Kindling the Fire
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"How far is the Christian East sympathetic to a ‘charismatic’ understanding of the spiritual life? At first sight it might appear that there is but little affinity. Orthodoxy, it might be said, is liturgical and hierarchic, whereas Pentecostalism is grounded upon the free and spontaneous action of the Spirit; Orthodoxy appeals to Holy Tradition, whereas Pentecostalism assigns primacy to personal experience.

Anyone, however, who searches more deeply will soon realize that stark contrasts of this kind are one-sided and misleading. In actual fact, many of the Greek Fathers insist with great emphasis upon the need for all baptized Christians to attain in their own personal experience a direct and conscious awareness of the Holy Spirit. No one can be a Christian at second-hand: such is the frequently repeated teaching of the Fathers. Holy Tradition does not signify merely the mechanical and exterior acceptance of truths formulated in the distant past, but it is in the words of the Russian theologian Vladimir Lossky – nothing else than ‘the life of the Holy Spirit in the Church2 here and now, at this present moment."

+Kallistos Ware



"A person who has within him the light of the most Holy Spirit, unable to endure it, falls prostrate upon the ground; and he cries out and shouts in terror and great fear, for he sees and experiences something that surpasses nature, thought and imagination. He becomes as one whose entrails have been set ablaze: devoured by fire and unable to bear the scorching flame, he is beside himself, and he cannot control himself at all. And though he sheds unceasing tears that bring him some relief, the fire of his longing is kindled to yet fiercer flames. Then he weeps more abundantly and, washed by the flood of his tears, he shines as lightning with an- ever-increasing brilliance. When he is entirely aflame and becomes as light, then is fulfilled the saying, ‘God is joined in unity with gods and is known by them. 40"

St.Symeon the New Theologian

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