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- 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

St. Seraphim of Sarov
Union With God
Hierotheos of Nafpaktos
John Romanides
Robin Amis
History of the Church


By Archimandrite George
Abbott of the Holy Monastery of Gregoriou on Mount Athos


The guidance that our Orthodox Church offers, with the Holy Services, Patristic theology, Monasticism, is theanthropocentric guidance. Its centre is the God-man Christ, and it leads to Theosis.

This brings great joy into our life when we know what a great destiny we have, and what blessedness awaits us.

To set our sights on Theosis sweetens the pain in every trial and all the worries of life.

When we are struggling towards the aim of Theosis, that is to say, when we see one another as prospective gods, our attitude towards our fellow men changes for the better. How much deeper and more substantial will be the guidance which we will then give our children! In what a God-pleasing way a father and mother will then love and respect their children, feeling the responsibility and holy charge which they have towards them; how much will they then help them, by the Grace of God, to attain Theosis, the purpose for which they brought them into the world! And how will they naturally help them, if they themselves are not oriented towards that purpose, towards Theosis? How much more respect will we have for ourselves when we feel that we have been moulded for this great purpose; when we are without the egotism and pride which opposes God!

Certainly, the Holy Fathers and great theologians of the church say that it is in this way, by overcoming our self-love and the anthropocentric philosophy of egotism; that we become real people, true men. Then we will meet God with reverence and love, but also meet our fellow man with respect and true dignity not seeing him as a tool of pleasure and exploitation, but as an icon of God destined for Theosis.

As long as we are closed within ourselves - within our ego – we are individuals but not persons. Once we exit from our closed individual existence and begin, in agreement with this guidance based on Theosis, with the Grace of God, but also with our own cooperation – to love, to offer ourselves all the more to Him and to our neighbour, we become true persons. This is to say that when our "I" encounters the "Thou" of God, and the "you" of our brother, then we begin to find our lost self. For within the communion in Theosis for which we were moulded, we are able to open up, to communicate, to really enjoy one another … and not only in a selfish way.

This is the ethos of the Divine Liturgy, in which we learn to overcome the narrow, atomistic interest to which the devil, our sins, and our passions compel us, and instead learn to open up to a communion of sacrifice and love in Christ.

An awareness of this great calling of his, i.e. of Theosis, comforts and really completes man.

The Orthodox humanism of our Church is based on this great calling of man, and therefore it develops all his powers to the extreme.

What other form of humanism, however progressive and liberal it may appear, is as revolutionary as that of the Church which is able to make man a god? Only the humanism of the Church reaches so high.

Today especially, when so many attempt to deceive the people, and in particular the young, by projecting false humanisms which in effect maim man and do not complete him, the emphasis given in this guidance of the Church has great importance

Original English translation (2005), annotation and glossary by Photius Coutsoukis. A subsequent translation, with extensive footnotes, but containing errors, by Robin Amis, was published in book and pdf format: (2006). Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life (PDF) (4th ed.). Mount Athos, Greece: Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios. ISBN 960-7553-26-8.

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