Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Orthodoxy and the Theory of Evolution (St. Justin Popovich)

A complete human anthropology cannot be discovered through scientific observation alone. For Orthodox Christians, a theological anthropology exists as well, which science must not contradict, but take into account for a true human anthropology to exist in light of divine revelation. For Orthodox Christians, human evolution as observed through science should not obscure this divine revelation. The anthropology of the Church in light of divine revelation is all that is necessary to contemplate for salvation, which means the Church should not trouble itself with scientific debates and theories, but leave those matters to the scientists alone, just as scientists should not trouble itself with matters of divine revelation as if science can ever contradict what is beyond its comprehension and observation.
The God-Man Evolution

By St. Justin Popovich

You ask me to answer the question, whether the scientific understanding of the evolution of the world and man can coexist with the traditional Orthodox experience and knowledge. Also, you ask, what is the position of the Fathers on this issue, and whether there is a general need for such a coexistence. In a short summary, I write the following:

The anthropology of the New Testament stands or falls on the anthropology of the Old. The entire Gospel of the Old Testament: Man - the image of God! The entire Gospel of the New Testament: the God-man - image of man! Whatever is heavenly, divine, eternal, immortal and unchangeable in humans is the image of God, the godlikeness of man.

This godlikeness of man was assaulted by the voluntary sin of the same, in partnership with the devil, by means of sin and death which stems from the transgression. That is why God became man, in order to restore His corrupt image from sin. That is why He incarnated and lived in the world of man as the God-man, as the Church, to offer the image of God - man - all the necessary means so that this deformed God-formed man can be able in the God-man body of the Church, with the help of Sacred Mysteries and virtues, to mature "to a perfect man, to the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). This is the God-man anthropology. The purpose of godlike beings known as humans is one: to become gradually perfect as God the Father, to become a god by grace, to attain theosis, deification, Christification, Trinitification. According to the Holy Fathers, "God became man, that man may become a god" (Athanasius the Great).

But the so-called "scientific" anthropology does not recognize the godlikeness of human existence. With this, they deny the advancement of the God-man evolution of the human being.

If man is not the image of God, then the God-man and His Gospel is something unnatural for such a man, something mechanical and unattainable. Then the God-man Jesus is a robot built by other robots. The God-man becomes a bully because He wants from people, forcibly, to become a perfect being like God. In essence we are talking about a forensic utopia, an illusion and an unattainable "ideal". In the end, it is reduced to a myth, a narrative.

If man, therefore, is not a godlike being, then the God-man Himself is unnecessary because the scientific theories of evolution do not accept sin, nor the Savior from sin. In the secular world of "evolution" everything is natural and there is no room for sin to exist. That is why it is a joke to speak of a Savior and salvation from sin. In the final analysis everything is natural: sin, evil and death. For, if everything in man occurs and is the result of evolution, then there is nothing that needs to be saved in him since nothing is immortal and unchangeable within him, but all is earthly and clay and as such are transient, perishable and perceptible.

In such a world of "evolution" there is no place for the Church, which is the body of the God-man Christ. The theology which again bases itself on the anthropology of the "scientific" theory of evolution is nothing more than a self-negation. In essence it is a theology without God and an anthropology without man. If man is not immortal, eternal and a God-man image of God, then all theologies and all anthropologies are nothing but a silly joke, a tragic comedy.

Orthodox theology and the relationship we have with the Holy Fathers is the way for our ascent to the God-man, the Orthodox All-truth. This is something in need of analysis, and is for those dealing with issues of the gospel on the planet. All the problems of the gospel are essentially focused on the problem of man. And all the problems of man are focused on one issue, that of the God-man. Only the God-man is the universal solution to the enigma called man. Without the God-man and outside of the God-man, man is always - consciously or not - transformed into something sub-human, a human effigy, a superman, a devil-man. Proof and evidence for this? The entire history of mankind.

Source: Translation by John Sanidopoulos.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

George Blatzas, the Doctor of Saint Paisios, Has Reposed

George Blatzas reposed in the Lord on the Monday of Renewal Week, 3 May 2021, on the feast of his patron saint, the great martyr George.

George Blatzas was not only a leading surgeon, but also a consistent Christian and confessor of the Christian faith from his teenage years, as a mediator of the civil strife. The spiritual son of the preacher of the Metropolis of Kitros and Katerini and later a well-known missionary of Africa, Fr. Charitonos Pneumatikakis, he had a connection early with Mount Athos and especially with Saint Paisios.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

A 2019 Scientific Study on the Characteristics and Effects of the Holy Light of Jerusalem

Prof. Giulio Fanti experimenting with the properties of the Holy Light

Giulio Fanti, Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Padua, presented an interesting paper in 2019 titled "Is the 'Holy Fire' Related to the Turin Shroud?". Below is the summary:

This paper presents the experimental results obtained on the “Holy Fire” (HF) in the Edicule of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. It is not the aim of the present paper to study how the HF is formed, but that to study its characteristics and effects and to detect if these features are in some way comparable with those typical of the Turin Shroud (TS). The following experiments have been performed and discussed: HF temperature and spectrum; photos in visible light and infrared; effects of the HF and of a common fire (CF) on linen fabrics; possible air ionization in the environment of the Holy Sepulcher. While some results appear not easy to explain from a scientific point of view, some experiments seem to show no appreciable difference between the HF and a CF. In addition to these experiments, the author detected various series of strikes of lightening emitted at regular intervals at a frequency variable from 3 to 10 Hz, not easy to explain because not typical of flashes produced by photographers. Various facts connected to the HF appear related to what it has been detected in reference to the TS that shows a double image of a man up to now not reproducible nor explainable and, in agreement with the Christian tradition, that shows some traces of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Read the full paper here.
For more information on the Holy Light, see here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Further Updates and Clarifications of Vaccinations on Mount Athos

Since I am occasionally asked to update information and clarify matters regarding the vaccination of the monks of Mount Athos, with some even denying that it is taking place or overly downplaying it, I decided to make my own personal contacts with people I know on the Holy Mountain and have also sought reports directly coming from Mount Athos to provide the latest information, as of April 13th 2021.

- There was a long delay in sending the vaccines from Athens to Mount Athos, endangering the lives of the older monks and of monks with underlying diseases.

- Vaccinations started about three weeks ago, but only with 120 vaccines available, which were given in five days. No other vaccines had been sent to Mount Athos.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Spiritual Benefits of Sicknesses, Doctors and Medicines (Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra)

By Elder Aimilianos of Simonopetra

So when someone does not want to take medicines, or if they do not want to go to a doctor, whatever their illness, they show how they are governed by an individual-centred system of life, or they show that they are guilty, and therefore hide. Like, when you ask for someone and they don't show up, then you ask for them again and they don't show up again, so you say, they must have done something, something is happening, so likewise is anyone who hates medicine or drugs that is seriously ill physically, above all mentally. He is a nonsensical man, for it says, "a sensible man will not despise them" (Sirach 38). He is a nonsensical man, a nonsensical woman, incorrigible, unrepentant, he doesn't care about God, but only cares about his worm-eaten body and worm-eaten soul as he sees fit, just in case he can get out to the seashore. But medicine and doctors show that we lay the administration of our existence to God, that we are not the rulers of ourselves.