"For freedom from death and the introduction of human nature into God's Kingdom realize the only true Exodus. This sacrifice, ... represents a sacrament, sacrament par excellence, the free gift to God, by Christ in His humanity, of the first fruits of creation, the fulfillment of that immense sacramental action, devolving first upon Adam, which the new humanity must complete, the offering of the cosmos as receptacle of grace." Vladimir Lossky, (Orthodox Theology: An Introduction)
Theognosis, Clement to Evagrius:
The mystical theology of the Church was started by Clement as Theognosis or knowing God, John 17:3, Christ own definition of eternal life. Christian Theology, in the Cataphatic sense, was founded by Origen, being expressed in Neoplatonic terms, but completed by his student Dionysius the pseudo-Areopagite, an associate of Severus, patriarch of Antioch.
"Authentic gnosis is inseparable from a charisma, an illumination by grace which transforms our intelligence. And since the object of contemplation is a personal existence and presence, true gnosis implies encounter, reciprocity, faith as a personal adherence to the personal presence of God Who reveals Himself. In the strict sense, among the ascetics of the Christian East gnosis constitutes the peak of the life of prayer--a peak where gnosis is given by God to man `who knows himself fallible,' says Evagrius, and transforms his indigence in an unfolding of faith. We know Evagrius's formula, which has become an adage: `The one who has purity in prayer is true theologian, and the one who is true theologian has purity in prayer." Prologue:Faith and Theology,
"Hellenism has placed its eternal character upon the Church. It has become an inseparable part of her very being and as such every Christian is, to some extent, a Hellene. Hellenism is not simply a phrase in the history of Christianity but a cornerstone in its life... " G.Florovsky
This quotation outlines a basic conceptual interpretation representative of a majority of Russian theologians thought of their inherited Byzantine Church dogma and its composite theology. For a course in Orthodox doctrinal theology, written half a century ago, to survey the basic doctrines of the Church; Knowledge of God, Nature of creation and meaning of the Fall, Human nature of and Cosmic salvation. Vladimir Lossky, far from being a typical dogmatic theologian in the Western sense; treats dogma as an applicable Church teaching (doctrine), vividly relating to the richness of Eastern Church, whose Orthodoxy was defended by Alexandria, which Lossky repeatedly quotes her own heroes Athanasius and Cyril.
As it is frequently repeated by Orthodox theologians, a one-volume introduction to Eastern Orthodox theology, and teachings of its Fathers is an ambitious task. The best that one can usually expect from such projects is the condensed reviews found in the many well known introductory books on Orthodoxy, yet, offers a valuable summary of the teachings of the Greek speaking Church fathers, From Origen to Dionysius the p-Areopagite, a good synopsis of a number of profound theological issues. His book gives a clear summary of the Patristic footing of Eastern Orthodox doctrine.This Introduction, was originally intended as a course in dogmatic theology of Eastern Orthodoxy. It investigates the fundamental questions Church theologian should ask in Cosmology, Christology, Sotereology, and Ecclesiology: can we know God? What is the relation of the creation to the Creator? How did man fall, and how is he saved? Lossky shows that such doctrinal issues are not merely abstract propositions for theological debate but are at the base of Christian living. Lossky expounds, the Orthodox doctrine of the Trinity as intimately related to the understanding of how the human person and his spiritual life, and salvation through Kenosis to Theosis could be defended theologically.
Prologue FAITH AND THEOLOGY
1.THE TWO MONOTHEISMS
ii. The Negative and the Positive Way
iii. The Trinity
iv. Trinitarian Terminology
v. The Procession of Persons and the Divine Attributes
ii. The Creative Trinity and Divine Ideas
iii. Creation: Time and Eternity
iv. Creation: Cosmic Order
v. Image and Likeness
vi. Christian Anthropology
ii. The Meaning of the Old Testament
iii. The Incarnation
ii. "Form of God" and "Form of Servant"
iii. Two Energies, Two Wills
iv. Duality and unity in Christ
Professor Vladimir Lossky, son of Nikolai Lossky, professor of philosophy in Saint Petersburg, was an influential theologian and Russian exile. Vladimir lived in Petrograd until he was exiled from Russia in 1922. He moved to Paris and remained there until his death. He served as the first dean of the St. Dionysus Institute in Paris, where he taught dogmatic theology. At the time of his death in 1958, Lossky was already considered as one of the most influential Orthodox theologians. His writings represent the extent of his contribution to the revival of the petrified Eastern Orthodoxy challenging Western Christian thought then dominant.