(ACNS) History made, as Anglicans, Oriental Orthodox agree on Christ's incarnation

Senior theologians in Anglican Communion and Oriental Orthodox Churches recently made history by signing an agreement on their mutual understanding of Christ’s incarnation.

This was not just a minor point of theology, rather it was a subject that divided the Church following the Council of Chalcedon* in 451 AD, leaving the Oriental Orthodox Churches separated from the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Church of Rome.

The work to reconcile these branches of the Christian family on the question of how the two natures, human and divine, were united in one human being: Jesus Christ began in earnest in the 1990s.

Read it all.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Theology

16 comments on “(ACNS) History made, as Anglicans, Oriental Orthodox agree on Christ's incarnation

  1. MichaelA says:


    It is rarely remembered today that the first major institutional split in the church came as early as the 5th century AD, not the 10th century (the so-called Great Schism). The Oriental Orthodox churches have been out of communion with the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Western Churches (including Rome) for one and a half millennia.

    If this work helps to a greater understanding and fellowship between Anglicans and the Oriental Orthodox, then that’s a great thing.

  2. tjmcmahon says:

    The actual statement is here.

    If this is Anglican theology, they should get about the business of deposing the 90% of bishops in the west who don’t teach or believe it.

  3. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Agreed Statement on Christology
    …3….we confess the holy Virgin Mary to be Theotokos, because God the Word became incarnate and was made man, and from the very conception united unto himself that perfect humanity, without sin, which he took from her.

    Really? It is Anglican doctrine that Mary was without sin? The immaculate conception?


  4. Terry Tee says:

    Pageantmaster, the declaration seems to have deliberate ambiguity, doesn’t it? You can read it as saying that the sinless Christ, fully God and fully human, took his human nature from the Virgin Mary. Or you can read it as his sinless nature ditto coming from she who was already the Immaculate Conception.

  5. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Were there no punctuation I could see your argument, Father Tee.

    More problematically, I fail to see how a deliberate ambiguity can represent an ‘agreed statement’ on Christology, except in that peculiar world of Anglican Fudge.

    I think the truth of the matter is that those with an interest in the Eastern churches get themselves on ecumenical conferences with those churches, much as those with an interest in Catholic matters get themselves on ARCIC. Then there is a wildly ecstatic announcement on mad TEC Anglican Pravda trumpeting agreement with in this case the Oriental Orthodox, or in the case of ARCIC with Roman Catholic doctrine, and yet again there will be another document trumpeting agreement with the Methodists.

    It would be an interesting exercise to compare all these ‘agreed statements’ with various churches and their compatibility with one another. I suspect that we just agree with whoever we happen to be talking with at the time. Is that just a very English, and thereby an Anglican trait?

    I am not sure that history is being made, so much as repeating itself!

  6. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Thinking about it, if they were to have represented the Anglican position the Anglican bishops would have agreed
    ‘God the Word…united unto himself without sin that humanity which he took from her’

    Instead they wrote of the perfect humanity without sin which he took from her.

    Clearly the Oriental Orthodox bishops seem to have thought that their Anglican colleagues were agreeing with them that the Theotokos was without sin. Were Bishop Rowell and the Anglican bishops in whose language the statement is written allowing the Oriental Orthodox to believe that, while staring at the ceiling with their fingers crossed behind their backs?

  7. Katherine says:

    Hard to say, Pageantmaster. I’ll go for “ambiguity,” myself. I do know that the saintly Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt has excellent relations with the Coptic Church and would be happy for a real agreement to be reached in his city.

    I suppose my worry is about the orthodoxy of those Anglican participants, and about far more than the Theotokos.

  8. tjmcmahon says:

    I took the 2 biggest issues to be:
    1) #6, in which elements of the Christology of St. Cyril, as enunciated and refined by Hooker, is held to be “normative” in the Anglican world today. Did anyone explain to the Orthodox that to Anglicans, the word “normative” implies something in the BCP that the majority in Europe or North America no longer believe? Witness, for instance, the PB of TEC, who was so glowingly praised by the ABoC prior to receiving her Oxford DD. Obviously, neither of them believes a word of it.

    2) At the very end, in which they state that the document will be referred to the “responsible authorities” in the Anglican Communion. Who on earth would that be?

  9. Katherine says:

    [blockquote]2) At the very end, in which they state that the document will be referred to the “responsible authorities” in the Anglican Communion. Who on earth would that be?[/blockquote]Excellent point.

  10. tjmcmahon says:

    I don’t think it a big stretch that +Mouneer would find this document quite acceptable- a great stretch in the right direction, in fact. And for that matter, if +Rowell is who I think he is, I imagine he is quite sincere in his signing on as well. Would not be surprised if it also pleases +Keith Ackerman and many Anglo Catholics and traditionalists, and the more Catholic leaning of the GS. In general, this is all above my pay grade.

    But, for the pretended leadership of the Anglican Communion, this is just more cover for their enforcement of heresy upon Christian churches in their charge. This allows the bishops of CoE and TEC to proclaim that they are so orthodox, even the Orthodox think so, and then get back to gay marriage and Buddhist prayer rugs and throwing Christians out of their churches so they can be sold to Islamic centers.

  11. Ad Orientem says:

    This is silly. AFAIK the Anglican Communion has no doctrine whatsoever that is universally accepted as binding by all its members. Just a glance at the comments above should establish that Anglicans can’t agree on the theological time of day. The suggestion that they might somehow resolve a 1500 year old schism with this document is risible.

  12. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #11 AO “Anglicans can’t agree on the theological time of day”

    Hardly surprising, since this is the Communion on which the sun never sets. Anyway, you can’t even agree the date of the month, much less Easter with Rome or the rest of us.

    PM, now back on GMT

  13. Terry Tee says:

    Pageantmaster, I remember hearing a story about that crusty old prelate, Mervyn Stockwood, being given a hard time by a group of Orthodox clerics of various jurisdictions about the fact that the Church of England was not in communion with any apostolic see. He looked and them and replied that most of them were not in communion with each other. Which was true.

  14. Ad Orientem says:

    [blockquote] Anyway, you can’t even agree the date of the month, much less Easter with Rome or the rest of us.[/blockquote]

    Disciplinary questions are on a slightly different level than doctrine. But in any event why should we worry about it? We are not the ones who unilaterally altered the church calendar. If you want to celebrate Easter on the same day with us, the date is not a state secret.

  15. Katherine says:

    PM, every year I rejoice to return to God’s time, standard time, and wonder why on earth we do the daylight dance every year.

  16. MichaelA says:

    “The suggestion that they might somehow resolve a 1500 year old schism with this document is risible.”

    Ad Orientem, perhaps that attitude has something to do with why the Eastern Orthodox haven’t managed to resolve the schism in 1,500 years… 😉