NR. 4 – 2019

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2019.4

Pr. Prof. Dr. Nicușor BELDIMAN — Idei dogmatice în opera omiletică a Patriarhului Iustin Moisescu

Summary: Dogmatic Theology topics addressed in the homilies of Patriarch Iustin Moisescu

Patriarch Iustin’s reputation as outstanding theologian was gained and constantly confirmed since his first forays into the field of theology. His theological thinking left a trail of light, even since his teenage years. As patriarch, he served Orthodoxy by championing a living theology, rooted in prayer, faith and the experience of spiritual life. Throughout his activity as Patriarch, he was constantly interested in education and in putting it in agreement with the time’s demands. Among other occasional speeches, he wrote numerous pastoral letters on the Nativity and Resurrection of the Lord. An examination of these pastoral letters reveals they are deeply grounded in biblical and theological exegesis, and bear the fruit of Christian teachings and exhortations to virtue, to the righteous life of the faithful for salvation and for their commitment to the fellow people. The topics addressed by Patriarch Iustin’s pastoral letters are diverse, as were the aspects they approached: anthropology, the Lord’s resurrection, God’s love for people, abidance by the Orthodox faith. The high hierarch offered advice for the religious-moral life of the faithful, to be conducted according to the commandments of the Saviour, avoiding sins or habits that are morally and socially harmful. This paper presents the main Dogmatic Theology topics addressed in the homiletic writings of the Patriarch, depending on their contents. One of the prominent topics in his sermons is the Incarnation and Nativity of Lord Jesus Christ. Patriarch Iustin pointed out that the Incarnation deified not only the human nature of Christ our Saviour, but also the entire universe, and joined eternity to the ephemeral, to time, while the world was sanctified. The importance of the Incarnation of the Son of God must be regarded as the best means for human salvation: whereas sin and death came into the world through a man (Adam), ano­ther man (the New Adam) – God-man Jesus Christ, was to bring about salvation, the abundant grace of God and His gift to mankind, through the Incarnation, death and Resurrection of Christ. The kenosis of the Son of God who accepted our human nature, which possessed only His image and likeness, was the prerequisite for our encounter with Him, enabling us to receive the richness of His life and grace. His kenosis, as Patriarch Iustin underscored, is the precondition and the cause of our deification through the deification of His human nature, which is also the nature of us all. Patriarch Iustin Moisescu considered that the wisdom of God created us as children of our Heaven Father from eternity; and on the creation of the world, we were made in the image and likeness of God. But only the Incarnation of the Son, Who is the image of the unseen God, was the beginning of our adoption by the Heavenly Father.

Another topic addressed by these pastoral letters is salvation. This is the result of the joint work of God and the faithful. Grace, faith and good deeds raise man from death to life. The Lord’s sacrifice on the Cross, His descent into hell and His Resurrection are the mystery of human salvation. They are the foundation of our faith; they underlie our reconcilement to God; they guarantee our life in eternity. In granting us salvation through the atonement sacrifice and the Resurrection of His beloved Son, God has reconciled with us all, for our resurrection and eternal life. Indeed, out of His boundless love, God has not forsaken the fallen man but had mercy and raised man again through His fatherly care, and granted him eternal bliss. However, a Christian’s life cannot be separated from the Church, which was established through the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Pentecost, when so many people were baptized following the preaching of St Peter. The Church is holy, because it is the Body of Christ, and its head is Christ Himself, whose sacrifice on the Cross has sanctified the Church, making it holy and pure. The Church is not only holy but also sanctifying, because it imparts divine gifts and grace, which are offered to the faithful and transfigure them, renew them and sanctify them. Drawing a comparison between the Church, as spiritual rest, and the desert oases, His Beatitude underscored the benefits, importance and role of the Church in our salvation: „One thought, one heart, one power are we – all the clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church worldwide. The power of the Church of Christ extends onto the created nature, through the prayers of the church servants. After the Descent of the Holy Spirit, this doctrine of the union of Christ with the faithful was developed, to present the entire Church as a community if people in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, led by the Saviour.

Finally, the pastoral letters address the Holy Angels. Angels are the messengers and heralds of God’s will for the world. Therefore, Patriarch Iustin reminds us, we should offer the angels due veneration, as they also intercede for us before the Heavenly Throne of God. Heaven is the homeland of angels. They were present in the world, as messengers and envoys of God. They were created by God before God created the material world and the man; they are spiritual, bodiless beings who dwell in the divine light and ceaselessly praise and glorify God. Their abiding homeland is the heaven, but they can descend among people at any time. Our reconcilement to God is also our reconcilement to angels. In mutual love and trust for each other, the angels help people and intercede on their behalf, while people pray for angels’ help and intercession, offering them the due veneration.

Pr. Prof. Dr. Leontin POPESCU — Moartea și sfârșitul pământesc al omului, în înțelepciunea biblică

Summary: Death and the Earthly End of Man according to Biblical Wisdom

The study, relying solely on biblical hermeneutics and less intentionally on patristic sources on the mystery of death in the Holy Scripture, attempts to bring before the reader the biblical understanding of the causes, attitudes and perceptions of this moment in the life of the biblical man. It starts from the Old Testament by distinguishing among the notions of body, soul and spirit, showing that it is not a trichotomism, but each expression indicates the unity of the human being with different emphases: “basar” refers to a natural limit, “nefesh” refers to a state characteristic to the state of life; and “ruah” refers to the breath of life that comes from God. Through these, man is a unique individuality called to life by means of God’s breath and he meets his end when “God takes back His Spirit and His breath,” by turning to dust (Job 34:14-15; Eccl 12:7). Hence the question of how God created him: “God built man in innocence and made him in His own image” (Wis 2:23; Sir 17:1). The cause for complaint is not death itself as the fundamental limit of life, but premature death, without descendants, without a future, and burial in a foreign land. In general, the Israelite asks to leave this world in days of peace. Only premature or random and painful death appears as a punishment and as something meaningless. The Hebrew Sheol is the place of death, a huge tomb where the angel of death can only act at the place and time permitted by God. The observation that untimely death can touch both sinners and the righteous hermeneutical research certainly affirms that man is not a victim of an implacable and blind destiny. Old Testament biblical reflection on man’s existence thus moves from a radical pessimism, as we have seen (Eccl 3:19), to a skepticism that is consistent with fatalistic ideas of man’s tragic destiny, as in the mindset of Israel’s fellow peoples (Ps 61:9), to the discovery of a hope that rises to the high level of the righteous and the prophets: Enoch (Gen 5:24), Elijah (1-4 Kings 2:11), Moses (Deut 34:5-6), etc. This pessimistic perspective on the human existence was gradually replaced by a positive one, that of hope in the immortality of the soul, fully expressed in the Jewish outlook on faith in the resurrection of the body.

Turning to the New Testament, the study powerfully asserts the reality of Christ’s Resurrection in human history, but also for each individual as a paradigm of life. The terms life, death, resurrection in the hermeneutical approach of the New Testament do not coincide with biological data. Christ reveals a new life, “the life born from above” (Jn 3:7), and, to truly acquire life, it is necessary to go through continuous death and resurrection. The fundamental characteristic of the New Testament theological thought is that both death and life rely on the concept that everything is relative as an event when made to relate to the person of the Saviour, Jesus Christ. Our resurrection will observe Christ’s model, a new life in which we find ourselves, but in a different way. The resurrections mentioned in the Holy Gospel (the young man of Nain, Jairus’ daughter, Lazarus of Bethany) are “so-called resurrections” because Christ alone represents the novelty of resurrection. Christ’s essential work is seen from this point of view as a challenge to overcome death: He took on our death and, by dying, He overcame death by „trampling down death.” The Christian is called on to die with Christ and to walk with Him from death to life beginning with baptism. The light of faith that reveals to us that the Master’s death is the source of the light that illuminates the death of every man. The biblical wisdom of the New Testament reveals how Christ conquers death: by surrendering Himself into the Father’s hands, so that His life becomes the gift of life for the communion of humanity with the Father. Natural death is thus no longer separation from God as in the Old Testament, but joining God, seeing Him. The mystery of communion and the Father-Son love conquered death. This leads us to the rereading of the experience of Christ’s death in order to rediscover the true meaning of our death. Which means that eternal life is not a utopia; it is achieved through the Re­sur­rection of Christ and has an indiscriminate dimension depending on how everyone in their earthly life has made Christ present through the Holy Sacraments and through their participation in the ecclesial communion. Every Eucharist thus becomes a Parousia. Death is in this sense “dies natalis”, just as in the Orthodox tradition the saints of the calendar are celebrated on the day of their deaths, considered as the day of birth to a happy life, a shore where Christ precedes and awaits us. The resurrection of bodies is proof of a new creation. A light for understanding how, through His death, Christ renews everything, is the Icon of the Resurrection which in Orthodoxy is precisely the representation of the descent into hell. Through this Icon, Orthodoxy testifies both to the real incarnation of the Son of God who takes on human flesh and, like every human, experiences death, and to the divinity of Jesus Christ – in a word, the hypostatic union – which death cannot bear, hell cannot hold: Life cannot die. Christ’s descent to those in hell delivers the understanding that He truly experienced death like every other human being. Which means that He too, like any of us, went through this dramatic experience of life that we call: death. This attests in the most direct way that He is a genuine Man in all human aspects and true God, the true Master of life and death. Moreover, because no one returns from the realm of the dead, by descending into hell, He showed us that death is not that inevitable „prison” from which no one can escape; He showed us that death is not necessarily in opposition to life, but to sin, and that the Gospel becomes for all of us an irreplaceable school of life, meant to teach us the constant conversion „of passing into the great beyond”.

Dr. Alexandru MĂLUREANU — The Mission of Theology in the perspective of communication and communion – Public Theology

Summary: Misiunea Teologiei din perspectiva comunicării și a comuniunii – Teologia publică

Astăzi trăim o adevărată criză a comunicării, o dramă a comunicării fără co­mu­niune, o însingurare în comunicare. Deși există din ce în ce mai multe mijloace de comunicare, oamenii se simt totuși singuri, comunicarea devenind impersonală, iar viața comunitară fiind deformată de dorințe exclusiviste și individualiste. Omul modern este atras de comuniune, chiar dacă nu o înțelege în adevăratul ei sens. Astfel, el preferă să se alăture organizațiilor și asociațiilor, să fie membru al grupurilor sociale, să facă parte dintr-un grup de prieteni sau dintr-un grup de indivizi cu preocupări și interese comune. Comuniunea nu înseamnă colectivism la nivelul relațiilor sociale și nici socializare în cadrul unei comunități. Adevărata comuniune nu se limitează la anturaje, ci implică sentimente profunde de unire spirituală între oameni, presupunând o comuniune în duh de rugăciune cu Dumnezeu și cu semenii. În contextul provocărilor actuale, misiunea Teologiei este de a valorifica comunicarea și comuniunea, în vederea identificării și promovării posibilelor soluții la problemele existențiale cu care se confruntă omul contemporan. Analizând teologia părintelui Dumitru Stăniloae în perspectiva comunicării teologice și a comuniunii ecleziale, putem remarca contribuția sa la promovarea Ortodoxiei românești, prin valorificarea specificului sufletului românesc, caracterizat prin comunicabilitatea latină și simțul misterului. Părintele Stăniloae este de neegalat în abordarea teologică a relației de iubire, de dialog și de comuniune dintre Dumnezeu și oameni. Viziunea Părintelui Profesor poate fi rezumată, astfel: comuniunea veșnică de viață și iubire desăvârșită există în Sfânta Treime, Care, revărsându-Și iubirea, a creat lumea și pe om (după chipul și spre asemănarea cu Dumnezeu; în comuniune: bărbat și femeie). Dumnezeu păstrează comunicarea cu creația Sa, chiar și după căderea protopărinților în păcat, în special, prin oamenii credincioși și prin profeți, prin care cheamă poporul ales la comuniune cu El. Restaurarea comuniunii dintre om și Dumnezeu se realizează de Iisus Hristos, Fiul lui Dumnezeu întrupat, comuniune pe care omul și-o însușește în Biserică, prin Duhul Sfânt, în primirea Sfintelor Taine. Comuniunea deplină se va realiza în veșnicie, în Împărăția cerurilor, când întreaga creație va fi transfigurată prin împărtășirea veșnică de bucuria comunicării și a comuniunii cu Dumnezeu‑Sfânta Treime. Părintele Stăniloae a înțeles că Teologia are misiunea de a-L mărturisi pe Dumnezeu și, prin urmare, este foarte important să actualizăm și să contextualizăm mesajul teologic. Părintele mărturisește constant că Teologia are o dimensiune ontologic-comunicațională și o misiune comunitar-existențială. Biserica are responsabilitatea de a-l asigura pe om că nu este singur, Dumnezeu fiind întotdeauna alături de el. Iubirea lui Dumnezeu este o invitație adresată omului de a răspunde iubirii Lui. Numai prin comunicare cu Dumnezeu putem înțelege sensul existenței noastre. Doar prin comuniunea cu Hristos, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu, intrăm într-o relație cu Sfânta Treime, Biserica promovând integrarea în sobornicitate și ajutorarea semenilor în solidaritate. Pentru a explica misiunea Teologiei în contextul erei comunicării, secularizării și globalizării, am subliniat responsabilitatea Teologiei de a răspunde provocărilor curente, într-un mod viu și responsabil, mărturisind Adevărul, pe Hristos, Care este contemporan cu fiecare om, eliberându-l de orice fel de sclavie, inclusiv de cea a izolării egoiste și determinându-l să intre într-un dialog conștient și sincer cu semenii săi. Astfel, am încercat să evidențiez importanța dimensiunii comunicațional-mărturisitoare a Teologiei, dar și pe cea comunitar-integratoare. Așadar, Teologia are datoria de a comunica soluțiile duhovnicești pentru depășirea crizelor existențiale ale omului contemporan, într-un mod mai accesibil, într-un limbaj adaptat celor care nu cunosc terminologia eclezială. Vocația Teologiei este de a comunica Adevărul cu dragoste, cu deschidere și fidelitate, în orice context, dar mai ales în cel actual. Astfel, comunicarea teologică are ca scop autentic și final comuniunea eclezială. O Teologie actuală și autentică este una eclezială, care poate și trebuie să devină o Teologie publică.

Protos. Drd. Joachim BEJENARIU — Germenii Revoluției din Octombrie 1917

Summary: Causes of the Revolution of October 1917

The October Revolution of 1917 was the historic event which resulted in the demise of a dynasty that had ruled Russia for over three centuries, and in the installation of a political regime based on a socialist doctrine. The Revolution cannot be understood unless one considers in retrospect the main historical moments which kindled the revolutionary spirit of the Russian people. An overview of the history of Russian Empire during the second half of the 19th century reveals the main triggers of the Revolution. The enabler of revolutionary ideas, who created a favorable atmosphere, was Tsar Alexander III (1881-1894), who preferred to „play it safe”, with­out anticipating the consequences of such policy.

Understanding that the revolution was a desideratum that increasingly galvanized the Russian people, he proceeded to re-adopt the platform of Russian Nationalism, based on three pillars: Orthodoxy, autocracy and nationality. Also, in the year of his enthronement, he adopted the Statute Concerning Measures for the Protection of State Security and Social Order (also called the Law on Exceptional Measures), in force until 1917. By this Statute, the Russian tsar aimed to consolidate his political position by eliminating all adversaries, and by censoring the voices that sought to inoculate revolutionary ideas. He gave extensive powers to the central authority and the police, and even established the Okhrana (the secret police), subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Censorship was also extended to the universities, which could foster revolutionary ideas; in 1884, a Charter of Universities was issued, forbidding students to form organizations. These measures gave rise to two socialist ideological movements – the Narodniks and the Marxists. From the ideological standpoint, the Narodnik movement included several categories, broadly described as moderate-liberal, incorporating all the upholders of peaceful, gradual changes, respectively radical-revolutionary, which supported strong measures and the abolition of the tsarist regime. The idea of a liberating revolution was not abandoned by the Russians, but continued to exist and develop, even though the imperial policy sought to quench it.

The continuator of the imperial policy, who later failed in its pursuit, was tsar Nicholas II (1894-1914). He adhered to his father’s policy, following two directions: maintaining a peaceful relationship with the working class, and intensifying repressive measures. Forced industrialization posed another challenge to the imperial power – the working class, massed in the great cities, showed its discontent with its living conditions. This new social force, of two and a half million people, amounted to nearly 10% of the total population of the Empire. Instead of seeking a viable dialogue, the tsar preferred to introduce oppressive measures. A peaceful protest, conducted in January 1905, turned into a slaughter, as participants were shot at by the imperial guards. This event marked the beginning of a series of uprisings; in October 1905, about two million Russian workers went on a general strike, while a Soviet of Workers, led by the young agitator Leon Trotsky, was created at Sankt Petersburg.

The tsar pursued an authoritarian policy not only in the social but also in the political realm. His inability to find a solution to meet the democratic aspirations of the people resulted in the emergence of political groups promoting a liberal vision. By the October Manifesto issued on 17 October 1905, he accepted a legislative Duma elected by vote and guaranteed fundamental civil rights; however its intentions were not sincere, as demonstrated the fall of the Duma, followed by three others. Also, the Electoral Law of 16 June reduced the number of peasants’ and workers’ representatives in the Duma to less than half, and increased the number of landowners, excluding the representatives of national minorities. Domestic problems were compounded by external ones – the Russian-Japanese war (1904-1905), which seemed to be a major expansionist act of the Russian Empire, ended with a categorical defeat and the acceptance of a humiliating peace.

The tsarist policy that opposed freedom, the fear of losing the imperial power, as well as the inability to manage the issue of the working class, were factors that led to the Revolution of 1917; the outbreak of the First World War was the event that compounded all the above-mentioned problems.