NR. 1 – 2009

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2009.1

Ciprian STREZA — Liturghiile ritului bizantin: reciprocitate și/sau exclusivitate?

Summary: The Byzantine Rite’s Liturgies: Reciprocity and/or Exclusivity?

The Byzantine rite is the best known and most widely spread liturgical rite in use today, due not only to its unique beauty but also to the prestige of the Constantinople Church which imposed it on the regions ecclesiastically and politically dependent on Constantinople. The entire Byzantine liturgical system is but an inspired and accomplished synthesis of the Antiochian and Jerusalemite rites, completed over the 9th-14 th centuries.

The Byzantine rite employs three Liturgies, namely those of St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil the Great and St. James, besides the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, improperly called a Liturgy. For a long time, the Byzantine rite Liturgies were deemed to have appeared as a simplification of older euchological forms. Late 19th/ early 20th century liturgical research considered that Eucharistic texts of the early Christian period were complex euchological forms, which over times underwent abbreviations and alterations, thus forming subsequent Eucharistic anaphoras.

Late 20th century liturgical research has shown that the similarities between the Byzantine rite liturgies are most likely accounted for by the existence of a common liturgical archetype employed throughout western Syria and then Cappadocia, which was differently assimilated and altered by great hierarchs of the Church during the first four Christian centuries. The central part (the text of the Eucharistic anaphora) of a single old Liturgy, belonging to the family of west Syrian liturgies, has been processed by great Church personalities.

Thus, St. James’ anaphora is an euchological text resulting from the synthesis of elements of Jerusalemite tradition and of the Antiochian liturgical archetype. The same archetype, of Antiochian origin, reached Cappadocia and was processed by St. Basil the Great, resulting in the Liturgy bearing his name. Constantinople took over the Antiochian anaphora, which St. John Chrysostom processed, thus creating a Liturgy very similar to that of St. Basil the Great. In all three cases, the same Antiochian archetype underwent different alterations and influences, which is why the Byzantine rite has three Liturgies very closely related in structure and ideation.

St. Basil the Great’s Liturgy, very impressive due to its coherent structure, theological depth and rich biblical imagery, was the main Liturgy of Constantinople until the 10th-11th century. Surprisingly, by the end of 11th century, St. John Chrysostom’s Liturgy (until then the Eucharistic rite of week days in the Byzantine world) which was briefer, simpler and clearer, less rhetorical, had replaced the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great in Constantinople and had also become the main Eucharistic Liturgy throughout the Byzantine Empire.

Which was the reason why St. John Chrisostom’s anaphora became the main Eucharistic Liturgy of Constantinople in the 10th century, to the detriment of St. Basil the Great’s anaphora? The explanation long provided by liturgical research for this alteration of Sunday liturgy in the Byzantine rite, was that of a shorter duration, due to the need of replacing a vast eucharistic form with a more concise one.

Despite distrust of this theory, this explanation is still provided out of inertia by Orthodox schools and Faculties of Theology. According to it, St. Basil’s liturgy was replaced with St. John Chrysostom’s for a pastoral reason: the worshippers’ inabililty to follow and participate in the ample Liturgy of St. Basil the Great. However attractive this theory might seem, it is unconvincing. Although evident, the difference in duration between the ritual of St. Basil’s, respectively St. John Chrisostom’s liturgies is not important enough to cause any major change in liturgical practice.

Stefanos Alexopoulos recently issued the interesting hypothesis that the shift from the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great to that of St. John Chrysostom was a reaction of Byzantine liturgical tradition against iconoclasm, especially the iconoclasts’ Eucharistic theology, which asserted that the Eucharist is the image (eikon) and model (typos) of Christ’s body. The term antitypa, designating the Eucharistic elements set on the altar table in order to be sanctified, is employed in the anaphora of St. Basil the Great’s Liturgy. Because of the erroneous understanding of this term by the iconoclasts, Stefanos Alexopoulos claims, the Church decided to modify liturgical practice by substituting St. John Chrisostom’s liturgy for that of St. Basil the Great.

A third hypothesis, issued by the American school of Liturgics, was the one endorsed by Alkiviadis C. Calivas. According to this theory, the shift from St. Basil the Great’s Liturgy to St. John Chrysostom’s one is accounted for by the individualization of ecclesiastical service and life, entailed by the revival of monastic life following the iconoclast controversy. Within the intellectual and spiritual climate of the post-iconoclast period, the anaphora of St. John Chrysostom was preferred to that of St. Basil the Great, as fully correspondng to this new type of spirituality. Calivas’ conclusion is that the respective shift from the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great to that of St. John Chrysostom was an effect of the individualization of piety and sacramental life that had started to pervade 11th-12th century ecclesiastical environment. In his opinion, the anaphora of St. John Chrysostom’s Liturgy renders the effects of the Holy Communion in more personal terms, while that of St. Basil the Great stresses, in a lofty theological manner, the ecclesial and eschatological effect of the Holy Eucharist.

The shift from the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great to that of St. John Chrysostom was a gradual, complex process determined by a series of factors. Byzantine rite liturgies are not mutually exclusive, but complete each other, as their anaphoras contain indications of the intervention of great personalities of the Church, who thus endeavoured to update the liturgical text and make it an inspired token of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit within the Church.  The reasons for modifying the Byzantine rite during the 10th-11th century, when St. Basil the Great’s Liturgy ceased to be the usual euchological form of Orthodoxy, to be replaced by the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, are still to be investigated and clarified.


Adrian MARINESCU — Părintele bisericesc sau Sfântul Părinte, martor și organ al lucrării Sfântului Duh în Biserică și în membrii acesteia. Noțiunea de „Părinte bisericesc” în tradiția patristică, originea și semnificația ei teologică. Scriitorul creștere a Bisericii vs. scriitorul „creștin” (Partea I)

Summary: The Church Father, a witness of the Holy Spirit’s work within the Church and its members. The „Church Father” notion in the Patristic Tradition, its origin and theological significance. The Church’s Christian writer vs. the „Christian” writer.

The present study, of which we hereby publish the first part, is a follow-up of materials pertaining to the so-called Elements of Patrology. It is a difficult topic due to its vastness, which would claim treatment in a special work. On the other hand, it is nettlesome since the Father and the Teacher, as a dynamic, personal reality of the Church, cannot be defined but only described (just like the person), and also since comprehending the spirit of the Holy Fathers and the climate they breathed and engendered within the Church leads to a reassessment and reconstructing of the theological matter dealing with the study of their lives, works, activity and theology (i.e., Patrology).

The present study is motivated by the fact that on approaching the theological matter of Patrology, we were surprised to find that specialized works hardly mention the saintliness of the Holy Fathers’ lives. An unacceptable fact, indicating maximal secularization or straying from the authentic life and appropriate understanding of the Church. Consequently, with seminars and courses we held over the last years (1999-2008) at the Bucharest Faculty of Orthodox Theology, one of our major concerns was to emphasize what a Teacher and Spiritual Father is, to raise awareness that this „reality” underlies the theological subject called Patrology and Patristic Literature. Our students’ interest in the matter as well as its importance today compels us to publish the present study, while aware of our limitations and inability to render ad integrum the aspects regarding the Church Father. On the other hand, many of the study’s ideas express perspectives and approaches derived from the various works and opinions of Prof. Styl. Papadopoulos, Athens University. Therefore, intending the present work as a homage, we dedicate it to the learned and inspired professor who provided a fresh view on the Church Father and, consequently, on Patrology.

As for the work methodology, considering that by the 4th century the notion of Church Father had already acquired its current sense, we have dwelt mainly on the Fathers’ assertions and confessions that far, without however ignoring statements by the later Fathers, to date. (We could not leave aside the teachings of St. Symeon the New Theologian, speaking both of man’s possible deification and the role of a spiritual director in guiding his disciples). We present these patristic assertions in their original variant, while aware that the Fathers’ words are full of power, unlike ours, and also hoping to avoid monotony of a discourse providing a mere theoretical lecture. Moreover, as the study seeks to approach part of today’s issues raised by this subject, we provide examples to illustrate certain erroneous standpoints, incongruous with Orthodox spirit and teachings, so that the Orthodox Christains and theologians may have at their disposal materials which enable them to formulate their own opinions and beliefs, in compliance with their Parents’ age-old confession of faith. The bibliography employed attempts to provide all important titles to date (2009), while we are aware it cannot be exhaustive, as further research will.

The present study is motivated by, and grounded on, both the wish and need to enlarge on the Church Fathers’ topic, and the fact that the Romanian researcher into Orthodox theology does not have such material at hand, as well as the erroneous presentation of the Church Father by Romanian specialized works (especially Patrology textbooks) and the numerous works currently circulating on the Romanian book market, which sometimes mislead the Christian readership. We mention that the present study does not seek to oppose struggle to discover and comprehend the truth. It does not seek to combat any persons, but attempts to present the Church teachings in contrast or in parallel with circulating opinions or trends. Our attempt is simply a presentation of the Church’s standpoint on the respective topic. This first part of the study introduces the matter, presents the motivations for approaching this issue, then proceeds to present the way the Oriental tradition regards the Church Father. It briefly analyses the Scriptural excerpts pertaining to our topic and supposed to provide the grounds for the entire subsequent Patristic tradition, concerning the Holy Father’s function within the Church and his role toward the Orthodox worshipper. The present analysis will be continued in a future issue of the review.


Radu PREDA — „Revenirea lui Dumnezeu”. Ambiguitățile unui diagnostic

Summary: „God’s Return”. The Ambiguities of a Diagnosis

Over the last two centuries, various types of religious decadence have succeeded within the European cultural space. The disappearance of religious beliefs, or at least a decrease in their social importance paralleled by technological progress, the improvement of living standards, the expansion of democracy and the individual’s emancipation from society, were all envisaged. Post-religiosity was expected to self-establish naturally, due to the new structure of a technicist world, liberal in thought and individualist in desires, irretrievably marked by the pluralism of values and relativism of convictions. Technological progress was expected to engender a society freed from any landmarks of identity, and man’s ontological alteration through technology was seen as imminent.

The public relevance of religion has now been reasserted and theories on post-secularization or de-secularization multiply. According to them, post-modernity has not fully achieved the „disenchantment” of the world, which is why one may speak of a post-religious religion, i.e. what is left of the religious phenomenon after the most intense moments of modernity’s contesting it. The scope of analyses is extremely broad: some deem the „return” of religion, as an identity-defining factor, as a potential generator of social conflicts, while others readily welcome its „triumph” over the atheism presumed to pertain to the modernity project. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in-between the two stances. In providing a diagnosis in religious perspective of the current historical and ideological age of humanity, a few simple but largely ignored points must be taken into account.

Firstly, the interest in religion is not tantamount to leading a religious life proper. Statistical data reveal a decrease in the number of church-attending Christians amidst full religious boom. Why then the insistence on the „return of religion” and a „new” religiosity? Actually, the interest in religion is stirred by the changes occured in mass-media, especially after 9/11. The fact that mass-media are rediscovering the religious issues, which however they give a shallow treatment, is not an argument for a „revival” of religion today. In their most objective stance, mass-media discover that religion is not „dead”, that it has withstood secularization surprisingly well. What has actually changed is the perception of the religious phenomenon, but not religion in itself.

Religosity does not presuppose membership of a community of faith, as many of our contemporaries practice a personal, syncretist religion, according to a subjective recipe despite its stemming from apparently common religious ground. With the exception of the great religious communities that still maintain a monolithic character (the Muslim and some Christian ones), today’s religiosity evinces a vague, inconsistent,  insubstantial character. The result is the gradual blurring of the difference between the religious and the pseudo-religious. The major risk for religion is thus not its extinction, which is unlikely, but the loss of its substantial character, of its concrete, unmediated message, the relativisation of its eschatological, normative function. In brief, while withstanding secularization qua refusal, religion risks yielding to secularization qua syncretism.

Further threat from the „success” of religion, originating in the previous one, is that while the diluted variant of the religious message is associated to lay messages, its substantial variant pertaining to the depth of faith in itself, is promptly labelled as fundamentalism. Attempting to explain why religion plays an instrumental political role in many crisis cases, and to settle these conflicts, the modern perception of the religious is both simple and simplifying – that is, it promotes modes of thinking and acting which are not sufficiently (if at all) religiously inculturated. Therefore, even though the predictions foretelling the secularization of religion, even in its extreme consequence of extinction, have not come true, we now face a new, much subtler type of secularization which operates within communities of faith and achieves their massive polarization around issues which from the theological point of view are submitted to public attention in a flawed manner.

The interest in religion arises at a certain ideological and political moment able to account for the „revival” of a phenomenon whose foreseen failure, however, has not yet occured. Ideology-wise, we witness the systemic flaws of the view holding that a society may dispense with religion’s transcendent censorship as it applies the program of reason and technological progress. It has now become obvious that a society exclusively grounded on the laws of profit at any cost, self-centeredness and materialism, is unable to provide those mechanisms underlying social cohesion and the respect of human dignity to its ultimate consequence. The current economic crisis which we have been undergoing for almost one year, far from being a „mere” financial-banking crisis, is an ethical failure. The ethical crisis of the economic system has become chronic. Even prior to the crisis of the financial-banking system, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the religious discourse proved unexpectedly complemental to the discourse of lay leaders. Since then has been created and maintained a general malaise marked by a brutal religious conflict between irreconcilable worlds, while the mass-media have apprehended the importance of religion for the present. Within such a context, religious „revival”, with all the negative connotations of such diagnosis, is the expression of a major political failure, rather than the result of the religious dynamics proper.

It is especially with post-communist countries that one may speak of a genuine religious revival. Despite differences among countries, one may broadly assert that the failure of political communism, that is of an explicitly atheist ideology/”idolatry”, entailed as an immediate effect the revision of the place and role of the religious dimension within the public life of the former socialist countries. The demise of communism inevitably had religious connotations, and God’s „return” to the social everyday life was perceived as the first great sign of the regained freedom. The fall of communism was seen as the emergence of a superior force within our historical horizon, until recently paralyzed by fear and mistrust. From the perspective of this sui generis theology of history, the origin of the enthusiasm fuelled by religious feelings that marked the 1989 events can be better understood. Therefore, „the return of God” to most postcommunist countries is no metaphor, but describes an intense ecclesial life.

The emergence of religion in the former communist countries met general hostility from the very beginning. There were fears that religion might radicalize built-up frustrations, that it might serve as an emotional and symbolic source of renewed conflicts between the majority and various minorities, that undemocratic rules would be imposed on this realm. The central issue, then, was that of the management of religious freedom. The fears were not entirely unfounded. Despite partial confirmation, some of the early 1990s diagnoses were based on misreadings of the Eastern-European religious phenomenon, due to the inabillity to thoroughly comprehend the different history of European East versus West. Failure to take a balanced approach, the lack of thorough knowledge of the theological, political, social, cultural and mental history of Orthodoxy and its local expressions, risk to turn into cliché thinking the concern with a realm of thought and faith such as the Eastern one. 

To the pluralist Occidental society, the „return of God’ is tantamount to an „invasion”. The emergence of alogenous communities of faith is seriously putting to test the self-awareness of a culture that until recently used to be omogenous. When it comes to the implantation of non-Christian communities, especially Islamic ones, the impression of being under siege is shared by many European contemporaries. Given the demographic dynamics, many foresee a bleak future for Europe. Such demographic (the „neo-migrations”) and cultural („the invasion of gods”) background may generate a xenophobic, populist logic. It is also absolutely necessary to reconsider the relationship between the religious authority and the political power in contemporary Europe.


Alexandru ANCA — Andronikos III. Palaiologos als „Schauspieler“

Rezumat: Andronic al III-lea ca ‚actor’

Punctul de plecare al acestui studiu îl reprezintă un ceremonial cu  relevanță politică și socială de prim rang cel al salutării împăratului bizantin. Potrivit izvoarelor normative precum Pseudo-Kodinos (sec. XIV) împăratul era salutat sărutându-i-se mai întâi piciorul, apoi mâna și într-un final obrazul drept. Întrebarea care se pune și cea care constituie de fapt punctul de dezbatere al studiului de față este în ce măsura acest ritual standardizat putea fi manipulat căpătând astfel o altfel de semnificație decât cea de cinstire a împăratului. Un exemplu întru acest sens îl constituie conflictul dintre co-împăratul Andronic al III-lea și bunicul său împăratul Andronic al II-lea. În cursul conflictului care se desfășură cu intermitențe între anii 1321 și 1328 un rol important îi reveni comunicării simbolice pe care Andronic al III-lea știu să o folosească în folosul său. Relevantă pentru problematica articolului este pacea de la Epibatai (1322) unde Andronic al III-lea reuși să manipuleze ritualul de salutare al împăratului și să-l transforme într-un ritual de supunere sărutând piciorul bunicului său. Andronic refuză conștient să-și salute bunicul în calitate de co-împărat și prin aceasta schimbă semnificația ritualul de salutare într-unul de supunere lucru confirmat de izvoarele bizantine. Acest episod al păcii de la Epibatai nu reprezintă singurul exemplu în care Andronic al III-lea acționă ca un ‚actor’ trecând de la rolul de co-împărat, care îi revenea din punct de vedere politic și care se manifesta și în ritual, la cel de simplu supus al bunicului său.

De remarcat că aceste manipulări erau posibile numai în cadrul unor ritualuri standardizate și bine-cunoscute ca cel al ceremoniei de salutare al împăratului, când orice deviere de la formă/normă era ușor de recunoscut de către cei care erau de față.

Andronic al III-lea se dovedi a fi un manipulator care speculă diferența fină, în ceea ce privește rangul și demnitatea, dintre împărat și co-împărat și reformulă astfel mesajul inițial al ritualului de salutare a împăratului.


Georgică GRIGORIȚĂ — Autonomie et synodalité dans l’Eglise orthodoxe (les prescriptions des saints canons et les réalités ecclésiales actuelles)

Rezumat: Autonomie și sinodalitate în Biserica Ortodoxă (dispozițiile Sfintelor Canoane și realitățile ecleziale actuale)

După anii 1990, în special în țările din fostul bloc comunist, Ortodoxia a cunoscut un amplu proces de reorganizare a structurilor sale administrative, proces în cadrul căruia s-au ivit numeroase dificultăți ce au pus în pericol chiar unitatea Bisericii Ortodoxe.

Cea mai dificilă situație întâlnită este cea a „co-teritorialității”, adică a coexistenței a două sau a mai multor Biserici Ortodoxe locale în același teritoriu. Trebuie subliniat că acest mod de organizare nu este specific Ortodoxiei, el fiind introdus abuziv în Biserica Ortodoxă abia în 1922, anul în care Meletios Metaxakis, fiind depus din scaunul de mitropolit al Atenei, se refugiază în Statele Unite ale Americii unde creează o Arhiepiscopie „specială” pentru ortodocșii americani de naționalitate greacă (Greek Archdiocese of North and South America), neținând cont că pe teritoriul american existau deja structuri ortodoxe locale canonic constituite de către misionarii ruși încă din sec. al XVIII-lea. Astfel pentru prima oară în istorie, două Biserici ortodoxe locale coexistă în același teritoriu: cea sub autoritatea Patriarhiei Moscovei și cea sub autoritatea Patriarhiei Constantinopolului. Pentru a le putea distinge, o nouă inovație își face apariția: adjectivul calificativ „greek” (grec) introdus în denumirea Biserici ortodoxe nou create.

Din păcate, această anomalie canonică – cu toate că este interzisă categoric de către canonul 8 al Sinodului I ecumenic – se regăsește astăzi în organizarea Ortodoxiei din Moldova, din Estonia și a întregii diaspore ortodoxe. În plus, pentru a putea justifica ecleziologic existența acestor situații absolut anormale, autoritățile (civile și/sau ecleziastice) implicate în crearea acestor structuri bisericești paralele au invocat, de obicei, principiul autonomiei bisericești.

Structurat în două părți, studiul prezintă mai întâi principiul autonomiei bisericești potrivit doctrinei canonice ortodoxe și raportul acestuia cu celelalte principii fundamentale de organizare ale Bisericii Ortodoxe, în special cu sinodalitatea. Potrivit doctrinei canonice ortodoxe, autonomia bisericească reprezintă independența administrativă a unei Biserici locale în raport cu Biserica sa mamă. Practic, autonomia bisericească este identificată cu capacitatea unei unități bisericești locale (eparhie, arhiepiscopie, mitropolie, patriarhat sau catolicosat) de a-și administra în mod independent propriile activități, rămânând totodată în comuniune canonică, dogmatică și liturgică cu întreaga Biserică Ortodoxă. În realitate, în interiorul Ortodoxiei, autonomia bisericească prezintă mai multe niveluri, dintre care cel mai scăzut este cel al autonomiei eparhiale, iar cel mai elevat este cel al autocefaliei. Prin sinodalitate, ecleziologia ortodoxă identifică orice modalitate de conducere în Biserică, ce urmează modelul sinodal, formulat de Mântuitorul Iisus Hristos și pus în practică de către Sfinții Apostoli prin întrunirea sinodului apostolic. Practic, sinodalitatea prevede ca autoritate supremă a fiecărei Biserici autocefale propriul său sinod de episcopi, prezidat de către întâistătătorul (πρῶτος) său, iar ca autoritate supremă a întregii Biserici ortodoxe, sinodul ecumenic. În consecință, în Biserica Ortodoxă nu există noțiunea de primat. Ordinea (ταξις) scaunelor episcopale ale întâistătătorilor Bisericilor autocefale nu indică decât ordinea onorifică a acestora, și nu creează, deci, niciun raport de subordonare între aceștia. Formula “πρεσβεῖα τῆς τιμῆς” (întâietatea de onoare) – folosită de către canonul 3 al sinodului II ecumenic și preluată parțial de către canonul 28 al sinodului IV ecumenic și de canonul 36 al sinodului in Trullo – este mai mult decât edificatoare: episcopii se consideră ca fiind frați și, în baza faptului că cetatea Constantonopolului era capitala Imperiului sau „noua Roma”, recunosc episcopului de Constantinopol dreptul onorific de întâi-născut. Este, așadar, o relație frățească ce nu creează niciun raport de subordonare. Aceasta reprezintă, deci, aplicarea practică a principiului autonomiei bisericești în raport cu sinodalitatea.

În cea de a doua parte, sunt analizate, din punct de vedere canonic, structurile organizaționale ale Ortodoxiei din Estonia și din Moldova, propunându-se totodată soluții canonice viabile pentru depășirea acestor situații dificile. Astfel, în Estonia există Biserica apostolică ortodoxă a Estoniei, înființată abuziv și anticanonic de către autoritățile civile estoniene cu ajutorul Patriarhiei de Constantinopol, și Biserica Ortodoxă a Estoniei, constituită canonic sub autoritatea Patriarhiei Moscovei în cadrul căreia beneficiază de statutul de Biserică „auto-administrată”. În Republica Moldova există Mitropolia Chișinăului și a întregii Moldove, creată abuziv și anticanonic de către autoritățile civile din Republica Moldova cu ajutorul Patriarhiei Moscovei, și Mitropolia Basarabiei, constituită canonic sub autoritatea Patriarhiei Române în cadrul căreia beneficiază de statutul de Biserică autonomă. În ambele cazuri, este clar că actuala situație de “co-teritorialitate” nu poate fi depășită decât printr-o reorganizare a Ortodoxiei locale în jurul structurii canonic constituite și recunoscute: Biserica Ortodoxă a Estoniei, în cazul Ortodoxiei estoniene, și Mitropolia Basarabiei, în cazul Ortodoxiei moldave.

În plus, studiul identifică și analizează din punct de vedere canonic și cauza efectivă a „co-teritorialității”: tendința Patriarhiei de Constantinopol de a pretinde injust și arbitrar dreptul de autoritate asupra întregii diaspore ortodoxe. Ca răspuns la această pretenție hegemonică, Patriarhia de Moscova a reacționat în mod exagerat inventând un nou statut ecleziologic, absolut străin tradiției și doctrinei canonice ortodoxe, și anume cel al Bisericii auto-administrate. Demonstrând că ambele tendințe nu reprezintă decât grave devieri de la tradiția și de la doctrina canonică ortodoxă, studiul indică o unică modalitate de depășire a actualelor probleme organizaționale ale Ortodoxiei: aplicarea autonomiei bisericești doar în strictă coroborare cu celelalte principii fundamentale de organizare, în special cu cel al sinodalității.

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