Translations, sacraments and asceticism
From time to time there are discussions about simplifying liturgical life. Recently the translation into modern Greek of the prayers of the Divine Liturgy and the other Sacraments held the attention of ecclesiastical and theological circles in Greece. The intense cultivation of rationalism means that people want to understand everything rationally.
In this book the author deals respectfully and sensibly with all the problems that arise from movements to translate the liturgical texts into modern Greek. He writes about the ecclesiology of worship and the theology that permeates liturgical and ecclesiastical life. The fathomless depths of the Church’s worship, particularly the Divine Liturgy, are revealed.
The sacred nature of the language of worship within the Church is explained. This is a language that has been hallowed by the struggles of the saints and their personal experience. The author makes clear that the participation of the faithful in the Divine Liturgy is mainly a matter of inner spiritual progress, because rational understanding cannot be equated with participation in the Sacrament. At the Divine Liturgy the development of the rational faculty is not enough: above all the noetic faculty must be developed. We know that in Orthodoxy the heart experiences communion with God and the rational faculty formulates its experiences. When, however, the heart is not purified, how can it correctly interpret the divine word?
Through the language of symbols we approach Orthodox issues more effectively than through rationalism, speculation or sentimentality.
There is a discussion on spiritual and sacramental priesthood, and what the Church says on this subject through the Fathers. The participation of Clergy and laypeople in worship and the Divine Liturgy is also elucidated.
In a special chapter analysing the Epistles of the Apostle Paul and presenting his revelational and empirical theology it is pointed out that hesychasm is not only for ascetics and hermits, but is the Christian life as lived by all Christians according to their circumstances.
‘Neopatristic’ and ‘Post-Patristic’ theology are concepts that undermine the foundations of Orthodox theology and lead to syncretism and scholasticism. From the perspective of purification of the heart, illumination of the nous and glorification, however, one can discern the difference between scholastic and Orthodox theology.
Every movement within the Church that acts in an anthropocentric and unhealthy way is bound to fail in the end. The Church interprets Holy Scripture and the texts of the Divine Liturgy through its saints.