Divine Liturgy every Sunday at 10 AM


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Heresies

What does Orthodox Church believe and not

THE ECUMENICAL COUNCILS

The early Church held councils to resolve issues when less formal dialogue failed to produce a consensus. The seven General Councils of the entire Christian Church are known as the Ecumenical Councils.  Convened between 325-757 AD, their decrees are at the foundation of Christian doctrine, and formed the Canons governing the Church. The decisions of these Councils were made under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as promised by Jesus Christ to His Apostles.

The Western Church accepts additional, subsequent Councils as Ecumenical, that were unilaterally convened and attended only by the authorities and delegates of the Roman Church. These later Councils, the last of which was the second Vatican Council (1962-1965), are not accepted by the Orthodox Church as bearing either the validity or the authority that the seven truly Ecumenical Councils possessed.  No decisions of the Roman Catholic Councils have any bearing on the Orthodox Church.

The Orthodox Church is the church of the seven Ecumenical Councils:
(Excerpts below from “Orthodox Dogmatic Theology” by Fr. Michael Pomazansky)

The First Ecumenical Council (the first of Nicea): Called in 325 over the Arian heresy; under St. Metrophanes, Archbishop of Constantinople, St. Sylvester, Pope of Rome, and Emperor St. Constantine the Great; number of father (bishops): 318.

The Second Ecumenical Council (the first of Constantinople): Called in 381 over the heresy of Macedonius; under St. Gregory the Theologian, Archbishop of Constantinople, Damasus, Pope of Rome, and Emperor St. Theodosius the Great; number of fathers: 150.

The Third Ecumenical Council (of Ephesus): Called in 431 over the Nestorian heresy (the heresy of Theodore, Bishop of Mopsuestia, supported by Nestorius, Archbishop of Constantinople); under St. Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, Celestine, Pope of Rome, and Emperor Theodosius the Younger; number of fathers: 200.

The Fourth Ecumenical Council (of Chalcedon): Called in 451 over the Monophysite heresy (held by Archmandrite Eutyches of Constantinople, Bishop Dioscorus of Alexandria, and others); under St. Antolius, Patriarch of Constantinople, St. Leo the Great, Pope of Rome, and Emperor Marcian; number of fathers: 630.

The Fifth Ecumenical Council (the second of Constantinople); Called in 553 over the question of the "Three Chapters" which were bound up with the heresy of Theodore of Mopsuestia and Nestorius (the heresy condemned at the Third Ecumenical Council); under St. Eutychius, Archbishop of Constantinople; Virgilius, Pope of Rome, and Emperor St. Justinian the Great; number of fathers: 165.

The Sixth Ecumenical Council (the third of Constantinople): Called in 680 over the Monothelite heresy; under St. George, Patriarch of Constantinople, St. Agatho, Pope of Rome, and Emperor Constantine Pogonatus; number of fathers: 170.

The Seventh Ecumenical Council (the second of Nicaea): Called in 787 over the Iconoclast heresy; under St. Tarasius. Patriarch of Constantinople, Adrian, Pope of Rome, Emperor Constantine and Empress Irene; number of fathers: 367.

THE NICENE - CONSTANTINOPOLITAN CREED

The Nicene Creed should be called the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed since it was formally drawn up at the first ecumenical council in Nicea (325) and at the second ecumenical council in Constantinople (381). 


The word creed comes from the Latin credo which means "I believe." In the Orthodox Church the creed is usually called The Symbol of Faith which means literally the "bringing together" and the "expression" or "confession" of the faith. 

In the early Church there were many different forms of the Christian confession of faith; many different "creeds." These creeds were always used originally in relation to baptism. Before being baptized a person had to state what he believed. The earliest Christian creed was probably the simple confession of faith that Jesus is the Christ, i.e., the Messiah; and that the Christ is Lord. By publicly confessing this belief, the person could be baptized into Christ, dying and rising with Him into the New Life of the Kingdom of God in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 

As time passed different places had different credal statements, all professing the identical faith, yet using different forms and expressions, with different degrees of detail and emphasis. These credal forms usually became more detailed and elaborate in those areas where questions about the faith had arisen and heresies had developed. 

In the fourth century a great controversy developed in Christendom about the nature of the Son of God (also called in the Scripture the Word or Logos ). Some said that the Son of God is a creature like everything else made by God. Others contended that the Son of God is eternal, divine, and uncreated. Many councils met and made many statements of faith about the nature of the Son of God. The controversy raged throughout the entire Christian world.

Note from the editor: Many of these heresies are the very same errors which are professed in modern movements like the 'New Age, Jehovah Witnesses, 'A Course in Miracles', Gnosticism, and others. It is interesting that these modern philosophies present themselves as having new insights and revelations -not so! These ideas have been around a very long time - and were refuted with solid and erudite arguments many centuries ago. Check it out for yourself. 

It was the definition of the council which the Emperor Constantine called in the city of Nicea in the year 325 which was ultimately accepted by the Orthodox Church as the proper Symbol of Faith.

This council is now called the first ecumenical council, and this is what it said:
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no end.
Following the controversy about the Son of God, the Divine Word, and essentially connected with it, was the dispute about the Holy Spirit. The following definition of the Council in Constantinople in 381, which has come to be known as the second ecumenical council was added to the Nicene statement:
And [we believe] in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. In one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

This whole Symbol of Faith was ultimately adopted throughout the entire Church. It was put into the first person form "I believe" and used for the formal and official confession of faith made by a person (or his sponsor-godparent) at his baptism. It is also used as the formal statement of faith by a non-Orthodox Christian entering the communion of the Orthodox Church. In the same way the creed became part of the life of Orthodox Christians and an essential element of the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church at which each person formally and officially accepts and renews his baptism and membership in the Church. Thus, the Symbol of Faith is the only part of the liturgy (repeated in another form just before Holy Communion) which is in the first person. All other songs and prayers of the liturgy are plural, beginning with "we". Only the credal statement begins with "I." This, as we shall see, is because faith is first personal, and only then corporate and communal. 

To be an Orthodox Christian is to affirm the Orthodox Christian faith -- not merely the words, but the essential meaning of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan symbol of faith. It means as well to affirm all that this statement implies, and all that has been expressly developed from it and built upon it in the history of the Orthodox Church over the centuries down to the present day.

  • We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
  • And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, True God of True God, Begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made:
  • Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
  • And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried;
  • And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;
  • And ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father;
  • And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, Whose kingdom shall have no end.
  • And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, and Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke by the Prophets;
  • And we believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
  • We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins.
  • We look for the Resurrection of the dead,
  • And the Life of the age to come. Amen


Search

I am

Services

Divine Liturgy every Sunday at 10 AM


Share




Donate

With PayPal

Powered by Blogger.
Ministering to the people of Greenwood, Indiana with the Word of God, presenting true Apostolic Church experience and teaching

102 East Broadway St. Greenwood, IN 46143 USA