My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRISTI IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
ORTHODOXY AS THERAPY (PART III)
by Protopresbyter Father George D. Metallinos, Professor Emeritus of the Athens University
d) The validity of science is verified by the achievement of its goals (i.e., in Medicine, it is the curing of the patient). It is the way that authentic scientific medicine is distinguished from charlatanry. The criterion of poemantic therapy by the Church is also the achievement of spiritual healing, by opening the way towards theosis (deification). Therapy is not transferred to the afterlife; it takes place during man's lifetime, here, in this world. This can be seen in the undeteriorated (incorrupt) holy relics of the Saints which have overcome biological deterioration, such as the holy relics of the Eptanisos Saints: Saints Spyridon, Gerasimos, Dionysios, and Theodora Augusta. Undeteriorated holy relics, in our Tradition, the indisputable of theosis, or in other words the fulfillment of the Church's ascetic therapy.
I would like to ask the Medical scientists of our country to pay special attention to the issue of the non-deterioration of holy relics, given that they haven't been scientifically interfered with, but, in them is manifest the energy of Divine Grace; because it has been observed that, at the moment when the cellular system should begin to disintegrate, it automatically ceases to, and instead of emanating any malodor of decay, the body emanates a distinctive fragrance. I limit this comment to the medical symptoms, and will not venture into the aspect of miraculous phenomena as evidence of theosis (deification), because that aspect belongs to another sphere of discussion.
e) Lastly, the divine texts of the Church (Holy Bible, Synodic and Patristic texts) do not constitute coding systems of any Christian ideology; they bear a therapeutic character and function in the same way that university dissertations function in medical science. The same applies to the liturgical texts, as for example the Benedictions. The simple reading of a Benediction (prayer), without the combined effort of the faithful in the therapeutic procedure of the Church, would be no different to the instance where a patient resorts to the doctor for his excruciating pains, and, instead of an immediate intervention by the doctor, he is limited to being place on an operating table, and being read the chapter that pertains to his specific ailment.
This, is a nutshell, is Orthodoxy. It doesn't matter whether one accepts it or not. However, with regard to scientists, I have tried to scientifically respond to the question: "What is Orthodoxy?"
Any other version of Christianity constitutes a counterfeit and a perversion of it, even if it aspires to presenting itself as something Orthodox.
- The Uncreated=Something that has not been manufactured. This applies only to the Triune God. The created=Creation in general, with man at its apex. God is not a "universal" power, as designated by New Age terminology ("everything is one, everyone is God!"), because, as the Creator of all, He transcends the entire universe, given that in essence He is "Something" entirely different. There is no analogous association between the created and the Uncreated. That is why the Uncreated makes Himself know, through His self-revelation.
- A significant Christian text of the 2nd century, "The Poemen (Shepherd) of Hermas", says that in order for us to become members of the Body of Christ, we must be "squared" stones (=suitable for building) and not rounded ones!
- According to Father John Romanides, to whom we essentially owe the return to the "Philokalian" (=therapeutic-ascetic) view of our Faith, and in fact at academic level; "Religion" implies every kind of "associating" of the uncreated and the created, as is done in idolatry. The "religious" person projects his "prejudices" (=thoughts, meanings) into the divine realm, thus "manufacturing" his own God (this can also occur in the non-Patristic facet of "Orthodoxy"). The aim is "atonement", "placation" of the "divine" and finally, the "utilizing" of God to one's own advantage (the magic formula: do ut des). In our tradition however, our God does not need to be "placated", because "He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). Our God acts as "Love" (I John 4:16) and selfless love at that. He gives us everything, and never asks for anything in return from His creations. This is why selflessness is the essence of Christian love, which goes far beyond the notion of a transaction.
- This is expressed by the familiar and oft-repeated liturgical chant: "Ourselves and each other, and our entire life, let us appose unto Christ our Lord". Proper incorporation is normally found in Monasteries, wherever they function in the orthodox tradition of course. That is why Monasteries (for example those of the Holy Mountain) continue to be the model "parishes" of this "world." (Source: Pantokratoras)
"Those who sit in solitude and are quiet have escaped from three wars: hearing, speaking, seeing: yet against one thing shall they continually battle: that is, their own heart." --Saint Anthony the Great
SAINTS OF THE DAY:
Theodore, Bishop of Cyrene, and with him Cyprilla, Aroa, and Lucia; Donatus of Libya; George of Serbia; Hieromartyr Theophilus and Theodotus; Righteous Menignos; Andrew, Archbishop of Crete; Savvas of Gornji Karlovac; Holy Martyrs: Tsar Nicholas II, Empress Alexandria, Alexis, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, and others (+ 1918); Asclepias the Wonderworker; Martha, mother of Saint Symeon Stylites the Younger; Innocent and Sabbatios and 30 others in Sirmium; Andrew the Russian of Cairo; Nilus of Poltava; Andrew, Prince of Bogoliubsk; Andrew (Rublev), iconographer.
SAINT ANDREW, ARCHBISHOP OF CRETE.
Born in Damascus of Christian parents, he was dumb until the age of seven. When his parents took him to church for Holy Communion, the power of speech was given to him. Such is the Divine power of Holy Communion. He went to Jerusalem at the age of fourteen and was tonsured in the Monastery of Saint Sava the Sanctified. In his understanding and ascesis, he surpassed many of the older monks and was an example to all. The Patriarch took him as his secretary. When the Monothelite heresy, which taught that the Lord Christ had no human will but only a divine one, began to rage, the Sixth Ecumenical Council (Synod) met in Constantinople in 681 AD, in the reign of Constantine IV Theodore, Patriarch of Jerusalem, was not able to be present at the Council, and sent Andrew, then a deacon, as his representative. At the Council, Andrew showed his great gifts: his articulateness, his zeal for the Faith and his rare prudence. Being instrumental in confirming the Orthodox faith, Andrew returned to his work in Jerusalem. He was later chosen and enthroned as Archbishop of the island of Crete. As Archbishop, he was greatly beloved by the people. He was filled with zeal for Orthodoxy and strongly withstood all heresy. He worked miracles through his prayers, driving the Saracens from the island of Crete by means of them. He wrote many learned books, poems and canons, of which the best-known is the Great Canon of Repentance which is read in full on the Thursday of the Fifth Week of the Great Fast. Such was his outward appearance that, 'looking at his face and listening to the words that flowed like honey from his lips, each man was touched and renewed'. Returning from Constantinople on one occasion, he foretold his death before reaching Crete. And so it happened. As the ship approached the island of Mitylene, this light of the Church finished his earthly course and his soul went to the Kingdom of Christ, in about the year 740 AD.
If the whole of your life has passed smoothly and without cares, weep for yourself. For both the Gospel and human experience assert with one voice that no-one has, without great sufferings and trials, left behind him any great work on earth or been glorified in heaven. If your earthly road has been bathed in sweat and tears for the attaining of righteousness and truth, rejoice and be glad, for your reward will indeed be great in heaven. Never entertain the foolish thought that God has forsaken you. God knows exactly how much you can bear, and measures your sufferings and trials accordingly. 'When men know' says Saint Nil Sorsky, 'how much weight a horse can carry, or a donkey or a camel, and load them according to their strength; when a potter knows how long to leave the clay in the kiln for it to be neither shattered nor undercooked, how could God not know how much temptation a soul can bear to make ready and fitted for the Kingdom of Heaven?'
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY TO ALL!!! AND MAY THE ALMIGHTY GOD BLESS, GUIDE AND PROTECT OUR BELOVED COUNTRY FROM ENEMIES FROM WITHIN AND WITHOUT.
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" -Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God