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Commentary on the Latest Recommendations of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Orthodox and Oriental Churches

The third meeting of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the oriental Orthodox or Monophysite Churches [1] took place at the Ecumenical Patriarchate Center, Chambesy (Geneva) Switzerland from 23 to 28 September 1990. The Commission met under the chairmanship of Metropolitan Damaskinos of Switzerland. The thirty-four members of the Commission came from Churches in Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Greece, U.S.A., Lebanon, Poland, Switzerland, Syria, the United Kingdom, the U.S.S.R. (Russian, Georgian, and Armenian Churches), and Yugoslavia.

The purpose of the Commission, as emphasized in Metropolitan Damaskinos' opening address, is to restore full ecclesiastical communion between the Orthodox Church and the Monophysite [2] Churches of Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Armenia, and Malabar (India). This is now regarded as possible by the members of the Commission as a result of the agreements reached on the Christological teaching of the two Churches summarized in the first "Joint Declaration" of the Joint Theological Commission (Anba Bishoy Monastery 1989). The causes for the original rupture between the Orthodox and Monophysites is seen by the Commission as "indissolubly" linked to "a theological disagreement relative to the understanding and interpretation" of the dogmatic definition of the Council of Chalcedon (451). The Commission came to the conclusion that this disagreement no longer exists, that in fact the Orthodox and Monophysites are in "total accord on the essential points of the faith". Therefore, the Second Joint Declaration sees no further theological obstacles to union of Orthodox and Monophysites and addresses itself to the practical measures necessary to effect this union. The Second Joint Declaration is a brief document which we quote in full (text in italics) below. It is one of a now familiar genre of "Joint Statements" familiar to anyone who has followed the ecumenical movement over the past thirty years. All of these joint statements share one important feature—emphasize what the parties have in common and ignore or dismiss as irrelevant differences both small and great, not even hesitating to distort or pervert the truth. The present Joint Statement fits well into this mode.

The Second Joint Declaration and recommendations to the Churches

The first joint declaration on Christology adopted by the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the oriental Orthodox Churches at the time of our historic meeting at Anba Bishoy monastery in Egypt from 20 to 24 June 1989, constitutes the basis for this second joint declaration on the following affirmation of our common faith and its interpretation, and the recommendations in regard to measures to be taken for communion of our two Churches in Jesus Christ our Saviour, Who prayed "that all be one".

1.) The two families are agreed in condemning the Eutychian heresy. Both confess that the Logos, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, alone was born of the Father before all ages and is consubstantial with Him, was incarnate and was born of the Virgin Mary the "Theotokos"; fully consubstantial with us, perfect man with a soul, a body and an intelligence; He was crucified, died, was buried and rose from the dead on the third day, ascended to the heavenly Father where He is seated at the right hand of the same Father as Lord of all creation. At Pentecost, by the coming of the Holy Spirit, He showed the Church to be His Body. We await His second coming in the fulness of His glory.

The Joint Commission has chosen to call the Orthodox Church and the Monophysite Churches "two families". This must be an immediate warning to all who are concerned for the genuine Orthodox faith—the "right belief." This emotive phrase with all its subliminal implications is not only deceptive but absolutely inadmissible. No member of the Commission, consisting of some of the best known "theologians" of the day, can be unfamiliar with the "Branch theory" so decisively discredited in the last century especially by the Russian theologian, Alexei Khomiakov. Is there anyone today who does not pay lip-service to his famous dictum—"The Church is One"? That Anglicans, Roman Catholics, etc. are not simply other "branches" of the same tree and that the Church even reduced to a tiny remnant would still be "One" no matter how many schismatics and heretics went their own way, is a doctrine which was clearly reestablished in the last century. The Church is One because it is the Body of Christ— and Christ is One and cannot be divided. This should be, after all, easily understood by the Monophysites for it was over this very principle—the unity of Christ's Person—that they broke communion with the rest of the Church. And yet now they can speak of two families —two branches, two Bodies of Christ! No, this is not possible. There is one "family" only and those separated from the one family are the prodigals and—like the Prodigal Son—must return to the one family.

Paragraphs Two through Seven of the Statement are an exposition of the faith which would indicate that the rupture in Communion between Monophysites and Orthodox, superficially at least, was based on the groundless fear on the part of the Monophysites that the definition of faith established at Chalcedon would inexorably lead the Church into Nestorianism [3], although now it is possible for both sides to agree on the nature of Christ.

2.) The two families condemn the Nestorian heresy and the crypto-nestorianism of Theodoret of Cyrus. They are agreed that it is not sufficient to simply say that Christ is consubstantial to His Father and to us, God by nature and man by nature; it must also be affirmed that the Logos, Which is God by nature, became man by nature, by His Incarnation in the fulness of time.

3.) The two families accept that the Hypostasis of the Logos became composite combining His uncreated divine nature, with its will and its natural energies which It has in common with the Father and the Holy Spirit, to the created human nature which He assumed through the Incarnation and made His own with his will and natural energies.

4.) The two families accept that the natures, with their own energies and wills are united hypostatically and naturally without confusion, without change, without division and without separation, and that they are distinguished only in the thought.

5.) The two families accept that the One Who wills and acts is always the single Hypostasis of the incarnate Logos.

6.) The two families agree to reject the interpretations of the Councils which are not clearly in accord with the Horos of the Third Ecumenical Council and the letter (433) of Cyril of Alexandria to John of Antioch.

7.) The Orthodox accept that the oriental Orthodox continue to maintain their traditional Cyrillian terminology "one nature of the Logos incarnate," since they recognize the double consubstantiality of the Logos denied by Eutyches. The Orthodox also use this terminology. The oriental Orthodox accept that the Orthodox are justified in using the formula of the two natures since they recognize that the distinction is "only in thought." Cyril correctly interpreted this usage in his letter to John of Antioch and in his letter to Akokios of Melitene (PG 77,184-201), to Euloge (PG 77, 224-8), and to Seccensus (PG 77, 228-45).

What then was the basis of this schism which has lasted 1400 years? Essentially, it arose from the teachings of Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, who on Christmas Day 428 began a series of sermons on the correctness of calling the Virgin Mary "Theotokos" (Mother of God) which he rejected and laid stress on the difference between the Godhead and manhood of Jesus. St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria [4], condemned Nestorius as a heretic who denied that Mary's child was God and who divided the one Christ into two Persons—the Son of God and the Son of man. Because of the ambiguity surrounding the terminology (natures, persons, etc.) the traditional formula "in two natures" used in the Chalcedonian definition and the Tome of St. Leo [5] were later viewed as Nestorian by the Alexandrians. They based their terminology on St. Cyril's maxim "one nature of the God-Logos enfleshed" by which he meant that the Logos did not cease to be Himself in entering upon human existence; but on the other hand His human existence was entirely genuine. The Logos for St. Cyril is Christ's only hypostasis i.e., the underlying reality of the man Jesus. That is what he meant by "hypostatic union" and that is also what he meant by "one nature"—not a compounding or confusing of two independent natures. Furthermore, he insisted that the flesh assumed by the Logos was an entire human man complete with a soul and a mind. "Thus as man, He ate..., as God He made the five loaves feed 5000 men. As man He truly died, and as God... he raised to life His body."

However, at Constantinople a monk by the name of Eutyches [6] so enflamed the controversy with his exaggerated form of St. Cyril's teaching that the conflagration raged out of control, embroiling the civil authority as well. Eutyches, in his anti-Nestorian zeal, went so far as to say that in Christ the Godhead and manhood were "blended and confused." This implied that before the Incarnation there had been two natures and only one after it. St. Cyril's nephew and successor to the Patriarchal throne, Dioscorus [7], at first supported Eutyches, and he was ever after tainted with this heresy, and although he denied it vigorously it finally led to his condemnation and exile at the Council of Chalcedon. Rome had traditionally been the ally of Alexandria against the rising power of the upstart see of Constantinople which had been granted primacy of honor in 381, but Dioscorus' hopes of Rome's support were dashed when Pope Leo strongly denounced the teachings of Eutyches in his Tome.

The Tome was a summary of Christian doctrine on the "nature" of Christ and was essentially a restatement of the older formula "two natures in one person." It contains the following important points:

a.) Christ is the true Son of God and is yet of real human birth;

b.) The two natures of the Godhead and manhood meet in Him and remain without confusion in the one Person;

c.) Each nature thus retains its own sphere of action;

d.) Nevertheless, the properties of each nature are all alike available for the one Person;

e.) To say that there were two natures before the union is as foolish as to say that there is only one after it.

Dioscorus, however, through his influence at court, managed to have a Council convened at Ephesus in 449. The papal legates brought the Tome of St. Leo to Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople for presentation to the Council, but Dioscorus, who presided, suppressed the Tome which was never read. Eutyches, who had been deposed, was restored and Flavian himself was deposed. Once condemned by the Council Flavian was treated like a common criminal, taken into custody by Dioscorus' two deacons Peter (later Monophysite bishop of Alexandria) and Harapocratios, and a monk who so harshly mishandled him that he died four days later. Dioscorus was strong enough owing to the support of the Emperor Theodosius to excommunicate Pope Leo himself. However, the situation dramatically changed in a few months when the emperor fell from his horse and died (450).

The Empress Pulcheria, wife of the new Emperor Marcian, reversed her brother's policy and that same year a synod at Constantinople anathematized Eutyches. The new rulers were determined to put a stop to the theological controversy which had shattered the peace of the East for so long, and in the following year, 451, the largest Council yet held—there were between 520 and 630 bishops present—met at Chalcedon. By now Dioscorus' party had been reduced to twelve supporters and he was condemned and sent into exile, where he died three years later. The Council accepted the Tome of St. Leo as dogma and the formula "in two natures" was inserted in the definition of faith by which the Council summarized its Christological decisions to put an end to all Eutychianism. It was not the Alexandrian formulas concerning the doctrine of the unity of Christ's person—which were Cyrillian in origin and declared "de fide" [8] by the Council, but their Eutychian misinterpretation which was excluded at Chalcedon.

The Monophysites, however, claimed that Chalcedon had left the door open to the blasphemous Nestorian doctrine of "two Sons" and were determined to maintain what they regarded as the old standards of Alexandrian orthodoxy. They would not accept that the Council had not removed these formulas of their orthodoxy but had only protected them against false interpretation.

From the political point of view, however, Chalcedon was a failure. In his zeal for uniformity the Emperor Marcian had not reckoned with the spirit of nationalism which was destined to prove one of the major forces in the forthcoming disruption of oriental Christendom. While the Greek cities supported the decisions of the Council, the peoples of Egypt and Syria, living in days when strong patriotic feelings could only be expressed through the medium of theological controversy, rose in revolt against what they regarded as an attempt on the part of the government at Constantinople to Hellenize the subject races. A hundred years later, after the Church in the East had endured another long period of internal strife, the Monophysites finally separated themselves into their own communities denouncing the doctrine of "two natures" partly because it was the government's creed.

During the episcopate of Jacob Baradaeus (542-578) Monophysitism spread in the South and East of the Empire but the Monophysites were badly divided among themselves. In Egypt alone there were at the end of the sixth century at least twenty Monophysite sects.

8.) The two families accept the first three Ecumenical Councils which form our common heritage. With regard to the four later Councils of the Orthodox Church, the Orthodox affirm that, for them, points one through seven are also the teaching of these four later Councils, whereas the oriental Orthodox consider this affirmation of the Orthodox like their own interpretation. In this sense the oriental Orthodox respond positively to this affirmation.

With regard to the teaching of the Seventh Ecumenical Council of the Orthodox Church, the oriental Orthodox accept that the theology and the practice of the veneration of icons taught by the Council are in fundamental accord with the teaching and practice of the oriental Orthodox since ancient times, well before the convocation of the Council and that in this regard there is no disagreement between us.

With regard to the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Ecumenical Councils, what does this "respond positively" of the oriental Orthodox mean? They "respond positively" to the fact that the Orthodox reassure them that the doctrines of the four Councils following the third Ecumenical Council in no way alter the doctrine set forth at Nicea. But this is patently not enough! This is simply a polite way on the part of the oriental Orthodox of refusing to accept the four Councils subsequent to Nicea as Ecumenical Councils. Bishop Kallistos Ware in his book The Orthodox Church says, "The doctrinal definitions of the Ecumenical Councils are infallible. The statements of faith put out by the Seven Councils possess, along with the Bible, an abiding and irrevocable authority." In the great diversity of the Orthodox Church mutual acceptance of the seven Ecumenical Councils provides an inner unity that gives the Church its continuity of belief. A group which does not accept all seven Councils cannot be Orthodox.

That it would open the floodgates of Nestorianism was the reason that the Monophysites refused to accept the definition of faith laid down in the final act of the Council of Chalcedon. Fifteen hundred years have shown that fear to be unfounded. If the Monophysites really desire union for the right reasons then they should now easily be able to transform their "positive response" into positive acceptance of Chalcedon and the other three Ecumenical Councils. If they do not do this what does this mean for the Orthodox? It means, then, that in condemning the Monophysites the Ecumenical Councils (as the Protestants insist) "can and did err." Further, it means that the Councils after Nicea which are regarded as ecumenical by the Orthodox were in actual fact but local councils and their decisions were never binding on the whole Church or infallible. Indeed, this would undermine the whole conciliar nature of the Orthodox Church and in fact would signal the end of Orthodoxy.

9.) In the light of our joint declaration on Christology and the joint affirmations mentioned above, we now clearly realize and understand that our two families have always loyally guarded the same and authentic Christological Orthodox faith, and have maintained uninterrupted the apostolic tradition although they may have used the Christological terms in a different manner. It is that common faith and that continual loyalty to the apostolic tradition which must be the basis of our unity and communion.

Yes, we have seen that the theological differences which so agitated the Church at the time of the Council of Chalcedon were largely due to misunderstanding and misrepresentation, indeed, often to a determination not to understand the other position, that these positions today are seen in a more conciliatory light and need no longer be the source of division. But to speak of "continual loyalty to the apostolic tradition" on the part of the Monophysites is a denial of the truth. Let us return again to Bishop Kallistos Ware who says, "Christian Tradition is the faith which Jesus Christ imparted to the Apostles and since the Apostles' time has been handed down from generation to generation in the Church.... Among the various elements, a unique pre-eminence belongs to the Bible, to the Creed (of Nicea), and to the doctrinal definitions of the Ecumenical Councils: these things the Orthodox accept as something absolute and unchanging, something which cannot be canceled or revised."

10) The two families accept that all the anathemas and the condemnations of the past which kept us divided must be lifted by the Churches so that the last obstacle to full unity and communion of our two families can be removed by the grace and the power of God. The two families accept that the lifting of the anathemas and the condemnations will be based on the fact that the Councils and the fathers previously anathematized or condemned were not heretics.

Was Dioscorus not worthy of anathema? Were the 630 Fathers at Chalcedon wrong to condemn this man who brought such chaos to the Church beginning with his tyrannical behavior at the Second Council in Ephesus over which he presided in 449? He was, after all, their contemporary and many knew him personally. What is his legacy to Christianity in the East? The religious dissension which he fanned and spread fundamentally weakened the fabric of the Byzantine state making it an easy prey to the forthcoming attacks of barbarians. One by one they fell: Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, and even Greece itself. Places where Christ and St. Paul walked and taught; where the disciples were at home; Egypt itself—the cradle of Christian monasticism; Jerusalem—the holy city, all were lost along with their countless souls for Christ. In this tragic disaster Dioscorus bears no little responsibility. But we must keep in mind that no matter how tragic these events were, this is not the reason Dioscorus was condemned and anathematized. He was anathematized for his heretical Christological views. He was condemned for his support of the Eutychian heresy. It would be sheer hypocrisy to revoke the anathema against this man!

Recommendations—We therefore recommend to our Churches the following practical steps:

a.) The Orthodox should lift all the anathemas and the condemnations against all the oriental Orthodox Councils and fathers which they have pronounced in the past.

b.) The oriental Orthodox should simultaneously lift all the anathemas and condemnations against all the Orthodox Councils and Fathers which they have pronounced in the past. c.) The manner according to which the anathemas have to be lifted must be decided by the individual Church.

Conclusion: Confident in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, of unity and of love, we submit this joint declaration and these recommendations to our venerable Churches for examination and follow-up, praying that the same Spirit will lead us to the unity for which our Lord prayed and prays.

It seems that lifting the anathemas laid against them by the Fourth and subsequent Ecumenical Councils is the price the Monophysite Churches are demanding for unity. There does not seem to be any hint of concern, much less sorrow, for the consequences of this schism which has lasted so long. The Monophysites expect to be treated as if they not only have an equal claim to the title of Orthodoxy but, indeed, in some way were justified in remaining apart for so long. And the Ecumenical Patriarchate which is orchestrating this Dialogue has long since lost any right to take the leadership in determining what is or what is not heresy. The Church of Greece, also deeply involved in this whole affair, is itself in a state of serious disunity and spiritual decline. Even the monks of Mount Athos, who in the past could be relied on for a spiritual defense of Orthodoxy, seem to be more concerned with less significant matters than with this most serious impending threat to the faith.

Even laity, who in the past could be counted on as a last ditch defense against heresy, have been so anesthetized by western materialism and unbelief that there has been very little reaction to this present crisis from them. There are those who have even claimed that the present dialogue with the Monophysites is actually only a "dry run" in preparation for union with the Papacy. Those who espouse union with Rome want to see whether the laity have become so indifferent to defense of the true faith, whether the episcopacy, infiltrated now by elements at such variance with Orthodoxy, have become so mesmerized by the one world—one faith movement, that they will be able to carry out their plan successfully.

It is important for every Orthodox Christian to be especially vigilant now. The Church is in such disarray, with so many of its hierarchs actively working to undermine the faith, that it is not the time to enter into negotiations which have such a lasting and serious implication for Orthodox Christianity as a whole.

Unity with the Monophysite churches is something we would all like to see. However, this unity is not so desirable that we should abandon Orthodoxy to achieve it. Orthodoxy is what its name suggests—"right belief." The Monophysites have diverged from this "right belief" and if their desire for unity is not based on a desire to reestablish "right belief" then it is based on false motives and must be rejected. To reestablish "right belief" a recognition of error is essential. This is not meant to humiliate. Far from it, it is meant to clarify for the Orthodox and Monophysites the eternal truths that the Orthodox have preserved and which the Monophysites now, presumably, wish to reaffirm. A recognition of error must be followed by unconditional acceptance of the seven Ecumenical Councils. That the final statements of some of these Councils contain anathemas which the Monophysites find hard to bear is the price that must be paid for unity, but surely if the motives are pure and the desire is for truth, this difficulty will be far outweighed by the benefits of reestablishing "right belief." Considerations about unity on any other terms would be fatal for Orthodoxy, concluding the process of subversion begun in earnest at the turn of this century with the adoption of the New Calendar in 1924. The Orthodox are at a fatal crossroads. This is no light or insignificant matter. It is something that is of deep significance for every Orthodox Christian. The Destroyer—the enemy of the Church —has a powerful weapon in our apathy which so paralyzes us all in this century. Ultimately it is the laity who are the final defense of the Church. Therefore, you must inform yourself as well as you can about matters affecting the life of the Church and there make your voice heard if and when it becomes necessary. The voice of holy Tradition which we have preserved in The Spiritual Meadow of John Moschus confirms these conclusions. We read:

"Once a monk called Theophan came to see the great elder Kyriakos... " (He tells the elder that in his country he is in contact with Nestorians whereupon) "the elder begins to try to convince the monk of his error and to pray that he abandon that fatal heresy and join himself to the holy catholic and apostolic Church.

"'It is impossible to be saved ('without right belief).'" (The monk is interested and the elder offers him his cell saying:)

"'I have hope that God in His mercy will reveal the truth to you.'"

"And leaving the monk in his cave, the elder set out for the Dead Sea, praying for the monk as he went. And indeed the next day about the ninth hour the monk sees someone, strange in appearance, who says to him, 'Come and find out the truth.' And taking him he leads him to a gloomy, stinking place emitting flames and shows him Nestorius and Theodore (of Mopsuestia), Eutyches and Apollonarius, Evagrius and Didymus, Dioscorus and Severus, Arius and Origen, and others. And pointing at them he says to the monk, 'That is the place prepared for heretics and those who taught falsely about the Mother of God and those who follow their teachings. If you do not want to taste the same punishment turn to the holy catholic and apostolic Church to which the elder who is instructing you belongs. I tell you: even though a man be adorned with all the works of charity, but does not have right belief he will find himself in that place.’

"With these words the monk came to himself. When the elder returned the monk told him everything that he had seen and in a short time joined himself to the holy catholic and apostolic Church. Staying in the monastery of Kalamon he lived with the elder for some years and died in peace."

Endnotes

1) Monophysite Churches: The Churches of Egypt, Syria, and Ethiopia finally separated from the Orthodox Church about 100 years after the Council of Chalcedon, the definitions of which they implacably opposed.

2) Monophysitism (monos "only one" physis "nature") The doctrine that in the Person of the Incarnate Christ there was but a single Nature—and that Divine, as against the Orthodox teaching of a double Nature, Divine and Human, after the Incarnation.

3) Nestorianism: The doctrine that there were two separate Persons in the Incarnate Christ, the one Divine and the other Human, as opposed to the Orthodox doctrine that the Incarnate Christ was a single Person, at once God and man. Thus, Nestorius held that Mary should not be called "Theotokos" (Godbearer or Mother of God) but that she was the mother of the humanity of Christ and therefore should properly be called "Christotokos" or Christbearer. St. Cyril of Alexandria and the Egyptian monks were the most active opponents of Nestorius, who was Patriarch of Constantinople. He was condemned at the first Council of Ephesus in 431 for his doctrine and deposed.

4) St. Cyril (d. 444) Patriarch of Alexandria. He vigorously contested the theology of Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople, who preached against the use of the word "Theotokos" (God bearer) for the Mother of God on the ground that she was the mother of the humanity only of Christ. In his defense of Orthodox teaching St. Cyril appears to have used the Greek word physis (nature) as almost, if not quite, the equivalent of hypostasis (person). It is this ambiguity which gave a ready handle to those who later sought to claim his authority for Monophysitism.

5) Tome of St. Leo: Letter sent on June 13, 449 by Pope Leo I to St. Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople but intercepted and suppressed by Dioscorus who was at that time presiding over the Council being held at Ephesus. The Tome was written as a result of the appeal by Eutyches after he was condemned and deposed in 448. It expounds with remarkable clarity the Orthodox Christological position according to which Jesus Christ is One Person—the Divine Word in whom are two natures—the Divine and the human, permanently united, though unconfused and unmixed, each exercising its own particular faculties, but within the unity of the one Person. Thus, follows the "communicatio idiomatum" which means that while the human and Divine natures in Christ were separate, the attributes of one may be predicated on the other in view of their union in the one Person of the Saviour.

6) Eutyches (378-454) He was archimandrite of a large monastery at Constantinople with great influence at court through the eunuch Chrysophius. His keen opposition to Nestorianism led him to the opposite extreme. He taught the confounding or mixing of the two natures in Christ, maintaining that there were two natures "before the Incarnation", but "after the Incarnation"there was only one—the divine. Thus the two natures merge into one at the Incarnation. Deposed by St. Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople after synodal action in 448, Eutyches appealed his case to Pope St. Leo who repudiated Eutyches, doctrines in his Tome. Through his influence at court and the support of Dioscorus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who presided at the synod of Ephesus in 449, Eutyches managed to have the decision of the synod of 448 reversed and he was acquitted and reinstated only to be deposed again at the Council of Chalcedon (451) which sent him into exile.

7) Dioscorus (d. 454) Patriarch of Alexandria. During St. Cyril's patriarchate he became Archdeacon of Alexandria and on St. Cyril's death in 444 succeeded him on the patriarchal throne. When in 448 Eutyches began to attract attention by his Christological doctrines Dioscorus gave him his support when he was condemned and in 449 presided over the "Robber Council" at Ephesus. There he deposed Flavian and reinstated Eutyches. His fortunes changed with the reversal of theological policy on the death of the Emperor Theodosius 11 in 450. The third session of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when Eutychianism was condemned, also deposed and excommunicated Dioscorus. He was banished by the civil authorities to Gangra in Paphlagonia where he died three years later.

8) de fide: a proposition is said to be "de fide" if it has been expressly declared and defined by the Church to be true and that to contradict it would be heretical.

From Orthodox Life, vol. 42, no. 3 (May-June 1991), pp. 5-18.