On Anastasius the Librarian

June 24, 2008

I was away most of the past two weeks in Chicago and Washington, D.C., attending two conferences: in Chicago, the annual meeting of the Orthodox Theological Society in America (June 12-14); in Washington, D.C., the twelfth annual Orientale Lumen conference (June 16-19). There is much that could be said about these two conferences, and, since I took over 50 pages of notes at them, I have a fairly good recollection of what took place. But let me leave that for some other occasion.

During my absence, I found another comment from Photios Jones on the post St. Maximus on the filioque. In his comment, Mr. Jones supplies a link to a translation, on his blog, of a passage by Anastasius the Librarian (a ninth-century Latin writer, sometime papal librarian and translator of Greek, deeply involved in ecclesiastical politics at the time of Photius); he further informs me that Anastasius the Librarian supports his reading of St. Maximus’s passage as against mine, and that “it seems odd that he would contradict his own tradition if Maximus wasn’t quite getting them right.”

I should note that the passage from Anastasius the Librarian is also cited by Jean-Claude Larchet, in his critique of the 1995 Vatican “Clarification” on the Filioque (the “Clarification,” it seems, can no longer be found on the internet). It serves as the clinching text in support of Larchet’s claim that the common doctrine of the Churches, during the first millennium, was Photius’s: if the Holy Spirit can be said to “proceed,” in any way, “from the Son,” this refers strictly to a temporal sending.

I don’t agree with this reading of the patristic evidence. But that disagreement obliges me to give some account of why Anastasius the Librarian says what he does.

First, before I give my own reading of the evidence, let me translate a couple of passages from an old warhorse of Catholic polemic, Fr. Martin Jugie. He was one of the great scholars of Eastern Christianity of the twentieth century, although, by current-day standards, he would be judged insufferably hostile and condescending towards the Orthodox Church, which he routinely referred to as “ecclesia graeco-russa” since he denied that it was in fact theologically orthodox. He wrote in French and in Latin; except for a book on Purgatory, nothing of his has been translated into English. Perhaps that is just as well. But let me, in any case, render a couple of passages here, in which Jugie comments upon Anastasius the Librarian’s text.


Martin Jugie, De processione Spiritus Sancti ex fontibus revelationis et secundum Orientales dissidentes (Rome 1936), p. 185, n.:

By another method the Greeks and Russians [Graeco-Russi] endeavor to draw St. Maximus to their own side. For an interpretation of Maximus’s words in the Epistola ad Marinum has come down to us from Anastasius the Librarian, which, in the published editions, goes like this:

“Furthermore, we have translated, from the letter of the same St. Maximus addressed to the priest Marinus, a passage concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit, wherein he notes that the Greeks had brought up a charge against us to no purpose, since we do not claim that the Son is cause or principle of the Holy Spirit, as they suppose; but, being not unaware of the unity of substance of the Father and the Son, we say that, in just the way he proceeds from the Father, in that very same way he proceeds from the Son, taking ‘procession,’ doubtless, in the sense of ‘mission.’ By this pious interpretation Maximus instructs those who are unlearned* in the two languages to be at peace, since in fact he teaches both us and the Greeks that, in one way, the Holy Spirit does proceed from the Son, and, in another way, he doesn’t, while he points out the difficulty of expressing the idiom of one language in that of another.” Collectanea ad Joannem Diaconum, PL 129, 560-561 and PG 91, 133.

From Anastasius’s words, “taking ‘procession,’ doubtless, in the sense of ‘mission,'” certain Greek and Russian theologians infer: (1) the Latins at that time, namely, from the seventh to ninth centuries, understood the formula a Patre Filioque procedit not as applying to the Spirit’s eternal procession, but as speaking of his temporal mission; (2) Maximus himself accepted the formula a Patre per Filium in that very sense. In truth, so far as Maximus is concerned, his own words sufficiently cry out against such an interpretation. And, among the Latins, it is only Anastasius whose words lead him into danger, if in fact he is confusing procession and mission, which, from the aforecited passage, is in no way certain. For, from the things which he immediately subjoins, namely, “in one way, the Holy Spirit does proceed from the Son, and, in another way, he doesn’t,” he shows that he has understood St. Maximus’s own explanation correctly. For this reason Combefisius, the editor of Maximus’s works, conjectures that it is very likely that, in place of missionem (mission), one ought to read emissionem (emission), by which word Anastasius would have wished to render the Greek word προϊέναι, from which comes the word πρόοδος, corresponding to the Latin word processio.

*This is Jugie’s reading. The Migne text reads “learned.”


In his Theologia Dogmatica Christianorum Orientalium, vol. 2 (Paris 1933), p. 441, Jugie comments more simply: “Textus sane est obscurus et talis qui suspicionem ingere possit de scientia theologica Anastasii,” “the text indeed is obscure and such as might well raise a doubt about Anastasius’s theological competency.”

Jugie points out that the passage is cited by the early-modern Orthodox writers Theophanes Prokopovitch (Tractatus de processione Spiritus Sancti, Gotha, 1772) and Adam Zoernikavius (De processione Spiritus Sancti a Patre solo dissertationes theologicæ decem et novem, Königsberg 1774-1776); like the editors at Energetic Procession today, these men sought to infer from this ninth-century text the existence of a continuous, anti-Augustinian triadological tradition in the Latin West. Jugie thinks the evidence is inadequate to prove that claim; I agree.


To give my own reading of the evidence: I think it is worth pointing out, first of all, certain historical facts about Anastasius the Librarian. What is chiefly remarkable about Anastasius’s ecclesiastical career is that he combined deep erudition with utterly unscrupulous ambition; in that respect, he was not unlike his Greek contemporary, St. Photius the Great. He was the greatest Greek scholar in Rome of his day; and, although he had been excommunicated twice, once for having had himself elected antipope, and once on the charge of being an accomplice to a murder, he was nevertheless an indispensable man to the popes of the 860s and 870s, who had no one else they could turn to for maintaining diplomatically sensitive communications with the Byzantine Church and State. He took part in the anti-Photian council of Constantinople in 869-870, and his Latin translation of that council’s proceedings is the only version that has survived. He was, at first, a virulent opponent of Photius; but, when the political winds changed, and Pope John VIII proved willing to recognize Photius in order to solicit Byzantine help against the Arab threat upon the Italian mainland, Anastasius changed his tune, and maintained with Photius a friendly correspondence.

So the first thing to bear in mind, when assessing this text by Anastasius the Librarian, is that it is not a text by your average hoi polloi Latin. It is a text by a grecophone Latin, who had a fairly good knowledge of what contemporary Greeks thought of things. The second thing to bear in mind is that, according to Arthur Lapôtre, De Anastasio Bibliothecario sedis apostolicæ (Paris 1885), p. 332, the Collectanea ad Joannem Diaconum, from which this passage is taken, was written by Anastasius after the year 874. This was at a time when John VIII was already pope; presumably, attitudes towards the Greek Church were already changing.

The combination of these factors seems to me sufficient to account for Anastasius’s language in this letter. Anastasius is the representative here of those Latins at Rome who are concerned to patch things up with the Greek Church as soon as possible. It may be that Jugie is right, that Anastasius really wrote emissionem, to correspond to Maximus’s word προϊέναι. In that case, Anastasius would be simply glossing Maximus’s point, that προϊέναι (“coming-forth”) is how one should translate the Latin procedereprocedere, when used of the Spirit’s relationship with the Son, does not mean ἐκπορεύεσθαι, to “proceed” in the sense of deriving ultimate origin, but “proceed” in the sense of “existing through.” Or it may be that Anastasius in fact wrote missionem here. In that case, it seems to me, he is giving John the Deacon the current Greek interpretation of what is theologically acceptable: i.e., he is echoing Photius, with whom, by this time, he was on better terms.

In any case, the text from Anastasius the Librarian does not prove the existence of a longstanding body of Latin opinion that considered St. Augustine a trinitarian heretic. And if Anastasius were in fact condemning an Augustinian reading of the procession here, he would also be condemning all those popes who, for centuries, had on many occasions affirmed the Augustinian view. Here, for instance, is a text by St. Leo the Great:

“Spiritus Sanctus Patris Filiique … Spiritus non sicut quaecumque creatura quae et Patris et Filii est, sed sicut cum utroque vivens et potens, et sempiterne ex eo quod est Pater Filiusque subsistens.” “The Holy Spirit belongs to the Father and the Son… The Spirit is not like this or that creature which belongs to the Father and the Son, but [exists] as one who, with both of them, is living and powerful, and who exists eternally from that which the Father and the Son is.” (Sermo LXXVI, PL 54, 400).

In a letter to St. Turibius, bishop of Astorga in Spain, Pope Leo writes:

“…primo itaque capitulo demonstratur quam impie sentiant de Trinitate divina, qui et Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti unam atque eandem asserunt esse personam, tamquam idem Deus nunc Pater nunc Filius nunc Spiritus Sanctus nominetur; nec alius sit qui genuit, alius qui genitus est, alius qui de utroque procedit.” “Thus, in the first chapter it is shown what impious notions they hold concerning the divine Trinity, when they assert that there is one and the same person of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as though the same God should at one time be named Father, at another time Son, at another time Holy Spirit; and as though there were not one who begat, another who is begotten, another who proceeds from both.” (Ep. xv; PL 54, 680).

Pope Leo III, at the beginning of the ninth century, writes the following to the Eastern churches:

“Leo episcopus servus servorum Dei omnibus orientalibus Ecclesiis. Hoc symbolum orthodoxae fidei vobis mittimus ut tam vos quam omnis mundus secundum Romanam sanctam catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam rectam et inviolatam teneatis fidem. Credimus sanctam Trinitatem, id est, Patrem, Filium, et Spiritum Sanctum, unum Deum omnipotentem, unius substantiae, unius essentiae, unius potestatis, Creatorem omnium creaturarum, a quo omnia, per quem omnia, in quo omnia: Patrem a se ipso, non ab alio; Filium a Patre genitum, Deum verum de Deo vero, lumen verum de lumine vero, non tamen duo lumina, sed unum lumen; Spiritum Sanctum a Patre et a Filio aequaliter procedentem, consubstantialem, coaeternum Patri et Filio. Pater plenus Deus in se, Filius plenus Deus a Patre genitus, Spiritus Sanctus plenus Deus a Patre et Filio procedens….”
“The bishop Leo, servant of the servants of God, to all the Eastern Churches. We are sending you this symbol of Orthodox faith so that both you and all the rest of the world may hold to the right and inviolate faith in accordance with the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. We believe in the Holy Trinity, that is, Father Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, all-mighty, of a single substance, of a single essence, of a single power, Creator of all creatures, from whom are all things, through whom are all things, in whom are all things: the Father, from himself, not from any other; the Son, begotten of the Father, true God of true God, true light of true light, not two lights, however, but one light; the Holy Spirit, proceeding equally from the Father and from the Son, consubstantial, coeternal with the Father and the Son. The Father, complete God in himself, the Son, complete God begotten of the Father, the Holy Spirit, complete God proceeding from the Father and the Son….” (Cited from H. B. Swete, On the History of the Doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Apostolic Age to the Death of Charlemagne, Cambridge and London, 1876, p. 230.)

Texts like this could easily be multiplied. Thus, anyone who is going to maintain that Anastasius the Librarian counted St. Augustine as a trinitarian heretic is also going to have to admit that he counted Pope Leo the Great and many other subsequent popes as trinitarian heretics as well. Given the zeal with which the Roman Church guards its reputation for doctrinal purity, is it likely that, under those circumstances, Anastasius would have kept his job?

And the idea that the doctrine St. Maximus was defending in his letter to Marinus was a Photian one, not an Augustinian one, falls by the same token. If an eternal derivation of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son is the doctrine popes like St. Leo had been teaching, then that is the doctrine St. Maximus, who was defending Rome against its Eastern detractors, had to defend.

I would strongly recommend that those persons who continue to propose the thesis that Photian monopatrism was the universal and unquestioned doctrine of the undivided Church of the first millennium, except in those isolated places where the teaching of the impious Augustine muddied the pure streams of doctrine with heretical pravity, should read H. B. Swete’s aforementioned book, On the History of the Doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Apostolic Age to the Death of Charlemagne. Although it is nearly a century and a half old, it is still, in many ways, the best thing on the subject in the English language. It makes it very clear that the idea that the Son had some essential role in the eternal origination of the Holy Spirit from the Father was pretty much common currency among Christians, East and West, until about the middle of the fourth century. By the end of the fourth century, a differentiation was starting to occur in the Greek-speaking East: while an essential connection of the Spirit with the Son in the Spirit’s origination was being affirmed even more strongly than before among theologians connected with Alexandria, theologians of the school of Antioch, followers of Diodore of Tarsus, reacted against this, and began issuing statements directly denying that the Son was in any sense the origin of the Holy Spirit’s hypostasis. Photian monopatrism could be said to make its first unambiguous appearance in the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia. This is not theory; one simply has to look at the texts to see that this is true. Swete’s book gives a good, balanced collection of them; if one cannot read the Greek and Latin, then read instead his book The Holy Spirit in the Ancient Church (London 1912), which gives most of the same texts in translation. But the theory that holds that the Latin West was latently anti-Augustinian, or that it was some anti-Augustinian “true believers” that St. Maximus was defending when he defended the Filioque usage in his Letter to Marinus, is about as empty-headed a reading of Christian history as any I have yet encountered, and the single testimony of Anastasius, the librarian, Greek interpreter, schemer, and would-be pope, does not suffice to change my mind.

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16 Responses to “On Anastasius the Librarian”


  1. […] (last but not least), Dr Peter Gilbert at De unione ecclesiarum has a very interesting post which is more up my alley, as a very lazy amateur who enjoys studying history more than theology or […]

  2. bekkos Says:

    “… the ‘Clarification,’ it seems, can no longer be found on the internet…”

    A correction: the 1995 Vatican “Clarification” can be found here:

    http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?recnum=1176

  3. Roland Says:

    I have spent a few hours reading your dialogue with Photios along with the present post, and I am grateful to both of you for the effort you have put into this important and interesting topic.

    You argue that the filioque that Maximus defended as consistent with Eastern belief is the same filioque that was taught by Augustine and Pope Leo. Did Eastern and Western understandings of the filioque diverge at a later time? Or are we still just suffering from the same semantic/linguistic misunderstanding that Maximus tried to remedy?

  4. Photios Jones Says:

    “On the History of the Doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Apostolic Age to the Death of Charlemagne”

    In addition to this work, I would recommend readers to read Dr. Joesph P. Farrell’s magisterial work: God, History, and Dialectic. Dr. Farrell takes such readings of the “Second Europe” apart. Found here: http://dialectic.wordpress.com/ghd/

    “Thus, anyone who is going to maintain that Anastasius the Librarian counted St. Augustine as a trinitarian heretic.”

    That has never been a thesis of Energetic Procession or the Orthodox Church.


  5. “[A]bout as empty-headed a reading of Christian history as any I have yet encountered.”

    I find it amazing this type of vitriol is be used based on disagreement. If you wish to take this route, your enterprise seems a bit dubious (if not down right disingenuous) since your way of reunion is based on those that were condemned by the Orthodox Church (John Bekkos).

    Photios


  6. Furthermore, to let the readers decide for themselves, read what a *Roman Catholic* who is not in the theological ghetto of the 19th century has to say about the use of Maximus’ texts in his *dissertation.* Can be found from this link:

    http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlink?Ver=1&Exp=06-21-2013&FMT=7&DID=1068258181&RQT=309&attempt=1&cfc=1

    Photios

  7. bekkos Says:

    Roland,

    It is not quite my claim that St. Maximus is an Augustinian in trinitarian theology. My claim is that St. Maximus defends, in his Letter to Marinus, the trinitarian teaching of the Latin West. He sees the Latin West as Orthodox in its trinitarian teaching. And the trinitarian teaching of the West undeniably includes the teaching of St. Augustine. St. Maximus says that, with regard to the claim that “the Holy Spirit proceeds also from the Son,” the Romans “have produced the unanimous documentary evidence of the Latin fathers.” My claim is that it is preposterous to suppose that, from among that unanimous documentary evidence, St. Augustine and his many theological heirs were absent. It is preposterous to suppose that St. Maximus intended to exclude St. Augustine and his theological views from the Western trinitarian teaching he was defending. That preposterous view is what is actually argued by such writers as Jean-Claude Larchet, Theophanes Prokopovitch, Adam Zoernikavius, and Photios Jones. All of them argue, on the basis of the text of Anastasius the Librarian, that the Augustinian teaching, the claim that the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit is also from the Son, is in no way the teaching St. Maximus was defending. Rather, they say, St. Maximus was defending a procession from the Father and the Son only in the sense of a temporal sending. That is the Photian interpretation; the main problem with it is that it misrepresents what the Latins actually were saying, and, I think, it misrepresents St. Maximus. I argue above that the text of Anastasius the Librarian does not really decide the issue.

    To say that St. Maximus includes St. Augustine among those he is defending is not to say that St. Maximus speaks about the Trinity in entirely the way St. Augustine would, or, indeed, in the way any Westerner would have done. St. Maximus is a Greek, and much of his explanation of the Latin doctrine turns upon the peculiarities of the Greek language. He explains the Latin a Patre Filioque procedit as equivalent to the Greek ἐκ Πατρὸς δι᾽ Υἱοῦ προΐησι. There are two things to observe here: he sees the Latin “and the Son” as equivalent to the Greek “through the Son,” and he sees the Latin procedere to be equivalent to, not the Greek word ἐκπορεύεσθαι, with its specific associations with John 15:26, but the Greek word προϊέναι. By translating what the Latins are saying through the word προϊέναι (“to come forth”), St. Maximus avoids offending Greek sensibilities and avoids the suggestion that the Spirit is “from” the Son in the sense of a final, ultimate cause.

    As I have noted elsewhere, St. Maximus is deeply aware of the possibilities of misunderstanding between Christians. He writes: “We do not bring forth mere sounds without signification, but along with the sounds we signify conceptions. Because of this, I have often found the godbearing fathers to run counter to one another in sound, but never in meaning; for the mystery of our salvation does not consist in syllables, but in notions and realities. Those whose minds are set upon the notions make peace, while, by the realities, they establish souls in the truth.” (Epist. 19, ad Pyrrham, PG 91, 596.) I am persuaded that St. Maximus was a peacemaker, who saw men like St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Leo, and so on, to be godbearing fathers, even though what they said about the Holy Spirit’s procession sounded strange to some Greek ears. He is trying, in his Letter to Marinus, to give their teaching an acceptable Greek interpretation. What I deny is that the acceptable Greek interpretation St. Maximus gave was something St. Augustine and these others never taught, that the Spirit proceeds “also from the Son” only in a temporal sense.

    As I have pointed out in a previous blog exchange, St. Maximus elsewhere writes, “For just as the Holy Spirit exists, by nature, according to substance, as belonging to the Father, so also does he, according to substance, belong to the Son, in that, in an ineffable way, he proceeds substantially from the Father through the begotten Son” (Question 63 to Thalassius, PG 90, 672). St. Maximus says here that the Holy Spirit proceeds substantially from the Father through the begotten Son, and that this substantial proceeding from the Father through the begotten Son occurs in an ineffable way. A sending in time hardly qualifies as an ineffable, substantial proceeding. It seems to me that St. Maximus is saying here, as many other Greek fathers had said before him, that the Holy Spirit receives his very divine substance, from the Father, through the begotten Son. The Spirit’s proceeding through the Son is not an afterthought or an optional extra; it pertains to what he is, not only to what he does in time. And that is the teaching, I would say, that St. Maximus sees as compatible with what Latin fathers like St. Augustine of Hippo say when they say that the Holy Spirit proceeds “from the Father and the Son.”

    Peter

  8. bekkos Says:

    Photios,

    “That has never been a thesis of Energetic Procession…”

    To quote a previous comment of yours on this blog:

    “I believe Eunomius and Augustine represent two sides of the same coin of Triadological dialectics that Photios was aware of. Augustine along the path of Sabellianism (or what Photios accorded “Semi-Sabellianism” ) and Eunomios in Polytheism.”

    It may well be true that the thesis “Anastasius the Librarian counted St. Augustine as a trinitarian heretic” has never been formally maintained by the people at Energetic Procession. But it is quite disingenuous of you to imply that the thesis “St. Augustine was a trinitarian heretic” is not what you have been asserting for quite some time.

    As for the remark about empty-headedness, I call to mind what Jesus said about calling one’s brother “raca” or “thou fool.” Yes, I suppose it was a bit excessive, and I apologize for that. Let me explain where some of the bitterness of that remark came from.

    About 15 years ago, there was a war in Bosnia. The city of Sarajevo was surrounded by snipers, most of them Orthodox zealots, who delighted in picking off people as they went about their everyday business. The first thing to be bombed in Sarajevo with mortar fire was the public library, the receptacle of the people’s memory. Like the destruction of the bridge at Mostar, and the annihilation at Srbrenica, the intention was to erase history, to leave no trace that a people had actually lived there and produced works of beauty. There have, of course, been injustices committed also in the other direction, destruction of ancient Orthodox churches and monasteries in places like Kosovo. The whole history of the Balkans is full of blood. But let me focus a little further on the Bosnian war.

    The men who patrolled the hills overlooking the city and who took such delight in using pedestrians for target practice had, of course, their military and political leaders, men with names like Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadjic, many of whom are now either dead or in jail. But they also had a religious ideology. There were priests, Orthodox priests, who were telling them that what they were doing was right and good. And behind these Orthodox priests, there were Orthodox intellectuals who were justifying the whole thing on historical and theological grounds. People like Fr. Justin Popovic, called by some St. Justin Popovic, who kept drumming in the idea that divine humanity is only to be found in the Orthodox East, and that the West has utterly lost any spark of true Christianity; having succumbed to the pan-heresy of ecumenism, it is left with only an empty cult of man. Here, for instance, is one of the “celebrated sayings of Fr. Justin Popovic”: “The three greatest sins of humanity are (a) the disobedience of Adam and Eve, (b) the treason of Judas, and (c) Papism.”

    When I taught in Albania in the mid-1990’s, one priest, who is now a bishop, told me that the deepest problem in the area is not violence as such, but the intellectuals who provide the violence with pseudo-justifications.

    This brings me back to the remark about empty-headedness. I confess that the rhetoric of Energetic Procession, and the badgering tactics that you, in particular, have often employed in lieu of actual dialogue, leave me uneasy. It is not that I think you are going to take to the hills and start literally shooting at people. But the attitude reminds me eerily of things I have seen elsewhere, that have had ugly consequences. To be quite honest, I fear that you are a religious ideologue in the making, someone who, at some point in his career, may give others the justification for acting destructively out of misconceived notions of piety.

    Although Jesus warns against calling one’s brother “thou fool,” he himself at times does not hesitate to call some of his co-religionists “ye fools and blind.” When he does this, one must suppose he does it, not out of hatred or vindictiveness, but out of a genuine concern for the souls of those to whom he is speaking. I hope you will take my remark about “empty-headedness” to have been uttered in that spirit.

    Peter


  9. “I confess that the rhetoric of Energetic Procession, and the badgering tactics that you, in particular, have often employed in lieu of actual dialogue, leave me uneasy.”

    And what exactly do you think, that I have done, honestly, constitute badgering tactics?

    What you write here is deeply offensive. You associate my love for the truth with people that shoot other people: adorning the truth with the attitude of hatred. To be honest you don’t know a THING about me.

    “But it is quite disingenuous of you to imply that the thesis “St. Augustine was a trinitarian heretic” is not what you have been asserting for quite some time.”

    Speculative thinking and being creative do not constitute heresy. Though Eunomius and Augustine have a lot in common about the use of logic and reason to scientifically analyze God. What seperates them is their attitude. Eunomius is divisive and dogmatic. Augustine has the spirit of a Christian trying to discover the truth through reason/ a speculative exercise. Not certainly the attidue of the Council of Frankfurt. You obviously have not read, nor undestood the key subtleties or distinction that I or a man like Joseph P. Farrell with regard to the reception of Augustine.

    “I fear that you are a religious ideologue in the making.”

    What does this even mean?

    And what exactly are YOU?

    Photios


  10. “But the attitude reminds me eerily of things I have seen elsewhere, that have had ugly consequences.”

    And please explain to me the consequences of my feelings that actual heresy exists, is real, that both Rome and Protestantism, Predestinarians, Monothelites, Arians, Pagans or any other sects are heretical?

    And how this just another tactic of gnosticism by means of ad hominem? How is this an argument?

    What I think you believe is that you don’t want any divisive issue that regards truth, and I question if you actually believe any exclusive claim to truth. That is the impression YOU give ME. And if that is the actual case, I see no reconcilliation between you and I, and I will always oppose you.

    You want union with Rome, well by golly I do to. But I want it by HONESTY, HARD WORK, and FIDELITY to ORTHODOX DOGMATICS and not inspite of it.

    Photios


  11. “When I taught in Albania in the mid-1990’s, one priest, who is now a bishop, told me that the deepest problem in the area is not violence as such, but the intellectuals who provide the violence with pseudo-justifications.”

    Are you trying to tell me that my belief in Orthodox Church dogmatics leads to violence? Is this correct?


  12. “The men who patrolled the hills overlooking the city and who took such delight in using pedestrians for target practice had, of course, their military and political leaders, men with names like Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadjic, many of whom are now either dead or in jail. But they also had a religious ideology. There were priests, Orthodox priests, who were telling them that what they were doing was right and good. And behind these Orthodox priests, there were Orthodox intellectuals who were justifying the whole thing on historical and theological grounds.”

    And do you have a reference work here that I can justify your claims?


  13. “A sending in time hardly qualifies as an ineffable, substantial proceeding.”

    Never made that claim, that’s why Siecienski and myself show that it is Gregory II that is progenitur child of Maximus and not Beccus. There is a eternal as well as a temporal truth to what Maximus is saying, it just doesn’t express origination (ekpourevsis). Instead of ignoring ground breaking works, perhaps you could consider them as a recommendation.

    Photios

  14. bekkos Says:

    And what exactly are YOU?

    I am, like you, a sinner. Unfortunately, my attempt at honesty has been interpreted by you as hostility. My point was that the reading of history that you have taken on from Joseph Farrell, that I think constitutes an ideology, in fact resembles, theoretically and rhetorically, the ideology of those who gave fuel to the Bosnian war. It presents a discourse wherein the West is conceived to have fallen from divine grace, and the chief villain of the story is St. Augustine. It is to his “dialectic” of divine simplicity, which you see as fundamentally akin to that of Eunomius, that you ascribe the manifold problems of the West. It may well be that you accord Augustine some credit as an honest Christian; but his thinking you consistently represent as heresy, “Sabellianism” or “Semi-Sabellianism.” When I say that this is an ideology, I mean that it is maintained only through a kind of willful disregard of Christian history. It presents a caricature view of both the West and the East, a caricature that arises from an impatience with looking at facts. Neither the East, nor certainly the West, was ever as monolithically Photian in its understanding of the trinitarian mystery as you make it out to be. That is one of the things, in writing this blog, that I have tried to show.

    That impatience with looking at facts has serious consequences for Christian relations. The West is asked to renounce its own past, to take on a view of God that never really belonged to it. I do think that this is a kind of destruction of memory, implicitly a kind of violence, and that the West rightly rejects such a demand. And I know that theoretical violence often issues in the physical kind.

    This is not to say that the West never perpetrated violence on the East, both theoretical and physical. And it is right that the theoretical and physical causes of violence be acknowledged and renounced on both sides. But my consistent claim throughout this blog has been that people like the Cappadocians, St. Athanasius, St. Maximus, and other fathers of the Church were constantly aware of the dangers of Christian misunderstanding, dangers of violence, and that they sought to obviate those dangers by perceiving, if at all possible, the underlying commonality of doctrine when there was a verbal disagreement. I think that that is what St. Maximus does in his Letter to Marinus. And I am pretty certain that the underlying commonality of doctrine St. Maximus defends in that letter allows for the orthodoxy of St. Augustine’s teaching on the Holy Trinity, in spite of what is said by Anastasius the Librarian.

    In short, I think that Bekkos is a better reader of the patristic evidence than Photius is. It may be that you think such an acknowledgment is inconsistent with belonging to the Orthodox Church. Perhaps you are right; God is judge. But I have a great hesitation to leave Orthodox discourse entirely in the hands of those who are impatient with fact, and who thereby disallow the possibility of any Christian reconciliation from the outset. If that description does not rightly belong to you, I ask your forgiveness for misreading you. But much of what I have read from you suggests that it is accurate.

    Peter


  15. […] This is not to say that the West never perpetrated violence on the East, both theoretical and physical. And it is right that the theoretical and physical causes of violence be acknowledged and renounced on both sides. But my consistent claim throughout this blog has been that people like the Cappadocians, St. Athanasius, St. Maximus, and other fathers of the Church were constantly aware of the dangers of Christian misunderstanding, dangers of violence, and that they sought to obviate those dangers by perceiving, if at all possible, the underlying commonality of doctrine when there was a verbal disagreement. I think that that is what St. Maximus does in his Letter to Marinus. And I am pretty certain that the underlying commonality of doctrine St. Maximus defends in that letter allows for the orthodoxy of St. Augustine’s teaching on the Holy Trinity, in spite of what is said by Anastasius the Librarian. […]


  16. […] Peter Gilbert’s erudite but lucid and fascinating essays on St. Maximos and the filioque and Anastasius the Librarian (from which I have profited greatly). This post will contain nothing other than my own rather trite […]


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