Zizioulas and the Church that is Communion


Fr. Stephen has a post that invites us to begin to think through some of the teaching of Metropolitan Zizioulas, one of the foremost contemporary Orthodox theologians.

Here’s just a bit of his post on the implications of the Doctrine of the Triune God for both the Church and for us as creatures:

“Zizioulas, following the teaching of St. Basil in particular, notes that in Orthodox Trinitarian teaching, it is common to begin by speaking of the three Persons of the Godhead and then moving to the One Essence, rather than by speaking of the One Essence and then proceeding to the three Persons. Without repeating the entirety of his magisterial work, he presses this work of St. Basil and concludes that God exists as an eternal act of communion of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. St. Basil had said that ‘person is prior to being’ (not speaking temporally, but theologically). Thus it is that the very names of the Trinity reveal the truth of God. The Father is not a metaphor, but a name. He is Father and this implies ‘a begotten.’ Christ as Son, again implies begotten. The Spirit (which means breath or wind) also implies another, a source. Thus there is no speaking of the Triune God that does not include this ‘relational’ aspect.

Zizioulas also applies this understanding of existence to human beings. Thus our biological existence, which is destined to return to the dust, is replaced, in Holy Baptistm, by what he calls ‘the ecclesial hypostasis’ (I just love the term though it won’t preach). I existence given to us in Baptism is no longer defined by our biology, our individuality, but by our relationship to Christ (and thus to His Church).”

Read the rest here: Zizioulas and the Church that is Communion

(Via Glory to God for All Things.)

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

1 Comment

  1. As I’ve noted Miroslav Volf does a find job of adjusting some of the authoritarian and communitarian dangers in Zizioulas’ and Ratzinger’s work on this matter in After Our Likeness.

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