NR. 1 – 2012

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2012.1

Rev. Ștefăniță BARBU — Orthodox Diaspora in the Context of the Debates over Primacy

Rezumat: Diaspora ortodoxă în contextul discuțiilor despre primat

Studiul de față este o propunere de a vedea discuțiile purtate la nivel inter-ortodox pe tema diasporei prin prisma operei ecleziologice a mitropolitului Ioannis Zizioulas. Autorul prezentului studiu consideră că există o legătură indisolubilă între problema diasporei, sau mai corect – problema jurisdicției asupra comunităților ortodoxe din diaspora – și problema primatului în Biserica Ortodoxă. Această legătură a devenit mai evidentă cu ocazia recentelor discuții inter-ortodoxe avute la Chambésy (2009) ce au rolul de a pregăti realizarea mult așteptatului Sinod Pan-Ortodox.

În prima parte a studiului, autorul oferă o scurtă analiză asupra diasporei ortodoxe care se dovedește a fi o realitate complexă ce combină aspecte național-culturale cu aspecte religioase. Realitatea acestor comunități ortodoxe aflate în diaspora ridică probleme atât juridico-canonice cât și ecleziologice, ce sunt legate mai ales de existența jurisdicțiilor ortodoxe paralele. Astfel, în diferite orașe vest-europene sau nord-americane se pot întâlni mai multe Episcopii Ortodoxe, care își exercită autoritatea pe același teritoriu.

Tot în această primă parte autorul întreprinde o scurtă evaluare a statutului Patriarhiei de Constantinopol în lumea ortodoxă prin prisma vechilor hotărâri sinodale cât și a unor teologi ortodocși moderni, punând în evidență viziunile diferite existente asupra acestui statut.

Cea de-a doua parte a studiului aduce în discuție viziunea ecclesiologică a mitropolitului Zizioulas. Analizând pe scurt viziunea ecclesiologică a mitropolitului Zizioulas, autorul indică tendințele eclezial-subordinaționiste ale acestuia, tendințe ce se referă nu doar la o subordonare a Bisericii față de episcop, ci și a sinodului față de întâi-stătătorul/președintele sau în detrimentul koinoniei.

Partea a treia a studiului, pornind de la constatarea că mitropolitul Zizioulas este președintele atât Comisiei Internaționale Ortodoxe de dialog cu Biserica Romano-Catolică ce a participat la emiterea documentului de la Ravena (2007) privind primatul în Biserică, cât și al Comisiei Inter-Ortodoxe de pregătire a Sfântului și Marelui Sinod Pan-Ortodox ce a discutat problema diasporei în 2009, autorul studiului ridică problema interdependenței celor două subiecte.

Astfel, concluzionând, autorul acestui studiu consideră că în ceea ce privește discuțiile inter-ortodoxe, subiectul jurisdicției asupra diasporei cât și cel al primatului în Ortodoxie sunt strâns legate, soluționarea unuia ținând de soluționarea celuilalt.

Ilie CHIȘCARI — Is 52:13-53:12 nei manoscritti biblici del Mar Morto

Summary: Is 52:13-53:12 in the Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls opened a new direction for Biblical Studies research, allowing scholars to compare texts that had previously been known only in the Old Testament corpus of writings, with this rich collection of biblical and non-biblical literature. The Isaiah scroll is one of the major writings among the Qumran documents, and the only biblical text found to be almost complete (1QIsaa).

The present study addresses the various versions of the Fourth Servant Song (Is 52:13-53:12), one of the best known fragments in the Scriptures, but also one of the most controversial ones. The purpose of this investigation is to identify the possible textual variants justifying the presupposition of a “sectarian” messianic interpretation of this text by the Qumran community. This comparative analysis has approached all available variants of Is 52:13-53:12 so far identified at Qumran: 1QIsaa, 1QIsab, 4QIsab, 4QIsac and 4QIsad. Among these versions, 1QIsaa is especially important for the interpretation of Is 53, and mainly its dating in late 2nd century BC, which makes it the oldest monument of this scriptural excerpt.

The analysis is mainly a linguistic one, explaining the phonetic, morphological and syntactic variations caused by the dialectal specificity of the times when they were written. In the case of variations in contents, we have attempted to ascertain the reasons for the respective alterations, as well as the possible theological trends able to justify them. We mention the form משחתי in 1QIsaa version of Is 52:14, which has generated many hypotheses concerning the messianic interpretation of this hymn by the Dead Sea community. We also note the agreements between the Qumran texts and the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint), differing from the massoretic text (cf. Is 53:11).

This thorough examination of textual differences does not reveal a marked sectarian stance regarding the theology of the Suffering Servant, diverging from that of traditional Judaism, namely the massoretic text. Interventions in the text do not aim to alter traditional significance, but only to clarify certain difficult parts. Most changes are linguistic and not exegetical, so that the Qumran texts can be deemed testimonies as valuable as the massoretic text for the reconstruction of the original text of the Book of Isaiah.

Those who seek a solution to the messianic problem in the Qumran scrolls should bear in mind G. García Martínez’s statement: „the Dead Sea scrolls do not explain Christianity, but help us better know Judaism that engendered Christianity”. Textual variants of Is 52:13-53:12 do not suffice to consider Dead Sea literature closer to Christian teachings than the Judaic text of the Old Testament. The reason for employing Is 53 as a biblical excerpt underlying the Christian teaching about the sufferings and exaltation of Messiah must be found in other texts evincing a different theological stance than traditional Judaism.

Pr. Radu Petre MUREȘAN — Anunțul morții și practici funerare în societatea românească după 1990

Summary: Obituaries and Funeral Practices in the Romanian Society after 1990

Contemporary Romanian society is undergoing an interesting restructuring of religious mentality. On the one hand, traditional Christian values are restored after 50 years of atheist propaganda; on the other, we witness a new secularization process, mainly affecting the generations born and educated over the last 20 years. It is manifest in a de-Christianized perception of world and life, and the separation of religious experience from the Church, as an institution. The present study addresses the extent to which the views on death and the attitude towards the deceased are still anchored in traditional Christian values, or in this new paradigm of secularization.

We have examined the obituaries published in the daily newspaper „România Liberă” in January 1992, January 1999, January 2010 (partially), respectively January 2011. For a better understanding of the sources as well as formulas employed in these notices, we have also investigated the obituaries published by the same newspaper in January 1989, respectively during the interwar period (January 1928, April 1943).  They provide valuable insight into our contemporaries’ attitude towards death. However, their limitations hardly allow generalizations. Firstly, the stereotypical manner of writing does not enable us to collect statistical data on the age, profession, or religion of the deceased. Secondly, obituaries are published mainly by the urban population, especially the well-off, usually intellectuals. Thus they reflect the views concerning death of a rather small category. 

The preferred formula chosen to announce the death of a relative, colleague or friend,  in the obituaries published after 1990 is „departing this life”. Generally, during the communist times, as well as the 1990s the term „death” tended to be avoided and replaced with „departure” „decease” or „loss”, or other, more abstract ones. The closing formula „May God grant him/her eternal rest” shyly emerged in the 1990s obituaries. The years 2010 and 2011 saw numerous obituaries with Christian wording, proving that religious education in schools and catechization in churches started to produce results. However, non-Christian or neutral statements were also published. I mention the formula „ceased living [literally: passed into non-existence]”, sadly inherited from the communist period, and still frequently uttered on the radio or TV, when the death of a public figure is announced. In the 1990s, such obituaries also contained the closing formula „May God grant him/her eternal rest”. It is a paradox, because „passing into non-existence”, that is nothingness, excludes the belief in God, soul and the afterlife.

Among the 1899 obituaries investigated, 20 announce cremation. In Romania, the burial rate is 99%. Even the persons who are not devout Christians avoid cremation. According to the data recently provided by the Administration of Cemeteries and Crematories to „Evenimentul zilei” newspaper, 270 000 persons were buried in the year 2010, while only 855 were cremated, amounting to 0,3%. Certainly, they included adherents to foreign religions who died in Romania, namely Chinese, Hinduists, Buddhists etc. The main promoter of cremation in Romania is  Amurg Cremation Association, founded in February 2010 by a group of scholars and members of the academic staff in Transylvania, joined by undertaker entrepreneurs. The association is closely connected to the Cremation Society of Great Britain and is actively involved in research carried out into this topic. It offers free counselling on any aspect of human cremation, as well as Romanian- and foreign-languages literature, cremations in the Szeged crematory (Hungary), and the legal documents for those wishing to be cremated (notary public documents) etc.

The first voices proposing cremation as an alternative to burial, appeared in Romania in the second half of the 19th century. They belonged to prominent physicias who mentioned cremation as a solution for safeguarding public health, as epidemics swept through Bucharest. In 1923 was established „Nirvana Society” (later „Cenușa”), founded by  dr. Mina Minovici and Radu Rosetti. „Cenușa” crematory was built between 1925-1928, with the support of the Bucharest city council. In 1934 was issued the periodical „Flacăra Sacră” which promoted cremation and rallied its supporters. According to this publication, 2705 persons were cremated between 1928-1934.

The first human cremation was performed at this crematory on January 27, 1928. The event generated heated debates at the time, published by the times’ main newspapers, and prompted the response of the Romanian Orthodox Church. The Holy Synod decided that „a Christian funeral service cannot be celebrated for cremated persons, since human cremation contradicts the doctrine of the Orthodox Church”. This decision was confirmed by the Holy Synod in 1933, and expresses the official stance of the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Communism adopted cremation in order to demonstrate its opposition to Christianity and promote the materialistic view on world and life. During the first communist decade, cremation was the preferred practice for the new elites; however it failed to become mainstream and new crematories were not built. On the contrary, the communist leaders Petru Groza and Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej were buried, the former even with the attendance of priests and celebrants of all denominations. In December 1989, the bodies of 40 persons killed in Timișoara were secretly cremated in Bucharest, during the respective events. In 1993 a second crematory („Vitan Bârzești”) was opened. It operated in parallel with „Cenușa”, until the latter was closed for repairs in 2003. Today „Vitan Bârzești” Crematory is the only working one in Romania.

The foundation of „Cenușa” Society in 1923 and especially the first cremation of 1928  generated intense debate in church press. Theologians deemed this practice to be anti-Christian and stressed the dogmatical and liturgical implications of this innovation. „Glasul monahilor” review published vehement articles against cremation. Rev. Marin Ionescu, serving at Cuibul cu Barză Church, one of the major contributors to „Glasul Monahilor”, prompted the establishment of a Christian association named „Potter’s Field” for the burial of the poor so that they would not end up in the crematory. Rev. Marin Ionescu was sued by the supporters of cremation, for slander and defaming, and the 1928 trials divided the audience into supporters, respectively adversaries of cremation.

The Orthodox Church opposes this practice for biblical, theological, liturgical reasons, and on the grounds of its tradition. The Orthodox Church teaches that the human being is made up of body and soul and that both are called to enter the Kingdom of God. The body is not a prison, a place of exile for the immortal soul, but a „temple of the Holy Spirit” (I Cor. VI, 19-20). Therefore the Church cannot agree with the promoters of cremation, who claim that „the soul is immortal, but the body is perishable and death reduces it to useless, unsightly remnants of life” (the website of  Amurg Cremation Association). Cremation is one of the post-modern man’s practices, expressing his religious indifferentism and his utilitarian-consumerist attitude. The body is no longer regarded as integral to the human being who will enter the Kingdom of God with body and soul, but rather as a soul’s container, an object which the family of the deceased must dispose of, as soon as possible.

Oana Mădălina POPESCU — Mănăstirea Zlătari din București sub domnia lui Constantin Brâncoveanu: documente noi

Summary: Zlătari Monastery during the Reign of Constantin Brâncoveanu: New Documents

This study is based on some information, provided by several new documents, unpublished up to now, regarding the history of Zlătari, a monastic church in Bucharest. Dating back from the second half of the sixteenth century, in accordance with the archaeological evidences, this church appears in written documents only at the middle of the seventeenth century.

As we know, the church was dedicated to the Apostolic Throne of Alexandria, by Constantin Brâncoveanu, the ruler of Valachia. The acts we are analysing in our paper bring to light the relations between the above-mentioned patriarchate place and this Romanian monastery on the one hand and reveal the moment of the dedication, on the other hand.

The first act discovered up to the present talking about Zlătari Monastery as being devoted to the Patriarchate of Alexandria comes from the 20 of June 1708. It is about a document, issued by Thoma and his wife Stana, who give a vineyard to Zlătari church, which belonged, at that time, to the Apostolic Throne of Alexandria. Another document, emitted on 1 July 1708, proves that the church was dedicated to the same religious throne in the time of Constantin Brâncoveanu. The two documents we are referring at, written in the Greek Language, are preserved at the Public Record Office.

A deed written in 1719 talks about Dionisois, the hierarch of Ohrida, who was appointed manager of Zlătari, by Samuil Capasulis, the patriarch of Alexandria, so the act underlines the cooperation between the two hierarchs.

There is also a diptych, dating back from the middle of the nineteenth century, issued by Athanasios, the hegoumenos of the monastery, which is very important for the history of the church. It contains the names of the founders of the church and gives some clues about the main stages of construction, restoration and embellishing of this building. It also attests the names of Athanasie and Calistrat, two of the superiors of Zlătari Monastery in the nineteenth century, who have also the dignity of metropolitan bishops of Livia, a diocese of Egipt.

So, assuming as a basis the information provided by the above-mentioned documents, we can draw the conclusion that the monastery is rather a collective foundation than a nobiliary one, although Mihai Cantacuzino, a high official of that time, endowed the church with important estates. Then again, we came to the conclusion that the monastery was dedicated to Alexandria in the time of Constantin Brâncoveanu, on the occasion of the visits of the patriarch Gherasim Palada in Valachia.

Tarcisius MOVILEANU — Relațiile Bisericii Ortodoxe Române cu Patriarhia Ecumenică între anii 1960-2010

Summary: The Relationships of the Romanian Orthodox Church with the Ecumenical Patriarchate between 1960-2010

In its first part, the paper presents the problems of contemporary society, the state of mankind and the contribution of Orthodoxy in this confused world, estranged from God. The Orthodox Church comprises several autocephalous national Churches, completely independent from each other. This does not mean that Orthodoxy has ceased to constitute a community, to be a unitary ecumenical Church. The long-standing organization of autocephalous churches proves that maintaining Church unity and ecumenicity has been possible under the circumstances of its natural division. The Church is one. It is the mystical body of our Saviour and, just as He cannot be divided, His body cannot be divided either. Its role is not to divide worshippers according to their options, but to unite them all in Christ. The doctrine on the unity of the Church derives from the unity of God, one essence in three Persons, tending towards achieving this unity of the Church. The Orthodox Church wishes that each of the sister Churches should live its own life, with its own language and traditions, thus enjoying unity in diversity.

The second part of the paper provides a chronological presentation of the relationships maintained by the Romanian Orthodox Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate, between 1960-2010. Starting with patriarch Justinian, we mention his participation in the four pan-Orthodox conferences at Rhodos (1961, 1963 și 1964) and Geneva (1968), summoned by Athenagoras, as well as the millennium celebrations of the Holy Mount Athos (June 21-26, 1963). In the year  1967, on the anniversary of 450 years since the consecration of Neagoe Basarab’s cathedral, the Ecumenical Patriarchate delegated Chrysostomos of Austria to our country. During the tenure of patriarch Justinian Marina, the Romanian Orthodox Church became a full member of the Ecumenical Council of Churches, at the third general assembly in New-Delhi (November 20, 1961). Ecumenism cannot be separated from ecclesiology, since it presuposes the visible existence of the one and single Church. „One” is not a numerical expression, but a qualitative structure, the structure of unity given by the communion of faith, doctrine, sacraments, worship and canonic discipline. The Ecumenical Council of Churches seeks new ways to bring Churches closer, to establish convergence principles and avoid dissent. The Orthodox Church evinces an ecumenical openness on practical aspects towards all Christians, irrespective of their denomination, however without abandoning or altering its doctrinal treasury. The paper goes on to present the actions of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Romanian Orthodox Church within the ecumenical movement, through participation in ecumenical conferences, whose merit is to further the relationships between Churches, set and maintain their course, the progress towards union. Patriarch Iustin, most likely because of the totalitarian regimes, made only one visit to Constantinople (April 14-17, 1978).

Then followed the most fruitful period in the relationships with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, during the tenure of Patriarch Teoctist. He visited Constantinople between :

May 14-20, 1987 (irenic visit), October 7-9, 1991 (funerals of patriarch Dimitrios I), November 2, 1991 (the enthronement of the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew I), March 10-16, 1992 (the first Synaxis of the patriarchs of Orthodox Churches), August 26 – September 2, 1994 (anniversary of 150 years since the establishment of the Faculty of Theology in Halki), September 26-29, 1998 (the re-consecration of St. Paraskevi church, rebuilt in the year 1692 by prince Constantin Brâncoveanu, as well as a visit to the Faculty of Theology on Halki island and the Holy Trinity church), December 2327, 2000 (upon the assembly of the patriarchs of the Orthodox Churches, to celebrate 2000 since the nativity of Lord Jesus Christ) and May 18-24, 2004 (blessing the beginning of Romanian-language services at St. Paraskevi church in Istanbul). On September 22 – 27, 1995, patriarch Teoctist participated in the celebrations organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on Patmos island, on the 1900th anniversary of the Apocalypse book, and between January 4-8, 2000 in the assembly of Orthodox Churches’ patriarchs in Bethlehem, on the aniversary of 2000 years of Christianity.

In response, during patriarch’s Teoctist tenure, the Ecumenical Patriarchate visited Romania:

On November 16, 1986 (upon the enthronement of patriarch Teoctist, being represented by metropolitan Chrysostomos of Myra), between September 16-21, 1987 (His Sanctity Dimitrios I returned the irenic visit of patriarch Teoctist), on April 30, 1988 (for an exchange of opinions with the Romanian Patriarchate, before summoning the preparatory pan-Orthodox Committee), between August 12-18, 1994 (His Sanctity Bartholomew I made his first visit to Romania as an ecumenical patriarch), October 21– November 1, 1995 (on the anniversary of the Romanian Orthodox Church’s 110 years of autocephaly and 70 years of patriarchate), October 11-16, 1997 (the feast of St. Paraskevi and celebration of 500 years since the foundation of Neamț Monastery), October 26-28, 1999 (the feast of St. Demetrius the New, the patron saint of Bucharest), October 10-14, 2000 (the feast of St. Paraskevi), October 15-21, 2004 (the anniversary of 500 years since the death of prince Steven the Great and Holy) and March 4-7, 2005 (celebration of the  Romanian Orthodox Church’s 120 years of autocephaly and 80 years of patriarchate, as well as the 90th anniversary of patriarch Teoctist).

The tenure of His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel included his irenic visit to Constantinople in May 2009, as well as the response visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on October 26,  2010, on the feast day of Blessed Demetrius the New, the patron saint of Bucharest, as well as the anniversary of 1685 years since the first Ecumenical Council of Nicea (325), 125 years since the official acknowledgement of the Romanian Orthodox Church’s autocephaly (1885) and  85 years since its elevation to Patriarchate (1925).

The Romanian Orthodox Church promotes both bilateral and pan-Orthodox  relationships with the sister Orthodox churches. Consolidating and developing these fraternal bonds is achieved through mutual visits, participation in assemblies, conferences or pan-Orthodox congresses. The main objective is to strengthen pan-Orthodox unity and improve the moral status of Orthodoxy in the world, so that it can provide aid and its special contribution to solving the problems of contemporary multicultural and multi-denominational society, challenged by secularism.

Daniel LEMENI — „Școala din Gaza”: o renaștere a îndrumării spirituale în tradiția bizantină timpurie

Summary: „Gaza School”: A Revival of Spiritual Guidance in Early Byzantine Tradition

The present study, based on the Correspondence of two great Elders,  respectively the personality of Abba Dorotheus, their most outstanding disciple, aims to ascertain how spiritual guidance was appropriated by early Byzantine tradition. Since the role of spiritual directors assumed by Saints Barsanuphios and John – the two remarkable figures of Gaza monasticism – was exerted both within the monastery and outside it, a first conclusion is, naturally, that the network of spiritual directors settled at Tawatha was the local expression of an extremely flexible, elastic system of spiritual guidance, unmatched in Eastern Mediterranean Christianity. Thus, the participation of laymen in the vast correspondence exchanged by the two Elders in their capacity as spiritual fathers, throughout their lives, has challenged the traditional view on spiritual guidance understood ipso facto as an exclusive relationsip between monks.

Indeed, the Correspondence reveals that both monks and laymen stressed that the personal relationship between an Elder (géron) and his spiritual children was the core around which the practice of spiritual guidance developed in early Byzantine tradition. Just as it happened with the Desert Fathers, the Correspondence of Saints Barsanuphios and John illustrates the charismata as the fundamental criterion by which a monk assumes the role of spiritual director.

The character of these two great Elders’ ascetical practices has led us to the conclusion that a true spiritual father takes not only the stance of a spiritual director offering advice, but especially that of an anadochos, that is, a guarantor of his disciples’ spiritual life. Thus, the notion of „burden-bearer” – based on Galatians 6, 2 („Bear each others burdens [emphasis mine] and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ”) – was one of the most remarkable and innovative ascetic practices in early Byzantine world. This fundamental text of Gaza ascetic tradition expresses an essential truth: namely, there must be genuine solidarity between a spiritual director and his disciples, they must be „one soul” (homopyuhos).

In other words, if a géron’s role is not confined to spiritual guidance, the authority of a patèr pneumatikós is not only due to his doctrinal superiority but is a higher authority pertaining to a kinship, like the one between a father and his son. Thus by placing the practice of spiritual guidance in the sphere of spiritual experience, our tenet is that the Elder is not only a director, but mainly a father (patér). Moreover, this „Gaza school” (L. Perrone) proves that the spiritual father is an intercessor par excellence, since he is a vehicle of grace, that is the germination medium through which the Holy Spirit operates this eclosion of spiritual life within the disciple.

In other words, the spiritual father assumes the role of a mediator, since the renewal of the Christian now seen as a son of God is based on the agency of the Holy Spirit. Thus the considerations above argue in favor of understanding spiritual guidance as spiritual obstetrics, as in Eastern Christian spirituality the essential role of an Elder is always to „gestate” and „give spiritual birth” to his disciples. Ultimately, this longue durée process reveals the aim and the essential calling of any true spiritual father.

Pr. Patriciu VLAICU — Biserica Ortodoxă în fața problematicii căsătoriilor mixte

Summary: The Orthodox Church’s Position towards Mixed Marriages

In today’s context marked by cultural and religious pluralism, professional mobility, massive population displacements, a new attitude towards communications, time and space, the matter of mixed marriages is increasingly important and requires a responsible doctrinal and canonical approach. The present study offers the author’s threefold perspective – from the doctrinal, canonical and pastoral standpoint – on the extremely relevant and complex issue of mixed marriages.

Since its inception, the Church has encountered marriage as a civil social institution and, as it organized and structured its doctrine and life, it appropriated the civil marriage through the sacramental union. Although the Apostles and their disciples did not encourage mixed marriages, and even recommended to avoid them, the fact that Apostle Paul and the Holy Fathers as well as canonical Tradition allowed a convert spouse to cohabitate with the non-Christian other, demonstrates that there was no doctrinal incompatibility regarding family cohabitation between an Orthodox and a non-Orthodox. The Church’s circumspection has a pastoral character, intended to avoid the risk of religious indifference or abandonment of Orthodoxy due to the mixed marriage. Canon 31 Laodicea and Canon 14 of the fourth Ecumenical Council allow mixed marriages only if the non-Orthodox spouse pledged to adhere to the Orthodox Church. This also shows that both spouses’ belonging to the Orthodox Church was not an absolute condition for receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony. The fudamental prerequisite for a mixed marriage is the spouses’ willingnes and commitment to start a family in the Orthodox Church, baptize and raise their children in the Orthodox Church.

Based on the fact that mixed marriages were prohibited on pastoral and disciplinarian grounds, and not for a doctrinal reason, local Churches resorted to a nuanced approach and were more strict (to oppose the danger of proselytism) or more permissive, when pastoral-missionary circumstances required lenience. This economy concerning mixed marriages was the decision of the local bishop on behalf of the entire Church, according to the decisions of the Synod of the Autocephalous Church he belonged to, decisions made in the spirit of communion with the entire Orthodox Church. Imposing strictness at all costs, with regard to mixed marriages, may prompt the non-Orthodox spouse to adhere only formally. One who joins the Othodox Church only to please the Orthodox spouse, but not freely and willingly, cannot be considered an actual member of the Church.

The Orthodox Church evinces understanding and openness towards those who wish to bring their families closer to the Church, including the members of mixed families. The pastoral openness of the Church should not be understood as its accepting a relativization of the religious awareness. It is a manifestation of its economy, in the etymological meaning of the term, namely the management of Church life. In its pastoral activity, the Church evinces respect to the freedom granted by God to man, freedom with which God Himself will not interfere. Respecting freedom, however, is not unconditional tolerance to disorder or ignoring the risks, but a pedagogical concern with assuming rules willingly. The Church also points out that if differences in mentality and values are not taken into account, they may cause great difficulties in the life of mixed families or even jeopardize the progress of spouses and their children. Instead, when Church’s spiritual children keep close to it, despite their problems and shortcomings, the Church does not reject them, but strives to reintegrate them to te extent that they are able to do so. Therefore the Church should intensify its activity to prepare teenagers and young people for family life, and tackle all issues related to family life in Christ and in the Church.

Arhim. Policarp CHIȚULESCU — Noi manuscrise – posibile autografe – aparținând monahului Gavriil Uric de la Neamț

Summary: New Manuscripts Written by the monk Gavriil Uric from the Neamț Monastery

In the collections of the Holy Synod Library in Bucharest, there have recently been discovered two manuscripts from the XVth century, written by the hand of the great Romanian artist the monk Gavriil Uric from the Neamț monastery. The two manuscripts contain literary pieces by very well known byzantine authors: the saints John of Damascus, Gregory the Theologian, Theodor the Studite and others. The manuscripts are copied with cursive characters in the medio-Bulgarian language, conceived by the Slavonic School at the Studion monastery in Constantinople, which had strong ties with the Romanian Countries. The two manuscripts enrich the repertoir of works copied by Gavriil Uric, enlarging the list of the 20 manuscripts known so far, copied by Gavriil Uric: 12 are in Romania, 7 in Russia, 1 in Ukraine, 1 in Moldova, 1 in England. The content of the two volumes that were recently discovered shows the fact that Romanian monks knew the works of more recent byzantine authors, like for example the patriarch of Constantinople Gregory of Cyprus.

Marian CROITORU — Transplanturile de organe în lumina Teologiei ortodoxe: câteva considerații din gândirea unor teologi greci, decizii și texte sinodale din lumea ortodoxă privind transplanturile și problematica lor teologico-morală

Summary: Organ Transplantation in the Light of the Orthodox Theology

Transplantation, which is the transfer of organs, cells and tissues, began many centuries ago as a primitive practice and has since evolved into a modern reality. Written accounts from Egypt, China, Greece and India, dating back many centuries, describe experimentation in grafting and transplantation. Chronic organ diseases and the increasing demand for organ transplantation have become important health care issues within the last few decades. Further efforts to avoid and control the mechanism of rejection of the transplanted organs led to the discovery of new drugs, still without overcoming the problem of the immune response. 

This article discusses the problems concerning the medical practice of transplantation from the point of view of the Orthodox Theology, especially how it is lived and expressed by the contemporary Greek theologians, scholars and hierarchs, and focuses some aspects, like: the two ways of knowledge that the Orthodox teaching distinguishes, with their organs and methods of perception and experimentation of the reality; a short review of the historical background concerning the practice of transplants; some scientific orientative data; the axes of the moral-spiritual and dogmatic issues which concern especially the sources of transplants, the conception of brain death, the presumed consent, the status of the donor and of the recipient etc.; the desire to find biblical and canonical basis for the practice of transplantation; the inter-religious approach to the transplantation; decisions and synodical texts in the Orthodox world concerning the transplants and their theological-moral problems; the vision of the Orthodox Theology regarding the transplants from the perspective of Greek theologians; the dilemma of the brain death (since this notion was introduced in the medical terminology by the ad-hoc Committee of the University of Harvard in 1968, it has attracted many comments); the spiritual dimension of the transplants.

Pr. Sorin ȘELARU / George VÂLCU — Studiul Religiei (SR) în școlile publice din statele membre ale Uniunii Europene

Summary: Religious Education (RE) in Public Schools of the Member States of the European Union

In the past few years, a fiery debate has been going on in Romania concerning the role and status of Religious Education (RE) or lack thereof in the state school system. In this context, it has often been claimed that the current state of affairs, which provides for a weekly class of RE in the primary and secondary cycles, is in obvious contradiction with European realities and trends, and thus hinders the democratic evolution and the progress in knowledge of the society. On the other hand, more than a few citizens regard Europe rather suspiciously, and consider that if RE will eventually be x-out, this will certainly be an outcome of the way too enthusiastic obedience to the omnipotent orders and directives coming from Brussels. Yet even a hasty overview of the facts reveals, quite to the contrary, that the presence of RE is even being consolidated at both communitarian and national level throughout the EU.

Situating it in the wider frame of European common policies, one can see that, according to the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, the field of education is neither among those falling under the exclusive responsibility of the European institutions, nor among those for which the responsibility is to be shared with the member states. It remains that the organization of education lies fully in the hands of national governments. The EU can, however, contribute to the process at the level of secondary legislation, only through recommendations or opinions (which member states have the freedom to follow or not).

Another European institution which functions on the basis of recommendations is the Council of Europe, but its recommendations are far from suggesting the necessity to eliminate RE from public schools. In fact, given the ever-increasing cultural and therewith religious diversity on the continent, the CoE seems to have slightly altered its stance on the topic, going as far as recommending to its member states to provide for the organization of (non-confessional) RE in all schools. A more or less similar trend can be ascribed to the European Court of Human Rights, which, while vigorously defending the unnegociability of both parents’ and children’s religious freedom, has find it appropriate to leave the issue of RE at the discretion of each national government.

Going further, at the national level, one will discover a wide range of approaches in terms of designation, structuring, financing, training and appointing of teachers, as well as a variety of issues and debates which are particular to the specific historical, cultural, or confessional setting of a certain country or region. Nonetheless, beyond this at times even discouraging diversity, a series of evolutions or tendencies can be pointed out to, which are representative for all (or most) of the countries under observation. Thus, for instance, one can see a slight shift in the motivation laying at the basis of the presence of RE in public schools, from the conscience of the necessity thereof for any child towards more pragmatic reasons, e.g. combating religious fundamentalism, facilitating the understanding of a given historic and cultural heritage a.o. In a similar fashion a certain inner secularization of the curriculum for RE is easily observable, in the sense that priority is being given increasingly to an as objective as possible outlook on the major religious traditions of the world. It is then not hard to see that the aim of RE is not any longer to form faithful adherents for one specific confessional community, but to educate citizens able to live in a pluralistic world.

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