My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
What is Orthodoxy?
By Protopresbyter George Metallinos
Speaking of Orthodoxy, we must not repeat the mistake of Pilate when he asked Christ "what is the truth?" (John 18:38). The proper question is: "Who is truth?" For the truth is NOT AN IDEA, A THEORY, A SYSTEM, BUT A PERSON, THE Most Holy Person of the Incarnate Logos/Word of God, Jesus Christ. Therefore we must ask the same about Orthodoxy because it is identified with the Godman, Person of the Logos/Word of God. He as Godman is Our Orthodoxy, and Complete Truth.
1. If we wish to conventionally define Christianity as Orthodoxy, we would say that IT IS THE EXPERIENCE OF THE PRESENCE OF THE Uncreated (God) /1/ in history and the possibility of the created (man) to become God "by grace". Given the continual presence of God in Christ in the historic reality, Christianity offers to man the possibility OF THEOSIS, like the Medical Science offers the possibility of the maintenance or restoration of his health, but in both cases through a certain therapeutic process and a certain type of life.
The single and absolute goal of the in Christ life IS THE THEOSIS, namely, the UNION WITH GOD, SO THAT MAN BY PARTICIPATING IN THE UNCREATED ENERGY OF GOD BECOMES "by grace" that which God is, His Nature (without beginning and without end). This is the Christian meaning OF SALVATION. It is NOT about an ethical improvement of man, but THE IN CHRIST RECREATION, REFORM OF MAN AND COMMUNITY, WITHIN THE INFINITE AND EXISTENTIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST, Who is the Incarnate appearance of God in history. This is what the phrase of Saint Paul expresses "Therefore if any man be in Christ, HE IS A NEW CREATURE…" (2 Corinthians 5:17). THE ONE UNITED WITH CHRIST IS A NEW CREATION. For this in Christian terms the Incarnation of the Logos/Word, literally of a "New Age", which continues to beyond the ages, in the persons that have become the AUTHENTIC Christians, namely the Saints. The Church is the "body of Christ" existing in the world in Christ communion, to offer salvation by incorporating man and community in this REGENERATION PROCESS /2/. This SALVIFIC WORK of the Church is done with a certain THERAPEUTIC METHOD so that the Church SUBSTANTIALLY OPERATES AS A GLOBAL Therapeutic Institution, "Spiritual Clinic" (spiritual hospital) the Church is called by Saint John Chrysostom (+ 407 A.D.).
2. The sickness of human nature IS THE FALLEN STATE OF MAN and at the same time all the creation that co-suffers (…the whole creation groans and labors in pain…Romans 8:22 with him. This diagnosis concerns every person, independent, whether he is Christian or not, or whether, due to the natural union of humanity at large (Acts 17:26). Christian Orthodoxy is NOT bounded within the narrow boundaries of religion that is only interested in her followers, but like God "Who will have all men be saved and come to the knowledge of truth" (1 Timothy 2:4) since God is "Savior of all the people" (1 Timothy 4:10). The sickness therefore of which Christianity talks about is universal; Romans 5:12; "…and so death passed upon all men, fo that they all have sinned" (AMARTIA=missed the goal in their march towards Theosis). Like the fall (namely the sickness) IS UNIVERSAL SO TOO SALVIFIC THERAPY DEPENDS DIRECTLY ON THE INTERIOR FUNCTIONING OF EVERY PERSON.
The experience of the Saints knows one memory system, the "OF THE HEART, OR NOETIC" MEMORY THAT OPERATES IN THE HEART AND WHICH IS IGNORED BY THE MEDICAL SCIENCE. THE HEART according to Orthodox Tradition does NOT function only physically, as a pump to move teh blood. For beyond the natural IT HAS A SUPERNATURAL FUNCTION. Under certain preconditions, IT BECOMES THE PLACE OF COMMUNION WITH GOD, NAMELY WITH His UNCRATED ENERGY. Of course, this becomes noticed in the experience of the Saints, the True Christians, and NOT through the logical function or intellectual theologizing…
Saint Nikodemos Agiorite ( + 1809) recapitulating the complete Patristic Tradition in his work "Advisory Manual", calls the heart THE NATURAL CENTER, SUPERNATURAL BUT ALSO PARA-NATURAL, when the supernatural function is inactive because the heart IS OVERTAKEN BY THE PASSIONS. The supernatural function of the heart IS THE ABSOLUTE PRECONDITION FO THE PERFECTION, THE COMPLETION OF MAN, NAMELY HIS THEOSIS, AS HIS FULL INCLUSION INTO CHRIST’S COMMUNITY.
In her supernatural function, THE HEART BECOMES THE PLACE OF ENERGIZING OF THE MIND. In THE LANGUAGE CODE OF Orthodoxy, THE MIND (NOUS) (in the New Testament it is called "SPIRIT" of man and EYE OF THE SOUL") IS THE ENERGY (ACTIVITY) OF THE SOUL, BY WHICH MAN KNOWS GOD, COMING TO THE VISION OF GOD, OR THEORIA. Of course, we must clarify that the knowledge of God, does NOT MEAN THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNAPPROACHABLE AND INACCESSIBLE DIVINE ESSENCE, BUT OF THE DIVINE ENERGY. The distinction between ESSENCE and ENERGY of God IS THE VITAL DIFFERENCE OF ORTHODOXY FROM ANY OTHER VERSION OF Christianity. The ENERGY OF MIND IN THE HEART IS CALLED "NOETIC FUNCTION" of the HEART. We again clarify THE MIND (Nous) and word (logic) are NOT identical because logic happens in the brain, while NOETIC (Nous) IN THE HEART.
The NOETIC FUNCTION is realized as an INCESSANT PRAYER (1 Thessalonians 5:17) of the Holy Spirit in the heart (Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:26; 1 Thessalonians 5:19) and the Holy Fathers call it "REMEMBRANCE OF GOD", Man having WITHIN HIS HEART THE "REMEMBRANCE OF GOD" HAS THE FEELING OF GOD’S OCCUPANCY WITHIN HIM (Romans 8:11).
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George