By Apostolos Papadimitriou
Electrical engineer, Columnist and Author
The Epiphany is one of the oldest feasts of the Church. During it, the baptism of Christ is celebrated, which was followed by Ηis three years of public life, Ηis teaching, Ηis Passion and his Resurrection. For Christians in the West the Epiphany marks the enlightenment of humanity with the entry of God into the history of mankind. “O Christ our God, Who hath appeared and enlightened the world” is the final phrase of the Apolytikion of the celebration. And the people of God gave to the feast the name of the Light, because Christ enlightened the world with his epiphany. In remembrance of the event of baptism, the Church established the service of sanctification of the waters, which for centuries takes on a festive character in places near the sea, lake or river. This tradition was respected by our conquerors, even those of other religions. The people of God took care to bring a vessel to the church for the reception of the holy water. They used this to sanctify not only their family members, but also their animals and fields, their houses, and even their filthy stables, so that everything would have God's blessing. And they maintained stock for use throughout the year by adding water. And they did not hide their satisfaction that the holy water remained unaltered, which is a sign that our faith is alive, unlike others, even other Christian denominations.
Centuries passed. The West was detached from the body of the one, holy, catholic Church of Christ. The faith was altered, the image of the person was distorted. The ascetic view of life and traditions were devalued. Intellectualism under the influence of philosophical reflection “created a building” which didn’t have the teaching of Christ as its foundation. The consequences were painful. Freedom in Christ was replaced by the regime of feudalism and the "Inquisition", and the enlightenment of Christ was replaced, admittedly by most, by the darkness of the Middle Ages.
And when arbitrariness reached extreme manifestations, it provoked reaction, which manifested itself in the so-called religious reform. A feature of this was not the search for the truth lost in the realm of despotic papacy, but the arbitrary course which was not based on the tradition of the Apostolic Church that was ignored in the West, but on the personal beliefs and perceptions of the reformers. And the new fallacy proved to be worse than the first, as evidenced by the multi-fragmentation in the field of reformers and the unstoppable multiplication of their "churches"! They boasted that in "rationality" they built the "true" faith in Christ. That is why they were adversaries and particularly hostile to local traditions, which they collectively rejected as superstitions of the so called "dark" past!
The delusion of Western Christianity lies in its foundation in intellectualism and "rationalism", with which they believed they could persuade non-Christians to accept the faith of Christ, in essence their own faith. Thus their edifice, without Christ being its foundation, was swept away and fell by storm during the age of the so-called "Enlightenment". It was preceded, during the so-called "renaissance", the questioning of the authority of God's "representative" on earth. This was followed by the questioning of God himself as the God of history. He was initially repelled in the "heavens", as a God indifferent to his creatures, to be led to non-existence, which Nietzsche tragically proclaimed with the cry "God is dead"! The "god-killers" became gods themselves and undertook the task to illuminate the world with their own "lights", those of the "enlightenment"! And the world has since moved by the arrogance of the administrators of the soul-damaging experiment. They reassure the masses that everything is going well and that there is no need for concern, as they know too well how to manage the crises that they themselves cause! Selfishness does not allow them to shout Goethe’s (from the monologue of "Faust").
“I 've studied now Philosophy
And Jurisprudence, Medicine, -
And even, alas! Theology,
From end to end, with labor keen;
And here, poor fool! with all my lore
I stand, no wiser than before.
We, too, were dazzled by the "lights" of the West, when, after bloody sacrifices, we re-tasted the illusion of national freedom. According to Makrygiannis, our west-stricken compatriots, in the service of our foreign "protectors", conveyed the "lights" of Western Europe to our country as well, in order to illuminate us. Our people resisted this change/alteration with all the strength they had under slavery. In the end, they seem to succumb, accepting that "we belong to the West" and all the change that this brings with it as something inevitable. Our slavish attitude to everything that is foreign reveals the discrediting of our tradition. In fact, we brag foolishly: "We can live without Christ! Our planet is flooded with lights! It is high time we walked the path of "progress" opened by the people of the West, the "enlightened ones"!
When will we ever feel our spiritual darkness? I wonder…