Author Topic: Modern Church Fathers  (Read 117144 times)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #360 on: May 18, 2017, 10:17:24 PM »
Father Sophrony also makes another very interesting and important observation concerning the example given by Christ and our own theosis or deification. He points to the fact that even though the deification of Christ's human nature was, as Saint John Damascene says, effected from the very moment in which He assumed our nature, nevertheless Christ as Man shied away from anything which might give the impression of auto-theosis, that is to say, self-deification or self-divinization. That is why we see the action of the Holy Spirit underlined at His Holy birth: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee... therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35); also, the Holy Spirit descends upon Christ at His baptism in the Jordan (Matt. 3:15); and concerning the Resurrection, the Scriptures speak thus: "God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory" (1 Pet. 1:21); and finally, Christ Himself, teaching us the way of humility and how always to ascribe glory to Our Heavenly Father, says: "If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true" (John 5:31-32)

The same movement may be observed in the Divine Liturgy. The Words of Institution--"take eat, this is my body," "drink of this all of you, this is my blood"--by themselves are not regarded as sufficient to effect the consecration of the Holy Gifts; they must be accompanied by the Epiklesis, the invocation of the Holy Spirit, precisely in order to avoid any notion of self-deification, to avoid, that is, giving the impression that simply by speaking the words which Christ spoke, we are able to transform the Holy Gifts into the precious body and blood of Christ.

-- Said of Elder Sophrony (d. 1993), (in: Christopher Veniamin - The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: "Theosis" in Scripture and Tradition)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #361 on: May 19, 2017, 08:58:34 PM »
The origin of the patristic insistence on the equality of all bishops can be understood only in terms of the presuppositions: 1) that the corporate eucharistic life locally manifested is an end in itself, 2) that individual communities are related to each other by their identity of existence in Christ, 3) that the fullness of Christ dwells in the faithful who gather together in the life of Christ epi to auto, and 4) that the episcopate is an inseparable part of this local life epi to auto. The order of the episcopate was not something that existed in itself, or itself, and over or apart from the local Church. It was definitely within the Church, and since the visible Church could be defined only in terms of the body of Christ locally manifested in its mystagogical life, the episcopate was definitely of local character. The existence of bishops in the smallest and remotest villages of the empire cannot be explained otherwise than in terms of the necessity to have a bishop and council of presbyters within and responsible for the life of each eucharistic center. Therefore bishops were equal because communities were equal. One local manifestation of the body of Christ could not be more body of Christ or less than another. Likewise the living image of Christ (the bishop) could not be more image or less image than another image because Christ, whose image the bishops are, is identically One and Equal with Himself.

-- Fr. John Romanides (d. 2001), The Ecclesiology of St. Ignatius of Antioch, 7

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #362 on: May 21, 2017, 03:16:46 PM »
If Adam had not sinned, he would have remained forever blessed, and all his descendants would have enjoyed blessedness. It was for this very purpose that God had created man. But Adam, having succumbed to the tempter-devil, transgressed against the law of the Maker and took pleasure in the taste of the forbidden fruit. When God appeared to Adam right after he had sinned, Adam, instead of repenting and promising obedience henceforth, began to justify himself and to blame his wife. Eve in turn blamed the serpent for everything. And so it was that sin became a part of human nature, deeply injuring it because of the lack of repentance of Adam and Eve. The existing communion with the Maker was cut and the blessedness lost. Having lost Paradise within himself, Adam became unworthy of the external Paradise and was therefore banished from it.

After the fall into sin, Adam's soul darkened: his thoughts and desires became muddled, and his imagination and memory began to cloud. Instead of peace and joy he met sorrow, agitation, ruination, misery, and woe. He experienced hard labor, poverty, hunger, and thirst. And after years of unsurpassed sorrows, sickly old age began to oppress him, and death neared. Worst of all, the devil, the perpetrator of every evil, obtained through sin the ability to influence Adam and to further alienate him from God.

-- St. Innocent of Alaska (d. 1879), Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of Heaven

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #363 on: May 27, 2017, 09:18:15 PM »
First of all, concerning faith, one preliminary remark. Faith is very often understood by people as a defeat of intelligence. In other words, faith begins when I can no longer think creatively, when I let go of any attempt at rational understanding, and when I say 'I believe' because it is so absurd that it is the only way of facing the problem. This may be an act of credulity, it may be an act of cowardice, it may be a preliminary act, full of wisdom and intelligence, that teaches us not to draw conclusions or to come to conclusions before we have understood.

But his it not the faith as understood by the great men of all religions, and particularly the Christian faith. In the Epistle to the Hebrews in the eleventh chapter, faith is defined as 'certainty of things unseen.' We usually lay the stress on 'things unseen' and forget the 'certainty' about them. So when we think of faith we usually think of the invisible and instead of certainty put against it an interrogation mark. Then to solve the problem, we accept in a childish way, in an unintelligent way very often, what we are told by others--usually our grandparents of three generations back, or whoever else we choose to believe for reasons that are not always reasonable.

But if you try to see the way in which faith originates in those people who were the great men of faith, the heroes of faith, you can see that it always originates in an experience that makes the invisible certain, and which allows them, having discovered that the invisible is as real as the visible, to go further in searching the invisible by methods of their own.

-- Met. Anthony of Sourozh (d. 2003), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #364 on: May 29, 2017, 05:56:41 PM »
Discernment was another marker of spiritual authority in the ascetic community. In many of his own letters, St. Anthony noted that he prayed that his disciples might receive the gift of discernment in order to understand better the difference between good and evil and thereby offer themselves more completely to God. He also related that he knew of men who had pursued asceticism for many years, but in the end, the lack of discernment led to their spiritual demise.

-- George Demacopoulos (b. 1970), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #365 on: May 29, 2017, 06:24:27 PM »
-- George Demacopoulos (b. 1970), Source

You're killing my soul. 
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #366 on: May 29, 2017, 06:38:41 PM »
-- George Demacopoulos (b. 1970), Source

You're killing my soul.

;D ;D ;D

Embrace this podvig, cast aside your prelestuous mindset that presumes you already know what is good for you, and you will verily acquire an Orthodox phronema!

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #367 on: May 29, 2017, 06:43:14 PM »
-- George Demacopoulos (b. 1970), Source

You're killing my soul.

;D ;D ;D

Embrace this podvig, cast aside your prelestuous mindset that presumes you already know what is good for you, and you will verily acquire an Orthodox phronema!

You win the internets. 8)
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #368 on: June 02, 2017, 06:26:06 PM »
Having spoken about self-offering, vicarious self-denial and sacrifical service as the archetypal specifications of the Christian priesthood, St. Symeon turns next to the witness of Christian asceticism in order to elucidate further his understanding of the priesthood. What he implies here is that the ascetic model is basic to that of a priest. The ascetic is he, who loves the Lord above all else. The priest is he, who loves the Lord and accepts his calling to feed his sheep.  Is it not true, he asks, that the divine and cross-bearing, ascetic vesture is the sign of the poverty of Christ? Is it not the sign of the cross, the icon of death, the study of all that lies above and beyond the world, the laying off or the rejection of all things that lie below and are earthly? It is indeed so, he says. And yet, there have been so many great, spiritual masters, who fully understood and honored this ascetic vesture in their lives, but avoided assuming the height of the sacred glory of the priesthood. This was not, he explains, because they thought that the priesthood is something to be avoided, but because its height requires a soul that is very great and capable of dispensing sacred deeds. It requires a soul that is as pure as is possible for man; a soul that is totally eager and tireless to be of benefit to the brethren, for the priesthood is God's work, loved by Him and undertaken out of love for Him. This is exactly what Christ stressed to Peter three times, and what Christian asceticism is basically all about.

Many of the great, spiritual masters who wore the ascetic vesture with true humility, shrunk from entering the ranks of the priesthood, because they considered it much higher than their capability. These great and true ascetics were in fact much more eligible for the priesthood than those others, who openly sought it, instead of avoiding it, regarding themselves most worthy of it because of the height and purity of their monastic values. There is no doubt, says St. Symeon, that the monastic ideals fit perfectly with the lofty and pure calling of the priesthood. Indeed, the Church knows this and has, therefore, entrusted her protection to the holy ascetics. It has become customary to have ascetic priests promoted to the hierarchy of the Church, and it is demanded that those priests, who are to become hierarchs, should first assume the ascetic habit. According to St. Syemon, the linking of ascetic priests with higher ranks of the clergy represents the high view of the faithful and divine protectors of the Church. Yet, it often happens that ascetic priests themselves corrupt and render useless such a lofty view! What is the cause of such a problem, and how can it be cured?

The problem in this case, says St. Symeon, is the departure of such priests from their monastic ideals. By corrupting their ascetic vesture and habit, they fail to dispense their priesthood worthily. Such ascetics are usually only interested in acquiring this most divine authority. Thus, they employ all their powers and sacrifice everything they have in order to achieve this. yet, as soon as they gain it, they prove that they are unworthy of exercising it. They do the opposite to what they are supposed to do, to the detriment both of themselves and of the priesthood itself. No one, says St. Symeon, should aspire to acquire the priestly vesture in order to climb up to the ladder of hierarchy. Anyone, who is elected to the priesthood, should first consider the divine and lofty purpose of it, so that he may humble himself along with the Master, who humbles himself, and whose image he puts on. Failure to do this often leads newly ordained priests to turn this divine order into a source of conceit and blindness. This is not due to the priesthood as such, but to the priests' choice, which does not turn their mind to the divine truth, but makes them yawn in idleness and become attached, or literally nailed to, things that lie below and pertain to selfishness.

-- Fr. George Dragas (b. 1944), On the Priesthood and the Holy Eucharist

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #369 on: June 09, 2017, 11:12:58 PM »
We take the liberty of saying that it seems our Brother Bishops have treated this matter without sufficient attention, without realizing how far our Church is being drawn into the sphere of anti-canonical and even of anti-dogmatical agreements with the heterodox. This fact is especially clear if one turns to the initial statements of the representatives of the Orthodox Churches as compared with what is taking place at present.

At the Conference in Lausanne in 1937, the representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Metropolitan Germanos, clearly stated that restoring unity with the Church means for Protestants that they must return to the doctrines of the ancient Church of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. "And what are the elements of the Christian doctrines," he said, "which should be regarded as necessary and essential? According to the understanding of the Orthodox Church there is no need now to make definitions of those necessary elements of faith, because they are already made in the ancient Creeds and the decisions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. Therefore this teaching of the ancient undivided Church should be the basis of the reunion of the Church." That was the position taken by all the Orthodox delegates at the Lausanne and Oxford Conferences...

What, then, has changed? Have the Protestants abandoned their errors? No. They have not changed, and the Church has not changed; only the persons who are now said to represent her have changed. If the representatives of the Orthodox Churches had only continued firmly maintaining the basic principles of our belief in the Church, they would not have brought the Orthodox Church into the ambiguous position which was created for her by the decision of the Geneva Conference last year. Since the Assembly of the World Council of Churches in New Delhi, the Orthodox delegates no longer make separate statements, but have merged into one mass with the Protestant confessions. Thus all the decisions of the Uppsala Assembly are made in the name of "the Church," which is always spoken of in the singular.

-- Met. Philaret of New York (d. 1985), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #370 on: June 17, 2017, 09:13:57 PM »
Translation is the core of missionary work. Nowadays the work of a mission in general, in any country, cannot be limited to oral preaching alone... In Japan, where people like reading and respect the printed word so much, we must first of all provide the faithful and those who are about to be baptized with books printed in their mother tongue, by all means well-written and neatly and cheaply published... The printed word must be the soul of the mission.

-- St. Nicholas of Japan (d. 1912), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #371 on: July 18, 2017, 09:34:16 PM »
We need to be careful not to harbour any resentment against those who harm us, but rather to pray for them with love. Whatever any of our fellow men does, we should never think evil of him. We need always to have thoughts of love and always to think good of others. Look at Saint Stephen the first martyr. He prayed, Lord, do not hold this sin against them. We need to do the same. We should never think about someone that God will send him some evil or that God will punish him for his sin. This thought brings about very great evil, without our being aware of it. We often feel indignation and say to someone: ‘Have you no fear of God’s justice, are you not afraid of God’s punishment?’ Or else we say, ‘God will punish you for what you’ve done,’ or, ‘O God, do not bring evil on that person for what he did to me,’ or, ‘May that person not suffer the same thing.’

In all these cases, we have a deep desire within us for the other person to be punished. Instead of confessing our anger over his error, we present our indignation in a different way, and we allegedly pray to God for him. In reality, however, in this way we are cursing our brother. And if, instead of praying, we say, ‘May God repay you for the evil you have done to me,’ then once again we are wishing for God to punish him. Even when we say, ‘All very well, God is witness,’ the disposition of our soul works in a mysterious way and influences the soul of our fellow man so that he suffers evil.

-- St. Porphyrios of Athos (d. 1991), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #372 on: July 24, 2017, 07:28:40 PM »
One of the best definitions of providence I ever heard was: God doing the best he can with what he’s got, and what he’s got is us. Poor God! But he doesn’t give up on us. No matter how often we fall, we can get up again, but we are told in Scripture—in Proverbs, in Psalms, in Prophets, in the New Testament, in the letter to the Romans, in the Book of Revelation—that we will answer for our works: kata ta erga; we will answer for what we have done, what is written in the books. It’s not just you say, “Oh, I believe in God; therefore I can relax and heaven is mine, because Jesus saved me.” That’s an abomination. It’s just an abomination.

-- Fr. Thomas Hopko (d. 2015), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #373 on: October 10, 2017, 10:16:30 PM »
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the Good News of Heaven and earth, God’s Gospel for men in this world. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” In those few words, the Holy Forerunner expressed the fullness of the Gospels. Looking toward the East, he said to the entire human race, from Adam to our days, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” The Kingdom of Heaven? Here it is: the Lord Jesus [come] from Heaven. In Him is the Kingdom of Heaven.

-- St. Justin Popovich (d. 1979), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #374 on: October 11, 2017, 08:15:25 PM »
Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov once visited Optina hoping to meet and converse with monks experienced in the spiritual life, and was referred to Father Anatole, who was then a deacon. The bishop was impressed with Father Anatole, and related the details of their conversation to Father Macarius. The Elder began to beat him with his staff, and ordered him out of the room. When someone asked why he had been so harsh, Father Macarius said, “Why shouldn’t I scold him? It’s easy to become proud.”

-- said of St. Anatolius I of Optina (d. 1894), Source
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 08:23:53 PM by Asteriktos »

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #375 on: October 12, 2017, 01:12:05 AM »
Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov once visited Optina hoping to meet and converse with monks experienced in the spiritual life, and was referred to Father Anatole, who was then a deacon. The bishop was impressed with Father Anatole, and related the details of their conversation to Father Macarius. The Elder began to beat him with his staff, and ordered him out of the room. When someone asked why he had been so harsh, Father Macarius said, “Why shouldn’t I scold him? It’s easy to become proud.”

-- said of St. Anatolius I of Optina (d. 1894), Source
That's powerful.
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

Check my blog "Em Espírito e em Verdade" (in Portuguese)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #376 on: October 13, 2017, 07:20:01 PM »
The image [of God] comes to be seen here through participation in the Holy Trinity, and precisely through this participation, as something that belongs to the mental and rational soul of man, while grace comes to be seen as the uncreated energy of the Holy Spirit, as active communion with God. Furthermore, St. Gregory Palamas regarded the living soul, which was breathed into humans, as eternally alive, immortal, and endowed with divine grace. "What did he breathe into him? The breath of life... 'The first man... became a living spirit.' But what does 'living' mean? Eternally living, immortal, which is the same as saying rational... it is also endowed with divine grace. For such is the truly living soul. And this is identical with 'in the image' and, if you like, 'in the likeness' too." The tendency exists within reason for it to go on knowing for all eternity, while within the word the tendency exists for it to go on speaking for all eternity.

This identification of the rational with immortality will be better understood, however, if on the one hand we take into account that a human existence pointed toward death is irrational and meaningless, and on the other hand, if we regard the rational as that which issues in speech. Man spaks because he is addressed by God, because through speech he is placed in relationship with God. And because man speaks or, better, because man resonds, he will never cease responding, for God will never cease to tell man what God is or cease to reveal his love. Nor will man ever cease to understand or cease to wish to understand still more, or cease to express his joy, gratitude, and praise for what God shows him. This inbreathing of God implants more than just biological life within man (for animals also have this and they do not receive the divine inbreathing); it bestows the life of understanding and also of communion with God, that is to say, spiritual life.

-- Fr. Dumitru Staniloae (d. 1993), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #377 on: October 14, 2017, 04:54:11 PM »
The faith of our creed... sees in the witness of the Spirit, the very presence of God in our midst, which presence alone constitutes the true Tradition. Holy Tradition is a divine process; it is not ours but God's, reaching out from the soma to the fullness of the pleroma. Holy Tradition is not something static, to be safeguarded by dogmatic formulas; it is the dynamic movement of God in history, in which man shares as part of the perfect humanity of Christ.

-- Bp. Gerasimos Papadopoulos (d. 1995), (found in: Fr. John McGuckin, The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture, p. 93)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #378 on: October 15, 2017, 03:40:09 PM »
Before the fourth century Christian worship had been the worship of a persecuted minority. This had helped to emphasize the corporate nature of the liturgy. Only true Christians, those who were prepared to accept the Gospel in all its fullness and in the full awareness of its meaning, were members of the Church. Christian worship was the mystery of the commnity meeting together. From the fourth century onward, however, it gradually became a worship dominated by the sanctuary. Was a development of this kind not inevitable once the liturgy came to be celebrated in the great basilicas which Constantine had erected throughout the Empire--in the "Great Church" of Hagia Sophia, for example, which held thousands of worshippers? Moreover, the faithful themselves felt that they now belonged to a privileged religion, to an imperial Christianity, they were no longer a group hated by the "world."

But, basically speaking, the Church did not modify either its stand toward the world or its consciousness of being "outside the world." [In] the new circumstances in which it found itself it could not help devising new methods for protecting the Christian mystery. Formerly the non-baptized had been forbidden to enter the ecclesia (church); henceforth the laity were forbidden to enter the sanctuary since many of them were only superficially baptized at best. The liturgy was gradually transformed into an "office" chanted by the clergy in the "presence" of people. In sermons, theological works, and the symbolism of church art, from now on there would be much more emphasis on the terrifying mystery of the divine presence in the Church, on the dangers of an unworthy reception of "communion" in the mystery, and on the role of the clergy as mediators between the people and the Mystery. This increased emphasis upon ecclesiastical formality, which obscured but did not deny the essential traits of Christian worship, was necessary in order to maintain the sense of the Sacred in the Church over the centuries.

-- Fr. John Meyendorff (d. 1992), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #379 on: October 16, 2017, 04:36:15 AM »
Before the fourth century Christian worship had been the worship of a persecuted minority. This had helped to emphasize the corporate nature of the liturgy. Only true Christians, those who were prepared to accept the Gospel in all its fullness and in the full awareness of its meaning, were members of the Church. Christian worship was the mystery of the commnity meeting together. From the fourth century onward, however, it gradually became a worship dominated by the sanctuary. Was a development of this kind not inevitable once the liturgy came to be celebrated in the great basilicas which Constantine had erected throughout the Empire--in the "Great Church" of Hagia Sophia, for example, which held thousands of worshippers? Moreover, the faithful themselves felt that they now belonged to a privileged religion, to an imperial Christianity, they were no longer a group hated by the "world."

But, basically speaking, the Church did not modify either its stand toward the world or its consciousness of being "outside the world." [In] the new circumstances in which it found itself it could not help devising new methods for protecting the Christian mystery. Formerly the non-baptized had been forbidden to enter the ecclesia (church); henceforth the laity were forbidden to enter the sanctuary since many of them were only superficially baptized at best. The liturgy was gradually transformed into an "office" chanted by the clergy in the "presence" of people. In sermons, theological works, and the symbolism of church art, from now on there would be much more emphasis on the terrifying mystery of the divine presence in the Church, on the dangers of an unworthy reception of "communion" in the mystery, and on the role of the clergy as mediators between the people and the Mystery. This increased emphasis upon ecclesiastical formality, which obscured but did not deny the essential traits of Christian worship, was necessary in order to maintain the sense of the Sacred in the Church over the centuries.

-- Fr. John Meyendorff (d. 1992), Source
This strikes me as controversial. It clearly favours the Paris School idea of priesthood, which I'm not capacitated to criticise, but am still aware of being target of strong criticism from inside the Church.
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

Check my blog "Em Espírito e em Verdade" (in Portuguese)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #380 on: October 16, 2017, 06:51:02 PM »
I have an issue or two with it, though likely not the same as you are speaking of (for example I think he romanticizes the pre-Constantinian church way too much). Anything in particular that strikes you as off?

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #381 on: October 16, 2017, 07:00:29 PM »
The genius of Dostoevsky in A Gentle Creature shows us the unbearable contrast between the infinite depths of suffering and the indifference of time: "'Men, love one another.' Who said that? The pedulum ticks callously, with a hateful monotony." (Dostoevsky, A Writer's Diary, vol. II) Time reminds us that everything is passing. In Crime and Punishment, the ghost of the woman murdered by Svidrigailov appears and reminds him that "he has forgotten to wind the clock"! We can stop the clock; we cannot stop time which moves implacably towards the Judgment. One of the most terrible images is that of stopped time. Kierkegaard describes the awakening of a sinner in hell: "'What is the time?' he cried; and with icy indifference Satan replied, 'Eternity.'"

-- Paul Evdokimov (d. 1970), Orthodoxy, p. 211 (fn 14)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #382 on: October 16, 2017, 07:03:30 PM »
I have an issue or two with it, though likely not the same as you are speaking of (for example I think he romanticizes the pre-Constantinian church way too much). Anything in particular that strikes you as off?
He seems to correlate the gradually disappearing restriction to the office of non-communicators with the gradual clericalisation of Christian liturgy, which seems to me to reflect the Parisian idea of concelebration between clergy and people of the sacrifice. Not sure if Parisian theologians actually taught that explicity, but St. Daniel Sysoev ascribes this idea to them.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2017, 07:04:52 PM by RaphaCam »
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

Check my blog "Em Espírito e em Verdade" (in Portuguese)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #383 on: October 17, 2017, 03:28:42 PM »
The other day a lady asked me what would happen with the "toll booths" after death. I said to her, "I will tell them the Light of Christ shines to All! You however are in darkness and I don't see you!"

-- Mother Gavrielia (d. 1992), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #384 on: October 17, 2017, 07:04:42 PM »
I have an issue or two with it, though likely not the same as you are speaking of (for example I think he romanticizes the pre-Constantinian church way too much). Anything in particular that strikes you as off?
He seems to correlate the gradually disappearing restriction to the office of non-communicators with the gradual clericalisation of Christian liturgy, which seems to me to reflect the Parisian idea of concelebration between clergy and people of the sacrifice. Not sure if Parisian theologians actually taught that explicity, but St. Daniel Sysoev ascribes this idea to them.
I meant service rather than office, was thinking in Portuguese.
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

Check my blog "Em Espírito e em Verdade" (in Portuguese)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #385 on: October 17, 2017, 07:07:50 PM »
Huh, well I'm not sure :)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #386 on: October 18, 2017, 07:45:21 PM »
In 1937, Vladyka was arrested, and spent more than two difficult years undergoing tortuous interrogation. Nonetheless, resting his hope in the Lord, he courageously endured those trials, not only refusing to agree to false accusations against him, but engaging in active protests – refusing to eat, and sending complaints to the highest authorities against the prosecutors’ illegal actions. He would say to his fellow prisoners, “They demand that I remove my ryassa. I will never do so. It, my ryassa, will be with me to my very death… I help people as a physician, and I help them as a servant of the Church….”

-- said of St. Luke of Simferopol and Crimea (d. 1961), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #387 on: October 19, 2017, 10:24:12 PM »
When now the historian of tradition goes on from Augustine to Augustinianism, the need to avoid the "great man theory" of history becomes all the more imperative. Augustine is probably the most influential figure in medieval intellectual history: as the saying goes, perhaps not the greatest of the Latin writers, but almost certainly the greatest man who ever wrote Latin. But he is this not only, and not even chiefly, because other giants of the Middle Ages who might deserve to stand along-side him--Anselm of Canterbury, or Bernard of Clairvaux, or Thomas Aquinas, or Bonaventure, or John Duns Scotus (to list them in strictly chronological order)--were all, in one way or another, Augustinians, as were, for that matter, Luther, Calvin, Pascal, and even, in some sense, Descartes.

What is so impressive about Augustine for our purposes here is that, as he drew from tradition and not only from Plato and Paul and other giants, so he also became part of the tradition, for literally millions of men and women who learned to look at the world and at human life as he had taught them--when not directly through his writings, which have circulated in millions of copies over the past fifteen centuries, then through the later catechisms, devotional books, and sermons that drew so much of their contents from him.

The rediscovery of Augustine was a component of each of the medieval "renaissances" I enumerated, including the Italian Renaissance itself, when Petrarch confronted Augustine and thus himself in My Secret atop Mount Ventoux. The Protestant Reformers likewise saw themselves as rediscovering the authentic Augustine after he had been hidden under an Aristotelian cloud in the systems of the scholastics. "Augustine is completely on our side" was Calvin's boast; he because the one figure who, more than any other, enabled the leaders of the Reformation to claim that they were not throwing over the Christian past after all. But more than any of these soloists of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Reformation, it was, as far as we can tell, the silent in the land, those who did not write and could not read, who took over elements of the Augustinian tradition and transformed them into that protean mass of practices and beliefs that historians now call the medieval tradition.

-- Jaroslav Pelikan (d. 2006), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #388 on: October 20, 2017, 08:55:38 PM »
The proper name of God is revealed in his total self-emptying on the Cross. "God is love," writes St. John. "He who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him." This is the mystery, everything else is but a glimmer.

-- Olivier Clement (d. 2009), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #389 on: October 21, 2017, 09:00:08 PM »
Certainly the fact that the sudden development of the theme of the image coincided with the entry of the Greek language into the religious literature of Judaism was not fortuitous. But one may wonder if this recourse to a new vocabulary, rich in philosophical tradition, was not the answer to an internal need of Revelation itself, which thus received in the last stage of the Old Covenant an increase of light which was to lend new coloring to the sacred books of the Jews. “It is no accident” that the Jewish diaspora, in order to keep alive the word of Truth revealed to Israel, chose to give it an Hellenic expression, which allowed the authors of the deuterocanonical books to open up a theology of the image on the eve of the advent of Christianity.

-- Vladimir Lossky (d. 1958), The Theology of the Image (pdf)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #390 on: October 22, 2017, 01:56:01 PM »
He made a deep impression on his audience with his vitality and "the organic blending of intellectual curiosity and the faith of the heart." Filaret's method was a healthy combination of a philosophic inquisitiveness, theological reflection, pastoral sensitivity, and a well-founded biblical/patristic knowledge. In examining his scientific method, it soon becomes apparent that dogmas were not just unquestionable proofs from the past, but possessed a systematic foundation formulated by revelation and reason. Further, they were designed not only to be believe in but to increase in faith, when exposited with proper heed. Theological reflection and investigative epistemology were integral parts of his courses when lecturing at the Moscow Theological Academy where, without hesitation, he applied available methods of historical-source criticism, as well as proper philosophical considerations.

-- said of: St. Filaret Gumilevsky (d. 1866), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #391 on: October 23, 2017, 08:49:43 PM »
This Tree of Life was also a polarized descent of opposite qualities, the expansive movements of wisdom and kindness and the contractive of analysis and rigor, for example, with each in the process of interchange with its opposite... So for those teachers, the Tree is not just a static symbol, but something living and dynamic. Now this model of the tree is the organic form of the hierarchical picture of the universe which C.S. Lewis writes of in The Discarded Image, and the idea of hierarchy is not an easy one for many people today to use and understand, though it is important for religious faith, not only of course for the question of what we have made of hierarchy in our churches, but more basically in understanding our place in the world and our way of access to God.

The problem is that in our day, hierarchy is pretty well limited to the sense of chain-of-command. So Simone Weil, in her subtle analysis of the needs of the soul as paired opposites (in The Need For Roots) opposes hierarchy and equality as two equal but opposite needs of the spirit. Valid though that is, it is an essentially modern understanding. The ancient vision, or perhaps one should say, the alternative vision, for it still may be felt and held, starts with a dimension of 'height.' We, as C.S. Lewis observed, are with our radio telescopes aware of a vastly larger universe than the ancients knew. But if the Earth is so small, so is everything else, and so what?

But the other vision, of Dante for example, looks up into the night and sees sphere on sphere all the way back to the primum mobile, the high first stirrings of the universe, each greater and higher and more noble, so that the mind becomes dizzy with the abyss of height. If Pascal, allowing himself to see within the blinkers of modern sensibility, felt the terror of "the silence eternal and the space of infinity," for Dante, or anyone who sees into height, there is more the sense of being in an immense cathedral in whose ongoing building and beautification one had a specific place.

So when Dionysius, that mysterious sixth-century Syrian monk whose books exercised an enormous influence both in the east and in the west, writes his little books, Celestial Hierarchy and Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, he is speaking of a living, growing world, in which each of us stands in relation to the Most High and can participate in the Divine Life which flows like sap in a tree or like a river of light from the Eden above, down through all created things. Each degree of the order of the Universe, or of the Church, exists only to receive the flow of the Glory of God and pass it on in its integrity... so that, because each who receives also fully relinquishes (it is, Dionysius would say, the Law of the Kingdom) the light and glory is full and integral at every stage.

-- Bp. Seraphim Sigrist (b. 1941), Theology of Wonder, pp. 9-10

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #392 on: October 24, 2017, 06:31:11 PM »
Seek God daily. But seek Him in your heart, not outside it. And when you find Him, stand with fear and trembling, like the Cherubim and the Seraphim, for your heart has become a throne of God. But in order to find God, become humble as dust before the Lord, for the Lord abhors the proud, whereas He visits those that are humble in heart, wherefore He says: "To whom will I look, but to him that is meek and humble in heart?" (Isa. 66:2)

-- St. Nektarios of Aegina (d. 1920), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #393 on: October 25, 2017, 08:39:24 PM »
A curious lack of theological studies was observed after the Greek Revolution, belying all optimistic hopes. One would be deeply disappointed if one sought to find out who were the theologians produced from mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century. If the value of a literary contribution is measured by how long it continues to be read, then their contribution was meager, since no one today uses their writings-with few exceptions - while many are those who still utilize the works of the pre-revolutionary theologians.

It is true that some worthwhile commentaries were produced in the exegetical field, namely by Nicholas Damalas and Emmanuel Zolotas. But, on the other hand, it does no honor to Greek theological scholarship to note that it has not, to this day, been able to prepare a full series of commentaries of the New Testament, not to speak of the whole Bible. The only full commentary of the New Testament has come from outside of 'official ' theology-from Apostolos Makrakes. This weakness is obviously due to the fact that all those German-educated theologians, though they used German methodology, were not, at the same time, willing to accept the content of Protestant interpretation. As a result, they remained hesitant, or preferred to keep silent. The principles of an Orthodox hermeneutics were to be used with clearness and exactness only forty-five years ago by Evangelos Antoniades and Vasileios Vellas.

-- Panagiotes K. Christou (d. 1995), Neohellenic Theology at the Crossroads

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #394 on: October 26, 2017, 07:00:23 PM »
The moral character and moral value of man's personality depends most of all on the direction and strength of the will. Of course, everyone understands that for a Christian it is necessary to have: first, a strong and decisive will, and second, a will which is firmly directed toward the good of his neighbor; toward the side of good and not evil. How is one to develop a strong will? The answer is simple--above all through the exercise of the will. To do this, as with bodily exercise, it is necessary to begin slowly, little by little. However, having begun to exercise one's will in anything (e.g. in a constant struggle with one's sinful habits or whims) this work on oneself must never cease. Moreover, a Christian who wishes to strengthen his will, his character, must from the very beginning avoid all dissipation, disorder and inconsistency of behavior. Otherwise, he will be a person without character, unreliable, a reed shaking in the wind, as we read in Holy Scripture.

Discipline is necessary for every one of us. It has such vital significance that without it, a correct, normal order and success in our endeavors is impossible. In the life of each individual it is of primary importance, for inner self-discipline takes the place here of external school or military discipline. Man must place himself in definite frameworks, having created definite conditions and an order of life--and not depart from this.

-- Met. Philaret Voznesensky (d. 1985), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #395 on: October 27, 2017, 08:05:13 PM »
Sin, and spiritual coldness in a lesser degree, is an incomprehensibility in the eyes of God, for it is a fading away into nothingness ontologically speaking. Even minor sins are a sickness of non-being that calls the Christian away from the fullness of life in Christ. Such is the strange paradox of post-baptismal sin. And yet, the fact that this paradox still cannot defile the purity of the church as Christ’s own body is seen also in the manner in which the sickness can be reversed and healed in the Christian community.

-- Fr. John McGuckin (b. 1952), The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture, p. 301

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #396 on: October 28, 2017, 04:31:46 PM »
If there was any danger that a Christian people might deviate from the true teaching, the danger lay primarily in ignorance. The growth of rational knowledge, certainly, does not offer salvation, but guards against false knowledge. It is true that where the mind and heart have once been permeated by Divine truth, there the degree of learning becomes a side issue. It is also true that consciousness of the Divine is equally compatible with all stages of rational development. But, in order that Divine truth might permeate, enliven, and guide man’s intellectual life, it must subordinate external reason to itself and dominate it, not remain outside its sphere of action. Divine truth must stand above other truths in the general consciousness as the sovereign principle pervading all culture. For each separate Divine truth must be supported by the like-mindedness of cultivated society. Ignorance, by contrast, keeps minds from vital intellectual interchange through which truth among men and nations is sustained, advanced, and enlarged. An ignorant mind, even when accompanied by the most righteous convictions of the heart, gives birth to irrational jealousy, from which in turn springs the deviation of both mind and heart from true convictions.

-- Ivan Kireyevsky (d. 1856), On the Necessity and Possibility of New Principles in Philosophy

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #397 on: October 29, 2017, 03:57:28 PM »
Antonina Sergevna, knowing that Dmitri Evgenievich was a psychiatrist, asked him a question: "Tell me something. Jesus Christ healed possessed people. Were they mentally ill?"

Dmitri answered, "A person can be mentally ill or can be spiritual ill--these are distinct illnesses. People who are spiritually ill are possessed. They are possessed by a thirst to kill, an uncontrollable desire to do evil, to torture people, to make them suffer. All their spiritual essence is imbued with evil: they venerate evil and venerate demonic powers. Remember the two demoniacs who lived in the tombs (Mt. 8:23): they were possessed. Think of the NKVD investigators: the ones who interrogate people and torture them and, with a shrewd understanding of human weaknesses, verbally abuse and use people and demean women. These investigators are seriously spiritually ill; the power of evil, demonism, has seized their souls, but many of them are not mentally ill at all. I have met such spiritually ill people more than once. Psychiatry can do nothing for them: they are possessed.

"Healing from a spiritual illness can occur by the grace of God only with the help of a spiritual ascetic, one who is immersed entirely in prayer, in the love of God and of mankind. It is not just any priest who can heal such a possessed person. Jesus Christ Himself said, 'This kind can come out only through prayer and fasting' (Mk. 9:29). Mental illness can be treated in psychiatric hospitals or at home by medication, physiotherapy, work, psychanalysis. Many priests believe that psychoanalysis is sinful because the analyst forces himself onto the patient's soul, thus replacing confession; they think that only in confession should one open one's innermost treasure. But, as a doctor of psychiatry, I ahve seen more than once that psychoanalysis by an experienced psychoanalyst has entirely healed a patient.

-- Father Arseny: A Cloud of Witnesses, p. 37

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #398 on: October 30, 2017, 08:31:04 PM »
The term Orthodoxy consists of two words: "orthos" (true, right) and "doxa". "Doxa" means, on the one hand, belief, faith, teaching and on the other, praise or doxology. These two meanings are closely connected. The true teaching about God incorporates the true praise of God; for if God is abstract, then prayer to this God is abstract as well. If God is personal then prayer assumes a personal character. God has revealed the true faith, the true teaching. Thus we say that the teaching about God and all matters associated with a person's salvation are the Revelation of God and not man's discovery.

God has revealed this truth to people who were prepared to receive it. Judas expresses this point well by saying: "contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). In this quotation as in many other related passages it is clear that God reveals Himself to the Saints, i.e. to those who have reached a certain level of spiritual growth so as to receive this Revelation. The Holy Apostles were "healed" first, and then received the Revelation. And they transmitted this Revelation to their spiritual children not only by teaching them but primarily by mystically effecting their spiritual rebirth. In order for this faith to be preserved the Holy Fathers formulated the dogmas and doctrines. We accept the dogmas and doctrines; in other words we accept this revealed faith and remain with the Church so as to be healed. For faith is, on the one hand, Revelation to those purified and healed and, on the other it is the right path to reach theosis, for those who choose to follow the "way".

-- Metr. Hierotheos Vlachos (b. 1945), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #399 on: October 31, 2017, 06:24:53 PM »
In the usual celebrations of the Divine Liturgy, we exhort ourselves and one another to "lay aside all earthly cares," in order to receive "the King of all." On Holy Saturday, as we commemorate Christ's repose in the tomb and His descent into the realm of the dead, we recall the price paid for our own liberation from death and corruption. We declare that He, the preexistent divine Son of the Father, came into our world and into our life for one purpose: to die, that through His death we might have life, lived in eternal communion with the Holy Trinity.

There is nothing in human experience, nor even in the human imagination, that could offer greater promise and greater joy than this central message of the Christian gospel. Yet for most of us, the most familiar and painful aspect of our lenten journey is likely to be our inability to relate to that message--to the extraordinary promise--in a way that actually changes our life. Distraction, dispersion, and chaos, whether from outside or from deep within our own psyche, exercise their demonic influence in every phase of our daily life, while we are at work, with our friends or family, or in a liturgical service. And so we live our lives on the surface, feeling little and caring little for what is in fact the one thing in this world that really matters, the one thing that is truly needful.

Holy Saturday calls us back to what is essential. In the Entrance Hymn especially, it reminds us that our life is a battle ground, where a constant struggle pits us against the Enemy, against the worst inclinations of our fallen nature. Appropriately, it calls us to engage in that struggle with fear, with trembling, and in silence. One of the great teachers of the Orthodox tradition, the fifth-century mystic, Diodochos of Photiki, captured the vital link between inner silence and spiritual warfare with these words: "Spiritual knowledge comes through prayer, deep stillness and complete detachment... When the soul's incesive power [thymikon, spiritual wrath] is aroused against the passions, we should know it is time for silence, since the hour of battle is at hand." (Philokalia, v. 1, p. 255)

-- Fr. John Breck (b. 1939), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #400 on: November 01, 2017, 07:30:50 PM »
As a eucharistic organism, the Church realizes and maintains its unity through the act of Holy Communion. It is the Eucharist that creates the oneness of the Church. Unity is to be understood not in juridical but in eucharistic terms. Unity is not imposed from above by some hierarch or administrative center endowed with supreme power of jurisdiction, but it is created from within by the celebration of the liturgy. This is precisely what St. Paul affirms. "The bread that we break is a communion with the body of Christ. The fact that there is only one loaf means that though there are many of us, we form a single body because we all share in this one loaf" (1 Cor. 10:16-17). For ecclesiology there is no biblical text more decisive than this. Between communion in the one eucharist load and membership in the one body of Christ, St. Paul is asserting not just an analogy but a causal connection. Because we eat from the one loaf, therefore we are made one body in Christ.

The interdependence of the Eucharist and Church is a dominant theme throughout the letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch (martyred c. 107). "Be careful to have but one Eucharist," he writes to the Philadelphians. "For there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup for the union with his blood, one altar, just as there is one bishop with the presbytery and the deacons my fellow-servants." The repetition of the word one shows very clearly how Ignatius envisages Church unity: "...one Eucharist... one flesh... one cup... one altar... one bishop." the unity of the Church is manifested as a specific and objective reality at each local celebration of the Eucharist, when the faithful, gathered around the bishop epi to auto, "in the same place"--a favorite phrase of Ignatius--receive communion in the one Christ from one loaf and one chalice. There is an integral connection in Ignatius's mind between the shared communion in Christ's body and blood, and the unity of the local church gathered round the bishop.

-- Met. Kallistos Ware (b. 1934), Source

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #401 on: November 02, 2017, 03:44:26 PM »
Take a look at yourself, therefore, and see how bound you are by your desire to humour yourself and only yourself. Your freedom is curbed by the restraining bonds of self-love, and thus you wander, a captive corpse, from morning till eve. "Now I will drink," "now I will get up," "now I will read the paper." Thus you are led from moment to moment in your halter of preoccupation with self, and kindled instantly to displeasure, impatience or anger if an obstacle intervenes. If you look into the depths of your consciousness you meet the same sight. You recognize it readily by the unpleasant feeling you have when someone contradicts you. Thus we live in thralldom. But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor. 3:17).

-- Tito Colliander (d. 1989), Way of the Ascetics

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #402 on: November 03, 2017, 11:11:13 PM »
The patristic teaching on the image and the "garments of skin: which we have been examining up to now offers, I believe, not only an Orthodox understanding of man but also a foundation upon which Orthodox theology can be based in order to give effective help to the modern world. the position of Orthodox theology vis-a-vis the world, as defined by this teaching, is at the same time both radically critical and radically positive.

Orthodox theology is called in the first place to judge autonomy on all its levels and in all its forms and to condemn it relentlessly. In our study of the anthropological dimension of sin we have seen how autonomy is the source and the content of sin, since it constitutes a counterfeit of the truth about man, his mutilation and his restriction to the biological level of existence. This crime becomes even greater when man, dressed in the "garments of skin," as a consequence treats even these as autonomous. Under such conditions the "garments of skin" appear in their negative aspect alone; they function as the will of the flesh and, according to Paul, lead inescapably to death. This means for us today that the making autonomous of the law, of sexuality, of technology, of politics and so on, is in danger of leading humanity to ultimate self-destruction on the moral, political and even biological levels. Christian theology has the duty to proclaim this truth most emphatically because we are in genuine reality living at the eleventh hour.

But in order to carry out this task contemporary Christian theology must recover its authentic evangelical and patristic voice. It is impossible for its message to be heard by any reasonable modern person at all when it presents sin as disobedience to a set of external rules, or even worse, as disobedience to an enshrined social or political establishment. An even greater problem, however, is created by the basic distortion of the biblical and patristic teaching about man by Christian theology, initially in the West. This has had painful consequences. The opinion that Adam's original nature lay in his biological constitution, to which grace was added by God as a supernatural gift, has led serious inquirers into the authentic nature of man to reject God's existence altogether (in the context, of course, of more general circumstances and also under other influences).

Similar consequences followed also from Augustine's axiom that "if man had not perished, the Son of Man would not have come." This trapped Christ, and by extension the Christian life and the realities of the Church, the sacraments, faith and the rest, within the bounds defined by sin. Christ in this perspective is not so much the creator and recapitulator of all things, the Alpha and Omega as Scripture says, but simply the redeemer from sin. The Christian life is regarded not so much as the realization of Adam's original destiny, as a dynamic transformation of man and the world and as union with God, but as a simple escape from sin. The sacraments are not realizations here and now of the kingdom of God and manifestations of it, but mere religious duties and means of acquiring grace. The same is true with regard to good works and faith. The boundaries are thus narrowed in an asphyxiating manner. The Church forgets her ontological bond with the world. And the world, seeing that its positive aspects are not appreciated within the Church, feels a sense of alienation and brakes off relations with it.

The theology of the image and of the garments of skin overcomes these difficulties and others like them and can offer the world real help. by seeing man and the world as an image, it honors the image and the matter which makes up the image. When the matter desires to become autonomous, to neglect not the archetype but itself, this theology does not hesitate to proclaim that by such an action the matter destroys itself. The theology of the image condemns the action of seeking autonomy in a radical way, but it also continues to love the matter, wounded and corrupt as it is, because God accepted it and in His love gave it the new powers and functions of the "garments of skin." It honors the "garments of skin," marriage, science, politics, art and the rest, without however hesitating to testify that when these are made autonomous they bring about the final consolidation of sin and the destruction of man. With this simultaneous judgment and appreciation of the world Orthodox theology remains faithful to the biblical and patristic teaching on the two-fold nature of the "garments of skin."

-- Panayiotis Nellas (d. 1986), Deification in Christ: Orthodox Perspectives on the Nature of the Human Person, pp. 93-95

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #403 on: November 04, 2017, 12:31:22 PM »
Just as markers are placed on the sides of large roads so that those passing by them would know how far they have gone and how far remains, so in the spiritual life there are certain signs which indicate the degree of perfection of a life, which are also there, so that those who are zealous for perfection do not stop halfway and deprive themselves of the fruits of their labor, because they know how far they have come and how far remains to go. The fruit may be only a few turns away.

-- St. Theophan the Recluse (d. 1894), Homily 3: On Prayer (pdf)

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Re: Modern Church Fathers
« Reply #404 on: November 05, 2017, 04:34:03 PM »
You are now in the place which the Lord gave to you;
In the place where He has you assigned.
Only there will He be your staff and your shield,
Only there will you serve well His will.

And should He decide to send you His grace,
He will not search all over the earth;
In your very own place will He look for you,
In the place which He gave you Himself.

Remain, take courage, and firmly hold on
To the place where He has you assigned.
If your fate be the cross – descend not from the cross;
And if fire be your fate – do not fear.

Do not sigh or sorrowfully gaze all about,
If your place be humble and obscure;
In that very place given you by the Lord,
He desires you to glorify His name.

-- St. John of Riga (d. 1934), Source