Friday, April 07, 2006

The Seven Ecumenical Councils

I'm writing a paper on continuity and change as shown in the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Any ideas? What is essential to continuity and what is it that is subject to change and maybe even must change in order for things to remain the same?

This is a really frustrating paper to write because it's so broad. AH! Writing papers when your fasting is sometimes not much fun.

By the way, I really miss singing in the St. Herman's choir. I miss you guys and gals!

5 comments:

Fr. Justin (Edward) said...

Miss you too!

My favourite analogy for tradition always needing to change (but gradually and carefully) in order to stay the same is that of translation: fidelity to the original meaning is essential, but takes different forms at different times, even within the same language! (E.g., "the quick and the dead" needs eventually to be updated to "the living and the dead" to stay faithful to the original meaning.) This is essentially what the Ecumenical Councils were doing, especially the seventh (with regards to iconography)!

Fr. Justin (Edward) said...

Actually, never mind just the seventh! Even the First Ecumenical Council was doing this when they decided to stick non-Biblical language into the Creed in order to guard the faith against Arianism!

The Pleasant Peasant said...

Change, eh...the position I took on my essay was that the creeds were crucial to determine which interpretations (at that time there were many!) were accepted by the church. Therefore, the expanding of the 325 version of the Nicene Creed (not so much a change as a clarification) was necessary to further clarify what and was not a heresy. I guess I see the councils decisions more as "developments" (minus the political controversies!).
There are so many facts to sort through, but its exceptionally fascinating! Good luck essaying!

cathedral dweller said...

i'm taking the "developments" in the sense so beautifully put by the genius that is jaroslav pelikan (God grant him many years):

"But it is only in hindsight, after the heretical challenge and the orthodox response, that the implicit anticipations of such an orthodox response becoe discernable in the earlier recension of the creedal text."

chai pirate - i think that's essentially what your saying. any development is really only a clarification of something already active within the Spirit filled body of the Church.

i also love what Jaroslav Pelikan says, inspired by Gregory of Nyssa:

"Failure to recognize that the tradition of divine revelation is a living and dynamic force, driven by the Holy Spirit as 'lordly and life giving' is what produces heresy."

thomasw said...

"Failure to recognize that the tradition of divine revelation is a living and dynamic force, driven by the Holy Spirit as 'lordly and life giving' is what produces heresy."

This reworded seems also to be true:

"Recognizing that the tradition of divine revelation is a living and dynamic force, driven by the Holy Spirit as 'lordly and life giving' is what produces heresy."

I am quite sure many heretics can be found both recognizing and not recognizing this. The Anglicans most recently in regard to the former, the iconoclasts the latter. I think the key would be the insertion of the word 'can' after what in the qording. But that doesn't open up anything does it? good cheer, thomasw