Noetic Faculty

The energy of the mind inside the heart

In the patristic tradition the heart is the center of our self-awareness. This self-awareness is the energy of the mind inside the heart, something the holy fathers referred to as our “noetic faculty”. There is an important distinction that must be noted concerning the difference between the Western and Eastern understands of how we come to know God. The scholastic approach that places emphasis on the use of logic and reason in the acquisition of the knowledge of God, as seen in the teachings of Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas, is unknown in the East.

The Ancient Church taught that knowledge of God comes only through the noetic science of the heart. From the standpoint of Orthodox theology, the mind and logic are not the same thing, since logic functions within the brain, while the mind functions within the heart. Thus, the noetic faculty of the heart is the energy of the mind inside the heart. This important distinction results in the Eastern Church seeing herself not as a religious institution, but rather a hospital of the soul, wherein one comes for therapeutic procedures that restore the health of the soul, and allow for the ultimate goal of union with God (theosis). For those who wish further understanding of these ancient Christian teaching, the writings of my favorite modern theologian, Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, are a worthy read.

It is within the life of the Church that we enter into ascetic struggle, “working out”, just as an athlete, through fasting and prayer, and the reception of the Holy Mysteries (Holy Communion), in order to be made well. We are restored to health within the walls of this hospital of the soul, the Church, and trained to this athletic/ascetic dimension of living.

Our mishandling of the memory of God that led to the fall, is now corrected and reactivated through the healing of the “nous” (the eye of the soul), and that memory is restored. This memory is not the reclamation of something of an historical nature, but rather the opening up of a knowledge that has always been there. This healing is not of a juridical nature whereby an angry God has decided to overlook the evil and fallen nature of our souls by the bloodletting of His Son, but by the cleansing of the nous that has been darkened, restoring us to health and wholeness. The memory of God is thus restored, and we are again in full communion with the Most High, freed from the permanency of death by the trampling down of the power of death through Christ’s Holy Resurrection.

The purpose of the Church’s presence in the world is for the cure of humankind, and the restoration of the hearts of men and women. The Church thus functions as a therapy centered hospital, and the priests function as therapists. This Divine-human Organism is the living Body of Christ, the Church, and is life itself. The healing of the nous that comes within the life of the Church returns us to our true nature. In this state of wholeness our faculties are able to use logic and reason as it was meant to be used. Our reason and logic becomes the rightful vehicle by which we can explore the universe, and behold all that God has created, and science, nature, and even the cosmos, can be seen in the light of a heart is the center of our self-awareness.

Love in Christ,
Abbot Tryphon

Monday June 17, 2019 / June 4, 2019
Day Of the Holy Spirit. Tone seven.
Fast-free Week. Fast-free
“Tupichevsk” and “Cyprus” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (movable holiday on the Day Of the Holy Spirit).
St. Metrophanes, first patriarch of Constantinople (325).
New Hieromartyr Peter priest (1918).
New Martyrs: Archbishop Andronicus of Perm (1918) and Archbishop Basil of Chernigov (1918).
New Hieromartyr George priest (1941).
Joanikije Lipovac, Metropolitan of Montenegro (1945) (Serbia)
Uncovering of the relics of Hieromartyr Peter, archbishop of Voronezh (1999).
Venerable Methodius, abbot of Peshnosha (1392), disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh.
Martyrs Frontasius, Severinus, Severian, and Silanus of Gaul (1st c.).
Martyr Concordius of Spoleto (175).
Hieromartyr Astius, bishop of Dyrrachium in Macedonia (110).
Venerable Zosimas of Cilicia, bishop of New Babylon (Egypt) (6th c.).
Hieromartyr Ioannicus, metropolitan of Montenegro and Littoral (1945).
Sts. Mary and Martha, sisters of St. Lazarus (1st c.).
Venerables Eleazar and Nazarius, wonderworkers of Olonets (15th c.).
Venerable Sophia of Thrace (10th-11th c.).
Venerable  John, abbot of Monagria near Cyzicus (761).
Venerable Alonius of Scete in Egypt (5th c.).
St. Titus, bishop of Byzantium (3rd c.).
Hieromartyr Apotacius and Martyrs Camarus, Zoticus, Gaddanus, Ninnitus, Julius, Attalus, Eutyches, Amasus, Carinus, Saturninus and 30 others, beheaded at Noviodunum in Scythia Minor (320).
St. Optatus, bishop of Milevum in Numidia (376).
St. Petroc of Cornwall (594) (Celtic & British).

The Scripture Readings

Ephesians 5:9-19

9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”

Walk in Wisdom

15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

Matthew 18:10-20

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. 11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

12 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? 13 And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Dealing with a Sinning Brother

15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like aheathen and a tax collector.

18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very. Rev. Abbot Tryphon All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington. The Monastery is under the omophore of The Most Rev. Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America, of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Situated in the heart of a beautiful forest, surrounded by the Salish Sea, the monastery is reached by ferry from either Seattle, or Tacoma, Washington.

One comment:

  1. Father Abott. I truly appreciate your writings and knowing you you and the Monks are so appreciated
    Take care of you like me don’t forget your medicacations. I will be 80 this full.
    Ma y blessings as you are that blessing from
    Nayaswami Swarupananda Warren
    email hidden; JavaScript is required

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