My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Our Risen Savior Jesus Christ,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
"THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM IS THE
FEAR OF THE LORD…" (Psalm 110 [111):10)
During the Divine Liturgy the priest, the Holy Bible from the holy Altar Table which it lies upon and processes in front of the Royal Gates blesses the Entrance (Introit). After the Apolytikion of the day is chanted he raises the Holy Bible (‘Book of Gospels’) and intones Σοφία ορθοί (Wisdom; stand up. Then he chants: Come, let us worship and bow to Christ, O Son of God, Who did rise from the dead, save us who chant to Thee. Alleluia. Also, before the readings of the holy Epistle Lesson and Gospel Lesson, the Deacon or Priest we hear the word Wisdom or Wisdom; stand upright. Let us hear the Holy Gospel. As Orthodox Christians, we are consistently reminded of God’s Holy Wisdom. The summons, "WISDOM," calls once more the attention of the faithful to the Divine Gospel reading which is about to begin. By standing up we show the proper reverence to the sacred word of God. The word of God is powerful and effective of all sicknesses, spiritual and physical. Orthodox Christians must be in church and listen attentively to the Holy Scriptural Readings, as well as the sermon given by the priest immediately following.
Holy Wisdom or Divine Wisdom (Gk. Αγία Σοφία) is the Orthodox Christian belief that God’s Wisdom is absolute and perfect. We find the word WISDOM in both Testaments. Wisdom is referred to in the Gospels of Saint Luke and Saint Matthew frequently in reference to Our Lord Christ. His Wisdom is recognized in the Jewish synagoge, "When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue so that they were astonished and said, ‘Where did this Man get THIS WISDOM and these mighty works?" (St. Matthew 13:54). Saint Paul refers to wisdom, clearly in 1 Corinthians 1:20-24: "Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the Wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those WHO BELIEVE. ‘For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ CRUCIFIED a stumbling block to Jew and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called both Jews and Greeks, CHRIST THE POWER OF GOD AND THE WISDOM OF GOD,,,". I believe that we all know that the wisdom this world and the wisdom of God are NOT the same thing, God’s wisdom IS THE TRUE ONE, WITHOUT ANY ADDITIVESS TO CORRUPT IT. The world’s wisdom is foolish, even though the simplicity of God’s Wisdom makes those who have it appear foolish in the eyes of the world. Christians have received this Divine Wisdom and thus in this world appear to be fools. "God’s power is intricately interwoven with God’s Wisdom."
"Christ the power of God and the Wisdom of God." The identification of our Lord Jesus Christ with God’s Wisdom is ancient, and was stated emphaticsally by the early Holy Fathers of the Church, such as Saint Justin Martyr and others. The most profound identification of Divine Wisdom with Jesus Christ comes in Saint Paul First Letter to the Corinthians 1:17-2:13. Also, the holy Apostle Paul writes, "We speak the Wisdom of God in a mystery, even THE HIDDEN WISDOM, which God ordained before the world unto our glory" (1 Cor. 2:7).
In the Mystical Theology of the Holy Orthodox Church WISDOM is understood as the Divine Logos/Word Who became INCARNATE AS JESUS CHRIST. In our Orthodox Faith, humility is THE HIGHEST WISDOM AND TO BE SOUGHT MORE THAN ANY OTHER VIRTUE. IT IS HUMILITY THAT CULTIVATES NTO ONLLY THE Holy Wisdom (Αγία Σοφία), but humility (in contrast to knowledge) is the defining quality that grants the faithful salvation and admission into Kingdom. The Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky stated that Wisdom as an energy of God (just as love, faith, andd grace are also energies of God) is nto to be ascribed to be the true essence of God, to do so is to deny the apophatic and incomprehensibility of God’s essence.
We, the people, living in the 21st century, constantly boast of making extraordinary technologial, medical, and scientific achievements, we, who believe that we are the most civilizd and most intellectual people in the history of the world, we are, in my humble opinion, are the most foolish people
of all time. Why? because we lack wisdom, but not just any wisdom, we are devoid of God’s Wisdom. Without Holy Wisdom we are simly spinning our wheels. We are not making any real progress. We are standing still. Without Divine Wisdom the knowledge accumulated in the world became simply human conjecture. Human pride and arrogance does not permit anyone from acknowledging the uncreated power of God’s Wisdom. It is God’s Wisdom that sustains us and all the universe. It is God’s Wisdom that energizes His Creation and therefore the psalmist says, " O Lord how manifold are Thy works! IN WISDOM YOU HAVE THEM ALL" (Psalm 104:24). I sincerely hope that you read this magnificent psalm and see for yourselves God’s revealed wisdom.
Do to our lack of wisdom or because of man’s iignorance, or not believing in God’s Wisdom, proves why mankind has failed in its responsibility to be a good o steward of the earth. "Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (1 Cor. 1:20), setting worldly wisdom against a HIGHER WISDOM OF GOD: "But we speak the Widom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory" (1 Cor. 2:7). The holy Epistle of Saint James (Iakovos) James 3:13-18; 1:5) distinguishes between two kinds of wisdom. One is a FALSE WISDOM, whwihc is characterized as "EARTHLY, SENSUAL, DEVILISH" and is connected with strife and contention. The second is the ‘WISDOM THAT COMES FROM ABOVE’: "But the Wisdom from above is first PURE, THEN PEACEABLE, GENTLE, EASY TO BE INTREATED, FULL OF MERCY, LOVE, AND GOOD FRUITS, WITHOUT PARTIALITY, AND WITHOUT HYPOCRYSY" (St. James 3:17). The Book of Revelation lists Wisdom as a property of the Lamb (Christ): "Worthy is the Lamb (Christ) that was slain to receive power, and riches, and WISDOM, AND strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing."
There are many churches dedicated to Holy Wisdom (Αγία Σοφία) throughout the Eastern Orthodox world. Their archetype is the main Cathedral of Constantinople (now converted into a mosque by the Turks), built in the 6th century, simply known as the Hagia Sophia. The first church on the site, consecrated in 300 A.D. (during the reign of Constantius II), was simply known as the Μεγάλη Εκκλησία "Great Church". In Constantinople, under Emperor Justinian, Hagia Sophia was rebuilt, consecrated in 538 A.D. and became a model for man other Byzantine churches. Churches dedicated to Holy Wisdom are to be distinguished from churches dedicated to the martyr Sophia of Rome and her three daughters Faith, Hope and Agape (Love).
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in Christ our Risen Lord,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George