Sunday, October 5, 2014

Philosophy and Theology

Philosophy and Theology have always had a relationship. It is considered that Theology is Philosophy’s mother, claiming therefore that it exists on a higher plain, having a greater importance than the latter one. Nevertheless, countless philosophers are respected within Christianity due to their belief in the One God, maintaining many Christian virtues before the establishment of the Church. Hence many philosophers are found in icon paintings in many churches within the Greek world, showing thus the respect Christianity has for the age of antiquity.

St. Nikolai Velimirovich describes his belief on the relationship between Philosophy and Theology, claiming: “One of the differences between the eloquent philosophy of the Hellenes and the Christian Faith is that the entire Hellenistic philosophy can clearly be expressed with words and comprehended by reading, while the Christian Faith cannot be clearly expressed by words and even less comprehended by reading alone. When you are expounding the Christian Faith, for its understanding and acceptance, both reading and the practice of what is read are necessary.”

Patriarch Photios, when reading the words of Mark the Ascetic concerning the spiritual life, he noticed a certain non-clarity with the author for which he expressed the view: "That [unclarity] does not proceed from the obscurity of expression but from that truth which is expressed there; it is better understood by means of practice and that cannot be explained by words only."

Reading the words and living the ecclesiastical life is how we all should continue within our Church. Without one of these two features we cannot claim to live a true Orthodox life. The Ecclesia is a way of life, in order to achieve the ultimate objective of every Christian, i.e. salvation. Hence we understand that Theology maintains a higher position in regards to Philosophy, which is only interested in the acquirement of knowledge and not salvation and communion with God. 

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