the Church are more comprehensive and fuller than her dogmatic pronouncement. The Church witnesses too many things, which are not in "dogmatic" statements but rather in images and symbols. Dogmatic theology can neither dismiss nor replace " kerygmatic " theology. In the Church the fullness of knowledge and understanding is given but this fullness is only gradually and partially disclosed and professed. This "incompleteness" of knowledge results from the fact that the Church is still "in pilgrimage," still in the process of "pilgrimage.

Nevertheless, this "incompleteness" of our knowledge here and now does not weaken the authentic and apodictic character of the Church. The definition of Chalcedon is precisely a definition of that truth, which we do here and now possess. Without the definitions of the Ecumenical Councils, always following the fathers and Holy Scripture, that truth, which was revealed in the God-Man, Jesus Christ, would be distorted, would threaten our redemption, indeed, would strike at the very core and heart of the ontological reality of redemption.

I f the teaching about Christ in the New Testament is so clear, a fundamental question arises. Why were all the historical struggles over Christology? Why the divisions, why the disruptions, why the apparent damage to the Body of Christ, the Church? Why was such controversy over that which was the cornerstone of our very redemption?

It is a legitimate question. It must never be forgotten that we are warned again and again in the New Testament to guard the faith, to beware of false teachers, to hold fast to that which we have received. It is a constant theme expressed in a variety of ways throughout the New Testament. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith.

It is clear that already in the earliest days of the Christian Church there were divisions that the truth had to be preserved and guarded from the very beginning. Christ encourages his disciples that the Holy Spirit will guide them into all truth John And the very created nature of man allows for the possibility of corrupting that which has been revealed. But the promise that the truth shall be preserved by the Holy Spirit reveals that, despite controversy and dispute already present within the early life of the Church, theological work is still to be active in the ongoing life of the Church — the explication and definition of the redemptive activity of the God-Man.

The Church is "Apostolic" indeed. But the Church is also "Patristic. Indeed, the teaching of the Fathers and the dogma of the Church are still the same "simple message," which has been once delivered and deposited, once forever.

But now it is, as it was before, necessary for this "simple message" to be in order properly and fully articulated. The main distinctive mark of Patristic and Byzantine theology is its "existential" character if we may borrow this current neologism. The Fathers theologized, as St. Their theology is still a "message," a kerygma. Their theology is still " kerygmatic theology " even if it is often logically arranged and supplied with intellectual arguments. The ultimate reference is still to the vision of faith, to spiritual knowledge and experience.

Apart from life in Christ, theology carries no conviction and if separated from the life of faith, theology may degenerate into empty dialectics, a vain polylogia , without any spiritual consequence. Patristic and Byzantine theology is existentially rooted in the decisive commitment of faith.

In the age of the theological strife and incessant debates , which we will be discussing, the Fathers — especially the Cappadocian Fathers — formally protested against the use of dialectics, of "Aristotelian syllogisms," and endeavoured to refer theology back to the vision of faith. Patristic and Byzantine theology could be only "preached" or "proclaimed" — preached from the pulpit, proclaimed also in the words of prayer and in sacred rites, and indeed manifested in the total structure of Christian life.

Theology of this kind can never be separated from the life of prayer and from the exercise of virtue. On the other hand, Patristic and Byzantine theology is always, as it was, "propaedeutic," since its ultimate aim and purpose is to ascertain and to acknowledge the Mystery of the Living God, to bear witness to it, in word and deed. It is always but a way.

Theology, and even the "dogmas," presents no more than an "intellectual contour" of the revealed truth, and a "noetic" testimony to it. Only in the act of faith is this "contour" filled with content. Christological formulas are fully meaningful only for those who have encountered the Living Christ, and have received and acknowledged Him as God and Saviour, and are dwelling by faith in Him, in His body, the Church. In this sense, theology is never a self-explanatory discipline.

It is constantly appealing to the vision of faith. For the same reason these formulas can never be taken "abstractly," that is, out of total context of belief. It is misleading to single out particular statements of the Fathers and to detach them from the total perspective in which they have been actually uttered, just as it is misleading to manipulate with detached quotations from the Scripture.

A dangerous habit " to quote " the Fathers; is, to quote their isolated sayings and phrases outside of that concrete setting in which only they have their full and proper meaning and are truly alive.

The name of " the Fathers of the Church " is usually restricted to the teachers of the ancient Church. And it is currently assumed that their authority depends upon their antiquity, upon their comparative nearness to the "primitive Church," to the initial age of the Church. Jerome had to contest this idea. Indeed, there was no decrease of "authority" and no decrease in the immediacy of spiritual competence and knowledge in the course of Christian history.

In fact, however, this idea of "decrease" has strongly affected our modern theological thinking. In fact, it is too often assumed, consciously or unconsciously, that the Early Church was, as it was, closer to the spring of truth.

As an admission of our own failure and inadequacy, as an act of humble self-criticism, such an assumption is sound and helpful. But it is dangerous to make of it the starting point or basis of our "theology of Church history," or even of our theology of the Church. Indeed, the Age of the Apostles should retain its unique position. Yet it was just a beginning. It is widely assumed that the "Age of the Fathers" has ended.

Accordingly, it is regarded just as an ancient formation, "antiquated" in a sense and "archaic. The limit of the "Patristic Age" is variously defined.

It is usual to regard St. John of Damascus as the "last Father" in the East and St. Gregory the Dialogos or Isidore of Seville as "the last" in the West. This periodization has been justly contested in recent times. Should not, for example, St. Theodore of Studium be at least included among "the Fathers? Actually, it is more than a question of periodization. From the Western point of view, "the Age of the Fathers" has been succeeded and indeed superseded by "the Age of the Schoolmen," which was an essential step forward.

Since the rise of Scholasticism, "Patristic theology" has been antiquated, has become actually a "past age," a kind of archaic prelude. This point of view, which is legitimate for the West, has been most unfortunately accepted also by many in the East, blindly and uncritically. Accordingly, one has to face the alternative. Either one has to regret the "backwardness" of the East, which never developed any "Scholasticism" of its own.

Or one should retire into the "Ancient Age," in a more or less archaeological manner, and practice what has been wittily described recently as a "theology of repetition.

And often it is suggested that the "Age of the Fathers" has ended much earlier than St. Very often one does not proceed further than the Age of Justinian or the Council of Chalcedon.

Was not Leontius of Byzantium already "the first of the Scholastics? Indeed, the Fathers of the Fourth century are impressive and their unique greatness cannot be denied. Yet the Church remained fully alive also after Nicaea and Chalcedon. The current overemphasis on the "first five centuries" dangerously distorts theological vision and prevents the right understanding of the Chalcedonian dogma itself.

The decree of the Sixth Ecumenical Council is often regarded as a kind of an "appendix" to Chalcedon, interesting only for theological specialists, and the great figure of St. Maximus the Confessor is almost completely ignored. Was it not just a "ritualistic controversy? Our theological thinking has been dangerously affected by the pattern of decay , adopted for the interpretation of Christian history in the West since the Reformation.

The fullness of the Church was then interpreted in a static manner, and the attitude to Antiquity has been accordingly distorted and misconstrued. After all, it does not make much difference whether we restrict the normative authority of the Church to one century, or to five, or to eight. There should be no restriction at all. Consequently, there is no room for any "theology of repetition. One of the immediate results of our careless periodization is that we simply ignore the legacy of Byzantine theology.

We are prepared, now more than only a few decades ago, to admit the perennial authority of "the Fathers," especially since the revival of Patristic studies in the West. But we still tend to limit the scope of admission, and obviously "Byzantine theologians" are not readily counted among the "Fathers. We have still doubts about its normative relevance for theological thinking. Now, Byzantine theology was much more than just a "repetition" of Patristic theology. Neither was that which was new in it of an inferior quality in comparison with "Christian Antiquity.

Was there any break? Has the ethos of the Eastern Orthodox Church been ever changed at a certain historic point or date, which, however, has never been unanimously identified so that the "later" development was of lesser authority and importance if of any?

We witness this encounter already in the Gospel of St. John , for there we are aware that the author is fighting on two fronts. One group is not convinced that Christ is in the full sense Divine. The other group cannot grasp the full humanity of Christ. For one group Jesus is a mere man; for the other Jesus the Christ is a divine apparition.

Against the former the Gospel of St. John addresses the words: Against the other group, believing that God appeared on earth in human form but without any actual flesh and blood, the Gospel of St. John directs these words: He who saw it has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth — that you also may believe" There exists independent knowledge of these two heretical schools of thought.

One is represented by a Jewish-Christian sect known as the Ebonite. In short, they taught that Jesus was a mere man who scrupulously observed the Law of Judaism and became the Messiah.

The opposite extreme was represented by the Docetists. Serapion of Antioch fl. D ocetism is much more a tendency, an attitude, than a unified doctrine or a unified group. The numerous Gnostic sects will all contain within their system the Docetist heretical tendency. In brief, the Docetists viewed the humanity and the sufferings of the earthly Christ as apparent rather than real. One overemphasizes the manhood of Christ; the other overemphasizes the Divinity of Christ.

Here, already, we see, though in a different historical context and in a different doctrinal context, the two emphases , which will be present later in a more sophisticated form in Nestorianism and Monophysitism — in terms of emphases , not of doctrinal content.

No one but Harnack applied the term Adoptionists to the Ebonite and the term "Pneumatic" to the Docetists. The early Christian writers are constantly challenging these two tendencies. To understand God in his revelatory self-disclosure is not incorrect but it is one-sided and ultimately inadequate.

From an historical perspective, from an understanding of the living reality in which the early Christian writers found themselves, their oikonomic approach is understandable. But because of this tendency, because of the lack of balance between a theology of God in himself and a theology of God in his relation to created existence, and because of imprecision in terminology certain problems inevitably occur — conflicting tendencies of Christological and Trinitarian thought arise already in the late second and third century.

The theological breakthrough comes in a forceful presentation only with St. It is sufficient to call attention to that aspect of the early Christian writers, which reflects the understanding of Christ as God and hence provides the common ground for the definitions of the Ecumenical Councils, especially the Council of Chalcedon — Jesus Christ as fully God and fully Man.

It was probably written in 96 or But it is clear that the entire pragmatic exhortation of this letter is based upon, a ssumes, the Divinity of Christ. This is all the more significant when one considers the "Judaistic and Stoic tone" of his letter. Let us observe that which is good, that which is pleasing and acceptable to Him who made us. Let us fasten our eyes on the blood of Christ and let us realize how precious it is to his Father because it was shed for our salvation and it brought the grace of repentance to the whole world.

Implicit in this text is the fact that "his Father" refers to a unique relationship between Father and Son and not a general Fatherhood of God with all men, precisely because no man is capable of shedding blood that will redeem and bring the "grace of repentance" to the entire world. In chapter 21, St. Clement repeats the same idea: In chapter 16, St.

Clement writes, "He poured forth his gifts on them all but most abundantly on us who have taken refuge in his compassion through our Lord Jesus Christ, to who be glory and majesty forever and ever. In general, throughout the letter, St. Clement refers to Christ as the image or mirror or reflection of God the Father: Through him, the eyes of our hearts are opened. Through him, our foolish and darkened comprehension wells up to the light. Through him, the Master has willed that we should taste immortal knowledge.

Clement continues with explicit thought: But of his Son, this is what the Master said: Clement clearly states that Christ is not of the angelic order, that he is the "begotten Son" of the Father. In this early Christian document the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are mentioned throughout, although from the perspective of their oikonomic activity.

But it is not only in the explicit statements that one finds an affirmation of the Holy Trinity. Rather, it is in the language, context, and thought-structure that a belief in the Holy Trinity is exhibited in St. The commonly accepted seven letters of St.

Ignatius in their shorter form are exceedingly important documents in the history of Christian theology. They were written before , the commonly accepted time of his martyrdom in Rome. His letters are therefore an undisputed witness to the faith of the early Church. Those who find the definitions of the Ecumenical Councils difficult to accept will encounter difficulty with the thought of St.

Again, it must be noted that these are not theological treatises but rather letters written by St. Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch, on his way to Rome to be thrown to the wild beasts. They are in a very real sense existential letters written by one about to die, existential letters, which just happen to touch on theological subjects as well as moral ones.

Indeed, it was the so-called "developed doctrine" contained in St. It was especially the edition by Lightfoot, which established permanently the authenticity of the seven letters in their Greek shorter versions. In his Letter to the Ephesians 7 , St. Ignatius writes, "There is only one physician — of flesh yet spiritual, born yet uncreated God become man, true life in death, sprung from both Mary and from God first subject to suffering and then incapable of it — Jesus Christ our Lord.

In the same letter, he writes He was born and baptized that by His Passion he might sanctify water … for God was revealing himself as a man to bring newness of eternal life. What God had prepared was now beginning. Therefore, everything was in confusion because the destruction of death was being executed.

In his Letter to the Magnesians , St. Ignatius writes of the co-eternality of Jesus Christ 6: In his Letter to the Trallians , he poignantly describes the reality of the humanity of Jesus: He was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate.

He was truly crucified and died in the sight of heaven and earth and of the powers of the nether world. He was truly raised from the dead, the Father having raised him, who in like manner will raise us also who believe in him — his Father, I say, will raise us in Christ Jesus, apart from whom we have no true life" 9. We are part of his fruit, which grew out of his most blessed Passion. It is not as some unbelie vers say, that his Passion was a sham. Those are they, who are a sham!

For myself, I am convinced and believe that even after the resurrection he was in the flesh. Indeed, when he came to Peter and his friends, he said to them, Take hold of me, touch me and see that I am not a bodiless phantom. For this reason, they despised death itself, and proved its victors. In his Letter to Polycarp , St. Ignatius writes, "You must not be panic-stricken by those who have an air of credibility but who teach heresy. Stand your ground like an anvil under the hammer. These are indeed a collection of powerful and explicit statements on the reality of the full humanity and the full Divinity of Jesus Christ.

It is, as it was, a preamble to Chalcedon already at the turn of the first century. Such are some of St. Everything, for example, that he writes about the Eucharist becomes meaningless without his belief in the Divinity of Christ. He writes in his Letter to the Ephesians For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup to unite us by his blood; one sanctuary, as there is one bishop, together with the presbytery and the deacons.

Respect the deacons as the ordinance of God. Let no one do anything that pertains to the Church apart from the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist, which is under the bishop or one whom he has delegated. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, just as wherever Christ Jesus may be, there is the Catholic Church. This is the first written use, which has come down to us of the term "Catholic" Church. The word "catholic" means in Greek "universal" but the conception of catholicity cannot be measured by its world-wide expansion — "universality" does not express the Greek meaning exactly.

It belongs not to the phenomenal and empirical, but to th e nominal and ontological plane. It describes the very essence and not the external manifestations.

If "catholic" also means "universal," it certainly is not an empirical universality but rather an ideal one: This word gives prominence to the orthodoxy of the Church, to the truth of the Church in contrast with the spirit of sectarian separatism and particularism.

He is expressing the idea of integrity and purity. Grillmeier correctly observes that St. Ignatius foreshadows the later definitions of the Ecumenical Councils. Grillmeier presents an antithetical schematic from St. There is a tendency among some scholars to assume that if something is not mentioned in a text, the author had no knowledge of it. This is a fundamentally erroneous presupposition and hence an erroneous methodology. The assumption of this methodological approach or perspective misses the prime reality — a living Church was already in existence since Pentecost and that living Church knew the deposit about, which they preached, knew the tradition, which they had received and continued to impart in their missionary activity.

Again, the statement by Karl Adam is significant: And during that time, the Apostolic and Sub-Apostolic Church flourished with and in the fullness of faith. Ignatius is an excellent example of this precisely because his seven occasional letters were written so early and especially because of what he has to say about the "documents," "the archives.

The New Testament is not the criterion, precisely because it was still in process in the days of the early Church and it was certainly not used as a canonical authority in the earlier days of the life of St.

It is the reality of the living Church, which gives rise to the New Testament and it is the Church, which determines the "canon" of the New Testament — there were numerous writings circulating, which claimed apostolic authorship and it was the Church, which determined, which of those were authentic.

Ignatius then makes a statement, which confirms how the early Church understood its reality, its faith, its tradition, its authority: The inviolable archives are his Cross and Death and his Resurrection and the faith that came by him.

Ignatius needs no written "documents," needs no written "archives. He knows of this through the tradition, through that which was delivered, through the deposit, which was preserved and handed down in its original purity of content and fullness.

It is historically interesting to take even a casual look at St. Ignatius just happens to touch on many of the basic principles of the faith of the living Church, a faith not recorded in a "document" but a faith that has been preserved and delivered faithfully from Christ to the Apostles to the episcopate.

The main purpose of all seven letters is two-fold: He has no hesitation to speak of grace and deeds, of a justification by grace and one of deeds, implying an existential understanding of the synergistic relationship between grace and spiritual freedom, between grace and "works. It is also clear that man participates in this gift, in his salvation. Ignatius also has no hesitation in speaking about predestination, election, and freedom.

They all cohere for him in one theological vision. For him there is no tension between predestination and freedom. This is not a result of his inability to see a potential theological problem. Rather it is natural, instinctive, intuitive, and apostolic understanding of the vision of salvation, a salvation which comes from God and in which man participates, a salvation which is a gift but one, which must be received.

Ignatius speaks equally of the spiritual nature and the external structure of the Church — the bishops, presbytery, deacons the "bishops reflect the mind of Jesus Christ;" the Church has a unique "intimacy" with Jesus Christ, as Jesus Christ has with the Father; the Church is "a choir, so that in perfect harmony and with a pitch taken from God," it "may sing in unison and with one voice to the Father through Jesus Christ".

His specific idea of the "imitation of the Passion of Jesus Christ" is expressed in vivid, fervid terms "Let me be fodder for wild beasts — that is how I can attain to God. This has struck many as an exaggerated form of spirituality, as one of arrogance. Ignatius is quite humble in this respect. For him the process of salvation is dynamic and he in no sense sees his desire as a superior spirituality "I am only beginning to be a disciple;" — "I am going through the pangs of being born … Do not stand in the way of my coming to life".

He is ever conscious of the importance, the necessity of a spiritual solidarity among Christians "I needed your coaching in faith, encouragement. Only what you do together is right. Hence, you must have one prayer, one petition, one mind, one hope, dominated by love and unsullied joy — that means you must have Jesus Christ!

He knows the pain he is to face, yet he is ever mentioning the God-given joy and the overflowing mercy of God. He is on guard against pride and boasting: For what I need most at this point is to be on my guard and not to heed flatterers.

Those … are my scourge. He exclaims that what he needs is "gentleness. Ignatius stresses that we must "not only be called Christians but we must be Christians. Through "initiation" into the mysteries [sacraments], through faith, love, continual prayer, and fasting, we can have Christ "within us.

Ignatius highlights a basic theology of worship and sacramental, liturgical life. The Eucharist is for him "the medicine of immortality. Conversely, he has a theological attitude towards heresy: Such a vile creature will go to the unquenchable fire along with anyone who listens to him.

A theology of faith and love weaves its way through his letters: Ignatius has an interesting theological insight into the spiritual importance of silence: Thus, he will be perfect: The deepest parts of the interior life of a person are not neglected in his thought: It is clear that the Church already at the time of St.

Ignatius believed that marriage must be approved and blessed by the Church: Simultaneous with his theology of the active Christian spiritual life of continual prayer, humility, love, faith, constant participation in the sacramental life of the Church, simultaneous with his theology of the "imitation of the Passion of Christ God" is a theology of the "social gospel. His social concern extends to slaves who must not be treated "contemptuously. This sketch of some of the subjects St.

Ignatius just happens to address in his seven occasional letters reveals that he certainly had a grasp of the fullness of the Christian life and faith.

The early date of these letters and their spontaneous, occasional nature cannot be overstressed. They are vital "documents" of a faith that was not rooted in "documents" or "archives" but rather rooted in the delivered tradition about the living person of Jesus Christ, divine and human, yet One Lord and One Eternally with the Father. It is not an exaggeration to point out that the definition of the Council of Chalcedon can is foreshadowed in general idea in the brief, occasional letters of St.

Ignatius, letters, which predate Irenaeus tells us that he sat at the feet of St. Polycarp had been personally acquainted with St. Polycarp was consecrated bishop by the apostles — Tertullian claims by St. Polycarp was held in great esteem, and that he was the last witness of the Apostolic Age. That he was held in great esteem is attested by his visit to Rome to discuss ecclesiastical matters with Pope Anicetus, especially the problem of the date of celebration of Easter.

It was in Rome where St. Polycarp apparently met Marcion. Marcion, it is claimed, asked St. Polycarp if he recognized him whereupon St. Polycarp is recorded as having replied: Polycarp was born about 70, consecrated bishop before , and died probably in or What is historically important is that St. Irenaeus claims that St. Polycarp wrote many letters, letters to Christian communities as well as to fellow-bishops.

But of these "many letters" only one has come down to us. Once again we find ourselves in the reality of history, in that encounter of an age now past in which there was a vibrant, living faith and a busy exchange of letters, the nature of which we shall never have knowledge. But it can be safely assumed that whatever the content of those lost letters they would in no way give us a full knowledge of that living Christian faith that was active and complete, that faith, which prompted those letters.

It is the deposit, the delivered faith, the handed down tradition, which is the catalyst of the letters. But we do possess one letter — St. Nuru … more like Noru. Recently, while filling up a grab bag of goodies at Ohhh Canada, I decided that my new next review series needed a theme, and that theme would be innovation, or sinnovation if you want to use a cheesy word, and I do.

As I pondered over the many toys and accessories I could play with,. Sexy Sinnovation Review Pt. Jimmyjane Hello Touch Massager. If I make moderate.

And it seems that tonight on Twitter, things have really taken off.

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I have often a strange feeling. When I read the ancient classics of Christian theology, the fathers of the Church, I find them more relevant to the troubles and problems of my own time than the production of modern theologians.

The fathers were wrestling with existential problems, with those revelations of the eternal issues, which were described and recorded in Holy Scripture. It is precisely the Chalcedonian dogma of the unity of the God-Man, which is the true, decisive point of Revelation, of the experience of faith, and of the Christian vision.

A clear knowledge of God — that for which Byzantine theology was striving and striving to protect — is impossible for man if he is committed to vague and false conceptions of the world and of himself. That is precisely why St. In this respect, a true philosophy is necessary for faith. And, on the other hand, faith is committed to specific metaphysical presuppositions.

Dogmatic theology, as the explanation of Divinely revealed truth in the realm of thought, is precisely the basis of a Christian philosophy, of a sacred philosophy, of a philosophy of the Holy Spirit. Dogma, a word disliked by modern man, presupposes experience, and only in the experience of vision and faith, does dogma reach its fullness and come to life. And dogmas do not exhaust this experience, just as Revelation is not exhausted in "words" or in the "letter" of Scripture.

The experience and knowledge of the Church are more comprehensive and fuller than her dogmatic pronouncement. The Church witnesses too many things, which are not in "dogmatic" statements but rather in images and symbols. Dogmatic theology can neither dismiss nor replace " kerygmatic " theology. In the Church the fullness of knowledge and understanding is given but this fullness is only gradually and partially disclosed and professed. This "incompleteness" of knowledge results from the fact that the Church is still "in pilgrimage," still in the process of "pilgrimage.

Nevertheless, this "incompleteness" of our knowledge here and now does not weaken the authentic and apodictic character of the Church. The definition of Chalcedon is precisely a definition of that truth, which we do here and now possess. Without the definitions of the Ecumenical Councils, always following the fathers and Holy Scripture, that truth, which was revealed in the God-Man, Jesus Christ, would be distorted, would threaten our redemption, indeed, would strike at the very core and heart of the ontological reality of redemption.

I f the teaching about Christ in the New Testament is so clear, a fundamental question arises. Why were all the historical struggles over Christology? Why the divisions, why the disruptions, why the apparent damage to the Body of Christ, the Church? Why was such controversy over that which was the cornerstone of our very redemption? It is a legitimate question.

It must never be forgotten that we are warned again and again in the New Testament to guard the faith, to beware of false teachers, to hold fast to that which we have received. It is a constant theme expressed in a variety of ways throughout the New Testament.

Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith. It is clear that already in the earliest days of the Christian Church there were divisions that the truth had to be preserved and guarded from the very beginning. Christ encourages his disciples that the Holy Spirit will guide them into all truth John And the very created nature of man allows for the possibility of corrupting that which has been revealed.

But the promise that the truth shall be preserved by the Holy Spirit reveals that, despite controversy and dispute already present within the early life of the Church, theological work is still to be active in the ongoing life of the Church — the explication and definition of the redemptive activity of the God-Man. The Church is "Apostolic" indeed. But the Church is also "Patristic. Indeed, the teaching of the Fathers and the dogma of the Church are still the same "simple message," which has been once delivered and deposited, once forever.

But now it is, as it was before, necessary for this "simple message" to be in order properly and fully articulated. The main distinctive mark of Patristic and Byzantine theology is its "existential" character if we may borrow this current neologism. The Fathers theologized, as St. Their theology is still a "message," a kerygma. Their theology is still " kerygmatic theology " even if it is often logically arranged and supplied with intellectual arguments.

The ultimate reference is still to the vision of faith, to spiritual knowledge and experience. Apart from life in Christ, theology carries no conviction and if separated from the life of faith, theology may degenerate into empty dialectics, a vain polylogia , without any spiritual consequence.

Patristic and Byzantine theology is existentially rooted in the decisive commitment of faith. In the age of the theological strife and incessant debates , which we will be discussing, the Fathers — especially the Cappadocian Fathers — formally protested against the use of dialectics, of "Aristotelian syllogisms," and endeavoured to refer theology back to the vision of faith.

Patristic and Byzantine theology could be only "preached" or "proclaimed" — preached from the pulpit, proclaimed also in the words of prayer and in sacred rites, and indeed manifested in the total structure of Christian life. Theology of this kind can never be separated from the life of prayer and from the exercise of virtue. On the other hand, Patristic and Byzantine theology is always, as it was, "propaedeutic," since its ultimate aim and purpose is to ascertain and to acknowledge the Mystery of the Living God, to bear witness to it, in word and deed.

It is always but a way. Theology, and even the "dogmas," presents no more than an "intellectual contour" of the revealed truth, and a "noetic" testimony to it. Only in the act of faith is this "contour" filled with content. Christological formulas are fully meaningful only for those who have encountered the Living Christ, and have received and acknowledged Him as God and Saviour, and are dwelling by faith in Him, in His body, the Church.

In this sense, theology is never a self-explanatory discipline. It is constantly appealing to the vision of faith. For the same reason these formulas can never be taken "abstractly," that is, out of total context of belief. It is misleading to single out particular statements of the Fathers and to detach them from the total perspective in which they have been actually uttered, just as it is misleading to manipulate with detached quotations from the Scripture.

A dangerous habit " to quote " the Fathers; is, to quote their isolated sayings and phrases outside of that concrete setting in which only they have their full and proper meaning and are truly alive. The name of " the Fathers of the Church " is usually restricted to the teachers of the ancient Church.

And it is currently assumed that their authority depends upon their antiquity, upon their comparative nearness to the "primitive Church," to the initial age of the Church. Jerome had to contest this idea. Indeed, there was no decrease of "authority" and no decrease in the immediacy of spiritual competence and knowledge in the course of Christian history.

In fact, however, this idea of "decrease" has strongly affected our modern theological thinking. In fact, it is too often assumed, consciously or unconsciously, that the Early Church was, as it was, closer to the spring of truth. As an admission of our own failure and inadequacy, as an act of humble self-criticism, such an assumption is sound and helpful. But it is dangerous to make of it the starting point or basis of our "theology of Church history," or even of our theology of the Church.

Indeed, the Age of the Apostles should retain its unique position. Yet it was just a beginning. It is widely assumed that the "Age of the Fathers" has ended. Accordingly, it is regarded just as an ancient formation, "antiquated" in a sense and "archaic. The limit of the "Patristic Age" is variously defined. It is usual to regard St. John of Damascus as the "last Father" in the East and St. Gregory the Dialogos or Isidore of Seville as "the last" in the West.

This periodization has been justly contested in recent times. Should not, for example, St. Theodore of Studium be at least included among "the Fathers?

Actually, it is more than a question of periodization. From the Western point of view, "the Age of the Fathers" has been succeeded and indeed superseded by "the Age of the Schoolmen," which was an essential step forward. Since the rise of Scholasticism, "Patristic theology" has been antiquated, has become actually a "past age," a kind of archaic prelude.

This point of view, which is legitimate for the West, has been most unfortunately accepted also by many in the East, blindly and uncritically. Accordingly, one has to face the alternative.

Either one has to regret the "backwardness" of the East, which never developed any "Scholasticism" of its own. Or one should retire into the "Ancient Age," in a more or less archaeological manner, and practice what has been wittily described recently as a "theology of repetition. And often it is suggested that the "Age of the Fathers" has ended much earlier than St. Very often one does not proceed further than the Age of Justinian or the Council of Chalcedon.

Was not Leontius of Byzantium already "the first of the Scholastics? Indeed, the Fathers of the Fourth century are impressive and their unique greatness cannot be denied. Yet the Church remained fully alive also after Nicaea and Chalcedon. The current overemphasis on the "first five centuries" dangerously distorts theological vision and prevents the right understanding of the Chalcedonian dogma itself.

The decree of the Sixth Ecumenical Council is often regarded as a kind of an "appendix" to Chalcedon, interesting only for theological specialists, and the great figure of St.

Maximus the Confessor is almost completely ignored. Was it not just a "ritualistic controversy? Our theological thinking has been dangerously affected by the pattern of decay , adopted for the interpretation of Christian history in the West since the Reformation. The fullness of the Church was then interpreted in a static manner, and the attitude to Antiquity has been accordingly distorted and misconstrued.

After all, it does not make much difference whether we restrict the normative authority of the Church to one century, or to five, or to eight.

There should be no restriction at all. Consequently, there is no room for any "theology of repetition. One of the immediate results of our careless periodization is that we simply ignore the legacy of Byzantine theology. We are prepared, now more than only a few decades ago, to admit the perennial authority of "the Fathers," especially since the revival of Patristic studies in the West.

But we still tend to limit the scope of admission, and obviously "Byzantine theologians" are not readily counted among the "Fathers. We have still doubts about its normative relevance for theological thinking. Now, Byzantine theology was much more than just a "repetition" of Patristic theology.

Neither was that which was new in it of an inferior quality in comparison with "Christian Antiquity. Was there any break? Has the ethos of the Eastern Orthodox Church been ever changed at a certain historic point or date, which, however, has never been unanimously identified so that the "later" development was of lesser authority and importance if of any?

We witness this encounter already in the Gospel of St. John , for there we are aware that the author is fighting on two fronts. One group is not convinced that Christ is in the full sense Divine.

The other group cannot grasp the full humanity of Christ. For one group Jesus is a mere man; for the other Jesus the Christ is a divine apparition. Against the former the Gospel of St. John addresses the words: Against the other group, believing that God appeared on earth in human form but without any actual flesh and blood, the Gospel of St. John directs these words: He who saw it has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth — that you also may believe" There exists independent knowledge of these two heretical schools of thought.

One is represented by a Jewish-Christian sect known as the Ebonite. In short, they taught that Jesus was a mere man who scrupulously observed the Law of Judaism and became the Messiah. The opposite extreme was represented by the Docetists. Serapion of Antioch fl. D ocetism is much more a tendency, an attitude, than a unified doctrine or a unified group. The numerous Gnostic sects will all contain within their system the Docetist heretical tendency.

In brief, the Docetists viewed the humanity and the sufferings of the earthly Christ as apparent rather than real. One overemphasizes the manhood of Christ; the other overemphasizes the Divinity of Christ. Here, already, we see, though in a different historical context and in a different doctrinal context, the two emphases , which will be present later in a more sophisticated form in Nestorianism and Monophysitism — in terms of emphases , not of doctrinal content.

No one but Harnack applied the term Adoptionists to the Ebonite and the term "Pneumatic" to the Docetists. The early Christian writers are constantly challenging these two tendencies. To understand God in his revelatory self-disclosure is not incorrect but it is one-sided and ultimately inadequate. From an historical perspective, from an understanding of the living reality in which the early Christian writers found themselves, their oikonomic approach is understandable.

But because of this tendency, because of the lack of balance between a theology of God in himself and a theology of God in his relation to created existence, and because of imprecision in terminology certain problems inevitably occur — conflicting tendencies of Christological and Trinitarian thought arise already in the late second and third century.

The theological breakthrough comes in a forceful presentation only with St. It is sufficient to call attention to that aspect of the early Christian writers, which reflects the understanding of Christ as God and hence provides the common ground for the definitions of the Ecumenical Councils, especially the Council of Chalcedon — Jesus Christ as fully God and fully Man. It was probably written in 96 or But it is clear that the entire pragmatic exhortation of this letter is based upon, a ssumes, the Divinity of Christ.

This is all the more significant when one considers the "Judaistic and Stoic tone" of his letter. Let us observe that which is good, that which is pleasing and acceptable to Him who made us. Let us fasten our eyes on the blood of Christ and let us realize how precious it is to his Father because it was shed for our salvation and it brought the grace of repentance to the whole world. Implicit in this text is the fact that "his Father" refers to a unique relationship between Father and Son and not a general Fatherhood of God with all men, precisely because no man is capable of shedding blood that will redeem and bring the "grace of repentance" to the entire world.

In chapter 21, St. Clement repeats the same idea: In chapter 16, St. Clement writes, "He poured forth his gifts on them all but most abundantly on us who have taken refuge in his compassion through our Lord Jesus Christ, to who be glory and majesty forever and ever. In general, throughout the letter, St. Clement refers to Christ as the image or mirror or reflection of God the Father: Through him, the eyes of our hearts are opened.

Through him, our foolish and darkened comprehension wells up to the light. Through him, the Master has willed that we should taste immortal knowledge.

Clement continues with explicit thought: But of his Son, this is what the Master said: Clement clearly states that Christ is not of the angelic order, that he is the "begotten Son" of the Father.

In this early Christian document the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are mentioned throughout, although from the perspective of their oikonomic activity. But it is not only in the explicit statements that one finds an affirmation of the Holy Trinity. Rather, it is in the language, context, and thought-structure that a belief in the Holy Trinity is exhibited in St.

The commonly accepted seven letters of St. Ignatius in their shorter form are exceedingly important documents in the history of Christian theology. They were written before , the commonly accepted time of his martyrdom in Rome. His letters are therefore an undisputed witness to the faith of the early Church.

Those who find the definitions of the Ecumenical Councils difficult to accept will encounter difficulty with the thought of St. Again, it must be noted that these are not theological treatises but rather letters written by St. Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch, on his way to Rome to be thrown to the wild beasts.

They are in a very real sense existential letters written by one about to die, existential letters, which just happen to touch on theological subjects as well as moral ones.

Indeed, it was the so-called "developed doctrine" contained in St. It was especially the edition by Lightfoot, which established permanently the authenticity of the seven letters in their Greek shorter versions. In his Letter to the Ephesians 7 , St. Ignatius writes, "There is only one physician — of flesh yet spiritual, born yet uncreated God become man, true life in death, sprung from both Mary and from God first subject to suffering and then incapable of it — Jesus Christ our Lord.

In the same letter, he writes He was born and baptized that by His Passion he might sanctify water … for God was revealing himself as a man to bring newness of eternal life.

What God had prepared was now beginning. Therefore, everything was in confusion because the destruction of death was being executed.

In his Letter to the Magnesians , St. Ignatius writes of the co-eternality of Jesus Christ 6: In his Letter to the Trallians , he poignantly describes the reality of the humanity of Jesus: He was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate.

He was truly crucified and died in the sight of heaven and earth and of the powers of the nether world. He was truly raised from the dead, the Father having raised him, who in like manner will raise us also who believe in him — his Father, I say, will raise us in Christ Jesus, apart from whom we have no true life" 9.

We are part of his fruit, which grew out of his most blessed Passion. It is not as some unbelie vers say, that his Passion was a sham. Those are they, who are a sham!

For myself, I am convinced and believe that even after the resurrection he was in the flesh. Indeed, when he came to Peter and his friends, he said to them, Take hold of me, touch me and see that I am not a bodiless phantom. For this reason, they despised death itself, and proved its victors.

In his Letter to Polycarp , St. Ignatius writes, "You must not be panic-stricken by those who have an air of credibility but who teach heresy. Stand your ground like an anvil under the hammer. These are indeed a collection of powerful and explicit statements on the reality of the full humanity and the full Divinity of Jesus Christ.

It is, as it was, a preamble to Chalcedon already at the turn of the first century. Such are some of St. Everything, for example, that he writes about the Eucharist becomes meaningless without his belief in the Divinity of Christ. He writes in his Letter to the Ephesians For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup to unite us by his blood; one sanctuary, as there is one bishop, together with the presbytery and the deacons.

Respect the deacons as the ordinance of God. Let no one do anything that pertains to the Church apart from the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist, which is under the bishop or one whom he has delegated. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, just as wherever Christ Jesus may be, there is the Catholic Church. This is the first written use, which has come down to us of the term "Catholic" Church.

The word "catholic" means in Greek "universal" but the conception of catholicity cannot be measured by its world-wide expansion — "universality" does not express the Greek meaning exactly.

It belongs not to the phenomenal and empirical, but to th e nominal and ontological plane. It describes the very essence and not the external manifestations. If "catholic" also means "universal," it certainly is not an empirical universality but rather an ideal one: This word gives prominence to the orthodoxy of the Church, to the truth of the Church in contrast with the spirit of sectarian separatism and particularism.

He is expressing the idea of integrity and purity. Grillmeier correctly observes that St. Ignatius foreshadows the later definitions of the Ecumenical Councils. Grillmeier presents an antithetical schematic from St. There is a tendency among some scholars to assume that if something is not mentioned in a text, the author had no knowledge of it.

This is a fundamentally erroneous presupposition and hence an erroneous methodology. The assumption of this methodological approach or perspective misses the prime reality — a living Church was already in existence since Pentecost and that living Church knew the deposit about, which they preached, knew the tradition, which they had received and continued to impart in their missionary activity. Again, the statement by Karl Adam is significant: And during that time, the Apostolic and Sub-Apostolic Church flourished with and in the fullness of faith.

Ignatius is an excellent example of this precisely because his seven occasional letters were written so early and especially because of what he has to say about the "documents," "the archives. The New Testament is not the criterion, precisely because it was still in process in the days of the early Church and it was certainly not used as a canonical authority in the earlier days of the life of St.

It is the reality of the living Church, which gives rise to the New Testament and it is the Church, which determines the "canon" of the New Testament — there were numerous writings circulating, which claimed apostolic authorship and it was the Church, which determined, which of those were authentic. Ignatius then makes a statement, which confirms how the early Church understood its reality, its faith, its tradition, its authority: The inviolable archives are his Cross and Death and his Resurrection and the faith that came by him.

Ignatius needs no written "documents," needs no written "archives. He knows of this through the tradition, through that which was delivered, through the deposit, which was preserved and handed down in its original purity of content and fullness. It is historically interesting to take even a casual look at St. Ignatius just happens to touch on many of the basic principles of the faith of the living Church, a faith not recorded in a "document" but a faith that has been preserved and delivered faithfully from Christ to the Apostles to the episcopate.

The main purpose of all seven letters is two-fold: He has no hesitation to speak of grace and deeds, of a justification by grace and one of deeds, implying an existential understanding of the synergistic relationship between grace and spiritual freedom, between grace and "works.

It is also clear that man participates in this gift, in his salvation. Ignatius also has no hesitation in speaking about predestination, election, and freedom. They all cohere for him in one theological vision. For him there is no tension between predestination and freedom. This is not a result of his inability to see a potential theological problem.

Rather it is natural, instinctive, intuitive, and apostolic understanding of the vision of salvation, a salvation which comes from God and in which man participates, a salvation which is a gift but one, which must be received. Ignatius speaks equally of the spiritual nature and the external structure of the Church — the bishops, presbytery, deacons the "bishops reflect the mind of Jesus Christ;" the Church has a unique "intimacy" with Jesus Christ, as Jesus Christ has with the Father; the Church is "a choir, so that in perfect harmony and with a pitch taken from God," it "may sing in unison and with one voice to the Father through Jesus Christ".

His specific idea of the "imitation of the Passion of Jesus Christ" is expressed in vivid, fervid terms "Let me be fodder for wild beasts — that is how I can attain to God. This has struck many as an exaggerated form of spirituality, as one of arrogance. Ignatius is quite humble in this respect.

For him the process of salvation is dynamic and he in no sense sees his desire as a superior spirituality "I am only beginning to be a disciple;" — "I am going through the pangs of being born … Do not stand in the way of my coming to life". He is ever conscious of the importance, the necessity of a spiritual solidarity among Christians "I needed your coaching in faith, encouragement.

Only what you do together is right. Hence, you must have one prayer, one petition, one mind, one hope, dominated by love and unsullied joy — that means you must have Jesus Christ!

He knows the pain he is to face, yet he is ever mentioning the God-given joy and the overflowing mercy of God. He is on guard against pride and boasting: For what I need most at this point is to be on my guard and not to heed flatterers.

Those … are my scourge. He exclaims that what he needs is "gentleness. Ignatius stresses that we must "not only be called Christians but we must be Christians.

Through "initiation" into the mysteries [sacraments], through faith, love, continual prayer, and fasting, we can have Christ "within us. Ignatius highlights a basic theology of worship and sacramental, liturgical life. The Eucharist is for him "the medicine of immortality. Conversely, he has a theological attitude towards heresy: Such a vile creature will go to the unquenchable fire along with anyone who listens to him.

A theology of faith and love weaves its way through his letters: Ignatius has an interesting theological insight into the spiritual importance of silence: Thus, he will be perfect: The deepest parts of the interior life of a person are not neglected in his thought: It is clear that the Church already at the time of St. Ignatius believed that marriage must be approved and blessed by the Church: Simultaneous with his theology of the active Christian spiritual life of continual prayer, humility, love, faith, constant participation in the sacramental life of the Church, simultaneous with his theology of the "imitation of the Passion of Christ God" is a theology of the "social gospel.

His social concern extends to slaves who must not be treated "contemptuously. This sketch of some of the subjects St. Ignatius just happens to address in his seven occasional letters reveals that he certainly had a grasp of the fullness of the Christian life and faith.

The early date of these letters and their spontaneous, occasional nature cannot be overstressed. They are vital "documents" of a faith that was not rooted in "documents" or "archives" but rather rooted in the delivered tradition about the living person of Jesus Christ, divine and human, yet One Lord and One Eternally with the Father. It is not an exaggeration to point out that the definition of the Council of Chalcedon can is foreshadowed in general idea in the brief, occasional letters of St.

Ignatius, letters, which predate Irenaeus tells us that he sat at the feet of St. Polycarp had been personally acquainted with St. Polycarp was consecrated bishop by the apostles — Tertullian claims by St. Polycarp was held in great esteem, and that he was the last witness of the Apostolic Age. That he was held in great esteem is attested by his visit to Rome to discuss ecclesiastical matters with Pope Anicetus, especially the problem of the date of celebration of Easter.

It was in Rome where St. Polycarp apparently met Marcion. Marcion, it is claimed, asked St. Polycarp if he recognized him whereupon St.

Polycarp is recorded as having replied: Polycarp was born about 70, consecrated bishop before , and died probably in or What is historically important is that St. Irenaeus claims that St. Polycarp wrote many letters, letters to Christian communities as well as to fellow-bishops. But of these "many letters" only one has come down to us. Once again we find ourselves in the reality of history, in that encounter of an age now past in which there was a vibrant, living faith and a busy exchange of letters, the nature of which we shall never have knowledge.

But it can be safely assumed that whatever the content of those lost letters they would in no way give us a full knowledge of that living Christian faith that was active and complete, that faith, which prompted those letters.

It is the deposit, the delivered faith, the handed down tradition, which is the catalyst of the letters. But we do possess one letter — St. The Letter to the Philippians is very brief and, again, it is an occasional letter. About that original, living deposit and that tradition which has been delivered St.

Polycarp writes, "Let us turn back to the word delivered to us from the beginning … this is what we believed. Polycarp appeals to "the word delivered to us from the beginning" is in opposition to "false brethren," in opposition to those "who bear in hypocrisy the name of the Lord, who deceive empty-headed people.

Polycarp becomes more concrete: And what is St. This Christological statement is quite consonant with the understanding of Christ in the New Testament documents and with the definitions of the later Ecumenical Councils.

Polycarp upholds the concrete humanity of Jesus, the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and his eternality. The Martyrdom of St.

The Letter of the Church of Smyrna to the Church of Philomelium — and "to all those of the holy and catholic Church everywhere — is an important document in early Christian literature. It was written shortly after St. It too is brief and an occasional letter. When asked by the Proconsul to renounce Christ, St.

If the prayer is not precisely, as St. Polycarp delivered it, then it may contain much of what he did say. What is certain is that it reflects the "mind of the Church" at Smyrna and hence its content is important: I bless Thee because Thou hast found me worthy of this day and hour that I may participate with the number of the martyrs in the cup of Thy Christ in die resurrection to eternal life both in soul and in body by virtue of the immortality of the Holy Spirit. May I be received in Thy presence this day as a rich and pleasing sacrifice, just as Thou, the true God incapable of falsehood, hast prepared and revealed in advance and consummated.

The Christological and Trinitarian nature of this prayer is unambiguous. God is the Creator of all things. Through Jesus Christ, who is eternal, a "perfect knowledge" of God the Father has been revealed.

Immortality is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and that is a resurrection of both body and soul. Absent here is the Platonic idea of the immortality of the soul by nature — and this is precisely the Christian teaching: One other aspect of this letter deserves brief comment. It is the first time that we encounter the "veneration of the saints" in a document of this type in the early Church.

Polycarp, the "apostolic and prophetic teacher and bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna," is now "crowned with the wreath of immortality. Polycarp wanted "to have fellowship with his holy flesh. Indeed, it is fortuitous that the context affords the writer of the letter an explanation. The authorities hesitated to give the remains of St. For we worship only One as Son of God, while we deservedly love the martyrs as disciples and imitators of the Lord because of their unsurpassable devotion to their own King and Teacher.

There the Lord will permit us… to gather together in joy and gladness to celebrate the day of his martyrdom as a birthday, in memory of those athletes who have gone before, and for the training and preparation of those yet to walk in their steps.

Polycarp "was not only a noble teacher but also a distinguished martyr, whose martyrdom all desire to imitate as one according to the gospel of Christ ". Indeed, some parts of it may be the earliest records we possess of early Christianity.

The Didache does not offer us much Christological insight but we precisely should not expect this of any document from the early Church. The Christology was known, was delivered, and hence was a part — rather the base — of the Christian faith. It is because knowledge of Christ is assumed that no document must feel compelled to write on the subject.

The document is in essence a moral exhortation, an ethical outline of certain Christian teachings, which lead to "the way of life," presentations of "what these maxims" of life, of Christianity teach. To walk in the "way of life" rather than the "way of death" the Christian sacraments are thought to be necessary. Only those who have been baptized are permitted "to eat and drink of the Eucharist, which is considered "holy.

Elsewhere the author declares that "through Jesus" "knowledge and faith and immortality" have been "revealed. Recently, while filling up a grab bag of goodies at Ohhh Canada, I decided that my new next review series needed a theme, and that theme would be innovation, or sinnovation if you want to use a cheesy word, and I do.

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In my opinion, these two approaches to the same material must be combined and correlated. I have tried to do precisely this with the revision of some of the material for the English publications. I have written some new material on the external history and especially on the ecumenical councils. However, in essence Petrology must be more than a kind of literary history.

It must be treated rather as a history of Christian doctrine, although the Fathers were first of all testes veritatis , witnesses of truth, of the faith. Indeed, there is an obvious analogy between the study of Patristic and the study of the history of Philosophy.

Historians of Philosophy are as primarily concerned with individual thinkers as they are interested ultimately in the dialectics of ideas. The "essence" of philosophy is exhibited in particular systems.

Unity of the historical process is assured because of the identity of themes and problems to which both philosophers and theologians are committed. I would not claim originality for my method, for it has been used occasionally by others. Nevertheless, I would underline the theological character of Petrology. These books were written many years ago. At certain points, they needed revision or extension.

To some extent, this has been done. Recent decades have seen the rapid progress of Patristic studies in many directions. We now have better editions of primary sources than we had forty or even thirty years ago. We now have some new texts of prime importance: Many excellent monograph studies have been published in recent years. However, in spite of this progress I do not think that these books, even without the revisions and additions, have been made obsolete.

Based on an independent study of primary sources, these works may still be useful to both students and scholars. I t is not at all easy to distinguish the borders between periods in the fluid and unbroken element of human life. Moreover, the incommensurability of successive historical cycles is quite manifestly revealed. New life themes come to light, new forces start to make themselves felt, new spiritual centres form.

Someone may conditionally define this boundary as the beginning of Byzantinism. The Nicene era closes the previous epoch, and a new epoch begins in any case: It attains its zenith, its acme under Justinian emperor The failure of Julian the Apostate , emperor from to testifies to the decline of pagan Hellenism, but only its decline, not its eradication.

The epoch of Christian Hellenism has begun; it is a time when people try to construct Christian culture as a system. And this is a time of painful and intense spiritual struggle.

In the disputes and disquiet of earlier Byzantinism, it is not difficult to identify a common fundamental characteristic theme. This is the Christological theme, which is at the same time the theme of a man. It is perhaps precisely for this reason that Christological disputes attained such an exceptional poignancy and dragged on for three centuries. In them, there were revealed and laid bare, a whole multitude of irreconcilable and mutually exclusive religious ideals. These disputes ended with a great cultural and historical catastrophe — the great defection of the East.

Almost all of the non-Greek East broke away, dropped out of the Church, and retired into heresy. If one accepts the late fourth century as a boundary, as the end of one epoch and the beginning of Byzantine theology proper, then more is involved, for Byzantine theology not only cannot be properly understood without understanding the theological controversies of the fourth century, without understanding the legacy of the fourth century. The legacy, which Byzantine theology was to inherit, cannot be understood properly without an understanding of the entire legacy, which it inherited.

And there is a special concern, for Byzantine theology — indeed Byzantium itself — has been understood but little in the West.

For several reasons, Western Christianity somehow keeps pace even if inadequately with some of the Greek or "Byzantine" fathers of the fourth century — in a strictly historical sense Byzantine theology begins in , in that year when the city of Byzantium was inaugurated, was christened Constantinople, "New Rome.

However, as the decades and centuries flow onward the Latin West appears incapable of keeping abreast with the vital work of Byzantine theologians.

True is there is usually a small circle of persons in Rome who have contact and some knowledge of Byzantine or Eastern theology but this circle is limited and their knowledge fragmented. It was a sore tragedy for the history of Christianity, for the life of the united Church, that this drift took place. There were certainly political and cultural reasons for the drift, and, often, the blame can be placed on Byzantium.

Nevertheless, in the realm of the Church, in the realm of theological thought, in the realm of vital issues, concerning the essence of the faith such a drift should never have occurred. In modern terms, someone could say that Byzantium and Byzantine theology has had — and largely still has — a "bad press" among Western Christians. Moreover, included in this "bad press" is not only an atmosphere of contempt for the Byzantine East but also a grave ignorance and lack of understanding.

Byzantine theology was engaged in a struggle for the preservation of the truth — it was engaged in vital theological issues just as St. Athanasius and as the Cappadocian fathers in the fourth century were. Western Christians kept abreast with the thought of St. Athanasius and the Cappadocians, but it must be regrettably acknowledged that even that knowledge is not complete, that somehow ineluctably a curtain partially closes and prevents Western Christians from dealing with and understanding the totality of the thought of St.

Athanasius and the Cappadocians. It is not only a brief survey of the salient elements of fourth century Eastern theology necessary for a proper understanding of Byzantine theology but also necessary an overview of certain patterns of thought in the earlier Patristic era.

And it is almost scandalous that even a brief overview of Christological thought in the New Testament is a prerequisite for an understanding of Byzantine theology precisely to demonstrate that Byzantine theology is organically related to the original deposit of the truth of the faith , that Byzantine theology is, as it was, a Biblical theology and not a fabrication of sophistry, that Byzantine theology was dealing with burning issues of the Christian faith and of Christian life.

The beginning of Byzantinism is not the beginning of a new Christianity. Rather, it is the legitimate heir of the legacy of the New Testament, of early Christianity, of the Apostolic Fathers, of the Fathers of Church.

The Christological and Trinitarian definitions of the Council of Chalcedony, — moreover, of all the definitions of the seven Ecumenical Councils — are not the result of philosophical intrusions into the Biblical vision of God but rather — and precisely — the explication of what was originally revealed, of what was originally deposited, of what was experienced by the earliest Christians: The rationalism and, as it was, the arrogance of the eighteenth and nineteenth century scholars of the New Testament created more an exercise in exegesis than exegesis of the New Testament.

And it has made the understanding of Byzantine theology even more distant to Western Christians. If the Christ of the New Testament is one and the same with the Christ of Byzantine theology in its ultimate victory over heretical thought and if the Christ of the New Testament has been misrepresented by schools of New Testament thought in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, some carrying over to the twentieth century, then the possibility of misunderstanding Byzantine theology is heightened, is increased.

For this reason, it is necessary to present textual material from the New Testament precisely as a legacy inherited by Byzantine theologians, a task that should not be necessary and that would not have been necessary in most periods of the history of Christianity. The twentieth century has witnessed largely a reverse of this position — a considerable body of twentieth century scholarship on the New Testament has again discovered that the definitions of the Ecumenical Councils correspond to that truth present ab initio.

There is no intention to present any comprehensive study of the New Testament. Moreover, there is no intention to present an exhaustive and comprehensive analysis of the Christology of the New Testament. Only some texts from various writers of the New Testament will be presented. These texts consist of those, which are explicit, and those, in which many do not discern the Christological implications.

It is merely a sampling, merely an overview to set the basis of the background, the core of the foundation, in which and from which Byzantine theology worked. Moreover, it must not be forgotten that the Byzantine theologians were always conscience of being the heirs of the apostolic faith, heirs of the theology of the New Testament and the theology first delivered.

They saw a continuous and cohesive link and bond between them and the earliest theology of the Church, between them and the Incarnation, Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ, the eternal Only-Begotten Son of the Father. The very fact of the existence of the Christological controversies in Byzantium testifies that it was a vibrant and creative theological life rather than an ossified one.

It is true that they also saw themselves as preservers of that faith once delivered, but in the very process of preserving that original deposit, they are of necessity creative.

The Witness of the New Testament. The profound existential mystery of the earliest Christians has often been lost sight of- from the womb of Judaism, from a matrix of Hebraic thought whose most sacred principle was the oneness of God, a monotheism distinct from the pagan ethos of polytheism at that timeframe this source of Hebraic monotheism came the Apostles. Yet they could not deny what they had witnessed: Chalcedonian Christology is present already with the Apostles.

Indeed, for the Hebraic Peter, John, and Paul to write as they did about Jesus was blasphemy from the perspective of the strict monotheism of Judaism, from the sacred Hebraic principle of the transcendence of Yahweh.

And what did these sons of Judaism write about Jesus? It is sufficient to recall just a portion of what they wrote. Moreover, being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name, which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father"].

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together"]. This text of course will be used by the Arians, but the point here is to present only some material from the New Testament expressions about Jesus to demonstrate that Patristic and Byzantine theology did not invent the teaching that Jesus was unique — truly God and Truly Man.

Paul writes ["in him the whole fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily. Paul writes that Christ ["the image of God. Paul writes that "yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist.

He was manifested in the flesh…". What is noteworthy about the epistles in the New Testament is that even without such explicit texts as those mentioned above the Divinity and Humanity of Christ are present.

It comes through clearly in the very use of language, in the very names and titles given by the writers to Jesus Christ, in the very activity of Jesus Christ as Lord, as Redeemer, as the Risen One, as the Judge, as the Creator. It is not an exaggeration to say it is astonishing that any reader can fail to see the picture of Christ as it unfolds in the epistles of the New Testament. The same can be said about the Holy Spirit as the description of the activity and interrelationship of the Spirit and Son with the Father that is impossible to hide.

The same applies to the Synoptic Gospels, although the form and presentation of the portrait of Jesus differs somewhat in each of the Synoptic and from the Gospel of St. The very beginning of the Gospel of St.

Mark proclaims Jesus as the Christ; some manuscripts contain "the Son of God. The demonic spirits recognize him: Yet there are two reactions to this; the same two reactions we find at many of the "hard sayings" of Jesus: Already, with the act of forgiving sins, we experience, are caught up in, the mystery of Jesus as God — "Why does this man speak thus?

Who can forgive sins but God alone? He completely violates the law of the Sabbath by healing on the Sabbath, exclaiming, "The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath. Here, as elsewhere, Jesus refers to himself as the "Son of man" and the "Lord," the implications of which, though perhaps lost on modern man, were not lost on those present. The titles "Son of man" and "Lord" had vast theological significance for the Jews.

A relationship with God the Father is also expressed: The Gospel of St. Mark includes a description of the Transfiguration: Such texts tend to be overlooked christologically because of the more explicit Christological texts elsewhere in the New Testament. No one is good but God alone" In this same Gospel of St. Mark , Jesus says that "the Son of Man also came … to give his life as a ransom for many. With all the references to his Divinity, Jesus responds to the question of which is the greatest commandment by reasserting the monotheism of Judaism: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Mark also includes words not uttered by a mere man: Mark that is usually singled out as the Gospel, which lacks evidence of the Divinity of Christ, as the Gospel in which Jesus is portrayed as a Man — indeed, to some, a great prophet and religious leader; nevertheless, not as God and man.

However, the totality of the textual evidence does not lead to that conclusion. The texts quoted above are but examples. It is not to be forgotten that in the Gospel of St. In the Gospel of St. Matthew , the baptism of Jesus contains the similar account as in the Gospel of St. Mark ; that is, a voice from heaven identifies Jesus: The description of the temptation of Jesus contains interesting elements.

The devil addresses Jesus with "If you are the Son of God" 4: What person could have the virtue or power or capability of placing another into the category of "blessed" because the evil committed was "for his sake? Hebrew Scripture had a sacred value for the Jews of that time — indeed as it still does. Yet Jesus, knowing that sacred value, speaks with such authority that he is able to reinterpret that Scripture in a rather scathing manner.

Repeatedly Jesus exclaims, "You have heard it said … but I say to you. Another astonishing example is found in 7: In this text Jesus identifies himself as "Lord," asserts his power of judgment over the kingdom of heaven, and explicitly links his judgment with the will of his Father: Mark , the demons know who he is: And what is the reaction?

As in the Gospel of St. Mark , so also here there is a description of the Transfiguration Here, Jesus clearly refers to himself as the "Son of Man" coming in glory. Nicaea and Chalcedon are implicit even in such a seemingly remote text.

In this Gospel also, there is the description of the institution of the Eucharist As the patristic writers point out again and again, no man is capable of such an ontological and existential redemptive activity — it is can only be accomplished by God.

Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy" And what is often forgotten is that Caiaphas was right if Jesus was not God. The final command by Jesus in the Gospel of St. Matthew is explicitly Trinitarian: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…".

Many of the texts presented above from the Gospel of St. Mark and the Gospel of St. Matthew are repeated in the Gospel of St. Approximately, of verses are taken from the Gospel of St. Mark ; approximately, verses come from the Gospel of St. There is no need to repeat these texts. Approximately, of the verses in the Gospel of St. There is an identity with the Father in 9: John , Christ is explicit about his relationship with God the Father. Even here, however, a "high Christology" exists even if the explicit statements were withdrawn, for again, it is the activity of Jesus and the language used to describe this activity, which leads to certain inescapable conclusions.

But the explicit texts do exist. This one, the Logos , was in the beginning with God. All things became through him; and without him, not one thing became, which has become. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness overtook it not… He was the true light, which enlightens every man coming into the world.

He was in the world and the world became through him, and the world knew him not. He came to his own, and his own people received him not… And the Logos became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of an Only-Begotten from the Father, full of grace and of truth. In what can be considered the Prologue to I John we read something characteristic of that which is contained in the Prologue to the Gospel of St.

John — "He who was from the beginning, whom we have heard, whom we have seen with our eyes, whom we have looked upon and touched with our hands — concerning the Logos of life. And the life was manifested, and we have seen and we bear witness and we announce to you the life eternal, which was with the Father and was manifested to us — Whom we have seen and we have heard, we announce also to you in order that you also may have fellowship with us. And indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

Let remain in you what you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, you will remain in the Son and in the Father. John is replete with not only explicit statements about the relationship of God the Father and God the Son but also with those interesting formulations of language and usage that often reveal more than the explicit texts.

It is sufficient to recall the numerous "I am" — sayings: It is difficult to imagine anything more explicit than what Jesus says in the following texts. The personhood of the Holy Spirit is present also throughout the New Testament. It is enough to recall the texts of "the sin against the Holy Spirit," the command to "baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit," the "breathing of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles," the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the conception of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The nature and work of the Holy Spirit in the theology of St. Paul is indeed extraordinarily deep and rich. It is enough to recall what Christ says of the Holy Spirit.

He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. This brief overview presents Jesus in the fullness of his Divinity.

We have — for the purpose at hand — deliberately excluded texts dealing with Messianic prophecies, for the Messiah in Hebraic thought was not necessarily God; excluded also are the numerous miracles because the performance of a miracle does not necessitate the Divinity of the performer.

The vast and rich body of material from the parables were of necessity excluded. And further, it was not considered necessary to demonstrate the humanity of Jesus. It is however noteworthy that St. John is very careful to demonstrate both the Humanity and Divinity of Jesus Christ. That is precisely why he emphasizes die flow of water and blood at the crucifixion.

Already in the time of the composition of the Gospel of St. John, there were doubters of both the Humanity and the Divinity of Jesus.

Such, however, is the glimpse we gather from a brief presentation of Jesus in the New Testament. This view of Jesus is the same as that of Byzantine theology — it is the same as that of the Council of Nicaea, the same as the Council of Chalcedon.

The link is organic and the Byzantine theologians are exceedingly, yet naturally, aware of their inner, organic link with apostolic Christianity, with. The Source of the New Testament. On the day of Pentecost, the Church was born and yet there was no New Testament in a written form. For decades, there were no Gospels, as we know them today. It would not be a theological exaggeration to assert that the Church would be the Church in her fullness even if it did not possess the New Testament.

For many raised on the Reformational principal of sola scriptura this may seem a radical — even heretical — statement. But the fact is that we do possess the New Testament and, as such, it is a part of the sacred history of Christianity. But there was a time when the Church did not possess this corpus of inspired writing and yet the Church existed in her fullness, Christians experienced the truth of the faith in all its fullness.

The historical fact, the historical reality is that the Church existed before anything was written, that the Church preceded the existence of the New Testament, that it was the Church precisely, which gave birth to the New Testament and it was the Church out of which the New Testamental writings emerged and the Church, which determined ultimately, which of these writings would be accepted as canonical.

The authority of the writing and the authority of acceptance was the Church. Christian faith is centred on Christ. The mystery of God become man is the holy truth of the Church. Christianity is Christ — our entire religion stands or falls with belief in Christ. The sermons of Christ and those of the first apostles were the living "word," which first planted the seed of faith — long before a Christian literature existed.

Hence, this literature did not produce faith but was the product of faith. As Karl Adam has correctly observed, "It is missionary literature. Even if the Bible did not exist, a Christian religious movement would be conceivable. Paul writes in I Corinthians The historical reality is the fact that God through the Church provided us with the New Testament and hence there is an obvious and sacred purpose in that gift. The New Testament is the revelation of and about God.

But, at the same time, revelation is always a Word addressed to man, a summons and an appeal to man. The highest objectivity in the hearing and understanding of Scripture is achieved through the greatest exertion of the creative personality, through spiritual growth, through the transfiguration of the personality, which overcomes in itself "the wisdom of the flesh," ascending to "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" Ephesians 4: From man it is not self-abnegation, which is demanded, but a victorious forward movement, not self-destruction but a rebirth or transformation.

Without man, Revelation would be impossible — because no one would be there to hear and God would then not speak. And God created man so that man would hear his words, receive them, and grow in them and through them become a participator of "eternal life.

The way of life and light is open. And the human spirit has anew become capable of hearing God completely and of receiving his words. Revelation and the Language of Dogma. The unalterable truths of experience can be expressed in different ways. Divine reality can be described in images and parables, in the language of devotional poetry and of religious art — the Church preaches this way even now in her liturgical hymns and in the symbolism of her sacramental acts.

That is the language of proclamation, the language of prayer and of mystical experience, the language of kerygmatic theology. But there is another language, the language of comprehending thought, the language of dogma. Dogma is a witness of experience. The entire pathos of dogma lies in the fact that it points to Divine Reality, — in this, the witness of dogma is symbolic. Dogma is the testimony of thought about what has been seen and revealed, about what has been contemplated in the experience of faith — and this testimony is expressed in concepts and definitions.

Dogma is an "intellectual vision," a truth of perception. One can say that it is the logical image, a "logical icon" of Divine Reality. And at the same time, a dogma is a definition — that is why its logical form is so important for dogma; that "inner word," which acquires force in its external expression. This is why the external aspect of dogma — its wording — is so essential. Dogma is by no means a new Revelation. Dogma is only a witness. The whole meaning of dogmatic definition consists of testifying to unchanging truth, truth, which was revealed and has been preserved from the beginning.

Thus, it is a total misunderstanding to speak of the "development of dogma. Least of all is it possible to change dogmatic language or terminology. As strange as it may appear, one can indeed say that dogmas arise, dogmas are established, but they do not develop. Dogma is an intuitive truth, n ot a discursive axiom, which is accessible to logical development.

The whole meaning of dogma lies in the fact that it is expressed truth. Revelation discloses itself and is received in the silence of faith, in silent vision — this is the first and apophatic step of the knowledge of God. The entire fullness of truth is already contained in this apophatic vision, but truth must be expressed. Man, however, is called not only to be silent but also to speak, to communicate. The silentium mysticum does not exhaust the entire fullness of the religious vocation of man.

There is also room for the expression of praise. In her dogmatic confession, the Church expresses herself and proclaims the apophatic truth, which she preserves. The quest for dogmatic definitions is therefore, above all, a quest for terms. Precisely because of this, the doctrinal controversies will be a dispute over terms. One will have to find accurate and clear words to describe and express the experience of the Church.

This is necessary because the truth of faith is also the truth for reason and for thought — this does not mean, however, that it is the truth of thought, the truth of pure reason.

The truth of faith is fact, reality — that which is. In this "quest for words" human thought changes, the essence of thought itself is transformed and sanctified. The Church indirectly testifies to this in rejecting the heresy of Apollinarius. Apollinarianism is, in its deepest sense, a false anthropology, it is a false teaching about man, and, therefore, it is also a false teaching about the God-Man Christ. Apollinarianism is the negation of human reason, the fear of thought — "it is impossible that there be no sin in human thoughts" — St.

And that means that human reason is incurable — that is, it must be cut off. The rejection of Apollinarianism meant therefore the fundamental justification of reason and thought. Not in the sense, of course, that "natural reason" is sinless and right by itself but in the sense that it is open to transformation, that it can be healed, that it can be renewed.

And not only can but also must be healed and renewed. Reason is summoned to the knowledge of God. The "philosophizing" about God is not just a feature of inquisitiveness or a kind of audacious curiosity.

And for this reason, the Church "philosophized" about God — "formulated dogmas which fishermen had earlier expounded in simple words" [from the service in honour of the Three Hierarchs].

The "dogmas of the Fathers" again present the unchanging content of "apostolic preaching" in intellectual categories. The experience of truth does not change and does not even grow; indeed, thought penetrates into the "understanding of truth" and transforms itself through the process.

In establishing dogmas, the Church expressed Revelation in the language of Greek philosophy — or if preferable, the Church translated Revelation from the poetic and prophetic language of Hebrew into Greek. That meant, in a certain sense, a "Hellenization" of Revelation. But in reality, it was a "Churchification" of Hellenism. This theme has been discussed and disputed too much already. Here, it is essential to raise only one issue. The Old Covenant has passed. Israel did not accept the Divine Christ, did not recognize him, or confess Him, and "the promise" passed to the Gentiles.

We must acknowledge this basic fact of Christian history in humility before the will of God. The "calling of the Gentiles" meant that Hellenism became blessed by God. In this, there was no "historical accident" — no such accident could lie therein. In the religious destiny of man, there are no "accidents.

It is in this language that we hear the Gospel in all its entirety and fullness. That does not and cannot of course mean that it is untranslatable — but we always translate it from the Greek.

There was as little "accident" in the "selection" of the Greek language as there was in the fact that "salvation comes from the Jews" John 4: We receive the Revelation of God as it occurred. And it would be pointless to ask whether it could have been otherwise. The presentation of Revelation in the language of historical Hellenism in no way restricts Revelation.

It rather proves precisely the opposite — that this language possessed certain powers and resources, which aided in expounding and expressing the truth of Revelation. The words of dogmatic definitions are not "simple words," they are not "accidental" words, which one can replace by other words. They are eternal words, incapable of being replaced. This means that certain words — certain concepts — are eternalized by the very fact that they express divine truth.

But this does not mean that there is an " eternalization " of one specific philosophical "system. Indeed, one can speak of a philosophical "eclecticism" of Christian dogmatic. And this "eclecticism" has a much deeper meaning than one usually assumes. Its entire meaning consists of the fact that particular themes of Hellenic philosophy are received and, through this reception, they change essentially — they change and are no longer recognizable because now, in the terminology of Greek philosophy, a new, a totally new experience is expressed.

Although themes and motives of Greek thought are retained, the answers to the problems are quite different, for they are given out of a new experience. Usually we do not sufficiently perceive the entire significance of this transformation, which Christianity introduced into the realm of thought. Partially, this is because we too often remain ancient Greeks philosophically, not yet having experienced the baptism of thought by fire.

And in part, on the contrary, because we are too accustomed to the new world-view, retaining it as an "innate truth" when, in actuality, it was given to us only through Revelation. It is sufficient to point out just a few examples: For Greek thought, the concept of "created ideas" was impossible and offensive. And bound up with this was the Christian intuition of history as a unique — once-occurring — creative fulfilment, the sense of a movement from an actual "beginning" up to a final end, a feeling for history, which in no way at all allows itself to be linked with the static pathos of ancient Greek thought.

And the understanding of man as person, the concept of personality, was entirely inaccessible to Hellenism, which considered only the mask as person. And finally, there is the message of Resurrection in glorified but real flesh, a thought, which could only frighten the Greeks who lived in the hope of a future dematerialization of the spirit.

These are just some of the new vistas disclosed in the new experience of Christianity. Hellenism, forged in the fire of a new experience and a new faith, is renewed, is transformed. These are the presuppositions and categories of a new Christian philosophy, a new philosophy enclosed in Church dogmatic.

Revelation is not only Revelation about God but also about the world, for the fullness of Revelation is in the image of the God-Man, in the fact of the ineffable union of God and Man, of the Divine and human, of the Creator and the creature — in the indivisible and unmerged union of God and Man in Jesus Christ.

The path to Chalcedon is present in the New Testament. It is precisely the Chalcedonian dogma of the unity of the God-Man — despite what we shall see as great imprecision in the language of the councils and in the language of the "Fathers" —, which is the true, decisive point of Revelation, of the experience of faith and of Christian vision. Modern man is in general very critical of the definition of the Council of Chalcedon.

It fails to convey any meaning to him. The "imagery" of the creed is for him nothing more than a piece of poetry if anything at all. The whole approach, I think, is wrong.

The "definition" of Chalcedon is a statement of faith and therefore cannot be understood when taken out of the total experience of the Church. It is precisely for that reason that I have included an overview of the statements about Christology in the New Testament and it is precisely for that reason that an overview of the Christological thought of the early centuries must be presented as a background not only for Chalcedon but also for the whole of Byzantine theology.

The definition of the Council of Chalcedon is, in fact, an "existential statement. Our Redeemer is not a man, but God himself.

Here, lies the existential emphasis of the definition of Chalcedon and of the work of Byzantine theology accepted by the Church.

Our Redeemer is one who "came down" and who, by "becoming man," identified himself with men in the fellowship of a truly human life and nature. Not only was the initiative Divine but the "captain of our salvation" was a Divine Person.

The fullness of the human nature of Christ means, as we shall see, precisely the adequacy and truth of this redeeming identification. God enters human history and becomes an historical person. Indeed, there is a mystery. But this mystery is a revelation — the true character of God is disclosed in the Incarnation. God was so much and so intimately concerned with he destiny of man — and precisely with the destiny of every one of "the little ones" — as to intervene in person in the chaos and misery of the lost life.

God is therefore not merely an omnipotent ruling of the universe from an august distance by divine majesty. Rather, there is the Divine kenosis , a "self-humiliation" of the God of glory. There is a personal relationship between God and Man. There is an amazing coherence in the body of the traditional doctrine of Christ — from the earliest Christians to the New Testament to the Councils and to the positive contributions of Byzantine theology.

True, the definitions of the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Chalcedon will cause a sore disruption in the Church, for not only is truth preserved and defined but also there is an imprecision in the human language used by the councils, an imprecision that gravely wounded the body of the Church. But the truth was there, the truth was defined. It can be apprehended and understood only in the living context of faith, by a personal communion with the personal God.

Faith alone makes formulas convincing; faith alone makes formulas live, for Christ is not a text but a living Person and He abides in his body, the Church.

It may seem ridiculous to modern man to suggest that we should accept and preach the doctrine of Chalcedon "in a time such as this. It brings man a true freedom. The Christological disputes of the past are unfortunately continued and repeated in the controversies of our own age. Modern man, deliberately or subconsciously, is tempted by the Nestorian extreme — modern man does not take the Incarnation in earnest, he does not dare to believe that Christ is a Divine Person; he wants to have a human redeemer, one assisted by God.

Modern man is more interested in the human psychology of the Redeemer than in the mystery of Divine love precisely because, in the last resort, he believes optimistically in the dignity of man. On the other extreme, we have in our age a revival of "Monophysite" tendencies in theology and religion — man is reduced to complete passivity and is allowed only to listen and to hope.

The present tension between "liberalism" and "neo-orthodoxy" is in fact a re-enactment of the old Christological struggle, albeit on a new existential level and in a new spiritual guise. Unless a wider vision is acquired, the conflict will never be settled or solved. In the early Church, the preaching was emphatically theological. The New Testament itself is a theological book. Neglect of theology, of the theology of the God-Man, is responsible both for the decay of personal religion and for that sense of frustration which dominates the modern mood.

The whole appeal of the "rival gospels" in our time is that they offer some sort of pseudo-theology, a system of pseudo-dogmas.

They are gladly accepted by those who cannot find any theology in the reduced Christianity of "modern" style, by those who have been cut off from the organic Christology of the New Testament, of the definitions of the Councils, and of the work of the Eastern and Byzantine Fathers.

I have often a strange feeling. When I read the ancient classics of Christian theology, the fathers of the Church, I find them more relevant to the troubles and problems of my own time than the production of modern theologians. The fathers were wrestling with existential problems, with those revelations of the eternal issues, which were described and recorded in Holy Scripture. It is precisely the Chalcedonian dogma of the unity of the God-Man, which is the true, decisive point of Revelation, of the experience of faith, and of the Christian vision.

A clear knowledge of God — that for which Byzantine theology was striving and striving to protect — is impossible for man if he is committed to vague and false conceptions of the world and of himself. That is precisely why St. In this respect, a true philosophy is necessary for faith.

And, on the other hand, faith is committed to specific metaphysical presuppositions. Dogmatic theology, as the explanation of Divinely revealed truth in the realm of thought, is precisely the basis of a Christian philosophy, of a sacred philosophy, of a philosophy of the Holy Spirit. Dogma, a word disliked by modern man, presupposes experience, and only in the experience of vision and faith, does dogma reach its fullness and come to life.

And dogmas do not exhaust this experience, just as Revelation is not exhausted in "words" or in the "letter" of Scripture. The experience and knowledge of the Church are more comprehensive and fuller than her dogmatic pronouncement. The Church witnesses too many things, which are not in "dogmatic" statements but rather in images and symbols.

Dogmatic theology can neither dismiss nor replace " kerygmatic " theology. In the Church the fullness of knowledge and understanding is given but this fullness is only gradually and partially disclosed and professed. This "incompleteness" of knowledge results from the fact that the Church is still "in pilgrimage," still in the process of "pilgrimage. Nevertheless, this "incompleteness" of our knowledge here and now does not weaken the authentic and apodictic character of the Church.

The definition of Chalcedon is precisely a definition of that truth, which we do here and now possess. Without the definitions of the Ecumenical Councils, always following the fathers and Holy Scripture, that truth, which was revealed in the God-Man, Jesus Christ, would be distorted, would threaten our redemption, indeed, would strike at the very core and heart of the ontological reality of redemption.

I f the teaching about Christ in the New Testament is so clear, a fundamental question arises. Why were all the historical struggles over Christology?

Why the divisions, why the disruptions, why the apparent damage to the Body of Christ, the Church? Why was such controversy over that which was the cornerstone of our very redemption? It is a legitimate question. It must never be forgotten that we are warned again and again in the New Testament to guard the faith, to beware of false teachers, to hold fast to that which we have received.

It is a constant theme expressed in a variety of ways throughout the New Testament. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith.

It is clear that already in the earliest days of the Christian Church there were divisions that the truth had to be preserved and guarded from the very beginning. Christ encourages his disciples that the Holy Spirit will guide them into all truth John And the very created nature of man allows for the possibility of corrupting that which has been revealed.

But the promise that the truth shall be preserved by the Holy Spirit reveals that, despite controversy and dispute already present within the early life of the Church, theological work is still to be active in the ongoing life of the Church — the explication and definition of the redemptive activity of the God-Man. The Church is "Apostolic" indeed.

But the Church is also "Patristic. Indeed, the teaching of the Fathers and the dogma of the Church are still the same "simple message," which has been once delivered and deposited, once forever. But now it is, as it was before, necessary for this "simple message" to be in order properly and fully articulated.

The main distinctive mark of Patristic and Byzantine theology is its "existential" character if we may borrow this current neologism. The Fathers theologized, as St. Their theology is still a "message," a kerygma. Their theology is still " kerygmatic theology " even if it is often logically arranged and supplied with intellectual arguments.

The ultimate reference is still to the vision of faith, to spiritual knowledge and experience. Apart from life in Christ, theology carries no conviction and if separated from the life of faith, theology may degenerate into empty dialectics, a vain polylogia , without any spiritual consequence.

Patristic and Byzantine theology is existentially rooted in the decisive commitment of faith. In the age of the theological strife and incessant debates , which we will be discussing, the Fathers — especially the Cappadocian Fathers — formally protested against the use of dialectics, of "Aristotelian syllogisms," and endeavoured to refer theology back to the vision of faith.

Patristic and Byzantine theology could be only "preached" or "proclaimed" — preached from the pulpit, proclaimed also in the words of prayer and in sacred rites, and indeed manifested in the total structure of Christian life. Theology of this kind can never be separated from the life of prayer and from the exercise of virtue.

On the other hand, Patristic and Byzantine theology is always, as it was, "propaedeutic," since its ultimate aim and purpose is to ascertain and to acknowledge the Mystery of the Living God, to bear witness to it, in word and deed. It is always but a way. Theology, and even the "dogmas," presents no more than an "intellectual contour" of the revealed truth, and a "noetic" testimony to it. Only in the act of faith is this "contour" filled with content.

Christological formulas are fully meaningful only for those who have encountered the Living Christ, and have received and acknowledged Him as God and Saviour, and are dwelling by faith in Him, in His body, the Church.

In this sense, theology is never a self-explanatory discipline. It is constantly appealing to the vision of faith. For the same reason these formulas can never be taken "abstractly," that is, out of total context of belief. It is misleading to single out particular statements of the Fathers and to detach them from the total perspective in which they have been actually uttered, just as it is misleading to manipulate with detached quotations from the Scripture.

A dangerous habit " to quote " the Fathers; is, to quote their isolated sayings and phrases outside of that concrete setting in which only they have their full and proper meaning and are truly alive.

The name of " the Fathers of the Church " is usually restricted to the teachers of the ancient Church. And it is currently assumed that their authority depends upon their antiquity, upon their comparative nearness to the "primitive Church," to the initial age of the Church. Jerome had to contest this idea.

Indeed, there was no decrease of "authority" and no decrease in the immediacy of spiritual competence and knowledge in the course of Christian history. In fact, however, this idea of "decrease" has strongly affected our modern theological thinking. In fact, it is too often assumed, consciously or unconsciously, that the Early Church was, as it was, closer to the spring of truth.

As an admission of our own failure and inadequacy, as an act of humble self-criticism, such an assumption is sound and helpful. But it is dangerous to make of it the starting point or basis of our "theology of Church history," or even of our theology of the Church. Indeed, the Age of the Apostles should retain its unique position.

Yet it was just a beginning. It is widely assumed that the "Age of the Fathers" has ended. Accordingly, it is regarded just as an ancient formation, "antiquated" in a sense and "archaic.

The limit of the "Patristic Age" is variously defined. It is usual to regard St. John of Damascus as the "last Father" in the East and St. Gregory the Dialogos or Isidore of Seville as "the last" in the West. This periodization has been justly contested in recent times. Should not, for example, St. Theodore of Studium be at least included among "the Fathers? Actually, it is more than a question of periodization.

From the Western point of view, "the Age of the Fathers" has been succeeded and indeed superseded by "the Age of the Schoolmen," which was an essential step forward. Since the rise of Scholasticism, "Patristic theology" has been antiquated, has become actually a "past age," a kind of archaic prelude.

This point of view, which is legitimate for the West, has been most unfortunately accepted also by many in the East, blindly and uncritically. Accordingly, one has to face the alternative. Either one has to regret the "backwardness" of the East, which never developed any "Scholasticism" of its own.

Or one should retire into the "Ancient Age," in a more or less archaeological manner, and practice what has been wittily described recently as a "theology of repetition. And often it is suggested that the "Age of the Fathers" has ended much earlier than St.

Very often one does not proceed further than the Age of Justinian or the Council of Chalcedon. Was not Leontius of Byzantium already "the first of the Scholastics? Indeed, the Fathers of the Fourth century are impressive and their unique greatness cannot be denied. Yet the Church remained fully alive also after Nicaea and Chalcedon. The current overemphasis on the "first five centuries" dangerously distorts theological vision and prevents the right understanding of the Chalcedonian dogma itself.

The decree of the Sixth Ecumenical Council is often regarded as a kind of an "appendix" to Chalcedon, interesting only for theological specialists, and the great figure of St.

Maximus the Confessor is almost completely ignored. Was it not just a "ritualistic controversy? Our theological thinking has been dangerously affected by the pattern of decay , adopted for the interpretation of Christian history in the West since the Reformation. The fullness of the Church was then interpreted in a static manner, and the attitude to Antiquity has been accordingly distorted and misconstrued. After all, it does not make much difference whether we restrict the normative authority of the Church to one century, or to five, or to eight.

There should be no restriction at all. Consequently, there is no room for any "theology of repetition. One of the immediate results of our careless periodization is that we simply ignore the legacy of Byzantine theology. We are prepared, now more than only a few decades ago, to admit the perennial authority of "the Fathers," especially since the revival of Patristic studies in the West.

But we still tend to limit the scope of admission, and obviously "Byzantine theologians" are not readily counted among the "Fathers. We have still doubts about its normative relevance for theological thinking. Now, Byzantine theology was much more than just a "repetition" of Patristic theology.

Neither was that which was new in it of an inferior quality in comparison with "Christian Antiquity. Was there any break? Has the ethos of the Eastern Orthodox Church been ever changed at a certain historic point or date, which, however, has never been unanimously identified so that the "later" development was of lesser authority and importance if of any? We witness this encounter already in the Gospel of St.

John , for there we are aware that the author is fighting on two fronts. One group is not convinced that Christ is in the full sense Divine. The other group cannot grasp the full humanity of Christ. For one group Jesus is a mere man; for the other Jesus the Christ is a divine apparition. Against the former the Gospel of St. John addresses the words: Against the other group, believing that God appeared on earth in human form but without any actual flesh and blood, the Gospel of St.

John directs these words: He who saw it has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth — that you also may believe" There exists independent knowledge of these two heretical schools of thought. One is represented by a Jewish-Christian sect known as the Ebonite.

In short, they taught that Jesus was a mere man who scrupulously observed the Law of Judaism and became the Messiah. The opposite extreme was represented by the Docetists.

Serapion of Antioch fl. D ocetism is much more a tendency, an attitude, than a unified doctrine or a unified group. The numerous Gnostic sects will all contain within their system the Docetist heretical tendency. In brief, the Docetists viewed the humanity and the sufferings of the earthly Christ as apparent rather than real. One overemphasizes the manhood of Christ; the other overemphasizes the Divinity of Christ. Here, already, we see, though in a different historical context and in a different doctrinal context, the two emphases , which will be present later in a more sophisticated form in Nestorianism and Monophysitism — in terms of emphases , not of doctrinal content.

No one but Harnack applied the term Adoptionists to the Ebonite and the term "Pneumatic" to the Docetists. The early Christian writers are constantly challenging these two tendencies. To understand God in his revelatory self-disclosure is not incorrect but it is one-sided and ultimately inadequate.

From an historical perspective, from an understanding of the living reality in which the early Christian writers found themselves, their oikonomic approach is understandable. But because of this tendency, because of the lack of balance between a theology of God in himself and a theology of God in his relation to created existence, and because of imprecision in terminology certain problems inevitably occur — conflicting tendencies of Christological and Trinitarian thought arise already in the late second and third century.

The theological breakthrough comes in a forceful presentation only with St. It is sufficient to call attention to that aspect of the early Christian writers, which reflects the understanding of Christ as God and hence provides the common ground for the definitions of the Ecumenical Councils, especially the Council of Chalcedon — Jesus Christ as fully God and fully Man.

It was probably written in 96 or But it is clear that the entire pragmatic exhortation of this letter is based upon, a ssumes, the Divinity of Christ. This is all the more significant when one considers the "Judaistic and Stoic tone" of his letter. Let us observe that which is good, that which is pleasing and acceptable to Him who made us.

Let us fasten our eyes on the blood of Christ and let us realize how precious it is to his Father because it was shed for our salvation and it brought the grace of repentance to the whole world.

Implicit in this text is the fact that "his Father" refers to a unique relationship between Father and Son and not a general Fatherhood of God with all men, precisely because no man is capable of shedding blood that will redeem and bring the "grace of repentance" to the entire world. In chapter 21, St.

Clement repeats the same idea: In chapter 16, St. Clement writes, "He poured forth his gifts on them all but most abundantly on us who have taken refuge in his compassion through our Lord Jesus Christ, to who be glory and majesty forever and ever. In general, throughout the letter, St.

Clement refers to Christ as the image or mirror or reflection of God the Father: Through him, the eyes of our hearts are opened. Through him, our foolish and darkened comprehension wells up to the light. You must register for this activity. Please contact Karen Mitchell at x or email Kmitchell selfhelpinc. Kindergarten, Here I Come! Stoughton April 21, March 5, 1: Kindergarten Here I Come! Karen kindergarten Michele Stoughton.

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