Teologie pentru azi

O platformă ortodoxă pentru o reală postmodernitate

Lună: august 2011 (Page 1 of 22)

Toamnă plus an nou bisericesc

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  • La 1 septembrie 2011 începe noul an bisericesc ortodox 2011-2012. De aceea la mulți ani tuturor și multă bucurie duhovnicească în viața dumneavoastră!
  • Tinerii noștri trăiesc o „nematurizare afectivă, [dar o] prematurizare sexuală”. Fapt pentru care devin adulți mai înainte de a deveni maturi.
  • Ctitorii și donatorii Bisericilor noastre, prin faptul că sunt pictați undeva în Biserică nu devin prin aceasta „Sfinți”, ci li se dă cinstirea care li se cuvine pentru generozitatea lor. De aceea articolul de aici denotă  o crasă neștiință a realității bisericești ortodoxe în această chestiune. Aceasta e o tradiție veche, corectă și frumoasă în Bisericile ortodoxe de pretutindeni și nu „o inovație” românească.
  • Cartea e cu adevărat atrăgătoare dacă e văzută ca o împlinire interioară pentru veșnicie.
  • Cum de foștii comuniști, acum cu sentimente democratice, tânjesc atât tot după totalitarismul nesimțirii și nu după gânduri elegante?
  • În icoana ortodoxă, spune Prof. Leonid Alexandrovici Uspensky, „imaginea este redusă la un minimum de detalii și la un maximum de expresivitate”, în Leonid Uspensky, Teologia icoanei în Biserica Ortodoxă, studiu introd. și trad. de Teodor Baconsky, Ed. Anastasia, București, 2009, p. 65.
  • Încă suntem în urmă cu receptarea onlineului, adică tocmai cu mediul care reprezintă propriul nostru viitor prezent.
  • Când musulmanii din România devin ostentativi…atunci se roagă pe stadionul Dinamo. E pentru prima dată! Tot la fel au început și marile adunări neoprotestante, de pe stadioane, din România, cât și paradele gay și târgurile porno: deodată, fără preaviz.
  • Șoseaua de 8 ore dintre București și Grecia.
  • Teologie pentru azi împlinește astăzi 57 de luni de online.
  • Un bogătaș chinez a cumpărat 300 de km pătrați în Islanda. Chinezii vor să facă un aeroport în Ungaria dar au investiții și în Grecia. Cumpără tot mai mult teren în Europa, investesc, sunt prezenți aici, pentru că vor să influențeze modul nostru de-a fi, ca și musulmanii.
  • 100.000 de românce, pe premisa româncele sunt fete frumoase, s-au căsătorit cu italieni. Iar dacă mai numărăm și cele peste 4 milioane de români existenți în afara granițelor nostre nu trebuie să ne mai mirăm că scade numărul și calitatea celor care au rămas.
  • Însă se preconizează depășirea, în acest an, a numărului de 7 miliarde de locuitori pe pământ.
  • Numai dialogul poate să ne apropie. Dar dialogul care e tot una cu cele mai sincere și profunde crezuri ale noastre.

Sfântul Vasile cel Mare contemplând cartea Sfântului Profet Isaia [5]

Prima parte, a 2-a, a 3-a, a 4-a
***

Fără iertarea lui Dumnezeu nimeni nu se poate dedica „vieții în conformitate cu virtutea” (p. 60).

*

Noul început al celui ce păcătuiește (Ibidem); mâinile ridicate la rugăciune (Ibidem); mâinile ridicate și lăsate ale Sfântului Moise și intensitatea diferită a vieții duhovnicești (p. 60-61); mintea văzătoare = Israelul duhovnicesc (p. 61); dispoziția interioară sinceră a rugăciunii (Ibidem); rugăciunea care provoacă mânia lui Dumnezeu (p. 62).

*

Curățirea Botezului (p. 63); iconomia Scripturii (Ibidem); „cuvântul moralizator” (p. 64); rațiunea ca judecătorul interior (p. 65); dubla nedreptățire (Ibidem); eliberarea celor stăpâniți de diavol și ducerea lor „la ascultarea de Hristos” (p. 66).

*

„târâți ca de un șuvoi de violența lor” (p. 66); „simpatia iubirii frățești” (Ibidem); prietenia/ familiaritatea cu Dumnezeu (p. 67); memoria sufletului nostru (p. 68); „sufletul transformat de păcat” (p. 69); păcatul ca semnul produs de fierul înroșit în foc (Ibidem); liberul arbitru (Ibidem); „gura cea nemincinoasă” a lui Dumnezeu (p. 70).

*

„Roadele inimii sunt plăcerea din contemplarea frumuseții dumnezeiești” în mod extatic (p. 70). „Însămânțarea în Duhul” (Ibidem) de aici e sinonimul vederii dumnezeiești.

*

necredința este mama desfrânării” (p. 71); „oamenii se grăbesc…la faptele necuvioase” (Ibidem); „sfințenia Tainelor” (Ibidem); argintul = „cuvântul credinței” (p. 72); „odăile ascunse ale inimilor” (Ibidem); „îndoiala în a alege” (Ibidem); „cuvântul se grăbește spre sensul duhovnicesc” (Ibidem).

The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [4]

The first, the second and the third part

Our greek font.

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1. 3. The Uncreated Divine Energies and Their Presence in the Synergistic Acts of the Deification and of the Sight of God

The third premise of the deification of man and the sight of God has its inner connection with the two previously discussed. Only if our Creator is the divine Logos, and if our body and the cosmos are rational and transparent mediums we can speak about the deification of man and the sight of God.

Scripture speaks about God as about the living God [Qeou/ zw/ntoj][1], namely about God, Who irradiates us with His glory.

Is arhipresent in Scripture the indication of the existence of God’s glory and God’s uncreated energy[2]. The living God manifests His eternal glory in the life of faithful people to rise us to communion with Himself.

Speaking about of our relation with risen Christ and ascended to the Father, Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae writes:

„The light of the Trinity, which is proper to the Son of God, will show and through the body that He will take, through words and deeds of His loving, but will show wholly in His body after the resurrection. And from His body will spread in those who believed in Him and make facts, like Him, in the earthly life, but fully in their body after their resurrection [from the dead].

If the body can be a medium, through that spread the wise words and good deeds are done, it’s natural that can be a seen environment of the spiritual light and to irradiate the light of it and in the universe which is connected, although the revelation of spiritual light through matter is a great mystery[3].

It is possible our irradiation by the glory of God for that the matter is open for the uncreated and eternal energies of God and through the sight of God’s glory we see those around of God and not being of God.

Therefore, Father Professor Dumitru Popescu speaks about the distinction between being and God’s works, wroting the following:

„The eastern theology considers…that God can be known by His works, but not in His being, so the uncreated energies, as expressions of God’s work, come to protect the mystery that is surrounding God’s being, ie base of the trinitarian apofatism.

Likewise, the eastern theology considers that the process of the perfection of believers in Christ and the Church is not realized by constraining external means…but through the transfiguration of the whole human nature from inside, through the energy of the Holy Ghost, so the uncreated energies come to base the man deification in Christ”[4].

But the sight of the divine light or the uncreated energy does not mean closing in itself of the man to contemplate His glory but an opening of us to the overwhelming greatness of God’s life.

For that „the uncreated energies remain, in the same time, both exterior and interior the human nature. It remains the exterior, because it springs from God’s being, and the interior, because they are meant to deify human nature. The uncreated energy [but] does not remain just the exterior of human nature, because it is not an entity added from the external of the human nature, but the divine power that is entering in the human nature to transform it in Christ”[5].

Polemizing with the false doctrine of the created grace, Father Professor Dumitru Popescu showed here that the grace is not parallel with the man or does not embrace the man in the exterior mode, but inside divinizes it, because the man who is  depassioneting himself is an transparent medium of the glory of God.

Therefore, in the process of the our deification „human nature remains the threads created, [but] it acquires through the uncreated energies of some supernatural qualities that make the process of deification of the human nature not to remain only a pious metaphor, but a true reality[6].

The presence of the uncreated energies of God in our lives, received in the Sacraments, in the ascetic life and in the personal sight of God, we realize the endless advance in the near to God, in deification, which is a divine-human reality which is acquired in the Church.

If we deny the foundation of our relation with God, namely the divine grace, we have only a hypothetical connection with God. The real connection with God is the personal relation with God through His glory of that we share into a fervent ascetic life.

Saint Gregory Palamas speaks of the distinction between the divine being and His energies and about our communion on the eternal energies of God in the context of the Transfiguration of the Lord, saying: „whole the Church of God declared that the grace seen by the Apostles [in] unspeakable [mode] in Tabor is uncreated, as the divine and ineffable light and the brilliance of the divine nature, but not nature, for it is above all manifestation and communion”[7].

We do not have communion with the being of God in the ecstatic mode but the glory of God, for „the soul sees God in the light, in the body, by the intermedium of the body”[8].

Talking about what is happening in ecstasy with us, Saint Gregory Palamas writes the following words:

„When the Pious men see in themselves that the light divine – and they see when there are worthy of the deifying communion of the Holy Ghost, when they are examined in the unspeakable mode by the perfecting rays – then they see their own garment deification, their minds are filled with glory and the unsaid beautiful brightness which springs from the grace of the Word, so as the body of the Word was filled with divine glory on the mountain by the divine light that flowed from His deity.

For the glory which His Father gave Him, and He gave it to those who obey Him, how says the word of the Gospel; and He wanted to be them with Him and they see His glory [Jn. 17, 22, 24]”[9].

Saint Gregory speaks about of the filling of the glory of God of those that purify the passions and, in the same time, of the fact that the glory of the Son is identical with the glory of the Father and the Holy Ghost. But he states that Christ gives His glory to those who obey Him, filling us with His divine life and lifting us to the union with Himself through the Ghost, and through Himself, with the Father.

Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae tells us about the divine grace as the divine power that comes in us from the transfigured humanity of Christ, saying:

„Speaking about the grace we must emphasize both the quality of the inexhaustible power that comes to us from the infinite deity dwelt in Christ’s humanity, and the perspective of light what opens us in the infinity communion with the person of Christ or the Holy Trinity, Who have been open in Christ, in love.

The grace is the open window to the infinity of God as a person, or as [and] the trinitarian communion of persons, once God has put us, by grace, in relation with Him”[10].

Our author points out, that the relation with God is by His grace, through His uncreated energies and in relation with Him we partake of the infinity communion with Christ or with Most Holy Trinity.

Also Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae, in the discussion about the personal redemption, speaks to us about the creating of a unique connection, deeply personal between us and Christ through the sight of His divine glory:

„The glory of Christ communicated to us, those who are in relation with Him, believing Him, is endless and it does not frighten us, but it manifests a great intimacy for us. Those who look to Christ and continue in communion with Him, become ever more just, more embedded to the glory of Christ, the Christ Himself as a model: <But we all with open face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Ghost of the Lord> [II Cor. 3, 18]”[11].

On the one hand, emphasizes the sight of the glory of God in our relation with Him and, on the other hand, there is a continuous imprinting of our by the glory of God following our frequent ecstatic views.

In  measure what we grow in the deification, we are embedded of the glory of Christ and we become more proper for our relation with Him.

But our relation with God, through His glory, is not only a vertical relation but, in the same time, is the horizontal one.

Therefore, Father Professor Dumitru Popescu warns about the danger of oversizing the vertical or the horizontal of our relation with God:

„It would be absurd to believe that the uncreated energies establish only a link between God and believers, without establishing and the interpersonal relation between believers.

The uncreated energies are not the entities separated as such as separated from God or the work of the Ghost [is not] included individualistic in every human being, but higher spiritual power that embraces in Christ the community of believers in the dynamic and perihoretic mode. The uncreated energies are the dynamic interpersonal bridges[12].

This emphasizes the active role of the presence of the uncreated energies of God in the personal salvation but also in the interpersonal relations between members of the Church of Christ.

For us to be of God we must be into His grace and see His glory, on the one hand, but, on the other hand, we manifest as the people of communion and brotherhood in the Church and in the world.

In conclusion, the all three premises of human deification and of the sight of God discussed by us, namely: the person of the creator and savior Logos, the rational and spiritual foundation of the world and the presence of the uncreated energies in our lives must be seen as interpenetrating each other and being the starting point for understanding the experience and theology of Saint Simeon the New Theologian.

For that, only when we see the man and the cosmos as the works and the direct prints of the divine Logos and the world, in its totality, as rational and transparent for the uncreated energies of God, we understand that the deification by grace is the scope of the orthodox life and the sight of God is received in act of the light of God in our lives.


[1] See Deut. 4, 33; 5, 26; I Kings 17, 36; Hos. 2, 1; III Maccab. 6, 28, acc. LXX and Acts 14, 15, acc. GNT.

[2] The sintagma the glory of the Lord appears at Exod. 16, 7; Numb. 12, 8; Ps. 17, 31; Habak. 2, 14; Is. 26, 10; 35, 2 etc., acc. LXX, but about the divine light it speaks in many modes.

In fact, any revelation of the Scripture is the ecstatic and is a revelation, in light of God, of what God transmits to us.

In GNT we find the references to the glory of God in Mt. 16, 27; 25, 31; Mk. 8, 38; 10, 37; Lk. 9, 26; Rom. 1, 23; 4, 20; I Pet. 5, 10; Rev. 11, 13 etc.

[3] Dumitru Stăniloae, Jesus Christ: light of the world and the deificator of human [Iisus Hristos: lumina lumii şi îndumnezeitorul omului], op. cit., p. 201-202.

[4] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Popescu, Christ, Church, Society [Hristos, Biserică, Societate], op. cit., p. 101.

[5] Idem, p. 105.

[6] Ibidem.

[7] Rev. Prof. Acad. D.Th. Dumitru  Stăniloae, Life and Teaching of Saint Gregory Palamas, with four treates translated [Viaţa şi învăţătura Sfântului Grigorie Palama, cu patru tratate traduse], second edition, with a preface reviewed by the author, Ed. Scripta, Bucharest, 1993, p. 265.

[8] Idem, p. 203.

[9] Idem, p. 178.

[10] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology [Teologia Dogmatică Ortodoxă], vol. 2, ed. a II-a, ed. cit., p. 200.

[11] Idem, p. 225.

[12] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Popescu, Christ, Church, Society [Hristos, Biserică, Societate], op. cit., p. 107.

The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [3]

The first and the second part

1. 2. Rational and spiritual foundation of the visible world and the inner relation with the human salvation and the transfiguration of creation

The second premise of our deification and of the sight of God is internal related with the first, with the existence of the creator and savior Logos. For He, who created the world, is the Logos of the Father, for this reason the cosmos and the man are full of rationality, and the man and also the cosmos have their existence and remain in existence through His work and grace.

This thing is one very important in the orthodox theology, fundamental, because „the rationality of creation in Christ goes beyond dilemma between man and creation, showing that Christ as creator and savior Logos came to save not only the humans, but the whole creation.

The salvation brought by Christ is a cosmic dimension. From Pentecost, the Church constitutes the way by which Christ goes forward with man and creation towards the new heaven and earth of the God’s Kingdom”[1].

The fact that all creation is destined to the transfiguration tells us Rom. 8, 19, 21: „For the creation awaits with eagerly the revealing of the sons of God. […]

For that and the creation itself will deliver/ release of the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” [acc. GNT and GOC].

With other words, when the Saints will be filled with glory and the creation in its entirety will be filled with the glory of God, because through the body of Christ, whom He deified and which is taken up by the right hand of the Father, comes to us all shine of God’s glory.

Speaking about the consequences of Christ’s resurrection in human life and in the existence of the cosmos, Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae writes in his Dogmatic:

„Through the resurrected body of Christ shines, untrammeled, the power of Him who made the incorruptible body, leading all who will share with Him in resurrection and incorruptibility, and more leading all creation to incorruptibility and transparency, ie the maximum transfiguration and comunicability between people through the Ghost and a complete personalization of the cosmos, in Christ and the people; because there is an ontological continuity between the material body and material cosmos[2].

Based on the ontological link between our body and the materiality of the cosmos is based the future transfiguration of creation.

Rev. 21, 1 speaks to us about the sight of a „new heaven and new earth” [acc. GNT], namely about a heaven and earth transfigured by the glory of God.

Philip. 3, 21 says that the Lord „will change the appearance of the body of our humiliation after His glorious body, by His power and He will subject all to Himself” [acc. GNT].

Because the creative Logos created our body and the matter is open to His eternal radiation, therefore we can deify. And for that by His grace we can cleanse the soul and body of passions, therefore we can see God, if we are „pure with heart” [Mt. 5, 8, acc. GNT].

Talking about what it means for man and cosmos this transfiguration of body, Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae says:

„The body will not cease [to exist], but it will be transparent, that we see through him directly to God in His glory, being totally spiritualised, all and all will belong to all, beyond the division into subjective and objective, beyond the reasons of nature, the passionate struggle for to master nature and seen others as the external objects, fighting to defend each other.

Single the resurrection opens us the perspective of escape the fatality of nature that leads to death, it opens to a worthy plan for us and our aspirations; and once with it, the perspective of a deeper sensitivity and delicacy”[3].

Our deification and the sight of the glory of God are actually the ones that give us our status of the spiritualised beings in eternity. Once with the resurrection of the dead and the transfiguration of all creation begins the mystic wedding of the Son of God with His creation.

Speaking of this moment, Father Professor Dumitru Popescu writes in his Dogmatic: „the coming of Christ and the transformation of the world means a lifting of it into a new state, transfigured by the Ghost who is in Christ. The Ghost will not work in the secret mode in the world, but will bring to sight the effect of His work.

The entire creation is pnevmatic, incorruptible, deified, transparent by the light and the glory arising from the essence of the Trinity, that the fullness of the uncreated energies. In her state of resurrection, the matter remains still matter, but a matter entirely transfigured. The light of the risen body of Christ will fill the world and will overwhelm it.

This change of the creation in the Ghost will bring the world an unspeakable beauty. The lighted face of Christ will shine light on all and all. The things will not appear as independent to the persons, but as a medium for expression of the love of Christ and of the persons of angels and men, into a personalism of  the perfect communion.

The face of the new world will be the result of the event of the ultimate power of the universal Pentecost, and glory on Tabor will extend to the whole world as generalized Tabor[4].

But the matter can be deified because „is not amorphous uniformity but plasticized rationality, which can be transformed by the power of the Ghost”[5].

Saint Maximus the Confessor, speaking about the creation and the human role in Ambigua says that „the man was made by God, from His goodness, from soul and body, for that He gave him the rational soul and mind, being after the image of He who made him, by desire and by his entire love tends strongly and from all power to God and to His knowledge and the deification through the likeness”[6].

The dynamism of the relation of the faithfulness and love between man and God represent just the advance of man towards the likeness of his Creator.

For that the human body is always personalised to his soul, by the grace of God, therefore we can be „mystically guided, in an unspeakable and unknown mode, towars God’s power and glory that for of all creation is incomprehensible”[7].

But we talk about salvation and deification of man in Orthodoxy for that we do not divide, in this synergistically work, the man from nature[8]. If we separate the man from the cosmos we can not explain how it occurs, in fact, the deification of man, that is a personal reality.

Because, says Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae, „the whole nature is destined to the glory for the people who will share in the Kingdom of Heavens and even now is felt the silence and the light what radiating from the holy man.

The glory of Christ on Tabor covered and nature. But it can remain hidden for the eyes and the many feeling and the nature can be debased and affected of the wickedness of some people.

At its turn, nature may be a medium by a man who believes receives the divine grace or the uncreated beneficial energies, but and the place which exercising over him influences that pushing to evil”[9].

This way, the cosmos is destined to be filled with the glory of God and so man is destined to be a medium irradiated by the glory of God and then to radiate from him.

But the rationality of the cosmos and of human nature can be perverted, as long as we infecte with our passions own nature and the environment in which we live. We can personalise our environment through our spiritual irradiation, as we can, just as easily, to infecte it through our passions or to vitiate our relations with our neighbors.

From here returns and „our responsibility to nature given to us by God…as a duty to use the resources with mercy and not altered by pollution. This thing protects us also from the passions and from the searching of an infinite satisfaction in the world”[10].

Discussing the problem of the existent relations between the reasons of the things and the human reason, Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae talks about the creation of the things as „the plasticisations and the awarenesses of His reasons” [11], of the divine Logos.

Reporting the man to the reasons planted by God in the things must be a gnoseologic one, because God „created man with an adequate reason [12] for the knowledge of the world.

Because he observes the fact that the things that were created by God have rationality and flexibility[13], for that our theologian says: „Everything is rational in the things and in the component energies, as well as between them”[14].

But the rationality of the world is not a reality closed in itself but „is for man and culminates in man, [and] not the man is for the rationality of the world”[15].

But the reasons of the things have for Father Stăniloae a double importance in human life, bodily and spiritual at the same time, because they are „for the help of man to maintain biological, but [they have]…and…the scope to enhance the spiritual [the man] by knowing the meanings and of the conformity ever higher of them with him and of the last sense of them that is God”[16].

In their spiritual sense, the reasons of the things „are seen as a meaning of God’s love, so the dialogue of God with us and of the dialogue between us”[17].

Thus, in the perspective of the knowledge of God, the deification of man is the reality in whom we discover the unexpected extensive virtualities of the material of our body and our soul’s spirituality. The sight of the glory of God is, on the one hand, a filling of us with the glory of God and, on the other hand, a rise of us at the communion with the Most Holy Trinity, to live godly lives.

But where the matter is seen closed itself there is  confused „the transcendence of God with His absence from creation[18] and the man is understood as having an independent existence, without „his roots planted deep in the transcendent reality of the Creator and in the immanent reality of the cosmos”[19], in the same time.

But where the man is seen as dependent to God it is possible the advance in the communion with God, for that the man is created to fulfill in God and for that the souls of men and the matter are open to God’s glory.

In conclusion, if the matter has not a rational and spiritual foundation, planted in it by the creator Logos, we could not talk about the deification of man, that relation always progressive in the knowledge of God, nor the sight of God as the brightness of the divine light in our lives.


[1] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Popescu, Jesus Christ Pantocrator [Iisus Hristos Pantocrator], op. cit, p. 15-16.

[2] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology [Teologia Dogmatică Ortodoxă], ed. a II-a, vol. 2, Ed. IBMBOR, Bucharest, 1997, p. 119.

[3] Idem, p. 120-121.

[4] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Popescu, Jesus Christ Pantocrator [Iisus Hristos Pantocrator], op. cit, p. 419-420.

[5] Idem, p. 420.

[6] Saint Maximus the Confessor, Ambigua, with translation from greek, introduction and notes by Rev. Prof. Dumitru Stăniloae, Ed. IBMBOR, Bucharest, 1983, p. 93.

[7] Idem, p. 158.

[8] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology [Teologia Dogmatică Ortodoxă], ed. a II-a, vol. 1, ed. cit., p. 223.

[9] Idem, p. 224.

[10] Idem, p. 226.

[11] Idem, p. 240.

[12] Ibidem.

[13] Idem, p. 241.

[14] Ibidem.

[15] Ibidem.

[16] Idem, p. 243-244.

[17] Idem, p. 244-245.

[18] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Popescu, The Man Without Roots [Omul fără rădăcini], op. cit., p. 15.

[19] Ibidem.

The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [2]

The first part.

Our greek font.

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1. The Biblical  and Patristic Premises of the Human Deification and the Sight of God in Orthodox Theology

For to understand in a clear mode, without doubts, the theology of the sight of God at Saint Symeon the New Theologian, we believe that we must begin with a summary of the premises of human deification.

Because the sight of God appears in the divine-human process of deification as a direct and real result of it.

In the frame of continuous endeavors to cleanse us from passions, the sight of God is a gift of God, a descent of God to us for to raise the share His divine life.

The premises of deification and of the sight of God that we will discuss further are:

1. The person of divine Logos as Creator and Pantocrator of entire creation.

2. Rational and spiritual foundation of the visible world, which makes it „open to God”[1].

3. Uncreated divine energies, which arise from the being of God and are „works of being-doer and deifying”[2] human.

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1. 1. The person of divine Logos and His relation with creation and with man

The first verse of Scripture testifies that „in the beginning God created [evpoi,hsen] the heavens and the earth” [Gen. 1, 1, acc. LXX], in consequence, that the world has a beginning, is not eternal, but its beginning stays in the will of God to make/ create the world unseen and seen.

Because God created the world, this can not be confused with Him, nor is a part of Him, but was made by God ouvk evx [from nothing], according to II Maccab.7, 28.

But the sintagma „from nothing” does not mean that nothing would be a particular substance from which God  would be forged the world but that before the whole existence be created by God it did not exist in fact.

Thus, the world being made ​​by God from nothing and in time[3], creation proves fundamentally dependent on God for that He is the cause of its existence and Who keeps it in existence.

The world is theonoma, dependent on God and not autonomous, independent of Him. In fact, „the world can not become autonomous, because it has no conscience and no freedom for to break its internal connection with God”[4].

We understand in what consist the internal connection of creation with God if we understand in correctly mode Gen. 1, 2.

The expression: „and the Ghost of God bring upon above water” [kai. Pneu/ma Qeou/ evpefe,reto evpa,nw tou/ u[datoj] is irrefutable testimony of the „presence of the Ghost of God in creation”[5].

For the orthodox exegesis, this presence of the Ghost of God in creation is translated through the fact, that the foundation world is an active one, is the light of God and the uncreated energies are the internal connection between God and His creation.

Creation of man by God after God’s image [kat’ eivko,na Qeou/, Gen. 1, 27] and the breath of life [pnoh.n zwh/j], breathe above his face by God shows man as the living soul [yuch.n zw/san] [Gen. 2, 7] in his relation with Him.

God created man as a living soul, namely He creates the man with a real possibility to open to his Creator, because people are, after the words of Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae, „souls clad in bodies”[6].

But God „created man not only as reason, but that reason clothed with flesh[7], the human body being „a tangible, concrete, special rationality, in relation with the tangible rationality, the concrete of nature.

He represents the most complex system of plasticized rationality…[But, while] the body, that plasticized rationality, ceases once with death…the soul, whose presence gives tangible rationality of the matter the quality of body itself, is a subjective rationality, consciousness, beyond all rationality and the passive sensitivity of nature”[8].

Hence we deducted that man is one who personalizes the matter within himself, who understands the difference between himself and the creation, which does not understand its internal rationality. He assumes his condition of being with body, which lives in the world and, in the same time, he assumes the understanding of the world that no self-awareness and which consciousness is he himself.

Human relation with God involves the assuming of the life in body but also the assumption and the care to all creation.

But, through sin, says the Father Professor Dumitru Popescu, „the man failed to give expression to his vocation, received from part of the Creator, to transform heaven and earth into a Paradise, and to raise in himself the entire creation to immortality Creator, but he fell into corruption of world, knowing one the process of involution, which approached him of inferior beings. […]

Certainly, the fall of the ancestors did not destroy the image of God in man, because Adam continued to speak to God and after his fall into sin. But the image of God in man gradually altered, until the man has come to confuse the Creator with creation and to worship pantheisticlly the creature instead the Creator”[9].

The oldtestamentary Revelation speaks to us about God, the Lord God, the Lord or the Ghost of God[10]. But only once the Logos of God incarnates we learn that God is Trinity of persons.

In the epiphanies of Baptism [Mt. 3, 13-17, Mk. 1, 9-11, Lk. 3, 21-22] and of Transfiguration of the Lord [Mt. 17, 1-8, Mk. 9, 2-8, Lk. 9, 28-36], we see that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three persons of the Godhead and that They are our God.

Our God is Trinity from eternity, but only incarnated Son makes known the Trinity to the people, that God is Trinity of persons, because „there are Three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost and these Three are one” [I Jn. 5, 7, acc. GOC].

If Gen. 1, 1 speaks to us about God that about the Creator of the world, then Jn. 1, 1-3 reveals to us the relation between Father and Son or between God and of His Logos in the frame of the creation of the world and man: „In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was towards God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning towards God. All through Him were made and nothing from that was made was not made without Him”, acc. GNT.

But if we put in conexion Jn. 1, 1-3 with the place of Gen. 1, 2, we observe that the Father makes all creation through the Son, but into the Ghost of God.

Therefore the Tradition of the Orthodox Church will talk about the Logos of God, about the Son, that about the Creator of the world and that about the Pantocrator of the all creation[11].

From point of lexical view, Pantokra,twr signifies the All-ruler or the Almighty[12]. But in the life and the orthodox theology He was understood as the equivalent of the greek word Pantocrator as the All-sustainer, designating by this thing, that the Logos „is One from Which come all, in Which are held all and in Which will show summaried and lighted all, the Pantocrator, the Sustainer of all”[13].

If the first significance was taken in heterodox theology and the Pantocrator was understood to remain „locked into an inaccessible transcendence”[14], the Pantocrator, in the orthodox tradition, as the All-sustainer, was seen as One who „fills with His presence both Church and universe”[15] in its entirety.

The connection of the Logos with His creation stays in the fact that „there is…a common sense inexhaustible of the things, a sense that links them, an indefinite sense of wealth to the man forward. Their unique and supreme sense is divine Logos.

In Him are all the senses. Only Him explains everything, only into Him he finds his own sense of human existence. Especially one who believes seizes this supreme sense by a general act of intuition, by his spirit”[16].

Creation, being the work of the Logos of God, full of His energy footprint, the glory and rationality planted by Him in things, to be understood we must resort to the Revelation and the personal relation with Him.

As long as the senses of things lead us to the creator Logos and our life finds its explanation only in Him, creation is a transparent medium for His understanding. If the things created send us, by their senses, to the Creator of the world, than creation is not and can not be a closed environment itself.

Saint Irenaeus of Lyon speaks, in the second christian century, about the creator Logos as identical with the savior Logos of the world: „For the Maker of all things, the Word of God, Who gave way from the beginning of man, when the work of His hands were loosened by malice, He gave healing in many ways. And He appointed a time to separate members, which He made and again another time when the whole man to restore fully, making it himself, by Himself, complete through His resurrection”[17].

Precisely because we are His creation, the Logos was incarnate and became man like us, except sin, so that we be restored into Himself and to perfect us through His resurrection, by which our nature was deified.

The same Father of the Church also stresses that we are created by the Logos of God because „He is the One which has founded all things, Who chose to make, He has graced all and takes all. And when I speak of all things, I mean ourselves and our world.[…]

Because not Angels made us, nor did they give us the form that we have, nor any heavenly Power made ​​us in God’s image, namely any Power [heavenly] very distant from the Father of all things.

No one else has made us, but only God’s Word. Because God does not need these beings, that they create things that He Himself has set in advance to be made.

This could happen if He would have His hands [ie the Son and the Ghost – our note]. But always with Him the Word and Wisdom, the Son and Ghost, by Whom and in Whom, freely and immediately He made all the things about that He said, saying: Let Us make man in Our image and likeness [Gen. 1, 26]. For He Himself has taken the matter of the created beings and the model of things that He made and the beauty of each thing in part of the world”[18].

In consensus with Scripture, we observe that Saint Irenaeus speaks of the creation of the world as about a work done by the Father through the Son into the Holy Ghost. Creation is witnessed as a direct work of God and not as a work through intermediation of the Powers of heaven, which are not uncreated beings but created by Him.

In the fourth century, Saint Athanasius the Great, in Kata. `Ellh,nwn [Against the Greeks], also spoke about the Creator of the world as God’s Logos: „And if the world was made through word and wisdom and knowledge, and all was adorned, it is necessary then that He who leads and adornes her not to be other than that Which is God’s Word”[19].

And to be perfectly understood by his readers, Saint Athanasius comes and makes clarifications about who is the Word of God: „I speak about the Word in Himself [Auvtolo,gon], living and active of God, the One who is good and God. This is different than those created and than all creation. For He is of His and He is the only Word of the good Father, Which adorned and lights all through His wearing of care [pronoi,a|].

Being the good Word of the good Father, He adorned all with the ordeliness [th.n dia,taxin], uniting those who are against one another [opposite] and thereby [has worked] a unique jewel of harmony”[20].

In the same apologetic work, Saint Athanasius the Great continues to speak to us about the Pantocrator of all creation, about the divine Logos, saying the following remarkable things:

„For the Same Word almighty and all-perfect saint of the Father, dwelt Himself and expanding His powers in all and everywhere and enlightening all shown and all the unseen, to keep in Himself and collects them, leaving nothing blank of His power, but [He is] through all and in all and in each one, giving life to all and guarding them individually[21]. […]

[Because] the Wisdom of God, carrying the whole [universe] as a lyre, and together the air with those on earth and in heaven with the air and thus uniting all parties and leading them all with the command and His will, constitutes one universe and the one ordeliness beautiful and harmonious of it, He being unmoved by the power of the Father, but moving them all the Self-created, because each of them are His own, by the will of the Father”[22].

From the words of Saint Athanasius is observed that the divine Logos, the One who created all things and existent beings doesn’t give them self-existing, autonomous existence, but enlightens them and supports them all by His grace, uniting all to Himself and bringing them all at unity with Himself.

His presence in the world by His grace draws the world to Himself, as One who surpasses all and He is above all by His being, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost.

Saint Maximus the Confessor will talk about divine Logos in terms of Church Tradition, seeing in Himself the supreme Reason of all existence.

In Quaestiones ad Thalassium [Answers to Thalassius], Saint Maximus sees the fulfillment of all existence in the divine Logos, as One who has within Himself all the senses/ reasons of the world.

He says: Christ „showed into Himself the end, one for receiving the created distinct beginning of their existence. Because for Christ or, better said, for the mystery of Christ [Cristo.n musth,rion] received existence all ages and all that happens within centuries, for He is their beginning and end”[23].

As creator and savior Logos of the world, Christ God is Who gives stability into Himself fully to the growing in Him through virtues.

This thing tells us Saint Maximus in the same chapter cited above, when talking about the role of revealing humanity of the mystery of Christ:

„This, for all those that are moving by nature to stand because nature of Him sits unmoved, by moving them to himself and one to the other. And so [each] to the knowledge of experience from working through Him in Whom was worthy to stay in unchangeable mode”[24].

In the expression of Father Professor Dumitru Popescu, Saint Maximus the Confessor showed that „this rational order of creation is based on the divine ideas of all things visible and invisible, which arise from Logos and return to Him as a unifying center of their own.

Unity of creation is based on the existence of a single Creator, the Father through His Logos, Who is All-sustainer or Pantocrator. This is the principal motive for that on the highest vault of each orthodox dwelling guards icon of Christ, the Pantocrator of entire universe”[25].

In conclusion, the existence of person of the creative and saving Logos of the world is the first premise of the deification of man and of the sight of God, for that He who created man, He embodies and divinizes His own humanity taken from the Ever-Virgin Mary.

He showed into Himself that the matter permits to be crossed by the glory of God, that there is not an opposition between the sensible and intelligible in Christ[26], but in Him we see „glory as of the Only-Begotten from the Father” [Jn. 1, 14, acc. GNT].


[1] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Popescu, Christ, Church, Society [Hristos, Biserică, Societate], Ed. IBMBOR, Bucharest, 1998, p. 124.

[2] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology [Teologia Dogmatică Ortodoxă], ed. II, vol. 1, Ed. IBMBOR, Bucharest, 1996, p. 113.

[3] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology [Teologia Dogmatică Ortodoxă], ed. II, vol. 1, ed. cit., p. 226.

[4] Rev. Prof. D.Th.  Dumitru Popescu, The Man Without Roots [Omul fără rădăcini], coll. Alpha and Omega [Alfa şi Omega], Ed. Nemira, Bucharest, 2001, p. 59.

[5] Ibidem.

[6] Dumitru Stăniloae, Jesus Christ: light of the world and the deificator of human [Iisus Hristos: lumina lumii şi îndumnezeitorul omului], tended ed. by Monica Dumitrescu, Ed. Anastasia, Bucharest, 1993, p. 5.

[7] Idem, p. 7.

[8] Rev. Prof. D.Th.Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology [Teologia Dogmatică Ortodoxă], ed. II, vol. 1, ed. cit., p. 258.

[9] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Popescu, The Man Without Roots [Omul fără rădăcini], op. cit., p. 69-70.

[10] Acc. LXX, name of God occurs 1795 times in 1583 verses, the sintagma God Lord appears 566 times in 534 verses, the word Lord 3663 times in 3298 verses and of the sintagma the Ghost of God 15 times in 15 distinct verses.

[11] The name Pantocrator in the LXX, given Lord God, appears 126 times in 121 verses.

[12] Acc. *** A Patristic Greek Lexicon, Edited By G. W. H. Lampe, Ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1961, p. 1005.

[13] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Popescu, Jesus Christ Pantocrator [Iisus Hristos Pantocrator], Ed. IBMBOR, Bucharest, 2005, p. 193-194.

[14] Dumitru Popescu, Orthodoxy and Contemporaneousness [Ortodoxie şi contemporaneitate], Ed. Diogene, Bucharest, 1996, p. 196.

[15] Ibidem.

[16] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Stăniloae, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology [Teologia Dogmatică Ortodoxă], ed. a II-a, vol. 1, ed. cit., p. 239.

[17] Irenaeus, Against Heresies V, 12, 6, in coll. The Ante-Nicene Fathers. The Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325, Edited by Rev. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, Volume 1, Oregon, 1996, p. 1114.

[18] Idem, IV, 20, 1, p. 1006-1007.

[19] Athanasius Theologus, Kata.  `Ellh,nwn, 40, acc. TLG # 001 40. 19 – 001 40. 23/ Saint Athanasius the Great, Word Against Greeks [Cuvânt împotriva elinilor], in coll. PSB [Fathers and Church Writers], vol. 15, with greek translation, introduction and notes by Rev. D.Th. Dumitru Stăniloae, Ed. IBMBOR, Bucharest, 1987, p. 75-76.

[20] Idem, acc. TLG [Thesaurus Linguae Graecae] # 001 40. 29 – # 001 40. 38/ Idem, p. 76-77.

[21] Idem, acc. TLG # 001 42. 1 – # 001 42. 7/ Idem, p. 79.

[22] Idem, acc. TLG # 001 42. 26 – # 001 42. 34/ Ibidem.

[23] Maximus Confessor Theologus, Quaestiones ad Thalassium, 60, acc. TLG # 001 60. 46 – # 001 60. 51/ Saint Maximus the Confessor, About Various Heavy Places from Divine Scripture or Answers to Thalassius [Despre diverse locuri grele din Dumnezeiasca Scriptură sau Răspunsuri către Talasie], 60, în coll. FR [Romanian Philokalia], vol. 3, second edition, with translation, introduction and notes by de Rev. Prof. Acad. D.Th. Dumitru Stăniloae, Ed. Harisma [Charisma], Bucharest, 1994, p. 332.

[24] Idem, acc. TLG # 001 60. 56 – # 001 60. 60/ Ibidem.

[25] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Popescu, Jesus Christ Pantocrator [Iisus Hristos Pantocrator], op. cit, p. 12-13.

[26] Idem, p. 13.

The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [1]

Rev. D.Th. Dorin Octavian Picioruş

The Sight of God
in the Theology of
Saint Symeon the New
Theologian

*

Theology for Today
Bucharest
2009

***

Rev. D.Th. Dorin Octavian Picioruş

The Sight of God
in the Theology of Saint Symeon
the New Theologian

*

(Doctoral Thesis)

*

Theology for Today
Bucharest
2009

*

Our greek font.

*

Introduction

The present thesis is an anttempt to synthetic presentation, in same time, of the steadfast and the dynamic character of the experience and the orthodox thinking.

Any pnevmatical reality and theological theme must be rethoughted, updated in dimension of the present, for to be an active factor of dynamism in our personal and community life.

But the theological updation does not require also the dilution of the Church’s teaching, but its perception of the real parameters of the orthodox experience.

Because pnevmatical experience is the foundation of the theological elaborations and it is that keeps us in the Church, as people of alive and lucid faith, with attention to the changes of our world.

Our thesis being developed insed of the discipline Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, in the Systematics department, our theme will be discussed in this regime of  research.

The theme of the sight of God will be presented as part of personal soteriology, intending to put in evidence, in a systematic and concise mode, Saint Symeon the New Theologian contribution to this question.

We consider that experience and theology developed who is known as the third theologian of the Church are a norm and a true guide in our research.

The choised theme came from a deep inner need, from the desire to deepen the coordinates the symeonian theology, which, unfortunately, are to little discussed at academic level.

The knowledge of the experience and theology of Saint Symeon seems to us a huge benefit for our theologians and belivers, as long as we confront, directly, with the consequences of depersonalized secularization and globalization.

As a protective shield to the erosion of membership ecclesial consciousness and understanding person and interpersonal relations, Saint Symeon proposes us a theology of experience, in which God descends to man, showing him His glory, for the man to raise by Him at the level of Trinity, to open him the trinitarian communion.

And this, because Symeon sees man as having its center of gravity in God and not in himself.

The closure of the human in self, in a subjective perspective can not present a mystical experience, a personal experience with God, but for Symeon the true relantion with God means the communion of man with God, in and through His glory, as the ecstatic sight.

Subscribing in the personalist lode to the Church Orthodox Fathers, Saint Symeon the New Theologian takes together the interpersonal and objective character of our relation with God.

Therefore, for him the orthodox believer experiments the uncreated and eternal grace of God not to close itself and not to break the Church community.

The sight of God is not an escape from time and we can not force our being it to occur but is lifting us by God, through His glory, to fill us with brightness of His glory, and for that this thing would make us become fervent belivers in the frame life of the Church.

The fundamental consequence of God’s vision is a life full of dynamism and dedication to serve the Church, a continuous search for us to have a holy life, namely so many positive attributes for the life of the Church and society in which we exist.

Therefore, choosing this theme we consider everyone’s gain, an ecclesial gain, because symeonian theology is a continuous recourse to experience, equilibrium and fidelity to Church Tradition.

Our work will consist in three distinct chapters but with internal links between them.

The first chapter will threat the problem of the biblical and patristic premises of man’s deification and of the sight of God in orthodox theology.

We will seek to show that the seen world are a rational and spiritual foundation, because is personal creation of the divine Logos by Whom all things are made [pa,nta di’ Auvtou/ evge,neto, John: 1, 3 acc. GNT].

Rational and spiritual foundation of the world must be seen in relation to the existence of God’s uncreated energies, which penetrate and support all existences, both the visible and invisible.

Because man can share the grace in the Church and God’s grace penetrate in real mode of the human being we can speak, in the same time, about the sight of God and the deification, both with internal link between them.

The second chapter will threat the theme of God’s sight to Saint Symeon the New Theologian and its implications in personal salvation, this chapter will be the essential chapter of the thesis.

In this chapter, after an introduction to the ecstatic terminology of Saint Symeon, we present the connections of the experience of God’s sight with triadology, christology, pneumatology, ecclesiology, sanctology and eschatology.

Step by step we will show how advised and as organic include Symeon in the Church’s teaching and experience, because his own experience affirms and not refutes the Father’s theology.

As a servant of the Divine Liturgy and of the Mysteries of the Church, as abbot of the monastery, as a writer and theologian, as a confessor of the orthodox faith and as a man unjustly persecuted for the depth of his theology and of his love for Church Tradition and for Saints of God, Saint Symeon proves, by deeds and words, that he fulfills his own theology. Therefore he remained as an authentic landmark of life, experience and theology for our Church.

The third chapter will have the teme of reception the theology of glory in orthodox space and of its importance assumed in the postmodern world.

Here we will discuss the theology of the sight of God to the Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae, our beloved and venerable theologian, considered, on rightly word, the great theologian of the twentieth century, together with the theology of glory to Professor Vladimir Lossky, which was very warmly apreciated in the West for his patristic updates in the domain of the mystical theology.

Last sequence of our work will focus on the human condition in postmodernity and will be a brief discussion on how you can save an orthodox beliver, of various ideological traps, through experience and theology of the Church.

We give thanks to Father Professor Dumitru Popescu, our coordinator, for his special attention that he has given us and for the real support and the vision of the ensemble that he gave us.

Together with his Holiness and his effective support, decisive in systematization of the theological informations, we could develop this thesis, which we hope will be helpful to those who will consult it.

Colecția canonică a Bisericii Ortodoxe

Ediția românească a Arhidiac. Prof. Dr. Ioan N. Floca, ed. 1992. În PDF, 548 p., aici.

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