June 21, 2010

Authentic Orthodox Patristic Theology

by Elder Joel Yiannakopoulos

If you read the Fathers, you will see that they have their own peculiarities on most topics and sometimes even their disagreements. For example, one interprets a certain passage of Scripture one way, and another a different way. But if there is one topic on which not even one of the Fathers disagrees, it is the topic of askesis (asceticism). All of them praise fasting, vigil, voluntary poverty, physical hardship, and toil in general. None of them praises comforts and easy living. Do you realize the importance of this fact?

We look at what the Holy Fathers said and wrote, and not at how they lived. Instead of doing commentaries on the texts of the Fathers, we ought rather to copy their lives. The Fathers prayed much, kept vigil much, fasted much, loved poverty and simplicity, hated the secular mindset, fought delusions, turned away from the comforts of life, avoided high offices, glory and honors, and loved martyrdom. Do we do these things? We hold the books of the Fathers in our hands, and our lives are a denial of their own lives. The Fathers are life, they are not philology!

From Anecdota: The Sayings of Father Joel Giannakopoulos, Archimandrite by Fr. Epiphanios Theodoropoulos, p. 9.