Teologie pentru azi

O platformă ortodoxă pentru o reală postmodernitate

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Zi: 31 august 2011

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.

***

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.

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