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Personal eschatology. Prayer for the world and eschatological theology perspective Elder Sophrony

Nicolae Saharov: Personal eschatology. Prayer for the world and eschatological theology perspective Elder Sophrony
Elder Sophrony’s theology provides an adequate answer to problems concerning eschatology raised by modern biblical scholarship. From his ascetic experience he proposes different perception of time and eschatology. In the prayer for the whole world an ascetic lives the whole of mankind as his own life: it past, present, and, more importantly, its future. Christ, as the New Adam, who bears within Himself the whole of mankind, sets a supreme example for us: the redemption is accomplished in Christ because He bore and incorporated the whole of mankind within Himself. Mankind, with all its members-hypostases, thus emerges one body, in the image of the tri-hypostatic God the Trinity Who is One. Mankind is pan-anthropos ‘whole Adam’. It is from this perspective that we see the whole of mankind as single history, with which our personal life is firmly linked. This is what may be termed as ‘hypostatic eschatology’. It is illustrated by the Gospels. Concerning the last days of mankind Jesus said, I am the Resurrection and the Life! (John 11:24-25) This mysterious I am – the formula of persona – subsumes even eschatology into its range. Furthermore, the Synoptic tradition shows how apocalyptic predictions about the end of the world (universal sorrows, scandals, betrayals, hatred, earthquakes, darkness, etc.) are fulfilled with mathematical exactitude in Christ own last days, death and resurrection. This hypostatic eschatology that we find in Elder Sophrony is also inherent to the Orthodox ascetic tradition: often the history of Israel is spiritually interpreted in terms of our own experience. The canon of St Andrew of Crete as well as our liturgy both work on the same principie: the reader or a priest associates himself with all mankind. It explains the difference between Christian prophecy and prophecy in other religions. In Christianity, through Iove and prayer a Christian personally associates himself with mankind and lives its destinies. In the Hindu world, or in case of fortune tellers, gurus or even Nostradamus, we deal with impersonal, abstract prophesies where men are presented with Information about the future.

Keywords: eschatology, prayer, Elder Sophrony