Chrysostomos Stamoulis, The Sacred Beaty, Akritas Publications, 2004, pp. 358.
The search for beauty, a diachronic adventure of human civilisation, represents one of the deeper, if not the deepest human existential need. The struggle to see beyond material things, to experience real significance in the flow of existence. More so today, in our era, when the beautification of images (perceptible and intelligible) and the deification of senses replace all significance, to serve an insatiable enervation with ravenousness. Therefore, articulating a fertile theological word on beauty carries particular importance.
In this volume, the author literally makes an intervention. An intervention that transforms into a creative challenge to compose and mutually define all forms, changes and experiences in the perspective of a transfiguring experience that truly beautifies people and life. Therefore, “Sacred Beauty” transforms into the beauty of Sainthood in a capacious vessel of Grace that embraces but also beautifies all beauty. For this reason, the author’s thought widens to embrace everything beautiful over time.
From the Areopagus sense of beauty to the love of beauty and from the aesthetics of modern poetry to the beauty of the creation and the charming presence of sainthood, mainly in the faces of modern Saints.
In the book’s first chapter the author reconstructs the dilemma between Philocally and aesthetics. Through the reasoning of a political scientist, of a priest and a service practitioner and at the same time an academic of theology, he attempts to transcend the subjectivity of aesthetics, its disconnection from morality, its easy usage and its utilitarian version. The emergence of the Philocallic perspective bears the diachronic element of Tradition and at the same time fertilizing the world as it engages it, far from the fragmentation of reality in the service of personal gratification.
The above credentials constitute a central issue of next two chapters. The Philocallic aesthetics of Orthodoxy tends to embrace everything. The world and history, humans and their desires, the needs and their perspective, even their passions are embraced in a transfiguring emergence of the Philocallic perspective. In this perspective history is comprehended as well as smaller traditions. East and West, technocratic civilization, sacred and profane, exercise and life are dissected in the world with the scarpel of wholistic theological understanding, so that the function of the apokatharsis does not allow the marginalization of something that could contribute to the understanding of the mutual dependence of human existence.
Saints and poets, sages and thinkers, in a wholistic understanding of life, which is illuminated by the Grace of the non-anticipated and the anticipated.