Barlaamism, Ecumenical Synods, Eldress Evlampia Romanides, Hesychasm, Noetic Faculty, nous, Patristic Theology, Protopresbyter George Florovsky, Protopresbyter George Metallinos, Protopresbyter John Romanides, St. Gregory Palamas, The Wiles of the Devil
…Continued from Part 5
Councils, Synods and Civilization (Part 6)
By Protopresbyter John Romanides
d) Not of the world but in the world.
The distinction between active and [so-called] contemplative lives does not exist within the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit’s gift of unceasing prayers and psalms in the heart makes such a distinction impossible. It can exist only outside the Body of Christ.
No one can say Lord Jesus in the heart except by the Spirit and no one can say Anathema Jesus in the Spirit (1 Cor.12:3). This is Biblical and Patristic spirituality and the power by which it was impossible to torture a temple of the Holy Spirit into renunciation of Christ. Such renunciation simply proved that one had not been a member of the Church. The primary mission of the temples of the Holy Spirit was to work at whatever profession they were engaged in and to seek to pass on their own cure to others. They literally worked in their societies in a capacity similar to that of psychiatrists. Unlike them, however, they did not seek mental equilibrium by conformity to social standards of normality. Their standard of normality was glorification. Their healing power was not and is not of this world. Yet they are in this world as part of its transformation.
e) Theology and dogma.
All who have reached glorification testify to the fact that “it is impossible to express God and even more impossible to conceive Him” because they know by their experience that there is no similarity whatsoever between the created and the uncreated. God is “unmoved mover” and “moved” and “neither one. nor oneness nor unity,. nor divinity… nor sonship, nor fatherhood, etc.” in the experience of glorification. The Bible and dogmas are guides to and abolished during glorification. They are not ends in themselves and have nothing to do with metaphysics, either with analogia entis or with analogia fidei.
This means that words and concepts which do not contradict the experience of glorification and which lead to purification and illumination of the heart and glorification are Orthodox. Words and concepts which contradict glorification and lead away from cure and perfection in Christ are heretical.
This is the key to the decisions of all Seven Roman Ecumenical Councils as well as that of the Eighth of 879 and especially of the Ninth of 1341.
Most historians of dogma do not see this because they believe the Fathers were, like Augustine, searching by meditation and contemplation [imagination and speculation] to understand the mystery of God behind words and concepts about Him. They induct even such Fathers as Gregory the Theologian into the army of Latin theology by translating him to say that to philosophise about God is permitted only to “past masters of meditation,” instead of “to those who have passed into theoria”, which is vision of Christ “in a mirror dimly”, by “kinds of tongues” and “face to face” in “glorification”.
The Fathers never understood the formulation of dogma as part of an effort to intellectually understand the mystery of God and the incarnation. St. Gregory the Theologian ridicules such heretics: “Do tell me, he says, what is the unbegottenness of the Father, and I will explain to you the physiology of the generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit, and we shall both of us be frenzy-stricken for prying into the mystery of God”.
Neither did the Fathers ever entertain the Augustinian notion that the Church understands the faith better with the passage of time. Every glorification is a participation in all the Truth of Pentecost, which can neither be added to nor better understood.
This also means that Orthodox doctrine is purely pastoral since it does not exist outside the context of the cure of individual and social ills and perfection.
Being a theologian is first and foremost to be a specialist in the ways of the Devil. Illumination and especially glorification convey the charisma of the discernment of spirits for outwitting the Devil, especially when he resorts to teaching theology and spirituality to those slipping from his grip.
…to be continued