Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi


Any serious observer of the creation of the world, no matter from which side they approach it, the material or the spiritual, will feel the presence of an inexpressible mystery in all phenomena. But only a healthy spirit will be able to orientate itself properly and provide a proper interpretation to the enigmatic mystery of the cosmos. The experience which a healthy human spirit acquires through contact with perceptible and notional things leads directly to a longing for the infinite, the eternal, the absolute and deduces that the basis and purpose of everything is ‘eternal life’.

In its proclivity for the absolute, the human spirit focuses all its efforts on taming the finite, the mortal, the perishable and, in general, on restricting death itself. If we examine the history of human life from the depths of time, we’ll see that the aim of humankind, through its religions, its philosophies, its civilizations has always been to defeat mortality and death, which is the only foreign, incongruous and alien feature which stops life from being truly complete.

But where does this nostalgia and proclivity for the infinite spring from in the human spirit? What is it that pushes human thought towards this contemplation of the absolute? If this were merely superstition on the part of simple and uneducated people, it wouldn’t trouble intellectuals and authorities, yet we know that’s also of intense interest to them, too. Nor could the concept of eternity and the absolute have been imposed upon us by external matter or even by our body, since both those, matter and the body, are transient.

The only explanation is that our desire and proclivity for the absolute, for eternity and life, lies within the existence of the human spirit, within our nature, and that it’s a basic element of our being. This is why the desire for the absolute and for immortality couldn’t help but be our sole enduring metaphysical thirst. But don’t the natural rules of beings teach us that like seeks like and that they’re capable of passing on anything they possess? So immortality and eternal life can only be passed on by Him Who is Life itself. All of this is simply confirmation of the words of Holy Scripture which reveal to us the ‘reasons’ for the creation of beings and, in particular, our own nature, since, having been created in the ‘image and likeness’ of the forever-living, unchanging, eternal and immortal God, we have within us all the characteristics of a God-like condition.

Source: pemptousia.com


Pemptousia Partnership

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.


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