Author Topic: Orthodoxy and Consubstantiation  (Read 4547 times)

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Offline Catholica

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Orthodoxy and Consubstantiation
« on: Fri Feb 18, 2011 - 11:57:01 »
A Lutheran recently told me that the Lutheran belief concerning the Real Presence (elsewhere called consubstantiation) is the same as the Orthodox belief, and that Orthodox don't believe in transsubstantiation (that the bread and wine become the body, blood, soul and divinity in a material way).  Is this true, that Lutherans and Orthodox are united in their belief in consubstantiation?

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Orthodoxy and Consubstantiation
« Reply #1 on: Fri Feb 18, 2011 - 12:25:46 »
This is false.

Orthodox believe wholeheartedly that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus by the prayers of the people and the operation of the Holy Spirit.

Orthodox do not ascribe to the dogma of transubstantiation in that they reject the ability of human reason to define and describe this ineffable Mystery, and in general this sort of rationalist approach to the Mysteries (Sacraments).

Offline LightHammer

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Re: Orthodoxy and Consubstantiation
« Reply #2 on: Fri May 06, 2011 - 14:43:39 »
This is false.

Orthodox believe wholeheartedly that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus by the prayers of the people and the operation of the Holy Spirit.

Orthodox do not ascribe to the dogma of transubstantiation in that they reject the ability of human reason to define and describe this ineffable Mystery, and in general this sort of rationalist approach to the Mysteries (Sacraments).

I thought that's what the transbutation teaches?

That the bread and wine literally becaome the blood and flesh of Christ however not physically? The transformed sacrament retains the look, taste and odor of its original nature but have been made into the divine body and blood.

Is there a difference I am being too narrow to see or understand?

The West teaches us that the Mystery is beyond the perception or understanding of the human senses or comprhension in that it can't be explained.

How do we differ?

Offline trifecta

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Re: Orthodoxy and Consubstantiation
« Reply #3 on: Fri May 06, 2011 - 19:45:01 »
Hi LH  ::tippinghat::

As I recall in my childhood, there was a specific explanation about the bread and wine *after* the change.  The bread and wine
retain the physical characteristics but are no longer in fact bread and wine. (I can't remember the exact phrasiology-is that a word?)

We assume the bread and wine remain bread and wine but are also the Body and Blood of Christ.  We, as CD said, retain the mystery
of *how* this can be.

Blame the second "A" for this one-- Acquinas.  Like the first "A," Ausgustine, Acquainas had to explain everything through reason
(Acquinas's is based on Aristostilian logic).  (The third "A" is Anselm who has more to do with Protestantism than Catholicism--but I maintain
the 3 "A"s., while well-meaning, kind of ruined theology for the west).  

Hope this helps.


Offline CDHealy

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Re: Orthodoxy and Consubstantiation
« Reply #4 on: Sun May 08, 2011 - 15:36:31 »
I thought that's what the transbutation teaches?

That the bread and wine literally becaome the blood and flesh of Christ however not physically? The transformed sacrament retains the look, taste and odor of its original nature but have been made into the divine body and blood.

Part of the issue has just to do with the attempt to determine what is/isn't bread and wine and what is/isn't the Body and Blood of Jesus.  The Orthodox assume the logic of the incarnation here: Jesus was fully God and fully Man, it wasn't as though his body looked like a human body but was really divine, it was rather that his body was both fully human and fully divine.  There was no part of Jesus that was not human, nor no part that was not divine.  If you were to--forgive me this illustration--cut off Christ's finger, that finger would not cease to be human from having been cut off from the body, nor would it cease to be divine for that same reason.

That said, however, by way of Chalcedon, it wasn't as though the Divine and human commingled or were mixed together.  Each retained its separable qualities and identity without being divided from the other.

As applied to the Eucharist: the bread is fully bread, but, after the epiclesis, is also fully Christ's divine body; the wine is fully wine, but, after the epiclesis, is also fully Christ's divine blood.  Not bread in appearance, but fully bread; not wine in appearance but fully wine.  While at the same time being fully Christ's divine body and blood.

Is there a difference I am being too narrow to see or understand?

The West teaches us that the Mystery is beyond the perception or understanding of the human senses or comprhension in that it can't be explained.

How do we differ?

The difference is in attempting to limit the qualities of "breadness" and "wineness" to the appearances.

Offline Catholica

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Re: Orthodoxy and Consubstantiation
« Reply #5 on: Mon May 09, 2011 - 12:18:14 »
So in summary, the claims by any Lutheran that Luther somehow agreed with the (absolutely correct) Orthodox beliefs regarding the Eucharist is a very misguided statement.  In essense, the Catholic belief is the same as the Orthodox belief, that the bread and wine physically become Jesus Christ's actual body and blood, soul and divinity at the words of consecration by the priest.  Its not the substance of the Catholic beliefs that the Orthodox have a problem with but rather the fact that our beliefs are defined dogmatically.

But just to clarify, something you wrote, CDHealy: Is it really the "prayers of the people" or is it rather the words of the priest, which repeat the words that the Word used, which are "this is my body" and "this is my blood"? Don't the Orthodox believe in the necessity of the priesthood in the consecration of the Eucharist?  Can any group of Christians consecrate the Eucharist even without a priest, according to Orthodox belief?  For example, do you believe that a group of Lutherans could pray together or with a Lutheran minister and come up with a valid Eucharist?

Offline CDHealy

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Re: Orthodoxy and Consubstantiation
« Reply #6 on: Mon May 09, 2011 - 12:39:56 »
So in summary, the claims by any Lutheran that Luther somehow agreed with the (absolutely correct) Orthodox beliefs regarding the Eucharist is a very misguided statement.  In essense, the Catholic belief is the same as the Orthodox belief, that the bread and wine physically become Jesus Christ's actual body and blood, soul and divinity at the words of consecration by the priest.  Its not the substance of the Catholic beliefs that the Orthodox have a problem with but rather the fact that our beliefs are defined dogmatically.

Catholica, while I would not want to lose the distinctions I've laid out, I will say that with regard to Holy Communion, this would not be a sticking point with regard to the reunion of the two churches.  I would quibble to say, it's not that the beliefs have been defined dogmatically per se, but that they have been defined at all.  Even if this would not have been dogmatized but would have been a universal pious belief, the Orthodox would have a problem with the bent toward rational analysis of these Great Mysteries.

In general, the Orthodox feel that it is the tendency toward rational analysis of these sorts of divine realities that lead to innovations in practice and belief.  Had the tendency toward wanting to define, say, the state of souls after death not been so strong, the doctrine of purgatory, and attendant practice of indulgences, would not have developed.  But the rational impetus to define and to delimit is difficult to stop once it's given its way, and so also develops supererogation and definitive time lengths for certain penances.

But the point here is not purgatory, but is rather Holy Eucharist, so I'll cease here.  I'm just trying to illustrate the differences.

Again, on the bare essence, Orthodox and Roman Catholic are in agreement.

But just to clarify, something you wrote, CDHealy: Is it really the "prayers of the people" or is it rather the words of the priest, which repeat the words that the Word used, which are "this is my body" and "this is my blood"? Don't the Orthodox believe in the necessity of the priesthood in the consecration of the Eucharist?  Can any group of Christians consecrate the Eucharist even without a priest, according to Orthodox belief?  For example, do you believe that a group of Lutherans could pray together or with a Lutheran minister and come up with a valid Eucharist?

Yes, it is the prayers of the people, led by a priest in apostolic succession, to which the Holy Spirit responds and makes the change.  In Orthodoxy, no Eucharist may be validly held without laity present.  A priest may not celebrate alone.  Conversely, the laity may not approach the altar to "make" the Eucharist.  It takes both: the fulness of the priesthood of all believers--those that have been set aside from among the people to serve at the altar, and those who bring the gifts from their own labors which are consecrated into the Body and Blood of the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is both the receiving of the Divine Life of God into our bodies, and the offering of all our labors and life represented by those labors to God.  We give God our lives and our labors; God gives us himself in return.

While we Orthodox always include the words of institution (This is my Body; This is my Blood), we also always include the epiclesis:

    Priest: Again we offer to Thee this noetic and unbloody sacrifice; and we beg Thee, we ask Thee, we pray Thee: Send down Thy Holy Spirit upon us and upon these Gifts set forth.
    (Deacon [pointing with his orarion to the diskos]: Bless, Master, the Holy Bread.)[6]
    Priest: Make this bread the Precious Body of Thy Christ,
    People: Amen.
    (Deacon [pointing to the chalice]: Bless, Master, the Holy Cup.)
    Priest: And that which is in this Cup, the Precious Blood of Thy Christ,
    People: Amen.
    (Deacon [pointing to both]: Bless them both, Master.)
    Priest: Changing by Thy Holy Spirit.
    People: Amen, Amen, Amen.

The Orthodox believe that without the epiclesis, the prayer of the Eucharist is incomplete.

That said, the Orthodox also do not dogmatize as to when precisely the bread and wine are changed, though in terms of the liturgical actions this is at the end of the epiclesis, when the people add the triple Amen.  Whether or not God "starts" the change during the words of institution or not, who knows.  But we know that the prayer of the Church is always accomplished so that when the epiclesis is ended, whenever the change occurred in metaphysical reality, it is now fully accomplished.

Offline Josiah

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Re: Orthodoxy and Consubstantiation
« Reply #7 on: Fri Oct 07, 2011 - 20:16:38 »

Orthodox do not ascribe to the dogma of transubstantiation in that they reject the ability of human reason to define and describe this ineffable Mystery, and in general this sort of rationalist approach to the Mysteries (Sacraments).


Lutherans also do not ascribe as dogma to "transubstantiation."   
Nor, as I understand it, do Orthodox.
THAT was the point made.





Offline CDHealy

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Re: Orthodoxy and Consubstantiation
« Reply #8 on: Thu Oct 13, 2011 - 06:04:00 »

Orthodox do not ascribe to the dogma of transubstantiation in that they reject the ability of human reason to define and describe this ineffable Mystery, and in general this sort of rationalist approach to the Mysteries (Sacraments).


Lutherans also do not ascribe as dogma to "transubstantiation."   
Nor, as I understand it, do Orthodox.
THAT was the point made.

Actually, the point made appears to be that Orthodox and Lutherans have the same beliefs on Real Presence.  The below is what I was responding to:

A Lutheran recently told me that the Lutheran belief concerning the Real Presence (elsewhere called consubstantiation) is the same as the Orthodox belief, and that Orthodox don't believe in transsubstantiation (that the bread and wine become the body, blood, soul and divinity in a material way).  Is this true, that Lutherans and Orthodox are united in their belief in consubstantiation?

In fact, in that Orthodox do believe that the bread *really* becomes Christ's Flesh and the wine *really* becomes Christ's Blood, while also being bread and wine (Just as Christ really was God while also being man), they differ from Lutheran "consubstantiation."  Consubstantiation allows for, though it does not require, a separation of the bread/wine from the Body/Blood.  Orthodox insist on the inseparability of the bread/wine from the Body/Blood.

 

     
anything