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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Influence of the Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius


Written in Syriac in the late seventh century, the Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius shaped and influenced Christian eschatological thinking in the Middle Ages. Falsely attributed to Methodius of Olympus, a fourth century Church Father, the work attempts to make sense of the Islamic Conquest of the Mediterranean world. The Apocalypse is noted for incorporating numerous aspects of Christian eschatology such as the invasion of Gog and Magog, the rise of the Antichrist, and the tribulations that precede the end of the world.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Justin Martyr's Eschatology


By L. W. Barnard

This study has been prompted by an article by Professor C. F. D. Moule of Cambridge on the Influence of Circumstances on the Use of Eschatological Terms (1). Briefly Professor Moule's thesis is that it is an error to seek for a sequence of development or evolution in eschato­logical formulations within the New Testament as the hope in the Parousia weakened: my point is not only that these (i. e. New Testament statements about the last things) are incapable of being built into a sin­gle system, but also that they have, intrinsically, no logical sequence or successive order of evolution, but may arrive on the scene at any mo­ment, and in almost any order, whether to 'peg' two opposite ends of a paradox or to defend different aspects of the truth as they chance to come under attack. They are produced (to use Papias' celebrated phra­se) πρός τάς χρείας to meet each need as it arises (2). Professor Moule has no difficulty in showing that the language of realized eschatology is used more when the individual believer is in mind; futurist eschatolo­gy when the group destiny is being emphasized; the mythical and quasi - physical language of apocalyptic when the future of the entire cosmos is in view. So Paul can use realized eschatology, apocalyptic and non - apocalyptic language according to his theme, not according to the stage of his theological development (3). The question of the delay in the Parousia was hardly in view in the New Testament and did not affect the shaping of theological thought (4).

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Renewal of the Universe: A Mystery of the Last Times


“Creation shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21).

“But we, the pious, cry unto Thee, O Comforter, in a God-inspired manner: ‘Blessed art Thou, O Renewer of the universe.”’1

The Great Feast of Pentecost, provides us with the opportunity to delve further into what is also a great Mystery of the last times: the renewal of the universe.

The Church was engendered on earth by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of transforming the earth into a Church — to Baptize the earth in the waters of the Incarnation of the Word and in the fiery flames of Pentecost.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Eucharist as an Anticipation of the Last Things


According to St. Maximus the Confessor, the eschatological character of the Divine Liturgy is demonstrated right from the beginning, at the opening of the Liturgy when the bishop and presbyters go up to the synthronon [the raised seats behind the altar], an action which images the enthronement of the Lord at the Father’s right hand, bringing human nature with him. After that, the Gospel reading ‘indicates the end of the world’. The dismissal of the catechumens images the future judgement. The beginning of the Liturgy of the Faithful images in advance the entry of those who are worthy into the bridal chamber of Christ. The kiss of peace ‘prefigures and portrays the concord and unanimity and identity of mind that all will leave with each other in faith and love at the time when the ineffable good things are revealed, through which those who are worthy receive intimate familiarity with the Word of God'. The Offering of the Eucharist is performed as an expression of the gratitude of the just for the divine gifts they enjoy in the Kingdom of God. The triumphal hymn ‘indicates that union and equality of honor with the bodiless and intelligible powers which will be manifest in the future'. The Lord's Prayer ‘is the symbol of the real and living adoption which will be given by the gift and grace of the Holy Spirit’. Finally, the reception of Holy Communion ‘indicates the adoption which through the goodness of our God will come about in every way upon all who are worthy, the union and intimacy and divine likeness and deification’.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Eschatological Dimensions of the Church


By Athanasios Yevtic

Within the general theme of the "Icon and the Kingdom", our theological faculty has been entrusted with the particular theme of "The Church and the Kingdom." In the framework of that theme this paper will deal with the eschatological character of the Church as a whole and the eschatological perspective of everything in the Church. This means that what is necessary for an authentic and full Orthodox eschatology is the eschatological dimension of the Church, which organically links the Church with the kingdom of God.

For the beginning of the evaluation of our theme and as a pro­per context we shall take a biblical event described at three places in the holy Scriptures. That event is the appearance of God to Moses on Sinai when he ordered him to erect the Tabernacle (the Tent of Witness). References to this manifestation are made in the Book of Exodus 25.40, by Protomartyr Stephen in Acts 7.44, and finally by the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Hebrews 8.5. If we combine these three references we shall get the following text: "See, " said God to Moses, "that you erect the Tabernacle, and everything in it, according to the type (κατά τον τύπον) which was shown you on Mount Sinai."

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Dreadful Day of Judgment


The Dreadful Day[1]

By Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria

"Let us proclaim" again today "not only one coming of Christ, but a second also, much better than the one prior, because the first was a demonstration of patience, while the next will bring the reign of the divine kingdom."[2] With these words, Saint Cyril of Jerusalem refers to the Second Coming of the Lord, which our Holy Church makes mention of on the Sunday of Meatfare.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book Review: "Revelation - The Seven Golden Lampstands - Orthodox Christian Lessons" (vol. 1)


This multi-volume work, consisting of 104 consecutive lessons on the Book of Revelation, which were originally delivered in Greek in the 1980's and recorded on cassette by the well-known dynamic preacher Archimandrite Athanasios Mitilinaios, and transcribed and translated by Constantine Zalalas, is an essential addition for anyone who wishes to study the depths of this most mysterious book of the New Testament.

The first volume covers Revelation chapters 1 through 3 and consists of 23 lessons. This is not a dry exegesis intended for scholars alone, but it interprets the text in a pastoral and multifaceted way. It lifts you up spiritually, the way Revelation is meant to be read, and it consoles, strengthens and assists us in our spiritual journey. It doesn't focus on speculations and instigate an unhealthy curiosity often found in books that focus on the Book of Revelation, but it grounds the reader spiritually to be ready to face the events described. They are very reminiscent of the way St. John Chrysostom expounded on the texts of Holy Scripture in his homilies.