NR. 3 – 2016

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2016.3

Prof. Conf. Dr. Radu Petre MUREȘAN Misiunea creștină în România nouă. Omagiu profesorului Vasile Ispir (1886-1947)

Summary: Christian mission in the new Romania. Tribute to Professor Vasile Ispir (1886-1947)

In a conference delivered in 1933, Professor Vasile Ispir put forth a diagnosis of the missionary situation of the country in the aftermath of the Great Union, pointing out that the great event of the national reunification had resulted in „a new shaping of the Romanian soul”; therefore the greatest challenge faced by the New Romania resided in achieving the „spiritual unity of the Romanian people”. New Romania could only be built on ethical, moral and spiritual grounds, and only so could it assert itself among the other European peoples. This deeply held belief prompted the erudite professor of missiology of the interwar period to produce works that were significant not necessarily by their number but especially due to his insight into contemporary realities, the originality of his missionary thinking, the interdependence of his words and deeds, his moral integrity that lent great power to his words.

The biography of professor Vasile Ispir can be easily found in theological journals, especially the festschrifts dedicated to anniversaries of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Bucharest, as well as the obituaries published for his death. The present article dwells on those elements able to shed light on the main directions he followed in his activity: his training at Oxford University, fighting in the First World War battles, working as a professor of missiology, then as a secretary general at the Ministry of Cults and Arts under the government of I.C. Brătianu (1922-1926), his participation in the inter-Christian (ecumenical) dialogue during the inter-war period, being constantly present in the delegations of the Romanian Orthodox Church to various international congresses and meetings.

The modern readers of the books and brochures published by the great professor of missiology might be surprised to discover that the problems he noted at the time, against which the Orthodox Church was called to take action, were not very different from today’s ones: atheistic materialism, the positivism instilled by modern technology, the state-endorsed paganism denying the civilizing role of Christianity and seeking to replace it with an anti-Christian religion, and in addition the bolshevik communism of the times. Professor Vasile Ispir considered that spiritual regress of his times was due to a number of factors which he grouped into three main categories: a) insufficient knowledge and experience of the Orthodox faith; b) poverty and material deprivation; c) the propaganda carried out by the new religious movements. It is important to stress that Vasile Ispir was a professor of missiology who did not simply identify missionary issues, but also put forth concrete solutions to remedy them and was personally involved in implementing them. The solution he proposed was to tap into the enthusiasm and energy of the youth in order to reinvigorate faith, according to the model of England, where students of various universities volunteered to join missionary societies. In 1926, professor Vasile Ispir took the initiative of establishing in Bucharest the Missionary Association of Orthodox Christian Students, with the purpose of defending and propagating Orthodox Christian religion. The greatest achievement of professor Vasile Ispir, through the Missionary Association of Orthodox Christian Students, was the Sunday School – a carefully organized institution which functioned throughout the interwar period.

One of the great challenges faced by internal mission in the New Romania, which engaged the attention of professor Vasile Ispir to the greatest degree, was the new religious movements’ propaganda. „The sect issue” in the interwar period was not a challenge posed exclusively to the Church, but also a problem of great importance to the state authorities, which were making great efforts to integrate all provinces into the economic, social-political and religious life of greater Romania. This was also the belief of professor Vasile Ispir: the propaganda of those new religious movements impacted not only the theological or ecclesial life, but also the national one. The main tenet of professor Vasile Ispir was that religion cannot be simply defined as the relationship between man and God, but is equally includes the concrete social manifestation of this relationship, which is the Church.

In the opinion of professor Vasile Ispir, sectarism is incontestably a frequent occurence in the development of religion in general, and is closely connected to the interplay between freedom of the faith and Church authority. However, in the particular context created in the aftermath of the Great Union of 1918, the atmosphere of spiritual anarchy generated in Romania by the „misunderstood right to freedom” did nothing to solidify national unity. Since nation is not only a social organism, but also a spiritual reality, then it is most seriously affected when the spiritual bond among community members is broken, with some of these members adhering to various religious movements.

Professor Vasile Ispir personally engaged in this missionary battle he deemed crucial for the spiritual unity of the Romanian people. Beginning in 1926, he trained two student teams „to study and combat the sects”, in order to send them to other eparchies over the summer holidays. One of these teams reached Bessarabia, where they received material and moral support from bishop Visarion Puiu of Hotin, while the other went to Arad, where it was endorsed by bishop Grigore Comșa of Arad. Thus the students in Theology could directly observe the activity of various denominations, especially the Innocentist and Baptist ones. However, professor Vasile Ispir considered that no missionary initiative could be undertaken in the absence of strong religious policies enforced by the Romanian state, and of concrete measures aimed to prevent the spread of sectarian dissent.

Professor Vasile Ispir was one of the main promoters in the New Romania of Social Christianity – a movement which had emerged in England (known as Social Gospel) a century earlier and which in Romania was centered around the prominent personality of the bishop of Râmnicul Noului Severin, Bartolomeu Stănescu (1875-1954). In Romania, this project of social Christianity was placed under the high patronage of the Metropolitan-Primate (later Patriarch) Miron Cristea, and produced a number of conferences and study groups in Bucharest, as well as other eparchies (Roman, Râmnic), and later led to the establishment of the Summer University at Neamț Monastery. Today’s researchers into this type of social Christianity in interwar Romania point out that both the study group and the journal, published between 1920-1926, were short-lived and failed to impact the social and political environment of the times. This was due, on the one hand, to the great criticism which met the social Christianity movement as its promoters were accused of modernism, and on the other hand to the fact that the champion of this movement, bishop Bartolomeu Stănescu, grew gradually estranged from the study group in an attempt to impose social Christianity in the eparchy of Râmnicul Noului Severin, which he shepherded.

Professor Vasile Ispir admits in one of his writings that it was a „bold enterprise” to undertake for unknown, even anonymous persons, to look for solutions to social problems and for remedies to thetimes’ crisis. Lack of experience, however, was compensated in his case, as he stated, by fervent faith tested in the war. In the pages of „Solidaritatea [Solidarity]” periodical, and the brochures where he tackled this issue, professor Vasile Ispir expounded the theoretical grounds of social Christianity, based on the premise that religion by definition is a social phenomenon. Social Christianity, professor Vasile Ispir argued, would open a great missionary area for the Romanian Orthodox Church, by calling it to focus not only on ritual but also on social action, because participation in social life is as important as the church services (a notion later known in the Orthodox world as Liturgy after the Liturgy).

Professor Vasile Ispir was convinced that converting to Christianity is an obligation and a necessity for a living Church. However, his call for the Romanian Orthodox Church to carry out external mission met with strong objections from his contemporaries, who claimed that Romanians need to tend to their own problems first before addressing the others’, that the Romanian people just being established within the new borders could not pursue the utopian dream of propagating Christianity around the world, that we were too insignificant in comparison to other nations, or that we did not have the necessary resources. He reluctantly renounced this project, only when he realized that on the one hand a strong ecclesial organization was necessary, and on the other hand that it took time to raise awareness of the Orthodox Romanians’ need to become missionaries.

Instead, professor Vasile Ispir insisted that Orthodoxy has a say in the Christian realm. The Orthodox Church with its compelling prestige, with religious truth on its side, with its universally admired liturgical beauty, can unify again the Christian world, bring together Catholics, Evangelicals, Reformed and Protestants, as well as the old Christian dissidents, so that all united they may resume the great crusade of Christianization, and ultimately all people may be „one flock and one shepherd”. Pleading for the necessity to collaborate with the other Christian Churches, he argued that „beyond all doctrinal and legal (canonical) differences and divergences, there is one Christian soul, underlying today’s religious life”. On these grounds a common platform could be reached to cooperate in pursuing the Christian-social ideal. International relationships, according to professor Vasile Ispir, are sustained by joining all forces in order to build the city of God here on earth, and the various denominations need to understand that only by establishing a joint action platform they can make the Christian spirit prevail, as a spirit of mutual love and dialogue. He was convinced that denominational differences must be confined to dogmatic discussions, while collaboration is necessary for practical achievements.

As a constant member of the delegations of the Romanian Orthodox Church participating in numerous international congresses and inter-Christian (ecumenical) meetings, and also based on his sincere friendship with many Catholic or Protestant theologians, professor Vasile Ispir asserted his belief that Orthodoxy had much to offer to the world. What it can offer is precisely the specificity of the Christian religion, preserved unaltered in the Orthodox Church. In the view of professor Vasile Ispir, if the union of Churches is to be achieved, this can only be under the banner of Orthodoxy. Therefore, the Orthodox Church should not avoid meeting with other denominations. On the contrary, its purpose is to call the entire world, all the nations toward salvation, towards spiritual transfiguration, in pursuit of eternity.

Also, in order to achieve the missionary ideal of the Orthodox Church, he found it absolutely necessary to establish an Institute for higher education in the field of Missionary Studies, an Orthodox Theological Academy to train future missionaries, with courses held in Greek, Russian and Romanian languages. In his view, Orthodoxy also needed an Orthodox Missionary Association to preach the Gospel, an international advisory committee to be created around the Ecumenical Patriarch and to include representatives of all Orthodox nations, who in the spirit of the Ecumenical Councils and canonical prescriptions were to take all necessary actions so that Orthodoxy might be a strong factor on the international arena. He also deemed it equally necessary that periodically, every 10 years, a Pan-Orthodox Council should convene in order to discuss all problems arising in the Orthodox Churches.

Shortly after his appointment as dean of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Bucharest (14 October 1944), at a time when despite historical hardships, the tireless missionary-professor continued to pursue all his projects, he was suddenly forced to cease his activity. Among many others, he intended to establish the Romanian Society of Orthodox Theology, to issue a Yearbook of the Faculty of Theology, to organize an International Congress of Professors of Theology, and to tighten bonds with the other Orthodox Churches. The Romanian Society of Orthodox Theology was indeed founded in January 1945, but his other plans never came to fruition. Professor Vasile Ispir faded into obscurity under the communist regime, but his contribution to the development of missionary studies, the assertion of Orthodoxy within the Christian world, and the moral revival of the Romanian people, which was to follow the national revival, do not deserve to sink into oblivion, 100 years after the Great Union. The distinguished professor of missiology asserted his conviction that this spiritual renewal should be assumed and led by the Romanian Orthodox Church, and needs to achieve coherent social expression. Professor Vasile Ispir courageously asserted that the reunification of Romania should operate not only internally but also externally, because a Church proves its viability only to the extent that it proves able to expand.


Drd. Marius PORTARU Θεος ενσαρκος ο Χριστος: Apolinarie de Laodiceea și Întruparea Logosului

Summary: Θεὸς ἔνσαρκος ὁ Χριστός: Apolinaris of Laodicea and the Incarnation of the Logos

In the present study we analyse the view of the Nicene Bishop Apollinaris of Laodicea in Syria (ca. 315-392) on the Incarnation of the Logos, through a detailed reading of the extant fragments of his writings. We aim at grasping the theological and historical context in which his bold expressions were formulated, some of which later became technical terms, in order to avoid the distorted or partial understanding of some of them.

We have tried to show that Apollinaris’ Christology was formed mostly in opposition to the divisive Christology initiated by Paul of Samosata, and represented by Marcellus of Ancyra and Photinus in the 4th century, and by Diodore of Tarsus in the 370s, during Apollinaris’ episcopate (and possibly, under some form of influence by the partial denial of the human soul in Jesus Christ by the Arians). Against Diodore’s dualist way of explaining the Incarnation of the Logos (Jn 1:14), Apollinaris underlines, in an almost obsessive manner, the unity of Jesus Christ, both at the level of person, and of natures. Apollinaris understands the Incarnation of the Logos as the ‘supreme union of God and the flesh, which is perfect from the very first moment, not becoming gradually so’ (τὸ εἰς ἅπαξ οὐκ ἐκ δευτέρου γινόμενον ἡ πρὸς σάρκα ἕνωσις θεοῦ…τὴν ἄκραν ἕνωσιν). The supreme union between God and the flesh has a series of implications, expressed in an original and risky language, which can easily create confusions. Apollinaris has a clear conception of both the nominal predication of divine and human attributes of Jesus Christ (‘the community of names’, κοινὴ ἡ ἐπωνυμία, fragm. 144), and of what will subsequently be called the perichoresis of natures (Apollinaris affirms explicitly the deification of the assumed flesh). Anticipating the vocabulary of St Cyril of Alexandria, Apollinaris describes the union between the Logos and the flesh as taking place καθ᾽ἡνότητα προσώπου (‘according to the unity of person’). The ontological character of this union, defined by a form of perichoresis of the Logos and the flesh, is expressed by Apollinaris also as καθ᾽ἡνότητα ζωτικήν (‘vital union’): the Logos and the flesh merge in one single life, become one in an indivisible existence, which constitutes the basis of the reciprocal predication of the two series of attributes which are specific to the Logos and the flesh.

During his time, his bold and innovative expressions created confusion, especially regarding three elements of his Christology: in what way he called Jesus Christ ‘a heavenly man’ and what the nature of His flesh is; the meaning of the expression μία φύσις in the context of his work; the meaning of the denial of the human νοῦς of Jesus Christ.

Although Apollinaris often writes that the flesh of Jesus Christ is consubstantial with ours, the affirmation of the natural identity between Christ and the other human individuals has two limitations in his writings: (i) the integrity of the humanity of Christ is affected when Apollinaris writes that the Logos replaces the rational part (νοῦς) of the human soul. In this respect, there is a silent tension in his writings, cf. οὐκ ἄνθρωπος (φησιν), ἀλλ᾽ὡς ἄνθρωπος, διότι οὐχ ὁμοούσιος τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ κατὰ τὸ κυριώτατον (fragm. 45) versus σάρξ γενόμενος τουτέστιν ἄνθρωπος (fragm. 93); (ii) some expressions, through which he describes the state of the flesh in union with the divine Logos, for example, his statement that the Man Christ pre-exists, are exaggerated or lacking the necessary qualifications. In the absence of many necessary corrections, these expressions remain, in the eyes of his contemporaries as well as in ours, affected by the insoluble tension between an imperfect (bold, obscure) manner to express the consequences of the hypostatic union and an exaggerated, heretical extension of the meaning and the consequences of the hypostatic union.

The strong union between the Logos and the flesh, which makes the communication of idioms and the perichoresis of the natures possible, is often described as a μία φύσις, an expression through which Apollinaris corrects the opposite expression of the ‘Paulines’ (the followers of Paul of Samosata), δύο φύσεις. μία φύσις represents a very important element in the dispute against Diodore, which spans the whole period of the episcopal activity of Apollinaris, but its importance concerns especially the manner in which it was used by the theologians after Apollinaris, starting with St Cyril of Alexandria and following with Severus and numerous dyophysite Chalcedonian theologians in the 6th century. The critical analysis of the contexts in which the expression μία φύσις appears leads to the identification of three categories of meaning: a first one, in which μία φύσις refers to the unique Person of Christ; a second one, in which μία φύσις describes the vital or substantial unity between the Logos and the flesh; and a third category, which comprises problematic texts, in which the meaning of the expression μία φύσις is difficult to interpret as referring to the unique person or to the vital unity and which is prone to a monophysite interpretation.

In Apollinaris’ view, ‘the substantial union’ (ἕνωσις οὐσιώδης) between the Logos and the flesh is possible only if the divine Logos is the only centre of self-consciousness and self-determination, the only source of will and activity in Christ, the only source of life and movement of the flesh of Christ and of deification of His flesh in a way which is superior to the deification of other men. To be able to accomplish this function, or for the Incarnation of the Son of God to be even possible, it is necessary that the divine Logos should replace the rational part (νοῦς) of the human soul, assuming thus a flesh – the human nature, as we would say today – which lacks the νοῦς. This view, according to which Jesus Christ is the Incarnation of the divine Mind (νοῦς ἔνσαρκος), forms the basis of Apollinaris’ entire Christology. Apollinaris offers four categories of reasons to exclude the rational soul from Christ’s humanity: ontological reasons; reasons based on the conflict between two self-consciousnesses; liturgical reasons; and soteriological reasons. What is important for Apollinaris is the ontological argument of immutability: the divine Mind is self-determined and perfectly consistent with itself, because it is immutable, while man’s mind is self-determined, but not self-consistent, because it is mutable. Therefore, a changing mind cannot merge with the unchanging mind in order to form a single Subject. One νοῦς presupposes one Person, and this is the cause and the fundament of the one nature (μία φύσις), the one will, and the one activity. Apollinaris associates almost always the one nature with the one Person, and the unity of the Person is best proven by affirming one single νοῦς in Jesus Christ, the divine one. This is Apollinaris’ ultimate argument against Diodore.

Although the manner in which Apollinaris understands the union of the Logos with the flesh allows him to affirm many of the presuppositions and consequences of the Incarnation, such as confessing that the Virgin Mary is Theotokos, and the deification of the assumed flesh (though, in some cases, he expands the sense of the communication of idioms in an exaggerated manner, such as when he writes that the Man Christ pre-exists), he does not possess the full concept of the hypostatic union, since the abstract sense of the two natures, divine and human, lacks from his thinking, and the reciprocal predication of attributes refers to the whole Logos-flesh, not to the one divine-human Person.


Drd. Ciprian Costin APINTILIESEI Personne et communion: de Berdiaev à Mounier

Rezumat: Persoană și comuniune. De la Berdiaev la Mounier

Cunoscut ca reprezentant al personalismului comunitar din anii 1930, Mounier este unul dintre gânditorii francezi profund implicați în identificarea unei soluții în fața ideologiilor individualiste și colectiviste: primelor le opune valoarea incomensurabilă a persoanei, iar celor din urmă, exigența unei comuniuni autentice. În perspectiva sa, doar un regim care articulează persoana și comuniunea ar putea constitui o soluție fezabilă pentru societatea viitorului. Ceea ce stimulează problematica acestui articol este faptul că filozoful rus Berdiaev, unul dintre cei mai renumiți în Occident, anticipează deja această abordare încă de la începutul anilor 1920, când se poziționează critic atât față de individualismul societăților capitaliste, cât și față de colectivismul comunist. În Autobiografia sa din 1945, el se prezintă ca un personalist a cărui preocupare principală a fost și rămâne importanța centrală a persoanei sau primatul ei în raport cu societatea. Astfel, articolul de față își propune să observe aportul sau contribuția lui Berdiaev la nașterea și formarea personalismului mounerian. Structurat în trei capitole, articolul încearcă să formuleze răspunsuri la trei întrebări centrale: ce relație există între cei doi filozofi în anii 1930, în special la momentul fondării revistei Esprit? Care este optica lui Berdiaev cu privire la persoană și comuniune? Și care este abordarea lui Mounier pe acest subiect, mai exact în ce s-ar apropia el de Berdiaev?

Pentru a răspunde la prima întrebare, trebuie plecat de la faptul că atât Berdiaev evocă tributul pe care i-l datorează tineretul francez de orientare personalistă, cât și Mounier însuși confirmă la sfârșitul anilor 1940 rolul major jucat de Berdiaev la momentul de debut al mișcării personaliste. Instalat în Franța în 1924, Berdiaev organizează din 1926 până în 1930 Cercurile ecumenice, la care se reunesc pentru prima dată reprezentanți ai celor trei mari Confesiuni creștine. Maritain participă aici în calitate de reprezentant al catolicilor. El este cel care îi propune lui Berdiaev să organizeze în paralel și reuniuni bipartite între ortodocși și catolici, întâlniri care au loc din 1928 până în 1932 și sunt găzduite aleatoriu de cei doi prieteni. Chiar la prima reuniune bipartită, Maritain îl introduce pe tânărul Mounier, care va participa ulterior la multe astfel de întâlniri. Aflat într-o perioadă de căutare și formare, Mounier abandonează proiectul de doctorat și se angajează la fondarea și coordonarea revistei Esprit, care apare în octombrie 1932. Important este de remarcat că ideea acestei reviste prinde contur în urma unor reuniuni la care participă și Berdiaev. Deși este o revistă fondată și coordonată de tineri, Berdiaev face parte dintre puținii seniori acceptați, ceea ce confirmă statutul său privilegiat în sânul acestei mișcări. El rămâne alături de Mounier chiar și după dispersarea primei echipe în 1933. În plus, participă activ din 1934 la grupurile filozofice unde se dezbate problematica persoanei și a comuniunii. În 1935, Mounier îl evocă printre „vedetele” acestor reuniuni.

În ceea ce privește tematica persoanei și a comuniunii în opera lui Berdiaev, să reamintim că scrierea care îi aduce popularitate în Occident este Le nouveau Môyen Âge, tradusă în franceză în 1927. Aici Berdiaev critică în special individualismul occidental care, de la Renaștere, a dat prioritate „omului natural” asupra „omului spiritual”, privându-l astfel de asemănarea sa cu Dumnezeu, fapt care a antrenat treptat un proces de „distrugere a persoanei”. Recomandându-se ca filozof existențialist și personalist, Berdiaev își propune ca obiectiv central revelarea și promovarea demnității autentice a persoanei într-o epocă în care se manifestă puternice tendințe colectiviste. Articolul nostru reține aici două idei esențiale: a) persoana ca realitate ce ține de ordinea spiritului și a libertății; și b) comuniunea ca unitate de iubire și de har. Întregul sistem filozofic al lui Berdiaev se fundamentează pe antiteza primordială între ordinea spiritului și cea a naturii, antiteză ce nu se confundă cu dualitatea suflet – trup. Pentru Berdiaev, atât trupul cât și sufletul fac parte din ordinea naturii, în timp ce spiritul aparține unei existențe de ordin diferit, infinit superioare. Primatul spiritului asupra naturii constituie ideea sa metafizică fundamentală, care însă nu trebuie percepută în termenii unui antagonism, a unei negări a naturii în favoarea spiritului. Deși recunoaște imposibilitatea elaborării unui concept rațional despre spirit, Berdiaev îl concepe totuși ca pe o realitate de ordin axiologic, nu ontologic: spiritul este adevăr, frumusețe, bunătate, iubire, libertate, activitate creatoare etc. De aici decurge și dimensiunea axiologică a persoanei, ca realitate ce ține de ordinea spiritului. În timp ce individul ține de natură și este determinat de legile ei, persoana nu există și nu se realizează decât în libertatea și iubirea constitutive spiritului. În alți termeni, pentru a exista, persoana are nevoie de comuniune, singura în măsură să o susțină în realizarea aspirațiilor ei. Derivată din conceptul de sobornost (conciliaritate, sinodalitate), comuniunea implică, spre deosebire de relație, lucrarea harului și a iubirii. Încercând să realizeze acest deziderat prin forță și constrângere, comunismul nu a făcut decât să corupă idealul creștin al comuniunii, realizabil numai în Hristos. Înțeleasă astfel, comuniunea se distinge de noțiunea de societate, pe care Berdiaev o percepe ca fiind ostilă persoanei. Societatea încearcă să determine și uneori chiar să anihileze persoana din exterior, în timp ce comuniunea se constituie ca o trăire sau ca un conținut interior persoanei. Mai exact, societatea îi este exterioară omului, în timp ce comuniunea îi este interioară. Este și motivul pentru care în societate trăiește individul, în timp ce în comuniune se dezvoltă persoana.

Acestea fiind spuse, al treilea paragraf reperează trei aspecte ale gândirii lui Mounier în care se reflectă aportul sau influența lui Berdiaev. 1) Mai întâi este vorba despre asocierea între spirit și persoană. Încă din primul articol pe care îl publică în revista Esprit, Mounier pledează pentru un „primat al spiritului” ca reacție contra primatului materiei impus de ideologiile moderne. Mai târziu, încercând să precizeze direcția metafizică a revistei, el se apleacă asupra conceptului de spirit, pe care-l definește atât în termeni negativi, cât și pozitivi. Spiritul nu se reduce nici la exaltarea energiilor vitale, precum rasa, forța, disciplina etc., nici la cultură, și nici la libertate. Spiritul este, în optica sa, o scară a valorilor materiale, vitale, culturale, prezidate la vârf de valorile de iubire, bunătate și caritate; iar aceste valori sunt întrupate în persoane destinate a trăi în comuniune, astfel încât „spiritual = personal”. Avem aici o abordare în care se reflectă atât structura axiologică a spiritului din filozofia lui Berdiaev, cât și asocierea lui cu persoana. 2) Al doilea aspect reținut în acest articol privește caracterul absolut conferit persoanei în virtutea asocierii sale cu spiritul. Aparținând ordinii spirituale, persoana posedă o valoare superioară față de Stat, de națiune, de umanitate, de natură. Iar această situare a sa deasupra vieții naturale îi conferă și o dimensiune apofatică, în sensul că nu poate fi sesizată rațional și definită în concepte. 3) În cele din urmă, al treilea aspect reținut relevă joncțiunea dintre persoană și comuniune. Deși este o tematică des abordată în epoca respectivă, totuși gândirea lui Mounier se resimte în principal de influența lui Berdiaev. Persoana și comuniunea constituie cei doi stâlpi de susținere ai personalismului său comunitar. Comuniunea este singura în măsură să susțină dezvoltarea persoanei, pentru că legătura comuniunii este iubirea. Spre deosebire de societatea în care trăiește individul, comuniunea își are modelul și ținta în „comuniunea sfinților” din Biserica luptătoare, adică în Hristos.


Pr. Lect. Dr. Zaharia MATEI Principii estetice și prozodice în creația muzicală a lui Anton Pann

Summary: Aesthetic and prosodic principles underlying the works of Anton Pann

At the beginning of the 19th Century, the Romanian Principalities were marked by a desire of emancipation from the Phanariot domination and a move towards a Romanian national affirmation in all realms: political, social, cultural and clerical. During that time, Greek was used in churches because of the teachers brought in by Phanariot rulers. Consequently, the Romanian language spoken by the people was marginalized and despised by the Greeks. However, in early 19th Century, Greek-origin liturgical chant integrated certain lay elements of Turkish music (asma exoterika). This way, one of the first teachers of the time, Hieromonk Macarie [Makarius], was determined to eliminate this type of influences, proving them unfit to the church music style characterised by humility, holiness and sobriety. Therefore, during the first half of the 19th century, Dionisie Lupu, the Romanian metropolitan, began a comprehensive process of Romanianization of liturgical chants. Amongst the most representative figures of that period were Hieromonk Macarie and Anton Pann. The Romanianization of chants within the Romanian Orthodox Church had a twofold significance: on one hand, it constituted a favourable argument in favor of the efforts of asserting the Romanian culture and on the other hand, it offered Romanians the possibility to express their own religious sentiments through their native language. The evolution of the process of Romanianization was initiated in the age of Constantin Brancoveanu, the Holy Saint Martyr, by Filothei sin Agai Jipei, the author of the first Romanian musical manuscript entitled “the Romanian Psalter” (1713), and later continued by Serban the precentor, Ioan sin Radului Duma Brasoveanu, Mihalache Moldoveanul (the Moldovlach), Naum Ramniceanu and his successors. This evolution proved to be slower during Phanariot rule; however, the beginning of this process had positive results, all of these culminating favourably in the first half of the 19th century. Anton Pann, one of the successors of Hiermonk Macarie, received thorough musical training in school from his Greek teacher, Dionisie Fotino. He was a musician, a historian and a poet. He used to teach the rules in the ancient notation of church music which was based on the Kukuzelian semiography. From his Greek professor, Anton Pann learned the principles of church music composition which he later applied to his work of translating liturgical chants into Romanian. During 1816-1817, Anton Pann studied church music under a new notation called Chrystantic, with his other Greek teacher, Petru Emanuil Efesiu. This new type of musical notation, based on the old notation, was implemented by a professors commission at Constantinople which included: the archimandrite Hrisant of Madyt, Grigorie Protopsaltis and Hurmuziu Hartofilax [librarian]. The results of this musical reform were brought from Constantinople to Bucharest by the Greek teacher Petru Emanuil Efesiu. He was called to Bucharest by the ruler of Wallachia in order to teach psaltic music at the newly established school at the St. Nicholas Selari Church. However, the main purpose of the Greek teacher was to promote liturgical chant in Greek. This prompted Hieromonk Macarie to translate and publish in Romanian the first church music books, in Vienna, 1823: the Theoretikon, the Anastasimatarion and the Irmologion. Later on, he would publish the second tome of his Anthology (1827) and the Lamentations (1836). His successor, Anton Pann, succeeded in publishing more church music books. The musical creation of Anton Pann includes more than 20 liturgical music books necessary for the entire church year. Besides liturgical books, Anton Pann also published literary and lay books, such as Christmas Carols books. The idea of Romanianization of the Romanian liturgical music, derives from the verb “to Romanianize”, firstly used by Anton Pann in the Prefaces of the Doxastar, volume I, published in 1841.

The Romanianization consisted in rewriting the psaltic songs (translated and composed) in complete accordance with the musicality and lexical requirements of the Romanian language. On the one hand, Anton Pann managed to adapt music to the liturgical texts while at the same time taking into consideration the stressed syllables and the message conveyed by the texts. On the other hand, he succeeded in adapting the text to the melody so that its beauty and originality would not fade away with the transcription. Therefore, he respected the rules of prosody in his musical creations, a process which targets the intrinsic connection between text and music. In his manuscripts and publishings, the Romanian precentor indicates the working manner that he used, through terms such as: processed, translated, transformed, composed, “Romanianized”. In his musical translation efforts, Anton Pann took text as being the central form, while music was supposed to be a considerable support for the words. Music is meant to underline the aesthetic meanings of word, as well as its sense and expression. Thus, in creating the chants, Anton Pann adopted a methodology of work: 1. Simplifying and shortening the Greek melody, taking into account the fact that the number of syllables in the Romanian liturgical texts is different than the number of syllables found in the Greek texts. He noticed that the Greek musical phrases are very long and that shortening them might be more appropriate for the times he lived in. 2. The second step consisted in the melodic and intonational contouring of the stressed syllables of the Romanian texts. 3. The third step related to observing the Romanian language structure, which was different from the Greek one. 4. The fourth step aimed to render the text’s ideas through music. In this sense, we encounter high and low-pitched musical constructions in some of the phrases. Other musical constructions are meant to highlight certain emotional or aesthetic feelings, like joy, lament, humility; in expressing these feelings, the composer often used modulatory processes. Thus, through the variety of musical modes such as major, minor, chromatic and enharmonic, the author manages to reveal the main message of the hymnography texts. The examples selected and presented in this study prove that Anton Pann, the precenter, managed to successfully apply all of the mentioned mechanisms in the process of translation and transposition of Greek liturgical chants into Romanian.

Nonetheless, Anton Pann may be considered a progressive promoter of the Romanian current in the Church, through the very well-defined processes of translation and composition of church music in the respective notation. He was a true patriot who intended, through his lay creation, to educate the Romanian people in order to make them aware of their historical reality and to help them acknowledge their value and their place in the universal history, alongside the other peoples. The scholars of our country considered Anton Pann to be the first folklorist who promoted the traditional folklore music through his lay songs during a time of cultural confusion. He left a legacy of symbolic Christmas carols and winter season songs which he gathered from his numerous journeys, transcribing them into the psaltic notation, some of which are still part of religious and folklore book collections. For the above mentioned reasons, Anton Pann is rightly considered one of the greatest 19th century Romanian personalities who contributed to the promotion of popular culture through the Romanian language and the dissemination of the church and lay music among all Romanians.


Pr. Dr. Cristian ANTONESCU Isihia ortopraxiei și ortodoxia isihiei. Actualitatea și autoritatea învățăturilor filocalice isihaste

Summary: Hesychia of orthopraxy and the orthodoxy of hesychia. The topicality and authority of philokalic hesychastic teachings

The Holy Scripture shows that God created man in order to allow him to enjoy communion with divinity, to grow and advance in this communion: «and the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it». Why and how had man to tend to the garden of Eden and to keep it, since there was no evil on the earth yet, but everything was «very good» (Gen 1:31)? Man had to guard himself from negative influences and keep the peace that invites the grace of God. As their appellation suggests, peace of mind was the greatest desire of the hesychasts. This led them to a thorough examination of the human soul and of the entire spiritual universe, in order to identify the necessary prerequisites to be attained by a person seeking perfect peace. In the beginning, the man seeking peace will struggle to gain it, because his mind recalls all known persons and all events that bind him to them. This happens because while he lived in the world and was absorbed by worldly matters, his mind had no time to remember all these things in detail. On the contrary, once he engages in a truly useful effort, the devil meddles with his thoughts and senses in order to hinder all ascetical endeavours.

Prayer is the most important reality of hesychast living, and consequently the theology of philokalic Fathers dwells extensively on presenting and explaining the various aspects of prayer. Everything relates to prayer because they see genuine Christian life as ceaseless prayer, never forgetting about it for a moment. To St Maximus the Confessor, praying is a Christian’s paramount spiritual activity, by which he becomes united with God, in love. True prayer immerses the one who prays in a completely different atmoshpere that the worldly one, into a world of the divine grace no longer governed by the laws of the created universe, but instead governed by the actual and perceptible presence of God. If the mind does not allow near it anything else but the calling of the name of Jesus, it comes to enjoy the presence of grace which enlightens it and grants it the true knowledge of things. The presence of grace also entails a state of humility, by which the ascetic foretastes perfect peace even in this world.

These considerations show that ceaseless prayer is the best solution against the assault of thoughts. Beside the immediate support offered by the fact that man’s mind speaks directly to Christ, man is also freed from constant concern about sin, because those who inwardly fight against sin always direct their thoughts towards it, if only to find a way of overcoming it. And the human mind has not been created to be always preoccupied with sin – either desiring or struggling to avoid it –, but to pray without ceasing. Saint Isaac is aware of the difficulty posed by permanent prayer to the beginners, and points out that even if prayer is difficult at certain times, one should still make an effort to pray and read, despite the difficulty. At such time, peace of mind can be also achieved by avoiding social contacts as much as possible, in order to become better and more effectively centered on inner life.

Ceaseless prayer purifies the mind, so that it becomes able to know things in accordance to the reason for which they have been created. This type of knowledge requires reason to be cleansed from passions, because passionate thinking entails a wrong understanding and attitude toward things. Persistent prayer, until man becomes able to achieve ceaseless prayer, has the role of detaching the mind from passionate thoughts and preparing it for the dispassionate conversation with God. Already at this stage, prayer unites the mind of man with God, in perfect communion. As this effort elevates human soul towards God, obviously those who intend to practice constant prayer must be aware that, beside other important aspects, they must strive to achieve humility or at least humble thinking. Actually, St Maximus the Confessor teaches that humility is essentially ceaseless prayer, because humility is likeness to Christ, just as prayer is union with Christ.

Meditation is closely related to constant prayerfulness. It has been a major concern since the very beginnings of hesychast living. Because man has failed in this mission of being in permanent contact with God, those who wish to ascend towards regaining this perfect communion with God understand that they need to train their minds – previously concerned with worldly matters, before turning to a life of stillness – into focusing on the higher meaning of existence, by dwelling on the words of the Gospel and the Holy Fathers. By this effort, the mind gradually forsakes the earthly significance of things and is directed towards their spiritual significance, which best prepares it for prayer. Watchfulness is as important as ceaseless prayer, the Fathers teach. Actually to a great extent, watchfulness and constant prayer overlap, because watchfulness sustains ceaseless prayer and prevents the ascetic from becoming distracted by activities and concerns contrary to his purpose. Thus, watchfulness becomes prayer, and prayer becomes watchfulness. St Anthony the Great teaches that watchfulness drives away ignorance and helps the soul to know and dwell on the useful matters.

The great benefit of watchfulness consists in freeing the ascetic’s mind from thoughts – any kind of thoughts, which leads to the knowledge of God, entailed by perfect communion with Him. In theory, it seems very easy (because the Holy Fathers have explained it so clearly), but because reaching this state involves renouncing the old man, renouncing all passions accumulated in selfishness, in practice one rarely succeeds in achieving watchfulness. The rule of watchfulness is very simple: as soon as an inappropriate thought arises, the mind rejects it. Thus watchfulness is very beneficial to the soul: it brings about fulfillment of divine commandments, achieving of virtues, peace of soul, freedom from any thoughts, and ceaseless calling of the name of Christ. Since peace of mind can be achieved only by constant struggle, the philokalic Fathers attach great importance to the correct approach to spiritual warfare. Also, while some of their directions might seem difficult to follow by the modern man, they address this issue with great discernment and provide adequate answers to every person.

Ascesis is the defining aspect of the spiritual warfare. To St John of Damascus, ascesis encompasses the following efforts: abstinence, fasting, hunger, thirst, vigils, prostrations, renouncing bathing, possessing only one vestment, eating only dry food, in small quantities and only after the ninth hour, abstaining from any drinks except water, sleeping on the ground, voluntary poverty, austerity, renouncing any adornment, selflessness, solitude, silence, voluntary confinement to the monastic cell, not desiring more than one has, quietude, manual labour. Steadfast patience is the prerequisite for ascetical efforts. Essentially, ascesis lies in the complete trust that at the proper moment, God will grant His grace to release the ascetic from his struggles. St Maximus the Confessor points out that the one who truly loves God will necessarily lead a life acceptable to God, by rejecting sin and embracing virtue. A life whereby both body and soul avoid sinning and defilement, has the peace of God descend upon man. Such life presupposes bodily discipline, fasting and abstinence in order for the body to fulfil the role it was created for – serving the soul in its ascent towards God.

Attaining the ultimate goal – perfect peace of mind – is not the result of personal efforts and the reward for personal ascetic struggles, but it is a mystical work performed by Christ as He wills. Of course, ascesis plays an important role, because selflessness cannot be reached otherwise, but essentially the dispassionate state is not the effect of ascesis but is due to the mystical work of Lord Jesus Christ.

Bearing in mind St Paul’s exhortation «pray without ceasing», Christians have understood that in the absence of a constant connection to Christ, of a concrete, permanent connection, living out the Christian ideal of union with Christ is not possible. In order to undertake spiritual life, one needs to have a clear understanding of its purpose and meaning. Ignorance of the importance of the ultimate goal of spiritual life leads many people to reject it. Only a personal, deliberate appropriation of Christ’s teachings can turn man into a son of God. The writings of the philokalic Fathers offer explanations and remedies to the spiritual malaise of the modern man. Even though much of the advice seems to be exclusively addressed to monastics, it can and should be adjusted and applied to the spiritual life of laypeople, because being a Christian is being with God at all times, having one’s heart filled with the presence of Christ.

Even though modern mentality often tends to downplay sin and man’s accountability for his own life, such denial does not abolish the problems engendered by this attitude. On the contrary, the more man denies his own fault and responsibility, the more serious his spiritual problems grow. And they grow more serious, as man loses the ability of truly knowing himself. If man honestly examined himself, he would understand how many of his problems could be overcome or avoided by virtue of a normal relationship with God, his fellow people, and himself. However, today’s society and social life promise freedom (misunderstood and never entailing responsibility), entertainment (wasting one’s time instead of reinvigorating the spirit) and no accountability to anyone, for anything; consequently inner suffering grows increasingly complex, increadingly hard to identify, increasingly difficult to remedy. Not coincidentally the Romanian translation of the Philokalia currently circulating in Romania was carried out by a non-monastic priest. Although until the 20th century, translation of patristic (and especially neptic) writings used to be the work of monastics, it is noteworthy that precisely the Philokalia, which apparently is intended for monastic use, was translated into Romanian by Father Dumitru Stăniloae. Certainly, Father Stăniloae knew it would be read by many monastics, but he was also aware that it would help many laypeople as well.


Drd. Andrei-Emanuel RADU Teme definitorii în pastoralele episcopului Iosif Gafton

Summary: Major themes in the pastoral letters of Bishop Iosif Gafton

Bishop Iosif Gafton is one of the hierarchs who served the Romanian Orthodox Church during the communist regime, whose atheist-materialistic doctrine aimed to eliminate any religious feeling in society. Since his primary school years, the young Ioan Gafton, born in 1896, showed keen interest in the Church of Christ the Savior, which prompted him to attend the courses of the Seminary, then the Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Bucharest. After his marriage, in 1925 he was ordained a priest. Following that, after the death of his wife (1933) he became a servant of „Saint Catherine” Church in Bucharest (1935), then joined monastic life in 1942. A year later he was elected vicar bishop of the Romanian Patriarchate, following which, on January 15, 1944, he was elected Bishop of Argeș, and in 1949 he received the see of the Diocese of Râmnic and Argeș. During his tenure in this diocese, his Christian missionary work intensified, attaching particular importance to preaching the word of the Gospel and tending to the places of worship. His death, which occurred in 1984, caused deep sorrow for the clergy and the faithful, who lost a parent and teacher, who, during the 35 years spent in Râmnic, led them along the path to salvation, offering teaching and comfort, through his pastoral letters and sermons. In the memory of his contemporaries, Bishop Iosif Gafton remained a worthy hierarch, with thorough theological training and skilled in oratorical art, his sermons being received with great joy by the audience. His homiletic and pastoral work are today a source of valuable homiletic material, since they include teachings of the faith, in a form accessible to the understanding of the believers. The purpose of the present study is to highlight the personality and the contribution of the hierarch to the development of the Romanian sermon, for its accomplishment, by presenting the homiletical sources and the main themes developed. The theological and secular culture of the hierarch is exceptionally transposed in the sermons, which are also a testimony of his spirit. The main homiletic source is the Holy Scripture, which, in the sermons of Bishop Iosif, is frequently used, each verse receiving an interpretation in accordance with the teaching of Orthodox faith. A connoisseur of the New and Old Testament, he made it possible to convey the scriptural truth through his sermons, so that believers could understand that every commandment of the Church finds its source in the words of the Savior Jesus Christ and of the Holy Apostles. Another homiletic source are the writings of the Holy Fathers, which provide an authentic interpretation of the words of the Holy Scriptures and reveal new meanings. By using patristic writings, the hierarch shows to the believers that every teaching must find its echoes in their own lives, that is, must produce a spiritual transformation, according to the model of the saints. Also, the divine worship is used as a source for his sermons, being an expression of ecclesial life, but also a way of understanding and expressing the Christian dogma. By introducing church chants and liturgical passages in his sermons, he offers to believers the possibility to understand the message these convey, explained and presented as an unchanged truth of the Church. The hierarch also mentions historical facts, showing the permanent connection between past and present, demonastrating to the believers that the preaching of the Church is in accordance with the teaching of Christ, The Savior. Moreover, through references to the events recorded in the history of the Romanian Orthodox Church, he highlights the way in which the Church and the State have worked together to achieve human welfare and the progress of society. Finally, another source of the sermon is secular literature; by mentioning literary works the hierarch seeks to show that the Gospel’s truth was received and expressed by the lay authors, but enriched with new meanings. Thus, the hierarch shows that the sermon is a universal discourse, addressed to the believers, regardless of their intellectual training. The assimilation of the specific knowledge of the sermon sources is transposed in the development of homiletic themes. In the sermons of Bishop Iosif Gafton, important topics are discussed, such as family, peace, love, fasting, the relationship between the State and the Church. By addressing these topics, the sermons offer to the believers an answer to the main problems that arise during their lives, but the Church’s opinion on certain concerns is also expressed. The family is the unity of man and woman, based on mutual love, which can also be directed to children, if they are given by God. By the birth of children, the mother participates in the creative act, but the gift of birth implies a responsibility, that of educating her children in accordance with the teaching of the Church. Also, peace is shown by the hierarch as the specific state of human development, which gives man the freedom to live according to his own will, without feeling any threat. Peace also has an inner component, the peace of the whole world being the consequence of the peace of soul that every human being must attain. However, peace is the environment in which love is established, it is the virtue that unites us with God and with people. Through love, the world regains its unity, eliminating any selfish and monstrous thoughts; love is the unifying factor of every society, the man seeing the other as his equal, without which he cannot exist and cannot be saved. Another theme developed in the sermons is the fasting, the hierarch showing it as a way of soul and body cleansing, the abstention from certain foods pursuing spiritual growth; therefore, fasting must be united with prayer. The last theme identified is the relationship between the State and the Church. By addressing it, the hierarch shows that the Church and the State are two institutions whose main objective is human welfare. Even if, at times, they share different views, the Church, through clergy and believers, must obey the laws of the state, while respecting the evangelical commandments.


Alin-Vasile POHRIB Adepți ai doctrinei hipnopsihiei și răspunsul ortodox al preotului Eustratie din Constantinopol

Summary: Followers of the doctrine of hypnopsychism and the Orthodox response of the priest Eustratius of Constantinople

The crisis produced by the Byzantine iconoclasm was preceded – a fact less known – by the crisis related to the cult of saints and, in general, by the hagiographic literature. Testimony to the latter is given by the doubt and the unbelief manifested in connection with the legitimacy of the hagiographic texts, by the skepticism regarding the authenticity of certain miracles or relics of the saints, as well as by the theological disputes that were developed around the theory of the activity or, in contrast, of the lethargy of the human souls after their separation, through death, of bodies. The treatise De statu animarum post mortem written by Eustratius, a priest from Constantinople, sometime during the last decades of the sixth century is a landmark work for understanding the evolution of the controversy around the validity of the cult of the saints and of the dead, being the first known apology of its kind. Eustratius’ treatise is a well-structured theological construction, grounded in biblical, patristic and hagiographical texts, which dismantles the theory of hypnopsychism, arguing, on the one hand, for the need to venerate the saints, their work after death, and the possibility that they intervene for the benefit of the living and, on the other hand, for the validity of the prayers for the dead. As the names of the opponents of the theory defended by Eustratius were not disclosed in the De statu animarum, the present study intends to cover this gap by proposing, after an exploration of various texts and modern studies, a few possible names of proponents of hypnopsychism. The origin of this theory is to be found, as the study shows, in the Nestorian environment, because of their doctrine about the lethargy of souls after death, which had notable consequences for the veneration of the saints and the prayers for the dead in the Syro-Oriental tradition. This theory was also assumed at different times by certain Syriac authors, such as Aphrahat, the Persian Sage (ca. 270 – ca. 345), Ephrem the Syrian (ca. 306 – ca. 373), Mar Narsai (5th century). VI) or Mar Babai (ca. 569 – ca. 628). According to Aphrahat, when the man dies, the soul is buried with the body and loses any capacity for feeling. For Ephrem, the dead man in the afterlife is in a state of dormancy until resurrection. As for Narsai and Babai, since they regard man as a unit made up of body and soul, it is clear that, according to them, the soul alone cannot remain active after the separation of body, being totally dependent on the body. Other alleged opponents of Eustratius’ theory are John of Dalyatha (8th century) and Mar Timothy I (780-823), but also John Philoponus (ca. 490 – ca. 570), Stephen Gobaros (6th century), Anastasius Sinaita, Pseudo-Athanasius (6th-7th centuries), John Italus (11th century), John Grammaticus or Michael Psellos (11th century). We may note that for Gobaros, the soul does not leave the tomb, whereas Anastasius Sinaita was the proponent of a radical lethargy of human souls until the resurrection. An exception is granted, in Anastasius’ opinion, for the souls of the saints, who receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, which allows them to keep their memory intact. From the presentation of the analysis in my article one can see how widespread the theory of hypnopsychism was and what great challenge this constitutes for the Orthodox practice of the cult of saints and of the dead. From this perspective, Eustratius’ apologetic treatise, far from being a mere florilegium, is a dogmatic work, comprising anthropological elements grounded in Christology, born out of a substantial, practical necessity of the Church in order to give an Orthodox answer to the theory of the lethargy of the soul after death.

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