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On Acquisition of the Holy Spirit Church. Aim of Life Rosary. Eucharistic Prayer

Church. The Bride of the Lamb
In the works of Vladimir Lossky

Multitude of created hypostases

The Holy Spirit becomes the source of personal deification.

If we consider St. Paul’s image of the union of Christ and His Church – the image of the union of the bride and bridegroom – it would appear that Christ is the head of His body, head of the Church, in the same sense in which the husband is the head of the single, unique body of the man and the woman in marriage – οἱ δύο εἰς σάρκα μίαν (Eph. 5:31). In this mysterious union – τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο μέγα ἐστίν, says St. Paul – the one body, the nature common to two persons, receives the hypostasis of the Bridegroom: the Church is ‘the Church of Christ’. But it does not cease to be the other person in this union, subjected to the Bridegroom, distinct from Him as bride. In the Song of Songs, as in other passages of the Old Testament which, according to the Fathers, express the union of Christ and His Church under the image of fleshly union, the bride necessarily possesses personal characteristics; she is a person, loved by the Bridegroom and reciprocating His love. The question must needs arise – who is this other person, this person of the Church, distinct from the person of her Head? Who is the bride in this union ‘in one flesh’ – ἐις σάρκα μίαν? What is the Church’s own hypostasis? Certainly not the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit. As we saw in the last chapter, the Holy Spirit – unlike the Son – does not in His personal coming bestow upon the Church His hypostasis: He remains hidden, unrevealed. He hides Himself, identifying Himself, so to speak, with the human persons upon whom He confers a second nature–deity, the deifying energies. He becomes the source of personal deification, of the uncreated treasure in each person. He brings to each person its ultimate perfection, but He does not become the person of the Church. The Holy Spirit does not contain within Himself the human hypostases – as Christ contains the nature – but gives Himself separately to each person. The Church, then, in its own being, considered as the bride of Christ, would thus appear as a multitude of created hypostases. The hypostases of the one nature of the Church are human persons. That is why, in their commentaries on the Song of Songs, the Fathers see in the figure of the Bride not only the Church but also every person entering into union with God. But, as St. Paul says: μέγα ἐατίν – ‘this is a great mystery’. It belongs to the age to come, when the Church will be perfected in the Holy Spirit, when created nature and uncreated fullness will be united in human persons who will become deified human hypostases, in the face of Christ, the incarnate divine Hypostasis.

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