What is Divine Revelation?

St. Hilarion the New

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS AND IS AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ. ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.

THE SWEETNESS OF GOD'S WORD

Lord, Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. I remember Your Name in the night, and keep Your law. This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept Your precepts. The Lord is my portion; I promise to keep Your words. I entreat Your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your promise. Though the cords of the wicked ensnare me, I do not forget Your law. At night I rise to praise You because of Your righteous ordinances. I am a companion of all who fear You, of those who keep Your precepts. How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! [Psalm 119:54-63, 103]

TODAY'S SYNAXARION:

On June 6th [The Week of the Holy Spirit ] 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 and Teachers of Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Hilarion the New, abbot of the Monastery of Dalmatian.

OUR HOLY FATHER HILARION THE NEW. Egoumenos (Abbot) of the Dalmatian monastery in Constantinople, he was a disciple of St. Gregory of Decapolis and an imitator of the life of St. Hilarion the Great, whose name he took. Strong in prayer, enduring and courageous in suffering, he suffered much for the sake of the holy icons in the days of the iconoclast emperor, Leo the Armenian and others. Then the emperor Leo was killed by his personal bodyguard in the very church and at the very spot where he had first scoffed at the holy icons and from which he had removed the first icon, and holy Hilarion was let out of prison -- but only for a while. He was again tortured and held in prison right up to the time of the Orthodox Empress Theodora. He was gifted with insight and discernment, and saw Angels of God taking the soul of Saint Theodore the Studite to heaven. Being pleasing to God, he entered into rest in the Kingdom of heaven in the year of our Lord 845 A.D., at the age of seventy.

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

TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:

Holy Epistle Lesson: Roman 1:18-27
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 5:20-26

FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION

"We are united in the Son by the Holy Spirit to the Father, and we partake of the Son's union with the Father by the Holy Spirit. And so our personhood, our interrelationship with one another in love, becomes the Sacrament, the Mystery, of our union in Christ with the Father by the Spirit" [Metropolitan Jonah Paffhausen]

WHAT IS DIVINE REVELATION?
by Fr. Anthony Alevizopoulos [PhD. Theology, PhD. Philosophy]

According to the Orthodox faith, the Church is not founded on written texts but on the confession that Christ is God-man (theanthropos), namely that in the person of Christ, God was joined with man, "indivisibly, immovably, unmistakably, inseparably," and man has come into actual communion with God, and in the person of Christ, God and man were hypostatically united, in one unique hypostasis.

The Son and Word of God continues to be hypostatically united with His Body and as head of the Church, He is always united to us (St. Matthew 18:20; 28:20; 28:20) The presence of Christ is activated by the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church (1 Cor. 12:3). This is why the Church is also "…the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Cor. 2:7-11).

Our holy faith was delivered to the body of Christ, "to the saints once and for all"--and whoever does not belong to this body, cannot properly interpret Holy Scripture (2 Thess. 3:6; 2 Peter 3:16; Jude 3-4). In this sense Holy Tradition is the experience of the Church, the holy memory of the Church, which is guarded as a precious treasure" (2 Timothy 1:13-14).

In the Old Testament the importance of oral tradition and the care of its passing down from generation to generation is already highlighted (Ps. 43:2, 44:1; Joel 1:3). The New Testament mentions that it does not have the completeness of the words and works of Christ (St. John 21:15).

The Holy Scripture does not contain the fullness of the Divine Revelation.

The same Holy Scripture makes use of Tradition (Num. 21:14-15; St. Matt. 2:23; Acts 20:35; 2 Tim. 3:8, Jude 14). Christ did not exhort His disciples to write books but to preach, promising that He would always be with them (St. Matthew 28:20) and that He would send them the Holy Spirit to be with them (St. John 14:16), to teach and remind them of His teaching (St. John 14: 25-26), to guide them "to the whole truth" by revealing to them the deeper meaning of the words of Christ, all those things that they were not able to "bear" by their own power (St. John 16:12-15).

The Apostles were also not limited to written texts--they passed on to the first Christians much more than what was written "with paper and ink" (2 John 12:3; 3 John 13-14; 1 Cor. 11:34). Some of those things written proved to relevant to the time, because they were not maintained by the Church, such as the number of deacons (Acts 6:3), the order of widows (1 Tim. 5:9), the washing of feet (John 13:14).

At the center of Holy Scripture is the Person of Christ (St. John 5:38-39; Gal. 3:24). Without Christ we cannot understand Holy Scripture (2 Cor. 3:14). Therefore, union to the Body of Christ, namely to the Church, assures purity of the Gospel Truth (1 Tim. 3:15). It is the constant experience of the Church, her conscience, not personal opinions, teachings and writs of man (Isaiah 29:13; Matt, 15:3,4,9; St. Mark 7:8; Col 2:8).

Based on the treasure of the holy memory of the Church, the study of the Holy Scripture leads to unity, and not the breakdown of the Church. This way the will of Christ for the unity of the faithful is fulfilled (St. John 17:20-21). That is why the Apostles advised Christians to hold onto the tradition-that is, the treasure with which they entrusted them (1 Cor. 11:2; Phil. 4:9) "Either by word or by epistle" ( 2 Thess. 2:15; 2 Tim. 1:13).

The shepherds of the Church were placed in this position to remain alert, namely to be guards [episcopos (bishop) =overseer]of the purity of the life and of the teaching of the Church (Acts 20:28-31): "Stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands…hold fast the form of sound words, which thou has heard from me…that good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us" (2 Timothy 1:6, 13, 14). "And the things that thou hast heard from me among many witnesses the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2).

In other words, apostolic succession goes together with apostolic teaching. In this way , we understand the words of Saint Ignatius (+110 A.D.): "Because Jesus Christ, our true life, is the mind of the Father, just like the bishops who have been appointed all over the world are with the mind of Jesus Christ. Therefore, you too follow the mind of the bishop, something you already do, for the worthiness of your ministry's name which is also worthy of God, and joined together with the bishop, like the strings with the guitar" (Ign., Eph. 3:2-4,1).

This teaching is not a recent one-it is a conviction from the beginning of Christianity: "From the dogmas and the truths that the Church guards, some we have received from wiritten teaching while others that have mystically reached us we have received from the tradition of the Apostles. Both elements, written and oral traditions, have the same importance for the faith. And no one who has even a little knowledge of ecclesiastical practices raises any objections concerning them. For if we set out to abandon whatever customs are unwritten, that somehow they do not have great importance, without realizing it we would harm the essence of the Gospel or rather we would turn the message into a name void of meaning " (Great Basil, About the Holy Spirit, 27:66).

During the time of Saint Basil the Great, whoever had even "a little knowledge of the ecclesiastical practices" agreed that Divine Revelation was mystical guarded by the Church in its fullness. As an example, Saint Basil mentions the custom of "those hoping in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" showing their faith "by making the sign of the Cross."

Here, therefore, we have a basic difference with the Protestant world. Their claim "Sola Scriptura" (by Scripture alone) "leaves scripture itself bare, exposed to the 'authentic interpretation' and the 'infallibility' of each pastor."

Holy Scripture cannot be made absolute because it would replace the living Christ with the letter of the Bible becoming divine isolated from the life of the Body of Christ. (From the life of the Saints: Jude 3). Holy Scripture is the "word of God which passed through the hearts of the saints, it is the word of God concerning God" (Professor George Metallinos). The truth delivered "once and for all" to the saints (Jude 3), and in fact not the fullness of truth but a part of it. It cannot be understood separately from the Church (1 Timothy 3:15).

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

+Father George