September 2, 2016

The Spiritual Twilight of the West

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos

Saint Paisios was a blessed ascetic and eventually a saint of the Church who had clear theological thoughts, he had prophetic and apostolic gifts, which is why his words are timeless.

Once he talked about the spiritual preconditions needed for the Holy Spirit to act. He said:

"The word of the mind does not transform the soul, because it is of flesh. The word of God, born of the Holy Spirit, has divine energy and transforms the soul. The Holy Spirit does not need engines to descend. This is why theology has nothing to do with a sterile scientific spirit. The Holy Spirit descends on His own volition, when He finds the right spiritual preconditions in man. And these conditions exist when we remove the rust from our spiritual cables, and become good conductors for the spiritual current of divine illumination. It is then that we can become a spiritual scientist, a theologian. By 'theologian,' I mean those theologians who have theological reserves, whose degree has value, not those who only carry a diploma as worthless as the paper money we had during the German Occupation."

With much discernment he condemns ecclesiastical leaders who live only physically within the Orthodox Church, but "their being" is in the West. He said:

"Unfortunately, western rationalism has had its influence on certain Eastern Orthodox leaders, who are members of the Eastern Orthodox Church only in body. In spirit, they really belong to the West, which they consider to 'reign' over the secular world. But if they were to view the West spiritually, to see it in the light of the East, in the light of Christ, then, they would be able to discern its spiritual twilight. For the light of the intelligible Sun, the light of Christ Himself is disappearing from the West and deep darkness is slowly setting in. All these gatherings and conferences are the work of the evil one; the leaders are engaging in endless discussions on issues that need no discussion, issues that even the Holy Fathers never addressed in the past. All these are meant to confuse and scandalize the faithful and drive some of them to heresies and others to schisms, so that the devil can gain more ground. Ah! The misery and confusion they bring to people!"

Saint Paisios had a nous with insight and foresight and clearly saw the life and mentality of many contemporary theologians - clergy and laity - who are Orthodox in name, but with their actions lack the preconditions for Orthodox theology. Without such preconditions, they push the faithful "some of them to heresies and others to schisms." The Holy Spirit does not descend with engines, He does not act with secular attitudes.

Source: Ekklesiastiki Paremvasi, "Τό Ἅγιο Πνεῦμα δέν κατεβαίνει μέ μηχανές", July 2016. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.