Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries


Conveying Experience 
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos 

Source:  "Empirical Dogmatics", Volume 1



God reveals Himself to the glorified and the glorified use their reason to translate the revelation into their language.

"If God spoke with human language, then on the day of Pentecost each one would not have heard in his own dialect. These are the mysteries of God at Pentecost, this is the experience of glorification. In the experience of glorification, the manifestation of God, man's reason is inspired and translates the experience into his language. This divine inspiration inspires each one with his own concepts."

The experience of illumination and glorification is passed on in writing and verbally, as far as it can be expressed.

"Every time that Pentecost is repeated, we have the highest form of divine inspiration, whether it is written down or not. Divine inspiration may not be recorded in writing. Someone may have this experience and not write anything. Someone else has the experience and writes about it. Yet another, who only has the experience of illumination and not of glorification, may also write, and what he writes is illuminated."

Those who are glorified are called Prophets in both the Old and New Testaments. This experience of the vision of God is conveyed by using language.

"When the Fathers speak about the Prophets' experience of glorification, they are obliged to use a particular language to convey the message of glorification and illumination from those who have this experience to those who do not have it."

On account of the needs of every age, and especially because heretics alter Orthodox theology, the glorified 'translate' the experience that they have acquired by the grace of the Holy Spirit into terms, images and names that they take from creation. Even when the experience is recorded, there is no substitute for revelation and the experience of glorification.

"The concepts in the Old and New Testament can never replace either the revelation or the experience of glorification. They do, however, point out the path that someone should follow in order to progress from purification to illumination and glorification. This is the aim of the concepts in the Old and New Testaments. They have no other purpose."

Those who have reached glorification convey their experience verbally or in writing to their spiritual children to guide them to live through the same experience. This is the core of the Orthodox tradition.

"The essence of the tradition is passing on this experience."


Article published in English on: 8-11-2013.

Last update: 8-11-2013.