NR. 1 – 2020

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2020.1

Pr. Prof. Dr. Cristinel IOJA — Euharistia în pandemie – Influențele răului și lupta spiritual

Summary: The Eucharist during the pandemic: the influence of evil and the spiritual struggle

The issue of possible contamination of people through the Eucharist requires a discussion on its nature and on the testimonies of Tradition, while the discussion on the manners of communion can be achieved by resorting to the Church Tradition, which includes a diversity of practices. But beyond the diversity of communion ways in the Eastern Tradition during the tumultuous history of Christianity, I consider that the central point which must be clarified in the context of the pandemic in a secularized and autonomous world from God, concerns the nature of the Eucharist. This is a dogmatic issue particularly relevant to the life, faith, and experience of the Church in history. However, epidemiologists have decided: the spoon is a source of contamination, although it has been part of the Church’s practice for almost nine centuries.

In the context of the pandemic, and circulated across the social media, internet, and television, this decision has generated a variety of ways of administering communion. These have been assumed in Orthodoxy under the medical pressure of the moment: from the absence of communion, to the communion with several holy spoons, or by hand that dips the Body in the Blood, and to the communion with the same spoon disinfected after each believer, by pouring it or using a spoon brought from home. There were also voices advocating for communion from the hands of the faithful, a return to an old Church practice. Therefore: a) the Communion of the faithful with the spoon is not a dogma, but a practice that can be changed by synodal decision, although this is not desirable; b) the Church can also accept other ways of communion through a synodal decision in consensus with her liturgical and spiritual tradition and not under the pressure of current ideologies generated by people who do not know the Mystery of Christ in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

The issue of the Eucharist during the pandemic did not simply concern the way of communion, the liturgical act, but its very nature. Is the Eucharist aseptic? The very aseptic character of the Eucharist was questioned. In fact, the media problematization on the Eucharist as an aseptic medium raises not only a contextual-medical problem, but a dogmatic one. The transition from doubt on the aseptic context of the communion method, to doubt on the aseptic character of the Eucharist nature is a dogmatic challenge. The Eucharist is not only the ‟medicine of immortality”, but also an aseptic, cleansing, and healing medium. Through it we partake of the Christ’s Body and Blood after the Resurrection and Ascension, that are fully pneumatized and through them the personal-energetic work of the Spirit of Christ is transmitted to us. Therefore, the Eucharist is a human healer both for history and especially for eternity.

The Eastern dogmatic tradition about the real presence of God in the matter, without separation or confusion, is founded on the Revelation. A hypostatic presence in energies that we truly and energetically-personally partake of Christ in the Eucharist, but in the conditions of history, which belong to the incarnate Logos, that is, in the form of bread and wine. What does in the form mean? In the anaphora of the Liturgy, Saint Basil the Great shows the Logos-Christ took the form of our humble body so that we may take the form of His glorified image. Christ’s Body and Blood are life-giving, not symbolically, as separation or in the spiritual sense, but in the sanctifying, material, cosmic, and created meaning. And this is because the bread and wine are ‟absorbed” in Christ so that they no longer exist as a reality that interposes itself between Christ and the believers, becoming ‟mere images” of bread and wine without an independent consistency in themselves. Actually, the natural gift of bread and wine is ‟absorbed” and assimilated in Christ – following the model of deification of the natural body of the Lord by resurrection. It is transcended, leaving nothing by union between Christ and the believers – that is, something objectively natural. The ontological transformation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ does not imply the abolition of their perceptible reality.

Conf. Dr. Adrian LEMENI — Vremea pandemiei convertită într-o viață trăită în duh de pocăință și de smerenie

Summary: The time of pandemic, converted into a life lived in the spirit of humility and contrition

The worldly spirit, obstinately fostered over the last decades, has solidified human sence of self-reliance. Today’s technological system has rigorously organized this worldly spirit, fuelling the delusion of self-sufficiency and the luciferic spirit of autonomous power. The current pandemic reveals the fragility of our fallen condition, and directs us towards an attitude that overcomes self-sufficiency and simplfies existence, focusing on the essential. We should not be naive or conformist (so that we do not become bothersome, or rather so that we may be more interested in seeking, from a theological perspective, a justification of a stance promoted by the current mainstream), but in my opinion our focus should mainly fall on awareness of our own shortcomings and sins.

Throughout the pandemic time, some Christians have tended (and continue to do so) to focus on the attacks coming from outside the Church, constantly identifying the cause of all evils outwardly and forgetting to look inwardly, towards ourselves and towars the Church life. Activist militantism is not an attitude of confession in Spirit and Truth. Militantism can be hijacked, instrumentalized and exploited; it does not bring about peace, but enhances tension and polarization. Today more than ever, it is essential to situate us in Spirit and Truth, to stand before God in humbleness, collecting our thoughts and spiritual resources, rather than allowing our thoughts to dissipate and be attracted towards the outward things.

Once the worldly spirit pervades the life of the Church, it favors an institutionalization of the faith and of spiritual realities. The Crucified and Resurrected Christ unsettles not only the conventionalism of lay institutions, but that of the religious institution as well. Christianity is not a mere religion among other religions. Belief in the Crucified and Resurrected Christ, shared in the spiritual experience, both personal and collective in the eucharistic community, is not a religion similar to the other religions (any religion is constructed and legitimized through a symbolism marked, among others, by the temptation of power). The Son of God was incarnate, crucified, and He resurrected not in order to establish a new religion, but in order to impart life, an abundance of life so that every Christian may resurrect into a new mode of existence, as a new man in Christ, by virtue of the renewal of mind and life, as the Holy Apostle Paul states.

In order to convert the reality of the pandemic into an edifying one, it is in my opinion important to be aware that in everything we are experiencing today, the worldly spirit threatens to infiltrate the life of the Church, and we must strive to rediscover the depth and simplicity of the Gospel and live accordingly in a prayerful spirit of humility and contrition. Thus we will be able to overcome the delusion of self-reliance and forsake the worldly things, and experience God’s redeeming grace.

Especially in the context of today’s information society, when life is becoming digitalized, and particularly during the pandemic when in the name of medical safety are promoted attitudes and acts which contribute to a dematerialization of the surrounding world and of the human body, it is important to understand, from a theological perspective also, the value of the divine rationality of creation and the extraordinary dignity of the body. The divine rationality of creation and of the body is a given, and not a construct, it is not the artificial intelligence of an artifact.

The war against the virus generates a certain rhetoric with strong emotional impact, able to shape a certain mentality. According to this warlike mentality, in the battle against the virus, a major premise for survival lies in the transformation of the body into a gearwheel that is part of an autonomous machine.

The body is reduced to its sheer functionality, and importance is attached only to its functions which are monitored and assessed through scans and various tests. The uniqueness of the body is downplayed by this understanding of the body as a mere mechanism governed by certain functions that are quantifiable and measurable, in the context of today’s technological system. The algorithmization of the body results in the algorithmization of life, and the digitalization of existence, the transfer of life into the digital environment is tantamount to a dematerialization of the world and the body, according to a rationale of de-incarnation. In the digital world, everything is reduced to digital sequence information.

The online environment and the transfer of our existence into this environment are being promoted as remedies to the challenges generated by the pandemic. Without neglecting the specific protective measures necessary in the concrete context of the pandemic, it is important to be aware of the consequences of adhering to a paradigm whereby the real world and the body are dematerialized.


Summary: Τὸ Πνεῦμα τοῦ Υἱοῦ. Research on the relationship of the Holy Spirit with the Son in the work of Saint Athanasius the Great

The Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity is a fundamental truth. The knowledge and the assumption of faith in God, as well as the experience of man’s relationship with God depend on the understanding of this truth. The existence and even the manifestation of God remains a mystery, which man can comprehend only if God Himself reveals it to him and makes him partaker of the communion with Him. It is known that, in the matter of the enlightenment of Trinitarian realities, there are differences between the two great ancient Christian traditions, which consist in a distinct conception of the relationship between the Son and the Holy Spirit. Apart from the difficulties caused by the increasingly poor knowledge of Greek in the West and of Latin in the East, as well as by the differences in the interpretation of concepts, notions and terms, a certain antagonism between a personalist conception, characteristic to the East, and an essentialist one, specific to the West was also invoked.

The East has always referred to the Holy Trinity as a living God, who, being omnipotent, has in Himself the power to manifest and who manifests dynamically, both inside (in Himself) and outside (in relation with the creation). This personalistic dynamism, which underlies the understanding of God as Trinity, but also the possibility of His communion with man, has determined the construction of a theological scheme that starts from the person, meaning that the person is the one who express and puts into practice the essence. The West, which, in asserting the Creator-creature relationship, has been more concerned with emphasizing the transcendence of God, has developed a thinking considered to be essentialist, which stresses the essence or, rather, the super-essence of God, the cause of His own existence, but also of all that exists.

The difficulty of understanding intra-Trinitarian relations was also amplified by a certain old-testamentary Monarchianism, which revolved around the One God, the only Almighty and totally different from the pagan gods. The effort of some Holy Fathers to find suitable terms, often borrowed from Greek philosophy, to prove the divinity of the Son and to explain His relationship with the Father is well known. They encountered the same difficulty when it came to the person of the Spirit, often reiterating the same rhetoric regarding questions or suspicions about His capacity as true God. In addition, not only His relationship with the Father, but also with the Son had to be defined.

The Church Fathers tried to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity, obviously starting from Scripture, the word of God revealed. They interpreted the message of the Scripture in the spirit of the Church Tradition, but it was given a personal note by them, resulting from the cultural environment in which each of them had been formed, but also from their own spiritual experience. When we refer to the Triadological doctrine of St. Athanasius the Great, we cannot ignore these aspects, nor the context in which he had developed his theology. For most of his life, the author only incidentally addressed issues related to the person of the Holy Spirit, focusing on proving the divinity of God’s Word. For this reason, the references to the third Person of the Holy Trinity are quite rare in his representative writings: Against the Heathen, The Incarnation of the Word and Against the Arians, these references appearing, most often, in related to the issue of the divinity of the Son of God.

Pneumatology is a theme that he elaborates on in the last part of his life – specifically in the Letters to Serapion – as a practical necessity, imposed by the doctrinal difficulties created by a neo-Arian Egyptian group, known as the “tropics”. They denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit, considering Him a mere creature, a spirit, like angels, superior to them only in rank. Although the intention of Saint Athanasius was not to develop a doctrine of the Holy Spirit, but rather to combat the errors promoted by this movement, he managed to outline “avant la lettre” the main features of pneumatological theology.

The phrase “Spirit – Image of the Son” created difficulties in understanding the relationship between the two Persons of the Holy Trinity, being placed in parallel with the more famous phrase: “Son – Image of the Father”, used by Saint Athanasius to prove the identity of nature and the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father. Rarely used, this expression is not intended to establish any causal relation between the Spirit and the Son, but to further emphasize the intimacy between the two Persons. The author does not aim to explain how the Son and the Spirit are generated – which remains an impenetrable mystery – but only to prove the divinity of both the Son and the Spirit. Hence, for Athanasius to be “Image” does not mean to depend causally on a model, but not to be different from it, because – he says – as is the Image, so is He whose Image it is.

Although Saint Athanasius sometimes defines the relationship of the Spirit with the Son by the term idios (proper), this does not mean that he designates the way in which the Spirit proceeds. To be proper to the Son means, for the author, to be inextricably related to Him, not to be able to perceive the Spirit outside the relationship with the Son. He says the same thing about the Son in relation to the Father: the Son is so intimately connected with the Father that He cannot be thought of without Him. Athanasius’ aim was not to clarify the mystery of the procession of the Spirit, but to prove, against those who denied it, the divinity of the Spirit, and the expression idios serves this purpose.

The Spirit is proper to the Son, as He is proper to the Father – meaning that He cannot be separated from either One or the Other, He is intimately connected with Both, since it is God, as are both the Father and the Son. To be proper does not necessarily mean to be generated, but to be correlative, that is to be in a relationship of belonging, from which it cannot be removed any of the correlative terms. Therefore, Athanasius can say about the Son that He is proper to the Father, just as he can say about the Spirit that He is proper to both the Son and the Father, or rather, that He is proper to the Son because He is also proper to the Father. However, He is not proper in the same way to the One and the Other, but He is proper to the Father as the Spirit of the Father, and to the Son as the Spirit of the Son. The Spirit does not originate in the Son, but in the Father, who gives Him to the Son, as the Son. Moreover, Athanasius can say of the Spirit that He is proper to the nature of the Father and the Son, since this nature is common to all persons of the Holy Trinity. This does not denote a confusion at the conceptual level, but, on the contrary, this is the proof of a double reporting within the intra-Trinitarian relations: both on personal and substantial level.

The same flexibility and depth can be observed in the distinction he makes between the theological and economic levels, which Saint Athanasius never confuses. As for the proceeding of the Spirit, The Scripture is sufficient for Saint Athanasius: He proceeds from the Father. If revelation does not provide further clarification, neither does he strive to find it, attributing it to the impenetrable mystery of God’s way of being. Usually, he confines himself to inferring the mode of the Persons’ being from Their names, that we know from the revelation. If in the case of the Son this mode is easier to understand, as the divine sonship has a correspondent in the created world, in the case of the Spirit, it is very difficult to infer anything about its generation. Therefore, he always prefers to use the scriptural expression “who proceeds from the Father”, without explaining what proceeding means. On the other hand, when he speaks of the sending of the Spirit into the world, so when he moves to the sphere of ad extra relations, he can define this sending. This sending is from the Son, which means that the Son sends the Holy Spirit into the world, since He is the Spirit of the Son and takes from His own, because He has all of the Son received from the Father, not because He would proceed from the Son. The breathing of the Spirit onto the Apostles by the Son is done in the external dimension, because the Son has the Spirit in Himself, received from the Father, not because He gives Himself existence to the Spirit. Therefore, when Athanasius intends to explain a similar concept by a logical parallelism, he doesn’t associate the Spirits’ sending into the world with His proceeding, but with the Son’ sending into the world, therefore on the same level of economy or extra-Trinitarian relations.

Even when referring to the economic plan, Saint Athanasius makes it clear that the sending of the Spirit – which is proper both to the Father and to the Son – is not proper in the same way, but to the Son is proper as sending of the Son, so as the One who has everything from the Father. As for the expression “through the Son”, Saint Athanasius uses it not with reference to the proceeding of the Spirit, but to the external works of the Father, such as the creation of the world, the restoration of fallen man, the revelation of God to men, or the outpouring of the divine gifts, which are all achieved “from the Father, through the Son into the Spirit”. The expression δι’ Υἱοῦ does not therefore refer to the mediation that the Son would perform in the process of the generating the Spirit. It does not assume a causal aspect, but a relational one, which helps Athanasius to demonstrate the intimate and indestructible relation between the three Divine Persons and, implicitly, the divinity of the Spirit. In this regard, the author had to resort to both the relationship of the Spirit to the Father and to His relationship to the Son, all the more so because he had proved that the Son is the true God and this in no way affects the divinity of the Father, or detracts from any of His attributes. In his dispute with the Aryans, Athanasius had invoked the close relationship between the Son and the Spirit to show the difference between the Son and the creatures, as One who does not receive the Spirit like creatures, but is united with the Spirit, who “takes from the Son” (John 16:14). In the same way, now, he relies on the Spirit’s relationship with the Son – accepted as God – to demonstrate the divinity of the Spirit and His consubstantiality with both the Son and the Father.

This conception of the Triune God in which each Person, as the true God, has His own work, but which is not separated from that of the Others, also explains the relations of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son, relations which do not coincide, do not overlap, but neither are isolated from each other. Thus, Saint Athanasius succeeds, without exceeding the framework provided by Revelation regarding the Holy Trinity, in clarifying and putting a personal spin on these realities, which he dares to approach, as much as possible for a man, not to prove that he understood what God is in Himself, but to explain what we need to know about Him to better comprehend our relationship with Him.

Dr. Ciprian Costin APINTILIESEI — Sofia divină și Sufletul lumii în metafizica lui Vladimir Soloviov

Summary: Sophia – the divine Wisdom and the Soul of the world in Vladimir Soloviev’s metaphysics

The present article focuses on two central concepts in Soloviev’s philosophical work, namely Sophia or Divine Wisdom (София) and the Soul of the World (Душа мира), as they are likely to have founded the famous dyad of Bulgakov’s metaphysics, that of the divine uncreated Sofia and the created Sofia. Consequently, the three questions that make up the structure of this article are as follows: 1. What are the basic features of the Solovievian understanding of the Absolute Principle? 2. What are Sophia and the Soul of the world in Soloviev’s early writings, that is, in his writings of the 1870s, and what is the relationship between them? 3. What do the two notions designate in Soloviev’s late writings, that is, those after 1885?

In the first part of the article, the analysis briefly addresses the fundamental elements that define the Absolute Principle in Soloviev’s metaphysics, knowing that this thinker’s assertions about the divine Sophia and the Soul of the World are far from systematic and clear. First of all, the Absolute Principle is defined as relative non-being (относительное небытие) or „potential being”, in the sense that he is the possibility of being. This definition is based on two premises: a) on the one hand, the Absolute Principle is not a being (бытие) in the sense of the present being (in actu), because in this case he would be only another being alongside a plurality of beings, which would suppress his absoluteness; b) on the other hand, this Principle is neither simply non-being nor nothingness, in the sense of a negative deprivation of being, because he is the absolute source or foundation of any being. Secondly, the Absolute Principle is defined by Soloviev as the supreme and infinite unity (единство), understood not as a simple deprivation or denial of multiplicity, but as a „positive unity” which includes in himself multiplicity, as he produces and contains the multiplicity. And thirdly, this Principle, by virtue of his absoluteness, is defined as a reality which includes the all (все) in himself. In short, the Absolute Principle is one and all or the all-one (всеединое).

The second part of the article highlights the peculiarities of Soloviev’s approach to Sofia in the first part of his philosophical work, that of the 1870s. In Solovievan metaphysics, which to some extent treads on Christian triadology, the Absolute Principle has a threehypostatic structure, consisting of three eternal subjects: Spirit (Дух), Intellect (Ум), and Soul (Душа). During this period of Soloviev’s creation, Sophia is repeatedly described as the „Soul of the world,” which shows us that she is in fact identified with the Soul: the two notions, Sophia and the Soul, seem to refer to the same metaphysical reality, being used as two equivalent or almost synonymous notions. Moreover, it should be noted that during this period Sophia is, in fact, not the divine substance, but one of the constitutive hypostases of the Absolute Principle, more precisely, the third divine hypostasis.

The third part of the article highlights the significant evolution of Sophia and the Soul of the World in the second part of Soloviev’s philosophical work, that after 1885. This time, the Russian philosopher undertakes a clear dissociation between the divine Sophia and the Soul of the world, redefining the metaphysical status of Sophia and, implicitly, of the Soul. Regarding the classical distinction in God between the three subjects or hypostases, on the one hand, and the absolute substance, on the other hand, Soloviev assimilates this time Sophia with the divine essence or substance, and not with the third divine hypostasis, the Holy Spirit. Sophia or Divine Wisdom now designates the universal substance of the Absolute Principle, and the Soul designates the substance or substratum of the natural world, the centre of which is occupied by man. However, both realities, namely Sophia and the Soul, share a certain ontological identity, with the difference that Sophia enjoys an intra-divine existence, while the universal Soul has an extra-divine existence, but which progressively and constantly tends to merge with the first. These ideas will have strong resonances in the building of Bulgakov’s theological sophiology, based on the dyad of the uncreated Sophia and the created Sophia, in which it can be perceived the decisive echo of the Solovievian dyad composed of the divine Sophia and the Soul of the world.

Pr. Dr. Traian NOJEA — Eclesiologia ortodoxă în raport cu eclesiologia celorlalte confesiuni creștine. Câteva considerații interconfesionale, în viziunea Pr. Ion Bria

Summary: Orthodox ecclesiology versus the ecclesiology of the other Christian denominations. Interdenominational considerations put forth by Fr. Ion Bria

The impressive theological work of Priest Professor Ion Bria is of extraordinary importance in many aspects of Orthodox theology and beyond, which is why it has been positively received during his life, with some small exceptions, which concern certain debatable aspects of the theology expressed by him. All this is nothing more than the consequence of a certain way of understanding ecumenism, of being involved in solving its problems, and of understanding the rapprochement between Christian denominations through dialogue.

In this context, the doctrine of the Church is at the heart of contemporary ecumenical studies, as it is necessary to specify the nature and structure of the Church in which all Christians will meet. The main issue of the theological dialogue on the issue of Christian unity remains, therefore, the doctrine of the Church, or ecclesiology, although the ecumenical issue cannot be limited to the study of comparative ecclesiology.

This has led some theologians to define the twentieth century as the century of ecclesiology or the Church. Among them is Ion Bria (1929 – 2002). On the other hand, we cannot help but wonder where this major ecclesiology concern comes from. What deep reasons have caused so many Christian consciences to move with such a remarkable passion to such a subject? In order to answer these questions, tapping into the ecclesiological doctrine of Ion Bria, but also to the evangelical-Protestant one, we must revisit the questions in our conscience: what is the Church really? What relevance does it have for the world, for each individual believer? What is its specific mission today?

All these questions, along with many others, are always waiting for an answer, but in essence, they outline the specificity, nature, mission or being of the Church. However, several theological coordinates must be kept in this context, and the present study seeks to come up with some answers, directions and perspectives in this regard.

A central place in Bria’s ecclesiology is the economy of the Holy Spirit. Bria points out that the pneumatological aspect does not annul the centrality of Christ in the body of the Church, so it does not abolish its institutional, sacramental reality. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit constitutes the „ecclesia” as a historical reality, in the image of the heavenly Church. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of personal experience, the spirit of communion, that is why in and through the Holy Spirit the ecclesiological event takes place in terms of individual and collective life. He gathers the members in the Body of Christ, and He expands Christ into the world, forming „God’s people” (cf. 1 Peter 2:10), destined for ecclesiological promises. The Holy Spirit makes the Church a sacramental organism, therefore the „extension of the incarnation” in the Church must be understood neither in the physical sense nor in the sense of an ontological identity between the Church and Christ.

The relationship „Church and Churches” concerns the connection between the one Church and the local Churches, the application of catholicity at the local level or the integration of the local Churches into the universal one. The local community, present and its authentic manifestation, its own organization, is a natural discovery of the diversity that catholicity implies. The unity between the local and the universal Church is also understood by Bria as a communion in which certain common ecclesial structures are recognized. That is why every member of the Church experiences the fullness of the life of the whole body.

Bria’s studies of „Eucharistic ecclesiology” have shown us that any local Eucharistic community is a manifestation of the Catholic Church, a total presence of the Church in that place. By its very sacramental structure, the local community represents a fullness, but the local Churches should not be considered as isolated parts of the universal one. Contrasting the Eucharistic ecclesiology with the universal one, as these studies do, is not in the spirit of authentic ecumenism, because the local Church justifies its existence by its organic integration in the fullness of the catholic ones. It exists in the ecumenical body insofar as it participates in that which is universal.

From the above considerations, it can be inferred that, according to the theologian Ion Bria, the Church is the gift of God in the Holy Trinity for the whole world, so that people can be freed from all the insufficiencies of their existential limitation, to be restored in their intimate functions, by the power of the risen Christ. That is why He founded the Church, which appeared as a concrete, historical existence, seen on the day of Pentecost, in order to include in it the whole of creation, so that all and all may receive the liberating, healing, and reconciling power of the crucified and risen Christ.

The ecclesial establishment has in it the victorious power of the Founder and Head of the Church, Christ, whom the Lord continually shares through the Holy Spirit in the Sacraments of the Church of all mankind. With this saving power, which does not come from men and from the world, but springs from the communion of the life and love of the Holy Trinity, the Church can never be defeated, as the Lord assures in Matthew 16:18.

This strength of the Church lies in its unshakable foundation, which is the divinity of the Savior. Moreover, its ultimate basis is the deep mystery of the Holy Trinity. From here, there are other foundations of the Church: Christological, Pneumatological and Anthropological. The Savior becomes the foundation of the Church through His Incarnation, Passions, Death, and Resurrection. In this way, the Church has a theandric, divine-human nature, so a seen and an unseen aspect. This theandric nature of the Church is based on the union of the two natures in the person of the Savior, who were united in an „unmixed and unchanged, undivided and inseparable” way, as the dogma stated during the Fourth Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon shows.

The purpose of the Church is to include in it all that exists, God and His creation. The manifestation of the risen Christ in all who believe in Him gives concrete existence to the Church, configuring her „body of Christ” in the power of the Holy Spirit, as the Apostle Paul shows in his Epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians, or Corinthians.

Thus, the Church is the social extension of Christ in the community of those who are drawn to His saving love. Christ shares His life and power with His whole ecclesial body and with each member of it. All the members of the Church are rooted in Christ, or in other words, in all the members Christ dwells, with the richness of His saving gifts. This complex process takes place through the secret work of the Holy Spirit, through which man is reborn to the new life in Christ, when the Adamic man is vanquished by the New Adam, Jesus Christ.