Revista Studii Teologice


JA slide show

Criteriile şi fundamentele patristice ale teologiei, elemente structurale ale teologiei ortodoxe dintotdeauna şi premize ale rezolvării problematicii teologice de astăzi (II)

Patristic criteria and grounds of theology, constant structural elements of Orthodox theology, and premises for solving today’s theological problems

Autor(i): Adrian MARINESCU

The present study starts from the close intertwining of theology, the thought and ethos of Church Fathers, and Church liturgical practice. According to the Holy Fathers, there can be no theology and theologians outside the Church, seen as pre-sence of the Heavenly Kingdom, and outside complete (liturgical) integration. A true theologian, bearing witness to Christ, to the Church and epitomizing genuine Christi-an living, is only the one who becomes a living Church whereby God’s work, or God’s collaboration with man, as grounds for all liturgical processes that take place within him and in the world, constituting a concrete, permanent reality. It is only this condi-tion, which in Church History was par excellence the state of Holy Fathers, that can settle all problems, from theological and ecclesiastical ones to mundane ones.
Father D. Stăniloae was very prolific theologically, not only in terms of quanti-ty but also as far as quality is concerned. His theological thinking and expression are not easily accessible even to the most experienced of contemporary theologians. His theology is extremely dense and concentrated, usually expounded in a language that most readers perceive as philosophical, but actually governed by his musings on the most difficult and hardly explainable questions and searchings of man; its elements belong to both theology and philosophy: the fundament and the deepest aspects of existence in general and human existence in particular, essence, nature, person, relationships between existences, the origin and goal of existing, etc. We mention that his theological contribution has caused an impressive theological phenomenon, pro-ving extremely creative not only in itself but also through the many books, articles, conferences, radio and TV programs it has engendered. This phenomenon is singular, not only for the 20th century and early 21st century. It occured only with the most important Holy Fathers of the Church, such as St Athanasius the Great, St Gregory the Theologiam, St Maximus the Confessor, St Symeon the New Theologian, St Gre-gory Palamas etc. whose life, activity and theology gave rise to a secondary literature that was largely a theological development carrying further the thought of the respec-tive Fathers. This happened, in the case of Father D. Stăniloae also, beyond the Or-thodox milieu, as this thinking has universal value.
Following the example of the Cappadocian Fathers, Father D. Stăniloae knew only three places where he created his theology and which he valued above anything else: his academic chair, the church, and his study room. He valued the three of them because they brought him into contact with the people dearest to him: family, students and faithful. The fellow clergymen may have disappointed him, out of envy, meanness or self-sufficiency, or may have attempted to discredit him. His family, students and the ordinary faithful people were always loyal to him and stood by him, with their strengthening and invigorating support. He also valued them inasmuch as in them and in the dialogue with them and himself, he was able to know God and become closer to Him, because in their company he found in the highest degree the love of God revealed in His intimate, fruitful and transfiguring dialogue with the people. To them he dedicated and he owes his theology, stemming from their and his own inquiries, questions and toughts.
The attempt to systematize Father D. Stăniloae’s theology, summarizing the most important ideas he puts forth in his works and revisiting them, leaves the vivid impression of a true, complex, touching hymn of praise to God and His action in the world. It is a theology firmly anchored in the patristic teachings but also perpetuating the glory they bring to God. Father Stăniloae’s deeply patristic theologizing is a true liturgical chant, in which the voice of the Fathers sounds very clearly. It can be ter-med so not only because it is ecclesiastical or theological, but because it is active, living and dynamic. If we juxtapose Father Stăniloae’s chanting to that of the Church Fathers, we find no dissonance, but harmony and symphony. Father Stăniloae’s theo-logy harmonizes the voices of Holy Fathers for the benefit of contemporary man so that they are not merely perceived, but are merged in a new, ample and overwhel-ming chanting. This chant is not grasped only by ear and reason, but it reaches the heart and pervades the entire human being. Father D. Stăniloae brings the Church Fathers and himself in harmony, and most importantly, he also brings us in the same harmony. Gradually we start chanting together with them, we become part of their chant and they become part of our own chant. This is, in fact, the natural state of all creatures, to bring glory and bring themselves to God.
At a closer examination of this theological contribution, it seems to belong less to Father Stăniloae, and more to the Church he studied, knew and served faithfully and devotedly, so that Christ, the „head of the Church” might speak in him acording to the Apostle’s words. More precisely, this theologizing is a gift (χάρισμα) which the Father returns to Christ’s Church, still bearing fruit in the thought of contemporary man, like the talent entrusted by God.
Orthodox theology has always aimed to prove itself authentic and relevant for contemporary man, and defined itself as concrete merging of Church doctrine, Holy Fathers’ contributions and liturgical life. St Gregory Palamas pointed out, in the in-troduction to the Hagioritic Tome, that to him three elements had been of paramount importance: the Holy Scripture, the Father’s teachings, and his own experience. Man’s need for God is today increasingly felt by the entire society. At the same time, a theological crisis persists, especially within academic circles that every time are expected to provide solutions. The present study, centered on the most important, influent and prestigious contemporary Orthodox theologian, stresses the fact that today’s Orthodox theology, at least the Romanian one and its dogmatic realm, has largely lost contact with patristic thought and theology as well as Church liturgical practice and experience, which are in fact its perennial, fundamental criteria. It has actually lost its bond with God, the sole criterion of truth and salvation. The only valid solution is retrieving these values and investing in them. The Holy Fathers have passed down to us a method and a model of theological approach, briefly expounded here.

Pagini: 5-54