Agouridis Savvas (ed), What is the Church, Thessaloniki Theologians’ Seminar no. 3 (reprinted from the journal “Gregorios Palamas”, issue 606-607 of year 1968), Thessaloniki 1968, 126 pages.
The 3rd volume of the “Thessaloniki Theologians’ Seminar” contains 7 presentations which refer to the Church, its nature and its substance, examining its various aspects.
Before the presentations there is an introduction by Savvas Agouridis, who briefly broaches the more substantial problems which modern Ecclesiology is called upon to deal with.
Damianos Doikos presents the Church in the Old Testament as a reality and a fore-image. The analysis of the matter is conducted under the method of systematic discussion of relevant material, structured under one or certain basic theological principles. The Old Testament presents the Church itself, with its strength, its basic characteristics, its relationship with the World and finally its glory.
Ioannis Karavidopoulos examines the nature and substance of the Church as presented in the New Testament. The first part of the presentation looks at the historic origin of the Church and Jesus’ relationship with it. The second part presents basic characteristics of the Church as they appear in the New Testament, particularly through the various images and qualifications contained in it.
Fr. Symeon Kragiopoulos deals with the issue of the Holy Trinity and Church relationship. The theme’s entire discussion is on the basis of New Testament and Patristic theology, as well as views of modern theologians. Particularly, he examines issues of the Church in Father God’s Design, Christ and the Church, the Holy Spirit and the Church, the Holy Trinity and the Church.
Fr. Stylianos Charkianakis looks at the content of the conscience of the Church and how this relationship is expressed in connection to the infallibility of the Church. In this framework he researches on the one hand the way of existence of true spirit of the Church as awareness and on the other the real expression instrument of the latter in conjunction with the function of infallibility.
Prodromos Akanthopoulos looks at the concept of the Church according to the Sacred Canons and official interpretations. Initially he examines what we call the Church according to Sacred Canons, while he places particular emphasis on the concept of the Church as a gathering of faithful, ecclesiastical meeting and the like. This constitutes a departure point to examine Canonically membership of the Church, what is its aim and means available for their attainment.
Konstantinos Papoulidis presents views of 19th century Russian theologians about the Church, since he considers that the ecclesiology of this period is representative of modern Russian theological thought. In this framework he discusses the ecclesiology of the Metropolitan of Moscow Philaretos, views of the so-called Historical School, of the slavophones and the ecclesiology of “Sobornost”, the resonance of the A’ Vatican Convocation in Russia and finally the so-called mystagogic ecclesiology.
The last text in this volume is by Mr. Nikolaos Matsoukas who offers a synoptic view of the ecclesiastical problem as described by WCC resolutions in New Delhi, and the Constitutio dogmatica de Ecclesia and the Decretum de Oecumensmo of the B’ Vatican Convocation which reflects ecclesiastical changes in Protestantism and the Roman Catholic Church.