Here is the third AIOCS conversation of Wagdy Samir and Doru Costache on “Orthodox Theologies of Divine Participation: Matta al-Miskīn and Dumitru Stăniloae,” held on 20 July 2023. This series focuses on the theology of holiness of the two great theologians, one Coptic Orthodox, the other Romanian Orthodox.
Wagdy returns to the topic of created nature in Father Matta, summarising his interpretation of Romans 8 (creation’s groaning), bringing to the fore the yearning of the whole of the creation to be renewed in Christ, the impoverished condition of fallen humanity and the world, the renewal of the creation in Christ and the Spirit, and the response of the creation to divine grace, a process which will continues in the ages to come. Doru shows how similar ideas feature in Father Dumitru and his patristic sources, foremost Saint Symeon the New Theologian. The conversation continues with Wagdy providing a synthesis of Father Matta’s conviction that the Spirit, fully and really, indwells the creation and renewed humankind, helping believers to overcome the darkness within and to walk into the light. Doru asks whether Father Matta found inspiration in the letters of Saint Antony the Great, where a similar view is dominant. The conversation ends with reflections on how important is to retrieve forgotten sources such as Saint Antony’s letters, and the fact that both fathers, Matta and Dumitru, were interested in exploring the monastic universe.
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