Tuesday, May 28, 2013
The Wisdom of God, by Metropolitan Ierotheos Vlachos, Part I
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, the Angel of Great Counsel (source)
The Wisdom of God, by Metropolitan Ierotheos (Vlachos) of Navpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou (amateur translation)
The following speech by Metropolitan Ierotheos Vlachos was offered in Levkosia, on the occation of the celebration of the feast of the new Holy Church of the Wisdom of God, the largest church on the island of Cyprus. In three parts, he discusses the identification of the "Wisdom of God" with Christ, the Churches of "Holy Wisdom", and the Feast of Mid-Pentecost.
I. Christ, the Wisdom of God
It is a fundamental teaching of the Fathers of the Church that the difference between the Old and the New Testament is that, in the Old Testament are recorded the appearances of the bodiless Word, the Angel of Great Counsel, the Wisdom of God, while in the New Testament is recorded the revelation of the incarnate Word. Thus, one of the names of Christ is the Wisdom of God.
According to Fr. George Florovsky “The name of wisdom is a biblical name”, which is used by the Apostle Paul. In reality, the Apostle Paul, speaking to the Jews and the Greeks of his time, says that while the Jews seek a sign, and the Greek-idolaters seek wisdom-philosophy, “we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews scandal, to the Greeks foolishness, but to those chosen, Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God” (Corinthians I 1:22-24). And later he writes: “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (Corinthians I 1:30)
Often it is said that in the Old Testament, Christ is characterized as Messiah. But this is not correct, because in the Old Testament, the Messiah was, as the word means, “the anointed one”, and this is offered to the kings and the Prophets, who were called by God and anointed for a special mission to Israel. Thus, the Messiah in the Old Testament was man. However, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, in the Old Testament is characterized as the Angel of Great Council, the Wisdom of God. Foremost, the name “Wisdom of God” is met in the Proverbs and Wisdom of Solomon, and is attributed to Christ.
Thus, Christ is not the Messiah, in other words, a man who was [solely] born from the Panagia, but was the incarnate Word, Who took on human creation with the incarnation, which was anointed by the divine creation and became the Messiah in order to save the human race, and to deliver from the devil, death and sin. Fr. George Florovsky offers that “the identification of 'Wisdom' as one of the names of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity became a common theme in the homilies and theology of the Fathers. Origen perceived the name 'Wisdom' as the first and primary name of the Son (On John 10:22). And 'Wisdom' and 'Power' were commemorated in the Symbol of St. Gregory of Neo-caesarea. In the 4th century, the Arians and the Orthodox agreed that thee Holy Wisdom that is mentioned in the book of Proverbs was the Son of God”.
The wise Solomon, praying to the God of the Fathers and the Lord of mercy, among other things, says: “Give me wisdom, that sitteth by thy throne; and reject me not from among thy children...And wisdom was with thee: which knoweth thy works, and was present when thou madest the world, and knew what was acceptable in thy sight, and right in thy commandments. O send her out of thy holy heavens, and from the throne of thy glory, that being present she may labour with me, that I may know what is pleasing unto thee. For she knoweth and understandeth all things, and she shall lead me soberly in my doings, and preserve me in her power. So shall my works be acceptable, and then shall I judge thy people righteously, and be worthy to sit in my father's seat.” (Wisdom of Solomon 9:1-12).
It is sure that the wise Solomon here is speaking of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, which is the Wisdom of God the Father, and Who is beside the throne of the glory of God, and at the creation of the world, and he is asking Him to send Him to him in the direction of his service.
That the Word of God is the Wisdom of God is seen from the word “Wisdom” which is mentioned either by itself or with some other entreaty in the holy Services, such as “arise, let us be attentive” and of course before the phrase, “He Who is blessed, Christ our true God” at the end of Vespers, in addition to following the service of the Artoklasia before the phrase “the blessing of the Lord and His mercy be upon you”. The union is clear between the Wisdom, which is the Word of God, with the phrases that speak of Him. Furthermore, the “Wisdom” is said during the Small Entrance of the Divine Liturgy, when the Deacon or the Priest raises the holy Gospel, because within it are the words of Christ. Thus, the Christians are called to lift up and to show reverence to the Wisdom of God, in other words, the Word of God, Christ. This word (Wisdom) is said also before the Epistle and Gospel readings, because within them are the words of Christ and the Apostles who are the members of the Body of Christ. And the same word, “Wisdom”, is said during the Liturgy of the Presanctified Precious Gifts before “the Light of Christ illumines all”, and during the Vespers before “O gladsome light of the holy glory”, which speaks about Christ...
Christ has risen from the dead, by death he has trampled on death, and to those in the graves given life!
Truly the Lord is risen!