Èíîêèíÿ Ìàðãàðèòà (Õîõåâàóä) (Óîëñèíãåì, Âåëèêîáðèòàíèÿ).
Initially I looked at the definitions of the words
“Reality”, which I found very revealing and inspiring.
For Theology the following definitions were given:
• Study of or System of (especially
• Rational analysis of a
• The study of the nature of
God and religious belief
And for Reality:
• Property of being real,
resemblance to original;
• Real existence; what is
real, what underlies appearances
• Existent thing
• Real nature of
• The state of things as they
actually exist, to an idealistic or
notional idea of them.
• A thing that exists in fact,
having previously only existed in one’s
mind (we want to make the dream a reality)
• The quality of being
• Existence that is absolute,
self-sufficient, or objective, and not
subject to human decisions or conventions.
This, one could say, is describing God as the Ultimate
But I must say that the definitions of Theology were not
satisfactory. Theology, as we understand it, is far
knowledge about God obtained through academic studies. It is
experience or experiencing of God: Christianity is a living
founded on revelation engendered or born of the Holy Spirit.
Metropolitan Anthony’s conversion is a very good example of
it came about by “encountering” Christ, or Christ revealing
or by using Vladika’s own words he says that while he was
beginning of St Mark’s Gospel . . . “I suddenly became aware
the other side of my desk there was a presence. And the
so strong that it was Christ standing there that it never
This was the real turning point. Because Christ was alive …”
Essence of Prayer, page xiv).
It is important not to forget about the experience or
experiencing of God.
When we look at the etymology of the word Theology it is a
of two Greek words: Theos – meaning God; and Logos,
something we, maybe, at times, forget about, can mean:
action, as well as, word.
This, one could say, is describing God as the Ultimate
Reading and re-reading and pondering the definitions, and
about them, made me turn this way, and that, but in the end
it made me
turn to the first book in the Bible, Genesis, and read,
the first few Chapters, as if I was reading them for the
And I was overawed by the beauty and wisdom of what I read:
summed up our whole story of creation and salvation, in a
form, and who would, when reading it, not believe that God,
Trinity, is the Creator of the Universe, that God exists,
that He is
Glorious? That we could sing out with the psalmist:
How magnificent are thy works, O Lord, in wisdom hast thou
all! (ps. 103)
Now if I may, I would like to read to you the first five
verses of the
first chapter (of Genesis), as what is described in these
stands out, I find, from everything that happens after, and
like to share a little of the riches hidden in these verses.
1. In the beginning God
created the heaven and the earth.
2. And the earth was without
void and form; and darkness was upon the
face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face
3. And God said, let there be
light: and there was light.
4. And God saw the light, that
it was good; and God divided the light
from the darkness.
5. And God called the light
Day and the darkness he called Night. And
the evening and the morning were the first day.
(Quote from the King James Version)
So: we hear of God who exists before time, and who acts and
–the word in Hebrew is bara – from the root B R – from which
to speak –dibar- is formed. If we vocalise the letters D B R
differently and say Devar – we have the word “word”. E.g.
is Devarim – the beginning runs like this: ele devarim asher
dibar el ha-kal-israel – these are the words Moses spoke to
It is not amiss to think of DBR-Word in connection with God
i.e. His Son, Jesus Christ – according to St. John’s gospel,
beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the
God. (the Hebrew uses DBR – divar)
We hear of the Spirit of God MOVING upon the face of the
Hebrew the word used is: m’rachefet, which can have a
meanings: to hover, to brood, to hatch, to shake, to tremble,
float; and in this context, I would like to draw your
attention to: to
brood/to hatch, as it reflects the connotation that the
Spirit of God,
which is the Holy Spirit (Basil the Great and Ephraim the
Giver of Life, is actively taking part in bringing out/bringing
. . .
This is what St Ephraim the Syrian says:
“It was fitting for the Holy spirit to hover as a proof that
creative power He is equal to the Father and the Son. For
uttered, the Son created, and it was fitting for the Spirit
offer His work. And this He did by hovering, thereby clearly
that all was brought into being and accomplished by the
And elsewhere he says –commentary on the activity of the
Spirit on the
“The Holy Spirit warms the waters and made them fertile and
birth, like a bird when it sits with its outstretched wings
eggs and by its warmth gives them warmth and produces
them. This same Holy Spirit represented for us then an image
Baptism, in which by His moving over the waters He gives
birth to the
children of God”.
I also would like to say something about the Waters. One
can the Spirit move over the Waters? When were they created?
can He, after creating the firmament, divide the waters into
under and waters above the firmament? (In vs. 6 and 7 on the
day). In the Hebrew text the word employed for Heaven in
verse 1, is
hashamayim, which is a contraction of the word for fire –esh-
It was dark (there was darkness upon the face of the deep)
said (ve’imer – not related to bara; according to Saint
Great God spoke to his only begotten Son): let there be
there was light. And God saw that the light was GOOD – in
Hebrew tov –
which has a sense of being pleased/taking pleasure in. If
you read the
remainder of the first chapter you will see that God says
time about the things He has made. And at the end when He
thing he had made, he says: behold, it was VERY GOOD (Gen.
And then God divides the light from darkness – the light He
and the darkness NIGHT. And there was evening and there was
day one or one day. (yom echad).
This verse is rather mysterious or full of mystery and
Light has come, and darkness has been dispelled. But all the
boundaries are placed between the darkness and the light,
the light is
called Day and the darkness Night. It was evening, it was
One. So the Light comes, the Light goes. And please take
note, it is
before the Sun and the Moon are created!
All that happens on Day One is so awesome and there is a
lack of a better word, to it, which is not repeated in what
And so the story of creation unfolds in a most beautiful and
manner. Then as a “crowning”, last act, God says: “Let us
(chelovek; in Hebrew Adam) in Our image, according to Our
Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the
heaven, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over
creeping thing that moves on the earth. So God made man (chelovek,
adam); in the image of God He made him; male and female He
It is worthwhile to note that God initially says Let us make
Our image and according to Our likeness (verse 26) and
read (verse 27): in the image of God he made him; male and
So the word “likeness” has disappeared, however, it remains
for Man to become / to attain to (theosis).
God blesses them and says: Be fruitful, and multiply, and
the earth, and subdue it, and gives them every seed-bearing
every tree, whose fruit yields seeds, as food to eat. And to
animals he gives all the green vegetation. So everybody (Man
animals) was a vegan (herbivore). (Gen 1:28-3-).
God planted a garden especially, for Man to live in.
And not only the
garden. God created everything (the whole universe) not only
use (ie. for Men), but also that we, seeing the great wealth
creation, might be astonished at the might of the creator
understand that all this was created with wisdom and
goodness for the honour of Man. (St. John Chrysostom)
In the middle of the garden God plants two special trees: 1.
of life; 2. The tree of learning of the knowledge of good
Adam can eat the fruit from all the trees, but is commanded
not to eat
from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for whatever
day he eats
from it he shall surely die by death (moth tamoth).
So Adam and Eve live in paradise, literally in a blissful
We all know what happens Adam and Eve did eat, and with
consequences, not only for mankind, but also for all of
Firstly they saw they were naked. The unique unity that
between Adam and Eve is broken, they do not see each other
as the same being, but as another being, or not as the
but as the other-other, so opposed to one another (paraphrase
Metr.Anthony); and they need to hide from one another: they
themselves with figleaves and then, when they hear God
walking in the
garden, they hide from Him. And God, not seeing them, calls
where art thou?
Adam answers that they had to hide since they were naked.
Then God starts questioning Adam first, who mentions Eve;
who mentions the Serpent; and then God makes a pronouncement
one of them:
. He curses the Serpent and
circumscribes him: his head shall be
bruised; so we know the serpent will not have the last word,
We might ask ourselves, his head shall be bruised, but how?
to the Fathers by the Cross.
. To the woman he says:
(Gen.3:16) I will greatly multiply thy sorrow
and thy conception: in sorrow thou shalt bring forth
children: and thy
desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee;
. To Adam he says, vs. 17:
Because they have eaten God cursed the
ground, and tells them what their lives will be like from
now on. “In
sorrow shalt thou eat of it (the ground) all the days of thy
Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee and thou
the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou
till thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou
dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”. (Gen 3:
. And then before banning
them from the garden of Eden, God made them
coats of skin and clothed them. Eden he protects at the east
Cherubims and a flaming sword, which turned every way to
keep the way
of the tree of life.
On the Sunday of Forgiveness, on which we commemorate The
of Adam from Paradise, the Church sings:
Adam was cast out of Paradise through eating from the tree.
before the gates he wept, and lamented with a pitiful voice
saying: “Woe is me, what have I suffered in my misery! I
one commandment of the Master, and now I am deprived of
blessing. O most holy Paradise, planted for my sake and shut
of Eve, pray to Him that made thee and fashioned me, that
once more I
may take pleasure in thy flowers”. Then the Saviour said to
desire not the loss of the creature which I fashioned, but
should be saved and come to knowledge of the truth; and when
to me I will not cast him out.
Let us take note: The mission/task of Man, be fruitful etc.
grow into God’s likeness (i.e. theosis), does NOT change and
does God abandon the world on the contrary. He will continue
His messengers in the form of prophets, and finally His Own
BUT the gap between God and Man, and Man and Man, has
since. I think that is how we experience it. Even when we
know that in
Christ the gap has been bridged.
First we have the sin of Cain who kills his brother Abel out
Then the earth, because it is so full of sin, is drowned
with all that
is in it, except Noah and his family, and the animals in the
which someone added: And the fish, of course, they did not
After the Flood, God blesses Noah and his kin with the same
he did Adam at the beginning of creation: Be fruitful, and
and replenish the earth. Originally He gave “greens/vegetables”
food, NOW God adds something else: and the fear of you and
of you shall be upon every beast of the earth . . . . Every
thing that liveth shall be meat for you (Gen.9: 1-3).
Man can kill, not to say murder, an animal for food. So Man
to live with ‘killing’, which is a far cry from the
And when we look at today’s world, with all the horrific
things goingon, apart from killing animals, for a basic necessity, we
kill it for
luxury. E.g. let us say 200 grs of meat in a week is enough
maintain a healthy diet. But what do we do? We maybe eat 3x
And not only with meat, we do it with every thing, we
earth’s resources not only for necessities, but for luxuries
(pleasure), and for personal gain (wealth) at the cost and
deprivation, and exploitation of others, resulting in wars
of each other.
The Fall –falling away from God- is like a wound that runs
creation and through our own heart and has made us weak, but
allow ourselves to be weak, in the sense that we are aware
that we are
weak, the grace of God can be strong. (2Cor.12:9-11).
Also, I have been pondering about the existence of the two
the Garden of Eden, especially the tree of the learning of
knowledge of good and evil. My impression is, that the
to eat from its fruit was given by God out of Love for Man.
You see, God in fact acknowledges what the serpent had
Eve, that they will be like gods, knowing good and evil.
The same as the sending forth from the garden, I also am
think it was an act of love.
I do apologize that I can’t say more about this now, as this
a subject of another paper.
Recently I was at a Youth Conference of about 800 youths,
following question was posed:
Who of you has got more than one pair of trainers?
Most of the hands went up, and there were those youngsters
very proud/happy/keen to share that they had at least TEN
And there were some who only had one pair, and some who had
no pair at all.
And here is another story:
A Goddaughter rang her Godfather to ask him what he would
get her for
He said he did not know, what did she need, did she have any
suggestions. She was not so sure, maybe a new designer dress?
Godfather knowing that her father was a rather successful
and that she had cupboards full of clothes, said to her: Oh
hum, hum, I am not so sure, why don’t you think about it and
give me a
ring when you know what you NEED?
You see the reality is that there is a BIG difference
between what you
WANT and what you NEED.
To be fair to the goddaughter she rang her Godfather again
there was not anything she actually needed.
To several people I posed the question: Do you think we face
up to reality?
None of them thought we actually did, and that it was rather
to do, but some interesting conversations followed.
One of the persons said:
The World is full of temptations and encourages you to use
imagination that will lead you to fantasy.
The Church encourages you to use your imagination to lead
you to Reality; Truth.
And to clarify, the person used the word ‘imagination’ in
the following sense:
“Well, when I set out to do something, I can imagine what
might have on somebody else”.
As it appears to be rather difficult to face up to Reality,
how do we
avoid it, what do we do instead?
And there was a conversation that really made me think and
which I would like to share with you.
One can escape from Reality in different ways: for example
drugs, occupying oneself with many (good) things, like
Martha, to name
but a few.
Another way is trying to be someone one is not. For example,
caught up in the world, making money or wanting to have a
One has the idea to earn a living, and a very good living at
becoming a lawyer in the City (of London). A good stable job,
prospects, long hours, and a very good renumeration (salary).
Firstly, when one has got a job interview one wants to look
i.e. “professional”, and one would like to maintain that
one has got the job.
One dresses to express something one hopes to be or become
wants other people to think one IS like that.
Secondly, there are not many people who are well suited for
lawyer in the City, because that way of life does not allow
for reflection. If one needs time to reflect, one can’t do
can’t live that kind of life and you simply will not be
will be forcing yourself into a situation that you, so to
not been made for. Your gifts might lie elsewhere. We all
given different talents to work with.
When one stays “closer to oneself”, i.e. when one is with
accepts who one is, then one doesn’t lose time and does not
distracted by pursuing an idealized vision of oneself, which
possibly attain, because one is not made that way.
When one gives first place to God and turns to Him, one can
one is or is meant to be, and if one does not pre-occupy
whom one thinks one wants to be, one finds one has TIME to
turn and to
listen to God.
One thinks: “O God has a plan for me” and one tries to think
this plan is. One thinks it is a ready-made plan, and it
might be very
difficult for someone set in this mode to grasp that that is
God has such respect for Man, and for Man’s free will, that
He leaves him free!
God has created us, Mankind, so that we could participate in
divine life (1Peter1:4) or to put it differently, His “plan”
is to be
present with each one of us in our every day life, using
circumstances, examples, words or thoughts to restrain us
and to draw us to real good.
When one starts following this plan of making God, the Holy
the centre of one’s life, turning to and listening to Him,
become happy with oneself, and then one will be doing the
should be doing.
One must give up/surrender all one’s worries and all one
should be, and accept what God has made one to be.
Or in other words, it is the way of the Cross, of continual
repentance, and a way of “joyful mourning”.
(Luke 10:38-42 and Luke 14:27-33).
That can be easier said, than done! Of course!
Facing Reality requires Openess and Courage, also Humility,
But where do we start? How to acquire these characteristics?
Christ, before performing his miracles, often asks: do you
can do it? It is active faith in Him, even when it is
small like a mustard seed ... it can move mountains. (St.
Our faith often is small, not to say tiny, and has not
as yet, though we imagine it has . . . and when we
discover this, the
enemy whispers to us that it is not worth it, there is no
sounds very logical, and we think we have lost all faith and
But Christ says, that the little we have suffices, over and
There are the two stories of the multiplication of the
loaves and fishes:
(St. John; St. Mark & St. Matthew).
The disciples thought: what is a few loaves and fishes
thousands of people? Nothing! It simply won’t do, it is not
be enough and it is not worth it, even to try to give a few
And yet! With Christ these loaves and fishes feed
multitudes; so much
so, that when they gather up the crumbs, they fill many
So let us not grow weary and lose heart, but let us fix our
Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith! (Hebrews
Vladika once said: don’t lose heart, for there is hope,
In Christ and in His Most Pure Mother.
So, Let us turn to our help, our hope and sure protection,
Holy Lady, the Mother of God.
Let us turn to her, through whom we have been made godlike.
of the Dormition)
Let us learn from her, who is so full of grace, what it
means to face Reality.
Let us learn from her Openess and Courage, Humility,
Acceptance and Dieing.
She who said: Let it be to me according to thy word and gave
the Saviour of our souls! (St. Luke 1:38; tropar Hail,
Mother of God).
Let us turn to her who is the Mother of Life and has passed
life! (Tropar of the Dormition; tone 1).
Thy birth, O Mother of God, has brought joy to all the
earth: for from thee has shone forth the Sun of
our God. He has loosed us from the curse and given the
has made death of no effect, and bestowed on us eternal
(Tropar of the Nativity of the Mother of God; tone 4).
Eve of the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God.
27/14 August 2015
Eve of the Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God.
20/7 September 2015