I made this point before, but I'll make it again
because it bears repeating.
The Orthodox Church, while insisting that there is
grace in the sacraments has not had the kind of
sacramental schism that occurred in the West, because
they have consistently refused to define the nature of
the Eucharist in the way the Roman Catholic Church
did, insisting that it is a mystery.
After the East / West split and scholasticism took
over the western church, you had lots of formal
doctrines put in place that were supposedly based on
rational thought. So, the doctrine of
transubstantiation is put into place, and you have the
schisms between the Catholics and protestants and
within the protestant and anabaptist churches because
the Roman Catholic Church insisted on demanding that
the Eucharist must be transubstantiation.
This is in part why, without becoming syncretic, I
think it important not to try to too tightly
"rationally" define things. Concerning the Eucharist,
I believe the Orthodox Church is right, that it is a
mystical experience of God and His grace. It makes as
much sense to define it as it does to ask whether the
Son of God could be incarnate as a gourd and still
redeem mankind, in other words, it makes no sense at
This does not mean that no claims are made about it in
the Orthodox tradition, for there are (e.g., there is
grace in the sacraments, it is the blood and body of
Jesus -- without labeling it as transubstantiation or
consubstantiation, etc.). The nature of the
experience/event, however, defies our categories and
understandings. We should hold it in reverence,
rather than try to define it to divide us.
--- Glenn Morton <email@example.com> wrote:
> Hi George, you wrote:
> > You're quite right that sacramental
> issues have been divisive
> >since the Reformation. Ecumenical dialogues over
> the past 40 years
> >have, however,
> >resulted in a great deal of progress. So simply
> not talking about
> >them or agreeing
> >to disagree isn't the only way to promote peace.
> > OTOH, the creation-evolution issue has
> been even more
> >divisive over the
> >past century, & as you point out, issues about stem
> cells &c are
> >becoming so.
> Living now in the UK where I get to see events in
> Glasgow and Northern
> Ireland from a little bit closer than before, I
> would assure you that
> creation-evolution issues are not nearly as divisive
> as sacramental issues.
> Over here you can get killed for being on the wrong
> side of that fence. And
> both sides are the wrong side. A few months ago,
> much to my shame,
> protestants threw molotov cocktails at little
> Catholic elementary school
> kids for merely walking to school through their
> At least to my knowledge no one is yet killing
> people over C/E YET!
> see http://www.glenn.morton.btinternet.co.uk/dmd.htm
> for lots of creation/evolution information
> personal stories of struggle
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