The 7th issue of SFI Academic Periodical “The Light of Christ Enlightens All” is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Institute. It contains the Institute’s leading teachers’ and Board of trustees members’ works.
SFI ACADEMIC PERIODICAL “THE LIGHT OF CHRIST ENLIGHTENS ALL”. ISSUE 7
Academic periodical of St Philaret’s Christian Orthodox Institute. Iss. 7. 2013. 156 p.
Chrismation (Liturgical Sacrament of Life of Man and the Church in the Holy Spirit) in Mystagogical Part of Catechesis
The sacrament of Chrismation needs to be considered in close relation with the sacraments of Repentance (confession) and Baptism into Christ, which are united in the greater sacrament of Enlightenment, i. e. entering, becoming part of the Church. The sacrament of Chrismation holds a special place in this list having to do with the reception of the gift of life in the Holy Spirit. This sacrament is a testimony to the prophetic nature of Christianity and the messianic status of Christians. The present article also analyses the historic and liturgical as well as the canonical aspects of the sacrament of Chrismation, in particular the rites of receiving apostates and the heterodox into the Orthodox Church.
Keywords: Chrismation, sacrament, rites of reception into Orthodoxy.
Existential Interest, Boundaries of Ethics and Difficulties in a Unified Christian Moral Doctrine Construction
The article discusses possible foundations and difficulties in a fully-fledged Christian ethical doctrine constructing. The author considers as an initial step the so-called existential impulse, which motivates emerging of a behavioral strategy exceeding the limits of present existence with its common antithesis of directive or situational morals. However, the dual nature of this existential impulse activity requires admitting the fundamental problem of the content and the boundaries of morality field. It also requires to consider the very possibility of constructing a unified values system as well as overcoming the ressentiment factor through Christian Revelation.
Keywords: existential impulse, moral boundaries, values, ressentiment.
Ideal Construction and Genesis of the Mathematical Science
The birth of a new cognitive strategy and a corresponding world view during the Scientific Revolution of the XVII century is reviewed in the article. The basis of this strategy is the ideal (theoretic) construction implemented by means of mathematics. The latter is viewed as an alternative to qualitative ideal construction peculiar to Aristotle and late Middle Ages. Mathematized ideal constructions create a special means of world apprehension, grounded in developing the initial theoretic scheme. Within its framework the connection of elementary ideal objects accessible for quantative description is defined.
Keywords: Mathematical Science, Ideal Construction, Method, Conceptional Experiment.
European Idea in Russian Culture. Its Past and Present
The paper introduces a new notion of “the European idea” – the idea of Western civilization and its universal meaning as it is embedded in a long-standing tradition of Russian thought and practical life. The term is coined after a well-known and widely used notion of “the Russian idea” which covers numerous aspects of Russia’s self-identity, its claim to being a separate civilization with a unique value system. That system though, has always been described through a sharp contrast with the Occident. Apparently, as the author undertakes to show, Russia has spent as much energy creating and recreating the positive image of the West, finding a rich source of inspiration in the images of a different and more “humane” life borrowed from abroad. This type of activity though, has never received its proper name. “The European idea” is the name of a phenomenon experienced for at least 300 years in Russian life. Yet, as the author shows, the phenomenon itself is much older, its ‘past’ code-name (i. e. before Peter the Great) would be of course “Byzantium”. For it is after this Byzantine model of Europe’s Christian and antique heritage that pagan Russia was modelling itself. Yet concentrating upon a later (post-schism, post-Byzantium, post-Peter) version of the same phenomenon the author of “the European idea” tries to extract that implicit element which was passed on to the lore of Russian tradition 300 years ago. She calls it an implicit Christian element which was passed not through the formal indoctrination (Catholic or Protestant), but through the works of classic Western lay authors, artists, and thinkers who greatly drew upon the spiritual sources of Western Christianity even if most non-conscientiously. Yet surprisingly the author implies that the motives most constituent of the Russian “European idea” are those that pertain not to Europe, but to Christianity as such. Only in Russia they remained overshadowed by other more treasured aspects of Christianity. Among those new “Western” motives (i. e. aspects more developed in the West) the author enumerates aspiration for freedom, the dignity of Man, the value of artistic and intellectual work (creative spirit). They include a keen sense of the present state of things in its historic perspective, a humanitarian attitude and social solidarity. It was not until recently, the author remarks that Russia’s “European idea” began to also pay tribute to Europe’s civil law and its basic institutional foundations, those “prosaic” traits of Europe’s fabric which used to repel even the most ardent followers in Russia. “The European idea” tends to designate a partial and impassionate Russian thought about Europe, its hopes and its glory. Just as it also speaks of the unyielding tradition of admiration that the West expresses for those aspects of the Orthodox tradition that it finds less expressed in its own Christian heritage and that are popularly known as “the Holy Rus”.
Keywords: Europe, Russia, cultural implantation, Christian humanism.
Religions and Society in Europe
The recent events in the Vatican, i. e. the voluntary resignation of the Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church (numbering some 1.2 billion members) and the election of a new extraordinary Pope, have created a sensation of a truly global scale. They make it clear that one more step forward has been made from the divide between the past and the future wrought by the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church half a century ago. The history of Christianity spans more than two millennia, but it is only now that its followers have come close to a real turning point in their relations with each other and, no less importantly, in their relations with the rest of the world. For the first time ever they are really revising their approach to spiritual search within their own institutions, their approach to coexistence, dialogue, and cooperation with people of other faiths and the atheistic citizens of this planet. All this forms the theme of the present article.
Keywords: Orthodoxy, Christianity, Greek Catholic Religion, Vatican, church, society, unity, peacemaking.
Not Tolerance but Mutual Appreciation and Ability to Learn from Each Other
The article addresses the problem of tolerance, so vital and urgent for today’s global world. In contrast with the commonplace understanding of tolerance as showing mutual respect and acceptance of different points of view in a dialogue (being tolerant and patient with others instead of conflicting or indifferent) the author proposes a different approach, which in his opinion is rooted in Christian tradition. Essentially this approach involves a common premise shared by all the parties in a dialogue: they all agree upon the existence of the one truth, which is the same for everyone. And it is this truth that they set out as their common goal at the same time fully acknowledging the incomplete character of their own knowledge, the possibility of different ways of attaining that truth, and showing a readiness to learn from each other. The author explores different examples of this type of dialogue in history (from Justin the Philosopher to Vatican II).
Keywords: tolerance, dialogue, Justin the Philosopher, Clement of Alexandria, Romanos the Melodist, Vatican II.
Using Synthesis of Arts in Design of Churches as Basis for Study Course
Perception of works of art is made somewhat difficult today both by the growing consumerist and anti-artistic tendencies in the very fabric of today’s life as well as the division of the once holistic notion of art into various forms of art or “arts” plural. As a possible way out the author proposes a study course, which is based on the “synthesis of arts” as revealed in the architecture and design of Christian churches, which present the most natural example of this synthesis while at the same time forming an integral part of the world’s artistic culture.
Keywords: religious art, churches, church building, “synthesis of arts”, integration, education, perception.