Theology as a Spiritual State

in the Life and Teaching of

Saint Sophrony the Athonite

 

In our era, we are witnessing a perpetual trivialisation of the word. The incalculable multitude of publications and relentless flood of information provided by the media and internet lead finally to an exhausting verbosity that slays the spirit. The mystery of the birth of the word in the heart of man requires hesychastic silence, during which the mind is baptised in the uncreated energy of grace and the heart becomes receptive to divine words.

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Weight 0.550 kg
Dimensions 21.4 × 15 × 2.6 cm
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This book of Archimandrite Peter, the Abbot of our monastery, is an expanded version of his doctoral dissertation on the mystery of the word of God in the writings of Saint Sophrony. In truth, Saint Sophrony was above all a man in whom the word of God dwelt abundantly. Through the grace of the word conceived and borne in his heart, he performed his creative ministry as the Father and guide of many souls. Having seen the uncreated Light, he understood theology as the state of abiding in God. For him, theology was the narration of the event of his meeting with Christ during his rapture in the vision of divine Light. As he writes: “Authentic theology consists, not in the conjectures of man’s reason or the results of critical research but in a statement of the life into which man has been introduced by the action of the Holy Spirit.” Theology, then, is a gift of the Holy Spirit that quickens the heart of man. Whoever acquires this gift becomes a luminary in the world and possesses the word of life.’

Archimandrite Zacharias


CONTENTS

PROLOGUE
INTRODUCTION

1. THE REVELATION OF THE WORD IN THE LIFE OF SAINT SOPHRONY
1.1. Biography
1.2. The Uncreated Light in the Life of Saint Sophrony
1.3. The ‘Boldness’ of Written Testimony
2. HESYCHASTIC PRAYER AND THE EMERGING OF THE DEEP HEART
2.1. Dogmatic and Ascetical Foundation
i. ‘In the image and likeness of God’
ii. The Incarnation of the Logos
ii. Participation in the Uncreated Divine Energies
2.2. Prayer with the Name of Jesus and the Union of the Mind with the Heart
2.3. ‘A man shall approach and the heart is deep’
3. THE BIRTH OF THE WORD IN MAN’S HEART
3.1. ‘The Word of God makes man like unto God’
3.2. The Birth of the Word in the Heart
3.3. The Mystery of the Word in Saint Sophrony
4. THE WORD AS THE FRUIT OF PURE PRAYER
4.1. Prayer as the Path to Knowledge
4.2. ‘The Word that came forth out of silence’
4.3. ‘The Word of God is cut short upon earth’
5. THE WORD AS A FRUIT OF THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE UNCREATED LIGHT
5.1. Conditions for the Contemplation of the Uncreated Light
5.2. The Properties of the Uncreated Light
i. Gradation in the vision of Light
ii. The twofold vision imparted by the Light
ii. The manifestation of the hypostatic principle in man through the ‘enhypostatic edifying gift’ of the Light
5.3. The Uncreated Light and the Word of God
i. ‘The Light without beginning begets words in us’
ii. ‘The voice of God as the summit of contemplation’
6. THEOLOGY AS A SPIRITUAL STATE
6.1. ‘Theologising in an unerring manner’ in the Patristic Tradition
6.2. Theology as a Spiritual State in Saint Sophrony
6.3. From Apophatic to Cataphatic Theology
7. THEOLOGY AS KNOWLEDGE OF THE MYSTERY OF THE WAYS OF SALVATION
7.1. The Gift of Theology as the Fruit of the Sacrament of Obedience
7.2. The Three Stages of the Spiritual Life: from the Desert of Divine Chastening to the Land of True Theology
7.3. The Ultimate Criterion of Theology – Love for Enemies

EPILOGUE: ‘How do the perfect speak?’
Index of Biblical References
Bibliography


Translation from original greek: Τὸ Μυστήριο τοῦ Λόγου στὸν Γέροντα Σωφρόνιο


About the author

Archimandrite Peter studied theology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He begun his monastic life at the Monastery of St John the Baptist, Essex in 2001 and since 2019 he serves as the Father Hegumen of the community. Read more…

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Theology as a Spiritual State
Theology as a Spiritual State
£17.00
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