Anathematized Church Fathers: a Gateway to Ecumenism?

Serafim Seppälä 1
  • 1 Systematic Theology and Patristics (Orthodox studies), University of Eastern Finland


One of the ecumenically most problematic aspects in the history of the Orthodox Church is the anathemas of 431, 451 and especially the abrupt set of anathemas prescribed in 553, as several prominent Church fathers were condemned centuries after having passed away in peace with the Church. Most of them were authoritative or at least influential teachers for the holy fathers, and a number of their writings have been in use in the Orthodox tradition up to our times. Due to their de facto influence, they have an integrated presence and even important position in the tradition of the Church. Could this fact perhaps, with a fresh reading, have some ecumenical potential for our times, especially in relation to the Pre-Chalcedonian Churches and Roman Catholics?

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