Saturday, September 26, 2015

Jourdan Hurtaud, O.P.: "Lettres de Savonarole aux princes chrétiens pour la réunion d'un concile" (Translation)

Stay tuned for full translation. Critical commentary to follow.

Jourdan Hurtaud, O.P.: "Lettres de Savonarole aux princes chrétiens pour la réunion d'un concile," Revue Thomiste 7, no. 44 (1900), 631-674 <>. 

The Letters of Savonarola to the Christian Princes for the Assembly of a Council

The pages devoted by Louis Pastor (1) to the Florentine reformer and the fair or harsh responses it has attracted poses again, not only in the heart of Piagnoni who faithfully guard the fervent cult of his memory, but to the opinion of the Catholic world, the Savonarola question. For four centuries, the trial is debated and the cause is still pending. Our intention is not, here at least, to throw us in full scrimmage and enter the intense debates; we only want to draw attention to one of the parts of the trial, which, we believe, has not been interpreted so far as it should be, neither by the most resolute opponents of the Frate, nor even by his most convinced apologists. We refer to the Letters to Christian princes for the meeting of a council. These letters, in the plan, were to be five in number, addressed to the Emperor, the King of France, the King and Queen of Spain, the King of England, and King of Hungary. Only the first three have been preserved. We give here in its entirety the letter to the Emperor; from the other two we adduce the passages relating to the council. From comparing different the literal interpretation and theological doctrine they express or to which they refer become more obvious. (1) History of the Popes From the Close of the Middle Ages, vol. V and VI.  

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Tsarevich Dimitry of Uglich Died Accidentally

Boris Chorikov, Death of Tsarevich Dmitry

It seems most reasonable to conclude that Tsarevich Dimitry Ivanovich of Uglich (10/19/1582-5/15/1591), the youngest son of Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible, accidentally killed himself by stabbing himself with a knife during an epileptic fit.

Symeon the New Theologian on Filioque

Glory to God in the highest.

The pneumatological teaching of Symeon the New Theologian (949-1012) is not antithetical to Filioque.

See Jacques-Paul Migne, Patrologia Graeca 120:331-332, where Symeon says that the Holy Ghost "proceeds from the Father": "Deitas namque cum sit superessentialis, etiam et sola est immutabilis et invariabilis; estque tanquam mens, rationem et spiritum habens dicitrque Pater, Filii Pater (qui est quasi ratio) et productor Spiritus (2), quemadmodum item genitor rationis. Et cum Pater Deus nominator, simul cum Filio, ac Spiritu intelligitur. Quando demum Spiritus sanctus appellatur Deus, intelligitur eum ex Patre procedentem, etiam Filii spiritum esse, unione et discretion inexplicabili." The scholarly note (2) says that just as our Lord does not, in John 15:26, exclude the Filioque (cf. St. Augustine the Great, Homilies on John 99:6,8 and Against Maximus 2:14 [PL 42:770]), neither do Symeon's words exclude Filioque. Like some of the Church Fathers, Symeon simply makes the positive affirmation that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father, without making the Photian denial that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son. Many Greek Fathers who made this simple affirmation also explicitly affirmed Filioque.

Jaroslav Pelikan is indefinite as to whether Symeon took the Catholic or Orthodox position on Filioque: "Although Simeon’s treatment of such dogmatic questions as the Filioque did not have a polemical tone and sometimes seemed rather confused, he demanded that the norm of teaching be 'the orthodox dogma of the apostolic and catholic church'" (The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 2: The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700), Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977, 256-257).

Symeon's feast is March 12 in the Orthodox churches (Hussey, J. M. "Symeon the New Theologian, Monk of the Studion." New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 13, 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 671-672). Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI rightly referred to him as "holy," though I have yet to confirm some Catholic brothers' references (here, here, and here) of his presence on some Eastern Catholic calendars. Constantinople was in union with Rome during Symeon's life, as the reader will understand if he consults these writings:
(1) Martin Jugie, A.A., Le schisme byzantin; aperçu historique et Doctrinal (Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1941)
(2) Siméon Vailhe, "Constantinople, Église de," Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique (Paris 1907), 3.2

I will do further research to see if any data contradicts this thesis, and to find any writings of Symeon that shed more light on his views on the procession of the Holy Ghost and on Rome. Constantinople was in union with Rome during Symeon's life, as the reader will understand if he consults the writings of Martin Jugie, A.A. and Simeon Vailhé. I will dig through Pelikan's work, the introductory notes in Migne, and the bibliography in Hussey's encyclopedia article, among other sources.