Saturday, April 6, 2013

Origenism Plague of The Eastern Orthodox Church

Today is the Third Saturday in Lent, leading up to
Julian date Pascha aka "Easter." The Revised Julian
Calendar aka New Calendar celebrates Pascha on
the Julian Calendar, ergo Lent leading up to this
is not the same schedule as western Lent.

And today is memorialized St. Euthychius Patriarch
of Constantinople. Seems he was banished for a
time due to the scheming of the Origenists, but was
restored. Born c. AD 512 died AD 582.

Orthodox Wiki trying to keep the emperor Justinian,
revered as a saint, from any smear, claims that the
latter's acceptance of apthartodocetism is a lie and
his decree in its favor not to be found, only mentioned
in a history, but it seems that St. Euthychius was
arrested Jan.22 AD 565 because of his opposition to
the emperor's support of this heresy.

this heresy held "that Jesus Christ was imperishable and 
was not able to suffer while dying on the Cross,"

This was originated by the Monophysite Bishop Julian
of Halicarnassus, and opposed by the Monophysite
Severus on the basis that our redemption was not
effected on the Cross if Jesus Christ's Incarnation was
not fully human.

"Toward the end of his life, Eutychius maintained an opinion 
that after the resurrection the body will be "more subtle than air" 
and no longer a tangible thing.[3] This was considered heretical, 
because it was taken as a denial of the doctrine of physical, 
corporeal resurrection. The future Pope Gregory the Great
then residing at Constantinople as Apocrisiarius, opposed this 
opinion, citing Luke 24:39. Emperor Tiberius talked to the 
disputants separately, and tried to reconcile them, but the 
breach was persistent.[3]
Eutychius died quietly on the Sunday after Easter, at the age 
of 70. Some of his friends later told Pope Gregory that a few 
minutes before his death he touched the skin of his hand and 
said, "I confess that in this flesh we shall rise again",[7] 
(a rough quote of Job 19:26)."
late beliefs and death.

While St. Eutychius opposed Origenism in its
forms condemned in the Fifth Ecumenical Council,
variant ideas that are totally compatible with 
Origenism were also around. The most obvious
stuff was that the fall of various spirits and even
the heavenly bodies from contemplating God
led to their either in the case of spirits incarnating
as humans or other things, and in the case of
the heavenly bodies becoming physical.

Another Origenistic doctrine was the apokatastasis
or restoration of all things, in modern protestant
terms when condemning this sort of thinking, 
universalism or universal salvation of all, even of
the demons and of the devil himself. (Origen 
protested he didn't go that far as claiming the devil
would be saved eventually, but already this idea 
was being promulgated as part of his kind of 
thinking in his time or he wouldn't have been 
accused of it, some of his students must have 
taken this next step.)

Unfortunately, the excess of allegorization that
led to all this, and could take Scripture that 
opposed something and argue it supported it,
was not condemned.

Though the idea that Adam and Eve did not have
the dense physical bodies we have now until 
after the fall is not mentioned, this is obviously
the same kind of thing as saying the heavenly
bodies were not densely physical until they, as
supposedly conscious or semi conscious beings,
abandoned contemplation of God and fell and
became physical. And of course the preexistence
of souls, whose various degrees of sin prior to
incarnation dictate what kind of bodies they will

some argue that the condemnations against 
Origen were not part of the Fifth Ecumenical 
Council, but there is also evidence of some 
tampering with its record, and besides these could
have been signed off on by the assembly before
its formal opening.

Now, the error that St. Eutychius opposed, is
that of claiming that Jesus' human nature including
even His Body, was prelapsarian to the point of 
being incorruptible, unable to suffer, unable to be
killed. This presupposes that Adam's was also,
by his created nature not by some grace that 
protected him, not to mention access to The Tree 
of Life. Even after The Fall he would have
continued immortal if not removed from access to
it, hence the expulsion from Eden.

Origen had tremendous influence on The Holy 
Fathers, especially The Cappadocians and St. John
Chrysostom so various notions either explicitly 
condemned later, or just compatible with them, 
have tended to continue within Orthodoxy when they
should not have done so. 

Nowdays the patristic consciousness scene, and
Fr. Seraphim Rose' unquestioning acceptance of
their writings as practically continuation of Scripture,
has caused these ideas to come into focus. Including
notions like the heretical idea St. Eutychius entertained
for a while, but rejected on his dead bed, that our
resurrected bodies would be more intangible than air.
(If so why bother to resurrect us? this condition 
described is that of the spirits of the dead anyway!
Indeed, this could hardly be called a resurrection, 
except perhaps in the sense of better access to the
physical world, but supposedly that is going to become
intangible also. Sounds like destruction rather than 

what I notice about Orthodox writers is, that the farther
back we go in time, the more they sound protestant,
in that they constantly harp on the Scriptures peppering
their homilies with Scripture cite after Scripture cite. 

This is aside from the issue of whether the application
is always correct, though it seems to be mostly 

The point is, if we are going to focus on and imitate
The Holy Fathers, what then do they do? They do NOT
refer to each other's writings as Scripture, like St. Peter
referred to St. Paul's writings by referring to them "and
the rest of the Scriptures."

They constantly go to The Bible. St. Cyril of Jerusalem
in his Catechetical Lectures even told his catechumens
to go to The Scriptures, and check everything he taught
them and if there was conflict with the Scriptures, reject
what he was teaching them that was in conflict with 
The Scriptures.

So what do The Scriptures say? God created things
needing to eat food, and provided food for them. God
put coats of skins, the term used being for a tunic, 
on Adam and Eve who were already naked not clothed
in glory and their bodies invisible, that notion was 
read into The Scripture, and not ashamed, and having
fallen had become ashamed. These skins are much 
more reasonably and Scripture consistently understood
by some as the skins of the first animals used for 
sacrifice, certainly Cain and Abel were bringing 
sacrifices the first generation after the Fall.

And Jesus' Resurrected Body, though capable of 
remarkable things, was densely physical with flesh
and bones as He said, "handle Me and see, that I
have flesh and bones, not like a spirit." Those who
have touched ectoplasmic semi solid spirits have
reported a feel rather different than that of a normal
human being. That some might rarely be able to 
get solid enough to give a hug during a deceptive
meeting when a woman hugged her dead son 
conjured up by a medium, only to find later he was
not killed in action in Viet Nam only missing in action
and came home, is irrelevant, a hug is not like 
feeling the bare hands and arms and face. And it
is momentary. not consistent. Also that might have
been a deception involving a living human that faked
being a spirit.

solid enough to attack and do harm is still not like
having the flesh and bones of a human being.

So we need, as one priest warned, read The Fathers
with caution. 

St. Gregory of Nyssa held to the apokatastasis, which
was later condemned, and his Philokalia of Origen 
incl. all the stuff later condemned. 

And that stuff is unscriptural.

St. Eutychius opposed a heresy that was part of a
larger picture he didn't quite understand, but when
he fell into another part of that picture, rejected it


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