In the theology of St. Silouan the Athonite (1866–1938) and Elder Sophrony of Essex (1896–1993), man is the target of divine visitations that serve to make him aware of the image of Christ within him. God created man in His “image and likeness”. Although this image has become distorted, the purpose of man’s life in the Church is that it should be perfectly restored.
Elder Sophrony referred to the image of God in man as man’s “hypostasis” or “personhood”. He taught that this image cannot be realized without the witness of a saint or elder, who demonstrates likeness unto Christ and bears His word. For this reason, he often explained the principle of personhood by referring to the life and writings of St. Silouan.
In Man the Target of God, Archimandrite Zacharias, disciple of Elder Sophrony, likewise presents the principle of personhood through the lives of his elders, St. Silouan and Elder Sophrony. He also examines attributes of personhood in terms of dogma and spiritual practice.
Throughout Man the Target of God, Fr. Zacharias elaborates on aspects of the theme of personhood which were previously introduced in his doctoral dissertation, Christ, Our Way and Our Life: A Presentation of the Theology of Archimandrite Sophrony.
Man the Target of God is based on a series of lectures delivered in Greece and the United States of America.
“The writings of Archimandrite Zacharias evince that inspiration which is born of the undistorted vision of Christ in glory.”
The Very Reverend Dr. Zacharias Zacharou is a disciple of Elder Sophrony and a member of the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist, Essex, England.
Of Greek Cypriot heritage, Fr Zacharias is the official translator of Elder Sophrony’s writings from Russian into Greek, and holds degrees in Theology from the Institute of St. Sergius in Paris, France, and the University of Thessalonica, Greece, also receiving the degree of Doctor of Theology from the latter institution for his work on the theology of Elder Sophrony, which was published in English as Christ, Our Way and Our Life: A Presentation of the Theology of Archimandrite Sophrony (2003).
Also published in English are The Enlargement of the Heart: “Be ye also enlarged” (2 Cor. 6:13) in the Theology of Saint Silouan the Athonite and Elder Sophrony of Essex (2012), The Hidden Man of the Heart (1 Peter 3:4): The Cultivation of the Heart in Orthodox Christian Anthropology (2008), and Remember Thy First Love (Revelation 2:4-5): The Three Stages of the Spiritual Life in the Theology of Elder Sophrony (2010).
Archimandrite Zacharias is fluent in Greek, English, French and Russian, and is intimately familiar with the traditions of the Greek and Russian liturgical practice.
In May of 2011 he was awarded the honorary doctorate from Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, in recognition of his remarkable contribution to the spiritual life of the Church in America.
Author: Archimandrite Zacharias