Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hopko, Part 1

I recently came across a commencement address by an Orthodox priest and was impressed both by his thoughts and by his way of expressing them. I'd like to share some excerpts with you, but will break them up into perhaps three posts in order to make his meaty thoughts easier to process.

Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko is Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York and gave this address at the school's commencement ceremony in May 2007.

First excerpt:

I can tell you that being loved by God, and loving Him in return, is the greatest joy given to creatures, and that without it there is no real and lasting happiness for humanity.

And I can also tell you, alas, that such loving is always a violent, brutal and bloody affair.

The God who is merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, who gives us his divine life and peace and joy forever, is first of all the Divine Lover who wounds His beloved, and then hides from her, hoping to be sought and found. He is the Father who chastens and disciplines His children. He is the Vinekeeper who cuts and prunes His vines so that they bear much fruit. He is the Jeweler who burns His gold in His divine fire so that it would be purged of all impurities. And He is the Potter who continually smashes and refashions and re-bakes His muddy clay so that it can be the earthen vessel that He wants it to be, capable of bearing His own transcendent grace and power and glory and peace.

If you can't wait to read more, this address can be found in its entirety here.

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