[The following excerpt is taken from Archbishop Aram Keshishian's paper given at the fifth Pro Oriente Consultation, 18-25 September 1988, in Vienna, Austria. Four unofficial theological consultations between theologians of the Oriental Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church had already taken place between 1971 and 1978, at the invitation of Pro Oriente, an ecumenical foundation of the Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna.]
Chalcedonian Christology has occupied an important place on the agenda of our discussions. An agreement has been reached on the following points.
- The same apostolic faith was affirmed as the 'common basis' of our faith.
- The decisions and teachings of Nicea, Constantinople, and Ephesus were accepted by both Churches.
- The Nestorian and Eutychian teachings were rejected as heresies.
- The existing differences in theological formulations, interpretations and emphasizes have to be understood in the light of Nicea and Constantinople.
- The mystery of Christ remains inexhaustible and ineffable. It transcends human perceptions and expressions. Constant and common efforts need to be made to have a more comprehensive grasp of this mystery.
...Having said this, the Oriental Orthodox Churches maintain unequivocally that:
(1) The first three ecumenical councils are the foundation of our Christology, and, as such, they cannot be altered or added to. Chalcedon is only an interpretation of Nicea and Constantinople. The Chalcedonian formula is not a credo but only a theological statement.
(2) The physis of Christ is both human and divine with all the properties of the two natures without mixture, confusion or separation. The human and divine natures do not act separately, but always together, inseparably united in one person. The hypostatic union of two natures makes them one. They are separated in thought alone. 'We confess the oneness of two natures' which, in fact, is not a numerical one, but a united one.
(3) Terminology remains a major problem in Christology. Chalcedonian controversies proved that the same terms and formulations often had different meanings and implications in different cultural and theological contexts. Chalcedon affirmed 'en duo' out of fear of Eutychianism. The Oriental Orthodox Churches held firm 'ek duo' over against the Nestorian tendency. Two sides used different terminologies for different concerns. Their intention, however, was the same: to maintain intact the teachings of the first three ecumenical councils against the invasion of Nestorianism. The words of Nerses the Gracious, a twelfth-century Armenian theologian are, indeed, challenging: 'If "one nature" is said for the indivisible and indissoluble union, and not for the confusion; and "two natures" as being unconfused, immutable and indivisible, both are within the bounds of Orthodoxy.'
--Archbishop Aram Keshishian, Orthodox Perspectives on Mission (1992), pp. 89-90.