NR. 3 – 2019

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2019.3

Pr. Lect. Dr. Ion REȘCEANU — Receptarea canonului biblic vechitestamentar în traducerile românești ale Sfintei Scripturi din sec. XVII-XIX

Summary: The Reception of the Old Testament Canon in the 17th-19th century Romanian translations of the Holy Scripture

In the cultural-ecclesiastic milieus of the Romanian Principalities, Nicolae Milescu’s translation of the Septuagint raised a debate centered around the sources of the scriptural text and, indirectly, the Old Testament biblical canon – a debate reflecting the theological and cultural-scientific standards of the times. With regard to the canon, N. Milescu followed the Greek norms of his epoch. Manuscript 4389 in the collection of the Academy Library in Bucharest is very important in documenting the reception of the Old Testament biblical canon, as reflected in Romanian translations dating from the second half of the 17th century. The author of Manuscript 4389 was certainly a monk and a member of the Wallachian clergy. The manuscript was translated during the period 1665-1672. Its sources are the Ostrog Bible (1581), Biblia Sacra- Platin edition, Anvers (1583), the Septuagint – the Frankfurt edition (1597), and the translation of N. Milescu. His translation observes the Orthodox church tradition received via Slavonic sources in the Romanian Principalities, before mid- 17th century. The biblical canon observed by the author of Ms. 4389 is actually that of the Ostrog Bible, and his translation seeks to follow the canonical norms observed in the Slavic culture and tradition. He thus aims to bring into the traditional framework the biblical text and canon in Romanian language, after the issue of the much-too-innovative translation made by Milescu – which altered not only the textual tradition, but also the tradition of the Old Testament books’ canon. After the translation of Nicolae Milescu, the author of manuscrispt 4389 provided a translation abiding by the Slavic norms with regard to the text and biblical canon, considering that this translation represented the established tradition of the Church in the Romanian Principalities. On the other hand, Manuscript no. 45 belonging to the Romanian Academy Library – Cluj Branch, is considered today by the experts as a revised reproduction of N. Milescu’s translation of the Old Testament. The author of this revision, as indicates the second „Foreword to the readers”, is most likely a clergyman from the circle of close collaborators of metropolitan Teodosie Veștemenul (1668-1672 and 1679-1708). The fact that metropolitan Teodosie ordered a copy of manuscript 45 indicates not only that he had already made a choice between this manuscript and probably manuscript 4389, which might have been available to him, but also the fact that he intended to impose this new Romanian translation (ms. 45) as the authentic norm, following the Greek biblical tradition. Therefore, the matter of source selection seems to be of paramount importance to the author of the foreword to ms. 45, as he insists on the Greek sources he had employed, and to which he actually compares the translation of N. Milescu. By means of manuscript 45 – as mentioned above, a revised version of Nicolae Milescu’s translation – metropolitan Teodosie champions the Greek norms of the epoch; it was fully adopted, with the support of the representatives of Greek culture, by prince Șerban Cantacuzino and by the ecclesiastical circles, and led to the printing of the Bible of Bucharest in 1688, in keeping with the Greek textual and canonical tradition. The Romanian translation of the Scripture, after the Septuagint – the Frankfurt edition of 1597, reprinted in Venice in 1687 as a Greek edition, and the involvement of patriarch Dositei, present at the court of prince Șerban Cantacuzino between 1686-1687, reflect the Romanian Church’s adherence to the Greek textual and canonical tradition. This textual and canonical tradition is retained, to a great extent, by the 1795 Bible of Samuil Micu. Samuel Micu translated the entire Holy Scripture between 1783-1790, and bishop Ioan Bob printed it in the year 1795. For the translation of the Old Testament, his main source was the Septuagint – the Franeker edition (Netherlands) 1709, translated by Lambert Bos, and based on the Codex Vaticanus. The Bible of Bucharest, despite the harsh criticism it had met, was used as second source. He ignored the translation of the Vulgata made by bishop Petru Pavel Aron, although he was aware of its existence. Samuil Micu’s translation did not have a denominational but a national basis. By means of his translation, based on the text of the Septuagint, he intended his Bible to have a trans-denominational, pan-Romanian and national character. According to Samuil

Micu Romanians needed to have a single Bible; until then they had had the Bible of Bucharest, and from then on they would have his translation. The Bible of Samuil Micu borrowed the isagogics of the Roman-Catholic Church, but maintained the grouping of books according to the model of the Bible of Bucharest, intending to remain as close as possible to the contents of the Septuagint. The non-canonical books are named deuterocanonical and apocrypha. The deuterocanonical books are described in the „Foreword to the reader” (not signed by Samuil Micu), as „truly divine”. This Bible includes the Prayer of Manasseh, translated after the Latin original, although it was not included in the Bible of Bucharest. The Fourth Book of Maccabees, although it is deemed apocryphal, was retained only because it appeared in the old Romanian Bible (1688). The Bible of Samuil Micu, which Eugen Munteanu deems as „mother of modern Romanian Bibles”, includes – with the exception of the Fourth Book of Maccabees, all the books and additions which our Bible contains at present. On the other hand, the Bible printed at Sankt Petersburg in 1819, by the Bible Society in Russia, was mainly intended for the Romanians of Bessarabia, which had been annexed to the Tsarist Empire in 1812. It took over the text of Samuil Micu, except for the Fourth Book of Maccabees. However it did not borrow its isagogical considerations of western character. This edition was revised by archimandrite Varlaam Cuza, delegated by metropolitan Gavriil Bănulescu. This edition actually returns to the Slavic norms for the biblical canon used by the Romanian-language editions of the Holy Scripture. The Buzău Bible of bishop Filotei (1854-1856) was a five-volume edition, completely faithful to the Bible of Samuil Micu. From the Blaj edition it also borrowed the isagogical part, including the Foreword to the books named apocrypha in tome IV and the Foreword to the Holy Scripture in tome V, which deeply aggrieved Andrei Șaguna. It also retained the Fourth Book of Maccabees. The Bible of Andrei Șaguna, printed between 1856-1858, was intended as an Orthodox response to the isagogics cultivated at the time through the Bible of Samuil Micu. However, this only applies to its isagogical part, as the text was fully borrowed from the 1819 edition printed at Sankt Petersburg, as a republication of the 1795 edition without the respective introductory elements. The edition of Andrei Șaguna has a markedly Orthodox isagogical character, precisely in order to oppose the influence exerted in this regard by the Bible of Samuil Micu, even in the Orthodox space, through the Bible of bishop Filotei. The Foreword of Șaguna’s edition of the Holy Scripture makes clear the classification of Holy Scripture books, into canonical and apocrypha, termed anaginoskomena books. The canonical books are acknowledged as inspired, while the anaginoskomena books are not acknowledged by the Church as divinely inspired, but they are venerated and used to „strengthen the faith of the people, and not to reassert the Christian dogmas”. The introduction also provides a brief but pertinent commentary on the anaginoskomena books, including the reasons why each of them has not been accepted into the canon, with numerous quotations from the Holy Fathers. Like the Sankt Petersburg edition, it does not include the Fourth Book of Maccabees. Thus, Andrei Șaguna also became a representative of the Slavic tradition of the biblical canon, still influential in our Church. The Bible of Andrei Șaguna contains all 10 anaginoskomena books and the supplements, in the same order as the Synodal Bible has them today.

Pr. Lect. Dr. Roger CORESCIUC — Paternitate omiletică: interferențe de conținut în Omiliile la Schimbarea la Față ale Sfinților Ioan Damaschin și Grigorie Palama

Summary: Homiletic authorship: similarities in the contents of the Homilies to the Lord’s Transfiguration by Stants John Damascene and Gregory Palamas

The present study describes how St. Gregory Palamas referred to earlier patristic theology in his homilies dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior, namely to the theology of St. John Damascene. The argument underlying this study was the hypothesis that patristic theology cannot dispense with the relentless appeal to previous conceptual developments. The first chapter briefly examines the fact that St. Gregory Palamas partially takes over the interpretation of St. John Damascene regarding an apparent disagreement between the evangelists Matthew and Luke in the context of describing the event of the Savior’s Transfiguration. St. Gregory follows the line of interpretation of St. John, developing certain personal directions. The second chapter is dedicated to the symbolism of the eighth day, present in the homilies of the two Fathers in a similar interpretation. The eighth day is the day that symbolizes eternity, transcending the senses, passing into another register of perception of the spiritual. And in this case it is about homiletic authorship, even if the developments of St. Gregory are not identical with those of St. John Damascene. The third chapter is dedicated to uncreated light and the way the two authors describe this light. It is stated that the theology of uncreated light is not an innovation of the theological movements of the fourteenth century, but it is also present in previous Fathers’ writings. This light cannot be perceived with the senses that are not transfigured. Both St. John Damascene and St. Gregory Palamas state this, confirming that light can be seen beyond nature. Both authors speak of a transfiguration of the senses, of a divine intervention that transforms the eyes of the apostles. The fourth chapter continues the analysis of the similarities of content between the two authors. For both, the description of divine realities is only possible by analogy. Absolute confidence in the power of reason can lead the theologian to serious gnoseological impasses. There is only the possibility of analogy between human and divine reality. They are different realities through their ontology and therefore there is no instrument in the created world that can adequately describe the divine realities. In this chapter we note the expressive identity of the two authors when it is specified that the divine reality is accessible by comparison. In the fifth chapter it is noted that the two authors do not see the divine light as an accident of the divine nature. Light is not an external symbol of divine reality, but an inner symbol, which carries within it all the characteristics of the reality it symbolizes. For both authors, divine light is not something external to the divine nature. The sixth chapter addresses the image of the mountain as a place of theophany. For both authors, the mountain symbolizes the overcoming of the earthly condition and the entry into the heights of contemplation. The one who contemplates cannot remain bound to the lower things, but rushes to the heights which can be reached only with the transfigured senses. The mountain is the place of the hesychia. Contemplation and hesychia are, to both St. Gregory and St. John Damascene, the highest stage of life. The general conclusion of the study is that St. Gregory Palamas does not isolate himself in his own theological universe, but taps into previously developed theology, more specifically St. John Damascene.

Pr. Asist. Dr. Valentin ILIE — Familia și credința religioasă astăzi

Summary: Family and religion, today

The two institutions of family and religious community have always been complementary and mutually supportive in cultivating the sacred dimension of human life. During the modern period, both were impacted by the changes affecting the mentality and ethics of society. Their role in shaping the human person and interrelationships, in conveying faith and providing spiritual guidance, was reassessed. More precisely, their social functions were pragmatically directed towards certain objectives, aiming to ensure social welfare. This rationalization and efficientization of these two types of community provided a form of protectionism against the opposing wave of positivism and of the primacy of sciences, but on the other hand undermined their internal edifice. However, although the religious community often had a tense relationship with society, it did not regard the two of them as competitors but as complementary, ideally tending towards congruence in the eschatological perspective. In postmodernity, the attack of society was aimed directly against the irreducible element of family and religious community – that is, the person. Isolated from the family environment, man is subsumed under institutions, bureaucracy, is turned into a means of production, and into the object of social coercive actions that ignore the pedagogy of communitarian leniency and usurp divine authority. Already eroded during the modern period, the family struggles to protect person and personhood by laying emphasis on fundamental values such as love, communion, altruistic care or abidance by an internal hierarchy, whose relevance is communitarian rather than social. Instead, society has produced fluid, lax surrogate communities, which the individual can access in an utilitarian manner, but which prove to have a low, illusory internal resilience (e.g. concubinage, probationary marriage, gay marriage, etc.). The religious community, much more resilient thanks to its history, has thus remained the only matrix able to inspire family cohesion, within today’s fluid society, and the only able to offer it metaphysical fulfilment. The efforts made by the family in conveying faith or observing religious-moral norms thus reflect the instinctive adherence to the most significant model of resistance to to the exterior challenges posed by society, implicitly consolidating its own awareness of being a fundamental community which shapes and protects the person. During the 20th century, the process of transmitting faith from generation to generation remained steadfast, despite great challenges: erosion of the sense of belonging to a particular denomination, the rise of pluralism, and separation between religion and spirituality. Religious practices were maintained almost fully, with certain evolutions, and the intensity of belief, acceptance of the revelation and adherence to religious moral norms did improve slightly, with the exception of church attendance (participation in community worship) which fell significantly. According to studies, family was the milieu that ensured most efficiently the perpetuation of faith, depending on the religiosity it fostered. Parents’ love and guidance towards a free, personal adherence to religiosity, providing a coherent moral model and example, had an essential contribution to this continuity. The contribution made by church attendance, the encouragement of religious authorities, or school education, although very important and stimulating, is secondary from the standpoint of effectiveness in conveying faith. The sense of belonging to particular ethnic and religious communities that are isolated within a different majority, does not fully guarantee that one will retain membership if one has been deprived of emotional bonds and guidance within the family. Ritual practices in the family are also essential testimonies to faith profession and to the intensity of religious atmosphere. However, the ceremonies observed in communities with strong legalist character do not genuinely reflect any profound religious experience, but merely fulfilment of religious obligations. Certain elements (namedays, use of sacred symbols, the solemn celebration of holidays) may provide indications of how families relate to religious identity. If they are preserved only due to intrafamilial emotional bonds, cultural memory or ethnic origin, religious estrangement cannot be avoided and this generates the phenomenon of familial individualism, which can easily turn into individual separatism. Appreciation for the private sphere, which extends its influence both for psychological reasons, and due to its potential for economic advancement in a postmodern culture, has resulted in a reassessment and repositioning of religion and family in relation to society. The family community has the ability to really support the individual in times of crisis and confusion, by integration into an environment that provides inward support and curbs the society’s tendency to seize and control private life. The concessions made by society to the religious community and family express its failure in certain domains (e.g. birth, education and protection of children, support offered by children to parents, awareness of moral responsibility in society, etc.) and generate a phenomenon of „deprivatization of religion”. At the same time, the religious community and family tend to assert their visibilility in the sphere of public, economic and social life by various means: displaying a dietary or dress code, celebrating religious feasts, the influence and authority of religious leaders, the positive/negative appraisal of new occupational fields promoted by society. The moral conduct of the family can produce constant effects, with influence on the public sphere, and consequently the domain of ethics becomes the main arena for the future tensions, negotiations and collaborations between the family community and religious community, on the one hand, and society on the other hand. Interfaith marriages pose a major internal challenge to the experience and perpetuation of faith within the family. In many instances, the partners continue to foster the moral values, the religion and culture of their origin, and do not consider that by marrying outside their community they abjure their own religion. In the past, marriages took place within a concentric communitarian context, but nowadays the private union between two individuals who are emotionally bound dismisses external pressures. Intermarriage within Abrahamic religions illustrates the limits, leeway, and perspectives involved. Nowadays, to the traditional legal, juridical or canonical practices are added administrative, cultural and political considerations. Tension between the spouses’ intention to build a family and their adherence to different religions varies, depending on multiple factors, but it can be overcome. Mutual sincerity, faithfulness to one’s own religious commitment and respect for the religion of the spouse ensure continued belonging to one’s own religious community. Raising and educating children are a challenge to the interfaith couples who need to distinguish between religious identity and the religious education they offer. In today’s pluralist context, the attitude of religious decision-makers towards families of heterogeneous religious affiliation becomes more complex, because it aims to avoid estrangement of members from their own community, to show understanding to those of different religions, and find solutions for the formative education of children who, even if they observe a different religion, in the long run should have a vast religious culture and openness towards the religion of the other parent.

The death of a family member boosts solidarity and encourages reflection on identity and belonging. Since the Enlightenment era, complex changes have altered perceptions and attitudes towards death, funerary practices, the processing of grief, and the preservation of the deceased ones’ memory. In the 20th century, death became almost entirely a medical matter, engaging the family in increasingly complex decisions. The strides made by palliative therapies; the possibility to set the time of death by one’s own decision; bespoke funerals or customized memorials; preservation of memory by means of representative monuments on the burial site; the practice of cremation and spreading of ashes or, with the emergence of ecologism, the so-called „green burials”; the frameworks and boundaries in the expression of public grief, as dictated by recent psychology; or the constituting of exclusivistic groups of mourners who share the pain of losing their beloved ones – are aspects which put great pressure on traditional communities and religious authorities who are expected to provide directions in such situations or are even required to accept the new developments. Contemporary culture ignores the importance of mourning norms, athough the human society has never operated without such guidelines. The great religious structures possess flexible frameworks to manage the emotions and manifestations of grief generated by the moment of death in the families, so that the changes in funerary culture are not always tantamount to a departure from the religious norms. Rather, the secularization of the religious spirit is manifest in the stress laid on idealizing tributes to the deceased ones, and in the relativization of the notion of an abiding relationship with them or of the intercession for them in the afterlife.

Dr. Florin Ciprian PETRE — Une analyse de la notion spirituelle de la πρακτική chez Évagre le Pontique

Summary: O analiză a noțiunii spirituale de πρακτική la Evagrie Ponticul

Activitatea literară și spirituală a monahului Evagrie din Pont a atras, în ultimele decenii ale secolului trecut, precum și la începutul secolului al XXI-lea, atenția unor erudiți filologi, istorici și teologi care s-au ocupat cu studiul istoriei monahismului oriental din primele secole creștine. Am putea aminti aici, cel puțin pe cei care și-au dedicat o lungă perioadă a vieții lor academice și universitare descoperirilor, traducerilor și analizei unei importante părți din opera evagriană, marele istoric al creștinismului oriental vechi, Antoine Guillaumont, împreună cu soția sa, Claire, precum și pe renumitul teolog ortodox de origine germană, ieromonahul Gabriel Bunge.

Prezentul studiu propune o incursiune analitică cu privire la apariția, evoluția și convertirea noțiunii de praktikè (πρακτική, πρακτικός) în literatura teologico-monahală. Scopul fundamental al acestui articol este acela de-a face o analiză a învățăturii evagriene despre praktikè (πρακτική), punând în lumină ineditul reprezentat pentru literatura teologico-spirituală a secolului al IV-lea, și anume că avva Evagrie Ponticul este primul gânditor creștin care dezvoltă o reală antropologie monahală plecând de la această noțiune, fapt care va influența întreaga gândire și trăire monahală posterioară.

Autorul explică încă din primele rânduri care va fi firul conductor al acestui studiu. Așadar, autorul propune o analiză structurată în trei secțiuni principale. Prima parte expune originea istorică și filosofică a termenului de praktikè (πρακτική), având ca punct de plecare definiția pe care avva Evagrie o dă creștinismului și cu care deschide Tratatul practic sau monahul, și anume: „Creștinismul este învățătura lui Hristos, Mântuitorul nostru, care se compune din practică (πρακτική), fizică (φυσική, contemplarea naturilor create) și teologie (θεολογική)”[1]. Prin această definiție, Evagrie Ponticul, reia structura tripartită de origine stoică, ce definea etapele vieții spirituale și era tradițională în învățământul din Antichitate. Astfel, termenul praktikè (πρακτική) reprezenta prima treaptă/etapă, dar și o condiție sine qua non pentru a ajunge la starea de contemplare.

Autorul face o trecere în revistă punctuală, prin câteva exemple concrete, a semnificației și evoluției acestei noțiuni în gândirea lui Platon, a lui Aristotel, în stoicism, precum și la Filon din Alexandria. După această incursiune, autorul aduce în prim plan pe cel care i-a fost dascăl lui Evagrie, și anume marele scriitor bisericesc alexandrin Origen, de asemenea primul autor creștin care dezvoltă ideea celor două etape, praktikè (πρακτική) și theologikè (θεολογική), ale vieții duhovnicești și a relației lor de interdependență.

A doua secțiune a cercetării se ocupă cu examinarea caracteristicilor esențiale ale viziunii evagriene cu privire la noțiunea de praktikè (πρακτική, πρακτικός). Așadar, autorul concentrează studiul pe explicarea felului în care avva Evagrie utilizează în textele sale aceste noțiuni. În scrierile evagriene termenul de πρακτικός comportă două sensuri. Atunci când adjectivul πρακτικός este substantival și de genul masculin, pentru Evagrie, desemnează monahul, mai exact anahoretul. A doua semnificație pe care o dă Evagrie termenului de πρακτικός, și cea care interesează în mod particular pe autorul prezentului studiu, este atunci când fiind de genul feminin definește asceza însăși. Autorul Tratatului practic preia și dezvoltă sensul pe care această noțiune îl avea la Filon și Origen, însă contrar celor doi înaintași, el va îi va da un conținut esențialmente ascetic și adaptat la nivelul vieții anahoretice, definind-o în raport cu scopul său, și anume curăția sufletului (apatheia, nepătimirea).

Definiția cea mai cunoscută (renumită) pe care o întâlnim în textele evagriene este expusă în Tratatul practic în acești termeni: „Viața practică (πρακτική) este metoda spirituală (duhovnicească) de purificare (curățire) a părții pasionale a sufletului”[2]. Este interesant de menționat că obiectul vieții practice/ascetice este sufletul, mai precis partea sa pasională, aspect care ne trimite la problematica structurii sufletului. Evagrie reia, de fapt, structura platoniciană a împărțirii tripartite a sufletului, asumând vocabularul platonician, căruia îi va da un nou sens, un sens creștin.

Prin prezentarea acestei definiții, autorul acestui studiu, deschide practic cea de-a treia și ultima secțiune a cercetării propuse, și anume expunerea și analiza metodelor utilizate în această etapă a vieții duhovnicești, ca luptă împotriva gândurilor și câștigarea virtuților, poate aspectul cel mai original al acestei antropologii monahale a lui Evagrie.

Astfel, acest monah al veacului al IV-lea propune o dublă dimensiune a viețuirii ascetice sau două căi ale sale, o asceză pozitivă ce se fondează pe achiziția a cinci virtuți fundamentale care interrelațional alcătuiesc o cale a progresului duhovnicesc, și o asceză negativă, reprezentată de lupta împotriva gândurilor (λογισμοί), care în viziunea evagriană sunt demoni (duhuri), luptă căreia Evagrie îi atribuie cinci instrumente, mijloace sau metode prin care monahul poate câștiga lupta sa duhovnicească.

În concluzie, se poate afirma că prin acest demers analitic al învățăturii spirituale evagriene cu privire la conceptul de viață ascetică (πρακτική), autorul studiului, pune în valoare faptul că, acest scriitor și teolog al veacului al IV-lea, de o importanță crucială pentru literatura teologico-monahală, este primul gânditor creștin care a dezvoltat o concepție creștină și spirituală a acestei noțiuni pe care reușește să fundamenteze o bogată antropologie monahală ce va influența realmente acest curent de viețuire creștină până în zilele noastre, atât în Orient, cât și în Occident.

[1] Évagre Le Pontique, Traité pratique ou le moine, Tome II, coll. Sources Chrétiennes 171, édition critique du texte grec, traduction et commentaires par Antoine Guillaumont, Les Éditions du Cerf, Paris, 1971, pp. 498-499 (ch. 1).

[2] Évagre Le Pontique, Traité pratique ou le moine, Tome II, coll. Sources Chrétiennes 171, édition critique du texte grec, traduction et commentaires par Antoine Guillaumont, Les Éditions du Cerf, Paris, 1971, pp. 666-667 (ch. 78): Πρακτική ἐστι μέθοδος πνευματικὴ τὸ παθητικὸν μέρος τῆς ψυχῆς ἐκκαθαίρουσα.

Drd. Florin ȘTEFAN — Înnoirea omului – un fenomen psihofizic și spiritual real, ce depășește determinismul genetic

Summary: Man’s Renewal – An Actual Phsyco-Physical and Spiritual Phenomenon Transcending Genetic Determinism

This article presents an interdisciplinary analysis, which combines data and conclusions in the field of neuroscience and cognitive psychology, as well as patristic and philocal reflections on the possibilities of change, psycho-physical-spiritual renewal of man. The author’s attention is mainly focused on the analysis of two neural mechanisms, neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, which generate effects, both psychosomatic and spiritual, in human life. In the introductory part, the author of the study puts forth the premise of the research, namely that brain tissue is subjected to a continuous process of remodeling and neural renewal. From its beginnings, Eastern Christian spirituality spoke of the possibility of psychosomatic and spiritual renewal of man, a phenomenon captured by the concept of „metanoia”. Research studies in recent decades in the field of neurology attest to the possibility of „rearrangement” of brain maps and the birth of nerve cells, due to the influence of endogenous or exogenous factors. For the first time, the dogmatism of genetic determinism is being questioned by science itself. Since the second half of the last century, several studies have found newly formed neurons in the brains of animals, and later, since 1980, in the human brain. Many of the patients who had suffered a stroke regained their lost brain function. However, the mechanism of neuroplasticity does not involve a radical restructuring of neurons, but a rearrangement of them. And this aspect has been proven by investigating the cortical areas of blind people whose visual cortex supports a functional reconversion. At the forefront of significant triggers that influence brain plasticity and changes in individual gene expression, the author puts early emotional relationships, environment, experiences that manifest with a certain regularity and intensity, but also spiritual practices, such as meditation or prayer, if they become consistent behavior. A first conclusion of this paper is that life experiences, all types of learning and behavior, emotional trauma at an early age influence thinking, affectivity and behavior, changing the synaptic connections in the brain circuits. When analyzing the influences of early affective relationships on brain structure, the author also considers the intrauterine environment, because they are studies in the field of pre- and perinatal psychology that demonstrate the huge impact of symbiotic life between fetus and mother for both brain morphogenesis and for programming gene expressions that would increase susceptibility to coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and more. Equally, after birth, the role of parents remains extremely important for the positive stimulation of the child’s brain development. On the other hand, negative emotional experiences, and especially traumas, affect his ability to think, feel and, above all, alter his empathic ability, developing a disorganized form of attachment. Abuse has been shown to be one of the causes of the reduction and diminution of neurons inside the cerebral cortex. Therefore, emotional relationships in the first three years of life remain a very important landmark for the evolution and complexity of neural connections in the future adult. At the same time, the environment becomes a factor of amplification or inhibition of gene expression, because the expressiveness and incidence of their manifestation is dependent on environmental information, which stimulates the download of data to the molecular cell, through its membrane. Therefore, the environment in which someone lives is of particular importance in terms of activating or inhibiting genetically inherited traits. And this fact can be more easily seen in twins who have been separated from young, because they can have epigenetic differences four times greater at the age of 15 years than at the age of three years. Also, intense and / or repetitive experience causes biochemical changes that influence the transcription factors of gene expression, which does not mean a change in DNA strands, but rather the control of the timing of gene expression. Therefore, any life lesson learned and any experience leaves a mark, in the form of a somatic marker, on the structure of the brain and on the level of blood biochemistry. In this sense, the expression „what you do, it makes you” takes shape in the material reality of mind and human existence. However, it should be emphasized that an experience is recorded as a new brain map only if it captivates us by the novelty and intensity of the stimulus, but also by the frequency with which it occurs. After the experience is assimilated and no longer requires attention and conscious effort in performing the task, that experience no longer triggers new patterns of neural connection. The protein that is „concerned” with the creation of new neurons is considered the Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). The gene that activates BDNF production is stimulated by a variety of factors, including voluntary physical exercise, intellectual training, spiritual practices (fasting, prayer, meditation etc.), learning new skills, novelty and pleasure of experience, emotional disposition, directed mental activity etc. Neuroscience research shows the veracity of the observations made by the Philocalic Fathers, which reveal to us from ancient times that there are some correspondences between prayer and mental activity, between prayer and the way we use thinking or receive reality and, as such, encourages us to take responsibility for how we choose to shape our own psychosomatic structure. The Fathers of the Eastern Church also talk about spiritual renewal at the level of the mind, which also has a material substratum, when they refer to „metanoia”. Christian ascetics have realized that the practice of prayer and ascetic exercise influences the way we receive and interpret reality. Neuroscience strengthens these philocal observations, stipulating that religious meditation and prayer practice change the brain in a profound way, intensifying social consciousness and empathy. The unique way in which prayer and meditation stimulate certain parts of the brain and the positive influence that these practices have on neuroplasticity and brain function leads the author to conclude that spiritual practices play an essential role in forming neural circuits and connections that support physiological and emotional calm. , lack of stress, peace, compassion, memory, nervous system balance etc. These findings have been proven with the help of the Philocalcic Fathers who radiograph at the level of experience various psychosomatic and spiritual effects of prayer and divine contemplation. In conclusion, the concept that genetic baggage decisively influences the configuration of cognitive maps and the somatic structure of man belongs, rather, to a fatalistic and non-dynamic view of human existence. Instead, in the light of recent evidence in various fields and according to the teachings of the Holy Fathers, we consider that man is a malleable matter, which has a perpetual chance for change. Hence the great responsibility that parents have in shaping the brain structure and, therefore, the child’s personality. At the same time, we are responsible for the way we choose to interact with the environment in which we live, for the moral quality of our habits and skills, and for the way we experience the world and life, because all together „force” our cognitive patterns to perceive or to judge the world in a certain way. Therefore, good education must be started at an early age. In adulthood, we are the product of the experiences that our brains had the opportunity to process when we were still very young. The experience of prayer is imprinted on the mind with the help of divine energy, which it renews and changes according to the Prototype.

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