Sunday, 22 June 2014

Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos -On The Mystery of Baptism

by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos.

“The Church lives in the context of Pentecost. Illumination — which is the aim of Baptism and is assumed to be identical with Chrismation, as Chrismation is illumination — is the heart of the Mysteries, and Pentecost is the heart of the heart. The two go together, because anyone who reaches illumination, when and if God wills, arrives at glorification. Glorification, however, is not a continuing state, and he returns to illumination. Glorification is not a permanent state in this life. Thus illumination is supposed to be a permanent state. If someone is not in the state of illumination it means, according to the Fathers of the Church, that he has fallen. He returns to illumination through the Mystery of Confession.

So we have the first Baptism, we have Chrismation and afterwards we have the second Baptism. The second Baptism may be the monk’s repentance in order to reach illumination, which he did not find at Baptism. Or it may be the Mystery of Confession that is sometimes accompanied by Chrismation, when those concerned have denied Christ.

It is in this context that one sees how far the so-called hesychastic tradition is concentrated in the Mysteries of the Church. There is no mysticism in the Orthodox Church which is not in the Mysteries of the Church. No such thing exists.

In Orthodox theology we do not speak about mysticism. We speak about mystical theology and initiation into the mysteries. There is initiation into the mysteries. Initiation into the mysteries passes through the stages of purification, illumination and glorification. We speak of initiation by the Holy Spirit, the instruction that leads man to glorification. The purpose of all this theoria is glorification.”

b) The Mystery of Baptism

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