The Orthodox Christian.

The Orthodox Christian is a member of the Church of Christ.  He has been
baptized  in  the  name  of  the Holy Trinity and upholds the ideals and
beliefs of the Scriptures and Sacred Tradition.  He  believes  that  God
Himself  has  been  revealed  in  the  Bible  through  the  Prophets and
especially in the Person of Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son, Who  is
man's Saviour.

The Orthodox Christian beholds the rich Christian heritage of  the  past
and proclaims that he belongs to the Church undivided.  He believes in a
living and loving God, Whose Grace protects and guides him in  the  path
of  redemption.   He especially believes in the Incarnation of Christ as
God-Man,  in  His  Crucifixion  and  Resurrection,  in  His  Gospel  and



by Guthrie E. Janssen
[reprinted from	B & R Reviews, Fall 1987]

Hymn of	Entry, Liturgy and Life	in the Orthodox	Church,	by Archimandrite
Vasileios  of  Stavronikita, trans.  from the Greek by Elizabeth Briere;
St.Vladimir's Seminary Press,139 pp.  $6.95.

The Freedom of Morality, by Christos Yannaras, trans from the  Greek  by
Elizabeth Briere; St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 278 pp.,$12.95.

Being as Communion, Studies in Personhood and the  Church,  by	John  D.
Zizioulas, St.Vladimir's Seminary Press, 269 pp.,$12.95.

The Deification	of Man:	 St.Gregory Palamas and	the Orthodox  Tradition;
by  Georgios I.	Mantzaridis, trans.  from the Greek by Liadain Sherrard;
St.Vladimir's Seminary Press, 137 pp.,$7.95.

The Communion of Love,	by  Matthew  the  Poor;	 St.Vladimir's	Seminary
Press, 234 pp.,$8.95.

        On the fourth of July, A.D.  1054, a star exploded, a  supernova
so  brilliant  that  for  twenty-three  days  it was visible thruout the
northern hemisphere in broad daylight.  Eventually it subsided to become
what we know today as the Crab Nebula in the constellation of Taurus.

        Twelve days later, on the 16th of July, delegates from Pope  Leo
IX,  who may have been acting under duress as a prisoner of the Normans,
entered the Cathedral of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom)  in  Constantinople,
advanced to the great altar during a celebration of the Eucharist, flung
down the Pope's sentence of excommunication  of  the  Orthodox  Catholic
Patriarch, and departed, shaking the dust off their feet as they went.

        The Emperor, who was conciliatory toward the West, nevertheless,
convoked   a   synod   of   Orthodox   Catholic  bishops  that  promptly
excommunicated the papal legates.  Thus was sealed the Great  Schism  of
Christendom  that  persists  to this day.  The super-nova may or may not
have been a sign from heaven, but it dramatically underscored the cosmic
importance  of  the  event.   For  in  rending the two great branches of
Christendom, the Schism of 1054 was to adumbrate many future fracturings
of  the  Church  that  Christ  had  prayed  might  be forever one -- the
fourteenth  century  Schism  of  the  West  with  its  "antipopes,"  the
Reformation,  the  repeated  splintering of Protestantism, and the human
suffering that was to follow in religious wars in the West.

        The East also suffered.  One hundred and fifty years  later,  in
1204,  the knights of the Fourth Crusade in what the Byzantine historian
Sir Steven Runciman has called "the greatest crime in  history"  burned,
raped  and  pillaged  Constantinople.   For  years  they shipped back to
Venice and other cities of the West an immeasurable  loot  of  Byzantine
gold,  jewels and art treasures, at a time when Rome had been reduced to
a muddy backwater of empire.  The Crusader's sack of Constantinople  was
motivated  as  much  by  jealousy  and  monumental  avarice  as  by  any
theological scruples.  However, Byzantium's loss introduced the West  to
Greek  culture  and  laid  the  foundation  for  the Renaissance and the
subsequent flowering of Western civilization.  It  is  ironic  that  the
West  was  to  adopt  not  the profound patristic theology and spiritual
perceptions of the East but, in a roundabout way, the pagan  culture  of
ancient Greece, and in particular Aristotelian philosophy, which it then
used  to  shape  and  define  the  peculiar  Western  epistemology   and
theological methods characteristic of both Roman Catholic and Protestant
thought.  We  will  have  more  to  say  about  this  later,  for  these
differences were the crux of the East-West schism and remain so today.

        Rome's repudiation of the East has been superfically  attributed
to  language  and cultural differences, politics, theology and a dispute
over the locus of  authority  in  the  Church.   Latin  had  become  the
theological  language of the West while the East had retained Greek, and
there were difficulties of translation.  The  West  emphasized  Christ's
suffering as "atonement" for man's sin, the East His "frenzy of love" in
which He took on human nature  and  thru  His  death,  resurrection  and
Ascension made possible the "deification" of man.  The West asserted the
absolute authority of the Pope, the East perceived him as a primus inter
pares.   The  West  had  tampered  with  the Creed by adding the filoque
clause (the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and  the  Son);  such
tampering was anathema to the East.  And political motives lurked on the
periphery.   Rome,  by  arrogating  to  itself  absolute  ecclesiastical
authority  could  control as well the temporal affairs of Europe against
the twin threats of the northern barbarians and the  "caesaropapism"  of
the  Carolingian  emperors.   In that enterprise the East had nothing to
offer but nagging interference.  Thus an East/West cleavage was all  but

        Today of course most of the historic reasons are long past,  and
we  in  the  West  are prone to treat the Great Schism as an accident of
history.  But as the historic causes have disappeared, so now the extent
of underlying doctrinal and "philosophical" differences is becoming more
apparent.  At the same time  in  the  West,  where  churches  are  being
increasingly  invaded  by worldly counsels of compromise and expediency,
and where the  faith  is  constantly  being  diluted  by  a  variety  of
syncretions,  there  is  a growing curiosity about the understandings of
Orthodoxy, which are derived from apostolic and patristic  teaching  and
experience.   There appears to be a hankering after the ancient vitality
and depths of the faith which nothing in the  West,  not  even  (perhaps
especially not) the Church of Rome, seems able to satisfy.  Thus we find
such an erudite  Protestant  and  thoroughly  Western  scholar  as  Paul
Tillich writing:

        "...the  Eastern  Church  represents  something  which  we  have
lost....  We should not imagine that we have nothing to learn from them.
It may  happen  that  with  centuries  of  more  intimate  contact,  the
dimension  of  depth may again enter Western thinking." [Paul Tillich, A
History of Christian Thought, New York:  Simon and Schuster, 1968, p.97]

        Meanwhile Orthodoxy in America is shedding much  of  the  ethnic
wrapping  in  which  it was imported and is increasingly emphasizing its
essential perceptions.  Today it is as large as some mainline Protestant
denominations,  and growing, with converts accounting for between thirty
to fifty percent of its membership.

        Yet the West remains  largely  ignorant  of  Orthodoxy.   For  a
Western  scholar  to  write  as  Paul  Tillich did is unusual; most have
either a distorted view of Orthodoxy or dismiss it as just  "mysticism,"
which  it  is  not.   As for reconciliation, the popular attitude in the
West is that the differences are nothing but a matter of style,  and  if
we  will  just sit down in a spirit of mutual forbearance, a little give
and take will heal the great breach.  But that  very  attitude  typifies
the  problem.  The West is prone to overestimate what can be achieved by
verbal fiat framed in a spirit of  naive  good  will.   The  East  says,
"Talking is not knowing.  You must experience the depths of the truth in
the  Liturgy."  Vasileios  quotes   the   pseudonymous   Dionysius   the
Areopagite,  "...what  is known is known only thru participation in it."
This, in Orthodox understanding,  is  "doing  the  truth"  (John  3:21).
Words,  not  even  the  words  of scripture, are enough, for as St. Paul
wrote, it is the Church, a living entity, not  scripture  (which  is  of
necessity  words)  that  is the 'pillar and foundation of the truth'" (1
Timothy 3:15).

        Furthermore, while a strong "spirituality" is justly  attributed
to  the East, Orthodoxy places yet greater emphasis on the incarnational
--  experiencing  the  reality  of  the  godhead  in  its   divine-human
hypostasis,  which  is  Jesus  Christ.   Because  the East is older, its
perspective longer, it stresses the  apophatic  nature  of  God  --  His
undefinability  in  human  "philosophical"  terms, least of all those of
Western scholasticism.  Scripture it  perceives  and  venerates  as  the
written  apostolic  witness to Christ in the stream of living tradition,
which is the Holy Spirit alive and at work  in  the  continuity  of  the
historic    Church.     Reconciliation   will   require   some   Western
acknowledgment and appreciation of all this.

        Fortunately, Orthodoxy is  awakening  to  the  need  to  explain
itself,  not only to the West but to its own people, many of whom remain
bound to a blind ethnic traditionalism.  And if the  experience  of  the
Liturgy  cannot be expressed in words, it can at least be illuminated by
some felicious descriptions of the mind of Orthodoxy now being published
in the United States.

        An especially bright aura of illumination is  being  cast  these
days  by a series being published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press under
the general rubric, "Contemporary Greek Theologians." Four volumes  have
appeared to date, and a fifth is projected.  Although they are scholarly
works,  they  are  well  within  the  grasp  of  a  moderately  informed
layperson.    The  authors  present  no  innovative  theology,  for  the
wellspring of their understanding is the early Fathers.  They will  seem
novel  only  to the extent that many in the West are unfamiliar with the
light the Fathers shed on what they took from the beginning  to  be  the
Christian  intendment:   the  deification  of humanity thru God's mighty
incarnational act.  But for those with an eye to see and to accept,  the
sense  of  novelty  may  quickly turn into an illuminating and rewarding

        As the title of his book  suggests,  Vasileio's  Hymn  of  Entry
links  liturgy  with theology, and both with life in the body of Christ,
which is Church.  Each mirrors the other two.  If to  the  Western  mind
this seems "mystical," it is no more so than the Lord's Prayer or Jesus'
commands to eat His flesh and drink His blood.  Bear  in  mind  what  we
said  earlier  about  liturgy and life in Orthodoxy as not mysticism but
experience.  The experience  is  not  that  of  the  intellect  nor  the
emotions,"  least  of  all  in  passions,  which are of the fall, but of
living the liturgical life of the Church  in  all  that  it  implies  of
quiet, humble obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ.  Thus excessive
reliance  on  cerebral  formulations  must  be  curbed.   Vasileios   is

        "This theological life and witness is a blessing which  sweetens
man's  life.   It is a food which is cut up and given to others; a drink
poured out and offered in abundance for man to consume  and  quench  his
thirst.   In this state one does not talk about life, one gives it.  One
feeds  the  hungry  and  gives  drink  to  the  thirsty.   By  contrast,
scholastic  theology  and intellectual constructions do not resemble the
Body of the Lord, the true food, nor His blood, the true  drink;  rather
they are like a stone one finds in one's food.  This is how indigestible
and inhumanly hard the mass of scholasticism seems to the taste and  the
mouth of one accustomed to the liturgy of the Church, and it is rejected
as something foreign and unacceptable."

        It is apparent at once how alien  this  is  to  the  traditional
thought  patterns  of  the  West.  The implications are far-reaching.  A
strong case can be  made  for  saying  that  every  time  Orthodoxy  has
seriously  stumbled  it has been because of an invasion from the West of
Aristotelian-Thomist scholasticism or its many  cousins,  all  of  which
tend  to  defeat  the  spirit and essential understandings of Orthodoxy.
That is not to say that the Greek Fathers were  ignorant  of  Aristotle.
On  the contrary, they knew him intimately, being thoroughly schooled in
classic  Greek  philosophy.   But  unlike  Western   theologians,   they
perceived  its total inadequacy as a basis for defining theology.  Human
philosophy must itself pass thru the baptism of Golgotha.

        A Protestant may at this point interject, "But in breaking  with
Rome,  we  rejected  scholasticism."  Technically,  perhaps yes, but not
really.  The thought patterns derived from pagan philosophy remain.  The
verbal manipulation of technicalities characteristic of scholasticism is
no  less  characteristic  of  much  of  Protestantism,   especially   in
Evangelical-Fundamentalist  camps,  where dependence on scripture (words
of necessity) and verbal rationalities deduced therefrom  (still  words)
prevails  over  the experience of "taste and see." So great, however, is
human yearning after experience that in the West  we  are  witnessing  a
growing  "charismatic"  movement  that  seeks non-verbal realizations of
spiritual truth.  It is  the  stones  crying  out  against  the  sterile
rationalism  of  the  seminaries  and  of much preaching, both Roman and
Protestant.  The experience of Orthodoxy, on the  other  hand,  stresses
silence.   It  is  aware  that  "the  thoughts of men are all miserable"
(Wisdom 9:14).  Vasileios asserts,

        "Patristic theology is an area of  silence;  it  is  a  heavenly
affirmation, a state.  It is not an occasion for an exchange of blows or
for verbal battles.  It is the "Yes" and "Amen" of eternity."

        And he quotes Abba Isaac of Syria (sixth century), "Words are an
instrument of the present age; silence is a mystery of the age to come."
Orthodoxy proclaims that "the age to come" begins here and  now  in  the
experience of the living Church.

        Ask almost anyone schooled in Western habits of thought,  "Where
will  I find theology?" and they will say, "Why, in books, of course; or
in seminaries; or in the minds of scholars." "No," says Orthodoxy, "that
is  not  theology  but  only  a superficial, argumentative aspect of it.
Theology  is  not  a  head  trip.   It  embraces   the   whole   person,
experientially.    Every  Christian  is  to  be  a  living  textbook  of
theology." The "depth" of which Tillich spoke is hinted at in Vasileio's
explanation  that "Orthodox theology ...  does not assert a proposition;
it bears witness.  It is  not  contradiction,  but  confession;"  "
seeks the person and his salvation;" and, "How beautiful it is for a man
to become theology."

        Today on Mt.Athos, a vast peninsula of  ancient  monasteries  in
northeastern  Greece  often  called  "The  Holy  Mountain,"  there  is a
burgeoning renewal -- an  influx  of  young  Orthodox  monks  from  many
nations  seeking  to live their theology in total dedication and prayer.
Archimandrite (his title) Vasileios is Abbot of  Stavronikita  Monastery
and  one  of  the  pioneers  of  this  modern  revival.  As we mentioned
earlier, the theology here is not innovative but a reassertion  of  what
was  known  in  apostolic  times  and  immediately following.  Nor is it
unique even now, for a number of  modern  Orthodox  writers  in  Western
Europe  and  the  United  States  have set forth the ancient insights in
their works.  However, even some of  the  most  knowledgeable  of  Roman
Catholic  and Protestant scholars remain only too likely to regard their
views somewhat askance, as a peculiarly Eastern  "aberration"  to  which
they accord a certain charitable indulgence.  But who is indulging whom?
To the  Orthodox  the  West  is  the  aberration,  having  strayed  from
apostolic  understanding  into  a  theology bearing in virtually all its
aspects the stamp of pagan philosophy.  Perhaps the  super-nova  was  no
accident -- heaven was alarmed.

        The Freedom of Morality is likely to prove even more exciting to
Western  minds  than  Hymn.   It  reveals  that  the Orthodox, and truly
scriptural (uninfluenced by philosophy) understanding of freedom and  of
passions  is  in  certain crucial aspects the very antithesis of Western
understanding.  This will alarm some and gratify others.

        Throughout my own Calvinst upbringing it was implicit in  all  I
was taught that the truth of the Bible is to make you virtuous.  Sermons
were packed with exhortations to "right" behavior.  That this curbed  my
earthly  freedom  was  obvious  on  the  face  of it.  Imagine, then, my
astonishment at reading for the first time the two quotations  from  the
Fathers with which Yannaras introduces his book:

        "Virtue exists for truth; but truth does not exist for  virtue."
(Maximus the Confessor, d.655).

        "When you enter upon the path of righteousness,  then  you  will
cleave to freedom in everything." (Abba Isaac the Syrian)

        Is Orthodoxy topsy-turvy?  Or is there here a greater  depth  of
insight  into  the  fallen and redeemed states?  Already, the answer has
been suggested by  Vasileios  in  a  chapter  headed,  "Spirituality  as
'Bondage' to Freedom." For perfect freedom is to love; it is "an exodus,
a departure from the narrow prison of self-love for the  promised  land,
the  land  of  the Other." Vasileios even goes so far as to suggest that
the human attitude reflected  in  Calvinist  "morality"  is  a  kind  of
heresy,  because  of  it  s  self-assurance,  "its  attachment  to human
reasoning and sanctity which are its idols." Could this  be  one  reason
for  youthful  rebellion against conventional "morality"?  Yannaras, for
his part, pulls no punches:

        "Increasingly, Christian life seems to be nothing  more  than  a
particular  way  of  behaving,  a code of good conduct.  Christianity is
increasingly alienated, becoming a social attribute adapted to meet  the
least  worthy  of  human  demands  --  conformity, sterile conservatism,
pusillanimity and timidity; it is  adapted  to  the  trivial  moralizing
which seeks to adorn cowardice and individual security with the funerary
decoration of social decorum.  The people who really  thirst  for  life,
who  stand  daily  on  the  brink  of  every kind of death, who struggle
desperately to distinguish some light in the  sealed  mystery  of  human
existence  --  these  are  the people to whom the Gospel of salvation is
primarily and most especially addressed, and inevitably they all  remain
far  removed from the rationalistically organized social conventionalism
of established Christianity."

        And he adds:

        "What distances man from Christ and the  Church  is  falsity  of
life, the "existential lie" of the masks of the superego, and conformity
to the external formalities of conventional behavior."

        It appears that Orthodoxy, ancient  though  it  is,  can  indeed
explain  much  of the confrontational attitude and alienation of today's
youth, and may possibly hold a cure for it.

        But the Westerner  will  at  once  ask,  "Of  what,  then,  does
morality  consist?"  Yannaras  answers  that it is not even a measure of
character or behavior but the ultimate expression of human freedom, "the
dynamic  response  of  personal  freedom  to  the  existential truth and
authenticity of man."

        And how is that "authenticity" to be found that  is  so  eagerly
sought  at  vast  cost  in  the  consulting  rooms of psychologists, and
psychiatrists and by youth in their rebellious capers with  forays  into
drugs  and  sex?   Orthodoxy  insist  that the only way is thru humility
learned in suffering, by  death  to  self-will  and  self-love,  letting
Christ lead us by way of the cross, for His command was:  follow me!  As
Yannaras writes:

        " has to make the fullness of the saving  truth  incarnate
in  oneself.   The shocking freedom of the fools ["fools for Christ"] is
first and foremost a total death,  a  complete  mortification  of  every
individual  element in their lives.  This death is the freedom which can
break and destroy every conventional form; it is resurrection  into  ...
the life of love which knows neither bounds nor barriers."

        It is also ultimate morality.  Nor is death such  a  bad  thing,
for  it generates love.  Yannaras quotes Isaac the Syrian concerning the
person who has died to all self-desire and surrendered to  the  will  of
God:   "...   striving,  fear,  trouble and toil in all things pass from
him.  And he is exalted above nature, and attains love."

        A Westerner will naturally ask, "What about  worship  then?   If
Orthodox  worship  does  not  consist  of  exhortations to morality, and
proclamation of the word is peripheral, then of what does  it  consist?"
It  consists of the Divine Liturgy, the Eucharist, which gives life, for
Jesus said that unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood we  have  no
life  in  us (John 6:53-58).  Yannaras offers this succinct statement of
the relevance of the Orthodox understanding of this in our time:

        "Orthodox worship is a direct answer to  the  peculiarly  modern
quest  for immediate, experiential knowledge of God, beyond any abstract
intellectual schemes or anthropocentric sentimental elevations.  In  the
Orthodox  eucharist  nothing  is theory, autonomous doctrine or abstract
reference;  all  is  action,  tangible  experience  and   total   bodily

        The Orthodox notion of freedom cannot be fully explained without
some  understanding  of the Orthodox notion of passions.  To the Western
mind, passions are the affective part of our nature, the  more  personal
part  of  us,  linked  with  the  warmth of feelings and emotions.  Thus
American youth are likely to insist that they are most  fully  realizing
themselves  when  they  have  the  "freedom"  to indulge their passions,
whatever these may be.  This posture dates back to  the  "Enlightenment"
and  its  "free t hinkers," of whom Rousseau was a chief exemplar, a man
who regarded his periodic bouts with venereal disease as the price to be
paid  for his exercise of personal "freedom." The age sought a return to
"nature," and to pursue one's passions was deemed me rely "natural."

        This is precisely the opposite of the Orthodox understanding  of
the  meaning of "freedom," "passions," and "natural," and while Yannaras
does not treat of it at any length, it is implicit in all that he  says.
The  Fathers  listed dozens of passions, as many as a hundred:  avarice,
lust, gluttony, every inordinate desire, hate, fear, envy,  and  so  on.
Love  is  emphatically  not  one  of  them.  Not even an emotion, it is,
rather, an act of will, a commitment, a decision  taken  in  freedom  to
concern  one-self  solely  for  others.   It  is  obedience  to the "new
command" of Christ that we love one another in exactly the same way that
he  loves  us  (John  13:34).   If love were a passion or an emotion, it
could not be commanded of us.  Rather, it is commitment and  obedi  ence
to  love  that  quenches  passions.   Passions  are  to  the  Fathers an
unnatural state, a consequence of the fall.  The committed Christian  is
dispassionate,  as  spelled  out by Georges Florovsky, another prominent
Orthodox writer:

        "Passions are always impersonal; they  are  a  concentration  of
cosmic  energies  which  make  the human person its prisoner, its slave.
They are blind and they blind those whom they possess.  The  impassioned
man, "the man of passions," does not act on his own, but is rather acted
upon:  fata trabunt.  He often loses the consciousness of being  a  free
agent.   He  doubts  the  existence  and  the  possibility of freedom in
general.  He adopts  rather  the  "necessarionist"  concept  of  reality
[psychological  determinism]  ...   And  as  a consequence, he loses his
personality, his personal identity.  He becomes chaotic,  with  multiple
faces,  or  rather  -- masks.  The "man of passions" is not at all free,
although he can give the impression of activity and energy.  He  is  not
hing  more  than a "ball" of impersonal influences.  He is hypnotized by
those influences which actually have a power over him.  Arbitrariness is
not freedom" (George Florovsky, "The Darkness of Night," in Creation and
Redemption, Vol.  3 of Collected Works of  Georges  Florovsky,  Belmont,
MA.:  Nordland, 1976, p.87)

        Christos  Yannaras  is  a  leading  Greek  lay  theologian   and
Professor  of Philosophy at Panteios Institute, and the author of over a
dozen books on ethics, theology, and modern religious theology.  John D.
Zizioulas  is  an  academic  colleague  of his, Pro fessor of Systematic
Theology at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and  a  major  Orthodox
spokesman  in  ecumenical  discussions.   Yannaras  is  a  member of the
editorial committee in charge  of  the  Contemporary  Greek  Theologians
series,  together  with Bishop Kallistos (Timothy Ware) of Diokleia, who
is one of the most articulate Western  authorities  on  Orthodoxy.   The
book  by Zizioulas, Being as Communion, is of particular significance to
those desiring to understand and appreciate the spirit and experience of

        Being is in some respects a more technical  and  more  difficult
work  than Hymn and Freedom.  Complex and extremely sophisticated in its
argument, it probes the depths of Orthodoxy even further than the  other
two,  though  still  within  the capacity of an informed layperson.  Its
far-reaching implications are likely to  shock  Westerners  schooled  to
think   in  terms  of  categories,  of  either/or  dichotomies  and  the
exaltation of the individual, for being in  the  Orthodox  understanding
consists  not  of sterile entities but of persons related to one another
in communion.  "A human being left to himself cannot be a  person."  The
model  is  the Holy Trinity, a communion of persons.  St. Paul expresses
it in Ephesians 4:25:  "...  we are members of one another." This is the
"grand  co-inherence"  of  all  in  Christ  so  familiar to the Fathers.
Individualism is of the fall, and ultimately fruitless.   As  Antony  of
Egypt put it, "Your life and your death are with your neighbor."

        The implications of this can carry us far  into  the  depths  of
Orthodox  theology.  "Truth as communion ...  [leads] to the affirmation
of otherness in and through love" ...the fall consists in the refusal to
make  being  dependent  on  communion,  in  a  rupture between truth and
communion." For truth is not a "concept," nor even primarily a matter of
epistemology  "but is connected with what we might call life," and if we
are to have life and truth we must,  in  a  reciprocal  relationship  of
love,  identify  ourselves  with the person of Jesus Christ who asserted
that He was in Himself truth and life (John 14:6).   "His  knowledge  is
nothing  other than His love.  If He ceases to love what exists, nothing
will be.  Being depends on love.  The substratum  of  existence  is  not
being but love," and love by its very nature implies relationship.

        Such is the thesis of Being.  In addition Zizioulas  delves  yet
further  into  themes  of  Vasileios  and of Yannaras already mentioned:
freedom of love in morality and obedience, theology as praxis (doing the
truth),  the  distortions  of  scholasticism  and of pagan philosophy in
general, and much else.  Heavy sledding, but well worth the effort.

        Deification is in a sense yet more difficult, and the work lacks
something  of  the  excitement  of the other three.  Its subtitle is St.
Gregory Palamas and the Orthodox Tradition.  Interestingly,  the  author
holds  the  chair  of  Moral  Theology  and  Christian  Sociology in the
Theological School of the University of Thessalonki, which was Gregory's
home ground.

        Gregory,  however,  was  not  the  source  of  the   notion   of
"defication,"  which  is  very ancient, harking back to Genesis and Adam
and Eve's having been made "in the image and likeness of  God,"  and  to
St.  Paul  in Galatians 2:20, " is no longer I who live, but Christ
lives in me..." and to the great Athanasius who in  the  fourth  century
summed  it  up  saying, "God became man that man might become God." This
has never ceased to be the "ideal" of Orthodoxy and the "chief  aim"  of
the Church.

        Gregory's role had to do  once  again  with  scholasticism.   He
resisted  Barlaam  of  Calabria,  who  in the fourteenth century came to
Constantinople attempting to impose scholasticism on the East, believing
that  "a knowledge of pagan wisdom was an indispensable prerequisite for
human perfection." Gregory denied this, and prevailed, and Orthodoxy was
spared the straitjacket of over-intellectualization.

        The West, however, still predominantly cerebral in its  approach
to  the  faith,  tends  to  have  deep  misgivings  about  the notion of
"deification." It is not, however, that we  as  created  beings  are  to
become  part  of the Holy Trinity, but rather that w e become identified
with Christ, who was also God.  Mantzaridis explains:

        "...the deification of human nature  was  accomplished  for  the
first  time  in the person of Jesus Christ.  His human nature was united
with the Logos of God...Christ's human  nature  became  the  vessel  for
uncreated  divine  energy, and henceforth communicates this grace in the
Holy Spirit to all believers...Christ's uncreated life and energy became
the  property  of  the  man  who is united with Him, and in whose person
Christ Himself lives and operates."

        Any repair of the  East-West  schism  will  require  the  West's
somehow  coming  to terms with deification (or theosis), which as Bishop
Kallistos says in his "foreward" is no "abstract theory" but "the living
experience  of  the  saints."  This  volume  expounds  it well for those
desiring to comprehend it.

        The author of Communion of Love (Foreward by  Henri  J.M.Nouwen)
is  in  a  sense  a "living saint." A pharmacist by profession, he owned
several stores in Cairo and was quite successful by age 29, when he felt
Jesus's call to "follow," obeyed the command to "sell what you have" and
became a Coptic monk.  Today, as head of Deir el Makarios  monastery  in
the  desert  50  miles  southwest  of  Cairo,  he devotes himself to the
ascetic life and delivers short homilies to as many as 500 persons a day
who come to hear him.

        This collection of the words of "Matthew the  Poor"  holds  meat
and   drink   for  the  mind  of  every  searching  Christian.   Nothing
innovative, it simply articulates Orthodox understanding in a lucid  and
cogent   way   deeply   satisfying  to  modern  hunger.   "There  is  no
intellectual means of entering into  the  Gospel,"  he  says,  "for  the
Gospel  is spiritual." And, '...spiritual understanding expands with the
knowledge [experience] of the truth, and the truth, in its  turn,  opens
up 'all the fullness of God'." He reiterates the powerful Orthodox theme
of Dionysius mentioned earlier that what is known  is  known  only  thru
participation in it:

        "God is truth and life and everlasting  light.The  knowledge  of
truth  is participation in the truth; the knowledge of life is life; the
knowledge of light is illumination.  Man, thru his loss of the knowledge
of God, has lost the truth within himself, and has lost eternal life and

        Matthew is as eminently quotable as he is readable.  In the  end
he  sums  up why Christ's Church has not achieved the "catholicity," the
all-embracing unity that Jesus intended, and again the spoiler proves to
be human reliance on fallen intellect:

        "It has not yet  conceived  its  divine  concepts  as  pure  and
elevated above logic or human reason; i.e., its concepts are still bound
to articulate and philosophical interpretations which hinder the  vision
of the serenity of the catholic nature of Christ."

        All this we now find to be linked to the present day in a rather
startling  way.   Science, it is often admitted, has taken on for us the
character of deity, as Zizioulas writes in Being:

        "If theology  creatively  uses  the  Greek  patristic  synthesis
concerning truth and communion and applies it courageously to the sphere
of the Church, the split between the Church and science can be  overcome

        An eminent science  writer,  D.E.Thomsen,  intimates  that  "the
history  of  science  represents  in  some ways an emancipation from the
Hellenic intellectual heritage." (Science News,  Vol.131,  No.12,  March
21, 1987, p.184).  Orthodoxy escaped that entrapment.  How ironic, then,
if Orthodoxy, thought by many to be so ancient and passe should  in  our
computer age turn out to be exceedingly up to date.