NR. 3 – 2021

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2021.3

Pr. Prof. Dr. Cristinel IOJA – Note definitorii ale cosmologiei în dogmatica actuală

Summary: Defining Notes of Cosmology in Current Dogmatics

The study is divided into three parts. In the first part, I show the importance of theological renewal in terms of Orthodox Dogmatics, especially due the contribution of Father Dumitru Stăniloae. In the second part, I point out that cosmology is no longer seen today as an isolated chapter in Orthodox Dogmatics, but in interdependence and close relationship with the other chapters. In the third part, I emphasize the importance of the rediscovery in current Dogmatics of some cosmological concepts through which the Fathers of the Church transmitted and deepened the Christian coordinates of cosmology, based on the data of Revelation.

In this study, I try to identify some aspects of the renewal of Orthodox Dogmatics in terms of cosmology. By resorting to patristic thinking and rediscovering some cosmological-anthropological concepts developed by the Church Fathers, dogmatists of the 20th century, of whom the most important is Rev. prof. Dumitru Stăniloae, made a decisive contribution to the reconfiguration of cosmology in unity and interpenetration with the other chapters of Dogmatics, with important insights from Philokalic spirituality and Liturgy. The cosmological concepts of the current Dogmatics – Logos-Trinity-creation, micro-macrocosm, anthropo-cosmos, the human as a priest of creation, the cosmos as a church – discover true lines of deepening the theology of creation in congruence with Philokalic spirituality and the liturgical experience of the Church, offering the image of a rationally and spiritually centered cosmos in the Logos and the Spirit, in the transfiguring work of the communion between humans, divine Logos, and the Trinity.

Pr. Prof. Dr. Vasile VLAD – Moralele confesionale. Importanța și semnificațiile moralei ortodoxe în context intercreștin

Summary: Confessional Ethics. The Importance and Significance of Orthodox Ethics in an Inter-Christian Context

Orthodox morality as Christian spiritual life is possible only by integrating and framing human life within the ecclesial coordinates through which the R esurrection of Christ is accessible to each of us. If we reduce the perspective of moral life to rationalism, casuism, or Catholic probabilism, or to the Protestant way of understanding the event of life, then there can be no transfiguration of the human mode of existence, in which wickedness is changed into un-wickedness and death into life and resurrection. Godliness no longer has an ontological content, and the truth and revealed faith of the Church are separated from life. More or less voluntarily, we find ourselves in a pietistic religiosity in which morality/ethics is reduced to the consistent and rigorous pursuit of rules of behavior.

Pietistic religiosity transforms the faith received at Baptism into a psychological affect at the individual level and a social concern at the macro-social level. On this horizon, the Church’s presence in the world is limited to an institutional utilitarian perspective.

Modernity preserves the Church only as a social institution necessary to improve the social manifestations of individuals. It does not go beyond the status of a conventional institution whose purpose is to satisfy the religious needs of its individual members. In this sense, liturgical practices are stripped of their mystical and theophanic character, and are accommodated to the absolutized needs of the members of that church. From the historical-traditional liturgical treasury of the Church, both Catholic and Protestant perspectives, only certain formulas remain nominally, the content of which is constantly redefined according to individual and social requirements. Christos Yannaras believes that, for example, the Eucharist, which until modernity was the very embodiment of the event of salvation, comes to be seen only “as a strictly religious duty, as an obligation to pray together with others, perhaps even to listen to a sermon, most often limited to defining individual behavior. The Eucharist is no longer the event that founds and manifests the Church, the change of way of life, the realization of the morality of the ‘new man’. Eventually, this very participation in the holy mysteries takes on a conventional ethical character. Confession becomes a psychological ‘good regulation’ or ‘putting in order’ of individual feelings of guilt. Baptism becomes an under-understood social obligation, and marriage a legalization of sexual relations, independent of any ascetic transfiguration of married life which makes the couple an ecclesial event of personal communion”.

If in modernity – whether in the Catholic or especially in the Protestant key – the terms Truth-heresy, Church-heterodoxy are relativized and equalized, in the Orthodox vision this conceptual alignment is not theoretical, but means considering truth and salvation as a simple ‘improved’ state of the fallen human being’s mode of existence, which is the same as normalizing death as the ultimate reality of existence. In this sense, C. Yannaras is of the opinion that the great heresy of our time is pietism. Pietism, as a theological vision, is a heresy within ecclesiology: it undermines – when it does not simply deny – the very truth of the Church. It transposes and displaces the event of salvation. It permutes it from ecclesial morality to individual morality, to piety broken from the triune way of existence, from the way of obedience to Christ. Through (that) pietism, modernity operates a rupture between life and the Church. The Church is denied the status of a peri-historical reality between the life of the Holy Trinity and humanity and is denied its fundamental work – the transfiguration of the mortal human individual into a hypostasis which participates, through communion, in eternal life. In making the break between the Church and life, modernity will see in the truth of the Church nothing more than an intellectual formula that enters into the abstract preoccupation of theological discourse. Pietism, as the spirit of modernity, may, in the end, even formally accept dogmatic definitions but treats them as dead, abstract, academic literature, unrelated to life and existential experience.

As a general conclusion, the present study tries to show that Orthodox Morality, as spiritual life, is a theandric reality, i.e., a reality in which God’s freedom and work are conjugated with the human being’s freedom and work or, in other words, moral life in Orthodoxy means a godly life within and within the limits of human being and, at the same time, a fully human life at the measures of godly graceful life. Orthodox morality is the chance of the world and of contemporary human being to come out of the slope of the fall and of loss into nihilism, to the light and meaning that Christ the Way, the Truth and the Life puts within our reach.

Pr. Conf. Dr. Caius-Claudius CUȚARU – Fenomenul neo-religios în viziunea părintelui prof. dr. Nicolae Achimescu

Summary: The Neo-religious Phenomenon in the View of Reverend Prof. Dr. Nicolae Achimescu

The scientific work of Reverend Professor Dr. Nicolae Achimescu in the field of history and philosophy of religions encompasses many aspects, the subject matter being a diverse one. In the present study, I have chosen to discuss several aspects on the new religious movements. It is our conviction that, in the coming period, the reception of the work of one of the greatest historians of religions, who was active in the Romanian theological education field, has to begin. Moreover, specialists must undertake this approach, especially by those who were his disciples and whom he tried to bring together into a true school focused on the history of religions.

As for the study of the new religious movements, Rev. Prof. Dr. N. Achimescu dedicated himself to their exploration, especially after following the information internships at the Dialogue Center in Aarhus, in Denmark, where the well-known missiologist Johannes Aagaard, a specialist in the research of the neo-religious phenomena, worked as the director of the center. The Romanian theologian held confe­rences there between 1997 and 1998. Rev. Professor Achimescu used this opportunity to document himself on the neo-religious phenomenon, gathering bibliographic material in this sense. In fact, he responded to one of the missionary imperatives that the Romanian Orthodox Church had to respond to after the Revolution of December 1989, when, thanks to the acquired freedom, a number of religious movements entered our country as a result of the mixture of different religions or between religions and certain cultural currents. If until 1989, the Romanian Orthodox Church had to respond only to sects emerging from Protestantism, i.e. neo-Protestant denominations, after regaining freedom of thought and religious expression, new sects with an oriental religious foundation emerged, with a religious-philosophical and psychological character or esoteric-neognostic elements; and the best answer to all this could be given by the history of religions.

Rev. Prof. N. Achimescu knew how to read the signs of the times and get involved in the missionary field where his expertise and scientific probity were most needed. After analyzing the various names of the neo-religious phenomenon, Rev. Prof. N. Achimescu chose the one of the new religious movements, in order to capture the various causes that led to the proliferation of this new type of religiosity to the detriment of the traditional Christianity. In fact, the first eight chapters of his fundamental work regarding the neo-religious phenomenon entitled, New Religious Movements, are only introductory, explanatory chapters for the neo-religious phenomenon, in order to proceed to the analysis of different types of new movements, studying critically their teachings. The conclusions reached in each case are particularly valuable, and the future research on the neo-religious phenomenon must take them into consideration.

Arhim. Lect. Dr. Casian RUȘEȚ – Disciplina eclezială în legislația canonică a Bisericii Ortodoxe Române, potrivit viziunii pr. prof. Liviu Stan

Summary: Ecclesiastical Discipline in the Canonical Legislation of the Romanian Orthodox Church, According to the Vision of Rev. Prof. Liviu Stan

Rev. Professor Liviu Stan’s concern for the canonical discipline of the Orthodox Church is an aspect that runs like a red thread throughout his entire work, being a topic explored in light of the canonical tradition resulting from the pastoral experience of the church community. In a very special way, he was concerned with the church legislation elaborated during the time of Patriarch Justinian Marina, in a particular socio-political and ecclesiastical context, which required an update of the “Statute for the Organization and Functioning of the Romanian Orthodox Church”, as well as of all derived regulations from this statue. One of the most important regulations was the “Procedural Regulation of the Disciplinary Courts of the Romanian Orthodox Church” from 1953, which replaced the previous one from 1926, considered by Rev. Liviu Stan to be retrograde and tributary to a bourgeois vision. Indeed, the functioning of the disciplinary courts according to the provisions of the 1926 regulation was very difficult, but not because of the procedure, but because of financial problems and a slightly matured canonical-legal conscience. Considerably influenced by the new socialist regime, which tried to create mechanisms of control and repression over clerics and church institutions, this regulation was drawn up by the Romanian Orthodox Church, with the advice of the specialist in canon law Rev. prof. dr. Liviu Stan. The present article, taking as a starting point the work of the great Romanian canonist, offers an analysis of his vision regarding ecclesiastical discipline in the canonical legislation of the Romanian Orthodox Church, materia­lized in the above-mentioned regulation.

Pr. Lect. Dr. Filip George ALBU – Cateheza liturgică în Eparhia Aradului reflectată într-un manuscris din perioada comunistă

Summary: Liturgical Catechesis in the Diocese of Arad as Reflected in a Manuscript from the Communist Period

Some time ago, I identified in the archive of the library of the Faculty of Theology in Arad a manuscript, which spans over several volumes (notebooks). It contains a collection of catechesis delivered from the pulpit of the historic cathedral of Arad in the 1950s. The novelty of this work is given by the historical context that witnessed political opposition to the Church. Thus, in this study I sought to offer a first analysis of this archival material. The research is divided into three sections. In the first section, the geographical and historical-denominational context of Arad is presented. In the next section, I address the issue of liturgical catechesis as an essential dimension of the mission of the Church. In the last section, I analyze some characteristics of this manuscript. Based on this document, one can portray the way in which catechesis had been carried out throughout that period. Furthermore, in addition to its historical value, a topical value of the archival material can also be discerned, as the way the themes are treated remains valid even today.