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St Paul Florensky

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by Christos Anesti, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    St. Paul Florensky​

    I was just re-reading the excellent book "Salt of the Earth, An Encounter with a Holy Russian Elder: Isidore of Gethsemane Hermitage". The introduction gives a short overview of the life and martyrdom of St Florensky that I found very moving. Anywho I wanted to post this part from the intro:​

    " 'Orthodox' literally means 'right glorification'. In Florensky's view, however, being 'right' may have nothing at all to do with being Orthodox or being in the Church. A person may take precautions to be perfectly 'right' merely out of insecurity, while faith in Christ remains lacking. In essence , being Orthodox actually means saving one's soul and changing one's heart, making use of the 'right' forms in order to assit in this. It does not mean being right. As Florensky stated: 'Half belief, which is afraid of falling into unbelief, fearfully clings to the forms of religious life. Not capable of seeing in them the crystallized realities of Spirit and Truth, it evaluates them as juridical norms of law. It has an external attitude towards them, and values them not as windows to the light of Christ, but as the conditional requirements of external authority. The Christian consciousness, however, knows that the established ways of the Church are not accidental, and are offered by her as favorable conditions for salvation.' "​

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    Last edited: Nov 19, 2009
  2. ProScribe

    ProScribe New Member

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  3. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    When was he declared a saint?
     
  4. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    This is what the intro to the book said:

    "As one who died for standing up for his Faith, Florensky was listed with the Russian New Martyrs and Confessors who were canonized in 1981. His name is to be found on the icon of the New Martyrs which was used in the glorification service.

    Thus, for all Orthodox Christians who, like Fr Paul himself, are free before God and are not hindered by political fears, he is Saint Paul Florensky"

    It was translated by the Saint Herman of Alaska Brotherhood and Abbot Herman and Fr Damascene wrote the intro.
     
  5. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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  6. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    Here is the book if anyone wants to read it. St Florensky does such an excellent job describing the life and sanctity of Elder Isidore in it.

    Salt of the Earth

    Product Discription:

    Elder Isidore (1814-1908) was a vivid representative of the tradition of eldership (starchestvo) in Holy Russia. Radiant with Christ-like love and childlike simplicity, he lived in another world yet kept both feet firmly planted on the ground. He was one of those whom Christ called the salt of the earth--a repository of the rare, otherworldly savor of ancient Christianity. A prophetic witness for the Church, he foretold the Russian Revolution and the second age of the catacombs.


    In Salt of the Earth, the life and personality of Elder Isidore have been captured with remarkable clarity by the Elder's spiritual son, New Martyr Paul Florensky (1882-1937). Called the "Russian Leonardo da Vinci," Florensky was a fascinating figure unique in Russian history. A master of the most varied disciplines, he was at once a religious philosopher, poet, linguist, art historian, type designer, physicist, astronomer, mathematician, electrical engineer, biologist, botanist, and inventor. During the first decades of the twentieth century, he made several important scientific discoveries and wrote essays which anticipated the development of cybernetics (computers).

    When describing Elder Isidore in Salt of the Earth, Florensky strikingly combines the analytical approach of a scientist with the "seeing heart" of a Christian mystic. He is able to take the reader directly into Elder Isidore's world, so that by the time we finish the book, we feel that the Elder is already a dear friend. Filled with humor and warmth as well as metaphysical understanding on the part of the author, Salt of the Earth is a tour de force among modern Christian spiritual writings, in the same class as The Way of a Pilgrim.
     
  7. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    I will check with my priest on this one. I have yet to hear anyone refer to Fr. Pavel Florensky as a glorified saint.
     
  8. Khaleas

    Khaleas Also known as Jenn the Finn :)

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    OrthoWiki also specifically says he is not a saint. That there was thoughts initially that ROCOR would have canonized him but that they have stated that was not the case.
    Not saying that he shouldn't be... and it seems to be that some jurisdictions are recognizing him as a Saint, however, it doesn't seem to say when he was canonized. MP and OCA does not have him listed in their dates.
    "During the last decades of the twentieth century statements had appeared noting a recognition of Fr. Pavel as a saint and new martyr. This action was often attributed to the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. However, Metr. Vitaly, then First Hierarch of ROCOR, noted firmly that no such action was ever considered by ROCOR, and that no such glorification had been made."
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
  9. HandmaidenOfGod

    HandmaidenOfGod Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

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    I just used his book Iconostasis for a research paper. A-MAZ-ING!!!
     
  10. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    Why does he have a feast day then? It's strange that one article has a feast day for him and calls him "new martyr" and another states that he wasn't a saint on the exact same webpage. I guess thats the nature of wikis sometimes though .
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
  11. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    It appears that he has a feast day at St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church in Texas though. It says "Russian Orthodox Menaion Calender" and then has a feast day for him and his name prefaced by "New Martyr".
     
  12. Michael G

    Michael G Abe Frohmann

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    Yes, Iconostasis is an amazing book, but that does not mean the Church has glorified him as a saint yet. He might be deserving of the title saint, but that I know of the Church in general has not yet given it to him.
     
  13. Protoevangel

    Protoevangel A time comes when silence is betrayal.

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    The process for one to become a Saint in the Orthodox Church is not top-down as in the Roman Church. It is more of a grass-roots process. People see the person as someone to emulate and venerate. Miracles happen for those praying to the Saint, devotion grows, and eventually the hierarchy gets word, does some investigation, and then the person may be declared a Saint.

    Christos Anesti, if you see Fr. Pavel as a Saint, I don't see any problem with you calling him such in your day to day correspondence. It would be going too far to publish a book declaring him a Saint, or having an Icon written of him with a nimbus... But in your day to day dealings, I see no problem This is how I understand Saint Seraphim (Rose) of Platina. He is a Saint, just not yet "officially" recognized. In my daily dealings, I speak of him as a Saint, because I know it to be true. I venerate his Icon (w/o a nimbus). I do this around my priest and deacon, as well as other priests and clergy. No one has ever as much as raised an eyebrow.

    That said, unless we know for sure, it is useless to argue whether he is or not. Those who suggest he has a feast day may be assuming too much. Be sure in your own heart. Please let us know if you find definitive proof.
     
  14. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    I just titled it "St Paul Florensky" because thats what the book I read called him. I didn't know there was as much debate as to him having actually been proclaimed a Saint or not. Either way it's an awsome book. A real classic.

    I will ask my priest about it maybe he can clarify the issue.
     
  15. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    I was reading Fr Florensky's book "The Pillar and Ground of Truth" today. I've had it for a long time but never got around to devoting enough time to it. It's often very dense and i have a little trouble understanding it all. I really liked this though:

    "For one who loves transforms all that he loves into himself, while one who hates loses even what he has. One who loves belongs to the loved one while one who hates does not even belong to himself. 'He who finds his life will lose it, and he who looses his life for My sake will find it' (Mat 10:39)

    The foregoing is nothing more than a translation into ontological language of the 'parable of the talents.' A 'talent' is the spiritual creativity of ones own person given by God to all people, or 'the image of God.' Just as investment of energy applied to capital causes it to grow, so ti is with regard to the image of God. But just as growth of capital depends on the scale of the possessor's investment activity ( and therefore it would be pointless to give someone capital he will not use), so it is the case with growth of the soul. Everyone has his own 'type of growth,' and therefore everyone is given an appropriate spiritual capital corresponding to this 'type'. Everyone receives his talents from God according to the living revelation of the image of God that is to take place in him, according to his 'type' of spiritual growth success. Some are given one talent; some are given two.... ' to every man according to his ability'. "
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2009
  16. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    I also noticed that in the chapter on "Gehenna" he talks about the final judgment being a surgery and separation of evil character and the person. It seemed very similar to Oliver Clements quote from St Ambrose about all men being both saved and damned and Fr bulgakovs view that the separation between the sheep and goats takes place within each man. I'm still not sure I understand exactly what this implies and if anyone could help me out I would appreciate it. This could possibly solve the conundrum I have regarding everlasting punishment if I could properly understand what this means I think.

    Here are some quotes that touch on this:

    "But a creature of God is a person and must be saved. An evil character is precisely what prevents a person from being saved. It is therefore clear that salvation postulates a separation between person and character. What is one must become disparate. How does this come about? In the same way that trine is one God. In essence one, I splits apart; that is, remaining one, I stop being I. Psychologically, this means that a person evil will, manifested in the lusts and pride of the character, is separated from the person himself. This will thus acquires an independent non-substantial position in being and is absolute nothing 'for another' (according to the mode 'thou' which is the metaphysical synthesis of the 'I' and 'He' of the fragmented person). In other words , the essentially holy 'in itself' of a person ( according to the mode of 'He') is separated from the person's 'for itself' (according tot he mode of 'I') insofar as the later is evil.....

    In itself, the wicked and wrathful 'for itself' is perpetual agony, the unceasing, impotent attempt to leave the state of naked selfhood (on 'for itself'). This 'for itself' therefore burns ceaselessly in the inextinguishable flames of hate. This is one of the aspects of the wicked self perception of creation, a living picture frozen in its subject less illusioness. It is the empty self-identity of "I" which can not transcend a single eternal moment of sin, torment, and fury directed at God, at one's own impotence, a single moment of insane epoche, which has become an eternity. It is an eternal exertion demonstrating powerlessness, and is is the powerlessness to make any exertion. Earthly epocke still has a creative character, but epoche after death is absolutely passive. On the other hand the good 'in itself' is an eternally beautiful object of contemplation for another. It is part of another, insofar as this other is good also for itself, ie., capable of contemplating another's good. For one who loves transforms all that he loves into himself, while one who hates loses even what he has.....

    In this separation, neither the freedom nor the Divine image of man is annihilated. They are only disunited. But an evil character, who absolutely does not have the aspect of "Thou," absolutely dos not exist for God and for the righteous. No one is 'thou' for whom no one is 'Thou'. Such a one is pure illusion, an illusion that exists only for himself, and a snake bitting its own tail can serve as his symbol...

    The proposed solution, which is essentially grounded in the distinction in the person between the 'image of God' and the 'likeness of God,' was , as it turns out , expounded in a generally accessible way be a certain Syrian slave. The well known Protestant missionary Lord Redstock related it in one of his Moscow talks of 1877: ' I remember that once in Syria I saw three elders of a certain village who, while sitting in the shade of palm trees in the evening, where discussing the boundlessness of Gods justice and mercy. 'How is it?' , they asked. 'If God is merciful, he will forgive the sinner all his sins. If He is just, He will punish the sinner without mercy.' Then a slave came up to them and asked for permission to give his opinion. 'I think,' he said, 'that God in His justice will punish and destroy sin, while in His mercy, he will forgive the sinner.'

    The mysterious process of God's judgment is a separation, a cutting off, an isolating. Such first of all, is sacrament. No sacrament makes sin non-sin; God does not justify untruth. But sacrament cuts off the sinful part of the soul and represent it, to the recipient of the sacrament, objectively as nothing (as 'covered') and subjectively as self enclosed evil, directed at itself, as a serpent biting its tail. That is the way the Devil is depicted on ancient pictures of the last judgment. sin becomes an independent act separated from he sinner and directed at itself. Sins action upon everything external is equal to absolute zero. In the sacrament of repentance, the words of the Psalm are made real for : "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions for us'. All the forces of sin, cut off by repentance ; by sacrament "the past is destroyed, ta prota exaleiphetai. Here, exaleipho properly sginifies " I wipe away', ' I scratch out,' 'I scrape out'. "

    He develops this theme a lot more but I tire of typing. I would really like to understand exactly what he meant in this chapter.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2009
  17. Protoevangel

    Protoevangel A time comes when silence is betrayal.

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    Fr. Pavel was another one who promulgated some very questionable teachings. This may be why he either was not officially recognized as a Saint, or why his Sainthood is questioned. Myself, I think that as questionable as some of his teachings were, he was not in rebellion against the Holy Orthodox Church, so his Martyrdom indicates his Sainthood.

    But anyway, back to my point. I would beware of putting too much weight into his teaching, unless you can find the same teaching in less... questionable... sources as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2009
  18. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    I'm not sure exactly what his teaching in this regard implies to begin with (though I do have a slight inkling) . I was hoping someone could explain it for me. He seems to have a very difficult and dense manner of writing. Maybe it's just the translation though?
     
  19. Protoevangel

    Protoevangel A time comes when silence is betrayal.

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    It looks like the teaching that the separation of the sheep and the goats on the last day will be within each person. It's a useful analogy, in my opinion, but he seems to take it too far, suggesting a form of universal reconciliation.

    Was that what you were looking for?
     
  20. Christos Anesti

    Christos Anesti Junior Member

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    It seems that he is not stating that the torments of hell will end though. It also looks like he tries (achieves?) to give due credit both to "free will" and Gods Mercy without trying to put limits on either of them.

    In an earlier part I didn't quote he attacks the Origenist view on the topic and says that it fails to include both sides of antinomic teaching on hell.

    In regards to the judgment being a separation within he points to the Bible saying " If the work of any one shall be consumed, he shall suffer loss, but he shall be saved, but so as through the fire". (1Cor3:15) From this he notes the person (what is of divine origin ) will be saved but the evil character and works will suffer everlasting torment. That the person will find himself naked if all his works are destroyed. I'm not sure exactly what this implies or entails though?
     
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