1 PATROLOGY AND RELATED STUDIES IN ORTHODOXY IN THE 20 TH CENTURY AND THE BEGINNING OF THE 21 ST CENTURY. SCHOOLS AND RESEARCH DIRECTIONS Prof. Dr. Adrian Marinescu We must point out from the very beginning that the need to return to the Holy Fathers, initiated at the beginning of the 20 th century in Orthodoxy, had important benefits over the years. It is true that the first to do so were the theologians who had already understood the importance of not quoting only, but especially to follow the Church Fathers (ἐπόμενοι τῶν Ἁγίων Πατέρων), in everything related to a theological process or theologising (θεολογεῖν), i.e., man s living according to God s will or man s talk with and about God. The outcome was not so much the publication by a few theologians of some very important works in which the teaching of the Fathers was presented. It was an almost entirely new element for the theological realm. It was new because the Church Fathers had been left aside for many years; a fashion brought about by the French Revolution (1789) and not only by it and it was felt in the Church, itself related to the times and not outside them. Certainly the most important result of this increased interest in the works of the Church Fathers was the fact that a more general theological consideration was once again directed towards the Fathers. This thing was true particularly for the new generations
2 328 ORTHODOX THEOLOGY IN THE 20 TH CENTURY AND EARLY 21 ST CENTURY of theologians, who gave birth to a patristic re-orientation, not so much a neo-patristic direction, but in fact a patristic one. At the same time we notice that the West (especially the Protestant and Roman-Catholic world) has begun to pay great attention to those Fathers who have always been the pillars of Orthodoxy and whose teachings have always been a rule for the faith in the Orthodox Church. Furthermore, by examining the patristic phenomenon, we cannot overlook the fact that the Western world has made an important step towards a better understanding of the Fathers and their teachings, as mentioned above 1. At the same time, an increasing number of Eastern theologians have become acquainted with Western theology and, what is more important, with Western spirituality, accepting them at their true value. The period under discussion (the 20 th century) was a time of an increased interest in the ecumenical dialogue and attempts were made by the Orthodox and not only by them 2 to find ways of promoting it from a patristic perspective. This fact led to the idea that the Church Fathers alone can offer in the most direct way the criteria for such a dialogue 3, at a time when the ontology of 1 There is no doubt that today, one cannot produce Orthodox Theology at a academic level, without using and qouting the Western specialised literature. It goes without saying that there have always been valuable theologians in the Orthodox Church. Naturally a lot has been published in our Orthodox space. Yet the Western theology has become aware of everything that we consider to be important in this field through editions of patristic texts (critical or not), monographs, academic studies and other papers and works in this field. Naturally these works are influenced by the authors denominations, or by the lack of a clear confession. This is why I believe that it is necessary for Orthodox theology to give an answer to these Western theological evaluations, so that the truth of the Church and of Christ should be known, as much as possible. 2 Rev. Ioan G. Coman, Rolul Sfinţilor Părinţi în elaborarea ecumenismului creştin [ The Role of Church Fathers in the elaboration of Christian Ecumenism ], in: Studii Teologice, 9-10/1963, p. 511; Gr. Larentzakis, Die Bedeutung der Patristik für das ökumenische Gespräch. Eine orthodoxe Betrachtung, in: Christoph Markschies, Johannes van Oort (eds.), Zwischen Altertumswissenschaft und Theologie. Zur Relevanz der Patristik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Leuven: Peeters Verlag, 2002, p The present and future participation of Orthodox theology in the Ecumenical dialogue represents the continuation of an older ecumenical tradition. There is no doubt that all great Church Fathers clearly encourage the dialogue with the others, i.e. with the heretics, who do not respect Orthodox Christology and ecclesiology Evangelos D. Theodorou, Der Ökumenismus an der Schwelle des dritten Millenniums aus orthodoxer Sicht, in: Θεολογία, 4/1999, p. 39.
3 PATROLOGY AND RELATED STUDIES IN ORTHODOXY 329 otherness 4 mattered or should matter most. The Church Fathers did not only open the way to reach an understanding with those who had a different religion or with the schismatics or even with the heretics; moreover, they crowned their activity through their missionary work 5. Today the Church Fathers play for us an irreplaceable role as witnesses to the Gospel of Christ; as bearers of the continuity of the Christian truth, and witnesses to the living tradition of the Church in a dynamic growth on the basis of the Scripture. They dealt seriously 4 Finally, within an ontology of alterity, the other has a great importance. The dialogue with him is equally important. A great number of theologians belonging to all traditions talk, study together, communicate their ideas to one another having as a point of reference the patristic tradition, which they are asked to develop without continuing the manicheist formulations and considering contemporary philosophy and thought as another basis. Even if there are different opinions (at least with regards to the present situation), the study of common tradition represents a bridge over the existing abyss between West and East. Σπυριδούλα Αθανασοπουλου-Κυπριου, Η μελέτη των πατερικών πηγών ως ευκαιρία προσέγγισης ανατολής και δύσης: η περίπτωση της τριαδολογίας, in: Pilotheos, 8/2008, p One must not forget the Fathers Tradition has always been the Church Tradition. But when the Fathers thought (and consequently the Church thought) is not observed, foreign traditions come to be considered patristic and church traditions. The Church has always known to distinguish between the true and the false tradition, and between the true and the false teaching, and also between true Fathers and false Fathers. Still, the accurate analysis and presentation of patristic teaching and tradition can be bridges of the interdenominational dialogue. 5 On the one hand ecumenical movement (or contemporary ecumenism) has a rich history and spreads on a large period of time and consequently it cannot be ignored both inside theological circles and outside them. The ecumenical movement can be analysed from the point of view of either its historical aspects or its theological thought. It could become a subject to be studied not only as a whole but also as a sum of its parts, and what contribution each part has. From this perspective it would be extremely important to elaborate an exact (and as complete as possible) history of what has been the Orthodox participation to this movement. On the other hand, I do not believe that a history of contemporary ecumenism can ignore the extent to which Church Fathers ideas have been used: It is my opinion that the ecumenical theology, which is often taught as a subject different from other theological disciplines, is not actually a new subject with special characteristics. It is, rather, a structural element and a dimension of the entire theology, of all its disciplines. It would be necessary, therefore, to emphasise the ecumenical aspect in all the theological disciplines that are studied (for example Exegesis, Patrology, Liturgical studies, Moral theology, Church History, Canonic Law, Missiology, Social Theology, etc). Ev.D. Theodorou, Der Ökumenismus an der Schwelle des dritten Millenniums aus orthodoxer Sicht, in: Karl Schlemmer u.a. (hrsg.), Tomos Agapis: Dokumentation zum Dialog der Liebe zwischen dem Hl. Stuhl und dem Ökumenischen Patriarchat , hrsg. im Auftrag des Stiftungsfonds PRO ORIENTE, Innsbruck/Wien/München, 1978, p. 602.
4 330 ORTHODOX THEOLOGY IN THE 20 TH CENTURY AND EARLY 21 ST CENTURY with each of the concrete problems of their time and offered a solution according to the social-political and cultural means of their time, in order to give a clear and appropriate answer for their particular time and in the language of their time. This means that the Church Fathers confirmed and shaped the dynamic development of the Church over centuries. As interpreters of the Holy Scripture, the Church Fathers had an important role. Their exegesis is today as important for us as the works of the contemporary authors. It is well known that they influenced and drafted to a great extent the formulas and definitions of the Ecumenical Councils, and the different liturgies bear in their rich diversity due to the fact that they were designed for certain local communities all the characteristics of the theology and spirit of the Church Fathers. It is for this reason that they became and remained Church Fathers for us. The faith preached by Jesus Christ was further transmitted by the Apostles and the Church Fathers through their vivid witness in their confrontation and encounter with the various challenges of their time. We can speak here of a certain apostolic succession of the right faith through the contribution of the Fathers or Teachers, which should not be separated from the apostolic succession of the episcopal dignity, distinct from the totality, the pleroma of the Church. The teachers in the Church should not always be bishops or male 6. The Church Fathers gave us concrete recommendations as to the way in which we should deal with matters that jeopardise the communion of the Church. They showed us how to avoid conflicting situations, what methods could be used and how the harmony and the communion of the Church could be recovered 7. The ecumenical movement having as a starting point the unity of nature of the human beings in general and of the Christians in particular justifies its existence first and foremost by the need of finding, through theological dialogue, the external or visible unity of the Christian Church as well as its inner unity, so that it should become 6 Gr. Larentzakis, Die Bedeutung der Patristik..., pp Gr. Larentzakis, Die Bedeutung der Patristik..., p. 145.
5 PATROLOGY AND RELATED STUDIES IN ORTHODOXY 331 once again as it was when established by Christ, the Son of God, who is the foundation and the principle of any true unity in the Spirit of God, as a glorification of God the Father, creator and upholder of all things created. This purpose of unity was expressed in a diversity of formulas and forms during all the important meetings of the members of the ecumenical movement 8. I. Patrology and Orthodox Specialised Literature and in the 20 th Century and Early 21 st Century Church Fathers occupy an important place in Orthodox Theology. Loyalty to their teaching and their way of life is a measure for the faithfulness to the Church and obeisance to the divine work. The development of the Orthodox theological teaching in the 19 th century was to bring about important transformations in the field of Patristic studies. These changes refer to the publication of a specialised literature about the Fathers and their theology and envisage the production of the some series of volumes of patristic texts for all believers, and in a 8 Since the first ecumenical meeting at Laussane (1927), which had the title Faith and Order, there were two related concepts regarding a posibile unity: either as an organical union (organische Union), or as a federation (Föderation). At Edinburgh (1937) there were three models of unity, different then those at Lausanne, namely: the confederative model, the intercommunion and the corporative unity (Corporate Unit /körperschaftliche Vereinigung), which was actually another term for the model of organic unity at Laussane. The unity formula which was advanced at New-Delhi (1961) emphasised the local church (alle an jedem Ort). At Upsala (1968) they coined the phrase conciliary communion (konziliare Gemeinschaft), and the unity of the Christians from all over the world was emphasised (Einheit aller Christen an allen Orten). The reconciliary diversity (versohnte Verschiedenheit) was proposed as a unity formula by the Lutheran World Federation in dialogue with the Roman-Catholic Church at Dar-es- Salam (1977). For the Roman-Catholic Church the principle of Christian unity rezides in the communion of all Christians with the Pope and under the Pope. The latest concept regarding the unity of the Christians was presented at Canberra (1991), namely the unity of the Church as communion (koinonoia ton ekklesion/gemeinschaft der Kirchen). Rev. Constantin Pătuleanu, Dimensiunea ecumenică a operei Pr. Prof. Dumitru Stăniloae [ The Ecumenical Dimension of Rev. Dumitru Stăniloae s Work ], in: Almanah bisericesc (Episcopia Sloboziei şi Călăraşilor), 2001, p. 68.
6 332 ORTHODOX THEOLOGY IN THE 20 TH CENTURY AND EARLY 21 ST CENTURY more specialised way for those members of the Church particularly interested in theological studies, and finally to set up some specialised schools for the instruction of theologians. Later on these schools came to have a great influence on theology. Furthermore, the patristic directions in this period were determined by several striking elements: the strong connection with the structures defined by the 19 th century research and the intensification of the quest to return to the Fathers and to return to the sources. In this period we see people who come closer to and follow the Western perspectives, first of all by copying specialised textbooks, both Roman-Catholic and Protestant, and also by taking up unnecessarily certain so called principal themes promoted by Western patrologists. The representatives of the 20 th century Orthodox patristic trend are usually divided in two main groups: the Greek group, less known, and the Russian group (the West-European and American). In the first group we find: N. Nissiotis, I. Zizioulas, N. Matsoukas, Pan. Chrystou, Styl. Papadopoulos and others, and in the second: N. Bulgakov, P. Evdokimov, N. Lossky, G.V. Florovsky, P. Florensky, J. Meyendorff, A. Schmemann, O. Clément and others. Although different, these two groups, or trends, equally promote a real renewal and development in Orthodox theology. They are often considered as representing a neo-patristic synthesis or theology because of the importance they give to patristic inspiration (and through this to the Hellenistic inspiration) and also in confronting these sources with the actual problems of the world. The second characteristic of this neo-orthodox theology refers to the fact that it has been practiced, developed and taught in Universities, and these Universities started to play an important part in the life and formation of the Orthodox Churches. In other words, the neo-patristic synthesis, shaped by the <neo-orthodox> theologians, is academic, and as such it depends, volens-nolens, on the current style, method and tendencies promoted by Western trends, both European and American 9. 9 Maciej Bielawski, Părintele Dumitru Stăniloae, o viziune filocalică despre lume [Father Dumitru Stăniloae, a Philokalic Vision on the World], Sibiu: Ed. Deisis, 1998, pp
7 PATROLOGY AND RELATED STUDIES IN ORTHODOXY 333 These two so called patristic directions, not so obvious in the second part of the 20 th century, have been supported by the development of a sound patristic school in the Orthodox Anglo-Saxon space (especially in Britain and the USA: His Eminence Kallistos Ware, John McGuckin, Andrew Louth, John Behr), which will have an important word to say during the 21 st century. Certainly, we cannot leave aside other representatives such as Father Dumitru Stăniloae (Romania) and Rev. Iustin Popović (Serbia), who worked independently under the oppressive regime of the time when they lived and worked, as they have influenced considerably and irreversibly the contemporary orthodox theology. All these theologians are indebted to their predecessors, whose activities they continued. II. From one Epoch to the Other When I say that at the dawn of the 20 th century the patristic perceptions from the previous century are still felt, I refer first of all to the patristic school set up by Metropolitan Philaret of Chernigov ( ). He was called Humilevskij (from Lat. humilis). After his theological studies he embraced monasticism, and became a professor of Church History, Holy Scripture, Moral and Pastoral Studies at the Theological Academy in Moscow. He was elected Bishop of Riga (1841), later on of Kharkov (1848) and finally of Chernigov (1859). He founded a publication for the Theological Academy, called: The Works of the Church Fathers in Russian Translation, with ecclesiastical comments. He wrote or edited 159 works, of which I mention: Textbook of Russian Ecclesiastical Literature (2 vol., Kharkov/Petrograd, 1859/1861; the third edition in Petrograd, 1884), Historical Lectures about the Church Fathers [Историеское учение об отцах Церкви] (3 vol., Petrograd, 1859), The History of the Russian Church (Chernigov, ), Orthodox Dogmatics (2 vol., Chernigov, 1864; the third edition Petrograd, 1882) 10. He was the author of the first textbook of Orthodox Patrology, 10 According to: Α. Οσταπωφ, Φιλάρετος ὁ Γκουμιλιέφσκιϊ, in: ΘΗΕ 11, col
8 334 ORTHODOX THEOLOGY IN THE 20 TH CENTURY AND EARLY 21 ST CENTURY translated both in Greek and Romanian: Φιλαρέτου Γκουμιλeφσκυ, Ἱστορικὴ διδασκαλία περὶ τῶν Πατέρων τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μέχρι τοῦ ιβ αἰῶνος, μετάφρ. ἐκ τοῦ ῥωσικοῦ ὑπὸ Ν. Παγίδα, τ. 1-3, Ἱεροσόλυμα, It was the lecture he gave at the Theological Academy in Moscow. In Romanian this work was published in two editions: Patristica séu studiul istoric asupra Părinţilor Bisericei [Patristics essay on the historical study of Church Fathers], translated by archimandrite Genadie Enacénu, Bucureşci: Typographia Ştefan Mihalescu, 1879 (the 2 nd edition in 1880). In my view it is the first specialised work which was really well received and appreciated by the Eastern Theologians 11. His perspective was clearly explained when he defined the notion of the Church Father: In order to understand the value of a historical study on the Church Fathers, we must know at first what the Church Fathers are. From the very beginning one can notice that the designation Father, when used in the phrase Church Fathers, does not refer to a particular name. In antiquity the designation Father was given to all the teachers and instructors of truth, and it was a real honour. By this name it was understood that, as a son owes his physical life to his parents, in the same way a good pupil owes his renewed life, i.e., the shaping of his intellectual powers, to a good teacher. They expressed the relationship between them, by using the same phrases. The teacher called his disciple: his son and the pupil called his teacher: father; and thus he also expressed his trust in and obedience to his teacher, in whose power the formation of the pupil was entrusted. In the Christian church these appellations were even more important, because here they corresponded to the roles of the people who answered to them. Clement of Alexandria said: «ὑιὸς δὲ πᾶς ὁ παιδευόμενος καθ ὑπακοὴν τοῦ παιδεύοντος = a son is everyone who learns by being obedient to his 11 See Sophie Deicha, Impulsion donnée par le Métropolite Philarète de Moscou ( ) aux études patristiques en Russie au XIX eme siècle, in: Studia Patristica, 23 (1989), p An earlier Greek work, which cannot really be attributed the title Patrology textbook is: Κ. Κοντογόνη, Φιλολογικὴ καὶ κριτικὴ ἱστορία τῶν ἀπὸ τῆς α ἑκατονταετηρίδος ἀκμασάντων ἁγίων τῆς Ἐκκλησίας Πατέρων καὶ τῶν συγγραμμάτων αὐτῶν, τ. 1-2, Ἀθῆναι,
9 PATROLOGY AND RELATED STUDIES IN ORTHODOXY 335 teacher». Combining the idea of Father as teacher with the beliefs of the Christian Church, another designation comes to mind, that of a teacher of the Church of Christ. The Church of Christ is the kingdom of truth and sainthood, founded by Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, who works through his chosen people. This Church is a living institution in its members (1 Peter 2:4-5; 2 Corinthians 6:8; 1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 2:20-22); and the supreme honour for someone to be chosen as an instrument of the Spirit of God is reserved only to Church Fathers. According to this understanding, a Church Father is the one who teaches and shapes the Church teachings with the power of the Holy Spirit and according to the rules given to the Church by the Holy Spirit. Among the Church Fathers, the first place is taken by the Apostles of Christ, who worked under the particular influence of the Holy Spirit, given only to them. The Church Fathers are also called Church teachers, and they followed the Apostles, who left after them writings that have the power to bring about the rebirth of the flock of Christ. These are the successors of the apostolic spirit, who were able, through the power of their spirit and by the good will of their souls, to express in writing Christ s pure truth, the divine seed, which works our salvation (pp. 3-4 of the Romanian translation). The Metropolitan of Chernigov takes into consideration the culture of the Church Fathers, but only to the extent it promotes the truth of Christ, par excellence. At the same time he denounces the strictly philological research of their works, which fails to notice the power of the Spirit. He considers that, for the preachers of Christ s cross, the power is not in the word, but in the spirit. Therefore, Metropolitan Philaret makes the connection between the person of and the life of holiness of a Church Father and the work of the Holy Spirit through him and in him. Moreover, the verification of the authenticity of a Church Father is done on the basis of the Scripture and the Church, to the extent in which a Church Father adheres, respects and reflects them. In a remarkable manner, the authors presented in his work follow a flawless Orthodox perspective; an important place among them is given to the so-called philokalic writers: St. Antony the Great ( ), St. Macarius the Great ( ), St. Mark the Ascetic ( after 430),
10 336 ORTHODOX THEOLOGY IN THE 20 TH CENTURY AND EARLY 21 ST CENTURY St. Nilus of Sinai (died c. 430), Abba Dorotheos and Patriarch Nicephorus the Confessor (c ), St. Theodore the Studite ( ), St. Photios the Great (c.820 after 886). For all intents and purposes, for Metropolitan Philaret the patristic period was understood in the following terms: In the history of the Church Fathers there are several periods, as follows: The first period comprises the Church Fathers between 70 and 312, namely, those Fathers who are the immediate successors of the Apostles and fought especially against Judaism and Paganism. The Second period stretches from 312 to 620; these Fathers defended the revealed doctrine about the Son of God and the Holy Spirit. The 4 th century is different from the next because it was the time when the most brilliant figures of the Church lived. It was now that the Empire gave freedom to the Church and it was here that the highest culture could be found; the culture which sprang out of the fight between Christianity and Paganism. The 5 th and 6 th centuries may be considered as imitations and disciples of the Golden Century of the Christian Culture. In the third period we find the Fathers active between 620 and 850 and who defended the Christian truth against Iconoclasm and Mohammedanism. The fourth period between 850 and 1206 covers the disagreements with the Popes and the Paulicians. In the following times, some of the heresies and schisms from the earlier centuries become active again, but we will not deal with them here (pp of the Romanian translation). Metropolitan Philaret s efforts, although considerable, were not without fault. (This is obvious in the pages of the well-known textbook he partly edited, because Hermas appears as one of the Apostolic Fathers and Theodoret of Cyrrhus is also presented; with these exceptions, the evaluation of the other patristic writers is correct and according to the Orthodox perspective). The 19 th century was a crucial point for Russian theology. It is the period when almost all the works of the Church Fathers were published, indeed a remarkable feat, but it is also the time when theology started to be discussed by philologists and nonspecialists, namely physicists, chemists and mathematicians, and it acquired a vocabulary far distant from the one employed in specialised theological circles, as well as some non-patristic perspectives which
11 PATROLOGY AND RELATED STUDIES IN ORTHODOXY 337 did not follow the tradition of the Church. It is said that this is the period, when, instead of a theological movement, a theosophical trend found its way in the Russian Orthodox Church. We do not know what contribution Metropolitan Philaret and the Russian Church had to this end. Another important representative of the 19 th century Russian Patristics is Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow ( ) 12, about whom Father G. Florovsky said that he managed to appeal to the Fathers in the spirit of the Fathers 13. Furthermore, he revitalised not only the translation of patristic texts, but also the organization of the studies in this field. Metropolitan Philaret realised the fact that both the Holy Scripture and the Church Fathers works should be translated into the language of the people. In 1821, under Metropolitan Philaret s influence, the Journal Christian Readings began to be published in direct connection with the Theological Academy in Petersburg, and a special place in the journal was dedicated to the translations from the Church Fathers. It was from this Philaret, that Father Humilevskij, professor at the Academy and future bishop Philaret of Chernigov, requested, in 1835, to approve the publication of a patristic collection in modern Russian 14. Once approval was given by the Russian Synod (1840), the collection began to come out in 1843, with the publication of St. Gregory the Theologian s orations ( 389). It is significant that, in order to produce this collection, the four major Russian Academies (Moscow, Petersburg, Kiev and Kazan) worked together; at the time they were in full cultural development. Several other specialists came to work for this vast project, which led to the publication of almost 200,000 patristic works, such as: Abbot Macarius 12 He was Metropolitan of Moldavia between 1821 and S. Deicha, Impulsion donnée..., p S. Deicha, Impulsion donnée..., p The series was named Church Fathers Works [in Russian] and had 80 volumes, between 1843 and 1917, under the supervision of the Theological Academy in Moscow. It is one of the most important anthologies of texts that has ever been published, despite the fact that it has been rarely quoted in Western general presentations of Eastern editions, as many other Orthodox specialised works have been.
12 338 ORTHODOX THEOLOGY IN THE 20 TH CENTURY AND EARLY 21 ST CENTURY of Optina (starting with 1846) and the translators around him 15, after the model of Starets Paissii Velichkovskii of Neamţ. In this context, Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow was not only one of the most important supporters of the project of patristic translations, but also one of those directly involved in the act of rendering into Russian the writings of the Church Fathers 16. One of the fundamental features of the Russian patristic trend in the second half of the 19 th century was Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow s request for the Academies in Moscow, Petersburg and Kiev 17 whose curricula he closely supervised to cover the works of the Church Fathers as late as the 18 th century, so that it should comprise the work of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, who was officially recognised as a saint in The influence of the Russian patristic school was felt immediately, especially in the Russian Orthodox Diaspora, occasioned by the intellectual exodus brought about by the October Revolution (1917), and gathered around the Saint Serge in Paris, an institute founded in At first, after 1925, Patrology was taught by Father G. Florovsky ( ) 19. One of the most influential representatives of this exodus was Archimandrite Cyprian Kern ( ) 20, who became a professor of 15 Among them, Staretz Ambrose ( ) and Father Clement Sederholm. 16 Among his translations there were also the hymns of Gregory the Theologian. 17 At these Academies there had already been Patrology Chairs, starting with The same situation appeared since 1844 at the Academy in Kazan (on the left bank of the Volga River, an environment with many Muslims and Budhists). 18 S. Deicha, Impulsion donnée..., p The author mentions bishop Philaret of Cernigov, as an initiator of the patristic movement, and in his Patrology textbook considers that there are no limits for the Patristic period: In introduction, the author asks the fundamental question: Can there be a limit beyond which there are no Chuch Fathers?. To answer this question, he quotes St. Athanasius: Time makes no difference between our teachers... (p. 229). 19 Born in Odesa, in a priest s family, he studied Philosophy and History at first and even as a young man he knew German, English, French, Greek, Latin and Hebrew. In 1919 he was teaching at the University of Odesa when a year later his family was forced to leave Russia. In 1932, despite the fact that he did not graduate theology, he was ordained priest (according to: de.wikipedia.org). 20 He was born in Petersburg, in an academic family and his first name was Constantine. He receives a very good education (the well-known Alexandru Highschool in Petersburg) and he leaves Russia during the 1917 Revolution. Having reached Belgrad
13 PATROLOGY AND RELATED STUDIES IN ORTHODOXY 339 Patrology at Saint Serge Institute. Father Cyprian insisted often on the importance of the Russian (patristic) specialised works and on Metropolitan Philaret s contribution to ensure the development of the study of Church Fathers 21. III. Neo-Patristic Trend In the Patristics field, the 20 th century starts with launching the motto, which was used ever since: Back to the Fathers! This movement was promoted at the first International Congress of the Faculties of Orthodox Theology (Athens, 1936). Of course, this urge was always in harmony with the idea of returning to the sources, used by scientists and specialists. This thing was done by the special intervention of G. Florovsky, in his paper entitled: Patristics and Modern Theology (in: Procès-Verbaux du Premier Congrès de Théologie Orthodoxe á Athènes, 29 Novembre-6 Décembre 1936, publiés par les soines du Président Prof. Hamilcar S. Alivisatos, Athènes, 1939, pp ). In his speech, the well-known theologian started from a piece of advice given by an Anglican bishop to his congregation: You, who dedicate your life to the divine study of theology! You, who work hard to understand the Holy Scriptures! Especially, you who happen to be a priest or prepare yourself to become one! You, who are close to take over the tremendous duty of healing souls! Put aside the study of the things that belong to the (Serbia), he studied Law at first and then Theology (1925), and then he became a monk (1927) and becomes aprofessor at the Bitolje theological seminary. After he spent a few years in a Russian monastery at Ierusalim ( ), he came back to Serbia, and since 1936, he occupied the Chair of Pastoral and Liturgical Theology at Saint Serge Institute in Paris. Since 1940 he occupied the Chair of Patristics and one of his disciples was Rev. Alexander Schmeman. He wrote: Flowers of Prayer. Essays in Liturgical Theology (1928), Archimandrite Antonine Kapoustine, Head of the Russian Mission in Jerusalem (1936), The Eucharist (1947), Anthropology of St. Gregory Palamas (1950) and Orthodox Pastoral Ministry (1957). His entire activity was centred on the liturgical meanings of Orthodox Theology, with an emphasis placed on Eucharist. According to: de.wikipedia.org; schmemann.org; bbkl.de. 21 S. Deicha, Impulsion donnée..., p. 226.
14 340 ORTHODOX THEOLOGY IN THE 20 TH CENTURY AND EARLY 21 ST CENTURY world you live in! You must not have anything in common with what is fashionable! Try to find out how it was in the beginning! Go back to the sources, and find out how things happened then, in the past! Return to the venerable Fathers! Honour what was honourable in the Church at the beginning! Namely do what the prophet said: Find the old ways! (p. 238). He started from here, and emphasised the fact that that particular drive towards the authentic sources of faith does not resonate in the theological circles. The problems a society encounters in one epoch or another should always be solved through a new theological synthesis. The teaching of the Church must be communicated to each generation, but this process depends on the premises and the special conditions imposed by that particular generation: The main purpose of doctrine is supposed to be the following: to render the unalterable truth of dogma accessible and comprehensible in a particular and concrete historical environment; to express and explain the revealed truth in certain special conditions for a particular period and for a specific generation (pp ). Nonetheless, the purity of the Scripture and the simplicity of faith are preferred to any temporary theological speculation. Moreover Patristic writings are to be respected, but more as historical documents than as works of authority Very many references and quotations are still used in our theological studies and works. Yet, frequently, these old texts and quotations are simply inserted in an individual scheme. In fact, the structure of our theological works comes from the West, and it uses either Roman sources, or Reformed sources Patristic Texts are preserved and repeated. The Patristic spirit is too often put aside and forgotten The Palamite teaching about the divine energies is so rarely mentioned in our texts. The specificity of our Eastern tradition with regards to the teaching about God and His attributes has been forgotten and entirely wrongly understood (p. 239). All these aspects are considered signs of the need to impose a reform in theological schools. The author adds: This call to return to the Fathers can easily be misunderstood. It does not mean a return to the letter of the patristic texts. To follow the Fathers path does not mean jurare in verba magistri. What it
15 PATROLOGY AND RELATED STUDIES IN ORTHODOXY 341 really means and entails is not a blind and subservient repetition and imitation; on the contrary, a furtherance of the patristic teaching and still homogeneous. We must light the Fathers creative fire and restore the patristic spirit in us (p. 240). There is only one way, that of the sobornal understanding, the royal path shown by Church Fathers. The first task for the present generation of Orthodox theologians is that to restore in themselves the capacity of sacrifice, not so much to develop their own ideas or points of view, but to become witnesses to the pure faith of the Mother Church! Cor nostrum sit semper in Ecclesia!... What is actually required of us is not a new language or new glorious visions, but a more spiritualised point of view, which would make us able to comprehend the fullness of sobornal experience, as much as possible, as our spiritual father and all the other fathers have done (p. 241). Certainly, Father Dumitru Stăniloae rector of the Theological Academy in Sibiu between 1936 and 1946, and who was, I believe, the most notable representative of the neo-patristic trend was acquainted with these calls and in knowing them, he must have sought to apply them to his theology. In fact, this is the period when he was especially preoccupied with the study of the theology of St. Gregory Palamas To illustrate once again the idea discussed above, namely that the 20 th century Orthodox patristic theology was still indebted to or persisting in the previous century research in this area, I must emphasise the fact that despite appearances Father Dumitru Stăniloae is not the first promoter of Palamite theology in the contemporary period, as it has been often claimed, and not even the first one to promote this theology through the means of a monograph: Viaţa şi învăţătura Sfântului Grigorie Palama [Saint Gregory Palamas Life and Teaching], Sibiu: Tiparul Tipografiei Arhidiecezane, The most probable explanation would be that Father Dumitru Stăniloae was influenced in chosing the area if his research by Gr. Papamihail, whose lectures he attended to in Athens, in At that time he was one of the members of the Chair of Apologetics and history of theology at the Faculty of Theology in Athens. In these lectures and in other instances, Gr. Papamichail, an important theological figure at that time, presented the palamite patristic tradition, the hysichasm and other issues related to it and he also published a paper dedicated to Saint Gregory Palamas (Ὁ Ἅγιος Γρηγόριος Παλαμᾶς, Ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Θεσσαλονίκης, Sankt Petersburg / Alexandria, 1911), which must have been known by Father Dumitru Stăniloae. Nevertheless, the Romanian theologian s contribution is extremely important.
16 342 ORTHODOX THEOLOGY IN THE 20 TH CENTURY AND EARLY 21 ST CENTURY It is obvious that history makes an appeal to the Fathers not only as to the authentic sources of the Church, and for everything that involves doctrine and the confession of faith; and it was probably extremely necessary for that period to try to find a unique and fundamental path. This dictate points to the existence of a period of crisis or decline when the Church Fathers were neglected or wrongly used (erroneously and without being properly understood), as it still happens in many situations nowadays. According to the Orthodox perspective, the Church Fathers are the most remarkable representatives of God. For an Easterner, the return to the Fathers is identical with the return to God. During the second International Congress of the Faculties of Orthodox Theology (Athens, 1976), Father Dumitru Stăniloae, a participant representing the theological Romanian schools, presented a study (a paper) 23 which, without directly demanding the return to the most authentic and authoritative sources of the Church, showed practically in a mature, responsible and sincere way that in his theology he had already done this step. Ever since Father Dumitru Stăniloae translated, explained, recommended and made use of the Fathers of the Church (Patres Ecclesiae / Πατέρες τῆς Ἐκκλησίας) as authentic bearers of its spirit and a sure way of access to the unique and unitary truth of God. Even though it was said that his theology was centred mainly on Dogmatics, Father Dumitru Stăniloae was considered always the theologian who made the most consistent contribution to the recovery of the theology and spirituality of the Church Fathers in Romania. Technically, he may be considered, as I have already said before, the greatest Romanian Patrologist. The neo-patristic trend has included almost all the great Orthodox contemporary theologians and in especially the Western Orthodox Diaspora, who, at a certain moment, represented a real stronghold and outpost for Orthodoxy in the Western world. It must also be pointed out that during the second International Congress of the Faculties of 23 Rev. D. Stăniloae, Le dynamique du monde dans l Église, in: Procès verbaux du deuxième Congrès de théologie orthodoxe à Athènes, Août 1976, publiés par les soins du Professeur Savas Chr. Agouridis, Athenes, 1978, pp
17 PATROLOGY AND RELATED STUDIES IN ORTHODOXY 343 Orthodox Theology (Athens, 1976) the same main idea was emphasised, namely, the need to follow the way of the Church Fathers. On that occasion, it was said and noticed by the other participants, that theologians such as Dumitru Stăniloae, Ath. Jevtici and N. Nissiotis, Fr. Al. Schmemann or His Eminence Anastasios Yannoulatos have already made a step in this direction with much courage and dedication. In any case, nowadays, this so-called neo-patristic trend or neo-patristic synthesis is the object of numerous studies, articles and even specialised symposiums and congresses 24. IV. Patristic Schools in Orthodoxy In the history of the Church, there were several well-known schools which promoted the patristic text side by side with the restoration of the ecclesiastical and theological life at certain times. It was not only the Egyptian or the Palestinian-Syrian wilderness that epitomized such centres of Patristic Culture, but the Studios Monastery represented also one of the most important stages in the historical evolution of theology; and the same can be said about the events in Thessaloniki and Athos between the 13 th and 14 th centuries. The situation developed further, and in times closer to us, St. Paissii Velichkovskii laid the foundation of a monastic life in the pattern of those mentioned above wherein the translation and study of the patristic texts, as well as their dissemination was particularly valued and such activities were considered to be fundamental elements for the spiritual life. Moreover, the spirit and 24 See the international colloquium, Le renouveau de la Théologie Greque contemporaine des années soixante à nos jours, in Paris, in april 2010, by Paris Istina Centre for Ecumenical Studies, Saint-Serge Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris, and The Academy for Theological Studies in Volos, in partnership with the internet site: and the Orthodox Journal Contacts. Much closer to my theme was the topic of the international conference Neo-Patristic Synthesis or Post-Patristic Theologhy: Can Orthodox Theology be Contextual?, organized by The Academy for Theological Studies in Volos in colaboration with The Orthodox Christian Studies at the Fordham University, The Orthodox Theology Department at Münster University and The Romanian Institute of Inter-Orthodox, Inter-Confessional and Inter-Religious Studies.
18 344 ORTHODOX THEOLOGY IN THE 20 TH CENTURY AND EARLY 21 ST CENTURY teaching of this school were at the origin of at least a part of the 19 th century Russian theological revival and of the patristic school set up by Metropolitan Philaret, who was often in touch with the Paissian community on the Romanian territories. Although Metropolitan Philaret s school produced a sound group of translators active until later in the 19 th century no other similar school was ever founded. So far, its brilliance was never equalled either by the trend created by Metropolitan Philaret or by any other such venture. Therefore, we may talk of the existence of some so-called patristic schools which are structured understandably in totally different manner, due to the new social, economical and cultural conditions, when the translation and the printing of the patristic texts, as well as their dissemination was done by modern means. However, even at this level, one can notice a particular shift from the strictly monastic and religious area, to a lay background. One of the main points of reference in the evolution of Patrology and the study of Church Fathers in the 20 th century was represented by the Greek Professor Panagiotis K. Chrestou ( ) 25. He succeeded 25 He was born on the 1 st of October 1917, in Ioanina county and he studied theology between 1935 and 1939 at the Faculty of Theology in Athens, and he graduated with the highest degree ἄριστα (very good). After the Second World War, during which he had fought in the Greek Army, he continued his theological and philosophical studies in The United States of America, where he was given a three year schoolarship (The Faculty of Theology in Berkeley and at Harvard, Yale and Boston Universities). In 1950 he defended his doctoral dissertation in philosophy in Boston and a year later his doctoral dissertation in theology in Athens. Then he taught Patrology at the Faculty of Theology in Thessaloniki. In time he was promoted and became Dean of this faculty between 1963 and 1964 and later on Rector of the Thessaloniki University between 1966 and He was one of the founding members of the Ecumenical Institute of Theological Studies in Jerusalem (Οἰκουμενικὸν Ἱνστιτοῦτον Θεολογικῶν Σπουδῶν τῶν Ἱεροσολύμων) and of the Administrative committee of the Association for the Study of Chersones Peninsula (Ἵδρυμα Μελετῶν Χερσονήσου τοῦ Αἵμου). He wrote a Patrology textbook (Ἑλληνικὴ Πατρολογία) in 5 volumes ( ), which is the most exhaustive and large textbook which has been written for this discipline in all times and by any denomination. He also wrote: Ὁ Ἀπόστολος Παῦλος καὶ τὸ τετράστιχον τοῦ Ἐπιμενίδου (1949), Ἱστορικὰ στοιχοῖα περὶ Κρήτης ἐν τῇ πρὸς Τίτον Ἐπιστολῇ (1950), Ἰσόψυχος (1951), Ζωὴ ἀληθινὴ κατὰ τὴν διδασκαλίαν Ἰγνατίου Ἰγνατίου τοῦ Θεοφόρου (Athens, 1951, PhD thesis), Ἡ κοινωνιολογία τοῦ Μεγάλου Βασιλείου (1951), Ὁ Ἀπόστολος Βαρνάβας (Athens, 1951),
19 PATROLOGY AND RELATED STUDIES IN ORTHODOXY 345 to organise a patristic pan-orthodox school in Thessaloniki, where he founded the Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies (1966) 26 and the Centre of Theological and Hagiological Studies (1989). These institutions are still active. The Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies was founded in Professor Chrestou had the initiative, while the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras gave his blessing. It was financially supported by the Evangelical Church in the Federal Republic of Germany 27. This higher Institute of patristic culture was located in the Vlatadon Monastery in Thessaloniki. Even though it had been active since 1968, it was inaugurated only on the 15 th of October Among the people present, I recall the names of Metropolitans Stylianos Harkianakis Ὁ ἀγὼν ὁ καλός (Mitilene, 1951), Ὁ Μέγας Κανὼν Ἀνδρέου τοῦ Κρήτης (Thessaloniki, 1952), Ἡ περὶ ἑλληνιστικοῦ κόσμου ἀντίληψις τοῦ Ἀποστόλου Παύλου (Mitilene, 1952), Διάδοχος ὁ Φοτίκης (Thessaloniki, 1952), Οἱ περὶ ἱερωσύνης λόγοι Ἰωάννου τοῦ Χρησοστόμου (Thessaloniki, 1954, ), Ἡ προέλευσις τῶν ἐν Πράξεσι τῶν Ἀποστόλων λόγων (Athens, 1953), Μεθόδιος Ἀνθρακίτης (Ioanina, 1953), Ἰωάννου τοῦ Χρησοστόμου λόγοι πέντε περὶ ἀκαταλήπτου τοῦ Θεοῦ (Athens, 1953), Περὶ τὰ αἴτια τῆς ἡσυχαστικῆς ἔριδος (Thessaloniki, 1956), Νικήτα Στηθάτου μυστικὰ συγγράμματα (Thessaloniki, 1957), Ἡ πνευματικὴ μεταμόρφοσις τοῦ ἀνθρώπου κατὰ τὸν Ἀπόστολον Παῦλον (Thessaloniki, 1957), Ἡ περὶ τοῦ άνθρώπου διδασκαλία τοῦ Θεοφίλου Ἀντιοχείας (Thessaloniki, 1957), Ἡ φυγὴ τοῦ Γρηγορίου (Athens, 1958), Ἡ ὑμνογραφία τῆς ἀρχαϊκῆς Ἐκκλησίας (Thessaloniki, 1959), Ὁ Γρηγόριος Παλαμᾶς καὶ ἠ Θεολογία εἰς τὴν Θεσσαλονίκην κατὰ τὸν ΙΔ αἰῶνα (Thessaloniki, 1959), Πανηγυρικὸς τόμος ἑορτασμοῦ τῆς ἑξακοσιοστῆς ἐπετείου τοῦ θανάτου τοῦ Ἁγίου Γρηγορίου τοῦ Παλαμᾶ (Thessaloniki, 1960), Αἱ περιπέτειαι τῶν ἐθνικῶν ὀνομάτων τῶν Ἑλλήνων (Thessaloniki, 1960), Ὁ ὑπαρκτικὸς διάλογος κατὰ τοὺς θεολόγους τῆς Καππαδοκίας (Thessaloniki, 1961), Ἡ ἐν τελευταίᾳ ἀναχωρήσει δραστηριότης Γρηγορίου τοῦ Θεολόγου κατὰ τὰς ἐπιστολὰς αὐτοῦ (Thessaloniki, 1963), Ἀθωνικὴ Πολιτεία (Thessaloniki, 1963), Ἡ ἔννοια τῆς διπλῆς γνώσεως κατὰ τὸν Γρηγόριον Παλαμᾶν (Thessaloniki, 1963), Ἡ ἔκστασις (1964), Ἡ περὶ τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος διδασκαλία τοῦ Μεγάλου Βασιλείου (Thessaloniki, 1965), Πατερικὸν Ἐγχειρίδιον (vol. I şi II, Thessaloniki, 1966), Ἐπιδιώξεις τῆς ἀποστολῆς Κυρίλλου καὶ Μεθοδίου εἰς τὴν κεντρικὴν Εὐρώπην (Thessaloniki, 1966), Ὁ Μέγας Βασίλειος (Ἀναλέκτα Βλατάδων-27, Πατριαρχικὸν Ἴδρυμα Πατερικῶν Μελετῶν, Θεσσαλονίκη, 1978, 355pp.), Γρηγόριος Θεολόγος, ὁ μύστης τῆς θείας ἐλλάμψεως (1990), Κύριλλος καὶ Μεθόδιος, οἱ φωτισταὶ τῶν Σλάβων (1992). All these according to Παν.Χ. Δημητροπούλου, Χρήστου Παναγιώτης, in: Θρησκευτικὴ καὶ Ἠθηκὴ Ἐγκυκλοπαίδια, vol. 12, col Πατριαρχικὸν Ἴδρυμα Πατερικῶν Μελετῶν. 27 Rev. Ioan G. Coman was interested in the evolution of the Institute and Rev. Constantin Corniţescu, Rev. Ştefan Alexe and Rev. Ioan Chivu studied here for many years.
20 346 ORTHODOX THEOLOGY IN THE 20 TH CENTURY AND EARLY 21 ST CENTURY (the abbot of Vlatadon Monastery), Timothy of Maroneia and Kallinicos of Beroia and certainly the Evangelical Bishop H. Kunst, as well as several professors (Prof. W. Schneemelcher and Prof. I. Straub), together with other theologians and monks 28. One of its most important objectives was to found a monographic series Ἀναλέκτα Βλατάδων. The priority of this series was to print the works concerning directly the theology of several Church Fathers, such as: Saint Meliton de Sardes 29, Saint Gregory the Theologian 30, Saint John Chrysostom 31, Saint Cosmas the Melodist 32, Saint Photios the Great 33, Saint Niketas Stethatos 34, Saint Nicholas Cabasilas 35, Saint Mark Eugenicos Rev. Ioan G. Coman, Participarea Pr. Prof. Ioan G. Coman la inaugurarea Institutului Patriarhal de Studii Patristice de la Tesalonic şi la simpozionul internaţional «Spiritualitatea Sfântul Ioan Gură de Aur» [ Rev. Ioan G. Coman s Participation at the Inauguration of the Patriarchal Institute of Patristic Studies in Thessaloniki and at the International Symposium Saint John Chrysostom s spirituality ], in: Biserica Ortodoxă Română, 9-10/1972, p. 989; Din viaţa Bisericilor Ortodoxe de peste hotare. Patriarhia Ecumenică. Inaugurarea aşezământului patriarhal de studii patristice de la Salonic [ From the Life of the Orthodox Churches from Abroad. The Ecumenical Patriarchate. The Inauguration of the Patriarchal Institute of Patristic Studies in Thessaloniki ], in: Biserica Ortodoxă Română, 7-8/1968, p Βασιλείου Σ. Ψευτογκα, Μελιτώνος Σαρδέων «Τὰ περὶ τοῦ Πάσχα δύο» (Ἀναλέκτα Βλατάδων, 8), Θεσσαλονίκη: Πατριαρχικὸν Ἴδρυμα Πατερικῶν Μελετῶν, Δημιτρίου Γ. Τσαμη, Ἡ διαλεκτικὴ φύσις τῆς διδασκαλίας Γρηγορίου τοῦ Θεολόγου (Ἀναλέκτα Βλατάδων, 1), Θεσσαλονίκη: Πατριαρχικὸν Ἴδρυμα Πατερικῶν Μελετῶν, Κωνσταντίνου Ι. Κορνιτσεσκου, Ὁ ἄνθρωπος κατὰ τὸν ἱερὸν Χρυσόστομον (Ἀναλέκτα Βλατάδων, 10), Θεσσαλονίκη: Πατριαρχικὸν Ἴδρυμα Πατερικῶν Μελετῶν, Θεοχάρη Ε. Δετορακη, Κόσμας ὁ Μελωδός. Βίος καὶ ἔργο (Ἀναλέκτα Βλατάδων, 28), Θεσσαλονίκη: Πατριαρχικὸν Ἴδρυμα Πατερικῶν Μελετῶν, Βασιλείου Τ. Γιουλτσή, Θεολογία καὶ διαπροσωπικαὶ σχέσεις κατὰ τὸν Μέγαν Φότιον (Ἀναλέκτα Βλατάδων, 20), Θεσσαλονίκη: Πατριαρχικὸν Ἴδρυμα Πατερικῶν Μελετῶν, Δημητρίου Γ. Τσαμη, Ἡ τελείωσις τοῦ ἀνθρώπου κατὰ Νικήταν τὸν Στηθάτον (Ἀναλέκτα Βλατάδων, 11), Θεσσαλονίκη: Πατριαρχικὸν Ἴδρυμα Πατερικῶν Μελετῶν, Ἀθανασίου Α. Ἀγγελοπουλου, Νικόλαος Καβασίλας Χαμαετός. Συμβολὴ εἰς τὴν Μακεδονικὴν Βυζαντινὴν Προσωπογραφίαν (Ἀναλέκτα Βλατάδων, 5), Θεσσαλονίκη: Πατριαρχικὸν Ἴδρυμα Πατερικῶν Μελετῶν, Ἱερομ. Εἰρηναίου Μπουλοβιτς, Τὸ μυστήριον τῆς ἐν τῇ Ἁγίᾳ Τριάδι διακρίσεως τῆς θείας οὐσίας καὶ ἐνεργείας κατὰ τὸν Ἅγιον Μάρκον Ἐφεσοῦ τὸν Εὐγενικόν