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THEOSIS

- Table of Contents

- Preface

- Deification As The Purpose Of Man's Life

- The Cause Of Man's Deification

- The Contribution Of The Theotokos

- The Place Of Deification

- How Deification Becomes Possible

- Qualifications For Deification

- Experiences Of Deification

- Failure To Attain Deification

- Consequence Of Guidance For Deification

- Consequence Of Guidance Not Leading To Deification

- Glossary


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THEOSIS* - DEIFICATION AS THE PURPOSE OF MAN'S LIFE

By Archimandrite George [Kapsanis]
Abbott of the Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios on Mount Athos


*Explanations of terms can be found in the Glossary, at the end of this article.


Note: This text was derived from talks which Archimandrite George gave at different times in various cities in Greece, so, the style of the work reflects the fact that it consists of taped excerpts from these talks.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

- Preface

- Deification As The Purpose Of Man's Life

- The Cause Of Man's Deification

- The Contribution Of The Theotokos

- The Place Of Deification

- How Deification Becomes Possible

- Qualifications For Deification

- Failure To Attain Deification

- Consequence Of Guidance For Deification

- Consequence Of Guidance Not Leading To Deification






GLOSSARY

Askesis:
The effort or spiritual training waged by Christians to keep the commandments, to purify the heart from passions and to practice the virtues, together with prayer and related activities, so as to bring harmony between the body, soul and God.

Avaton:
The prohibition of women in Agion Oros. A mandated aspect of its autonomous status, which is enshrined in the constitution of Greece.

Diakonia, diakonima, diakonimata (pl.):
Service or ministration, in other words the assigned work tasks of a monk.

Evergetinos:
A collection of texts, primarily short stanzas and anecdotes from monastic life, illustrating the struggles and rewards of monastic life.

Faith:
See
pistis


Gerontas, gerontes (pl.):
Also called Elder, or Staretz, an honorific appellation of a spiritually developed monk or a senior monk in a monastery, such as the abbot.

Hesychia, hesychast, hesychastic:
Silence, stillness. Stilling of the thoughts, but not emptiness, whereby the nous may descend into the heart through the Jesus prayer. It is the inner attentiveness in prayer which brings the remembrance of God and the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Kelli, kellia (pl.):
A monkís cell in a monastery. Also, in Agion Oros, a dwelling, something like a farmhouse with a small chapel, where the monks pray and work out their salvation.

Koenovion, Cenobitic:
A monastery where all monks follow the same rules.

Lavra:
A monastery.

Nepsis, neptic:
Nepsis is vigilance of the nous and watchfulness at the gates of the heart, so that every thought that moves in it can be controlled. Neptic is an adjective pertaining to the method used for nepsis.

Nous, noetic:
Often translated as mind. The highest faculty of man, through which, upon purification, he can contemplate God, and the inner essences of created things, by means of direct apprehension or spiritual perception. Noetic understanding is not intellectual, but it comes from immediate spiritual experience.

Pistis:
Faith. The modern idea of faith, based on Aquinas's differentiation of knowledge from blind belief, is not what is meant in traditional Christianity. Although it can be a component of what the fathers of the Church, such as Saint Maximos the Confessor, referred to as "preliminary faith", it can only be considered an initial stage in our ascent towards knowledge and the Word, which is true faith based on experience, a gift of God. At a higher stage, faith (Gr. pistis) leads to
noetic knowledge (Gr. gnosis) that is founded on experience and completed by inspiration and, therefore, cannot be overthrown by reasoned argument. It changes the heart, it leads to substantial changes in being, it can move mountains, and it leads to salvation.

Psyche:


Skete:
Typically similar in appearance to a small village, where kellia are built around a central Church. Each kelli performs its daily prayers independently except on Sundays and on feastdays, where theygather together in the main Church to worship.

Theanthropic:
Pertaining to theanthropos, man-god.

Theosis
The deification of man. According to the Orthodox Tradition, manís purpose in life is to achieve
union with God, and to become god by grace. Acquisition of the Holy Spirit; self-realization.

Theotokos
The Mother of God (from gr. Theos = God, teko = to give birth). The Virgin Mary.








A new English translation of the Greek text will soon be published, with commentary by
Robin Amis, Director of Praxis Research Institute, where he explains the same concepts in terms of modern Western thought.










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