As an outsider, I think the following thought was one of the most remarkable revelations to me when I really encountered Orthodox Christianity. The first part, I think, is easily understood by most, but it is the second part that is surprising and also makes a lot of sense.
We take the Church, our spiritual lives, and our doctrine extremely seriously, and yet the Orthodox phronema is essentially relaxed. It is not rigid, not demanding, not stressed, but calm. Anxiety and obsessiveness are qualities of the world, but our relationship with Christ results in freedom and inner peace. This is reflected in our phronema.1
Thinking Orthodox: Understanding and Acquiring the Orthodox Christian Mind, Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou
Phronema is a Greek term that is used in Orthodox theology to refer to mindset or outlook; it is the Orthodox mind.↩︎
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