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.
Fr. Andreas Agathokleous
It’s natural to have feelings of guilt if we look at sin as a transgression against ‘the law of God’ rather than as a sickness we’ve inherited as children of the first Adam. Because if, over time, sin becomes second nature, it exercises authority in our soul making us do what we don’t want to, as Saint Paul says. As we all know, this brings its own pressure, peace is lost and turmoil arrives, with everything this means for our daily life.
Because they knew themselves so well and therefore had a deep knowledge of human nature, our holy Fathers and Mothers speak of sin, festering within us, as an illness. So we aren’t guilty, but sick and we need to seek a cure if we’re to enjoy life, our relationships, our gifts and a natural state of health.
As a way of life, the Church is in the world to act as a sanatorium. It’s the task of the clergy, in carrying out the work of the Church, to treat the people who come to them with the means the Church places at their disposal: the true faith, fasting, prayer and the sacraments. This is their main mission; the rest stems from this.
Since they’ve grown up in a society that is, in some ways, prudish, puritanical and human-centred, it’s no surprise that most of its members suffer from depression, repression, anxiety and neuroses. What’s tragic is when ministers of the Church and other people in it act in the same way, attempting to regulate external behaviour while disclaiming all knowledge of the inner world. If that’s the case, what hope do we have?
As it is in every age, the message of the Church today is one of optimism, hope and joy. Because death, in its various manifestations, has been defeated by Christ, the new Adam. This means that sin- in whatever form it takes- is no longer an incurable sickness. Whoever we are, however we live, we’re not alone. If we’re truly to live, all we need is the desire to be healed.
It may be that the above just sounds like nice-sounding words stemming from theological ebullience. But those who’ve experienced what I’ve spoken about, or are doing so now, will tell you that the words reflect a wonderful reality which gives us what we all want in our innermost depths: freedom and joy.
Let’s not stay rooted in the negativity of our self and the world around us. Let’s not allow our life to become miserable because we see only our weaknesses and sins. In any case, how important is our self? The One Who matters is Christ, Whose love forced Him to become ‘one of us’, to descend into Hell, like us, and to defeat our greatest enemy- death.
This is why His teaching is called the Gospel, the good news, and why His presence marked the advent of the Kingdom of God, which is characterized by joy, joy and more joy. What a shame if we continue to dwell on death.
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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”.