An Interview with Archbishop Golitzin on Early Christianity

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19 Responses to An Interview with Archbishop Golitzin on Early Christianity

  1. At 28:48 the pastor says, “who is Christ” while the Orthodox says, “which is Christ” at the same time! This difference highlights their different Christologies. Christ is not a “who”. As the oneness of God and man, Christ is a “what”. If you are interested in reading more about this distiction, you may want to read: https://freddieyam.com/down/roberts.real-christ.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      All Christian churches, Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant, affirm that Jesus Christ is a who. If one asks, Who is this who? the ecumenical answer is: he is the eternal Son and Logos, the Second Hypostasis of the Holy Trinity. If one asks, What is Jesus? the ecumenical answer is: he is the God-Man, divine and human nature “unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably” united in one hypostasis. The whoness and whatness of Jesus was dogmatically settled by the first four ecumenical councils. Just saying.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Phoenix Kennedy says:

        The second Hypostasis of the Trinity, the Logos, is not a who. Hypostasis should never have been translated as person. Person and “who” imply consciousness and the only way we have to think about consciousness is in terms of human consciousness which is so far removed from God’s way of knowing that the terms consciousness and person should not be foisted on God. The oneness that is Christ is a union of two “whats”, not two “who'” as St. Gregory of Nazianzus clearly states. Just saying.

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        • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

          And would you also say that God the Father is not a who? That is the key question.

          Jesus, of course, is not a union of two whos or persons. That heresy was condemned by Chalcedon.

          St Gregory of Nazianzus most certainly believed that Jesus is a “who,” i.e., one subject to whom various predicates (human and divine) may be attributed. Gregory’s Christology is properly described as unitive:

          The Unitive Christology of St Gregory the Theologian

          Just saying. 😎

          Liked by 1 person

          • Phoenix Kennedy says:

            Of course everybody believes Jesus was a who. We were referencing Christ who existed in one way before the Incarnation, in another way after, and in another way post resurrection/ascension as St. Hilary of Poitiers reminds us.
            I would say that the Trinity is not three “who’s” but three “what’s”. The alternative is trithiesm.

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      • Phoenix Kennedy says:

        All the fathers affirm that Jesus mission was not acomplished, his work not completed, until the paschal mystery. It was then, once it was “finished”, that the human Christ died and the Divine Christ rose. (The same will happen at each of our deaths. Only Christ dies. Only Christ rises.) In the video to which we are referring, the distinguished gentlemen were clearly talking about Christ, which as the Archbishop states is “always and everywhere”, and not Jesus.

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        • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

          As I suspected, Phoenix, you and I confess two different religions. It might be interesting to explore the differences and similarities, but that would take us beyond the purpose of the blog. I close with one comment:

          Christians have little theological interest in a logos asarkos, and we certainly do not make a distinction between the human Jesus and the divine Christ. Our sole interest is Jesus Christ, true God and true Man. When we speak of the eternal Word, we are always referring to the Nazarene, crucified and risen. There never was a “time” in the life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit when Jesus was not the Second Person of the Trinity. The immanent Trinity is the economic Trinity. This generates, I know, all sorts of interesting conundrums; but we would rather live with those conundrums than theorize about the Holy Trinity “before” the world was created or “before” Jesus was born. Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary and son of the Father, crucified and risen, is “the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8). This we believe and confess.

          Jesus, therefore, didn’t become divine on Easter morning; he was divine from the moment of his conception in the womb of the Virgin. Nor did Jesus lose his humanity upon his death on the cross. It was the same Jesus of Nazareth who rose on Easter morning into a immortal, transfigured, corporeal existence. He still bears the marks of his crucifixion. For this reason we honor materiality and embodiment, and we insist that human beings are essentially body, soul, and spirit in integral union. And so we anticipate the resurrection of all human beings into the Kingdom of the Messiah.

          It’s been fun talking to you, Phoenix, and I pray God’s blessings upon you.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Art says:

      The Mysterion podcast is intriguing.

      It’s two ‘evangelicals’ (both pastors and Ph.D.’d philosopher/theologians) who spend a lot of time diving into the early Church Fathers something which, in my experience, is extremely rare (other than proof-texting them to prove that their own doctrine is right).

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  2. Owen-Maximus says:

    Several beautiful insights of “empirical” theology in this interview. The passing comment about Origen still gets me (26:45). I was scandalized when I first heard it. His Eminence says both that Origen was condemned by the church, and that he’s a saint. I actually (now) agree with both statements but don’t know how to reconcile them in my mind as an Orthodox believer.

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    • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

      I think we just have to admit that the majority of the Fifth Council Fathers were not well acquainted with the actual writings of Origen and to the extent they were acquainted with them, they misunderstood them. By this time Origen had become a scapegoat for the heresies of the 6th century Origenists. I touch on this in my article on the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Archbishop Golitzen is clearly well acquainted with the best scholarship on both Origen and the Fifth Council. Justice and honesty require us to say that the Council Fathers made a mistake in condemning Origen–or if one prefers, that the “Origen” named in the heresiological list does not the denote the historical Origen of Alexandria.

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      • Owen-Maximus says:

        Thanks, Fr. I am going to reread your article on the Council. With admittedly new eyes.

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      • Perhaps we can say that the “Origen” that the council condemned was indeed a heretic, though the Origen so revered by Gregory of Nazianzus was not. One canon lawyer I know said while anathemas cannot be lifted that were cast against doctrinal SYSTEMS, anathemas can be lifted that were put into place against individuals.

        We can agree with the ecumenical condemnation of “Origen,” without believing that they had an accurate historical picture of what he believed. The first is a theological judgment, the second, a historical judgment. If ecumenically approved (as are the 7 councils), the Church cannot err in regard to the first, while it can err in regard to the second.

        That’s what I think, at least. And I think this is supported by the work of canon law scholar John Erickson.

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        • Obviously though, it’s not clear what he was condemned FOR. I think it’s probably true that not all the bishops there knew what they were condemning him for.

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          • Phoenix Kennedy says:

            He was condemned for his belief in the preexistence of souls. When asked why some souls came to earth, he replied they got “bored with bliss”.

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        • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

          In other words, we need to put an asterisk next to Origen’s name in the heresiological list, with a note that “Origen” here does not denote the historical Origen but unspecified false teachings. Either way, the council got it tragically wrong by naming Origen as a heretic. There’s just no way around that. A great injustice was done. Our doctrine of conciliar infallibility needs to be adjusted to accommodate this fact.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Phoenix Kennedy says:

          Thank you for your nice distinction between condemning the historical man and condemning a few of his theological beliefs. Origin was clearly a great saint even though he got a couple of things wrong. Same thing happened to Nestorius.

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  3. Herb Garfield says:

    I like very much the clarification of christian temple worship, the presence of God being the missing link

    for so much recent disillusionment of form itself. for its’ own sake.

    The many ways we are to encounter christ and perchance bear him out to the

    unchurched world without, the position we find ourselves, perhaps no longer recommended?

    On Tue, Oct 12, 2021 at 9:14 AM Eclectic Orthodoxy wrote:

    > Fr Aidan Kimel posted: “https://youtu.be/fUVH19ll2BQ” >

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  4. Herb Garfield says:

    It is so good to center one’s life around the altar in temple worship.

    The nicene creed is self evident

    On Tue, Oct 12, 2021 at 9:14 AM Eclectic Orthodoxy wrote:

    > Fr Aidan Kimel posted: “https://youtu.be/fUVH19ll2BQ” >

    Like

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