Archive for July, 2011

Three worthy Ancient Faith Radio Podcasts

Posted in Meditative on July 7, 2011 by readerjohn

1. Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, the erudite priest in Chicago who visited St. Alexis, noted something I hadn’t: Our Orthodox Divine Liturgy is a 4th Century liturgy.

That much came as no surprise. What did come as a surprise is the consequence of that: standing alone, the Divine Liturgy could lead one to the heresy of monphysitism, because it came before the two natures of Christ were affirmed (as always, in response to the threat of a heresy to the contrary) at the Council of Chalcedon.

Thus, it is not only beneficial, but arguably is necessary for spiritual health, for an Orthodox Christian to participate in Matins and Vespers, which are post-Chalcedonian, and to read the Gospels during the week rather than to rely on Divine Liturgies alone for spiritual formation.

(Teacher and Savior)

2. This was from Clark Carlton rather than Fr. PHR. Carlton happened to land on Chalcedon as well (Chalcedon marks a rift between what today are called “Eastern Orthodox” and what are called “Oriental Orthodox”).

What the speaker noted is that the rift was not so much a disagreement (how could the folks who would become “Oriental Orthodox” disagree with the modest, apophatic Orthodox view that the two natures of Christ are not to be thought of  as confused, changeable, divisible, or separable?) as a refusal of the future Eastern Orthodox to adopt a particular affirmative, cataphatic definition of the two natures rather than a more open-ended definition-by-exclusion.

(Theological Language, Ecumenical Dialogue, and Evangelism: Part III)

3. Clark Carlton again audaciously (I thought) sets out to explain the theology of St. Gregory Palamas “in twelve minutes or less.” I hope I’m not deluded, but I thought he did a wonderful job, which I would hesitantly but evocatively (I hope) summarize in SAT terms: essence/transcendence = energies/immanence. (I confess to having had some instruction in the basic affirmation in the West that God is both transcendent and immanent.)

In other words, the theology of St. Gregory is an attempt to maintain that God the Holy Trinity is both transcendant (in His essence) and immanent (in His energies); that the experience of God’s glory is a real experience of God(‘s energies); and that humans can actually become “partakers of the divine nature” (i.e., energies, not essence; see I Peter). A refusal to acknowledge that God’s energies are the immanent presence of God leaves us essentially alone in the universe, theorizing about God, but never experiencing Him. It effectively denies the reality of God’s immanence. It’s the result of doing theology in a classroom rather than in prayer.

I guess I’d been over-complexifying it.

(Palamism Explained in Twelve Minutes or Less)