NR. 1 – 2018

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2018.1

Pr. Prof. Dr. Constantin PREDA Chipul Sfântului Apostol Pavel, după Faptele Apostolilor

Summary: The figure of Holy Apostle Paul according to the Acts of the Apostles

In the second volume of his works – the Acts of the Apostles, St Luke offers three accounts of Saul’s calling/conversion: as a biographical account, in the third person singular (cf. Acts 9, 1-19); in autobiographical form, by reproducing his self‑defense speech in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 22, 1-21); and again as his defense before king Agrippa in Caesarea, Palestine (cf. Acts 26, 1-23)

The reiteration might seem superfluous, since Luke recounts the same event three times, to describe the calling/conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus. Actually, there are three distinct episodes, each revealing new intentions and opening new perspectivs to the readership. In the first narrative, that of Acts 9, 1-19, Saul provides a baptismal model for those who first adhered to the Gospel: the narrative climax is Paul’s baptism, performed by Ananias, and his receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (verses 18-19). The second narrative, that of 22, 1-21, focuses on Paul’s testimony, designated by the term ἡ παρρησία, that is, the „outspokenness” of the bold confession of his belief in the Resurrected Christ, in Jerusalem before all those who were demanding to have him sentenced. Now Paul testifies about the martyr Stephen, while he had been himself one of the persecutors. The third narrative, that of Acts 26, 1-23 offers a new angle again: Paul has been blinded and recovered his sight „to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (cf. Acts 26, 18).

St Paul’s experience was to help the heathens follow the same path of the faith as he had taken: from blindness to the inward sight enabled by the light of the Gospel. Thus, three narratives of the same event, however with distinct details and different perspectives, each indicating in its own way the importance of these narratives within the Lukan account. Therefore, Luke did not reiterate the event because he had forgotten or omitted any detail in his description of the event on the road to Damascus, but aims to emphasize its importance not only in Paul’s life, but especially in the life of the Church – then and in the future. But for this event, which can be regarded as providential and salvific, the Pauline evangelization carried out through missionary journeys would never have taken place. Consequently, the exemplarity of the baptism, confession of the faith and evangelization is the fundamental theme of the three Lukan accounts on Saul’s calling/conversion.

The originality of the first account in Acts 9 lies in the fact that it was based on a twofold vision (cf. Acts 10), unique in the biblical and Hellenistic literature. Thus the reader learns that the encounter of Saul and Ananias is not coincidental, but it is willed and directed by the Resurrected Christ. Luke offers a true „narrative program” concerning the witnessing and the confession of the faith which the Apostle, as a „chosen vessel”, is called to declare before the non-believers – the kings and sons of Israel (cf. Acts 9, 15), and shows the Apostle’s sufferings to occur with „necessity” in order to fulfil God’s will (cf. v. 16). However, Saul does not yet know this: Jesus, the Resurrected Lord, only requires him to travel to the city of Damascus in order to receive the holy baptism, rather than put Christians in prison! Hence the active role of Ananias, according to the first Lukan account. He stands for the intercession of the Church and its role in retrieving and converting Saul the persecutor. The narrative of this calling/conversion is dominated by the reversal of Saul’s identitt: from a persecutor intent on killing those who believed in the Messiah – Jesus (cf. Acts 9, 1), Saul becomes the threatened one (cf. Acts 9, 23-29). From an enemy of Christ’s disciples, he becomes a teacher of the Church having his own disciples in his turn (Acts 9, 25). From an opponent of Christ (Acts 9, 1), Saul becomes the preacher and confessor of Jesus Christ (cf. Acts 9, 20 și 22).

The account of Acts 22 has apologetic character. St Paul before the temple of Jerusalem and the Jews of the Holy City ready to kill him, defends his own reputation of faithfulness to the Judaic tradition. He addresses his „brethren and fathers” (cf. Acts 22, 1), talks to them in „the Hebrew tongue”, professes his affiliation to the Judaic tradition since birth, his education according to the Jewish values, as well as his zeal to safeguard them. He presents Ananias as a respectable person, an observer of the Law; it is precisely from the temple – the core of the religious life of Israel, that the Resurrected God sends him to confess Him before the people (cf. Acts 22, 17). Once he had turned a Christian apostle, Paul did not suddenly break and ties with Judaism, and the Jewish-Christian communities he established continued the traditions of the people of Israel and thus fulfilled the salvific plan announced in the Scriptures of the chosen people. Paul was the bond ensuring the continuity between Israel and the Gentile Churches (ex gentibus).

The third account (Acts 26) is presented in the context of the apologetic discourse delivered by Paul before king Herod Agrippa II. Luke describes Paul as the one who fulfilled his calling as „chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (cf. Acts 9, 15). This account is part of an ampler apologetic context, where Luke demonstrates the incoherence of Pharisaic Judaism which shares the Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead, but refuses to accept the resurrection of Jesus. St Paul’s experience and life, first a zealous persecutor, then herald and preacher of Jesus’ resurrection, ought to invite reflection.

In this context, the Lukan portrayal of St Paul reiterates the encounter of the Resurrected Lord and Saul and the importance of the words by which the Lord sends him out „to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light” (Acts 26, 17). Ananias and the baptism of the converted Paul are no longer mentioned here. The narrative focuses on the calling of Paul, directly performed by the Resurrected Christ. Thus the account of a conversion turns into the account of a calling: this reflects St Paul’s conviction who bases his own vocation as Apostle to the Gentiles on the event on the road to Damascus (Ga 1, 16).

The synoptic reading of the three accounts of the miraculous calling/conversion of Saul along his way to Damascus, containing different details, leads to the remrk that all have in common the dialogue between Saul and Jesus (cf. Acts 9, 4-5; Acts 22, 7-8 and Acts 26, 14-15) and all draw attention to the extraordinary light which oevrwhelmed Saul (Acts 9, 3; Acts 22, 6; Acts 26, 13).

The literary trope of the „vision leading to conversion” can be recognized by the two formal elements included in the description of Saul’s experience: the sight of the divine light and the aural revelation. God Himself speaks to him in the first person („I am”) and identifies Himself as the one Who is sought. The one called to conversion responds by „Here I am!”. This combination of seeing the supernatural light, heaing the divine voice, the personal call from the revealed one and the answer of the called person, are descriptors of Saul’s calling/conversion according to the three Lukan accounts, that is, the process of conversion is stylized and rendered by employing the traditional elements specific to biblical theophanies.

Luke knew how to provide his readers with progressive insight into the event on the road to Damascus: Saul’s radical of heart, his faithfulness of Judaism even after he had become a Christian convert, his special vocation as apostle to the Gentiles. The first account informs the reader about the destiny and future mission of the converted Paul; the following two accounts, where Paul speaks and defends himself, show he had faithfully fulfilled his calling: on the one hand, the pagan-turned-Christian communities emerged, on the other hand hostility and opposition to Judaism deepened. Thus the Scripture announcing all these was fulfilled, and Paul could not be accused of diverting the Church from her mission in the history of salvation, nor could he be accused by the Jews of being a renegade.

Although Luke does not conclude his book by describing Paul’s execution, he knew full well that the fate of the Apostle had been decided and had a tragic end. Luke did so because his account of Paul’s preaching in Rome, especially his meeting with the Jewish elders in the capital of the empire, had met the aim avowed in Acts 1, 8: the Gospel had reached the „ends of the earth”. Thus, Luke portrayed Paul as an exemplary shepherd, preaching audaciously about the Kingdom of God and teaching about Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 28, 31). This image matches perfectly the main theme of the book of Acts: the growth of the Word.

The last years in St Paul’s life are subject to biblical research and debates. There are two possible chronological accounts. The traditional one is based on the information provided by Eusebius of Cesarea and Blessed Jerome, according to whom the Apostle Paul died in the fourteenth year of Nero’s reign (54 – 68 A.D.), that is, in 67 A.D.; the other one, endorsed today by most researchers, places the beheading of the apostle at the end of his two-year Roman imprisonment, between 56-58 A.D. Paul received a death sentence and was beheaded, as per custom, outside the city walls, a few years before the death of Apostle Peter.


Rev. Ph.D. Habil. David PESTROIU Contextualizing Missional Theology. The “Arusha” approach

Rezumat: Contextualizarea teologiei misionare. Abordarea „Arusha”

Teologia misionară are nevoie astăzi, mai mult ca oricând, de contextualizare. Vestirea Evangheliei trebuie să țină cont de provocările lumii actuale, la nivel social, cultural, geopolitic și economic. Pentru a trezi interesul față de cuvântul lui Dumnezeu, este nevoie să-l facem cât mai accesibil oamenilor mileniului III, oscilanți între tradiționalism și modernism, între statornicie și noutate, între deznădejde și speranță.

Acesta este și motivul pentru care, Conferința internațională organizată de Comisia „Misiune și Evanghelizare” a Consiliului Mondial Ecumenic, World Mission and Evangelism, “Moving in the Spirit: called to transforming discipleship”, în Aru­sha, Tanzania, între 8 și 13 martie 2018, s-a dovedit a fi o adevărată cale spre cunoașterea și aprofundarea contextului misionar al lumii de azi.

Evaluarea de față reprezintă punctul de vedere al unui profesor de misiologie ortodox, participant la Conferința de la Arusha. Este o viziune sinceră și deschisă asupra realizărilor incontestabile ale întâlnirii, dar și asupra unor aspecte care ar putea fi îmbunătățite în viitor. Vorbind despre misiologia contextuală, vom pendula inevitabil între aceste două provocări: a fi în pas cu emanciparea lumii postmoderne, neomarxiste și corecte politic sau a articula un discurs curajos, cu abordări punctuale ale unor chestiuni rămase în suspans, la nivelul înțelegerii teologice. Este de văzut, în viitor, ce cale va fi urmată. Însă, până atunci, Ortodoxia mărturisitoare va continua să arate lumii calea de lumină a transformării individuale prin rugăciune curată și conlucrare cu harul dumnezeiesc, arătând direcția nu spre împărăția concupiscentă și hedonistă a omului secularizat, ci spre Împărăția cerurilor.


Lect. Ph.D. Stelian PAȘCA-TUȘA; Ph.D. Ioan POPA-BOTA; Bogdan ȘOPTEREAN “The Word was the true Light…” (Jn 1, 9) – St. Cyril of Alexandria’s Christological Discourse on Light in His Commentary on the Johannine Prologue

Rezumat: „Cuvântul era Lumina cea adevărată…” (In 1, 9) – discursul hristologic despre lumină al Sfântului Chiril al Alexandriei în comentariul său la prologul ioaneic

În cadrul studiului, autorii analizează discursul hristologic despre lumină al Sf. Chiril al Alexandriei, focusându-se pe comentariul acestuia asupra prologului ioaneic. Fundalul pe care Sfântul Chiril și-a dezvoltat amplul său comentariu asupra Evangheliei după Ioan este marcat de lupta acestuia cu neoarienii, care susțineau că Fiul lui Dumnezeu, Cuvântul, era supus neputințelor omenești și, prin urmare, nu era capabil să ofere credincioșilor posibilitatea de a fi părtași vieții dumnezeiești. Din acest motiv, prin diferite silogisme, Sfântul Chiril caută să evidențieze deoființimea Fiului cu Tatăl, dumnezeirea lui Iisus Hristos-Cuvântul întrupat și posibilitatea oamenilor de a fi părtași la cele dumnezeiești prin El, plecând de la textul Evangheliei Ucenicului iubit. Obiectivul principal al studiului este acela de a evidenția faptul că lumina despre care vorbește Sf. Evanghelist Ioan în prologul Evangheliei sale, cu referire la Mântuitorul Iisus Hristos, constituie pentru Sfântul Chiril un element prin care se poate înțelege mai clar învățătura hristologică a Bisericii. Atenția autorilor nu este concentrată spre elementele polemice ale discursului Sfântului Chiril, ci, dimpotrivă, aceștia decantează în textul arhiepiscopului toate aspectele ce țin de controversele istorice avute în vedere de autor. Intenția principală este aceea de a sublinia specificitatea discursului chirilian despre lumina dumnezeiască. În cadrul acestei cercetări este pus în valoare modul în care dumnezeirea lui Hristos este caracterizată de lumină. După ce este subliniată deoființimea Fiului cu Tatăl prin intermediul conceptului de „lumină”, este evidențiat modul în care lumina lui Hristos se revarsă asupra omului și îi oferă posibilitatea de a se face părtaș luminii necreate izvorâte din Ființa lui Dumnezeu. Spre finalul studiului, autorii evidențiază faptul că omul care este iluminat și devine părtaș Luminii poate, la rându-i, să devină lumină pentru alții, călăuzindu-i spre Iisus Hristos. Discursul acestuia despre lumină începe odată cu comentarea celui de-al patrulea verset: „Întru El era viață și viața era lumina oamenilor”. Arhiepiscopul subliniază faptul că Fiul lui Dumnezeu, fiind Cel care le-a dat viață tuturor, are, prin însăși firea Sa, puterea de a-i face pe oameni să fie părtași la viața Lui. Din faptul că Fiul lui Dumnezeu este Viață, rezultă că El este și izvorul ei. Cuvântul nu are nevoie să I se dea viață, pentru că El Însuși este Viață, calitate pe care Acesta o deține ființial. Fiul nu are viața de la Tatăl, ci El Însuși, asemenea lui Dumnezeu Tatăl, este prin fire și Viață, și Lumină. Argumentul pe care Sfântul Chiril îl folosește în demonstrația sa hristologică se bazează pe prima parte a versetului 9 din prologul ioaneic: „Cuvântul era Lumina adevărată”. Arhiepiscopul evidențiază în comentariul său distincția clară care există între Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu, Lumina cea adevărată, și orice altceva care ar putea fi numit în mod impropriu lumină. Dacă Fiul este Lumina adevărată, nimic în afară de El nu este lumina adevărată, nici nu are de la sine puterea de a fi și de a se numi lumină. Așadar, El e Lumina adevărată, iar creatura nu este. Cuvântul are această calitate prin fire, iar creația și, în special, omul pot dobândi lumina doar prin părtășie. Prin harul Duhului, omul poate lumina și pe ceilalți oameni sau pe creaturi abia după ce a primit lumina de la cel Care este „Lumina cea adevărată care luminează pe tot omul care vine în lume” (In 1, 9). Silogismele pe care arhiepiscopul le folosește au ca punct comun ideea că omul nu are lumina prin fire, ci o primește ca dar de la Cel care este Lumină prin fire, și sunt menite să sublinieze superioritatea Fiului față de om. Pentru cei care nu contestă dumnezeirea Fiului și deoființimea Acestuia cu Tatăl, luminarea pe care Cuvântul o revarsă asupra oricărui om care vine în lume marchează începutul comuniunii omului cu Dumnezeu. Această acțiune de luminare este înțeleasă de Sfântul Chiril ca o sădire în mintea noastră a unei licăriri luminoase, ce ne conduce la cunoașterea lui Dumnezeu. Altfel spus, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu îl face pe om părtaș firii dumnezeiești, lăsând să pătrundă în minte strălucirea Lui, în modul și sensul știute numai de El. Cuvintele „Eu sunt Lumina lumii” ascund, în opinia Sfântului Chiril, taina iluminării întregii lumii. Dacă Iisus Hristos ar fi spus că El este Lumina și nu ar fi adăugat „lumii” atunci revărsarea luminii dumnezeiești ar fi fost restrânsă doar la poporul Israel, iar neamurile ar fi rămas în întuneric. Însă pentru că Domnul nostru a afirmat că este Lumina întregii lumii, tuturor oamenilor li s-a oferit posibilitatea de a nu mai umbla în întunericul adânc al neștiinței, ci de a veni la Lumină pentru a se umple de lumina dumnezeiască și cerească. Însă, părtășia omului la lumina dumnezeiască este voluntară. Chiar dacă Dumnezeu își revarsă lumina Sa asupra omului, acesta are libertatea de a alege să trăiască în lumină sau nu. Sfântul Chiril evidențiază faptul că omul nu este lumină în sine, ci numai prin părtășia sa la lumina care izvorăște din Cuvântul Tatălui. De aici reiese, cu limpezime, faptul că doar Cel care le oferă oamenilor posibilitatea de a fi lumină este Lumina cea adevărată. Părtășia omului la lumină îi oferă acestuia posibilitatea de a lumina. Acesta primește puteri dumnezeiești, fără însă a fi părtaș firii lui Dumnezeu. Părtășia prin har îl unește pe om cu Dumnezeu, fără însă a fi prin ea însăși o identitate panteistă. Energiile necreate sunt cele care mijlocesc această unire. Deosebirea acestor energii de ființa lui Dumnezeu ne oferă cadrele necesare înțelegerii unirii prin har. Folosindu-se de exemplul Sf. Ioan Botezătorul, care este numit „făclie care arde și luminează” (In 5, 35), Sfântul Chiril arată că acesta și ucenicii Domnului aveau misiunea de a lumina și de a fi «lumină a lumii». Arhiepiscopul Alexandriei afirmă și aici, cu consecvență, că omul nu are lumina ca dat ființial, ci numai ca dar oferit de Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu, prin mijlocirea Duhului Sfânt. Oamenii, în calitatea lor de luminători, nu ar putea să lumineze dacă nu ar fi în părtășie cu Izvorul luminii, Care este Iisus Hristos. Această realitate se regăsește în discursul iconografic, în care sfinții devin izvoare de lumină, dar numai în urma părtășiei lor la Lumina dumnezeiască ce izvorăște din Ființa lui Dumnezeu. Acest fapt se poate realiza prin asumarea cuvintelor Domnului, care sunt lumină și prin plinirea lor. În felul acesta, tot ce vine din Lumină (în cazul de față, poruncile) devine lumină și oferă posibilitatea de a crea făclii de lumină. Potrivit prologului ioaneic, omul poate să devină lumină prin părtășie și, ca atare, el dobândește capacitatea de a lumina pe ceilalți și de a-i călăuzi spre Lumină. Sfântul Chiril precizează faptul că omul are acest dar numai în urma comuniunii lui cu Cel ce este Lumină. În acest fel sunt evitate toate derapajele care ar rezulta din înțelegerea denaturată a iluminării. În acest sens, arhiepiscopul aduce mai multe exemple din Noul Testament, în care sunt evidențiate nevoia omului de lumină și cufundarea acestuia în întunericul imoral al individualizării (2 Cor 4, 4; In 12, 35; 3, 19-20). Ambele situații conduc pe cititor la o singură concluzie: omul nu are din fire lumina și nici capacitatea de a lumina. Domnul este Cel care îi oferă omului acest dar al ființării în lumină. La finalul cercetării, autorii au subliniat faptul că, în contextul disputelor hristologice, Sfântul Chiril al Alexandriei se folosește de prologul ioaneic pentru a sublinia faptul că Iisus Hristos se distinge într-un mod evident de toate cele create. Pentru a demonstra acest lucru, ierarhul face trimitere repetată la faptul că Logosul, Fiul lui Dumnezeu, Unul din Treime, Dumnezeu desăvârșit, este Lumina cea adevărată.


Asist. Dr. Eugen MAFTEI Enhypostatos. O încercare de rezolvare a problemei hristologice de către Leonțiu de Bizanț

Summary: Enhypostatos. An attempt at solving the Christological controversy by Leontius of Byzantium

The incarnation of Christ, God and Man, is a divine mystery which human mind can partially understand, only insofar as it receives the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit’s grace. Those who attempted to explain such profound things, without being enlightened by this grace, ended up in heresy and separation from the Church. The Fathers assembled at Ephesus (431) and Chalcedon (451) established the dogma about the Christ, professing that the Son of God is One after the incarnation, so one hypostasis in two natures, divine and human, without division or alteration of the hypostasis and without separation or mixture of the natures. However, the dissensions between the Diophysites and the Monophysites regarding the understanding of the natures’ union in Christ did not end with these Councils. Leontius of Byzantium’s doctrine about enhypostatos was intended to be a solution to these continuous disputes. Given the incomprehensibility of the mystery of the incarnation – the condition of Christ’s existence, completely new and unique –, the protagonists tried to find a suitable formula to confess Christ as true God, unchanged by assuming human nature, but also as a true Man, who lacks nothing and who can manifest Himself entirely as a man, without being annihilated or constrained in any way in His acts by His divinity. Thus, various ways of understanding the divine and human natures’ union in Christ were proposed. The formula of St. Cyril of Alexandria: “one nature (physis) of the Word enfleshed” (μία φύσις τοῦ Θεοῦ Λόγου σεσαρκωμένη) could not be imposed due to the misinterpretation given by some theologians, who understood an absorption of the human nature. The Monophysites proposed other expressions, such as: “one composite nature” (μία φύσις σύνθετος), which risked being neither divine nor human, but a hybrid mixture. Some more moderate Monophysites agreed to speak of a hypostasis, but one consisting of “two natures” (ἐκ δύο φύσεων), whose distinction, after union, can no longer be made or, if it is made, it is only a conceptual distinction (δύο φύσεις κατ’ ἐπίνοιαν). For Leontius of Byzantium, the most appropriate type of union of the two natures in Christ is the one that follows the model of the union between soul and body in man. Conceiving man as a compound of two complete and perfect elements, the soul and the body – which may exist independently one of each other, but which nevertheless have a common existence –, Leontius believes that the same can be said of the Person of Christ, in whom the two natures behave analogously to the soul and the body. As each of these substances can separately be complete and distinct, but they form, by union, one perfect hypostasis: the man, in the same way divinity and humanity are two perfect and distinct natures, which unite in one perfect hypostasis: Christ. What the soul is for the body in the case of man, that is the Word for his humanity in Christ. The analogy also continues regarding the relations between the parties. Thus, if the soul in relation to another soul is identical with it by essence, but different by hypostasis, in the same way the Word in relation to the Father has the same essence, but distinct hypostasis. In relation to his body, the soul is united by hypostasis, but distinct by essence, and correspondently, the Word is united with his body by the identity of the hypostasis, but distinct by the difference of essence. Finally, the man in relation to a bodyless soul or a soulless body is, as a whole, totally separate from them, but in relation to the soul and to the body, as parts of it, he has something in common with both. In the same way, Christ in relation to the Word and to the human is a hypostasis distinct from the Father and from men, but united by the identity of nature both with the Father (according to the divine nature) and with men (according to the human nature). Leontius was aware of the limitations of this analogy, which could transform the compound hypostasis into a double hypostasis, and consequently he completed his phrase, proposing the idea of​ “unitary compound hypostasis”. He also recognizes that the analogy of the human compound cannot be fully applied to Christ. Thus, comparing the Word of God with the soul in man, we recognize their ontological difference, the soul being perfect only as a complete substance, while the Word is absolutely perfect and the source of perfection. On the other hand, man’s soul can be conceived only together with his body, while the Word of God is pre-existing to the nature which He has assumed. Thirdly, unlike the soul, which feels the sufferings of the body, because it is suffering, the Word remains immutable and impassible in His nature, even if He participates in the sufferings of the body, by virtue of the hypostasis. However, according to Leontius, the soul and the body are different realities in the humanity of Christ. When we speak about the glorification of Christ, we refer only to the glorification of the body, His soul did not need to be glorified, for He has been in glory from the beginning of his existence. The body of Christ could not be impassible, since Christ had to truly suffer, die and rise. If the impassibility of his body had been accomplished in the moment of Word’s union with His body, then it means that this union had to cease for Christ be able to suffer. Therefore, Leontius believes that the properties of the body of Christ are not determined by the union with the Word, but by the achievement of the Holy Spirit, which forms Him in the womb of the Virgin Mary. The Word therefore assumed a suffering body, like our bodies, that is the body of man after the fall, because that body needed to be rehabilitated. However, He did not assume the sin, because the sin belongs to the freedom of the will, but He assumed all the affections and weaknesses of the fallen nature. The incorruptibility of the body of Christ is a gift of the Holy Spirit, which He did not have automatically, as a result of His union with the Word himself, but which He acquired through all the facts that Christ did from birth to grave and beyond it. This analogy of the body-soul relationship applied to Christ had the merit of facilitating the understanding of the union of two different natures into one living being; however, the way in which the human nature of Christ could be complete in Him, without its own hypostasis, remained to be resolved. Therefore, Leontius will introduce the notion of enhypostatos. Using the distinction, already classic, made by St Basil the Great between ousia and hypostasis, Leontius will show that there is no opposition between them. This difference consists, first of all, in the fact that the ousia gives a subject the belonging to a species, while the hypostasis individualizes it. So, ousia indicates the general, that is what it is, and the hypostasis indicates the particular, that is what is individualized, distinct, or separate. Nature designates something, the hypostasis someone. The nature cannot be a hypostasis, but the hypostasis can be a nature: a nature with distinctive properties. However, according to Leontius, no nature is anhypostatic, but it has a certain subsistence, even if it does not exist by itself. This idea underlies the concept of enhypostatos. The enhypostatos is neither a hypostasis nor an accident, but a mean between the two, not being someone, but being part of someone. Thus, in Christ there is not only a union of human nature with the divine one, but an assumption of human nature by the eternal hypostasis of the Word of God. This is for Leontius the concept of enhypostatos, which means that the subsistence of the two natures in Christ does not come from a common source, but the source is the very subsistence of the Word of God. Thus, although at least in theory, the humanity of Christ could have pre-existed even before the incarnation, but this did not happen, for it was not appropriate for this humanity to be deprived of its divinity. The humanity of Christ did not exist as a separate or previously formed entity, but came into existence in the Word of God at the time of the incarnation or the Word assumed it and was born into a flesh at the “fulfilment of time”. The concept of enhypostatos proposed by Leontius is important because it specifies the relationship between the divine and the human natures in Christ. Enhypostatos does not mean the simple union of one nature with the other, but the existence of one in another hypostasis. So, we cannot talk about an enhypostatos of both natures, but only of one, respectively of the human one. However, this does not mean a preponderance of the divine nature of Christ over the human one, in the sense that they would not participate as equal parts. Leontius insists on the idea of ​​ “possessor” or “bearer” of a nature by a hypostasis. As for Christ, this hypostasis is the eternal Word of God, Who, being the bearer of the divine nature, becomes through the incarnation the bearer of the human nature too, which He enhypostasizes or personalizes. The enhypostatos does not have its own existence, it is not without existence either, but it is a different existence, because it has its existence in another hypostasis. So, the human nature of Christ does not receive a new hypostasis, but it is assumed and enhypostasized by the same hypostasis of the Word. Otherwise speaking, the Word of God, Who is the eternal hypostasis of the divine nature and exists by Himself, becomes in a new way the hypostasis of the human nature too, being born as a man. The humanity of Christ is not an indefinite substance, lacking its own characteristics, but a nature as concrete as possible, with specific characteristics, only that it does not exist apart from the hypostasis of the Word, but as part of it, therefore it is not hypostasis, but enhypostatos. Thus, through the concept of enhypostatos, Leontius managed to explain the mystery of the incarnation of Christ, preserving both the unity of the divine-human hypostasis and the characteristics of each nature. The human nature of Christ, being an enhypostatos, has on the one hand its own characteristics, which means that Christ is entirely a true man, and on the other hand, it is not found in Christ as something separate, but is enhypostasized by the Word of God.


Arhim. Dr. Nathanael NEACȘU Sinteză istorico-doctrinară a noțiunii de „persoană”. Aspecte precreștine, scripturistice și patristice

Summary: Historical-doctrinal synthesis of the notion of „person”. Pre-Christian, scriptural and patristic aspects

This study aims to elementally capture the cultural-semantic and theological development of the notion of the person (πρόσωπον). We highlight the process of theological clarification of the mentioned notion, especially since it is related to a large part of the triadological and Christological debates from Late Antiquity and the beginning of the Christian Middle Ages.

As noted during the present analysis, the term πρόσωπον did not initially have the quality of a theological term, but was a term that covered rather a physiognomic and cultural-religious reality. The assimilation of the term in the realm of the ancient tragedies also enriched it with aspects related to human existence and the conflict he experiences in relation to the corrupt reality of daily life. In the Hellenistic period the notion πρόσωπον acquired more and more existential elements; it began to refer to the deep existence of man.

The πρόσωπον can also be found in Holy Scripture most often with the meaning of the present or presence. Evangelical theology is increasingly ingrained in the notion considered, so that in the New Testament the πρόσωπον is presented equivalent to the general human reality, the personal divine Being or the human hypostasis as a specific human identity. Holy Scripture thus makes the transition from the cultural-religious and philosophical dimension of πρόσωπον to the theological one, which would be definitively specified few centuries later.

In the first Christian centuries the term πρόσωπον is rarely used in the theological sense, but more in the sense of defining human existence in general. That is why πρόσωπον is often equated with φύσις, ὑπόστασις and ὄνομα, which often causes significant theological confusion. The use of πρόσωπον in the apostolic period is limited to the general existence of man and to the presence and work of God in the world. Starting with the third century, πρόσωπον acquires more and more theological meanings, it is assimilated to the fundamental reality of the human being, designating an existential reality in himself. In the 4th century πρόσωπον is distinguished from οὐσία and is used synonymously with ὑπόστασις. This clarification takes place in the plan of the triadological and Christological debates of the 4th and 5th centuries of the Christian era.

The theological developments based on the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils and the theological writings of the great Fathers of the Church led to the definitive establishment of the term πρόσωπον in its triadological, Christological and anthropological dimensions. St. John of Damascus captures in different contexts the definitive theological content of the term πρόσωπον. Therefore, from the Christian point of view πρόσωπον no longer has the simple meaning of a lexical unit, but the importance of a theological term encompassing in itself the theological principles and foundations presented during this work.

Therefore, the result of the present analysis could be that of a synthetic presentation of the process of theologising the term πρόσωπον, but also the indirect highlighting of the various theological grounds that the term acquired as a consequence of this process.

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