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In the theology of Saint Silouan and Saint Sophrony, man is the target of divine visitations that serve to make him aware of the image of Christ within him. God created man in His ‘image and likeness’. Although this image has become distorted, the purpose of man’s life in the Church is that it should be perfectly restored. Saint Sophrony referred to the image of God in man as man’s ‘hypostasis’ or ‘personhood’. He taught that this image cannot be realised without the witness of a saint or elder, who demonstrates likeness unto Christ and bears His word. For this reason, he often explained the principle of personhood through reference to the life and writings of Saint Silouan.
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In this book, Archimandrite Zacharias, the disciple of Saint Sophrony, likewise presents the principle of personhood through the lives of the elders of his monastery, Saint Silouan and Saint Sophrony. He also examines attributes of personhood in terms of dogma and spiritual practice. Throughout Man, the Target of God, Father Zacharias elaborates on aspects of the theme of personhood which were previously introduced in his doctorate Christ, Our Way and Our Life-A Presentation of the Theology of Saint Sophrony. He developed his thought in a series of lectures in Athens and America, which later became the basis for this book.
Father Zacharias studied theology at the Orthodox Theological Institute of Saint Sergius in Paris and at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He has lived all his monastic life in the monastery of Saint John the Baptist in Essex where he serves as a spiritual Father and minister of the word of God to his brethren and the people that come to him.