The two volumes entitled Interventions in Contemporary Society contain various texts written from time to time for newspapers and periodicals in response to pastoral needs. They also include spoken and written interviews on various issues. The Church provides an answer to people’s problems. It contributes its theological word in our own day, and strives to wake up the people of God and point them in the right direction.
The second volume contains two sections, ‘Theological Points to Emphasise’ and ‘Ecclesiastical Education’. The texts in the first section highlight fundamental theological truths and show the position taken by Orthodox theology on current issues.
‘Orthodox Ecology’ reveals the basic theological view of the ecological problem. Pollution and the destruction of the environment are the result of sin: the darkening of man’s nous, which came about with the fall of man, had terrible consequences for the whole universe. People today, with their many psychological and spiritual problems, violate nature, which proceeds to wreak revenge. Orthodox ecology is based on the theology of ‘the logoi (principles) of beings’, that is to say, it believes that the whole creation and everything that happens within it are the result of God’s action. God’s saints, since they have been freed from the passions and their souls have been enlightened, respect nature and have a correct attitude towards the whole of creation, because they see God’s energy in it.
‘The Three Hierarchs and Pastoral Service’ stresses how closely theology is linked to pastoral care in the Orthodox tradition, since the Three Hierarchs were both theologians and pastors. Pastoral service aims at healing people, and ought to be undertaken by an experienced spiritual father. The pastoral role is not a worldly office, but a service directed at healing the people of God.
The relationship between the mystery of the Cross and the Orthodox teaching on the Last Things is set out in ‘The Mystery of the Cross in the Light of Orthodox Eschatology’. Eschatology is not exclusively a matter of chronology, but is also linked with a person’s way of life, that is to say, with his relationship to God. When a Christian experiences God’s uncreated, cleansing, enlightening and deifying energy, he lives the mystery of the Cross and the Resurrection.
The second section contains texts setting out the basic principles and key points with regard to catechesis in the Orthodox Church. The character of Catechists is highly significant: their way of thinking must accord with the Orthodox Church and they must have an unselfish and loving spirit. The work of catechetical instruction should be undertaken with the fear of God and a sense of responsibility, because it is an ecclesiastical task, not an individual one. It should be done with the blessing of the local Bishop, without improvisations, and within the Orthodox ecclesiastical context.
Orthodox catechesis is not just a matter of presenting theological information, but above all of offering life to young people. The aim of catechesis should be the same as the aim of the Church: to lead people to deification.