TABOR - Tradition and Contemporaneity in the Romanian Orthodox Church
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Holiness and Saints in the Tradition and Teaching of the Orthodox Church. Current challenges and possible reformulations
The study shows, from a dogmatic and speculative perspective, that holiness is the expression of God’s infinity, transcendence and alterity in relation to the created world. Holiness expresses the full perihoresis of all divine attributes in the act of the immediate presence of God. As a sacrifice, holiness is identified with love, while in terms of Trinity, with the faithfulness between the Father and the Son, confirmed and strengthened by the Holy Spirit. On the human level, holiness is gained by participating in the holiness of God and means likeness to Him. The holiness of man is founded christologically and pnevmatologically, ecclesiologically and eschatologically. Following Christ is not so much an imitatio Christi, but a union with Him through the Holy Spirit. The main feature of a saint is humility, so there is no concept of merits in the Eastern tradition. Holiness is acquired and “learned” through the spiritual father in the communion of the “contemporary saints”. The cult of the saints is based mainly on Christ Himself honoring them with His friendship (John 15, 14) and His glory (John 17, 22) and on the confidence in the efficiency of Christ’s deifying work in His Church. The call to holiness is universal. Christianity has a maximal anthropology: the measure of man is the measure of Christ Himself. The maturity of today’s man, after almost two millennia of christianity, seeks to overcome the rigid, laudatory and sterile, almost monophysite typologies from many “traditional” biographies of the saints. For by knowing their real humanity, with shortcomings and weaknesses beside charismas and miracles, one can clearly see the light of the Holy Spirit shining through them and how wonderful God is in His saints (Psalm 67:36).