Catechesis or knowledge: premises of St. Gregory Palama’s theology for a genuine understanding of catechesis with an hesychastic valence

23 December 2015

The challenge of the contemporary catechesis as it is approached by the patristic theology is extremely important: The Triads of Saint Gregory Palamas suggest a vivid theology which cannot go without the hesychast experiences, results of the ascetical life. The unity of the theological knowledge is represented, in fact, by the unity of the hesychast living on its whole. The legitimate demands of Varlaam, in a field totally alien to his skills, are a pattern for the way the modern catechesis should react with regard to the adaptability requests. The Dionysian concept of `unity` can be seen along the entire defensive Palamite work. The knowledge of God is a unitary act, which moves from multiplicity to unity, not by acquiring multiplicity, but overcoming it in a transcendental way. On a contrary way, Varlaam, the great rival of the Palamite theology, considered the results of the philosophical knowledge to be gleams of the eternal judgments existing within the divine mind. Saint Gregory Palamas is categorical in this sense: the human judgment can stray from its verticality and congruency with its simple truths. The demand of establishing any kind of catechesis on answers regarding firstly the scientific primary truth `area` and, then, the truths resulted from the confessional knowledge is a premise which cannot form the base of a real catechetical itinerary.