Jesus Christ in the Orthodox Church
Introduction by Fr Miltiades Chryssavgis
| by Fr Miltiades Chryssavgis
The perception of Jesus Christ in the Orthodox Church
constitutes at the same time a thematic study of great
significance for our salvation and a great challenge for all
to seek truth and deeper meaning of life in the very person
of Jesus Christ the God-Man. For us Orthodox Christians this
study and challenge is not merely a matter of selecting
certain facts and ideas from the Bible in order to invent
"our own Christ," just as many Protestant groups have
invented "their own Christs" it is rather a matter of
testing our Biblical knowledge of Jesus Christ against the
life of the Orthodox Church within the Tradition of Christ's
Body, the Saints. For in the words of the great contemporary
Serbian Orthodox theologian Archimandrite Justin Popovic,
even if the Orthodox Church did not have the Bible as God's
written word, the life of one Saint alone would suffice as
the living and eternal evidence about Jesus Christ Himself.
"The Saints", he said, "bear the character of the Divine
Logos (Logosnost), and life in Christ our God (Bogozivot),
thus witnessing to the living presence of Jesus Christ from
generation to generation until the end of the world."
(Prologue to the Lives of Saints, by Justin Popovic).
In seeking the true perception of Jesus Christ in the
Orthodox Church we are dealing not with an intellectual
exercise, but with a matter of life and death - our
salvation or our damnation. In order to simplify our
approach to the subject, let us ask the very same question
which Jesus Christ put to His disciples in the land of
Caesarea of Philippi, a question that was asked twice, each
time with greater emphasis. In the first instance, Christ
asked the disciples, "Whom do people say that I the Son of
Man, am?" (Mat 16:13) The disciples answer in the following
manner, "Some say that you are John the Baptist, some Elias,
some Jeremiah or one of the prophets." (Mat 16:14) From the
words of the answer it clearly appears that those people who
had seen Christ and who had witnessed His miracles, had
perceived in Jesus Christ a unique person who displayed an
unusual power and a potent force greater than any other
human person could display. Yet they saw in Him merely the
Son of Man, not the Son of God. Christ, however, desiring
that the disciples, who were closer to Him than the other
people, had repeatedly heard His teaching, had witnessed His
life and miracles, and had tasted proofs of His divine
origin, should have a true perception of Him both as the Son
of Man in the mystery of the incarnation, as well as the Son
of God in the full glory of His divinity, asked them the
same question in a more personal and direct manner, "But
whom do you say that I am?" - that is, St John Chrysostom
adds, "you that are with me always, and see me working
miracles, and have yourselves done many mighty works by me."
(Homily 34, on Matthew 16:15). Then Simon Peter, acting as
the leader and spokesman of the Apostles, boldly and openly
declared, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
This is indeed a great confession, the bold confession of
the Truth concerning Jesus Christ, especially declaring His
Godhead and His divine Economy in the mystery of His
incarnation. While looking at the humanity of Jesus Christ
and accepting Him as the Son of Man, Simon Peter also
perceives in Him simultaneously His divinity and confesses
Him to be the Son of the living God. Furthermore, he
expresses his perception of Christ with a steadfast and
unwavering conviction, "You are the Christ, the Son of the
living God', thus correctly confessing Christ as the
Only-Begotten One from the Father". (cf. Creed, "true God
from true God...").
The great significance of Peter's confession is further
emphasised by Jesus Christ in the next verse, "You are
Peter, and upon this rock (namely, on the faith of your
confession) I will build my Church. " (Mat 16:18). In other
words the perception of Jesus Christ as the Son of the
living God constitutes the very foundation of the Church of
Christ. Such perception allows no reservations and no doubts
concerning either the divinity or the humanity of Jesus
Christ. We shall return to this point again, but for the
time being let us enrich our perception of Christ beginning
with the experience of the New Testament witnesses of the
Resurrection of Christ and the Advent of the Holy
Jesus is our Saviour (Mat 1:21), and Christ means the
"Anointed one" by God's spirit. Christ is perceived as the
Second Person of the Holy Trinity and is the true image and
likeness of God the Father. (Col 1: 15) Jesus Christ has
revealed to us the true nature of God (John 1:18), as well
as the true character of the human person, since he became
the perfect man (John 1: 14). He is of one essence with the
Father, and is both accessible to the world, but also
transcendent above the heavens. (Heb 7:25).
Such is, very briefly, a picture of the perception of
Jesus Christ from the Scriptures - we have entirely omitted
the Old Testament types "of Him who has to come" (Rom 5:14),
whilst we have only lightly touched on some of the New
What I would like to do next is to transfer the centre of
our attention to the present life of our Church in
Australia. Indeed, it would be beneficial for us to pose the
question which Jesus asked the Apostles, to the members of
Who do we say that Jesus Christ is?
Who is this Jesus Christ in whom we believe as baptised
members of the Orthodox Church?
Is Jesus Christ a mere man? Is He only God? or is He
rather, as the Orthodox Church teaches, both truly God and
truly man, united in one Person hypostatically in an
unconfused and undivided manner? (Definition of Chalcedon
At any rate, how are we to understand Simon Peter's
answer that Jesus Christ is "the Son of the living God?"
Such questions were undoubtedly in the minds of the
Apostles, and they are also in our minds, as we endeavour to
fathom the mystery of the incarnation, and as we struggle to
grow in our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as God and
Saviour. Our endeavour and struggle becomes all the more
imperative since we are confronted with hundreds of churches
and sects in our neighbourhood. Among them there are some
who believe and teach that Jesus Christ is only man, a great
social reformer, at the most a great prophet, teacher or
archangel (Arianism). Others emphasise the divine at the
expense of the human nature of Christ (Monophysitism).
Any excessive emphasis on either Christ's divinity or His
humanity does not simply create confusion on the theoretical
level of faith; it also has immense repercussions and
consequences on the practical level, since truth and
doctrine have their corresponding application in life
itself. Accordingly, if Jesus Christ is less than God, He
cannot bring salvation to man. For "neither a messenger, nor
a man, but the Lord Himself saved us." (Isaiah 63:9). Again,
if Jesus Christ is only God and not man, then He is
transcendent but not personally accessible to man. For "What
is not assumed, cannot be healed", St Gregory the Theologian
The Orthodox perception of Jesus Christ preserves a
balance between such extremes. Firstly, as declared by the
third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 331 AD the unity of
one Person of Jesus Christ the Son of God is safe-guarded by
the adoption of the title Theotokos for the Virgin Mary,
"Who gave birth to the Logos of God made flesh." (Cyril of
Alexandria) Secondly, as decided by the Fourth Ecumenical
Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, Jesus Christ is one Person
in two natures and in one hypostasis. The Fathers stated
their belief in "one and the same Son, perfect in Godhead
and perfect in manhood, truly God and truly man ...
acknowledged in two natures unconfusedly, unchangeably,
indivisibly, inseparably: the difference between the natures
is in no way removed because of the union, but rather the
peculiar property of each nature is preserved, and both
combine in one person and in one hypostasis." (Definition of
Chalcedon, in T. Ware, The Orthodox Church).
The hymnography of the Orthodox Church palpably brings
out the contrast of the two natures of Jesus Christ, a
contrast which becomes a stumbling block for non-believers,
but which naturally constitutes the centre and the basis of
our Orthodox Christian faith about Jesus Christ Take, for
instance, the Kontakion of the Feast of the Nativity of
Jesus Christ, the Feast of the mystery of the Incarnation of
Christ. This hymn by St Romanos the Melodist ends with the
words, "A new-born Child, God before the ages." Here we
confess our steadfast faith in the One Person of Jesus
Christ in His two natures.
The Orthodox Church has never lost sight of the real
personality of Jesus Christ. He is in truth the Messiah, the
central figure and the fulfillment of the entire creation.
He marks a radical demarcation line between things "old" and
"new", and divides history into BC and AD. He is at the same
time the "Jesus of History" and the "Jesus of our faith",
having become one of us without losing His divinity, but
also transforming history from its fallen state. The
Orthodox Church offers us the proper guarantee for our
correct perception of the Person of Jesus Christ. The Church
as the Body of Christ incorporates us in the "temple not
made by hands" and by the Holy Spirit leads to the Truth,
that is to Jesus Christ. With the 'great cloud of witnesses'
the Church directs us to "look unto Jesus the author and
finisher of our faith". (Heb 12:1-2).
Jesus Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the
life: no one comes unto the Father but by me". (John 14:6).
In Jesus Christ we can hope for eternity, salvation and the
transfiguration of all creation.
Brothers and Sisters, far from claiming to have exhausted
the subject which I was asked to develop in this paper, I
wish to conclude by repeating the words of St John the
Theologian with which he finishes his Gospel, "And there are
also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they
should be written in detail, I suppose that even the world
itself could not contain the books that should be written".
from a paper presented to a National Serbian
Youth Conference in Australia [Back to top]
The Oneness of Essence, the Equality of Divinity, and the Equality of Honor of God the Son with God the Father
|by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky (1888-1988)|
In earliest Christian times, until
the Church's faith in the Oneness of Essence and the equality of the
Persons of the Holy Trinity had been precisely formulated in strictly
defined terminology, it happened that even those church writers who
were careful to be in agreement with the universal consciousness of the
Church and had no intention to violate it with any personal views of
their own, sometimes, together with clear Orthodox thoughts, used
expressions concerning the Divinity of the Persons of the Holy Trinity
which were not entirely precise and did not clearly affirm the equality
of the Persons.
This can be explained, for the most part, by the
fact that in the same term some shepherds of the Church placed one
meaning and others, another meaning. The concept "essence" was
expressed in the Greek language by the word ousia, and this word was in general understood by everyone in the same way. Using the word ousia,
the Holy Fathers referred it to the concept of "Person." However, a
lack of clarity was introduced by the use of a third word,
"Hypostasis." Some signified by this term the "Persons" of the Holy
Trinity, and others the "Essence." This circumstance hindered mutual
understanding. Finally, following the authoritative example of St.
Basil the Great, it became accepted to understand by the word
Hypostasis the Personal attributes in the Triune Divinity.
However, apart from this, there were heretics in
the ancient Christian period who consciously denied or lessened the
Divinity of the Son of God. Heresies of this type were numerous and
from time to time caused strong disturbances in the Church. Such, for
example, were the following heretics:
- In the Apostolic Age — the Ebionites (after
the name of the heretic Ebion). The Holy Fathers testify that the holy
Evangelist John the Theologian wrote his Gospel against them.
- In the third century, Paul of Samosata was accused by two councils of Antioch in the same century.
- The most dangerous of all the heretics was
Arius, the presbyter of Alexandria, in the 4th century. Arius taught
that the Word, or Son of God, received the beginning of His existence
in time, although before anything else; that He was created by God,
although subsequently God created everything through Him; that he is
called the Son of God only because He is the most perfect of all the
created spirits, and has a nature which, being different from the
Father's, is not Divine.
This heretical teaching of Arius disturbed the whole
Christian world, since it drew after it very many people. In 325 the
First Ecumenical Council was called against this teaching, and at this
Council 318 of the chief hierarchs of the Church unanimously expressed
the ancient teaching of Orthodoxy and condemned the false teaching of
Arius. The Council triumphantly pronounced anathema against those who
say that there was a time when the Son of God did not exist, against
those who affirm that he was created, or that He is of a different
essence from God the Father. The Council composed a Symbol of Faith,
which was confirmed and completed later at the Second Ecumenical
Council. The unity and equality of honor of the Son of God with God the
Father was expressed by this Council in the Symbol of Faith by these
words: "of One Essence with the Father."
After the Council, the Arian heresy was divided
into three branches and continued to exist for some decades. It was
subjected to further refutation in its details at several local
councils and in the works of the great Fathers of the Church of the 4th
century and part of the 5th century (Sts. Athanasius the Great, Basil
the Great, Gregory the Theologian, John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa,
Epiphanius, Ambrose of Milan, Cyril of Alexandria, and others).
However, the spirit of this heresy even later found a place for itself
in various false teachings both of the Middle Ages and of modern times (the sect of Jehovah’s Witnesses has resurrected the defeated Arian heresy from the dust of history).
In answering the opinions of the Arians, the
Fathers of the Church did not overlook a single one of the passages in
Holy Scripture which had been cited by the heretics in justification of
their idea of the inequality of the Son with the Father. Concerning the
expressions in Sacred Scripture which seem to speak of the inequality
of the Son with the Father, one should bear in mind the following: a)
that the Lord Jesus Christ is not only God, but also became Man, and
such expressions can be referred to His humanity; b) that in addition,
He, as our Redeemer, during the days of His earthly life was in a
condition of voluntary belittlement, "He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death" (Phil. 2:7-8). In keeping with these words of the Apostle, the Fathers of the Church express this condition by the words ekkenosis, kenosis,
which mean a pouring out, a lessening, a belittlement. "Foreseeing Thy
divine self-emptying upon the cross, Habakkuk cried out marveling"
(Canon for the Matins of Great Saturday). Even when the Lord speaks of
His own Divinity, He, being sent by the Father and having come to
fulfill upon the earth the will of the Father, places Himself in
obedience to the Father, being One in Essence and equal in honor with
Him as the Son, giving us an example of obedience. This relationship of submission refers not to the Essence (ousia)
of the Divinity, but to the activity of the Persons in the world: the
Father is He Who sends; the Son is He Who is sent. This is the
obedience of love.
Such is the precise significance, for example, of the words of the Savior in the Gospel of John: "My Father is greater than I" (John
14:28). One should note that these words are spoken to His disciples in
His farewell conversation after the words which express the idea of the
fullness of His divinity and the Unity of the Son with the Father: "If a man love me, he will keep my words and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him"
(v. 23). In these words the Savior joins the Father and Himself in the
single word "We," and speaks equally in the name of His Father and in
His own name; but, since He has been sent by the Father into the world
(v. 24), He places Himself in a relationship of submission to the
Father (v. 28).
A detailed examination of similar passages in
Sacred Scripture (for example, Mark 13:32; Matt. 26:39; Matt. 27:46;
John 20:17) is to be found in St. Athanasius the Great (in his sermons
against the Arians), in St. Basil the Great (in his fourth book against
Eunomius), in St. Gregory the Theologian, and in others who wrote
against the Arians.
However, if there are such unclear expressions in
the Sacred Scripture about Jesus Christ, there are many, one might even
say innumerable, passages that testify of the Divinity of the Lord
Jesus Christ. First, the Gospel as a whole testifies of Him. Concerning
separate passages, we will indicate here only a few of the more
important ones. Some of these passages say that the Son of God is true
God; others state that He is equal to the Father: still others say that
He is One in Essence with the Father.
It is essential to keep in mind that to call the Lord Jesus Christ God — theos — in itself speaks of the fullness of Divinity in Him. Speaking of the Son, the Apostle Paul says that "in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9).
The following shows that the Son of God is true God:
a. He is directly called God in Sacred Scripture:
"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by Him; and without Him was not made anything that
was made" (John 1:1-3).
"Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16).
"And we know that the Son of God is come and
hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true; and
we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the
true God, and eternal life" (1 John 5:20).
". . . Of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, Who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen" (Rom. 9:5).
"My Lord and my God" — the exclamation of the Apostle Thomas (John 20:28).
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to the
whole flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to
feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28).
"We should live soberly, righteously, and godly
in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious
appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus
2:12-13). That the title of "great God" belongs here to Jesus Christ is
made clear for us from the sentence construction in the Greek language
(a common article for the words "God and Savior"), as well as from the
context of this chapter.
b. He is called the "Only-begotten":
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father" (John 1:14, 18).
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His
only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
c. He is equal in honor to the Father:
"My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17).
"For what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise" (John 5:19).
"For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will" (John 5:21).
"For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself" (John 5:26).
"That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father" (John 5:23).
d.He is One in Essence with the Father:
"I and My Father are one" (John 10:30) — in Greek, en esmen, one in essence.
"I am in the Father, and the Father in Me" (John 14:11; 10:38).
"All Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine" (John 17:10).
e. The eternity of the Son of God:
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come" (Rev. 1:8).
"And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" (John 17:5).
f. His omnipresence:
"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven" (John 3:13).
"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20).
g. The Son of God as the Creator of the world:
"All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3).
"For by Him were all things created that are in
heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be
Thrones, or Dominions, or Principalities, or Powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" (Col. 1:16-17).
The word of God speaks similarly of the other Divine attributes of the Lord Jesus Christ. [Back to top]
'Being' and 'non-being' in Christ
| by His Eminence Archbishop
Stylianos of Australia
The problem of 'being' and 'non
being', known from the History of Philosophy, is the most
basic question of Plato. Approximately the same problem was
expressed dramatically by Shakespeare with the familiar
phrase "To be or not to be". The exclamation of the French
surrealist A. Rimbaud "I am someone else" bears witness to
an incandescent 'ecstasy' of an unprecedented 'alchemy'. And
G. Xenopoulos satirised the problem with the theatrical work
"I am not me".
Parallel to these indicative
testimonies in classical literature - both the older and the
new - there is also the archetypal figure of Ulysses who,
when asked about his identity, responded completely
apophatically by saying he was "no one".
If we analyse each of the above cases,
we shall see that, together, they present us with a wondrous
gamut of the natural person's philosophical,
psychological and even sociological
In Plato, the problem is presented
with almost metaphysical agony, a matter of life or death.
Yet because this agony is not indifferent to our moral
behaviour, but rather influences it directly, we are not
entitled to call this simply a philosophical
In Shakespeare, the question expresses
an intense moral and social vigilance in the form of a
dilemma within the framework of aesthetic play
In A. Rimbaud we have, more than
existential agony, a totally new form of aesthetic
compunction or poetic magic, the power of which "dismantles
all the senses". This is the "new bearing", which is said to
have been introduced to poetry by Rimbaud.
In Xenopoulos, the problem does not go
beyond the witty tragicality of social farce.
As for the Homeric "no one", it is
clear that we have here a device of the cunning Ulysses, to
rid himself from the outset of every notion of
responsibility for his actions.
In the field of Biblical Revelation,
namely the Old and New Testament, the same question of
'being' and 'non being' is by no means unknown. However, the
meaning given to this differs from the already
mentioned secular instances, as much as the sun differs from
The concept of 'chance' has no place
in Biblical cosmology and anthropology, and 'vanity'
therefore has no place either (the book of Ecclesiastes
is a special case, but this is not the time to comment
Since everything was created by God
"out of nothing", and indeed 'very good', then it is
self-evident that even the last mustard seed has its
place and value - which is non-negotiable - in the
whole plan of the divine economy. And if this is true for
inanimate objects, how much more so for intellectual and
spiritual beings, ie. angels and human
God created both categories of
personal beings (angels and human beings) in order to
"collaborate" in the salvation of the world. That is why
angels are on the one hand defined in theology as
"liturgical spirits sent for service". The human, on the
other hand, by developing "according to the measure of the
gift of Christ" (Ephes. 4:7) is shown forth as "a chosen
vessel" (Acts 9:15) and "stewards of the mysteries of God"
(1 Cor. 4:1).
The notion precisely of "person",
revealed by the Trinitarian God Himself as the most
characteristic 'mode of existence' of divine life, is almost
identical to the notion of kenosis, or
'self-emptying'. Even the inner Trinitarian life, which is
infinite love and communion - called
"interpenetration" by the Fathers - between the three divine
Persons, is expressed only as 'kenosis'. However, this
self-emptying does not mean reduction or
bankruptcy. Precisely the opposite, kenosis is
the abundance of love and power and
The most characteristic and sublime
archetype for us is the Son and Word of God, about whom the
Apostle Paul writes the following unprecedented words, which
at first glance appear to be scandalous, being
'incompatible' with the conception of divinity at that time.
St. Paul said, "Though He was in the form of God, He did
not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born
in human likeness. And being found in human form, He humbled
Himself and became obedient to the point of death - even
death on the Cross. Therefore God also highly exalted Him
and gave Him the name that is above every name" (Phil.
From this supremely unique example of
Christ Himself, the true measure of being in God is
If the "will of the Father" is the
highest 'due', ie. the determinant power for life and death,
then even the Son, who is "of one essence with the Father",
justly has no greater possibility of expressing the divine
essence than to continually fulfil "the will of the Father".
For this reason He said unreservedly: "My food is to do the
will of Him who sent me and to complete His work" (John
Just as in the initial establishment
of all things, at the point of Creation, everything is made
and co-exists from the moment that the founding word
of God is pronounced - as an expression of the divine will
("God said, and it was so") - so it is subsequently, in the
whole course of the divine economy, that being in Christ
necessarily presupposes the fulfilment of the divine
If the entire Creation came "out of
nothing" through the divine will alone, then it is
only natural that this is maintained in existence again only
through the will of the Father. This is not only
expressed by the Son, but also fulfilled in the Holy
Spirit, through all works of the seven-day Creation. This is
precisely why the early Fathers of the Church called the Son
and Word of God the "arm" of the Father.
The Apostle Paul originally saw the
direct causal relationship between the divine will and
existence in Christ as a general form of good will of
God towards the whole creation. This is why he emphasises
what a great benefaction it was for God to call "into
existence the things that do not exist" (Rom.
St. Paul however narrows that general
benefaction to human beings in particular, and indeed to his
own self. The more his earthly journey draws to a close, the
more he feels that to be 'spent' does not mean that he is
'reduced', but rather that he 'increases' in Christ. He
recognizes that, just as the outer man 'decays', the inner
man is 'built up'. And when he has 'emptied' himself
completely, he will exclaim almost doxologically: "It is
no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me"
All the Saints of the Church saw the
struggle of completion in this way, from the solitary
Hermits and Stylites, to the most tortured martyrs. For it
does not matter whether you 'empty' the futility of the
fallen world silently, drop by drop from your personal life,
or whether you become a burnt offering through a martyr's
death. In fact, the first is probably more difficult, as it
demands a new decision for obedience and sacrifice at each
moment of your earthly life. Perhaps Malaparte was not wrong
when he said, "it is easier to sacrifice your life than your
At any rate, the example of St. John
the Forerunner is similar to that of the Apostle Paul, who
was made worthy of seeing his corruptible life 'assimilated'
completely by Christ.
We read concerning him in the Acts of
the Apostles, "As John was finishing his work, he said,
'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but one is
coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of the
sandals on his feet' "(Acts 13:25).
We should note especially the phrase
"as he was finishing...", which means that he makes the
correlation of his life with Christ - as St. Paul
does - not at the beginning, nor upon the further
development of his work, but at the end, namely the greatest
climax of his life.
It is at this vital point that
worldly existence can be radically differentiated
from existence in Christ. The secular person
considers the 'fulfilment' of work, that is to say the
completion of the journey, to be the most appropriate and
convenient time to claim praise and self-attestation. The
one who struggles in Christ, upon reaching the highest
conquest, sees himself precisely then as being 'empty' of
himself, and hastens to confess the words "not I". For this
reason, the Saints never spoke of their own "feats" or
"achievements", but only of their "sufferings",
and in fact considered themselves privileged if they
were eventually able to be characterised as those who
"suffered the divine".
from Voice of
Orthodoxy, v. 21(10), October 1999
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