Monday, July 21, 2014

The Church resembling a prostitute

Reading the book “The mind of the Orthodox Church”, written by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos, I came across a very interesting depiction of the Church, one which I never thought of before reading it, i.e. the Church, which in the Old Testament resembles a prostitute. The Metropolitan explains:

“The Church in the Old Testament resembled a prostitute, and Christ sanctified it, made it a virgin. St. John Chrysostom analyses this truth graphically: ‘For the miracle of the bridegroom is that he took a prostitute and made a virgin’. And then he writes that in the human biological data marriage destroys virginity, whereas ‘with God marriage restored virginity’… God desires the prostitute ‘in order to make her a virgin’. And indeed He does not send any angel, Cherubim, Seraphim or any of his servants, ‘He presents Himself, the lover’. And since the prostitute did not want to rise high, He Himself goes down. He goes into her hut. He sees her drunk, finds her covered with wounds, enraged, pestered by the demons. He approaches her; she flees. He invites her, saying: ‘I am a physician’. He imitates her manners. Then ‘he takes her, adapts himself to her’, that is to say, he becomes betrothed to her, gives her the ring, that is to say the Holy Spirit.
Then Chrysostom presents a dialogue between Christ and the former prostitute. Christ says to her: ‘Since you were produced in Paradise, how did you fall from there?’ She answers that the devil cast her out of Paradise. And Christ goes on: ‘You were produced in Paradise, and he cast you out; behold, I produce you in myself, I bear you’. Now you no longer have a body and you have nothing to fear from the devil. The prostitute replies: ‘But I am a sinner and unclean’. And Christ says: ‘Do not worry; I am a physician. I know my own tool, I know how it was earthenware and was broken. I shall remake it by the bath of rebirth and consign it to the fire’”. (p. 56-57).

Therefore we can identify that the Church is holy because it is sanctified by Christ, who is also the Church’s Head. From this relationship, the Christians are also holy; the Christians who partake in the Mysteries and the Life of the Church.  

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