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George Dion Dragas
University of Durham

The Church in St. Maximus' Mystagogy
The Problem and the Orthodox Perspective

From "Theology", no 1, 1985

Chapter 6 : The Church as the Eikon of Man (9)

In the fourth place, the Church of God is an eikon of man and man an eikon of the Church. In this eikonic relationship man's soul is the Holy Place and its mind the divine Altar, whilst the body is the Temple. The basis of this eikon is the fact that both the Church and man are in the image of God. As such, they must also be in the image of each other. In fact this eikonic relationship entails a threefold correlation: Temple - Holy Place - Altar (Church) and body - soul - mind (man). This correspondence is extended to the functions of these ecclesiological and anthropological triads. Thus, with the Temple (the body) the Church puts forward moral philosophy (ηθική φιλoσοφία); with the Holy Place (the soul) She interprets the natural contemplation (θεωρία φυσική) in a spiritual manner; and lastly with the Divine Altar (the mind), She manifests the mystical theology (μυστική θεολoγία). Similarly, man is a sort of mystical church strengthens with his body (as a Temple) the practical capacity of the soul (the Holy Place), by means of the virtuous observance of the commandments in accordance with moral philosophy; with the soul (as a Holy Place) he offers to God with its reason (λόγοις) which derive from the senses during the undertaking of the natural contemplation, when they receive the pure spiritual circumcision from matter; finally with the mind (as an Altar) he enters, by means of an «outspoken or talkative silence», the silence of the Godhead, inside the adyton of the dark and incomprehensible voice. In doing this it communicates to man, as far this is possible to him, the mystical theology, so that he becomes (as he must always be) worthy to be visited by God and be sealed with his all-luminous effulgence.


9. Cf. Mystagogy cf. 4

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