The Mystagogy Resource Center is currently in a fundraising campaign to continue and expand its service. Your financial support is very much appreciated. Read more about it here. Whatever contribution you make, will be matched by an anonymous supporter, thus doubling your gift.

In an effort to reach our financial goal of $10,000 we will be absent from posting and working behind the scenes until the goal is met.

Currently, as of Sunday 29 May 2016 at 3:00pm est., we are at 56% of our goal.

I hope you will help us reach our goal quickly. If everyone that visited this site today contributed just a few dollars, the goal would be reached in a matter of hours. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Neptic and Social Theology

By Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos

We divide theology into neptic and social, and we regard some Fathers as belonging to the first and others as belonging to the second category. But in the teaching of the Holy Fathers this division is not seen. To be sure, outwardly, from the way in which each one has worked, a division can be seen between the neptics and socials, because some Fathers had a particular flock and did their work there, and others were in the desert, praying constantly. Even from this aspect, however, there cannot be a perfect division, because even the Fathers who worked pastorally lived neptically, and the hermits worked in a missionary way, in the sense that they were magnets for many men who approached them to learn ""words" of salvation. Thus the hermits indirectly did pastoral work.

Beyond this, the teaching of the saints is not divided into social and neptic. When the Fathers speak of social topics, they look at them within the true theology of the Church, which is ascetic. And when they speak of neptic topics, they do it in order for people to be able to be purified and then to attain real communion with God and men. Besides, we know very well that in the Church the theologians do shepherding and the pastors do their work theologically.

We are accustomed to seeing the Three Hierarchs - Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and Chrysostom - as social Fathers. But this does not correspond with reality, because the Three Hierarchs in their writings also explain the whole neptic teaching of the Church.

The fact that there is a close link between nepsis and communion, between neptic and social Fathers, and that the Holy Fathers shepherd their flocks theologically is seen from the homilies written by St. Gregory Palamas to his flock in Thessaloniki. Anyone who reads these homilies will discover that shepherding is theology and theology is truly a fruit of the knowledge of God, but also a path for man to reach deification.

From The Mind of the Orthodox Church, Ch. 6

Please Visit Our Sponsors