ORTHODOXY AS THERAPY

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,

CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.

ORTHODOXY AS THERAPY

By Protopresbyter George Metallinos, Dean of the
Athens University School of Theology.

If we wished to conventionally define Christianity, as Orthodoxy, we would say IT IS THE EXPERIENCING OF THE PRESENCE OF THE Uncreated (=of God) THROUGHOUT HISTORY, AND THE POTENTIAL OF CREATION (= mankind) BECOMING God by Grace.

Given the perpetual presence of God in Christ, in historical reality, Christianity OFFERS MANKIND THE POSSIBILITY OF Theosis, just as medical science offers mankind the possibility of preserving or restoring his health through a specific therapeutic procedure and a specific way of life.

The writer is in a position to appreciate the coincidence between the medical and ecclesiastic POEMANTIC SCIENCES, because, as a diabetic and a Christian, he is aware that in both cases, he has to faithfully abide by the rules that have been set out, in order to attain both of these goals.

The UNIQUE and ABSOLUTE GOAL OF LIFE in Christ is THEOSIS (Deification), in other words, OUR UNION WITH GOD, THAT THAT MAN–THROUGH HIS PARTICIPATION IN GOD’S UNCREATED ENERGY–MAY BECOME BY THE GRACE OF GOD’S THAT WHICH GOD IS BY NATURE (= without beginning and without end). This is what "SALVATION" MEANS, in Christianity. It is NOT the moral improvement of man, BUT A RE-CREATION, A RE-CONSTRUCTION IN CHRIST, OF MAN AND OF SOCIETY, THROUGH AN EXISTING AND AN EXISTENTIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST, Who is the incarnate manifestation of God in History. This is what the Apostle Paul’s words imply, in 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW." WHOEVER IS UNITED WITH CHRIST IS A NEW CREATION.

That is why Christianically, the incarnation of God-Logos/Word–this redemptory "INTRUSION" of the Eternal and the Beyond-time God into Historical time–REPRESENTS THE COMMENCEMENT OF A NEW WORLD, OF A (LITERALLY) "New Age," which continues throughout the passing centuries, in the persons of AUTHENTIC CHRISTIANS: the Saints. The Church exists in this world, both as the BODY OF CHRIST and as IN CHRIST, in order TO OFFER SALVATION, THROUGH ONE’S EMBODIMENT IN THIS REGENERATIVE PROCEDURE. This REDEMPTORY TASK of the Church is fulfilled by means of a specific therapeutic method, whereby throughout history, the Church essentially acts AS A UNIVERSAL INFIRMARY, "Spiritual Infirmary" (Spiritual Hospital) IS THE CHARACTERIZATION GIVEN TO THE CHURCH BY THE BLESSED CHRYSOSTOM.

The Sickness Cured by Orthodoxy

The SICKNESS OF HUMAN NATURE is the FALLEN STATE OF MANKIND, ALONG WITH ALL OF the CREATION, WHICH LIKEWISE SUFFERS ("sighs and groans together," Romans 8:22) together with mankind. This diagnosis applies TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON (regardless of whether they are Christian or not, or whether they believe or not), on account of the overall unity of mankind. Christian Orthodoxy DOES NOT CONFINE ITSELF WITHIN THE NARROW BOUNDARIES OF ONE RELIGION–WHICH CARES ONLY FOR ITS OWN FOLLOWERS–BUT, JUST LIKE GOD, "WANTS ALL PEOPLE TO BE SAVED AND TO ARRIVE AT TEH REALIZATION OF THE TRUTH" (1 Timothy 2:4), since God is the Savior OF ALL PERSONS (1 Timothy 4:10). Thus, the sickness that Christianity refers to pertains TO ALL OF MANKIND; "Death has come upon all people since ALL OF THEM HAVE SINNED (= they have veered away from their path towards THEOSIS, Romans 5:12. Just as the fall (i.e., SICKNESS) IS A PAN-HUMAN ISSUE, SO IS SALVATION-THERAPY DIRECTLY DEPENDENT ON THE INNER FUNCTIONS OF EACH PERSON.

The natural (AUTHENTIC) state of a person is (Patristiclly) defined by THE FUNCTIONING INSIDE HIM OF THE THREE MNEMONIC SYSTEMS; TWO OF WHICH ARE FAMILIAR AND MONITORED BY MEDICAL SCIENCE, WHILE THE THIRD IS SOMETHING HANDLED BY POEMANTIC THERAPEUTICS. The first system is cellular memory (DNA), which determines everything inside a human organism. The second is the cerebral cellular memory, brain functions, which regulate our association with our self and our environment. Both these systems are familiar to medical science, whose work it is to maintain their harmonious operation.

The experience of the Saints is familiar with one other MNEMONIC SYSTEM: that of the HEART, or NOETIC MEMORY, WHICH FUNCTIONS INSIDE THE HEART. In Orthodox Tradition, THE HEART DOES NOT ONLY HAE A NATURAL OPERATION PUMP THAT CIRCULATES THE BLOOD. Furthermore, according to Patristic teaching (the Holy Fathers’ [ teaching), neither the brain nor the central nervous system is the center OF OUR-AWARENESS; AGAIN, IT IS THE HEART, BECAUSE, BEYOND ITS NATURAL FUNCTION, IT ALSO HAS A SUPERNATURAL FUNCTION.  Under certain circumstances, it becomes THE PLACE OF OUR COMMUNION WITH GOD, OR, His Uncreated Energy.  This is of course perceived through the experience of the Saints, and NOT any logical function or through an intellectual theologizing. [Source: Orthodox Heritage]

(To be continued)

_________________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry)
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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