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Father, I like your "hesychia as cancellation" idea. It is the gnosticization of work: the "real work" is in the "soul" and physical work is a curse to be borne up under until we die and get to "rest". There is indeed an aspect of work that is affected by the fall, but even in that, like the "garments of skin" it is a blessed curse intended to remind us of our mortality and the frailty of our bodies. The true meaning of work is "in the image of God who works" or is "energetic". The energy is relational and is what binds us to God. Our work is "energetic", and it is through work our relationships are wrought: if a man does not work, he does not eat, and neither does his family except at the expense of someone else's work. Work is a posture of humility ultimately.

Fr. Greg, I have never understood the wisdom behind the separation and delay of chrismation from baptism. I do understand the historical "accidents" that have led to this state of affairs, but I either do not comprehend or do not respect the rationales that have been offered. Some of these rationales -- perhaps even all of them -- are clearly ex post facto. How can we deliberately insinuate an increment of time that is clearly unacceptable in the Book of Acts?

That said, I must confess that practically, much needs done in the rhetoric of the Eastern Church for the exposition of Chrismation. Thank you for pointing out my miss of the "certain dabs of oil."

S-P, you are right about the deaf ears. I wonder about two things, since you brought up the "theology of work": first, is it possible that there may be some Orthodox vacuum in the topic of "Shopclass as Soulcraft" (a beautiful little book) because we Orthodox mistake hesychia as a cancellation, or superceding, of a positive meaning in physical work?

Secondly, I wonder if it might be meaningful to expand Tolkien's idea of "sub-creation" to embrace all "good work." For is this not what work should be? And if it isn't, then has there not occurred some dereliction on the part of the worker/servant/slave who is failing to "work unto God"? or on the part of the employer/master who is rejecting the image of God in both his worker or his own position?

A worthy graduation commencement speech, but unfortunately it would fall on the deaf ears of both the graduates and their parents. God called us to "work" which is in service to our vocation to be in the Image, not "career". I did a podcast on "a theology of work" when I was building a Church for a monastery and it piqued my interest in finding more on the topic. I found virtually nothing of substance on the subject of work and vocation put out by the Orthodox Church. Now we have something... thanks!

"Anyone who believes that the rule of the saints is left to some future
'dispensation' needs a dousing of water, a bit of bread and wine, and a good look around."

"A dousing of water," yes, but also,some dabs of oil in specific places prior to the "bit of bread and wine".

I am more and more convinced that among the distortions of the Western Church, the separation and delay of the mysteries of initiation is, in practical terms, among the most serious.

We, like Job, never get our inanities answered, because the Word always exceeds our categories. That is the way of the Name above all Names.

A dousing indeed; thank you for your further thoughts here. On a practical level, is there not a bit of crypto-chiliasm in the incarnations of temporal structures/programs and 'change the world' sloganeering (in the Church and outside)?

At what point do we find ourselves like the disciples--having just stupidly asked Christ whether He will *now* restore again the kingdom to Israel--dumbfoundedly watching Him Ascend? (But He didn't answer our question.)

SubDn Lucas: the concept of the long defeat is simply a truth of history. All the structures of civilization (beautifully symbolized by Our Lord's reference to the stones of Herod's Temple) will crumble in time. The Blessed Augustine witnessed the fall of Western Romanity in the fifth century, as we saw the Eastern collapse a thousand years later.

All the while, the Kingdom of God interpenetrates and transcends the false principality of the Evil One. This has been the case in the unseen realms from Pascha, and historically (as an objective reality) since Pentecost.

This contemporaneity of the Kingdom of God and the World-structures-unto-death is rejected by the chiliasts -- by Ireneaus and Justin Martyr in a forgivable manner (before the definitive statement of the Second Council), and much more amateurishly (and not forgivably) by modern anti-ecclesial pre-millennialists.

Anyone who believes that salvation can be produced and served to the masses by statist or worldly authorities is someone who needs straightened out by stories of the long defeat.

Anyone who believes that the rule of the saints is left to some future "dispensation" needs a dousing of water, a bit of bread and wine, and a good look around.


Can you talk a little about the concept of the 'long defeat' vs. the chiliastic heresy?

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