Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pure Theology
Metaphysical Philosophy and Pure Theology

There are only a few Orthodox saints who've been given the honor of being called, "theologians". Saint John the Theologian, and Saint Symeon the New Theologian, to give two examples, were declared Theologians by the Church, because their theology was the result of their having encountered the Living God.

Theologians, in the strict sense of the word, are those who have mastered the art of prayer. Pure theology does not come out of a humanistic, philosophical search for the things of God, but rather, from an encounter with the Living God. True theology is not the result of a rationalistic, abstract search for God, but is the result of God's divine grace. This divine grace is God's gift to those who seek Him out with purity of heart, and ascetic struggle. Theology is not speaking about God, but encountering God.

Vladimir Lossky, one of the great modern theologians of the Orthodox Church, taught that Christian mysticism and dogmatic theology are one and the same. Mysticism is Orthodox dogma par excellence, for the very reason that the Christian life of prayer and worship is the foundation for dogmatic theology, and the dogma of the Church helps us Christians in our struggle for sanctification and deification.

The Roman Catholic Church's use of pagan metaphysical philosophy (and its outgrowth, scholasticism) rather than the mystical, actual experience of God called theoria, has led the to the two churches becoming  "different men", according to Lossky. Other Orthodox theologians such as John Romanides and Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, agree. Vladimir Lossky expressed this as "Revelation sets an abyss between the truth which it declares and the truths which can be discovered by philosophical speculation".

Vladimir Lossky further states that Orthodoxy "has never made a sharp distinction between mysticism and theology; between personal experience of the divine mysteries and the dogma affirmed by the Church." The term "mystical theology", as used by the Orthodox Church, denotes that which is accessible yet inaccessable, those things understood yet surpassing all knowledge.

Thus, a theologian can not know God through logic and reason, nor through philosophical research, but only through divine revelation by the Holy Spirit, leading to a noetic knowledge resulting in theosis.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Saturday November 2, 2013 / October 20, 2013

19th Week after Pentecost. Tone one.
Demetrius (Parental) Saturday. Remembrance of the dead.
Great-martyr Artemius at Antioch (362).
New Martyr Priest Nicholas (Liubomudrov) of Latskoye village, Yaroslavl (1918).
New Hieromartyrs Herman bishop of Alatyr, Zosima, John, John, John, Nicholas, Leonid, John and Alexander priests, Michael and Peter deacons and Martyr Paul (1937).
St. Artemius of Verkola (1545).
Martyrs Aborsam ans Senoe, of Persia (341).
Martyrs Eboras and Eunous of Persia.
Venerable Matrona of Chios (1462).
Martyr Zebinas of Caesarea in Palestine.
Venerable Gerasimus the New, ascetic of Cephalonia (1579) (Greek).
St. Acca, bishop of Hexham (England) (ca. 740) (Celtic & British).
Translation of the relics of New Monk-martyr Ignatius of Mt. Athos (1814) (Greek).

THANKS to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,  
Abbot Tryphon

Donations can be made directly to the monastery through PayPal, or you may send donations to:
All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
PO Box 2420
Vashon Island, WA 98070-2420 USA

The Scripture Readings for the Day

1 Corinthians 15:58-16:3

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Collection for the Saints

16 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. And when I come, whomever you approve by your letters I will send to bear your gift to Jerusalem.

Luke 7:2-10

And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.
When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” 10 And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.

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