June 14, 2012

Orthodoxy and New Age Spirituality

From an interview with Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos:

Question: Over the last several decades societies which in the past considered themselves to be Christian are falling victim to the flood of different pseudo-religious cults (represented in numerous Yoga and meditation systems, UFO hysteria, neopagan sects, etc.), all of them under the umbrella of the so-called New Age Movement. What do you think is the reason for the popularity of these movements and how the Orthodox Church should act in the presence of the above-mentioned New Age “spirituality”?

Answer: The reason for the spread of various pseudo-religious heresies, the so-called religious or neopagan sects, which many members of the Church fall victims to, is that a lot of people have separated from the neptic tradition of our Church. As it is known, the neptic/hesychastic tradition of the Church, which constitutes the prophetic, apostolic and martyric spirit of the ancient Church, is the criterion by which it can be discerned whether some action comes from God or from the devil.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa teaches that heresies flourish where prophets are absent. This is so because prophets and apostles know how to distinguish falsehood from truth.

In addition, in our days, people, and mostly the young ones, do not find comfort in conventional manners, in an externally moralistic life. Instead, they search for answers to existential questions, they look for inner peace and existential freedom.

Therefore, what is needed above anything else in our times is the hesychastic tradition, which forms the basis of the Gospel, the context of the Holy Eucharist, the essence of the apostolic and patristic message. This spirit is found abundant in the Philokalia and the Sayings of the Elders (Gerontikon). When these texts are read within the canonical structure of the Orthodox Church, they help us avoid fallacy and everything associated with it.

From Sobornost, September 2006.