We’ve received a note regarding a more thorough response from a Coptic writer, Mina Soliman, regarding Nicholas Marinides’s recent post, “Chalcedonian Orthodoxy and Non-Chalcedonian Heterodoxy.” Mina is a lector (reader) of the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.
Here are some excerpts from his piece:
You begin with the ecclesiological issues. One is left in a quandary over two traditions, split for over 1500 years, that today seem to confess similar theological principles despite the historical record of the vehement disagreements. You then conclude that there is no other way to solve this than either to confess a “branch theory” ecclesiology or that one Church is the One True Church and the other is “false”. Furthermore, you also confess seven “ecumenical” councils as a central part of your ecclesiology. Any deviation of which seems to fall outside the Church. It is very clear therefore that you are a man who wants to uphold a tradition upon which you search for those things that affirm your beliefs and presuppositions. However, is that really honest? Are we in a contest of sorts to see if “my fathers and councils” are more correct than “your fathers and councils”? May I suggest a different approach? How about we take from our traditions the theology we teach, see where the essential theological disagreements lie and where they do not. Then see if the councils and fathers on both sides of the issue (Chalcedonian vs. anti-Chalcedonian) affirmed those basic theological principles.
You discussed how Monotheletism was perhaps a logical outcome of Monophysitism, even though Nestorianism upholds Monotheletism even more clearly. But is it merely calling the wills and energies of Christ “one” that is heresy, or the explanation thereof? Once again history is wrought with much nuance that this discussion Monotheletism still needs a lot of research. Just recently, Fr. Richard Price even questioned if “Monotheletism” was any different doctrinally than Diotheletism. Additionally, “Monotheletism” was a Chalcedonian controversy. It is true that it was used by these “Chalcedonian heretics” as a bargaining chip to unite with the OO. However, it would also be interesting to note that the Coptic Orthodox Church and Maximus the Confessor share the same persecutor, the Monothelite Cyrus of Alexandria, also known as “Al Muqawqas” (The Caucasian) by our tradition. He sent an army to find Pope St. Benjamin of Alexandria (the anti-Chalcedonian patriarch of Alexandria) and was able to find his brother the bishop and heiromartyr St. Menas, who would not confess the whereabouts of his brother the Pope even after much torture. He also would not succumb to accept the council of Chalcedon either, and was eventually killed by the Roman Christian soldiers lead by “Al Muqawqas”.
Update: A response has posted: Follow-up from Nicholas Marinides on Chalcedonian Christology