joi, 10 martie 2011

Ieromonk Ghelasie Gheorghe: "The Mystical Living Experience of the LITURGY" (translation from Romanian by Alice Butnar)





















Motto:

Nothing will ever stop the LOVE LITURGY,
That is the HEART of IMMORTALITY,
And is thus HEART in Never-ending BEATING,
The LITURGY of LOVE is never ceasing.




LORD JESUS, Thy LOVE beats in my Heart,
And my Heart cannot ever stand still.
Rejoice, Hesychy,
Unceasing Mystery LITURGY,
Rejoice, Hesychy,
You, that in the CHALICE of my Heart become DIVINE EUCHARIST.

*

Lord JESUS, such a great GIFT Thou hast given us,
To be able to cleanse ourselves daily of our “sins”.
In THY Church where THOU dost LITURGISE.
Through this GIFT Thou dost Keep us Alive and Give us the HOLY COMMUNION.
How can I ever “live” deprived of this DIVINE SPRING...
LORD JESUS with all my Being I worship and Thank Thee.
LORD, Thou hast Created me from THY LOVE,
LORD, Thou hast Born me from Thy LITURGY,
Here I am kneeling and Giving Thanks before THY LOVE,
As the LITURGY of LOVE is in me as well unceasingly.
With piety and awe I come before the HOLY ALTAR,
From here Thy LOVE pours forth as a Gift unceasingly.

*

No one should come to the ALTAR “empty-handed”,
The LITURGY of LOVE is Full of GIFTS.
The LITURGY of LOVE is “complete” OFFERING,
As it is Full of GIFTS of Thanksgiving.

LORD, I myself bring as a GIFT the “PROSPHORON” of my Being.
Cut out from it the LAMB-the WORD,
The SACRIFICING AMNOS Who RISES the “earth”,
And lifts it up to Song and Light,
Take thus the AMNOS-the WORD out of the “mud”.
And do not be offended by my scanty Love,
Do not thus leave me without the LITURGY of THY LOVE.

My Being is a “SPARKLE from THY EMBODIED LOVE”
That thus “gave Birth” to me, a “Created Love”,
Love that I Offer Thee as a GIFT,
Of THY DIVINE GRACE let me also Partake.

Receive me LORD thus as a PROSPHORON,
Make from me also THY Serving LITURGY,
And from my PROSPHORON do RESURRECT the AMNOS,
The SACRIFICING LAMB THOU ever dost EMBODY.
For me thus also to Partake of THEE,
For me thus also to be LOVE-LITURGY.

I am “fallen” from LOVE for many sins
And lay thus in “abyss and death”,
Yet, JESUS LORD, Receive me as a PROSPHORON,
Cut out from it the LAMB, THY AMNOS,
And Make me also be THY LITURGY.

LORD JESUS, LOVE-LITURGISING,
The SPIRIT weeps in me when Thou art “missing”,
But thus ¬– receiving me as a PROSPHORON
In which Thou, SACRIFICING LAMB, Dost ever thus EMBODY
And through which I am RESURRECTED from my “death” ¬–
I shall receive again THY HOLY COMMUNION.
BREAD is the NAME of the Image of Life,
The “showing” of the Face of Life,
It is the NAME of the Image of Holy Communion,
It is the Mystery of LOVE-GIVING.

Two LOVES that meet in Sacred Speaking,
And thus become Holy Communion,
And thus become the LITURGISING BREAD-the LITURGISING LOVE.

And the WORD was made Body,
The BREAD with the Being in the WORD.

From Heaven the LIGHTS are Whispering “descending”,
They raise the Earth out of the “mud and night”,
They turn the Earth into the WHEAT of Sun Seeds,
HEAVEN and Earth are thus Entwined.

BREAD, Heaven and Earth are MEETING,
GOD and Creation in HOLY COMMUNION,
The BREAD that carries within the WORD,
The BREAD that holds in ITSELF the Earth,
The Holy BREAD, DIVINE LITURGISING.

*

Divine Lamb, the most Innocent Lamb,
The Earthly Lamb Embodying the Lamb Above,
O, the most Beautiful Lamb Ever Born,
THOU art the WORD that was made Body.

O, Holy LAMB with Eyes of such Divine Blue,
Why are Thy Eyes bruised thus all through?...
Why dost Thou Weep Tears mingled with Blood
Why on Thy Face there are Wounds, stained with red.

O, INFANT of Creation and LAMB for SACRIFICE,
O, Earth and Heaven that in LOVE harmonise,
O, Creation and GOD that together do LITURGISE …

O, Innocent INFANT-LAMB that wilt be SACRIFICED,
THOU dost THYSELF approach the CROSS where Thou wilt be Crucified,
THOU dost THYSELF Uncover the Chest where Thou wilt be stabbed,
O, SACRIFICE of LOVE, DIVINE JESUS LAMB.

O, Innocent LAMB Born from the Innocent EWE,
O, GOD Embodied on the Earth,
O, Mystery beyond words,
O, LOVE in DIVINE LITURGISING.

*

O, Mystery of the VIRGIN MOTHER, the very Mystery of Creation,
You Who GIVE BIRTH to PRIESTHOOD ¬– the Mystery of GOD’S Descent into Creation,
O, EMPRESS, You thus Become the LITURGISING of all PRIESTHOOD!

If it were not for You, MOTHER OF GOD,
The SON of GOD would not descend onto the Earth,
Only through You, Daughter-Ever VIRGIN of Creation
Is the DIVINE WORD thus MADE BODY.

There is the Love of Creation that Descends GOD from the Above,
The LOVE of the MOTHER of GOD Who EMBODIES the LORD JESUS,
The Love that also Lifts up Creation to the Above,
This LOVE is “still of the MOTHER of GOD”, and makes us “BROTHERS of JESUS”.
O, MOTHER of GOD-Church, Mystery beyond words,
Through You the DIVINE PRIESTHOOD can Serve the LITURGY,
Through You Creation can MEET GOD in Harmony.

*

O LORD, THOU Hast Created us from THY LOVE-GIVING,
And we all live from THIS HOLY COMMUNION,
That THOU dost ever OFFER through THY LITURGISING.

If ever “stopped” the LOVE LITURGY,
Then our Life of Creation “dead would be”.

Hence there is no Life without LOVE LITURGY,
There is no LIVING outside HOLY COMMUNION.

Nothing will ever stop the LOVE LITURGY
That is the HEART of IMMORTALITY,
And is thus HEART in Never-ending BEATING,
The LITURGY of LOVE is never ceasing.

If ever “stopped” the LITURGY,
All of a sudden “nothing would be”.

*

O, MOTHER of GOD, in You we put all our Being-ness,
Through You we BRING our GIFT thus to the ALTAR,
For the GREAT PRIEST CHRIST
To LITURGISE.

We Believers “Give Birth” to You, Daughter-EVERVIRGIN,
And You are CHOSEN by the DIVINE SON
As EMPRESS-HIS MOTHER,
An IMAGE that makes You also be our Very MOTHER
DIVINE.
Through You we become “Kin-Brothers” of the SON
DIVINE,
Through You Our BODY becomes the BODY of CHRIST,
Where the SACRIFICE of FORGIVENESS and SALVATION HE doth LITURGISE.

*

Lord JESUS, I myself come to Thy SERVING of LITURGY
And Bring My Gift of Love to Thee,
With “sins of crucifixion” as many as could be…

In me the Sprout that keeps “returning” into Thee,
Opens again Thy Sufferance of Crucifixion,
Opens again the Selfsame Wounds, and Selfsame Blood
That Flows thus in my Being, Flows also in Thy BEING …

*

LOVE is the Unceasing LITURGISING,
In Endless Pouring Forth of Itself.
LOVE is in the RITUAL of DEVOTION,
It is in the EUCHARIST of the GIFTED WORD.

O, ALLHOLY SPIRIT, Thou art the ONE
Who dost LITURGISE,
In THY RITUAL THOU THYSELF dost SERVE,
Thou art also the DIVINE PRIESTHOOD,
With CHRIST’S PRIESTHOOD together Thou dost SERVE,
In the PRIESTHOOD of THY RITUAL CHRIST is Confirmed,
In the IMAGE of THY RITUAL the WORD does LITURGISE.
The IMAGE of the WORD is at the same time in the IMAGE of THY RITUAL,
Thou, ALLHOLY SPIRIT, art the DEPTH of GOD the FATHER.

The RITUAL is the LITURGICAL FLAME,
The Living Experience comes through the FLAME of the HOLY SPIRIT’S RITUAL.

In THY RITUAL, ALLHOLY SPIRIT,
All other images do stop,
BEFORE THEE everything stands still,
Only in THY IMAGE everything does Move and Fulfill,
Only in THY IMAGE the SACRIFICE of the LITURGY is SERVED.

*

ALLHOLY SPIRIT, DIVINE MAJESTY,
We Worship Thee, DIVINE EMPEROR.
Do not burn us with THY Consuming FLAME,
We Bid Thee, Bestow Thy BLESSING upon us,
To be worthy of CHRIST’S LITURGY,
To PARTAKE of the DIVINE EUCHARIST.

ALLHOLY SPIRIT, DIVINE MAJESTY,
SPIRIT of TRUTH, GOD EMPEROR,
THOU THYSELF DOST SERVE CHRIST’S LITURGY,
We Bid Thee make us also worthy,
In THY RITUAL to Liturgise the SACRIFICE of SALVATION,
Through THEE to Taste from the EUCHARIST of RESURRECTION.

*

EVERYTHING is WORD, RITUAL and BLESSING,
Everything is SACREDNESS, OFFERING and SINGING,
Everything is Pouring Forth of Absolute LOVE,
Everything is DIVINE LITURGISING.

A CERTAIN DIVINE WORD Creates our Soul,
A CERTAIN RITUAL of the HOLY SPIRIT Gives us Life,
A CERTAIN BLESSING gives BIRTH to us from THESE.

The Creation of Light is WORD in the RITUAL of the HOLY SPIRIT,
The Days of the Creation are the IMAGE of the DIVINE GRACE,
And everything is RITUAL in the Singing of the WORD.
Everything is in the FATHER’S BLESSING.

Each day of the Creation is “as Much as” a WORD and a RITUAL.
Each day is the GIFT of BLESSING,
Each day is “as much as” a LOVE LITURGY,
Therefore the Day is in the IMAGE of the Serving of LITURGY.

The LITURGY of LOVE cannot ever “stop”,
The WORD and RITUAL cannot stop LITURGISING,
The BLESSING cannot but OFFER ITSELF as HOLY COMMUNION.

O, if only you Knew with what LOVE the HOLY SPIRIT Gives us Life,
If you Knew that we Breathe due to the HOLY SPIRIT,
The Evening and the Morning are the RITUAL of the HOLY SPIRIT,
The DAY is also HIS RITUAL in Movement of Light,
Everything that lives is the BREATH of HIS RITUAL,
The RITUAL is also the LITURGISING of LOVE and GREATFULNESS
And without RITUAL every Move would “stop”.

Church Bells are Ringing, Calling us to GOD,
O Soul of mine do not be “deaf”, but rise and run to Him.

For in the Church the LORD JESUS HIMSELF is LITURGISING,
All Heavenly Hosts from ABOVE are Descending,
All Ranks of Saints are Singing the LITURGY of LOVE,
All Creation is Singing the OFFERING of HOLY COMMUNION.

The HOLY SPIRIT is Descending over the VIRGIN-Church,
The DOORS of Creation OPEN for GOD to COME IN,
The ALTAR DOORS OPEN for the Sons of the Church
To MEET their VERY CREATOR.

Soul of mine, OPEN your Doors, tarry no longer,
GOD is Descending into the World,
He Descends for you as well through HIS LITURGY.

O, GIFT beyond words,
How is it LORD, that Thou dost COME to us,
To TELL us the Unutterable DIVINE WORDS…

Through the DIVINE WORD everything was Made,
Everything is the WORD’S EMBODIMENT.
In the beginning there was the WORD that OFFERS ITSELF to us,
In ETERNITY there is the WORD that doth LITURGISE.

Soul of mine, LISTEN to the WORD that Created you,
WORSHIP the Word that to LIFE Called you.
It is the DIVINE WORD EVER within you,
Owing to Whom you can yourself SPEAK too.

Holy GOSPEL, the UNUTTERABLE WORDS can be HEARD from within YOU,
WORDS that Become in us the Spoken Tongues.
Heaven and Earth are YOUR WRITTEN LEAVES,
In our Souls BURNING Icon Lamps are THESE.

Heaven and Earth together LITURGISING,
Creation and GOD Face to Face each other do ENCOUNTER,
Angels and Men together Serving,
Everything in CHRIST is now MEETING.

*

Lord, Thou dost UTTER through THY WORD ITSELF,
And THY WORD can be HEARD “beyond” THYSELF,
And THY WORD transforms “This Beyond” into Creation.

Soul of mine “awaken” to the THUNDER of the WORD,
Remember the WORD that “Has Stopped” in you,
Utter the WORD that was GIFTED at your “Birth” to you.

*

The WORD is the POWER that turned “unbeing” into Creation,
The WORD is the POWER that KEEPS Alive the Being of Creation,
The WORD is LITURGY and HOLY COMMUNION,
The WORD is LOVE and MEETING.

The WORD can be “hurt”,
Yet the WORD cannot ever “die”,
The WORD can be “locked in”,
Yet the WORD cannot ever be “killed”.

The WORD can be “hidden” by “darkness”,
Yet He can never be “destroyed”.
The WORD can be “forgotten”,
But He is always RESURRECTED.

*
Sin ever “attempts” a destruction of the WORD,
It Crucifies and buries the WORD into the earth,
Yet the WORD even more Radiant RISES,
As the Lie betrays itself alone after it arises.

*
LORD, with my “sins” I have Crucified Thee,
With my “sins” I have hurt Thee …

I am frightened to see Thy flowing Blood…
I cannot help shivering and crying as I see Thee GOD…
I have abused and spit Thee,
I am ashamed and feel so guilty …

Yet THY EYES are Mild and FORGIVING,
Although with Tears of blood they are weeping…
Come down from my Cross,
For my Heart does Break and Toss…

Lord stop Thy Crucifixion thus in me,
It is such suffering “as cannot be”…

*

O LORD, I also want to be a FOLLOWER of THINE,
Self-OFFERING I Crucify myself Akin to Thee,
Beside THY CROSS Receive this Cross of mine,
Beside THEE I shall suffer any “spleen”.
My sins do crucify me as was once the “thief”,
Yet like the “thief” I also utter:
“Receive, my LORD, my Cross BESIDE THY CROSS”.

O LORD, my Cross does hold within the POWER of THY CROSS,
And by THY CRUCIFIXION I “can” crucify myself as well,
And by THY VANQUISHMENT I can thus also “vanquish”.

O LORD, my Being Weeps for all its sins and guilt,
Yet it is filled with the HOPE of THY RESURRECTION.
And in my Being I still do Crucify Thee,
Yet in THY Crucifixion Thou dost Rise.
O, Tears of penance mixed with TEARS of LOVE.
FORGIVENESS MEETING RESURRECTION thus in MYSTERY.

*

Death and RESURRECTION meet on CHRIST’S CROSS
Guilt and FORGIVENESS UNITE on the CROSS,
From Heaven GOD has DESCENDED down to us.

*

O GOD FATHER, what canst THOU See?...
THY SON crucified, full of Blood and killed…
This is too much…this cannot be…
Thou Wants to Raise THY HAND thus with a “curse”…
But TEARS are DROPPING on the DEAR and breathless BODY
FORGIVENESS and Justice are now struggling…

From Beyond “death” the SON ASKS Thee in a terrible VOICE:
“MERCIFUL PARENT for MY SAKE BE FORGIVING,
In MY CRUCIFIXION my Brothers of Creation I do FORGIVE,
THOU in MY LOVE BE the RIGHTFUL GOD…
Let MY LOVE of FORGIVENESS and RESURRECTION
Be the SECOND Birth and Creation.
MERCIFUL PARENT BLESS MY SACRIFICE,
Let MY LOVE and the Love of CREATION Be ever in THY LOVE harmonised.

*

O, “Awesome” and unutterable BODY-SACRIFICE,
The HOLY TRINITY ITSELF is HERE to KISS THEE.
GOD the FATHER COMES to Embrace THEE,
The HOLY SPIRIT COMES with the Heavenly FIRE-the GRACE,
All “sins of the world” in THY BODY-SACRIFICE
Are now FORGIVEN and start “thawing out like ice”…

Heavenly Hosts do all surround Thee,
The Ranks of Saints bow down to Thee…
O, MOST DIVINE SACRIFICE-TREASURE,
All WORTHINESS and Virtue is in THEE.

The MOTHER of GOD, Fallen to GOD’S FEET,
Is PAINED to the very Depth of Her Being…
All Heaven and Earth HERE DO MEET,
GOD and Creation HERE UNITE.

The ALL HOLY TRINITY with the FIRE of DIVINITY,
For the SACRIFICE of FORGIVENESS and LOVE,
Again and Again DOES FORGIVE us all in Eternity!

O, CROSS, NAME full of Awe,
When CHRIST is Crucified on YOU,
All fear suddenly “wears through”:
The Torment of the Cross is thus Vanquished by Him.
O, CROSS most terrible SIGN of all,
If the LORD JESUS is on You,
He makes You be the GREATEST GIFT of LOVE.

Who has ever GIVEN more
Than the CROSS of CHRIST?...
O, CROSS, DIVINE LITURGY.

All the LITURGY of LOVE and FORGIVENESS
Is in the SELF-OFFERING of the CROSS of Crucifixion.
O, CROSS, SIGN and Terrible POWER,
In You all JUSTICE is Judged, as You tower,
By the ceaseless FORGIVENESS and LOVE of GOD
Of which JUSTICE partakes in OVERLOVE.

“Let us Lift up our Hearts” on the CROSS of LOVE,
Let us be THANKFUL through the CROSS of VANQUISH.
THY CROSS, LORD JESUS, is no longer “condemnation”,
It is LOVE and complete FORGIVENESS.
Unless we bear the IMAGE of the CROSS,
We will not have the IMAGE as a SIGN.
Through the IMAGE of the CROSS everything “BECOMES” LOVE and FORGIVENESS,
Through the IMAGE of CHRIST’S CROSS
GOD Himself doth Descend,
And Creation as upon a LADDER can ASCEND.

*

O, awesome and terrible MEETING
That pains you more than anything,
O, MEETING between “guilt” and FORGIVENESS…

O “Come ye all” and Eat from MY BODY,
Run not away from Me, I do not ask for your “guilt”,
I GIVE you all the more so my LOVE as a GIFT.

And thus I ask of you no more,
Come in MY LOVE when I CALL you …

In MY LOVE you can find
The REST for all those “weary”,
The Peace of all tormented and in toil,
The Comfort of those humiliated,
The FORGIVENESS that Brings back LOVE,
The MEETING with the HOLY COMMUNION….

The BODY and BLOOD of CHRIST on the “tree of the fall”
Transform the “serpent of death” into the IMAGE of RESURRECTION,
Departing from the “curse” of sin you thus return to LOVE,
It is the HOLY SUPPER, the Heavenly-Holy Communion.

In the HOLY SUPPER the Law is Transformed,
In the FORGIVENESS of MYSTERY and PEACE beyond word,
In the HOLY SUPPER WHOLENESS is fulfilled,
Here everything with LOVE is filled.

*

LORD JESUS, THOU GIVEST us THY FORGIVENESS to Eat,
And in this Forgiveness our Love we can Resurrect,
LORD everything is “thrashing about” in me,
THY DIVINE VOICE doth Thunder in me…
It is frightening to MEET THEE Directly…

*

What should we Beautify first in the DIVINE EUCHARIST,
GOD’S Descend to us or our Ascent into HIM?...
How ever to “speak of” This MYSTERY?...
And the WORD was Made Body-Creation (John 1, 14).
Now the Body is Made WORD,
O Mystery of DIVINE LITURGY.
Now are FULFILLED Those which “Will Come to Be”.
O, terrible LITURGISING,
O, GIFTING of LOVE awe-inspiring,
O, DIVINE JOY.

The LOVE of THY SON, DIVINE PARENT,
Doth MEET our “scanty” Love,
And both are BROUGHT before THEE as OFFERING and SACRIFICE…
Let us also become the BODY of CHRIST,
Through which we can also ASCEND “to THEE”,
O, ALL HOLY TRINITY.

ALL HOLY SPIRIT, DIVINE MAJESTY,
Please do Forgive our sins as many as they may be,
Bring down to us THY FIRE of GRACE without burning us,
Into the BODY of CHRIST do Transform us,
As once THOU didst when CHRIST EMBODIED in the VIRGIN.

Then the WORD was Made Body,
Now let the Body become WORD,
Then GOD Descended onto the Earth,
Now the Earth ASCENDS into GOD.

O, DIVINE SERVING of the LITURGY
Now there is FULFILLMENT, WHOLENESS in Eternity,
Glory to Thee ALL HOLY TRINITY, Glory, Glory to Thee.

*

Sin had brought only “death and suffering”,
And now JESUS Thou GIVEST us Thy RESSURRECTION.

*

The Mother of God does Beseech:
O, DIVINE Son and GREAT PRIEST,
As MOTHER of This Church I bring to Thee all these,
“Disgusted” with any of these do not be,
Do not let “lost” any of these,
For they are all my Sons and Brothers of THEE,
Please RISE them in THY CHALICE of DIVINE LITURGY.

*
DIVINE, ALL HOLY TRINITY,
I THANK THEE for Creating me.
I THANK THEE, O REDEEMER CHRIST
For to us the Mystery of the LITURGY GIVE Thou Dost
Through which we all can “cleanse” ourselves from sin.

I THANK THEE, GOD the ALL HOLY SPIRIT.

I THANK THEE, DIVINE PARENT
For as well “Receiving” me
As “a Son” belonging to Thee.
DIVINE, ALL HOLY TRINITY,
I THANK THEE.
The LITURGY of LOVE May always Be.

O, LITURGY, unceasing HEART in ETERNITY!



Published in the volume "Hesychasm", Platytera Publishing House, Bucharest, 2007, pp. 25+44. Translation from Romanian: Alice Butnar.

Copyright: Platytera Publishing House.

The Romanian (Original) Version can be found here.
The German Version can be found here.

joi, 17 februarie 2011

Ieromonk Ghelasie Gheorghe: "The Iconic RITUAL" (translation from Romanian by Alice Butnar)


Holy Virgin Maria with Infant Jesus, icon painted by monk Ilie




















O, MOTHER OF GOD, from Your Image,
A SPIRIT of Mystery is Born.
The ICON from ABOVE is in You,
For You Hold in Your Arms the DIVINE JESUS,
The Icon of below, of the Earth is in You,
For You are an Image of Creation,
And thus in Your ICON
God and Creation are Together.

O, SPIRIT of Hesychy,
That shows itself as Creation,
Gift presenting DIVINITY Embodied.

Kneeling before the ICON,
Before the Image of Mystery,
I am filled with the Consuming SPIRIT
And the most Purifying Fire.

GOD Becomes Created Being in the World,
While I, the worldly one
ASCEND into GOD.

This is the MYSTERY of my DESTINY.

O, ICON-IMAGE of the MOTHER OF GOD,
You open for me the DOOR towards GOD,
Who EMBODIES into the World,
For me also to Embody into GOD.

I am starting myself to see into the FIRST MYSTERY of Hesychastic LIFE:
ASCENDING towards GOD is the PATH of the Hesychy,
And the ICON-IMAGE of the MOTHER OF GOD
Is the LITURGY PROSPHORA
That opens Heaven’s DOORS.

O, AKATHIST OF THE ICON,
You keep singing in me, like a LITURGY,
That makes me also become
A LIVING Church.

And the RITUAL of MYSTERY starts working in me,
A RITUAL that gives birth to the SPIRIT of Hesychy.

*

The VENERATION of the ICON
Is a SPIRIT of great MYSTERY.

WORSHIP is like FLYING
For the LONGING Heart
That falls to GOD’S feet,
And then FLIES again high into the Sky,
FLIES in endless SINGING.


*

As I am kneeling before the ICON,
The INFANT CHRIST, that the ICON is holding,
TURNS the whole World into His Own ICON.

The VIRGIN-MOTHER is the ICON of the WORLD,
The INFANT CHRIST is the ICON of GOD,
And Their MEETING of MYSTERY
Endows the World with the DIVINE CLOTH.

*

Where could I find the IMAGE of the SUN
Wherein my Mind I could REST?
There it is, in the Arms of the ICON of the MOTHER of GOD,
In CHRIST, the DIVINE INFANT.

O, SUN of Great MYSTERY,
An Innocent INFANT-LAMB,
In Whom all the LIGHT
In HEAVEN and on Earth has GATHERED.

Hesychy, LIGHT of the EMBODIED DIVINE SUN,
MYSTERY of the ICON, Hesychy,
May Your SPIRIT COME in me as well . . .

Who may speak of the IMAGE of the FATHER?
The Only One Who may,
Is the IMAGE of the SON.

The SON is the WORD-LIKENESS,
Who is BORN from the FATHER,
The LIGHT-the SHOWING.

And also from the FATHER
Is BEGOTTEN the WARMTH, the IMAGE of the SPIRIT,
And Together with the LIGHT
THEY ARE the TRINITY Itself.

The SON of the FATHER’S IMAGE is Singing,
The SPIRIT of the FATHER’S IMAGE is Sealing,
Both in the Son and in the SPIRIT
The FATHER is RESTING,
And the FATHER, the SON and the HOLY SPIRIT
Are the UNITED TRINITY.

The FATHER, NAME GREATEST,
The SON, NAME DEAREST,
The SPIRIT, NAME HOLIEST.

To YOU, GOD TRINITY
All our WORSHIP.

*

Turn your Mind Infant,
Turn your Heart Infant,
Turn all your Senses Infant,
Akin to the INFANT CHRIST,
And along with the DIVINE INFANT
SAY the PRAYER of the HEAVENLY FATHER.

Who can take in all of GOD’S LOVE? . . .
Only His SON can.

And the LOVE of the SON, only Your IMAGE of MOTHER.

O IMAGE of Great MYSTERY,
You, IMAGE most CHOSEN,
Though an IMAGE of CREATION,
By Holding the Divine SON in Your Arms,
You become Venerated ICON:
Rejoice, O ICON of Divine Embodiment.

*

O GOD, my LORD,
When Thou dost SHOW Thyself to my Soul,
All lights grow “dim”,
And only Thou, the PERSONAL ONE,
Art PRESENT both inside and outside.

The Mind’s eyes close,
The body’s eyes as well.
Through the IMAGE of HYPOSTASIS
I myself can see Thee.

Mind’s eyes, close your thought-lashes,
Light, enter the sanctuary of “beyond”,
The Source of LIFE Itself,
Wherefrom everything can Spring forth,
Whereto everything can “return and rest”,
HE – the HYPOSTASIS, through Whom everything is,
And all exists in HIS SHADOW.

ICON, EYE of Mystery,
Through You LOOKS the very HYPOSTASIS of BEING,
That issues forth the LIGHT,
Which makes the UNSEEN Visible.

ICON, IMAGE Manifest,
You become the PLACE of Mystery,
Where CREATION can SHOW itself
As BREAD-EUCHARIST.

ICON EYE,
In You GOD can be SEEN
And at the same time we, Creation, can see ourselves
Beside GOD.

ICON EYE,
You are the CHURCH of Mystery,
Where the Mind kneels quietly,
As into an OVERHEART,
Where GOD’S HEART is BEATING
And where all the Hearts
Are also Beating, as they are Kneeling.

Supernatural PLACE of the ICON,
From here one can HEAR the DIVINE WORD
That You WRITE as into a BOOK,
TABERNACLE of the FINGER of GOD.

ICON, IMAGE and PLACE of Mystery,
Through You we can MEET GOD.

*

At one moment beyond time,
The SON Creates also an IMAGE of Son of CREATION,
Into which HE Himself EMBODIES
And comes before GOD the FATHER:
“FATHER, here I am, Thy SON
In TWO IMAGES at the same time,
As the absolute SON of BEING that Thou hast BORN,
And as the Son of Creation that I have Conceived.
Two IMAGES beyond confusion, but UNITED
In my ONE HYPOSTASIS of SON of Thine.”

And the FATHER BLESSES,
And the Image of the World starts “Being”.

*

I can no longer dwell in darkness,
Ghosts are torturing me …


LIGHT, where art Thou?

Am I truly blind,
Or is it night outside?

From this world full of sins
The SUN was taken away,
And you must go to the “Realm Beyond”,
Take the SUN into a VESSEL
And BRING it Home again.

There is a PLACE where you can find a LADDER,
The PLACE in the ICON,
With one end hung up in Heaven
And the other one on the Earth,
Down this Ladder the SUN is descending,
And as you are standing at the foot of the LADDER,
You must CATCH the SUN into a CERTAIN VESSEL,
Lest it should flow down relentlessly.

Take care to “guard” your Head and Eyes,
Your Mind should think no thought
And you should close your Eyes,
For a Great POWER
Radiates from the SUN,
And will “crush” your Mind and Body,
And through your Eyes it will “burn” your Body…

Stay prostrate, with Hands on your Chest,
Plug your Ears, in order not to Hear Him,
For His thunder and lightning is so loud,
That you shall not remain whole ….

O, what a miracle, a DIVINE INFANT
Is the Heavenly SUN!
He Peacefully Descends
Down the Ladder of the ICON,
He has Hands of LIGHT,
And with a Moving VOICE
He SINGS, inspiring awe:
“Our FATHER of us all,
Thou art the LORD of all LORDS,
FATHER, the ALL HOLY NAME,
From Thee everything SPRINGS FORTH”
And He keeps Singing
While DESCENDING
So low that He touches your very Bosom…
He wants to COME INTO your Heart,
But your Heart is too narrow,
And thus He Remains in your Palms …


You stand so still …
Afraid not to Lose Him,
Afraid you might get burned,
His VOICE somehow
Makes you also start Singing,
“Our FATHER Who art in HEAVEN”…

*

Down the LADDER of the ICON
The Embodied WORD has Descended
And has STOPPED …
And you are Glad and saddened
For He has Come to you, yet you cannot
Receive Him into your cramped and miserable Heart.

O, DIVINE Joy and sinner’s cry,
O, Heaven and hell together,
You are no longer split by the “abyss”,
The LADDER of the WORD is between you.

Thou, LORD hast Created me as Being,
And hast BLOWN over me the SEAL of Thy IMAGE,
Yet I stand “below” Thee,
And Thou must THEN COME into me
And I must Then Receive Thee,
For otherwise I remain “without” Thy Likeness,
That only Thou can GIVE me
As EUCHARIST,
Thy Eternal KINGDOM.

LORD, Thou hast BLOWN Thy IMAGE in me,
That is now WRITTEN, as once on Moses’ Stone,
Yet Thy Seal is only Thy SHADOW.

This Divine SEAL
Carries within the LONGING for Thee,
For MEETING with Thee,
For Thee to ENTER then into my Being,
Into my Heart-my Chamber most adorned.

*

Do not dare looking UP,
Do not dare lifting your Mind up to Heaven,
Behold Christ who is Descending
Down the Earth as a LADDER,
Keep your head bent,
Keep your Mind in prostration,
Put your Hands on your Chest
And cling on to the LADDER,
That has its lower end in your Heart.


The LADDER-CHRIST Binds Heaven to Earth.

He comes down the LADDER,
Your Heart is too narrow,
And cannot Hold Him,
Thus He stays at your Bosom
Like an ICON hanging at your Neck.

O, ICON of CHRIST
Sealed onto my Chest,
My Heart starts hearing
Thy Mystery of Son of GOD,
It can hear Thee Praying to the FATHER,
And thus it awakens in me
The LONGING for Prayer.

I do not dare do anything else
But the RITUAL of the ICON,
To Venerate the ICON,
To bend my Mind in prostration,
To hold the LADDER tightly to my Chest,
To cling to it desperately
When the “waves” of the passions within me
And the chasms of the world are eager to swallow me up.

O, ICON-LADDER of CHRIST,
O, GOD’S LOVE,
I Bear Thee as a priceless TREASURE,
And wait for my Heart to be able to
Open like a Tabernacle-Shrine,
Where I can RECEIVE Thee
And never lose Thee again.

O ICON, ICON
LADDER from Heaven to the Earth,
I hang You at my Bosom,
Where CHRIST the Mystery is dwelling.

*

Lord Jesus, “A Certain Word of Thine”
Is “the Holy Table and Gospel” in my Being-Soul,
Word that Thou hast Uttered when Thou hast Created me, Word-Altar Image of God.
And this “Word of Mystery” through the Calling-Prayer of Thy Name
“Becomes Liturgy-Eucharist” in the Church of my Being,
The Communion of the Holy Trinity of Whose Great Priest Thou art.



Published in the volume "Hesychasm", Platytera Publishing House, Bucharest, 2007, pp. 49-60. Translation from Romanian: Alice Butnar.
Copyright: Platytera Publishing House.

The Romanian (Original) Version can be found here.
The German Version can be found here.

marți, 15 februarie 2011

HESYCHASM. THE MYSTICISM OF CHRISTIAN LITURGY. The Beginning of Christian Liturgical Language (translation from Romanian by Simona Ionescu)






















2. The Beginning of Christian Liturgical Language

Hesychasm is the Holy Mystery of the Word-the Son of God descended into the Creation. The Christian Revelation speaks of the mystery of the Holy Trinity as Divine Life in Itself.
God the Father is the absolute LOVE, the Holy Spirit is the absolute AFFECTION-the Memory in Motion of the LOVE, and the Son is the absolute DEVOTION-LITURGY-EXPRESSION. Here is the origin of all origins. Christ Our Lord comes with the revelation of this IMAGE of God. ''He who has seen Me has seen the Father'' (John 14:9). The Son is the Word of the Father. ''In the beginning was the Word'' (John 1:1). Hence the Image of God is DISCOURSE-EXPRESSION-LITURGY.
Here the Hesychastic Mysticism identifies its existence. ''TO BE'' means ''TO EXPRESS-TO SERVE LITURGY''. The WORD is IMAGE-PERSON; Christianity comes with the rediscovery of the Image in itself, which means PERSON. The First Christian Liturgical Word is IMAGE-PERSON. Hesychasm is the Mystery of the COMMUNICATION IMAGE-PERSON, as a PERSON to PERSON. The Fall from Grace darkens this Existential Communication. The Mystery of the IMAGE-PERSON is the TRIPLE EXISTENCE IN ITSELF, the IMAGE is Absolute Existence-Totality of the self, indestructible Permanence in an endless opening of the self. The IMAGE as Wholeness is the TRIPLE EXISTENCE OF THE SELF, as ONE Who is already open in Itself as a Potency of Self-expression.
The absolute IMAGE is God the FATHER, Who is already in Himself the IMAGE-FATHER-TRIPLE EXISTENCE, as a Potency of the Proceeding of THE HOLY SPIRIT and the Nativity of the SON. Hence the IMAGE or PERSON is inherently IMAGE-TRIPLE EXISTENCE of the Self. And God's IMAGE Descends into the Creation through the PERSONAL IMAGE OF CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD. ''He who has seen Me has seen the Father'' (John 14:9).
The Second Christian Liturgical Word is PRIESTHOOD, meaning the descent of God's IMAGE into the Creation. Hence the connection made by Christ's PERSONAL IMAGE. Therefore the fundamental Christian LITURGICAL IMAGES are the IMAGE-PERSON, PRIESTHOOD-CHRIST, and Church-Creation. From this further generate all the other Liturgical Images. It is worth mentioning that at the basis of the LITURGY of these IMAGES lies the LITURGICAL RITE, THE IMAGE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Divinity in Itself is the absolute HOLINESS, God the FATHER in the RITE-MOVEMENT-GESTURE of the Holy SPIRIT, as a LITURGY OF THE SON. This IMAGE of Divinity in Itself, that is beyond all the Images of the Creation, Descends into Images of the Creation through the Creation LITURGY SERVING of the Very LITURGY of the SON of God. Hence the Hesychastic experience is HOLINESS-IMAGE OF GOD in the RITE OF GRACE-IMAGE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT through the LITURGY OF CHRISTIAN EUCHARISTIC PRIESTHOOD. The Hesychastic
experience is a relentless extension of RITE and CHRISTIAN LITURGY. Hence the so-called 'Ladder' of Mystical Hesychastic Liturgy Serving.

a) IMAGE OF GOD, beyond all Images, yet the generator of all Images;
b) IMAGE OF CHRIST-IMAGE of God descended into the Creation, PRIESTHOOD-CHRISTIAN LITURGY;
c) Image of Created Being, the Church;
d) THE RITE-Liturgy Serving in the Creation;
e) THE HOLY COMMUNION-EUCHARIST-UNION between God's Image and the Image of the Creation;
f) THE TRANSFIGURATION-UNIFICATION in experiencing All of the Above.
The Hesychastic Experience is the experience of DIVINE LOVE felt by the Creation. Hesychasm is LONGING for God-Permanent SPIRIT in Itself in a Relentless LAMENTING-CHANTING-LITURGY SERVING. THE RITE OF THE SPIRIT-LONGING FOR GOD is the Heart of the Soul that relentlessly beats for GOD'S LOVE in the LITURGY SERVING-LAMENTING-BREATHING- EXPRESSION of the Soul directly.

O Lord JESUS, my Heart Beats in the RITE OF MY LONGING for You
IN LITURGY SERVING-HOLY EUCHARIST.
Come O Holy SPIRIT, dwell in me with the LONGING for God,
Come O JESUS, dwell in me where I may sing to you,
Come Heavenly FATHER, so I may fall into YOUR ARMS,
so I may partake of THE LAST SUPPER.


Published in the volume Ieromonk Ghelasie Gheorghe, "THE MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE OF THE DIVINE LITURGY", Platytera Publishing House, 2009, pp. 111-113. Translation from Romanian: Simona Ionescu.

Copyright: Platytera Publishing House.

duminică, 6 februarie 2011

Ieromonk Ghelasie Gheorghe: "Hesychasm, the Threefold Akathist of the Heart" (translation from Romanian by Alice Butnar)























In the Heart the Soul shows her Image and abides as in a barge,
From the Heart the Soul is spreading out her “Rays” as Body,
In the Heart the Soul Sings Divine Laud to its Creator.

From the Heart the Soul stretches out and Meets other Souls,
From the Heart the Soul opens up and pours herself out endlessly over the Heart,
Into the Heart the Souls Receives God Himself – as into a Church.

The Soul is our Created Substance of Being,
That has also an Energy that becomes Body,
As we are a Unity of Created Being that has its own Created Energies.

The fall from Heaven with the evil sin “splits us into two”,
Tearing asunder our Soul Being from its Energies, the Body,
Therefore, we seem made up of two estranged realities, which hate each other to death …

The fall also breaks us away from our Creator and makes us blind and mute, without the Holy Singing.
And the suffering of death and darkness frightens us ever.
And we wish to regain the Peace and Rest of eternal Life.

The Body’s Mind must be Sacralized through Christic Prayer,
The Body’s Senses must be Sacralized through Repentance and Fasting,
And the Spirit of the Soul must be awoken through the Lord Christ Coming into one’s Heart.

Hesychasm is thus a “Threefold Akathist” of Holy Prayer,
The Prayer of the Mind – in the Ceaseless Singing of the Divine Name,
The Prayer of the Senses – through Fasting,
And the Prayer of the Spirit – through direct Repentance of the Soul.

Come, Lord Jesus, into my Heart and awaken my Soul,
Come into my Heart and give Sight to my sin-blinded Eyes,
Come into my Heart, Lord Jesus, for my Soul to “Meet” Thee!

I make my Mind a Speaking Prayer,
My Senses I make Repentance-feeling Prayer,
My Soul I make Speaking-direct Communion with Thee.

Lord, Absolute Father, have mercy on me! – Forgiveness of the fallen Creation,
All-Holy Spirit, have mercy on me! – Spirit of the Praying Heart,
Lord Jesus, have mercy on me! – Ceaseless Prayer of the Heart...


Published in the volume "Hesychasm", Platytera Publishing House, Bucharest, 2007, pp. 61-62. Translation from Romanian: Alice Butnar.

Copyright: Platytera Publishing House.

The Romanian (Original) Version can be found here.
The German Version can be found here.

sâmbătă, 5 februarie 2011

Florin Caragiu: "Sentic" (poems translated from Romanian by Simona Ionescu) (I)


Photo by Diana Popescu




















nearfar

you love to sneak into the room when I’m not aware,
like I’m not aware of my past anymore
when I pass through a paper wall
upon which a maestro has retouched a familiar hatred.

notebooks fill up the stove.
newspapers will no longer talk about laws suspension,
as the night when we spread flowers on the seawall
and test the sand
does not repeat itself. that says a lot about love’s arrhythmia
you can’t deny, even though you are the target
of a tidy invasion, whose meaning changes
by choice with every abandoned house.

and I want you nearfar,
I shake my weaknesses off of you and let myself show.
but that unique night does not leave the corridor
you run through in broad daylight, away from the crowd,
to a place where you can start to make them out.


3:30 am

it´s cold and almost dawn. I am not battling evil, I am too beat up already
by the sadness of the cut-down apricot-trees. the serenity with which
I follow the floating sticks
leaves in me the fear of your unexpected arrival. I am ready to fight
before falling asleep, yet no challenge reaches up to me. I fight for you,
for the smoke black skimpily spent.

I withdraw when victory baffles me. that´s when I see
how much I´ve lost with one breath and that things cause my thought to surface. water remembers the constant circling
and the void left behind on your sudden departure.
I drink it in with the same thirst
I bump into words, when the support withdraws
and I bury your image in the garden for later,
when abandonment no longer threatens it. I get dressed slowly,
preserving the warmth of your lips. you can´t hear me, but you behave
as though you obeyed a calling from nearby. and we are now
miles and miles away, still it´s good to have some space
when you love. the number calculates nothing but the impact against the bulwarks, when the body is already half-buried in the ground
and only the song that emerges keeps you alive.


round years

a feet game tears up the round years and the nettle bushes,
gathers us around inside the resonance box of an image.

pretty soon we´ll all be the same age.
suddenly our houses will turn small to fit into the non-empty intersection
of the interiors reshaped after a form of freedom
that grind up the words until they sparkle
with the raw love wandering among us.
nothing compares to the trust you have in a face
that washes your blood in several waters – an evening and a morning.

you watch your food come out of inertia and shine
inside your hungry mouth, while you throw yourself on the ground
to erase the fingerprints with your borrowed breast.

we only have time to glance at each other,
when the sun rolls upon the sound attached at the ends by uvulae,
fearless of the epidemic of unreachable happiness.
while your sleep keeps the dolphins hanging in the air, you can wear your soul
on the side kissed by pain; the need to breathe
teaches me not to lose you in the crowd.

your name is an eye hidden inside me, each time I find myself
thrown to the beasts by a gentle light.


sentic*

with your hand on your heart, with both hands on your heart
in the short recess from pain, you mumble
a song. you look around and quiver. you see nothing.
the things that used to support the utterance lose their fixity,
the words eager to explore the possible
are hindered by signs. not that they stopped radiating
a dim light, but a man who cleaned up the spot ruined by addictions
turns his attention towards something you can´t see,
though you know it is happening. I can tell you now
that I didn´t love you. no, I did love you! yet not to the point where
the angel cuts the red scarf with which I tied up my senses.
they weren't free, they couldn't drag out of my mouth
the knife with which you smear the colors on your canvas.
they didn´t know that sins are hit by a sublime hatred,
generated by the loving care of a Being you don´t know,
although your moves draw a breath from around it
to the spot touched by illness. you´ve got to protect me
from far away, ask those who can to raise one hand,
then lower it slowly towards the heart.

_____________________

* Word created by Dr. Manfred Clynes, who showed that emotion – as a full human experience – can be an experience that does not subdue. In the Christian sense, we speak of an 'understanding emotion'. (A/N)


transfusions

however absurd it may seem,
many people expect from you
some sort of redemption.

your face reveals the way in which pain
keeps you glued to their bodies –
signaling you as a universal donor.

in vain you may try to demonstrate the opposite,
for your own hell itself
dreams of that
and takes the shape of the cross
which made room for you
to disrobe yourself of your mother.

more and more people
wish to test your soul
and thrust your words into their veins
like transfusion needles.



(poems published in the volume "Sentic", Vinea Publishing House, Bucharest, 2009, pp. 8-12. English translation: Simona Ionescu.)

vineri, 4 februarie 2011

HESYCHASM. THE MYSTICISM OF CHRISTIAN LITURGY (translation from Romanian by Simona Ionescu)























Motto:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)
In the beginning was the Liturgy (the Word), and the Liturgy was with God, and the Liturgy was God.


1. Hesychasm – Relentless Extension of Christian Liturgy

Hesychasm is a relentless Christian Liturgy in the chanting of the Heart's Mind and of the Soul directly. Hesychastic Prayer is the Chant of Relentless continuous Liturgy Serving in those who wish to be the Living Church of Christ. Hesychasm is Mystical Unification through Christ. Christ is Eucharistic Liturgy. Liturgy is in the Rite of the HOLY SPIRIT and in the Chanting of the Church. The Creation is Image of Church and God is the Image of Priesthood. Without Rite and Liturgy, the Church becomes desecrated to the point of laicization. Those looking for a profound Sacred Experience have found the 'Hesychastic Way'. Hesychasm is a relentless Extension of Christian Liturgy Serving. Hermits and monks have felt the need for a relentless experience of Christ's Liturgy. Nowadays more and more people, even those living in the world, wish for this Experience. That is why Hesychasm 'descends' into the world and becomes a way for many. Hesychasm is an Extension of Christ's Church into an Inner Church, in which the Extension of Christ's Liturgy is Served continuously. The Hesychastic Way is the same for all without discrimination. Many attempt a Christianity outside the Church. Be careful. The Church is the Dwelling Place of Christ's Liturgy and Christ's Liturgy cannot be Served outside the Church. The Image of the Church is the Image of the Creation in which God the Creator Serves His Liturgy of Creation, descending into the Creation and Giving the Creation the Eucharist of His Own Godliness. To receive God, the Creation must be a Church-Consecrated Temple of the Liturgy-Descent of God into the Creation. Hesychasm is the Mystery of Grace of Christ´s Liturgy in the Rite of the IMAGE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Hesychasm is the Sacred Rite of the Church of Creation precisely because it is the Descent of the Liturgy of Christ's Love into the Creation. Mysticism means Unification. Religion means connection with God. Following the sin of falling from Grace, the Connection with God weakens.
We break away from God, yet God never parts with us. That is why God relentlessly descends into the Creation through Christ's Liturgy. From the Christian perspective, our Created being is in the Image and Likeness of GOD´S IMAGE (Genesis 1:27). Hence, Hesychasm is the Mysticism of the Unification with God beyond the Created being. Christianity is not Pantheistical, but Creationist. Hesychasm means Unification first with God, through which our Soul will then distinguish itself. God Is the One Who 'Opens the Door' to our Soul, for He holds the Key... That is why Christianity begins with Receiving Christ, He then Accomplishing what we cannot accomplish. Christ descends into the Creation out of LOVE, LOVE is LITURGY. And so God's descent into the Creation is the descent of the Liturgy of His Love which becomes EUCHARIST-KINGDOM.



Published in the volume Ieromonk Ghelasie Gheorghe, "THE MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE OF THE DIVINE LITURGY", Platytera Publishing House, 2009, pp. 109-110. Translation from Romanian: Simona Ionescu.

Copyright: Platytera Publishing House.

The German Version can be found here.

joi, 3 februarie 2011

Ieromonk Ghelasie Gheorghe: "IMAGE and LIKENESS. The Song of the SON of GOD" (translation from Romanian by Alice Butnar)


Holy Virgin Mary with Infant Jesus, icon painted by monk Ilie




















O, Father, the Absolute IMAGE
Who art before everything else,
The UNBORN One
And the One Who BEARS everything,
Wholeness Itself,
To Thee
The first Honouring
In Devotion.

Thou art Reborn in me, Thy SON,
And Thou art PARENT and FATHER.
In me, Thy SON, Thou art Whole
And Thy Infinity Opens into
An Infinity
That Takes in all Infinity.

My PARENT, Thou art in Me
The Absolute LOVE
That BEARS me as Son,
Unending LOVE.

Absolute PARENT and FATHER,
In me, Thy SON, Thou art – once more –
And no one can Hold Thy Depth
But Thy SON Who can Open it.

All Thy Life is in Me
And My Life is in Thee,
O, LOVE,
Thou art the ONLY ICON IMAGE
In Thyself and Without.

*

FATHER, I, Thy SON,
Am the absolute WHOLE,
The One BORN of Thee,
And nothing else is needed
But the HOLY SPIRIT
Who is also Begotten of Thee,
The TRINITY of the absolute BEING,
THE ONE in THREE Undivided FACES,
And still I, THY Son,
Also Create an Image of Creation
In my Likeness,
Into which I Myself Embody,
And thus I Appear
Twice as Thy SON:
The ONLY BEGOTTEN
And the created One
In the SAME PERSON.

Receive, my PARENT,
Also my Image of created Son,
That I ever Lay Before Thee
As a GIFT of LOVE.

And more than this,
Through this Image of created Son
I also Create a World
That shall Sing Thy Name,
Which deserves
All Love and Worship.

*

I, the SON, the CREATOR LOGOS,
Have the absolute Origin
In Thee, absolute FATHER,
Of Whom I am BORN.

Yet as Son of creation
I also need a created Origin,
That is, the Image of Mother.

To Thee, my PARENT,
I bring my Song of Son in Himself DIVINE,
And at the same time I bring my song of Son of creation
To the Mother who gives Me Body,
Two IMAGES between Whom I am,
Two LOVES that MEET
And in my Image of Son UNITE.


Published in the volume "Hesychasm", Platytera Publishing House, Bucharest, 2007, pp. 89-91. Translation from Romanian: Alice Butnar.

Copyright: Platytera Publishing House.

The Romanian (Original) Version can be found here.
The German Version can be found here.

Ieromonk Ghelasie Gheorghe: "Primordial Memories" (translation from Romanian by Alice Butnar)


















1

The FATHER, the SON, the HOLY SPIRIT
Are GOD TRINITY,
One BEING and one NATURE,
The Absolute in Itself.

The SON says: “In our IMAGE
Let us also give Being
To a Created Image.
I shall endow it with the Image of the Son,
Thou, FATHER, as CREATOR,
Endow it with Being,
And Thou, HOLY SPIRIT, likewise
Endow it with Life.”

And thus TRINITY in Itself
Becomes in Creation
One more TRINITY.

2

“In the Beginning there was the WORD-the LITURGY.”
Before the beginning there was LOVE
With Its Mystery, the TRINITY,
That is BIRTH-the WORD,
That is the LITURGY.

Kneel BEFORE
The DIVINE ICON,
That is the LITURGY of LOVE,
THE IMAGE of our LORD CHRIST.

Take off the shoes of all worldly worries,
Bow your Forehead beyond “the floor of flesh”,
Step into the Bethlehem-Church,
Where the Lamb from ABOVE
Becomes also Earthly Liturgy,
For the World to be thus Born.

GOD’S LITURGY HEART is BEATING,
It is Beating both in Heaven and on Earth,
The SELFSAME HEART CHRIST,
ABOVE and Below.

Who can hinder LOVE,
Who can border it?

Behold the DIVINE LOGOS,
Who is both the DIVINE LITURGY in Itself
And the Liturgy of Creation.

The Mystery of Creation is full of awe,
For Thou, Christ, dost Liturgise it Thyself;
Thou dost EMBODY Thyself
And makest the whole World
Thine Own BODY,
So that through Thy Body we may also ASCEND
To GOD.

I myself, and each of us is
An IMAGE of Liturgy,
A Certain LOVE-WORD,
IMAGE in Eternity.

And Each of us is
Image of Creation and IMAGE of GOD;
Who MEET
Only in Thy Liturgical IMAGE.

Only in this IMAGE do I Find myself,
In my MEETING Thee,
In Thy Liturgy IMAGE,
MYSTERY of LOVE beyond words.

The LITURGY of LOVE
Never stops,
Hence it is the “HEART OF ETERNITY”,
The HEART in never-ending Beating
That never stops.

JESUS, Thy HEART is Beating
In GOD, in Heaven and on Earth,
In all the Hearts of the World,
CHALICE filled with BLOOD,
GOD’S BLOOD and the Blood of Creation,
That always in LITURGY
Become the EUCHARIST.

LORD JESUS, I myself Come
To the ALTAR of Thy LITURGY,
Where I offer myself up as a “Prosphora”
For Thee to LITURGISE it.

Do not be offended by my scanty Love.
Thou hast Created me out of THY LOVE
And the IMAGE of LOVE is SEALED
For Ever onto my Being,
Please make this SEAL into an ALTAR,
Where Thou shalt always LITURGISE
And Shalt Embody into my Being.

I have fallen out of Love
For my many sins,
And lie in the abyss of death,
But, LORD,
Receive me as a Prosphora
Of which please make a LITURGY,
And “Pour” into Thy CHALICE
Also a “drop” of my Blood,
For Thy LOVE and mine
To MEET again.

Thou GOD dost always
Bear us from Thy LOVE,
And Creation also keeps Bearing You,
And this MEETING LOVE becomes the EUCHARIST,
BREAD of Heaven and of Earth,
The WORD that was made FLESH.

DIVINE BREAD-CHRIST,
GOD and Creation in UNION,
Behold, this is the ICON that is no idol,
In which both the World and GOD Himself
REVERE at the same time.

Thou, LORD JESUS CHRIST,
SON of GOD and Son of Creation,
From the LITURGY OF LOVE
Thou Bearest the Church-the MOTHER of the WORLD,
Creation holding GOD into her Arms.

O, GOD’S LOVE full of awe,
How wondrously Thou dost become an Image of Creation,
For the World to also receive
The DIVINE Measure!

O, GOD, Thou hast taken BODY
For the World to ASCEND to GOD,
TWO LOVES that have Found each other
“Beyond the abyss of the Absolute”.

Therefore, the LITURGY OF LOVE,
The HEART of Immortality,
Must never stop.

If only once the LITURGY did stop,
Everything would at once “perish”.

LOVE is Ceaseless CELEBRATING of the LITURGY,
The Endless BIRTH of Oneself,
LOVE is the “Absolute RITUAL”
That becomes the EUCHARIST-GIFT.

What is more wonderful?
The EMBODIED DIVINE
Or Creation OVERCOMING Itself
In the DIVINE, Beyond all Created Image?
The DIVINE made Body is CHRIST,
The HOLY SPIRIT is over the Body,
And They are undivided,
They are at the same time and they are ONE.
Through CHRIST, the DIVINE becomes
The BODY of the EUCHARIST,
Through the HOLY SPIRIT, the BODY becomes
An IMAGE of GODLINESS,
CHRIST and the HOLY SPIRIT –
The CHURCH CELEBRATING its LITURGY.

A CERTAIN WORD of Thine
Has Created a Certain Soul of mine,
And the Two Images stand Face to Face,
As this is my Life,
To See myself in Thee,
Image and Likeness,
Without confusion.

I am first
A WORD of Thine,
Written into Thee, the BOOK of LIFE,
That Thou then dost UTTER
And present me as a GIFT.

The DIVINE WORD,
HEART of GOD,
BEATS in my Being,

When I hear this WORD,
My heart
Answers Likewise.

O, Mystery of UTTERING,
Mystery of BIRTH!

When I am worthy to HEAR the UTTERANCE
Of which I was Born,
Then I too, JESUS, shall become
“ONE BODY” with Thee.

3

LORD JESUS CHRIST,
ICON in Heaven and on Earth,
Thou art the IMAGE,
Through which everything was made.

The Mystery of DIVINITY
Is the Mystery of Thy BIRTH
From the FATHER, Who has no beginning.
And the Mystery of the World
Is also Thy Birth
Into an Image of Creation,
GOD and Creation
Equally.

The IMAGE of GOD the FATHER
Is beyond our Sight,
But Thy IMAGE of SON
Opens for us
A Window of Mystery.

O, IMAGE of the ICON,
Of GOD and of Creation,
Of Heaven and of Earth,
IMAGE and LIKENESS,
You deserve all WORSHIP!

4

DIVINITY Opens
The DOOR toward the World
Through the IMAGE of His SON,
In its turn, the World opens a Door
That allows GOD to be SEEN,
The Image of the VIRGIN MOTHER
Holding the DIVINE INFANT in her Arms,
The MYSTERY of the Icon of Creation.

Both Heaven and Earth
WORSHIP this ICON,
That allows everything
To come TOGETHER.

The VIRGIN-MOTHER
Is the ICON of the World,
The INFANT CHRIST
Is the ICON of GOD,
And their MEETING of MYSTERY
Bestows the World with the CLOTH DIVINE.

*

The ICON from ABOVE is within You,
For You Hold in Your Arms
The DIVINE CHRIST,
The Icon of Below,
Of the Earth, is also within You,
And thus in Your ICON
GOD and Creation are Together.

O, IMAGE of the ICON
Of the MOTHER of GOD,
You OPEN for me
The DOOR toward GOD,
Who EMBODIES into the World,
For me to also Embody into GOD.


Published in the volume "Hesychasm", Platytera Publishing House, Bucharest, 2007, pp. 97-105. Translation from Romanian: Alice Butnar.
Copyright: Platytera Publishing House.

The Romanian (Original) Version can be found here.
The German Version can be found here.

miercuri, 2 februarie 2011

Ieromonk Ghelasie Gheorghe: "At the Crossroad of BORDERLANDS of MYSTERY" (translation from Romanian by Alice Butnar)


















LORD, Thou hast Created
A World
Able to MEET Thee,
To LOVE Thee,
Thee, Who hast Created the World
Out of LOVE!

Yet the World below
Stands apart from Thee,
For between Thee and the World
There is a Borderland,
That DISTINGUISHES Creation
From its CREATOR.
A Crossroad of MYSTERY
That becomes
ALTAR
Of HOLY DEVOTION.
Where Thou Thyself dost Come
And CALL the World
To Come to Thee,
To CROSS the BORDERLAND,
Only if marked by Thy TRANSFIGURATION,
DRESSED in the CLOTH
Of MYSTERY.

Heaven Itself has got a BORDERLAND
It cannot CROSS,
Lest in the MYSTERY
Of Thy NAME,
That is BEYOND
All Names,
But which is “WHISPERED”
In Thy LOVE,
LOVE, which is the MYSTERY
Of Thy very NAME,
WORSHIPPED and Glorified beyond words
In all Heaven!

The Earth itself and all its Creatures
Has got a BORDERLAND of MYSTERY,
Where everything STANDS STILL
And becomes ALTAR,
Where LIVING SACRIFICES
Are OFFERED UP,
Which Thou LORD
Dost RECEIVE,
And in the BURNING of LOVE
Dost TRANSFIGURE,
And thus, the PASSAGE BEYOND,
Over the BORDERLAND
May “HAPPEN”.
The World cannot
PASS OVER the BORDERLAND of MYSTERY,
For it is Created Being,
But Thou Thyself dost
STRETCH OUT
Thy LOVE,
Which becomes
The PASSAGE over the BORDERLAND,
Where ETERNITY
Becomes
The MEETING,
The MYSTERY between
Thee and the World,
NAME-PROSTRATION,
LOVE-UNION above all
LOVE-STANDSTILL
FACE to FACE,
That Stops nevermore,
That ever BEGINS
And ever becomes
MYSTERY and Crossroad,
ALTAR and PASSAGE,
Endless LOVE
That brings everything TOGETHER.
GIFTS of COMMUNION,
BORDERLAND without STANDSTILL,
STANDSTILL without BORDER,
GOD and the World
MEETING!

*

LORD, here I am myself,
Standing at the BORDERLAND-Crossroad of MYSTERY
I can see the Heavenly PATH
With the NAME
Of the ONE Who EMBODIED,
The SON of GOD,
The WORD CREATOR,
Who RAISED the CROSS of the World
To the RESURRECTION of Eternity.
And thus,
With the DIVINE NAME,
With His DEVOTION,
Do I set out for the BEYOND,
In the Heavenly Unequalled LIGHT.


Here I am, my LORD,
At the BORDERLAND,
Where the whole Universe
Is FULL of Beauty
And sweet Scents,
That SPEAK of Thee.
Here where nothing may be broken,
I Caress everything with my hand,
And in whispers full of MYSTERY
I HEAR the DIVINE Singing!
Which PASSES me Over the BORDERLAND.
Here I stand at the Crossroad,
Where an ICON
STANDS LIGHTED by a Candle
That shall Nevermore Extinguish!
I Keep my Eyes Intent
On the IMAGE of MYSTERY
And WAIT
For it to LOOK at me as well …
The DIVINE NAME
Keeps echoing into my Heart,
In my Ears
I Hear the Whole World Singing,
The LOOK of the ICON
UNITES Everything
Into SOMETHING
Where GOD and the World
Can MEET
FACE to FACE.
And they nevermore stop this
STANDING STILL
That becomes ETERNITY,
And at the same time
The free unhampered PASSAGE
Into ETERNITY.

O, IMAGE of LOVE,
In You everything is UNITED,
You bring everything together,
O, ICON,
The BORDERLAND and CROSSROAD
Where all MYSTERIES
MEET
And PARTAKE
Of the HOLY SUPPER,
In the ETERNITY
Where there is ever BORDERLAND,
Where there is ever PASSAGE.


Published in the volume "Hesychasm", Platytera Publishing House, Bucharest, 2007, pp. 92-96. Translation from Romanian: Alice Butnar.

Copyright: Platytera Publishing House.

The Romanian (Original) Version can be found here.
The German Version can be found here.

sâmbătă, 22 ianuarie 2011

Ieromonk Ghelasie Gheorghe: "Man and Woman" (translation from Romanian by Alice Butnar)























A CERTAIN WORD of Thine,
IMAGE of the SON of GOD,
Creates from Its “RIB-NATURE”
A Certain Image of my Soul,
An Image of Created Being.

And if the Image of the SON of GOD
Stands afore,
The Image of Adam-Man is Born,
And if the Image of Creation stands afore,
The Image of Eve-Woman is Born.

Thus we have both a DIVINE Image and an Image of Creation
That are the Arche-Images of our Being,
Which then Configure us
As Centres of Personality,
Man and Woman standing equal.

Love is the Image of the Icon in Itself,
The Icon of God the Father for His Son
Through the Holy Spirit, Love also for His Son.

DIVINE Life is in the Love of God the Father for the Son,
Both the Heart of the Son and of the Holy Spirit are Beating with the Heart of the Father,
And the Icon of the Father’s Love is their One and Only Icon.

Creation Life is in the Mother’s Heart for the Son as well,
The Mother’s Heart being Likeness of the Father’s Heart,
Prostration that keeps Ascending and Descending endlessly...

Adam is the Image over the Image of Creation,
For Eve is coming forth from his rib, as the Child of Adam’s Heart,
Thus Eve has in her Heart Adam’s Rib-Child.

Adam does not celebrate a wedding of pleasure with Eve,
From the Image of the Father, Adam is offering his Son as a Gift
And Eve receives the Son in her Heart through Adam.

The Joy of Adam and Eve’s Meeting is not simply a pleasure,
It is the Sacerdotal Ritual of the Son’s Descent into Body,
Through Adam, the Priest, the Son-Eucharist is Born in Eve, the Church.

Through the Son-Eucharist, Adam and Eve Meet as Communion,
They do not each absorb into their singular Heart,
Which would mean the very killing of Eucharist-the Son.

Adam is the Priest who has in Himself the Power-Seed of the Eucharist,
And Eve is the Church-Chalice, the Heart Altar of the Eucharistic Son,
Both Adam and Eve Serve Together the Incarnation of the Eucharistic Son.

Adam is not “Eve’s Man”, but the Priest – the direct Image of God,
And Eve is not Adam’s “woman”, but the Church of God’s Incarnation,
They do not indulge in pleasure, but perform the Liturgy of the Son’s Eucharist.

This is why, after the fall from Heaven, Adam falls from Priesthood
And Eve falls from the Image of Icon-Church,
And their Service becomes a desecrate game without the Eucharistic Son, Who is forgotten.

Poor Adam, from Priest he becomes a theatre actor,
While Eve becomes a witch that steals Adam’s Priesthood,
For she declares herself the priestess of a magic that stabs the Eucharistic Child.

Horrible transformation of the Divine Liturgy into the killing of the Son!...
When Eve is the priestess, Adam’s very Life is sacrificed,
Adam’s Son is killed, while the blood is thrown away as garbage.

Thus after the fall, the Great Priest Christ Comes
To re-establish the true Priesthood, that is the Sign of the Son,
At the same time re-establishing the true Church, the Icon of the Mother of God.

With the Restoration of the Church, as the Icon of the Mother of God,
The witchcraft of the magic priestess is abolished,
And the true Eucharistic Liturgy through Christ the Risen – is celebrated.

Christ’s Liturgy is no longer a Bloody Sacrifice,
Eve no longer kills the Son of God,
But the Son of God Resurrects the very Mother of the Church.

If Eve has the Fate of Bearing the Son of God,
And the fall turns her into the killer of this Fate,
The Son of God Himself Comes to give Eve a new birth, as the Mother of God.

“Mother of God, You bring on the Restoration of Creation,
Through Christ’s Incarnation You have become the Heavenly Mother – the Church,
And through the Church, Creation is Reborn to eternal Life!”

“Mother of God, You have Reborn the lost Icon-Image,
You have Reborn the Church of the Son of God,
I Worship Your Icon, for You Truly carry God in Your Arms.”

Woman, you are the Church of Adam’s Priesthood,
The Fate of the Incarnation of the Son of God through Adam,
Do not be the killer of your own Church, of God and of Adam,
Woman, do not kill Adam’s Priesthood by your witchcraft,
Adam, do not kill Eve’s Church by your desecration,
You should both be the Church and the Priesthood of the Son’s Incarnation!

The Fulfillment of woman’s Love is not man, but the Son,
And the fulfillment of man’s Love is also the Son.
The “void” of the Son brings about only killing and dissoluteness.

The Fulfillment of Creation is God’s Love
While in the “void” of God’s Love arises only hatred-negation,
In the “void” of God Creation destroys itself.



Published in the volume "Hesychasm", Platytera Publishing House, Bucharest, 2007, pp. 106-111. Translation from Romanian: Alice Butnar.

Copyright: Platytera Publishing House.

The Romanian (Original) Version can be found here.
The German Version can be found here.

Ieromonk Ghelasie Gheorghe: "LIKENESS – FRUIT of the IMAGE" (translation from Romanian by Alice Butnar)















A CERTAIN WORD of Thine,
SON of GOD,
Has Created Each of Us,
IMAGE and LIKENESS.

The WORD, Thy IMAGE,
Is Sealed onto our Created Image,
And we are all
In-between two Natures,
Between the OVERNATURE of the CREATOR IMAGE,
And the Created Nature,
Without confusion.

IMAGE and LIKENESS.

Each of us is like a TREE
With its own Nature,
Yet with its Roots fixed
In the IMAGE of GOD,
And the FRUIT of the TREE
Is this very UNION
Of IMAGE and LIKENESS.

The TREE’S Nature is drying out
Without the IMAGE of GOD,
For only together,
Without mingling,
Are they Life and FRUIT,
IMAGE and LIKENESS.


Published in the volume "Hesychasm", Platytera Publishing House, Bucharest, 2007, pp. 110-111. Translation from Romanian: Alice Butnar.

Copyright: Platytera Publishing House.

The Romanian (Original) Version can be found here.
The German Version can be found here.

vineri, 21 ianuarie 2011

Ieromonk Ghelasie Gheorghe: "HESYCHASM, Seeing through the LIGHT of GRACE" (translation from Romanian by Alice Butnar)



















I am trying to regard
Thy FACE just for a moment...
Yet in this DIVINE RADIANCE,
My Creation Eyes
Can no longer see...

LORD, Thou dost keep telling me:
“My LOVE
Is in the SHOWING of My FACE.

Do not close your Eyes,
Try looking at Me,
The JOY of LOVE is
In the LOOKING of the Eyes.

If you only knew what JOY there is
In the FACE of the One you see,
You would keep your eyes open for ever.”

But LORD, I cannot look at Thee,
Thy RADIANCE is blinding me...
Lay Your GRACE
Between Thee and me,
GRACE ITSELF is so RADIANT,
That I fall at Thy feet,
And only from time to time
Can I lift my Eyes,
And almost blinded by LIGHT
I lower my Eyes again,
With the DIVINE LONGING for Thee,
That makes me again and again
Dare look at Thee...

Created Nature is “melting away”
When FACING the UNCREATED,
And only through GRACE may be
Regarded that which is BEYOND Creation.


Published in the volume "Hesychasm", Platytera Publishing House, Bucharest, 2007, pp. 110-111. Translation from Romanian: Alice Butnar.

Copyright: Platytera Publishing House.

The Romanian (Original) Version can be found here.
The German Version can be found here.

vineri, 24 decembrie 2010

The Dialogic Perspective of Language in Artificial Intelligence and Christian Theology


Florin CARAGIU
Mathematician and master student in theology,
Universitatea din Bucuresti
Theology Department
Str. Sf. Ecaterina nr. 2, 040155, Bucharest, Romania
Email: editura_platytera@yahoo.com

















Adrian LEMENI,
Associate Professor, PhD
Universitatea din Bucuresti
Theology Department
Str. Sf. Ecaterina nr. 2, 040155, Bucharest, Romania
Email: adlemeni@hotmail.com























Stefan TRAUSAN-MATU
Professor, PhD, engineer
Universitatea Politehnica Bucuresti
Computer Science Department
Splaiul Independentei 313,
Bucharest, Romania
Email: trausan@cs.pub.ro

















Abstract: In a Christian view, consciousness, memory and language are three interpenetrated modes of the human being that indicate the relational and dialogic ontology in the created realm. We make a short introduction to the problem of language in artificial intelligence, distinguishing two basic classes of languages: dialogic and monologic. In the same time we indicate the growing non-reductive tendency in the sciences stimulated by the failure of the programmatic strivings to reduce language and consciousness to artificial intelligence. The recognition of limits is regarded as a most important step towards the healing of the artificial split between theology, philosophy and sciences. As the language of theology is integrative, we present first shortly a recent triadologic and iconic approach to the theology of person, self and soul, made by the Romanian Father Ghelasie of Frasinei. As regarding the human knowledge, the distinction between the created and the uncreated reality and the distinction between being and energy asks for a double methodology seen in a unitary way. The synthesis of St. Gregory Palamas from the XIV-th Century on the distinction between being and energies in God is translated also at the anthropological level. As a consequence we can talk not only about a divine apophaticism, but also about an apophaticism of the human being, person or soul relative to the field of its energetic reflections. This can be read also in terms of a revelatory distinction between language and thinking. In this perspective, language is affirmed as the apophatic or holistic source and generative-model for thinking, provider of the concreteness that actualizes and fulfils the discourse of thinking. In the last part of our article we present an important non-reductive trend in the contemporaneous research, the growing tendency to affirm a unitary non-reductive and non-separating view in gnoseology. In the current mainstream of thought the ontological unity of the world is affirmed (Planck, Prigogine). The interpenetration or inseparability without confusion between theological and scientific language is brought into light in the plane of philosophical or meta-physical reflection by personalities as Heisenberg and Weizsäcker. Christian thinkers speak of an open epistemology (Torrance) or an existential and relational ontology corresponding to the ontological monodualism required by the substantial distinction and the onto-iconological relation of interpenetration between the created and the uncreated realm (Nesteruk). We follow the classification of sciences, made by Jean Ladrière, in: formal sciences represented by mathematics and logic, empiric-formal sciences built on the basis of models given by physics and hermeneutic sciences that are interpreting the signs and symbols from a written or spoken discourse. The irreducible contextual dimension of language makes manifest the living personal presence implied in it with all its relational background and openness. The distinction between a natural language and an artificial one is highly relevant for our evaluation of the dialogic perspective of language in artificial intelligence and Christian theology.

Biographies

Florin CARAGIU

He graduated Pure Mathematics (1993), with the paper: Chromatic polynomials and applications. and Orthodox Theology (2006), with the paper: The Iconic Anthropology of Fr. Dumitru Staniloae. From 2006 is a master student in „Dogmatics and Culture”, Faculty of Orthodox Theology, Bucharest University. From 2003 to present is the Executive Director of “Platytera” Publishing House, Bucharest. In the period of time 1994-2005 he was a Teaching Assistant at Department of Mathematics, “Politehnica” University Bucharest. He published many articles in mathematics and on religion. He also wrote or edited several books on religion. We mention here: “Ghelasie the Hesychast” (Platytera, 2004) and “Iconic Anthropology” (Sophia, 2008).

Adrian LEMENI, PhD

He is associate professor in the Dogmatics and Fundamental Theology at the Faculty of the Orthodox Theology, University of Bucharest. He was between 2005 and 2007 the State Secretary for the Religious Affaires in the Government of Romania. He graduated the Faculty of Mechanics, Timisoara Polytechnic University in 1995, and the Faculty of Orthodox Theology, Bucharest University, in 1998. He has a PhD (2002) in the Orthodox Theology and post-doctorate studies at the Catholic Institute of Paris. His publications are: The Orthodox Theology and Science (written with Pr. Razvan Ionescu, 2007-second edition; 2006), The Eschatological Sense of Creation (2007-second edition; 2003), Science and Religion (2001, co-author), studies in different volumes and reviews. Involved in the science-religion research.

Stefan TRAUSAN-MATU, PhD

He is a full professor at the Computer Science Department of the “Politehnica” University of Bucharest, and principal researcher I at the Institute of Artificial Intelligence of the Romanian Academy. He was the head of the Expert Systems Laboratory at the Research Institute for Informatics, and associate director of the Romanian Academy Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence. He graduated the CS Department of Bucharest Politehnica a University in 1983 and got his PhD in 1994. He was a Fulbright post-doc at Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA. Prof. Trausan-Matu was invited professor, member in conferences committees and lectured in USA, UK, France, Norway, Switzerland, Italy etc. He published 11 books, 11 book chapters and over 150 papers on Artificial Intelligence, Human-Computer Interaction, Collaborative Systems, e-Learning, Philosophy, Psychology, and the orthodoxy-science relation.
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Introduction. Language in Artificial Intelligence

One of the most used clichés of the last centuries is the imagined necesity of a separation between science and religion. A subsequent idea is the consideration of religion as falling into “desuetude”. A normal consequence is the idea to try to create life through artificial, “scientific” methods. This latter idea seems to be a myth appearing recurrently in history under different shapes: the golem, different kinds of mechanic birds or Frankenstein. In the last century, this theme even entered into the most prestigious scientific circles under the form of the idea of building humanoid robots, or, more general, artificial intelligence (AI) or artificial life.

In a first approximation, artificial intelligence is a research sub-domain of computer science that aims at developing (computer-based) machines that could carry out tasks that, if performed by a human, would be characterized as requiring intelligence. This goal is many times extended to include all psychological dimensions of a human being: learning, emotions, intentions, even language understanding and consciousness.

Nevertheless, the reality shows that the ideal of obtaining a total artificial intelligent being or artificial life are far from being reached. Even if artificial intelligence has indubitable achievements in the last fifty years, in spite of all previsions, the envisaged humanoid robots and many of the long boomed applications were not obtained. Other domains of science and technology have achieved remarkable progresses but it remains still a mystery what is actually life, what is particularly common to living beings. Even the controversial cloning is not really obtaining artificial life but a genetic manipulation of life for procreation.

There were attempts to implement creative, conscious or intentional computer programs (or robots), but the results are very far from the expected results. Moreover, even psychological processes that could be considered “simpler” and were implemented in computer programs, like perception, reasoning, recollection, learning or natural language understanding are not similar to the human case. For example, perception depends many times on expectations, human memory often implies restructuring, reformulation and abstracting and probably the most problematic “simpler” domain is natural language understanding.

The research domain called artificial intelligence appeared in the middle fifties, as the possibilities of electronic calculators encouraged optimist expectations due to the achievements quickly obtained. One expectation was, for example, that in maximum ten years it will become possible to realize programs for automatic translation from one language into another. Many tried to develop algorithms (sequences of operations) materialised in computer programs, based in principle on the idea of automata, a machine for the decodification of a formal language. This model was imagined by Alan Turing for the explanation of the concept of calculus and was used with great success during the war to break the german code “Enigma”. Later on it became the mathematical foundation (the so-called “Turing machine”) of the computers that in our days are household things.

Alan Turing was maybe the first researcher who raised the problem of the possibility to create an artificial intelligence using numerical computers. He proposed even a test for detecting if a computer program has achieved artificial intelligence: This test should verify if the program can enter into a dialog in the same way as a human does [1]. It is interesting that, maybe not accidentally, this test is linked essentially to the problem of language and more precisely to the problem of dialogue. Thus, a computer program with AI passes this test if it succeeds to dialogize with a human person so that the last cannot realize that the partner of dialogue is a machine (of course, in the absence of indications like a visual contact, that would betray the artificial nature of the interlocutor).

In fact, AI has been investigating for more than fifty years how the human brain is working and how we can imitate it. One of the most difficult sub-domains of AI is natural language processing, and, moreover, dialog systems are probably its most difficult application. Unfortunately for AI, after intense research, gains ground the answer that consciousness and language may be irreducible to brain states.

Until now, no machine or program has succeeded to pass the Turing test… To be objective, we should recognize that there are also remarkable results of AI, as for example the chess computer that defeated the world champion Kasparov, and many other accomplishments. Some of them have entered in the everyday life, as for example the programs that automatically compute the exposure of a digital photo camera.

Why did the machines actually fail to pass the Turing test? The AI experts in the natural language processing find various explanations: the ambiguity of the natural language, the use of metaphors, the mathematical aspects linked to the complexity of calculus, and so on. Actually the reasons of this failure are more deep and they reflect a reality present not only in the understanding of language but also in other strivings of IA, as for example the obtaining of an “artificial consciousness” or the creativity.

These problems encountered by the AI can be explained quite easy if we assume a Christian position. The creativity is a gift that makes us resemble to God the Creator. The language, the understanding and communication between human beings is also given in the divine image of the human being. It is clear then that a machine without Logos will not understand all that we could say and it will never have consciousness.

After about twenty years of AI research, in the middle seventies, the researchers arrived at the conclusion that, as opposed to the engineering domains, the most important thing in thinking is not the engine, the mechanisms as such (even if they are at their turn decisive), but the expertise, the experience, the knowledge, the content of the memory and, most important, the degree of structuration of this memory. In AI terms, the new paradigm considers as decisive the problem of the symbolic representation of knowledge and its storing in a kind of container, the so-called knowledge base. According to the new paradigm, when this base becomes sufficiently ample, the automatic, logical and inference mechanisms could deduce everything… As a consequence, another wave of enthusiasm arised, with very optimistic previsions regarding the next ten years. But this also came out to be something illusory, as Winograd and Flores [2] remarked.

The problems were not solved but, on the contrary, other new problems were encountered, new unavoidable barriers appeared, that seem to be decisive. For example, one has to find modalities to build the knowledge base for the intelligent problem solving and this would need to understand the language, to learn and acquire new information. Furthermore, the idea of transferring knowledge from man to machine proved to be naïve, as in fact is practically impossible to ask someone to specify what knowledge does he use to solve a problem.

Winograd, Flores, Dreyfus and others have concluded, from a philosophical hermeneutic standpoint, that the range of possibilities of AI is limited by the fact that the understanding of reality can be made only as a result of a life experience in the middle of the everyday practical activities. This point of view is actually one of the most important elements in the philosophy of Heidegger, who affirmed that is necessary “to-be-in-the-world” if one wants to understand intentionality [3].

Terry Winograd, one of the pioneers of the use of AI for the understanding of human language, fifteen years after his most important contribution in AI, affirmed that the AI programs will never understand the natural language [4], and in their behavior will never go beyond a level similar to bureaucracy. The bureaucracy is indeed useful for many classes of complex problems because they eliminate the necessity of complex reasoning due to the existence of a repertoire of precise rules that are to be applied. However, as every bureaucratic enterprise, the AI programs have the great handicap that they miss the feeling of implication [5], consciousness, understanding, empathy or, I would add, love for the neighbor.

As an alternative, Winograd proposes a constructivist-hermeneutic approach [6], so that one should take into account the contextual relations and references. It is yet very difficult, observes Winograd, to build programs that go beyond bureaucracy and imply in the problem resolution. One arrives hereby to the problem of the predictability of these programs’ functioning [7]. This last problem is linked with the problem of the free agency and the problem of the “ethical” filter (the acknowledgement of what is “good’ and what is “not good”), by means of which one can distinguish what goals should be retained from those generated by an intelligent program [8].

Another serious problem encountered by those who wish to construct AI (a problem we would liken with the story of the Babel Tower) is the so-called syndrome of complexity [9]. The AI developers reach a stage of combinatorial explosion, in which they must choose a case from a number of possibilities, choice that leads to other choices that depend on it and so on, driving to a number of possibilities that grows exponentially. This problem appears, inter alia, in the resolution of problems that are easy solved by the human beings, as for example the understanding of the natural language. The symbolic approaches to the understanding of human language use techniques based on the so-called “unification”. In other words, one tries to find two symbolic configurations that, through particularizations, become identical. These techniques lead, usually, to combinatorial explosions that make them impracticable on a large scale.

We could say that man is endowed with this kind of “ethical” and other intuition filters that enables fast decisions and a “sense” of coherence that could be not obtained on artificial ways. From a Christian standpoint, however, we would add that what is missing is even the Logos – God and incarnated Word. The desire to build a framework close to the divine Logos leads to a situation in which the language, the communication is no more a clear and open one, but we are caught in the brakes and conglomerate of words and meanings, as in the story about the confused languages at the Babel Tower.

The understanding of the natural language, spoken currently by the human beings, appears to be an essential subject in the artificial intelligence. The problem of language was also a constant thema of debate in the philosophy and the linguistics of the XX-th century. The two main streams, the analytic philosophy and the hermeneutics have as principal object of investigation the language. The structuralist current, one of the predominant paradigms, not only in linguistics but also in many other sciences, affirmed the possibility to describe the language through fixed structures. That is maybe the reason why Saussure [10], the promotor of structuralism, refused to take into account the spoken language, engaged in a permanent process of change, in favour of the written language, that is practically static. He affirmed also the pure arbitrary character of words, seen as signs, as form devoid of content. The structuralist conception belongs to the (neo)positivist current in which one tried to reduce everything to descriptions independent of the human subjectivity. The metaphysics and the religion were considered stages in the history of humanity towards the ideal peak where all is based on science, having as model mathematics and physics.

A quite different conception, arising from the Christian orthodox landscape of the XX-th century, in which the russian theologues had a remarkable contribution, belongs to Mihail Mihailovich Bakhtin, a russian philosopher, linguist and philologist. Although the explicit references to his own religious view are minimal, quite possible because he lived in the communist regime, was arrested and imprisoned, and seemingly he had to write under pseudonyms (for example, Voloşinov or Medvedev), Bakhtin’s work is strongly impregnated with the Christian orthodox spirit [11]. This fact appears clearly in the analysis that he makes to Dostoevsky’s novels. He remarks the profoundly Christian ideas of the great writer, affirming that “in every human being there is something that cannot be unveiled but from himself in a free act of the self-consciousness and of his word, something that cannot find an outward description in a definition formulated by someone else” [12].

Moreover, Bakhtin rises the dialogism to the status of a fundamental principle: “... the true life of a personality is accesible only in the case of a dialogic in-going, answering it by a free and un influenced answerability” [13]. The word has a dialogic nature [14], and the dialogue is definitory for the human cogitation [15]. The central role of the word with a dialogic nature is one of the capital ideas of Bakhtin and should be understood in a more deep sense. Jesus is the image of the ideal man, the solution to the ideological interrogations, as Dostoevsky says (quoted by Bakhtin): “We should raise always the question: Are there my convictions right? The possibility to verify them is only one – Christ” [16]. Jesus is however the incarnated Word, according to the Gospel of John.

As Mihailovich emphasizes, for Bakhtin the word goes beyond the dimension given usually in the linguistics of the XX-th century and becomes an embodied word: “the participants to the bakhtinian dialogue become partakers, communicators in an Eucharistic sense” [17]. The word is seen in direct relation with the incarnated Word and the dialogue is seen as a unity realized between “two or more unfused personalities” [18]. This conception about the word has a Chalcedonian connotation, as Lossky remarked [19].

The dostoievskian novel acquires a unique, polyphonic dimension, in which Bakhtin discovers “the plurality of autonomous and unconfused voices and consciousnesses [20]. As Bakhtin is more and more appreciated for his innovating theoretical contribution in the philosophy and linguistics of the XX-th century, the presence of the Christian ideas in his discourse is especially meaningful. Moreover, it is extremely relevant that the interest for his view arises after many decades of positivist, structuralist and materialist approaches.

The discussion about Bakhtin’s work in the context of the AI research is not accidental… Firstly, his conception about dialogism, with the connotation of the embodied Word and of the autonomy in unity, offers a clear answer to the impossibility of creating with material, finite means a artificial entity capable to dialogize with us as one of our human fellows. AI neglects somehow the Christian dimension of the word, of the dialogue.

In the quest for the answer to “what is consciousness?”, Mikhail Bakhtin considers that you cannot contemplate or analyze other people’s consciousnesses as objects (we could add, as a “third person”, like science do). He considers instead that, in order to have a glimpse on other consciousnesses, you may only enter into a dialog with them [21] [1].

At the same time, independently of the Christian connotation (ignored usually by the lecturers as Bakhtin does not make it explicit), his ideas are used today more and more to the development of informatical systems [22].

In the above context, we can identify two basic classes of languages: monologic and dialogic. Monologic languages admit no ambiguity. For example, in science the ideal is to say something beyond any doubt or comment. In computer science programming languages, any ambiguity leading to the need of a dialog for clarification purposes is excluded. In opposition with the former, dialogic languages are open; they are supposed to encourage the entering in dialog and negotiation. In Orthodox Christian theology there are several ideas that are focusing on the dialogic perspective of the language, consciousness and soul. In fact, outstanding ideas of Bakhtin originated from the Eastern-Christian religious ideas [23].

Human language is gaining new value today, in the context of the Internet and of the World Wide Web. The use of textual communication and, especially the use of dialog, had a huge growth in emails, instant messaging (chat conversations), blogs, etc. However, even if software technology has become so tightly linked and useful to our lives, it has not succeeded to provide the needed tools for deeply processing human language. For example, there are not satisfactory computer programs able to enter into a real dialog with us or even able to do simple question answering or translation.

In contrast to human language, formal languages have a principal recurrent role in computer science. Any computer runs software, which is written in a programming language, a particular kind of language, which is imperative and formalized.

In this context it is not a surprise that Christianity and other religions gave a fundamental position to language, logos, textual interpretation, and hermeneutics. The Incarnation of the Word as mystery of creation, cornerstone of the communication and communion between God and creation, together with the inter-subjectivity specifically for the human being created after the image of God-Trinity, are the cornerstone of the theology of language. Concepts from theology (as for example communion, partaking, participation, interpenetration) have entered in the theory of discourse [24] and communication.

Resuming, in the decades that passed from the birth of AI, in the fifties, the initial enthusiasm has disappeared when unexpected complexities of human language were discovered, when it became clear that programs for language understanding must posses a huge amount of “commonsense knowledge” and, maybe the most difficult, that even the simplest dialogues imply context problems extremely complex.

Even if there are computer programs for translation, summarization and other powerful language processing, metaphors, poetry, jokes, and sometimes, even mundane dialogs, are hardly “understood” by AI programs. You cannot trust to use, without a validation, automated translation systems that are now available. Metaphorical texts are extremely difficult to translate by computers and it is not clear whether it will be much easier in the future. Even if the future programs will be able to translate metaphors (by storing large lists of usual metaphors, for example), it is a great challenge to say whether they will really understand or recognize a new metaphor. The case of poetry is even not taken into account by researchers.

More than that, the historical experience shows that the elimination of religion from the social life gives place to pseudoreligions, including here also the cult of dictators in communism or the divinisation of material substitutes as alchool, drugs etc.. That leads to distructive passions [25]. The striving to explain everything without recourse to the divine existence leads to paradoxes, to reasonings that enter in infinite cycles. The road covered by the artificial intelligence in the last fifty years reflects, in our opinion, the history of a failure that is easy to understand from a Christian perspective. Anyway, that did not block the AI researches and somehow in this failure we can see a good side because certain aspects not so easy to be perceived became us clearer… In this idea of creating artificial life the theologians will possible recognize the well-known sin to consider oneself like God as creator of life.


A triadological and iconic approach in the theology of Personhood

At the turn of the twentieth century, a Romanian Father has brought to light one of the most important synthesis of patristic theology, with prolifically generative implications as regards the dialogue between science and religion. Hieromonk Ghelasie of Frasinei (1944-2003) is a prominent representative and exponent of the Carpathian hesychast tradition. Metrop. Serafim Joantă writes: “Essentialy, in his writings, Fr. Ghelasie attempts to bring the Orthodox mystical tradition up to date through an iconic vision, by returning from scholastic theology to biblical-patristic theology. He grasps as no one has until now the iconic character of Romanian spirituality as an un-confusable seal of Orthodox Tradition in general. In his works one can follow a ceaseless striving to manifest and extend the liturgical way of Orthodoxy into mystical modes. An important contribution of Fr. Ghelasie consists therefore in his unfragmented, unitary vision of the Christian life. He approaches the connection between the liturgical life of the Church and the personal living of the mystery from many different angles. The very Liturgy of the Church is viewed according to its likeness of Divine inter-Trinitarian love”. [26]

Father Ghelasie acknowledges the restraints that inevitably occur in the dialogue of science with religion on both sides – theologians and scientists. The first party is “afflicted by the fear of science which desacralizes the mystery”, while the latter “are afraid of and associate religion to mystification.” [27] Father Ghelasie presents knowledge from a Christian dialogical perspective, as an integral knowledge, which allows the two distinct modes of knowledge to retain their specificity. Creation has an iconic and dialogic background on the divine support and in the orientation towards the participation at the divine mystery.

The dialogical character of knowledge is manifest on the level of the language of soul, as well as on the energetic level. Therefore, in a Christian sense, the dialogue between science and religion is indeed the expression of the unitary integrality of the Person and its relationships with God and the created world.

Ontologically speaking, the teachings of Fr. Ghelasie are profoundly personalistic and focus heavily on triadology, starting from the triadic indication of the Divine Person in Itself and its trinitary opening beyond Itself. This triadological vision is closely related to, is intertwined with the 14th century hesychast vision of the integrality of being and energies synthesized by Saint Gregory Palamas.

It is this very vision that is able to provide an answer to several important issues/problems that arise when philosophy and Christian mysticism and theology meet, namely:

• How, in what manner can we indicate the dynamism of the being in itself as a living being without reducing the being to the impersonal abstract principle of an immobile/static unity?
• How can we avoid conceiving of the energy as of a mechanical, automatic and impersonal emanation originating in the being?
• What is the dynamic personalistic term that mediates the relationship between being and its energies in such a manner that it does not imply a composition in God?
• How can we represent the relationship between being and hypostasis or person according to/ in accord, agreement with the Divine Revelation of the Trinity, so as to avoid monist or tri-theistic tendencies?
• In other words – how can we understand the integrality being-energies as a dynamic living unity from a theological person-oriented and communion-oriented perspective, considering also its mystical fulfillment?

We resume further the theo-anthropological view of Father Ghelasie presented in some of his fundamental works republished recently at Platytera Publishing House: Scrieri Isihaste (Platytera, 2005), Memoriile unui Isihast I, II (Platytera, 2006), Dialog în Absolut (Platytera, 2007), Medicina Isihastă (Platytera, 2007).

In his teachings, he offers from the very beginning a triadological approach to the Person. He literally updates, bringing into actuality fundamental patristic distinctions by means of a unifying Trinitarian and iconic vision. The Trinitarian representation of the Person disqualifies any attempt at representing being simply as an abstract and impersonal principle of unity.

In full agreement with the Orthodox, Eastern Christian tradition, this vision reveals the Origin of the Divinity in the Absolute Person, God the Father. The Person of the Father is in Himself a Trinity of (eternal) permanencies or integral divine modes which are essentially interrelated, interweaved and interworking, in interpenetration, beyond all attributes and qualities: Self-Spirit-Logos, Consciousness-Memory-Language, Peace-Movement-Repose, Subject-Being-Self, Icon-Face-Likeness, Totality-Unity-Equality, Icon-Model-Prototype etc.

The Trinity of Divine Persons is presented as the ultimate absolute eternal opening of God the Father – Who is the Absolute Arche-Icon, the Absolute Proto-Icon or Hyper-Icon. This very opening finds its full manifestation in the Birth of the Son and the Proceeding of the Holy Spirit. The above-mentioned triad of permanencies or integral modes – originating in God the Father – is bestowed upon the Son (through/with His Birth) and upon the Holy Spirit (through/with the Proceeding) fully and equally, in absolute terms. This triad indicates what is common from eternity to the three divine Persons. Each Person of the Holy Trinity possesses this triad in His personal manner but in the absolute Trinitarian Communion. Thus the Trinity – beyond the idea of number – represents the ultimate fulfillment/realization/consummation of the Opening of the Person of the Father, Who is the absolute “Principle” of the Unity in God. Father Ghelasie emphasizes thus the full accord and reciprocal affirmation in God of Person and Trinity.

We do not run the risk of reducing the Being to an abstract, impersonal principle precisely by overtly/openly declaring the being a permanence of Person together with the consciousness and the language and an integral mode that finds its Trinitarian correspondence in the Holy Spirit, the Bearer/Conveyor of Grace and movement within the Trinitarian interrelationships. Similarly, we escape the peril of identifying the terms “Being” and “Person”, precisely because the Being is considered a permanency, an integral mode that paradoxically contains within itself the whole Person. Due to this very association of Being and Movement in the Trinitarian communion – the Being is ultimately revealed as a “living Being”.

The Person is no longer regarded as a monadic singularity as such, for it gains a special dynamism. In God, the Person manifests by Itself and also within the Trinitarian communion movements of permanencies or integral modes, which emanate the uncreated Divine Energies. Grace is equally characteristic of all the Persons of the Trinity. It is reflected, it is emanated by the movements of the Person’s integral modes as such, and within the inter-personal communion. The Energies are by no means simply impersonal emanations of a static immobile being; on the contrary, they are the reflection of the movements originating in a living Being, a Being that is in itself alive. This is how the Trinitarian approach has managed to break through and find a path of mediation between these all too debated terms: “Being” and “Energies”, by means of the Acts and movements of the Person in Itself and beyond Itself in the absolute Divine Communion.

These divine acts/movements are indicated and explicated by the triad of love-communion-self-offering/giving. Between Being and Energies Father Ghelasie situates “the Act”. The energies originate in and emanate from the Act and return to the Act. As it is, etymologically speaking the word ‘energy’ (en ergon) means “[hypostasis] in work, in act”. As reflections of the Divine Act, the uncreated Divine Energies do not imply a composition within/in God, Who is fully present within/in His Energies. On the other hand, this vision is fundamentally supportive of the apophatism of the Person, which is mentioned in contemporary theology by theologians like Vasheslavtev and Staniloae. Thus the Mystery of the Person in Itself is not reduced to the energies of manifestation which describe strictly the movements and Acts of the Person. The Person is discoverable beyond mere energetic reasons by means of direct Communion. For the Person is to be apophatically discovered as love–communion–self-offering by means of the movements and interrelated intertwined permanencies.

The Being as integral mode, as permanence of the Person is also fully resonant with the Mystery of Incarnation. The Son of God assumes in His own Hypostasis the mode of created existence/ the created mode of existence, that is, His Icon which is created in the integrality of Being (i.e. soul) and Energies (i.e. energetic body).

The divine Grace is itself presented in a triadic way as information-energy-light, mind-senses-reason, and will-feeling-thinking – all being essentially divine. The Divine Persons, the Triads of the Person in itself and the movement energies are inseparable and in a constant/perpetual reciprocal/mutual inclusion and affirmation/assertion, so that we cannot talk about a composition when it comes to describing the One Living God.

The anthropological transposition/translation of the revealed Mystery of the Trinity happens/unfolds in light of the revelation that man is created in the image and likeness of God and also in light of the Divine Incarnation. According to Saint Maxim the Confessor, the Incarnation is generally regarded/deemed as a Mystery of Creation and of the journey that the Creation embarks on in order to reach its transfiguration in the unity with God.

Father Ghelasie presents the Creation of the world from a liturgical perspective as to the (atemporal) Trinitarian counsel about the creation before the very birth of time/act of creation. The Creation is the Gift that the Son presents to the Father. The Blessing of the Father bestows Being onto the Creation and the Breath of the Holy Spirit confirms the Gift of the Word, it endows this Gift with life.

The Creation bears the seal of the Divine Act, which is imprinted in its very Being through the Divine word and Divine breath of life. The Divine Icon of God indeed marks man’s own Being, for man is the creature that allows the creation to be united with God in Christ. The seal of the Divine Icon and Words represents the inescapable participative condition of the ontology of creation. By means of this seal the created reality is grafted on the Mystery of the Son of Man, which the Son of God takes upon Himself/assumes in the very divine counsel about creation. The duality of God and Creation is under no circumstances a duality of contrary realities, but an iconic and dialogic duality that is liturgically oriented.

The Act of Creation initiates a dialogue and an iconic orientation that encouragingly guides man towards participation, an invitation addressed to the entire Creation to participate in and partake of the Divine Life. The very foundation of the Creation is therefore dialogic. The created existence is essentially a participative, cooperative answer to the Divine Act of Creation which ontologically marks its identity. Hitherto, according to the Christian vision, created life discloses its answer of growth in the “unaltered identity of being, according to its species” [28], “retaining its species through continuous birth till the end of the world” [29]. The created existence is governed by the Mystery of Filiation, it translates this Mystery of Divine Filiation into the created mode of existence.

Father Ghelasie transposes the distinction between Being and Energies to an anthropological level as unitary integrality of soul and energetic body (reflections of movements of the soul). The Soul is explicated by the triads: consciousness-memory-language, I-spirit-word, consciousness-being-self, rest-movement-repose and icon-face-likeness. The direct communication of the Soul happens through integral movements such as love-communion-self offering, love-trust/hope-faith. The energetic body is characterized by the following triads: information-energy-physical mass, informational energies-vital energies-accumulative energies, mind-feelings-reason, will-senses-thinking and individuality-form-manifestation. Thus, the energetic body presents a triple rationality configured by the mental or informational reason, the reason of the senses and the reason of organic functions.

Father Ghelasie defines the iconic body (trup, in Romanian) as the icon of interweaved/twined and inter-working soul and its energetic body (corp, in Romanian). The iconic body partakes of the Eucharistic condition; it is the wedding garment of the merging/interpenetration between being and its energies, of the union of man with God and the entire creation. The iconic body has three centers: the cerebral centre, the centre of the heart and the abdominal centre.

Firstly, consciousness and mind are merging (without confusion, in a state of interpenetration) in the cerebral centre. The heart is then the centre of merging/interpenetration between memory and vital energies, and also between spirit and feelings. Next, in the abdominal centre, the language of the soul merges (without confusion or separation) with the language of the organic functions. Finally, the heart is the centre of the integral union of the soul with God, as the spirit is the bearer of movement and energies.

Thus the energies find their repose only in the movement of the spirit which “projected” them/from which they come out. The hesychast prayer enacts the return of the energies to the movement of the spirit by means of constantly addressing Christ. In fact it is He Who first calls for us, Who purifies us and thus retrieves and restores us to our Eucharistic condition.

The fall of man has brought about movements that are contrary to his iconic orientation, contrary to the Icon/Image of God in man. These projected on to negative energies that have generated an additional/subsidiary/supplementary reality. Thus the reality of the soul was obscured, smothered and camouflaged and the subconscious arose.

The break with God is thus readable in the split self of man, while the diminished Eucharistic condition is reflected in the death of the body. This post-lapsarian condition extended and thus afflicted the entire creation. The “garments of skin” are symptomatic of the present-time condition of the world where the entropic effects of the fall are manifest. But at the same time, these “garments of skin” are provisions of the Divine Plan that limit and control the effects and consequences of the sin and help us reach the eschatological border of the transfiguration of the world in the unity with God.

The Creation is in a state of perpetual suffering and is bewailing its long destiny of waiting for the time when it can again partake of the glory of the Sons of God, as we read in the Scriptures.


Language and thinking from a theological approach

As we have seen, Fr. Ghelasie affirms that the created soul is a “created micro-trinity” [30], a living icon of the God Trinity. Through the seal of the divine act of creation on our being or the words/logoi embodied in our created soul, affirms Fr. Ghelasie, “we have a real kinship with God; […] we have the image of God and the transcendental capacities that give our soul its transcendental destiny of God’s Logos/Son followers toward the divine likeness” [31].

Fr. Ghelasie proposes an interesting approach to the relation between language and thinking from a mystical-theological standpoint, with implications on the dialogue between science and religion. Taking as point of departure the revelation about God One and Trinity and its patristic comprehension, he considers the created soul as a triad of permanencies or integral modes: consciousness, spirit and language. In this perspective, language is affirmed as the source and generative-model for thinking, provider of the concreteness that actualizes and fulfils the discourse of thinking. [32]

As we already mentioned, the Trinitarian iconic view of Fr. Ghelasie enables him to achieve an accurate development of the Christian doctrine about being and energies at the anthropological level. One extends thus in anthropology, building on Trinitarian and iconic foundations, the hesychast doctrine of St. Gregory Palamas about being and energies in God: “Our soul is complete and integral as being/person with his own consciousness, movement and language, in analogy and likeness with the divine Creator, the Holy Trinity. The created being/soul is our reality in itself. The energies/corporeal field/body are the created adornment/grace emanating from the full life of our created soul/being. The corporeal energies are a normal reality, akin to soul’s movements from which they are emanating. The corporeal energies can’t be without the living soul who comes first. The separation/dissoci¬ation of the body from the life of the soul brings immediately its death”. [33]

The methodology of knowing becomes in this understanding necessarily double: “If being in itself is Trinitarian, then movement in the being itself becomes possible. Therefore, the hesychast mysticism is double, of being and energies, as St. Gregory Palamas affirms” [34]. This being said, one should not forget that energies and essence cannot be separated! “Today one considers the serious problem of a mysticism of being and a mysticism of energies. Here we can identify the specific of the hesychast Christian mysticism, distinguishing it from the magical oriental energetic mysticism and the occult rationalist mysticism. The philokalic Fathers see the reality in its integrality, being and energies, every separation or reduction being regarded as an anomaly”. [35]

The consecrated distinction between being and energies is thus essential for understanding the ways of apophatic and cataphatic knowledge, and in last instance the distinction between religious and scientific methodology: “From St. Gregory Palamas the hesychast mysticism appears as a double mysticism, a Being-Mysticism and an energetic mysticism united in an unconfused and inseparable way. If one does not proceed from this dichotomy of the reality as being and energies of being movements, one cannot understand the specific of the Christian mysticism. St. Gregory Palamas distinguishes being from the energies of its movements” [36].

On this distinction between the transcendental apophatic level of soul and the cataphatic level of energies that actualizes the classical distinction between nous and dianoia, Fr. Ghelasie establishes a distinction between two languages, originally in reciprocal affirmation: “The movement of being in itself is language in itself, and the energetic movement is grace-like thinking. Here lies the difference between mysticism and philosophy. The mystical language is direct being/consciousness language and philosophy is language of being language, language of thinking, language of order two” [37].

It is relevant to stress the dialogic and Eucharistic dimension of the mystical language: “the hesychast mysticism is the opening through words/language in the full icon of person’s/being’s mystery, it is dialogue through the direct personal language, partaking from language” [38].

This perspective makes possible the understanding of Person as living Icon and Living Word, substrate and a priori with respect to thinking [39]. The novelty of the Christian mystical approach stays for Fr. Ghelasie in the dialogistic view on ontology itself, so that discursive thinking appears as a reflection of the soul-language invested as an integral mode of the being. The relation between language and thinking is thus reversed in comparison to a common rationalist view. Priority is given to language indicated as an integral mode of the person and source of thinking: “We erroneously consider language as vehicle of thinking. Actually thinking is the vehicle of the being language in itself. In the Christian view, being in itself is the triadic being-ness in itself, is the communion-communication in itself, and therefore is language in itself. In the Christian sense, being is the iconic Being, and not being as nothingness in itself. Thus the iconic being has language-essence. God is the Being/Icon/Trinity of Persons and grace/energies/reasons out of Being”. [40]

Following Fr. Stăniloae’s thought on the connection between the symbol and the icon, Fr. Neofit Linte remarks the change of paradigm in science from objects to relations. He emphasizes the iconic seal, which is “the potency of the verbalized iconic language expressing the human person”, giving to abstract, operatorial relation an iconic garment and assuming antinomies. [41]

The novelty of the Christian mysticism stays after Fr. Ghelasie in the dialogistic view on ontology itself: “The icon-being is icon-language in itself and the grace/energies are uncreated language/reason/thinking, an outward echo as the language of the language in itself. Here lies the novelty of mysticism, in the identification of the being-like icon-language with ontology, as the origin of thinking. The philosophers consider thinking as language’s origin. The mysticism discovers that thinking is the product of the language in itself and therefore thinking is in itself an iconic reflection of language, which is discursiveness. The icon-language, which is in itself pure being-like, is communication/communion – an origin/source that becomes discursiveness as thinking”. [42]

Fr. Ghelasie stresses the personal identity of the living language, distinguishing it from artificial languages with their reductively imitative, “non-living, artificial and mechanical” character: „The computers and the robots are ‘language’, not mere thinking-information. The so-called ‘artificial intelligence’ is an ‘imitation’ of the living language in itself. It is true that robots can ‘speak’, can ‘think’, but they have no life, because only the person who produced them is alive. The separation of language from the person which is its background produces a ‘not-living, artificial and mechanical’ language”. [43]

Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae comprehends, at his turn, the “word” as language with dialogic essence, in the sense of inter-personal communication oriented towards communion: “The primordial meaning of the word is that of manifestation of a person towards another person, in what is not physical reality, identical with the world of things, but spiritual subject. The word is the principal and unalienable of every communication between persons. It supposes always at least two persons. Word is dialogue even when one of the persons keeps silent, because even through the silence entails and sustains the other person’s word. The one who speaks realizes that the other answers inward, perceives the other’s attitude”. [44]

He is naming even the person “calling word” appealing to communion. He considers also that language as inner word prolongs itself outwards in the discursive word that reflects and expresses it. The communal meaning of the Divine Word is not separated from its revelatory function with respect to the meaning of reality, implied by the name Logos. Depending on the word-as-communion, the word-as-meaning prolongs it, reflects it, expresses it, explains it, and reveals it as goal. [45]

Fr. Dumitru delimitates in this point the revealed Christian vision from the ancient way of thinking. The abstract local and operative duality that detaches the meaning from its dialogic and Eucharistic content is distinguished from the iconic or dialogic duality that considers the meaning as the effulgence/éclat/irradiation of the word transmitted between persons: “The Greek thought has detached the meaning from the concrete personal dialogue I-You in which it is contained. It has separated it from its designation/vocation to serve in the concrete historical moment the communion of two or more human beings. It has taken the meaning as a not-temporal and impersonal reality, as something which could never be reached. And it has linked the term word – logos – to the meaning so understood”. In this ultimate sense, “the meanings have a subordinate role, serving the scopes of communion”. [46]

Indicating the etymologic provenience of the Greek term logos in the verb lego that expresses the interlocution or verbal communication between persons, Fr. Stăniloae affirms word as a vehicle, bridge and means serving to the communion. “The word, as the Greek name Logos – which comes from lego that means to say – shows, means always directly interlocution, intentional/deliberate manifestation of one person towards another. The word is the vehicle of communion, the bridge between persons as subjects. Word expresses the conscious intentionality towards communion of a person, and in the same times the means by which the other person’s attention is awakened and attracted”. [47]

Taking as point of departure the revelation of God’s Word as a divine Person and showing that the intentionality towards communion expressed by word is inscribed in person’s image and essence, Fr. Stăniloae is naming the person “word”. He says thus that “as the person is mainly intentionality towards communion, and the word its expression, we can say that the person is word. Man is interior word, in tension, before expressing himself and exterior word when he expresses himself. The exterior word proceeds from the interior word, and the inner word in an unavoidable way prolongs itself outwards. The Person is word, calling/provoking/appealing word, which evokes/calls up another person by attracting it into communion”. [48]

Thus, the human being is named word because it’s a living icon of the Word and a living created image of the Holy Trinity’s inter-subjectivity and communion.

In the conception of Fr. Stăniloae, the communal meaning of the Divine Word is not separated from its revelatory function with respect to the meaning of reality, implying the signification of the name Logos. Depending on the word-as-communion, the word-as-meaning prolongs it, reflects it, expresses it, explains it, and reveals it as goal: “It is not the autonomous, individualist, monologist meaning that corresponds to the truth, but the meaning that traduces/translates the communion, the contact with reality accomplished by the word-as-communion. The word-as-meaning is dependent on the word-as-communion and should continuously remain in that relation of dependence”. [49]

For Fr. Ghelasie, language as communication and communion appears originally as the background, source and finality of thinking operations: “Communication is the origin of discursiveness. Communication is Being-Person in itself and the person/living icon communicates through itself and from itself. This communication becomes outwards the discursiveness of thinking. The language of being/person in itself is purely being-ish/personal communication/communion, whereas the language as discourse of thinking is grace/energy, extension/prolongation/echo. The discourse of thinking is the returning of thinking to the iconic being language, the deployment of thinking as energies of the Language in itself. Thinking is the extension out of the being in itself of the being language in itself and thus thinking has in itself as iconic background the being language”. [50]

The fall of man has brought in Fr. Ghelasie’s view a dramatic degradation of language together with an immersion in a subconscious state of blindness. Soul’s state of separation from the communion with God has a negative impact on the process of thinking itself, bringing a splitting of the unitary language: “The mystery of pure being language in itself, the mystery of participation/communication/communion is degraded till oblivion by the sin of the fall from Paradise. The sin of creation’s fall blinds just the being language/icon and makes from it the subconscious annex of fall that recoils negatively on thinking’s background. Thus the thinking is degraded into a language/discourse that bears a condition split by negativism. We sinners have a negative thinking just because of the subconscious reality of the language in itself degraded by the annex of fall’s language, by the language of negativity/vexation. The being language in itself is communion/communication/ unification, without any trace of negativity/vexation. Fall’s sin adds the parasite of the negativism/vexation that breaks down/splits the unity of the language in itself making from it a polarization including negativity. This negativity from the language in itself is then the source of the negativity from the discourse of thinking”. [51]

Fr. Ghelasie makes a suggestive comparison between the philosophical thinking-based dialectic logic and the mystical language-based communal logic. He finds that the logic of platonic and aristotelic approaches the passage between affirmations is mediated by the operation of negation: “The philosophers of the platonic and aristotelic logic consider that thinking’s operations are only made on the negative/adversative rapport between reasonings. A judgment is constructed on the basis of the triad: affirmation, negation and synthesis. Our thinking system is developed on the basis of oppositions, of affirmative and negative reasons, that in the end arrive to the conclusion”. [52]

Passing to the transcendental level of soul-language, Fr. Ghelasie remarks some of its distinctive marks in comparison with thinking: “Thinking can be an impersonal order, whereas language is only personal. Language implies a Grammar-Logic in itself whereas thinking needs an instrumental logic, the reasoning. The Grammar of language is not an instrument but an essence in itself. Thinking deploys parts of reality whereas language is union of integralities/equalities. The reasons of thinking are fragments whereas words or language are integralities. (…) Language is permanence of being/person, not qualities/attributes of Person”. [53] As part of the energetic realm, thinking has a character of instability and has the tendency to come back and repose in the concrete unity of soul-language.

Fr. Ghelasie remarks also the Trinitarian view that soul-language has the logic of reciprocal affirmative dialogue between integral and equal iconic unities: “Thinking is ‘closeness/assemblage/absorption’, ‘egocentrism’, whereas language is personal opening in communion/communication. Thinking isn’t communication, but re-composition, coming back to essence, the absorption of the multiple into the one. The language is communication between integral unities, which aren’t multiples of One but equal integral units One beyond multiples of One. The equalities are not concerning parts of One, but are Icons/Images of the absolute One in multitude of One the Absolute Icon, as equalities of integral permanencies of One. The mystery of the personal being-language is the mystery of the Christian hesychast mysticism. If one does not go beyond thinking in the sacredness of the pure being-like language, one will not enter in the transcendental paradise of the mysticism” [54].

Fr. Ghelasie makes some important remarks about the relation between subject and object in the language of being and the thinking discourse. He emphasizes the specific non-instrumental but nevertheless dynamic condition of being-language: “The mystery of the hesychast practice is the ability/virtue/masterliness of the mind/thinking to enter in the sacred origin/source of the Christic language Logos. The being-like/personal language is not an instrument of communication, but the Person Itself which moves Itself. The being language is the person itself, direct movement of the Person. Thinking disjoins subject from the object, and so produces the language as thinking discourse, between parts as subject and object, uniting them afterwards in the identification subject-object. In the pure being-like/personal language subject and object are already united, because the person is the integrality subject-object, so that language is between integral persons, not between parts of persons”. [55]

The specificity of the hesychast mysticism stays in transcending the ideation in the realm of language as experience of God’s presence and divine communion: “The mysticism verifies the mystical language distinguishing it from the language of thinking just by this guiding mark, if it is language between integral persons or else between ‘parts’ of persons. All that is not integral language between integral persons is a lower-order language of thinking that is no more mysticism. Therefore, the hesychast mysticism isn’t a language of thinking/ideation mysticism but a personal, objective mysticism towards/related to the personal God-Trinity as a living presence”. [56]

The divine Revelation is part of this being-dialogue in which man should participate to bring his own life to realization in Christ as a priest of the Eucharistic union between God and creation: “The Christianity has the mysticism of the being language, it is not the mysticism of thinking. Christianity is revelation not philosophical thinking, it is the concrete religion, speaking about God, theology, and in the same time, speaking of the creation with God and speaking of God with creation”. [57]

The crucial importance given in the Christian understanding to divine Revelation and patristic tradition comes from the fact that they represent essentially the two terms of the dialogue in absolute: “Theology is a product of revelation: the word of God Himself addressed to creation and in the same time the response/answer word of creation to God’s revelation/word. Theology is double word, of God about Himself and of creation as response/answer. This is why true Christian theology is Scripture and the Holy Fathers”. [58]

The way of treating the relation between unity and multiplicity makes a difference between language with is its dialogic essence and thinking with its methodological circle: “Language is dialogic essence whereas Ghelasie thinking is monologic essence. Thinking is monologic discourse in multilogal unfolding and returning to monologue in itself, discourse from principle to its unfolding and returning to the principle source. The background of thinking is the splitting of form and the multiplication of parts of the form, then the assemblage of the partial reasons and the re-absorbtion in form-essence. The discourse of thinking is from one to multiple and from multiple to one. If thinking would be considered first, that would mean that language is seen as the discourse of thinking, the product of thinking. The being-language is not thinking deployed from one to multiple”. [59]

Fr. Ghelasie comes back to the Trinitarian Arch model to affirm once more the holistic dialogical perspective of the mystical approach in which language surpasses in communion with God the discursive fragmentations and has access to being. [60]

The Trinitarian iconic view of Fr. Ghelasie allows him to develop a very accurate development of the Christian doctrine about being and energies at the anthropological level, that makes possible the understanding of Person as living Icon and Living Word, substrate and a priori with respect to thinking: “Person is the essence of essence. Without the essence of language in itself, the person remain a monad closed in itself. In the Christian view, the person/icon is not closeness but essence in opening, Trinitarian being-ness in itself, language in itself. Thinking is energy/grace of consciousness-language. We erroneously consider the consciousness as product of thinking in itself. Only on the substrate of Consciousness as aprioristic language in itself thinking becomes possible”. [61]

Language and consciousness are two interpenetrated permanencies of the same transcendental reality, so one can say they are in essence one. The language is thus presented in relation to thinking not as a mere mirror, but as a source and possibility of light: “Language is consciousness in itself without need of references and reflections. The consciousness is abusively considered thinking; it is language-opening that brightens itself outwards. Consciousness is not a mirror in which one sees the light; it is just the source that delivers the light that makes possible the sight. Consciousness is the sun as source of light and not the moon that receives the light”. [62]

Even if we live in the post-lapsarian world, remarks Fr. Ghelasie, the created life is still founded and circumscribed by the mystery of God’s Incarnation. This means that the lost capacities can be regained and the actual condition can be transfigured by our participative liturgical response to the words of Christ Itself and the communion with God in the incarnated Language/Logos: “After the fall from Paradise, we don’t know any more and we don’t have any more the capacity to speak directly being-like. Our being/soul is blind and mute because of the sin, but through the revelations of the Logoi/Words embodied in Creation we find the way of regaining the being-memories. The hesychast mysticism is just the mysticism of the language of Logos/Christ through which we have access to the memory of the being language forgotten after the fall from Paradise. The revealed scriptural words of and the revelations of the Holy Fathers are divine language, not philosophical thinking. Religion is mysticism, not thinking, because it sets the sacred language before/above thinking”. [63]

In conclusion, the apophatic permanency of the soul-language has as distinctive marks in comparison with thinking its personal, non-instrumental, holistic, dialogic, transcendental, iconic and unifying dimension. As part of the energetic realm, thinking has a character of instability and the tendency to come back and repose in the concrete unity of soul-language. The Trinitarian view identifies the logic of soul-language in the reciprocal affirmative dialogue between iconic integralities. The way of treating the relation between unity and multiplicity makes also a difference between language with its dialogic essence and thinking with its methodological circle.

Recently, Alexei Nesteruk has affirmed at his turn the patristic view on nature and ontology, decisive for the specific methodological approach. He speaks about the “logic of mystery” and “super-affirmation”, describing “the way” from the monistic substantialism to existential and relational, participative ontology [64]

If “the closed nature of Greek ontology” has a “fundamentally monistic character”, the “ontological monodualism” (Nesteruk) or “iconic ontology” (Nellas, Yannaras, Ghelasie, Stăniloae) indicates in Christianity the substantial distinction and the onto-iconological relation of interpenetration and dialogue/communication between the created and the uncreated realm. Thus, one can speak in the Christian understanding about an “open epistemology” (Torrance).

The Trinitarian and iconic perspective is decisive for a correct understanding of the Christian gnoseology: „The ontological primacy of person over substance shaped the Christian ontology in a way that has never existed before. The Trinitarian vision of God has an enormous impact on the understanding of a person, as a theologizing and philosophizing being, in created existence, which is hypostasized by God through an unrepeated an unique existential link of every person with God. The Chalcedonian definition emphasizes the unity of humanity and divinity in Christ. But this also indicates a fundamental change in the approach to the human person in the Christian context, in comparison with the Hellenistic dualism of body and soul (...) Patristic theology confesses a twofold ontological dualism: between God and the world and, in the created realm, between the sensible and the intelligible”. [65]

Nesteruk observes the shift of accent in the modern science from the position of Kant’s “monistic transcendental phenomenalism” to “an extended monism that incorporates the intelligible realities”, and warns about the risk of “ontological identification of some aspects of the extended notion of the world – for example, its intelligible pattern and order – with the Divine” [66] [43].

The Christian methodological approach has a fundamentally and irreducible iconic, dialogic, participative character: “the knowledge achieved by the person is in its content a hypostasized form of ontological reality, articulated by the person’s link with God; it is not a subjective impression and mental construction, because this knowledge is not dependent on only the natural in man”. [67]

The methodology of the theological monodualism [for which “substance acquires a relational character”] requires one “to shift from monistic substantialism in philosophy to the view of relational ontology of the world, as created by God through His will and His Word”. It is interesting to remind that this shift was realized by the patristic thought that affirmed an existential ontology in association with the theology of Trinity and the Creation from nothing through the Word. The two fundamental steps were “the introduction of the hypostasis in the heart of the being” or its “employment as ousia” and “the identification of the hypostasis of a being with person (gr. prosopon) in the theology of the God-Trinity”. Thus, affirms Nesteruk, the ontological basis of the world is identified in the Christian perspective beyond the world, that is, in its otherness and its creation from nothing, “in the God-Creator Who is”. [68].

The distinction between the mystical theology and the economical theology is linked to the patristic distinctions between nous and dianoia, faith and reason, being and energies, apophaticism and cataphaticism. Nesteruk affirms theology as “experience of God possible because humans have the faculty of nous, which allows them in principle to have the experience of God and to be in communion with God”. Dianoia (in its contemporary sense intellect, reason, and mind) functions as the discursive, conceptualizing, logical faculty in man involved in the scientific research. “The nous is ultimately the ground of the dianoia”, and “the nous manifests itself in the otherness of the dianoia”. [69]

The methodological importance of the theology of Personhood is immense in the Christian view as “only the person can mediate between the two realms in creation”. That is possible because “it is only through the personhood that one can hypostasize the sensible domain and the intelligible domain in creation, as distinct ontological realms” [70], with reference to the iconic basis of the world in the will and the identity seal of the Creator.


Theological and scientific language

In the philosophical writings of the Vienna Circle from 1930, the positivist logic is reaffirmed through the special interest showed towards the empirically verified data and the formal logic. It has sense only a knowledge which can be articulated by propositions that contain affirmations verifiable through empiric experiments and can be structured by a set of precise rules of formal logic.

The propositions with a metaphysical and religious content were considered non-significant with respect to the epistemological point of view. They can be considered neither true nor false, because they do not respect the principle of verification. This principle presents nevertheless an internal contradiction. The fundamental affirmation that only an empirically verifiable proposition or definition has epistemological signification cannot be itself scientifically verified through the empirical practice.

Departing from the affirmations that there exists a parallelism between language and the world, and that transcendental metaphysics is without signification from the viewpoint of the construction of language, Ludwig Wittgenstein acknowledges to language a mystical strictly apophatic dimension. He affirms that the possibilities of language cannot express the divine reality. The neo-positivism is elaborated around two fundamental principles: the principle of empiricism and the principle of verifiability. The first principle shows that the sole basis of real knowledge of the world is given by the sensible experience, and the second affirms that the sense of a proposition results from a process that permits us to decide if the respective proposition is true or false.

Under the pressure of many critical issues on the principle of verifiability, Rudolf Carnap reformulates it, construing a set of rules meant to designate the sense of the proposition. He continues to exclude metaphysics as in-significant considering that a proposition has sense only if it traduces a sensible experience.

Regarding the principle of empiricism there have been two currents. The first of them is a strictly empirical position that limits the data domain exclusively to facts working and arranging them on the basis of logical operators in a scientific language. Another tendency is given by the conceptualist current that extends the sphere of knowledge from the world of facts to the world of concepts. Knowledge can be veridical only in a language elaborated on the basis of concepts expressed analytically, and not in an intuitive way. The sense of a proposition is not conferred any more by mere combinatorial linguistic rules, but expresses a value judgment. Consequently, the conceptualism expresses more accurately the richness of human knowledge and the neo-positivism should be rectified because it does not correspond fully to science, recte to contemporary science.

Even if aspires to know and understand as much as possible departing from the sensible experience and concepts, science does not abolish the legitimacy of a discourse in which is implied the metaphysical reality. Jean Ladrière affirms in this sense together with the particular scientific intelligibility the metaphysic intelligibility of the totality. “The scientific practice permits the existence of a conceptual theory of knowledge. Even if the scientific discourse has not the designation of arguing the existence of a metaphysic reality, it does not exclude the existence of a conceptual language based on implications with a metaphysical character”. [71]

Another position in the recent philosophy of science asserts on the base of analytical linguistics that the function of the scientific language is not teleological but instrumental. The instrumentalist current regards the scientific language as an epistemological instrument, stressing unilaterally the capacity of prediction and control of science.

The actual scientific epistemology assumes a language that goes beyond what is usually considered scientific. Departing from the analytic information that can be developed from studying the empiric data the contemporaneous science raises problems that surpass the possibility of exhaustive solution. The possibility of interfering with transcendence and the conscious realization that truth cannot be circumscribed exclusively to a concept knowable only in a discursive way have determined the apparition of a scientific language open to theological and philosophical significations.

Even if philosophers as Rorty affirm that the fundamental questions are redundant or anachronistic at historical and personal scale, the actual science appears open towards the meta-scientific dialogue. The scientific language regains an esthetical dimension. The hypotheses of contemporaneous cosmology have affirmed in the philosophy of scientific language an inter-relational dimension (one can remind here Andrei Linde’s theory about the multi-verse that allowed the configuration of a language with multiple levels of understanding). One has renounced at the imposition of a particular specialized language in the context of growing interest toward a consciousness of dialogue with the responsibility of assuming the otherness.

The contemporaneous language is favorable to an understanding of the limits not as a strict limitation but as a humility factor and an opening to dialogue, that results in an enlargement of the knowledge horizon. Knowledge understood as an axiomatic system of ideas with the pretension of integral explaining of a phenomenon is démodé/dated. The establishing or assignation of the limits of scientific research allows the passage from the physical realm to metaphysics. For example, the Dallaporta’s astrophysics articulates physics with metaphysics and develops a metaphysical cosmology. [72]

The language which expresses a view or a belief is not pure exteriority but bearer of certain significations, references, intentionality, senses. It expresses the experience of certain realities. Having an operative function of communication, language conforms to the exigency of respecting a set of rules, and nevertheless is not univocal. This comes from the view that language is embodied in life, expressing the fullness of a life experience not a mere abstract, impersonal and neutral reality. The semantics of scientific language makes possible the articulation of the scientific discourse to philosophical reflections.

Even if it has a correspondence in the domain of a set of precise rules, the language does not have a univocal function. It can de used in several directions, with multiple functionalities. Arising in a context, the language gains a certain particularity and expresses a life event, not only an impersonal and neutral reality. One should make the distinction between a natural language and an artificial one. The natural language is given and used in a community, and it does not need a special elaboration of a particular terminology, whereas the artificial language is created to face certain specific needs of communication in a particular domain.

In his work “L’articulation du sens”, Jean Ladrière presents a classification of sciences with respect to scientific language:

1. The formal sciences represented by mathematics and logic are using formal symbols as elementary unities of an artificial language vocabulary. The contingent and conventional character has the function of making accessible the formal system determined by a certain scientific view. The concepts used in the formal sciences have not only a descriptive character, but also an explicative one.

2. The empiric-formal sciences construed on the basis of models offered by physics describe a reality subject to empirical experience, using signs and symbols from the language of formal sciences. In the elaboration and modeling of the studied phenomenon one uses beside the linguistic apparatus introduced by the different empiric experiments a logic-mathematical apparatus. There are empirical systems modeled exclusively by the linguistic formal apparatus, as the Euclidean geometry or the infinitesimal mathematical analysis. There are also cases in which the logic-mathematical apparatus is combined with certain principles of physics (the fundamental principle of dynamics or thermodynamics) to obtain an empiric-formal theory integrated in a conceptual system similar to the system of axioms from mathematics.

One should mention that the theoretical or empirical terms from the respective theory design some concepts referring to the studied reality. Beside the descriptive character, the scientific theories have a prospective role or an intuitive-anticipative character that goes beyond an exclusively analytic and discursive methodology. The great scientific discoveries have been often the fruit of some deep intuitions confirmed by empiric experiments and transcribed by the formal apparatus.

The fundamental hypothesis of Feyerabend’s epistemology is that the objective world is intrinsically linked to the conscious observer and the empirical sensations and perceptions are simple indicators, the true substance of a scientific theory being given by the observer’s interpretation. Therefore the scientific theory supposes a pre-cognition of the studied object, and not a primacy of empiric observation.

The empiric-formal approach is a deciphering of signs. “If the empiric observations plays the role of an indicator”, affirms Ladrière, the theory should be compared with a resonator”. [73] The empiric moment, continues the French philosopher, helps us to give evidence of our direct intuitions, to reconstruct the reality.

3. The hermeneutic sciences studying the interpretation of signs and symbols are considering beside a certain methodological circle the hermeneutical circle expressing the double relation between subject and object. The object of knowledge supposes a much more dynamical reality than the reality that is subject to the empiric-formal knowledge. The remarkable intentionality and potentiality implied cannot be rendered by a mere hypothetical reconstruction operated by the human subject. The knower participates more profoundly to the object known and the double correspondence subject-object makes difficult if not impossible the reduction to an absolutely objective presentation. The signs and symbols present in the language of hermeneutics are in a greater variety and more qualified than in the other kinds of science.

The plurality of science is open thus to the reconciliation and articulation in the scientific discourse of mystery and revelation, one of the basic principles in the theological science, with its epistemology open to uncreated realm.

Jean Ladrière interprets the pluralistic situation of science as a sign of a “general disposition of human reason that represents in itself an interrogation open to deciphering. (…) We live in certain clarity and at the same time in a great mystery. The human reason bears in itself a transparency, but it will never be fully clarified/ explained. It has sufficient lucidity to recognize its own limits, without being the sign of finitude”. Bearing the marks of its limits, it nevertheless has “the courage to hope in the opening towards the infinite”, concludes Jean Ladrière in his fore-mentioned study. [74]

The actual research from the natural sciences implies the elaboration of a language that goes beyond the specialized terminology. The language of natural sciences from today can be articulated to the theological language in a philosophical plane. The fact that one insists on the sense of research, the finality of knowledge and the real possibilities existing in the scientific epistemology, the scientific discourse is not resuming only a descriptive role, but is profoundly open to the problem of sense, approached from several perspectives.

Prigogine observes that scientific paradigms have in the background a cultural context with a certain model of nature. Science renounced nowadays at models as the watch and the motor in favor of a model compatible with its regained view on the inseparability of man and nature: the artistic masterpiece. He affirms that “nowadays, as scientists, we are nearer from Platon who compared nature with a masterpiece. The science of today does not separate any more man from nature, but prefers to elaborate a conception that facilitates communication with nature”. [75]

If the modern science favored a deterministic representation of the natural phenomena, that in Laplace’s words made the hypothesis of God’s existence unnecessary, nowadays we assist at profound changes in the scientific discourse in the natural sciences. Planck observes that for religion God is higher than thought and for science God is a crown of the reflection on the universe.

The quantum physics produced a veritable revolution in the epistemology of natural sciences. Starting from the unity of the world, Max Planck remarks the existence of physical world as a reality that is distinct from the observer, without any breach between man and nature. At the same time, the physical world cannot be fully known only by the scientific methodology. The ontological unity of the world asks for a unity and complementarity between science and theology.

Planck considers that the indirect character of rational cognition is a sign of the mystery that encompasses knowledge in a way that certifies a profound need of a unitary vision. “The essence of this ordered universe will never be directly cognoscible, but only indirectly. For this reason, religion is using its own symbols and the exact sciences of nature are using their own measures based on experiments. Nothing hinders us to unify the two realities, which remain in their deep mystery: the ordered world of the natural sciences and the God confessed by religion. And this because our thirst of knowledge derives from the assumption of exigencies linked with a vision that affirms the unity of the world”. [76]

Departing from the implications of quantum mechanics, Werner Heisenberg has developed the idea of complementarity between theology and science. If usually theology was seen as a valid knowledge with respect to subjectivity and science had the authority in the domain of objectivity, the quantum mechanics has made possible the surpassing of this splitting. The ontological unity of the world does not perpetuate in the epistemological plane split and fragmentary methodologies. The true knowledge leads to a reality that is the source of the true values and of life itself, unifying divergent aspects from both the subjective and objective plane.

This convergent attitude in the scientific epistemology determines Heisenberg to be more categorical in affirming the possibility of interpenetration between theology and science in the knowledge about the world, each part retaining its specificity.

Heisenberg certifies: “In science, the existence of the central order of the world can be recognized by the mere fact that the scientific discourse accepts the existence of a goal/finality of the world. In this point, the scientific conception about the world is related with the religious truth. The theory of quanta allows the formulation of an abstract mathematical language that correlates aspects from various domains”. [77]

The pupil of Heisenberg, C. F. von Weizsäcker goes beyond the Platonism of his master and makes a more definite option for the Christian God. His thought is not any more limited to the Old Covenant specific of approaching the problem of world’s creation and order. His approach is Christological, starting from the confession of the Gospel that God is love and can be known only through love. Weizsäcker insists on the fact that the Incarnation of Christ entails in the consciousness of humanity the faith in God as Redeemer of the world.

In a true scientific knowledge of the world, we have always a connection, a relation of reciprocity between man (as subject of research) and world (as object of research). The act of scientific research implies this reciprocity, a double dimension of the scientific knowledge: material and spiritual. “The scientific culture is not one of mere materiality, but a place where spirit and nature meet in a mutual affirmation. Nature furnishes to the spirit the objective content and the spirit offers the necessary energy for the realization of a discourse. Nature and spirit are not seen in a mere parallelism, but in two movements that are fulfilled one through the other. Science is thus invested as bearer of deep existential significations. Through its approach, science can bring into evidence the presence of the deep logos of the world. This opens the possibility of an understanding of the whole material world as a bridge of connection with the metaphysical reality”. [78]

The language of theology is integrative. He can be open with respect to other forms of language but it cannot be reduced to them. The failure of an exclusively speculative language limited to the immanent dimension of language is evident. A theological discourse that becomes a mere act of culture or a mere pretext for creating a specific language with the sole motivation of the pleasure to write and to speak about God cannot offer us any more something consistent and convincing. That does not mean that theology should be closed with regard to culture and science. In the comprehensive spirit of Christian orthodoxy, remaining always faithful to the Divine Revelation theology can assume the other forms of language in the elaboration of its own discourse.

Theology can use and transgress with spiritual discernment the different languages through faith and the life-giving connection with the event of Revelation [79]. The language of faith is an implicative and confessing one, conduced by the unifying force of experience and faithfulness to the tradition animated by Divine Word. “Experience extends in word and word enriches the experience. Thus, besides language, experience becomes communicable. (…) The religious language as confession of faith is an act of life”. [80]

The language of faith engages and confers responsibility to the subject in a relation encompassed by a mystery that transcends the created world. [81]

The tension of this expectation marks the incompleteness of any discourse, because what is expected, even somehow already lived now, it appears beyond the possibilities of a discourse. Each formal system of knowledge implies approximations and consequent limitations; it is the expression of mediation between a set of formal rules and the empirical data furnished by the sensible experience.

For a high fidelity of representation, one needs certain homogeneity between the empirical determination of data and the terms that regulate these data. The studied reality should be adapted to a certain kind of formalism, but the rules of a formal system cannot render accurately the world analyzed by such formalism. In spite of the efforts to catch and resume reality in the formal knowledge, the material world remains beyond all formal systems of rules.

For this reason, the encounter of science and theology in a language specific to philosophy starts from the acknowledgment of the mystery and of man’s impossibility to comprehend the knowledge about world in an exclusively formal discourse. The presence of mystery in epistemology involves certain pedagogy of transgression, departing from our limits in our striving towards something that transcends our discursive capacity to formalize experience and knowledge.

The contemporaneous language favors an understanding of the limits not as a strict limitation but as a humility factor [82] and an opening to dialogue resulting in an enlargement of the knowledge horizon.

The establishing or assignation of the limits of scientific research allows the passage from the physical realm to metaphysics. The language, which expresses a view or a belief, is not pure exteriority but bearer of certain significations, references, intentionality, and senses. It expresses the experience of certain realities. Having an operative function of communication, language conforms to the exigency of respecting a set of rules, and nevertheless is not univocal.

This comes from the view that language is embodied in life, expressing the fullness of a life experience not a mere abstract, impersonal and neutral reality. The semantics of scientific language makes possible the articulation of the scientific discourse to philosophical and theological reflections.


Endnotes:

[1] See http://loebner.net/Prizef/TuringArticle.html
[2] Winograd, T., Flores, F., Understanding Computers and Cognition, Norwood, N.J.: Ablex, 1986.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Winograd T., Thinking Machines: Can there be? Are we? Report No. STAN-CS-87-1161, Stanford, 1987, p. 17-19.
[6] Ibid., p. 20-22.
[7] Trăuşan-Matu, Şt., Psihologia roboţilor, în: Constandache, G.G., Şt. Trăuşan-Matu, Şt., M. Albu, C. Niculescu, Filosofie şi ştiinţe cognitive, MatrixRom, 2002.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] de Saussure, F., Curs de lingvistică generală, Ed. Cuvântul nostru, Bucureşti, 1996.
[11] Mihailovic, A., Corporeal Words: Mihail Bakhtin’s Theology of Discourse, Northwestern University Press, 1997.
[12] Bahtin, M., Problemele poeticii lui Dostoevski,. Ed. Univers, Bucureşti, 1970, p. 82.
[13] Ibid., p. 83.
[14] Ibid., p. 377
[15] Ibid., 121.
[16] Ibid., p. 135.
[17] Mihailovici, 1997, p. 18.
[18] Bahtin, 1970, p. 231.
[19] Mihailovic 1997, p. 130.
[20] Bahtin, 1970, p. 8.
[21] Bahtin, 1970.
[22] Koshmann, T., Toward a Dialogic Theory of Learning. Bakhtin’s Contribution to Understanding Learning in Settings of Collaboration, in C. Hoadley and J. Roschelle (eds..), Proceedings of the Computer Support for Collaborative Learning 1999 Conference, Stanford, Laurence Erlbaum Associates; Sarmiento, Trăuşan-Matu şi Stahl 2005.
[23] Mihailovici, 1997.
[24] Bakhtin, M., Speech Genres and Other Late Essays, University of Texas Press, 1986.
[25] Stăniloae, D., Ascetica şi Mistica, E.I.B.M. al B.O.R., Bucureşti, 1992
[26] Metrop. Serafim (Joantă), Foreword to: Fr. Ghelasie from Frasinei, Iconic Hesychasm, to appear.
[27] Ieromonah Ghelasie Gheorghe, Medicina Isihastă, Ed. Platytera, Bucureşti, 2007, p. 12.
[28] Saint Maximus the Confessor, Ambigua
[29] Saint Basil the Great, Homilies to Hexaimeron.
[30] Ierom. Ghelasie, Dialog în Absolut, Ed. Platytera, Bucureşti, 2007, p. 277.
[31] Ibid., p. 128.
[32] “The language of thinking is not interlocution between indestructible integralities but between parts of integralities. Language is the consciousness of thinking. Thinking is generated by a consciousness in itself, that has already in itself the language as image/model in itself and this language of consciousness emanates the ideas. The ideas produce then through association the discourse of thinking. But the discourse of thinking seeks always the being-language as its source and generative model. Without finding the concreteness of being-language, thinking is unfulfilled and remains a mere imagination in void. Thinking has the capacity of imagination grace to the essence of the language source”. (Ibid., p. 188)
[33] Ibid., p. 277.
[34] Ibid., p. 221.
[35] Ibid., p. 135.
[36] Ibid., p. 135.
[37] Ibid., p. 221.
[38] Ibid., p. 204.
[39] “The Person is the essence of essence. Without the essence of language in itself, the person remain a monad closed in itself. In the Christian view, the person is not closeness but essence in opening, Trinitarian being-ness in itself, language in itself. Thinking is energy/grace of consciousness-language. We erroneously consider the consciousness as product of thinking in itself. Only on the substrate of consciousness as aprioristic language in itself thinking becomes possible”, Ibid., p. 130-131.
[40] Ibid., p. 196.
[41] “The iconicity is deeper than the antinomy… the means of expression should not be separated from the personal seal imprinted in them and from the relational inter-personal context. …In the Christian view the person is seen ahead of the (abstract, operatorial) relation and gives the relation an iconic garment. The person imprints the iconic seal also on the forms of verbal expression”, Fr. Neofit Linte, Florin Caragiu, Repere şi temeiuri ale misticii iconice (Landmarks and grounds of the iconic mysticism), in the volume: Avva Ghelasie, Cuvântătorul de Dumnezeu, Editura Platytera, 2005, p. 75.
[42] Ierom. Ghelasie, Dialog în Absolut, p. 196.
[43] Ibid., p. 205.
Ibid., p. 96-97.
[44] Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae, Iisus Hristos sau Restaurarea Omului (Jesus Christ and the Restoration of Man), Ed. Omniscop, Craiova, 1993, p. 81.
[45] Ibid., p. 82, 84-85.
[46] Ibid., p. 81.
[47] Ibid., p. 81-82.
[48] Ibid., p. 82.
[49] Ibid., p. 84-85.
[50] Ieron. Ghelasie, Dialog în Absolut, p. 196-197.
[51] Ibid., p. 197-198.
[52] Ibid., p. 198.
[53] Ibid., p. 199-200.
[54] Ibid., p. 201-202.
[55] Ibid., p. 203. Also: “The dialogic language is superior to the thinking which separates, splits itself and then returns to the whole. The thinking separates the subject from the object and so produces the split language of parts as subject and object. The being-language regards Iconic Integralities which cannot be split in parts because it takes place between Integralities Subject-Object. The mystery of the living icon or person lays in the unity between subject and object taken together, not regarded in separation”. (Ibid., p. 188)
[56] Ibid., p. 203.
[57] Ibid., p. 187.
[58] Ibid., p. 187.
[59] Ibid., p. 188.
[60] “The Christian being is not a singularity but Trinitarian being, Trinity of Persons/Icons. Trinity is Language Essence [as Communion of Being]. God the One Trinity is the One Language. Language means interlocution. The discourse of the language in itself is the conlocution. The conlocution is not a fragmentation in parts of the self but language/conlocution between equalities of Self. This makes the language clearly distinct from thinking that is between parts or levels of the Self. The language conlocution is therefore superior to thinking or to the cleavage/distribution. Thinking must firstly operate a separation, to split itself and then return to the whole. Thinking separates the subject from the object and so gives birth to the language between subject and object, between parts of the whole. The being language is between wholes/integralities/icons that cannot split in parts. It is not thus language between subject and object any more, but a language between wholes/integralities Subject-Object, a language of a Subject-Object already united as Person. The mystery of the living icon/person is just the union/identification subject-object in itself inseparably. The Person/Being is subject and object at a time, not in separation. Being is subject and object at the same time. Therefore only language has access to being, whereas thinking is only at the exterior of being”. (Ibid., p. 188-189)
[61] Ibid., p.190.
[62] Ibid., p. 202.
[63] Ibid., p. 203.
[64] Alexei V. Nesteruk, Light from the East. Theology, Science and the Eastern Orthodox Tradition, Fortress Press Minneapolis, 2003, p. 96.
[65] Ibid., p. 98. The Christian idea of creation of being out of nothing represents for Torrance, quoted by Nesteruk, “a far-reaching epistemological revolution, for it meant that the whole universe of invisible and visible or celestial and terrestrial realities, while creaturely and not divine, as nevertheless permeated with a unitary rational order of a contingent kind” (Ibid., p. 99).
[66] Ibid., p. 96-97.
[67] Ibid., p. 99.
[68] Ibid., p. 99.
[69] Ibid., p. 52
[70] Ibid., p. 99.
[71] Jean Ladrière, L’articulation du sens, Cerf, Paris, 1970, p. 90.
[72] “If one insists that true science is rooted only in experiment it should be admitted that in conformity with the totality of knowledge necessary to understand the whole cosmos the human capacity to understand the reality is very limited to the observable domain of the universe and every striving to go beyond these limits is no more truly scientific but metaphysical” (Arthur Gibson, God and the Universe, Routledge, Londra, 2000, p. 19).
[73] Ibid., p. 39.
[74] Ibid., p. 50.
[75] Alexandre Ganoczy, Dieu, l'homme et la nature, Cerf, Paris, 1995, p. 16.
[76] Ibid., p. 69.
[77] Ibid., p. 71.
[78] Ibid., p. 71.
[79] Ibid., p. 131.
[80] Ibid., p. 80, 83.
[81] “The language of analysis is a language of discursiveness. The language of faith is the language of presence that articulates in its semantic field the resources of natural language even if it cannot be reduced to them. The language of faith will thus always imply the mystery and the expectation of the fulfillment of a promise, because faith is the certification of the unseen” (Ibid., p. 241).
[82] See also: Mihai Caragiu, “Ştiinţă şi Smerenie” (“Science and Humility”), in: "God-loving Fr. Ghelasie the Hesychast", Platytera Publishing House and Frasinei Monastery, Bucharest, 2004, p. 118-121.


May 2008, Bucharest