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. , Fr.

Mark Munoz
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Rochester ,
Mayo Clinic Philoxenia House

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1 Chadwick, 1993: 75.


2 Ibid.
3 Ibid., 76. The term that I was aware of in Greek was Pro Cristou Agioiwhich is what
the Church bases its avocations for its admiration of the teachings of Plato and Socrates. In
fact, the monastery of Dionysiou in Mount Athos has iconographies of both philosophers with
halos, as in any typical saint who was canonized.
4 Ibid.

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5 Geanakoplos, 1984: 393.
6 Loukatos, 1967: 1.



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7 Ibid., 23

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8 Ibid.,
9 Mihail, 1972: 338.
10 Cavarnos, 1968: 23.
11 Loukatos, 1967: 4.



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12 Manuel, 1989: 1.
13 Ibid., 23.

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14 Loukatos, 1967: 8. Translation is mine. The early Christian Church even used ancient
ohilosophy to secure Christian dogma in some cases. The most vivid example can be witnessed
during the iconoclastic controversy of the eighteenth century. This was a controversy involving
the Churchs doctrine and its acceptance of the veneration of icons. Many Christians, who
were later condemned as heretical, believed that when one kisses or prays to an icon it is no
different than the worship of idols. In iconoclastic belief, it was necessary for an icon, or image
to be the same essence of that, which it was a representation of. Obviously, this could not be
possible due to the inanimate properties of the icon (wood , paint, etc.) The defenders of the
icons used a Platonic argument to illustrate their point. The relationship of the icon to its model
can be compared to that of the object to the Platonic idea, so that the respect rendered to the
icon is transferred to the image depicted, whether it be Christ, the Virgin Mary, or a Saint.



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Saint

Denis,


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(817 - 897),

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15 Krikonis, 1991: 33.

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Now, for the last 15 mins or so a GREEK Orthodox priest has
been addressing you in GREEK on the occasion of GREEK
Letters in the presence of GREEK Orthodox faithfulyet, I am
not Greek. I am not pretending to be something that I am not,
neither am I adopting a surrogate culture. I am quite proud of
my last name, and I cherish my Latino culture y tambien hablo
espanol perfectamente bien!

Why and how is it then that I

stand before you this afternoon? I believe His Eminence wanted


the entirety of my keynote address to answer this particular
questionhowever,

it

was

not

out

of

disobedience

or

indiff erence that I chose not to dedicate a signifi cant amount of


time to this themebut rather out of necessity. The answer to
the question I posed is as simple as it is utterly profound. As a
non-Greek Orthodox priest in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
of America I made it a priority from the very beginning of my
conversion to study, experience, and implement the humanistic
virtues and ideologies of ancient Greece precisely because they
encompass the same comprehensive transformation of the total
human personan anthropological concept perfected and fully
realized within a salvifi c relationship with the God-man Jesus
Christ Himself.

To quote a leading Patristic theologian the

American born Fr Maximos of Simonopetra Monastery on Mt


Athos:
The teachings of the Three Hierarchs derived from the Bible and the
Greek classics, because the object of both is the formation of the
perfect human person, indeed the salvation, the theosis, of the human
being. The Greek philosophers emphasized virtue, spiritual freedom,
character. People like the Three Church Fathers brought together the
best of antiquity with the best of the new faith. They brought about
the synthesis of Hellenic-Christian civilization.

In brief, the

educational ideal of the Greek and Christian heritage is the


development of the human being into a cultivated person possessing
faith in a core of values and a persistent eff ort to apply them in
everyday life until the ikon of the god-man Christ, the theanthropos,
is formed in him.

It is my prayer that this reality of the perfect ikon of Christ be


cultivated in us all , through prayers of our Holy Fathers and
the Three Hierarchs. Amen. Thank you for your attention.