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Georgios I. Mantzaridis, Person and Institutions

Georgios I. Mantzaridis, Person and Institutions, P. Pournaras publ. Thessaloniki, 1997, 187 pages.

          The book starts with a foreword and an introduction. The first chapter discusses the life and theology of Elder Sophronios, who is highlighted as the theologian of the “hypostatic principle”, that is the principle of the person, which is in the centre of his theology. The second chapter, through the biblical, patristic and hagiologic literature, presents the divine commandments not as verbal enunciations, but as the active revelation of God in History.

The relationships of theological science and scientific theology are analysed in the third chapter, where there is a distinction between theology as an experience of the uncreated, which is of personal nature, and academic scientific theology, which follows the objective scientific methodology and deals with the knowledge of the created. The fourth chapter examines the increasing problem of fundamentalism in our days and looks for ways to overcome it, on the basis of the presuppositions of the Orthodox tradition. The fifth chapter examines two hagiologic works by Saint Filotheos Kokkinos for the “fools in Christ” (διαΧριστόνσαλούς) Holy Nikodimos the Young and Saint Savvas the Young, while hagiological is also the topic of the sixth chapter, which focuses on new martyrs.

The topic of the seventh chapter is “Τhe spirit of the monastic Ritual” and examines the institutional organisation of the daily life of monks, which favours the charismatic life of prayer. Monasticism is at the core of the next three chapters of the book. The eighth chapter narrates “The spiritual movements of Orthodox Monasticism during the second millennium”, starting from Symeon the Young Theologian, the Hesychastic movement and its propagation in the whole Orthodox world and continues with the Philocalic movement of the Kollybades in Greece and Russia, where the institution of the Starets appeared, as well as the movement, which came out of the dispute between name-worshippers and name-opponents.

In the ninth chapter, under the topic of monasticism and the mission of the Church today, the monastic ethos emerges as course indicator for the whole ecclesiastical life, but also for every believer personally. The last chapter stresses the real and symbolic influence of monasticism, especially of Mount Athos, on the life of the Church, making extensive statistical references.


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