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Truth and Communion


The Truth is also

The Eucharistic perspective

The triadologic perspective

Negative perspective

The Christological perspective

The perspective of the "image" (icon)

Truth and Salvation -
the existential importance of the synthesis of the Greek Fathers

Truth and person

Truth and the

Truth and the Church - Ecclesiastical consequences
emerging from the synthesis of the Greek Fathers

The Eucharist as a place of the

IV. Truth and the Church - Ecclesiastical consequences emerging
from the synthesis of the Greek Fathers

1. The body of Christ is based on the mind 

The Christological starting point to understand the truth or even more the identification of the meaning we have on the truth with Christ, puts the question on the kind of the Christology we had in mind when we made this identification. Two kinds of Christology can one take into consideration. On one hand, we can understand Christ as an individual, objective and historically understood, which is presented to us as the truth. If we understand Christ in this way, the distance existing between us is overridden with the help of particular means, which are useful as mediators between the truth and us, like for example, His words in the Scripture and perhaps Tradition transferred, explained and interpreted through a particular way of teaching -and all this take place with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

On the other hand, one can imagine a kind of Christology, in which Christ is a particular person, without Him self-revealing. When we claim, that He is the truth, we then understand, in this second kind of Christology, the total of his personal existence, that is, His relationship to His body, the Church, us. In other words, when in this case we say "Christ", we characterize a person and not an individual.

We also characterize a reality of relationship, which exists "for me" or "for us"[i]. The Holy Spirit here is not just an assistant to surpass the distance between Christ and us; it's much more the person of the Triad, which realizes now in history what we call the Christ, meaning this personal being in the relationship of our savior. In this case our Christology is founded definitely -and not just secondarily, as in the first case- through the Pneumatology. This concerns a pneumatological foundation of Christology. Between Christ, the truth and us there is no distance to bridge over through the means of Grace. The Holy Spirit, which activated in history the fact of Christ, realizes at the same time His personal existence as body or community. Christ does not exist primarily as truth and then as communion. He is both at the same time. In the Holy Spirit the separation between Christology and Ecclesiology is abolished.

Such a Pneumatology, formatted as Christology is undoubtedly biblical. In the Bible Christ becomes a historical person only in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1,18-20, Luke 1,35). Christology is here clearly established pneumatologically. The Holy Spirit does not enter through the borders of Christology later, as some kind of assistance, to bridge over the objective distance between Christ and us. It is what causes the birth of Christ and the sum of the work of salvation by christening Him and making Him the Christ (Luke 4,18). Only through the Holy Spirit can Christ be confessed as the truth (Corinthians 1st, 12,3). If one examines carefully the 1st Epistle to Corinthians, it appears that the body of Christ to Paul is constituted literally by the gifts of the Holy Spirit (being a member of the body is a gift)[ii]. Without exaggeration we can therefore say, that Christ does not exist in Himself but just in a pneumatological way and this refers so much in the uniqueness of His person as much in His ability as body of the Church and summary of all things. This is the great mystery of Christology, that the fact of Christ does not designate itself -it cannot perform this not even clearly theoretically- but is an incorporated component in the Divine Dispensation of the Holy Triad. Whoever speaks of Christ, speaks at the same time for the Father and the Holy Spirit[iii], and the fact, that just Christ was incarnated and not the Father and the Holy Spirit should not cover this truth. For, the incarnation, as we have seen, is based in the work of the Holy Spirit. The will of the Father is expressed and realized in it. Thus the mystery of the Church emerges from the integrity of the Divine Dispensation and the pneumatologically founded Christology. The Holy Spirit as "power" or "life sponsor" opens our being for the relationship, in which the very being is "communion" (Corinthians 2nd, 13,13). In its substance the mystery of the Church is no other than the «one» and the "many" at the same time -it is not the one which is followed by the many, but the "one", which is the "many" at the same time[iv].

In the relevance of such a pneumatologically established Christology truth and society are identified once again. This takes place on the level of history, as much as on the level of anthropology. Christ as the truth exists in the Holy Spirit. Naturally, this cannot be understood in an individual way and the truth can much more be realized in the Holy Spirit inevitably and permanently, that is, a fact of the Pentecost. In the description of the Pentecost in Actions 2, this fact has a historical and anthropological importance. Through the effusion of the Holy Spirit the "final days" begin in the human history; at the same time the unity of mankind is validated as a variety of gifts. The deeper meaning appears in the fact of Christ, which is realized from the viewpoint of history and anthropology right here, right now. Objectification and individualization of the historical existence, which includes distance, the ephemeral and death, is transferred in the existence of communion and brings eternal life to man and creation. In a similar way the individualization of the human existence which leads to division and contradiction, is not translocated into the existence of communion, from which the discernment of persons ("into each one of them separately" Actions 2,3) is identified with communion in the body. The existence of Christ, a described previously, is historicized and personified through this movement of the Spirit of God, which from Christ himself created a historical being. The truth as Christ and the truth as the Holy Spirit are identified and this is why the Holy Spirit also called the «Spirit of Truth» (John 14,17; 15,26; 16,13). The only thing that differs is the way of the energy, meaning that this of the Christ and this of the Holy Spirit, as truth, in the way, that the one divine love in the divine Dispensation is adapted to our own needs and our own boundaries.

The description of the fact of the Pentecost in Actions 2 continues to show the same thing even more specifically. The existence of Christ is not transferred to our own historical existence "in abstracto" or with an individual way, but in the community and through it. This community is created by the usual existence through a radical diversion of individualism into face during the baptism. The baptism as death and resurrection in Christ characterizes the decisive transition from the existence of the "truth" of the individualized being into the truth of the personal being[v]. The dimension of the resurrection in the baptism is nothing other than the accession into the body of the community. For this reason a renaissance is necessary, because in the usual way of reproduction the birth -as we emphasized previously- is a cause for individualization as a birth of the predestined to death beings. Eternal life, however, demands the rebirth from the baptism as a birth of the "Holy Spirit", in order for each baptized being to become "Christ" himself[vi], that is, a being of communion, and in this way real life[vii].

The transition of the existence of Christ into our own existence does not lead necessarily to anything other, than the realization of the ecclesiastical community. This community is born as the body of Christ and lives in society itself, which we look for in the historical existence of Christ. Its "true life" is identified with the eternal life of the Triadic God; thus it becomes the "pillar of truth" in an existential sense. All that its truth holds to the utmost extent have now been given as an image[viii] in a mystical way. Thus in it the truth of Christ can be realized in the form of faith, hope and love, as a foretaste of eternal life and in this way seeks after the transformation of the world in it as communion, which it experiences in itself. This experience of the truth in the existence of the Church is realized in the life of the Church more in the Eucharist. The Eucharistic community is the body of Christ "par excellence", for in it our communion to life and the triadologic communion are connected in a way that preserves the eschatological character of the truth and at the same time creates a component embodied in its history. If we also want to see, that Christ, the truth, is connected to the Church, then we must first examine the Divine Eucharist.

[i] See the Christology of D Bonhöffer, Gessamelte Schriften III, München 1960, 166-242, where this is used as a key expression. This way of viewing of Bonhieffer is very important since he separates himself from the salvation theories of theology after the Reformation, which relied more on the action of Christ than on His person. The pneumatological direction of course is missing from Bonhöffer's work and this creates from the idea of «pro-me» a pattern without ontological content.

[ii] See I. D. Zizioulas, Ordination et communion, in Istina 16, 1971, 5-12.

[iii] The unity of the divine action «ad extra» is emphasized by the Fathers intensely. See, e.g. Athanassius, To Serr. I, 20; Basillius, Περί Αγίου Πνεύματος 19,49; Cyril of Alexandreia, Προς Ιωάννη 10, and others. This is correct to the western Fathers as well. See Y. Congar, Pneumatologie ou «Christomonisme» dans la tradition latine?, in: Ecclesia a Spiritu Sancto edocta (Melanges G. Philips), 1970, 41-63.

[iv] This is developed extensively in I. Zizioulas, Die pneumatologische Dimension der Kirche, in: Communio 2, 1973, 133-147.

[v] See further up, Part III, 1.

[vi] See Cyril of Alexandria, Κατηχήσεις 21,1; Tertyllianus, Περί Βαπτίσματος 7-8; Διδ. Αποστ. III, 16.

[vii] This entire «lift of the individualization» of Christ, his identification with a spiritual «body», can have a certain sense, only if one introduces the eschatological realities in history. The Holy Spirit is connected to the «final days» (Acts 2,17) and a spiritual Christology takes its «truth»only through the fact of the resurrected Christ, then it is no longer possible to represent an individualized Christology. All references to the person of Christ include necessarily this, which we have names «lift of the individualization», meaning that Christ is presented as a person (not an individual), as a being, whose identity is based on communion and through it. The New Testament was written by people, who accepted the resurrection of Christ as a historical fact and for this reason the identity of Christ is expressed always in the New Testament in pneumatological terms (for certain evangelists, such as Matthew or Luke, even biological conceivement of Christ). Because of this was no longer possible in the Church to speak about Christ in a different way, other than with the terms of communion, that is, identifying Him with the «community of the saints». And the eschatological and pneumatological approach of the Christ «firstborn in a lot of brothers», which establishes His historical identity in the fact of communion and through him, which is the Church.

[viii] See further up, Part II, 6.


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