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Author Topic: Re: Equality of Animans and Humans  (Read 2589 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 25, 2007, 05:49:07 AM »

Split from "Orthodoxy and Gays":

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,7154.0.html

- Cleveland, GM


we only have to look as far at the latest antics of most of the pop stars, who are role models for most young teens, to see animal behavior in action.

I'm appalled by the comparison and on behalf of animals everywhere, I must object most strongly! Tongue Animals are obedient to God and do what they were created to do; pop stars (depending on who you are referrring to) might or might not. Wink

And from what I have read - sorry I can't find any reference (moving country and computer crashing has my books and files in disarray) - some Church fathers have been of the opinion that animals have some kind of soul. St Basil comes to mind.

Of course, this is off-topic and I apologise.  Grin
« Last Edit: October 25, 2007, 01:40:31 PM by cleveland » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2007, 12:21:01 PM »

I'm appalled by the comparison and on behalf of animals everywhere, I must object most strongly! Tongue Animals are obedient to God and do what they were created to do; pop stars (depending on who you are referrring to) might or might not. Wink

And from what I have read - sorry I can't find any reference (moving country and computer crashing has my books and files in disarray) - some Church fathers have been of the opinion that animals have some kind of soul. St Basil comes to mind.

Of course, this is off-topic and I apologise.  Grin

Do you believe animals and man are equals? This was the concept my son was taught. He was told to view animals as equals or brothers. The whole idea comes from the environmental movement and has nothing to do with science. PETA would be proud.

I should have been more specific when I mentioned that the Church teaches animals do not have souls. They have what is described as energy not essence. So when its body dies it ceases to exist. But the soul of a man contains both energy and essence and so when the body passes away the soul still exists. St. Gregory of Palamas defined this belief. When Christ entered hades He freed the souls of man from its captivity but there is no mention of the souls of animals there.

Archimandrite Sophrony:

"We often see people so attached to animals that they are even 'friends' with them. This the Staretz (Silouan) considered to be a perversion of the order established by God and contrary to the normal state of man (cf. Gen. ii:20)

"And Adam gave names to all the cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." (King James version)

Again from Archimandrite Sophrony:

"In the whole of the New Testament there is not a single instance of the Lord paying attention to animals, though He, of course, loved every living thing. Attaining to...perfection of human nature, in the image of the Man-Christ, is the task set before us, appropriate to our nature as created in the likeness of God, and therefore affection and attachment to animals, so the Staretz thought, debases the human form of being. In this respect he writes,

'Some people attach themselves to animals but in so doing they grieve the Creator, for man is called to love the One God. It is wrong to have a passion for animals - one must only commiserate with all living things.'

"He would say that all things were created to serve man, and so, when necessary, everything could be made use of but, at the same time, man was obliged to care for all creation. Therefore, harm done unnecessarily to an animal - to plant life, even - gainsays the law of grace. But attachment to animals likewise goes against the Divine commandment, since it diminishes love for God and one's neighbour.
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2007, 12:49:04 PM »

Do you believe animals and man are equals? This was the concept my son was taught. He was told to view animals as equals or brothers. The whole idea comes from the environmental movement and has nothing to do with science. PETA would be proud.

I guess I am simply surprised that you feel you have so little moral authority and respect from your children that you feel threatened by some teacher spouting this off.  I went through public schools with all the same nonsense, and I am fairly convinced that animals don't have immortal souls like humans.  Although, PETA and groups with leftist agenda are partly to blame - I've seen plenty of religious people (Orthodox included) who are just as goofy and talk about their pets going to heaven and such.
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2007, 12:56:06 PM »

Goofy? Like St. Basil the Great perhaps?

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,1601.msg15655.html#msg15649
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2007, 01:10:56 PM »

Goofy? Like St. Basil the Great perhaps?

Definitely.  Especially old people and their dogs.  Goofy is the only world to describe it.

It is a very frustrating thing for my mom and I to deal with in my grandparents.  Unscrupulous Veterinarians (sorry for the redundancy) are fleecing them left and right, they are afraid to leave the house because the animal will be "alone".
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2007, 01:15:49 PM »

There's a big difference between being upset because your children were taught that human beings are part of the animal kingdom as a part of a biology lesson and being upset because your children are taught that animals have souls and we're all "equal".  I accept the first premise as biological fact according to the taxonomic system used in modern biological science, but I do reject the second as proper Christian stewardship gone haywire at best and PC propaganda at worst.
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2007, 01:27:51 PM »

I understood Tamara's concern that children are being taught that animals are being elevated to the same status as humans.  This, of coarse, is just plain silly and, needless to say, not Orthodox.  While I am not a vegetarian, I'm not completely comfortable with animal testing.  But this stems from the fact that animals feel pain and the thought of testing on them troubles me, not because I see animals as my brothers/sisters.

I can also see Nektarios' point about the goofiness of some pet owners.  I've dearly loved every one of my dogs, but dressing them up in clothes or carrying them around in purses- goofy.  And when I had to leave the house?  The dog stayed home.

As far as the elderly are concerned, well, I can see where they may become over attached to an animal for several reasons.  Because our society (to it's detriment) is too busy to stop and interact with the elderly, their pets are sometimes the only companions they have.  And let's face it- a dog always has time for you. Wink
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2007, 01:46:06 PM »

I don't see the problem with saying that humans are animals, for we are and we are related to them through a common evolutionary history. But this is a long ways from saying that humans are equal to other animals, I don't believe that there is equality within any given species, much less between species.
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« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2007, 01:53:10 PM »

Just when I thought I could agree with GiC on something he closes with that last statement.
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2007, 03:30:28 PM »

I guess I am simply surprised that you feel you have so little moral authority and respect from your children that you feel threatened by some teacher spouting this off.  I went through public schools with all the same nonsense, and I am fairly convinced that animals don't have immortal souls like humans.  Although, PETA and groups with leftist agenda are partly to blame - I've seen plenty of religious people (Orthodox included) who are just as goofy and talk about their pets going to heaven and such.
Νεκτάριος,

I send my children to school to learn, not to be told silly nonsense. My son came home confused and upset so I sat down and explained to him what we believe. Of course, that was the beginning of his lack of trust in what he learns at school. He has become so hardened he is very mistrustful of most of his teachers and he questions anything that sounds remotely like propaganda to him. He is in fifth grade and he just went through the JUST BE NICE campaign sponsored and paid for by property tax dollars using precious academic school time. Why do educators think children are so stupid they won't see the insipidness and superficialty of these inane programs? The "Just say no to drugs" program never worked so why do they think the "Just be nice" program will keep bullies from hurting others who are different?

Picture a gray-haired, sixty some-year old principal strumming her guitar in a multi-use room full of children while she sings,"There's a place for us all,(clap, clap)  whether big or small,(clap, clap) a life to live, a gift to give,  there's a place for us all." (clap, clap) When will these folks ever figure out their glory days of the late 1960s and early 1970s are over?
Sure the kindergartners are amused but the older children sit in the back mocking the song and sticking their fingers in their mouths to signal their nausea of the whole program.

Expelling the few problem students saves lots of tax dollars, saves precious learning time, and sends the problem back where it belongs....into the lap of the neglectful or uncaring parents.
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« Reply #10 on: October 25, 2007, 04:56:51 PM »

I have to disagree with some of the opinion expressed here.  I don't think that animals are exactly on the same level as humans:  animals are not made in the image and likeness of God.  However, GIC is at least partly correct in saying that humans are animals too.  It's really fascinating that all life on earth seems to be related.  It's as if humanity is part of all this life, and yet set apart from it as well, similar to the way that clergy are part of the laity and yet set apart from them, or how the members of the laity are set apart from other humans to constitute the Church.  Looking at it this way, I don't think it's going out on a limb to call animals our brothers and sisters.

As far as what the Fathers and other authorities have to say about the "souls" of animals, I have certainly seen the quotations cited here about it being wrong to be attached to animals.  I think there is definitely wisdom here, but there is also something monastic as well, in the sense that monks are quite radical in learning to abhor any kind of attachment.  As far as they are concerned, you shouldn't be attached to your mother or father or husband or wife as well.  And really, they are quite right, because ultimately, attachments that are not based in the love of Christ are false and idolatrous.  Much about our attachments to all kinds of people and things, not just attachments to animals, can be false and not real love at all.

Bishop Kallistos Ware, writing in the Orthodox Way, muses that there is much in Patristic writing to suggest that animals have a continuity of some kind after death.  Keselopolous, writing in Man and the Environment suggests strongly that, in his POV, St. Symeon the New Theologian has a great sense of the importance of animals and that we are by no means to "lord it over them", this is not what "having dominion" over them means.  Was it St. Isaac the Syrian who said that one should have compassion for every creature?  I don't remember the exact quote.  Keselopoulos discusses it.  I believe other Fathers have said that animals only have personality in so far as they interact with humans, which is interesting.  So I disagree quite strongly with people saying that animals simply die, and that's it.  I don't think we know for a fact exactly what happens.  I for one believe that they have a continuity of one kind or another.  I certainly do agree that the PETA position is extreme and not Christian at all.
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« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2007, 05:16:06 PM »

Great post^, that is.
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« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2007, 05:50:51 PM »

I have to disagree with some of the opinion expressed here.  I don't think that animals are exactly on the same level as humans:  animals are not made in the image and likeness of God.  However, GIC is at least partly correct in saying that humans are animals too.  It's really fascinating that all life on earth seems to be related.  It's as if humanity is part of all this life, and yet set apart from it as well, similar to the way that clergy are part of the laity and yet set apart from them, or how the members of the laity are set apart from other humans to constitute the Church. 

As far as what the Fathers and other authorities have to say about the "souls" of animals, I have certainly seen the quotations cited here about it being wrong to be attached to animals.  I think there is definitely wisdom here, but there is also something monastic as well, in the sense that monks are quite radical in learning to abhor any kind of attachment.  As far as they are concerned, you shouldn't be attached to your mother or father or husband or wife as well.  And really, they are quite right, because ultimately, attachments that are not based in the love of Christ are false and idolatrous.  Many things about our attachments to all kinds of things, not just attachments to animals, can be false and not real love at all.

Bishop Kallistos Ware, writing in the Orthodox Way, muses that there is much in Patristic writing to suggest that animals have a continuity of some kind after death.  Keselopolous, writing in Man and the Environment suggests strongly that, in his POV, St. Symeon the New Theologian has a great sense of the importance of animals and that we are by no means to "lord it over them", this is not what "having dominion" over them means.  Was it St. Isaac the Syrian who said that one should have compassion for every creature?  I don't remember the exact quote.  Keselopoulos discusses it.  I believe other Fathers have said that animals only have personality in so far as they interact with humans, which is interesting.  So I disagree quite strongly with people saying that animals simply die, and that's it.  I don't think we know for a fact exactly what hapoens.  I for one believe that they have a continuity of one kind or another.  I certainly do agree that the PETA position is extreme and not Christian at all.

"In comparing the soul of man with that of animals, St. Gregory [Palamas] says that animals possess a soul not as essence, but as an energy. 'The soul of each of the irrational animals is the life for the body it animates, and so animals possess life not essentially, but as an energy, since this life is dependent on something else and is not self-subsistent.' Therefore since the soul of animals has only energy, it dies with the body. By contrast, the soul of man has not only energy but also essence: 'The soul possesses life not only as an activity, but also essentially, since it lives in its own right... For that reason, when the body passes away, the soul does not perish with it.' It remains immortal [by God's Grace].' [St Gregory Palamas 150 Chapters, ch 38]."
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2007, 07:10:17 PM »

St Benedict owes something to a certain raven/crow...


From the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great

 
When as the foresaid monasteries were zealous in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, and their fame dispersed far and near, and many gave over the secular life, and subdued the passions of their soul, under the light yoke of our Saviour: then (as the manner of wicked people is, to envy at that virtue which themselves desire not to follow) one Florentius, Priest of a church nearby, and grandfather to Florentius our sub-deacon, possessed with diabolical malice, began to envy the holy man's [Benedict's] virtues, to back-bite his manner of living, and to withdraw as many as he could from going to visit him.

When he saw that he could not hinder his virtuous proceedings, but that, on the contrary, the fame of his holy life increased, and many daily, on the very report of his sanctity, took themselves to a better state of life : burning more and more with the coals of envy, he became far worse; and though he desired not to imitate his commendable life, yet fain he would have had the reputation of his virtuous conversation.

In conclusion so much did malicious envy blind him, and so far did he wade in that sin, that he poisoned a loaf and sent it to the servant of almighty God, as it were for a holy present. The man of God received it with great thanks, yet not ignorant of that which was hidden within. At dinner time, a crow daily used to come to him from the next wood, which took bread at his hands; coming that day after his manner, the man of God threw him the loaf which the Priest had sent him, giving him this charge: "In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, take up that loaf, and leave it in some such place where no man may find it." Then the crow, opening his mouth, and lifting up his wings, began to hop up and down about the loaf, and after his manner to cry out, as though he would have said that he was willing to obey, and yet could not do what he was commanded.

The man of God again and again bide him, saying: "Take it up without fear, and throw it where no man may find it." At length, with much ado, the crow took it up, and flew away, and after three hours, having dispatched the loaf, he returned again, and received his usual allowance from the man of God.





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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2007, 07:34:22 PM »

Do you believe animals and man are equals?

I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this. All of God's creation is so astoudingly beautiful that, biologically speaking, I am awestruck by the complexity of all life. Theologically speaking, man is the crown of creation and set in a position above animals. From what I understand, this is reflective of Christ whose incarnation, death and resurrection is spoken of as for the benefit of all creation.  

Quote
This was the concept my son was taught. He was told to view animals as equals or brothers. The whole idea comes from the environmental movement and has nothing to do with science. PETA would be proud.

Firstly; please let me set one thing straight. My comment was meant as a joke (I thought the silly faces made that clear) and wasn't meant to rattle your cage. I apologise that it did.

Secondly; in biology, the classification of man as a animal has been such long before PETA (an organisation of which I know nothing) was a gleam in the founder's eye.

Quote
Archimandrite Sophrony:

"We often see people so attached to animals that they are even 'friends' with them. This the Staretz (Silouan) considered to be a perversion of the order established by God and contrary to the normal state of man (cf. Gen. ii:20)

Archimandrite Sophrony doesn't seem to speak for all within the church and perhaps would not have approved of St Seraphim's friendship with a wild bear.

I, for one, have a deep love of animals, and yes I am even 'friends' with them - if that is offensive to anyone, or anyone believes me to be "goofy"; so be it. My shoulders are broad, (probably from all the shrugging I do at such opinions). Grin <------ goofy grin.

"If you love your neighbour, then all heaven will love you; if you are united in spirit to your fellow creatures then you will be united with God and all the company of heaven." – St. John of Kronstadt

God be with us all.

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« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2007, 08:29:09 PM »

Do you believe animals and man are equals? This was the concept my son was taught. He was told to view animals as equals or brothers. The whole idea comes from the environmental movement and has nothing to do with science. PETA would be proud.

Another thought. I'm kind of wondering why you would be taken aback by the fact that there is erroneous teaching in any school; private or public. From what I remember schools are a mixed bag; sometimes brilliant teaching, sometimes mediocre and sometimes outright silly nonsense. As a child I had to (with or without my parents' help) shift through the rubbish to get to the gold. I later did that with my own children - and to a lesser degree with my grandchildren.

Teachers are fallible humans, afterall. If they have no affliation with any religious organisation, then they might believe some odd things that upset us. They might believe odd things even if they do have an affliation with a religious organisation. I remember my elder granddaughter coming home from school and reciting what she had learned about Columbus and his battle with the Church to get his expodition to the Indies underway. One of the reasons she was given that the Church refused to fund Colombus was that it believed that the earth was flat. Quite naturally, I threw my hands up in exasperation. And this was misinformation in a private "christian" school; which probably had its impetus in a prevailing hatred of the Catholic Church. As far as literacy and numeracy went, it was an excellent school, but it failed miserably in its biases regarding history and in science with its use of the "Creation science" teaching programme.

God be with us all.
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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2007, 12:11:39 AM »

I send my children to school to learn, not to be told silly nonsense. My son came home confused and upset so I sat down and explained to him what we believe. Of course, that was the beginning of his lack of trust in what he learns at school. He has become so hardened he is very mistrustful of most of his teachers and he questions anything that sounds remotely like propaganda to him.

Good.  He is learning to question what he is told.  Whether it be now or later he will eventually have to deal with somebody who doesn't share his views.  He might as well learn now how to deal with that.

That is all a very different matter than what was initially brought up.  The idea that sheltering and indoctrination of our often irrational ideas (say the anti-evolution crowd or whatever is the latest fundi-fad) is the best way to preserve young people in the faith and prepare them to be members of a minority religion in society is ludicrous to me.  But you'll get no arguments from me that our educational system in a joke in the US. 
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« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2007, 12:16:51 AM »

I guess I am simply surprised that you feel you have so little moral authority and respect from your children that you feel threatened by some teacher spouting this off.
I used to have some pretty strong opinions about things.  But then I woke up. Wink
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« Reply #18 on: October 26, 2007, 12:20:36 AM »

Another thought. I'm kind of wondering why you would be taken aback by the fact that there is erroneous teaching in any school; private or public. From what I remember schools are a mixed bag; sometimes brilliant teaching, sometimes mediocre and sometimes outright silly nonsense. As a child I had to (with or without my parents' help) shift through the rubbish to get to the gold. I later did that with my own children - and to a lesser degree with my grandchildren.

Teachers are fallible humans, afterall. If they have no affliation with any religious organisation, then they might believe some odd things that upset us. They might believe odd things even if they do have an affliation with a religious organisation. I remember my elder granddaughter coming home from school and reciting what she had learned about Columbus and his battle with the Church to get his expodition to the Indies underway. One of the reasons she was given that the Church refused to fund Colombus was that it believed that the earth was flat. Quite naturally, I threw my hands up in exasperation. And this was misinformation in a private "christian" school; which probably had its impetus in a prevailing hatred of the Catholic Church. As far as literacy and numeracy went, it was an excellent school, but it failed miserably in its biases regarding history and in science with its use of the "Creation science" teaching programme.

God be with us all.

Public schools follow a curriculum. This wasn't the odd teaching of one teacher who had her own pet theory. This was the approved curriculum set by the state of California. Whether this teacher believed what she was teaching the children or not didn't matter. She had to comply with the state's mandate.

I have no experience with "Christian" schools or Catholic schools so I cannot comment on their curriculum.
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« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2007, 12:40:13 AM »

Good.  He is learning to question what he is told.  Whether it be now or later he will eventually have to deal with somebody who doesn't share his views.  He might as well learn now how to deal with that.

That is all a very different matter than what was initially brought up.  The idea that sheltering and indoctrination of our often irrational ideas (say the anti-evolution crowd or whatever is the latest fundi-fad) is the best way to preserve young people in the faith and prepare them to be members of a minority religion in society is ludicrous to me.  But you'll get no arguments from me that our educational system in a joke in the US. 

Well, after thinking over some of the conversations I have had with both my sons I realize they both have strong opinions for children their age and they are not easily swayed by the thoughts of teachers or even their own friends.
My older son recently stood his ground with his PC principal. He was having a conversation during lunch with his buddies about the poor quality of literature he was forced to read in his English class and how most of the books the students had to read for assignments were books that only the girls found interesting. His friends nodded in agreement. Little did he know that the principal was standing within earshot of his conversation. She quickly confronted my son and said,"Christopher, all the books our teachers choose are written for both girls and boys. I am sure some of your friends sitting at the table now have enjoyed reading those books but are afraid to speak up because of the opinions you have stated." He quickly responded,"No, I do not agree the books chosen are interesting to both girls and boys. Why don't we ever read books such as, the Illiad or the Odyssey?" She didn't have an answer for him but she restated her feeling that my son's strong opinions intimidated the other boys from stating their true feelings on the subject. He looked around and said,"Guys...what do you think?" They replied back that they agreed with my son. She turned and walked away.
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« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2007, 01:58:41 AM »

Great post^, that is.

Thanks!  I didn't notice the link you provided earlier to those prayers of Basil the Great.  Very illuminating.......they have a very humble, one might even say tender tone about them. 
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Pravoslavbob
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St. Sisoes the Great


« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2007, 02:06:01 AM »

"In comparing the soul of man with that of animals, St. Gregory [Palamas] says that animals possess a soul not as essence, but as an energy. 'The soul of each of the irrational animals is the life for the body it animates, and so animals possess life not essentially, but as an energy, since this life is dependent on something else and is not self-subsistent.' Therefore since the soul of animals has only energy, it dies with the body. By contrast, the soul of man has not only energy but also essence: 'The soul possesses life not only as an activity, but also essentially, since it lives in its own right... For that reason, when the body passes away, the soul does not perish with it.' It remains immortal [by God's Grace].' [St Gregory Palamas 150 Chapters, ch 38]."

Well, this is the opinion of one great saint of the Church.  The Fathers do not always agree with each other, by any means.  I think you've seen the prayers of St. Basil the Great regarding animals in the other link, and you've read the evidence about other Patristic ideas that I alluded to.  I don't happen to agree with St. Gregory's opinion in its entirety.  So I rest my case.
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« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2007, 12:38:08 PM »

Well, this is the opinion of one great saint of the Church.  The Fathers do not always agree with each other, by any means.  I think you've seen the prayers of St. Basil the Great regarding animals in the other link, and you've read the evidence about other Patristic ideas that I alluded to.  I don't happen to agree with St. Gregory's opinion in its entirety.  So I rest my case.

We can all hold our own opinions on this subject but animal souls are never mentioned being held in captivity before Christ entered Hades. So I tend agree with St. Gregory of Palamas.
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