NR. 1 – 2017

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2017.1

Arhim. Policarp CHIȚULESCU Despre începuturile Școlii de pictură bisericească a Patriarhiei Române

Summary: On the beginnings of the Religious painting school of the Romanian Patriarchate

The Romanian Orthodox Church represents for the Romanian people not only the connection to God, but the source of its culture too. The numerous churches and monasteries were always true schools of art. In modern times, i.e. after World War I, when the Romanian provinces that had been unrightfully separated were added to the nation’s body, the Romanian Orthodox Church became a Patriarchate (1925). In this situation, in the Greater Romania there was a need for discipline concerning the church painting, the intent being the following of old Byzantine canons. Patriarch Miron Cristea has the merit of raising this issue to the Parliament, then patriarch Nicodim Munteanu actually established a painting school, with teachers and its own premises. The one who made this school flourish was patriarch Justinian Marina. During those times of Soviet influence in Romania, he hired painters and professors of great value in order to train and sustain the alumni of the Fine Arts Academy who were willing to paint churches, but did not know the rules of the Byzantine painting. It is important to point out that the Church came to the aid of valuable painters whom it authorized to work in the churches, either for restoration, or for re-painting.

The Romanian Patriarchate’s school of painting also organized icon exhibitions, some of the icons being offered by the patriarch Nicodim Munteanu to King Mihai, it embellished with icon-drawings a number of liturgical books and organized contests awarding prizes to talented painters.

The school’s professors were interwar personalities with great artistic achievements, being marginalized by the communist regime. Some of them became also professors at the Fine Arts Academy which was a state university.

It is remarkable that during the hard times of the tenure of patriarch Justinian Marina, 4041 churches were repainted by graduates from the Patriarchate’s school of painting. This school trained not only painters, but also artists of enamel, mosaic, sculptors etc.

The present study investigates yet unpublished documents that indicate the school’s curriculum, the names of the professors and also the lists of the graduates among whom many important names can be found.

The notes of this study shows the teachers’ biographies, some of which are unpublished.

In the addenda one can find important indications about the way that the church painters’ certificate contests were organized, the teachers’ and alumni’s name lists and also a statistic of the number of graduates from different art sections: fresco painting, oil painting, mosaic works etc.

Pr. Conf. Dr. Lucian FARCAȘIU Praznicul adormirii Maicii Domnului. Istoric, evoluție și teologia imnografiei prăznuirii sale în tradiția liturgică a Bisericii Ortodoxe

Summary: Feast of the Dormition. History, Evolution and Theo­logy of the Hymnography of its Celebration in the Liturgical Tradition of the Church

The celebrations of the Mother of God frames the entire liturgical year, starting with the Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God, and ending with another of her Feasts, namely the Dormition.

The Dormition is the Feast of the assumption of the Mother of God from this life to the eternal one. According to an old tradition, first known in the West and then later in the East, three days after she fell asleep, the Blessed Virgin would have been translated with her body to Heaven, like her Son. The Eastern Fathers do not use the word “resurrection” to describe this moment of her ascension with her body to heaven, but other terms such as “move”, “transformation”, or “taking”, all of these terms denoting the fact that the Mother of God was moved to a state of glorification together with her Son, that is, she ascended to heaven with her body. That is why, in the West, in the newer times this feast was named Assumptio Beatae Mariae Virginis, that is Translation to Heaven of Virgin Mary. However, in the Orthodox tradition, a certain distinction is kept between the moment of dormition which was visible, and the moment of “translating her body to heaven”, which took place secretly and was revealed later to the Holy Apostles, together with Thomas, who had been absent from the funeral and burial of the Blessed Virgin.

Therefore, the only historical source of the Dormition mystery remains the tradition of the first centuries and the faith of the first Christians, which has been passed down from generation to generation and has found its expression in the apocryphal accounts. The Fathers of the Church used these stories, but from the beginning they ignored the picturesque elements of popular piety, and instead addressed the theological elements. There is a certain fact (given) that all the Holy Fathers of the Church have accepted: the fact that the Mother of God fell asleep in Jerusalem and was buried in the garden of Gethsemane. The first references are from Pseudo-Melito (2nd century), then the account called Fragment Wright, from the beginning of the 3rd century. Other testimonies regarding this Feast are found in Saint Epiphanius of Salamis, at the end of the 4th century and the beginning of the 5th century. In Constantinople, this feast was celebrated from the beginning of the 5th century, on December 25 or the next day, being associated with the Nativity of our Lord. Also, in Jerusalem this feast was called “the Day of Mary Theotokos”, being fixed on August 15. The tradition of Mary’s house in the garden of Gethsemane was lost after the destruction of the old shrines by the Persians. With the reconstruction of St. Mary church, its location was connected to the place of her tomb, while the house of the Dormition was located on Mount Zion, where was also the Feast of the Last Supper. The apocrypha played an important role because they showed the significance of the tomb in Gethsemane and prompted its veneration.

As for the Holy Fathers’ homilies for the Feast of Virgin Mary’s Dormition, we must point out that among the oldest is the metric one, composed by Jacob of Serugh (451-521) in the Syrian language. In the sixth century, Modest the Patriarch of Jerusalem in the East and Gregory of Tours in the West provide many details regarding the time of the Dormition. After the Synod of Ephesus, which focused its attention on the special worthiness of the Virgin Mary with regard to her accepting Christ’s conception, the moment when she became Theotokos, that is, the Birth-Giver of God. Another homily at the Feast of Dormition is that of Teotecnus, Bishop of Libya in Palestine in the 7th century. Starting with the 8th century, we will find in the Byzantine Church numerous homilies on this Feast, the great preachers and theologians of this age elaborating on the ideas of previous centuries. We find famous names like: St. Germanos of Constantinople (†740), St. John of Damascus (†749), St. Theodor the Studite (†826), George of Nicomidia († after 880). The hymnographic creations of the great Byzantine composers are added to these homilies: Cosmas the Melodist († after 743), author of a Dormition canon, and St. John Graptus (†845), author of the Vigil hymns.

According to historian Nikephoros Kallistos († around 1328), the Byzantine emperor Mauricius (582-602) set the feast day of Dormition on August 15 following the tradition in Jerusalem. In fact, Emperor Mauricius rebuilt the Church of Our Lady in Gethsemane between 590-591, and it was consecrated on this day and dedicated to the event of the Dormition of the Virgin.

In Syria the feast certainly existed in the fifth century. Its place of origin is probably Jerusalem, because in the old Georgian Synaxaria, the day of August 15th was the annual anniversary of the consecration of Virgin Mary Church built in the 5th century by Ikelia Romana, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, near the place where Rachel’s tomb was.

In the West the feast is mentioned for the first time as early as the sixth century, at Saint Gregory, the Bishop of Tours († 593 or 594), although the Dormition was celebrated there on January 18th, and elsewhere on January 15th. In the beginning, in the West, the feast bears the name “Dormition”, but, a century later, during Pope Sergius I (687-702), which was of Syrian origin, the name is changed to Asomptiune (translation to heaven of Theotokos’ body). In the Galican Church, on the contrary, the term “Dormition” was kept.

In the 9th century two writings circulated, one attributed to the Blessed Jerome, the other to the Blessed Augustine. In the tenth century, the feast acquired increasing splendour in the West. Towards the fifteenth century, the feast of Assumptio is celebrated with magnificence and plays an important role in the Western popular piety.

The feast was generalized a little later by Pope Theodore I (642-649), who was of Jerusalem origin and which imposed the date of August 15, as in the East. Only Christians in Gaul and Egyptian Copts celebrate Dormition on the old date (January 18). This feast is also known to Armenians and Ethiopians.

This feast is preceded by the Lent of the Dormition, starting on August 1, which was introduced and generalized for the whole of Christendom by the Synod of Constantinople in 1166, during the patriarch Luke Chrysoberges.

A special service that extends the liturgical observance is performed on the eve of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary: the Lamentation of the Mother of God, an imitation of the Lamentation of our Lord Jesus Christ from the service of the Orthros on the Great and Holy Saturday. The Lamentation of the Mother of God is the work of Manuel the Corinthian, composed at the beginning of the 16th century.

Regarding the hymnographic account of the event of Dormition, it can be ea­si­ly noted that it faithfully follows the entire patristic tradition of the Church, as well as the testimonies of the apocryphal Gospels regarding this event, a tradition that it is fragmentarily integrated in the liturgical hymns of the Feast.

Regarding the second part of the study, which presents and develops the theological ideas of the hymnography of the Feast of the Dormition, it can be seen that it is not confined to describing the event, but addresses the theological content of the Feast and its significance for the spiritual life of the faithful. The major ideas of the hymnography of the Feast are the following: The Dormition of the Blessed Virgin, proof of the eternity of creation; fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies; assumption to heaven of the most pure Virgin and keeping the laws of nature; perpetual virginity of the Mother of God as the basis of her assumption to heaven and the incorruption of her body after Dormition. Other liturgical texts of the Feast include titles of the Mother of God, as an emphasis on her perpetual virginity. In other liturgical texts it is emphasized that thrlugh the prayers of the Virgin to Christ, her Son becomes the foundation of our eternity. Other liturgical texts refer to the Mother of God as our hope and deliverance. Another part of the hymnography of the Feast refers to the cosmic joy reflected in the hymnography of the Feast of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, stressing the following aspects: the joy of the whole human race, the joy of heaven and earth. The troparion of the Feast of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin summarizes the entire theological content of the feast.

Rev. Lect. Dr. Zaharia MATEI Orthodox liturgical chant: Leading man towards union with God

Rezumat: Cântarea liturgică ortodoxă, călăuză a omului spre unirea cu Dumnezeu

Studiul de față se dorește a fi o pledoarie asupra semnificațiilor liturgice și spirituale ale cântării liturgice ortodoxe și totodată o încercare de definire a implicațiilor pe care aceasta le are în viața duhovnicească a credincioșilor participanți la Sfânta Liturghie și la celelalte rânduieli liturgice ale Bisericii Ortodoxe. Mai întâi, cântarea liturgică este doxologie sau jertfă de laudă adusă lui Dumnezeu, prin care, într-o stare plină de pioșenie, evlavie și emoție sfântă, credincioșii și slujitorii lui Dumnezeu îi închină cele mai curate simțăminte de devoțiune și iubire Creatorului. Apoi, cântarea bisericească este un mijloc eficace de fixare a învățăturilor de credință, de mărturisire a credinței ortodoxe și de întărire a comuniunii credincioșilor, în Biserică. În același timp, ea este un bun instrument de misiune și pastorație, fiindcă muzica, arta prin care sufletul omenesc poate fi cel mai ușor sensibilizat, are forța de a atrage și de a apropia pe cei mai mulți în cadrul adunărilor de cult și de a-i face să participe cu întreaga lor ființă la viața liturgică a Bisericii. În spațiul eclesiastic ortodox, cântarea bisericească este organizată pe opt moduri muzicale, numite ehuri sau glasuri. Cântările, astfel organizate și consemnate în vechile manuscrise imnografice și muzicale, iar ulterior, în cărțile de cult și în colecțiile de cântări bisericești sunt parte integrantă a Sfintei Tradiții Ortodoxe. Autorii acestora au fost Sfinți Părinți și Melozi, care prin aleasa lor instruire duhovnicească și datorită inspirației Sfântului Duh, au reușit să redea în forme poetice toată învățătura de credință ortodoxă, la care au adăugat muzica pe care ei au adoptat-o în Biserică. De aceea, în viziunea exegeților cultului liturgic ortodox, cântarea bisericească este expresia cea mai vie a teologiei și spiritualității Bisericii Răsăritene. Astfel, prin mijlocirea sonorităților muzicii ortodoxe, omul se mișcă și călătorește spre Dumnezeu. Elementul primordial al cântării este cuvântul, fiindcă prin el se comunică învățătura Bisericii. Firește, există multiple instrumente de limbaj, precum, culoarea, gestica și mimica, pantomima, însă cuvântul sfânt operează la nivelul sufletelor credincioșilor o deschidere către comuniunea de credință și iubire și, în final, către cuminecarea sau împărtășirea cu Sfântul Trup și Sânge al Mântuitorului Iisus Hristos. Din perspectivă teologica, Cuvântul sau Logosul este a doua Persoană a Sfintei Treimi Care S-a întrupat din Sfânta Fecioară Maria pentru mântuirea noastră. El ne-a învățat cuvintele Sfintei Evanghelii care trebuie să se întrupeze în ființa noastră și să devin viața sufletului omenesc. Aceste cuvinte sunt pline de putere dumnezeiască de vreme ce ele pot metamorfoza ființa interioară a omului. În cadrul cultului liturgic ortodox, cuvântul îmbracă numeroase forme, precum: rugăciunea, cântarea, predica, mărturisirea credinței, lecturile sfinte. Cântarea liturgică este o sinteza a cuvântului cu muzica, o înveșmântare a cuvântului de sonoritățile muzicii bisericești. Muzica este prelungirea cuvântului și cea care dă putere și persuasiune cuvântului. Ea are calitatea de a evidenția în mod suplimentar sensurile și semnificațiile cuvintelor și de a le transmite minții și inimii celui care se roagă. Prin intermediul cântării, cuvântul dumnezeiesc revelat este ridicat din planul cunoașterii pur intelectuale, al teologiei discursive și academice, și transmis planului mai înalt, al trăirii duhovnicești. Prin armonia sunetelor, rugăciunea primește un suflu dinamizator, devenind cu adevărat glasul inimii care se înalță spre Dumnezeu, în accente de uimire sfântă, de laudă și mulțumire pentru darul sfânt al mântuirii. Nu întâmplător se spune că cel care cântă, de două ori se roagă. Mai adăugăm aici un amănunt, acela că, muzica trebuie să fie conformă sau compatibilă cu textele imnografice, astfel încât să sădească în sufletele celor care o cântă sau o ascultă, evlavia creștină. Afirmăm acest lucru, deoarece, ne este dat să ascultăm uneori, în biserici, muzici care contrastează cu textul liturgic. Cântarea ortodoxă exprimă credința ortodoxă. Între lex orandi și lex credendi trebuie să existe o legătură organică. Pe de o parte, dogma structurează și determină viața liturgică și implicit, un tip de gândire și trăire ortodoxă, ferit de erori, excese și fanatism, iar pe de altă parte, viața liturgică încălzește dogma și o face să rodească în viața duhovnicească, ferind-o să devină o simplă speculație teologică fără legătură cu viața credincioșilor. Cântarea bisericească ortodoxă a evoluat de la formele primare ale psalmodiei și ale imnurilor de laudă, consemnate mai întâi în Sfânt Scriptură și prezente, de asemenea, în primele patru secole ale istoriei Bisericii și ajungând la cele mai rafinate forme melodico-imnografice, precum, troparul, condacul și canonul. Cu timpul, teoria și practica muzicală bizantină s-au dezvoltat, fapt ce a condus la crearea unui sistem semiografic deosebit de interesant bazat pe cele opt ehuri sau moduri muzicale. În același timp, s-a organizat ciclul liturgic al Octoihului cu o durată de opt săptămâni, timp în care se cântă cântările Învierii pe cele opt glasuri cuprinse în cartea consacrată acestei perioade liturgice, denumită Octoihul Mare. Desigur că, această perioadă liturgică a fost fundamentată teologic și simbolic pe învățătura eshatologică despre Taina Zilei a Opta sau a Zilei Neînserate a Împărăției Harice a Preasfintei Treimi. Chiar imnul care conține în acrostihul lui ftongurile monosilabice corespunzătoare celor opt trepte ale scării muzicale eptafonice (octava perfectă) are conținut dogmatic. Aceste aspecte denotă faptul că arta muzicală bizantină are fundament teologic, numindu-se și sfântă cântare datorită faptului că prin caracterul ei dogmatic are puterea de transmite bucurie, pace sfântă, smerenie și evlavie credincioșilor, de a le înflăcăra și întări credința ortodoxă și de a realiza comuniunea lor de iubire cu Dumnezeu și între ei laolaltă. Personalități de seamă ale Bisericii s-au convertit la noua viață în Hristos tocmai datorită cântării bisericești, iar Istoria Bisericii mai îndepărtată și mai recentă înregistrează multe astfel de convertiri, în care oameni necredincioși, ascultând cântarea bisericească au simțit fiorii înnoirii ființei și au cerut să primească Botezul creștin, devenind membri ai Bisericii Mântuitorului Hristos. Un amănunt deosebit de important de reliefat ar fi acela că, în conștiința Bisericii, liturghia cerească despre care se vorbește în Cartea Apocalipsei lămurește și structurează liturghia pământească, oferindu-i tonalitatea de icoană a celei cerești. Prin urmare, cântarea doxologică a îngerilor constituie prototipul sau modelul cântării din Biserica văzută. Mai mult decât atât, în timpul celebrării Sfintei Liturghii, cele două coruri, ceresc (nevăzut) și pământesc(văzut) cântă reunit o singură cântare de biruință și slavă lui Dumnezeu, această învățătură desprinzându-se din textul Cântării Heruvimilor și din alte texte liturgice ale formularului liturgic al acestei sfinte rânduieli. Totodată, trebuie să reținem faptul că Liturghia pământească este preînchipuire a Liturghiei unice și veșnice din Împărăția cerească, în care cele două firi, îngerească și cerească, atunci când firea omenească se întoarce la destinația ei primordială vor cânta necontenit un imn Creatorului, fapt care îmbracă și forma unei continui cunoașteri a lui Dumnezeu.

Pr. Lect. Dr. Ioniță APOSTOLACHE Apologetica ortodoxă și locul ei în lucrarea teologică a Bisericii. O argumentare biblico-patristică

Summary: Orthodox Apologetics and its role in the theological ministry of the Church. A biblical-patristic approach

From an Orthodox point of view, it can be said that Apologetics or Fundamental Theology has a rational-spiritual dimension. This is based on the faith confession we inherited from the first centuries, in the works of the first Christian apologists. Significant for today’s theological approach is the fact that we identify in all these approaches a double perspective, which proves essential in any apologetic approach. On the one hand, the concern of the Apostles and apologists with keeping the full teaching of the Truth of Revelation is evident, definitely and firmly rejecting all that is not in accordance with the teaching of faith preached by the Church. On the other hand, their interest in the culture, science and philosophy of the time, was always predicated on the idea that all Truth of the Church encompasses and enlightens them all. Throughout the patristic history, these two directions have been preserved and developed, becoming more and more vigorous.

In the spirit of Scripture and the Tradition of the Church, Orthodox Apologetics has succeeded throughout the centuries, on the one hand, in preserving and preaching essential truths of the faith, and, on the other hand, in maintaining dialogue with the world. In the interaction with other cultural, philosophical or social branches, “Fundamental Theology” (or “General Dogmatics” – as propaedeutic or special dogmatics) has succeeded in perfectly summarizing “the identity between fundamental and apologetic theology”, viewing essential, orthodox speaking as the real content of this subject; the fact that it can illustrate the ethos and spiritual sensitivity of the Tradition and ecclesial life.

In other words, Orthodox Apologetics or Fundamental Theology is concerned with “rational substantiation of the four essential truths revealed, on which each theological subject bases its theological system. The core of these truths is divine Revelation. Through this, fundamental theology is connected with dogmatic theology, from which it borrows its main topic – the Divine Revelation –, substantiating and protecting the main truths of the faith that are further illustrated accordingly by using a specific method, different from that of dogmatic theology. Fundamental theology is theology because it is based on and proceeds from the great truths of the faith revealed, which dogmatic theology methodically illustrates thoroughly, and it is fundamental because it is concerned only with the great truths of the faith which it grounds and protects rationally. It illustrates the rational bases of these truths methodically, thus preparing the ground for the embrace of all revealed truths of the faith illustrated by other subjects. Fundamental theology is also closely connected with the history of religions, being concerned with the nature and origin of religion generally, and the Christian religion, particularly. By its object, rational substantiation and protection of the main revealed truths of the faith, it is theology, and not a philosophical subject, because through its work of rational substantiation of the main revealed truths of the faith, it does not seek to convert them into philosophical axioms, logically necessary, but to highlight their validity; the fact that they are neither irrational, nor antirational, but supra-rational, offering an answer in accordance with human spirit’s great expectations; this is the purpose for which all human spirit’s acquisitions that are to be found in various auxiliary, scientific and philosophical subjects are used”.

In our research we try to underline a real theological need for the study of Orthodox Apologetics. This is, as such, related to a series of considerations, as follows:

  1. It is very true that the essential truths of the faith are little or not at all known. Beyond the fact that they are completely unknown to those who argue against them, they find themselves alienated from those who normally should protect and confess them. Christians through baptism and tradition, we distance ourselves from knowing the fundamentals of the Christian faith, forgetting that just as science cannot be practiced without knowing its laws, so religion cannot be practiced without knowing its dogmas. However, we consider the latter opposed to reason, without even confronting them with this reason.
  2. There is also the risk of mystifying the truths of the faith. This is, in fact, the usual consequence of their ignorance. “How many needless attacks have been made on religion by the wrong attribution of the absurd as a criterion in matters of the faith? That Credo quia absurdum ascribed to Tertullian, misinterpreted, was long invalidated by Anselm of Canterbury’s Credo ut intelligam illustrated throughout the work of Christian writers”.
  3. The third argument is related to interfaith disputes and conflicts. Although they do not actually target the Orthodox faith, they have become widespread, becoming very popular with outsiders. Political identification of church power or scholastic exaggerations can be a very illustrative example in this way. Resentfulness born out of the fight between reason and scholasticism continues, however, and is still alive, artificially postulating an antagonism between Christianity and reason. But this antagonism does not exist. This is clear from the knowledge of the real truths which are the bases of the Christian religion: the existence of God, as life-giving and mastering bridge of the world; the existence of a soul, regardless of matter endowed with freedom, need and openness to the supernatural in order to explain and complete the natural; key elements of the Christian religion, as of any other religion, are nowadays truths for science, also. Undoubtedly, the particular truths of the Christian religion, such as, for example the main act of redemption, are beyond any rational argument. However, they too, when in relation with general truths of religion, find their opportunity and necessity, without denying reason. This is overlooked, although it is about the innate mysteries of religion. Without mystery, however, there is no religion, and whoever denies it, denies any religion.

Dr. Vasile CREȚU Les jeunes et la foi. Les défis de l’éducation religieuse en Roumanie contemporaine

Rezumat: Tinerii și credința. Provocările educației religioase în România contemporană

Acest studiu prezintă schimbările complexe generate de tranziția postcomunistă în România în domeniul educației ortodoxe a tinerilor. În prezent, aceștia din urmă se dezvoltă într-un context marcat de erodarea și dizolvarea reperelor de certitudine, de apariția și dominația individualismului, aspecte care nu i-au împiedicat, însă, să se concentreze și asupra vieții lor interioare. Confruntați cu importante probleme sociale, economice sau culturale și cu un număr din ce în ce mai mare de opțiuni religioase, tinerii români nu au părăsit credința ortodoxă. Dimpotrivă, efervescența religioasă este mai mare decât în ​​alte țări ale Europei. Acest studiu este structurat în trei părți. În prima parte, care se intitulează „locul orei de religie în învățământul public”, am prezentat noile măsuri legislative în domeniul educației în Romania, supuse dezbaterilor publice timp îndelungat, care cuprind diverse precizări privind predarea Religiei în școală: forme de organizare, curriculum, evaluare, pregătirea personalului didactic. De la sfârșitul anului 2014 și pe tot parcursul anului 2015, dezbaterea publică românească a fost ocupată mult timp cu vii controverse despre ora de religie. Această disciplină a învățământului preuniversitar, care este obligatorie în programa școlară din clasa pregătitoare a învățământului primar până în ultimul an de liceu, a încetat să mai fie un simplu subiect academic, devenind subiect de dezbatere națională. Acest lucru a fost posibil prin modificarea modului de înscriere la cursul de religie, consecință directă a unei decizii a Curții Constituționale a României din 12 noiembrie 2014. În momentul de față, ora de Religie din școlile publice se subsumează modelului confesional-cooperativ. Potrivit legii, Religia este disciplină școlară, parte a trunchiului comun. Elevilor aparținând cultelor recunoscute de stat, indiferent de numărul lor, li se asigură dreptul constituțional de a participa la ora de Religie, conform confesiunii proprii. Înscrierea elevului pentru a frecventa orele de Religie se face prin cerere scrisă a elevului major, respectiv a părintelui sau a tutorelui legal instituit pentru elevul minor. Schimbarea acestei opțiuni se face tot prin cerere scrisă a elevului major, respectiv a părintelui sau a tutorelui legal instituit pentru elevul minor. Pe lângă Biserica Ortodoxă Română, toate celelalte 17 culte religioase recunoscute legal au dreptul de a organiza ore de religie în școlile publice, indiferent de numărul de elevi aparținând acestora într-o anumită școală. Comunitățile religioase sunt, de asemenea, responsabile cu stabilirea programelor care urmează să fie aprobate de Ministerul Educației. Având în vedere organizarea confesională, aceste programe sunt axate în principal pe tradiția religioasă respectivă. Cu toate acestea, există întotdeauna o perioadă de timp acordată pentru a discuta despre alte confesiuni și religii. Conținutul manualelor este elaborat de cultele recunoscute, dar tipărite pe cheltuiala statului. La toate nivelurile, ora de Religie este predată numai de absolvenți de studii teologice și psiho-pedagogice, cel puțin la nivel de licență, toți fiind pregătiți în facultăți de teologie din cadrul universităților de stat. Aceștia sunt angajați și plătiți de către stat, dar numai după ce dețin și o aprobare scrisă a comunității religioase din care fac parte. În a doua parte, care se intitulează „efervescența religioasă la tinerii români după căderea comunismului”, am remarcat faptul că, la sfârșitul anilor 90, România era a doua țară din Europa unde religia era considerată foarte importantă, după Malta, și țara în care 86,6 % din oameni au găsit sprijin și putere în religie prin credință. Aici analizăm relația tinerilor cu religia din România post-comunistă, pentru a oferi anumite elemente de înțelegere și explicare a reînnoirii religioase din această țară. Efervescența religioasă observată în rândul tinerilor în urma căderii regimurilor comuniste este în primul rând o consecință a centralității sociale dobândite de Biserici, care își legitimează puternic acțiunile în raport cu persecuțiile religioase suferite înainte de 1990. Suferințele pe care le-au îndurat toate cultele in Romania în perioada comunistă au avut drept consecință, după 1990, creșterea capitalului lor simbolic, legitimarea puterii lor pastorale și renașterea lor. Pornind de la premisa că tinerețea este o categorie socială deosebit de sensibilă la factori conjuncturali, cum ar fi fluctuațiile economice, reorganizarea instituțiilor, redefinirea regulilor de viață în societate, schimbările culturale, ne propunem să demonstrăm că efervescența religioasă a tinerilor este un indicator social important al schimbărilor care afectează domeniul religios al societății românești. Datorită capacității lor de a reduce în mod simbolic zonele de incertitudine, instituțiile religioase joacă un rol important în producerea de legături sociale și îndeplinesc o funcție de integrare socială. Secularizarea comunistă nu a reușit să înlocuiască religia cu o ideologie seculară. Pe de altă parte, comunismul a produs riscuri de dezintegrare socială, pe care tinerii le ocolesc, preocupându-se de viața lor religioasă. Astfel, religia este percepută ca singurul reper valid pentru a da un sens în fiecare moment al realității trăite, oferă un echilibru și o singuranță tuturor celor care se simt dezorientați, singuri și îngrijorați în spațiul postcomunist. În a treia parte, care se intitulează „practica religioasă în România contemporană”, am evidențiat faptul că, pentru tinerii români, comportamentul de tip religios este mult mai răspândit în comparație cu multe alte țări europene, atât din estul cât și din vestul continentului. Afilierea religioasă este printre cele mai crescute din Europa. La fel și practica religioasă privată, de tipul rugăciunii către Dumnezeu, situează România pe un loc fruntaș în Europa. Practica în spațiul public, măsurată prin frecventarea bisericii, înregistrează valori moderate, însă sensibil mai crescute decât ale multor țări europene. România se poate compară în ceea ce privește practica și afilierea religioasă cu polonezii, maltezii și irlandezii. La polul opus se situează Germania de Est, Cehia și Estonia, țări puternic secularizate în care ridicarea restricțiilor impuse de regimul comunist nu a adus o revitalizare religioasă. Analiza practicii religioase publice în România în anii de după 1990 indică o creștere marcantă a fenomenului religios. Evoluția nu a fost una lentă. In perioada 1993-1997, frecventarea bisericii a înregistrat un salt, după care fenomenul a atins un platou. În acest interval, practica religioasă a crescut de la 30%, nivel similar cu cel al celorlalte țări ex-comuniste, la peste 45%. Religiozitatea este un fenomen complex, fiind alcătuită din cinci elemente: credință, cunoaștere, experiență, practică (deseori împărțită în privată și publică) și consecințele religiei în viața oamenilor. Dacă este dificil de evidențiat și de conceptualizat ultimul element, celelalte patru sunt distincte și ușor de identificat. Aici am analizat doar credința și practica religioasă conform unor cercetări recente. Unele dintre concluziile cercetării STISOC, în termeni generali și preciși, sunt că românii au unul dintre cele mai înalte niveluri din Europa din punct de vedere al credințelor și practicilor religioase, un nivel ridicat de credință în intervențiile supranaturale (cum ar fi minunile), unul dintre cele mai înalte niveluri din Europa de încredere în pseudo-științe (precum horoscopul), precum și un grad ridicat de acceptare a superstițiilor. În urma concluziilor la care am ajuns, propun trei ipostaze sociologice ale religiozității românilor, fără a crede că acestea sunt exhaustive. Prima categorie este cea a omului religios, care frecventează cu regularitate Biserica, având și un nivel catehetic destul de bun. Este o categorie sociologică constantă, deși greu de cuantificat. A doua categorie este cea a pelerinului. Acesta este spectatorul fervent și frecvent al procesiunilor cu icoane, cu moaște. Această categorie nu frecventează Biserica cu regularitate și, în orice caz, preferă un pelerinaj concret în locul unei prezențe constante și active la Sfânta Liturghie. Pentru pelerin, viața liturgică este exasperantă prin lentoarea ei. El caută recompense concrete aici și acum (câștigarea la loterie sau trecerea unui examen, vindecarea unei boli, dobândirea unei moșteniri, reconstrucția vieții unui cuplu). A treia categorie este reprezentată de cei care au credință fără apartenență (believing without belonging). Aceste persoane cred, dar ei nu pot face acest lucru în mod tradițional. Nevoia lor de religiozitate se hrănește din diferite forme exotice, unele chiar de origine asiatică.

Pr. Dr. Mihai IORDACHE Impactul tehnologiei digitale în viața oamenilor. Cercetări științifice și reflecții morale

Summary: The impact of digital technology on young people’s lives. Scientific research and moral considerations

This paper addresses the topic of the significant negative effects and the consequences of use of digital devices by the children and teenagers. Arguments are provided in favor of the importance of becoming aware of the reality we all live in. Moreover, there are some suggested methods of avoiding or minimizing the negative impact of digital technology on people’s lives. Nowadays, the world is experiencing extreme and unprecedented transformations because of the evolution of digital technology with a strong influence on people and society. The changes are so fast-paced that most people do not have time to perceive, observe, reflect on them at length, and understand the consequences. Therefore, clear and objective measures should be taken by people in their own and their families’ lives. Neuroscientific recent research demonstrates that society changes transform us, independently of our will or knowledge. As a part of society, the changes automatically occur without any notice.

In the developed countries of the world, most individuals, especially children and youngsters, spend much time in front of digital screens, that are a part of smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers, GPS, TVs, etc. According to recent statistics, they spend between 8 and 12 hours a day. But the latest research in neuroscience shows that this mass phenomenon has very deep, invisible and long-lasting negative influence/impact on human brain. The impact is also seen in individual’s thinking, behavior and emotional status along his/her entire life.

For all these reasons, parents have a huge responsibility in terms of their children’s attitude towards using digital technology. Good education provided to children and youngsters largely depends on the right perception and awareness of this responsibility.

Digital screens pose irresistible attractiveness to individuals by minimizing their will and self-control. In terms of perception, the dynamics of screens is totally different from the one of the surroundings we got accustomed to. The images are different, and the video resolution is continuously growing and refining (HD, Full HD, Ultra HD, etc.). Moreover, anyone can see everything through the TV screen and can gather data by using the internet, just by sitting in front of a screen without being necessarily present in a particular place at a particular time.

As we all know, man is shaped and (trans)formed by each experience of life. All thoughts, feelings, emotions, words, encounters, images and sounds have a direct influence on one’s personality and behavior. We are trained by all our conscious and subconscious experiences.

Nowadays, children, youngsters and adults have got unlimited access to never ending entertainment by digital media. Nevertheless, new research has proven that the human mind was not created to have this type of experience. A condition for keeping it harmless would be relating it with the thinking process.

New intense and repetitive experiences can easily form in our brain new neural connections that will become stable for a very long time. This process is called neuroplasticity and shows human ability to (re)form the brain in accordance with the external stimuli he receives in his body through the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. At present, the first two of the above-mentioned senses, considered to have the largest impact on the individual development, are “bombarded” by all digital devices.

The first effect of using digital technologies is the metamorphosis or transformation of man through the change and impoverishment of thought.

According to many recent studies, individual dependence (behavioral changes) on digital gadgets is increasing. Moreover, over the last decade researchers have found that in the case of children and youngsters we can speak of addiction (cellular changes of the organism at the biochemical level) to digital devices, such as in case of alcohol, tobacco and narcotics.

A major consequence of the excessive and long-term use of gadgets is the diminishing of the process of thinking. This can happen by reducing neural connections. In scientific terms, the main cause is the atrophy of dendritic spines of neuronal axons, because the dynamics and speed of digital screens no longer demand individuals to think. Man gradually becomes a spectator of his own life.

The transformation of thought from linear and continuous thinking in fragmented and fractured thinking is another consequence of the excessive use of the Internet and other digital devices. When we read a book, our mind follows a continuous, uninterrupted stream of the ideas expounded by the author, deepening in the depth of notions, in a linear sense. Instead, when surfing the Internet, the multitude of sites, their color, hyperlinks, fast jumps from one page to another fragment our thinking, break it down, and dissipate it in many directions. Thinking begins to work like web pages: in short overlapping sequences, which succeed very quickly. We can no longer pursue an idea, we can no concentrate on a single subject, but scatter our attention to many pages, images and hyperlinks.

The breaking of “link” between short-term memory, long-term memory and working memory is a particularly strong effect of digital technology in people’s lives. Besides the two different types of memories, the short-term and the long-term memory, there is another special type of short-memory called working memory, which plays an instrumental role in the transfer of information into long-term memory and hence in the creation of our personal knowledge.

Another negative effect is the distraction, fragmentation and scattering of attention, since the person cannot easily focus on an object when the external stimuli are weaker in intensity, for example, reading, writing, having a dialogue with other people, etc.

Multitasking is another consequence of digital technology in individuals’ lives. This is not just caused by gadgets, it is even promoted by them. We are urged daily to check our e-mails, to listen to music, to watch news on TV or Internet, to receive or send instant messages, all at the same time.

Another major effect of using digital devices is the loss of ability to self-reflection, meditation, deep thinking, contemplation, and prayer. A particular impact of digital technology is represented by the harmful radiation that effects human body, especially of children and young people, through a predisposition to various forms of diseases. From another point of view, digital technology can lead to aberration of thought and dementia.

Christian Ethics and the spirituality of Church Fathers offer different and objective methods that can cancel or diminish the negative influences of digital technology in our life, such as self-control, restrain, stop, silence, reading, prayer, reflection, meditation, contemplation, etc.

Drd. Andrei MACAR Viața sacramentală a creștinilor siro-orientali. Despre Sfintele Taine în Biserica Asiriană a Răsăritului

Summary: Sacramental life of Syro-Oriental Christians. On the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) in the Assyrian Church of the East

The present study addresses the topic of the Holy Mysteries with Syro-Oriental („Nestorian”) Christians and provides a succint presentation of the theological and liturgical elements that shed light on their sacramental life. It begins by explaining the stance on the Holy Mysteries of the Assyrian Church of the East, starting from the meaning and connotations of the Syriac term rāzā and from a number of Syro-Oriental patristic contributions. In the Syriac tradition, the term rāzā designates both the Church Mysteries and the worship practices at large or the Eucharistic liturgy. It is the equivalent of the Greek term μυστήριον and, unlike the term sacramentum, employed by the Western theology to designate the Mysteries, better denotes the presence of God as „Subject”, by His grace, during His mystical encounter with man. Moreover, both μυστήριον and rāzā are used with reference to the salvific work of God by the power of the Holy Spirit, which indicates that their meaning is not restricted to a limited number of Mysteries, as is the case with the term sacramentum in medieval western theology. This semantic equivalence of the two terms is noteworthy, since it denotes a common understanding of sacramental theology.

Another common element shared by the Orthodox stance on the Mysteries and the Syro-Oriental one, is their interest in allegorical liturgical symbolism, in keeping with the Alexandrian tradition. This openness of Syro-Oriental sacramental theology is quite surprising, especially given the Antiochian origin, close to Aristotelianism, of „Nestorian” theological thinking, which does not encourage an allegorical interpretation of the Bible. This symbolism was adopted due to Antiochian writers such as Theodore of Mopsuestia and Narsai, who were open to a degree to the Alexandrian theological influence. To the Syro-Orientals too, the invisible universe of the faith can become accessible to man through tangible symbols and thus the celebrants’ acts, the ritual gestures and liturgical items are symbols of the unseen realities. Moreover, Oriental fathers such as Narsai (5th century) and Yohannan bar Zobi (12th-13th centuries) point out that the signs/symbols not only point to invisible realities, but also have concrete effects, in the visible world, on human life, while having an eschatological dimension as well.

Regarding the number of Mysteries, Syro-Orientals did not develop a systematic doctrine on the Church Mysteries; the fact that at a certain point, they came to postulate seven Mysteries can be accounted for by the historical circumstances of the 13th-14th centuries. By that time, there had been writers who stressed the greater importance of some of the Mysteries, which they grouped together and addressed in more detail in their texts, but none of them attempted to draw up a complete list. The number of seven Holy Mysteries first appears in the Assyrian Church of the East in the writings of metropolitan of Nisibis, Abdisho bar Brikha († 1318), in his dogmatic treatise „The Book of the Pearl”. Another enumeration of the seven Mysteries dates from around the same time, in the work of katholikos Timothy II (1318-c. 1332) entitled „The seven grounds [„causes”] of the Church Mysteries”.

The emergence of the notion of seven Mysteries in Syro-Oriental Christianity at the end of the 13th century is surprising and derives from the medieval Catholic teachings on the Mysteries, propagated in the Christian East from the second half of the 13th century onwards. This doctrine first reached Byzantium via the confession of the faith sent to the pope by emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos. This document had been written by Latin theologians and was read out during the unionist council of Lyons, in 1274. Shortly afterwards, it reached Baghdad, the see of the Syro-Oriental katholikos Yahballaha III (1281-1317), as a result of diplomatic exchanges between the Mongol Ilkhanate of Persia and Iraq, and the West. However, as demonstrate Abdisho and Timothy II, the Syro-Orientals did not take over the exact list of the seven Mysteries put forth by the Western Christianity. Actually, the number of seven Mysteries had not been definitively established even in the 16th century, as shows the confession of the faith pronounced by the anti-patriarch Yohannan Sulaqa before pope Julius III, stating that the „Nestorians” acknowledged as Holy Mysteries the Baptism, Eucharist, Ordination, Matrimony, and the Sanctifying Oil. Today, the Syro-Oriental theologians do acknowledge the number of seven Mysteries, however not in the western form, but in the form listed by Abdisho bar Brikha.

Regarding Baptism, the Assyrian Church of the East has a ritual dating from the 7th century, as a result of the reforms implemented by katholikos Isho’yahb III (650-658). He eliminated what he considered to be outdated, including the part concerning catechumens, the exorcisms and the rejection of satan. The absence of this latter element is due to the unclear notion of the ancestral sin held by Syro-Oriental Christians, because some of their theologians, such as Babai the Great and Timothy II, assert that infants are not touched by sin and thus they are not to be baptized unto the remissions of sins. Baptism is performed by the priest by triple immersion, but in special cases, when the newborn’s life is at risk, the deacon is allowed to perform a shortened ritual at home.

Between the triple immersioon and the administration of the Holy Eucharist, there is the ritual of the imposition (laying on) of hands, without which the Baptism is not deemed to be complete. This ritual is the correspondent of the Chrismation in the Byzantine rite, or the Confirmation in the Latin rite. The priest anoints the forehead of the baptized one with the Holy Oil of Unction, with the thumb of his right hand, pronouncing the formula „[…] has been baptized and made perfect, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, unto ages of ages”. This oil is distinct from the Oil of blessing, as it is exclusively used for baptisms, for the sanctification of water and for the pre- and post-baptismal unctions, and is listed by Abdisho among the seven Mysteries. After this ritual of unction/ chrismation, the last part of the Baptism ritual is performed, and the baptized person receives the Holy Eucharist.

To the Syro-Orientals, the Eucharist is the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ, the „mystical sacrifice of the living Lamb of God, who wipes away the sins of the world” (Isho’yahb I). All those who receive it in faith are granted „[…] remission of sins, purification, illumination, grace, mercy, the great hope of the resurrection, becoming heirs of the kingdom of heaven and receiving the newe life” (Abdisho bar Brikha). Syro-Oriental Eucharistic celebration is performed within the Liturgy of the Holy Apostles Addai and Mari, to which specialists attach considerable importance because it contains the oldest Eucharistic prayer of all the Liturgies still in use. Another peculiarity of this liturgy is that Eucharistic prayers are addressed to Lord Jesus Christ, not God the Father, while the phrases instituting the Eucharist are missing, and the service has an eschatologic, penitential character.

Among the prerequisites for the celebration of the liturgy, the bread is prepared by the priest himself during a special ritual. One of the essential ingredients is the so-called Holy Leaven or Malkā. This is listed by metropolitan Abdisho bar Brikha as one of the seven Mysteries of the Church of the East and is unique to this Church as it is not present in any other liturgical tradition. The Leaven is a powder, to be added in the dough prepared for the Eucharistic prosphora, before baking. The Fathers of the Oriental Church consider that the Holy Leaven has been bequeathed by the Holy Apostles, and originates in the bread of the Last Supper, of which they kept an amount and passed it to the bishops and missionaries, in order to be mixed in the dough of the Eucharistic bread. Today, the Assyrian Church of the East considers that a liturgy is not valid unless it is performed using bread that contains the Holy Leaven.

Regarding the Mystery of Ordination (Holy Orders), the Syro-Orientals acknowledge the major ranks of bishop, priest and deacon, conferred by the Mystery of Ordination and instituted by Christ Himself (according to Timothy II). The episcopal office, or ministry, includes the ranks of katholikos-patriarch, metropolitan and bishop; priesthood includes the ranks of chorepiscopus, archdeacon and priest; the deaconate includes the ranks of deacon, subdeacon and reader. Through the members of episcopacy and priesthood, the faithful can be granted remission of sins. This forgiveness, however, is not received following private confession, but through a special service usually performed before the Holy Liturgy. Private confession of sins has ceased to be a Syro-Oriental practice since the 8th century, and Abdisho shows that it had completely disappeared by the 14th century.

Another peculiarity of the Assyrian Church of the East is its unique manner of venerating the Holy Cross. It is the only Church to deem the Cross one of the Holy Mysteries, based on the „Book of the Pearl” by Abdisho bar Brikha. He enumerates it among the Mysteries since it protects the Christians and is indispensable to all the Mysteries. It is likely that Abdisho places so much emphasis on the importance of the Holy Cross because, in the absence of icons, it is the only object venerated by the Church of the East.

Another element unique to the Syro-Oriental liturgical tradition is the mixture known as „hnana”. This is offered by priests to the sick, instead of the unction with blessed oil, which had disappeared from liturgical practice by the 13th century. Hnana is dust from the martyrs’ tombs, mixed with oi land water. This mixture is modelled into strips and dried, then sprinkled cross-wise with dust from the tomb of Apostle Thomas. This is accompanied by the words „this hnana is sanctified with the blessing of the Holy Apostle Thomas, towards the healing and health of body and soul, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen”.

Thus to a great degree, the Assyrian Church of the East has a similar understanding of the Church Mysteries as the Orthodox theology. One important commonality lies in the fact that the old traditionof the Eastern Church does not restrict the number of Mysteries to seven, as does the Roman-Catholic theology. However, we must note that the 2001 decision of the Synod of the Assyrian Church of the East, by which the list of Mysteries drawn up by Abdisho bar Brikha was acknowledged as normative, is a step away from the Syro-Oriental patristic tradition and an attempt at adhering to the pattern imposed by the medieval Catholic theology.

Beside the similarities of the two traditions, the present study also highlights the Syro-Oriental peculiarities. Some of them are very old and originate in the rites of the Christians of Persia before the 6th century, when Antiochian liturgical influences had not yet been felt. Others are more recent, emerging in the aftermath of the liturgical reform of katholikos Isho’yahb III, and at times depart from the authentic teachings of the faith. In this respect, the study mentions the absence of satan’s rejection and of the exorcisms from the ritual of the Baptism, as a consequence of denying the ancestral sin, as well as the absence of the confession of sins, which renders the ritual of repentance of the Syro-Oriental Christians rather questionable. Among the liturgical peculiarities emerging after the 10th century, the study mentions the unusual practice of mixing the Leaven in the prosphora prepared for the Holy Liturgy, as well as the bizarre tradition concerning its origin, as well as the Oil of Unction. Around the same period the liturgical practices included the use of the mixture known as „hnana”, offered to the sick instead of anointing them with blessed oil.

All these elements render the „Nestorian” liturgical tradition quite singular, and demonstrate the richness and diversity of the liturgical practices of the Christian East. They deserve to be better known in the Orthodox fold, to reveal both our common theological-liturgical roots, and the doctrinal aspects that separate and distinguish us. This can contribute, on the one hand, to mitigating the prejudices perpetuated throughout the centuries against „Nestorian” Christians, and on the other hand, to identifying the essential points of a possible theological dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Assyrian Church of the East. This caould demonstrate that a dialogue with this Church should not be confined to clarifying the Christological issue, but should also address the Mysteries of the Church, with their anthropological and soteriological implications.

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