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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

2. Truth and person 

The place in which in a completely direct way the overcoming of the fallen existence, as described previously, is the reality of the person. The importance of the person lies in the fact, that it states at the same time two things, which at first glance seem to contradict: the particularity and communion. Being a person is something completely different from being an individual or a "personality", because a person cannot be observed onto itself, but only in its relationship. Under the accusations of the fallen existence, we usually identify the person with the «ego» and in this way with all the characteristics and the experience that it holds. The philosophers remind us justly, that this is not what distinguishes a person. But what is the relationship of the person with the truth and especially from the view of the particularity as much as the society?

The substance of the person lies in that the being is a revelation of the truth of being and rather not as "substance" or "nature", but as a "way of being"[i]. This deep perception of the Cappadoceans[ii] indicates, that the real knowledge is not knowledge of the substance or the nature of things but of the way, with which they refer to the fact of the communion. We saw previously, that the matter of ecstasy has a function-key in the understanding of the truth of the Greek Fathers. If one transfers it to the sense of the person, then it should be added from another matter, that of hypostasis. Ecstasy means that the person is the revelation of the truth and even more, by being in communion (relationship); hypostasis on the contrary means, that the person in communion (relationship) and through it validates its identity and individuality, "lies under its very nature" (hypostasis) in a special and unique way. In this sense the person is the horizon, on which the truth is revealed of being and not just a simple nature, subject to the individualization and the combination, but as a unique image on the completeness and "universality" of being. So, if we see a being as a person, then we see in it the entire human nature; but destroying a human person means reversibly a murder against the entire humanity, in a final analysis, against the truth of the human being.

The mystery of the person lies in the fact, that in it differentiation and communion do not contradict but one encounters the other. The truth as communion does not lead to an abolishment of dissimilarity of the beings in the infinite ocean of being, but in its confirmation in love and through it. The difference between that and the truth of "nature itself" lies in this: Nature is subject to dismemberment, individualization, perception and understanding, etc.; love on the contrary is not it. Thus, in the relevance of communion, the opposite of difference is division[iii].

Naturally, this identification of difference and unity is incompatible with the fallen existence, in which we are born as beings with the clear tendency to perceive, dominate and possess the being. This individualized and individualizing Adam within us is our forefathers' sin and at the same time the cause for the fact that the "other", meaning each individual being next to us, becomes in the end our enemy and our "forefathers' sin" (Sartre)[iv]. If the human existence remains released into itself, then it cannot be a person. The ecstasy of the being towards the human or the created leads to the "being towards death"[v]. All efforts to define the truth as the "being towards life", should demand at the same time the sense of the being beyond the created being. 

[i] On this subject see Chr. Yiannaras, Το οντολογικό περιεχόμενο της θεολογικής έννοιας του προσώπου, 1970. The differentiation he presents between substance and presence (ουσία and παρ-ουσία) is particularly illuminating.

[ii] See above, Part II, 3.

[iii] Maximus developed the discernment between «difference» and «division» on the base of the Christology of Chalkedon. On these terms and their synthesis on Maximus see L. Thunberg, Microcosm and Mediator. The Theological Anthropoogy of Maximus the Confessor, Lund 1965, p. 54 and on. See Yiannaras, as above, p. 73 and on.

[iv] J.P. Sartre, L' etre et le Neant, 1949, p. 251.

[v] This observation by M. Heidegger has a great importance on the ontology of the world in the exact situation in which it is, that is, without a reference to something more.

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