A Difference Between Philosophy and Theology

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

One of the differences between the eloquent philosophy of the Hellenes and the Christian Faith is that the entire Hellenistic philosophy can clearly be expressed with words and comprehended by reading, while the Christian Faith cannot be clearly expressed by words and even less comprehended by reading alone. When you are expounding the Christian Faith, for its understanding and acceptance, both reading and the practice of what is read are necessary.

When Patriarch Photios read the words of Mark the Ascetic concerning the spiritual life, he noticed a certain unclarity with the author for which he wisely said:

“That [unclarity] does not proceed from the obscurity of expression but from that truth which is expressed there; it is better understood by means of practice and that cannot be explained by words only.”

And, the great Patriarch adds,

“It is not only the case with these homilies nor only with these men, but rather with all of those who attempted to expound the ascetical rules, passions and instructions, which are better understood from practice alone.”



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About Fr. John A. Peck

Director of the Preachers Institute, priest in the Orthodox Church in America, award-winning graphic designer and media consultant, and non-profit administrator.
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