L 2 R: Wagdy Samir and Doru Costache. Church Point NSW, 3 November 2020
Doru Costache, AIOCS Founding Director, and Wagdy Samir, AIOCS Director for Orthodox Studies, contributed book chapters to an edited collection published by SCD Press, The Impact of Jesus of Nazareth: Historical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspectives, vol. 2: Social and Pastoral Studies (Macquarie Park, 2021). The volume was edited by Sydney College of Divinity’s Peter G. Bolt and James R. Harrison, and comprises fifteen chapters.
Dr Samir’s chapter is “St Cyril of Alexandria on the Eucharistic Context of Humankind’s Union with the Divine in Commentary On John,” and can be found at pages 199-226.
In his Commentary on the Gospel of St John, St Cyril of Alexandria develops his theology of progressive human participation in the divine. I focus on the eucharistic dimension of humankind’s union with the divine. I show that for St Cyril communicants partake of the real, vivifying flesh of the Word. Eucharistic participation leads to humankind’s dual sanctification, spiritual and corporeal. Sanctification is sine qua non for believers’ union with Jesus Christ. In turn, union is achieved through the interplay of two aspects, divine action and human response. I will also show that for St Cyril, although the eucharistic union resembles the Christological reality of the hypostatic union, it is not identical. Humankind participates in the divine life, whereas the divine, the participated in, is life by nature. Throughout, I demonstrate that St Cyril’s language points to the physicality of the presence of Christ in the eucharist, and of the communicant’s participation in it, thus showing the degree of intimacy with the partaker, beyond moral union. Finally, my conclusion will point to the significance of St Cyril’s eucharistic theology in his construct of Christ’s profile.
Associate Professor Costache’s chapter is “The Teacher and His School: Philosophical Representations of Jesus and Christianity,” and can be found at pages 227-251.
The early Christians viewed Jesus, beyond his divine and human identity, as an accomplished philosopher who revealed to his disciples the highest philosophy. Jesus did not found a religion; he founded a school which resembled the philosophical schools of the time. Central to his school was the experience of teaching and learning. The goal of his school was the transformation of the human person, indeed the community of believers, by way of successive stages of initiation. Both as catechetical instruction and through the independent schools, the church manifested its philosophical dimension. No wonder that, against this backdrop, the Gospel writers, the early apologists, and the early monastic writers depicted Jesus in philosophical postures, an image echoed by artistic compositions.