NR. 4 – 2016

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2016.4

Pr. Prof. Dr. Mihai HIMCINSCHI Odihnirea Preasfântului Duh în Preacurata Fecioară Maria. Implicațiile doctrinare și spirituale ale acesteia

Summary: The Holy Spirit dwelling within Virgin Mary. Doctrinal and Spiritual Implications

Speaking about the resting of the Holy Spirit upon the righteous of the Old Testament, as a Trinitarian initiative, we cannot overlook the resting (i.e, dwelling) of the Holy Spirit not “upon” but “within” the Mother of the Lord. Alongside the Holy Prophet John the Baptist, and maybe even to a greater degree than him, she can be considered the link between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Likewise, in the case of the Holy Apostles of the New Testament, we can see that the Holy Spirit rested upon them, but not within them, whilst in case of Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit dwells within Her. The Holy Fathers of the Church who addressed the issue of the resting of the Holy Spirit upon the personalities of the Old Testament and the New Testament, pointed out that the latter were not circumscribed by a certain social or spiritual condition.

In the case of the Virgin Mary, the dwelling of the Holy Spirit within Her, was accompanied by the dwelling of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God the Son, in a material manner. On the Annunciation, the Son of God becomes the Son of Man, His immaterial eternal paternity from God the Father merging with His temporal material maternity from the womb of Virgin Mary. This clearly implies that Mariology, at least in the Orthodox theology, is based on Christology. The moment of the Annunciation is the paramount and the decisive step in this concern. The above considerations also mean that we cannot ignore the connection between Mariology and Pneumatology, either. As a paramount character in the history of the mankind’s salvation, the Mother of the Lord perpetuates, through Christ and through the Church, this importance of Her also in the Christian millennial history. She becomes our Mother, the Mother of all the ones who believe in Her Son, and through this we become Her children. She is not the Mother Church, but the Church’s Mother.

We can assert that the hyperveneration of the Mother of the Lord is transferred from the strictly doctrinal realm into the liturgical realm: She is not absent from any religious services of the Orthodox Church, and is always in the position of intercessor between Her Son and us, the people. However, unlike the Orthodox pale, in Catholicism, the liturgical practices, and implicitly, the doctrine about the Mother of the Lord, have acquired exaggerated dimensions over time, starting with the Great Schism of 1054. These have developed and were officially declared dogmas in the 19th and 20th centuries: the Immaculate Conception, namely the birth without the ancestral sin of the Virgin Mary out of her parents Joachim and Anna; the Mother of the Lord, as participating in people’s salvation, or co-redemptrix; the ascension in the body to heavens of the Virgin Mary after Her death. It is very interesting to note that in these cases, not only the contexts the respective dogmas were proclaimed by the Roman-Catholic Church, but also the patristic grounds they are founded on, are interpreted in a different manner than the Orthodox Church.

The fact we are granted the resting of the Holy Spirit upon us it is due to the fact that before that, he dwelt within Virgin Mary and within Jesus Christ. Or, as the Virgin Mary has become also our Mother, the Mother of all of us, and as Christ has become our brother, of all of us, it is obvious that also the Holy Spirit has become, by grace, our Spirit, of all of us. By grace, we are the sons of the same Mother, the brothers of the same Christ, and the bearers of the same Spirit, being therefore, also sons of the same Heavenly Father. Whereas the Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity doesn’t risk becoming, like the Catholic one, a “Quadrology”, through the insertion of the Mother of the Lord within the Holy Trinity, it does recognize the essential role the Mother of the Lord has in saving the world, form an objective point of view, as also in the work of deification according to the grace, from a subjective point of view.

The Mariology put forth by Father Stăniloae comprises seven important aspects, which we consider as defining the role the Mother of the Lord fulfils in Orthodoxy: the Mother of the Lord is intercessor for grace, Empress and giver of the gifts; her gifts are created and uncreated; Orthodoxy hasn’t specified in dogmas that the grace comes in the Holy Mysteries from Christ through the mediation of Virgin Mary; the mediation consists in the fact that we have Christ in Her and through her (contrary to sects of Tudor inspiration and to the Army of the Lord which consider the Church and the Virgin Mary as secondary); the Mother of the Lord stays next to the Son and above any heavenly and earthly hierarchy; the distinction between the moral intercession and the ontological intercession is alien to our Church and it belongs to the West; in the Mother of the Lord, Christ is everything in all things and, finally, the Mother of the Lord is the icon of the eschatological glory.

Pr. Prof. Dr. Constantin PREDA Opera Sfântului Luca (Evanghelia a treia și Faptele Apostolilor) – partea a doua – structura și caracterul literar al operei lucane

Summary: The work of St. Luke (the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles): – the second part – The structure and literary character of the Lucanian work

Recent exegeses have shown that Evangelist Luke’s works were based by the author on a unitary plan: the writer did not first draft the Gospel, then the Acts, or the other way round, but both of them together. Scholars have also pointed out that the entire corpus of Luke’s works is structured around the geographic and theological motif of a twofold journey: on the one hand, the Saviour’s journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, where he was crucified and resurrected; the path travelled by the Gospel is one of the „growing Word” expanding from Jerusalem to Rome and the ends of the earth (Lk 9, 51 and the following); on the other hand, the journey of St Paul to Jerusalem, where he confesses Jesus as the Christ before the Jews: he faces imprisonment and risks death, but is not killed because he is to travel and preach the Gospel of Christ not only before the Jews of Jerusalem and Rome, but also before the gentiles in the world’s capital city at the time (Acts 19, 21 and the following).

Saint Luke’s writings (the third Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles) have a historical-kerygmatic character, preaching and proclaiming salvation. It is both history and kerygma, because the historical dimension of the events underlies kerygma, and the ultimate goal of kerygma is to make its historical importance permanently relevant. Despite fidelity to the sources employed, Luke succeeds in conferring his Gospel a personal, distinctive stylistic and theological quality. It has been aptly noted that Luke takes some freedom in his narrative writing, although he obviously quotes very accurately the words and teachings of the Lord, which he takes from Mark and especially from Fons Q („the anthology of sentences”, logia), maintaining their order and content, and only allowing himself to intervene in order to improve the phraseology and the style.

The Holy Evangelist Luke is considered to be the most refined one from the literary standpoint. He placed his great literary talent and scholarly qualities as a historian, in the service of the Incarnate Word. He mastered Greek language (koinè), so that Blessed Jerome stated: „Inter omnes evangelistas graeci sermonis eruditissimus fuit” (Epistle 20, 4). Mark is popular. Matthew is didactic. Luke, due to his Greek writing, is both distinguished and colloquial. He truly is God’s historian and evangelist.

Evangelist Luke is the only New Testament writer to devise his own writing plan and working method (Lk 1, 1-4). An educated reader of the first century A.D. found these verses very natural, because they were in keeping with the style of introductions to historical writings; but we, who are familiar with the opening verses of the Gospel of Mark or the Gospel of Matthew, find Luke’s prologue somehow strange. He does not speak about the faith or the Old Testament Scriptures and their connection to Jesus; he does not mention Jesus or God and His plan. Unlike the other two synoptic evangelists, Luke chooses to anticipate nothing of his text; he simply declares his intention of writing for the second-generation Christians, who already believe in Jesus and know about His life; his purpose is not to convert them, but rather to strengthen their faith. Luke’s writing is based on the efforts of the other evangelists (or at least Mark) and mainly on his personal research, on his distinctive material he recorded (Sondergut). Luke resumes and rephrases this in order to indicate that the teachings are valid and that he wishes to describe again, in his own manner, the events of Jesus’ life.

Evangelist Luke is not a mere archivist or compiler of documents, but a historian who reconstructs and interprets past events in order to show their relevance for the present; they are edifying facts for his readers, in light of the needs of his community and in accordance with his distinctive personality. He readily employs in the literary and narrative structure of his writings the historical and rhetorical devices such as: synkrisis (comparing and contrasting the characters), summaries or narrative condensation, episodes, discourses, prodigious accounts – devices commonly used in his cultural environment, as demonstrates a close reading of the third Gospel and of the Acts of the Apostles.

Rev. Assoc. Prof. Dr. David PESTROIU Idolizing work? Towards a missiology of work within the Romanian postmodern society

Rezumat: Idolatrizarea muncii? Către o misiologie a muncii în cadrul societății postmoderne din România

Munca este un atribut dumnezeiesc. Dumnezeu Cel în Treime, ducând la îndeplinire planul divin al creației, acționează în mod direct, efectuând atât o lucrare intelectuală (prin Cuvânt – Logos), cât și una fizică, materială, în cazul aducerii întru ființă a omului. După așezarea sa în Raiul cel din Eden, omul începe existența sa tot cu o lucrare intelectuală, exersându-și funcția cognitivă, prin perfecționarea continuă spre țelul final al creației sale, îndumnezeirea prin har. Acest parcurs spre veșnicie se desfășoară în contextul dificil al vieții umane în trup, care-l supune pe om unor continue provocări și suferințe, culminând cu moartea, ca pedeapsă pentru păcatul originar, transmisă tuturor oamenilor. După alungarea din Eden, pământul devine pentru om un spațiu complicat al existenței devenite o continuă căutare a catharsis-ului restaurator al binelui originar. În curgerea timpului, a existat dintotdeauna pericolul idealizării muncii de către om. Pentru a preveni acest pericol, Dumnezeu stabilește poporului ales, prin Decalog, mai multe repere ale echilibrului vieții, făcând ca, după fiecare ciclu de activitate, să existe și forme de odihnă. După căderea cortinei de fier, România a străbătut, ca toate țările Europei de Est, o scurtă perioadă de tranziție post-comunistă, ajungând în prezent, mai ales după integrarea europeană și euro‑atlantică, în plină postmodernitate. Consumul de materie și cultivarea nesfârșită a plăcerii au devenit noile deziderate ale existenței umane. Și, pentru că acestea sunt intens consumatoare de resurse, ținând cont de faptul că tranziția spre economia de piață a conturat o elită de privilegiați (în mare măsură s-au păstrat privilegiile deținute în vechiul regim), marea masă a populației a cunoscut profunde crize sociale și a fost afectată de o intensă pauperizare. Singura șansă pentru aceștia de a gusta măcar puțin din privilegiile de care se bucurau elitele a fost o mentalitate idolatră față de muncă, cu consecințe dramatice în plan social-religios. Față de toate aceste provocări ale postmodernității, teologii, și mai cu seamă, misiologii – aflați mereu în avangarda teologiei – au datoria de a proclama cu fermitate credința în mesajul unic mântuitor al Revelației. Singura meta-narațiune valabilă este istoria mântuirii neamului omenesc, iar promovarea ei este activitatea de bază a Bisericii într-o lume care parcă își abandonează sensul eshatologic al existenței, pentru a cultiva contingența și efemeritatea traiului consumist și hedonist. O coordonată greșit înțeleasă a acestei viețuiri o reprezintă munca, privită ca un scop în sine al existenței, ca sursă a plăcerilor trăite exclusiv în perspectiva cultivării vieții umane în trup, fără perspectiva veșniciei celei fericite. Biserica trebuie să cunoască un dinamism aparte, ea trebuie să devină, după expresia lui Pete Ward, lichidă, adică să fie capabilă să îmbrățișeze lumea postmodernă aflată în degringoladă și să o transforme, printr-o prezență vie, lucrătoare și mărturisitoare.

Pr. Conf. Dr. Adrian IVAN Descoperirea sensului anagogic al Sfintei Scripturi în predică

Summary: Discovering the Anagogical Meaning of the Holy Scriptures in the Sermon

The present study addresses the fundamental role of Christian preaching in conveying the teachings of the Church, as revealed by Lord Jesus Christ and reflec­ted into the biblical text inspired by the Holy Spirit. Christian preaching expresses cognizance of the word of God, acknowledges the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies, and proclaims the Gospel of Christ. Consequently, preaching is the way chosen by God to make His Son’s Gospel known to the world, to pass down the teachings of the Church, and to reveal the mystery of «the Kingdom of the Son He loves» (Col 1, 13).

The present study dwells on the revealed character of the Holy Scripture books and proposes a holistic approach to the role of word in the primordial act of creation and following man’s fall into sin. By creation, the entire created world – man especially – partakes of God’s Logos. By creation we are called to hear and listen to His Word. To grasp the anagogical sense of the revealed words contained in the Holy Scripture is to comprehend the Messianic time of the Incarnation of the Son of God, His preaching and His sacrifice, and also to comprehend the continuity of the presence of the divine, Incarnate Logos throughout the preaching mission undertaken by the Church along the times.

Far from any stagnation in significance or concepts, apostolic preaching is the authentic model of Christian mission, modelled after the Saviour’s sending out the Apostles to preach and based on His promise to be with them until the end of times. Since the earliest days, Christians would pray, break the bread and absorb the tea­chings of the Apostles, which clearly proves that before the canon of God-inspired Scripture books was established, the teachings of the Church were  conveyed to the people through the Holy Mysteries and the sermons.

The homiletic tradition of our Church shows that access to the anagogical sense of the Holy Scripture is the result of the experience of the entire Church in preserving, formulating and conveying the revealed divine teachings. In other words, the Holy Scripture text can only render the depth of the revealed teachings, inasmuch as it is reflected in the liturgical unity and Eucharistic communion with the Word of God, Who sacrifices and offers Himself in the Holy Mysteries and in the divine message of the Church doctrine.

Today the significance of the biblical text, of the biblical teachings and events, is often examined through the lens of objective scientific knowledge, of the hermeneutical principles for the exegesis of the biblical writings, resulting in a diversity of interpretations. In this context, the sermon is the means to ensure authentic continuity between Liturgy and the life of the faithful, between Christ shared in the Eucharist and the divine Logos proclaimed through preaching. On the other hand, the inclusion of pericopes in the liturgical services of our Church aims precisely to lead the believers anagogically, from the anamnesis of biblical events, to the Eucharistc epiclesis, to foretasting and partaking of the Kingdom of God. The sermon has the same anagogical structure as the Holy Liturgy: it begins with the anamnesis of the events in salvation history, and ends by extolling the Most Holy Trinity. Similarly, the books of the Holy Scripture pertain to differend periods of time, but reflect the same anagogical path: God revealing Himself and the entire created world reaching for Him.

Dr. Răzvan BRUDIU Între cer și pământ: Fiat! – Verbul divin în rostirea umană. Fecioara Maria – Născătoare și cuvântătoare de Dumnezeu

Sumary: Fiat – the divine verbum in human utterance. The most blessed virgin mary – Theotokos and Theologos

The exceptional veneration we offer to the Mother of God, officially dogmatized by the Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus, in 431 A.D., dates from long before this crucial event in the history of Christendom. From a liturgical perspective, it is interesting that, except for the feast of the Annunciation, the roots of the other feasts dedicated to the Theotokos: the Nativity, the Entry into the Temple, the Dormition, lay in the apocrypha sources, as The Protoevangelium of James as in the Tradition of the Church. Of course, we must not forget about the Gospel passages where the Virgin Mary is mentioned, or those from the Epistles where she is mentioned indirectly, Galatians 4, 4 or Romans 1, 3. After the Third Ecumenical Council, the cult of the Theotokos knew an ever increasing development, especially in the Byzantine Empire.

Several Holy Fathers of the Church insisted on the event of the Annunciation but, at the same time, did not overlook the event of the Nativity of the Lord, and gradually developed a veritable Mariology in the framework of the teachings of the Church. The event of the Annunciation is of paramount importance in the later unfolding of the entire mystery of God’s plan for the salvation of the world. Even though, after this event and after the Nativity of Christ, the figure of the Mother of God is presented to us only in episodically in the New Testament, this does not mean that its importance within the Christian Church is diminished by any means. This is why feasts in honour of the Theotokos were established as early as the first Christian centuries (I-III), while in the following centuries (IV-V) the cult of the Virgin Mary underwent intense development, especially due to the fact that the Christian religion at large knew a favourable historical period, beginning with the imperial reign of Constantine the Great.

The veneration of the Theotokos has an important dogmatic dimension, despite the fact that, after the Great Schism in 1054 and the Protestant Reformation in 1517, the figure and the role of the Holy Virgin Mary in the oikonomia of our salvation started to be perceived differently in the West and in the East, being exaggera­ted in the Roman-Catholic Church and totally ignored by the Protestant and neo‑Protestant denominations; the Orthodox Church kept the middle ground between these extremes. In the Orthodox doctrine the teaching about the Mother of God is not confined to Mariology, but it related also with Christology and Ecclesiology, Soteriology, Anthropology and Eschatology. Even the dogmatic issues discussed at the Third Ecumenical Council had at their core the Christological dogma. Therefore, one can clearly see the fact that the Mariology, in order to be correctly interpreted, cannot be separated from the other chapters of the Christian doctrine, because there is the risk to misplace it, either by placing it above the others (as in case of the Catholics) or against those ones (as in the case of the Protestants and neo‑Protestants). We must admit also that in the Orthodox pale, the Marian dogma was not always interpreted in a unitary manner.

Also, we have to mention the fact that the Christian Mariology has its grounds in the Old Testament, the most obvious in this regards being the scriptural passage Isaiah 7, 14. We have, therefore, scriptural and traditional grounds for exceptional veneration that the Church offers to the Theotokos. The event of the Annunciation is an important point in the devotion to the Holy Virgin and in the Marian dogma, a point on which many Holy Fathers and church writers centered their exegeses and homilies. Given the fact that also for the Protestant and neo-protestant denominations the scriptural arguments are incontrovertible, this should not be omitted from the subjects discussed in the frame of the inter-confessional dialogue on Marian themes.

It is no overstatement to associate the importance of the feast of the Annunciation to the celebration of Great Friday. “Be it to me according to your word (of the angel)!” – the phrase uttered by the Virgin Mary when receiving the good news that she will give birth to Christ, the incarnate Word of God – represents a direct commitment to the plan of salvation of Holy Trinity and can be associated with the phrase uttered by Jesus Christ on the cross: “It has been done!”, a confirmation of the inter-Trinitarian oikonomia.

Pr. Asist. Dr. Georgian PĂUNOIU Originile și dezvoltarea monahismului siriac până în secolul al VII-lea

Summary: The Origins and Development of Syriac Monasticism until the VIIth Century

Syro-Eastern Spirituality remains a fundamental landmark in the Christian tradition of the East. Christianity of the first millennium is not confined within the borders of the Byzantine Empire, but also includes the eastern space. It is not just a wider geographical area, but the recognition of a unique Spirituality, such as the Syriac language. In a large area, which today includes the northeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, southern Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and part of Turkistan, the Syro-Mesopotamian Church has survived under utterly hostile circumstances, leaving an impressive theological legacy that is waiting to be discovered, known and evaluated. The Christian mission of this Church reached, especially through the Syrian monks, regions as far as Tibet, China and southern India.

A unique phenomenon both due to its beginnings and, later, to its evolution along with the other great Eastern traditions, Syriac monasticism marked the history of Christianity in the Syro-Mesopotamian space. Today’s man could hardly understand the motivation and meaning of ascetic endeavours in Syriac spirituality. Many Syriacists have sought to capture the Syro-Mesopotamian monastic phenomenon, trying to discover the dawn of monasticism in this space. The two lines of research are literary sources and archaeology. The ascetic experience at the origins of Syriac spirituality is manifest, in the second and third centuries, by taking oaths of celibacy, poverty and living in simplicity, participating intensely in the life of the Church.

Although in Egypt monastic life had been manifested for a century by withdrawal from the world and settling as far from the world as possible, in the Syro‑Mesopotamian space the renunciation is seen in a broader sense: the assumption of virginity, without demanding effective isolation from the world, living in the wilderness or in the mountains. The oldest indisputable testimonies regarding the proto-monastic forms in the Syro-Eastern space are found in the 4th century, among them the writings of Afrahat, St. Ephrem the Syrian and Egeria.

Afrahat’s Demonstrations are one of the most important texts in the field of search and identification of the monastic experience in the Syro-Mesopotamian space. The celibate ascetics (ihidaye) are entirely in the service of the Church, thus following in the footsteps of Christ. Although we find in Afrahat an appreciation of marriage, he still considers celibacy and virginity better, more valuable than marriage. The „Sons and Daughters of the Covenant” (bnay / bnat Qyama) are not presented as a monastic community or as a form of hierarchy, but as an ascetic group present in the Church. They lived in chastity and holiness, and many clerics were chosen from among them. This form of ascetic life existed before Afrahat, integrated in the work of the Church, also recognized by society, and they could be found in the Church until the seventh century. Unmarried, living in small groups, the „Sons & Daughters of the Covenant” lived near churches, helping to conduct worship, either by singing the Psalms or reading the Scriptures, or by supporting ca­techesis. We find them doing night prayers and vigils for the whole community. Given this consecration, they did not have to carry out other activities: agriculture, trade or other trades. St. Ephrem can be considered an intermediary between the pre-monastic Syrian form of ihidaya (single ascetic) and the monk who retreats into the wilderness (anchorite) and, dwelling in peace, consecrates his life to prayer. The first monastic rules began to be issued in the middle of the sixth century. Until then, Scripture, the words of the Fathers, and especially personal initiative were the rule. The pilgrimage diary of Egeria includes two testimonies from the year 384 regarding the presence of monks in the Syriac area of ​​Osrhoena province and in the biblical land of Haran. For a long time it was believed that the Syrian monasticism was a derivative of the Egyptian monasticism. Today, the former is considered to have its own origins, but this does not mean that the Syrian monks had no connection with the famous Egyptian hermits and that there were no influences from Egyptian monastic spirituality. While anchoritism is reflected in the Life of St. Anthony the Great, the Basilian and Pachomian Rules focus on community life, Palestinian monastic life is individualized by researching the Holy Land, and Constantinople is shown as a place of confluence in all this complex, so difficult to reconstruct, the Syriac monasticism has its own uniqueness. Communitarian monasticism emerged in Syria during the first half of the fourth century, developing throughout the fifth century, to reach its greatest flourishing a century later; the sixth century is the „golden age” of Syriac Christianity, the era in which all of Syria became Christian. During this period, the fundamental landmarks are no longer celibacy and virginity, but retreat to safe pla­ces, away from the world. Communitarian monastic life in Syria began when well‑known ascetics accepted disciples who wanted to follow this way of life. The acceptance of the disciples obliges the elders to construct a number of buildings, indispensable for the smooth running of public life: chapel, refectory, cells. Theodoret of Cyrus’ testimony is essential in understanding the development of Syriac monasticism. During the times of Abraham the Great (6th century), the Monastery of Mount Izla, not far from Nisibis, became one of the most important monastic centers in the Syro-Mesopotamian area, producing a true monastic renaissance. Abraham’s rule enjoyed a good reception in the Syro-Mesopotamian space, being developed by two of Abraham’s successors to the guidance of the monastic community from Izla: Dadisho and Babai the Great.

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