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John S. Romanides
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  1. Synods as Associations of Neurological Clinics
    1. Heaven and Hell
    2. Paul's window on the Church
    3. Neurobiological Clinic
    4. Not of the world but in the world
    5. Theology and dogma
    6. The Mysteries
    7. Prophets and Intellectuals
    8. Prophets and Franco-Latin Popes
    9. Prophets and Fathers
    10. The Lord of glory and the Ecumenical Councils
    11. "...do not quench the Spirit" (1 Thes. 5:19)
    12. The charisma of translation
  2. Augustine's Doctrine of the Trinity held by Vaticanians and Protestants is not that of the Bible and the Ecumenical Councils.
  3. Synods and Civilizations
    1. The origins of Synods
    2. Hellenic Civilization of the Romans
    3. Franco-Latin Civilization
    4. Western Civilization
  4. Conclusions
[ Return ]

32. Synods as Associations of Neurological Clinics

We must have a clear vision of the context within which both Church and State saw the contribution of the prophets to the cure of the sickness of the human personality and its perfection in order to understand both the mission of Synods and the reason why the Roman Empire incorporated them into its code of law. Neither Church nor State reduced the mission of the Church to salvation by forgiveness of sins for entrance into heaven after death. This would be identical to doctors forgiving their patients for being sick so that they may be cured after death. Both Church and State knew very well that forgiveness of sins was only the beginning of the cure of the happiness-seeking sickness of humanity. This cure passed through the purification and illumination of the heart and culminated in the perfection of glorification. This resulted not only in proper preparation for life after death but also in the transformation of society here and now from that of selfish and self-centered individuals to that of individuals with selfless love which does not seek its own.

[ Return ] (a) Heaven and Hell

Everyone will see the glory of God in Christ and reach that degree of perfection one has both chosen and worked for. Following Saint Paul and the gospel of John the Fathers support that those who do not see the resurrected Christ in glory in this life, either in a mirror dimly by unceasing prayers and psalms in the heart, or face to face in glorification, will see his glory as eternal and consuming fire and outer darkness in the next life. The uncreated glory that Christ has by nature from the Father is heaven for those whose selfish love has been cured and transformed into selfless love and hell for those who choose to remain uncured in their selfishness.

Not only are the Bible and the Fathers clear on this, but so are the Orthodox Icons of the last judgment. The same golden light of glory within which Christ and his friends are enveloped becomes red as it flows down to envelope the damned. This is the glory and love of Christ which purifies the sins of all but does not glorify all. All humans will be led by the Holy Spirit into all the Truth which is to see Christ in glory, but not all will be glorified. "Those whom he justified those he also glorified," according to St. Paul (Rom. 8:30). The parable of Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham and of the rich man in the place of torment is clear. The rich man sees but he does not participate (Luke 16:19-31).

The Church does not send anyone to heaven or hell, but prepares the faithful for the vision of Christ in glory which everyone will have. God loves the damned as much as he loves his saints. He wants the cure of all but not all accept his cure. This means that the forgiveness of sins is not enough preparation for seeing Christ in glory.

It goes without saying that the Anselmian tradition whereby the saved are those to whom Christ supposedly reconciled God is not an option within the Orthodox Tradition. Commenting on 2 Cor. 5:19, for example, St. John Chrysostom says that one must "be reconciled to God. Paul did not say, "Reconcile God to yourselves, for it is not He who hates, but we. For God never hates."

It is within the above context that the State understood the Church's mission of cure within society. Otherwise religions promising happiness after death are not much different from each other.

[ Return ] (b) Paul's window on the Church[ 113 ]

1 Cor. 12-15:11 is a unique window through which one may look at the reality of the Church as the Body of Christ. Membership in the Church has its degrees of cure and perfection within two groupings, the illumined and the glorified. The members of the body of Christ are clearly listed in 1 Cor. 12:28.

One begins by becoming a private individual believer (idiotes) who says "amen" during corporate audible worship. At this stage one is engaged in the purification of one's heart under the direction of those who are already temples of the Holy Spirit and members of the Body of Christ.

The degrees of illumination begin with the foundation charisma of "kinds of tongues" at the bottom in eighth place and reach up to the "teachers" in third place.

At the head of the local Church are the "prophets" in second place who have received the same revelation as the "apostles" (Eph. 3:5) in first place and are together with them the foundation of the Church (Eph. 2:20). Apostles and prophets are the foundation of the Church in a way similar to doctors being the foundation of hospitals.

"Kinds of tongues" are the foundation on which all the charismata are built and are temporarily suspended only during glorification (1 Cor. 13:8). As an apostle St. Paul puts himself at the head of the list of members God has placed in the Church. Yet he still has the foundation charisma of "kinds of Tongues." He writes, "I thank God in tongues more than all of you" (1 Cor. 14:18). This means that "kinds of tongues" belong to all levels of charismata within the body of Christ. Paul's question, "do all speak in tongues?" is a reference to the "private individuals" who do not yet have the gift of tongues and are therefore not yet members of the body of Christ and temples of the Holy Spirit.[ 114 ]

The illumination and glorification of the members of the body of Christ are not grades of authority by human appointment or election. They are those whom God prepares and places within the Church for advancement to higher degrees of cure and perfection. That Paul calls on all lower degrees of membership in the body of Christ to seek advancement to higher spiritual stages means clearly that all are supposed to become prophets, i.e. to reach glorification. "I indeed want all of you to speak in tongues that you may prophesy" (1 Cor. 14:5).

[ Return ] (c) Neurobiological Clinic

This Pauline Church is like a neurobiological clinic. But its understanding of the malady of human personality is much more sophisticated than anything now known in modern medicine. In order to see this reality we must look through Paul into the Biblical understanding of human normality and abnormality.

The normal human being is he who has been led into all the Truth by the Spirit of Truth, i.e. into vision of Christ in his Father's glory (John 17). It is because the apostles and prophets are glorified in Christ that the people believe that God has sent his Son and that they too can be cured by selfless love (ibid.). Humans who do not see the uncreated glory of God are not normal. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). In other words the only human who was born normal is the Lord of Glory who by choice assumed the blameless passions (i.e. hunger, thirst, weariness, sleep, fear of death, etc.), although by nature the source of glory which abolishes them.

The other side of this coin is that God does not reveal his glory to everyone because he does not wish to harm those not prepared for such a vision. The surprise of the Old Testament prophets that they have seen God and yet live and the people's request that Moses ask God to cease showing his glory which had become unbearable is clear in this respect.

The concern of the Apostolic Church was not to reflect and speculate about God in Himself since He remains a mystery to the intellect even when He reveals His glory in Christ to those who participate in the mystery of his Son's Cross by their glorification. Their only concern was each individual's cure in Christ which is brought about by the purification and illumination of the heart and glorification in this life (1 Cor. 12:26) for service to society. "...Those whom he has justified, he has also glorified" (Rom. 8:30) means that illumination and glorification are interdependent in this life, yet not identical.

The sickness of human personality consists of the weakening of the heart's communion with the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), by its being swamped by the thoughts of the environment (Rom. 1:21,24, 2:5). In such a state one imagines God to be in the image of one's sick self or even of animals (Rom. 1:22). The inner person (eso anthropos) suffers spiritual death "because of which[ 115 ] all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12) by becoming enslaved to the instinct to self-preservation which deforms love by its bondage to the self-centered search for security and happiness.

The cure of this sickness begins by the purification of the heart of all thoughts (Rom. 2:29), both good and bad, and their restriction to the intellect. In order to do this one's spirit dissipated in the brain must spin itself by prayer into a ball of light and return to the heart. One thus becomes free from slavery to everything in the environment, e.g. to self indulgence, wealth, property and even to one's parents and relatives (Math. 10:37; Luke 14:26). The purpose of this is not to attain to Stoic indifference or lack of love, but to allow the heart to accept the prayers and psalms that the Holy Spirit transfers there from the intellect and energizes unceasingly while the intellect is occupied with daily activities and while asleep. It is thus that sick love begins its cure.

This is the context of St. Paul's repeated reference to the Holy Spirit praying in the heart. The Holy Spirit as such advocates on behalf of all humans "with sighs not spoken" (Rom. 4:26). But he transfers the prayers and psalms of the intellect to the human spirit in the heart when it is purified of all thoughts, both good and bad. At this point one's own spirit empowered by the Holy Spirit does nothing else but pray and recite psalms unceasingly while the intellect engages in its normal daily activities liberated from happiness seeking selfishness. Thus one prays with one's spirit in the heart unceasingly and one prays with the intellect at given times. This is what Paul means when he writes, "I will pray with the spirit, but I will also pray with the intellect. I will recite psalms with the spirit, but I will also recite psalms with the intellect" (1 Cor.14:15).

Paul has just told us that praying by means of tongues other than one's own includes Old Testament psalms. He is, therefore, not speaking about incomprehensible audible prayers since the psalms were familiar to all. Paul is speaking about the prayers of one's spirit in the heart which are audible only to those with this same charisma of "kinds of tongues." Those who did not yet have this gift could not hear the prayers and psalms in the hearts of those who did have this gift.

The Corinthians in the state of illumination had introduced the innovation of conducting corporate worship in the heart in the presence of the "private individuals" who had not yet received this gift of "kinds of tongues." This made it impossible for these "private individuals" to be edified and say their "amen" at the proper times simply because they could not hear.

Paul states clearly that "no one hears" (1 Cor. 14,2). "if I come to you speaking by tongues, what will I benefit you if I do not speak to you.?" (ibid. 14:6-7). "For if the trumpet gives an unmanifested sound, who will prepare for battle? Thus also you, if you do not give a well shaped word by means of the tongue, how will that which is spoken be known?...This many may happen to be the kinds of sounds in the world, and none are soundless. For if I do not know the force of the sound, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me." (1 Cor. 14:8-11). Those without the gift of "kinds of tongues" must hear the "force of the sound" of the prayers and psalms to react with their "amen" (ibid. 14:11,16). One must not pray and recite psalms with "unmanifested sound" in the presence of those without this gift of tongues (ibid. 14:10,11). "For you give thanks well, but the other is not edified" (ibid. 14:17).

When Paul says, "he who prophesies is greater than him who speaks in tongues, except if he interprets that the church may receive edification," (1 Cor. 14:5) he means that he who speaks only in tongues must learn to translate the psalms and prayers in his heart into psalms and prayers of his intellect to be recited audibly. When he thus learns to pray and recite psalms simultaneously with his spirit and his intellect he may then participate in corporate thanksgiving for the benefit of the "private individuals" who will know when to say their Amen. "Thus let him who speaks in tongues pray that he may translate. For if I pray in tongue, my spirit prays, but my intellect is without fruit. So what is (the situation)? I will pray with the spirit, but I will also pray with the intellect. I will recite psalms with the spirit, but I will also recite psalms with the intellect. For if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the private individual say the Amen to your thanksgiving? Because he does not know what you say. You give thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank God in tongue more than all of you, but in church I prefer to speak five words with my intellect, so that I may instruct others, rather than ten thousand words in tongue." (1 Cor. 14:13-19).

Paul never says that one interprets what another is saying in tongues. One interprets what he himself is saying in tongues. In each case where Paul relates "speaking in tongues" to "translation" it is always the one who has the gift of tongues who translates himself in order to be heard audibly for the benefit of the "private individuals." It is within this context that Paul directs that "if one speaks in tongues, he should be grouped in twos or the most threes, and let one translate. If there is not a translator, let him keep quiet in church, let him speak to himself and to God" (1 Cor. 14:27-28). The interpreter is clearly he who has the gift of translating his own prayers of his own spirit in his own heart to his own intellect that they may become audible for the edification of others. Otherwise he must keep quite and restrict himself to praying in tongues which others are also doing but also audibly. Paul thus deprives those with only the gift of kinds of tongues of their majority power to impose their innovation of corporate prayers by only tongues in the presence of the "private individuals."

Paul is speaking about psalms and prayers not recited by one's own tongue, but heard coming from the heart. This illumination of the heart neutralizes enslavement to the instinct to self-preservation and begins the transformation of possessive love into selfless love. This is the gift of faith to the inner person which is one's justification, reconciliation, adoption, peace, hope and vivification.

These unceasing prayers and psalms in the heart (Eph. 5:18-20), otherwise called "kinds of tongues" (1 Cor. 12:28), transform the private individual into a temple of the Holy Spirit and member of the Body of Christ. They are the beginning of one's liberation from bondage to the environment, not by retreat from it, but by controlling it, not exploitatively, but by selfless love. It is thus that, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has liberated me from the law of sin and death...If one does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him. If Christ is in you, then the body is dead to sin, whereas the Spirit is life unto justice..." (Rom. 8:2ff.).

As love is being cured by perfection one receives the higher charismata listed by Paul in 1 Cor. 12:28 which are consummated in glorification. Paul states that, "if one is glorified, all members rejoice" (1 Cor. 12:26) in order to explain why prophets are second to the apostles and before all other members of the body of Christ. To be justified by the prayers and psalms of the Holy Spirit in the heart is to see Christ "in a mirror dimly" (1 Cor. 13:12). Glorification is the coming of "the Perfect" (1 Cor. 13:10) by seeing Christ "face to face" (1 Cor. 13:12). In saying, "I know now in part" (ibid.) Paul is referring to his current state of illumination or justification. By his next phrase, "but then I will be known as I was known" (ibid.), Paul is saying that he will be glorified as he had been glorified. In the state of illumination one is a child. Once glorified one returns to illumination a man (1 Cor. 13:11).

During glorification, which is revelation, prayer in the heart (tongues), knowledge and prophecy, together with faith and hope, are abolished since replaced by Christ himself. Only love does not fall away (1 Cor. 13:8-11). During revelation words and concepts about and to God (prayers) are abolished. After glorification one returns to illumination. Knowledge, prophecy, tongues, faith and hope return to join love which had not fallen away. Those words and concepts used in prayer and teaching by one glorified to lead others to glorification are inspired and to be abolished in glorification.

It is this vision of the resurrected Christ in glory which Paul had and which puts apostles and prophets at the head (1 Cor. 12:28) and foundation (Eph. 2:20) of the Church. This foundation includes women prophets (Acts 2:17, 21:9; 1 Cor. 11:5) and is the context of Paul's statement that in Christ there is neither male nor female (Gal. 3:28).

Glorification is not a miracle, but the normal final stage of the transformation of selfish love into selfless love. Both Paul and John clearly consider vision of Christ in glory in this life as necessary for the perfection of love and service to society (John 14:21-24, 16:22, 17:24; 1 Cor. 13:1013; Eph. 3:3-6). The appearances of the resurrected Christ in glory were not and are not miracles to astound observers into believing in his Godhead. The miracle was the crucifixionof the Lord of Glory, not his resurrection. The resurrected Christ appears only for the perfection of love, even in the case of Paul who had reached the threshold of glorification (Gal. 1:14ff.) not knowing the lord of Glory he was about to see had been born, crucified and resurrected. In 1 Cor. 15: 1-11 are the glorifications which complete Paul's treatment of spiritual gifts began in 1 Cor. 12:1.

All subsequently glorified in history are equal to the apostles in their participation in Pentecost because they too have been guided into all the Truth (Acts 10.47-11:18). All the Truth is the resurrected and ascended Christ who returned in the uncreated tongues of fire of Pentecost to dwell with His Father in the faithful who have become temples of His Spirit advocating in their hearts. He thus made the Church His body against which the gates of death can no longer prevail.

Glorification is both the soul's and body's participation in immortality and incorruption for the perfection of love. This may be of short or long duration. After an initial loss of orientation one goes about one's daily work seeing everything saturated by the glory of God which is neither light nor darkness, nor similar to anything created. The passions, which had been neutralized and made blameless by illumination, are abolished. During glorification one does not eat, drink, sleep, or fatigue and one is not effected by heat or cold. These phenomena in the lives of saints (prophets) both before and after the incarnation of the Lord of Glory are not miracles but the restoration of humans to normality. It is within this context that one places such sayings of Christ to the living, but sick, that "I came that they have life (in illumination) and that they have it (in glorification) abundantly" (John 10:10). The gospel of John, and especially 14-16, is a detailed description of the cure of illumination and John 17 is Christ's prayer for the cure of glorification.

Gerontologists have concluded that the aging process is a sickness and are looking into whether death itself is also a sickness. In this respect both the glorified and their relics should prove of interest since many hundreds of them remain with their bodies and cells intact for centuries in an intermediary state between corruption and incorruption. One of the oldest examples is St. Spyridon on the Island of Corfu who was a Father of the First Ecumenical Council in 325. There are 120 in Kiev alone.

This is the context of Paul's statement that, "even this creation will also be liberated from bondage to corruption unto the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21). It is clear from the context that "the freedom of the glory " is here freedom from mortality and corruption. But even those whose inner person has been adopted by illumination and who have tasted of physical immortality and incorruption during and limited to the period of their glorification await "the adoption, the liberation of our body" (Rom. 8:23). "The dead will be raised incorruptible and we will be changed...this corruptible will put on incorruption and this mortal will put on immortality..." (1 Cor. 15:53,54). One knows this not by speculation on Biblical texts, but from the experience of glorification, i.e. from "the freedom of the glory of the children of God." The experience of glorification and not only Biblical texts is the basis of the Church's belief in the physical resurrection of the biological part of the person.

[ Return ] (d) Not of the world but in the world

The distinction between active and contemplative lives does not exist within the body of Christ. The Holy Spirit's gift of unceasing prayers and psalms in the heart makes such a distinction impossible. It can exist only outside the body of Christ.

No one can say, "Lord Jesus" in the heart except by the Spirit and no one can say, "Anathema Jesus" in the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3). This is Biblical and Patristic spirituality and the power by which it was impossible to torture a temple of the Holy Spirit into renunciation of Christ. Such renunciation simply proved that one had not been a member of the Church. The primary mission of the temples of the Holy Spirit was to work at whatever profession they were engaged in and to seek to pass on their own cure to others. They literally worked in their societies in a capacity similar to that of psychiatrists. Unlike them, however, they did not seek mental equilibrium by conformity to social standards of normality. Their standard of normality was glorification. Their healing power was not and is not of this world. Yet they are in this world as part of its transformation.

[ Return ] (e) Theology and dogma

All who have reached glorification testify to the fact that "it is impossible to express God and even more impossible to conceive him" because they know by their experience that there is no similarity whatsoever between the created and the uncreated. God is "unmoved" "mover" and "moved" and "neither one, nor oneness nor unity, nor divinity...nor sonship, nor fatherhood, etc." in the experience of glorification. The Bible and dogmas are guides to and abolished during glorification. They are not ends in themselves and have nothing to do with metaphysics, either with analogia entis or with analogia fidei.

This means that words and concepts which do not contradict the experience of glorification and which lead to purification and illumination of the heart and glorification are Orthodox. Words and concepts which contradict glorification and lead away from cure and perfection in Christ are heretical.

This is the key to the decisions of the first Seven Roman Ecumenical Councils as well as that of the Eighth (879) and especially of the Ninth (1341).

Most historians of dogma do not see this because they believe the Fathers were, like Augustine, searching by meditation and contemplation to understand the mystery of God behind words and concepts about him. They induct even such Fathers as Gregory the Theologian into the army of Latin theology by translating him to say that to philosophize about God is permitted only to "past masters of meditation," instead of "to those who have passed into theoria," which is vision of Christ "in a mirror dimly" by "kinds of tongues" and "face to face" in "glorification."

The Fathers never understood the formulation of dogma as part any metaphysical effort to intellectually understand the mystery of God and the incarnation. St. Gregory the Theologian ridicules such heretics: "Do tell me, he says, what is the unbegottenness of the Father, and I will explain to you the physiology of the generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit, and we shall both of us be frenzy-stricken for prying into the mystery of God."

Neither did the Fathers ever entertain the Augustinian notion that the Church understands the faith better with the passage of time. Every glorification is a participation in all the Truth of Pentecost which can neither be added to nor better understood.

This also means that Orthodox doctrine is purely pastoral since it does not exist outside the context of the cure of individual and social ills and perfection.

Being a theologian is first and foremost to be a specialist in the ways of the Devil. Illumination and especially glorification convey the charisma of the discernment of spirits for outwitting the Devil, especially when he resorts to teaching theology and spirituality to those slipping from his grip.

[ Return ] (f) The Mysteries

The most important result of the 18th and 19th century Franco-Latinisation of Orthodox theological education has been the disappearance of the context of the very existence of the Church in purification, illumination and glorification from Dogmatic manuals, and especially from chapters on the Mysteries. These manuals were not aware of the biblical and patristic fact that the charisma of the presbyterate presupposed the state of prophecy. "...do not neglect the charisma within you which was given to you by means of prophecy with the laying on of hands of the presbyterate. (1 Tim. 4:14)."

[ Return ] (g) Prophets and Intellectuals

Creation is completely dependent on God although there is no similarity whatsoever between them. This means that there is no difference whatsoever between the educated and non educated when both are passing through the cure of illumination on their way to becoming prophets by glorification. Superior knowledge about created reality does not give one any special claim on knowledge of the uncreated. Nor is ignorance about created reality a disadvantage for reaching the highest knowledge of uncreated reality.

[ Return ] (h) Prophets and Franco-Latin Popes

Of the five Roman Patriarchates the Franks captured that of Rome and replaced the Roman Popes with Teutonic Popes by military force during a struggle which began in 983 and ended in 1046. They thus extended their control of apostolic succession to the Papacy as part of their plans for world dominion. They transformed the Roman fathers into "Greeks" and "Latins" and attached themselves to the latter and so invented the idea of two Christendoms. For Islam the Papacy is still Latin and Frank and our Patriarchs of New Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem are still Roman. Ignorance of who and what the glorified are and why they are second and successors to the apostles created the void which was filled by the infallibility of the Franco-Latin Pope.

[ Return ] (i) Prophets and Fathers

Gregory of Nyssa informs his readers that heresies appear in those churches which have no prophets. The reason is that their leaders attempt to commune with God by means of meditation and contemplation about him instead of by illumination and glorification (speculation versus experience). To confuse one's concepts about God with God is idolatry, not to mention bad scientific method.

It is about apostles and prophets that St. Paul says, "For the spiritual person examines all, but he is examined by no one" (1 Cor. 2:15). The reason for this is that by their glorification in the uncreated glory of God in Christ they became witnesses to the fact that "the leaders of this age" "crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Cor. 2:8). This is the very same Lord of glory (the Angel of Great Council, Who calls himself "He Who Is, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the Almighty, the Wisdom of God, the Rock" which followed (1 Cor. 10:1-4)), which the Old Testament prophets saw. St. John the Baptist was the first of the prophets to see this same Lord of Glory in the Flesh. Of course the Jews also, who formally believed in the Lord of Glory, "had they known, would not have crucified the Lord (Yahweh) of glory" (1 Cor. 2:8).

Paul adapts the sayings, "that which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not arisen in the heart of man, which God has prepared for those who love him," to the crucifixion of the Old Testament Lord of glory, which "God has revealed to us by his Spirit" (1 Cor. 3:9-10). Those thus glorified are the only authorities within the Orthodox Church. They produce the doctrinal formulations which serve as guides to the cure of the center of the human personality and as warning signs to stay away from quack doctors who promise much and have nothing to give in preparation for the experience of God's glory in Christ which everyone will finally have.

[ Return ] (j) The Lord of glory and the Ecumenical Councils[ 116 ]

By Scriptures both Christ and the apostles meant the Old Testament to which the New Testament was added. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were edited to serve as pre-baptismal guides during the stages of the purification and the illumination of the inner person in the heart. That Christ is the same Lord of Glory who revealed himself to his Old Testament prophets became manifest at His baptism and transfiguration wherein He showed the glory and rule of His Father as his own by nature. The Gospel of John was edited for the purpose of continuing one's advance within illumination (John 13:31-16) and press on to glorification (John 17) by which one fully sees the glorification of the Lord of Glory in His Father and the latter in His Son (John 13:31;18-21). This was the reason why John was called the "spiritual Gospel."[ 117 ]

Those being thus initiated into the Body of Christ did not learn about the incarnation, baptism, transfiguration, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and Pentecostal return of the Lord of glory in His Spirit's uncreated tongues of fire to become the head of his Body, the Church, by simply studying texts of the Bible. They studied the Bible as an integral part of the process of having their hearts purified, illumined and readied for glorification, in the same Lord of Glory Who had glorified His Old Testament prophets, but now in His human nature born from the Virgin Mary.

It was within this context that the ancient Church identified Christ with the Lord, Angel and Wisdom by Whom God created the world and glorified His friends the prophets and by whom He delivered Israel from bondage and guided her to the time when He Himself became flesh to put an end to the rule of death over his (O. T.) Church (Matt. 16:18). In spite of their glorification the O. T. prophets died. But now "if one keeps my word, one will never see death" (John 8:52-53). There is now a first resurrection of the inner person (Rev. 20:5) and a second resurrection of the body (Rev. 20:6) and there is also a first death of the inner person (1 Tim. 5:6; Rev. 20:14) and a second death of the body (Rev. 20:14).

Even such heretics as the Arians and Eunomians, condemned by the First and Second Ecumenical Councils,[ 118 ] took this identity of Christ with the Old Testament Lord of Glory for granted. However, they claimed that this Angel of Glory was the first creation of God's will from non-being before both time and the ages and not co-eternal with the Father. They used the visibility of the Angel of Glory to the prophets as proof of his created nature in a way somewhat similar to those Gnostics who identified this Old Testament Angel with their lesser creator god of this supposed evil world and who duped Israel.

The Arians and Eunomians either ignored or rejected the fact that by glorification one becomes god by grace (theosis) and that one therefore sees the uncreated glory and rule of God in Christ by means of God Himself. At stake was the fact that God Himself reveals Himself to His glorified friends and not by means of a creature, with the sole exception of the created nature of His Son. Yet the grace and rule of illumination and glory which Christ communicates to His Body the Church is uncreated. The Franco-Latin doctrine that communicated grace is created has no place in the tradition of the Ecumenical Councils.

The reason why the above aspects of the Ecumenical Councils play no role in the Vaticanist and Protestant histories of doctrine is the fact that Augustine deviated sharply from Ambrose and the Fathers in his understanding of the appearances of the Logos to the Old Testament prophets.[ 119 ] His misunderstandings became the core of the Franco-Latin tradition. The Protestant and Vaticanist histories of doctrine, which are aware of Augustine's deviation from this ancient identification of Christ with this Angel of glory, assume that it was dropped from the tradition because of its usage by the Arians. However this tradition was preserved intact within the Churches of the Roman Empire and continues to be the heart of the Orthodox tradition. This is the sole context for the Trinitarian and Christological terms: Three substances, one essence and the homoousion of the Logos with the Father and us. They were and remain meaningless in the Augustinian context.

Augustine had mistakenly believed that it was only the Arians who identified the Logos with this O. T. Angel of glory. He was not aware that both Ambrose, the bishop he claims to have opened his Manichaean mind to the old Testament and baptized him, and all other Fathers did the same. The Arians and Eunomians had argued that proof that the Logos was created was that he was by nature visible to the prophets, whereas the Father alone is invisible. Augustine had not understood the Biblical experiences of illumination and glorification, which he had confounded with Neo-Platonic illumination and ecstasy. He relegated glorification to life after death and identified it with the vision of the divine substance which supposedly satisfies man's desire for absolute happiness. His utilitarian understanding of love made it impossible for him to understand the selfless love of glorification in this life. In this regard he did not differ from the Arians he was attacking.

Within the above Neo-platonic presuppositions Augustine solved the problem at hand with the following explanation: the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity, being equally invisible, supposedly reveal themselves and their messages to the prophets by means of various creatures which they bring into existence to be seen and heard and which they then cause to pass out of existence, such as the glory, cloud, fire, burning bush, etc. God permanently became visible in the human nature of his Son by whom He communicates messages and concepts. Yet He supposedly also continues to reveal visions and messages by created means which He passes into and out of existence as needed, such as the bird at the baptism of Christ, the tongues of fire at Pentecost, the glory/light/rule of God revealed at the transfiguration, the cloud/glory on which Christ went to heaven, the voice of the Father by which He announced His pleasure in His Son, the fire of hell, etc.

These verbal symbols by which the Old and New Testament writers expressed experiences of illumination and glorification were thus reduced to temporary objects and unbelievable miracles.[ 120 ] This became the Franco-Latin tradition to which both Vaticanists and Protestants still basically adhere to.

One of the most remarkable side effects of such misunderstandings is the use of the word "kingdom" which saturates translations of the New Testament and which never once appears in the original Greek. The Greek term basileia of God designates the uncreated rule of God and not the created Kingdom ruled by God.

[ Return ] (k) "...do not quench the Spirit" (1 Thes. 5:19)

The Holy Spirit advocating in one's heart "with sighs unspoken" (Rom. 8:26) is not in itself membership in the body of Christ. One must respond with one's own unceasing prayer of one's spirit so that the Spirit of God may testify to our spirit "that we are children of God and coheirs of Christ, that since we co-suffer that we may also be coglorified" (Rom. 8:16-17). Although this response is our own, it is also a gift of God. This is exactly what St. Paul presupposes when he commands, "Pray unceasingly... Quench not the Spirit. Do not disregard prophecies." (1 Thes. 5:17-19). Paul is here telling us to take care to remain temples of the Holy Spirit by preserving our spirit's unceasing prayer in the heart that we may become prophets by glorification. This is also why such Fathers as St. John Chrysostomos says, "Let us not think that we have become members of the Body once and for all."[ 121 ]

Baptism by water unto forgiveness of sins is an indelible mystery because God's forgiveness for being sick is the given fact for the beginning of cure. However, baptism by the Spirit is not an indelible mystery since one either does have or does not have or may lose unceasing prayer in the heart. Whether one responds or not the Holy Spirit advocates in the heart of every single human being whether he believes in Christ or not. In other words the love of God calls everyone equally but not all respond.

Those who do not respond should not imagine themselves to be temples of the Holy Spirit and members of the Body of Christ and thereby impede others from responding. Those in the state of illumination pray together in their liturgies as temples of the Holy Spirit and members of the body of Christ that non members become members and former members become again members since this was not guaranteed to them by their baptism of water unto forgiveness of sins.

[ Return ] (l) The charisma of translation

At some point in the history of the early Church the charisma of simultaneously translating the psalms and prayers from the heart to the intellect for the corporate worship benefit of the private individuals was replaced by fixed written liturgical texts with fixed points at which lay persons (idiotes) responded with their" amen", "Kyrie Eleison", etc. Also the prayer in the heart was reduced to either a short prayer (e.g. Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon me the sinner) or a sentence from a psalm (a form found in the desert Fathers of Egypt bought to the West by St. John Cassian). Otherwise the charismata remained intact.

Gregory of Tours described the phenomena of both unceasing prayer and glorification. But having not understood what they are, he described them as miracles and in a confused way.[ 122 ] The Carolingian Franks continued this confusion but also confounded illumination and glorification with Augustine's Neo-Platonic mysticism.

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33. Augustine's Doctrine of the Trinity held by Vaticanians and Protestants
is not that of the Bible and the Ecumenical Councils.

This means that those who are indeed baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity are those who believe and confess that the Second Person thereof is the Yahweh (Lord) of Glory Himself, Who appeared to Abraham, to Moses, Elijah and to all the prophets of the Old Testament and Who was born as man from the Virgin Mary, Who was baptized by John the Baptist, Whose disciples where the Twelve, Who was betrayed by one of them and replaced by another, Who was crucified , buried and resurrected and Who made the Church of both the Old and the New Testament His Body on the Day of Pentecost.

Those Who do not believe that Christ is this Old and New Testament Lord (Yahweh) of Glory Incarnate have not been baptized in the Holy Trinity of the Fathers of the Old and New Testaments. The addition of the Frankish Filioque to the Creed of the Second Ecumenical Council is only part of this same problem.

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34. Synods and Civilizations

[ Return ] (a) The origins of Synods

The origin of the Synodical system are 1) the group of prophets within each congregation and 2) the apostles who supervised churches they established.

It was from among the prophets that the bishop and presbyters originated within the congregations. The general oversight of geographical groupings of churches by the apostles was continued by the mutual supervision of churches by synods of bishops representing their own clergy of glorified and illumined. This is why the bishops were successors to the apostles.

At some point congregations like the one in Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22) increased to such a point that they were accepted as semi-normal so long as they remained under supervision. It was evidently at this juncture that congregations appeared headed by presbyters instead of bishops since there were not enough glorified to cover them.

That bishops must be elected from among the glorified remained the standard requirement within the Orthodox tradition, especially supported by St. Dionysius the Areopagite, right up to the 19th century. The prophets became generally detached from the congregational clergy to become the central figures of what came to be known as monasticism which in turn became the supply source for the episcopacy and presidents of synods, i.e. Patriarchs, Metropolitans and Archbishops.

The main responsibility of the Synods of Bishops was the promotion of the cure of illumination and the perfection of glorification by their full support of all programs dedicated to this task. This presupposed the election and ordination of genuine doctors and the protection of the faithful from quack doctors whose speculations either led away from this cure and perfection or stopped short of them.

It is exactly because of the identity of cure and perfection in all illumined and glorified that the Orthodox never understood doctrinal authority as imposed from above. Also because this common experience establishes the fact that "it is impossible to express God and even more impossible to conceive him" it was not possible for the glorified to become split over the use of differing terms so long as they led to illumination and glorification. The split between the Chalcedonians and the non-Chalcedonians is an example of one side accepting varying ways of saying the same thing and of the other accepting only one way.

[ Return ] (b) Hellenic Civilization of the Romans

The power of illumination and glorification not only withstood persecutions, but captured the Roman Empire and became the heart of its Hellenic Civilization. Historians not familiar with this reality have no way of understanding its impact on society. The criterion by which the Roman Empire made the Orthodox faith and practice part of Roman law and its Synodical system part of the imperial administration was not much different from today's legal support for genuine medicine and for the protection of citizens from unlicensed quack doctors. Religions and dogmas which lead away from illumination and glorification were not only considered dangerous for salvation, but also not conducive to producing the kind of citizens who could help transform society.

The contribution of the illumined and glorified to Hellenic Civilization in both the Eastern and Western parts of the Roman Empire was much greater than historians have been able to imagine, even though much of the imperial expectations proved to be utopian.

The claim that the Roman Empire and its Hellenic Civilization was replaced by a "Byzantine" Empire and Civilization is sheer caricature. Glorification had become the heart and core of both the Eastern and Western parts of the Roman Empire. This tradition of cure and perfection was of no interest to the Germanic conquerors of the West Romans. But the East Romans continued this tradition which is not "Byzantine" but apostolic.

[ Return ] (c) Franco-Latin Civilization

The Merovingian Kings of the Franks first usurped veto powers over the election of Roman bishops. Then they usurped the right to appoint Roman bishops. In doing this they discovered the profit to be had by selling the office of bishop to the highest bidder. At this point Roman bishops within Francia lost contact with the illumination and glorification which survived among their clergy, monks and people. Then the Carolingian Franks forced themselves upon the Church as bishops with the special responsibility of policing the Romans, now all reduced to variations of serfdom. Latin royalties and nobilities made apostolic succession their class property. The disobedience of slaves and commoners to this apostolic succession was corrected by the Episcopal armies.

Not one of the 8th and 9th century Frankish doctrinal initiatives were the result of searching for information and explanations from the Romans whose doctrinal formulations they were tampering with. The Franks were at this time not capable of dialogue simply because they were ignorant barbarians with an unbelievable self-confidence that they are God's chosen race and that Augustine is the best guide to all essentials of the faith. Unfortunately the bishop of Hippo did not understand Biblical illumination and glorification.

Some centuries later the Franks did begin to become aware of the Fathers of the Roman Ecumenical Councils. They simply subjected them to their own tradition and made Augustine the key to their interpretation. Thus they did not see and the Latins still do not see illumination of the heart and glorification either in the Old and New Testaments or in the Fathers. They had not and still do not see the need to transform selfish happiness-seeking love into selfless love. They continue to believe that vision of God satisfies the desire for happiness and that the lack of this vision makes one unhappy.

[ Return ] (d) Western Civilization

Parts of the Reformation made a cleaner break with Franco-Latin Christendom than other parts and returned to justification by that faith which is the gift of the Holy Spirit in the heart. The recent agreement between Lutherans and Orthodox on the Canon of Holy Scripture and Divine Inspiration accepted that justification as gift of the Holy Spirit in the heart is completed in this life by glorification. This should prove to be the major step in the right direction, not only for the re-union of the Churches, but also for the elevation of a still developing Western Civilization.

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35. Conclusions

Franco-Latin and Western Civilizations and Islam have been consistently dominated by the quest for happiness. It is this very sickness which has been at the center of all personal and social ills. When left unchecked it cannot but lead to conflicts of interest at all levels of society and to the selfish exploitation of humans and the environment by humans. Modern science and technology have been forced into the service of this sickness as expressed in consumer economics which is saturating social structures and pushing exploitation of natural resources to the limit.

Humanity has managed to survive past destructions caused by this sickness. However, our generation has the honor of being that part of human history which for the first time is witnessing to the ability of humanity to destroy itself completely either by a nuclear event or by ecological contamination and disequilibrium.

Sheer self-interest for the world's survival and society's well being may finally force a solution to the specter of either atomic or ecological destruction. Ascetical restraint is the obvious key. The Biblical messages, that 1) the drive for happiness is the sickness of humanity and that 2) its cure is purification, illumination and glorification, are two truths of revelation which society may do well not to ignore. Otherwise, this planet Earth will end up like planet Mars in a state of Actus Purus happiness like that of the god of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and their like.

This also happens to be the key to the unity in glorification Christ prays for in John 17 that the world may believe.


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[ 113 ] This interpretation of Paul is based on the patristic tradition, but also on information provided during a dialogue meeting in Bucharest October 1979 between Orthodox and Jews. The latter pointed out that the patristic illumination and glorification I described to them was that of the Hasidim. Evidently the apostles and the Pharisees of Paul belonged to this tradition.

[ 114 ] Commenting on 1 Cor 12:27-28 St. Simeon the New Theologian writes: "That he may prove the differences of the members and what they are and who they are, he says 'You then are the body of Christ... kinds of tongues.' Do you see the differences among the members of Christ? Did you learn who are his members?" Book Six on Ethics, entitled, "How one is united to Christ and God and how all the saints become one with Him."

[ 115 ] For Patristic interpretation of Paul's "eph'ho" in Rom. 5:12 see J. S. Romanides, "Original Sin According to St. Paul," in St. Vladimir's Quarterly (in the original Georges Florovsky numbering system discontinued by new editors) New York, 1955, vol. IV, nos. 1-2: "The Ancestral Sin," in Greek, Athens 1957, 2nd ed. 1989, chapter 6.

[ 116 ] See bibliography for Christ in the Old Testament according the Fathers, and especially of the Ecumenical Councils.

[ 117 ] J. S. Romanides, "Justin Martyr and the Fourth Gospel," in The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, IV, 2 (1958-59), 115-139.

[ 118 ] For the common philosophical presuppositions between Paul of Samosata, his Co-Lucianist Arians and the Nestorians see my "Debate over Theodore of Mopsuestia's Christology," The Greek Orthodox Theological Review, vol. VII, 2 (1959-60), pp. 140-185.

[ 119 ] For analyses of these deviations see bibliography.

[ 120 ] One may find the above concentrated in Augustine's following writings: De Beata Vita, Contra Academicos, Confessions, and scattered in all his writings. Especially interesting are his explanations of the visions of God in both the Old and New Testaments by the prophets and apostles in his De Trinitate, Books II and III.

[ 121 ] Migne, P.G.60,23: J. S. Romanides, Original Sin (in Greek) 1st ed. Athens 1957; 2nd ed. Athens 1989, p. 173.

[ 122 ] John S. Romanides, "Franks, Romans, Feudalism and Doctrine, an interplay between Theology and Society," Brookline 1981, p. 53-57.

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