Monday, February 28, 2011

Metropolitans of Kiev

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Which Metropolitans of Kiev were Catholic and which ones were Orthodox?

We consult, among other sources, the venerable Bollandist Fr. John Stilting, S.J.'s "Dissertation on the Conversion and Faith of the Russians" in Acta Sanctorum 9:II:i-xxvii (PDF file pages 25-51). Page numbers in parentheses indicate the page of the downloaded PDF document.

St. Michael I of Kiev (988-992): Catholic
-see Bollandists 10:XI:237 (October, tome XI, page 237)
-Blazejowskyj 63: does not give definite dates; doubtful of Michael's existence
-Joseph B. Koncevicius: 
-Pope was John XV (XVI) of Rome (985-996)
-Patriarch of Constantinople was the Catholic St. Nicholas II Chrysoberges (984-996) [AASS 8:I:120F-121D (146-147); 10:XI:310 (346); Siméon Vailhé in 1907 DTC 3.2:1359]
Leontius of Kiev (992–1008): Catholic
-Fr. Mauricio Gordillo, S.J. in the 1938 DTC 14.1:217: the letter denouncing unleavened bread is not by Leontius of Kiev, but by a metropolitan in Bulgaria after the time of the anti-Catholic bishops Leo of Ochrid and Michael Cerularius
-Koncevicius 67 agrees with Fr. Gordillo
-Mgr. Pelesz I:188, §29 (200):
-Blazejowskyj 64-65: does not give definite dates; 
-Popes were John XV (XVI) (985-996), Gregory V (996-999), Sylvester II (999-1003), John XVII (XVIII) (1003), and John XVIII (XIX) of Rome (1003-1009)
-Antipope was John Philagathus of Piacenza ("John XVI (XVII)" 997-998; †1013)
-Patriarchs of Constantinople were Catholic Sisinnius II (996-998) [Siméon Vailhé in 1907 DTC 3.2:1359] and Sergius II (1001-1019)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blog Fast

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Dear readers, I am sorry for leaving you with many unfinished posts (e.g., the Fr. Divry posts and the Aurelio Palmieri post), but this blog is taking up way too much of my time, to the detriment of my grades. I am taking a break until I get my priorities straight (i.e., school first) and get my grades back up, and I will probably post no more than a few times between now and mid-May. Sts. Mary, Joseph, Raphael, Augustine the Great, Thomas Aquinas, and Rita of Cascia pray for me, a sinner!

Dear readers, pray the Rosary for me, a sinner. Thank you and God bless you and yours. Happy feast day of Bishop St. Polycarp the Martyr of Smyrna; St. Polycarp, pray to God for us!

The commemoration of Saint Polycarp, bishop and martyr, who is honored as a disciple of the blessed John and the last witness of apostolic times and, under the emperors Mark Anthony and Lucius Aurelius Commodus and in the presence of the proconsul and all the people, was delivered up to fire in the amphitheater at Smyrna when he was nearly ninety years of age, giving thanks to God that he had been deemed worthy to be numbered among the martyrs and receive a share in the cup of Christ. -- USCCB website

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pope St. Leo III & Filioque (Palmieri)

Since no one is ignorant that Pope St. Leo III of Rome (795-816) upheld the dogma of Filioque, I am posting a rough translation of Aurelio Palmieri's treatment of Pope St. Leo III's refusal to add Filioque to the Creed, from Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. A. Vacant, et al. (Paris 1913) 5.2:2329-2931. Pope St. Leo III pray for us!

Translation complete as of 9/8/2015, thanks be to God
But if Leo III was convinced of the dogmatic truth of Filioque, why did he blame them for the insertion of this formula to the Symbol, why he did he urge the legates of Charlemagne not to sing the symbol with the addition? Is not his behavior proof that he believed in the inviolability of the Symbol of Constantinople?

Post-Schism Orthodox Saints (Dictionnaire de Spiritualité)

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The Dictionnaire de Spiritualité puts (SAINT) or (SAINTE) next to the name of men and women who are recognized as saints by the Catholic Church.

Column numbers of the 1995 Tables Generales are in parentheses.

The (SAINT) label is absent for the following:
*Alexis Stefanovich [†1781] (16)
*Andrew of Mechtchovsk [†1812] (27)
*Andrew of Totma [†1673] (27)
*Anthony Alexeivich of Zadonsk [†1851] (33)
*anti-Catholic Patriarch Athanasius I of Constantinople [†1310] (46; mentioned in VIII:1362)
*Athanasius of Paros (46; mentioned in X:11)
*Basil the Blessed of Moscow [†1551] (60)
*anti-Catholic Patriarch Callistus I of Constantinople [1350-1354, 1355-1363] (97; mentioned in XII:1342)
*Metropolitan Cyprian of Kiev and Moscow [†1406] (149; mentioned in XIII:1163)
*Cyprian of Suzdal [†1662] (150; mentioned in V:759)
*Cyril of Belozersk [†1427] (150; mentioned in V:758)
*Metropolitan Daniel of Moscow [r. 1522-1539; †1547] (152; mentioned in XIII:1168)
*Euphemius Popop the Fool-for-Christ [†1860] (206)
*Metropolitan Eustathius of Thessalonica [†1194] (207; article by Jean Darrouzes in IV:1712-1714)
*Patriarch Euthymius of Tarnovo [1325-1400] (202; article by Jean Darrouzes in IV:1724-1725)
*ex-Catholic Patriarch Gennadius II Scholarius of Constantinople [r. 1453-1456, 1458, 1462-1463, 1464; †1472] (252; article by Jean Darrouzes in VI:209-211)
*George the Fool-for-Christ of Shenkursk (253; mentioned in V:759)
*Monk George of the Caves of Zarub (253; mentioned in XIII:1151)
*George Zatvornik the Recluse [†1836] (254)
*anti-Catholic Patriarch Germanus II of Constantinople [†1240] (256; article by Jean Darrouzes in VI:311)
*Metropolitan Hilarion of Kiev [1051-1055] (300; mentioned in XIII:1147)
*ex-Catholic Isidore of Rostov [†1474] (327)
Editor: Cf. Acta Sanctorum 10:XI:128 (164.
*James Borovichi the Fool-for-Christ of Novgorod [†1540] (727; mentioned in V:759)
*anti-Catholic John of Ephesus [†1455] (348)
*anti-Catholic John of Kronstadt [1829-1908] (339; article by François Rouleau in VIII:447-449)
*John Mauropos (352)
*John the Fool-for-Christ of Moscow [†1589] (344)
*John the Hairy of Rostov [†1580] (354)
*John Salos [†1490] (353)
*anti-Catholic Leo of Ochrid [†1055-1056] (400; article by Daniel Stiernon in IX:623-625)
*Leontius of Jerusalem [1176-1184/1185] (402; article by Daniel Stiernon in IX:664-666)
*anti-Catholic Mark of Ephesus [1392-1445] (431; article by Daniel Stiernon in X:267-272)
*ex-Catholic Maximus the Greek [1470-1556] (454; article by Daniel Stiernon in X:847-851)
*Michael of Klops [†1453] (467; mentioned in V:759)
*Nicholas of Pskov (497)
*anti-Catholic Nicodemus the Hagiorite [1749-1809] (495; article by Daniel Stiernon in XI:234-250)
*Paisius Velichkovsky [1722-1794] (519; article by Aimé Solignac in XII:40),
*Peter of Damascus [†12th c.] (552)
*Philaret of Moscow [1782-1867] (546; article by Jan Krajcar in XII:1277-1279)
*Philip the Solitary [†1105] (547; article by Aimé Solignac in XII:1323-1325)
*anti-Catholic Patriarch Philotheus Coccinus of Constantinople [r. 1353-1354, 1364-1376; †1377] (548; article by Aimé Solignac in XII:1389-1392)
*anti-Catholic Theophan the Recluse [1815-1894] (671; article by Tomáš Cardinal Špidlík, S.J. in XV:517-522): in the New Catholic Encyclopedia XIV:911, G. A. Maloney says: "Except for a few doctrinal errors inherited from his Protestant–tinged professors, his general teaching is quite acceptable to Catholics... As to the dogmatic teachings of the church and his view of Rome in general, he repeated the prejudices of his environment. To him, the Catholic church was just another sect terrorized by the Inquisition and a despotic pope who attributed to himself divine qualities. Zatvornik's works are thoroughly patristic in character. They contain the best traditional Orthodox teaching on the spiritual life and are, for the most part, also in harmony with the teachings of the Catholic Church."
*Metropolitan Theophylact [?] of Kiev (672; mentioned in XIII:1145)
*anti-Catholic Theophylact of Ochrid (672; article by Gerhard Podskalsky in XV:542-546)
*Xenia the Fool-for-Christ of St. Petersburg [†1803] (727; mentioned in V:759)

The official, public ecclesiastical veneration of saints who were known to have written against the teachings of the Catholic Church presupposes the moral (but not necessarily historical) certainty that these persons died after being received formally into the Catholic Church or explicitly desiring to enter the Catholic Church; for example, St. Gregory Palamas of Thessalonica (1296-1359), canonized by the Orthodox Church in 1368 and officially accepted as a saint by the Catholic Church in 1973. See Huysman, Will R. "False Ecumenism." The Banana Republican. 8 Dec. 2010. 21 Feb. 2011 <>.

Even though Photius the Great (549; article by Pélopidas Stephanou in XII:1397-1408), Gregory Palamas of Thessalonica [1296-1359] (520; article by Fr. John Meyendorff in XII:81-107), Anthony of Kiev [983-1073] (34; mentioned in VI:966), Theodosius of Kiev [†1074] (669; mentioned in XIII:1146,1148 and not identified with Theodosius Pechersky in 670; X:1592), and Cyril of Turov [1130-1182] (150; mentioned in XIII:1150,1157) are all apparently Catholic saints, they are not labeled as such in the 1995 TG of DS.

The following are labeled as saints in the 1995 Tables Generales:
*Metropolitan Alexis of Moscow [r. 1354-1378] (15) - omitted from Russian Catholic Liturgy in 1940
*St. Euphrosyne of Polotsk (April 26) [†1173] (187; mentioned in XIII:1148)
*Bishop Euthymius of Novgorod [1396-1458] (207; mentioned in XIV:200)
*George the Hagiorite [†1065] (254; article by John Kirchmeyer in VI:240-242)
*Germanus the Hagiorite a.k.a. George Maroules of Thessalonica [†1336] (256; mentioned in XII:1391)
*Joseph of Volokolamsk (Possessor) [1440-9/9/1515] (364)
Editor: Not labeled as Catholic saint in article by Tomáš Cardinal Špidlík, S.J. in VIII:1408-1411. The Acta Sanctorum for September 9, from the year 1750, says [9:III:326D (398)]: "Josephus hegumenus hodie occurrit in Synaxario Ruthenorum, quod nobis Latinum fecit Georgius David S.J. Verum in nullis aliis Fastis eumdem invenio, nec mihi conflat de fide ejus Catholica." Cf. AASS 10:XI:220 (256) from the year 1864.
*St. Leontius of Rostov (May 23) [†1077] (402; mentioned in XIII:1148,1154) - Russian Catholics invoke him in the prothesis of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
*Maximus the Hut-Dweller [†1365] (454; article in V:757)
*St. Nicetas of Pereyaslavl (May 24) [†1186] (494)
*Nil Sorsky (Non-Possessor) [1433-1508] (500)
*Metropolitan Peter of Moscow [†1326] (551; mentioned in XIII:1163) - omitted from Russian Catholic Liturgy in 1940
Editor: Peter (r. 1308-1326) in communion with Rome for a while according to Andrew Shipman, but then became Orthodox in 1324 at the latest, according to Bollandist Fr. John Stilting, S.J.
*anti-Catholic Seraphim of Sarov [1759-1833] (636)
Editor: Not labeled as Catholic saint in article by Tomáš Cardinal Špidlík, S.J. in XIV:632-636.
*St. Sergius of Radonezh (September 25) [1314-1392] (637) - also in Roman Martyrology September 25
*St. Stephen of Perm (April 26) [1340-1396] (203; mentioned in XIV:200) - also in Roman Martyrology April 26
*Tikhon of Zadonsk [1724-1783] (680)
Editor: Not labeled as Catholic saint in article Tomáš Cardinal Špidlík, S.J. in XV:960-964.

New Catholic Encyclopedia Ambiguities on Canonizations

From yesterday's post in which I show that Alexander Nevsky might have been Catholic from 1248 until his death in 1263:
In the New Catholic Encyclopedia article "Alexander Nevski [NCE, vol. 1, 2nd ed., p. 263], Olgerd P. Sherbowitz-Wetzor says, "He is venerated as a saint in the Russian Church." Properly speaking, the Russian Church is the Russian Catholic Church, and I hope that is what Sherbowitz-Wetzor means; the New Catholic Encyclopedia should be revised to dispel many ambiguities about canonizations.
The following examples show that the 2003 New Catholic Encyclopedia (which had some articles revised in 2010) is not uniformly clear about whether the Catholic Church considers certain people to be saints.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Was Alexander Nevsky Catholic?

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Alexander Nevsky (1220-1263), Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Vladimir, was anti-Catholic his whole life
Update 9/11/2015: The definitive work of James Zatko vis-a-vis various other authors and public knowledge of the ecclesiastical policy of Metropolitan Cyril III of Kiev (previously detailed elsewhere) lead the author to believe that Alexander Nevsky grew up Orthodox, became Catholic in 1248 (Alexander's father died a Catholic), but then became Orthodox again in 1249 or within a few years of that year. Details to follow before October 1.

1. Did Alexander Nevsky, canonized by the Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow and All Russia (1542-1563) in 1547,{1} convert to Catholicism? The conventional wisdom is that he did not; this is the "unanimous" consensus of "Russian writers,", according to the expert Aurelio Palmieri (1870-1926).{2} His Life asserts that he said in 1248 to visiting papal legates that Russian Orthodox are members of Christ's One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church and that they adhere firmly to the Seven Ecumenical Councils: "These we know very well, but we do not accept your teaching."{3}

2. There are strong reasons to doubt the legendary anti-Catholicism of Russia's "national hero,"{4} whom Pope Innocent IV of Rome (1243-1254) of happy memory tried to convert to the only true faith, Catholicism.{5} In his 1/23/1248 letter to Alexander, Pope Innocent IV exhorted him to join the Catholic Church, like the former's father, Grand Prince Yaroslav II of Vladimir (1238–1246) did after he renounced schism in front of the Franciscan John of Plano Carpini (1182-1252).{6} Russian historians say that Alexander made his aforementioned rebuff to two cardinals who delivered the letter, Galda and Emonte, but this is doubtful.{7} Pope Innocent IV joyfully congratulated Alexander on becoming Catholic in his 9/15/1248 letter to the latter.{8} In this letter, Innocent invites Alexander to receive Archbishop Albert of Prussia with dignity and work with him to convert people to Catholicism.{9} Innocent granted Alexander's request to be permitted to build a Roman Catholic cathedral in Pskov.{10} The anti-Catholic "Confession of Faith of St. Alexander Nevsky" is apocryphal.{11}

3. Palmieri makes these concluding remarks in his DHGE article: "We have no further information on the relationship between Alexander and Innocent IV. ... It is difficult, from the lack of documents, to decide the question" of whether Alexander Nevsky converted to Catholicism and died a Catholic.{12}

4. While Alexander Nevsky figures as a saint on many web collections of Catholic saints,{13} such collections are not always reliable,{14} and I have been misled by them in the past (I apologize to you, dear readers, for my mistakes in this regard, and any other errors!). In the New Catholic Encyclopedia article "Alexander Nevski,"{15} Olgerd P. Sherbowitz-Wetzor says, "He is venerated as a saint in the Russian Church." Properly speaking, the Russian Church is the Russian Catholic Church, and I hope that is what Sherbowitz-Wetzor means; the New Catholic Encyclopedia should be revised to dispel many ambiguities about canonizations.{16}

Notes & References
{1} "Repose of St. Alexander Nevsky" at OCA website.
{2} Palmieri, Aurelio. "The Religion of Russia." The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 20 Feb. 2011 <>.
{3} "Repose..."
{4} Palmieri, loc. cit.
{5} Ibid.
{6} Palmieri, "Alexandre Nevski," Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. A. Baudrillart, et al. (Paris 1912—) 2:262.
{7} Ibid. If the reader knows of any such cardinals, please let me know--I have no record of their existence.
{8} Ibid.
{9} Ibid.
{10} Ibid.
{11} Ibid.
{12} Ibid.
{13} See Alexander's entries at and Patron Saints Index, which links to his entry in the 1910 New Catholic Dictionary.
{14} For instance, Patron Saints Index and list the anti-Catholic monk Nicodemus of Mt. Athos (the Hagiorite) (1749-1809), who notoriously denied the validity of Catholic baptism, as a saint of the Catholic Church! The Orthodox Church did not canonize Nicodemus until 1955, 126 years after the reunion of the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church. The official, public ecclesiastical veneration of saints who were known to have written against the teachings of the Catholic Church presupposes the moral (but not necessarily historical) certainty that these persons died after being received formally into the Catholic Church or explicitly desiring to enter the Catholic Church; for example, St. Gregory Palamas of Thessalonica (1296-1359), canonized by the Orthodox Church in 1368 and officially accepted as a saint by the Catholic Church in 1973. See Huysman, Will R. "False Ecumenism." The Banana Republican. 8 Dec. 2010. 20 Feb. 2011 <>.
{15} NCE, vol. 1, 2nd ed., p. 263.
{16} Huysman, Will R. "New Catholic Encyclopedia Ambiguities on Canonizations." The Banana Republican. 21 Feb. 2011 <>.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fr. Divry's Explanation of the Tabor Light 2

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The following is VERY roughly translated from pp. 503-505 of Fr. Édouard Divry, O.P., La Transfiguration selon l'Orient et l'Occident:
8. Is the hypostatic property, defined above, created or uncreated?
Applied to Christ, the question offers an inept alternative response. In fact, "created" and "uncreated" qualify the natures, human and divine respectively, of Christ. A created personal property, and thus driven by the human nature alone, pertains to the Person of Christ; it is therefore defined as hypostatic. A personal property, innate in the divinity of Christ, also belongs to His Person, and is therefore also hypostatic. By the theological axiom of the communication of idioms, the prime unity of the Person with His divine or human properties that exist in the unity of one ontological subject.1518 In other words, these concrete properties all depend on the same supposit, the Person of the Incarnate Word.

1518. The expressions of St. Thomas Aquinas like "gratia personalis" (cf. ST III, q. 8, a. 5, ad 3), "esse personalis" (cf. ST III, q. 17, a. 2, c.) respond solely to the concern of making the person of the Word that which returns directly to Him as a subject, but do not necessarily anticipate the distinction between created and uncreated.

In the case of Christ's illumination on Tabor, the Orthodox see in this light an uncreated energy, the Latins a light created by a miracle. However, the two sides, Latins and Greeks, could recognize in this light a certain hypostatic property of Christ.

We think of the metaphor of a two-sided reality in order to speak about grace: a presence of the light of glory visible to the witnesses' eyes of faith, and a reality visible to the senses, produced by a miracle with the help of a form that could be a pre-glorious quasi-habitus that participates in the uncreated divine light. It is perhaps worth reminding the reader that "quasi" is understood here in the sense of providing certain exceptional characters of the habit, and not in the clearly inadequate sense of "almost." The two aspects, created and uncreated, of this light include a certain original Personal property, that of Christ illuminated in His divinized corporeal humanity. It is thus that our theological effort interprets, with regard to the Transfiguration, the laconic expression of the Ecumenical Council Constantinople III (681): "two natures radiate in His one hypostasis."1519 This hypostatic irradiation makes perfect sense in its application to the Transfiguration.

1519. Dogmatic definition of Constantinople III, Denzinger, n. 558 [292], p. 206: "δύο αὐτοῦ τὰς ϕύσεις ἐν τῇ μιᾷ αὐτοῦ διαλαμπούσας ὑποστάσει."

In applying this doctrine to the saints with all the necessary modifications, one should answer the demanding initial question in affirming that any created effect comes from the Triune God considered consubstantially as One. However, if it is admitted, with St. Thomas Aquinas, that the personal procession in the Trinity is the reason for the procession of creatures, then "something personal may also be signified with a relation to the creature."1520 A necessarily hypostatic relation, even as weak as a relation of reason between God and His creature, may therefore intervene in the case of the procession of creatures.1521

1520. Thomas Aquinas, In I Sent., d. 27, q. 2, a. 3, ad 6: "potest etiam aliquid personale cum respectu ad creaturam significari" (trans. G. Émery, La Trinité créatrice, p. 551).
1521. Idem., In I Sent., d. 14, q. 1, a. 1, sol.: "quia processiones personarum æternæ, sunt causa et ratio totius productionis creaturarum" (trans. G. Émery, La Trinité créatrice, p. 386).

Yet the hypostatic property in the saint is defined very precisely in the right respect of a real relation of the created to the uncreated, and not vice versa.


The following is VERY roughly translated from pp. 507-509:
11. What ecumenical value can we expect from the hypostatic property?
Within a framework of dogmatic theology, it seems difficult to speculate on what could happen upon the reception of this simple theological hypothesis formulated during research that concentrated an immense Patristic and hagiographical heritage. The main part of this research already consists in the creation of an intellectual space of meeting and discovery of two traditions that often ignore each other. This is certainly the beneficial aspect that one should retain in this effort of ecumenical theology, even though the work of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has largely cleared the way thanks to his treatise on the icon of Christ.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Real Identity of Essence and Will in God (Aquinas)

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First Text
Did Things Proceed from God of Natural Necessity or by the Decree of His Will?

6. In God nature and will are the same: and consequently if He produces things willingly it would seem that He produces them naturally.
Reply to the Sixth Objection. Although will and nature are identically the same in God, they differ logically, in so far as they express respect to creatures in different ways: thus nature denotes a respect to some one thing determinately, whereas will does not.

8. God's operation is His essence: and His essence is natural to Him. Therefore whatever He does he does naturally.
Reply to the Eighth Objection. Although God's operation belongs to Him naturally seeing that it is His very nature or essence, the created effect follows the operation of His nature which, in our way of understanding, is considered as the principle of His will, even as the effect that is heating follows according to the mode of the heat.

18. The effect proceeds from its cause in action: wherefore a cause is not related to its effect except as related to its action or operation. Now the relation of God’s action or operation to Himself is natural, since God’s action is His essence. Therefore the relation of God to His effect is also natural so that He produces it naturally.
Reply to the Eighteenth Objection. The effect follows from the action according to the mode of the principle of the action: wherefore since the divine will which has no necessary connection with creatures is considered, in our way of thinking, to be the principle of the divine action in regard to creatures, it does not follow that the creature proceeds from God by natural necessity, although the action itself is God's essence or nature.

20. Since what exists of itself is prior to that which exists by another, it follows that the first agent acts by His essence. Now His essence and His nature are the same. Therefore He acts by His nature: and thus creatures proceed from Him naturally.
Reply to the Twentieth Objection. God's will is His essence: wherefore His working by His will does not prevent His working by His essence. God's will is not an intention in addition to His essence, but is His very essence.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fr. Divry's Explanation of the Tabor Light 1

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VERY Roughly translated from the French in pp. 425-426 of Fr. Édouard Divry, O.P., La Transfiguration selon l'Orient et l'Occident:

Our solution adopted in order to explain the Light of Tabor
In his Seven Canonical Epistles, Nicholas of Gorran (†1295), in a text very close to the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas but posterior to it, carefully posed to us the problem of the Light seen in the Transfiguration, considered in its twofold intelligibility: "I believe that this light was glorious by an analogical similitude, not univocally. Indeed, this was a light formed (formata) in the body by the divinity (a divinitate) that the Apostles apprehended by their external senses. Through this light that their eyes were seeing, they understood by their intellect (intellexerunt) the light of glory that they, however, did not see with their fleshly eyes."1309 We will continue to comment on these two levels perceived by Nicholas of Gorran: the visible light witnessed by the senses, and the light of glory that is invisible but grasped by the intellect.

St. Thomas effectively distinguishes the subject (subjectum) and the term (terminus) of all that is attributed to the Son, and, in so doing, he distinguishes the divine Person (Persona) as the subject, and the human nature (natura) as the term. He uses this distinction particularly in the case of the movement (motus) of the human nativity (nativitas).1310 Applying this analogically to the case of the light of the Transfiguration, we say that the term of movement of the Transfiguration consists in the shining visible light (claritas), and that the subject of movement of the Transfiguration goes back to a Personal property--the spiration a Filio--, then in obliquo back to the very Person of the Word.1311

If the three Apostles grasped, through their sufficiently spiritualized senses, that at the Transfiguration it was the divine glory, it means that they were able to understand also that the luminous visible quality is not numbered analogically with a property of the Person of the Son, grasped in their intellect. The underlined phrase in Nicholas of Gorran, "a divinitate," designates first of all the source, the efficient cause, that is to say, God Himself. All theologians, Latin and Eastern, agreed on the first cause, that is, the divine origin of the Transfiguration. Did Christ, in His Soul, participate in this action? Inasmuch as Christ, in His Soul, merited--and He alone merited this--the glorification of His Body,1312 was the pre-glorification of Christ's Body secondarily an effect of His very powerful Soul?1313 Christ's Soul could actually be a second cause of the illumination of His Body, thereby causing, inwardly by itself, a reinforcement of an illuminating form for the Body representing a Personal property as in similitude. This is the main finding of this chapter, as a Thomist extension.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Palamas & Patristics 1

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Here is a translation of part Fr. Martin Jugie, A.A. (1878-1954), "Palamas, Grégoire," in: M. Vacant et al., eds., Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, tome XI/2 (Paris 1932), cols. 1761-1763. Many thanks to Dr. Peter Gilbert of De Unione Ecclesiarum for sending me the French text. I added some references, e.g., to St. Thomas Aquinas.

N.B. This translation is finished, thanks be to God!

Did Palamas have a good game in the field of positive theology? Certainly not. But he could fight more easily there than in the field of philosophy, where he was beaten in advance. He could at first, as we said before, hide behind the anthropomorphisms of common language that the Fathers, just like everyone else, have employed, without always explicitly applying the correctives that they put in place. Also, he and his party composed Patristic florigelia full of vague and meaningless passages, which they pulled together by a sophistic and entirely subjective exegesis. These florigelia have no probative value for the system they are intended to support. We are astonished, when browsing through them, by the exegetical blindness of their authors and the aplomb with which they list a [large] number of texts that have nothing to do with their theories. Without doubt, certain Fathers spoke in a rather obscure manner about the Taboric Light. There are, for example, in the homilies of St. John Damascene and St. Andrew of Crete, in the writings of St. Maximus, and in others expressions which, at first glance, appear to favor the new theology in some way; but is only in appearance, and anti-Palamite theologians have had no trouble in dispelling these verbal ambiguities. They all could assemble a great number of passages in which the absolute simplicity of God is expressly taught and the Palamite distinctions are explicitly condemned. Note, for example, an extract from St. Nicephorus, given in the First Refutation of Constantine Copronymus, 41, P.G., t. C, col. 304-305, falsely attributed by both parties to St. Theodore Graptos, which recurs constantly in the polemical writings of the period and subjected to tortuous exegesis by Palamas and his followers; several passages from St. Maximus, Pseudo-Dionysius, and others, which Nicephorus Gregoras assembled in his discussion with Nilus Cabasilas, Hist. byzant., b. XXII-XXIV, P.G., t. CXLVIII, col. 1328-1433.

Palamas especially abused the authority of the Fathers, when he sought to establish a real distinction between the divine essence and its energy from the passages where the Fathers prove, against the heretics, the real distinction of the divine persons among themselves. For him, in fact, the two distinctions go hand in hand and are of the same order. He reasons as follows: if the simplicity of God is not destroyed by the real distinction between the divine persons among themselves, it is no more ruined by the real distinction between the divine essence and its energies and attributes. This reasoning implies another affirmation of our theologian: it is not only the case that the persons differ from each other, but each of them is really distinct from the essence. There is, between the essence and each person, the same distinction and difference that there is between the essence and the energy; cf. the dialogue Theophanes, P.G., t. CL, col. 929A, and Capita theologica, 135, ibid., col. 1216C [Sinkewicz 241]: "τῶν ὑποστάσεων ἑκάστη μήτε οὐσία ἐστὶ μήτε συμβεβηκός;" cf. also his Confession of Faith, P.G., t. CLI, col. 766BC. According to him, just as we say, "ἄλλο ἡ οὐσία καὶ ἄλο ἡ ἐνέργεια", we must also say "ἄλλο ἡ οὐσία καὶ ἄλλο ἡ ὑπόστασις". This is the confusion of the absolute and the relative, and further compromises the simplicity of the divine being.

The Hesychast theologian will also find, in the Fathers, texts proclaiming the incomprehensibility of God and conclude therefrom that the divine essence is completely invisible, inaccessible, and imparticipable to creatures, even those deified by grace. He juxtaposes the Scriptural texts that sometimes say that no person has seen God [Jn 1:18], at other times promising face to face vision with Him as He is [1 Cor 13:12; 1 Jn 3:2]. He deduces from this that God is absolutely invisible in His essence, but that He is visible in His energy. He understands the face to face vision of God as contemplation of something that comes from God, not of God's essence itself. By this doctrine, he satisfied the aspirations of mystics and promised them the vision of God on earth, that is to say, His light and glory, without falling into Messalianism. From these considerations he deduced the following hermeneutical rule, which he applied equally to texts from Scripture and the Fathers: "When you read that God is incommunicable and inaccessible, understand this of His essence. When you read, however, that He is communicated to creatures, that He is seen face to face, understand this of His energy." Cf. Theophanes, loc. cit., col. 937D, 938B; Capita theologica, 149, 150, ibid., col. 1224-1225 [Sinkewicz 255-257]. As we said above, the invisibility of the divine essence, even for the good angels and the elect, is an axiom for Palamas, which a great number of Byzantines uncontroversially admitted with him. This opinion he based on several texts of the Greek Fathers, which one must, without doubt, understand of vision by only natural powers, or of the incomprehensibility properly said of the divine being. As our theologians say, God is seen as a "whole" by the blessed, because He is simple; but He is not seen "wholly" by any creature: "totus videtur, sed non totaliter" [cf. St. Thomas Aquinas. ST I, q. 12, art. 7, ad 3]. The Byzantines of which we are speaking do not seem to have made this necessary distinction. Palamas drew some support for his theory, and could embarrass those of his opponents who accepted his premise.

He also believed he found support for his theories in the definition of the Sixth Ecumenical Council proclaiming the existence of two natures and two energies [operations] in Jesus Christ, and we saw that the Council of 1351 presented the new doctrine as a development, ἀνάπτυξις, of this definition. This was their reasoning: the Council proclaimed two natures and two energies: if the human energy is really distinct from the human nature, it must also be the case that the divine energy is really distinct from the divine nature; otherwise, the terms of the definition would be meaningless. This argument especially is repeated in Palamite writings.

Finally, our theologian never failed to use other theological rationales sewn from subtle sophistries. He said, for example: "If, in God, the energy does not differ from the essence, then in Him generating, γεννὰν, will be the same thing as creating, ποιεὶν. There will be no difference between the Son and the Holy Spirit, on the one hand, and creatures on the other." Capita theologica, 96 et. sq., loc. cit., col. 1189 [Sinkewicz 197]. He also triumphed over his opponents by portraying them as pure nominalists, and in saying that they denied that God is an active nature. But St. Maximus had said: "A nature without activity is pure non-being." Acindynus and Barlaam were therefore atheists. They were also polytheistic, because in saying that the energies of God were created, they united the created and uncreated in a monstrous whole.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

VI. Palamism and the Catholic West (col. 1809)

Mirror link

Many thanks to Dr. Peter Gilbert of De unione ecclesiarum for supplying the French text of Fr. Martin Jugie's DTC article.

I have changed some of Fr. Jugie's words to clarify the meaning (e.g., the sentence involving George Scholarius; turn the spotlight on --> make a laughingstock of).

Thanks be to God! This translation is done. Any revisions are most welcome.

VI. Palamism and the Catholic West (col. 1809)
During the acute phase of the Palamite controversy, that is to say, between the years 1341 and 1368, talks between the imperial court of Byzantium and the popes for a crusade against the Turks and the union of the Churches were virtually constant. Moreover, Latins were not lacking in the East, and some Greeks converted to Catholicism there also. It was therefore inevitable that the noise of the quarrel which divided the Byzantine Church into two rival factions did not reach the ears of Westerners and, in particular, that the papal legates had not one day or another to deal with it.

1. We see, in fact, in 1355, the pontifical legate, Paul of Smyrna, attending, in the company of John V Palaeologus, the debate between Nicephorus Gregoras and Gregory Palamas. What impression Paul had of this theological joust, we can conclude from a letter he wrote later, that is to say, after the death of Urban V (†1370), to the pope and the cardinals to render an account of the discussions he had had on Palamism with the former emperor John Cantacuzene around 1366-1367. In this letter, published by Arcudius in Greek and Latin in his work Opuscula aurea theologica circa processionem Spiritus Sancti, Rome, 1630, and reproduced in P.G., t. CLIV, col. 835-838, he tells us that, having been sent by Urban V to go with John V Palaeologus (1366), he had tried to form an opinion on the Palamite doctrine, and had not arrived at a clear idea of it: "Cum nosse verum hujus doctrinæ cuperem," he says, "Constantinopoli degens, quando ad imperatorem Palæologum a commemorato summo pontifice missus tui, quævisimus istud scire, non autem potuimus verbo vel re aliquid certi de hac opinione et impia doctrina comprehendere. Quapropter et coactus sum verbis asperis eos insectari et veluti quibusdam argumentis provocare." P.G., loc. cit., col. 838. If he still did not understand it in 1366, it is evident that in 1355, after the debate between the two protagonists, he did not understand it. But he thought, one moment, that he had grasped it, following his talks with Cantacuzene, who had conceded, for a moment, that between God's essence and attributes there was a distinction of reason, κατ ἐπίνοιαν. But he was soon disappointed by reading the report of these discussions written by Cantacuzene himself, a report that has reached us, and which we talked about earlier, col. 1797. In talking about the distinction κατ᾽ ἐπίνοιαν, the emperor, like the Palamite theologians, simply wanted to say that the attributes could be separated mentally, and not in reality. The διαίρεσις πραγματική, or even the διάκρισις πραγματικὴ, was denied, and only a διαίρεσις κατ᾽ ἐπίνοιαν was admitted; but, in fact, the real distinction, διαφορὰ πραγματική, was maintained, and Cantacuzene continued to say, "ἄλλο ὴ οὐσία, ἄλλο ὴ ἐνέργεια, ἄλλο τὸ ἕχον, ἄλλο τὸ ἐχόμενον." In addition, he proclaimed the existence of a divine uncreated light, which is not identified with the divine essence; this is absolutely unacceptable: "Deinde scripsit de lumine, quod apparuit in monte Thabor, asserens illud esse increatum, et non esse Dei essentiam, sed quandam divinam operationem, quod ne auditu quidem ferendum est; nihil enim est increatum præter divinam essentiam." P.G., t. cit., col. 838.

The same letter of Patriarch Paul tells us that some Greeks had made the pope aware of the Palamite error and had informed him that Cantacuzene shared this error: "Nonnulli Græci retulerunt commemoratum imperatorum Cantacuzenum et Ecclesiam Græcorum multas suo dogmate divinitates inducere supereminentes et remissas, eo quod asserunt quæ Deo insunt realiter inter se differe." Ibid.. They had to be better informed when Demetrius Cydones came to Rome in 1369, accompanying John V Palaeologus, and when, later, the great opponent of Palamas, John Cyparissiotes, appeared at the papal court. This was a new divergence, a most serious one, in addition to those already too numerous, which separated the two Churches.

When the Council of Florence opened, there was reason to fear that this question of God's essence and His energy would only come to aggravate the difficulty of reunion. Yet it did not happen, because the Greeks had the prudence to avoid discussion on this topic. At the 25th session, the Latins handed them a list of four questions that still remained to be clarified, namely, the primacy of the pope, the existence of three categories of the deceased, the use of unleavened and leavened bread, and distinction between God's essence and His energy: τέταρτον, ἴνα ζητνθὴ περὶ θείας οὐσίας καὶ ἐνεργείας ἐπὶ συνόδου; cf. Ἡ ἁγία καὶ οἰκουμενικὴ ἐν Φλωρεντία σύνοδος (the narrative of Dorotheus of Mytilene), edition of the Benedictine Nickes, Rome, 1864, p. 304. They replied that they were not authorized by the emperor to discuss it, but they agreed to share their private opinion on the first three points. However, they refused to talk about the fourth point: "τὸ δὲ περὶ τῆς θείασ οὐσίας καὶ ἐνεργείας οὐδόλως ἀπολογούμεθα." Ibid.. The Latins, it seems, did not insist on a subject that would probably lead to an interminable debate. Still, we do not hear more about it, and the decree of union was soon signed. Indirectly, however, the Greeks had renounced Palamism by declaring they believed that the souls of the saints in Heaven behold God's essence: "καὶ τὸ θεωρεὶν τὰς ϕυχὰς τὴν οὐσίαν τοῦ Θεοῦ ἀληθῶς προσιέμεθα." Ibid. And they signed the Decree of Union, which says, "animas in cælum mox recipi et intueri clare ipsum Deum trinum et unum. SICUTI EST." Mark of Ephesus, in his third discourse on Purgatory given at Ferrara, denied this crucial point: Neither the blessed angels nor the saints, according to him, enjoy the vision of God's essence; he tried to prove this with a large collection of Patristic texts. Asked about the object of beatitude, he responded that the elect enjoy the glory of God, δόξα, the brilliance that flows from His essence: "ὴ ἐκ Θεοῦ πεμπομένη αἴγλη." As for explaining what this glory is, he gave up, and referred the Latins to the definition given by St. John Climacus of divine illumination: "This is an ineffable energy, seen in an invisible manner and conceived in an inconceivable manner: Ἔλλαμϕίς ἐστιν ἐνέργεια ἄρρητος ὁρωμένη ἀοράτως καὶ νοουμένη ἀγνώστως." And he added: "You have heard the definition: seek nothing more." Cf. L. Petit, Documents relatifs au concile de Florence. La question de purgatoire à Ferrare, in Patrologia orientalis, t. XV, p. 157-162. In explaining it this way, Mark, who, as we have seen, was a strict Palamite, raised the question of the system of Palamas and the Taboric Light. We understand that when they went to Florence, on the doctrine of last things, the Latins would have liked to have some clarification on the object of beatitude and the Palamite theory of the divine essence and its energy. They seem to have been content with the answer [of the other Greeks] concerning the object of beatitude, an answer which categorically rejected the theory Mark maintained at Ferrara. It is likely that the emperor forbade his bishops to initiate a direct discussion on the divine essence and its energy. The Greeks themselves had sensed the danger of spreading the formulas and theories of Palamas before the Latin theologians, who were formidable logicians, and George Scholarius was there to advise them to keep to themselves such a childish theology, which, if exposed, would make the Greek nation a laughingstock. During the bitter controversy between Unionists and Anti-Unionists that followed the Council until the Capture of Constantinople, the question of Palamism, notwithstanding the definition given concerning the essence of beatitude, was not agitated. Instinctively, the more learned Greeks felt that they were not, with the theses of Palamas, on solid ground, and later polemicists very rarely dared to criticze the Latins for not admitting the Palamite theses.