Bradley Nassif

"Emotions and Life in the Spirit in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition"

An enduring reference point for understanding the role of human affections is the Person of Christ in his Trinitarian relations.  Athanasius summarized the goal of the Christian life as deification (Christ-likeness):  “God became human so that humans might become God.”  The following questions will guide our exploration of the relation between the Incarnation and the salvation of fallen human emotions:  What are the Christological foundations of human affections?  How do the sacraments and obedience relate to becoming consciously aware of grace?  What are the emotional consequences of overcoming the passions through union with God through the Holy Spirit?  We will answer these questions by pursuing the “mind of the Church” (rather than the mind of an individual author) in the following mosaic of Orthodox beliefs:  “the image and likeness of God,” baptism and Eucharist, the Easter liturgy, iconographic depictions of passionless humanity, victory hymns, and the ascetical teachings of selected mystical theologians of the Eastern Church.