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Author Topic: Can non-Orthodox Christians obtain Theosis?  (Read 2216 times) Average Rating: 0
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antiderivative
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« on: April 03, 2009, 10:34:03 PM »

I though this was an interesting quote from Orthodoxwiki on Thomas Aquinas, under his biography:

Quote
Aquinas had a mystical experience while celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273, after which he stopped writing, leaving his great work, the Summa Theologiae, unfinished. When asked why he had stopped writing, Aquinas replied, "I cannot go on...All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me." He died on March 7, 1274.

I'm not trying to twist this to make it seem like he renounced everything he wrote, but it appears as if he was experiencing Theosis.
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2009, 11:58:09 PM »

Origin:  http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20509.0.html  --Nebelpfade

I though this was an interesting quote from Orthodoxwiki on Thomas Aquinas, under his biography:

Quote
Aquinas had a mystical experience while celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273, after which he stopped writing, leaving his great work, the Summa Theologiae, unfinished. When asked why he had stopped writing, Aquinas replied, "I cannot go on...All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me." He died on March 7, 1274.

I'm not trying to twist this to make it seem like he renounced everything he wrote, but it appears as if he was experiencing Theosis.

Interesting thought.  Saint Seraphim of Sarov reveals during the transfiguration which he underwent in the company of Motovilov that theosis and the accompanying phenomena are not available to those outside the Church.

Such things are not accessible to those who have never experienced the Divine Mysteries, especially those of Chrismation as well as the reception of the life-giving Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Please see

St. Seraphim of Sarov's Conversation With Nicholas Motovilov
A Wonderful Revelation to the World

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/wonderful.aspx


« Last Edit: April 04, 2009, 12:32:56 AM by Nebelpfade » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2009, 12:04:21 AM »

Saint Seraphim of Sarov reveals during the transfiguration which he underwent in the company of Motovilov that theosis and the accompanying phenomena are not available to those outside the Church.

Such things are not accessible to those who have never experienced the Divine Mysteries, especially those of Chrismation as well as the reception of the life-giving Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Wait, are you saying that Roman Catholics are not a part of the Church?!?!
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« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2009, 12:08:06 AM »

Wait, are you saying that Roman Catholics are not a part of the Church?!?!

:sound of can of worms being opened:
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« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2009, 12:12:56 AM »

Saint Seraphim of Sarov reveals during the transfiguration which he underwent in the company of Motovilov that theosis and the accompanying phenomena are not available to those outside the Church.

Such things are not accessible to those who have never experienced the Divine Mysteries, especially those of Chrismation as well as the reception of the life-giving Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Wait, are you saying that Roman Catholics are not a part of the Church?!?!

The priests whom I know would say No and so would my bishops.  It's a moot point, IMHO, whether after 1000 years of schism and the introduction of erroneous teachings, they could be considered part of the Church.  In some ways, adopting an extremely charitable position, maybe we could say that they still have some connection with the Church.    Saint Philaret of Moscow says they still have a connection.  Fr Justin Popovich denies it strongly.  I don't know.  But maybe this question should form another thread....
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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2009, 12:36:50 AM »

Origin:  http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,20509.0.html  --Nebelpfade

I though this was an interesting quote from Orthodoxwiki on Thomas Aquinas, under his biography:

Quote
Aquinas had a mystical experience while celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273, after which he stopped writing, leaving his great work, the Summa Theologiae, unfinished. When asked why he had stopped writing, Aquinas replied, "I cannot go on...All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me." He died on March 7, 1274.

I'm not trying to twist this to make it seem like he renounced everything he wrote, but it appears as if he was experiencing Theosis.

Interesting thought.  Saint Seraphim of Sarov reveals during the transfiguration which he underwent in the company of Motovilov that theosis and the accompanying phenomena are not available to those outside the Church.

Such things are not accessible to those who have never experienced the Divine Mysteries, especially those of Chrismation as well as the reception of the life-giving Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Please see

St. Seraphim of Sarov's Conversation With Nicholas Motovilov
A Wonderful Revelation to the World

http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/wonderful.aspx

Without limiting God's will, power, dominion, etc., I'd say that it's possible, but highly improbable.  He can Save whom He wills, since He alone knows the hearts and souls of mankind; but the road He's designated is the one of the Church, so any journey off that road that ends up at theosis only reaches that goal by God's grace.
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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2009, 12:39:12 AM »

I'm sorry, I was being sarcastic.  But in reflection, it was in poor taste, especially during Lent.  All apologies.
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« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2009, 01:56:33 AM »

Regarding the question of this thread, are we talking solely about theosis before death, or are we also entertaining the possibility of theosis after physical death?
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2009, 01:21:23 PM »

I though this was an interesting quote from Orthodoxwiki on Thomas Aquinas, under his biography:

Quote
Aquinas had a mystical experience while celebrating Mass on December 6, 1273, after which he stopped writing, leaving his great work, the Summa Theologiae, unfinished. When asked why he had stopped writing, Aquinas replied, "I cannot go on...All that I have written seems to me like so much straw compared to what I have seen and what has been revealed to me." He died on March 7, 1274.

I'm not trying to twist this to make it seem like he renounced everything he wrote, but it appears as if he was experiencing Theosis.

I would like to put forward the suggestion that "theosis" and "mystical experience" are not necessarily identical.
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2009, 01:24:05 PM »

Yes, we have saints who were not Orthodox during their earthly lives.
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2009, 01:55:52 PM »

I think we may be miss understanding some of these terms. "Theosis" is the PROCESS of becoming "Like God". We are already created in the Image of God. We are fully able to enter into this process, whereas and animal is lacking. We are like a fertile field.

These flashes of insight profound as they may be, are not in and of themselves Theosis. If they were, then every Zen Master would be several steps ahead of most Christians. That is not to say that an "Enlightenment" experience is not something that God uses from time to time as needed. But it is an error to think that at some point in ones spiritual development you must have some great flash .


So listen this fleeting world
A star at dawn a bubble in a stream
A flash of lightening in a summer cloud
A flickering lamp, a phantom and a dream
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2009, 03:04:24 PM »

Quote
I would like to put forward the suggestion that "theosis" and "mystical experience" are not necessarily identical.

Whatever it was obviously changed him a lot. He quit writing entirely, and never finished his book.

I thought what was interesting about the experience is that it to seems contradict what Thomas Aquinas taught. If he remained in his scholastic theology, I would think he would have continued writing, because of the heavy emphasis scholasticism places on further developing mental knowledge.
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2009, 03:13:13 PM »

This is an interesting topic. I've just finished a booklet by Vladimir Moss called "The New Soteriology" in which among other things he criticized Fr John Romanides for claiming somewhere that Job the Righteous experienced deification, even though he was before Christ. I agree with Moss that this is not Orthodox, since there is no salvation without Christ. The right way to think about it is that Job was righteous, but even that wasn't enough for union with God until God Himself became Man and died for us on the Cross, thereby opening the way for us to Heaven. So Job would finally have been released from Hades and united with Christ only on Great Saturday, when Christ went down into Hell; centuries after he had prophesied "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth"!

As for whatever feelings, visions etc Thomas Aquinas may have had during Mass, we should be very cautious, since these feelings may not necessarily be from God. It is enough for us that we know Aquinas did not hold Orthodox doctrine on various matters. We can't use external signs as a substitute for dogma. Remember, Christ gained disciples by BOTH teaching AND miracles!
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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2009, 04:23:49 PM »

Quote
I would like to put forward the suggestion that "theosis" and "mystical experience" are not necessarily identical.

Whatever it was obviously changed him a lot. He quit writing entirely, and never finished his book.

I thought what was interesting about the experience is that it to seems contradict what Thomas Aquinas taught. If he remained in his scholastic theology, I would think he would have continued writing, because of the heavy emphasis scholasticism places on further developing mental knowledge.
Or perhaps he experienced what Catholics have always known, even if what we know about God is true, it nothing compared to knowing God himself.
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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2009, 05:16:10 PM »

This is an interesting topic. I've just finished a booklet by Vladimir Moss called "The New Soteriology"


Jonathan,

CAVEAT!
 
Please take great care with anything written by Vladimir Moss.  I am
sure that Orthodox priests would advise parishioners to avoid his
writings.

Here is one warning placed on another list:


"Anyone who has wandered around the rather odd online analogue of
Orthodoxy that exists on the internet for a little while has
encountered the name Vladimir Moss. He's a sectarian extremist whose
main mission in life is to prove over and over again that he and maybe
half-a-dozen others are the only true Orthodox left on earth, although
exactly which half-a-dozen are right changes from time to time as the
little sects of faux-ultra Orthodox splinter and realign themselves.
If he and his ilk are where you're getting your information about
Orthodoxy, no wonder it's so bizarre."


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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2009, 06:51:33 PM »

This is an interesting topic. I've just finished a booklet by Vladimir Moss called "The New Soteriology"


Jonathan,

CAVEAT!
 
Please take great care with anything written by Vladimir Moss.  I am
sure that Orthodox priests would advise parishioners to avoid his
writings.

Here is one warning placed on another list:


"Anyone who has wandered around the rather odd online analogue of
Orthodoxy that exists on the internet for a little while has
encountered the name Vladimir Moss. He's a sectarian extremist whose
main mission in life is to prove over and over again that he and maybe
half-a-dozen others are the only true Orthodox left on earth, although
exactly which half-a-dozen are right changes from time to time as the
little sects of faux-ultra Orthodox splinter and realign themselves.
If he and his ilk are where you're getting your information about
Orthodoxy, no wonder it's so bizarre."



I appreciate your concern, but as a traditionalist I am suspicious of any warning that makes hysterical claims about 'faux-ultra Orthodox splinter' groups and such.

At least regarding his criticism of recent trends in theological discussion, I am convinced Moss is correct. On reading St Athanasius De Incarnatione Verbi, the significance of original sin as the cause of the universal _condemnation_ of man, and the importance of Christ's sacrifice as the restitution of justice, became completely clear to me, despite the efforts of Romanides etc to suppress the so-called 'juridical' theory of redemption. He documents his arguments very well with Scriptural and Patristic quotations. Why don't you read him for yourself? By all means take into account your spiritual father's warnings; at the same time, you need to exercise your own judgment and powers of discernment.

The warning you gave me is rather extreme itself. I belong to a traditionalist jurisdiction, but by no means does everyone here I've talked to agree with all of Moss' views (though he is also in our jurisdiction). To say Moss is controversial is one thing, since so is Romanides (who is actually rather popular in parts of my jurisdiction); to say he's a sectarian extremist is a great exaggeration. It is completely false that he believes only a half-dozen true Orthodox remain. We traditionalists believe the same doctrine as conservatives in the official churches; the only difference is, we also believe that we must refrain from communion with the innovators in order to preserve Orthodoxy, for which we have ample support in the history and teaching of the Church. Like me, he belongs to the Synod of the GOC of Greece under Abp Chrysostomos, which comprises 70% of the Old Calendarists in Greece, in addition to our American Metropolis and a few parishes elsewhere. We are actively in dialog with several other True Orthodox jurisdictions in order to unify. We definitely don't have a mindset that our Synod is the only Orthodox one in the world (although we do believe it is the only canonical one in Greece itself).
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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2009, 07:11:59 PM »

This is an interesting topic. I've just finished a booklet by Vladimir Moss called "The New Soteriology"



"Anyone who has wandered around the rather odd online analogue of
Orthodoxy that exists on the internet for a little while has
encountered the name Vladimir Moss. He's a sectarian extremist whose
main mission in life is to prove over and over again that he and maybe
half-a-dozen others are the only true Orthodox left on earth, although
exactly which half-a-dozen are right changes from time to time as the
little sects of faux-ultra Orthodox splinter and realign themselves.
If he and his ilk are where you're getting your information about
Orthodoxy, no wonder it's so bizarre."




Thank you, Fr Ambrose, for this warning. I had this intuitive feeling that Moss's writings were suspect. I appreciate having this confirmed. I'll certainly avoid them in the future.
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