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.
Saint Nicholas Velimirovich
The West is in the throes of turmoil while the East sits in resignation and submission to fate.
The West is continually feasting on the Tree of Knowledge and increasingly feels a hunger for knowledge. The East is seated under the Tree of Life but can’t reach the fruit.
The West has a mania for organization. The East has a mania for the organism.
The West is ceaselessly arranging external things, while its inner values are disappearing one after the other. The East ceaselessly cultivates its inner value, while the external ones are falling and being lost.
The West is building monstrous Towers of Babel, but since these towers are built from unhewn stone, they tend to lean to one side and quickly collapse. East has sweated to put ‘stone together with stone’ and has managed to create the most beautiful stones, but is unable to join them up into a structure.
In the West, things are developed and things shine, while people increasingly become brutish and veiled in darkness.
In the East, only a few people are cultivated and they shine, while things are forgotten in the wilderness and prosper there among the weeds.
The West believes first and foremost in the works of people, then in the works of God, and, finally in God. The East believes in God, but annihilates the works of God and rejects the works of people. This is why there’s no unity in the West, nor can it ever achieve unity because unity is to be found only in God. So the East has inner unity but doesn’t want to apply it to its internal workings. This is why the activity of the West is so often converted into war and peace, and that of the East into resignation and submission to fate.
You ask why this should be so?
Because, the West can’t accept Christ and because the East can’t accept Jesus.
Or because the West recognizes people but doesn’t recognize God, whereas the East recognizes God but doesn’t recognize people.
This is why the West finds itself in the throes of turmoil and the East in resignation to its fate. Jesus Christ stretches out His arms in order to wrap both West and East in one embrace, but is unable to do so. He can’t embrace the East because of nirvana nor the West because of its swords.
Both the West and the East are in your soul. The turmoil and the resignation are sown in the same field. The Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life grow side by side. East and West come into conflict in each one of us. This doesn’t mean that they cohabit but that they clash. If East and West would declare cohabitation instead of conflict, peace would reign among us and then there’d be other forces in the world, positive and restrained, instead of turmoil and resignation to fate.
Get to know the Tree of Life and you’ll be cured of the sicknesses of both East and West.
You’ll be a healthy and complete person. And a healthy and complete person is optimistic.
Then activity and faith- the opposites of these sicknesses- will blossom in the refuse tip of the throes of turmoil and resignation to one’s fate.