The title of this essay may startle many who assume that union of the Orthodox with the Non-Chalcedonians (the historic Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrean, West Syrian (Syriac/Jacobite), Armenian, and Indian (Malankara) churches) is imminent. Such an assumption is due to ignorance among many Anglophone Orthodox of the criticism to which eminent Orthodox theologians in other countries have subjected the dialogue between the Orthodox and Non-Chalcedonians. This ignorance is not the fault of the many simple believers and parish clergy who have received the idea of reunion between long-separated brethren with sincere and innocent joy. It is due rather to the dearth of critical voices in the West (i.e. outside traditionally Orthodox lands) and especially in the English-speaking world. In what follows I will attempt to contribute my small part to remedying this “media blackout,” as the French Orthodox theologian Jean-Claude Larchet has called it.[1. “La question christologique. À propos du projet d’union de l’Église orthodoxe avec les Églises non chalcédoniennes : problèmes théologiques et ecclésiologiques en suspens,” Le Messager orthodoxe 134 (2001): 11–200; republished in his Personne et nature. La Trinité – Le Christ – L’homme. Contributions aux dialogues interorthodoxe et interchrétien contemporains (Paris: Cerf, 2011), 65–158; mention of a media blackout (he uses the English word) in western Orthodox media on p. 68.] Of course I will not be able to cover everything, but I hope that my essay might serve as a wake-up call and an incentive to further investigation on the part of readers.
A brief history of the dialogue
The dialogue between the Orthodox and Non-Chalcedonians[2. I will not be using the politically correct “Eastern Orthodox” and “Oriental Orthodox.”] began with four unofficial consultations in Aarhus (1964), Bristol (1967), Geneva (1970), and Addis Ababa (1971). Major theologians from each side attended at least some of these, such as Frs. Georges Florovsky, John Meyendorff, and John Romanides, as well as Prof. John Karmiris from the Orthodox side, and Bp Paul Verghese and Fr. V.C. Samuel from the Non-Chalcedonian side. This was succeeded by an official dialogue starting in the late 1970s and culminating in two agreed statements in 1989 and 1990. These were then submitted to the respective local churches on both sides to be approved as a sufficient theological basis for reunion; it was intended that the complicated details of the actual process would be worked out in subsequent meetings, as well as on a local level. The basis for union was asserted as the recognition of each other’s theology as Orthodox, despite terminological differences, and the agreement that both sides could retain their respective enumeration of councils, saints, and local traditions.
There appear to have been no official meetings after 1998, probably because of the controversy that the agreed statements raised, on both sides, but especially among the Orthodox. Some resistance was more muted and passive, such as the Russian Orthodox Church’s tabling of the agreed statements for further study, but some was more active and vociferous, such as the joint statement of the Athonite monastic community opposing the plans for reunion on the basis of the agreed statements.[3. The memorandum of the Sacred Community of Mt. Athos (the official representative body of the twenty ruling monasteries) can be consulted in English here. For an alternative view, see the article by Bp. Alexander Golitzin, who was tonsured on Mt. Athos.] The latter have been supported by a stream of literature from the Athonite monastery of St. Gregory (Grigoriou), led by its abbot, the Archimandrite George Kapsanis of blessed memory. But protest has not been limited to monastic circles. Academic theologians such as Athanasy Yevtić (formerly bishop of Zuma and Herzegovina and currently professor at the Theological School of Belgrade), Fr. Theodore Zisis (professor at the University of Thessaloniki), and the aforementioned Jean-Claude Larchet, have also weighed in.
Clearly a considerable intra-Orthodox dialogue concerning this issue has taken place since the early 1990s. Yet it is assumed by many, especially laypeople and parish clergy but also including bishops, that union has been all but achieved. Consequently there has been a rush to realize it on a practical level. The most egregious example of this is the policy of eucharistic intercommunion under a broad range of circumstances that was established synodally by the synod of the Orthodox patriarchate of Antioch with their Non-Chalcedonian counterparts in 1991. Although the agreement appears to have never been fully implemented because of fear of the potential reactions of other local Orthodox churches, it has created much confusion regarding the Orthodox position. In any case, tacit intercommunion is very common on a parish level in the Middle East and the United States. There is also frequent cooperation in practical areas such as education, both at seminaries and in youth groups. This has had some beneficial effects in helping the Non-Chalcedonians rediscover the patristic tradition, both in its pre-Chalcedonian roots and its Chalcedonian fruits, but it has generally taken place in a relativistic campus culture (at least in U.S. seminaries) that already accepts the Non-Chalcedonians as fully Orthodox.
Enthusiasm for union is certainly understandable. In the case of the Non-Chalcedonians, it is felt especially strongly because of the obvious similarities between Orthodox and Non-Chalcedonians in liturgy and asceticism. Anyone who has spent time at Non-Chalcedonian churches and monasteries (as I have in the U.S. and in Damascus, Jerusalem, and Wadi al-Natrun, ancient Scetis, in Egypt) cannot but appreciate the beauty of their worship and the seriousness of the devotion that one finds there. Such observations often lead to a perception that the Orthodox are in fact much closer to the Non-Chalcedonians, despite their rejection of Chalcedonian theology, than to other Chalcedonian churches such as the Roman Catholics, whose Christology is formally in accord with Orthodox dogma but whose liturgy and spirituality often feel quite alien. The feeling of familiarity and sympathy is reinforced by the common lot of the Orthodox and Non-Chalcedonians in the Middle East, where both have long been oppressed by Islamic political and social hegemony and now face extermination at the hands of jihadists. Another element, it must be admitted, is the fascination many Orthodox have for such Non-Chalcedonian churches as those of Ethiopia and India (Malankara). Given that the Orthodox Church is, in practice, overwhelmingly “white,” the presence of ancient, indigenous, and allegedly Orthodox communities in Africa and the Subcontinent seems to empirically reinforce Orthodoxy’s claims to be the Catholic Church, which contains believers from all under heaven. Yet understandable as these motives are, they cannot suffice where real theological agreement is lacking.
A priori objections to the results of the dialogue
Unfortunately, the dialogue until now has papered over the substantive problems rather than frankly tackling them. Before addressing some specific Christological issues, I will mention some red flags that ought to be immediately raised for any Orthodox on perusing the recommendations for reunion.
Firstly, given the ecclesiological presuppositions of Orthodoxy, it should be troubling that the dialogue seems to have assumed that the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church has been visibly divided for 1,500 years. This seems to imply a “branch theory” that sees all churches as branches of one invisible Church. Such a “branch” or “invisible church” theory is denied in the foundational texts outlining Orthodox participation in the ecumenical movement (such as the Toronto and the Oberlin statements), but has it slipped in the back door in the case of the dialogue with the Non-Chalcedonians?[4. The text of the Toronto Statement of the WCC Central Committee meeting in 1950 (which was drafted by Fr Georges Florovsky) can be read here. Especially significant is the following statements: “(IV.4) The member churches of the World Council consider the relationship of other churches to the Holy Catholic Church which the Creeds profess as a subject for mutual consideration. Nevertheless, membership does not imply that each church must regard the other member churches as churches in the true and full sense of the word.” Unfortunately this is vitiated somewhat by the previous paragraph, which is debatable (at least) from an Orthodox point of view: “(IV.3) The member churches recognize that the membership of the Church of Christ is more inclusive than the membership of their own church body.” The Oberlin statement, which was formulated for the North American Faith and Order Study Conference of 1957 and in which Florovsky was also involved, can be found here.]
Closely connected to this is the second objection. If the Non-Chalcedonians are not required to accept the Fourth Ecumenical Council (Chalcedon) and the subsequent three, and to not accept the Fathers whose theology played a key role in formulating the councils’ definitions, what does that imply regarding Orthodox theological epistemology, given that Orthodoxy believes itself to be the Church of the Seven Councils and of saints such as Savas the Sanctified, Maximus the Confessor, and John of Damascus, who were dedicated opponents of the Non-Chalcedonians of their time?
Sometimes participants in the dialogue have argued that these figures (and their opposite numbers, the fathers of Non-Chalcedonian theology such as Dioscorus, Philoxenus, and Severus) were blinded by contemporary polemics and politics. It is alleged, or at least implied, that we are now able to approach each other with greater love and understanding today because those circumstantial factors have been removed. But can we easily admit that such great saints—one of whom, St. Maximus, composed a magnificent set of Four Centuries on Love and exemplified its principles during his persecution by the monothelete imperial authorities—were prevented by the Zeitgeist of the late antique Roman Empire from understanding and expressing the will of God in such an important matter? Do we have the self-assurance (not to say audacity) to claim that we excel in the virtue of love more than such holy people? And even if one or another Father may have sometimes erred, as has admittedly occurred in the course of church history, their concord, expressed ultimately in the dogmas of the ecumenical councils, is considered decisive and binding for Orthodox belief.
The theological record, briefly
When we actually turn to the Church’s theological record on the positions of the Non-Chalcedonians we see an apparently insuperable obstacle to union on the terms agreed by the dialogue. The Monophysites (also designated by patristic writers as Severans, Akephaloi, etc.) are condemned not only by the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon, but also by all of the subsequent ecumenical councils, as part of their refutation of monophysitism itself or later heresies that were perceived to have stemmed from it, such as monotheletism and iconoclasm. The more-or-less concise definitions of the councils were informed and supported by the detailed polemical writings of such luminaries as Maximus the Confessor and John of Damascus, already mentioned, as well as others who are less well-known outside specialist circles, such as John the Grammarian, Leontius of Jerusalem, Leontius of Byzantium, St. Anastasius of Sinai, and Theodore Abu Qurrah (the last-named was the first Orthodox theologian to write in Arabic, in the early ninth century).
These decisions were confirmed routinely by later councils and fathers, most authoritatively in the Synodicon of Orthodoxy which is appointed to be read out on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, though in practice often only a brief excerpt is recited, which does not name any specific heresies. There were certainly later attempts at rapprochement and dialogue with a view to reunion between the Orthodox and Non-Chalcedonians (most notably the attempts at reunion with the Armenians by St Photius in the ninth century— which succeeded in bringing a large part of the Armenian people back to Orthodoxy—and under emperor Manuel Comnenus in the twelfth), but always on the basis of the conciliar and Patristic tradition. This tradition has been followed by such newer saints as Nectarius of Aegina (a considerable theological writer in his own right) and the recently canonized elder Paisius of Mt. Athos.[5. St. Nectarius of Pentapolis and Aegina discussed the issue in his book on the Ecumenical Councils, Αἱ οἰκουμενικαὶ σύνοδοι (Thessaloniki 1972), 134ff. The views of St. Nectarius on dialogue with heterodox are summarized in Greek by the late Metropolitan Meletius of Preveza and Nicopolis here. St. Paisius’ views are summarized in Hieromonk Isaac Atallah of Stavronikita, Βίος Γέροντος Παϊσίου του Ἁγιορείτου (Mt. Athos 2004), 690–91. (I cite the Greek because I do not have the English translation at hand).] Furthermore, at least two of the giants of Orthodox theology in the twentieth century, Georges Florovsky and Dumitru Staniloae, after initial enthusiasm, voiced concerns about the direction the dialogue was taking.[6. For Fr. Staniloae see Met. Methodius of Axum (now Pisidia), «Τό ἔργον τῆς Διορθοδόξου Θεολογικῆς Ἐπιτροπῆς διά τόν διάλογον τῶν Ὀρθοδόξων καί τῶν Ἀρχαίων Ἀνατολικῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν» in Abba Salama 7 (Athens 1976), 206 (non vidi), and for Fr. Florovsky see below.]
The declared basis for reunion as a result of the Dialogue has been the claim that the millennium-and-a-half-long separation was not caused by actual divergence in content between the two sides, but by verbal misunderstanding and stubbornness. This is largely based on academic theological research conducted over the past century or so. Beginning with Joseph Lebon’s monograph Le Monophysisme sévérien, many scholars have distinguished between the extreme monophysitism of the Constantinopolitan archimandrite Eutyches (the main figure condemned at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, whereas his protector Dioscorus, patriarch of Alexandria, was formally condemned only for canonical transgressions) and the moderate monophysitism of Severus of Antioch, which is followed up till today by the Non-Chalcedonian churches. This distinction is unobjectionable as such (and was recognized already by many ancient Fathers) but the further claim that this moderate monophysitism is only verbal—simply a dogged faithfulness to the terminology of St. Cyril of Alexandria—and hence substantively orthodox, has not won the same general acceptance. It has led to the new and solecistic term “Miaphysites” to denote the Non-Chalcedonians in a way that they do not find offensive: the point is supposed to be that they believe in one nature from two natures after the union in Christ, but not a single nature. The mental acrobatics involved in this justification of the euphemism are obvious.
As a result of this assumption of concord in content, the joint agreements issued by the Dialogue read like a modern rewriting of the Henoticon, the notorious edict of union issued by the emperor Zeno in the late fifth century, which tried to sweep Chalcedon under the rug and rewind Christology back to the days of St. Cyril, creating an artificial union based on agreeing to disagree. In today’s agreements, as in the case of the Henoticon, the Orthodox give up more than they gain[7. Needless to say, dialogue about dogma should not be conducted as a process of compromise and barter anyway!]. The Non-Chalcedonians have successfully resisted all attempts to make recognition of the Ecumenical Councils 4 through 7 obligatory, and have not been seriously challenged by the Orthodox participants as to their objections to such doctrines as the two energies and wills of Christ and even the Orthodox understanding of deification.[7. St. John Damascene’s articulation of the doctrine of deification was criticized by the late V.C. Samuel, one of the eminent Indian participants in the dialogue, in the last chapter of his book The Council of Chalcedon Re-examined (Madras 1977, repr. Kent, UK 2005). The late Coptic pope Shenuda III was very hostile to it as well: see the postscript in Stephen Davis, Coptic Christology in Practice: Incarnation and Divine Participation in Late Antique and Medieval Egypt (Oxford 2008), 271–78. The opponents of Shenuda on this issue, the late abbot of the Monastery of St. Macarius in Wadi al-Natrun, Matthew the Poor, and his monks, have been influenced in their theology by reading Greek and Russian Fathers. Their encounter with the Chalcedonian tradition has been part of the reason for the revival of monastic and lay spiritual life in Egypt over the past decades, and is cause for some optimism regarding the trajectory of contemporary Non-Chalcedonian theology, but up to this point it has led to confusion regarding their own tradition rather than critique and clarification.]
The heresy of Severus, according to the Fathers (again, briefly)
One patristic citation that is used and abused to support the results of the Dialogue is John of Damascus’s statement that the “Monophysites . . . are orthodox in everything . . .” As the ellipsis suggests, there is more to this quotation than meets the eye. I translate the whole passage[8. Ch. 83 of John’s On Heresies.] in order to supply what is lacking:
Egyptians, also called Schematics[9. Some editors wish to emend this to “Schismatics,” but the manuscript tradition supports the reading above.] and Monophysites, who on the pretext of the composition of the tome at Chalcedon have gone into schism from the Orthodox Church. They are designated Egyptians because it was Egyptians who first began this schema[10. See previous note.] in the reign of Marcian and Valentinian the emperors, but they are orthodox in everything else. These, out of attachment to Dioscorus of Alexandria, who had been deposed at the Council of Chalcedon as an ally of the doctrines of Eutyches, became hostile to the Council and at that time they made up innumerable charges against it, which we sufficiently dismissed earlier in the present book, showing those people to be crooked and empty-headed. Their leaders were Theodosius the Alexandrian (whence “Theodosians”) and Jacob the Syrian (whence “Jacobites”). The advocates and guarantors and allies of these are Severus, the corrupter of Antioch, and the futilely toiling John the Tritheist,[11. In Greek this is a pun on the epithet by which John was known, “Philoponus,” which means “hard worker” and has a positive connotation; John calls him “Mataioponus” instead.] who deny the mystery of the common salvation. They wrote many things against the god-inspired teaching of the 630 at Chalcedon, and they placed many stumbling blocks by the wayside for those who were ruined by their destruction, and by expounding particular essences they confuse the mystery of the economy.
Without the ellipsis, John can hardly be cited in support of the approach taken by the Dialogue.[12. The passage is misrepresented in the volume edited by Fr Thomas Fitzgerald, Restoring the Unity in Faith: The Orthodox–Oriental Orthodox Theological Dialogue (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross, 2007), 20: “those who did not accept the terminology of Chalcedon were nevertheless Orthodox in all things”; available online here (in the sentence previously linked to fn. 3).] It is clear that, for him, the Monophysites are orthodox in everything except their Christology—and that is not a minor exception, since it leads them to “deny the mystery of the common salvation.”[13. Meaning, the atonement wrought by Christ for all people, subject to the freely-willed response of each.] This can be confirmed by reading the rest of his Christological works. Even in his Against the Jacobites, which is sometimes cited as recognizing an “ideological” orthodoxy in Non-Chalcedonian doctrine because of its more irenical tone, he in fact draws out all the heretical implications of the teachings of Severus and his followers.
It is precisely this phenomenon that makes many people uncomfortable with the polemical works of the Fathers in general, and particularly those directed against the Non-Chalcedonians. The most common polemical tactic of the Fathers is the reductio ad absurdum, starting from the premises of their opponents and taking them step-by-step to their logical conclusion, which is shown to be something repugnant to Christian common sense. In Against the Jacobites, John shows how a refusal to accept two natures in Christ can lead to excluding Him from the common nature of the Trinity—and that is just one of the possible absurdities to which Severan doctrine can lead. St. Maximus, in some of his writings, uses the technique to show how Severan Christology leads to monoenergism and monotheletism (not a very difficult task, since Severus taught these doctrines explicitly) and is based on the same premises as Nestorius (a little less obvious, the point being that they both began with a confusion of nature and hypostasis, and then drew opposite but equally blasphemous conclusions). To us today, educated in different forms of argumentation, this tactic may feel unfair, but such a nebulous sentiment cannot negate the fact that it is perfectly logical, and has a long pedigree going back to ancient Greek mathematics and philosophy, whence it passed into the toolbox of patristic argumentation. We cannot deny it without throwing out most of patristic polemical literature. And we should recognize that, in its Christian context, it is intended to help us “speak the truth in love,” by showing the dangerous consequences to which seemingly innocuous first principles can lead.
When it comes down to it, Non-Chalcedonian Christology, as represented pre-eminently by Severus, stumbles due to its denial of the full reality and concreteness of Christ’s human nature. Expressing the patristic line of argumentation in terms that are more comprehensible by modern man, Fr Georges Florovsky wrote:
The followers of Severus could not speak of Christ’s humanity as a “nature.” It broke down into a system of traits, for the doctrine of the Logos “taking” humanity was still not developed fully by Monophysitism into the idea of “inter-hypostasis-ness.” The Monophysites usually spoke of the Logos’ humanity as οἰκονομία. It is not without foundation that the fathers of the Council of Chalcedon detected here a subtle taste of original Docetism. Certainly this is not the Docetism of the ancient Gnostics at all, nor is it Apollinarianism. However, to the followers of Severus the “human” in Christ was not entirely human, for it was not active, was not “self-motivated.” In this contemplation of the Monophysites, the human in Christ was like a passive object of Divine influence. Divinization, or theosis, seems to be a unilateral act of Divinity without sufficiently taking into account the synergism of human freedom, the assumption of which in no way supposes a “second subject.”[14. The Byzantine Fathers of the Fifth Century, Collected Works Vol. 8 (Liechtenstein: Büchervertriebsanstalt, 1987).]
Where does that leave us? The arguments presented above are of course not intended to deny to our Non-Chalcedonian brethren their fervent devotion to Christ, which they have maintained courageously in harrowing circumstances past and present. Nor do I mean to deny the real beauty of their ancient liturgy and monastic practice. To point out the flaws in their theological inheritance is not to gloat over them triumphalistically, but to invite them to a closer study of the common tradition from before the schisms of the fifth and sixth centuries.[15. Cf. the principle enunciated in the Toronto Statement quoted above: “(IV.5) The member churches of the World Council recognize in other churches elements of the true Church. They consider that this mutual recognition obliges them to enter into a serious conversation with each other in the hope that these elements of truth will lead to the recognition of the full truth and to unity based on the full truth.”] Such tough love is based on the hope that they will acknowledge that the “Cyrillian fundamentalism” which they have inherited from Severus and their other teachers is, in fact, not a faithful development of the ancient tradition, nor even of Cyril himself, because it denies the Reconciliation of 433 that he agreed to with John of Antioch to resolve the schism that resulted from the controversial Council of Ephesus of 431 (the Third Ecumenical Council). There is room for the “one incarnate nature of God the Word,” but only based on the explanation of that term enshrined by the Orthodox Fathers of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, in harmony with Chalcedon.
Nor should dialogue necessarily be ended. But if it is to continue in a truthful and responsible manner, it must be restarted on new foundations. The discussions that began in the 1960s bear the unmistakable spirit of the muddled kind of ecumenism that was then beginning to take over in Orthodox circles at the WCC from the intellectually rigorous and theologically honest kind that had been pioneered by Florovsky earlier (it is significant that he participated only in the first unofficial dialogue, and made only a few laconic contributions, as recorded in the minutes). We must be clear about our ecclesiology: the Una Sancta—the Orthodox, Chalcedonian Church—is the pillar and ground of the truth. We must be clear about our Christology: the Ecumenical Councils—all seven of them—are her indisputable criterion. We must be clear in our terminology: euphemisms such as “Oriental Orthodox” (a distinction not even translatable into most other languages) only serve to muddy the waters of doctrine and confuse the flock that seeks to drink from them. The intercommunion that was synodically approved in Antioch and is tacitly widespread elsewhere should stop, though with due account taken of the pastoral difficulties of the current situation in the Middle East today, in which abrupt moves would be ill-advised. It has always been a basic principle of Orthodox dialogue with the heterodox that communion must be the result of full theological agreement, not the means of creating facts on the ground.
Although grassroots cooperation should continue between the Orthodox and the Non-Chalcedonians on urgent issues such as coordination of philanthropic and political efforts for the resolution, or at least mitigation, of the tragic circumstances of the Middle Eastern crises, we ought to think critically about further steps toward reunion. This will require of us Orthodox more intensive discussion among ourselves, with awareness of critical opinions such as I have summarized here, in order to establish future dialogue on a sound Orthodox consensus. For such an intra-Orthodox discussion to be informed, we need more online literature regarding specific aspects of the Orthodox objections to Monophysite Christology, especially English translations of relevant patristic texts and scholarly studies. In the meantime I hope I have given readers enough material for serious reflection.
Nicholas Marinides hails from Buffalo NY. He holds a PhD from the Department of History at Princeton University, with his dissertation on the topic of lay piety in seventh-century Byzantium. He is also a research fellow in the Department of Theology at the University of Basel in Switzerland, where he currently lives. Some of his published work can be accessed online.
UPDATE: Two follow-up posts have been posted:
Hi, folks. Fr. Andrew here. I’m the editor-in-chief of the Orthodoxy & Heterodoxy weblog, which is a group weblog with multiple authors with varying viewpoints — and we do not always agree with each other, either. I’m adding this note here based on some comments I’ve seen in social media.
First, those who seem to believe that publishing this post on the O&H weblog was a decision of the Ancient Faith leadership, I should just let you know that you’re mistaken.
Second, though, it’s useful to note that, like the O&H blog, Ancient Faith Ministries has published and hosted a variety of different views. If you’re aware of the breadth of what appears on the many Ancient Faith Radio podcasts, in Ancient Faith Publishing books, on Ancient Faith Video, etc., etc., you know that not all the content producers agree with each other on everything. (NB: I am not an official spokesman for Ancient Faith Ministries.)
Third, this is a topic that is subject to a variety of views, both within the Chalcedonian Orthodox community and the Non-Chalcedonian community. We are not currently in communion. It is not controversial to say that that is because there is not a unanimity of opinion on this.
Fourth, and perhaps most importantly for my purposes here, those who are responsible for this piece are 1) the author Dr. Nicholas Marinides and 2) me, as the editor-in-chief of the blog.
Fifth, the purpose of this article is not to create division but honestly to assess what divisions actually exist and have existed. And it’s worth noting that the main emphasis in this piece is on the historical theology of the Non-Chalcedonian churches, which — it may be said — could potentially be at variance with how some of them understand their theology now.
Sixth and finally, in case anyone wants to know my opinion of this piece’s contents, I’ll just say that I haven’t studied this subject enough to be comfortable settling on one. I definitely think that getting more people to talk earnestly about theology is important. And that Fr. Georges Florovsky had significant reservations — even if you may believe that he is wrong — is enough in my mind to say that we should keep talking and that we should be very careful. He was, after all, probably the single most knowledgeable person in the 20th century on the theology of groups that are not in communion with the Chalcedonian Orthodox.
Anyone who would like to interact with Dr. Marinides on his piece is welcome to post respectful comments on the post.