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Reproduced with permission from the author, James L. Kelley (4/2014). For personal use only.

A Realism of Glory 2

Realism of Glory 

Lectures on Christology in the Works of Protopresbyter John  Romanides

by James L. Kelley 


The Ancestral Sin I

“Here we can grasp one of the most characteristic features of anthropological philosophy. (—) If we wish to grasp its real meaning and import, we must choose not the epic manner of description but the dramatic. For we are confronted, not with a peaceful development of concept or theories, but with a clash between conflicting spiritual powers. (—) It is not concerned with a single theoretical problem, however general its scope; here the whole destiny of man is at stake and clamoring for an ultimate decision.” Ernst Cassirer, An Essay On Man1

Christos Yannaras, in Orthodoxy and the West, writes  that  Fr.   John’s  Ancestral  Sin  “established — for the first time in Greek —that the legalism of Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas, officially adopted by the Western Christian denominations, was not an isolated heresy but the root of successive misinterpretations of every Christian doctrine, radically distorting the Church’s Gospel.”2 Yannaras, after pointing out that the book’s “pivotal theme” is “humanity’s sin and salvation,” goes on to list a number of themes covered in the text. He names uncreated energies, Trinitarian dogma, human freedom, as well as the “ecclesial body,” but fails to mention Christology.3 Our analysis of Fr. John’s most celebrated work seeks to fill in this gap by focusing on The Ancestral Sin’s teachings concerning Christ, and will further seek to relate them to the themes and concerns in Fr. John’s earlier writings. The reader should bear in mind the enormous importance of The Ancestral Sin, which was a required textbook at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School in the 1950s and the 1960s,4 and which remains one of the most influential volumes of Orthodox theology to appear in modern times.5

Accordingly, we will spend an ample amount of time detailing its unique features.

The Ancestral Sin calls into question the Western notion of original sin through a full presentation of the Orthodox teachings about the fall of man. As E. Stephanou remarks, Fr. John’s book seems to give hamartology a backseat to other related themes, despite its title: “Although the book is entitled To Propa-torikon Hamartema {Original Sin), Father Romanides devotes most of his study to such related doctrines as creation, demonology, divine energies, grace, and the imago Dei”6 Though like Yannaras, Stephanou does not list Christology as a prominent theme in The Ancestral Sin, passages such as the following evince the book’s presupposition that the significance of the first Adam’s sin can be understood only in light of the Second Adam’s Incarnation, death, and resurrection: “Any attempt to understand the fall would be futile without a correct understanding of the world’s original destiny which at first was lost but later was achieved in Christ.”7 In support of this Christocentric hamartology, Fr. John quotes St. Athanasios, who spoke of the incarnation as God’s long-suffering response to the fall of man.8 However, one cannot simply skip over the particulars of Adam’s experience before and after the fall, nor can one avoid a deep examination of how man is saved from the the ancestral sin, because “for those to whom the cause of death is unknown, to them the Creator of the nature of man is also unknown.”9

In the introduction, Fr. John indicates in general terms the position of Western Christianity on salvation in Christ and also briefly traces the development of soteriology in the West. Fr. John holds that in both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism there is no belief that “Christ’s continuous and real presence in the Church is…essential.”10 1) Calvin’s predestination, 2) Luther’s “faith alone,” and the 3) Roman Catholic system of created, merited graces, which are present at the priest’s command and only during particular parts of the Mass, are all indicators that the West has followed a particular deviation in salvation-theology,11 and Fr. John spends the rest of his introduction tracing soteriological branches of this Western innovation to their warped Christological root.

Augustine of Hippo, according to Fr. John, is the source of the deviant soteriology — and thus of the wayward Christology — of the West. The African bishop’s misunderstanding of the purpose and affects of the Incarnation and his belief that death is the result of a decision by God to punish man led him to formulate a new theory about Satan.12 This “abuse of power” theory13 held that Satan was commissioned by God to administer justice to the dead souls of men, but that Satan overstepped his bounds by “attempting to take custody of the Son of God and bring Him under his own domain of death. Thus, Satan was guilty of an unjust venture against justice, and God punished him by removing the captive souls of the dead from his custody.”14 Such a story, Fr. John avers, could only appear where the original Orthodox teaching — that Satan is the source of evil, death, and sin — has been forgotten. Satan was never the right-hand man of God, but was always the enemy of God and man. God is not the author of evil, but is long-suffering. Indeed, God loves the sinner as much as the saint, though some Protestants and Roman Catholics believe otherwise.15[It should be obvious to all that Christ would not command man to love his neighbor if He was incapable or unwilling to do the same Himself.] Augustine’s ignorance of the Orthodox Christian teaching about Satan and about Christ’s total war and victory over him led the African bishop to see the fall of man as a punitive act of anger which changed God’s loving disposition toward man.

Fr. John contends that Augustine’s dual error was 1) his displacement of Satan from his true role as inaugurator of evil, sin and death; and 2) his invention of a spiteful God who must be placated by man’s meritorious works. These deviations from the tradition of the early Fathers led to a crisis in Christology which set the terms for Western theology throughout the Middle Ages and even up to the present day. For the West, which accepted Augustine’s presuppositions about God and the fall, the teaching of the early Fathers about the Incarnation as a trampling down of the devil did not seem justified. The Augustinian emphasis on God’s wrathful disposition toward a fallen creation drew attention away from the Incarnation, and for many in the West its meaning was obscured: “Since God is considered the cause of death and Satan is his servant, it is a dilemma to explain why the Logos ‘shared in the same [flesh and blood] that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”‘16 In the Middle Ages, the problem was posed bluntly by St. Anselm, who wrote a book entitled Cur Deus Homo (Why the God-man?)• For Anselm, the question of why Christ was needed at all had become quite desperate, since theologians such as Abelard were contending that Christ was merely a good moral example for man to follow. Anselm’s answer was simple: Man’s Augustinian fall from utter perfection to total degradation could only have been undone by an ultimate, infinite sacrifice. This was the meaning of the cross, which atoned for man’s infinite fall.17

For Fr. John, modern Roman Catholic and Protestant theologians remain frozen within the narrow presuppositions and false solutions of Augustinian Christology. Thus, for the Roman Catholic J. Pohle, the resurrection of Christ is at best a secondary cause of our salvation, and for the Protestant E. Brunner, it is simply not important whether or not Christ’s body “decomposed in the grave.”18 Most alarming is the tendency of modern liberal biblical critics to explain away the demonological content of the Scriptures as either the residue of non-Christian eschatology or the personal opinions of the biblical writers. It is obvious to Fr. John that Augustine’s discarding of the original teachings about the centrality of spiritual warfare with Satan even influences those modern Bible scholars whose techniques of scriptural interpretation allow them to stratify the Bible into acceptable and unacceptable teachings:

In this manner, then, every critic of the Bible is free to search in his favorite philosophical lexicon to explain everything according to his own tastes and prejudices, and he can call anything in the Bible that is dissonant with his theories either superfluous or an error on the part of the Apostles themselves. The Gnostics were first to apply this method of explanation.19

The Ancestral Sin’s opening chapter outlines the general worldview of “Greek philosophy,” which Fr. John wishes to compare with that of the Augustinian and post-Augustinian West.20 Both Greek philosophy and Western Christian philosophy find it impossible to distinguish between “the wholly positive creation of the world and the fall of the world.”21 Examples abound in Protestantism of a belief in death as a natural occurrence, and also of belief in a ghostly afterlife in heaven with an immaterial Christ. Such misunderstandings of salvation in Christ have much in common with the Hellenistic notion of death as deliverance from the world of matter. An equally striking feature common to Greek philosophy and Augustino-Platonic Christianity is the ethics of eudaemonia, or happiness, which is common to Western Christianity and Greek philosophy. According to this model, man’s selfish desires find greater and greater fulfillment as man ascends through his intellect closer and closer to God’s essence, which man can “search out” and envision. Since matter is mutable and thus ephemeral, man must ascend the chain of being to the only immutable Being, the Unmoved Mover who is moved only toward Himself.22

The next chapter — “God’s Relations With the World” — shows the connection between the eudaemonistic God of the West, whose energies are focused on the archetypes within his essence, and the purely Western notion of God’s “created graces.” Fr. John holds that, in contrast to the Western God who saves through created means, the Orthodox God creates, sustains, loves, and saves all of creation through His own uncreated energies.23 This means, among other things, that 1) only God is immortal by nature; 2) there are no universals in the essence of God; 3) God does not love Himself, but rather loves creation; 4) human selfish desires are not natural; and 5) no natural law exists in creation. What has Greek philosophy and uncreated energies to do with Christology? For Father John, the entire basis of Orthodoxy’s dogmas regarding the Holy Trinity and Christology is the revealed fact that God alone, without any created means, creates, foreknows, gives life, and saves. (—) The fact that God does not… save by created means bears witness to the divinity of the Son and the Holy Spirit, that is, to the one nature of the Holy Trinity, and proclaims the hypostatic union in Christ.24

The preoccupation with the uncreated, hypostatic energies in The Ancestral Sin’s second chapter is continued in the third. This lengthy chapter is arguably the heart of the book, because it outlines in detail the nature of the war between Christ and the devil that is obscured and even ignored in the Augustinian version. Along the way, this substantive third chapter shows the biblical notion of “justification/vivification” to be identical with theosis. The immeasurable gulf between Orthodox theosis-justification and Anselm’s atonement model is thereby illustrated. Most importantly, the Orthodox notion of justification is presented not as an arid set of creedal propositions, but rather as a way of ascent which is at all points centered completely on the person of Christ, though never Christomonistically, for to be united to Christ is to be united to the hypostatic energies of the Holy Trinity. The Church is Christ’s body, and Christ is both the life and the way to life. However, the demonological aspect of theosis-justification — the fact that the kingdom of God is announced by the casting out of demons — is given an equal place in Fr. John’s presentation, as is indicated by the chapter’s title: “Satan.”


The Ancestral Sin II: The Justice of

Christ as Destruction of

Demonic Injustice

In “Satan,” The Ancestral Sin’s chapter on demonology, Fr. John first looks to the Gospel books for the truth about the devil. The synoptic Gospels are identical in their emphasis on the defeat of Satanic powers through the power of Christ as the establishing of the kingdom of God (basileia ton Theou). In the synoptic Gospels, “the practice of casting out demons before baptism is deeply rooted in Christ Himself.”Fr. John sees the Christo-demonological theme in all three synoptics, most saliently in the Gospel of Mark. Here the prophecy that Satan would be destroyed is fulfilled in Christ’s battle in the wilderness with the devil. The defeat of Satan by Christ in the Spirit is then expanded as His disciples disperse unclean spirits, heal the sick, and even raise the dead. This demonological focus is absent in the Gospel of John, but the situation is explained by the latter’s post-baptismal, non-catechetical context.2

As for Satan himself, he is the source of all evil, God having allowed angels and men the choice to follow His divine will or their own. But this “freedom of evil,” far from diminishing the omnipotence of God, actually safeguards the eternal goodness and freedom of God, for “God does not war against evil by force or by depriving creatures of freedom but by being long suffering through love and justice.”3 In his discussion of Satan, Fr. John emphasizes the same close association of sin, death, and the devil that he stressed in Original Sin According to St. Paul.” Because he is readying the reader for an explication of the Orthodox notion of f/jeos/s-justification as unmitigated spiritual war with Satan, Fr. John counterbalances the “rule” of Satan in this age with the greater power of God’s providential love for the world, which is constantly expanding Christ’s defeat of the demons.4


The Ancestral Sin III: The Justice of Christ as the Vivification of the Righteous on Both Sides of Death

The justice of Christ is not a coercive intervention that saves man from his total depravity by means of an ultimate sacrifice, as Anselm and the entire atonement tradition of the West would have it.1

Rather, the justice of Christ is vivification, or the imparting of life through His personal, uncreated energies, which are Trinitarian and not monohypostatic.2

It may surprise some that Fr. John’s Protestant friend, the great biblical scholar C. H. Dodd, evinced a deep understanding of St. Paul’s Orthodox interpretation of Christ’s justice. In fact, Dodd’s insights are extensively drawn upon by Fr. John to sum up The Ancestral Sin’s central thesis about salvation in Christ as theosis-justification. Fr. John’s willingness to hinge his most important chapter in The Ancestral Sin on Dodd’s writings shows his unhesitating acceptance of Orthodoxy (right opinion) wherever it is found. Dodd’s knowledge of and fidelity to the spiritual background of St. Paul’s writings led him to

commen[t] that, for Paul, the word justice has the same meaning that it has in the Old Testament. Dodd says that, unlike the Greek philosophers and Western theologians, the Jews did not understand divine justice in any way to be some divine or cosmological attribute. Rather, it is an energy of God which presupposes the prevalence of injustice and evil in the world. Consequently, when Paul writes, “The justice of God hath appeared,” he means that God appears in Christ and destroys evil, dissolves injustice, and restores the righteous who were unjustly held captive by what is evil.3

Here Dodd has preserved the biblical/patristic truth, denied by Augustine and his followers,4 that righteous men lived before Christ’s Incarnation. Fr. John goes much farther than Dodd, however, holding that St. Paul’s references to the Law — “the letter kills,” etc. — do not allow for any opposition of the Torah to the justifying grace of Christ, but rather indicate the real meaning of the Old Testament as the Way (Torah) of vivification completed by Christ’s Incarnation and its Christological extension: the harrowing of hades (sheol). The Old Testament righteous were unjustly held by Satan, and Christ’s Incarnation brings justice to them, a justice which is both the imparting of the life of Christ to man and the destruction of the devil’s power of death. This Orthodox notion of justification as 1) theoric vision and immortalization of the saints of all ages in Christ, and 2) destruction of the power of Satan through human co-working with divine energy, is completely alien to the atonement Christology of Anselm, according to which God requires a sacrifice on the cross from Christ and meritorious works afterward from man which together constitute a literal deus ex machina for the vexing Western problem of how God, his absolute justice offended by the fall, could change his hatred of man back to love.

Fr. John’s restating of the Church Fathers’ teachings about justification as a Christocentric and theoric bestowal of life on the saints of all eras leads naturally to the question “What is the nature of this life in Christ?” Christ himself demands of his saints that they become perfect as the Father himself is perfect.Here we are approaching a theological theme that has received more attention than any other in twentieth century Orthodox theology — perfection as deification, or theosis.6

In The Ancestral Sin, Fr. John gives a full treatment of deification in his chapter entitled “The Destiny of Man.” For Fr. John, the key to deification is found in the patristic interpretation of the “image and likeness of God” in man.7 Tatian, the early Christian ecclesiastical writer, assumes that the image of God refers to perfection in Christ. As Fr. John summarizes him, “Man is not by nature a likeness of God because, among other things, the image of God presupposes the moral perfection of man.”8 Many Western commentators see “semi-Pelagianism” in this notion that man can achieve the perfection that Christ demands of him.9 However, Tatian, along with the Fathers of all ages, never viewed mans ability to follow the commandments of God, indeed to “choose immortality,”10 in isolation from Christ, the source and telos of man’s ascesis. This is why an early patristic term for deification was “Christification.” To combat the false opposition of works versus grace that lay underneath the West’s “semi-Pelagian” accusation, Fr. John emphasizes the inseparability of the moral and the ontological aspects of man’s perfection in Christ: to be perfected is “to be formed in the image of Christ, not only morally but bodily also.”11

But what is the meaning of man’s moral/ontological deification in Christ, and how can we recognize or describe it? Once again, Fr. John returns to the image of Christ in the Bible as interpreted by the Fathers. For Fr. John, the entire purpose and meaning of both Testaments is the proclamation that there is a Way (Torah) to perfection, and this Way is not a mere book, but a Person, the “door of Jesus,”12 who broke down all barriers between fallen man and Himself through His Incarnation.

The primary context for Fr. John’s discussion of the Way to perfection is the biblical/patristic theme of the “two loves.” The Western God of scholasticism, according to Fr. John, is based upon the first love, eudaemonia, or love of self. While some maybe alarmed at Fr. John’s harsh and absolute condemnation of the philosophical notion of eudaemonia, which has undeniable spiritual overtones and which — it may be argued — has had a palpable propaedeutic influence on Orthodox spirituality, it should be understood that Fr. John speaks of eudaemonia not in terms of its affinities with Christianity, but rather bases his rejection of “happiness” on an Orthodox teleology which spurns any goal short of deification in the image of Christ as a suitable telos for man.13

In fact, we can only recognize the deficiency of the eudaemonistic first love through an understanding of the second love, which is the love of God, the love that “never fails” and which God radiates toward creation: “God is love.” Fr. John illustrates the difference between the two loves by contrasting the individualism of the first love with the kenoticism of the second love. If attaining to the likeness of God is

to incline toward the highest good and to find self-contentment in it, what kind of relationship can the soul have with secondary being if it should ever achieve its goal? If the soul becomes totally satisfied by its union with the One, how can it also be inclined toward other beings like itself, or even lower being, and maintain a relationship of love with them also?14

The Augustinian West’s view of God as an unmoved mover, whose only possible movement of love could be toward Himself finds its correlation in an individualistic, self-serving humanity.

The second love, which is that of Christ, the Bible, and the Fathers, is predicated upon the dogma “Each man’s relationship with his brother in Christ ought to be an image of his relationship with God and Christ.”15 This teaching that men were created to become deified, and thus be progressively delivered from all necessity, law, and constraint, was truly revolutionary. The content of deification, indeed, is the second love, which “seeks not its own,” and by which man acquires “the nous of Christ.” The love of Christ and unity in Christ are a single reality, and one cannot love Christ and at the same time hate his brother.16

Though we will have to wait until his middle and late period writings for a full presentation of the ascetic path that carries one from the first love to the second, Fr. John does give us a picture in The Ancestral Sin of the meaning of the second love. A particularly Romanidesian quotation from St. Clement of Rome, who is himself explicating a passage from the Torah concerning Moses, gives us a clear notion of this second love: “Moses said, ‘Lord, pardon the sin of this people, else blot me also out of the book of the living.’ Ο marvelous love! Ο insuperable perfection! The servant speaks freely to his Lord and asks for either forgiveness for the people or that he himself might perish along with them.”17 Fr. John follows with a quotation from St. Justin Martyr that shows the early Church to have been a “cenobium” of non-possessors, further indicating the ascetic basis of the second love.18 Finally, Fr. John links his discussion of the two loves with freedom from fear, keeping in mind the books prominent theme of the fall as bondage to Satan through fear of death: “perfect love casteth out fear.”19 The second love was lost in the West during the Middle Ages, and Fr. John views the perennial Western dilemma “faith versus works” as a by-product of this loss:

The West’s two formulations about salvation are products of an eudaemonistic, self-seeking mentality that ignores the New Testament’s teaching about unselfish love, the love that gives no thought to itself. Man can offer neither solam fidem nor meritorious works to the throne of God in order to buy salvation. (—) Neither faith nor works save. Only God saves, but not arbitrarily without the will of man or by necessity because of man’s works, but only when these are accompanied by love.20


The Ancestral Sin IV: Spiritual Man in the Image

For Augustine, hamartology turns out to be an inscrutable mystery, though perhaps not in the intended sense. It should have been easy, Augustine believes, for Adam to “keep the commandment,” since he began with an “utterly perfect” mind.1 Man fell because he violated the “penal code” in the essence of God, and both the breaking and the following of this iron law are both viewed as purely legal “transactions.”2 Perfection in the image of Christ is absent from the Augustinian picture of the fall. Adam, indeed, already begins in a perfect state, without Christ’s Incarnation and without ascetic tempering. Who, indeed, is this God-man?

In the Christological context of Orthodox hamartology, a different answer to the cur Deus homo is found: “Adam is understood through Christ. The first Adam is not the key to the New Testament. The second Adam, however, is the key to the Old Testament. The veil of the Old Testament ‘is abolished in Christ’ only.”3 As St. Theophilos of Antioch and St. Irenaeos of Lyons taught, Adam in the garden was born in an intermediate state, neither perfect nor imperfect, but rather a mutable creation destined without coercion to become immutable through ascetic perfection in love. The soul of man is not immortal by nature, but rather by participation in the Holy Spirit, which conforms man to the “nous of Christ.”

Fr. John holds that the West’s misconceptions about Adam and the fall have had severe consequences in all areas of Western theology, but most saliently in the Western notion of the “image of God.” Because of their eudaemonistic presuppositions about man, most Western theologians make no distinction between “people who live according to death and people who live according to Christ.”4 These non-Orthodox scholars are prone to the dualistic readings of St. Paul that Fr. John first decried in “Original Sin According to Saint Paul” (see ch. 1).

Fr. John critiques the Hellenistic mind-body dualism of Western theology through the subtle lens of Orthodox eschatology. Indeed, Fr. John’s broadly conceived notion of the “last things” is a far cry from that of the Western theology manuals, and it rather anticipates the Christocentric eschatology typical in Orthodox writing since the fifties.5 The souls of the Old Testament righteous were in sheol, that is, asleep in their bodies, when “Through the resurrection of righteous souls in Christ there came a kind of separation of soul and body that, in a manner of speaking, is unnatural; it is, however, altogether temporary. This separation is not metaphysical or dualistic in nature but eschatological!’6 Thus the fundamental anthropological distinction is between man’s created being with its natural energy and the uncreated, saving energy of Christ. No opposition exists between man’s soul and his body, as if the latter were a prison and the former the “real man” made in the image of God. Rather, there is an “eschatological distinction between those who… are presently participating in the Lord’s victory over death unto eternal life and those who do not participate in it and are therefore on a path to eternal damnation.”7

The eschatological distinction between those in Christ and those under Satan is at the heart of the Orthodox teachings about the resurrection. The first resurrection is the Pentecost in the heart of man that is man’s life in the body of Christ. This resurrection is the “thousand year reign” of Christ in the hearts of His saints which is also the imparting of life to His body through the sacraments. On this side of the grave, those who have been baptized have the “betrothal of the Spirit,” and are struggling against Satan to fulfill their vows. Unlike the saints on the other side of the grave, who have conquered Satan and are merely awaiting the final victory, those still in this life must wage total war against demonic forces to become more and more conformed to the image of the Son. The second resurrection will precede the last judgment. It is truly the “last” judgment because it is the joining of all men’s souls with their bodies, both the blessed and the damned. Man is not a disembodied soul; therefore, the defeat of Satan which the saints have wrought through Christ is only consummated once all men become like the resurrected Christ, their passionless souls reunited with their immortalized bodies. Thus, Satan’s trial does not take place in some court of jurisprudence in the sky, but is rather cosmic in scope, being the inevitable result of the already accomplished defeat of death in the body of Christ. This eschatological perspective makes sense of St. Paul’s seemingly contradictory references to the resurrection as both something in the past (first resurrection) and as a future event (second resurrection).8


The Ancestral Sin V:

Christological Implications

of Image Theology

FrJohn’s “image of God” theology is the key to his Christology, his soteriology, and thus his hamartology. In “Spiritual Man in the Image of God,” The Ancestral Sin’s penultimate chapter, Fr. John uses St. Irenaeos’ “second Adam” theme to illustrate the deeper implications of the incarnation: Christ “‘became Himself what was His image, and He reestablished the likeness in a sure manner by conforming man like unto the invisible Father.’ It is Christ ‘Who is the image of God.’ “Those whom [God] did foreknow, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.'”1 If Christ is the image of God the Father, then man is the image of Christ, or the “image of the image.”2

longer quotation from The Ancestral Sin lays out the anthropological implications of the second Adam’s recapitulation of the cosmos:

Therefore, just as Christ was born an infant and subsequently grew bodily, matured, advanced, and was perfected…, the first-made men were also made children in order to grow, mature, and become perfect in body and soul. Christ was born without sin or deficiency. Yet He advanced and was perfected. Likewise, the first men were made sinless and without deficiency in order to advance and become perfect.3


Chapter 5
1 An Essay On Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture (New Haven & London, 1944), 9. 2 Ch. Yannaras, Orthodoxy and the West: Hellenic Self-Identity in the Modern Age, trans. P. Chamberas and N. Russell (Brookline, MA, 2006), 275-276.

3Ibid., 276.
4J. S. Romanides, Ancestral Sin, 11.
5The centrality of Ancestral Sin to the “Orthodox revival”
centered around 1950s Greece is noted by V.N. Makrides,
“Byzantium in Contemporary Greece: The Neo-Orthodox
Current of Ideas,” in Byzantium and the Modern Greek Identity ed. D. Ricks and P. Magdalino (Aldershot, 1998), 144. Surely it is Ancestral Sin’s pervasive influence that prompted Fr. George Dion. Dragas, in an interview with D. P. Payne, to ask: “Who has not been influenced by [Fr. John]?” (D.R Payne, Revival of Political Hesychasm, 397). Fr. John’s deep influence upon two of present-day Greece’s most prominent theologians — Met. of Nafpatkos Hierotheos [Vlachos] and Fr. George Metallinos — is also examined in Payne, 61-65. 6 E. A. Stephanou, “Topopatorikon hamartema (Review),” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 4.2 (Winter 1958-1959), 173.7J. S. Romanides, Ancestral Sin, 112.8Ibid., 17.9Ibid., 175. Here Fr. John is quoting St. Justin Martyr, Greek
28, BEPES, Vol. 4, p. 186.10Ibid., 18. 11 Ibid., 18-19.12 For a balanced account of Orthodox attitudes toward St. Augustine, including reflections on Fr. John’s views, see G.C. Papademetriou, “Saint Augustine in the Greek Orthodox Tradition,” in P. A. Chamberas, Agape and Diakonia 143-154.The Roman Catholic A. Nichols, in his piece “St. Augustine in the Byzantine-Slav Tradition,” (Scribe of the Kingdom: Essays on Theology and Culture, Vol. I [London, 1994], 113-126.), dismisses Fr. John’s critique of St. Augustine’s theology as a rehashing of the anti-Augustinianism of some eighteenth-century “Yale converts” to Anglicanism, who had an inexplicable aversion to the African bishop (124-125). Nowhere does Nichols give theological support for his disapproval of Fr. John’s views, and one wonders how long it took for Nichols to locate an American anti-Augustinianism which he could then, without adequate support, pin on Fr. John and all of American Orthodoxy along with him. Does it occur to Nichols that Fr. John differs radically from the Yale Anglicans in his theology, or that an Anglican critique of St. Augustine may have little in common with an Orthodox one? At any rate, Nichols’ strategy of theological deflection when speaking of Fr. John, which skirts the real theological issues in favor of obscure and unfounded “influences,” blemishes his otherwise valuable scholarship. See his earlier Light From the East: Authors and Themes in Orthodox Theology (London, 1999), 74-90, where he dubs Fr. John’s theology “Photinian” without bothering to define his flashy coinage. Ultimately, Nichols disappoints all who are looking for a sober account of the important theological issues Fr. John fastens upon in his writings on St. Augustine, for Nichols finds it sufficient to cite Fr. John for “the virulence of his polemics” (78) before moving on toward Orthodox thinkers who are more open to the West. Unfortunately, Nichols seems to think his pointing to both 1) Fr. John’s belief that the Orthodox Church holds the only true faith and salvation, as well as to 2) Fr. John’s supposedly unrestrained condemnation of St. Augustine (83), is sufficient to refute Fr. John’s theology. Hopefully, Nichols will at some point write a developed piece on Fr. John’s theology which will focus less on Fr. John’s attitude and will actually deal with his theological contentions.13J. S. Romanides, Ancestral Sin, 25.14Ibid., 24.15 It should be obvious to all that Christ would not command man to love his neighbor if He was incapable or unwilling to do the same Himself.16Ibid., 23.17Ibid., 26.18Ibid., 27.19Ibid.20It should be borne in mind that Fr. John is not here condemning philosophy per se, Greek or otherwise. Rather, Fr. John is rejecting the view that secular learning is a self-sufficient end. A. Casiday, in his review of A. Sopko’s Prophet of Roman Orthodoxy, casts doubt on Dr. Sopko’s assertion that Fr. John, in contradistinction to the West, did his theology with “no philosophical presuppositions”: “Worth puzzling over is Sopko’s rather bizarre claim for Romanides’ Dogmatics, that it is ‘the first contemporary Orthodox dogmatic theology with absolutely no philosophical presuppositions contained within it and completely dependent upon the Tradition of the Church”‘ (Casiday, 202). In fact, Fr. John agrees with his teacher Fr. Georges Florovsky that human culture, which includes secular philosophy, has been and continues to be Christified by the Church, which transforms rather than obliterates the cosmos’ meaning-bearing structure. Thus, Sopko is saying that Fr. John has no merely philosophical presuppositions which would inevitably distort the truth of his message.21J. S. Romanides, Ancestral Sin, 42.22Ibid., 43-44. Having had the great Fr. Georges Florovsky as his mentor, Fr. John most assuredly was not ignorant of the

relative truth, however ambiguous and incomplete, found in Greek philosophical notions such as the Aristotelian eudae-
Indeed, the Eastern Fathers used “happiness” terminology occasionally, but this should not surprise us, since no one who has written in Greek since Aristotle has escaped “the philosopher’s” influence entirely. To use the example closest to hand, St. Basil the Great, in his “On the Holy Spirit,” even used the Aristotle-flavored “fo akrotaton ton orekton” the “ultimate desirable,” to describe deification itself! (PG 32.109C, qu. in M. Aghiorgoussis, “Applications of the theme ΈΙΚΟΝ THEOU’ (Image of God) According to Saint Basil the Great,” 273. For cross-references on “orekton,” see H. G. Liddell and R. Scott, Greek-English Lexicon, Vol. II [Oxford, 1925], 1247.).E. Stephanou, in his review of Ancestral Sin, takes serious issue with what he terms Fr. John’s “eudaemonistic psychology”: “Can we not say… that theosis leads man into happiness in the sense of blessedness? To seek self-fulfillment in this regard cannot fairly be described as ‘selfish’ in a moral connotation. (—) The concepts of athanasia-zoe and thantos-fihora can have meaning only when interpreted as states of joy and sorrow respectively” (176). Obviously, Stephanou is missing the point, since he associates theosis here with the replacement of one emotional state with another supposedly pleasurable one. Stephanou’s eudaemonism contradicts Orthodox spiritual teaching, which insists upon the cultivation of a “joyful sorrow” (Saint John Climacus, Ladder of Divine Ascent [Boston, 2001], 70-80) which transcends totally any merely human conception of desire or fulfillment. Indeed, the transcendence of the pleasure-pain dichotomy via Orthodox ascetical therapy is the key notion in the Philokalia.As the foregoing indicates, terminology is not the decisive factor in issues such as these, but rather what we mean by the terms we use. In Ancestral Sin and elsewhere, Fr. John’s priority is to clear up the muddy waters of twentieth-century theological discourse by separating the Christology of the Au-gustinian West (with its basis in secular philosophy) from the true philosophy of the Christian East, which is based on life in Christ and nothing else. Having said this, Fr. John’s seemingly facile and/or generalizing accusation of “Augustinian eudaemonism” needs to be followed up by more research into the relationship between secular philosophy and Orthodox theology. The recent scholarship of David Bradshaw (2004) stands out as an example to be followed.For corroboration of Fr. Johns negative view of eudae-monia, see Ch. Yannaras, Postmodern Metaphysics, trans. N. Russell (Brookline, MA, 2004), 12-15. D.P. Payne sums up aptly the anti-eudaemonistic connection between Fr. John and Yannaras: “Yannaras, like Romanides, argues that the problem essentially began with Augustine’s credo ut intelligam and was developed by Descartes. (—) Yannaras argues… that such an understanding of human society is not authentic to human flourishing, for it essentially denies the hypostatic freedom of humanity within community, replacing it with an understanding of humanity in its sinful state. The West in its eudaemonistic pursuit of truth, adopted a cataphatic understanding of reality, which limited human freedom” (The Revival of Political Hesychasm, 56). 23 Ibid., 66.24 Ibid.

Chapter 6
1J. S. Romanides, Ancestral Sin, 74.2Ibid., 72-73.3Ibid., 75.4Ibid., 77.

Chapter 7
1 In G. Barrois’ article “Palamism Revisited,” we find a pithy thumbnail sketch of the Western scholastic development of Augustine’s teachings on the fall, “created grace” and the beatific vision of God’s essence. Though Anselm is not named, note that the doctrine of “added grace” is seen as a necessary prerequisite for Anselm’s notion of Atonement. Essentially, Anselmian Atonement was an attempt to rescue the Western Church from its contradictory anthropology and soteriology, both of which automatically imply a false Christ who saves through created means: “During the Middle Ages, the teachings of St. Augustine in matters of anthropology gained a considerable momentum by reason of the Aristotelian categories in which the western schoolmen, especially Aquinas, framed them. Man was defined as a rational creature, his rationality being the necessary and in principle sufficient feature to distinguish him from other creatures. The fall of man, whether due to natural fallibility, errors of judgment, yielding to temptation, preferring an immediate good to the ultimate telos, or human self-will pitched against the will of God, remained unexplained. God’s revealed determination to save mankind seemed to demand an entirely new departure, rather than carrying on the original, indeed unbroken, plan.The key to the process of redemption according to Catholic tradition was the ‘infusion of a free gift of grace (gratia) which would help and in some measure restore man’s native ability to correspond to God’s design for him. Grace was believed to have been present prior to the fall as an additional endowment beyond the ‘purely natural,’ and it would again be offered to the sinner as a healing remedy to wounded nature. This grace is deemed to be a quality not essential to human nature as such, a conditioning or reconditioning modality, an interposed reality, a metazxi. It may seem too blunt to speak of grace as created, but such a locution is inescapable as long as one does not recognize in grace God’s essential energy unto man’s theosis. The same should be said of the (controverted!) notion of the lumen gloriae, to account for the alleged vision of the divine essence by the saints in glory” (225-226). For St. Augustine’s role in separating human society and asceticism (“spiritual disciplines”) from the cosmic order, and the resulting narrowness of Western soteriology, see S. Toulmin, Cosmopolis: The Hidden Agenda of Modernity (Chicago, 1990), 67-69. 2 On Christomonism, see D. Staniloae, Theology and the Church, trans. R. Barringer (Crestwood, NY, 1980) and B. Bo-brinskoy, “The Indwelling of the Spirit in Christ: ‘Pneumatic Christology’ in the Cappadocian Fathers,” Sf. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 28.1 (1984), 49-65, at 50. On “anhypostatic energies,” see J. S. Romanides, An Outline of Orthodox Patristic Dogmatics, trans. G. D. Dragas (Rollinsford NH, 2004), 71-73; and T. L. Anastos, “Gregory Palamas’ Radicalization of the Essence, Energies, and Hypostasis Model of God,” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 38.1-4 (1993), 335-349. 3Romanides, Ancestral Sin, 93-94. “The justice of God Hath appeared” is Romans 3:12. Fr. John is summarizing Dodd’s The Epistle of Paul to the Romans (London, 1932), 9-10, 51.4 Ibid., 124.5Ibid., 112. Fr. John gives the following Scriptural references as pertaining to mans perfection in the Father: Matthew 5:48, Ephesians 5:1, Colossians 34:10,1 Peter 1:14,1 John 3:2.6For a recent and detailed bibliography on theosis, see “Resources on Theosis with Select Primary Sources in Translation,” compiled by J. A. Wittung, in Christensen and Wittung, 295-309.7See V. Lossky, Vision of God (Crestwood, NY, 1997) and In the Image and Likeness of God (Crestwood, NY, 2001) for the nexus of the two themes 1) deification and 2) “image and likeness.” Typical is the comment of G. Barrois in “Palamism Revisited”: “The way of the Greek Fathers and of St. Gregory Palamas starts from a theology of the image and leads to theosis” (228).8J.S. Romanides, Ancestral Sin, 109. Interestingly enough, both Fr. John (Outline, 35) and M. Aghiorgoussis (269-270) agree that it is Augustine who first deviated from the Orthodox teaching of man “in the Image.” Augustine says that man is “the image of God,” and that man is “in the image of the Trinity.” Both Fr. John and Aghiorgoussis hold that Augustine’s confusion and/or equation of divine energies and hypostatic properties were a total deviation from Holy Tradition.9Peter D. Carras, in his insightful piece “St. Augustine and St. John Cassian on Human Destiny, Human Will and Divine Grace,” points out that the term “semipelagianism” is a latter-day invention of Roman Catholic polemicists in the sixteenth century, and is thus alien to the patristic mind (248).10J. S. Romanides, Ancestral Sin, 109.11 Ibid., 112.12For the phrase “thyra tou Iesou’ and its context in Eusebi-us’s account of St. James the Just’s martyrdom, see The Ecclesiastical History, Greek text w. English trans. K. Lake, vol. I (London, 1926), 171. 13 On eudaemonism in Fr. John’s writings, see Chapter 5, note 22, p. 38, above. Helpful toward understanding Fr. Johns seeming contrariness in rejecting eudaemonia is the definition of happiness given by R.B. Brandt in P. Edwards (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, vol. 3 (New York and London 1972 [1967]) 413-414. Here Brandt points out the two main ideas which constitute the Western notion of eudaemonia: 1) One’s disposition of satisfaction toward the main aspects or pattern of one’s own situation in life, and 2) “the occurrence (or nonoccurrence) of certain feelings or emotions” (413). Note the absence here of a total deliverance from self-concern, and the absence of a perpetual, dynamic transcendence of human capacity which is incompatible with anything like self-satisfaction. Bearing these features in mind, the reason for Fr. John’s stark opposition of “happiness” to glorification becomes clear. 14J.S. Romanides, Ancestral Sin, 113.15Ibid.16It should also be pointed out that Augustinian eudaemonia is based upon the dual epistemology of analogia entis/analogia fidae. According to analogia entis, there is an analogy of being between man’s finite mind and the infinite mind of God. This mind of man/mind of God tangent allows man to ascend the rungs of created beings, to reach the “forms” of created beings, and finally to arrive at a beatific vision of the essence of God. Analogia fidae is the notion that God gave us the Bible as a great book of revealed propositions. In the hands of one whose intellect is guided by the Spirit, philosophical methods of reasoning can be used to tease out and
develop new teachings which are latently present in the Bible. In this ultra-rationalistic conception of revelation, the Bible becomes God’s great tome of axioms. This epistemology is idolatrous to the Orthodox, who proclaim that there is no analogy of being between the essence of God and creation which could allow man to attain to the uncreated essence of God. The Orthodox also oppose analogia fidae, for the Bible is not a magical, uncreated tome, like the Koran is supposed by some to be, but rather the Bible is a sacred book because of its use in liturgical and ascetical contexts. 17J.S. Romanides, Ancestral Sin, 115. 18 Ibid., 116.19Ibid., 118.1 John 4:18. 20 Ibid., 121, 122.
Chapter 8
1 Ibid., 124.2“… [T]he law laid down by God in paradise was on His [Christ’s] account…” St. Gregory Palamas, Homily 7, in Grigoriou tou Palama Omiliai 22, ed. S. Oikonomos (Athens, 1861), 259. Quoted in P. Nellas, Deification in Christ, 36, who notes that the law in Eden on “Christ’s behalf,” the second Adam’s behalf, is ultimately for the First Adam’s salvation.3 Ibid. “Ibid., 133.5See in particular the writings of Met. John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon: Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church (Crestwood, NY, 1997), and Remembering the Future: An Eschatological Ontology (London, 2008).6J.S. Romanides, Ancestral Sin, 138. Emphasis mine. See also p. 156, “… [T]he writers of the first two centuries understood that justice is eschatological. God does not will the present unjust activity of Satan and man but only tolerates it so that those who would be saved can be tried and perfected through temptations.”7 Ibid., 139.8 Ibid., 142.

Chapter 9
1 Ibid., 152. The Scriptural quotations are 2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15, Romans 8:29.2 On man as the “image of the image,” see R Nellas, Deification in Christ, 23ff. The Roman Catholic T. G. Weinandy in Atha-nasius: A Theological Introduction (Aldershot, Hampshire, 2007), does a superlative job in summarizing the “image of the Image” theme as propounded by St. Athanasius the Great: “For Athanasius, the Word is the perfect divine image of the Father and for human beings, then, are ontologically in the image of God because they are ontologically in the image of the Word. Athanasius equally implies that it is precisely because God created human beings through his Word that human beings have taken on the likeness of his Word, and so his own likeness as well.[Also], human beings are able, after the likeness of the Word, to know and so be in communion with the Father. Having been ontologically created by the Word and in the Word’s own image, human beings are thus naturally empowered by that same Word to share equally in their epistemological ability to know the Father. Because of ‘this likeness (homios) to himself humankind is able to know God ‘even of his own eternity.’ Having been given god’s own power ‘from the Word of the Father,’ humankind is able to ‘rejoice and have fellowship with the Deity,’ and even ‘beholds, by his purity, the Image of the Father, God the Word, after whose image he was made.’ In contemplating the word humankind ‘sees in him also the Father of the Word.’ Thus, for Athanasius, humankind, in being created in the image of the Word, possesses the ‘purity of soul’ that is in itself’sufficient to reflect God’ and so come to know him” (14, author qu. from St. Athanasius, Contra Gentes, 2.3).3 J.S. Romanides, Ancestral Sin, 152.

Reproduced with the kind permission of the author, James L. Kelley (4/2014). For personal use only.

James L. Kelley