George Dion Dragas|
University of Durham
The Church in St. Maximus' Mystagogy
The Problem and the Orthodox Perspective
From "Theology", no 1, 1985
Chapter 5 : The Church as the Eikon of the Sensible World (8)
In the third place, Saint Maximus sees the Church of God as an eikon of the sensible world alone. If the sensible world consists of heaven and earth, then, these two elements can be paralleled with the divine Holy Place and the Temple respectively. Maximus does not elaborate the meaning of this eikon because he does not explain what he actually understands by the terms heaven and earth. Some commentators think here of the Aristotelian cosmological division which was quite prevalent at the time of Maximus. But this should not be necessarily so. In my view, St. Maximus simply refers to the human empirical distinction between heaven and earth, i.e. to the fact that man cannot move from the one to the other, and not to a sophisticated dualistic cosmology. The brevity of this chapter is probably due to the simplicity of the thought.
With this third eikon of the Church, St. Maximus concludes the cosmological-ecclesiological eikonic coordination and correlation and passes to the more profound correlation of man and the Church, which is particularly relevant to contemporary culture with its decisively anthropocentric tone.
8. Cf. Mystagogy ch. 3.