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Orthodox Spirituality: A Brief Introduction

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Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos






The spirituality of the Orthodox Church does not lead to abstract religious life; nor is it the fruits of man’s inner strength. Spirituality is not an abstract religious life because the Church is the Body of Christ. It is not simply a religion which believes in a God, theoretically. The Second Person of the Holy Trinity — the Logos of God — assumed human nature for us. He united it with his hypostasis and became the Head of the Church.

The term Orthodoxy consists of two words: “orthos“(true, right) and “doxa“. “Doxa” means, on the one hand, belief, faith, teaching and on the other, praise or doxology. These two meanings are closely connected. The true teaching about God incorporates the true praise of God; for if God is abstract, then prayer to this God is abstract as well. If God is personal then prayer assumes a personal character. God has revealed the true faith, the true teaching. Thus we say that the teaching about God and all matters associated with a person’s salvation are the Revelation of God and not man’s discovery.

The spiritual person is he who partakes of and participates in the energies of the Most Holy Spirit; he, who has himself become a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. This does not constitute an abstract, emotional or intellectual spirituality. The bearer of Orthodox spirituality par excellence is the Saint who is revealed through his teachings and his relics. The non-spiritual individual, who is deprived of the Holy Spirit, is the psychological and carnal person.

It is precisely the above distinction which points out the difference between Orthodox spirituality and other “spiritualities”. Orthodox spirituality differs markedly from the “spiritualities” of the East and the West. The difference in the dogma generates the difference in ethos as well. The essence of Orthodox spirituality lies in its therapeutic effects. It cures a person’s infirmities and renders him and integrated person.


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