The tenth-eleventh edition of theological-scientific works, prepared at Tbilisi Theological Academy in 2019-2020, has been published. This book is very impressive both in volume and in the scientific accuracy of the included in it publications and in their theological depth.
Below is a brief description of the collection according to the respective rubrics of the entries:
Protopresbyter Giorgi Zviadadze
The Earliest Georgian Translation of a Homily Dedicated to the Feast of Ascension
The publication examines from a philological and theological point of view one of the homilies dedicated to the feast of the Ascension. Preserved in the tenth century “Klarjuli Mravaltavi”, it has survived in an incomplete form, and as the author of the homily St. Athanasius of Alexandria is indicated.
The homily attracts special attention from a theological point of view, as it gives an in-depth perception not only of the Ascension of the Saviour, but also of His Resurrection from the dead and other important subjects related to the ecclesiastical doctrine. Which is the Creation of man, the fall into sin, the redemption of humankind by the Saviour, which means the deliverance of the Second Adam (“Another Adam”) to men, and the fulfillment of the divine Providence - renewal of the original image in the fallen man. Protopresbyter Giorgi has studied the earliest Georgian translation of such an important monument by the collation of Georgian version and three editions of its Greek original and also, by their scrupulous comparison with Latin and Russian translations. As a result, on the one hand, the regrettable shortcomings of the existing Georgian translation have been revealed, on the other hand, textual relations of the Greek and Georgian texts have been studied philologically, and furthermore, important observations have been made on a number of theological terms and expressions. For instance, we would mark out the teaching about the image of man as an image of God. In particular, this issue is related to the human condition after the Fall. In the old Georgian translation, the term “perish” is used to define the fallen image of man, to which in the original corresponds the term with rather a different meaning πλανωμένη that can be translated as “sinful”. It is clear that in the Georgian translation a sharper term is used to denote the sinful obliteration of the original image of man than in the Greek original. It is also noteworthy that the Greek term “icon” (“image”) is translated into Georgian as “likeness”, which, considering the given context, further emphasizes that, according to the teaching of St. Cyril of Alexandria, image and likeness are essentially the same dignity in man. In addition, noteworthy is the extensive discussion of the Saviour’s as of the “Fruit of Virginity”, victory over death. Unfortunately, the Georgian translation is incomplete, but the research has clearly shown that even a small part of the text that has survived is of special importance to the public interested in ecclesiastical theology.
Old Testament Theophanies and Their Ecclesiastical Exegesis.
This publication discusses the following issues based on the relevant works of the Church Fathers:
1. The mystery of the Holy Trinity envisioned in the Old Testament; The collation of the ecclesiastical sources shows that prior to the Gospel Epiphany performed on the Jordan River, when the revelation of One God was revealed to humankind, the righteous of the Old Testament foresaw this great mystery as it was given to them according to their ability. The only difference was that the Old Testament cognition would occur through images and proverbs, while the Theophany at the Jordan River is the Truth revealed to the descendants of Adam without any concealment.
2. The mystery of the Son of God envisaged in the Old Testament;
An analysis of the teachings of the Holy Fathers shows that in every theophany fulfilled before Christ, the God Son Himself was revealed before men;
3. The doctrine of the bodily appearance of the Son of God envisaged in the Old Testament;
Based on the study of relevant patristic sources, it is said that the God Who would be Incarnate (Second Person - Son of the All-Holy Trinity) seen in pre-Christian revelations, revealed Himself to the righteous of the Old Testament in a human appearance, and the mentioned human appearance was recognized by the pre-Christian labourers in God as the face and image of Jesus Christ.
On the Grammatical Arthron of the Divine Names in One of Theodore Abū Qurrah’s Treatises
The article examines and publishes one of the treatises of Theodore Abū Qurrah, a famous eighth-century theologian. The treatise is entitled, “A Short Doctrine on the Divine Names of the Trinity God and Those of Each of His Persons.” The mentioned monument is analyzed by the author of the article in relation to the commentary on the old Georgian translation of one of the homilies of John Chrysostom (“the Homily on: “Christ the Orient from the East” and “ascended” and “descended” and on the Holy Spirit, as “Almighty”), entitled “Homily on Arthrons”.
This commentary provides an explanation of arthron, which is noteworthy in terms of showing the function of the Greek arthron in general, and from a theological point of view, to illustrate Orthodox and heretical evaluations of the role of Arthron in divine terms.
About Naming the Fallen Angel “Morning Star”
This article elucidates that the “Morning Star” may be the cornerstone of many allegories because of its brightness. This expression, as a symbol of light and glory, represents the Saviour, the True Light shining in the hearts as, according to the decrees of the Holy Fathers, we should perceive visible beauty as a symbol of invisible beauty. This again indicates that the fallen angel called Satan who is enslaved to envy and pride had been sharing in eternal bliss but, despite the “all glorious” nature, the similar typology applied to him – “Morning Star”, of course, does not encompass the mystical essence of unfathomable eternal light. Rather, it indicates the willful confrontation and rebellion of the deviant intellectual powers toward their own Creator, which took place in the Heavens by using the visible and distorted astronomic characteristic features of the planet Venus as their symbol. The relevant verse of the Holy Scripture, in the fullness of the expression of its Teaching, decrees the deserved Commandment toward the malevolent angel: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who rose up in the morning!”
The work of Evagrius Ponticus “On the Eight Spirits of Evil” and Its Translated Version by Euthimius the Athonite.
This work discusses the work of Evagrius Ponticus De octo spiritibus malitiae and its translation by Euthymius the Athonite. In Georgian theological writing it is attributed to St. Maxime the Confessor and is considered as part of the text Talking Back on Passion. The mentioned ascetic monument (Talking Back on Passion) is not confirmed by Greek sources; it represents an ascetic guide of Evagrius Ponticus (IV c.) which comprises two of his works Antirrheticus and De octo spiritibus malitiae.
Fragments of Evagrius’ works in Georgian with an ancient pre-Athonite translation (Sin. 35, 907) exist, including the first two chapters of De octo spiritibus malitiae (De gula and De luxuria). The Greek original of the work itself is known in extensive (B) and short (A) versions. As it has been discovered, both Georgian translations (pre-Athonite and of Euthymius the Athonite) follow the extensive (B) edition of the Greek text. In addition, Euthymius’ translation is particularly close to the 11th-century Athonite manuscript Lavra Γ 93.
About the Will of Saint Melkisedek the Catholicos-Patriarch and the So-called “Feast Day of Mtskheta”
The article elucidates that it is a wrongful assumption that in his will St. Mechizedek established a feast day for the city of Mtskheta, rather he only designated a day of a special feast for his brethren in Mtskheta.
Archpriest Bidzina Gunia
Commentaries on the Fragments of the Paschal Work “Eternal Calendar”
The article discusses the Paschal Calculation brochure, published in 1880, entitled “Eternal Calendar”. The cover of this edition depicts the right hand (with the palm of the hand forward) on which from the little finger to the thumb the inscription “of the Hands” is read. The handwriting below indicates that the brochure was “compiled and first published by Gabriel Sopromadze, the priest of Kaloubani Church in Tbilisi (Georgia)”. The inscription is followed by an epigraph, which reads: “Although the labourer dies, his work remains for his memorial”. According to the author of the article, the mentioned work has a scientific value, and due to its originality, its study is noteworthy in that it gives the method of counting with the phalanges of the fingers of both hands for determining the Paschal and calendar characteristics. In the article, first of all, the text of the “Eternal Calendar” is divided into fragments and numbered to make it easier to show the relation between various Paschal and calendar features. Archpriest Bidzina Gunia notes that the text of the Paschal calculations in the brochure is presented in a logically inconsistent sequence, which is why the numbered fragments are considered by him in a different order, and in order to identify them, each of the originally determined number is indicated in brackets. The Reverend Archpriest compares the data of the “Eternal Calendar” to the top of an iceberg, in the invisible part of which the theoretical aspects of the Paschal calculations should be implied; which would clearly show to the reader the logical connection between the presented calculations and their theoretical preconditions.
Priest Ioane Bondarenko
The Fourth Chapter of the Gelati Translation of John of Sinai “Clemacus”: “For Obedience”
The aim of this paper is to publish the critical text of the monument mentioned in the title with the relevant footnotes of theological terminology. Due to the special complexity of the text, the editors considered it expedient to provide a parallel Greek original to the interested reader. The mentioned work presents very well, on the one hand, the special virtues of the ascetic theology of John of Sinai, and on the other hand, the peculiarities of the terminological structure of the Gelati school.
St. Giorgi the Athonite’s Translation of “Stodieri”
The collection of homilies of Theodore the Studite in Old Georgian theological literature is known as Stodieri, which was translated and compiled by St. Giorgi the Athonite. The present paper is devoted to clarifying the composition of the monument and establishing its Greek source. As it has been discovered, Stodieri consists of five parts: 1. Testamentum (PG 99, col. 1813-1824) of Theodore the Studite; 2. Epigramma... (PG 99, col. 105-108); 3. Nauctatii Confessoris Encyclica… (PG 99, col. 1825-1850); 4. Spiritual Teachings of Great Lent; 5. The Teachings of the Paschal Period. The fourth part of the collection (Spiritual Teachings) is designated for the period of Great Lent and consists of 43 homilies in ancient manuscripts and 49 in some later texts. They are taken from two collections of the teachings of Theodore, Small and Large Catechism (ή Μεγάλη Κατήχησις და ή Μικρα` Κατήχησις). From the Small Catechism the teachings of the Paschal period (Part 5 of Stodieri) are also translated, which consists of the first 15 homilies in this collection. The work gives the Greek source for each study.
Old Georgian Translation of the Ascetic Epistle of St. Mark the Monk
In ecclesiastical Asceticism, St. Mark the Monk’s works have a special place.
Among his works, most remarkable is the Epistle to Nikolaos, the critical text of the old Georgian translation of which is published for the first time with relevant textological-terminological references and a small introduction.
Undoubtedly, this publication will be of great importance to readers seeking spiritual teachings, which, in turn, will be a prerequisite for the preparation and publication of Old Georgian translations of St. Mark’s other works, which are essentially associated with the name of St. Eprem Mtsire.
Whether God the Father Has His Existence from Himself (About St. John of Damascus’ One Theological Assertion)
The article discusses a very problematic issue related to an assertion of John of Damascus about God the Father. This assertion is preserved in the Greek texts in two variants, one of which states that “the Father has His existence from Himself”, while in the other it is stated that “the Father does not have existence either from Himself”. The article proves that precisely the first variant must be that of Damascus.