Week 06 - Lecture 1 and 2 - Handout

Eastern Orthodoxy – Outline
A lot of these notes don’t make sense because I didn’t read Gonzalez before the lecture
Liturgy: John of Chrisystom – “The Golden Mouth” made simple for memorization
Prayers for people who travel (they don’t mention air because they can’t change the
liturgy) Head of Eastern Orthodox church is the president of Turkey who is Muslim
Art is a window to faith
Liturgy reflects the application of Trinitarian theology (lots of Theotokos)
I. Historical sketch
A. Causes of schism between East and West
Roman Empire is united until end of 3rd century. Emperors own the empire and
let everyone else use it. Church was united until the 7th century. Empire is stringer in
the East, where most theology is developed along with Africa and Egypt. Alexandria is
intellectual center, Constantinope political center. Augustine dominates 3rd century,
Tertullian 5th century.
1. Political -- regional political loyalties By 4th Century, not united. A
collection of cities trying to hang on. Charlemagne doesn’t care about religion. Without
a single empire there’s no united church
2. Cultural – communication
a. Geographical distances Governors selected in Constantinople &
sent to Rome. Augustine is the father of Archeology? (don’t know what this means)
b. Language barrier Little contact with Greeks.
c. Social disruption Rome falls in 410 to barbarian invaders, Islam
invades Christendom 637.
3. Ecclesiastical
a. Relation of bishops Apostolic succession from Peter and Paul:
Pope is the bishop of Rome, appointed by emperor (today elected by college of
cardinals). Jerusalem becomes Muslim
b. Marital status of lower clergy Arguments over inheritance of
church property by bishop’s families c. 386
4. Theological – filioque First raised by Augustine (can’t find reference to
this) the argument of double procession of the spirit from the Father and the Son
– Spirit is present at creation so what happens to the Son? (can’t connect any of this)
Athanasian Creed of 530; http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02033b.htm
589 Council of Toledo required filioque in Spain
1014 Pope required it in the west
1054A cardinal refused to worship in Constantiople and excommunicated by the Pope
so pope of Constantiople excommunicated Roman Pope and reverted to the Apostle’s
B. Schism of 1054 Who’s in charge of the church?
II. Nature of Eastern Orthodox theology
A. Importance of traditionLiturgy can only say what’s authorized. New language
is heresy. All arguments rest on quotes of the fathers.
B. Negative theology What God is not. Mystery and recognition of finite human
understanding. Only response is silence and wonder
C. Positive theology Affirmative statements can’t be reversed e.g. God is love,
but love is not God. We can’t say anything not divinely revealed
D. Objective and subjective theology Western theology is speculative, spends time on
defining terms. Terms are already defined.
1. Inadequacy of all descriptions of divine object Knowledge of God is not
natural - We know about God through his works, not concepts. We can’t reason our
way to God Revelation - We have to be told (doesn’t happen by osmosis)
2. Focus on transformation of human subject through mission work –
obligation is not a chore but growth. Because we’ve been saved we can live a moral
life. No sacraments, because all life is sacramental
III. Iconoclastic controversy (726-843)Icon is visual, scripture affirms the experience
A. Background set the stage for modern Orthodoxy. Helen, mother of
Constantine started pilgrimages, collecting relics and built Church of the Holy
1. 4th century -- development of Christian art
2. Historicizing of Christian piety
B. Issues between iconoclasts and iconodules (iconophiles)
1. Idolatry a question of Christology – icons forbidden by early church as
vestige of Jews and pagans.
a. Appropriateness of polemic against paganism
b. Relation of divine to lifeless matter
c. Character of Christian worship
2. Christology
a. Iconoclasts: transcendence of God idols are demons invading
b. Iconodules: humiliation of God in incarnation icons are not idols.
Christianity freed from idolatry by Jesus Christ. Idolatry is impossible if the focus is on
Jesus. Image allows us to see beyond the physical. This is how salvation was
accomplished in Jesus Christ. Icons give us the same opportunity for salvation. How do
we appropriate Icons? Bascilica shows ne world order. Imperial image completely
reversed. We can’t change our doctrine to protect it from a certain threat.
Leo III banned icons in 730. Cut off hands of icon makers. John of Damascus goes to
Rome. John Chrisystom is hated by Leo so he flees to a Muslim country for protection
and paints pictures.