Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew: "The conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque will turn millions of Christians around the world against Islam"


On June 30, 2020 Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, in his sermon for the feast of the Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles, in the Church of the Twelve Apostles at Feriköy, addressed the issue of the Turkish government wanting to reconvert Hagia Sophia into a house of worship for Muslims only and no longer list it as a museum. Among other things he said:

'The conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque is a widely discussed topic. In the context of the various discussions that have taken place about this subject, our Modesty has repeatedly expressed the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and its spiritual children all over the world. In 2016, we even sent a Letter to the then Director of Religious Affairs, Prof. Mehmet Görmez, to whom we expressed our concern for the proposed alteration of the status of Hagia Sophia and we underlined that this unique monument obtained sacred value for both monotheistic religions, because it had served as a place of the worship of God for 900 years for the Christians and for 500 years for the Muslims. We concluded that Letter by saying that we consider as detrimental, Hagia Sophia, which, due to its dedication to the Wisdom of God is a point of encounter and a source of fascination for the faithful of both religions, to become, in the 21st century, a cause of confrontation and conflict.

Friday, June 26, 2020

On the Demonization of Yoga in the Orthodox Church


By Metropolitan Konstantinos of Singapore and South Asia 
(Ph.D in Sociology)

"Yoga". An attention-grabbing issue. With conflicting views and arguments. It makes ratings and causes disagreements on television. The presenters of the shows rub their hands. Proponents present it as a panacea for the human body and soul. On the contrary, critics accuse it of being presented in an attractive wrapper but with dark and occult content.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Mysticism (3 of 3)


...continued from part two.

Eastern Orthodox Mysticism

Two great artesian wells of mystical experience, upon which Orthodox Byzantine mysticism drew in its first phase, were Saint Gregory of Nyssa (335/340-394) and the monk Evagrios Pontikos (345-399). The former stressed that the soul can reach Him, Who is beyond any intellectual concept whatsoever, in the “bright darkness” and also defined the mystical experience as union with God in love. Evagrios placed the nous, the organ of direct understanding, at the center of mysticism.

In the 5th century, works attributed to Makarios formed a new source of inspiration for Orthodox Christian mysticism, underlining the concept that the center of the human person lies in the heart. Under the influence of Neo-Platonic philosophy, Evagrios saw the person as a nous imprisoned in matter and therefore held that the body played no part in the spiritual life. The “Makarian” texts, imbued with Biblical thought, view the person as a single whole. The basis of the mysticism which they represent is the incarnation of the Word. So unceasing prayer does not lead to the liberation of the spirit from the bonds of the flesh, but brings people into the eschatological reality of the kingdom of God with the whole of their existence - spirit and body.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Mysticism (2 of 3)


...continued from part one.

Buddhist Mysticism

Since mysticism is the immediate, intuitive relationship with the Absolute, it would be possible to claim, insisting on this strict definition, that there is no such thing as Buddhist mysticism, because, in the classic forms of this religion, there is no acceptance of the existence of the Absolute. Unlike the prophetic religions, whose message is defined by the word, Buddhism, as a religion of silence, rejects all ways of naming the Absolute, while, in depth, it allows it to seem that it accepts an ineffable Absolute, which it identifies with emptiness. Promoting the idea of “anatman”-“anatta” (non-self), sets as an ideal the achievement of “nirvana”. But even if it denies a real, positive Absolute, it accepts an absolute goal.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Mysticism (1 of 3)


By Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania

Definition – Characteristics

The purpose of mysticism is an experiential, existential quest, direct relationship and spiritual union with God or the divine. This is sought with concentration, prayer, dispassion, contemplation and ecstasy. Mysticism is usually the intuitive element in the religious experience and manifests itself in almost all religions, from the primitive to the most highly-developed. Sometimes it springs up in the stony regions of external piety, giving fresh impetus to religious sentiment.

Because of the variety of forms it has assumed in the history of religions and the contradictory features it has been imbued with, there is no generally accepted definition. As a rule, mysticism, which expresses people’s immediate relationship with and experience of the Numinous, differs from the arcane occult and from apocryphal beliefs and techniques.