Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Greatest and Most Wondrous Polyelaios and the Renewal of the Whole of Creation

Commentary by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite on II St. Peter 3:13

I am not able, here, to pass over in silence the beautiful and fitting analogy put forth by some concerning the renewal of the whole of creation.

They compare it to a wise artist who is fabricating a great, wondrous, and costly polyelaios [the main chandelier in the Nave of the Church – Trans.] and who does not finish it in one sitting, but rather works on it for a great deal of time, now working on one small section of the polyelaios, now on another; and sometimes he fashions the middle bars of the polyelaios, and sometimes its oil lamps, sometimes its bulb, and sometimes he works on the parts that will hold the candles.

Once he has finished the entire polyelaios and all of the small and large parts it comprises, then he exhibits this wondrous polyelaios in the center of the market, with all of its numerous parts connected; and, seeing that it was made according to his design, beautifully and most skilfully, he rejoices greatly and is glad.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

About Eschatologia

Eschatologia is the Greek word for eschatology, which by definition is the study of last things, whether it concerns the end of human life in the body or the end of the world itself. Yet it also covers the transition from one phase to another, for "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8), and there will be "a new heaven and a new earth" after the old have passed away (Rev. 21:1). Thus, eschatology is about paradise restored and examines future matters.

However, one could also say that the Christian life is an eschatological life. A Christian who has been purified of their passions through ascetic struggle, prayer and the Mysteries of the Church, has made their body into a temple of the Holy Spirit, and when the Grace of the Holy Spirit illumines us, then "the Kingdom of Heaven is within you" (Lk. 17:21), and "the pure in heart ... shall see God" (Matt. 5:8). What will be in the future can become a present reality when a person lives a faithful ecclesiastical life.

Eschatology therefore is about the all around Christian experience. The Christian faithful become "citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven" in this life in order to enter the future Promised Land "flowing with milk and honey" (Ex. 3:17) in the next. In our days this is often ignored and forgotten. This is because we equate the Christian life with merely making a profession of faith and living good moral lives. Then one day, sometime in the future, after we die, we will experience heavenly realities. Such a belief is contrary to the Gospel of Christ, and constitutes an eschatological and soteriological heresy.

Today the subject of eschatology, because it is misunderstood, is often approached because of fear and distress. We live in fearful and distressing times, and the shock of this leads to confusion, so we flee to our beliefs for consolation and answers, but we approach this in worldly ways. Our hope flees, but it becomes a future hope; we are weak now, but in the future we will be victorious. But the eschaton is outside of time, and is as much a part of the past and present as it is of the future. By living a faithful ecclesiastical life, which is the Christian life, we live an eschatological life, and our future depends on how much we appropriate such a life in the present here and now. This is what eschatology is all about.

This weblog will present various studies and texts that deal with eschatology from this Orthodox Christian perspective, and will clarify many false notions as well. I pray the exploration of these topics will serve towards the benefit of all my readers.

John Sanidopoulos

June 25, 2015

Feast of Saint Febronia