PRE-FILIOQUE CIVILIZATION AND POST-FILIOQUE CIVILIZATION
Pre-filioque (= Orthodox) Civilization, east and west, north and south, is the Civilization of the nearness of God, of the presence of the Holy Trinity, of the Incarnate Christ, of God become man, of the immediacy of the Holy Spirit, transfiguring daily life and culture. It is Theanthropic Civilization, the Civilization of the God-Man, in simple words, Christian Civilization.
Post-filioque (= Heterodox) Civilization is quite different. The introduction of the filioque into Western European life and culture from the eleventh century on and worldwide in more recent times, means the subjugation of the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son. It means the subjugation of the spiritual to the material, that the Holy Spirit is no longer a Person, but in the words of the philosopher Aquinas, ‘the mutual relation of the Father and the Son’. It is Anthropic Civilization, the Civilization of sinful man, in simple words, Humanist Civilization.
This was seen clearly in the fourteenth century with St Gregory Palamas (1296-1359). He opposed the Italian humanist philosopher Barlaam, who was a Platonist intellectual and secularist and spoke with the voice of the neo-pagan Renaissance. Objecting to the arid and rigid Aristotelian Scholasticism of Aquinas, which expressed Institutional Roman Catholicism, Barlaam proposed that humanity live by its autonomous reason, for he asserted that God is unknowable. As St Gregory rightly said, in becoming Orthodox Barlaam had received ‘no sanctification whatsoever from our Church’ (1). This was clear in the fact that Barlaam did not preach sanctification, but rather the impossibility of sanctification. In this we see the contrast with an earlier Italian converted to the Orthodox Church, a forerunner of St Gregory, Nicephorus the Hesychast (+ 1260), who had found Christ and preached sanctification.
Gregory Palamas also opposed Messalianism and the position of Akindynos.
The Messalians, known in the east as Bogomils and in the west as Cathars,
rejected the Incarnation of Christ, and therefore rejected the Church
and the sacraments. Gregory Akindynos was an Orthodox monk and priest
who reduced the Church to a conservative, ritualistic State ideology,
which supported the Emperor of Constantinople, however heretical or Uniat
he might be. St Gregory Palamas, however, in the Tradition of the Church,
followed the Holy Spirit, living in the uncreated energies of the Holy
Spirit, rejecting all compromises with this world. This is why what he
preached was recognized by Church Councils not as some ‘oriental
mysticism’, but as the authentic teaching of the Christian Church
Conversely to the Church, without the understanding of the Holy Spirit, the Heterodox world lost the Uncreated Light of the Resurrection, of the Theophany (the Baptism of the Lord) and the Feast of the Transfiguration.
Thus, the Roman Catholic world understood the Holy Trinity as God (a distant and cruel ‘father’), ‘Jesus’ (the crucified man) and the Pope (the voice of God). Without the light of the Resurrection, in which we partake by the Holy Spirit, Who allows us to partake of the uncreated energies of the Holy Trinity, Roman Catholic ‘spiritual life’ was reduced to man-centred, psychic exercises and the cultivation of guilt. Roman Catholic piety, deprived of the light and joy of the Resurrection, was largely reduced to the mournful veneration of the Cross as an instrument of death.
The Protestant world understood the Holy Trinity as God (a distant and cruel ‘father’), ‘Jesus’ (the crucified man) and, instead of the Pope, the Bible (the voice of God interpreted personally). Without the light of the Resurrection, in which we partake by the Holy Spirit, Who allows us to partake of the uncreated energies of the Holy Trinity, Protestant ‘spiritual life’ was reduced to the intellectualism of the decadent upper middle-class and the moralism of the narrow lower middle-class. Protestant piety, rejecting the morbid piety of the Roman Catholic Cross, was largely reduced to the pride and vanity of illusory emotions of personal salvation.
Roman Catholicism worships a distant Sun in an artificial, Pope-made, light. Roman Catholic ‘saints’, unable to access the uncreated energies of the Holy Trinity through the Holy Spirit can only imitate Christ as an external model. Thus, its piety relies on the psychic powers of individuals to imitate the physical sufferings of Christ.
Protestantism worships a distant Sun in an artificial, man-made light. Rejecting the Pope, this man-made light is the light of each individual Protestant. Protestantism, by its own admission, has no saints. Thus, its piety relies on the human powers of individuals and the proud and vain illusory emotions of personal salvation.
The (Orthodox) Church worships the Sun of God in the light that is natural to the Sun. The Orthodox saints, transfigured by the uncreated energies of the Holy Trinity communicated by the Holy Spirit, do not imitate Christ externally, but live in Christ.
Today, it is true, the (Orthodox) Church survives only in fragments that are scattered across the face of the earth. The Orthodox Church has faced persecution by Roman Catholicism from the west and by Islam from the east, by every form of anti-spiritual Western materialism, from Communism to Fascism and Consumerism. As a result, many Orthodox long ago lapsed into nominalism, which caused the Revolution in Russia and decadence in the Balkans, the Middle East and the Diaspora. However, the Church will survive until the end of the world, for when She is no more, then the end of the world will come. For Orthodox Civilization is Pre-Filioque Civilization, whereas Post-Filioque Civilization is the Civilization of the Apocalypse, as we more and more clearly see with every day that passes.