June 8, 2011

The Division Between Theologians and Non-Theologians

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

We divide people into theologians and non-theologians. We consider that theologians are those who possess some intellectual knowledge, and we think that theology is a speciality of some people who are studying scientifically the history of the Church. Without excluding the possibility that this too may be one distinction between students and teachers, we must say that theology is chiefly life, experience, and that theologians, according to the teaching of the Church, are essentially those who see God.

St. Gregory the Theologian says that theologians are "those who have been examined and are passed masters in the vision of God", which is to say those who have been tested and purified and, as a result, reached deification. Likewise, according to St. Neilos, a theologian is one who prays. Therefore theologians are those who experience the purifying, especially the illuminating and deifying energy of God.

Thus one person can have completed theological school, taught theology, and yet not know experientially what theology is. And another person can be mentally illiterate, but have developed his noetic energy to the extreme, and be a real theologian. On the Holy Mountain one can meet such people, who are able to interpret and analyze the teaching of the holy Fathers of the Church.