Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Christian Dogmatics and About God


Lessons on Christian Dogmatics


These are the notes that were taken from the lectures of Professor I. Zizioulas (current Metropolitan of Pergamus and Chairman of the Athens Academy) at the Poemantic Division of the Thessaloniki University’s School of Theology, during the academic year 1984-1985.

They are published with the blessing and the permission of the reverend Metropolitan.

The notes were published with the caring and the responsibility of the students, for use during their examinations.

Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki

Published by :  Publication Services

Because of its size, this series of Dogmatics will be presented by us in segments, in the hope that the entire text that we have in hand will be made available very soon.

It is with immense joy, that we are hosts to this significant piece of work in our website.

We consider this presentation an honor, and acknowledge the extremely significant opus of the reverend Metropolitan of Pergamus.


We are referring to the hand-typed notes of the reverend Metropolitan’s lessons at the University of Thessaloniki, which benefited us so much, that we wished to make them more broadly accessible.


It is our fervent desire that you study these notes, which exude the fragrance of the Orthodox faith and are delivered with scientific precision, in a simple and comprehensible manner.


We wish to thank with all our heart those who toiled and participated in the acquisition of these notes for us.


May the blessing of God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be with every person who seeks Him.

Professor Metropolitan of Pergamus and  Chairman of the Athens Academy I. Zizioulas



1. Definition – Sources – Content and Method of Dogmatics:

1a. Form and character of Dogmatics

1b. Dogmatics as Hermeneutics (Interpretational)

1c. The Dogmatics method

2. The term: «Dogma» and its significance

3. The affiliation of dogmas to the Holy Scriptures

4. The work of the Holy Spirit in the phrasing of the dogmas

5. The work of the Church in the phrasing of the dogmas

6. The prestige and the authority of the dogmas



I. On cognizance:


          1a.    Cognizance of things

          1b.   Cognizance of God

          1c.    Cognizance through the Son and Logos 

          1d1. Cognizance in person  part 1: The element of Freedom

          1d2. Cognizance in person  part 2: The element of Love

II. On faith



1. The biblical premises

2. Basic principles of Patristic teaching:


          2a. Up to the Cappadocian Fathers

          2b. The contribution of the Cappadocians

          2c. Augustine’s views

          2d. Discerning between "Theology" and "Providence"

          2e. Existential interpretation




1. Discernments of the Cappadocians on the “being” of God:


          1a.  The “whatever”, the “what” and the “how” of God

          1b.  “Essence”, “energy” and “person”


2. The transferral of the terms “essence”, Energy” and “Person” into Theology (The problem of freedom)


          2a.   The prerequisites of the Patristic Synthesis

          2b.   The contribution of the Cappadocian Fathers – The patristic notion of the person

          2c.    Augustin’s theology and the problem of the Filioque

          2d.   The theological problem of the Filioque

          2e.   The Filioque in Theology and in Providence

          2f.    The dogma of creation - the problem of Gnosticism

          2f2.  The correction of Platonic ideas by the Christian faith



1.  The dogma regarding Creation  

2.  Creation from nil  

3.  Existential consequences of the dogma on Creation  

4.  The consequences of man’s downfall  

5.  Christology 

6.  Salvation

7.  Ecclesiology





2.  Orthodox Ecclesiology topics:


      2a.   The eschatological identity of the Church

      2b.  “Therapeutic” or “Liturgical”  Ecclesiology: the synthesis of Saint Maximus the Confessor - Questions

      2c.   The Trinitarian basis of Ecclesiology

      2d.   Imagery in ontology - Questions

      2e.   Formation and structure of the Church

      2f.    The Local and worldwide Church – The Synodic institution  

      2g.   The functions of the Church Questions

         3.   Commentary on Western Ecclesiology


                3a.  The dialectics of “the one” and “the many”. The priority of a universal Church

                3b.  The problem of priority between Christology and Pneumatology (of the Spirit)

                        Ecclesiological consequences

                3c.   History and Eschatology Questions



Texts by Rev. John Zizioulas (Addendum)

(Dogmatics – Therapy - Theology – Filioque – Ecclesiology – Christology – Pneumatology)

1    Introductory, basic characteristics of Western thought
1b. Western Ethicism and Dostoevsky
2.   Theology and Providence (Oekonomia) in Western thought
2b. Sickness and healing in Orthodox Theology
3.   The problem of the Filioque
4.   The existential repercussions of the Filioque  -  Questions  
5.   Ecclesiology, Christology, Pneumatology  




Translation by A. N.

Article published in English on: 4-7-2005.

Last update: 2-8-2011.