August 14

In the orthodox teaching we say that some belong to the state of the slave, others to the state of the hireling and others to the state of the son. In general, it must be pointed out that sin in the orthodox teaching is darkening of the nous, while repentance and forgiveness of sins are the illumination of the nous. Sin is regarded as an illness of the soul. Sin is not placed in a legal framework, but a medical one.

In conclusion we can say that our relationship with God should not be regarded as juridical, legal, but as personal ecclesiastical. The legalistic view is alien to the orthodox mind. When we think that God has been offended by the sin which we commit and that we must therefore do everything to appease Him, when our relationship with God is put on a business basis, then we are living in the legalistic spirit.

~Metropolitan Hierotheos

August 13

It is sinful to ascribe to God the characteristic features of fallen man, such as that God is angry and vengeful and therefore He must be propitiated and appeased. Such an attitude wants to make it appear that it is God Who needs curing and not man. But this is sacrilegious…we cannot say that God is offended…consequently, sin is not an offense to God, Who must be cured, but our own illness, and therefore we have need of a cure….

Sin injures man and because of it our whole existence is ill. Nor do we add anything to God by doxology, but we ourselves are sanctified and share in His glory. Thus through Christ’s incarnation and His sacrifice on the cross we have the restoration of man to his former glory and not a propitiation of God….

Thus by His sacrifice on the cross Christ did not propitiate His Father, but He cured the ailing nature of man….the Father neither asked nor needed the blood of His only begotten Son. But Christ offered it in order to cure man and to sanctify him.

~Metropolitan Hierotheos

 

August 12

A result of the darkening of his noetic energy is that man’s relationship with God and his fellow man is upset. Because of his darkened nous, man does not find meaning in life, he turns his attention to the external things, with the result that he comes to blows with men, he has no inner peace. This is analyzed in a wonderful way by St Gregory Palamas. Fallen man uses God to safeguard his individual security and regards his neighbor as an object for predatory exploitation.

He cannot have selfless love, because all his expressions and all his love contain the element of self-seeking, which is to say that man is characterized by self-seeking love. So the darkening of the nous has drastic social consequences. Sociology cannot be regarded as independent of theology.

~Metropolitan Hierotheos

August 11

If we want to look more concretely at the matter of the fall we will say that, as St John of Damaskos teaches, the fall in reality is darkness of the image, loss of the divine life and putting on coats of skin. The darkness of the image is nothing else but the darkening of the nous. The nous was darkened and could not have communion and unity with God….according to the anthropology of the Fathers, man’s soul is rational and noetic. This means that man has two centers of functioning. One is the reasoning mind, which is connected with his nervous system, and the other his nous, which is connected with his heart.

Adam’s fall, then, is the darkening of his nous, the loss of its noetic function, confusion of the nous with the functions of reason and its enslavement to the passions and to the environment. Instead of moving according to nature and above nature, instead of moving towards God and being mindful of God, man’s nous is turned towards the created things and the passions.

That is why in the Church we speak of repentance, which is not simply a change in the head, as some theologians say, but a change of the nous. The nous must break away from the created and the passions and turn towards God.

~Metropolitan Hierotheos

August 11

If we want to look more concretely at the matter of the fall we will say that, as St John of Damaskos teaches, the fall in reality is darkness of the image, loss of the divine life and putting on coats of skin. The darkness of the image is nothing else but the darkening of the nous. The nous was darkened and could not have communion and unity with God….according to the anthropology of the Fathers, man’s soul is rational and noetic. This means that man has two centers of functioning. One is the reasoning mind, which is connected with his nervous system, and the other his nous, which is connected with his heart.

Adam’s fall, then, is the darkening of his nous, the loss of its noetic function, confusion of the nous with the functions of reason and its enslavement to the passions and to the environment. Instead of moving according to nature and above nature, instead of moving towards God and being mindful of God, man’s nous is turned towards the created things and the passions.

That is why in the Church we speak of repentance, which is not simply a change in the head, as some theologians say, but a change of the nous. The nous must break away from the created and the passions and turn towards God.

~Metropolitan Hierotheos

July 6

…we often say that the sources of our faith are two, Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition. Without completely excluding this position, I should like to make clear that the source of our Faith is one. And this is Pentecost, the Revelation, which happened once in history and, after that, everyone is given the possibility of experiencing it in his personal life. Pentecost is the highest point of Revelation. The saints attain the experience of Pentecost, that is to say the experience of deification, of partaking of the deifying energy of God. Afterwards this experience, which is so-called ‘uncreated words’, is conveyed through created words and conceptions, that is to say, through Holy Scripture and the Holy Tradition….When we are disconnected from the atmosphere of the Church, it is completely impossible for us to interpret Holy Scripture and the patristic texts…because they are written expressions of the Revelation.

~Metropolitan Hierotheos

July 5

The true faith cures man and so guides him to the real worship of God and true communion with Him. Therefore the trueness of the faith is seen from the trueness of the cure of the person. If a faith does not cure man, it is not true. On this point we can maintain that Orthodoxy, as to method, resembles the sciences of today. A theoretical truth of science is confirmed by its results. Thus the faith of the Church, Orthodoxy, has results, it can cure man. And I believe that on this point the difference between the Orthodox Church and other ‘Churches’ is clearly visible. The orthodox faith recognizes the real illness of man, pinpoints it effectively, recognizes clearly what is real health, which is deification, but also recognizes well the methods by which it will cure the sick man.

These presuppositions determine the genuineness of the faith. If we examine carefully all the dogmatic differences between the Churches, that is to say, between Orthodoxy and the other ‘Churches’, we shall see that in reality they are made explicit on the matter of knowing the illness and the method of cure.

~Metropolitan Hierotheos