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The first hour prayer and sanctification


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#1 Warren Bensinger

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 06:37 PM

I took a copy of Inner River by Kyriacos C. Markides (also the author of The Mountain of Silence) to coffee hour yesterday and had the deacon and a former protestant pastor read a section on pg. 41 where a woman asked Fr. Maximos about the statement by Christ as to "the only way to reach the Father is through Him". He also said that John 1:9 says that Christ is the true light that enlightens every human being who comes into the world. He goes on to say that all human beings are icons of God and we are invited to unite with Him.

There are other comments made at that time but I won't get into that right now.

I then ask the question: why do we Orthodox pray in our "First Hour Prayer" - Christ is the true light, enlightening and sanctifying all who come into the world?

I know that Scripture is part of our Tradition (an important one) and that all of Tradition must not go against Scripture.

So how does the Church or the Ecclesia add the word "sanctifying" to that sentence?

Does it really mean that every person that is born into the world is "enlightend" and "sanctified"?

I've checked all my sources for that prayer and every one of them has sanctifying in the prayer.

Thanks for the help.

#2 Father Stephanos

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 11:59 PM

The passage from John 1.9 is translated: “He was the true light, Who enlightens every man coming into the world.” [Man here refers to a human being, not just to a male human being.]

The passage from the prayer of the First Hour is translated: “O Christ, the true light, enlightening and sanctifying every man coming into the world, . . . [Man here refers to a human being, not just to a male human being.]

Briefly and simply stated, without getting into controversies:

Among other things, we Orthodox Christians believe that the All-Holy Trinity is God; that God is uncreated light; and that God is everywhere. Likewise, we believe that the Second Person of the All-Holy Trinity is God, is uncreated light, is everywhere, and was incarnate of the All-holy Maria the Virgin. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the incarnate Second Person of the All-Holy Trinity and Who is everywhere, radiates His uncreated light throughout the world, but most of us are either oblivious to it, do not notice it, etc.

Our Lord Jesus Christ’s uncreated light is able to both enlighten and sanctify at the same time. Just as every man/woman who comes into the world benefits from the sun through its light and heat, so our Lord Jesus Christ has arranged that every man/woman who comes into the world is enlightened and sanctified by His uncreated light whether they see it or notice it, or not. Analogously, without getting into sophist exceptions, just as we might only refer to the light of the sun in a discussion or a sentence, the heat of the sun is still present where the light of the sun is; likewise, we may only refer to the enlightening of the uncreated light of our Lord Jesus Christ in a discussion or a sentence.

I hope this helps!

With agape in our Lord Jesus Christ,
+ Father Stephanos



#3 Warren Bensinger

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:55 PM

Thank you Father Stephanos.

Forgive me for taking so long to respond.

I agree with you that Christ's uncreated light enlightens the entire world and all that is with-in it.
My question is still how do we ADD the word sanctifying to that phrase without disagreeing with or adding to John 1:9.

Maybe the question should be: What is the Orthodox understanding of the word SANCTIFYING?

In Peace and Love
w.




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