Ecstatic terminology and self-killing as life

Discourse 2

4 November 2006

In our course heading enter three technical terms, expositive, which should begin lecture today.

First, most often interpretable and revile word, is that of Theology. Although we wanted to enter directly into mystical terminology, we must insist that in this preamble, these three terms.

So, first, what is Theology from point of view of Saint Parents of Church? It’s easy to say that in terms of language, the word is accomodation after Old Greek, a translation to the letter and that means: Speech / word / discourse about God.

The term does not explain anything but the content of Theology. That is why it is interpretabil to peak. We have in the same time Roman Catholic theology, Muslim theology, Hebrew theology etc. Anyone who feels entitled, by deceit, of course, is to affirm that he makes theology.

From the Orthodox point of view, of orthodox accuracy, that is trenchant orthodox, without ambiguity [as we say up to this level] to make Theology or to write Theology means talking about the reality of God because you shared it. Theology, however, much attention!, is not rational, nor can be rationated.

As something to be rational, in common sense of the term means to have a connection with our way of thinking. If we see that something is recurrent, that something is repeated, that there are some laws in repetitive nature, in us and that there is something in a certain way, because all our human history has seen that work in that way, it means think that something in mind the limits of reason.

But God is not a reality, an object or a person to whom we can reach with our mind. If anyone imagined a God and begins to pray to what they think and believe that God is, we say to them that’s imagination. But God can not be imagined or understood with our mind. If it would be so, if knowing God with our mind through our own thoughts, would mean the knowledge of God, then Theology becomes literature, philosophy, a part of culture but not revelational foundation of the Church.

But this speech about God, which the word Theology proposes, does not mean: I read about God, so I know who God is and I think I am great, but speaking of God, who speaks with accuracy, clearly, in real mode about God, is the one who saw God. The problem sight of God is the subject of our discussion in this course.

But to reach to the essence of the problem and to pass through such ecstatic terminology we should discuss the reality of the word mystic. We already have a Theology, which is not a creation of our autonomous mind, but who is mystical. This Theology, which is a big secret to us at this time, is mystical, namely mysterious. Mystic is also a Greek word. In Old Greek, when something was μυστικος [we are dealing with an adjective] means that we are dealing with something that is mysterious, deep, kept in with something that is intimate. I prefer the title of intimate [a Latin word], which means the most deeply held from our being, our most deeply being.

If we make Theology or someone who makes Theology means that doing something which is his most deep love. Theology is mystical in Saint, in the spiritual man who writes Theology, because that is his most deep experience. And so, one that gives theological books to light, does nothing else but to give from the heart of the most beautiful and sacred love, feeling and thinking of him.

Hidden Theology, which is mystical. A speech about the God of those that you live in the depths of your heart. You say these of your life with God. You give testimony of those who are mysterious, intimate, inward, you discover from your God.

When we talk about Theology and put it next to her mystical adjective actually we talking about a personal knowledge of God, which comes to us from Saints, who have confessed their intimacy with God.

If St. Apostle Paul was pretending he didn’t had time and not writing any letter, and if St. Irineus of Lyon that it was not care or St. Simeon New Teologien did not confess anything to us about his mystical experiences, meaning hidden, we would not know anything about living Saints. We would have thought that these people feel like us, think like us, they act like us, and they are not doing too many things.

But we are talking today about the Mystical Orthodox Theology it was need that they, our Parents and Saints, that we love so much, write for us their mystical experiences. If they did not write, we would have lost the subject of our course. If all the Saints would be quiet and would have thought all of them that they are humble, sinful, incapable in everything, we would not know anything about God.

The work has not occurred and we are blessed with the most possible, because we have all the things in the computer, a giant library and we don’t know how rich we are, that we are very-very-rich.

We have Theology, this is mystical and we have a third unknown, namely the apellative of orthodox.

Again it’s easy to understand that ορθοδοξος in the Greek language, in ancient Greek, which means the one who glorifies / lauds right or rightfully. But the title of Orthodox does not tell us anything about what it means actually.

Mystical Theology, hidden, about whom we said it is also Orthodox, ie is full of right, it’s really exciting experience, or is the experience of one who is living right / holy, who has a deep-sea relationship with God, who can speak any time. Of course, if he want to talk about it. If anyone has it, can talk about it.


When we talk about ecstatic terminology, we refer to the terms that are designating our hidden experience, to our spiritual experience. One of the most current terms is the ecstasy.

And this word comes from Greek and means changing status / exit from itself. When we have a εκστασις, namely an ecstasy, something intimate is happening with us, so intimate, that what we see is totally different from any other experience we had before. Ecstasy is something that is-with-everything-otherwise, which we can not imagine it with all our efforts, if God doesn’t give us to have one.

Synonym with ecstasy and which means its contents is the word θεορια [also Greek], which means contemplation / sight. If ecstasy means, in the morphematicaly terms, left / besides στασις, namely state, the current state of human, θεορια means the sight of God, the sight of the glory of God. In the Romanian language, if you tell ecstasy or you say the spiritual vision, in definitive, you say the same thing.

Usually I prefer the sight/ vision, because it indicates that we have something that we’ve seen, that we have experienced, that it is a reality to which we arrived. Besides these two terms, we have αποκαλυψις [all Greek], which indicates a discovery / a revelation / a sight happened in our inner. If the last book of Scripture is called Revelation, this is because it is a book of divinely views, discoveries.

We have so far ecstasy, sight / contemplation and discovery: three words, to reach to talk about the purpose of God. When a Romanian says vision, it concerns the divinely sight, the ecstasy. But vision is not a halucination, an illusion, a phantom.Vision does not mean dream or unforeseen occurrence, in the form of specific apparence before us.

For us vision is a discovery of a capital truth from God. And especially, the vision does not come because I want, but because God wants this. We can not, therefore, to have scheduled visions or ecstases.

We, however, distinguish between vision and ecstasy. If when we talk about a vision, we talk of a series of ecstatic events, which God reveles to us (example: the vision of bones, cf. Eze. 37), but when we talk about ectasy or spiritual vision most often we indicate the view of divinely light, id the ecstatic sight.

But we have not reached to the exhaustion of the ecstatic terminology. Because not to turn our course into something boring (I refer to those who are not dealing all day with it), we will analyze other terms when we discuss the text as such, related to discoveries, ecstasis and visions.


Self-killing as life is the third point of today disertation and this part is, in direct mode, in relation with the mystical experience. In Mat. 16, 24, the Lord speaks about of renunciation, about disunion of yourself, about the old man from you, and about taking the cross, of askesis for the cleaning of passions, talking about the death of the man, that is ressurection for him. Cleaning from passions is own death, for our old self.

To become a new man, you must no longer be the one who you were. The cleaning we talk about, is not a random movement in our lives. Ascetic life, life involving fight with our passions can not be done unless you have the grace of God, if you do not stay in His Church and if you do not have in focus, in your prospective, the reaching to the light of God, to His sight.

Our killing of the old man, of our passinons is unique and is the only way to life, to view, to holiness. So, if you stay at the table with his hand to head and dream that to reach a well after dying, this does not mean progress. Progress means to die for the past, to be living by grace, to God.

If you do not die with your whole being to the passed then you have great problems of understanding the spiritual life. For instance, if we want to stop cursing today, but we do not want to start and fast today, then we shall observe that both virtues are in inner connection in our life.

If it seems to us that we should only fast and praye and make worship, but should not read spiritual books, to confess and to take Holy Sacrament then we are goind in retrogression, we think we have became very smart, we will look with the wicked eye to these who enjoy and we will be sad.

That is, if we do not want to die with our minds, and feeling, and willingness, and our body for past, we will not be able to fully enjoy, completely, the joy that God reserve one of those who are cleaning their heart from passions. And everyone knows that in Mat. 5, 8, only those with clean heart, only them, can see God.

The thing about death that makes us alive, it is not either so simple. In our belief nothing is as simple as it seems. In fact nothing is as simple as it seems. But the weight of looking at the reality, in appearance, is following the lectures.

Father Dorin Octavian Picioruş

Despre violenţa vizuală împotriva hainei preoţeşti în Londra

O experienţă recentă a părintelui Stephen Freeman.

I’ve been in London the past two days, as we are making our way to the Holy Land. London is a marvelous city, one of my favorites. It is quite English, very international and increasingly Euro. Like many places in Europe, secularism is far more advanced than in America (or America expresses its secularism in a far more “religious” manner). Today I was thinking about clothes as we traveled around the city (they were more interesting than the clothes worn in East Tennessee).

I grew up in relative poverty in the American South. At least, if I had a definable social group, it would have been poor, white, and Southern. There were very definable social groups within the public schools beyond the elementary level, and one of the hallmarks of those schools were very identifiable groups – generally defined by what was worn. There were groups and sub-groups. What was most interesting in those years was that there was nothing that distinguished the poor except for the lack of a cohesive group. We were individuals who could not afford clothing that would mark us as belonging. Thus our belonging was mostly marked by the fact that we “did not belong.”

Much of my youth and adult years has seen fashion used to define. My teenage child can tell a particular decade by the clothes worn. My awareness of such things stopped somewhere around 1975. Here in Euro London, I have no clue as to signals that may be given by clothing. I am certain that such signals are being sent – but they are subtle, extremely diverse, and, I think, increasingly marked by individual statement rather than group identification. If you will, it is the “secularization” of clothing.

I am no sociologist, so at this point I may simply be talking through my hat, as they say, or commenting on something that has little reality about it.

I generally wear my cassock in public – it’s something many, but not all, Orthodox priests practice. It certainly draws looks even in America – though the look may be mostly one of curiosity. Here, I find that it draws looks of anger, disgust and other negative experiences that I rarely find at home. A taxi driver, angry that I was slow crossing the street, yelled an epithet out his window that a cleric back home would simple never hear (and I find London cabbies to be a very friendly and knowledgeable lot).

One of the inner difficulties of secularism is its tendency to neglect the heart (as Christianity would traditionally understand it). T.S. Eliot called us a generation of “hollow men.” C.S. Lewis described us as “men without chests.” I would more likely describe us as “people with clothes,” for it is not so much the inside that defines the modern man as the outside. This, of course, has the advantage of allowing a person to assume a number of different roles, even identities (genders in extreme cases), with a simple wardrobe change. “The play’s the thing.”

The underdevelopment of the inner life makes for a certain kind of misery or malaise, and it makes for a very shallow evangelism. It also explains the fascination that the newly Orthodox have with some of the “outward trappings” found in the culture of the Church. The inner life takes much longer to acquire. The outward things are not a problem so long as they are not substituted for the development of the inner life.

I was recently given another award by my Archbishop (Russian practice loves to give clergy various awards of distinction). I told him later, “You’re only making it harder for me on the day of Judgment.” He smiled and I know he knows. He has told that when his sister was alive and living with him, he would return from a weekend’s visit at a Church, where all the honor the Church can muster surrounds and greets a Bishop. When he would walk through the door at home, he said his sister would call out, “Bubba, take out the trash.” That is the development of an inner life.

I trust that as I make my way to the Holy Land my clearest focus will be on taking out the trash. It is the deeper need of my heart.


Fr. Dorin Picioruş

Our Online Course of the Mystical Orthodox Theology for Our English Orthodox Friends

Online Course of the Mystical Orthodox Theology

By Father Drd. Dorin Octavian Picioruş


3 November 2006

We propose a course for initiation in pompous and unknown depth of orthodox theology, namely in the Mystical Theology. The course is not ready and we deliver it to you, but will appear as an interaction between me and you.

Every discourse you will be able to ask questions strictly on what was presented previously. The quaestions, the remarks, the additions will serve as guidance for subsequent lectures. But, although we do not have the exact content of the lectures we know what we will discuss in great and where we get. Nothing will be at fortune. Bibliography course will be to strengthen the allegations presented and not in place.

You’ll hand, if you work with us, a non-conformist course in exposure but with dogmatic fidelity in content. We wish: audition leafy heart!

The First Discourse

3 November 2006

Validity / current rate, or about life as Theology

If we are beginners in theological knowledge or if we are in advanced knowledge Teology we need to charge depths Orthodox faith is a real need, and still burning. Reporting our God is a living subject, should be a lively topic for the whole of our being. Even if we do not write longing of God, if it does not describe and it exists, and our prayers are depictions of own heart to God, then everything we write, in a certain way, what we feel.

Theological writings of the Scripture and of the Church Parents have emerged as the personal testimony of truth and love hearts, written in deliberately. They could not be written, according to Saint John Mouth of Gold / Chrysostom [introduction to the Homylies at Matthew], if we hoarded clean heart, to contemplation itself God. Writing, confession, written testimony arose as a matter of fixing the truth, for those who need to read again. In other words, not written the book appeared as a replacement live our experience with God, but to ensure reliability of our sensation, to help us understand our vices of love, that is how some of our exagerations refer to God. The book appeared for those who do not have the heart of hot, but hard, made of stone.

What we call Holy Books, are the writings we have remained from those we recognize as Saints. The problem of the sanctity and the Saints will be handled in full in our future lectures.

What we call Holy Books are, above all, reports the accuracy, earnestly, spiritual of events oeconomy of God with the world.

The simple beliver honor in the first place Holy Scripture. He don’t know much about the authors themselves, how shows manuscripts in which to hold us, about how it should be interpreted, but it an honor that Holy. So, and is: quite Scripture is sacred, everything revealed, quite a large divinely enigmas, which can not be crossed only on the extent of your experience. You can not talk only with the knowledge, in mesure of your experience. What should you exceed honore very reverence and leave the others higher than yourself, to talk about those things.

If you start to read Scripture does not mean that we get somewhere, at one end. The one reading of Scripture, that is the first reading them, not only a means accommodation with scriptural events, how they put the problem, with its mysteries. It assumes that alone without any help, you can understand Scripture is pure suicide. Not that we did not understand anything, but we understand what hallows us, what really fills us.

You must read Scripture and we will make an end life and, insofar as this reading leads us to understand that we are at the first steps, however, that we did not understand much about this from what we read, then stay well with reading. It means that God has enlightened minds in essentially, to understand that Scripture is a huge ocean, you’ll never be able to contemplate in its depth and beauty, but that, without it, we do not have any chance of incipient truth.

The collocation incipient truth we have not really said a random. At one time we propose a different set of phrases, which will relieve the fact that the literal knowledge of Scripture is the lowest possible level of understanding. Reading, must understand and to note the issue, is not knowledge. In the field of Theology, to read means to be informed. To get information means to be full of books, but no Theologian.

Theology is a harismatical gift, a guerdon a holy life, of continuu accenssion in grace, we all say.

Theology that I speak about now is perception and living of the fact, that relationship with God means living life to God, that is the feelling His grace.

If we talk about life, experience and action it is supposed that we live, that we are alive. If you do not believe we are alive it means that we are crazy or jokers.

A man in all minds recognizes before all that he is alive and will fully prouve his vitality. If you move, you are alive. If your head hurts, you know that it means that you have a head.

And if we know that we exist and recognize God as our Creator, then, the more recognize that God is alive.

Scripture has in her words The Living God [Josua 3, 10; IV Kings 19, 4; 19, 16; East. 6, 13; Ps. 41, 2, 83, 2, Is. 37, 4, 37.17; Dan. 6, 27, Bal. 1, 6, Mat. 26, 36, I Tim. 4, 10, 6, 17; Ebr. 3, 12 cf ed. BOR 1988, a Romanian edition of Bible]. Scripture does not imply that God is alive, but the authors had experience of life with God on their own skin, id est personaly. They have not imaginated that they were seeing, that know things that they did not know, nor have told stories to which we asleep while reading them. They said what was at the begenning, what they have heard, what they saw and what they felt either directly [Cf I In.1, 1] from their life with God and His manifestation in the world, in His creation.

If they wrote what they felt from God and God is alive, is most alive as possible, the only truly Living and above all life, they have not written about death, but about life. They wrote about the life of God, about God and have written for some people alive, very alive, and energically alive.

God has not left written His truth to some stupid people, to lose-summer or sinners who have not repent, but some Saints. Holiness, if we already talked about life, about life experience, should be in touch with life.

When you say someone is Holy, we say, no dobt about, that he lived and lived as a Saint. What is Saint, I repeat, will speak on the go.

But we revendicate Saints of those who have lived holy and not fairy tales. We believe in the evidences. While going through the heads of many that we believe in what we see is not and has not seen anyone, our faith is evidence. For that, I said before, the authors of Scripture have written things for sure about certain things. If you do not accept that Scripture is to write things safe and say that their authors are not real, all as well we can say that nobody has ever written and that, actually, there is nobody there to the face of this earth.

We may denied and so on Eminescu [the national poet of Romania], because we have not got it in life (and, therefore, what we do not see, doesent exist), we can not believe in waves mobile thelephony (because that is not detectable with eye, doesent exist] and we believe that neither our mother, even we exist and we have slow mind.

But we believe and maintain that we are alive, and that Eminescu, mobile phone waves and mothers are actually there.

So if we exist, then God exists and He has created us, and we are not created for nothing. It means that He has a plan with us. And if He is alive and made us alive and His words are spirit and life, it means that the problem of live should especially preoccupies us. Not that life as long and by any means, but the intensity of life and love our relationship with God.