The Mystery of Kingdom and the eschatological dimension of virtue in the texts of St Basil the Great

10 July 2014

In St. Basil the Great’s view, dogma is not the theoretical part of Christian teaching, and virtue is not the practical part of it, but virtue is the living of dogma. By addressing the relationship between Orthodox Eschatology and virtue in the present paper, we will see that they are not only having a very tight relationship, but also that virtue itself has an eschatological dimension. The fact that contemplation of the rationalities of God from creation is the spring of virtue and at the same time, is both sight of God and participation to Kingdom is the leading reason of the fact mentioned above. This contemplation would have led Adam to partaking of the Tree of Life. Also contemplation now is, after Resurrection, our rational sacrifice that we bring into the Holy Liturgy, receiving the Bread of Life in exchange. The Christian virtue is the possibility to participate to the Mystery of Kingdom, to the Holy Liturgy, which thus coincide with cultivating of the inner Kingdom. All these lead us to the conclusion that Orthodox Eschatology does not deal with the juridical outlook which states that only after death the worker of virtue will enjoy the happiness promised by God. For St Basil the Great the virtue itself is this very happiness, which when foretasting it as a handsel, calls us and gives us strength to learn new levels of virtue and happiness.