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2010 | 2(57) | 35-56
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IN SEARCH OF NEW WAYS TOWARDS CHRISTIAN UNITY(W poszukiwaniu nowych drog ku jednosci chrzescijan)

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The first part of the article describes signs of a crisis of Christianity in the contemporary world. One can distinguished both the deepening of a crisis of faith and various threats, which have been very dangerous for Christians. Among many causes of the modern crisis of faith it should be pointed out the tolerance for pathologies, the triumph of atheistic philosophies, the anthropological reductionism, and the relativisation of personal evil. Apart from that in some countries in the world Christians have been persecuted and even put to death. It is necessary to take into account this general context if one would like to take into consideration the problem of the necessity of common witness on Christ and the cause of the lack of Christian Unity. Today, as the Author ascertain in the second part of his text, it is impossible to deal with ecumenical matters without relating them to various factors influencing on the situation of Christianity in the world. As it is evident, so far the full Eucharistic Fellowship has not been reached by the ecumenical dialogue. Practically, a greater part of agreements of theological dialogues have not got reception on the parish level. There is no common Christian language, which could be commonly used, what it points out to deep disagreement about the Truth. From the Orthodox point of view unity is to be understood not as a mere administrative arrangement and a human achievement, but as a manifestation of grace and as the fullness of the new life which renews the earth-born and the whole of their world. In order to understand why the Christian unity is so difficult to acquire it is necessary to look at the Church of Christ as a personal community in resemblance of the Holy Trinity as the community of the Divine Persons. The Author in the third part of the article underlines that the Trinitarian relations between God the Father, the Son of God and the Holy Spirit consist the most perfect pattern for relations between human persons in the fellowship of the Church. From such a point of view the Church is not an occasional ‘happening', where the Word of God is preached and listened to and the sacraments are performed, but as the reality of sonship in the Spirit, that is, as a constant movement of filial grace from the Father, giving his Son to us in the Spirit, and as a return of this by us, ‘giving grace' to him by offering back to him his Son in his incarnate, sacrificial and risen state as the head of a body comprising all of us and all that exists. The fourth part of the article refers to a question of the unity of the Church and understanding of truth. The problem of understanding of truth in the Church may be expressed in the following question: How can we hold at the same time to the historical nature of truth and the presence of ultimate truth here and now? For an answer to this question it can be very helpful to look at the Greek Fathers, both their failures and their success, in arriving at an understanding of truth which might have meaning for a person of Greek mentality, without betraying or distorting the message of the Bible. Their spiritual and intellectual contribution has been essential for a reflection on the relation between truth and salvation. They underlined that human person as the whole (not only his reason, but all functions of his intellect in connection to soul and body) was committed into the process of learning truth. Therefore bodily ascetism in the Church is one of essential conditions of approach to truth, the supreme road to theological knowledge. It is not possible for human being to come to know the truth of life, the truth of God and the truth of his own existence purely through intellectual categories, relative analogies and conventional expressions, because they give only a relative and conventional knowledge. Knowing God is possible only inChrist, who as the personal Truth has been the source of all truths. In order to know Christ as Truth it requires opening for His presence not only on the level of reason, but approaching Him in ones intellect, soul and body. Particularly, the change of the intellect is very important on the way toward the uniting Truth. There are some important conclusions, indicated in the final part of the article, resulting from the Christian understanding of the uniting Truth for ecumenical endeavors. Particularly important is not to treat the doctrinal ecumenism solely as an intellectual convergence process in separation from all that, what constitute the life of the Church of Christ. One has to remember that notions taken from kataphatic theology should be supplemented by notions from apophatic theology, because the knowledge of God is knowing the Unknowable. Striving for the unity of Christians, similarly to striving for the unity of a human person in relation to God, requires the change of intellect, by the attention, watchfulness, prayer, the Liturgy and ascetism.
  • Dr hab. KRZYSZTOF LESNIEWSKI, prof. KUL - kierownik Katedry Teologii Prawoslawnej w Instytucie Ekumenicznym KUL, Lublin, Poland
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