The different historical and social subjects contained in this book relate to the Church’s pastoral role in education and sport.
‘The Orthodox Church as a Factor in the Education of Young People’, ‘The Delight of Being Young and Orthodox’, ‘The Ethical Dimension of New Technologies and the Role of our Training’, ‘The Church and Sport’ show that Orthodox Christianity has sound principles with regard to the development of children, particularly adolescents, and is essential for the growth of a young person’s character. The Church completes the education given in school, because it answers young people’s existential questions and gives life meaning. It neither despises the body, nor makes a god of it. Ecclesiastical tradition presupposes physical exercise, which should be accompanied by asceticism of the soul. Sport should not be regarded as an end in itself, but should aim at achieving a balance in man’s soul and his spiritual perfection. ῾The Pastoral Role of the Church’ and ‘Theology and Pastoral Care’ assert that it is wrong to regard theology and ecclesiology as the same as sociology, because in that case they would not help towards man’s salvation. All pastoral service is contained in the words ‘purification’, ‘enlightenment’, and ‘deification’, which are the essence of the teaching of the Gospel and the Fathers. It is more important today than ever before to link theology with pastoral service, and today’s pastors must shepherd God’s people in accordance with the teaching of the holy Apostles and the Church Fathers, because only then can they assist contemporary man, who is beset by existential, social and personal problems. Throughout the book the reader can discern the living spirit of the Byzantine-Roman heritage, and how different it is from Franco-Latin theological tradition in its approach to human life. The Orthodox Church, within which nationalism and class distinctions are transcended, provides fundamental solutions to all the problems which trouble people of every age, and its basic aim is always man’s salvation.
Μητροπολίτης Ναυπάκτου Ιερόθεος