Hello folks and Happy New Year!
We’ve definitely come a long way since we first embarked on this book last year and hopefully garnered much since then – let’s keep the momentum going throughout this year.
For our next meeting on Thursday, Jan. 9, we’ll cover the first two sections of Chapter 13 that deals with the Byzantine Empire and the Orthodox Church: “A Church to Shape Orthodoxy: Hagia Sophia” and “Byzantine Spirituality: Maximus and the Mystical Tradition”.
We’ll spend the next couple of months dealing with the Orthodox Church that will hopefully lift the veil of obscurity that most evangelical and Western Christians have of it.
For next week, please write your summaries on one of these topics:
- What was your overall impression of the Eastern Orthodox Church as depicted by MacCulloch in these two sections of the chapter? What had you known before about the Orthodox Church? How did reading this chapter change your perspective of this church? Why do you think most people in the West are in the dark about the Orthodox Church? Or do we know enough about them already?
- The legacy of Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora who were the last Christian monarchs before the 19th century British Queen Victoria to wield an influence throughout all sections of the Christian world in their age. What do you think was their greatest achievement (or achievements) or failures? Why?
- The Eastern theology of theosis or ‘deification’ – union with the divine: Do you think it’s heretical? Unbiblical? Or something Western Christians can learn from or should incorporate into their spiritual practice?
- The impact of John the Ladder (tis Klimakos, Climacus), one of the most important shapers of Byzantine monasticism and his work Ladder of Divine Ascent
- The legacy of the greatest theologian in the Byzantine tradition: Maximus or Maximos (c. 580 – 662), known as ‘the Confessor’. His thoughts on theosis, the Logos, his opposition to monenergism or monotheletism, etc. Do you agree with some of his theological ideas? Why or why not?
- The works of Pseudo-Dionysius whose works were complied in Syria eighty years before Maximus. Discuss his influence on the mystical writings of Orthodox Christianity and his use of Neoplatonism
Hagia Sophia, present-day Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia, interior
Please submit by 6:00 pm on Thursday, Jan 9th.
Written submissions will be posted on this site by the end of Thursday, Jan. 9th.