January 19, 2024

Fr. John Romanides as a Professor of Dogmatics at Holy Cross School of Theology in Boston (3 of 8)

I will also present the contents of the Dogmatics course for the next year, namely the first semester of 1961-1962, under the title "Theological Dogmatics 2."
Dogmatics 2 (1961-1962)


I. Christology in the Old Testament, Apocalyptic Literature and the New Testament

II. Christology of Dynamic Monarchianism

III. Christology of Modalistic Monarchianism

IV. Christology of Arius

V. Christology of Athanasios the Great

VI. The Reaction of the Following from the Point of View of Christology and Triadology:
a. Eustathius of Antioch
b. Diodorus of Tarsus
c. Theodore of Mopsuestia

VII. Christology of the Cappadocian Fathers

VIII. Christology of Apollinarius

IX. The Philosophical Premises of the Christology of Paul of Samosata, Arius, Theodore of Mopsuestia and Nestorius

X. The Philosophical Premises of the Antiochian (Nestorian) Theologians in the East Towards the Biblical Method of the Cappadocian and Alexandrian Fathers

XI. The Terminology Problems of the Schools of Cappadocia, Antioch, Alexandria and Rome

XII. The Third Ecumenical Synod
a. Nestorius
b. Cyril of Alexandria
c. Reconciliation of 433 between John of Antioch and Cyril and its Dogmatic Basis
d. Its Acceptance or Rejection in Syria and Egypt and the Created Theological Factions
e. Review of Writings and Letters Related to the Christological Controversy of This Period

XIII. Before and After the Robber Synod
a. Christology of Eutyches and his Condemnation in 448
b. The Abandonment and Conciliatory Line by Dioscorus of Cyril and his Theological and Political Actions Against the Orthodox and Nestorians

XIV. The Fourth Ecumenical Synod
a. The Definition of the Synod
b. Cyril's Letters are Approved by the Synod
c. The Tome of Leo, the Reaction Against It and its Final Acceptance
d. The Causes of the Condemnation of Dioscorus and the Schism of the Monophysites

XV. After the Fourth Ecumenical Synod
a. Zeno's Henotikon and the Acacian Schism
b. The Causes of the Reaction of the Monophysites against the Fourth Ecumenical Synod

XVI. The Ecclesiastical Policy of Justin and the Rise of the Acacian Schism in 519 and the Local Synods

XVII. The Fifth Ecumenical Synod
a. The Theory of Chalcedonianism and Neo-Chalcedonianism
b. Leontios of Byzantium and the Enhypostasia
c. Severus of Antioch
d. Julian of Halicarnassus and the Aphthartodocetae
e. Justinian the Great as a Theologian
f. The Definition of the Synod in Relation to the Fourth Ecumenical Synod

XVIII. The Sixth Ecumenical Synod
a. The Teaching About One Energy in Christ and Dionysius the Areopagite
b. Sophronios of Jerusalem and the Ekthesis of Heraclius
c. Monothelitism
d. Maximus the Confessor and the Matter of Natural and Gnomic Will
e. The Definition of the Synod

The titles of the contents of the Dogmatics course were given by Father John Romanides himself and the rest are notes from various students whose initials are given in some of the notes, as I mentioned at the beginning of this text. However, one can see the completeness of the presentation of the Dogmatics of the Orthodox Church by a young Theologian at the time, Father John Romanides.

3. Some Excerpts From the Notes

All the pages of these notes offer abundant theological material, they present the Orthodox dogmatic teaching on various subjects. In order for the readers to gain some knowledge from the content of the lessons, I will quote some excerpts from the Notes of Orthodox Dogmatics.

a) The Purpose of Orthodox Dogmatics

"Orthodox Dogmatics has a soteriological significance; that is, it deals with issues that concern the salvation of man. It is not an abstract concept, like the various philosophical systems, which are related to human ethics, etc.

The Church has two purposes: on the one hand, it wages war against the devil, evil, enemies, etc. on the other hand, it works for the salvation of the Christian through his perfection in Christ."

"The purpose of Dogmatics is to lead man to a correct understanding of God's energies and His will. It deals with the various energies of God, such as the creative energy, the saving energy, the perfecting energy, the sanctifying energy, the divine energy, etc. Generally speaking, there are three energies in the world:

1. God's energy; the sanctifying, saving and providential energy, which is the uncreated natural energy of God and is called the presence and Glory of God.

2. The energy of created things; every created nature has created energy.

3. The devil's energy; which is actually a created energy. The devil is a creation, but for better understanding, the devil's energy is subdivided (from the creation).

When we encounter uncreated energy, we attribute it to uncreated nature, i.e. God, and at the same time, created energy is attributed to creation. The created does not create, but only God; therefore, the creative energy belongs to God, the uncreated. Thus, we see the difference between created and uncreated nature through energies, i.e., on the one hand, the energies of creation and on the other that of God. Therefore there is 1) the energizer 2) the energy and 3) the energized.

Among that which is created, while all are essentially good (even the devil), yet the energies are not always good. The devil is essentially good (because he was created by God), but by energy and will he is evil. Gregory the Theologian says that anyone who exists under the influence of Satan is unable to reach a correct understanding of God, because he will confuse his understanding of created and uncreated energies. Hence, the whole work of the devil is to bring about confusion within man between created and uncreated, between good and evil energies.

In ancient times, before the Church tried to catechize someone, they had to fight against the devil, and reach a spiritual state of receptiveness to the seed of God, to the teaching of Christ; they had to become fertile ground. Thus, the one entering the catechesis is unable to renounce their own interest, to understand well the teaching of Christ and will not see and understand everything from a self-interested point of view. Through this asceticism, the confusion between one's own will and God's will ceases. When one has learned to distinguish between the energies of God and of Satan, then the Church proceeds to reveal to them the lessons of catechism. Thus, the ancient Church had an ascetic character...

Before one becomes a theologian, he had to be a practioner of asceticism, because the theologian had to be in a position to distinguish between the spirits, between the energies of God and of the devil. This way has a practical and theological character. If man does not have the means to distinguish between the energies of God and of the devil, it becomes confusing and thus very difficult to restore a heretic. The devil must be conquered and destroyed, and this was possible (and still is) only when the difference between the energies of God and of the devil are distinguished.

In the ancient Church, before a catechumen was baptized, he had to learn about the works of the devil and how to protect himself from him; also about the works of God and how God destroys the devil, and how man cooperates with God to destroy the devil. In the ancient Church, the catechumen approaching baptism not only had to renounce Satan, but also had to sell his possessions.

In the West there is a confusion of energies; energies, which in the East are attributed to Satan, in the West are attributed to God."


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