Person, Nature, and Personhood Theology

by Doru Costache

For contemporary Orthodox theology, irrespective of the terms used throughout the centuries, ecclesial anthropology focuses on the mystery of personhood. This amounts to saying that Orthodox anthropology, with its markedly spiritual and/or ascetic dimension, is person-centered and not nature-centered. Building on the distinction without division between person and nature, this focus shows a certain preference in the representation of an otherwise complex reality. The sphere of personhood is likewise prominent in the Orthodox representation of the Holy Trinity and Christ. Personhood theology is therefore at the heart of contemporary Orthodox theology. In all three cases, traditional ideas and concepts are currently given personalist, existential, and phenomenological connotations. In so doing, personhood theology does more than to undertake a work of conceptual translation; it circumscribes the mysteries of the faith from viewpoints specific to the Orthodox experience in contemporary world. Given recent commotions about these developments, a question must be asked: cui bono? For what purpose? Continue Reading…

On Ecumenoclasm: Who Is a Heretic?

by Paul Ladouceur

One of the preferred weapons of Orthodox opponents of ecumenism is to call ecumenism a heresy and to refer to non-Orthodox, and indeed often Orthodox who support ecumenism, as heretics. Examples abound, for example in documents emanating from the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia (ROCOR) and in the writings of St. Justin Popovich. For ROCOR’s Metropolitan Philaret, Catholics and Protestants are “modern preachers of heresy” and the World Council of Churches, the union “of all possible heresies.” In a 1974 letter, Justin Popovich refers to all non-Orthodox Christians as “heretics.” But the ultimate weapon of Orthodox anti-ecumenists is to describe ecumenism as “the heresy of heresies.” Continue Reading…

Challenges for Restoring the Byzantine Female Diaconate for Present Times

by Ashley Purpura

Pope Francis’s recent call for a commission to explore the possibility of reinstating the female diaconate in the Catholic Church resonates with over a century of similar calls among leaders and laity of the Orthodox Church. These calls for restoring the female diaconate within the Eastern Orthodox Church have been supported by prominent theologians and hierarchs. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I even stated in 1995 that, “There is no canonical difficulty in ordaining women as deacons in the Orthodox Church,” and in 1997, that the “order of ordained deaconesses is an undeniable part of tradition” and that “there are already a number of women who appear to be called to this ministry.” Continue Reading…