Vol. VIII, No.2 Spring 2007 (#29)







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In the place where I labored, the people make very good Christians. Frankly speaking, it is there that I learned the meaning of true Christian consolation. in response to the inquiry of Russian Emperor Nicholas I as to how the native peoples of Alaska received the Orthodox faith.

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Vol. VIII, No. 2 Spring 2007 (#29)


Toronto Reader Michael Ivanovich highlights the diverse native cultures and languages of Orthodox Alaska, and his Canadian parish’s efforts to make the Alaskan Orthodox literary heritage accessible to Orthodox everywhere.

Published quarterly. $25/year, single issue $7. (U.S. check or money order, or by credit card on our website) International subscriptions: Canada add $5/year for shipping. Outside North America add $15/year shipping. Send International Money Order payable in U.S. dollars (available from post offices world-wide) or subscribe by credit card on our website. Wholesale and library rates available upon request. EDITORIAL OFFICE Valaam Society of America Russian Mission #10 Bolshaya Pereyaslavskaya, kv. 124 Moscow, Russia 129110 PUBLISHER Christ the Saviour Orthodox Brotherhood 1516 N. Delaware St. Indianapolis, Indiana, 46202 USA Printed in USA. © Road to Emmaus. All rights reserved. Front Cover: ??? Inside Front Cover: ??? Inside Back Cover: ??? ISSN 1544-4856


Letters from young Russian missionary and future saint, Fr. John Veniaminov, on his encounter with Ivan Smirennikov, an Aleutian Orthodox native who was taught by angels..


Excerpts from Fr. John’s pastoral visit to a small group of Aleutian islands.


Shine As the Sun: C.S. Lewis and the Doctrine of Deification

Chris Jensen on Lewis’s closeness to the deeper reaches of Orthodox spirituality, and why many consider him an “anonymous Orthodox.” How did this Anglican writer get so much, so right? 68

Moscow’s Fr. Artemy Vladimirov offers short, engaging observations on the prayer of the heart for those of us who haven’t quite mastered this traditional Orthodox practice.

Ontario. Canada. Hong Kong . will you please tell us about the Alaskan native language project and how it developed? First. His consuming interests are mountain trekking and tracking down old Orthodox manuscripts. spokesman for the online native Alaskan linguistic project of All Saints of North America Church in Hamilton. the rector of All Saints of Official ‘emblem’ of North America Orthodox Church in Hamilton. the historic Alaskan Orthodox Texts project. Latvia. Finland. Ontario. We’ve received an outpouring of goodwill and support from around the world: Alaska. while my wife and I have been blessed to research and publish the original Alaskan language texts.. and only came to Orthodox Christianity in my mid-twenties. as 3 MIKHAIL: . Canada is the spiritual head of this effort. Currently working as a UNIX support specialist. RTE: Mikhail.THE ALASKAN ORTHODOX LITERARY RESURRECTION A Tradition of Linguistic Diversity in Orthodox Alaska Road to Emmaus interviews Reader Mikhail Ivanovich. I’m of mixed Mediterranean & Eastern European background. I’d like to thank you and the staff of Road to Emmaus for your interest and enthusiasm for the “Alaskan Orthodox texts” project. Russia. Mikhail’s favorite job was as a truck driver for an Italian bakery.. we thank God everyday for the encouragement it has provided us and for the growing worldwide audience who are learning about our Orthodox brethren in Alaska. Father Geoffrey Korz.

letters. but where.outreachalaska. I wondered. Albanian. Innocent and Jacob in Alaska? RTE: I looked on the internet.Z71 D6 1901 Aleut and Kodiak Alutiiq). Innocent lation work into the native languages of Alaska. However. but nobody on the internet seemed to know where these texts were. However. Greek.. and they told me that they knew of nothing except some very old Slavonic-Aleut service books that existed in tatters in small churches in the Aleutian islands. Through the dedicated work of many people (especially the staff at the Alaska State Library Historical Collection). Alaskana Collection. I had the opportunity to travel and live in Russia. a stroke of inspiration appeared out of nowhere. The book is essentially a collection of documents.published in 1896. and found many Orthodox sites in Russian. Anyone who reads the life stories of St. VIII. it is obvious that their work in Alaska paralleled that of Sts. Jacob Netsvetov. while my time spent in the Arctic regions of Greenland and Canada engendered a love and passion for the north. I soon ran into the difficulty of Title page of a bilingual Alaskan trying to typeset Old Slavonic-looking letters Aglemiut-Russian prayerbook which were especially invented by the mission. Matthew their heroic exploits and their incredible transtranslated by St. under the influence of St. At this point. Innocent Veniaminov. Innocent’s mission. this would include St. Jacob Netsvetov. Part of my experiences in Russia and Finland were key to my conversion to Orthodoxy. many of the copies I was working from were difficult to read as the originals had decomposed somewhat. Herman to help me. aries for the Alaskan languages (particularly. Before coming to Orthodox Christianity. even Orthodox Brazilian Portugueselanguage sites.. PM 2455. They had been printed in the late 1800’s. The technical details aren’t that interesting. and set to work typing them out. and 4 did my wife who is of Chinese heritage. but nothing in the Alaskan languages.Road to Emmaus Vol. it appeared possible to come up with a scheme of creating “font composites” by super-imposing existing computer fonts on top of each other so as to create the necessary characters. St. and off I went into the unknown. Alaska State Library. and in many places were completely unreadable. to see what could be done to assist he gave me a book called Alaskan Missionary Spirituality by Orthodox author Father Michael Oleksa. in the winter of 2005. One day. We all know of the rich Slavonic literary legacy of Sts. according to God’s will. After more prayers to St. to baptize their venerable cultures into their natural fulfillment in Orthodox Christianity. Many of these hadn’t seen the light of day since the early 1900’s. No. Some people say that Toronto is the most multicultural city in the world. was the physical evidence for the work of Sts.html). Finland. Everyone seemed to know about the Alaskan native translation work. Herman of Alaska. I asked this same question of Kodiak natives. Jacob is sure to learn about Holy Gospel of St. I prayed to St. and knowing my love of historic books and the Arctic. 2 (#29) THE ALASKAN ORTHODOX LITERARY RESURRECTION Years ago. Herman for God’s help. in everything I read about these saints. I found a treasure trove of rare Alaskan Orthodox texts scattered around various repositories throughout the United States. Serbian. I currently serve as a church reader in Toronto. Original Aleut-language Innocent and St. Cyril and Methodius in evangelizing the Slavic peoples. After reading about the courageous contemporary struggles of the Church in Alaska (as discussed on www. Veniaminov and St. gave his blessing for this project. and Canada’s Arctic territory of Nunavut. and journal entries – translated into English – of the most well-known people associated with the Orthodox Christian mission to Alaska in the 1800’s . Greenland. Cyril and Methodius. and others. What to do? 5 which were still being used. How were you able to track down these sources? MIKHAIL: . and I think that has had a great influence on my love of languages and travel. His Grace Bishop Seraphim of Ottawa and Canada (Orthodox Church in America). In fact. and using the internet. but the fact is that the Lord provided the right answers at the right time. This collection and the excellent commentary discuss the efforts of the mission to reach the native peoples in their own languages. I was able to obtain copies of the texts. I was visiting Father Geoffrey in Hamilton (about an hour’s drive west of Toronto). St.

Icon of St.* As you say.Road to Emmaus Vol. scholars. It is a blessing which we are not worthy of. some of the better surviving texts are now being prepared for publication for the very first time. I will treasure these few moments I have to see a photo of your smiling face. (a miracle in itself). Elia Khalife. and Yup’ik languages. Anchorage & Alaska (OCA). the Lord blessed us with another cache of handwritten manuscripts which had never been published. Before I became Orthodox I had an iconoclastic fear of icons and relics of any kind. and that in working with them you know that you are touching books through which thousands of people have sanctified their lives. I thought. Kissing the photo of my beloved. a fluently-speaking Aleut archpriest and foremost linguist. that was all. Jacob Netsvetov himself. we sing “Christ is risen from the dead. for centuries. Fr.asna. on a very translation of Matthew 28:20 in rough flight over the mountains of Bolivia. the digital production of the texts. every day. Vol. These texts are currently available at: www. if we have the diary of a loved one who has departed this life. Summer 2005. but had met with little success in typing them out due to the “font composite” problem I mentioned earlier ( Antioch’s Golden Hoard: The Chalcedonian Orthodox Manuscript Treasury. and certainly not in the 1800’s Cyrillic alphabet (since all Alaskan languages converted to the Latin-based. and restore it. many of these should be available on-line at www. Tlingit. Elie Khalife. but have been mercifully allowed to behold. To look upon the words of St. Jacob’s ornate calligraphy. Father Michael Oleksa (the author of the book Alaskan Missionary Spirituality that had inspired this work) also sent Yup’ik-language materials for transcription — work that had begun 30 years ago. One of these is an Aleut-language sermon handwritten by St. We’ve had much assistance along the way: historians. as well as translations of the Holy Gospels and Catechisms. RTE: It’s interesting you should mention that.e. my wife learned how to type "Collection of Church Hymns Cyrillic in one day without any prior knowland Prayers" in the AglemiutKuskokwim dialect published edge. the use of specialized characters that didn’t exist in any other languages). Why? It was a way of expressing love. For me. my experience with computers. Through the course of this project. Alaskan native peoples. and they directed me to Father Paul Merculief. would we not similarly wish to preserve and beautify their labours of love for the Lord? At the feast of Pascha. I remember him saying that Horologions and Psalters are the most used books in existence. but is only now entering the electronic age. Road to Emmaus. Jacob holding a Yet. archivists. so as to preserve the memory of the one who wrote it? If we love the saints. I called the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska. found myself kissing a wallet-picture of my Photo courtesy Orthodox Church in America beloved who later became my wife. 2 (#29) TITLE Dictionaries for these languages weren’t readily available. Although many of these are in very bad shape for transcription. “If I never see you again in person. VIII. he had a nearly complete library of Alaskan Orthodox texts. MIKHAIL: relic. In a similar manner. This was not idolatry. 7 . is to touch a holy 6 Your experience is very close to that of Fr. once. we were able to transcribe the complete set of all known Orthodox texts in the Aleut. With his linguistic expertise. This was a match made in heaven. it is all a matter of love for God in His Saints. especially the holy ones who have walked among us in our lands. who is locating and cataloguing the manuscripts of the Antiochian Orthodox Patriarchate that have been scattered around Europe. trampling down death by death. English-type alphabet by the 1970’s). Geoffrey and I were just discussing this idea during a road-trip to a monastery we took last in the years to come. Kodiak Alutiiq. and many long-distance phone calls. No. would we not kiss this diary? Would we not hold it tenderly.asna. If God wills. these truly are relics. To my amazement. VI. I both cyrillic Aleut and English. and upon those in the * Fr. which greatly helped in 1896. No.” Love. and the prayers and support of His Grace Bishop Nikolai of Sitka. a number of years ago. read it with attention. Saints have used them or even written them. They were read page by page at every service. which has been a constant source of encouragement for us. to touch his handwriting. Very recently. 3 (Issue #22).

. or From Mask to Icon: Transformation in the Arctic. Show me proof!” And we would have nothing to show .” MIKHAIL: RTE: Caption? Yes. like the making of icons.. indeed. and other holy relics. is how Orthodoxy was very much initially embraced and then kept alive by the native peoples. and it is there for all to see.” Manuscripts. “To be native is to be Orthodox.. The proof is in print. are the physical proof that a saint lived with us.Caption? tombs bestowing life. Now. connect with those who have “fought the good fight” and “entered into the joy of our Lord. Only by voluntary self-sacrifice does the 9 8 . here is your proof!” Actually this is a present reality . and say. the voice of indigenous Alaskan Orthodoxy cannot be ignored. hateful writings aimed against the history of indigenous Orthodoxy in Alaska.. though we do not usually see them (although this is sometimes granted by God) — why then we would refuse to show them our love? The restoration of holy writings. upon which they depend for food and life. Twenty years ago. anyone can do an Internet search and find various bitter. thanks to God. I remember Aleuts from Kodiak simply saying. One of the revelations in reading native Alaskan Orthodox history such as Alaskan Missionary Spirituality. Armed only with harpoons. or b) swim away. but rather fulfilled in Orthodox Christianity. is a form of prayer with which we. Michael Oleksa goes into great detail about this in his book Orthodox Alaska — how many elements of the pre-Christian Alaskan worldview were not abolished.” The saints are alive in Christ. “Look. “I don’t believe that the Orthodox Christians showed love for the native Alaskan languages and cultures. An example given in Orthodox Alaska is that of a group of hunters in kayaks trying to catch a giant whale. A number of themes such as cyclic time and symbol as expressions of true reality. the hunters realize that they have no chance of bringing down this powerful whale who could either: a) crush them. My greatest fear was that someday someone might say. worked among us. show direct parallels. Now we may face those who accuse the Orthodox. the Orthodox faithful. sometimes without seeing a priest for years. Fr. and be silent.

I Cor:1) Historically. but something which many learned scholars and academics fail to understand. such wisdom was given to the simple fisherman — the Holy Apostles. strive to re-present the cosmos in microcosm. Ritual actions upon leaving/entering one’s home and the layout of traditional native dwellings. the local residents of Kodiak refer to St. a holistic unity of body. is. our liturgical blessings of water. soul and spirit. Everything we do. faith vs. descent into Hades. They fought for full-citizenship rights and dignity for the native peoples. and resurrection for the salvation and transformation of their souls. humans would be separated from the fullness of reality. In Orthodoxy. our making the sign of the cross. physical. St. “Of course it is! How could it be any different?” The events of nearly 2. someone who had gone to the land of spirits and returned. 10 there is no artificial separation between spiritual vs. Similarly. the monks of the original Valaam mission to Kodiak in 1794 defended. To this day. Alaskan peoples could very clearly grasp the truth of Christ’s necessary death. the indigenous Alaskans from the greedy practices of the government fur-trading monopoly. wine and oil. The pre-Christian Alaskan worldview was maximalist in its view of ritual action participating in the eternally-significant events of “those days” when the condition of man was less fragmented. as participation in Christ’s death and resurrection.000 years ago are made present in its fullness in every Divine Liturgy. Herman 11 Caption? . works. less broken. Without baptism. Another example cited is that of the role of the pre-Christian shaman. which could only be assumed by one who had undergone a ritual death and re-birth.Caption? whale allow itself to be caught. These are things that the faithful Alaskan Orthodox know experientially. This worldview contains a glimpse of Christ’s voluntary self-surrender in the garden of Gethsemane. (Acts 2-5. everything we are. iconography — everything we do is a means of harmonizing and directing our heart toward God in Christ. When Christians affirm that Holy Communion is the true body and true blood of Christ — a yrue re-presentation of the Last Supper — the Alaskan worldview would say. Herman had to flee Kodiak for Spruce Island because of threats against his life by the fur-trading management. in the Patristic understanding. with their lives. Church architecture. and not to the wise of this world. But then. in Orthodoxy.

Initially. By necessity. In fact. Baptism and reception into Church life was strictly allowed only by free-choice. the Orthodox affirmed it. St. the Tlingit had every economic and social incentive to join heterodox confessions rather than Orthodoxy. Teaching was done in local languages. in 1867 — so it had nothing to do with Russian colonial interests. 12 Wonderful! How many languages and dialects are there in the native Orthodox population. as some might say. In fact. became Orthodox only after the sale of Alaska to the U. spent his first years learning the language and culture of the people among whom he was living. it is interesting to note that the majority of Tlingit. after St.Caption? as their beloved “Apa” (grandfather).S. from southeast Alaska. learning the church hymns by heart. except for one little thing. Herman of Alaska). Jacob Netsvetov. The saints of the Alaskan mission saw the image of God in everyone. Most of the Alaskan Orthodox manuscript legacy is from native clergy who rose to prominence after the 1830s. they would find entire communities already baptized. and leadership of the Church was quickly assumed by the local inhabitants. yet sensitive to the needs and cultural expression of these truths in the local setting. His preaching was one of true dialogue without compromising the truths of Orthodox Christianity. it was the local Church. the faithful conducted abbreviated Reader/Typica services. each family had to become a church. Nicholas of Japan. since there were so few clergy spread over such a vast territory. who “comforted them with earthly sustenance and with words of eternal life. and how many people still speak those languages? 13 requiring the priest to only chrismate them. Innocent Veniaminov and St. Whenever clergy would arrive. Whereas the heterodox sought to deny Tlingit language and culture. Innocent. like St. without monetary or other worldly incentives. the Alaskan Orthodox Church grew because it was not an ethnic extension of a faraway place. Even after the 1917 Russian Revolution which brought jurisdictional chaos to Orthodoxy in America.” (as we read in the Akathist to St. RTE: Caption? . the first priest of Aleut ancestry. they lived the fullness of the Gospel. They had a real love and respect for the people they ministered to.

Stories of faithful Aleut Orthodox being chained to the floors of their own homes by U. Territorial agents for speaking their language and courageously refusing to hand over their children to the Protestant boarding schools break the heart. the native languages declined greatly. St. The bulk of Tlingit literature was developed in Sitka by Reader Ivan Nadezhdin Caption? in the 1850’s. They are heroes and defenders of Orthodox Christianity.000 people. The Tlingit population is estimated at around 17. in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s. with the vast majority being of Eastern-Aleut background. Innocent and Jacob was 15 Caption? 14 . Vladimir Donskoi and Michael Sinkiel in the 1890’s.S. who number around 20. Innocent focused his efforts in writing for the Eastern-Aleut. whereas the Eastern-Aleut dialect has about 300 fluent speakers. many more people understand the language. and were clearly aimed at ripping out the roots of the Native Alaskan Orthodox cultures. I cannot claim to be a scholar. of whom 500 are fluent in the language. and by Fr. while St. the Protestant missions of Sheldon Jackson had a disastrous effect on native language vitality. of whom 13. and having worked with the wonderful priests of the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska who provided their expertise.MIKHAIL: That’s a very good question. Our native Alaskan Orthodox brothers were first-class confessors for their Holy Orthodox faith. Numerically. The Tanaina of central Alaska number around 1000.000 speak the language across various dialects. In the midst of the turmoil of American “English-only” language policy throughout much of the 20th century. Much of the work of Sts. Jacob concentrated on developing the Atkan-Aleut and Yup’ik languages. with 100 fluent native-language speakers. but do not speak it. Aleuts are divided linguistically into the Atkan and Eastern dialectal variants. but I can answer based on my experience with the texts. However. The Alutiiq (known as Kodiak-Aleut in Russian America) number around 3000.000. The Native-languages all had a thriving press and literature through the 1800’s under the auspices of the Orthodox Church. The total population of the Aleut people is given as 3000. the largest contingent of Native Alaskan speakers are the Yup’ik people. In all cases. The Atkandialect of Aleut has approximately 60-80 fluent speakers. of whom 500-1000 still speak the language.

Paul Island. Unfortunately. tends to be reflected and compounded. Every nuance of time. The Alutiiq (Kodiak-Aleut) and Yup’ik languages bear many similarities with each other. I found Eastern-Aleut to be the easiest to work with. The date is unknown but is circa early that the people of the gen1900's. which you wore until you heard another child speaking “native. word-length and prepositional usage tended to show closer similarity of structure to Russian than any other Alaskan native language. An example of the difficulty of tonal languages is that the Chinese (Cantonese) word “siu gai yik” can mean “BBQ chicken wings” or “small chicken wings” depending on the tone of the word “siu”. with many sounds that are difficult for Indo-European language speakers to pronounce. Their sacrifice is chronicled in such books as Alaskan Missionary Spirituality and Orthodox Alaska by Fr. which leads to a very logical. I remember an Aleut Orthodox man who said that. Thou didst rise from the tomb in glory. the old Cyrillic alphabet for Tlingit didn’t represent tonality 17 . given as it is her first language! However. Alaska. a derogatory. Paul Island. In addition. What we are seeing today is a veritable resurrection of our Alaskan brothers’ texts. humiliating sign was placed around your neck. This idea of tonality applies to Tlingit as well. Lestenkof Mandregan of St. VIII. the flame of Aleut lanprobably due to the language’s very technical guage and Orthodoxy until his death in 2003 phonology and pronunciation.” when you could pass the sign on to him. The Russian Orthodox priests who remained after the United States acquired Alaska had little influence to protect the native Orthodox. It’s happening slowly. followed by Atkan-Aleut. 2 (#29) TITLE destroyed. when he was a young boy at school. infix and suffix endings adjoined to them. and even less after the 1917 Russian Revolution. Most times at the Chinese supermarket. I end up asking for small chicken wings. If you were heard speaking it. and the nice shopkeeper smiles at me. and that linguistic revival will have to come from the youth. Each word corresponds to a densely-packed arrangement of thoughts and grammar which are held together in the one word. but now it is critically important to document those living links with the grandparents’ generation to preserve the true pronunciation of the various languages and dialects. In English the first sentence is: “As God. and Nicolai Merculief. It is also a tonal at the age of 89. Father Peter Kashevarof. Conjugation of Aleut verbs. MIKHAIL: I guess that depends on who you ask! My wife thinks Chinese is easy. all he said was Paul Swetzof. but were more difficult with their extensive use of diacritical (accented) Cyrillic.Road to Emmaus Vol. still bear many scars from that period. I just can’t “sing” the word properly. One example is from the Resurrection Kontakion of the 1st Tone. Yup’ik is a polysynthetic language which means that it has very long words that correspond to nearly-complete sentences. Is this true. the first sentence reads: “Agayutngucirpetun unguilriaten qungugnek Father Michael Lestenkof was a tireless worker for nanraumalriami. and why? MIKHAIL: RTE: RTE: Sadly. The child wearing the sign at the end of the day was beaten by the principal. raising the world with Thyself. as late as the 1960’s. but not completely. Chinese is also a tonal language. Nouns and verbs have intricate case-based systems for declension and agreement with prefix. These languages typically have a very rich and complex phonological 16 system. I’ve heard it said that the native Alaskan languages are considered among the most difficult in the world to learn. but lengthy composition of letters.” the Lord who kept alive The Tlingit texts were the most difficult of all. It is unthinkable that this type of mistreatment happened at all! In speaking with one priest in Alaska. the use of native language was still forbidden. their authentically Orthodox cultures. language. it is true that Alaskan native languages are very difficult to learn — very complex and highly developed. Practically. their languages. the mistreatment went on well into the latter half of the 20th century. which means that a word may have various Photo courtesy Stephanie meanings despite being spelled the same way. depending on the pitch of the speaker in pronouncing the word.” In Yup’ik. Alaska. etc. state. Michael Oleksa. eration born before 1970 Photo courtesy Stephanie Lestenkof Mandregan of St. because he really knows that I want large BBQ chicken wings (not small chicken wings!). unguiqen ella malikluku. No.

This has been the experience of the Byzantine commonwealth. the hand of God led him to minister to the interior of Alaska beginning in 1844. and the Indication treatise. However. Jacob. RTE: Yes. His greatest glory in the Aleut literary tradition. As early as 1828. a manuscript prayerbook and a Catechism in Eastern-Aleut. After a series of tragedies including the death of his wife and the burning of his house. All early Atkan dialect texts from before 1850 are the work of St. One of St. later compiled an Alutiiq prayerbook which exists in manuscript form in the Alaskan Russian Church archives of the Library of Congress. Laurence Salamatov produced Atkan translations of the Holy Gospels and Catechisms in the 1860’s. Jacob Netsvetov. These are just personal reflections. the African. and to encourage the native expression of the good news of Christ.Road to Emmaus Vol. Innocent Shayashnikov would go on to complete all four Holy Gospels. Finnic. But the story doesn’t end there for St. Drawing upon St. Innocent Veniaminov is rightly regarded as the giant among early translators in the Native Alaskan languages. Jacob Netsvetov? We think of them as saints and missionaries. Georgian. his monumental dictionary still exists in manuscript form in the Alaskan Russian Church archives. and served the Aleut faithful for over 100 years until the recent electronic re-publication of their texts on www. St. Eastern Orthodox Christians have more Could you enlarge now on the translating work of St. Innocent’s work wasn’t confined to Aleut. St. and were annotated with footnotes in the Atkan-Aleut dialect by St. St. However. MIKHAIL: St. Innocent. Jacob. 2 (#29) TITLE MIKHAIL: St. however. VIII. and Siberian peoples as well. Herman. Innocent was heir to this glorious tradition and proved faithful to his calling. Innocent’s texts into the Atkan-dialect of Aleut. Innocent. Indication of the Pathway to the Kingdom of Heaven. Most of these texts were edited by Ivan Pan’kov. St. a lengthy Primer/Catechism. George Island in the Pribilofs. he sought to unify the dialects by incorporating footnotes for those words which were markedly different from the Eastern dialect. Jacob Netsvetov? 18 19 . the Acts of the Holy Apostles. Innocent personally supervised the printing of his texts: The Holy Gospel According to St. The disciples of St. and was fully bilingual. St. His work was last printed in 1903. A comprehensive dictionary of Tlingit and Alutiiq was printed in 1846. And St. D. Father Constantine Larianov. but most of us know little about their linguistic work. though. St. Jacob Netsvetov was born of a Russian father and Aleut mother on St. Innocent dedicated himself to the process of acquiring the language and culture of the Aleut people. Together. he set to work on translations of the Holy Gospels. at the mission school in Kodiak. These two texts remained as the sole published inheritance of St. Washington. they worked on a translation of the Lord’s Prayer and began compiling the first dictionary of the Alutiiq language. and I would defer to the opinion of the many native Alaskan Orthodox priests with regard to this question.asna. the Paschal readings. This is the gift of Pentecost that the Orthodox have shared. No. when he returned to Russia. Jacob’s work. Rather than demand the use of a specific language for enforced religious indoctrination. From the time of his arrival in Unalaska (Dutch Harbor. and Phillip Alaska) in 1824. and St. when a new Yup’ik language Hymnal was produced (and later revised in 2002) by Fathers Martin Nicolai. but it was a novelty among all other faith traditions. RTE: often tried to sanctify a culture and its language — to bring out that which already contains the “seed of the Word” (spermatikos logos). St. Jacob learned well from their teacher. a Tigalda chief and friend of St. is probably his mentorship of Fathers Laurence Salamatov and Innocent Shayashnikov who later produced volumes of church texts in the Aleut language. Jacob’s flock until 1974. Innocent wrote his famous Aleut-language work. but much of this early work was spoiled by errors in typesetting the text back in Russia. as one of the original members of the Valaam mission to Russian America in 1794. which were later published by the Diocese of Alaska in 1896. Fr. In 1833. where he learned new languages and preached in the languages of the Kuskokwim region. which became an instant classic. was something of a pioneer in the field of Alutiiq (Kodiak-Aleut) with Hieromonk Gideon. and their work nourished generations of Aleut Orthodox. he felt that he should become a monastic. Herman’s disciples. Michael Oleksa. Zachary Bel’kov compiled two prayerbooks.C. but also included Tlingit and Alutiiq. In 1840. while Fr. very well. Slavic. Japanese. Rather than create separate translations of St. Fr. Innocent’s approach to language and inculturation of the Gospel was fully rooted in the Orthodox tradition. St. Matthew. Herman.

Mousalimas . SVS Press www. this is completely false in the context of Alaskan Orthodoxy.loc. Journals of the Priest Ioann Veniaminov in Alaska.published 1993. Michael Oleksa .washington.svspress. It was also the native peoples themselves who kept the Orthodox flame alive in the face of American assimilationist pressure in the 20th century. and of all peoples of Alaska.html Currently available from Holy Cross Orthodox Bookstore.html?id=13 Currently available from Univ. From Mask to Icon: Transformation in the Arctic by S. WEBSITES: Russian Orthodox Diocese of Alaska: www.asp?SearchYear=&SID=34 St.uaf.A. Such popular thinking in the media is at best a misguided 1850s-1930s by Andrei A. of Alaska Press www. University of Washington Press 1992. of Alaska Press Memory Eternal: Tlingit Culture and Russian Orthodox Christianity Through Two Centuries by Sergei Kan . such as Readers Andrei Lodochnikov and Leonty Sivtsov who produced ecclesiastical and popular works in Aleut. Yup’ik: Amen.published 1987. Innocent (Veniaminov).Russian Orthodox Sacred Sites in Alaska: www.rossialaska. SVS Press www. Michael Oleksa .ca/alaska The North Star .asna. but what I find most incredible about these dates and names.html Currently available from Univ. of Alaska Press.php?products_id=200 Currently available from SVS Press. etc.php?products_id=3170 Currently available from SVS Press Alaskan Missionary Spirituality by Fr. its stewards — is an organic.sthermanseminary. it’s an outright lie. Library of Congress exhibit) 21 .published 2004.Road to Emmaus Vol. Paulist Press www. Orthodox Alaska: A Theology of Mission by Fr. of Washington Press. VIII. Tlingit. Much like Out of print.published 1979. Innocent and St.published 2003. 20 The Russian Church & Native Alaskan Cultures: www. The Aleut. Please pray for the eternal salvation of our souls. 2 (#29) THE ALASKAN ORTHODOX LITERARY RESURRECTION This may seem like a dry re-collection of dates and events.html?id=7 Currently available from Univ. Garrett Herman Theological Seminary: www.official publication of the Diocese of Alaska: Jacob — they gave Native Alaskans a literary tradition which was embraced and further developed by the Native Alaskans themselves. Znamenski . RTE: RESOURCES ON NATIVE ALASKAN ORTHODOXY: BOOKS Rossia Inc. When misguided people speak of Christianity as a foreign culture-destroying element.published 1999. Through Orthodox Eyes: Russian Missionary Narratives of Travels to the Dena’ina and Ahtna.outreachalaska. 1826 to 1836 by St. Jerome Kisslinger . University of Alaska Press www. Holy Cross Orthodox Press The works of Fathers Laurence Salamatov.. Univ. No. Cyril and Methodius. integral part of the fabric of the First-Nations. and for all Orthodox Christians in Alaska. Please pray to God for His continued blessing to be upon this project. too. Yup’ Outreach Alaska: www. the work of Sts. There were other authors.uaf. its priests.oca. Alutiiq. Innocent: Apostle to America by Paul Alaskan Orthodox Texts – Aleut.S. and it was they who maintained the oral tradition of their church hymns. used copies available online. at (U. Innocent and Jacob planted the seeds of an authentically local Orthodox Church. Innocent Shayashnikov and Zachary Bel’kov are a testament to this. . The Orthodox Church in Alaska — its is that from the efforts of two men — St. Tlingit and other peoples paid for the printing of their own texts.svspress. the native peoples.

organized and taught in primary and secondary schools. he covered almost fifteen thousand miles on foot and horseback. he was also an able scholar.THE ANGE L S OF AKUN W hen Archbishop Innocent Veniaminov’s future biographer. including St. In his early years as bishop. In one fourteen-month period of visits to outlying parishes. One of Alaska’s first ethnographers and naturalists. in traveling through the territories of his diocese by dog-sled across great expanses or in a one-man kayak through rough freezing waters. Makary had only given a 23 .” One of the most striking events of his early years as a young missionary priest was Fr. He trained missionary-priests. Sergius Lavra near Moscow. he was also an accomplished woodworker who crafted furniture. Besides Fr. Rightly. by the lack of a fluent translator. St. to which we owe the following remarkable account. reveal something of his faith. dogsled. John explains. an Aleut chief) devised alphabets.” A zealous and effective missionary. that native peoples might read and write their own languages. and by the end of the 19th century had collected copies of the archbishop’s letters and writings totaling nearly three thousand pages. reindeer and sleigh. as well as his 22 1 Notes on the Islands of the Unalaska Region and An Indication of the Pathway Into the Kingdom of Heaven remain in print in English. and hand and barrel organs. Hindered. lamented the loss of the hierarch’s archives in a fire at the Yakutsk monastery. Michael’s Cathedral in Sitka. and grammars to translate the Holy Scriptures and church services. “At any rate. Russia. “His physical exploits alone. and inner stamina. dictionaries. learned several languages and six Alaskan dialects. and zoological observations. his Aleut Grammar and Aleut-Russian Vocabulary were awarded a prize by the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences in 1836. courage.” The disappointed Bursakov was not put off. they would have all burned with the earth at the apocalypse. frequently spending nights in the open in below-zero temperatures. he was one of only four priests ministering to ten thousand Orthodox Christians in the Alaskan territories. Ivan Pan’kov. first as a missionary priest and later as Bishop of Kamchatka and the Kuril and Aleutian Islands. clocks. however. linguist. as Fr. His three decades as an Alaskan missionary were extraordinary. Ivan Bursakov. lacking even the fuel to heat his food. In 1867 he was named Metropolitan of Moscow. botanical. and administrator. As one writer notes. Innocent is often called a “renaissance man. Buried in Holy Dormition Cathedral at Holy Trinity-St. and (at first together with his translator. geographical. and served as the first hierarch of the Russian Church until his repose. John’s Full Orthodox Catechism in the Aleut language and translation of the Gospel. the archbishop replied. Innocent of Moscow and Alaska (1797-1879) born Ivan (John) PopovVeniaminov in Irkutsk.1 A married priest with six children. one of the original Valaam Monastery monk-missionaries. his extensive cultural. he was canonized a saint in 1977 by the Moscow Patriarchate. Many of Akun’s villagers had been baptized thirty years earlier by Hieromonk Makary. major pastoral works are still in print. by boat. John’s astonishing meeting with an elderly Aleut on a missionary journey to the island of Akun. Fr. and aided in the construction of several churches. spent over thirty years in Alaska. St. however.

reposed 5 June 1830. the white people. that we might clarify the situation. wondered if this wasn’t a shrewd and subtle trap of the evil one. although he could not. It was as Archimandrite Innocent that he was granted an audience with Tsar Nicholas I (as Smirennikov had prophesied). He said. John himself embarked on a voyage half-way around the world. in a less formal retelling to the Holy Synod. unseen by anyone else. and reposed before he could return. first one spirit. he arrived on Akun on 12 April (Julian Calendar) 1828. dressed as if for a celebration. there appeared to him. in order to report directly to the Synod and the Russian government about conditions in Russian Alaska. have come down to the shore to meet you. “Because we knew that you had set out and would arrive today. he knew the prayers and the Gospels. and at his request. 2 (#29) THE ANGELS OF AKUN rudimentary explanation of the faith. John arrived in 1828 he was told of a series of miraculous events that had sustained the faith of these local Christians. They told him that God had sent them to instruct. we will fulfill this. and the following year took monastic vows with the name Innocent. and described you just as we see you now. and protect him. Michael of Irkutsk2. how he had been able to describe my appearance to his people. during Great Lent.” I began to question him in detail about his life. 3 There are several versions of this incident by Fr. His talk with Smirennikov was on the evening of 23 April. and when I asked if he could read. “I know that the priest Father John is 2 Archbishop Michael II (Byrudov) of Irkutsk. came to me. Fr. Petersburg around the Cape of Good Hope on the Russian ship Nicholas I. and what are they like?” I asked him. These additions are noted in this article’s footnotes. Petersburg in 1839.” 25 . However. also. He found it very unpleasant to be called “shaman” by his own people. “If God wills to disclose it. white-faced and clothed in white garments that. they joyfully rushed to greet me.” meaning that they did this not through their own power. When Fr. I. a Tobolsk copy of which was translated into English by Lydia T. “Who are these two friends of yours?” I asked. the angels rendered assistance “in case of illness or extreme lack of food. In November of 1838 to June 1839. in great joy. When I asked why they were so festively dressed. Those I had sent for him were still on the way when they met Smirennikov coming towards them. and asked 5 Ten years later. identical to the Tobolsk copy translated by L. “They are white people. “They live nearby in the mountains and they visit me every day. and later. told us. then overland to Irkutsk. and when I stepped ashore.” I found this rather strange and astonishing. too. “We will ask God and if He gives his blessing. very seldom they told him the future. whereas in fact he was not. and I immediately sent for him. and how do you know that I am Fr. they answered. published in Barsukov’s Life. 6 In an almost identical version of the letter. they rendered him help in illnesses. 4 According to Fr. The toion informed me of old Smirennikov’s discontent. and then a second. and I am coming to him. They instructed him in Christian teaching and in the mysteries of the Faith. teach. a later and less formal report to the Synod (quoted at length in the present article) and possibly delivered verbally on his visit to St. old Ivan Smirennikov.” Sometimes they informed him of what was happening in other places. I saw them all standing on the beach. Black but with small additions that do not appear in other copies. knowing that the demons also believe and tremble. looked like deacon’s vestments trimmed with rose-colored bands. after taking Holy Communion. For thirty years.Road to Emmaus Vol. No. in 1838. 1828 to Archbishop Michael of Irkutsk. sailing from Sitka to St. and always with the remark. and after serving him the Holy Mysteries. John made arrangements for his children in Irkutsk. but never at night. John: the letter written in June. T. Fr.” the old man replied.5 ” “Where are these friends of yours. Fr. leaving on 24 April. to my great surprise. and a version of the letter to the archbishop quoted in Barsukov’s Life (see below). and at the Tsar’s expressed wish was consecrated bishop. John did indeed send his family home across the Bering Sea. expressing his desire to prepare for Communion. They always responded to his appeals saying. but by the power of God Almighty.” “Who told you that I would come today. calling me. but I didn’t give their words much attention and set about instructing them on how to prepare for Holy Communion. they had appeared to him almost daily in the daytime or late afternoon. I went for the first time to the island of Akun4 to visit the Aleuts. After the sudden death of his wife Catherine. according to his description. let him go. I then asked him to explain how he knew me. John’s diary. which he reported first to his archbishop. Although the teaching of these spirits seemed to be the doctrine of the Orthodox Church. he went to his toion [chief] and expressed his dissatisfaction with me because I hadn’t asked him at confession why the Aleuts call him a shaman. Black. “They also told me that in the future you will send your family home by the coast. others (though rarely)6. Consecrated archbishop on 22 August 1826. but I still did not give him any special attention.3 Here begins his report to the Synod: In April 1828. John?” “Our shaman (sorcerer). The old man answered that two friends had told him about it. Soon after he was baptized by Hieromonk Makary. up the coast to Okhotsk. he answered that. and how he had learned that on a certain day I was to come to teach them to pray.” “And when did they first come to you?” In reply. He attended the services very diligently. he told me a wonderful story. in human form. The old shaman. we. four years after St. VIII. and you yourself shall sail by water to the great man (the Tsar) and speak with him. Approaching the island. Innocent’s repose.

he repeatedly asked them to depart from him. Then something inexplicable happened inside of me. let him see us and talk to us if he wishes. such as how to make the sign of the Cross. and that above all. They had even appeared to him that day on the way to me and told him why I was calling him. He answered that he didn’t know and would have to ask them. they advised to observe faithfulness and purity.] at all. they taught him virtuous behavior and rituals. but so that it will not be taken as vanity on my part.” 27 . “What more does he want to know about us? Does he still consider us to be demons? All right. and that he should attend to my teaching. etc.” They then said something favorable about me. the spirits’ reply was that they were not demons and were not allowed to leave him. Moreover. saying that he should not tell the sins he had already confessed to anyone else. When he asked why they never appeared to other people.” I thought. but at other times he did not feel any fear. He replied that they taught him to pray with the spirit and the heart and sometimes prayed with him for a long time. Indeed. I will keep silent about this. that we should not eat early in the morning. and how they taught him to live with others. such as jellyfish and sea anemones –ed. “… not to eat fish and animals that have just been killed and are still warm and not to eat some birds and animal-plants [zoophytes.THE ANGELS OF AKUN him how the spirits taught him to pray – to themselves or to God. and that he should tell me everything without fear because nothing bad would befall him. I asked him if I could possibly see and speak with them. I was seized with a feeling of fear and overwhelming humility. both within and outside of marriage. “Indeed. and he was unwilling to be thus treated. that we should never begin to do anything without asking God’s blessing. However. To make certain that his guides had indeed appeared. he said. and the like. and if they had told him to heed what I said. he returned within an hour saying that they had replied. that many families should not live together. he felt pangs of conscience if he had done something wrong. Then I inquired what he felt when they appeared to him – joy or sorrow? In their presence.7 Then I asked if they had appeared to him that same day after Communion. They taught him to practice all of the Christian virtues (which he described to me in detail). that right after Communion he should not eat foods rich in fat. As many people considered him a shaman. “What if I 7 In Barsukov’s version is added. they said that such was the command they had been given. He answered that they had appeared both after confession and after Communion.

2 (#29) see these angels. I am unworthy of speaking to them. not suffering any pain. Her kinsmen secretly asked the said old man Smirennikov to cure her. indeed. as He is common Father to all. do not say a word about it to anyone. And. VIII. and she was expected to die momentarily. about two vershok [1. The wife of the toion of the village Artelnovskoye. There were no means to help her. After a short time the old man instructed the people to go to a certain place.” So I. but only instruct thee to confine this teaching to the minors. but to ask God.75 inches] in length. and some of them asked Smirennikov to pray for a whale to be washed ashore. the inhabitants of Akun suffered great lack of food. ‘…As for the future. one Fedor Zhirov. but by the power of God and to instruct them to pray diligently and thank the Sole God. I do not forbid thee to teach either. 3. I. as long as these do not contradict the teachings I deliver in the assembly. 1825. on October of 1825 was caught in a fox trap. and her leg was badly hurt. the Akun people 8 Fr. and it would be pride and presumption on my part if I dared to go to them. Barsukov’s version adds.”8 In his more formal letter to Archbishop Michael. John’s instructions to Smirennikov are given at slightly greater length in the Tobolsk copy of Fr. and is even now entirely well. even to me. No. until I receive instruction from Your Grace. [At this point. Fr. where they indeed found a fresh whale carcass – precisely in the spot designated. In the winter of the same year. and told them that they should no longer call Smirennikov a shaman. Yet. The trap hit her at the kneecap by all three iron teeth. determined to render the following decision: I see that the spirits which appear to thee are not demons and therefore I instruct thee to listen to their teachings and instructions. Last fall I planned to visit Akun. I do not forbid thee to cure the sick. the woman rose in the morning from her deathbed. and they confirm all that the old man has said? How can I appear before them? Sinful that I am. I had to postpone the trip. not to ask him for favors. but ask thee to tell those thou curest that thou doest so not by thy own powers. 2.Road to Emmaus Vol. the unworthy one.’] I told the other Aleuts who were present not to call him a Shaman. or think too highly of myself. After thinking the matter over. John also describes two miracles that happened through the prayers of Smirennikov and an instance of foreknowledge: 1. but because of the arrival of state ships from Russia. finally decided not to go to them. just tell those who ask your advice about the future and request your help to address themselves directly to God. he said that the patient will be well by morning. John’s formal letter to Archbishop Michael of Irkutsk: …Therefore.” 28 . Meeting angels might make me too proud of my faith. in order not to weaken (among the people) the faith and hope in the One Omniscient God. I gave some preliminary instructions as to these events. both to Smirennikov and to his Aleut people.

should I meet those spirits. who translated my words and those of …Smirennikov. but should be expected next spring. to avoid the pitfall of error. “ …There was no need for me to meet them. Only Smirennikov boldly asserted that I would not come that fall. John again explains to the archbishop why he himself did not dare to go to see the bright spirits who appeared to Smirennikov. Why should I want to see them personally when their teaching is Christian teaching? Out of curiosity. Your Grace. as the villagers witnessed.” Fr. “told me these stories in detail… He himself is illiterate and does not know any Russian. then the cold weather set in. contrary winds did not permit my departure.. but always for their perdition. fearlessness and even pleasure of his discourse. And so it happened. .” After enumerating scriptural events he had left out of his preaching. therefore he could not have read about it… and there is no one from whom Smirennikov could have learned in the matters of Church teaching… [Ivan Pan’kov. the freedom. had never spoken to him. convinced me and confirmed me in the conviction that the spirits which appear to this old man (if they appear) are not demons. these spirits must be the servants sent to those who seek salvation. but I shall omit them here. “for the sake of brevity and to avoid complications.” He ends his letter to the Archbishop with the words: “In reporting to you.. and hearing others call him a shaman. to sign this statement in witness of the 31 sent an escort and all expected my arrival.” Fr. and I was forced to delay my visit until spring. “It is possible to suppose that this man has heard from me or from someone else the teaching of our faith that he recounted. I must state that Aleuts do not fall prey to pride. discouraged them from doing so also. I deemed it necessary to ask Ivan Pan’kov. but never for the purpose of instruction. and only for effect or out of vanity invented the appearance of the spirits. and empty bragging….THE ANGELS OF AKUN There are many additional instances which prove his gift of clairvoyance. to learn who they are?” For this I should ask the blessing of my Archbishop. John continues his evaluation. As the tree of evil cannot bear the fruit of good. teaching and salvation of human beings. Fr.] Moreover. Demons may sometimes assume the image of Angels of Light. Yet. and above all his clean manner of life. vanity. John comments that Smirennikov.

I beg Your Grace to let me know if my decision was right. what precautions I should take.” 32 . June 1828 Signed: below by interpreter Pan’kov as follows: To the truth of the words of Priest John Veniaminov and the accuracy of translation of the words of the old man Ivan Smirennikov attests Tigal’da Toion Ivan Pan’kov True copy of the original. But I have the honour of reporting to your Eminence that everything put down here is true. Moscow.) 11 Quoted in Met. John. at the least. this event is most rare and unheard of in our times. Russian Church History Department. VIII.Road to Emmaus Vol.11 Archbishop Michael commends his reasoning. “…The description of my talk with the Aleut Smirennikov enclosed here is not an official report. Leningrad Orthodox Spiritual Academy (1980). but nevertheless blesses him to meet the mysterious heaven-dwellers: …True.9 Signed: Your Grace’s Priest John Veniaminov. Prilozheniye k rabote: “Svyatitel Moskovskii Innokentii Veniaminov i ego epistolyarnoye naslediye. (see footnote 4) 9 Barsukov’s version adds: “Your Eminence. Therefore I thought it necessary to impart it. if I can and need. what precautions I should take. if not to all of my acquaintances. (From the collection of the Moscow Patriarchal Synodal Library. I might have never reported this event that seems so strange to me if I didn’t rely completely upon your fatherly mercy to me. Vladimir of Tashkent and Central Asia. 5 November 1829 Fr. No. and if so. 1828. I beg you to give me your …archpastoral instruction and permission: if I was right in this matter and. and if there is any need for me to meet with the spirits which appear to the old man. someone may think that. If I erred. John’s concern about the reception of the report if it were to be generally known is reflected in an unpublished letter to Archbishop Michael on July 20. if the old man is still alive. I also requested him to keep this matter secret for the time being..” (Volume II. Reading the account.. a course paper by fourth year student Job Zamborsky. and I obediently ask your forgiveness if I was not right in doing this…10 In his reply to Fr. forgive me. 2 (#29) truth of my story and the correctness of his translation. I am not alien to superstition and empty holiness. of the Church of Ascension in Unalashka. Supplement to the Thesis. to meet and talk with the spirits that appear to him and if so. Andreevsky Monastery. Tobol’sk. 10 Quoted as an unpublished letter in Tom II. merciful Archpastor! Having put down the facts you see above. “Holy Hierarch Innocent Veniaminov (1797-1879) and his Epistolatory Heritage.

are to be more commended than all those who. A final fitting comment on the occurrence comes from an acquaintance of St. or in person at our future meeting. that you. For the clever. In his next visit to the island of Akun. As for your conversation with them. simply in order not to transgress the commandment of obedience. your well-wishing servant. +Michael. my desire is. the new Aleut converts. as well as in the future… I will tell you. 35 . through the gift of His Christ. Innocent. John learned that Smirennikov had reposed. subject the objects of faith to sensible perception. Nevertheless. as well as many others’. No greater caution is required than your pure faith and the prayer of the heart: only keep in mind the Lord’s Prayer during this meeting. like the Holy Apostle Thomas. in whom it evoked a particular zeal to further hear any extraordinary event that may befall your Smirennikov during this year. The old man’s premature death. Whatever good you desire for them. however. you should resolve (provided that old Smirennikov is still alive) to meet and speak with the spirits that appear to him. and say it together with the spirits. not allowing curiosity to prevail over your faith. Inform me by letter at a time convenient to yourself. this will suffice. grants you to learn. that for the sake of yet greater glory of our righteous faith. Archbishop of Irkutsk But the angels sent to the old Aleut did not reveal themselves to human curiosity. without flattery either to your face or behind your back. Invoking God’s blessing upon you. I ever remain. Fr. however pious. of whatever God. it should be solely concerned with the future of your parishioners.THE ANGELS OF AKUN to those distinguished in mind and heart. Andrew Muravev: “One scarcely knows at which to be amazed – the miraculous gifts of the old Aleut or the humility of the missionary who in patience is denied a singular opportunity to satisfy his obviously holy curiosity in such an unusual matter. ask this of God. as Thomas’ disbelief is called good in our church hymns.

were not forgotten by Providence. “Letter from Rev. Letters and Stories Told by his Contemporaries. Priest John Veniaminov to Archbishop Michael of Irkutsk. Holy Hierarch Innocent Veniaminov (1797-1879) and his Epistolatory Heritage. Paulist Press. Black in “Ivan Pankor. po ego sochineniyam. translated by Lydia T. Slova v dni pamyati osobo pochitayemikh svyatikh (Words on the Feast Days of Particularly Venerated Saints. Architect of Aleut Literacy.”12 SOURCES 1. 1980. Nectaria McLees. Andreevsky Monastery.. the translations in this article are by Inna Belov and M. SVS Press. 1979. Russia. The report to the Synod and Archbishop Michael’s written answer to Fr. Tom II. Details of the letter to Archbishop Michael of Irkutsk as published in Ivan Barsukov’s initial biography: Innokentii. Metropolitan of Moscow and Kolomna. 1883. and his people only for as long as the Aleutian Islands remained spiritually neglected.) 37 36 .” Nevertheless. Metropolitan of Tashkent and Central Asia. The date of 5 November. Book III ). In Russian: http://www. but because human means were lacking.htm 2. [Note from RtE Editor: The original letter to Archbishop Michael II of Irkutsk was written in June of 1828. N. Now. VIII. pis’mam i rasskazam sovremennikov (Innocent. Job. 1828 was translated from: Zamorsky. No. Leningrad Orthodox Spiritual Academy. His Writings. Synodal Printing House.” (Volume II.” 5 November. by the grace of God. With the exception of Fr.. Moscow. 1978.) 12 Quoted in Garrett. “It is comforting to read about such miraculous Divine Providence towards… sons of Adam who. two months after the incident. With grateful acknowledgement to Professor Black for permission to cite her translation of the letter throughout this article (also reprinted in Alaskan Missionary Spirituality. 1829 assigned to the letter in Alaskan Missionary Spirituality refers to the date the letter was hand-copied in Tobolsk. St. mitropolit Moskovskii i Kolomenskii. Innocent. Apostle to America. 85 5. pg. Moscow.. #8. John’s letter to Archbishop Michael of Irkutsk (see below).] 4. Prilozheniye k rabote: “Svyatitel Moskovskii Innokentii Veniaminov i ego epistolyarnoye naslediye. Crestwood. 1829. were fed through the faith of one of their elders upon the saving faith.Y. and the heavenly guides concealed themselves once again. people have come to work towards their salvation.” Orthodox John’s unpublished letter to Archbishop Michael II of Irkutsk on July 20. John’s letter was translated from: Vladimir. by Job Zamborsky. however. 2 (#29) THE ANGELS OF AKUN vindicated his actions by showing clearly that these revelations had been necessary for himself. 1987). Fr.Road to Emmaus Vol. though forgotten by the world. Andreevsky Monastery. (From the collection of the Moscow Patriarchal Synodal Library. Paul D. his family.) Moscow.pravoslavie. (From the collection of the Moscow Patriarchal Synodal Library. Supplement to the Thesis..

11 and 12 NORTHERN CLIMES: FR. After reading the rule. leaving the former behind on the right and the latter on the left. finding them rather clean. only small ones from a light head wind. as for children under 9. lying not less than 120 versts north-east of Unalashka. 38 39 . Thurs. At 9 o’clock. Tigalda. 7. 6. at 8 o’clock arrived safely at the village Artelenovskoye on Akun Island. I only instructed them. Avotonok. including 15 minors. I served Liturgy in the tent and gave Communion to everyone. 13 Fri.X Beyond the islands of Unalgoi and Akustan. The inhabitants of all three villages of Akun had come together and were waiting for me. X Judging from when the baidarka left. setting out in a three-holed baidarka [kayak]. XX He is a type of administrator here. John’s pastoral visit to Akun.AKUN DIARY 12. In the afternoon I visited people’s homes. heard confessions of 53 people from the other two villages. 10. Chrismated 46 people of both genders and different ages. morn. JOHN VENIAMINOV’S AKUN DIARY Excerpts from Fr. and Akutan Islands 14 Sat. accompanied by four smaller double-holed – crossed three straits between the islands. I gathered them in the tent to instruct them at length through my translator Ivan Pan’kovXX – the toion of the island of Tigalda. 15 Sun. I saw neither big waves nor opposing currents. it can cover 10 versts [about 10 kilometers] per hour and even more with a favorable current. leaving the inhabitants of this village to confess on my way back.

without the slightest trouble because the sea was perfectly quiet and still. and the other because his wife was ill. 1. At 8 o’clock set out to Akun against a quiet wind across Avataninsky strait…. Gathering the local people in the tent. quiet weather and in 4. a village lying in the north-east of the island. 7 17 Tues. No. 2 (#29) AKUN DIARY At 8 o’clock I set out in an 8-oar baidarka. Arrived at 10 o’clock at Avatonok Island. VIII. lying close to Akun and Tigalda. gaveHoly Communion to all who had confessed and also the minors – 30 people. but unwilling to wed. I served Liturgy in the tent. Pan’kov. 18 Wed. I instructed them at length through the same translator. received the Holy Mysteries. at a distance of not less than 65 versts from the main village of Akun. Served 9 marriages and visited people’s rather clean homes. 5 . 8. Crossed three windy straits (especially the last one).] 40 41 . 12. After the vigil heard 14 confessions and instructed the minors instead of confessing. Was in a no small danger when water began pouring into the baidarka. 2 degrees of frost and (except 2 couples for whom it was impossibleXX) married. tent.5 degrees of frost in the those from theisland of Umnaka XXX (about 15 versts from here) into the morning. the local people have all been chrismated.5 hours arrived safely at the island of Tigalda. Came ashore near a village in the north. 5. 10 Now all of the local people have been chrismated. Pan’kov – the toion. 6. X Strong north wind did not allow us to put up tents.5 degrees of frost 11. After reading the rule I served Liturgy in the tent and gave Communion to those who confessed and the minors – 63 people. have confessed. in the afternoon chrismated 16 people and served 5 marriages. 12 11. arrived at 11 back Found a baidarka here that had come the day before to pick me up. morn At 5 o’clock set out with a quiet 2 degrees afternoon wind from of frost Tigalda back to Akun. received the Holy Mysteries XXX They have moved here this spring because life there was difficult.10 19 Thurs.X hearing confessions of 43 people… and instructing the minors in lieu of confession. and been married. 9. [Trans. 9 and 10 Gathering all the local people and 1. At this time. Chrismated 37 people of both genders and different ages. in bright. After reading the rule. I instructed them at length through the same translator. 16 Mon. note: The first was possibly living with the woman. XX One because he was unwilling to take a blind wife with her children. confessed. Served vespers and matins in the stockade.Road to Emmaus Vol. having safely sailed at least 45 versts along the Derben Strait.

Afterwards served a moleben to St. a village in the north. 6. In the evening I had a talk with one of the local old men called Ivan Smirennikov X I could hardly give her the necessary knowledge because of her very old age. No. have confessed. 9 Due to a strong wind it was impossible to put up a tent. (And to prove this I enclose my talk with him). Served 12 marriages Now all the local people have been anointed. 7. Wanted to visit and instruct the above-mentioned old woman in a village about 10 versts from here. 8. John Venaiminov. in Golovskoye. 24. 23 Fri. “Holy Hierarch Innocent Veniaminov (1797-1879) and his Epistolatory Heritage” by Job Zamborsky. Leningrad Orthodox Spiritual Academy (1980). They brought her. 2 (#29) AKUN DIARY at the main village of Akun. Nectaria McLees from the diary of Fr.) 5 42 43 . 11. Supplement to the Thesis. and after a short instructionX I heard her confession and served her Communion. (From the collection of the Moscow Patriarchal Synodal Library. listened to confessions of 29 local people After reading the rule I served Liturgy in the tent and gave Communion to those who had confessed and the minors. Alexandra instead of yesterday because the wind didn’t allow tents to be put up. morn. At 5 o’clock I set out in a 16-oar canoe which had been sent from the harbor to pick me up. Tues. 21 Sat. when a sudden illness in translator Pan’kov’s foot prevented this. The Aleuts willingly volunteered to bring her here. Served the vigil. stopping on the way at the island of Akutan. 7 8. received the Holy Mysteries and been married (except one old woman who wasn’t here). 12 Translated by Inna Belov and M. Artelenovskoye. 9 22 Sun. Andreevsky Monastery. VIII.Road to Emmaus Vol. who is considered to be a sorcerer here: but I found quite the contrary. Moscow. in Volume II. There are only 5 people living here. 20 Fri.

Under Lewis. were the ones modern people most needed to know but were least likely to recognize. “It is a serious thing to live in a society of 45 W . he liked to feature weekly discussions on “repellent doctrines. In Mere Christianity. while Fr. for example. he argues that the whole purpose of Christianity is to turn people into what he variously calls “new men.” In his wartime sermon “The Weight of Glory.”1 Any list of repellent doctrines. “If our religion is something objective. Chris Jensen. then we must never avert our eyes from those elements in it which seem puzzling or repellent. be hidden precisely in the doctrines you least like and least understand. LEWIS AND THE DOCTRINE OF DEIFICATION Friend of Road to Emmaus.2 Deification teaches that salvation is not just an intellectual consent to an idea. miracles. in the very nature of things.S. it became one of the best-attended societies in Oxford. “The new truth which you do not know and which you need must. These truths. This might sound puzzling or even heretical to some. first presented this luminous essay at the 2005 C. It welcomed agnostics and nonbelievers. Lewis — at least not to the Lewis of the 1940s and beyond when he was leading the Socratic Club and producing many of his greatest writings in which deification shines forth as one of his central convictions. deification expresses human salvation as an inward process of transformation experienced within the life of the Church and leading to mystical union with God. We are very pleased to offer it here. Lewis came to realize that many of the doctrines that once repelled him in fact conveyed life-giving truths. Lewis was president of the Socratic Club at Oxford University in the 1940s and 1950s. would include the doctrine of deification.” By this. which was apt considering that Lewis (1898-1963) once passed through the grip of atheism before finding the robust and articulate Christian faith that would make him one of the best-selling religious authors of the twentieth century. Lewis Summer Institute at Oxford University. but it certainly didn’t to C.” he wrote.” It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses.S. Basil put it. Neither is it a solitary path to individual bliss. As St. adapted for our readers as Part II of “The Orthodox Worldview and C.SHINE AS THE SUN: C.S.S. not just an external or ethical imitation of Christ.S. Rather. Largely unknown to modern Christians. The Socratic Club was an open forum for discussing intellectual difficulties related to the faith. he thought. or pain.” “Sons of God” — and “gods and goddesses. deification (or theosis) has been described by Professor Georgios Mantzaridis of the University of Thessalonki as the deepest longing of man and the ultimate goal of existence.” Lewis says. in Lewis’s day or in ours. man is nothing less than a creature that has received the order to become god. from The Weight of Glory hen C. Kiprian Kern calls it the religious ideal of Eastern Orthodoxy.” “little Christs. he meant Christian teachings that were hard for modern people to swallow—on topics like hierarchy. Lewis.

because it is a key that unlocks much of his life and thought. longing. Stressing the boundaries between God and creation. He may be called man and god at the same time.. to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which. statuescome-to-life). but also to explain why many in the Orthodox Church. A self-described ordinary layman of the Anglican Church. rather than Lewis the scholar or rationalist. then..” becoming “new creatures. Human beings won’t melt into an impersonal God like a salt statue tossed into the ocean. it was Lewis the poet. At the outset. winged horses.. Lewis didn’t follow the path of Emerson or others who blurred dogmatic boundaries by confusing God and creation or by teaching that human beings are naturally divine. Athanasius’s classic On the Incarnation as well as in Pseudo-Dionysius. Man does not receive a new soul. a god by adoption. All attest to Lewis’s abiding belief in the transforming power of divine love.. but the Holy Spirit unites essentially with the whole man. fountains. No. Lewis the Romantic. To study it not only promises to bring us nearer to the heart of Lewis. in which human beings will become “like God . and Lewis the imaginative writer who was most sensitive to this idea’s power. immortal.. temptation. though man does not cease being a man. including Bishop Kallistos Ware. to name a few.. Lancelot Andrewes. transcendent. consider him a trusted literary companion and embrace him as an “anonymous Orthodox.. Lewis have given scant attention to the importance of deification for Lewis or to its place within the larger constellation of his ideas including myth.. 46 Lewis’s vision of deification is consonant with this. even when he clearly sees the Father. like iron in the fire shares the properties of flame but doesn’t cease to be iron.”5 Deified human beings forever remain human while at the same time sharing in divine grace or energy. He makes of him a son of God. in Orthodox Christian terms.” Lewis was a professor of medieval and renaissance literature by trade. Nor does it mean that human beings eventually will evolve into something essentially equal to God. 2 (#29) SHINE AS THE SUN possible gods and goddesses. and George Macdonald. Lewis expressed the idea of deification in scriptural terms (being “in Christ.4 Some of the perplexity over the doctrine of deification comes from it being confused with variations in different religions. if you saw it now. body and soul. Significantly. when man observes the commandments of God. Only God is essentially perfect. This distinction is captured in the memorable phrase of Rudolph Otto.. deification even in this life . [but] with the likeness proper to men. Richard Hooker..” Deification. While affirming the possibility of .”3 God In and Out it should be said that deification does not mean the actualization or realization of a person’s latent divinity (a belief which is less Christian than monistic or pantheistic). has been described by the patristic scholar Archbishop Basil Krivocheine as: the state of man’s total transformation. or the sacramental life. This is unfortunate.Road to Emmaus Vol. or become new and independent divine beings 47 . VIII. you would be tempted to worship. he made no claims to be a systematic or academic theologian.S. its fullness belongs only to the eschatological infinite . more experiential than systematic. a writer to whom Lewis often referred. a simple creature. The Holy Spirit then gives man a divine intelligence and incorruptibility. In this.. Divinization will always remain an awesome mystery. acquires the evangelical virtues and shares in the sufferings of Christ. Despite his poetic bent. sitional. But he was a reader of immense range and appetite who encountered the concept of deification in St. surpassing all human understanding and unobserved by most people. that God is “wholly other. Given the obscurity of this doctrine in our times. effected by the Holy Spirit. perhaps it’s no surprise that scholars of C. where the doctrine of deification is taught to this day and where theology remains more poetic than propoChris Jensen on the . Lewis was always clear on the difference between creature and Creator – an irreducible ontological difference. he was kindred to the mystical and monastic tradition of the Christian East. In his writings. marriages.” sharing in the “glory of God”) as well as in figures (dances. Lewis once said that he saw human destiny not as the transformation into angels nor the absorption into Deity but rather as the fulfilling of humanity.. and uncreated.

In Mere Christianity. Maximus the Confessor defined deification as the work of divine grace by which human nature is so transformed that it “shines forth with a supernatural light and is transported above its own limits by a superabundance of glory. although distinct from God. in speaking of the theology of the sixteenthcentury Anglican writer Richard Hooker. instead of seeing divine grace as something external like paint that is applied to a person’s surface. deification has fallen into the background.” Its goal is not to produce better human beings.. For example. is penetrated by divine energy and wisdom. could become partakers of the divine nature. You are gods. or any number of mystics who seemed to lose sight of the essential distinction between God and humankind. deification was initially repellent to Lewis. as opposed to the created and natural life. “The Weight of Glory. In this sense. Basil between God’s essence. the epistles of St. love. St. where trees dance. the first seemed wicked and the 49 Deification as Glory 48 . and every bush (could we but perceive it) a Burning Bush. Lewis calls it a communicable energy that can be spread into the depths of a person. this seemed to be a competitive passion or a desire to be better known than others. or splendor like the sun and stars. And if it meant luminosity. of renewal in the likeness of God. “God is unspeakably transcendent. “All is holy and ‘big with God’ . which remains beyond human reach or comprehension. such as scholars who dismiss it as a vague platonizing form of pantheism that betrayed the original understanding of salvation in favor of Graeco-Roman paganism.”). he observed. rivers teem with nymphs. and God’s energies (variously known as grace. Athanasius made the point this way: God is in everything through His love. Lewis speaks of humans making direct contact with the uncreated spiritual life of God (which he terms Zoe. Others have rejected the doctrine of deification on grounds that it is nonbiblical. it equally depends upon the notion of His immanence. 2 (#29) SHINE AS THE SUN in a type of polytheistic evolution.. The theme is basic to the Gospel of John with its motif of abiding or dwelling. all of which he found in the writings of the New Testament and other early Christian sources. and light) which allow one to make direct contact with God. This holds that creation.”10 In Lewis’s sermon — its title alludes to 2 Cor. birds carry messages. Narnia’s enchantment suggests a point about our world that Lewis made later in his book Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer. Bios). He was put off by the term’s twin connotations of fame and luminosity. glory. Mormons. St. often is used in the patristic tradition to denote deification.”7 Some have suggested that because this sort of understanding of God’s immanence has been neglected in much modern theology. Hence Lewis can’t be categorized with Neoplatonists. he equates salvation with the Biblical term glory. VIII. This word.8 This line of thought suggests that Lewis grasped the distinction made in the Christian East since the time of St. and stars are glittering people with long hair like burning silver. thrones.” which was preached to one of the largest modern crowds ever to assemble at the Church of St. This hope is that humans. in the words of 2 Peter 1:4. Hindus.”6 An analogy to this is found in Lewis’s land of Narnia. Importantly. If the doctrine of deification requires an understanding of God’s transcendence. Mary the Virgin in Oxford. but to generate a new kind of creature altogether. it’s also evident that it became standard in Christian theology and spirituality precisely because it was seen as expressing the genuine Biblical eschatological hope of personal and organic union with God. If glory meant fame. As Lewis once put it. Lewis says it’s like “a dye or stain that which soaks right through. significantly.” Centuries earlier. This divine and eternal life is how believers share in the transforming power of Christ. We’re told by Lewis’s biographer that the most precious moments in life to Lewis were when he was aware of the spiritual quality of material things. 4:17-18 — he says that at first he failed to find much immediate appeal in the glory imagery of white robes. but outside of everything by His nature. Lewis tells us that it was the very language of Scripture that forced him to take seriously the idea of deification. of the “infusion of the supernatural into the workaday world. but also unspeakably immanent. Further. In fact. a book where we find Jesus quoting Psalm 82 (“I said. But not so in Lewis. and of transformation into the image of God. “Who wishes to become a kind of living electric light bulb?”11 To him.9 While it’s true that the term theosis was adopted by early Christians from the lexicon of Neoplatonism. In the address. He explains this in his 1941 sermon.. Paul teem with a mystical vision of life in Christ..Road to Emmaus Vol. providence. No.

“Some day. The importance of this theory for Lewis can hardly be overstated. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves — that. VIII. but they may be quite near the truth as prophecy insofar as one day humans may pass beyond nature into the source of beauty and power itself. As John Meyendorff has explained. we shall get in. though. desire. sweetly painful experience of longing for divine or numinous beauty — an elusive experience which often departs as quickly as it arrives. eating at the tree of life and drinking from the fountain of joy. he says. God knows.”12 Such an analogy calls to mind early theologians who described the dynamic exchange of love in God as perichoresis (meaning a dance or indwelling..”18 In The Problem of Pain.21 In “The Weight of Glory. such experiences will keep us seeking something more. God willing.. a figure that hints at heaven’s order and sanctity as well as its frolic and festivity. Adonis. and power of which Nature is the image. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see. welcoming humanity within their mutuality. grace. is the fleeting. Lewis wrote that our destiny in life is either to be like God — or to be miserable. the danger is that human beings will errantly seek 50 a sort of infinite satisfaction in such finite things: “They are not the thing itself.20 Deification. like “some vague picnicker’s hankering for a ‘better’ place. which already is itself a fellowship of love between three co-eternal Persons. “If we will not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows . we shall get in. encounters with nature. From his youth. these longings are often evoked by nostalgic memories. a kind of dance. to receive it into ourselves. God willing. There is no middle way. is bound up with Lewis’s abiding appreciation of myth and poetry.”15 The theory holds that human beings are conscious of a desire or longing that no natural happiness will satisfy. even that is bounty enough.” he wrote in his autobiography.g. Balder. yet these projections can enjoy the beauty. According to Lewis.”17 The doctrine of deification is the capstone to Lewis’s theory of Joy insofar as it offers an explanation of how that old ache of longing will be filled: “There is no other way to the happiness for which we were made. No. Although Lewis’s love for myth is most often remembered in terms of how he saw pagan myths prefiguring the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (e. Surprised by Joy. is something that the poets and the mythologies know all about. Lewis claimed that one of the most important differences between Christianity and all other religions is that the Trinitarian God is not a static thing. then. a life … Almost. In the lovely falsehoods told in countless stories and poems.. but “a dynamic.Road to Emmaus Vol. or west winds blow right into human souls. Human participation in God. not even a single person. they are only the scent of a flower we have not found. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods . though we cannot. Lewis eventually came to understand the imagery and to believe that deification did indeed carry both connotations — luminosity in the sense of a glorious transformation of human persons by divine grace into new creatures.”19 In describing this longing. or certain books or music. All of these are merely vehicles of something transcendent. humans get married to gods. “the central story of my life is about nothing else. Lewis had many experiences like this and later read about them in writers like Richard Hooker. too.”14 The sermon is remarkable.. One of Lewis’s favorite ways to describe this divine acceptance was through the image of the dance. the myths which later became “fact” in the Second Person of the Trinity). then. if you will not think me irreverent. We do not want merely to see beauty. or Bacchus. then we must starve eternally. or nostalgia).”13 Such divine welcome is what Lewis has in mind when he says that. from which we get our word choreography). We cannot mingle with the splendors we see .” we are told that one of the reasons Lewis placed such a high value on myth and poetry was because he saw in them an intimation of our divine destiny. “Deification or theosis of the Greek fathers is an acceptance of human persons within a divine life. Misgivings aside. These may be false as history. “In a sense. to pass into it.”16 Ideally. [But] some day. news from a country we have never yet visited... and fame in the sense of a personal encounter with God in which approbation and acceptance were the blessed hallmarks. Lewis says. it’s equally true that Lewis saw in mythology a type of our resurrected life as well. 2 (#29) SHINE AS THE SUN second ridiculous. for its presentation of Lewis’s cherished theory of Joy or Sehnsucht (also known as longing. This poetic and mythical radiance resting on 51 .. Joy. pulsating activity. the echo of a tune we have not heard. to become part of it.

you know. and one day the rapture of the saved soul will flow over into the glorified body.’ read the 52 Lewis thought that because men and women are physical beings.28 In Lewis’s view.”30 53 .” this ought to mean more than just thinking about Christ or copying Him. In Christianity. No. in Mere Christianity.23 By so doing. God uses material things (water. “we may be sure that we shall be more. or by St. we might say. bread.24 But exactly how does Christ operate? Or how does one acquire the Christlife within? Lewis answers that this process. To see salvation as Lewis did — as infusion by divine energy leading to deification. pray to God ‘in spirit and truth. Paul’s handkerchiefs and aprons.. It should mean that Christ is actually operating through them. He calls the spreading of divine life the process of “good infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. 2 (#29) SHINE AS THE SUN Christian theology is something that Lewis cherished. more than merely an external moral imitation of Christ. not less. Lewis asserts that the three main channels are baptism. he wouldn’t have expected ordinary biological life to be reproduced in the way that it is. are caught by a kind of infection. If you want joy. In Mere Christianity. Bishop Kallistos Ware once wrote. and not merely a juridical transaction or pardon — means that the Christian life is more than merely accepting an idea. or even into. Anselm of Canterbury called Cur Deus Homo (completed in Italy in 1098 AD) deeply colored popular Western notions of salvation by presenting the idea of redemption in isolation from the rest of Christ’s life and work. peace. In Christianity — which he says is “almost the only one of the great religions which thoroughly approves of the body” — the body as well as the soul participate in the spiritual life. VIII. A genuine life in Christ becomes a possibility. where Christ is seen to have effected a change in the Father’s attitude toward fallen men. looking to the Cross but additionally to the Resurrection.. it is not God but the devil who despises matter and resents the mingling of spiritual things with “dirt and slime.Road to Emmaus Vol. “If someone asks ‘How can I become god?’ the answer is very simple: go to church. this forensic model suggests that an angry God needs to be cured rather than sinful or mortal human beings. the Ascension. power. Just as Lewis said that the old myth of the dying God who finally “came down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. than we were on earth. As Vladimir Lossky has observed. If you are close to it. the corresponding myths of godlike men and women will one day ascend from the earth of legend into the reality of paradise. deification won’t destroy the human body but fulfill and resurrect it. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very center of reality.” a phrase which nicely captures the internal aspect of deification: Good things as well as bad. eternal life. belief. which leads to deification.”29 Speaking of human embodiment. the thing that has them . receive the sacraments regularly.”25 Similarly. isn’t a matter of exceptional experience reserved for some special few mystics. For Lewis. which healed the sick and drove away demons (Acts 19:12). you must get close to. wine) to infuse them with divine grace. a treatise of St. and the sending of the Holy Spirit. accents human healing and transformation. in contrast. The implications here are significant. Lewis says he never would have guessed these could convey spiritual life but for that matter. whose skin shone after he met with God (Exodus 34:29). follow the commandments. Lewis says that although we may not be able to conceive exactly what we will be in the next life. either. you will remain dry. the spray will wet you: if you are not. the body is not to be dismissed as an inferior prison-house of the soul as it might be in Plato or in streams of gnostic thought — including contemporary varieties of gnosticism such as one evangelical strand that some observers see as dualistic at the core.27 That God’s glory is in some sense communicable to physical beings is suggested by the face of Moses.”22 so too. Salvation as deification. Big Medicine Gospels. Lewis explained that when Christians speak of being “in Christ” or of Christ being “in them. Oddly. the main focus of salvation became the cross and passion. but rather the calling of all the baptized within the context of the sacramental life of the Church.26 The concept of deification has challenged those who are accustomed to thinking of salvation as a once-for-all-time decision or as divine pardon in which God overturns our guilty verdict and lets us off the hook. and Holy Communion.

In this we find echoes not only of Elijah’s miraculous sustenance by the ravens who carried him bread and meat during his sojourn in the desert (I Kings 17). Lewis spoke of Holy Communion as an experience where the veil between the worlds gets thin. as the Father’s divine agent. He insisted that Christianity “is not merely the spreading of an idea . For him. he received it only on great holidays. [and] I should define magic in this sense as ‘objective efficacy which cannot be further analyzed. He regretted that precise dogmatic definitions had been made on this subject in the West (in part because he thought they led to divisions among Christians). Athanasius for “a very great book .” In our day. Holy.31 In Letters to Malcolm.” rather than “Take. as Lewis once wrote.. this one was an acquired taste. The fire-berries — little coals which are too bright to look at — will take away a little of the Old Man’s age until he becomes young as a newborn child and rises again at the earth’s eastern rim to join the great dance.. at least in those Christian communities that celebrate the Eucharist infrequently or express its importance in terms of how it affects God rather than how it transforms us. he praised St. God does not: He invented eating.” When Lewis wrote an introduction to a new translation of this work made by his friend and longtime pen pal. Finally he developed a great reverence for the mystery of the Eucharist.34 But Lewis was adamant that eternal life must be spread not only by purely mental acts like belief.”33 In light of that analogy. one of whom took a live coal from the altar with tongs and brought it to the prophet’s lips and said: “Behold. “Take. Jesus Christ.. Lewis’s stress on the importance of Holy Communion might seem odd. understand. No.’”32 For Lewis.”36 In the book. Athanasius observes that the divine task of making all things new belongs to the same divine person through whom all things were made to begin with. “Here a hand from the hidden country touches not only my soul but my body . Here is big medicine and strong magic . But by the early 1940s — about the same time he began meeting his spiritual director regularly for confession and counsel — Lewis began to perceive the sacrament differently and began to receive it weekly.. but also of the vision of Isaiah who saw the Lord of Hosts on a throne in the temple attended by Seraphim singing. eat. VIII. the Anglican nun Sister Penelope..” Although Lewis didn’t embrace the medieval formula of transubstantiation he did accept the doctrine of real presence as articulated by Anglicans like Lancelot Andrewes.. Like many of Lewis’s most cherished Christian beliefs. hence there is a consistency between creation and salvation. “Holy. and your sin is forgiven. “It is like taking a red coal out of the fire to examine it: it becomes a dead coal. which was published the year of his death.. sappy and golden . At this point. In his reticence to take this mystery out of its holy context and to regard it as an object among objects. this has touched your lips. however. Every morning. He invented it. Lewis took a rather limited view of Holy Communion. He once said that he was glad that Jesus Christ said. Athanasius’s classic On the Incarnation: “God assumed humanity that we might become God.. a retired star named Ramandu. 2 (#29) SHINE AS THE SUN Lewis took seriously the food of immortality of the Eucharist (John 6:4857). Ramandu is brought a fire-berry from the valleys in the sun by a 54 bird. this qualified sense of ‘magic’ carried the positive connotation of mystery. deification is understood more broadly in the context of the renewal of all creation undertaken by the Word of God.. His biographer George Sayer says that when Lewis first returned to the church in the early 1930s following his conversion. That is why He uses material things like bread and wine to put the new life into us. Holy Communion was not only a symbol or metaphor of union with God but a genuine and concrete way to receive the good infection of divine grace and to participate in the life of God. Holy” (Isaiah 6). Lewis was reluctant to try to explain the mystery. He likes matter. it’s instructive to remember the passage from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where the children meet a venerable Old Man living near the world’s end. [and] full of buoyancy and confidence.”35 Flip Side of Incarnation One of the best-known lines from patristic literature on the topic of deification comes from chapter 54 of St. and your iniquity is taken away.. We may think this rather crude and unspiritual.Road to Emmaus Vol.. Or. he echoed the concern of Wordsworth. but also by bodily acts like baptism and Holy Communion. [because] God never meant man to be a purely spiritual creature.. who once warned that we murder by dissecting. a picture of the Tree of Life . saw our 55 .

and sin – in short. of passing over from the temporary biological life into timeless ‘spiritual’ life. The task of every person. Irenaeus and St. Even at this lofty summit. using the notion of image and likeness. but by the taking of the manhood into God. has been done for us. In the words of St. Diodochos points out in the Philokalia. Adam and Eve were by grace “as God” (Psalm 82:6) in Paradise in that they shared in divine life and were incorrupt and immortal. while the Holy Spirit’s primary role is the deification of human persons in Christ.. as a result of the Incarnation. what Lewis describes as the “taking of the manhood into God” is the deification of human nature achieved in Christ. as St. Their state of incorruption was lost after the Fall and exile from Eden. Deity. “True perfection never stands still but ever grows toward the better. human beings are still linked to the old root of Adam. then. and following Christ’s commandments.Road to Emmaus Vol. Maximos the Confessor and is echoed memorably by Lewis himself in the final passage of the The Last Battle. then. is not merely counted as. VIII. However. the first fruits of our substance were deified and a new root was created for accessing divine life and incorruptibility. Deification.39 Lewis once wrote. is to grow the new root of Christ by free. in which the heart and mind are purified of egotistical passions and addictions. No. “The business of becoming a son of God. indicating that the soul must progress through three stages in order to reach the fullness of participation in God: first.”43 Lewis himself captures both the objective and subjective dimensions of salvation when he writes. At birth. speaking of man and woman created in the image of God and with the possibility of attaining to the likeness of God. repentance. pain. thus when we participate in Christ’s death and resurrection in the sacrament of Baptism. is the summit of a gradual process by which human beings are reintegrated into the life of God. Humanity is already ‘saved’ in principle. second. and to put the old root to death through faith.42 One way to express this. forever ascending ‘from glory to glory’ (II Cor. beginning with the restoration of God’s image through baptism and continuing with purification of the heart and illumination by divine grace. illumination or photisis. it is dynamic not static. in which as persons we become transformed into the likeness of God: “His likeness is granted only to those who through great love have brought their own freedom in subjection to God. with its death and decay and darkened soul. 3:18). is found in Church Fathers like St.”37 This notion of epektasis. still remaining itself. which is the ineffable union of the soul with God. of eternal life as unending infinite progress. the deification of all human nature in Christ — the so-called physical view of deification in Orthodoxy — doesn’t automatically guarantee the deification of every human person.. According to Athanasius. We individuals have to appropriate that salvation. This process reorders the powers of the human soul and restores the state of paradise inwardly while leading finally to the new paradise beyond this world. there remains a further subjective dimension to salvation. mortality. Vladimir Lossky helpfully points out that the primary role of Jesus Christ was the redemption of human nature. third. a state that Adam and Eve enjoyed in Eden. In other words. theosis or deification. Church Fathers commonly express this by reference to Genesis 1:26. since deification has been described as the “flip side” of Incarnation.”44 57 . Humanity. of being turned from a created thing to a begotten thing.”40 56 In patristic terms. purification or catharsis. the enlightenment of the soul.38 It might be said that Lewis’s belief in deification can be seen as an index of just how seriously he took the doctrine of the Incarnation. Gregory of Nyssa. we’re told that the state of perfection is relative and not absolute. this image of God in our nature is restored. personal participation in God’s divine grace. to re-create the world. but veritably drawn into. is that Jesus Christ achieved the objective dimension of our salvation (our redemption) by bestowing upon our human nature His own glory and immortality.’ . Orthodox describe this process as the Threefold Way.41 However. Lewis seemed to understand the Orthodox view that the Incarnation not only revealed the incarnate God but also the transcendent man. 2 (#29) SHINE AS THE SUN sorry state after the Fall and stooped low to assume flesh in order to banish death and to begin the process of reversing the ills of corruption. “The Incarnation worked ‘not by the conversion of the Godhead into flesh. It is significant that Athanasius’s famous quote comes in a book about the Incarnation.

with his ailing wife. and good Christianity. 3:9). radiant immortal creature. Lewis knew of the Russian Orthodox tradition via his friendship with professor Nicholas Zernov in Oxford. looked more spiritual than those of most Catholic or Protestant clergy. “Militza Zernov told me. If we let Him — for we can prevent Him. VIII. human freedom was a bedrock belief. some kneel. and no power in the whole universe.46 If We Let Him C. ‘We have certainly talked with C.. Alban and St.S.”48 Nowhere is the struggle to submit one’s will to God more evident than in the arena of prayer. 2 (#29) This appropriation of salvation. where Aslan says in a strong and happy voice. sometimes even an irksome and frustrating one. his teachings on Christ and the Trinity.” A few years before his death. intriguingly entitled. observes that Lewis’s friendship with Zernov and his wife. where some sit. an Icon. Militza. Writes Walker. Lewis and the Orthodox Church C. He was deeply interested in it. But what was Lewis’s direct experience of the Orthodox Church? First of all. For Lewis.’ What God does for us. [Lewis] said that he preferred the Orthodox liturgy to either the Catholic or Protestant liturgies. Lewis (we are calling him Jack) about the Orthodox Church.”47 For his part. ‘sit back. This interaction of divine grace and human will was described memorably by a monk of the Eastern Church as “the cooperation of two unequal. I give you yourselves. Another paper presented by Lewis to this society in 1945 has been published in The Weight of Glory under the title “Membership. this bringing of our human freedom into subjection to God. Lewis.S. He does in us.S. Joy. This finds expression in The Magician’s Nephew at the creation of Narnia. Sayer writes. You must realize from the outset that the goal towards which [God] is beginning to guide you is absolute perfection. No. as they say. some stand.S. “Whenever the subject came up between us. He was also impressed by the Greek Orthodox priests. writes that Lewis was moved by his visit to a Greek Orthodox cathedral in Rhodes during Pascha in 1960. naturally requires our cooperation. In Jack: A Life of C. Therefore. Sergius. We must pray.Road to Emmaus Vol. and no one takes the slightest idea of what anyone else is doing.S.. Lewis. deification hinges upon human free will. some lie on their faces. Lewis was able to visit Greece for the first time.” Perhaps. That Lewis attended at least one Orthodox service in England is confirmed by a letter of 13 March 1956 found in Letters of C. That is good sense.” has apparently been lost. who said we are to be fellowworkers (synergoi) with God (I Cor. a dazzling. but equally necessary forces. whose faces. The process of doing it will appear to me (and not falsely) to be the daily or hourly repeated exercises of my own will. and a Work of Art. Lewis and Eastern Christianity” in The Pilgrim’s Guide: C. he thought. in which Lewis wrote.” So observes Kallistos Ware in the essay “God of the Fathers: C. under which Lewis was buried at the cemetery of his Anglican parish at Headington.S. because human life is not yet perfect and our prayers are often impeded by distractions from within and without. Lewis often stressed that prayer takes work and that it’s a duty. Writes Lewis. Lewis’s doctrine of synergy was akin to the model of St. the spiritual discipline most basic and essential in the ascent toward God. can prevent Him from taking you to that goal . and his understanding of creation and personhood — make a strong case for his “anonymous Orthodoxy. Lewis once described this paradox as follows: “I don’t mean that I can therefore. then. it was fitting that his friends the Zernovs brought an Orthodox cross made of white flowers to Lewis’s funeral in November 1963. Lewis and the Art of Witness. in his essay “Under the Russian Cross” in A Christian for All Christians: Essays in Honour of C. except you yourself.” 58 59 . “Creatures. fundamental to the idea of what it means to be created in the image of God and essential to the possibility of genuine love. lasted from the 1940s until Lewis’s death in 1963. His biographer. George Sayer. pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine. good manners. “My model here is the behaviour of the congregation at a ‘Russian Orthodox’ service. Paul.’ ” Nicholas Zernov was able to involve Lewis in a number of activities. Lewis. some walk about. even when we don’t want to — only in heaven will perfect prayer be possible and will there be no need for “ought. “A Toy.” Andrew Walker. One paper by Lewis. where.”45 Lewis thought that all humans beings had been given this same gift. Lewis’s belief in the doctrine of deification — as well as his apophatic sense of God’s hiddenness.S. including presenting at least two papers to the society of St. he attended part of the Paschal service as well as an Orthodox wedding. if we choose — He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess.S.

51 The hard work of prayer made a difference in his life that others could notice. in some respects. Sergius..” which Lewis read in 1945 to the Fellowship of St. 2 (#29) SHINE AS THE SUN Lewis regularly prayed from the Book of Psalms (likely praying through all 150 Psalms each month) and from the Book of Common Prayer because he thought written or “ready-made prayers” handed down by the Church kept him in touch with sound doctrine and kept him from sliding so easily into the phantom called “my religion. Of course I do not know that this is true. finding relief from obsessive sins. For example. Lewis believed that even glorified human beings remained conscious of their sin.”52 Along with his private prayer. the thing I carried in me grew slowly smaller and less alive.. escapism.”49 Lewis would often spend an hour or more doing his evening prayers.Perhaps the lost are those who dare not go to such a public place. Deification. can’t be properly construed as a solitary trip to individual bliss. VIII.. but with the rest of the Christian family. formerly the Spalding Lecturer in Eastern Orthodox Studies at Oxford University (a post later held by Bishop Kallistos Ware). in fact. the more perfect one became and the more clearly one’s sins and imperfections were illumined. George Sayer. Lewis insisted that we are “creatures whose character must be. “It was like being with child. or self-adoration. no one can dismiss deification as wishful thinking. an Orthodox Christian who sought to bring eastern and western Christians together.”57 In these terms. Zernov explains that the East does not think about salvation in terms of the individual soul returning to its maker so much as the process of transfiguration of the whole cosmos: “The East is clear that salvation for an individual means to become part of the redeemed community . when we really see it.”50 The connection between the physical and the spiritual was driven home to Lewis when he added the discipline of fasting to his habit of prayer. whatever their bodies do affects their souls. Lewis suggests It may be that salvation consists not in the canceling of these eternal moments [of sin] but in the perfected humility that bears the shame forever. the Queen of Glome. He knew that human beings were not mere spirits and that it mattered what body position they took in prayer. and what they ate or drank beforehand: “They are animals and . who held that the closer one drew to the light of God. Perhaps in that eternal moment St.. as one of its members. integrating his prayer with the reading of Scripture. Near her life’s end. but rather a corporate undertaking in Christ in which “everything that is joined to the immortal head will share His immortality. So thought Lewis. even holiness. as it is. but also increases our self-knowledge. a group that was co-founded by Lewis’s friend Nicholas Zernov.. a horror to ourselves . not apart from others. “It was hard to be much in Lewis’s company without being aware of his goodness.. it should be no surprise that Lewis came to see the practice of confessing sin as central to the Christian life — although it took him nearly 61 . but I think the possibility is worth keeping in mind. Alban and St. Lewis stressed the obligation to pray for others including our enemies (he prayed for Hitler and Stalin). Lewis also attended daily Matins before his work day started. Man is saved not from the world but with the 60 world. therefore. a horror to God.”54 Zernov himself. No. Lewis insists that the Christian is called not to collectivism nor to individualism but to membership in the mystical body. I notice that the holier a man is.”55 Horror to Ourselves Our participation in the divine energies not only helps to restore the knowledge of God that was lost in the Fall. Peter — he will forgive me if I’m wrong — forever denies his Master .53 In the essay. we might point to the protagonist Orual.. he is saved. In The Problem of Pain. and explains his view in the essay “Membership. because he is its guardian and master. It was nourished by prayer — he meditated daily on verses from the New Testament — by his openness to mystical experience. she looks back over the passing of years and comments.58 Given this. develops the same theme in his 1942 book The Church of the Eastern Christians. but reverse. the more fully he is aware of that fact.. said. hence leading to ever-increasing humility and repentance.”56 This thing was her ego. and that perfected humility called for continual repentance. He understood the necessity for corporate expressions of faith. rejoicing in the occasion which it furnished to God’s compassion and glad that it should be common knowledge to the universe. and his habit of communing with nature. in Lewis’s masterful Till We Have Faces. a friend and former pupil who knew him for twentynine years.Road to Emmaus Vol.

like all enemy propaganda. Acquiring the life of Christ is a process that will be long and in parts painful. Father in Christ” and Lewis met with him weekly for twelve years until Fr. Walter Adams. but I wasn’t brought up with that sort of thing. “Our morning prayer should be that in the Imitation: Da hodie perfecte incipere — grant me to make an unflawed beginning to day. our pursuit of happiness is indeed blessed by God. As one hieromonk has written.”65 Chris Jensen teaches English at a community college in Portland.”64 Those who aspire to such heights are offered this advice in Lewis’s last sermon. a relieved Lewis wrote another letter to Sr. But. comes before the crown. he thought the most crucial thing was that the confessor is the representative of the Lord and declares His forgiveness while holding one accountable for repentance. Walter’s death in 1952. confession. but I have no doubt that the proper method of dealing with that is to continue the practice. Lewis says.”60 Years later. where he lives with his wife and four children and serves as a reader at the Church of the Annunciation (OCA). and he points to the efficacy of spiritual direction. I am going to my first confession next week. He first encountered C. Lewis more than 20 years ago when a college professor assigned 63 Such. Penelope explaining that he successfully had passed through the wall of fire and found himself alive and well. The “orgy of Egoism turns out. This man was Fr. Oregon. The reason? God will use every means possible to lift us to a higher level. for I have done nothing yet. provided that it is transposed into the key of another world..59 Shortly before his first appointment with this priest.. he says. If it remains puzzling to some. or psychotropic drugs. Lewis reminds us that our pursuit of happiness is in accord with the fundamental pattern of reality.61 Happiness Transposed to genuine spirituality. and we shouldn’t be surprised if we are in for a rough time as we journey through the Lenten lands of earthly life. Penelope with concerns that many Orthodox converts could appreciate. Lewis’s doctrine of deification reminds us that we must not expect the path to perfection to be painless. and when traditional religious practices have been dismissed by many as impediments 62 .”62 The doctrine of deification has further piquancy in an era when human hopes for bliss and longevity are increasingly placed on the shoulders of cyberspace.63 Finally. Shortly afterward. an Anglican monk who was 71 years old when Lewis first went to him in Oct. is Lewis’s vision of deification. popularly known as the Cowley Fathers. Lewis wrote to Sr. then. which he preached in January 1956 at Magdalene College in Cambridge. John the Evangelist. On the contrary. While Lewis valued the counsel and advice he received from his spiritual father. The decision to do so was one of the hardest I have ever made: but now I am committed (by dint of posting the letter before I had time to change my mind) I began to be afraid of the opposite extreme — afraid that I am merely indulging in an orgy of Egoism.Road to Emmaus Vol. Such practices are the hallmarks of the mystical theology at the heart of ancient Christianity which — in its Orthodox fullness — offers the means to deification and perfect communion with God. Only in the eternal dawn will we meet Glory face-to-face on that day when we are to shine as the sun. VIII.” he writes. Thus Lewis both validates and redirects our perennial yen for perfection. the advantage with the priest was that he held a special office appointed by God for this and that everything spoken would be kept in sacred silence. Lewis shows us that salvation is not just an idea but something to be done. biotechnology. No.S. 1940 when Lewis was 42. The cross. 2 (#29) SHINE AS THE SUN a decade after his conversion to find out a person to whom he could confess. Only beyond the shadowlands of this life. and Holy Communion. It’s an odd experience. Walter belonged to the Church of England’s Society of St. he continued. when a female correspondent asked Lewis why she couldn’t simply confess her sins to a friend or a neighbor. will our deepest longings be fulfilled. Fr. “It seems to us all unnecessary. it may be positively attractive to others in an age when the Christian life has often been understood in abstract and privatized terms. Lewis called him his “confessor and . as I intend to do. Lewis assured her that she could. wh[ich] will seem odd to you. corporate prayer. “It is only because the churches do not know about or make use of these means that our young people are searching elsewhere. to have just a grain of truth in it. “but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing that He means to make of us.

p. (St. Mere Christianity (Touchstone. “Transposition. Significantly. and ecstatic reality in which we all live” (qtd. p. such as Daniel B. Mantzaridis notes that the doctrine of deification sometimes has been neglected in modern Orthodox parish life. it tends to see external or objective expressions of religion—like conventional church affiliation. p. (Harcourt.S. Lewis. The Problem of Pain.S. Downing. but generally gnosticism suggests a religious outlook that tends to see ignorance as the fundamental human problem rather than sin and hence stresses the acquisition of special knowledge. 1998). 18 C. “Myth Became Fact.. Lewis. says “deification should be viewed by Protestants not as an oddity of Orthodox theology but as an ecumenical consensus. argues that “The West has no grounds for rejecting deification. 1986). 17.S.S. C. creeds. 34 For example. 84. in David C. “The Weight of Glory.N. fewer than one in ten assemblies offers communion every week.. “The quality which had enchanted me in his imaginative works turned out to be the quality of the real universe. in “Deification: Consensual and Cogent. (HarperCollins. 65. Lewis. p. 183.” The term is broad.S. Seeking the Secret Place. 1996). VIII. (Oxford. Davis. p. Speaking of MacDonald. p. in The Ground of Union: Deification in Aquinas and Palamas. 1970). 30 C. pp. 258. a catholic teaching of the Church. Vladimir’s. in The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation (Simon & Schuster.” The Weight of Glory. The Screwtape Letters. pp. and “Christian Apologetics” in God in the Dock (Eerdmans. defends deification as a “Christocentric and eschatological concept expressed in Platonic language but basically independent of philosophical speculation . “Transposition. 86.S. many American Christians are closer to the ancient gnostics than to early Christians: “The American Christ is more an American than he is Christ. 1984). 170.” p. One Protestant scholar has observed that deification is “practically unknown to the majority of Christians (and even many theologians) in the West. Lewis. 236. p. 1997). 26 C. p. Lewis (Crossway Books.W. 97ff. p. Perelandra) further accents its teleological significance. it tends to be dualistic in stressing the purity of spiritual things and the inherent badness of matter. 47. 29 C. Yet certain Protestant writers have come to the defense of deification in recent years.S. (Harcourt. Norris. For several years he taught a college seminar course on C. Lewis. “Becoming Like God: An Evangelical Doctrine of Theosis. p. Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer.S.S. In the Image and Likeness of God. Vladimir’s.” in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics. 475. p. p. it tends to downplay the role of community and holds that there is no higher authority than the private individual. Lewis. 19 C.S.S. Letters to Malcolm. 1999). Mere Christianity. 31.” A. p. Experiencing God: Theology as Spirituality. 33 C. 49.S.S. from which this essay is adapted. terrifying. p. 10 Qtd. 389.Road to Emmaus Vol. Letters To Malcolm.” Some of the negative assessment of deification in the past century took its cue from the Protestant church historian Adolph Harnack who sought an idealized Semitic Christianity without Hellenic influence. 37. 153. 11 C. argues that the American religion is gnosticism and that. 31 Dorsett. 9 The Orthodox scholar John Meyendorff. some contemporary writers continue to question what they call the “slender Biblical support” for deification. 91. who dismisses Harnack as poorly read on this point and sees these charges as false. Rakestraw.S. and it often holds that human beings have a spark of divinity within themselves independent of the body and soul. Bloom argues that this “American Religion” is the result of revising traditional religion into a faith that better fits the national temperament. p. 17.S. Williams.S. 1963). Clendenin. 13 John Meyendorff. 15 C. not only because it can be found in Aquinas but also because it figures extensively in the patristic corpus and derives ultimately from scripture. Out of the Silent Planet. 152. Lewis. p. Lewis. 1988). The Problem of Pain. Lewis Summer Institute. 5 C. 25 Kallistos Ware. 24 C. 39). p. Lewis can be seen as anti-gnostic on every count. p. 32 C. “The Weight of Glory.S. Jack: A Life of C. Lewis. 1997). p. Lewis. (Eerdmans. (Rutgers. 2001). Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. 1974).” p. 20 C. New Ed.” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (Touchstone.S. p. the magical. it tends to stress fate over human choice and free will. Lewis. 257. aspirations. in Leech. 83. On the notion of immanence. 23 Vladimir Lossky. in “Theosis in the Eastern Christian Tradition. “Theosis in the Eastern Christian Tradition. The Deification of Man: St. who also finds examples of deification in Anabaptist writers. 470-71. In this setting. (St. Sargeant. 27 Ibid. Vladimir’s. 1 “The Weight of Glory. 3 Kallistos Ware. Although deification is basic to Orthodox theology. p.g. 1994). Mere Christianity.S. (InterVarsity. Lewis once observed. Lewis. 1989). Mere Christianity. 2005). and “The Weight of Glory” in The Weight of Glory.. p.. Eastern Orthodox Christianity: A Western Perspective (Baker. (St.” The Pilgrim’s Guide: C. 17 C. 66. 158.—as unnecessary or as a genuine impediment to true spirituality. 37. 28 Harold Bloom. “God of the Fathers: C. dogmas. perhaps unwittingly. The fact that Lewis uses dance imagery so often at the ends of his works (e. Lewis. 1955). p. 2000). communion (rather than being seen as an objective contact with God) is often conceived as a symbolic gesture or one that promotes 64 65 . 16 C. Lewis and he traveled in 2005 to Oxford University to present a paper on Lewis at the C. Lewis. 12 C. 103. Lewis. best preserved and developed by the Orthodox. 2 Kern qtd. 92. Lewis.” See Robert W.S. In the Light of Christ: St. 1975). p. 29. p.” in Christian Spirituality III (Crossroad.” The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (Touchstone. while most celebrate communion monthly or quarterly. 8 C. No.” in the Scottish Journal of Theology 49/4 (1996). Lewis. 1989).S. “The Weight of Glory. 14 C.” However.S. p. p. 4 Archbishop Basil Krivocheine. 38.” p. 12. 1975). 158. Kimon H. Lewis and Eastern Christianity. 153.S. Mere Christianity. 33. 2 (#29) “The Discarded Image” in a course on medieval literature at the University of California. p. 7 C. 1992). including F.S. Lewis. p. Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022). “The Weight of Glory. whose Phantastes struck a deep chord with Lewis as a teenager during a period of intellectual skepticism. The Orthodox Church. and anxieties. 55ff.. 22 C. etc. 6 Sayer.” Christian Spirituality III (Crossroad. 21 Ibid.S. 174. Today he counts Lewis as one of his most important literary mentors. Norris. (Penguin. the divine.” p. Lewis and the Art of Witness. in Georgios Mantzaridis. p. p.S. Into the Region of Awe: Mysticism in C. Lewis. The theory is also central to Lewis’s autobiographical account The Pilgrim’s Regress. in Seeker Churches: Promoting Traditional Religion in a Nontraditional Way. Lewis. Lewis was influenced by George MacDonald. 327. It reflects the experience of Christ’s divinity.” in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 40/2 (June 1997). Gregory Palamas and the Orthodox Tradition. notes that in the burgeoning “seeker church” movement in the United States connected with the Willow Creek Association. 75. (Eerdmans.105.

a pastor at Willow Creek. 174.S. Bill Hybels. (Macmillan. 62 Hieromonk Damascene. “Introduction. qtd. Seeking the Secret Place. “Membership. 52 Sayer. Mary: The Untrodden Portal of God. 38 Urban T.S. Some contemporary Protestant writers who are attracted to the idea of deification have not yet understood the sacramental life as essential in the way that Lewis did. p. (St. The Screwtape Letters. 30 36 C. p. Ode IV). 142. p. Jack. Lewis. 222. 1963). 157 41 Mantzaridis. 44 Mere Christianity. in Seeking the Secret Place. in Leech. p. p. (Zephyr. in George S. Experiencing God: Theology as Spirituality.” in The Weight of Glory. (Harcourt. 65. Lewis. Lewis. Lewis.S. For example. 87. p. 1996). p. 72). 59 Dorsett. feelings of personal well-being that come from knowing that one is making God happy. and Sayer. 258. 63 C. p. 48 “A Slip of the Tongue. 65 C. p. 39 “He alone is known in two essences: as incarnate God and transcendent man” (The Octoechos. p.” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses. 47 Ware. 102. Lewis. 140. Also. 176. A History of Christian Spirituality. “Under the Russian Cross: A Research Note on C. creating an interesting parallel to forensic notions of redemption in which God is affected by the passion more than human nature itself. 30. Gabriel.” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses. (Harcourt. 1990). 42 Lossky. Holmes. 60 Ibid. 62.” Philokalia. 40 C. 43 “On Spiritual Knowledge and Discrimination. 51 See Dorsett.” A Christian for All Christians. in Sargeant. For example. 253. 54 C.S. Lewis. 109. The Deification of Man. See also chapter 13 in The Great Divorce. p. one who defends deification nonetheless argues that a “weakness” of traditional deification doctrine is “a heavy emphasis upon the sacraments as the primary means of theosis” (Rakestraw. 58 Ibid. 417. p. p. 210. “If you make a covenant with the Lord [to take communion]. 66 67 . p. explores Lewis’s prayer life particularly in chapters 2 and 3. “A Slip of the Tongue.S. 53 Andrew Walker. 130. No. p. 267). 1942).S. p. 37 Qtd.S. pp. p. Tone IV. p. The Problem of Pain.” St. 45 C. 25. your covenant moves me. 1957). p.. “The Sunrise of the East: From Eastern Religions to Eastern Orthodoxy. Lewis.S. p. Dorsett. The Church of the Eastern Christians. said in one of his messages that. p. 176. p.S. 142. 2005). The emphasis is thus placed upon change in God rather than change in human persons. “Transposition.S. p. 49 Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer. The Orthodox Church. 54 57 C.S. 9. p. Vladimir’s. VIII. Thanks for caring enough about me to remember me once a month’” (qtd. p. I think you’re going to sense smiles from Heaven. Lewis. 46 Mere Christianity. 64 C. Lewis. Seeking the Secret Place. 65.S. p. “The Weight of Glory. 1996).Road to Emmaus Vol. 61 Ibid. 226. Orthodox Sunday Matins. I think God’s going to say ‘That means a lot to me. In the Image and Likeness of God. 12.” The Weight of Glory. 416. 37.” The Orthodox Word (No. Lewis. p. 55 56 C. Mere Christianity. p. Lewis and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Till We Have Faces. Lewis. 55 Nicolas Zernov. 190. On the Incarnation.” p. Mere Christianity. (Hodder & Stoughton. Athanasius. 50 C. 2 (#29) SHINE AS THE SUN 35 C. Jack. The Magician’s Nephew. where Lewis calls freedom a “deeper truth” than universalism and predestination. p. 86-88.

This isn’t a bad thing. and when thou hast shut thy door. but you will walk and sleep in the presence of God.” but you are to be very steadfast. but to God’s grace. will partake of the spiritual world. Unceasing prayer may have no words. and that 68 W Warm. You are not to admit invaders into your heart. you will find that your fevered mind is soothed. Artemy Vladimirov. humble manner. What does it mean to have your mind in your heart? It means that you are to control your feelings. but it’s a dead thing. In these ten minutes. warmed by prayer to God. To have your mind in your heart is exactly what our Lord prescribes to us in His commandment: When thou prayest. not to your piety. Just walk in the presence of God. If you want to calm your mind and ease your heart. You pray. and concentrated. try calling instead on the most holy name of Jesus Christ. If you make progress in this humble prayer. When we pray we should not admit feelings of lust or open our hearts to the snake of irritation. enter into thy closet. humble. “Oh. but are to check your heart with your mind. to observe everything that takes place there. it is not so important whether you are “a monk or a drunk. without haste and with only one intent: to attract His attention and repent of your sins. your heart has begun to say other prayers in a manner that satisfies you. It is the kingdom of God Almighty and of nothing else. we are to rid ourselves of everything that is unpleasant. Try taking a walk for ten minutes as you invoke His miracle-working name. You will come to understand what attentive prayer is. and you will see spiritual profit. but as you walk and pray. Lord Jesus Christ. To have your mind in your heart is to control the space of your heart. that the noisy bazaar of your thoughts has become light. mild. to cleanse your heart and sanctify the space of your life by invoking His name. Begin in a simple. you breathe. attentive. so your heart. In saying the Jesus Prayer. We don’t know how God cleanses our heart by His name. What does it mean to shut the door? It means to banish every earthly image or passion with the concentration of your mind and will. knowing that this tradition has been sanctified by generations of saints. succinct suggestions on making the prayer of the heart come alive from Moscow pastor.” You may even do this somewhat mechanically. clear. Fr. this is your aim. but you will never be at peace. you will begin to understand that this commandment is very complete. Just as you view the objects of this world with open eyes.N O T E S O N T H E J E S U S P R AY E R NOTES ON THE JESUS PRAYER e very much pity those Orthodox Christians who think that the best rest for their exhausted soul is to watch television news. try not to think of anything else. you are not just repeating empty words. pray to thy Father who is in secret…”. and direct. 69 . have mercy on me a sinner. and that your heart has been created for ceaseless prayer. Your heart will be filled with a spiritual warmth that embraces the center of your feelings. Ceaseless prayer is not a perpetual repetition of this or that word or phrase. The Holy Fathers say that it is the feeling of your heart. you speak to God. but we believe that He does so in a supernatural way. To stand before the face of God. This will be due. perhaps. You may spend all of the earthly time you have been allotted with such distractions.

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