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Universităţii „Al. I. Cuza” de Iaşi

Teologie Ortodoxă

Archives 2020

What Is Religion? ................................................................................................. 5
Authority, Obedience and Hierarchy in Christ: Christian Marriage and Postmodern Challenges ..................................................................................... 33
John Anthony MCGUCKIN
Origen the Commentator ................................................................................... 51
Gregory of Nyssa’s Fourth Century Water Organ (a Reconstruction) and the Elements of Creation in His Texts: Water, Air, Fire and Earth ........................ 67
Gabriel-Viorel GÂRDAN
Pastoral Reflections: The Revelation of the Meaning of Suffering and the Preparation for Eternal life ............................................................................... 81
Adrian DINU
The Theology of Hope. Reflections on Life and Death ...................................... 91
Theodor DAMIAN
The Rescue of the Self: Man’s Metaphysical Vocation and the Dignity of Being in Relation ............................................................................................. 109
Identity and Continuity: Sources of Byzantine Philosophy in Patristic Theology ............................................................................................ 121
nfluence of Maximus the Confessor’s
Case study: Dumitru Stăniloae’s
Georgeta Merișor

La deuxième étude en 2020

Prof. PhD
Saint John of Damascus School of Theology
University of Balamand, LEBANON


Based on Adib Saab’s personal research in the history of religions, this paper is an analysis of the common elements which make it possible to classify a certain discipline under Religion. These elements are: (1) separation and reunion, or appearance and reality; (2) rites; (3) good deeds; (4) emulating founders as models; (5) emulating saints. The author advocates his view that all religions are, in a profound sense, monotheistic insofar as they refer to one absolute reality of which this world or order of being is an appearance. Far from contending that the common elements singled out reduce all religions to one, the writer makes it clear that these elements refer to a functional similarity which allows us to talk about an essence of religion or of what he calls a ‘unity in diversity’. Faithful to the phenomenological approach in the history of religions, the paper is based on ‘descriptive’, rather than ‘evaluative’, comparison.

Keywords: religion, common elements, descriptive comparison, functional similarities

Assistant Prof. PhD, DMin
St. John of Damascus Institute of Theology
University of Balamand, LEBANON


The state of family dysfunction has produced various complications in understanding and experiencing love, freedom in spousal relationships. Gender roles of husband and wife have been, to a large degree, transformed. Human weakness and various inherited social traditions, customs, and norms biased the role of men and women in society and prevented the full enactment of the Christian doctrine concerning hierarchy in the family. In fact, the social objectification of women and the utilitarian view on sex had obstructed the success of the equal rights movement, and further weakened the manwoman relationship, especially in the marital context. However, marital life in Christianity is a negation of individualism, and a longing for a life of fellowship in a Christian spirit of complementarity. Moreover, equality without sincere, self-sacrificial love is devoid of its essence. This paper examines postmodern voices about hierarchy, headship, obedience, and submission, leading to a happier marriage. In return, it attempts to present ancient and contemporary Patristic approaches to these marital roles, showing that these approaches are divinely inspired for all times and cultures, and experienced as a mystery in Christ. If properly practiced, these approaches lead, to what postmodern voices initially aspire, that is to a blessed, joyful, and prosperous marital life.


Keywords: postmodernism, Orthodox Church, equality, obedience, submission, hierarchy, marriage, St. John Chrysostom

Rev. Prof. PhD
Columbia University, New York, USA



The study aims at outlining the works of Origenes of Alexandria, the great scholar, confessor whose body was martyred and broken; that great saint whose mystical vision ever reached out ascetically to union with the Word. This paper does not so much try to rehabilitate Origen, in the style of the Origen Conference in Innsbruck in the 80s, as much as it tries to look at Origen in his own time, not from a dominant, but anachronistically scholastic retrospective. Trying to work from his own temporal context, and in terms of the philosophical premises prevalent in the schools of his day, this paper seeks to ask what motivated Origen’s approach to the scriptures. It also briefly deals with Origen’s exegesis and then makes a short exposition of Origen’s Biblical system.


Keywords: Origenes, exegesis, the Bible, interpretation, authorial intent

Professor in Byzantine Studies PhD
University of Oxford


Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335 - c. 395), as the Platonists and most of the ancient thinkers, consider water, air, fire, and earth to be the fundaments of the created world. He qualifies the human person to be a microcosm, a small world that reproduces the universe. When, in his dialogue On the Soul and the Resurrection,[1] Nyssen describes two of the constituents of creation (air and water) and exemplifies how people use them, he does so by presenting a mechanism powered by those. This article presents a twenty first century reconstruction of that ‘installation’ described by Gregory in the fourth century AD.


Keywords: Gregory of Nyssa, Macrina, Moses, earth, water, air, and fire

Rev. Associate Prof. habil. PhD
Faculty of Orthodox Theology
Babeș-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA


The pastoral care for the elderly is one aspect of the missionary activity in which the priest is not allowed to have hesitations. His presence is eagerly awaited for, his intervention that springs from love must be comforting and hope giving. Together with the elderly, he must decipher the mystery of suffering, bring Christ into the soul of the lonely, develop the awareness of the ephemeral, a state of continual awakening and expectation of the heavenly Groom. Reconciliation with one’s self, with people and with God, through confession and communion, strengthening communion, increasing love and peace are part of man's spiritual preparation to experience a different kind of knowledge of the world and of himself, but especially of God. Even if the priest cannot always heal, he can, in any circumstance, take care of and envelop each of his fellows in the garment of love and forgiveness.

In this context, we intended to draw attention to some particularities of the pastoral care for the elderly, an activity that always places us in the position of providing direct, uplifting, enlightening and reassuring answers to fundamental questions of the spiritual life.
In the first part of this research paper, we shall formulate some general
considerations regarding the pastoral care for the elderly, while in the second part we shall discuss two important aspects of their pastoral care: the revelation of the meaning of suffering and the preparation for eternal life, both ways of responding to the emotional burden and to the spiritual turmoil of many elderly people. This emotional burden of old age and the spiritual uncertainties that the prospect of illness, suffering and end of the life generate often escape the attention and, implicitly, the pastoral care of the priest while also making the elderly difficult to be understood by those close to him. On the other hand, the emotional support and peace of mind provided by the discovery of the meaning of life and death, of the liberating suffering and the hope of meeting God and communion with the righteous, are invaluable gifts that the priest can offer to the elderly.


Keywords: care, the elderly, pastoral, suffering, eternal life, emotional support, peace of mind

Rev. Associate Prof. PhD
Faculty of Orthodox Theology
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi, ROMANIA


I tried to prove it in this paper, through the examples of Romanian saints, the imnology and worship of the Church that true life in Christ and fulfillment (here and in eternity) or, as we call it, holiness, must be available to everyone. The deeds of the saints and their lives go beyond any local determination and they are useful to us, who must imitate them, constituting themselves as true role models. I will focus on the imnology of cult books, on the Lives of the Saints and on the contributions of Romanian and foreign theologians. It hurts me that for most Christians today, the lives of the saints are a fortuitous and useless reading. Modern man, attached to the transient aspects of this world, no longer sees the saints as examples or ideals to be attained, but replaces them with the „heroesˮ of our days. So, I tried to show that our life can be fulfilled through the life of Christ and that what we live through the worship and ethos of the Church is real, healing, and purposeful or fulfilling to man.


Keywords: Holy Fathers, Patericon, life, death, experience

Rev. Prof. Emeritus, PhD
Faculty of Human Services and Education
Metropolitan College of New York


Man does not possess his own self. As image of God, man is a mystery to himself. Yet he is called to explore that mystery, not to explain it, so that he can discover his authentic vocation in life which requires him to transcend knowledge as it is commonly understood, meaning to become metaphysically realistic and keeping his original dignity by building a cruciform type of relationship: on the horizontal with his fellow man, and based on that, on the vertical, with God.


Keywords: self, image, God, absolute, understanding, knowledge, participation, dignity, deification

Faculty of Theology
Ovidius University of Constanța, ROMANIA


The analysis of a spirituality, such as the Byzantine one, and the revealing of the aspects that mark the profile of philosophy within this horizon could represent for the postmodern human being a necessity in understanding the dynamics of Eastern Christianity. In a culture dominated by reactions to previous philosophical systems, of postmodernist deconstructivism, a rediscovery of what we can call “Byzantine philosophy”, as a successor of the evangelical message, specified and developed within the patristic theology and accessible in the form of a completely spiritual philosophical discourse. This is the main aim of the article: to explore the sources of Byzantine philosophy in the theology of Saint John Chrysostom.


Keywords: Byzantine philosophy, Patristic theology, Saint John Chrysostom, knowledge

Independent researcher, Rev. PhD
Faculty of Orthodox Theology
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi, ROMANIA


Stăniloae’s Spirituality and Communion in the Orthodox Liturgy represents an elaboration in terms of form and content of Maximus’s Mystagogia. Stăniloae comments and interprets Maximus’ insights that are fundamental for the Romanian orthodox ecclesiology and ritual actions of the Orthodox Liturgy. Though it contains references and quotations from other authors too, one can easily notice that the backbone of Stăniloae’s work is represented by Mystagogia. In a similar way as Maximus, Stăniloae starts his work discussing the visible aspect of the Church in a preliminary section and then passes to discuss the spiritual and mystagogical aspects of the Church with a special focus on the Liturgy.


Keywords: Mystagogia, Dumitru Stăniloae, Maximus the Confessor, Ecclesiology, Spirituality, communion, cosmos, unite, Church

Assoc. Prof. PhD
Faculty of Orthodox Theology
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi, ROMANIA


The paper entitled “Philanthropy in the Orthodox Church is the basic foundation of social assistance” seeks to emphasize the importance of philanthropy that underlies the establishment of social assistance. The first Christian centuries laid the foundations of social assistance, which was later institutionalized and transformed social assistance provided by Christians and non-Christians sporadically into constant assistance, provided to people in need. Christian help is one of the most important forms of love shown to one's neighbor and is a fundamental divine principle of the New Testament Law.

The New Testament presents the activity of the Savior which includes many good works in the form of miraculous healings, the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, the transformation of wine and even the resurrection from the dead miracles granted to the poor, children, widows and the elderly. He healed all kinds of sick people, doing good to all who had the joy of knowing Him. The miracles wrought by the Savior consisted of wonderful healings “and the news of Him went through all Syria, and they brought to Him all who were suffering, being afflicted with all manner of sicknesses and torments, the demon possessed, the lunatics, the be weak, and He will heal them” (Pătuleanu 2010: 5). Through these deeds, the Savior Jesus Christ taught us that philanthropy must not remain a simple philosophical concept, but must be converted into deed, into a beneficent action of all that is human suffering.


Keywords: sick, miracles, philanthropy, Christian help, human suffering

Assist. PhD
Faculty of Orthodox Theology
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi, ROMANIA


This article focuses on the study of the narthex decoration from Dionysiou catholicon, located on Mount Athos, which preserves frescoes from post byzantine period, assigned to Cretan school. The athonite architecture space generated a rich and original compositional arrangement of iconographic themes. Stylistic elements of compositions, the theological significance brought into the limelight the peculiarities and similarities with other monuments from Athos and other orthodox churches that have been decorated in post byzantine period.


Keywords: narthex, menolog, synaxarion, frescoes, Dionysiou

Georgeta Merișor DOMINTE
Assoc. Prof. PhD
Bogdan COJOCEA, Assist. PhD; Vasile TUDOR, Assist. PhD
Stelian ONICA, Lect. PhD
Sacred Art Section,
Faculty of Orthodox Theology
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi, ROMANIA
Assoc. Prof. PhD
Department of Slavic Studies, Faculty of Letters,
Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iaşi, ROMANIA


(I) The feeling of heritage develops over one’s whole lifetime by positive examples collected from any given time, a proper relating to history and accummulation of knowledge. Two years after the Centenary of Romania’s unification, recollection seems as helpful for a deeper understanding of the need for continuity and for conveying values conserved in time; as a result, present achievements are informed with past ones. In a world under the ever increasing influence of images, individuals can rely on the legacy of the word as a basic vector of communication. Written passages act as empowering repositories of cultural heritage, recollection and reconsideration; in a subtle or more explicit manner, they can express an urge to maintain heritage values such as the Christian Orthodox faith and tradition and the love for one’s homeland and people. This article presents: (1) some examples of memorable passages which include or imply, in their wider reference, an understanding of local artistic expression of sacred artistic; (2) thee idea of a small collection of artworks and images as part of our over 25-year educational work with students of cultural heritage at the Sacred Art section of the Faculty of Christian-Orthodox Theology in Iasi. The students’ art collection might contribute to outline present and future directions in heritage and material preservation; in time, as they become history too, they might serve to remind of the directions of studies, while expanding their creative artistic meaning as related to the work of cultural conservation-restauration. Generalization and relationship work together to create, in varying degrees of subtlety, the path of heritage protection; the works in one’s homeland represent a special priority and require cooperation.


Keywords: Romanian Unification; cultural, ideal, material heritage conservation; models; Cultural Heritage (Sacred Art), 25-years anniversary of the Iasi Faculty of Christian-Orthodox Theology; collection of artwork and educational data (under construction)


(II) As every given present moment becomes past, each time span has its own results. The feeling of heritage, cultivated as early as childhood, develops in time, by positive examples, as a closer connection to history comes with the realization of its importance. Two years after the Centenary of Romania’s Unification of 1918, recollection gives a better understanding of the need to continue the work of conservation of culture, ideas and materials, while introducing a reconsideration the past as a living resource. While informing the constant need for new things, the overabundant stream of images brings in the certainty formulated as ’nothing new under the sun’.( Eminescu 1884). Both images and the Word, which one grows to understand progressively, stay as the main communicatio in a stronger or less explicit manner. Writing focused on recollection and reconsideration brings in inspiritng passages. Excerpts chosen in this paper prove to act as agents in the preservation and conservation of cultural heritage, of the Christian Orthodox faith and love for one’s country and people and stand as Romanian ideas and forms of artistic expression in sacred art The idea of a small collection of artworks and images made by students in Cultural Heritage Studies at the specialized section of the Faculty of Orthodox Theology at the authors’ home University proves this very need to preserve the heritage of 25 years of experiece in art education, which needs to be a collective, urgent effort of preservation and conservation.


Keywords: recollection and reconsideration; Unification of Romania; cultural heritage conservation; cultural models; Cultural Heritage (Sacred Art), Faculty of Orthodox Theology; database for art education.


Hans Urs von Balthasar, Liturghia cosmică. Lumea în gândirea
Sfântului Maxim Mărturisitorul [Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe
According to Maximus the Confessor], translation from German
Language by Father Alexandru I. Roşu, col. “Patristica. Studii”, 23,
Doxologia Publishing House, Iaşi, 2018.

Sorin Lungoci, “Hristos împărtășit copiilor”. Rediviva catehizării
parohiale: context, conținut, strategii didactice [Christ to the Children.
The Revival of Parish Catechesis: Context, Content, Didactic Strategies],
Publishing house: Editura Presa Universitară Clujeană, Cluj Napoca,
2020, 365 p.