September 1, 2018
Day of the protection of the environment
Images and sounds:
On the occasion of the recent tragedy at Mati, Attika
Fr. Chrysostom Tympas*
Nature has always been an ‘enemy’ to man, although the latter, in recent centuries, has managed to capture and harness its violent elements to its benefit. On some occasions, nature behaves in a way that conveys messages which can be interpreted by the sage as coming directly from the Creator and/or by average people as a ‘punishment’ from Him. Recent tragedies often become a challenge to modern people who, at times might experience the beauty and the peace of nature while, on another occasion, might be confronted by nature’s catastrophic images and dramatic echoes. Grenfell tower in London last year and the recent fire in Mati, Attica have become a real enigma for people that want to maintain a positive perspective of Mother Nature.
To elucidate this enigma, we need to recall what the Fathers of the Church (and especially Maximus the Confessor) have taught us about the hidden principles as logoi, the spiritual meanings of creation, which all together constitute the Logos, the Christ. Each creature, and of course man, is endowed with its own spiritual principle as logos, which grants it birth as well as the power to grow as a virtue towards its specific spiritual path. The understanding and experience of these logoi becomes the fruit of spiritual struggle and ascetic life that cleanse our esoteric senses and intellect - nous. Spiritually, these transformed Man’s senses so that one can relate to creatures via his or her logoi and see and hear nature with different eyes and ears. Thus, Man can actually investigate and experience the messages which convey and enhance human life and connection to nature.
The culmination of this unique process, crucial for both sustaining nature itself and avoiding the abuse of its sources, is the ability to experience the ‘bad’ and the ‘good’ images and echoes of nature through a spiritual perspective under God’s providence. The more man is able to understand such providence, in which ‘love’ acquires a multitude of meanings leading to Christ’s path on the Cross, the more he is able to read and hear and view nature as a source of spiritual messages that can transform his life and provide a more profound understanding of God’s will, hidden in the circles of life, pain, joy, destruction but ultimately redemption within God’s life and love.
Archim. Dr. Chrysostom Tympas is a
Member of the Steering Committee of the Patriarchal Network,
Pastor of the Church of the Holy Mercenaries Kosmas and Damion,
Gospel Oak, London, Doctor of Psychoanalytic Studies.