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New Updates – Chapter 15: Russia: The Third Rome (900 – 1448) – Part 1

Russian Orthodox Ice Church

Hi everyone, here is the update for Chapter 15 that you can read here.

Topics on the Tartars, Mongols, Kiev, Vikings, and how the Rus’ adopted and accommodated Byzantine culture and the Orthodox faith into their own.

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Submissions for Chapter 13: Part II – Byzantine Iconoclasm and Patriarch Photios

 

Here are our written submissions from last night.

 

Also, I caught an error in one of our links for Chapter 12, from Dec. 18, 2013.  Here is the corrected link.

 

Good conversation from last night as we centered around the often uneasy relationship between religion (the institutionalized version) and politics.  (And first time in a long while where we had the whole crew present in a meeting.)

 

Amanda pointed out that she felt that MacCulloch’s book was more about a “history of the church” rather than the “history of Christianity”.  I think I understand her position.  It’s a bit depressing to read about how corrupt and power-hungry people have been when reading about church history, even though they hide under the veneer that they are followers of Christ.  I believe she wanted to read about accounts of believers in the early part of the church who were not only doing good deeds, but really living out their convictions for the love of Christ and for others.

 

I think one of the main underlying questions was: What does true Christianity really look like?  Does it have to be defined by church denominations or traditions?  (No, of course not, but…)

 

I posed the question, “Didn’t Christ die for the church?”

 

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Chapter 13: Faith in a New Rome – Part 2 – Icons and New Missions to the West; New Social media links

Emperors Constantine and Justinian Presenting Constantinople to the Virgin Mary Holding the Christ Child, Hagia Sophia

For next Tuesday, we will be finishing up the rest of Chapter 13 by covering the final two sections: Smashing Images: The Iconoclastic Controversy (726 – 843)  and Photios and the New Missions to the West (850 – 900).

Before getting to the questions, please check out our new social media pages on facebook and twitter.  Please join if you have accounts on both sites.

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New Submissions for Chapter 13: “Hagia Sophia” & “Byzantine Spirituality”

Hi all,

New updates and submissions about the reign of Justinian I (aka Justinian the Great), the Byzantine Empire, Hagia Sophia, and the Orthodox theology of theosis.  You can find them here.

Tonight, there were interesting talks about what constitutes theosis and how it perhaps relates to the more Reformed understanding of sanctification.

Also, to clarify some points on terminologies that often confused us tonight:

  • Dyophysitism –  the Chalcedonian position that full deity and full humanity exist in the person of Jesus Christ as two natures without confusion or change.
  • Monophysitism – states that in the person of Jesus Christ, his human nature was absorbed into the divine nature like a cube of sugar dissolves in a cup of water. Therefore, Christ was left with only one nature, the Divine (Greek mono- one, physis – nature). (i.e. Christ had only a Divine nature.)
  • Miaphysitism –  holds that in the one person of Jesus Christ, his Divinity and Humanity are united in one “nature” (physis), the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration.  This is the position of the Orthodox and Coptic Churches.

It was also interesting to see tonight how hard it is for most Christians to articulate very basic terminologies we use all the time like:

  • What is a spirit?  How is it different from the soul?  What is a soul anyway?  After death, how exactly does the soul or the spirit separate from the body?
  • How is a soul saved by God?  Saved from what ?  It’s saved from Hell?  What is hell exactly and where exactly is it located within the known universe?  If it’s outside the universe, how do know that?  (Same questions apply to the notion/concept of heaven.)
  • What is the nature of a “resurrected” or “spiritual” body?  What type of matter will it consist of?

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Chapter 13: Faith in a New Rome (451 – 900) – Part 1

Hello folks and Happy New Year!

We’ve definitely come a long way since we first embarked on this book last year and hopefully garnered much since then – let’s keep the momentum going throughout this year.

For our next meeting on Thursday, Jan. 9, we’ll cover the first two sections of Chapter 13 that deals with the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox Church“A Church to Shape Orthodoxy: Hagia Sophia” and “Byzantine Spirituality: Maximus and the Mystical Tradition”.

We’ll spend the next couple of months dealing with the Orthodox Church that will hopefully lift the veil of obscurity that most evangelical and Western Christians have of it.

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