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The 'heavenly bodies' and astronomy


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#1 Antonios

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 06:44 AM

Dear friends in Christ,

What is the Church's understanding towards the role of astronomy in human history? Can the Logos of God be discerned in the study of the 'heavenly bodies'?

Any patristic commentary would also be greatly appreciated.

In Christ,
Antonios

#2 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 09:32 AM

One could make a start with the Psalms: 8, 18, 32, and (especially) 103 (LXX numbering).

#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 11:32 AM

What is the Church's understanding towards the role of astronomy in human history? Can the Logos of God be discerned in the study of the 'heavenly bodies'?


Troparion of the Nativity of Christ - Tone 4

Your Nativity, O Christ our God,
Has shone to the world the Light of wisdom!
For by it, those who worshipped the stars,
Were taught by a Star to adore You,
The Sun of Righteousness,
And to know You, the Orient from on High.

O Lord, glory to You!



#4 Nicolaj

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 12:45 PM

Thank you Herman to bring this in mind here, that is great! Thanks!

Christos voskrese! Nicolaj

#5 Nina

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 02:22 PM

Dear friends in Christ,

What is the Church's understanding towards the role of astronomy in human history? Can the Logos of God be discerned in the study of the 'heavenly bodies'?

Any patristic commentary would also be greatly appreciated.

In Christ,
Antonios


Dear Antonios,

Here is a passage from the book The Feasts of the Lord by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos.

[...] the magi or wise men from the east were granted to worship the newborn Christ. The important thing is not when this happened, but that they discovered Christ. Essentially God was revealed to them, a thing which did not happen to the Scribes and Pharisees, who were the religious establishment of that time. The wise men were not astrologers as we know them today, but astronomers, who were observing the stars in the sky and their moevemnets. At that time astrology was regarded as a science. Today when the science of astronomy has been separated from astrology, which is bound up with metaphysics and satanism, astrology has been rejected by the Orthodox faith.

The magi recognised Christ and worshiped Him "because of their inner knowledge". With their eyes, with their sight, they saw an infant, but with their nous they saw God who had become man. Thus the magi were in a spiritual state suitable for seeing and worshiping God. It was not a matter of science, but of inner noetic purity.

Proof of what is said here is that the star which they saw in the east and which guided them to Bethlehem was not an ordinary star, but, as Saint John Chrysostom says, an angel of the Lord which guided them. The fact that this was not a natural but a supranatural fact, is seen from the characteristics of the particular star. First, this star not only moved but it also stood still. When the magi moved forward, it moved, when they stopped, it too stopped. Secondly, this star was moving lower than the other stars, and when the magi reached the place where Christ was, it came low and stopped over the house. Thirdly, it was so bright that it exceeded the brightness of the other stars (St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite).

Furthermore, the star of the magi was moving strangely, from east to west, and towards the end of it moved from Jerusalem towards Bethlehem, that is to say, towards the south. And also, as St. John Chrysostom says, it was seen even in the day, while none of the other stars appeared in the light of the sun.

Therefore this bright star was an angel of the Lord, and as Joseph Vrienios says, it was the archangel Gabriel who served and assisted at the great mystery of the incarnation of the Son and Word of God.

Thus the magi were theologians in the orthodox sense of the word, because they had reached illumination and attained knowledge of God.

pp. 43-44

#6 Anthony

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 07:06 PM

In the same vein as Nina's post, here are some thoughts on-line at Anastasis (Fr Ephrem's website).




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