Metousiosis

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Metousiosis is a Greek term (μετουσίωσις) that means a change of ousia ( οὐσία , "essence, inner reality").

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE

The ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by Medieval Greek.

Ousia philosophical and theological term, originally used in Ancient Greek philosophy

Ousia is a philosophical and theological term, originally used in Ancient Greek philosophy, then later in Christian theology. It was used by various Ancient Greek philosophers, like Plato and Aristotle, as a primary designation for philosophical concepts of essence or substance. In contemporary philosophy, it is analogous to English concepts of being and ontic. In Christian theology, the concept of θεία ουσία is one of the most important doctrinal concepts, central to the development of trinitarian doctrine.

History

Cyril Lucaris (or Lucar), the Patriarch of Alexandria and later of Constantinople, used this Greek term to express the idea for which the Latin term is transsubstantiatio (transubstantiation), which likewise literally means a change of substantia (substance, inner reality), using, in the 1629 Latin text of his The Eastern Confession of the Orthodox Faith, the term transsubstantiatio, and, in the Greek translation published in 1633, the term μετουσίωσις.

Cyril Lucaris Patriarch of Constantinople

Hieromartyr Cyril Lucaris or Loukaris, born Constantine Lucaris, was a Greek prelate and theologian, and a native of Candia, Crete. He later became the Greek Patriarch of Alexandria as Cyril III and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople as Cyril I. He is alleged by Calvinists, both of his time and modern, to have strove for a reform of the Eastern Orthodox Church along Protestant and Calvinist lines. Attempts to bring Calvinism into the Orthodox Church were rejected, and Cyril's actions, motivations, and specific viewpoints remain a matter of debate among scholars. However, he is recognized by the Orthodox Church as a hieromartyr and defender of the Orthodox faith against both the Jesuit Catholics and Calvinist Protestants. The official glorification of Hieromartyr Cyril Loukaris took place by decision of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria on October 6, 2009, and his memory is commemorated on June 27.

Patriarch of Alexandria Archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt, includes the designation "pope"

The Patriarch of Alexandria is the archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt. Historically, this office has included the designation "pope".

Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople position

The Ecumenical Patriarch is the Archbishop of Constantinople–New Rome and ranks as primus inter pares among the heads of the several autocephalous churches that make up the Eastern Orthodox Church. He is widely regarded as the representative and spiritual leader of the 300 million Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide. The term Ecumenical in the title is a historical reference to the Ecumene, a Greek designation for the civilised world, i.e. the Roman Empire, and it stems from Canon 28 of the Council of Chalcedon.

To counter the teaching of Lucaris, who denied transsubstantiatio/μετουσίωσις, Metropolitan Petro Mohyla of Kiev (also called Peter Mogila) drew up in Latin an Orthodox Confession, defending transubstantiation. Translated into Greek, using "μετουσίωσις" for the Latin term "transubstantiation", this Confession was approved by all the Greek-speaking Patriarchs (those of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem) in 1643, and again by the Synod of Jerusalem (1672) (also referred to as the Council of Bethlehem).

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem primate of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Jerusalem

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem or Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, officially Patriarch of Jerusalem, is the head bishop of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, ranking fourth of nine Patriarchs in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Since 2005, the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem has been Theophilos III. The Patriarch is styled "Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Holy Land, Syria, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion." The Patriarch is the head of the Brotherhood of the Holy Sepulchre, and the religious leader of about 130,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land, most of them Palestinians.

Synod of Jerusalem (1672) synod convened by Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Dositheos Notaras in March 1672, on the occasion of consecration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem; rejected doctrines ascribed to Cyril Lucaris and the Filioque

The Synod of Jerusalem was convened by Orthodox Patriarch Dositheos Notaras in March 1672. Because the occasion was the consecration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, it is also called the Synod of Bethlehem.

The declaration of the 1672 Orthodox Synod of Jerusalem is quoted by J.M. Neale (History of Eastern Church, Parker, Oxford and London, 1858) as follows: "When we use the word metousiosis, we by no means think it explains the mode by which the bread and wine are converted into the Body and Blood of Christ, for this is altogether incomprehensible ... but we mean that the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord, not figuratively or symbolically, nor by any extraordinary grace attached to them ... but ... the bread becomes verily and indeed and essentially the very true Body of the Lord, and the wine the very Blood of the Lord."

The Catechism of the [Roman] Catholic Church similarly states that the change is real while averring that the means of change remain a mystery: "The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ." [1]

Theology and dogmatic status

Since the Eastern Orthodox Church accepts as dogma only the solemn teaching of seven Ecumenical Councils, this approval, though part of what the Encyclopædia Britannica called "the most vital statement of faith made in the Greek Church during the past thousand years", [2] was not equivalent to a dogmatic definition. However, the Protestant scholar Philip Schaff wrote in his Creeds of Christendom: "This Synod is the most important in the modern history of the Eastern Church, and may be compared to the Council of Trent. Both fixed the doctrinal status of the Churches they represent, and both condemned the evangelical doctrines of Protestantism ... the Romish doctrine of transubstantiation (μεταβολή, μετουσίωσις) is taught as strongly as words can make it."

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

The term metousiosis is, of course, not found in the text of the Eastern Orthodox Church's Divine Liturgy, just as the term transubstantiation is not found in the text of the Latin Eucharistic liturgy. The Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity states: "The Greek term metousiosis, which is comparable to the Latin transsubstantiatio, does appear in Orthodox liturgical and theological texts – though not as often as other vocabulary (e.g., metastoicheiosis, a "change of elements"). [3]

A. Osipov states that the Orthodox use of the Greek word μεταβολή (metabole), meaning "change", and the Russian предложение in relation to the Eucharist should not be taken as equivalent to the word "transubstantiation", which has been rendered as metousiosis. [4] Eastern theologians who use the word "transubstantiation" or "metousiosis" are careful to exclude the notion that it is an explanation of how the bread and wine of the sacrament are changed into the body and blood of Christ, instead of being a statement of what is changed. Both Orlov and Nikolaj Uspenksij appeal to Church Fathers who, when speaking of other doctrines, drew analogies from the Eucharist and spoke of it as bread and wine, but as having also a heavenly nature. [5]

Some Eastern Orthodox theologians thus appear to deny transubstantiation/metousiosis, but in the view of Adrian Fortescue, what they object to is the associated theory of substance and accident, and they hold that there is a real change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. [6]

Eastern Orthodox use of the term metousiosis

An English translation of the full, quite lengthy, declaration by the 1672 Orthodox Council of Jerusalem, convoked by Patriarch Dositheos II of Jerusalem, can be found at the website Chapter VI of Acts and Decrees of the Synod of Jerusalem.

The first edition of The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church, known also as The Catechism of St. Philaret, did not include the term metousiosis; [4] but it was added in the third edition: "In the exposition of the faith by the Eastern Patriarchs, it is said that the word transubstantiation is not to be taken to define the manner in which the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of the Lord; for this none can understand but God; but only thus much is signified, that the bread truly, really, and substantially becomes the very true Body of the Lord, and the wine the very Blood of the Lord." The official Greek version of this passage (question 340) uses the word "metousiosis".

Writing in 1929, Metropolitan of Thyatira Germanos said that an obstacle to the request for union with the Eastern Orthodox Church presented in the 17th century by some Church of England bishops was that "the Patriarchs were adamant on the question of Transubstantiation", which, in view of the Thirty-Nine Articles, the Anglican bishops did not wish to accept. [7]

A collection of texts from as early as the 5th century in which councils, individual ecclesiastics, and other writers and theologians of the Eastern Orthodox Church used the Greek term in the same sense as the Latin term is found at Orthodoxy and Transubstantiation.

Oriental Orthodox

The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria does not use a term corresponding to transubstantiation/metousiosis, but it speaks of "change" and rejects the Protestant denial of "the reality of the change of the bread and wine to the body and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ". [8]

See also

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References

  1. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1333
  2. Rockwell, William Walker (1911). "Jerusalem, Synod of"  . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica . 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 335.
  3. John Anthony McGuckin (editor), The Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity (John Wiley and Sons 2010), p. 232 ISBN   978-1-44439254-8
  4. 1 2 Проф. А. Осипов. Μεταβολή или transsubstantiatio?
  5. Николай Успенский. Святоотеческое учение о непостижимости природы евхаристии.
  6. Adrian Fortescue, The Orthodox Eastern Church (Gorgias Press 2001), pp. 25–26 ISBN   978-0-97159861-4
  7. Progress Towards the Re-Union of the Orthodox and Anglican Churches. By the Most Rev. Archbishop Germanos, Metropolitan of Thyatira. The Christian East, Spring, 1929, pp. 20-31
  8. Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States, "Transubstantiation"