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The Church and the World N.

Berdyaev, 21st

The present age - said N.B. has produced an unprecedented dualism dualism between the Church
and the World, between the sacred ant the profane, between religion and life. It has dissolved the
ancient historical unity in which Christianity and the life of society were both comprised. The situation
is an intolerable one for religious thought: life becomes godless and has neither justification, nor
sanctification.

- The Church cannot be rationally defined or reduced by concepts, it cannot be seen from the outside,
but Its live must be actually experienced. It can only be understood by those who live in it. Its intrinsic
nature cannot be apprehended by those who stand apart from it.

SOBORNY- the true reality of the Church, its being, is mystical and it is something beyond buildings,
clergy, rites and councils. Its nature is spiritual and it belongs to the spiritual rather than to the natural
world. The virtually belongs to the Church. The spiritual life is metaphysically social and not
individualistic. The Church has a spiritually social nature in the deepest sense of the world. This is the
Soborny of the Church: through this I experience I am not alone but I am connected in the spirit with
all the other people in whatever place and time they have been lived. With other words, it is not only
the living who belong to the Church. All the generations which have gone before are equally part of it,
all of them are living in the Church, and I am in real union with them al. that is one of the essential
characteristics of the Church. We all are part of one Christian race, the spiritual seed of the New Adam.

TRADITION it is through Tradition that in each new generation man enters into the same spiritual
world. Tradition is a supra-personal and soborny experience, the creative spiritual life transmitted from
generation to generation, uniting the living and the dead = overcoming death. Tradition is the
affirmation of the eternal life. It is not authority, it is the creative life of the spirit.

BEAUTY - the Church is nothing less than the Christianized cosmos through beauty. Beauty is the goal
of life, it is the deification of the world. Beauty will save the world (Dostoievsky):

- until the realization of the Kingdom of God, lives the Church a divided existence. It is something
invisible, inward, mystical and still only incompletely actualized.

- in the conciousness of the Church, there are two opposed principles:

- the ancient Hellenic/Aristotelian principle of restrictive form and of achieved actuality;

- the Christian principle, which is mystical and always susceptible of new creative actualization.

SACRAMENTS the Sacraments and Dogmas of the Church are the visible expression of the mysterious
life of the cosmic body of Christ. The Sacraments are only the chief visible points in which the action
of God in cosmic life is focused. Christ, the Son of God is eternally crucified in the Cosmos and His
Eucharistic sacrifice is eternally offered. The Sacraments of the Church are the prototypes of the
transfiguration of the whole universe. It is only through sacraments in general, and through the Liturgy
in particular, that the people have access to the very depths of spiritual life. The sacraments operate
at the deepest level of cosmic life where the sacrifice of Christ is realized. Through Sacraments the
mystery of the Church is revealed to all men.

- the Church is bi-lateral by its nature and cannot be regarded from a monophysite standpoint. It has
not only a divine origin, it has also a cosmic origin. It represents not only the signature of God, but also
the trade-mark of the world. The Church is the God-world, the God-humanity.
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The cosmic foundation of the Church must be purity, innocence and chastity. God could make all men
chaste by an act of His almighty Will. But He desires that the chastity and integrality of human nature
should be freely acquired.

THE VIRGIN MARY the only person who attained in an absolute manner the integrality of human
nature. She is precisely this pure nature of the world, its natural deification, which constitutes the
cosmic foundation of the Church. In her the world and humanity responded to the divine appeal. The
Virgin Mary is the female cosmic soul of humanity.

- on the other hand, the church remains not invisible, but it is incarnate in the natural and historical
world.

- In the Church 2 natures are united in one organism, namely, God and humanity. The Church is an
organism, a divine-human process. Human freedom and activity operates within it as well as the grace
of God.

- In the Church is always a movement from God to man (Gods Will) and from man to God (the
manifestation of freedom and human creation). The creative freedom of man is necessary not for
salvation, but for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

- In Christ man has received a power which is both human and divine. The discovery of the life of God-
humanity in the Church springs from the Christian doctrine of the New Adam and the new spiritual
race which has its origin in Christ. Through Christ, man is already a new creature in whom a new
freedom and power are revealed. Through the New Adam the rupture differentiation between the
natural and supernatural having been brought to an end.

St. Thomas Aquinas placed the human being considering his intelligence among the lower grades of
the hierarchy of spirits. According to him, purely intellectual knowledge is beyond mans reach and it
is superior to that of man.

- On the other hand, the angelic principle is passive and mediatorial, while the human, on the
contrary, is active and creative. So, in reality the hierarchy established by Christ is entirely the
reverse of what Aquinas said. Man, not angels, are the center of being and it is man who has
his origin in the very heart of Trinity.
- In fact the angelic order, in the strict sense of the word, means the monastic state in so far as
it involves the extinction of human nature.
- Humanity is moving by way of hierarchical development toward the universal kingdom of
freedom, towards religion transfiguration. It is subject to the action of divine energy and
receives the gifts of grace through the mediation of the priesthood.

THE REUNION OF THE CHURCHES this must be approached not from an external point of view, but
from within. The churches will never be united by treaties signed by their respective governments or
by mutual conventions. In order to achieve a real union of the churches it may even perhaps be
necessary to avoid having union as our objective. The best way to unity is through an attitude animated
by love which permits of mutual recognition of other confessions as also living in the same spiritual
world. Above all, we must try to change the mutual relationships between Orthodox, Catholics and
Protestants rather than those of their churches.
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