Has Origen's teaching never been infallibly condemned?
#1
I sumbled upon a very intriguing passage by the Eastern Orthodox scholar Kallistos Ware:

Quote:Yet, humble or not, Origen was condemned as a heretic and anathematized at the time of the Fifth
Ecumenical Council, held at Constantinople under the Emperor Justinian in 553. The first of the fifteen
anathemas directed against him states: “If anyone maintains the mythical preexistence of souls, and the
monstrous apocatastasis that follows from this, let him be anathema.” 8This seems entirely explicit and
definite: belief in a final “restoration” (apocatastasis) of all things and all persons—belief in universal
salvation, not excluding that of the devil—has apparently been ruled out as heretical in a formal decision by
what is for the Orthodox Church the highest visible authority in matters of doctrine, an Ecumenical Council.

There is, however, considerable doubt whether these fifteen anathemas were in fact formally approved by
the Fifth Ecumenical Council. They may have been endorsed by a lesser council, meeting in the early months
of 553 shortly before the main council was convened, in which case they lack full ecumenical authority; yet,
even so, the Fathers of the Fifth Council were well aware of these fifteen anathemas and had no intention of
revoking or modifying them.9 Apart from that, however, the precise wording of the first anathema deserves to
be carefully noted. It does not speak only about apocatastasis but links together two aspects of Origen’s
theology: first, his speculations about the beginning, that is to say, about [p.200] the preexistence of souls and
the precosmic fall; second, his teaching about the end, about universal salvation and the ultimate
reconciliation of all things. Origen’s eschatology is seen as following directly from his protology, and both are
rejected together.

The corresponding Footnote:

Quote:See Grillmeier and Hainthaler, op. cit., 403-4. Iτ should be noted that there are two sets of anathemas against Origen:
the ten anathemas attached to the letter of Justinian to Patriarch Menas of Constantinople in 543, and the fifteen
anathemas attached to Justinian’s letter of 553, addressed to the bishops gathered in Constantinople before the opening of
the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Distinct from these fifteen anathemas against Origen, there are also fourteen other
anathemas dealing with the question of the “Three Chapters,” which were formally endorsed by the Fifth Ecumenical
Council; and in the eleventh of these there is a general condemnation of Origen, although without any specific reference
to apocatastasis.


So, it seems that the 15 anathemas against Origen's teaching were never officially approved by an Ecumenical Council. Is anyone familiar with this controversy?
"Cor Jesu Rex Et Centrum Omnium Cordium, miserére nobis "

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#2
(08-04-2017, 11:21 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote: I sumbled upon a very intriguing passage by the Eastern Orthodox scholar Kallistos Ware:

Quote:Yet, humble or not, Origen was condemned as a heretic and anathematized at the time of the Fifth
Ecumenical Council, held at Constantinople under the Emperor Justinian in 553. The first of the fifteen
anathemas directed against him states: “If anyone maintains the mythical preexistence of souls, and the
monstrous apocatastasis that follows from this, let him be anathema.” 8This seems entirely explicit and
definite: belief in a final “restoration” (apocatastasis) of all things and all persons—belief in universal
salvation, not excluding that of the devil—has apparently been ruled out as heretical in a formal decision by
what is for the Orthodox Church the highest visible authority in matters of doctrine, an Ecumenical Council.

There is, however, considerable doubt whether these fifteen anathemas were in fact formally approved by
the Fifth Ecumenical Council. They may have been endorsed by a lesser council, meeting in the early months
of 553 shortly before the main council was convened, in which case they lack full ecumenical authority; yet,
even so, the Fathers of the Fifth Council were well aware of these fifteen anathemas and had no intention of
revoking or modifying them.9 Apart from that, however, the precise wording of the first anathema deserves to
be carefully noted. It does not speak only about apocatastasis but links together two aspects of Origen’s
theology: first, his speculations about the beginning, that is to say, about [p.200] the preexistence of souls and
the precosmic fall; second, his teaching about the end, about universal salvation and the ultimate
reconciliation of all things. Origen’s eschatology is seen as following directly from his protology, and both are
rejected together.

The corresponding Footnote:

Quote:See Grillmeier and Hainthaler, op. cit., 403-4. Iτ should be noted that there are two sets of anathemas against Origen:
the ten anathemas attached to the letter of Justinian to Patriarch Menas of Constantinople in 543, and the fifteen
anathemas attached to Justinian’s letter of 553, addressed to the bishops gathered in Constantinople before the opening of
the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Distinct from these fifteen anathemas against Origen, there are also fourteen other
anathemas dealing with the question of the “Three Chapters,” which were formally endorsed by the Fifth Ecumenical
Council; and in the eleventh of these there is a general condemnation of Origen, although without any specific reference
to apocatastasis.


So, it seems that the 15 anathemas against Origen's teaching were never officially approved by an Ecumenical Council. Is anyone familiar with this controversy?

I'm familiar with it.  Some people think they're so clever...  In order to satisfy their own itching ears, they chase after silly technicalities.  They hope to find loopholes to justify what the Church condemns and has condemned for centuries.  They think they can think themselves to heaven, even dissenting from the Church at times.  The Catholic Faith has theology and philosophy, and certain people have the gifts with which they can explore and explain those things, but it is not merely a logic puzzle to be solved by an enlightened few.

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." 2 Tim 4:3-4
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#3
(08-04-2017, 02:48 PM)Credidi Propter Wrote:
(08-04-2017, 11:21 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote: I sumbled upon a very intriguing passage by the Eastern Orthodox scholar Kallistos Ware:

Quote:Yet, humble or not, Origen was condemned as a heretic and anathematized at the time of the Fifth
Ecumenical Council, held at Constantinople under the Emperor Justinian in 553. The first of the fifteen
anathemas directed against him states: “If anyone maintains the mythical preexistence of souls, and the
monstrous apocatastasis that follows from this, let him be anathema.” 8This seems entirely explicit and
definite: belief in a final “restoration” (apocatastasis) of all things and all persons—belief in universal
salvation, not excluding that of the devil—has apparently been ruled out as heretical in a formal decision by
what is for the Orthodox Church the highest visible authority in matters of doctrine, an Ecumenical Council.

There is, however, considerable doubt whether these fifteen anathemas were in fact formally approved by
the Fifth Ecumenical Council. They may have been endorsed by a lesser council, meeting in the early months
of 553 shortly before the main council was convened, in which case they lack full ecumenical authority; yet,
even so, the Fathers of the Fifth Council were well aware of these fifteen anathemas and had no intention of
revoking or modifying them.9 Apart from that, however, the precise wording of the first anathema deserves to
be carefully noted. It does not speak only about apocatastasis but links together two aspects of Origen’s
theology: first, his speculations about the beginning, that is to say, about [p.200] the preexistence of souls and
the precosmic fall; second, his teaching about the end, about universal salvation and the ultimate
reconciliation of all things. Origen’s eschatology is seen as following directly from his protology, and both are
rejected together.

The corresponding Footnote:

Quote:See Grillmeier and Hainthaler, op. cit., 403-4. Iτ should be noted that there are two sets of anathemas against Origen:
the ten anathemas attached to the letter of Justinian to Patriarch Menas of Constantinople in 543, and the fifteen
anathemas attached to Justinian’s letter of 553, addressed to the bishops gathered in Constantinople before the opening of
the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Distinct from these fifteen anathemas against Origen, there are also fourteen other
anathemas dealing with the question of the “Three Chapters,” which were formally endorsed by the Fifth Ecumenical
Council; and in the eleventh of these there is a general condemnation of Origen, although without any specific reference
to apocatastasis.


So, it seems that the 15 anathemas against Origen's teaching were never officially approved by an Ecumenical Council. Is anyone familiar with this controversy?

I'm familiar with it.  Some people think they're so clever...  In order to satisfy their own itching ears, they chase after silly technicalities.  They hope to find loopholes to justify what the Church condemns and has condemned for centuries.  They think they can think themselves to heaven, even dissenting from the Church at times.  The Catholic Faith has theology and philosophy, and certain people have the gifts with which they can explore and explain those things, but it is not merely a logic puzzle to be solved by an enlightened few.

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." 2 Tim 4:3-4


Well EO may not have an answer, but the One True Faith, the RCC does. The Council of Constantinople and Pope Vigilius's signing of Emperor Justinian's decree declaring Origenism a heresy has full weight in doctrinal matters. A Pope giving consent and an Ecumenical Council affirming, validates that Origenism is a heresy. The Church affirms Truth as it is revealed, it does not make up "truth"

Also the First Lateran Council also mention Origen as a man whose teachings are deemed heretical in Canon XVIII.

So you have three popes and two ecumenical councils condemning Origenism.
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#4
The blog Eclectic Orthodoxy written by a  Protestant turned Catholic turned Orthodox Priest has a TON of stuff relating to universalism. It's worth checking out for the very rich discussions of the minutae of the meaning of Greek and Hebrew words and the like. 

Origenism or universalism is a widely believed by alot of modern Orthodox,especially some converts. Remember,Metropolitan Kalistos is a super liberal character who even once kept the question of a female priesthood as something that might be discussed.  He's a popular writer because of his two books "The Orthodox Church" and "The Orthodox Way" but his opinions are not necessarily those of the Church. 

If you want to know what the Orthodox Church teaches than the best places to learn are by reading and praying the texts of the Divine Services and studying the texts of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. The Orthodox Church is the Church of Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi par excellance. 

Personally I don't think it's wise to dig too deep into Origenism.
Walk before God in simplicity, and not in subtleties of the mind. Simplicity brings faith; but subtle and intricate speculations bring conceit; and conceit brings withdrawal from God. -Saint Isaac of Syria, Directions on Spiritual Training


"It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in a church or chapel before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. I very seldom repeat what I say. Let me repeat this sentence. It is impossible in human language to exaggerate the importance of being in a chapel or church before the Blessed Sacrament as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow. That sentence is the talisman of the highest sanctity. "Father John Hardon
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#5
Although I appreciate youe warnings and comments, I happen to be interested in the "silly techniqualities".

Concerning the first 10 anathemas in 543: according to the Denzinger, it only "seems" that Vigilius gave his confirmation, according to a single historical source. If such a statement would be sufficient for infallibility, there would be a lot of "infallible" statements by our current pontiff :-)

And if the 15 anathemas at the Council of 553 really were not really voted on in the Council, they can't be considered infallible teaching either.

Which only leaves the general condemnations of the person Origen, expressed by the Fith Ecumenical council and the Fourth Lateran Council. But it is not really defined what this condemnation is supposed to mean, about a writer who wrote more than 600 books. It can hardly mean that anything he ever wrote is condemned, because most of his writings were not heretical.
"Cor Jesu Rex Et Centrum Omnium Cordium, miserére nobis "

“To pray is to shed blood.” - Silouan the Athonite
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#6
(08-05-2017, 10:49 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote: Concerning the first 10 anathemas in 543: according to the Denzinger, it only "seems" that Vigilius gave his confirmation, according to a single historical source. If such a statement would be sufficient for infallibility, there would be a lot of "infallible" statements by our current pontiff :-)

But the Catholic Church accepts these as part of her teaching and has so for about 1500 years. That is sufficient to guarantee infallibility at least by the ordinary magisterium.

We cannot limit "infallibility" to ex cathedra statements or Ecumenical councils.

Also papal confirmation of a statement alone is not in itself sufficient for infallibility. There has to be the will to teach something concerning Faith or morals as belonging to the Faith, to the universal church as definitive and bind consciences in this regard. 

I very much doubt that the present Pope has any will to teach any doctrine as definitive, or even if he believe any doctrine can be definitive.


(08-05-2017, 10:49 AM)JosefSilouan Wrote: And if the 15 anathemas at the Council of 553 really were not really voted on in the Council, they can't be considered infallible teaching either.

Which only leaves the general condemnations of the person Origen, expressed by the Fith Ecumenical council and the Fourth Lateran Council. But it is not really defined what this condemnation is supposed to mean, about a writer who wrote more than 600 books. It can hardly mean that anything he ever wrote is condemned, because most of his writings were not heretical.

The problem with the Orthodox is that are forced to limit themselves to what was voted on at the Council as having any value. Catholics understand that Papal approval, not the vote in itself, is essential.

Further, we have the Third Council of Constantinople (681) which specifically confirmed and adopted as its own all of what the previous councils taught, specifically mentioning the condemnation of Origen and his heretical doctrines. If there was some technicality about an extraordinary magisterial statement to be argued, it clearly was fixed in 681.

And even this is not germane, since again, the ordinary magisterium has clearly and universally held these as condemned for 1500 years.

Short story : Origenism is heretical and condemned as such.

But is there some value to some of Origen's works? Yes.
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#7
Interestingly, the Catholic Encyclopedia article 'Origen and Origenism' (published 1911) states:

Quote:Were Origen and Origenism anathematized? Many learned writers believe so; an equal number deny that they were condemned; most modern authorities are either undecided or reply with reservations. Relying on the most recent studies on the question it may be held that:
  • It is certain that the fifth general council was convoked exclusively to deal with the affair of the Three Chapters, and that neither Origen nor Origenism were the cause of it.
  • It is certain that the council opened on 5 May, 553, in spite of the protestations of Pope Vigilius, who though at Constantinople refused to attend it, and that in the eight conciliary sessions (from 5 May to 2 June), the Acts of which we possess, only the question of the Three Chapters is treated.
  • Finally it is certain that only the Acts concerning the affair of the Three Chapters were submitted to the pope for his approval, which was given on 8 December, 553, and 23 February, 554.
  • It is a fact that Popes Vigilius, Pelagius I (556-61), Pelagius II (579-90), Gregory the Great (590-604), in treating of the fifth council deal only with the Three Chapters, make no mention of Origenism, and speak as if they did not know of its condemnation.
  • It must be admitted that before the opening of the council, which had been delayed by the resistance of the pope, the bishops already assembled at Constantinople had to consider, by order of the emperor, a form of Origenism that had practically nothing in common with Origen, but which was held, we know, by one of the Origenist parties in Palestine. The arguments in corroboration of this hypothesis may be found in Dickamp (op. cit., 66-141).
  • The bishops certainly subscribed to the fifteen anathemas proposed by the emperor (ibid., 90-96); and admitted Origenist, Theodore of Scythopolis, was forced to retract (ibid., 125-129); but there is no proof that the approbation of the pope, who was at that time protesting against the convocation of the council, was asked.
  • It is easy to understand how this extra-conciliary sentence was mistaken at a later period for a decree of the actual ecumenical council.

This article was authored by Ferdinand Prat, S.J. (1857–1938).  I don't know how mainstream or accurate his views were/are, or whether research since 1911 has more to say on the matter, but it at least shows that Bp. Ware's view is not unknown in Catholic scholarly circles, at least of the early 20th century.
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