Theosis and Orthodoxy

St. George

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,


O Lord Jesus Christ, Our God, Having shown Your holy Mother to be more honorable Than all the heavenly powers, Through her intercessions and those of all Your Saints, Provide spiritual comfort and forgive me Your unworthy servant; Forgive whatever I have sinned today as a human being--Rather as a sub-human being--My voluntary and involuntary transgressions, Which I have committed in knowledge or ignorance, Through beguilement, or by my own inattention, great laziness, and negligence. If I have sworn by Your Holy Name, If I have committed perjury or blasphemed in thought, If I have stolen anything or lied or in any way irritated You; If a friend came to me and I slighted him, If I have grieved and embittered a brother, If, while standing to pray and sing psalms my evil mind wandered off toward earthly and evil things; If I ate more than the appropriate amount or engaged in idle talk, If I laughed imprudently or had vainglorious thoughts, If I behaved arrogantly or looked upon vain beauty, and my mind was attracted by it; If I talked idly about things I should not, If I curiously examined the fault of my brother and condemned him, while my own innumerable faults I overlooked; If I neglected my prayer, or brought to mind any other evil thing--All these many things, and others, that I have done and do not remember, Forgive me, O God, That I, the prodigal, may sleep in peace and find rest, Glorifying You, together with the Father, And the All-Holy and Good and Life-creating Spirit, Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.


On November 26th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers and every righteous spirit made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Alypios the Stylite of Adrianopolis; Saint Nikonos of 'Metanoete'; holy Neomartyr George of Chios; Saint Innocent, the First bishop of Irkutsk; Saint Iakovos the Anchorite of Syria; Saint Stylianos of Pephlagonia; Saint Silas, bishop of Persidos; Saint Acacius of Sinai.

HOLY NEOMARTYR GEORGE OF CHIOS. Saint George's mother died when he was several months old, and later as a very young boy he was caught stealing a watermelon. The Muslim judge had him circumcised and converted to the Muslim faith. At the age of ten, Saint George returned to his father, who then placed him in a remote Christian home to be raised. When Saint George was twenty, he was betrothed to a Christian girl, but her cruel brother reported George as having once abandoned the Muslim faith. Saint George allowed himself to be arrested and refused the position and wealth he was promised if he would once again become a Muslim. Saint George was imprisoned, and a priest had himself arrested so that he could administer the Mysteria (Sacraments) of Confession and Holy Communion to St. George. Saint George asked for forgiveness of those Christians he passed en route to his execution, and he willingly laid his head on the wooden block. The executioner cruelly ended Saint George's life by first shooting him at close range, then striking St. George twice, attempting unsuccessfully to behead him, and finally cutting his throat with a knife. When a Muslim man lifted the body, Saint George's pants began to fall. It is said that St. George reached down and pulled them up and tied them again. Saint George was taken to the island of Nisopoula for burial at the age of twenty-two.

+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Martyrs, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.


Holy Epistle Lesson: 1 Timothy 1:1-7
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 19:37-44


"Forgetting offences is a sign of sincere repentance. If you keep the memory of them, you may believe you have repented but you are like someone running in his sleep. Let no one consider it a minor defect, this darkness that often clouds the eyes even of spiritual people." [Saint John Climacus]

by Archmandrite George, Abbot [Egoumenos] of the Holy Monastery of Saint Gregory [source: From the magazine "In Conscience". Issue of the Holy Monastery of Great Meteora, Dec. 2006]

"Theosis is possible through the uncreated energies of God."

In the Orthodox Church of Christ, man can achieve theosis because the Grace of God, according to the teaching of the Holy Bible and of the Church holy Fathers, is uncreated. God is not only essence, as the westerners believe, but also energy. If God was only essence, we would not be able to join, to commune with Him, because the essence of God is terrifying and inaccessible to man, according to the Holy Scripture: "You cannot see My Face; for there shall no man see Me and live" (Exodus 33:20).

Let us mention some specific example regarding humans. If we touch a live bare cable, we would die. However, if we connect a light bulb to the cable we are illuminated. The energy of the electric current we see, enjoy, and it helps us. Its essence we cannot hold. Something similar, if we may say, happens with the uncreated energy of God.

If we could be connected with the essence of God, we could also become in essence gods. Namely, everything would have become gods, there would have been a confusion and nothing would have essentially been god. Namely, what they believe in the eastern religions, such as Hinduism, where god does not personally exists, but is a vague power, scattered over all the world, on the people as well as on the animals and on the materials (Pantheism).

If again God had only incommunicable divine essence without His energies He would have remained a self sufficient God, closed into Himself and non-communing with His creations...

With these, His uncreated energies, God created the world and continues to sustain it. He gives essence and existence to our world with His essence creating energies. He is present in nature and sustains the universe with His sustaining energies. He enlightens man with His enlightening energies. He sanctifies him with His sanctifying energies. And finally He makes him god with His Godly energies. So with His uncreated energies, Holy God enters nature, in the world, in history, in the lives of people.

The energies of God are divine energies. They are also God without being His essence. They are God that is why they make man god. If the energies of God were not divine, uncreated energies, then they would not be God, they would not be able to make us god, to join with God. There would have been an unbridgeable distance between God and people. However, by God having divine energies and with these energies joining with us, we can communicate with Him and join with His grace, without equating with God, as it would have happened if we were joining with His essence.

We therefore join with God through His uncreated energies, and not through His essence. This is the mystery of the Orthodox Faith and of our life.

This, the Western heretics cannot accept. Because they are rationalists, they cannot differentiate between essence and energies of God and thus maintain that God is only essence. For this they cannot speak about theosis of man. For how could man be made god since they do not accept uncreated but created the divine energies? So, how can something created namely, outside of God Himself make god the created man?

During the 14th century there occurred a great disturbance in the Church, which was instigated by a Western monk, Varlaam. He heard that the Agiorite monks (Mt. Athos) were speaking about theosis (deification). He was informed that they became worthy, after a great struggle, cleansing themselves from the passions and with a lot of prayer, to join with God, to receive experience of God, to see God. He heard that they could see the uncreated Light, which was seen by the Apostles at the Transfiguration of the Savior at Mount Tabor.

However, Varlaam having the Western, heretic, rationalistic spirit could not perceive the genuine divine experience of these humble monks, so he started to accuse the Agiorite monks that they were possibly deceived, were heretics and idolaters. He would say, for example that it was impossible for anyone to see the grace of God, because he (Varlaam) did not know anything about the difference of essence and uncreated energies of God.

Then, the grace of God brought forth a great and enlightened teacher of our Church, the Agiorite Saint Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki. With great wisdom and enlightenment from God, but also personal experience, he said and wrote a lot and taught according to the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Tradition of the Church, that the uncreated light of the grace of God is divine energy. That they actually see this light those who became godly (through theosis) men as the highest, and paramount experience of theosis and seeing this light of God. This is the glory of God, the brilliance, the Taborian light, the light of the Resurrection of Christ and of the Pentecost and the illumined cloud of the Old Testament. Actual uncreated light of God and not symbolic as Varlaam and his likes falsely believed.

In continuation all the Church with three great Synods in Constantinople, justified Saint Gregory Palamas and declared that the life in Christ is not simply the moralizing of man but his theosis, which means participation in the glory of God, vision of God and of His uncreated light.

Until today the Westerners consider the divine grace to be created. This is unfortunately one of our many differences, which must be taken seriously into consideration in the theological dialogue with the Roman Catholics...

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George