John Romanides

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John Savvas Romanides (Greek: Ιωάννης Σάββας Ρωμανίδης; 2 March 1927, Piraeus – 1 November 2001, Athens) was an Orthodox Christian priest, author and professor who had a distinctive influence on post-war Greek Orthodox theology.

Biography[edit]

Born in Piraeus, Greece, on 2 March 1928, his parents emigrated to the United States when he was only two months old. He grew up in Manhattan, graduating from the Hellenic College, Brookline, Massachusetts. After attending Yale Divinity School, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Athens.

From 1956 to 1965 he was Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Holy Cross Theological School in Brookline, Massachusetts. In 1968 he was appointed as tenured Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the University of Thessaloniki, Greece, a position he held until his retirement in 1982. His latest position was Professor of Theology at Balamand Theological School, in Lebanon. Romanides died in Athens, Greece on 1 November 2001.

He was a "candidate for the Far Right in the 1977 parliamentary elections in Greece."[1]

Theology[edit]

Romanides belonged to the "theological generation of the 1960s," which pleaded for a "return to the Fathers," and led to "the acute polarization of the East-West divide and the cultivation of an anti-Western, anti-eucumenical sentiment."[2] According to Kalaitzidis, his early theological interests are "wide and braod-minded," but narrowed with the publication of Romyosine in 1975, which postulates an absolute divide between the Orthodox Churches and the western Church.[3] According to Kalaitzidis, "[h]ereafter, the West is wholly demonized and proclaimed responsible for all the misfortunes of the Orthodox, both theological and historical/national."[3]

Romanides contributed many speculations, some controversial, into the cultural and religious differences between Eastern and Western Christianity. According to Romanides, these divergences have impacted the ways in which Christianity has developed and been lived out in the Christian cultures of East and West. According to Ramonides, these divergences were due to the influences of the Franks, who were culturally very different from the Romans.[4][note 1]

His theological works emphasize the empirical (experiential)[note 2] basis of theology called theoria or vision of God, (as opposed to a rational or reasoned understanding of theory) as the essence of Orthodox theology, setting it "apart from all other religions and traditions," especially the Frankish-dominated western Church which distorted this true spiritual path.[6] He identified hesychasm as the core of Christian practice[citation needed] and studied extensively the works of 14th-century Byzantine theologian St. Gregory Palamas.

His research on Dogmatic Theology led him to the conclusion of a close link between doctrinal differences and historical developments. Thus, in his later years, he concentrated on historical research, mostly of the Middle Ages but also of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Augustine of Hippo[edit]

Ramonides sees St Augustine as the great antagonist of Orthodox thought. Romanides claims that, although he was a saint, Augustine did not have theoria. Many of his theological conclusions, Romanides says, appear not to come from experiencing God and writing about his experiences of God; rather, they appear to be the result of philosophical or logical speculation and conjecture.[note 3] Hence, Augustine is still revered as a saint, but, according to Romanides, does not qualify as a theologian in the Eastern Orthodox church.[8]

Original sin versus ancestral sin[edit]

Romanides rejects the Catholic teachings on Original Sin.[9][10] Orthodox theologians trace this position to having its roots in the works of Saint Augustine. Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Assyrian Church of the East, and Eastern Catholicism, which together make up Eastern Christianity, acknowledge that the introduction of ancestral sin into the human race affected the subsequent environment for humanity, but never accepted Augustine of Hippo's notions of original sin and hereditary guilt.[9] The Catholic Church did not accept all of Augustine's ideas, at least as these are commonly interpreted outside the Church, such as the idea that original sin deprives man of free will or that God predestines some people to hell, and also his teaching that infants who die without baptism are confined to hell.[11] It holds that original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants.[12]

Rejection of St. Augustine[edit]

Eastern Orthodox theologians John Romanides and George Papademetriou say that some of Augustine's teachings were actually condemned as those of Barlaam the Calabrian at the Hesychast or Fifth Council of Constantinople 1351.[13][14] It is the vision or revelation of God (theoria) that gives one knowledge of God.[note 4] Theoria, contemplatio in Latin, as indicated by John Cassian,[16] meaning vision of God, is closely connected with theosis (divinization).[17]

John Romanides reports that Augustinian theology is generally ignored in the Eastern Orthodox church.[18] Romanides states that the Roman Catholic Church, starting with Augustine, has removed the mystical experience (revelation) of God (theoria) from Christianity and replaced it with the conceptualization of revelation through the philosophical speculation of metaphysics.[19][20][note 5] Romanides does not consider the metaphysics of Augustine to be Orthodox but Pagan mysticism.[22][23] Romanides states that Augustine's Platonic mysticism was condemned by the Eastern Orthodox within the church condemnation of Barlaam of Calabria at the Hesychast councils in Constantinople.[24]

Criticism[edit]

Romanides criticism of Augustine has been criticized. In his review of Hieromonk Seraphim Rose's book The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church[25] Archimandite (later, Archbishop) Chrysostomos wrote:

In certain ultra-conservative Orthodox circles in the United States, there has developed an unfortunate bitter and harsh attitude toward one of the great Fathers of the Church, the blessed (Saint) Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.). These circles, while clearly outside the mainstream of Orthodox thought and careful scholarship, have often been so vociferous and forceful in their statements that their views have touched and even affected more moderate and stable Orthodox believers and thinkers. Not a few writers and spiritual aspirants have been disturbed by this trend.[26]

Heaven and Hell[edit]

Icon of monks falling into the mouth of a dragon representing hell
Icon of hell

According to Romanides, the theological concept of hell, or eternal damnation is expressed differently within Eastern and Western Christianity.[27] According to John S. Romanides, "the Frankish [i.e. Western] understanding of heaven and hell" is "foreign to the Orthodox tradition".[note 6]

According to Romanides, the Orthodox Church teaches that both Heaven and Hell are being in God's presence,[27][29] which is being with God and seeing God, and that there is no such place as where God is not, nor is Hell taught in the East as separation from God.[29] One expression of the Eastern teaching is that hell and heaven are being in God's presence, as this presence is punishment and paradise depending on the person's spiritual state in that presences.[27][30] For one who hates God, to be in the presence of God eternally would be the gravest suffering.[27][30][30] Aristotle Papanikolaou [31] and Elizabeth H. Prodromou [32] wrote in their book Thinking Through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars that for the Orthodox: Those theological symbols, heaven and hell, are not crudely understood as spatial destinations but rather refer to the experience of God's presence according to two different modes.[33]

The saved and the damned will both experience God's light. However, the saved will experience this light as Heaven, while the damned will experience it as Hell.[30][34][35][36][37][38][39] Theories explicitly identifying Hell with an experience of the divine light may go back as far as Theophanes of Nicea. According to Iōannēs Polemēs, Theophanes believed that, for sinners, "the divine light will be perceived as the punishing fire of hell".[40]

Other Eastern Orthodox theologians describe hell as separation from God.[41][42][43][44][45] Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov) speaks of "the hell of separation from God".[46] "The circumstances that rise before us, the problems we encounter, the relationships we form, the choices we make, all ultimately concern our eternal union with or separation from God."[47] "Hell is nothing else but separation of man from God, his autonomy excluding him from the place where God is present."[48] "Hell is a spiritual state of separation from God and inability to experience the love of God, while being conscious of the ultimate deprivation of it as punishment."[49] "Hell is none other than the state of separation from God, a condition into which humanity was plunged for having preferred the creature to the Creator. It is the human creature, therefore, and not God, who engenders hell. Created free for the sake of love, man possesses the incredible power to reject this love, to say 'no' to God. By refusing communion with God, he becomes a predator, condemning himself to a spiritual death (hell) more dreadful than the physical death that derives from it."[50]

According to Iōannēs Polemēs, the important Orthodox theologian Gregory Palamas did not believe that sinners would experience the divine light: "Unlike Theophanes, Palamas did not believe that sinners could have an experience of the divine light [...] Nowhere in his works does Palamas seem to adopt Theophanes' view that the light of Tabor is identical with the fire of hell."[51]

Theosis[edit]

The practice of ascetic prayer called Hesychasm in the Eastern Orthodox Church is centered on the enlightenment, deification (theosis) of man.[52] Theosis has also been referred to as "glorification",[22] "union with God", "becoming god by Grace", "self-realization", "the acquisition of the Holy Spirit", "experience of the uncreated light" [53][54]

Theosis (Greek for "making divine",[55] "deification",[56][57] "to become gods by Grace",[58] and for "divinization", "reconciliation, union with God"[59] and "glorification")[60][note 7] is expressed as "Being, union with God" and having a relationship or synergy between God and man.[note 8] God is Heaven, God is the Kingdom of Heaven the uncreated is that which is infinite and unending, glory to glory. Since this synergy or union is without fusion it is based on free will and not the irresistibly of the divine (i.e. the monophysite). Since God is transcendent (incomprehensible in ousia, essence or being), the West has over-emphasized its point by qualifying logical arguments that God cannot be experienced in this life.[63]

According to John Romanides, following Vladimir Lossky[64] in his interpretation of St. Gregory Palamas, the teaching that God is transcendent (incomprehensible in ousia, essence or being), has led in the West to the (mis)understanding that God cannot be experienced in this life.[note 9] Romanides states that Western theology is more dependent upon logic and reason, culminating in scholasticism used to validate truth and the existence of God, than upon establishing a relationship with God (theosis and theoria).[note 10][note 11]

Influence[edit]

According to Kalaitzidis, Romanides had a strong influence on contemporary Greek Orthodoxy, to such an extent that some speak about "pre- and post-Romanidian theology."[3] Kalaitzidis further notes that Romanides' post-1975 theology has "furnished a convenient and comforting conspiratorial explanation for the historical woes of Orthodoxy and Romiosyne," but is "devoid of the slightest traces of self-criticism, since blame is always placed upon others."[71] However, James L. Kelley's recent article has shown that Kalaitzidis's concern that Orthodox theologians engage in "self-criticism" is a ploy to engineer a "development of Orthodox doctrine" so that, once the Orthodox place some of the blame on themselves for "divisions of Christian groups," they will adjust the teachings of Orthodoxy to suit the ecumenist agenda (see James L. Kelley, "Romeosyne" According to John Romanides and Christos Yannaras: A Response to Pantelis Kalaitzidis [Norman, OK: Romanity Pres, 2016]).

Works[edit]

Articles

Several of his articles can be found at the website dedicated to him. Among his books are:

Books
  • The Life in Christ, trans. James L. Kelley (Dewdney, B.C.: Synaxis Press, 2010).
  • The Ancestral Sin, trans. George S. Gabriel (Ridgwood, New Jersey: Zephyr Publications, 2002).
  • Dogmatic and Symbolic Theology of the Orthodox Catholic Church (in Greek; Thessaloniki: Pournaras, 1973).
  • Romiosini, Romania, Roumeli(in Greek; Thessaloniki: Pournaras, 1975).
  • An Outline of Orthodox Patristic Dogmatics, trans. Protopresbyter George Dragas; Orthodox Theological Library, Vol. 1 (Rollinsford, New Hampshire: Orthodox Research Institute, 2004).
  • Patristic Theology, ISBN 978-960-86778-8-3.
  • Franks, Romans, Feudalism, and Doctrine: An Interplay Between Theology and Society, Patriarch Athenagoras Memorial Lectures (Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1981), ISBN 9780916586546.
Works About Romanides
  • Kelley, James L. A Realism of Glory: Lectures On Christology in the Works of Protopresbyter John Romanides (Rollinsford, NH: Orthodox Research Institute, 2009).
  • Kelley, James L. "Protopresbyter John Romanides's Teaching on Creation." International Journal of Orthodox Theology 7.1 (2016): 42-61.
  • Sopko, Andrew J. *Prophet of Roman Orthodoxy: The Theology of John Romanides (Dewdney, B.C.: Synaxis Press, 2003).
  • Kelley, James L. "Romeosyne" According to Protopresbyter John Romanides and Christos Yannaras: A Response to Pantelis Kalaitzidis (Norman, OK: Romanity Press, 2016).
  • Kelley, James L. "Yoga and Eastern Orthodoxy: Fr. John Romanides and the New Age." 160-170 in Orthodoxy, History, and Esotericism: New Studies (Dewdney, B.C.: Synaxis Press, 2016).

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See also: Ramonides, FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE.
  2. ^ Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos: "The vision of the uncreated light, which offers knowledge of God to man, is sensory and supra-sensory. The bodily eyes are reshaped, so they see the uncreated light, "this mysterious light, inaccessible, immaterial, uncreated, deifying, eternal", this "radiance of the Divine Nature, this glory of the divinity, this beauty of the heavenly kingdom" (3,1,22;CWS p.80). Palamas asks: "Do you see that light is inaccessible to senses which are not transformed by the Spirit?" (2,3,22). St. Maximus, whose teaching is cited by St. Gregory, says that the Apostles saw the uncreated Light "by a transformation of the activity of their senses, produced in them by the Spirit" (2.3.22).[5]
  3. ^ [7] A basic characteristic of the Frankish scholastic method, mislead by Augustinian Platonism and Thomistic Aristotelianism, had been its naive confidence in the objective existence of things rationally speculated about. By following Augustine, the Franks substituted the patristic concern for spiritual observation, (which they had found firmly established in Gaul when they first conquered the area) with a fascination for metaphysics. They did not suspect that such speculations had foundations neither in created nor in spiritual reality. No one would today accept as true what is not empirically observable, or at least verifiable by inference, from an attested effect. So it is with patristic theology. Dialectical speculation about God and the Incarnation as such are rejected. Only those things which can be tested by the experience of the grace of God in the heart are to be accepted. "Be not carried about by divers and strange teachings. For it is good that the heart be confirmed by grace," a passage from Hebrews 13.9, quoted by the Fathers to this effect.</ref>
  4. ^ The Latins' weakness to comprehend and failure to express the dogma of the Trinity shows the non-existence of empirical theology. The three disciples of Christ (Peter, James and John) beheld the glory of Christ on Mount Tabor; they heard at once the voice of the Father: "this is my beloved Son" and saw the coming of the Holy Spirit in a cloud -for, the cloud is the presence of the Holy Spirit, as St. Gregory Palamas says-. Thus the disciples of Christ acquired the knowledge of the Triune God in theoria (vision) and by revelation. It was revealed to them that God is one essence in three hypostases. This is what St. Symeon the New Theologian teaches. In his poems he proclaims over and over that while beholding the uncreated Light, the deified man acquires the Revelation of God the Trinity. Being in "theoria" (vision of God), the Saints do not confuse the hypostatic attributes. The fact that the Latin tradition came to the point of confusing these hypostatic attributes and teach that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son also, shows the non-existence of empirical theology for them. Latin tradition speaks also of created grace, a fact which suggests that there is no experience of the grace of God. For, when man obtains the experience of God, then he comes to understand well that this grace is uncreated. Without this experience there can be no genuine "therapeutic tradition".[15]
  5. ^ "18. Indeed, some centuries earlier, just after the Norman conquest, the second Lombard Archbishop of Canterbury Anselm (1093-1109) was not happy with Augustine’s use of procession in his De Trinitate XV, 47, i.e. that the Holy Spirit proceeds principaliter from the Father or from the Father per Filium. (See Anselm’s own De fide Trinitate chapters 15, 16 and 24). This West Roman Orthodox Filioque, which upset Anselm so much, could not be added to the creed of 381 where "procession" there means hypostatic individuality and not the communion of divine essence as in Augustine’s Filioque just quoted. Augustine is indeed Orthodox by intention by his willingness to be corrected. The real problem is that he does not theologize from the vantage point of personal theosis or glorification, but as one who speculates philosophically on the Bible with no real basis in the Patristic tradition. Furthermore, his whole theological method is based on happiness as the destiny of man instead of biblical glorification. His resulting method of analogia entis and analogia fidei is not accepted by any Orthodox Father of the Church. In any case no Orthodox can accept positions of Augustine on which the Father’s of Ecumenical Councils are in agreement "against" him. This website is not concerned with whether Augustine is a saint or a Father of the Church. There is no doubt that he was Orthodox by intention and asked for correction. However, he can not be used in such a way that his opinions may be put on an equal footing with the Fathers of Ecumenical Councils."[21]
  6. ^ Romanides: "Having reached this point, we will turn our attention to those aspects of differences between Roman and Frankish theologies which have had a strong impact on the development of difference is the doctrine of the Church. The basic difference may be listed under diagnosis of spiritual ills and their therapy. Glorification is the vision of God in which the equality of all mean and the absolute value of each man is experienced. God loves all men equally and indiscriminately, regardless of even their moral statues. God loves with the same love, both the saint and the devil. To teach otherwise, as Augustine and the Franks did, would be adequate proof that they did not have the slightest idea of what glorification was. God multiplies and divides himself in His uncreated energies undividedly among divided things, so that He is both present by act and absent by nature to each individual creature and everywhere present and absent at the same time. This is the fundamental mystery of the presence of God to His creatures and shows that universals do not exist in God and are, therefore, not part of the state of illumination as in the Augustinian tradition. God himself is both heaven and hell, reward and punishment. All men have been created to see God unceasingly in His uncreated glory. Whether God will be for each man heaven or hell, reward or punishment, depends on man's response to God's love and on man's transformation from the state of selfish and self-centered love, to Godlike love which does not seek its own ends. One can see how the Frankish understanding of heaven and hell, poetically described by Dante, John Milton, and James Joyce, are so foreign to the Orthodox tradition. This is another of the reasons why the so-called humanism of some East Romans (those who united with the Frankish papacy) was a serious regression and not an advance in culture. Since all men will see God, no religion can claim for itself the power to send people either to heaven or to hell. This means that true spiritual fathers prepare their spiritual charges so that vision of God's glory will be heaven, and not hell, reward and not punishment. The primary purpose of Orthodox Christianity then, is to prepare its members for an experience which every human being will sooner or later have."[28]
  7. ^ 2. The leadership of the Roman Empire had come to realize that religion is a sickness whose cure was the heart and core of the Christian tradition they had been persecuting. These astute Roman leaders changed their policy having realized that this cure should be accepted by as many Roman citizens as possible. Led by Constantine the Great, Roman leaders adopted this cure in exactly the same way that today’s governments adopt modern medicine in order to protect their citizens from quack doctors. But in this case what was probably as important as the cure was the possibility of enriching society with citizens who were replacing the morbid quest for happiness with the selfless love of glorification (theosis) dedicated to the common good.[61]
  8. ^ Theosis-Divinisation is the participation in the Uncreated grace of God. Theosis is identified and connected with the theoria (vision) of the Uncreated Light (see note above). It is called theosis in grace because it is attained through the energy, of the divine grace. It is a co-operation of God with man, since God is He Who operates and man is he who co-operates.[62]
  9. ^ www.monachos.net: "At the heart of Barlaam's teaching is the idea that God cannot truly be perceived by man; that God the Transcendent can never be wholly known by man, who is created and finite."[65]
  10. ^ Romanides: "And, indeed, the Franks believed that the prophets and apostles did not see God himself, except possibly with the exception of Moses and Paul. What the prophets and apostles allegedly did see and hear were phantasmic symbols of God, whose purpose was to pass on concepts about God to human reason. Whereas these symbols passed into and out of existence, the human nature of Christ is a permanent reality and the best conveyor of concepts about God.[66]
  11. ^ Romanides ideas have been very influential in the contemporary Greek Orthodox Churches, and are supported by man like Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos,[67] Thomas Hopko,[68] Professor George D. Metallinos[subnote 1] Nikolaos Loudovikos, Dumitru Stăniloae, Stanley S. Harakas and Archimandrite George, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios of Mount Athos [70]
Subnotes
  1. ^ We have a culture that creates saints, holy people. Our people's ideal is not to create wisemen. Nor was this the ideal of ancient Hellenic culture and civilization. Hellenic anthropocentric (human-centered) Humanism is transformed into Theanthropism (God-humanism) and its ideal is now the creation of Saints, Holy people who have reached the state of theosis (deification).[69]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kalaitzidis 2013, p. 149.
  2. ^ Kalaitzidis 2013, p. 144.
  3. ^ a b c Kalaitzidis 2013, p. 145.
  4. ^ Louth 2015, p. 229.
  5. ^ Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos 2005.
  6. ^ Kalaitzidis 2013, p. 147-148.
  7. ^ FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE/EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY Father John S. Romanides [1]
  8. ^ "While pointing this out, this writer has never raised the question about the sainthood of Augustine. He himself believed himself to be fully Orthodox and repeatedly asked to be corrected" [2]
  9. ^ a b Antony Hughes. "Ancestral Versus Original Sin: An Overview with Implications for Psychotherapy". Cambridge, MA: St. Mary Orthodox Church. Retrieved 16 March 2016. 
  10. ^ The Ancestral sin by John S. Romanides (Author), George S. Gabriel (Translator) Publisher: Zephyr Pub (2002) ISBN 978-0-9707303-1-2
  11. ^ International Theological Commission, The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptized
  12. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 405 Archived September 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ This claim is made by Romanides in the title of his Augustine's Teachings Which Were Condemned as Those of Barlaam the Calabrian by the Ninth Ecumenical Council of 1351,
  14. ^ Augustine himself had not been personally attacked by the Hesychasts of the fourteenth century but Augustinian theology was condemned in the person of Barlaam, who caused the controversy. This resulted in the ultimate condemnation of western Augustinianism as presented to the East by the Calabrian monk, Barlaam, in the Councils of the fourteenth century. Saint Augustine in the Greek Orthodox Tradition by Rev. Dr. George C. Papademetriou [3]
  15. ^ Orthodox Spirituality by Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos [4]
  16. ^ "Videtis ergo principalem bonum in theoria sola, id est, in contemplatione divina Dominum posuisse" (Ioannis Cassiani Collationes I, VIII, 2)
  17. ^ Theoria: Theoria is the vision of the glory of God. Theoria is identified with the vision of the uncreated Light, the uncreated energy of God, with the union of man with God, with man's theosis (see note below). Thus, theoria, vision and theosis are closely connected. Theoria has various degrees. There is illumination, vision of God, and constant vision (for hours, days, weeks, even months). Noetic prayer is the first stage of theoria. Theoretical man is one who is at this stage. In Patristic theology, the theoretical man is characterised as the shepherd of the sheep. Orthodox Spirituality by Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos [5]
  18. ^ The province of Gaul was the battleground between the followers of Augustine and of Saint John Cassian, when the Franks were taking over the province and transforming it into their Francia. Through his monastic movement and his writings in this field and on Christology, Saint John Cassian had a strong influence on the Church in Old Rome also. In his person, as in other persons such as Ambrose, Jerome, Rufinus, Leo the Great, and Gregory the Great, we have an identity in doctrine, theology, and spirituality between the East and West Roman Christians. Within this framework, Augustine in the West Roman area was subjected to general Roman theology. In the East Roman area, Augustine was simply ignored. FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE — [ Part 3 ] by John Romanides [6]
  19. ^ Revelation for Palamas is directly experienced in the divine energies and is opposed to the conceptualization of revelation. The Augustinian view of revelation by created symbols and illumined vision is rejected. For Augustine, the vision of God is an intellectual experience. This is not acceptable to Palamas. The Palamite emphasis was that creatures, including humans and angles, cannot know or comprehend God's essence Romanides, Franks, Romans, Feudalism, p.67
  20. ^ Revelation for Palamas is directly experienced in the divine energies and is opposed to the conceptualization of revelation. The Augustinian view of revelation by created symbols and illumined vision is rejected. For Augustine, the vision of God is an intellectual experience. This is not acceptable to Palamas. The Palamite emphasis was that creatures, including humans and angles, cannot know or comprehend God's essence Romanides, Franks, Romans, Feudalism, p.67 [7]
  21. ^ (John S. Romanides, Underlying Positions of This Website).
  22. ^ a b 14. Orthodox Fathers of the Church are those who practice the specific Old and New Testament cure of this sickness of religion. Those who do not practice this cure, but on the contrary have introduced such practices as pagan mysticism, are not Fathers within this tradition. Orthodox Theology is not "mystical," but "secret" (mystike). The reason for this name "Secret" is that the glory of God in the experience of glorification (theosis) has no similarity whatsoever with anything created. On the contrary the Augustinians imagine that they are being united with uncreated original ideas of God of which creatures are supposedly copies and which simply do not exist..[8]
  23. ^ "11. In sharp contrast to this Augustinian tradition is that of the Old and the New Testament as understood by the Fathers of the Roman Ecumenical Councils. The "spirit" of man in the Old and New Testaments is that which is sick and which in the patristic tradition became also known as "the noetic energy" or "faculty." By this adjustment in terminology this tradition of cure became more intelligible to the Hellenic mind. Now a further adjustment may be made by calling this sick human "spirit" or "noetic faculty" a "neurobiological faculty or energy" grounded in the heart, but which has been short circuited by its attachment to the nervous system centered in the brain thus creating fantasies about things which either do not exist or else do exist but not as one imagines. This very cure of fantasies is the core of the Orthodox tradition. These fantasies arise from a short circuit between the nervous system centered in the brain and the blood system centered in the heart. The cure of this short circuit is noetic prayer (noera proseuche) which functions in tandem with rational or intellectual prayer of the brain which frees one from fantasies which the devil uses to enslave his victims. Note: We are still searching the Fathers for the term ‘Jesus prayer.’ We would very much appreciate it if someone could come up with a patristic quote in Greek. 12. In sharp contrast to this tradition is that of Augustinian Platonism which searches for mystical experiences within supposed transcendental realities by liberating the mind from the confines of the body and material reality for imaginary flights into a so-called metaphysical dimension of so-called divine ideas which do not exist" (John S. Romanides, Underlying Positions of This Website).
  24. ^ 9. The Ninth Ecumenical Council of 1341 condemned the Platonic mysticism of Barlaam the Calabrian who had come from the West as a convert to Orthodoxy. Of course the rejection of Platonic type of mysticism was traditional practice for the Fathers. But what the Fathers of this Council were completely shocked at was Barlaam’s claim that God reveals His will by bringing into existence creatures to be seen and heard and which He passes back into non existence after His revelation has been received. One of these supposed creatures was the Angel of The Lord Himself Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush. For the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils this Angel is the uncreated Logos Himself. This unbelievable nonsense of Barlaam turned out to be that of Augustine himself. (see e.g. his De Tinitate, Books A and B) and of the whole Franco-Latin tradition till today" (John S. Romanides, Underlying Positions of This Website).
  25. ^ Published by Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood 1997 ISBN 0-938635-12-3; cf. reviews of the book.
  26. ^ The Place of Blessed Augustine in the Orthodox Church; cf. Blessed Augustine of Hippo: His Place in the Orthodox Church: A Corrective Compilation.
  27. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference Romanides_02 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  28. ^ EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY by John S. Romanides part 2 [9]
  29. ^ a b (St. Isaac of Syria, Mystic Treatises) The Orthodox Church of America website [10]
  30. ^ a b c d Man has a malfunctioning or non-functioning noetic faculty in the heart, and it is the task especially of the clergy to apply the cure of unceasing memory of God, otherwise called unceasing prayer or illumination. "Those who have selfless love and are friends of God see God in light - divine light, while the selfish and impure see God the judge as fire - darkness". [11]
  31. ^ http://www.fordham.edu/academics/programs_at_fordham_/theology/faculty/aristotle_papanikola_26156.asp
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-02. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  33. ^ Thinking Through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars page 195 By Aristotle Papanikolaou, Elizabeth H. Prodromou [12]
  34. ^ God himself is both heaven and hell, reward and punishment. All men have been created to see God unceasingly in His uncreated glory. Whether God will be for each man heaven or hell, reward or punishment, depends on man's response to God's love and on man's transformation from the state of selfish and self-centered love, to Godlike love which does not seek its own ends. EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY by John S. Romanides part 2 [13]
  35. ^ "Paradise and Hell exist not in the form of a threat and a punishment on the part of God but in the form of an illness and a cure. Those who are cured and those who are purified experience the illuminating energy of divine grace, while the uncured and ill experience the caustic energy of God."[14]
  36. ^ "Those who have selfless love and are friends of God see God in light - divine light, while the selfish and impure see God the judge as fire - darkness". [15]
  37. ^ Proper preparation for vision of God takes place in two stages: purification, and illumination of the noetic faculty. Without this, it is impossible for man's selfish love to be transformed into selfless love. This transformation takes place during the higher level of the stage of illumination called theoria, literally meaning vision-in this case vision by means of unceasing and uninterrupted memory of God. Those who remain selfish and self-centered with a hardened heart, closed to God's love, will not see the glory of God in this life. However, they will see God's glory eventually, but as an eternal and consuming fire and outer darkness. From FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE/Diagnosis and Therapy Father John S. Romanides Diagnosis and Therapy [16]
  38. ^ Regarding specific conditions of after-life existence and eschatology, Orthodox thinkers are generally reticent; yet two basic shared teachings can be singled out. First, they widely hold that immediately following a human being's physical death, his or her surviving spiritual dimension experiences a foretaste of either heaven or hell. (Those theological symbols, heaven and hell, are not crudely understood as spatial destinations but rather refer to the experience of God's presence according to two different modes.) Thinking Through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars page 195 By Aristotle Papanikolaou, Elizabeth H. Prodromou [17]
  39. ^ God himself is both heaven and hell, reward and punishment. All men have been created to see God unceasingly in His uncreated glory. Whether God will be for each man heaven or hell, reward or punishment, depends on man's response to God's love and on man's transformation from the state of selfish and self-centered love, to Godlike love which does not seek its own ends.EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY by John S. Romanides part 2 [18]
  40. ^ Iōannēs Polemēs, Theophanes of Nicaea: His Life and Works, vol. 20 (Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1996), p. 99
  41. ^ Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov) speaks of "the hell of separation from God" (Archimandrite Sophrony, The Monk of Mount Athos: Staretz Silouan, 1866-1938 (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2001 ISBN 0-913836-15-X), p. 32).
  42. ^ "The circumstances that rise before us, the problems we encounter, the relationships we form, the choices we make, all ultimately concern our eternal union with or separation from God" (Life Transfigured: A Journal of Orthodox Nuns, Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 1991, pp.8-9, produced by The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, Pa.).
  43. ^ "Hell is nothing else but separation of man from God, his autonomy excluding him from the place where God is present" (In the World, of the Church: A Paul Evdokimov Reader (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2001 ISBN 0-88141-215-5), p. 32).
  44. ^ "Hell is a spiritual state of separation from God and inability to experience the love of God, while being conscious of the ultimate deprivation of it as punishment" (Father Theodore Stylianopoulos).[permanent dead link]
  45. ^ "Hell is none other than the state of separation from God, a condition into which humanity was plunged for having preferred the creature to the Creator. It is the human creature, therefore, and not God, who engenders hell. Created free for the sake of love, man possesses the incredible power to reject this love, to say 'no' to God. By refusing communion with God, he becomes a predator, condemning himself to a spiritual death (hell) more dreadful than the physical death that derives from it" (Michel Quenot, The Resurrection and the Icon (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1997 ISBN 0-88141-149-3), p. 85).
  46. ^ Archimandrite Sophrony, The Monk of Mount Athos: Staretz Silouan, 1866-1938 (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2001 ISBN 0-913836-15-X), p. 32.
  47. ^ Life Transfigured: A Journal of Orthodox Nuns, Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 1991, pp.8-9, produced by The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, Pa.
  48. ^ In the World, of the Church: A Paul Evdokimov Reader (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2001 ISBN 0-88141-215-5), p. 32
  49. ^ Father Theodore Stylianopoulos[permanent dead link]
  50. ^ Michel Quenot, The Resurrection and the Icon (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press 1997 ISBN 0-88141-149-3), p. 85).
  51. ^ Iōannēs Polemēs,Theophanes of Nicaea: His Life and Works, vol. 20 (Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1996), p. 100
  52. ^ "Hesychasm, then, which is centered on the enlightenment or deification (θέωσις, or theosis, in Greek) of man, perfectly encapsulates the soteriological principles and full scope of the spiritual life of the Eastern Church. As Bishop Auxentios of Photiki writes: "[W]e must understand the Hesychastic notions of ‘theosis’ and the vision of Uncreated Light, the vision of God, in the context of human salvation. Thus, according to St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite (†1809): ‘Know that if your mind is not deified by the Holy Spirit, it is impossible for you to be saved.’" Before looking in detail at what it was that St. Gregory Palamas’ opponents found objectionable in his Hesychastic theology and practices, let us briefly examine the history of the Hesychastic Controversy proper. ..." Archbishop Chrysostomos, Orthodox and Roman Catholic Relations from the Fourth Crusade to the Hesychastic Controversy (Etna, CA: Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, 2001), pp. 199‒232 [19].
  53. ^ "On Union With God and Life of Theoria by Kallistos Katafygiotis (Kallistos Angelikoudis) greekorthodoxchrch.org". Greekorthodoxchurch.org. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  54. ^ Theosis-Divinisation: It is the participation in the uncreated grace of God. Theosis is identified and connected with the theoria (vision) of the uncreated Light (see note above). It is called theosis in grace because it is attained through the energy, of the divine grace. It is a co-operation of God with man, since God is He Who operates and man is he who co-operates. Orthodox Spirituality by Metropolitan Hierotheos (Vlachos) of Nafpaktos [20]
  55. ^ Henry George Liddell; Robert Scott [1940], A Greek-English Lexicon
  56. ^ Archimandrite George, Mount Athos, Theosis – Deification as the Purpose of Man's Life (extract)
  57. ^ Translator of Kallistos Katafygiotis, On Union with God and Life of Theoria
  58. ^ Archimandrite George, Mount Athos, Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life, Glossary
  59. ^ Fellow Workers With God: Orthodox Thinking on Theosis (Foundations) by Normal Russell pg
  60. ^ Theosis as the Purpose of Mankinds existence by Archimarite George
  61. ^ SOME UNDERLYING POSITIONS OF THIS WEBSITE REFLECTING THE STUDIES HEREIN INCLUDED. by John Romanides [21]
  62. ^ The Difference Between Orthodox Spirituality and Other Traditions by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos [22]
  63. ^ At the heart of Barlaam's teaching is the idea that God cannot truly be perceived by man; that God the Transcendent can never be wholly known by man, who is created and finite. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-11-19. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  64. ^ The mystical theology of the Eastern Church By Vladimir Lossky pgs 237-238 [23]
  65. ^ monachos.net, Gregory Palma Archived 2009-11-19 at the Wayback Machine.
  66. ^ FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE/EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY Father John S. Romanides [24]
  67. ^ The Difference Between Orthodox Spirituality and Other Traditions by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos [25]
  68. ^ "St. Nicholas Orthodox Church » Mysticism, Women and the Christian Orient". Stnicholaspdx.org. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  69. ^ The struggle between Hellenism and Frankism by George D. Metallinos [26]
  70. ^ http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/general/theosis-english.pdf
  71. ^ Kalaitzidis 2013, p. 148.

Sources[edit]

  • Kalaitzidis, Pantelis (2013), "The Image of the West in Contemporary Greek Theology", in Demacopoulos, George E.; Papanikolaou, Aristotle, Orthodox Constructions of the West, Oxford University Press 
  • Louth, Andrew (2015), Modern Orthodox Thinkers: From the Philokalia to the Present, InterVarsity Press 
  • Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos (2005), "The Knowledge of God according to St. Gregory Palamas", Orthodox Psychotherapy, Birth of Theotokos Monastery, Greece, ISBN 978-960-7070-27-2 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

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