Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) – The Church’s Teaching about the Holy Spirit.
Святой Дух. Фреска монастыря Гелати, Грузия.
Metropolitan Antony wrote this article in the 1920’s, shortly after he left the Crimea and joined the Russian emigration. Religious feelings and strivings were coming to life again among Russians at that time under the influence of the afflictions they had undergone. At this time Vladika Antony considered it essential to elucidate the Church’s teaching about the Holy Spirit. This article was originally published by the American YMCA Press in Paris [in 1927 as "Tserkovnoye ucheniye o Svyatom Dukhe"], but the edition is now extremely rare1. The workings of the Holy Spirit, as described here by this twentieth century Church Father in accordance with the true, traditional Orthodox teaching, will be seen to be very different from the delusions of the contemporary “charismatic movement”.
At the present time many completely untrained writers and thinkers have acquired an itch for theologizing about the most abstruse and abstract questions. They all want to say something new and profound, and, in addition to that, to hint at how unsatisfactory the Church’s teaching is, although they simply do not know it, or, at any rate, do not understand it.
On the other hand, blasphemies against the Church are being spread about which are equally based on ignorance, but are even presumptuous and high sounding, although of an opposite character. These mutually opposed reproaches to our theology are particularly in evidence in relation to its teaching about the Holy Spirit. Thus L. N. Tolstoy reproaches the Orthodox Faith and Church for spreading the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, which is “abstract and irrelevant to life”, to the detriment of the wise and relevant teachings of Jesus Christ, which are expounded in the Gospels.
Those who raise the first type of objections are dissatisfied with the brevity and lack of clarity in the Church’s teaching about the Holy Spirit, and Tolstoy is dissatisfied from the opposite point of view. Both of these false teachings agree, however, that the Church’s present teaching on the Holy Spirit is abstract and lifeless.
However false and uninformed all these statements about the Holy Church may be, still they are not far from the bitter truth where contemporary textbook theology is concerned. This theology, it is true, remains in perfect harmony with the Church’s teaching from a formal point of view, but it has lost the moral side of her dogmas and in particular, of the dogma of the Holy Spirit.
It is true that even the Church Fathers do not always disclose this aspect of the holy dogmas, or else do so in passing and very rarely, but their immediate task in most of their theological tracts was a polemical one – they were trying to protect the true doctrine from heresies by means of a precise exegesis of the letter of the biblical texts, especially of those upon which the cunning heretics sought to base their false doctrine. The ancient fathers and theologians expounded the moral height and beauty of the divine teaching chiefly in their poetry, in the Church’s prayers and hymns, and in poetic Church homilies.
Unfortunately, these creations of Christian genius drew less attention on the part of the medieval scholastics who, alas, determined the direction, spirit and content of contemporary theological science. Only in the last few decades has theology begun to free itself from their ways, but of course not without deviations, under the influence of the contemporary decadence which is penetrating all areas of art and of learning. We have already said that the representatives of this trend lack the most primitive erudition, i.e. they simply do not know the Holy Bible. This is why all their attempts to say something elevated and wise, about the Holy Spirit in particular, are doomed to failure and remain vain endeavors just as much as did the attempts of a woman writer who lived more than a hundred years ago, Georges Sand (or “Mrs. Yegor Zand”, as one Russian wit called her)3. She said that before the beginning of our era was the kingdom of God the Father, then with the new era came the more elevated teaching of God the Son, and in the future will come the most perfect life and teaching of the Holy Spirit. The endeavors of our contemporary decadents amount to almost the same thing.
But with all its vagueness as well as other considerably worse characteristics, which at times bring it close to blasphemy and khlystism4, this literature is in this instance somewhat closer to the truth than Tolstoyan nihilism, which has tried to define our Church doctrine of the Holy Spirit as an exchange of the moral meaning of our religion for a mystical one. Making such a distinction is also the fruit of ignorance and, even more so, of evil will, of malicious prejudice.
On the contrary, the very fact that the Third Person of the All-Holy Trinity is called the Holy Spirit shows that the Church’s thought and feeling, beginning with the writers of Holy Scripture and even with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, combined the very highest moral attainments with this dogma, concentrating their holiest hopes and longings in it. The Savior, the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church generally said little about the metaphysical properties of God, and still less about the metaphysical properties of the Holy Spirit, but they said much, and clearly, about the actions of the Holy Spirit, especially in the New Testament, just as they already spoke of the actions of the Word of God, or Son of God, in the Old Testament.
The Holy Spirit’s Contact with the Soul
We will try to trace the teaching of Christ the Savior and of the whole New Testament about the actions of the Holy Spirit in the world and in the human soul. First, however, we will point out that according to the biblical teaching His action in the Church of Christ is not hazy and purely mystical, but a vital contact, which shakes and renders compunctionate the soul not only of the individual, but also of a society, of the whole Church.
The service for Holy Pentecost, and in particular the kneeling prayer by St. Basil the Great, is full of just such a depiction of the Holy Spirit and not infrequently prefers to use the word “Spirit”, or “Holy Spirit” in place of the word “God”. St. John of Damascus composed a completely original service to the Holy Spirit, or Paraclete. This has not become part of our Church services, but it leaves a mighty impression on the reader’s soul through the power of the images gathered in it. Still, we shall limit ourselves to citing three classical stikhiri from the vespers and matins of Pentecost.
“The Holy Spirit giveth all things, poureth forth prophecies, perfecteth priests, hath taught wisdom to the unlearned, shown forth fishermen as theologians and gathered together the entire assembly of the Church. O Comforter, of one essence and one throne with the Father and the Son, glory to Thee!”
“The Holy Spirit ever was and is and shall be: He neither beginneth nor ceaseth to be, but is ever ordered and numbered with the Father and the Son: life and life-creator: light and giver of light, goodness and source of bounties: through Whom the Father becometh known and the Son is glorified and known by all; one power, one order, one worship, of the Holy Trinity.”
“The Holy Spirit is light and life and a living mental fount: the Spirit of wisdom, Spirit of understanding, good, righteous, intelligent, dominating and cleansing sins: God and Creator of gods, fire proceeding from fire: speaking, acting and distributing gifts, by Whom all the Prophets and divine apostles and martyrs were crowned. O strange vision, fire is divided for the bestowing of gifts!”
Motovilov’s reminiscences about Saint Seraphim expound Saint Seraphim’s teaching about salvation as a constant acquisition of the grace of the Holy Spirit and the inner communion of our soul with Him. (It is true that these reminiscences have not been verified, but our literature has taken an interest in them in recent years and they have even been translated into Serbian by Bishop Nicholas Velimirovich).
A living perception of the actions of the Holy Spirit in the human heart is completely foreign to people who are not interested in the teaching of faith. But the Holy Gospels present things differently – especially the Gospel of St. John.
Nevertheless, you can convince yourself from the other Gospels as well that the revelation of the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of the faithful becomes so closely akin to their souls, that it is not easy to distinguish the fruits of the natural thoughts of the soul from the voice of the Holy Spirit. Here are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself: “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Mt. 10:19-20; Mk. 13:11; cf. Lk. 12:12 and 21:15).
While giving directions about marriage, divorces and virginity, St. Paul bears witness that the life of the Holy Spirit is intimately united in the preacher’s heart with his own soul. In one place he says, “I command, yet not I, but the Lord”, and in another “. . . speak I, not the Lord”; however, he concludes his commands and his personal advice with the words, “and I think that I have the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 7:10, 12, 40). –- Believing as we do that the Spirit of God is close to the Christian soul in this way, we begin our prayers and, indeed, every serious task, with an invocation of the Holy Spirit: “come and abide in us, and cleanse us from all impurity”.
Our souls are so readily accessible to the Divine Spirit, that in many places where the New and Old Testaments and Church Fathers use the words “Spirit”, “in the Spirit”, “they were filled with the Holy Spirit”, it is difficult to tell whether it is the Hypostasis of the Holy Spirit that is understood, or simply that the person is inspired by grace. “And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be dearth throughout all the world” (Acts 11:28). It is so difficult to distinguish the descent of the Hypostasis of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the chosen from their natural enlightenment by truth that many investigators, for example, find no references at all to the Third Person of the Holy Trinity in the Old Testament (although the word “Holy Spirit” is encountered there very frequently. This applies especially to Protestants, who reject the so-called “uncanonical” books of the Bible and therefore do not recognize the clearest statement by Solomon on the Holy Trinity: “And Thy counsel who hath known, except Thou give wisdom, and send Thy Holy Spirit from above?” (Wisd. 9:17). – Incidentally, it is regrettable that so far the most important statement from the Old Testament about the Holy Trinity has not been introduced into our educational and scholarly courses; alas, these are almost all plagiarized from Protestant and Latin ones.
The Sanctifying Action of the Holy Spirit
However, it is certainly not always that the voice and thought of the Divine Spirit are as it were united with the thoughts and words of the preacher of the Divine Revelation: on the contrary, sometimes they oppose him. Thus, St. Paul and his co-workers “were forbidden of the Holy Spirit to preach the word of God in Asia. After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them not” (Acts 16:6-7). From the words that follow we know that the inspirations of the Holy Spirit are sometimes unexpected. “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; there stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him saying, Come over into Macedonia and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the Gospel unto them” (Acts 16:9-10). Statements like this (and many others) banish any suspicion that autosuggestion was mistaken for the voice of the Holy Spirit. This also becomes evident, of course, from accounts such as the one about the appearance of Jesus Christ to Mary Magdalene, who did not immediately recognize Him. Many quotations can be cited from both the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible in support of these considerations, but we will leave this to the readers themselves. – Our task is to indicate, as far as we can, the grace-filled actions of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian, of the Church and of the world.
The very fact that the Third Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Holy Spirit points to His sanctifying power (or power to make holy). Despite the slanders of contemporary atheists, not only are the actions of the Holy Spirit recognized to be not divorced from the Christian’s moral struggle, but on the contrary, this struggle is linked very closely to the influence of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Moral struggles attract the Holy Spirit to a man’s soul and, to the same extent, an evil will drives Him away from us. Here are the words of the Wise One: “For into a malicious soul Wisdom shall not enter: nor dwell in the body that is subject unto sin. For the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee deceit, and remove from thoughts that are without understanding, and will not abide when unrighteousness cometh in” (Wisdom of Solomon 1:4-5). Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, or “sin unto death”, according to the explanation of the Seventh Ecumenical Council (VIII, 75), is a conscious, hardened opposition to the truth, “because the Spirit is truth” (1 Jn. 5:6). He is also called the Spirit of truth (τό πυευμα άληυείας) in the Lord’s parting talk with His disciples and in the Church’s prayer5 (Jn. 14:17; 15:26; 16:13).
And so the Holy Spirit is communicated to people preeminently in the realm of moral, ethical experiences; herein lies one of the basic reasons why purely religious dispositions, struggles and activities can in no way be divorced from moral ones, from the Christian’s ceaseless warfare with the evil will present in fallen man, or from his strivings towards moral perfection. Indeed, it is this latter which comprises the Christian’s principal vocation, the final aim of his life and activity.
Even so, the activity of the Holy Spirit through the hearts of men branches out into considerably varied phenomena, although God’s main gift to the soul of a person who strives towards Him remains one and the same – the sanctification of the soul of each individual, and through it, of the whole of Christian society, and even of human society in general. The essence of our prayers is precisely an invocation of God’s help in our moral warfare with sin, or an invocation of the Holy Spirit, which the Heavenly Father will not refuse us. The following words of Christ assure us of this: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him” (Lk. 11:13).
We have pointed out the central and principal part of our attitude towards God and our own souls; now we will also point out its diversifications and consequences: some of them concern the manifestations of the gracious gifts of the Holy Spirit in the life of society, others concern their manifestation in the grace-filled disposition of the human soul as this disposition is gradually developed – in its spiritual growth. “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will” (I Cor. 12:4, 7-8, 10-11).
Here we should recall once again that the teaching of Christ and the Church does not divorce one side of life from another, but conceives of them indivisibly: the more Christ’s struggler is filled with the Holy Spirit in the quiet and depths of his heart, the bolder he will be among people and the more convincing will his words be, in this sense the Lord convinced His apostles that, in the future, the fact that the Holy Spirit will be close to them will have more significance for their cause than the presence of Christ the Savior Himself among them: “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you” (Jn. 16:7). – Even earlier the Lord had pointed out to the Evangelist John the intimate connection between His redemptive sufferings and the coming of the Holy Spirit. – “If any man thirst,” cried the Lord, “let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified” (Jn. 7:37-39). Of course, this logical connection between Christ’s departure for His sufferings and ascension into heaven, and the descent of the Holy Spirit, must not be thought of as naively and crudely as it is in some textbooks of dogmatics, which understand here not Jesus Christ’s departure for His passion, but only His ascension into Heaven, and sending down the Holy Spirit from there – as if He were sending down the Holy Spirit from there – as if He were sending it down physically. What is really being spoken of here is the enlightenment and sanctification of humanity, and of the faithful in particular, by Christ’s sufferings, and of the sealing of this enlightenment by the descent of the Holy Spirit.
Christ’s disciples were not strangers to the first-fruits of the Spirit even before this (Jn. 20:22 and Rm. 8:23)6 and therefore were able to have a presentiment of those unspeakable good things, that irreplaceable blessedness which they would be granted when they received the fullness of gifts on the day of Pentecost. This is why they were not saddened by an outward separation from their Teacher on the day of His ascension, but, after watching His ascent with triumphant expressions on their faces, they “returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Lk 24:52), awaiting only the promised second baptism by the Holy Spirit, “not many days hence” (Acts l:5) – waiting until they would “be endued with power from on high” (Lk. 24:49).
Until this fiftieth day (Pentecost) Christ was with them and before them, but now He will be in them through the Holy Spirit, Who has sanctified and enlightened them. This is why St. Paul said, “Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20). – However, we promised first of all to clarify the action of the Holy Spirit in the life of society, of the Church community; the participation of His power, of His divine person in that warfare of good with evil, of faith with unbelief and resistance to God, in which the life of the world passes and will pass until the very end. While foretelling how the Holy Spirit would be sent down, the Lord Himself referred briefly to the fact that the Comforter will remain with His followers forever and recall to them everything about which Christ had spoken to them (Jn. 14:17 and 26). Then He soon went on to clarify His actions in the world – in a world hostile to Christ and His disciples. “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (Jn. 16:8-11). These words are not immediately comprehensible to the reader, just as they were not to the people who first heard them – this is evident from what Christ said next (vv. 12, 13).
The Sanctifying Action of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in the World
It is essential to pause on these words. Although Christ the Savior Himself gives a certain amount of explanation, even so this is not enough for us to understand them, and it needs to be supplemented. – In what way does the Holy Spirit reprove the world? Who is this world? Obviously it is the world hostile to Christ and the society of His preachers and to His followers in general. – In what sense did the Spirit reprove it of the sin of unbelief in Christ? In the sense, of course, that unbelief was put to shame and without answer and could only oppose the preaching of Christ’s disciples with crude violence, but not with any real objection. This was expressed with special force in the account of St. Stephen’s martyrdom. His enemies “were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake” (Acts 6:10). They slandered him and dragged him off to the Sanhedrin court, where two witnesses were required by law; but on this occasion it was false witnesses and slanderers who came forward, and when Stephen made a long speech in defense, in which he confessed that he was a true Jew and upholder of the Law, then “all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15). But at the end of his speech, when he started to reprove them with the fact that they had always opposed the Holy Spirit – as their fathers did, so did they (7:51) – then “they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed their teeth against him” (v. 54) – a phenomenon which always reveals impotent malice. Forgetting that a trial (Deut. 13:14) and witnesses (Deut. 19:15-19) were required, they set upon Stephen and stoned him, thereby making themselves legally responsible7 (John 18:31) for taking the law into their own hands, since in their outburst of malice they had left material evidence at the feet of the young man Saul (v. 58).
Stephen’s reproof of the Sanhedrin was the first occasion when our Savior’s prediction was fulfilled that the Holy Spirit would reprove the world of the sin of unbelief. The word “world” refers, as we have said, to established customs, popular opinion and the direction of government activity. Before the Holy Spirit descended, all this was subject to reproof only from the Savior Himself; afterwards, however, public opinion shifted in favor of His followers, and the world was reproved as being unjust and Christ’s enemies began to fear that the people would stone them (Acts 2:47; 4:21 and 5:26).
The second reproof was “of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more”. What does this signify? It is a prediction of the pagans’ and Jews’ continual slander against the Teacher of the Christians – that He was executed and died, and was consequently a “deceiver” (Mt. 27:63). – However, inspired by the Comforter, the apostles will withstand this slander and teach the truth about His resurrection and ascension to His enemies, the grave-guards, so boldly, that His truth will convert their hearts to Him. Before the Holy Spirit came, the apostles did not even believe the evidence of their own eyes and hands that the Lord had risen, but after the Holy Spirit descended they began their preaching with an affirmation of His resurrection from the dead and immediately converted 3,000, then 5,000 people (Acts 2:24-34 and 3:15-21). We could cite not a few other passages from the Acts and Epistles from which it is evident that one of the most important subjects of the apostles’ preaching is the truth that Christ is not visible, not because He had died and been buried, but because He rose from the dead and departed to His Father in glory into heaven, which has received Him “until the times” (Acts 3:21). This is that righteousness whereby the Spirit of God is to reprove and teach the world.
The third reproof of the world by the Holy Spirit is “of judgement, because the prince of this world is judged.” It is clear that this refers to Satan; even the Jews contemporary to the Lord called him the prince of the devils (Mt. 9:34, etc.), and St. Paul called him the prince “of the powers of the air acting in the sons of resistance.” The condemnation of the prince of devils, as the master of the theomachistic 8world, was thereby also a condemnation of the world itself, since this is a force that is always hostile to Christ. This condemnation was conditional upon the Lord’s resolve to take redemptive sufferings upon Himself. The Lord finally determined such an end for Himself after His talk with the Greeks (and solemn witness from heaven)9. According to Eusebius of Caesarea, the Greeks had given Him a letter from the King of Edessa informing Him that His enemies had resolved to kill Him. Then it was that the Lord exclaimed, “Now is the judgement of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me” (Jn. 12:31-32). – And so the Holy Spirit, Who inspired the hearts of the apostles with courage, will put this world and its prince to shame forever, as He has given glory to the idea of voluntary sufferings in place of the abasement which the people of the world, walking in the will of its prince, thought it to be. Through the preaching of Christ’s passion the Holy Spirit will increase His glory and put the world and its prince to shame.
Even without reference to a mystical interpretation of Christ’s sacrifice, we see how the prince of this world, or spirit of this world, proud and hostile to His preaching and in particular to the first of His beatitudes, is condemned and rejected, and all human concepts are turned upside down by the Cross of Christ: that which seemed shameful and pitiful to the sons of error became holy and elevated in the eyes of the faithful, and vice versa. This is the meaning of the apostle’s words: “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness. But unto them which are saved, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (I Cor. 1:23-24). This teaching was expounded in the Beatitudes and the Savior’s other talks, but it became evident and powerful through the event of His voluntary abasement, suffering and death, and became accessible through the holy apostles’ bold preaching about them. This is the sense in which the prince of this world was conquered by the coming of the Holy Spirit, Who opened the minds and lips of the apostles to preach these new truths, and spurred on hosts of martyrs to imitate them. “Thy martyrs, O Christ, in their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from Thee, our God: possessing Thy might they put down the tormentors and crushed the demons’ impotent darings.”10. Thus the Holy Spirit preserved them as victors over the prince of this world and his servants: “The warriors of Christ have put aside the fear of kings and tyrants”, and so on.
At this point we could have concluded – or rather, put a halt to our elucidation of the workings of the Holy Spirit in social and Church life. We have already spoken of how the Holy Spirit participates in the life of the Church by reproving the world; however, in order that things should be clearly understood, it is essential to point out that in the holy Book of Acts His positive participation in the life of the Church is also depicted as specific and direct, and is also called the consolation of the Holy Spirit. “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort (consolation) of the Holy Spirit, were multiplied” (Acts 9:31). “The Lord added daily to the Church such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Those like our sectarians who lay claim to imaginary gifts of the Holy Spirit, and, dreaming that they possess them, despise obedience to the Church and do not wish to submit to Her guidance, should pay particular attention to these last words.
The Apostle Paul spoke more than anyone about this extremely close correlation between the work of preaching and the Divine Person of the Holy Spirit: “I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Cor. 15:10), and again: “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (I Cor. 2:4) – as was also the case with St. Stephen’s speech (Acts 6-10).
Gifts of the Spirit – Wisdom
And so we will pass on to the teaching about the gifts the Holy Spirit bestows on the soul of the believer.
From all that has already been said it is clear that the daring inspiration with which the apostles and martyrs conquered the world for Christ was a specific gift of the Divine Spirit. But if we liken the light of the Divine Spirit to white sunlight, then we shall find in it the entire seven-colored spectrum of spiritual gifts. These are enumerated in Metr. Philaret’s11 catechism, but in a very unsatisfactory manner .... Conviction and inspiration are the most immediate and especially active social forces bestowed by the Holy Spirit upon Christ’s preacher, and they are imparted also to those who listen to them in accordance with the extent to which they are well-disposed towards the word of truth – or else they put them to shame and make them shudder with shame and fear if they turn out to be opposed to them. These forces would not have such power in the life of the Church-society were it not for the fact that, when the servants of Christ acquire the Holy Spirit, He has an enlivening and enlightening effect upon the various powers of their souls.
Let us begin by pointing out the wisdom and depth of Christ’s teaching and of the apostles’ spirit-bearing words, which astounded those who heard them. Archdeacon Stephen’s interrogators “were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spake” (Acts 6:10). What philosopher could expound the essence of the faith of Christ with such power and profundity as did the Apostle Paul in such a short speech on the Areopagus in Athens? What lawyer could overthrow accusations so briefly and wisely as he overthrew the Jews’ accusations before the court? Here Christ’s words about confession of the faith were fulfilled: “I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist” (Lk. 21:15), for “it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Spirit” (Mk. 13:11).
And so the gifts of the Holy Spirit are gifts of wisdom and knowledge, of understanding the works of God, which is why in Church hymns and in the Holy Bible the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Understanding: “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding” (Is. 11:2); St. Paul also writes: “God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (I Cor. 2:10); “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Cor. 2:12). – On the day of Theophany, before the Great Blessing of the Waters (which St. Gregory the Theologian in his homilies calls a mystery), the Church sings: “Come, receive ye all the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of understanding, the Spirit of the fear of God, even Christ Who is made manifest.”12. Now let us look how far from truth are all those who separate faith from knowledge, religion from reason – all those who accuse our faith and Church of demanding blind trust in Her teaching and a hostile attitude towards the voice of reason. By “reason” they are quite mistaken in understanding the tendentious and often stupid hypotheses of materialists, both the open materialist, and the hidden ones who hide themselves under the name of “positivists”. They really do believe these people quite blindly, relying on their false authority which has been exaggerated by newspaper agitation. Equally wrong are the contemporary Russian illuminati, followers of Fr. Florensky and V.S. Soloviev13, who are forever talking about mystical attainments and at times have an extremely hostile attitude towards reason. Soloviev himself is not guilty of this, but on the other hand his followers are not strangers to a certain unspoken hope that he is directly illuminated by the Holy Spirit, despite their life which is more than unrestrained. Sacred insanity – amentia sacra – is foreign to the Orthodox teaching about the Holy Spirit, although one of the Russian Rakitins14 wrote an entire master’s dissertation (thick and ungifted), in which he tries to prove that the gift of tongues is nothing other than the Khlyst craze for screaming senseless sounds and dancing. This was in the insane year 1917; although the Synod refused to accept the dissertation, the Academy still accepted the author as a master of theology and again petitioned the Patriarch to bestow a degree upon him for this quite indecent pamphlet, in defiance of the decision already made by the Synod. I do not know how the matter ended, because at that time I left for Kharkov, and then for Kiev.
The grace of God is, of course, a supernatural phenomenon, but just like most other spiritual gifts, the gift of spiritual wisdom is granted to those who strive towards wisdom with their own will and reason, and ask the Lord in prayer for an increase of these gifts, as the Apostle James explains (Js. 1:5 and 3:13-18).
In accordance with the theme of our paper it would be appropriate to analyze all the names of spiritual gifts given by the prophet Isaiah (Ch. 11), which our text-book catechism takes to be an enumeration– i.e. a precise and complete list. Incidentally, in Metropolitan Philaret’s catechism they are listed in a different order than in the Holy Bible, and the “Spirit of godliness” (11:2) is left out altogether; also, the catechism presents the “Spirit of the Lord” as the highest of many gifts of the Spirit, but in Isaiah it is first in order. It is just as incorrect and hopeless to look for such a scientific division of gifts in the prophet and expect to find them in a graduated order, as it is to divide the Lord’s Prayer into seven parts. In fact, in both the Lord’s Prayer and in Isaiah’s prophecy, concepts are brought forward synonymously – they are almost identical in meaning, but each is clarified by the others. This is how we should think of the first three and last two petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. A very fine article about this prayer from this point of view has been written by the former theological academy and university professor H. I. Ilyinsky. He was the enlightener of the tribesmen in the Volga area and Siberia, and translated into their language the Holy Scriptures, as well as other spiritual books, especially the service books. This article was printed after his repose in 1892 in the “Orthodox Companion” (“Pravoslavny Sobesednik”), under the title “Ex Oriente Lux”, if I remember correctly.
Those who love all kinds of classifications when enumerating the gifts of the Holy Spirit would be more successful if they cited the Apostle Paul, for the simple reason that before going on to spiritual gifts he says: “The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication,” and so on; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance” (Gal. 5:19, 23). In the New Testament, of course, there is more completeness, but here also there is no attempt at a graduation of virtues in the order they are assimilated, such as we have in Christ’s Beatitudes. Here there is no mention of either the second or the fourth Beatitudes or the three last ones.
Gradualness in Acquiring the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Nevertheless, it is of course impossible to lay claim to a more or less complete enumeration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, for it was not without reason that St. John the Baptist said, “God giveth not the Spirit by measure” (Jn. 3:34). – It is enough if we can manage to point out a few gifts of the Spirit such as are more accessible to our comprehension. In doing this we must note that it is impossible to establish a strict graduation in gifts of the Spirit. Thus St. Paul begins his list of gifts of the Spirit with the greatest, love, which is the “combination of perfections” (Col. 3:14)15, and mentions temperance, one of the most elementary virtues, last. – It is better to say that each virtue has degrees of ascent and that one supports another like the steps of a wooden ladder – although the order of these degrees is not identical in every person who struggles for virtue; the order in which the gifts of the Spirit are granted is not identical either. Thus His grace and the gift of tongues descended on those who listened to St. Peter’s preaching before they were granted the gift of baptism (Acts 10:44-46); St. Peter said the following about this event: “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15).
But, if the Lord does not give the Spirit by measure, people must nevertheless not depart from the Church’s directions for struggling in prayer by degrees, gradually, so as not to undergo a shipwreck of faith (I Tim. 1:19) or be subjected to the shameful lot of the chief priest Sceva (Acts 19:13-17)16. – It is clear that those who are newly converted to godliness must first offer repentance, in order to receive gifts of the Holy Spirit (Mt. 3:2; 4:17 etc., and especially Acts 2:38)17.
From the foregoing it is evident that one and the same gift of the Holy Spirit can have differing degrees. Who, for example, will dispute the fact that even the most sinful people often have impulses of a feeling of selfless love and even perform exploits inspired by this feeling? Not only do very sinful people sometimes have access to natural impulses and even deeds inspired by good feelings, but these are also sometimes accompanied by grace-filled thoughts or preceded by prayers and tears. They greatly err against the truth who think like the Stundists that once they have experienced the illumination of the grace of the Holy Spirit, they are already unable to sin. They are quite wrong in citing I Jn. 5:18 (“he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not”), for being born of God has degrees – in its elementary stage it belongs to all the faithful who believe that Jesus is the Christ (I Jn. 5:1) – just as does faith itself, upon which this birth from above is conditional. Otherwise how could one explain that it is not with all, but only with a very few of the faithful that these words of Christ have been fulfilled: “And these signs shall follow them that believe (the Apostles preaching): In My name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues,” etc., etc. (Mark 16:17)?
It is clear therefore that both faith, and being born of God, and every other gift of the Holy Spirit has degrees, and the Apostle John’s words that he who is born of God cannot sin apply only to the highest degree of spiritualization, but this degree has to be “stirred up” (2 Tim. 1:6) by struggles, for the Lord said that he who expels demons in His name cannot lightly speak evil of Him (Mk. 9:39), and St. Paul said “holding faith, and good conscience; which some having put away, concerning faith have made shipwreck” (I Tim. 1:19).
Let us return to our examination of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. So far we have examined one – the Spirit of wisdom, which is given to the believer who has been filled with grace, especially when bearing witness to his faith before persecutors.
Disobedience to the Church a Sign of Delusion
However, before continuing our examination of separate gifts of the Holy Spirit, we must pause over the words of Holy Scripture, and in particular, those of the Holy Apostle John: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist” (I Jn. 4:1-3). – Consequently the first sign distinguishing a true spirit from a false one, from self-deception, is a correct confession of faith. The second sign is indicated four verses later: “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (I Jn. 4:6). By what sign? By the sign of obedience to the Church authorities and Church teaching. The Holy Spirit is not there where there are obstinacy and divisions. All heresies begin precisely with this symptom – proud division and disobedience. Even Adam’s apostasy began from this: the Holy Spirit, on the contrary, is the Spirit of unity and peace. Let us recall the kontakion of Holy Pentecost: “When He distributed the fiery tongues He called all into unity”.
The Gift of Tongues
In accordance with this saving property of the Holy Spirit, His first outpouring was expressed in teaching the faithful to speak in all languages, in order to destroy the evil divisions among people. Quite different is the contemporary anti-Christian, self-loving attitude of people which is expressed in chauvinism, in the mutual hatred of peoples and lack of desire to hear foreign speech, in defiance of the Apostle who says that in the Church of Christ “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Col. 3:11). Note that it was not only the Apostles who received this gift of tongues, but also their followers (Acts 10:44-46; 19:6), in accordance with Christ’s words (Mk. 16:17).
Of course, the gift of tongues is a supernatural gift, but a soul embraced with such world-wide love becomes capable of receiving it. Thus when St. Pachomius the Great gathered together monks from various lands and peoples to live with him, the Lord opened his lips to the knowledge of the Greek tongue. Origen learned Hebrew in a few days. Similarly St. Anthony the Roman, who had been brought to Novgorod by the ocean waves, immediately obtained from God the gift of understanding Russian after praying for it for three days. The division of tongues was a consequence of the divine wrath for the second opposition to God on the part of the human race18. The gift of tongues, a gift of the Holy Spirit, was a symbol of God’s call to humanity to unite in the one flock of Christ, which is obedient to God but hated by the world, and therefore suffers. It has need of a special Comforter. The Holy Spirit is just such a Comforter.
Why does the Savior call the Holy Spirit the Comforter? It was with precisely this name that He first spoke to His disciples quite definitely about the Third Hypostasis.
Of course, the first of the Holy Spirit’s actions promised by Christ was awaited as consolation of His Apostles in their separation from their Teacher. During His parting talk the Lord actually returned four times to His promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit, and on each occasion makes a connection between these promises and the consolation of the disciples in their separation from Him, as well as with His predictions that they would be persecuted by the world. In both respects the Holy Spirit will be their Comforter (Jn. 14:16-18; 15:15, 26; 16:7-15).
Where is this term taken from? Like almost all the definitions and names used by Christ, such as Word, Son of Man, Heavenly Father, they are taken by the Lord from the books of the Old Testament. We have printed articles about these three terms adopted from the Old Testament both in Russia and abroad: we even printed a small tract, “The Moral Idea of the Dogma of the Holy Spirit”, where we showed the connection between this term and the book of Ecclesiastes.
This book reveals to us essentially a picture of life dominated by injustice, evil and violence, which Christ and the Apostles call the dominion of the prince of this world. Earthly life is desolate, apart from this power of the prince of this world, apart from this domination of evil, there is nothing on which to base one’s hopes, nothing with which to satisfy one’s soul, nothing with which to be comforted – if “there is no faithful and constant comforter” (Ecc. 4:1). – As you see, it is not even the actual oppressions and tears which torment the soul of this observer of human life, but rather the absence of a comforter who would give meaning to this injustice in life. He continues, “And I praised all the dead that had already died more than the living, as many as are alive until now. Better also than both these is he who hath not yet been, who hath not seen all the evil work that is done under the sun” (v. 2, 3) – Similar quotations can be found in the speeches of the prophet Jeremiah (Ch. 11:15, 20). In all such sayings and complaints about life, the soul of the person speaking is not grieving about the sufferings themselves, but is lamenting the fact that he can find no consolation or meaning in them – or that he has no comforter. It is true that both the Psalmist (Ps. 21) and the prophets foretell that man’s lot will not always be so lamentable, that consolation must come. Sometimes this hope seems close to them, sometimes distant and as it were doubtful. But it is remarkable that the consolation closest in time was expected in the most ancient times before the flood. Then the words “consolation”, “comforter” were heard; and when the righteous Noah’s father gave him his name he said: “He will comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the earth which the Lord hath cursed” (Gen. 5:29). The name Noah – Nokhe in Hebrew – means “consolation”, and the comforter, about whose absence Ecclesiastes grieved, is called “Menakhem”. Both these words, Noah and Menakhem, are derived from the verb nakham, which means “to comfort”. Christ the Savior promised His disciples the Supreme Comforter, Who would remain with them forever. He calls the Holy Spirit the Comforter because He is the Comforter Himself. Even before this, the righteous comforted themselves by meditating on the judgements of God: “I remembered Thy judgments of old, O Lord, and I was comforted.” (Ps.118:52) So we see with what hoary antiquity is connected Christ’s teaching about the Comforter of the whole human race in general and of His followers in particular. This is why He says to His disciples, “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.”19. Compare these words with the Sunday Antiphons (Anavathmoi):
By the Holy Spirit is every richness of glory, from Him is grace and the life of all creation, for He is hymned with the Father and the Word.
By the Holy Spirit every soul is quickened, and through purity elevated it is made resplendent by the triune Unity in a sacredly mysterious way20.
By the Holy Spirit are the riches of God-knowledge, seeing and wisdom: for the Word reveals all the Father’s will in Him.
By the Holy Spirit all things are upheld, visible and invisible: for being autocratic, the Trinity is most truly One.
By the Holy Spirit is the source of everything most salutary, should He breathe on anyone who is worthy, he will soon be taken up from the earth, soaring and directing himself on high.
By the Holy Spirit is the deification of all, good will, wisdom, peace and blessing, for He is equal in action to the Father and the Son.
Earlier we explained Christ’s statement that the Comforter would reprove the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. Now we will add that this comforting of the confessors of truth, this reproof of the world, is an inner triumph of the soul, enlightened by the Spirit of God, which makes everything happening in the world and all God’s enemies as well as the sufferings they cause appear as utterly insignificant before that fullness of life which a soul illuminated by the Holy Spirit senses within itself, “looking for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). This is the feeling which St. John Damascene expresses in his Sunday antiphons.
And so, we had stopped on St. Paul’s enumeration of the fruits of the Spirit. Much can be said about each of them separately: they are wonderful both in themselves, and as a means for struggling with temptations and sin. “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rn. 8:13-14), and again, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:6).
Warnings against Delusion
However, we are not going to elucidate one by one all the gifts of the Holy Spirit listed by St. Paul. In conclusion we will point out just a few, but first we will cite a few biblical and patristic warnings against making use of them incorrectly. Our contemporaries in particular are guilty of this.
First of all we must advise them to pay close attention to the Apostle John’s words: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world,” and so forth (I John 4:1-3). He is referring to the Docetists. Then the only heretics were the Docetists and the Ebionites, but now there is a great multitude of them; especially dangerous are those false teachers who pretend to be personally inspired by God, being filled with the spirit of Antichrist (ibid., v. 3). Such are the Baptists, Irvingites, Illuminati, etc., and preachers and false apostles21. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).
This is why the Church Fathers warn the faithful most insistently – especially zealots of piety and devotees of theology – against self-deception or delusion (prelest). Experienced spiritual fathers listen with anxiety to their disciples’ stories, about various dreams and visions, and constantly warn them against falling into delusion. That teacher of our Fatherland, Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov, wrote to his friends: “Read the Fathers of the Church, but not the Latin false teachers, not Thomas ? Kempis, not Theresa and the other madmen, who can only drive you into delusion”. Likewise deceived by self-love were the Athonite Imenobozhniki22, who, thanks to God and the Synod, were condemned by the Ecumenical Patriarch Joachim and the All-Russian Synod.
Delusion, or self-deception, is combined with self-love, the principal enemy of our salvation, and only those ascetics become free from it who are filled with a spirit of constant self-reproach and repentance. We have to remember that in the best case we have only “the firstfuits of the spirit” (Rn. 8:23), and “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us ... and His word is not in us” (I Jn. 1:8-10).
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit
Particularly terrible is the “sin against the Holy Spirit”, of which the Lord said that He will not forgive it in this age or in the future age, although “all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men where-with soever they shall blaspheme” (Mk. 3:28), even against the Son of Man (Mt. 12:32; Lk. 12:10). In his epistles the Apostle John commands us to pray for a brother who has sinned not unto death, and adds: “there is a sin unto death. I do not say that he shall pray for it” (I Jn. 5:16).
The Seventh Ecumenical Council in its fifth canon explains what a sin unto death is. Here, in the Savior’s well-known words about this sin, it is not blasphemy in the usual sense of the word that is meant, but a conscious opposition to the truth, to which one’s conscience bears witness, as the Lord said: “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin” (Jn. 15:22). Here is an example of an unforgiveable sin. The Lord first spoke about an unforgiven blasphemy in Mk 3:29, here the Evangelist explains: “Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit” (Mk. 3:30). As you see, there was no direct blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, but there was an opposition to evident truth. In accordance with this, the 5th canon of the 7th Council, which we have mentioned, says, “A sin unto death is when certain persons sin and remain uncorrected. Worse than this is when people rise up in a stiff-necked manner against godliness and truth . . . The Lord God is not in such people, if they do not humble themselves and turn in sobriety from their falls into sin.”
This explanation both confirms the meaning of the words of Christ and St. John, and also makes it clear that an “unforgiveable sin unto death” refers to an impenitent state of soul, and not to individual acts of sin. However, we should not forget that all stubborn and self-confident people are guilty of this when they speak with derision of the holy commandments, of God and of the Holy Spirit. They are not convicted in full measure by the Savior’s dread words about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, but as they become gradually more and more obdurate, they can bring the Gospel’s dire threat upon themselves in its entirety.
Distinguishing Spirits of Delusion from Gifts of the Holy Spirit
And so, we have only touched lightly on a description of the gifts of the Holy Spirit enumerated in the Epistle to the Galatians, but we will deal more completely with them another time. We will say just a few more words 1) about distinguishing the spirits of delusion from the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and 2), about the most characteristic expression of a grace-filled disposition.
To distinguish the Spirit of God from the spirit of delusion is not so easy. St. Paul recognizes the gift of discerning spirits as a special gift of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:16; cg. Heb. 5:14). And the Holy Fathers lay down that the most reliable sign for distinguishing between them is the irritation which deluded people, sectarians for example, exhibit when one makes objections to their errors. They will sing to you about brotherly love, about total forgiveness, but just raise some objection (especially from Holy Scripture), and the sectarian will start turning red in the face and trembling, and will have difficulty restraining himself from abuse. From this you will know that he is either simply an actor or else in a state of delusion.
How can one get free of such a state? Through prayer and confession. The daily prayers are also confession. This is why, for example, Fr. John of Kronstadt advised people to apply particular zeal to penetrating into the meaning of the evening prayer to the Holy Spirit, which enumerates not only external sins but also mental ones.
Characteristics of Grace
In conclusion let us turn once again to the words of St. Paul, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, mercy, faith, meekness, temperance. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Ga. 5:22-25). All these virtues are preceeded and accompanied by compunction, which is what opened the path of the first society of Christians to faith and salvation (Acts 2:37),23 in accordance with the prophecy of Zacharias (12:10)24.
“Nobody has entered into the heavenly Kingdom who has not compunction,” writes St. Simeon the New Theologian, “and by compunctionate repentance all sins and iniquities are covered.”
As far as the gifts of the Holy Spirit which we have enumerated are concerned, they dwelt very obviously in St. Seraphim of Sarov. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, mercy, faith, meekness and temperance – all these gifts of the Spirit shone forth in him.
He received all those who came to him with special love, beginning with the most corrupt people: he called everyone “my joy”, because he bore the divine joy in himself. Nothing could disturb his spiritual peace and calmness; he revealed his longsuffering in his superhuman struggles (standing on a stone for a thousand days and a thousand nights), and his faith – in miraculous healings.
The rest of the virtues enumerated by St. Paul are inseparable from these. The power of the Holy Spirit in him was made manifest in the fact that those who came to him threw themselves down at his feet with words of repentance and compunction after his first words of greeting or exhortation.
Such are the actions of the Divine Spirit even in our faithless century, for not a hundred years have passed since St. Seraphim’s repose in 1832.
The fullness of the gifts of the Spirit is not determined by the natural talents of the person who receives them: they are obtained primarily by labor, crucifying the flesh, and especially by prayer. Prayer is partaking of the divine Being, as St. Anastasius the Sinaite teaches. Zealous strugglers must be warned against deluded mysticism and superstitions, but to just the same extent each must also take care not to cool this zeal in himself or in others by mockery, envy or temptations. “Quench not the Spirit”, writes St. Paul to the Thessalonians. “Despise not prophesyings, prove all things, hold fast to that which is good” (I Thess. 5:19-21).
If God helps me to lay my hands once again on the works of St. Isaac the Syrian and St. Simeon the New Theologian, then I will be in a position to share the more readily comprehensible contemplation of these Holy Fathers with good people. These Fathers did not write at the guidance of others, but from their direct contemplation of the Divine Glory.
1 Introductory paragraph by Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky), author and editor of the 17-volume Life and Teaching of Blessed Metropolitan Antony. This article is translated from Vol. II of this series, entitled The Moral Idea of the Most Important Christian Dogmas, Montreal 1963, p. 179.
2 These sub-headings have been inserted by the translator. The author covers many vital topics, but not in a very systematic way, and we hope these headings may help the reader to orient himself.
3 The contemporary reader may find it hard to share the “Russian wit’s” sense of humor, but we preserve this remark as in the original.
4 The Khlysti were a flagellant sect. They held ordinary services with readings from the Bible, etc; but the secret meetings, held at night for the initiated, progressed from readings and hymns to dances inducing hysteria and trances, and ended in a general sexual orgy, at which both natural and un-natural sexual acts were committed. The word “Khlyst”, which literally means “whip”, was also understood as a corruption of “Christ”, for the members of the sect considered themselves to be “Christs”, and their leader, “God”.
5 i.e., the prayer “O Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of the truth . . .”
6 Jn. 20:22 (After Christ’s Resurrection): “He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit.” Rm. 8:22-23: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves . . . “
7 “The Jews therefore said unto (Pilate) – It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.”
8 Theomachistic: opposed to God, waring with God.
9 Jn. 12:20, 29.
10 Octoechos Aposticha; Mode Pl. Second.
11 Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow, a leading Russian hierarch of the 19th century.
12 Service Book of the Orthodox Church, Hapgood, The Great Blessing of Waters, page 189.
13 Fr. Florensky (1882-1943): A disciple of Vladimir S. Soloview. He taught that the Church’s dogma can develop, and that individual “prophetic inspiration” should not be ignored in formulating the Church’s dogma as a concise religio-philosophical system.
V. S. Soloview (1853-1900): A famous Russian religious philosopher. Although his ideas had some connection with Orthodoxy, they were far from Orthodox, and Metropolitan Antony wrote and spoke against his teachings more than once.
14 A reference to a character in Feodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Rakitin is a theology student who has written several articles that have been highly praised by the local bishop; he has, however, no real convictions or sincerity at all, and is about to embark on a secular career as a journalist.
15 The King James Version has “bond of perfectness”.
16 “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying. ‘We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.’ And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye?’ And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame the, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.”
17 Mt. 3:2; 4:17. Both John the Baptist and our Savior began their preaching with the words, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
18 i.e. the building of the tower of Babel.
19 Jn. 16:17.
20 Octoechos, translated by Professor N. Orloff, 1898. Anavathmoi, Mode Four.
21 Like today’s Pentecostalists, both those who call themselves Orthodox (members of the so-called “charismatic movement”), and those who do not.
22 A monastic sect on Mount Athos, which idolized the name of God, believing that the Divine Essence is present in the name of Jesus, uttered in the Jesus Prayer, and that the Jesus Prayer is the only genuine form of monastic activity.
23 After St. Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost: “Now when they had heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”.
24 “And I shall pour out the Spirit of grace and compunction upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and they will look upon Him whom they have pierced, and will make lamentation for Him, as for an only-begotten son, and grieve, as for a first-born.”