Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person – the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.
Protopresbyter Vasileios Kalliakmanis
The prayers at a wedding make reference to providing children with a good upbringing and to ‘the enjoyment of procreation’. It may be that the Fathers of the Church, by and large, praise the superiority of virginity over marriage, but at the same time they consider parents to be co-creators with God. Procreation is in line with the will of God and is an obstacle to death .
In his desire to support women who were accused of being responsible for their lack of children, Saint John Chrysostom teaches that the birth of children depends on the providential action of God. He writes: ‘… since everything is from the creator of nature, neither intercourse nor anything else is able to contribute to the propagation of children unless touched by the hand from above and unless nature has been moved towards birth’ . At another point, referring to the childlessness of Anna, the mother of Samuel, he says: ‘birth-giving has its origin in God’s providence, and neither female nature, nor intercourse, nor anything else, by itself, is sufficient’ .
The importance attributed to children from the very beginning by the Church is apparent in many texts in our tradition. Chrysostom in particular sketches the framework for the way Christians should bring up their children. He insists on timely and lenient training and the negative and positive method of developing a child’s character. He poses the question of punishment, of gifts, making them aware of the beauties of nature, prayer, guarding one’s feelings, reading the Scriptures, the importance of parental example and, above all, the great value of loving without any ulterior motive.
Saint Basil the Great, too, advises young people on how to train their bodies, how to choose the path of virtue, how to avoid riches and worldly glory and so on.
It ought also to be noted that having a large family isn’t only a blessing, but is also a gift. It’s a gift, so there’s no cause for parents to be proud of themselves over it. And having a large family has to be linked with giving those children a proper grounding. Chrysostom again: ‘It’s not sowing his seed that makes a father, but also training his children well; and bearing children isn’t what makes a mother, but bringing them up properly’ . Those of us who are unable to have large families can at least pay great attention to bringing up any children we do have. This is true of everyone, whether they have many children or not.
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OCN has partnered with Pemptousia. A Contemporary post-modern man does not understand what man is. Through its presence in the internet world, Pemptousia, with its spirit of respect for beauty that characterizes it, wishes to contribute to the presentation of a better meaning of life for man, to the search for the ontological dimension of man, and to the awareness of the unfathomable mystery of man who is always in Christ in the process of becoming, of man who is in the image of divine beauty. And the beauty of man springs from the beauty of the Triune God. In the end, “beauty will save the world”.