This second volume based on the spoken teaching of Father John Romanides addresses specific teachings of the Church in the light of the experience of the Apostles, Fathers and saints. Fr John’s approach is unique, lively, and unconventional. Because of his American background, extensive academic research and participation in ecumenical dialogues, he sees Orthodox dogma in its wider context. His words are also illuminated by his own experience, which he does not completely succeed in concealing. Starting with the Church’s teaching on the Holy Trinity, he goes on to review the whole spectrum of created reality from angels and demons to man and his Fall. Fr John teaches that we all possess a noetic faculty (nous) “which is supposed to be in man’s heart, but it is not in the heart when it is not functioning correctly”. On the Incarnation of the Son of God, he states that it is not just a historical event but “a spiritual event that is confirmed by empirical knowledge”. Christians must also personally experience the Mystery of the Cross, Resurrection and Ascension of Christ and Pentecost. “The experience of Pentecost is repeated through the centuries.” He looks in depth at how Christians must pass through purification to reach illumination, at which stage prayer of the nous in the heart “is proof that somebody has become a temple of the Holy Spirit.” And someone who is glorified “no longer knows God in prophecies and knowledge and prayers, but knows Him directly.” Considering life after death, Fr John concludes by expounding the true nature of Paradise and Hell. The account of dogmatic teaching given in this remarkable book is comprehensive and compelling, with many surprises. It will appeal not only to theologians but to everyone interested in what Orthodox Christians believe and why.
Μητροπολίτης Ναυπάκτου Ιερόθεος