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Yagazoglou Stavros, Communion of Theosis

Yagazoglou Stavros, Communion of Theosis: The Synthesis of Christology and Pneumatology in the Work of St. Gregory Palamas, ed. Domos. Athens, 2001, pp. 456.

The latest anti-palamic critiques of western theology claim that the teaching of Palamas constitutes a neo-platonic metaphysics. Without any biblical or patristic basis, the theology of Palamas for a great number of western researchers is marked by a poor, almost non-existent, Trinitarian and Christological validation. As a result, the Faces of the Holy Trinity and especially Christ are disengaged and obscured by the work of the divine economy to the benefit of the “non-hypostatic energies” of the divine substance. The supposed “substantialism” of Gregory Palamas and other relevant anti-palamic imputations lead the author of this dissertation to the systematic investigation and highlighting of the organic relationship, which exists between the theology of the uncreated energies and the whole Trinitarian, Christological and pneumatological teaching of the archbishop of Thessaloniki in the frames of the biblical and patristic Tradition.

            Furthermore, because the particular problem of the relationship between Christology and Pneumatology has always described almost all of the theological differences between East and West, the orthodox theological testimony of Palamas is presented.

            The second axis of the problematic has to do with the ascertainment of some internal difficulties in the recent orthodox thought about the correct consideration of the relationships between Christology and Pneumatology. Some, mostly Russian, theologians and intellectuals, trapped in a previously formed climate of “Christomonism” in the Western Church and theology with a consequent belittlement of the Face and work of the Holy Spirit, put forward as a singular characteristic of Orthodoxy the priority of Pneumatology at the expense of Christology. Vl. Lossky went even further to the theological development of two independent Economies, of Christ and the Holy Spirit, the relationship of which is marked by an antithetical tension, which distinguishes the institutional from the charismatic element in the life of the Church.

            The impact of these positions will bring to the forefront of modern Orthodoxy a series of theological and pastoral problems, which are related to the antagonistic relationship between the institutional and the charismatic element of the Church.

            The study of Palama’s texts takes into account the biblical and patristic theology, the previous Tradition, the positions of the hesychastes and the anti-hesychast theologians, as well as the comparison and juxtaposition with Western theology.

            The dissertation, apart from the introduction, contains the following three chapters: A. The Revelation of the Sacrament of the Holy Trinity, B. The Economy of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit, C. The Synthesis of Christology and Pneumatology.

            In its conclusions, it is stressed that, for the first time in the frames of modern theological research on the teaching of Palamas, his theology about the uncreated energies is thoroughly presented through Trinitology, but also though the reciprocal association of Christology and Pneumatology.

            In this way, the modern anti-palamic criticism of the western theological thought is systematically revoked and judged as arbitrary and totally unsubstantiated. The orthodox view of Palamas on the use of the icon of the Holy Spirit as “eros” in Triadology is analyzed and manifested. The common and singular work of the Faces of the Holy Trinity in the Economy of salvation is stressed. There is also a systematic presentation of the mutuality and demarcation, which characterizes the relationship between Christology and Pneumatology, both on the level of amorphous (αϊδια) theology and  the sacrament of the incarnate Economy, as well as the constitution and structure of the Body of the Church.

            It is claimed that in the Orthodox teaching of Palamas, there is no priority between Christology and Pneumatology in all aspects of Ecclesiology, but only mutual synthesis and clear demarcation.

            There is a presentation of the vastly important teaching of Palamas on the singular work of the Holy Spirit in divine Economy from the primeval creation to the eschata of the Kingdom.

Based on the synthesis of Christology and Pneumatology, the author proves the organic coincidence and unity between Sacramental life and ascetic synergy of the members of the Body of the Church and highlights the central role of the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Eucharist in the mystery of human theosis.


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