A Feast for Nestorius: Maybe Heretic, But, in the Dream Time, Founder of My Buddhist-Christian Church

A Feast for Nestorius: Maybe Heretic, But, in the Dream Time, Founder of My Buddhist-Christian Church October 25, 2017







As I understand it, within some branches of the Eastern family of churches, today is celebrated as a festival in honor of Nestorius, sometime archbishop and Patriarch of Constantinople.

He would later be considered a heresiarch, advocating, perhaps, maybe, some say, a hard division within Jesus’s heart between the human person and the divine. And as such the putative founder of “Nestorianism,” which together with the Orthodox and the “Oriental Orthodox.”is a third stream of continuing ancient non-Roman Christianity.

There are those who contend the patriarch did not in fact hold the views with which he is today associated, but rather the allegations were trumped up by Eusebius of Dorylaeum, at the time a layman, but who out of these disputations would be propelled to the episcopacy. The fight was then taken up by the rather more important, if with equally clouded motivations, Cyril of Alexandria.  Whatever else might be true, out of this Nestorius was condemned by the First Council of Ephesus, and deposed. Condemned to exile, even from exile he never ceased objecting to the allegations against his orthodoxy. He died sometime after 450 at the Great Oasis of Hibis, in Upper Egypt.

What is more interesting to me is that he is the putative founder of the Church of the East (today divided into several jurisdictions) one, as I noted, of the ancient Christian churches. And, for me, most importantly, while I have no particular dog in the theological debates around Jesus’ Christology, it is the Church of the East that sent missionaries to China and which is the source of my own dream Christian church, sometimes called the Luminous Religion.

I wrote in that article to which I link above: “My friend the independent scholar Adrian Worsfold summarizes the Luminous Religion’s followers as ‘vegetarians, (who) promoted non-violence, charity, sexual equality, care for nature, and were (nearly uniquely in their world strongly) anti-slavery.’ And, while it continues the Trinitarian formula for baptism, with the change of calling the spirit, ‘pure wind,’ the Luminous Religion’s teachings otherwise map nicely nineteenth century Unitarianism, emphasizing ‘salvation by character,’ rather than through a vicarious atonement.”

Of course the big question. My question. What if something emerged out of Christianity, and Buddhism, and Daoism streaming together as a new version of the ancient Watercourse Way? What would that be? What could that be?

So, for me, blessings on the saint. Blessings on that dream church, which never may exist outside my heart. But, oh my, thrives there…

Here’s a little on the so-called heresy attributed to Nestorius, along with a personal defense of the patriarch.

And. Here’s something a bit more interesting to me.


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