ABBOT OF THE HOLY MONASTERY
OF ST. GREGORIOS ON MOUNT ATHOS
Unfortunately, the spirit of moralism which we mentioned earlier, i.e., basing the Christian life on moral improvement, has adversely influenced the piety and spirituality of Christians to a significant degree even here in our land. We often cease to pursue Theosis because of Western influences on our theology. Guidance that only aims for moral improvement is anthropocentric – it is centred on man, and in it, human effort dominates, and not the Grace of God. It then seems as if it is our own morality that saves us, and not the Grace of God. Life under these conditions does not give us genuine experiences of God, therefore the psyche is not truly satisfied because its thirst remains unquenched. This method of guidance has been tried, and it failed because it does not represent the genuine spirit of Christ’s Church. It is often responsible for atheism and for many people’s indifference towards the spiritual life, especially among the young. In our catechisms, sermons and everything said by parents, teachers, clergy and other workers of the Church, instead of talking about sterile improvements of mankind, let us educate Christians towards Theosis. This is the genuine spirit and experience of the Church. Otherwise, the virtues, regardless of how great they may be, do not, in fact, fulfill the purpose of the Christian life. They are simply ways and means which prepare us to accept Theosis, the Grace of the Holy Spirit, as St. Seraphim of Sarov taught so clearly".