The Notion of The Beautiful in Ancient Greek Thought and its Christian Patristic Transfiguration - J.A. McGuckin
In a significant essay on Platonic philosophy, R. J. O'Connell highlights one of the most interesting and problematic aspects of the identification of the good and the beautiful in the Greek philosophical tradition :
‘It is a truism to say that, for the Greek mind, the good and the beautiful
(Kalokagathon) are at one , just as the evil and the ugly are. Use these terms
in their moral sense, however, and the gigantic act of ‘belief' implied in that
equivalence becomes more evident.'
The Legacy of the 13th Apostle: Origins of the East Christian Conceptions of Church and State Relation - J.A. McGuckin
It is remarkable to consider how much has been written on the notion of the early Christian and Byzantine attitudes to political theory relying on the singularly useless concept of caesaro-papism. It illuminates nothing, apart from the standing-point of the user. It was, in origin, a term of disparagement, comparable in its intent to the scornful use of Byzantinism to signify all that was corrupt and devious. This bigoted Gibbonesque apologetic, so beloved of Protestant and Catholic theorists alike in their mutually conflicting critiques of Eastern Christian political theology, should by now have fallen into desuetude though a surprising amount of authors have still continued to use it well into the modern era; apparently unaware of the theological ‘animus' that gave birth to the word, and even more so of the fact that it is hopelessly anachronistic.
The great Russian bishop of the last century, Theophanes "The Recluse" (d. 1894), in one of his pastoral letters makes a startling statement. What the Russian Church most needed, he said, was "a band of firebrands," which would set the world on fire. The incendiaries must be themselves burning and go around to inflame human minds and hearts. Theophanes did not trust a "residual Christianity." Customs could be perpetuated by inertia, he said, but convictions and beliefs could be kept only by spiritual vigilance and continuous effort by the spirit. Theophanes felt that there was too much routine and convention in the life of Russian Christians. He anticipated a crisis and even a collapse. He resigned his diocese and retired to a monastery, because he felt that he could do much more service to the Church by writing books than by administering a bishopric.
The Self-understanding of the Orthodox and their Participation in the Ecumenical Movement - Metropolitan John (Zizioulas)
IntroductionThe subject on which I have been asked to speak is a complex and vast one. I have no ambition to deal with it exhaustively, or even properly. I shall limit myself to certain reflections of a theological nature, hoping that these might help the present meeting to reach a clearer view of the role of the Orthodox Church in the Ecumenical Movement, and the WCC in particular, as well as of what this role entails both for the WCC and the Orthodox themselves.
The term is derived from the (Greek) verb "dokein" (= seeming, believing) and originally, its literal meaning was "that which seems good or proper to someone"; it also pertains to belief, ideology, principle, opinion, faith, and other related meanings. (Plato's Soph.256C: «by making use of the many dogmas and words...»).
In our evil age which "demythologises" every institution and every notion of established authority under the pretext of course of democratic equality and "enlightenment" which from the outset claims that rational thought has absolute power over all that can be known - the notions of "dogma" and ''authority" are now considered by many to be not only inappropriate to our time and place, but also extremely provocative and even demeaning of the dignity of the human being emancipated long ago. Thus to speak today of dogma as a common and indeed regulatory point of reference for the entire people of God - especially in the strict sense of a certain supernatural authority - constitutes no doubt a great scandal, or at any rate a bold demand which continuously needs new justification before all who "ask for a reason for the hope that is in you"(( Peter 3:15).