OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 24, 2014, 11:54:45 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Uncreated light  (Read 1652 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
wolf
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Still looking
Posts: 126



« on: June 09, 2011, 07:23:28 AM »

Do the Oriental Orthodox have a concept of the "uncreated light" as in the Byzantine Hesychasts? If so, can it be experienced this side of the Last Judgement?

Also, if some knowledgeable people (EO+OO) could chime in, I would be interested to know the difference between the Light of Tabor and the earthly Transfiguration of the Saints (such as St. Anthony the Great).
Logged
Salpy
Moderator
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Armenian Church
Posts: 12,349


Pray for the Christians of Iraq and Syria.


« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2011, 10:00:05 AM »

I never fully understood these things, but I think your question may have been addressed here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,28976.msg457092.html#msg457092
Logged

wolf
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Still looking
Posts: 126



« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2011, 04:25:00 PM »

Thank you for the thread Salpy. Just to clarify, would those in the OO church feel that the medieval practices of the byzantine hesychasts, in seeking after uncreated light, are somehow a deviation from the spirituality of the Desert Fathers?
Logged
Father Peter
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: British Orthodox Church within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate
Posts: 2,605



WWW
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2011, 04:48:04 PM »

I have read several EO writers who consider that a seeking after any experience, such as seeing the divine light, is not without problems.

That is not to deny the reality of the divine light, but some EO writers have seemed to write as if it should be a goal in itself.
Logged

Lord have mercy upon me a sinner
http://www.orthodoxmedway.org

My blog - http://anorthodoxpriest.blogspot.co.uk

The poster formerly known as peterfarrington
EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Posts: 2,743


Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2011, 09:53:50 PM »

Hi wolf,

I am unaware of any elaborate or direct theological conceptualisation of the 'uncreated light' phenomenon within the OO Tradition.

Our hymnological and patristic traditions nevertheless often associate light with the Glory of Christ's Divinity and with faithful believers as a corollary of their partaking in that Glory by virtue of their participation in His Divine Life, particularly His Incarnation, Resurrection and Ascension.

A 10th century Saint of the Coptic Church, St Severus Ibn Al-Muqaffa, for example, suggests (in his Refutation of Eutychius) that the illumination of Moses' face during his encounter with the Divine on Mount Sinai was a type of the illuminating effect of Christ's Incarnation on believers. Indeed, the reality of visible illumination either of the eyes, face, or entire body, is a recurrent feature in accounts of the lives of the Saints, even till this generation. A notable and living example of such a Saint is that of Abouna Fanous El-Antony of St Anthony's Monastery near the Red Sea. Many people have witnessed his fingers illuminating as candles during prayer and crosses of light in his eyes.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 10:20:31 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Posts: 2,743


Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2011, 10:18:10 PM »

As for the relationship between the Transfiguration of Christ and that of the Saints, very briefly and generally, the latter is regarded an extension of the former on account of participation in the Divine Life of Christ.

Interestingly, however, Fr. Matta El-Meskeen, a recently departed (and, I should note, rather controversial) Coptic monk and theologian, seems to suggest that as far as the experience of divine light concerns monks, the event of Christ's life that constitutes the more quintessential framework for understanding such phenomena, is the Ascension rather than the Transfiguration. As far as I understand, what he seems to be getting at is the idea that the divine light phenomena experienced by monks is more than just an anticipatory sign of the perfection that is to come at the second Resurrection; it represents the fact of that eschatological reality breaking through into the present.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 10:21:41 PM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
mabsoota
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 2,416


Kyrie eleison


« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2011, 11:28:06 PM »

what i have seen time after time in the synaxarium (official daily comemoration of the saints in the coptic church), in the other stories of the saints and in the films of the saints is that those who experience any supernatural manefestations while praying (light, altered state of consciousness etc.) go to great lengths to hide it.
it seems that genuine supernatural manefestations happen to truly humble people who pursue a deep relationship with God, accepting all kinds of suffering and fleeing from all pride or fame.

we should 'love the lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength' and 'love our neighbour as ourselves', and when these are our primary goals, other blessings follow.

seeking experiences and emotional 'highs' does not bring stillness, rather it comes from a lot of discipline (regular Bible study, getting up early to help your neighbour instead of breakfast in bed, praying all the time) and from consciously accepting to do God's will, even when it results in looking foolish in front of people, or suffering.

so i think we can reach the depth of the love of God that we seek by pursuing our Bible study, prayer, fasting and good deeds with dilligence, and by regular confession and Holy Communion and listening to (and applying) the sermons we hear in church.
Logged
wolf
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Still looking
Posts: 126



« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2011, 05:07:43 AM »

This is a very interesting topic. Thank you all very much for your replies.

I am guessing that practices such as rhythmic breathing or body postures are not a part of OO spirituality?
It is interesting that the experience of "uncreated light" seems to have taken first place as the highest spiritual experience in Eastern Orthodoxy, rather than hesychia itself.
I am also wondering whether Theoria is a part of OO spirituality - I am not too sure of the difference between that and the Uncreated light.
Logged
EkhristosAnesti
'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Posts: 2,743


Pope St Kyrillos VI


« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2011, 06:51:09 AM »

Hi wolf,

I am not aware of any directions regarding rhythmic breathing.

Use of body posture is definitely a part of OO spirituality. We believe in engaging not just the spirit and mind, but also the body and all of its senses in worship. Prostrations are one obvious example of spiritually incorporating the body in worship. Other interesting examples are those which are distinct to their respective OO traditions. For example, in the Syriac tradition (though I am not sure if this remains current practice), there are certain times in prayer when one is to fold their hands across their chest.

Theoria is most certainly a part of OO spirituality and it does indeed bear some connection to the experience of divine illumination. In his Ethicon, Syriac Father Mar Gregorios Bar Hebraeus endorses the following quote from John Saba (who in fact belonged to the Church of the East, but was nevertheless highly regarded by the Syriac Church at the time--similar to the way in which St Isaac of Nineveh was and remains highly regarded by both our Communions):

In prayer the intellect is commingled with God...Through prayer it is made worthy to behold His glory and to abide in the cloud of light of His greatness within the place of the spiritual beings, in stupefaction and silence, void of motions, in ecstasy and in wonder at the many splendoured rays of light dawning upon it, and these are the life and delight of the spiritual beings. [Emphasis mine].

As you can see there is a clear connection between the contemplative function of the intellect in prayer, the beholding of the glory of the Divine, and the experience of divine illumination.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 06:53:49 AM by EkhristosAnesti » Logged

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus
Jetavan
Most Humble Servant of Pan-Vespuccian and Holocenic Hominids
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christic
Jurisdiction: Dixie
Posts: 6,280


Barlaam and Josaphat


WWW
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2011, 04:41:19 PM »

It is interesting that the experience of "uncreated light" seems to have taken first place as the highest spiritual experience in Eastern Orthodoxy, rather than hesychia itself.
Is 'hesychia' an 'experience'?
Logged

If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
mabsoota
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 2,416


Kyrie eleison


« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2011, 12:50:01 AM »

i didn't come across any special breathing patterns in OO churches. but we do use our bodies to worship.
we lift our hands in prayer, kneel and bow down. and we make the sign of the cross often.
and today is the first day of the apostle's fast for us so we can do full prostrations!  Cheesy
i know for most EO churches this week is fast free, so maybe you have to wait till next week for prostrating.
but you can pray and study the Bible a lot and worship God with your whole life by loving God and your neighbour and by praying for your enemies.
once you do this, then you will start to feel the stillness and calmness that is the goal of hesychia.
Logged
wolf
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Still looking
Posts: 126



« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2011, 01:07:54 PM »

Thank you all for the replies.

Is 'hesychia' an 'experience'?

Well, as much as you "experience" stillness, I think so. I am guessing you mean that it isn't something "experienced" by the senses?

Quote
i didn't come across any special breathing patterns in OO churches. but we do use our bodies to worship.
we lift our hands in prayer, kneel and bow down. and we make the sign of the cross often.
and today is the first day of the apostle's fast for us so we can do full prostrations!  Cheesy
i know for most EO churches this week is fast free, so maybe you have to wait till next week for prostrating.
but you can pray and study the Bible a lot and worship God with your whole life by loving God and your neighbour and by praying for your enemies.
once you do this, then you will start to feel the stillness and calmness that is the goal of hesychia.

Just FYI I'm not actually an EO. Yet Grin. I am still investigating both the EO and OO communions.
Thanks for the information though.
Logged
NicholasMyra
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian/Greek
Posts: 5,759


Avowed denominationalist


« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2011, 02:47:10 PM »

It is interesting that the experience of "uncreated light" seems to have taken first place as the highest spiritual experience in Eastern Orthodoxy, rather than hesychia itself.
In what sense and according to whom?
Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can’t be my disciple."
wolf
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Still looking
Posts: 126



« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2011, 03:14:30 PM »

Quote
In what sense and according to whom?

According to those on this thread (and others) who have suggested that some of the Hesychastic writers have been trying to induce such experiences. It is also my understanding that Theoria includes vision of the uncreated light, moving beyond the experience of heychia - although I can see that this is the understanding in both churches. It is quite possible that I am not understanding something here, I am not going to pretend I know much of what I am talking about.
Logged
NicholasMyra
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian/Greek
Posts: 5,759


Avowed denominationalist


« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2011, 08:03:23 PM »

Quote
In what sense and according to whom?

According to those on this thread (and others) who have suggested that some of the Hesychastic writers have been trying to induce such experiences. It is also my understanding that Theoria includes vision of the uncreated light, moving beyond the experience of heychia - although I can see that this is the understanding in both churches. It is quite possible that I am not understanding something here, I am not going to pretend I know much of what I am talking about.
Well, the un-created light is not a sensual experience. It is, by definition, dispassionate. And many saints who emanated that light probably thought themselves the worst of sinners and didn't realize it, like Abba Sisoes of the Desert Fathers.

Hesychasts are taught to flee and suspect all visions, apparitions, and signs. The uncreated light is the presence of God, it is being a spirit-bearer. And so it is not a sensual vision or experience in a carnal sense that they are "pushing", but rather to a transfiguration that is the product of the indwelling of the uncreated presence of God (the uncreated light).
Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it goodbye, you can’t be my disciple."
mabsoota
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Coptic
Posts: 2,416


Kyrie eleison


« Reply #15 on: June 15, 2011, 02:24:49 PM »

yes, very good post.
it is actually dangerous to go looking for spiritual experiences, as there are many evil spirits out there who would love to deceive us with experiences such as going 'out of the body' (native americans and some hindus do this) or trick us with a 'spirit guide' like in new age religions.
so we need to do the ordinary hard things (fasting and praying) to progress to the peaceful things. God Himself should be our goal, not some experience to give us a buzz.
Logged
Tags: Hesychasm Uncreated Light 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.068 seconds with 44 queries.