NR. 3 – 2018

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2018.3

Arhim. prof. dr. Teofil TIA — Postmodernitatea occidentală: o realitate poliedrică. Discernământ pastoral pentru a lectura „semnele timpului”

Summary: Western postmodernity: a multifaceted reality. Pastoral discernment in deciphering the „signs of the times”

The study is an invitation to decipher ‘the signs of the times’, that is to identify some subtle challenges for the Christian faith coming from the western postmodernity; the mass culture and the impact of mass media on the mentalities must be constantly in the attention of pastoral approach; digitalism has generated an unexpected reaction in the ecclesial environment: the churches have started to feel threatened as far as their traditional educational style of the new generations is concerned. After analyzing a few structural mutations, specific to postmodernity, it can be noted that the current culture is radically oriented towards ‘mutation’, which is often regarded as a value in itself. In this context, diversity and precarity are sociological features that condition any type of present pastoral involvement and also the future. The research is further structured into five interpreting criteria of postmodernity as follows: faith in the heart of dominant culture: ‘filter’ and ‘stimulus’ at the same time; „the human power to love” – conditioned by the factor „Religion”; the illegitimate postmodern superiority of technology over ethics; axiological mutations dealt with in a pastoral manner; the Christian faith – existential orientation, not ideological hypothesis; faith – ontological certainty, not psychological weakness. A part of the study is centered on an evident truth: the incarnation of the Son of God excludes any competition between ‘the human rights’ and ‘the rights of God’. The pastoral activity of the Church must concentrate first of all on the conversion of heart; this is the only way human rights will not be a utopia or simply an ideal, but a reality that can be affirmed day by day, fortified by the spiritual life.

The logic of contemporary Western culture seems explicitly inspired and guided by the philosophical current of “fragile thinking”, for example the mentality and fundamental principles of postmodernity. Some of these would be: the emergence of media and computer communication, which have profoundly changed the type and value of the culture transmitted. The media has become an agent of production and transmission of mass culture that ultimately conditions spirits and consciences. Christianity, born as a “religion of the word”, is today in contact with radically different communicative structures; the fact that the population has experienced such a great territorial and social mobility that the traditional structure of the territory on which the religious life was based was shaken; the disappearance of the extended patriarchal family and the current quantitative predominance of mono-nuclear (three-member) or single-parent families. These phenomena express and lead to a type of society that scientists define as fragmented, individualistic, emotional, easy, prey to egocentric models, with prominent social hegemony of rules of an economic nature, with a tendency towards ephemerality and consumerism.

The Church must manage, accept, and stimulate diversified experiences, by their temporary nature. The confrontation between two exigencies (the search for pastoral and theologically authentic experiences) is the essential moment of the “postmodern Church”: the discernment of the “signs of the times” and the reference to them to update the Church’s saving mission. The desire of the Church and the Christian community to confront the surrounding cultural reality means, above all, to want to live your own Christian faith in a responsible manner. Another important goal of this confrontation is cultural stimulation. For this, a twofold type of analysis is necessary: ​​on the one hand, the knowledge of the status and tendencies of today’s culture, and on the other hand, the quantification of the possible counter-blows from the socio-religious plan of contemporary Christianity.

The concept of “man” is not similar in modern neo-Enlightenment culture with that of Christian culture. Man enjoys in both cultures an undoubtedly central position, but he is an absolute and autonomous value for secular ethics, and for Christian morality an enlightened value and enhanced by the supreme value, God. The term is unique, but the meaning is different in terms of nuances. So, by saying the same word, it is possible for the man of culture and the Christian to assert values that do not fully coincide.

Not all states see the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the universal expression of human dignity, but it continues to be seen by other cultures as a product of the Western world, thus preferring to express human dignity and its relationship with society in other ways. In one form or another, all cultures reflect different aspects of human dignity. The man of modernity was a “rational, cerebral, thinking subject”, (R. Descartes: “I think, so I exist!”), a rational but finite being, a subject promoted by international law; the Christian man is, instead, a loving, affective subject, a being born to love. True attempts on human dignity are born in the heart. Human rights do nothing but express values that, being previously violated, present themselves naturally and explicably, in legal terms.

In the postmodern world, a different course of action is imposed on the Christian community. In fact, the changes occurred in the 19-20th centuries must determine Churches to end up with “the besieged fortress syndrome”. But this must not lead to the fragility of the collective identities, nor to the fall into sectarianism, but to the fortification of small collectivities, to the unity of relations and of specific values belonging to this kind of community. They have to offer to everyone a constant struggle against massification of anti-cultural ways of thinking. Paradoxically, today’s Western world is disappointed by science and by the accomplishments of technology (as they fail to make the human being happier) and it doesn’t have an optimistic view on the future anymore.

At the present time, there is a dire need for the fortification of the pastoral action in the cultural field, which is considered vital for the existence, because tomorrow world’s destiny is at stake here. Contemporary themes that predispose today’s man to meditation, philosophical reflection and prayer are the sense of life, the meaning of pain, the life crisis and the mystery of death. This phenomenon of small communities convinced of their salvific mission in history, a mission committed to joy and hope, oriented towards all the poor and the disadvantaged, can and must be a guiding light in postmodernity.

Each Christian is personally called in this postmodern cultural context to testify to, and become a loud voice for the message of faith. Also, the people holding particular responsibility positions in scientific research, politics, economy and mass media enjoy a special calling. They have been entrusted with the noble mission to proclaim their faith ad gentes so that the public opinion can become open to the universe of faith, thanks to their living example.


Pr. lect. dr. Ion-Sorin BORA — Rostirea, interpretarea și redactarea Parabolei Semănătorului. Scurte considerații asupra textului redat de Evangheliile sinoptice

Summary: The Parable of the Sower – delivery, interpretation and recording. Brief considerations on the text in the Synoptic Gospels

The Parable of the Sower is found in the three synoptic Gospels, in a unitary structure and in relatively identical terms, effectively opening the largest collection of Kingdom parables in Matthew. The text is difficult to understand not only for the large crowd of listeners, strongly anchored in rabbinical education, but also for theologians of all times. Only direct disciples understood the meaning of this saying, precisely because they were able to receive explanations as gifts from God, not as merits of rationalizing the seemingly banal elements of daily life. For this revelation they humbly prayed, acknowledging from the beginning that they were of no avail, of course, in contrast to those who displayed everywhere their understanding of the word of God in the Holy Scripture. If for the disciples the interpretation that Jesus performs for his own parable is sufficient, for theologians it becomes the subject of debate, the passage of time and the multiplication of the interpretive keys becoming real obstacles in the simple and correct perception of God’s loving message about the life and diversity of those to whom He gives the seed of eternal life. Thus, it turns out that ignoring the explanation in Jesusʼ own parable leads the thread of interpretation to places where the Word of the Gospel can hardly bear fruit.

No parable in the Gospels can be reduced to the riddle or enigma status, according to the model consecrated by the rabbis, for the exercise of intellectual abilities, because the Savior Christ sends an effective message with a decisive role in changing the ordinary man from evil to good.

We start from the premise that the synoptics wrote the words of the Savior under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, useful in elucidating the first message, which Christ transmitted verbally, from the boat, to the crowds on the shore of the Sea of ​​Galilee, but also indirectly, to those to whom the Holy Gospel is addressed. Thus, one easily passes over the attacks on the authenticity of the text and implicitly, of the Church that has kept it holy until now.

The day when the Savior goes out of the house to the lake to speak the parable, is the same Saturday, beginning with the rebuke addressed by the Pharisees to Jesus because the hungry disciples who had gathered ears of corn from the harvest for their immediate nourishment, continued with healings and exorcisms. They rush to accuse Him of casting out demons with Beelzebub. This Saturday seems to be nearing the end, when we see the dawn of the new day, right on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, where the Sun of Christ shines to the word.

It seems that everyone had a place in the parable: either on good ground or among thorns, on a stony place or even near the road. Thus, the place of the parable’s auditor is a huge stub, each of those present contemplating the effects of the previous year’s sowing and being called to meditate on the need for fruit.

The land of Galilee is cultivated with great difficulty. Only thorny shrubs grow on rocky ridges; on the valleys, fertile soil is endangered by heavy rainfall and drought. Instead of the rightful owners of the land, the productive lands had long been in the possession of the family of Herod, of the religious elites, especially the Herodians and Essenes and, not least, of the Roman soldiers left behind. For this reason, the very life of the people was endangered by their own abandonment in the face of the challenges of the time.

In the three situations of failure, the seed can be dissociated from the soil, but the Savior effectively identifies this seed with the soil in which it was sown. Of course, the land is in symbiosis with the seed and, without this seed, the soils of Palestine much praised for their fertility would not count for the parable. Likewise, the Jewish people are the chosen people because they identify, up to a point with the living book of God’s words, professed from generation to generation.

The disciples are usually identified with the good soil, from which there are higher expectations. This connection between disciples and the good soil is generated especially by the confirmation offered by Jesus that they were granted to understand the mysteries of the Kingdom. Thorns could easily be associated with the temple elite. But this association brings the impossibility of the wire to rise above the spines. Wherever the thorns exist, they are loyal allies of those who want to avoid the rain and heat coming from above. These alliances made by those who have no patience to bear fruit are called the burden of “the cares and riches and pleasures of life” (Lk 8:14) or “the care of this world and the deceit of wealth” (Mt 13:22). Mark offers a much deeper picture of the effects of the thorns on the seed: “the worries of the age and the deceitfulness of riches and lusts after the others, penetrating in them, stifling the word” (Mk 4:19).

Without crediting the idea that the sacred authors had their own intention in drafting the interpretation of the Savior, the discrepancy between those who bear fruit in patience and those who do not, for different reasons, is maintained at the time of writing the Gospels. If there is an intention in making this interpretation, it belongs to the Savior Himself: the care for the Word, which cannot go unheard by the negligence of His disciples, but fulfills the command of God.


Diac. lect. dr. Mihai CIUREA — Corpusuri și genuri literare înainte de definitivarea canonului biblic noutestamentar. Cazul titulaturii evanghelice

Summary: Corpuses and Literary Genres before the Closing of the New Testamentary Canon. The Case of the Gospel’s Title

The Bible is a collection of writings that contains the basis of the Christian faith. This heterogeneous “library” implies an agreement on the compilation of the books that are assembled into one, but also on the exclusion of others. In turn, this agreement has produced what we call the “Bible canon” nowadays. In relation to holy writings, the term κανών accepts complementary related meanings, literary and figurative, the first one focusing on the second: the biblical canon is a group of inspired writings whose authority has become normative for Christians. The fixation of a new testamentary canon has been progressively taking place since the second half of the second century. One of the key approaches to this subject concerns the way and purpose in which the earliest corpus of New Testament writings was made previously. They can be seen as small-sized canons or proto-canons, with a well-determined and coherent role, before the setting of a definitive canon. The canonical lists show great fluidity up to the fourth century, when the fixing of the New Testament canon was definitively made. Generally, it is about that bipolarity specific to the structure of primary Christianity, represented, on the one hand, by εὐαγγέλιον (the words, deeds and miracles of the Savior Jesus Christ) and, on the other hand, by ἀποστολικόν (as confessor), obviously epitomized by the work of St. Luke the Evangelist. In order to better understand this natural process, we have to pay attention to an aspect less considered by biblical research, namely the Titles of the Gospels. From a narrative perspective, the title of a work is extremely important and deserves to be maximized. At the same time, it is the starting and the final point in reading, analyzing and understanding the writing. Whatever the period in which the first canonical writings of the New Testament were given the title of “the Gospels”, this act of naming them has undeniable hermeneutical importance. The Greek term εὐαγγέλιον (from εὐ = “well”, “good” and ἀγγέλλω = “to bear a message”, “to announce”), commonly used in the plural, is quite well known in the ancient Greek world, meaning “good news”. It is especially used in connection with a certain victory, with the reward of the one who brought such a “good news” or, finally, with the sacrifice of the gods for the joyous announcement of that honor. Very interesting is the use of the word within the cult of the emperor of Greek-Roman times. In the Septuagint, the noun is rarely found, each time in singular, but the verbal form is very common. As for New Testament Bible manuscripts, the title of the writing, known as “inscription” or “superscription”, noted at the beginning of the writing, is often repeated at its end, the so-called “subscriptio”. In these additions we find a mention of remarkable value: “the gospel according to”, in Greek Εὐαγγέλιον κατά. They are usually attributed to the scribes at the end of the second century. We cannot know for sure who is the one who used, for the first time, the term “gospel” as a literary name, but whatever the answer, it is certain that around 110-120 AD, the Didache uses, not less than four times, the noun in a literary sense. The tendency to identify a work as quickly as possible through its title, both to overcome anonymity status and to be more readily disseminated among readers, which usually exceeds the circle of original recipients, is indeed closely linked to the practices of the Greek-Roman culture. On the other hand, this characteristic is in total opposition to the theological writings of Judaism, which most often keep anonymity. The Greek-Roman antiquity works were generally accompanied by the author’s name, sometimes even duplicated by an indication of their content. This title replaced the original use of the first Greek classics, which used to present the author’s first name, which made it superfluous to impose an “inscription”. This is the case with the editions of texts of the great Greek philosophical schools and even the Qumran Library. Recognizing the personality of the saintly author is equivalent to giving the author the proper authority, a reality that is perfectly valid and easily noticeable in the case of new testamentary epistles and even of Apostle John. As for the Holy Gospels and the Acts, their titles were most likely established when these texts began to overcome their original context, or when the author’s certainty had begun to be questioned. But it seems that this programmatic function of identifying a writing did not necessarily represent a first argument in the case of the canonical Gospels of the New Testament, but their title is primarily based on the need for the cultic reading of the Word of God. As long as the first recipients were the recipients of the “gospel word” from a single source, its authority and the “referent” itself were unquestionable. Later, however, when the Gospels had a circular character, and the Christian communities now had two, three or even four inspired evangelical texts, they had to be distinguished. Although we do not have much detail about the worship of the early Christians, we can see that the reading of the biblical periphrases did not only cover the Old Testament texts, but obviously included evangelical readings and even apostolic epistles. Following the pattern of synagogue reading of a certain group of prophets whose author was identified, cultic reading of evangelical writings naturally followed. Here, in fact, the Sitz im Leben of this transformation must be seen, through which a theological concept (εὐαγγέλιον) becomes a literary designation. In this liturgical context, the character of the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ will be applied to the writing, which will bring it into the current language, “from kerygma to letter”. Another favorable factor to the evangelical title has to be sought in the practice of scribes and Christian copyists to replace the scroll with the codices quite early, which has brought with it a number of advantages, especially appreciated by Christian missionaries. This paradigm shift also coincides with another mutation recorded approximately at the same historical period, to which Christianity has again made a significant contribution: replacing papyrus with parchment. In addition to the natural desire to delineate the Jewish ancestral practice of using the scrolls of the Law, this identity claim is unique, through its constancy, among manuscript productions of antiquity. In addition to all these arguments that ascribe the name of the Gospels to a practice dating from the beginning of the second century, we can rely on the very existence of the first “Christian libraries”. Without the pretense of today’s scholarly libraries, we must assume that the most important Christian communities possessed a certain basic collection made up of several codices: Old Testament books, testimony collections, accounts of the Savior’s life, Epistles of St. Paul, and of other Holy Apostles. All these accounts of the life, public activity and preaching of the Savior Jesus Christ were to be organized in the same category, but also delimited for reading. Here is another reason for adopting a common name. A second function of this name is a reference type, in which εὐαγγέλιον is marked by the content of the work. This title-term is used by the Evangelists Mark and Matthew theologically, but it does not appear at all in the case of Luke and John. More specifically, its use as a title is inaugurated by the very first verse of the Gospel of Mark. Applying it to all four evangelical writings means framing the same literary genre, but also the same theological intent as well as the desire to relate them all so that the apparent divergences that characterizes them become complementary. Besides the signaling and referential functions, there is also a third function, theologically, namely the hermeneutical function. The full title includes, as we have seen, the prepositional κατά clause (Μᾶρκον, Λουκᾶν etc.), that should not be assimilated to a possessive genitive. In other words, the role of this “according to” is not only to indicate a particular scripture, but also the uniqueness of a scripture written by a holy writer and, consequently, the recognition of a necessity of multiplying the message of salvation in Jesus Christ in the “Tetramorphic Gospel”. This archetype of the New Testament canon is not limited to the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, but includes, as originally stated, “the Gospel and the Apostle”. It seems that the Greek phrase εὐαγγέλιον καὶ ἀποστολικόν is only announced by the Marcion’s canon, because, on the one hand the idea is present much earlier in Luke’s double work ad Theophilum, and on the other hand the complete formula is attributed, in fact, to St. Epiphanius of Salamina (4th century). We usually use “the Gospels” for the first four canonical books of the New Testament. At the beginning of Christianity, however, the term “gospel” did not yet refer to these special writings, but to the Word or message of salvation, and also to its preaching, at the center of which there is the death and Resurrection of Christ. The Gospel of Christ is, therefore, that announced by Him. Containing a synthesis of the Christian kerygma, the Gospels occupy, within the religious literature of antiquity and modernity, a very special place. All that is reported in the Gospels is not deprived of aesthetic taste and narrative beauty, thanks to divine inspiration, but the priority is the idea of salvation and the attainment of eternal life by the readers of all time (cf. Jn 20:31).


Pr. asist. dr. Alexandru Atanase BARNA — Euharistia în context patristic – o reevaluare teologică a surselor din secolul al V-lea

Summary: The Eucharist in a patristic context: a theological revisiting of the 5th-century sources

The study focuses on the main patristic sources from the 5th century debate between Saint Cyril of Alexandria (412-444) and Nestorius, patriarch of Constantinople (428-431), the main promoter of the dyoprosopist teachings which emerged powerfully in the life of the Church and preceded the 3rd Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (431), mainly on the nature of Eucharist, with deep connections to the main Christological themes, integrated with their philosophical and metaphysical correspondent backgrounds. The author proves that the discussions on Eucharist have a special role and occupy a special place in the main Christological debate between Alexandrian and Syrian (Antiochian) Schools of theology in the 5th century. There is a common understanding in the ecclesiastic historiography that Eucharist did not constitute a topic of concrete historical and theological controversy during the first Christian millennium. The available handbooks concentrate on the controversy regarding the form of Eucharist, that is the different use in West and East of the unleavened or leavened bread, as a first Eucharist controversy dated to the 11th century, followed by the theme of symbolical validation of Eucharist or the transsubstantiality of Eucharist, which began first in a pre-scholastic Western environment and later developed in the context of Western Reform in the 16th century. There is the common belief that in the first millennium there weren’t any controversies on the Eucharist, on the form or on the nature of this central mystery and sacrament of the Church. This study reaffirms the statement that the Nestorian controversy of the 5th century, mainly in its first stages, involved a deep discussion on the nature of Eucharist. The author uses a rich patristic context to express the fact that there is a deep connection between all fields, forms, and chapters of theology, as the Holy Fathers of the Church realized a unified discourse on theology, spirituality, man and God. When they spoke about a liturgical issue, or about art, canonic law, historiography, biblical or patristic exegesis, or other aspects or issues in theology, they expressed the same central dogmatic conscience, as it was expressed in main dogmatic and systematic documents of the Tradition, especially in the proceedings and statements of the Ecumenical Councils. The case of the 5th century debate between Saint Cyril and Nestorius proves this abundantly, as some details on Eucharist express a profound understanding on Christology and on the nature of the union between the two natures of Christ, as He is the Same, one historical and eucharistic reality. This is proved by the demonstration that the author provides next, presenting the main thoughts of Nestorius regarding Eucharist, rooted in the vision he and the Antiochian School developed on the Person of Jesus Christ, on human salvation and sanctification, which – in Antiochian context – prevailed only as a manifest of human presence, understood as human autonomy. The main ideas of Nestorius are synthetized by the author on the following rationale: when a Christian receives Eucharist, he receives the Body and Blood of Christ, understood in its human nature. The nature of Nestorian Eucharist is concentrated on its human ontological basis. In several texts, Nestorius explains the biblical references on Eucharist, affirming that a Christian does not eat the Divinity, but the body of a man in Eucharist, though he is the most purified and sanctified man in history. This vision on Eucharist is completely harmonized with his vision on the union of natures in Jesus Christ, which follows a schema of divine dwelling in humanity, or unity as association or conjunction (συνάφεια) or superior adoption of divine over humanity (ἀναλαμβάνειν). Following this Christological schema, one may never say he receives in Eucharist the Body and the Blood of God Himself, or of God Incarnated in the Person of Jesus Christ, as in Nestorian and Antiochian view God Himself may never by the subject of painfully sacrifice, and in Eucharist we see one man, over whom God resides, who sacrificed for us and gave us the power of resurrection. The author develops – mainly on the texts of Nestorius as they are saved and preserved in The Book of Heracleides or other Nestorian texts – an explanation of the Nestorian perspective on Eucharist, as a symbolic Eucharist, meaning that the excessive human nature of Eucharist in Nestorian view may function only within the limits of a symbolic Eucharist, which is in Antiochian terminology a very relational Eucharist, a Mystery which connects the believer with a superior power, the gift of the Holy Spirit, but not in itself, as Eucharistic Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, but in its symbolic function. In the next part of this study, the author searches for references of this metaphysical understanding of Nestorian Eucharist in the teachings of Nestorius’ mentor, Theodore of Mopsuestia, the most challenging theologian of the Antiochian School. In the Mystagogical Cathechesis of Theodore of Mopsuestia, there are a lot of references which may stand as an explanation for the Antiochian perspectives on Eucharist, mainly in its cosmologic and symbolic perspectives. Theodore of Mopsuestia proposes two existential conditions (κατάστασις), one that is imperfect, contemporary and requires an intermediate knowledge and communion with God, and one final, perfect, eternal, that is to be perfected in eschaton. The understanding of Eucharist in Theodore is conditioned by the current unperfect condition (κατάστασις). The Eucharist offers the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the intra-textual understanding of transsubstantiation is evident in the texts, but there is always a better and more divine manner to know and to experience communion with God in a future divine communion. The symbolic, that is typological, relational function of present Eucharist is prevalent in Theodore. Despite the fact that there is a very deep and innovative metaphysics present in Theodore, concentrated on the two conditions, there is a deep malfunction of the salvific character of the Eucharist. This context was assumed by other exponents of Antiochian School. For example, Nestorius did inherit this kind of metaphysical approach, but he rapidly simplified it, reducing the conditions, present and future, to the duality of the natures in Jesus Christ, divine and human. As the two conditions were completely incompatible in historical (the Person of Jesus Christ) and liturgical (Eucharist) contexts, the same is to be said about the natures, divine and human, in Jesus Christ, which remain incompatible for a union understood as hypostatic union, as Saint Cyril of Alexandria understood it. The human nature of Eucharist is evident in several texts of Theodore, even the expressions are much more dynamic and fluctuant in Theodore than in Nestorius. The author of this study emphasizes, regardless of the semantic fluctuation of main concepts and the historical development of the controversy, several ideas which synthesize the Antiochian view on Eucharist: the symbolic vision on Eucharist, the human nature of Eucharist, the unity (not complete, but evident) between Theodore’s and Nestorius’s views on Eucharist. In the second part of the study, the author presents several texts selected from the works of Saint Cyril of Alexandria in which he condemns the Antiochian vision of Eucharist as “common body” (σάρξ κοινή), and reciprocally defending the concepts of “life-giving body” (σάρξ ζωοποιός) and “His own body” (σἁρξ ἰδία) regarding Eucharist. The Alexandrian view on Eucharist, which is a theme present in sources previous to the beginning of the Nestorian controversy on the concept of θεοτόκος, and as the secondary literature concludes, is the key theme of understanding the Christological controversy between Saint Cyril and Nestorius. Eucharist is a practical verification key to the entire functional (ontological and soteriological) Christological schema that Saint Cyril develops. The main argument of Saint Cyril is based on his profound understanding of hypostatic union (ἕνωσις καθ’ὑπόστασιν), based on which one may say that the Body and Blood in Eucharist (εὐλογία, benediction, the recurrent word for Eucharist in Alexandrian context) represent truly the Body and Blood of the Pre-eternal Word of God, incarnated in history in the Person of Jesus Christ, a body that is assumed and belongs to the only Subject of the Word of God, and not to a separate human existence. Consequently, the Eucharist is the Body of God Himself, and Its new divine energy is shared with Christians through communion. Some texts translated from Saint Cyril works, especially from his Commentary on the Gospel according to John, show the complex understanding of this new and divine energy that the body expresses and operates as the Body of Christ Himself, God and Man. This theology of the divine energy of His own Body does not cancel or contradict the traditional philosophical relation between nature (οὐσία) and energy (ἐνέργεια), but validates it completely. Communicatio idiomatum refers equally to the Eucharist and offers Eucharist a special unique energy in which the divine is operated humanly, and the human is operated divinely. This is also explained by the fact that the Alexandrians founded the Eucharist on the principle of Incarnation, while the Antiochians based their Eucharist on the principle of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The main texts on Eucharist that received a conciliar approval during the 3rd Ecumenical Council in Ephesus in 431 are presented and analyzed, mainly in relation with other texts from Saint Cyril and Nestorius’s works. It becomes much more evident that the conciliar texts disapproved of a human Eucharist or a Eucharist which might function within the limits of a strict human ontological frame. The author underlines the relation between Christology and the Liturgy of the Church, between theology and spirituality, as in a final approach, he identifies two distinct metaphysical frames corresponding with the two main visions on Eucharist at stake in the 5th Byzantine century. Each vision requires a deep understanding of reality. From a spiritual and soteriological perspective, the Antiochian metaphysical frame of the exegesis of Eucharist does not harmonize the symbolic and the ontological perspectives of Eucharist, even it stresses transsubstantiality in Eucharist. Nobody said that Eucharist is not the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, but they understood it differently, and in Antiochian perspective, non-efficiently. A special tension between spiritual life and its metaphysical background represents for the Antiochians a failure in practicing a present eschatology or a real divinizing Eucharist. The author expresses the fact that a coherent and paradoxical understanding of Eucharist as divine and present, does not require a Monophysite understanding of Eucharist, which is much more pantheist and unclear in relation with the unique divine energy and with the manner this exclusive non-human energy might be operative in Christian experience. Even the Monophysite theology is based mainly on a strict reception of the Christological expressions and thesis of Saint Cyril, this is not valid regarding Eucharist. Again, the author emphasizes the relation between Christology and Eucharist and proposes the affirmation of the fact that contortion of one implies the distortion of the other. The conclusions of this study refer to the importance of reaffirming the divine character and energy of traditional Cyrillian Eucharist in contemporaneity. A strictly non-divine, or a relative non-divine, or a half-divine operative Eucharist, or an Eucharist limited to human condition, represent even nowadays a form of Nestorian Eucharist. Several challenges on Eucharist from the part of those who mock it, or contest it, or reinterpret it from several new perspectives, such as medical, ideological, or social, might receive an answer on behalf of the Cyrillian understanding of Eucharist as divine and operative, as Christ Himself, present and active in His Body in the Church.


PhD Student Teodor-Emanuel BASICA — Pilgrimages before Time. Shamanic Journeys

Summary: Pelerinajele înainte de timp. Călătoriile șamanice

Motivând faptul că pelerinajul este un fenomen comun al majorității religiilor, autorul propune o scurtă prezentare a celor mai cunoscute forme de pelerinaj șamanic arhaic și contemporan, o practică deosebit de atractivă și populară în Occident, dar care începe să fie promovată și în România. Pentru a putea intra în contact cu lumea spirituală, șamanii și practicanții șamanici au apelat la patru tipuri de pelerinaje, respectiv: călătoriile la „locurile de putere”, „căutarea viziunii”, călătoria spirituală șamanică și, nu în ultimul rând, turismul șamanic contemporan. În cursul prezentării acestor practici șamanice, autorul subliniază faptul că, în esența fiecărui tip de pelerinaj șamanic se regăsește același scenariu: nevoia omului de a porni pe un drum, adesea primejdios, către o destinație îndepărtată, acolo unde pelerinul intră în contact cu Sacrul și cere ajutor și călăuzire, întorcându-se din această călătorie binecuvântat și îmbogățit spiritual. Pentru prima formă de pelerinaj șamanic, cel spre „locurile de putere”, autorul prezintă atât motivația pelerinilor (călătoresc pentru a reînnoi și întări legăturile acestora cu lumea spirituală), cât și pregătirile pe care aceștia erau nevoiți să le facă (abstinență sexuală, alimentară, program de rugăciuni și tot felul de nevoințe trupeși și sufletești). Exemplele date de autor se încadrează în categoria celor mai cunoscute astfel de pelerinaje din cadrul fenomenului șamanic, respectiv cele ale populațiilor Huichol și Janai din Statele Unite Mexicane și Nepal, în care pelerinii parcurg distanțe considerabile pentru a fi purificați (ei consideră că li se „șterg” păcatele după participarea activă în cadrul ceremoniilor șamanice săvârșite la „locul de putere” respectiv) și pentru a retrăi drumurile străbătute de strămoșii lor. O altă formă de pelerinaj șamanic, în strânsă legătură cu pelerinajul la „locurile de putere”, este „căutarea viziunii”. Autorul subliniază faptul că acest tip de pelerinaj șamanic are la bază aceeași nevoie a omului de a intra în contact cu divinitatea, pentru a cere îndrumare, iertare și ajutor, însă se diferențiază de prima prin faptul că, de data aceasta, pelerinajul este unul individual. Astfel, pelerinul pornește într-o călătorie spre „locuri de putere”, spre peșteri sau munți sacrii, sau în orice loc se credea că „locuiesc spiritele”. Pelerinul se izola de societatea în care trăia, practicând forme extreme de post, care, împreună cu privarea de somn, dansatul în continuu timp de mai multe zile, consumarea entheogenelor (plante halucinogene considerate sacre de către tradițiile șamanice arhaice) și alte tehnici de tip șamanic, provocau căderea pelerinului într-o formă de transă ușoară sau profundă, transă care îi facilita acestuia cel mai cutremurător și înspăimântător moment din viața sa – contactul cu lumea spirituală. Autorul prezintă pelerinajul populației Lakota (populație nativă din Statele Unite ale Americii) ca exemplu pentru acest tip de pelerinaj șamanic. Aceștia se folosesc de o serie de gropi special concepute pentru acest tip de pelerinaj („groapa viziunii”), în care se izolează timp de patru zile, timp în care nu consumă nici mâncare, nici apă, ci doar se roagă și psalmodiază, așteptând să fie „contactați” de spirite. În perspectivă contemporană, autorul subliniază faptul că astfel de „căutări ale viziunii” sunt comune și în cadrul practicilor neo-șamanice și New Age, însă remarcă lipsa unor elemente esențiale față de pelerinajul arhaic: neo-șamanii caută „iluminarea” instantă, „binecuvântări” contracost, rezultate rapide și schimbătoare de viață fără să implice vreun efort spiritual sau trupesc, necondiționarea apartenenței la o religie instituționalizată etc . Al treilea tip de pelerinaj șamanic, și cel mai cunoscut, conform autorului, este „călătoria șamanică”, elementul fundamental al oricărei tradiții șamanice. Conform credinței șamanice, în timpul „călătoriei șamanice”, sufletul șamanului sau al practicantului șamanic (ori o parte din suflet, depinzând de credința specifică fiecărei tradiții șamanice) părăsea corpul acestuia și începea un lung drum către lumile spirituale superioare sau inferioare. Autorul notează că, și în cazul acestui tip de pelerinaj, scopul era asemănător: căutarea îndrumării și ajutorului spiritelor diferitelor divinități, cât și iertarea păcatelor comise de șaman și de comunitatea pe care acesta o reprezenta. Prin acest tip de practică șamanică, pelerinul media între problemele sale și ale semenilor săi, pe de o parte, și cerințele și așteptările divinităților, pe de altă parte. Astfel, pelerinul, prin călătoria sa spirituală, readucea echilibrul între lumea sacră și cea profană. Ultima formă de pelerinaj șamanic prezentată de către autor este turismul șamanic sau turismul entheogen, un subiect extrem de popular și controversat, atât în ceea ce privește fenomenul turismului internațional, cât și în cadrul academic și științific occidental. Datorită eșecului societății post-moderne de a răspunde nevoilor spirituale ale cetățenilor săi, începând cu anul 1980, turismul șamanic a început să devină din ce în ce mai prezent pe „piața spirituală” occidentală. Turismul șamanic presupune organizarea de către un șaman (autentic sau nu) a unei excursii de două-trei săptămâni în locuri unde civilizația nu a pătruns, în mijlocul unor comunități tribale care sunt încă guvernate de credințele și tradițiile șamanice străvechi. Aici, pelerinii sunt implicați într-o serie de ritualuri de purificare, învață despre „Pânza vieții” (interconectivitatea tuturor cu toate), practică diferite tipuri de post și rugăciune, culminând cu ingurgitarea unei substanțe halucinogene (ayahuasca sau cactusul San Pedro), care le facilitează acestora intrarea în transă și viziuni foarte puternice. Prin aceste practici, pelerinii occidentali ar reuși să intre în „contact nemijlocit” cu Dumnezeu, cu spiritele pădurii, cu strămoșii fiecăruia în parte sau cu spiritele animalelor. Perspectiva acestui tip de pelerinaj diferă față de cele menționate anterior de autor, întrucât pelerinii contemporani caută vindecarea minunată, succesul financiar, puteri supranaturale, o carieră extraordinară etc. Autorul creionează portretul pelerinului contemporan din cadrul turismului șamanic: turiști de clasă medie sau „de lux”, care sunt dispuși să investească sume importante pentru „experiențe spirituale nemijlocite” și pentru garantarea succesului economic sau social și care, de obicei, au mai folosit substanțe potente halucinogene, cum ar fi LSD-ul. Autorul evidențiază si o serie de probleme care se ridică în urma popularității acestui tip de pelerinaj contemporan, cum ar fi faptul că folosirea plantelor halucinogene, ilegale în majoritatea țărilor occidentale, poate conduce către dependențe sau, în cazuri extreme, moarte (cum ar fi cazul pelerinului pozitiv HIV, care a murit în urma unui ritual șamanic din Bolivia). În plus, în majoritatea cazurilor, pelerinii contemporani, după „contactul nemijlocit” cu Dumnezeu, după experiența schimbătoare de viață a prezenței divine, se întorc la vechile lor vieți și practici în metropolele urbane de care au fugit. Concluzionând, autorul propune trei direcții legate de perspectivele pelerinajului, în general, dar și a celui șamanic, în special. În primul rând, autorul, considerând pelerinajul ca fiind specific condiției umane, care are nevoie de a fi în prezența lui Dumnezeu, propune o împreună lucrare pentru a facilita siguranța și condiții de bună desfășurare a pelerinajelor spirituale. Mai mult, autorul cheamă la căutarea lui Dumnezeu prin pelerinaje autentice, nu prin atracții de tip turistic. În al doilea rând, autorul subliniază faptul că este nevoie de un studiu aprofundat asupra fenomenului șamanic și a turismului șamanic, întrucât un număr important de creștini sau necreștini sunt implicați în astfel de practici, devenind una dintre provocările importante pentru misiunea Bisericii Ortodoxe. Autorul susține că este nevoie de cunoașterea acestor fenomene pseudo-religioase sau pseudo-spirituale pentru a putea veni în ajutorul credincioșilor noștri, care foarte ușor pot fi atrași de astfel de „promisiuni” (vindecare minunată, contact nemijlocit cu Dumnezeu etc.). În plus, credincioșii trebuie avertizați în special cu privire la turismul șamanic, care promite „experiențe spirituale autentice” pentru sume importante de bani, experiențe care, cu siguranță, nu vor aduce schimbarea dorită în viața pelerinului. Nu în ultimul rând, autorul evidențiază nevoia de dialog interreligios și intercultural pentru a putea oferi un răspuns multelor provocări aduse de societatea contemporană de consum, cât și de invadarea „pieței religioase” cu un număr tot mai mare de oferte religioase și pseudo-religioase, dintre care face parte, prin excelență, și șamanismul.

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