Thursday, July 09, 2009

Synergy in Christ According to Saint Maximus the Confessor (I)

I have been meaning to begin this series of posts for a long time now, since about the beginning or so of Lent this year and already it's like, almost, July. C'est la vie.

For those who may not know, I regularly follow the blog, Energetic Procession and can say my understanding of the Orthodox Catholic Church has been greatly enriched through this site.

I have a high amount of respect for Perry Robinson and Photios(Daniel) Jones. Their posts often deal with difficult theological and or philosophical matters.

This series of posts will broken up into five parts, the number of parts Photios wrote his paper in, dated March 29, 2005. To find the original link he provided on Energetic Procession, follow this link:

I am grateful to him for allowing me to post his paper here as well as to Perry who also gave me permission to post freely from their blog.

After posting Photios' paper in five parts, I will post it in its entirety and then place it on my sidebar under "Essays and Articles on the Orthodox Catholic Church and Her Faith".

I have read the paper personally now 6 times very carefully, doing my own personal research into much of the material for my own aid in understanding.

I'm a stickler for definitions and side by side with this paper I had my dictionary and where the dictionary proved inadequate, I did online searches for terms and historical events used as the paper's context.

I would urge the reader to take this paper seriously and to not to understand the thesis merely in a theoretical sense, i.e. , not having a bearing on "real life", but to understand and wrestle with what Photios has written here and bear out its implications on one's own life. For how we understand theology has a definite cause and effect in "real life".

I firmly believe a correct and firm theology(and please understand, I don't approach the issue of theology as some lifeless thing but as our Lord Himself and the correct understanding of Him and living of His Life) is therapeutic.

In posting this paper, I will ask some questions on certain things for more clarification and to deepen my own understanding as I feel the necessity.

So without further ado, here is the paper, its first part. Enjoy.

Synergy in Christ According to Saint Maximus the Confessor

by Daniel Jones(Photios)

Page 1

I. Introduction

No doctrine of free choice, according to Saint Maximus the Confessor, can be understood apart from the
theology of the Incarnation. It is this “mystery of Christ” in the words of Polycarp Sherwood that forms the
centre and “stands at the very heart of the Maximian synthesis.”1 It is important to note that Maximus stands within the Neo-Chalcedonian position, or as Fr. John Meyendorff correctly calls it ‘Cyrillian Chalcedonian.’ This position is distinguished by three main features: 1) the acceptance of the Theopaschite Formula of St. Cyril, 2) that there was no contradiction whatsoever between St. Cyril and the Council of Chalcedon, and 3) the use of a consistent terminology between Triadology and Christology that is applicable to both.2 As we will see later on in this paper, the Chalcedonian theme of “unconfused” and “undivided,” with respect to Christ’s natures, plays a similar (if not the same) role in Maximus’ understanding of the divine logoi or energies with respect to each other and the divine essence. It is within this paradigm that Maximus “was capable of establishing the orthodox solution of the Monothelite question.”3
In this paper I will sketch the underlining metaphysic of Monenergism,4 its three fold dialectic, Maximus’s break-up of this dialectic, and conclude with Maximus’s over-all grid for a coherent doctrine of predestination subsumed under Christology and Eschatology.

1 Sherwood, ACW vol. 21, p. 29
2 Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology, p. 34-35
3 Thunberg, Microcosm and Mediator, p. 9
4 I will be using Monenergism and Monotheletism interchangeably throughout this paper for practical purposes.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see you posting this. I hope to see some comments posted for interaction.


Sophocles said...

I'm glad too.

In the parts following, I will ask some questions and I would greatly appreciate your and everyone's answers. I will notify you every time I post a new part. Again, great, great, paper. It helped open up new vistas for me.