"Behold, I make all things new!" --Rev. 21:5
At the center of Christian faith and at the very heart of Orthodox spirituality, the proclamation of the Resurrection, whose promise is realized with the sending of the Spirit, is the living source of the Church's confession of faith. In this book, His Beatitude, Patriarch Ignatius IV offers a meditation on salvation offered to man by the resurrected Christ and the Holy Spirit, in whom all things are created anew.
In the words of the author, the surprising affirmation, "Behold, I make all things new," is "not to be relegated into the future beyond history; it reveals the new world which, starting from the present, enters into the sphere of our own temporal order. The dramatic tension in which we are living, therefore, is not situated between a conceptual transcendence and a phenomenal immanence; it is located between two levels of time: this present age which is both dialogical and diabolical; and the new time which is 'parousial' and which renders this present age 'paschal.'"
Baptism, says Patriarch Ignatius, is the sacrament which renews us and brings us into the new Creation, precisely because it brings us into the communion of the Church. This awareness, he says, "should lead us, in our inter-Church relations, to re-center everything on the Church as the great sacrament, and to search all the more vigorously for ways to overcome the divisions which still exists in our communion of faith. It is up to us whether the New Creation remains hidden and meaningless, or whether it deifies man and transfigures the world. Such is our responsibility in the quest for authentic renewal."
The Author:Ignatius IV, Patriarch of Antioch, is one of the Presidents of the World Council of Churches. A graduate of St Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris, he served for many years as Dean of the Orthodox Theological Seminary in Balamand, Lebanon. As one of the founders of the very active Orthodox Youth Movement (MJO) of Lebanon and Syria, he helped organize and lead the renewal of church life in the patriarchate of Antioch.