The Power of Repentance: The Ethos of Metanoia in the Orthodox Tradition Christopher Veniamin

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Published: November 17th 2013

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13 pages


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The Power of Repentance: The Ethos of Metanoia in the Orthodox Tradition  by  Christopher Veniamin

The Power of Repentance: The Ethos of Metanoia in the Orthodox Tradition by Christopher Veniamin
November 17th 2013 | Kindle Edition | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, RTF | 13 pages | ISBN: | 9.55 Mb

This work is a chapter taken from The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: Theosis in Scripture and Tradition (December, 2013): That we are all in need of repentance is beyond dispute, as this is clearly indicated at the beginning of the Gospel,MoreThis work is a chapter taken from The Orthodox Understanding of Salvation: Theosis in Scripture and Tradition (December, 2013): That we are all in need of repentance is beyond dispute, as this is clearly indicated at the beginning of the Gospel, in the very first words preached by both St.

John the Baptist and Christ Himself: “Repent: for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2 and 4:7)- but also at the end of the Gospel (in Luke 24:47), where the Lord commissions His disciples: “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”So the question that I should like to pose at the outset of our reflection on this fundamentally crucial theme is: What is repentance and how does it bring about our “personal renewal”?“Repentance,” says St.

John of the Ladder (c. 570 - c. 649, whose memory we celebrated on the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent), “is the renewal of baptism”.1 We know from Holy Scripture and our life in the Church that baptism means dying to the old man and being raised together with Christ in newness of life. As the great Paul says:“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life… Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him” (Rom.

6:3-4, 6).So if, as St. John of the Ladder teaches us, repentance is the renewal of baptism, then it too must signify the renewal of the very same death and resurrection in Christ that we receive at baptism. But what exactly is this kind of death, and what is this kind of resurrection? The short answer to this question, as the holy Apostle Paul himself goes on to say in Romans 6:7, must be, that death which sets us free from sin, “For he that is dead is freed from sin”.So, in practical terms, how do we die to sin?

Christ Himself tells us plainly that “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23- and cf. also Matt. 16:24 and Mark 8:34). But what do these words really mean? Is this just an exalted metaphor that is intended to encourage us to be good and honest citizens? Most certainly not. For if Jesus Christ is truly “the way” (John 14:6), then surely, if we would be His disciples, we must also follow Him, follow His way- and, as Archimandrite Sophrony (of blessed memory) says, His way is that of the Cross: “where I am, there shall also my servant be” (John 12:26) - and “Where is Christ?” asks Fr.

Sophrony. “On the Cross,” he answers.2In His Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:1 - 7:29), Our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ gives us a vivid description of the divine way of life, that is to say, He teaches us how to live as He does. This is especially evident when we bring to mind such verses as:“Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time… Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy… But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you- That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt.

5:43-45).If we look closely at these and other such pronouncements, what we shall find is nothing less than Christ’s self-revelation.



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