We believe that despite of Man’s corruption, he carries in him the seed of salvation. What the West calls “Original Sin”, meaning that it is inherited from Adam with the guilt resulting from it, is unaccepted in Eastern Orthodoxy. There is no inheriting of guilt. Human nature, as we understand it, has been stained and became corrupt but it did not become a “moral nothingness”. There is in Man a certain receptivity to the Lord or a certain Divine Effect. There is in Man a goodness that co-lives with sin; as if it is its companion. We do not find in the human being total corruption; neither do we find in it full righteousness. These are things that get mixed together in the human soul. I know souls who are very transparent, but I have not found people whose “light” takes away all the darkness inside us. Holiness is a yearning; and before the final resurrection, there is no complete holiness. And when we speak of perfection, we do not speak of a finalized state of reality but of a calling. And what the Savior meant saying: “Be perfect” is for us to keep on seeking perfection. There is no perfect human being, neither in Heaven nor at the Last judgment.  We never say, at the canonizing of a Saint, that he is sinless. We say that he has been a model of those who seek for holiness and that such seeking is his main concern. When God says: “Be holy”, He means it to be a call to an on-going yearning for holiness, and does not mean that holiness is poured in you once and for all. If virtue is poured wholly in us, then we would not be in need to pray for it. “The Kingdom of God is within you” means that you are walking to that kingdom; and that kingdom is not fully realized in any of us before the Last Day.

You have to live as if each day of your life is the day on which you receive the crown of glory; but Christ crowns you with that crown only after death and resurrection; when righteousness shines in the glorified humanity.

It is a great training in humility for one to see himself broken and to appear as bandaged before the Lord. And in our invocation of the Saints, we do not proclaim that they have received full righteousness, but we hope they, where they are, participate with us in prayer so that the community of Saints is realized, of those that have become perfect and those who are still not. All the righteous ones are in the state of yearning to what the Savior will give them, but in our theological understanding they have not yet attained Perfection.

I was once asked whether Mary is in Heaven in the body. I answered that we have not defined the matter theologically despite my personal conviction of that and despite all the hymns in our services that imply that. And I added that since there is no theological definition of that, I personally believe that Mary is in Glory and that her body did not go through corruption. Of course I realize that only those who are “in love” would say that.

You call on the Saints in the Traditional Church because “God is not a god of the dead but of those who are alive”. The Saints are our friends and that is why they lead us in our prayers though they are absent in the body. I cannot accept that Mary is not there to lead me in prayer when I stand in the presence of God. St. John Chrysostom says in his Easter sermon that no dead still remain in the tombs. And when we sing on Easter “Christ has risen from the dead” sixty times, we signify that there has been a certain motion towards the light of the Trinity as we sing. Our singing is light and that is what we carry from one Sunday to the next since, beside the Pascha feast, every Sunday, for us, is a feast and the “Sunday feast” overshadows all feasting.

Our life is a Pascha. We want it like that. And we yearn to be so since in Pascha, which means “passing”, the one we want to “pass on” to is the Savior. We hear Jeremiah saying: “The breath of our mouth is the Messiah of the Lord.” We hope not to fall in the confusion that the disciples fell into before the Resurrection, since such confusion is a “non – Christ”.

Christ, through His Cross, becomes everything in us so that He daily reveals to us the power of His resurrection in the victory we obtain over sin.

Translated by Riad Moufarrij

Original Text: “من فصح إلى فصح” – An Nahar – 25.05.2013