The Impact of Cappadocian Theology on Byzantine Aesthetics

Gregory of Nazianzus on the Unity and Singularity of Christ
  • Anne Karahan
Part of the Pathways for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue book series (PEID)

Abstract

Orthodox faith emphasizes the birth from the Theotokos (θεοτόκος),2 which identifies an entirely human existence; Jesus Christ is circumscribed in humanity, yet not in divinity.

Keywords

Turkey Eter Triad Avant Metaphor 

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Notes

  1. 3.
    On Byzantine holy images and faith in coinherence, in Christ as well as the Trinity, see Anne Karahan, “The Issue of περιχώρησις in Byzantine Holy Images,” Studia Patristica 44–49 (2010): 27–34.Google Scholar
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    John Damascene, “De fide contra Nestorianus” 49.1–11, trans. Andrew Louth, in St. John Damascene: Tradition and Originality in Byzantine Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 5.
    Georg I. Söll, “Mary,” in Encyclopedia of the Early Church, ed. Angelo Di Berardino, trans. Adrian Walford (Cambridge: James Clarke, 1992), vol. 1, 538. Cf. also Basil the Great of Caesarea, who underlines, when refuting Euno-mius’s (ca. 335–ca. 394) Neo-Arian ideas, that “those who worship Christ cannot admit that God’s Mother could have lost her virginity” See “Homilia in sanctam Christi generationem” 3B (Patrologia Graeca, ed. Jacques Paul Migne [Paris: Imprimerie Catholique, 1857; hereafter PG] 31.1468B). Moreover, Gregory of Nazianzus declares Mary’s purification in anticipation by the Holy Spirit at the Annunciation, initiating faith in Mary’s purity and exemption from original sin (προκαθαρθεῖσα, of προκαθαίρω, “purify/cleanse in advance”). See Oration 38.16, ed. Claudio Moreschini, trans.Google Scholar
  4. Paul Gallay, Sources chrétiennes (Paris: Les Éditions du Cerf, 1990; hereafter SC) 358, 140–43. The Virgin’s exemption from original sin is further stressed by use of such epitheta ornantia as ἄχραντος (“undefiled,” “immaculate”) and epithets such as “holy,” “all-holy,” as well as the Eve-Mary parallel. This, in addition to beliefs in Mary’s ability of intercession, intensified the Marian cult (Söll, “Mary,” 537–38). On the Theotokos, cf. Gregory of Nazianzus, Epistle 101.4–6, ed. Paul Gallay with Maurice Jourjon, SC 208 (1974), 38–39.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    See also Anne Karahan, Byzantine Holy Images—Transcendence and Immanence: The Theological Background of the Iconography and Aesthetics of the Chora Church (Leuven: Peeters, 2010). On the motif of The First Seven Steps of the Virgin at the Chora Church, see ibid., 130, 147–48, 173, 176, 206, 220, 253, 309.Google Scholar
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  7. 10.
    On the theology of the Greek Church Fathers as theory and method for exploring Byzantine sacred art, see Karahan, Byzantine Holy Images, General Index, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzos, Gregory of Nyssa, Dionysios the Areopagite, Maximos the Confessor, and John of Damascus; Anne Karahan, “The Image of God in Byzantine Cappadocia and the Issue of Supreme Transcendence,” Studia Patristica 59 (2013): 97–111; and Anne Karahan, “En betraktelse av östkristen treenighetstro och motivet filoxenia i den bysantinska klippkyrkan Çarıklı i Kappadokien,” in Festskrift—Svein Rise, ed. Gunnar Innerdal and Knut-Willy Saether (Kristiansand: Portal forlag, forthcoming). 11. On Byzantine borders, seeGoogle Scholar
  8. Anne Karahan, “Beauty in the Eyes of God: Byzantine Aesthetics and Basil of Caesarea,” Byzantion: Revue Internationale des Études Byzantines 82 (2012): 200–207.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Torstein Tollefsen, “Skapelse og gjenopprettelse ifølge Maximus Bekjenneren,” in Danningsperspektiver: Teologiske og filosofiske syn på danning i antikken og i moderne tid, ed. Svein Rise (Trondheim: Tapir Akademsik forlag, 2010), 82–84 (in Norwegian).Google Scholar
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    Christopher A. Beeley, “Cyril of Alexandria and Gregory Nazianzen: Tradition and Complexity in Patristic Theology,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 17, no. 3 (Fall 2009): 381–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 26.
    Karl Holl, Amphilochius von Ikonium in seinem Verhältnis zu den grossen Kappadoziern (Tübingen: Mohr, 1904), 195.Google Scholar
  13. 29.
    For further discussion, see Christopher A. Beeley, Gregory of Nazianzus on the Trinity and the Knowledge of God: In Your Light We Shall See Light (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), ch. 3. Apollinaris (ca. 310–ca. 390), bishop of Laodicea in Asia Minor, upheld the non-Orthodox doctrine that Christ had a human body and soul, but no human spirit, this being replaced by the divine Logos.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 40.
    Cf. translation in Arthur James Mason, The Five Theological Orations of Gregory of Nazianzus (London: Cambridge University Press, 1899), 188.Google Scholar
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    Cf. G. W. H. Lampe (ed.), A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2008), 828.Google Scholar
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    Johannes Quasten, Patrology, vol. 3: The Golden Age of Greek Patristic Literature: From the Council of Nicaea to the Council of Chalcedon (Westminster, Maryland: Christian Classics, 1994), 228.Google Scholar
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    Leo Donald Davis, The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325–787): Their History and Theology (Collegeville, MN: Michael Glazier / Liturgical Press, 1990), 114.Google Scholar
  18. 50.
    Discussion of Basil the Great, Contra Eunomium 2.20–22 in Philip Rousseau, Basil of Caesarea (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 107. On ὁμοούσιος and the Cappadocian fathers, see also Karahan, “Issue of περιχώρησις,” 31–33.Google Scholar
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    Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, trans. by a small group of members of the Fellowship of St. Albans and St. Sergius (Cambridge: James Clarke, 1991), 39–40.Google Scholar
  20. 61.
    On Byzantine Iconoclasm, see Anne Karahan, “Byzantine Iconoclasm: Ideology and Quest for Power,” in Iconoclasm from Antiquity to Modernity, ed. Kristine Kolrud and Marina Prusac (Surrey, England: Ashgate, 2014), 75–94. Leslie Brubaker emphasized in a lecture titled “Byzantine Iconoclasm Did Not Exist” that iconomachy was the term used by the Byzantines for what later scholars categorized as Iconoclasm (May 8, 2010, at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences, Uppsala, in collaboration with the Swedish Byzantine Society). Theodore the Studite uses εἰκονομαχέω, “war against images” (Oration 10.24, PG [1860] 99.828A); εἰκονομαχικός, “warring against images” (Antirrhetica adversus ichonomachos 2.7 and Oration 11.17, PG 99.356D and 99.820B, respectively); and, as a substantive, εἰκονομάχος, “hostile to images” (Antirrhetica adversus ichonomachos 2.1, PG 99.353B). The term εἰκονομάχος used as a substantive occurs also in Germanus I, Patriarch of Constantinople (Oration 1, PG [1863] 98.232A).Google Scholar
  21. 65.
    Anne Richard, Cosmologie et théologie chez Grégorie de Nazianze (Paris: Institut d’Ètudes Augustiniennes, 2003), 467–68.Google Scholar

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© Anne Karahan 2016

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  • Anne Karahan

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