Αλέξανδρος Μ. Σταυρόπουλος

Αλέξανδρος Μ. Σταυρόπουλος
Αλέξανδρος Μ. Σταυρόπουλος, ο Ποιμαντικός Θεολόγος.

Γενικά εισαγωγικά:

Ο Αλέξανδρος Μ. Σταυρόπουλος είναι ομότιμος καθηγητής στο Τμήμα Κοινωνικής Θεολογίας της Θεολογικής Σχολής του Πανεπιστημίου Αθηνών. Σπούδασε Θεολογία στην Αθήνα, Πρακτική Θεολογία στο Erlangen (Γερμανία), Οικογενειακές Επιστήμες και Ψυχολογία στη Louvrain (Βέλγιο). Είναι διδάκτωρ Θεολογίας, διδάκτωρ Οικογενειακών Επιστημών και ψυχολόγος. Έχει διδάξει μεταξύ άλλων τα μαθήματα: της Ποιμαντικής, της Ποιμαντικής Γάμου και Οικογενείας, της Συμβουλευτικής Ποιμαντικής και της Εισαγωγής στην Ψυχολογία. Τα τελευταία χρόνια, οι ερευνητικές του προσπάθειες επικεντρώνονται στις σχέσεις Θεολογίας και Επιστημών του ανθρώπου, ιδιαίτερα της Ψυχολογίας, των Οικογενειακών Επιστημών και της Βιοηθικής με στόχο την οικοδόμηση μιας Ποιμαντικής Ανθρωπολογίας του Γάμου, της Οικογένειας και των Φύλων, η οποία συνιστά την αφετηρία για μία ορθή διαποίμανση του εν συζυγία ανθρώπου.

Σάββατο, 27 Οκτωβρίου 2012

Family and family life education between tradition and modernisation in contemporary Greece etc


Alexander Μ. Stavropoulos
Professor of the University
οf Athens

Family and family life education between tradition and modernisation in contemporary Greece

1 Contemporary Society and Family in Greece

1.1 Characteristic Transformations of Actual Greek Society

Greece belongs to a complex of countries which have experienced, during the last 60 years and especially after World War II, deep social, economic, cultural changes and transformations.


The country's structure is changing in many ways and these changes influence and act on the institutions as well as on individuals, mainly because these changes come about rapidly, thus creating, during an initial period, relative unbalance and stress.
Α fundamental characteristic is the country's urbanisation. The rural, peasant, population is diminishing quite rapidly and it already includes people who do not earn a living by agriculture. This part of the population has already accepted the way of life of urban centres.
The development of the road network and the increasing number of cars has helped the population's mobility with incessant moving, internal and external migrations, and tourism - whether native or foreign. This mobility is linked to the increase of employment and important increases in income. Women's entrance into professional employment also added to the working potential and incomes. Consequently the country, by its industrialisation has now entered the process of producing and consuming a great number of goods.
Greek society has followed the Western model of affluent and consuming societies. This can be assessed by a rapid look at Greek television with its exorbitant number of advertisements.

 

Thus we come to another important element of actual Greek society the prevalence, all over the country, of the mass media. As well as the beneficial influence television can have on the people another phenomenon has appeared - we are being made the receptor of the transmission and public projection of the pluralism of values now existing in the country. This does not mean that in older times there was an absolute homogeneity of cultural characteristics and a total absence of pluralism. It was, however, latent. Actually television especially (and other media) project and advertise strongly international models and ways of life. With the preference for foreign models and values, and the unfortunate mimetic character of the Greek people¸ we are in danger of adopting foreign ways, undoubtedly not the best of them, and denying traditional secular models. There are not a few among us, who with the pretext of our entrance into the European Economic Community, tend to "transform" ourselves, to lose so to speak our physiognomy, becoming more "common marketers" than its actual members. Α friend of Greece, a foreigner, Jacques Lacarrière, says in on interview: … "Greece has undergone the influence of the Western World much more in its defects than in its gifts; it has shouldered more of Europe's problems than of its good sides …".

Of course, the touristic orientation of Greece has played no small part. Lacarrière has pointed out: "What really impressed me is the exaggerated importance given to tourism by the country's life; this tends to transform completely the life of small communities. The problem of tourism, for a small country like Greece, is to achieve selling its sun without selling its soul."

Ι would like to add some more points concerning the nature of Greek society's transformations. First a particular characteristic of the contemporary Greek citizen which is his extreme sensitivity to whatever he considers his rights as a citizen and his claims to them. Linked to this we have the actual revision of many parts of the existing jurisdiction by state institutions following the pressure from various social groups and the tendency towards the creation of a State of Justice. Last Ι would point out that the State has undertaken an educational task for larger strata of the Greek population (for instance in what concerns issues of public health; this task is linked to a series of recent laws).

1.2 Characteristics of the Actual Greek Family

Obviously, all these transformations and these new situations mentioned have not left the institution of marriage and the family unchanged. Unfortunately, the phenomenon "modern Greek family" has not been sufficiently examined scientifically so as to permit us to make precise and necessary correlations between the social transformations and their influence on family life and human relations and to pinpoint the factors that have led to the new types of family. We can, however, rapidly revise the characteristics of this new family.

The Greek family has changed in size; it is smaller and the type of "conjugal family" has prevailed, consisting of two generations (parents and children). The extended family appears less often. Birth rates are decreasing and the country faces a slight demographic problem owing to the population’s decline, similar to the problem faced by other European countries. The decline of the population is conscious and planned; couples control their fecundity, even by abortion methods. Parallel to this, there is a decline in the mortality rate - that is untimely deaths. This has led to the increase of the life of the family - nearly doubling from 20 to 40 years if we consider that marriages are now contracted at younger ages. Marriage rates have also increased, that is the number of marriages per l.000 inhabitants of marrying age, by comparison to pre-war rates. Furthermore the frequency of marriages has increased. While we have increased divorce rates we also have second marriages of divorced people (2.5% of the total of contracted marriages).

Something more which is impressive is the shifting of roles inside the family. Parental roles have been limited a great deal, compared to older times - on the other hand the conjugal role is extended which means that as persons are now marrying at about the age of 25, this role will be extended for about 50 years. Who, however, has prepared these people for such a long period of life together? The functions of the family have dwindled - many have been undertaken by the State or other agents. The weight of the family is concentrated on the affective ties of its members.

Another observed phenomenon is that of families which consist of one parent - more frequently the mother than the father - living alone with his or her child or children. There are divorced or unmarried mothers. Another recent phenomenon is that of families consisting of grandparents living with their grandchildren, the parents having emigrated to Western Europe, particularly West Germany.

Finally we have the cases of unmarried couples who live together owing To the impossibility for one or both to get a divorce and contract a new marriage. In many cases these "illegal" couples have children and create new families. Many of these belong to the category of long-time separated individuals who have abandoned the previous conjugal roof and await the "automatic" dissolution of their first marriage after the lapse of some years. One can also include in these free cohabitations many student couples however the marriage of students increases every year as the prolongation of the years of studies makes legalisation of these relationships necessary.


 

 

 


2. Tension between Traditional and Modern Family

Continuing this introduction it would be useful to pinpoint the meaning given by young people to the traditional forms of family life and in particular the forms prevailing in the Church's domain. How do they interpret these forms and what is their criticism of them? Are there any theological, pastoral and educational guidelines we could propose which could help out churches in their pastoral activities with and for the family? Ι will attempt to propose some answers following these problems.

2.1 Questioning of the Traditional Forms of Family Life by Young People

The questioning of the acceptability by modern individuals of the models offered by the church for marriage and the family is more and more frequent. The demand for modernising traditional ecclesiastical forms is imperative. Many young people could maintain that the text concerning the church's position on marriage, that is the wedding service, bears no spiritual relation to them. The church, with this text, tries to transmit an old-fashioned image of the family structure - a rural, patriarchal model. This model is linked to by-gone forms of socio-economic organisation. Such anachronistic models are not only present in the ecclesiastical texts concerning marriage and the family. They are found in all the moments of the church's life - in her texts and symbols, the images accompanying them (hymnology, lives of the Saints, illustrations, holy canons, etc.). Furthermore they are to be found repeated in more recent texts sent by the church concerning her view in circulars, festive letters, answers to definite questions etc.

However by this stereotyped transmission of outdated models without the necessary critical re-adaptation, the church finally loses her chance to gain contact with young or older people who are sensitized essentially to the issues of love, sex, relationships, marriage and the family.

At this point it would probably be timely to observe whether these criticisms are not the fruit of a stereotyped, indiscriminately repeated conception of the church's teaching on family marriage and the traditional models.

This observation does certainly not have an apologetic character or one of defence of the seemly traditional against the seemly modern or modernised. It originates much more from a disposition towards self-awareness and research of the identity of ecclesiastic teachings on marriage and the family.

2.2 Avoiding Perilous Identifications

It would be amiss to identify the traditional family, which is the family that stems from tradition, with the orthodox family, which closely follows the Orthodox Church’s conception of marriage and the family. It is however nearly certain that the Greek traditional family has been imbued with the help of the church, by the orthodox truths and has shown it. Equally amiss would it be, if we identified the actual-modern with the orthodox family. The modern family in this transitional period it is experiencing in an ever-changing society, might project demands or achievements which can find foundation and legitimation in the spirit of Gospel and Christian tradition. Such demands might be man/woman equality in wedlock, free sharing and expressing love between consorts and the rest of the family, the concern of parents for their children, a just distribution of duties, rights and roles inside the family.

This new concept of the relationship between the sexes may not be due to any Christian inspiration or motivation. One cannot however ignore this positive evolution. Realising these aims inside a modern family will not automatically make it Christian or Orthodox.

What however can be done is to ignore the qualitative change of these two notions: the traditional and the modern family. As such they are neither positive nor negative. Undoubtedly there should be a fuller and analytical description of the characteristics of each type of family (structural, functional, etc.). We would most certainly ascertain a certain degree of tension between the traditional and the modern family which is merely the stamp and the transfer of the existing tension between traditional and modern society.

Traditional family presents itself as tested by the passing of time, structurally crystallized, functionally adequate in the framework of a traditional society.

Modern family is undergoing a period of transition in the framework of a rapidly changing society. The roles of the members of a traditional family and its functions are under constant revision and see themselves transferred to other institutions and organisms. The roles and functions of the modern family are in search of new forms and contents and are characterized by a relative plasticity and suppleness - also by uncertainty.

We must however guard ourselves against separating in an absolute manner the traditional and the modern family. Many functions of the family that presents a "modern" facade also characterize traditional families (for instance the role of the wife as advisor of the husband). Other phenomena which we had hoped would disappear in contemporary times appear quite frequently in the modern family, for instance the ill-treatment of women and children.

What however is urgent in my opinion concerning the aforementioned problems of the young is to see whether this questioning of the church's family models is just or not. To do this a catharsis of the conception that many have of the traditional Greek family, when identified with the Christian Orthodox conception is necessary. This will help to clarify what is particular to the Christian Orthodox tradition on the subject and therefore transmissible by the channels of education and what is cultural, temporal and therefore not transmissible, at least as Orthodoxy is concerned.

It is, for instance, inadmissible to project or to transmit as a Christian Orthodox idea, the figure of the paterfamilias -padre padrone- when the authentic father model is still that of the pluri-dimensional God-Father "from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its true name" (Eph. 3, l5). The examples can be multiplied: we shall give one more, stressing that it is not possible to give the man-head of the family as a model to imitate without evangelical criteria, that is, without giving him a series of characteristic elements and actions that would bring him close to the head of the Church Christ (Eph. 5, 21-33). Another untimely identification would be that of the authoritarian upbringing and slavish submission of children, with a Christian conception and an example to be imitated in intra-generational relationships. On the contrary, the fact that the church emancipates young people since early age towards its manifestations, confession, monastic life, etc., makes us revise the prevailing opinion that ecclesiastic education is identified with unreasonable discipline, lack of freedom, coercion.

The sense of responsibility with which the church considers children in such issues, could lead to useful thoughts and decisions for the transfer of such attitudes to other sectors of upbringing, especially in the family, which suffers from the over-protective attitude of parents towards their children with its well-known consequences.


 

 

 

 

 

 

2.3 Overcoming the Tension

Α third kind of tension appears in family education. It results from the concentration of the tension between traditional and modern society inside the family itself. Family education is actually the field of numerous tensions and clashes.

The questions are inexorable and implacable:
(a) Which type of family is out young going to have to prepare themselves for?
(b) What roles will its members play?
(c) What will its aims be?
(d) What will be the essence, the methods and the agents of family education?

The church, even the family, are accepted by society as agents or will there be others, such as ideologies, political parties, school, which will undertake education responsibility, under the condition, of course, that we will not witness the burial service of the family following the obituary so many people hurry to announce?

The answers to these questions depend on the reflections and explanations that took place in the previous discussion on traditional/modern family, the point where they converge, their rupture, as related to the Orthodox conception of marriage and the family. This point of converging, this rupture, is where we have to look for the transcending of the polarisation and tension between the traditional and the modern family, by searching for what is essential and actual hic et nunc, with the biblical conception of time as kairos. This point can be found in the framework of a dynamic model of marriage and family, the model of the "little church" structured on the dimensions of the large church. The family, as a "little church" will be transformed into a transfigurated family, just as the church is transformed into a transfigurated world, a sign of God's reign, a space decorated with older and recent treasures belonging there (Matthew l3, 52).

The existence of such a model which would bar any change a priori, will help us to avoid the temptation of subjugating modern marriage and family and to protect the education by a "model of traditional Orthodox family education". Such a model does obviously not exist and it would be hazardous to look for it. In fact there would be the risk of forcing on family life out prefabricated moulds, thus taking away much of it diversity and freshness.

To develop a dynamic model of Orthodox family and family life education, the approach of traditional family life with its diversities would help a lot. It would be also helpful the thought that the other way of Christian life, virginity, has many forms and ways of exercise. Here too, in marriage, what stands out is the diversity in the ways of activating the gifts and viewing marriage itself as a gift (charisma). This conception urges on the creative development of gifts and talents in this direction.

3 Challenges of the l980s towards the Church
This diversity in the forms of marriage, this pluralism of structures and functions of family life which Christian couples and the church are called upon to realise creatively, are going to face the ideological pluralism we have already mentioned as a characteristic of modern Greek society. The efforts made in the framework of Christian churches will have, or should have, as a basic condition "the same spirit of faith" (cf. 2 Cor. 4, l3) which will constitute the specific difference towards these "challenges" from society to the field of marriage and the family.


Α first challenge will be the instituting of civil marriage. This will create a distance from the religious conception of marriage and the family. It may be that the number of free cohabiting couples will increase with a contract of indeterminate time or with time limits. It is possible that we shall not reach the point of legal cover for, let us say, five-year marriage contracts. Surely however there will be time limits for a de facto trial marriage for the definitive conclusion of cohabitation, or the officialisation of a relationship.
The dimension of time, related to space will have an essential role in the arrangement of marriage. We have already mentioned time as a trial period. The abandoning - ill-willed only? - of the common living space will be definitively chosen as a cause for the demand of divorce.
Ι foresee also a further facilitation for the process of divorce. Surely in the draft of laws for changing family legislation there will soon be an article concerning divorce by common consent. Many people ask themselves, if common consent is necessary for contracting a marriage, why should it not be enough for its dissolution?

The challenges do not concern only the variations in the living together of men and women - if we ignore the efforts of homosexuals for the recognition of their cohabitation - or the ways of contracting and dissolving marriages. They will also concern the power, function and role structures inside the family. Already in the drafts of law mentioned, such changes are being attempted with support from one side and attacks from the other.

These challenges will also be directed against the other members of the family, mainly the children. Even if the term "paternal authority" has been changed to "parental care" what share does a child have in the decision-making concerning it? And if parents can divorce, could not a child divorce its parents? Already in Greece the process for creating a legal service protecting and safeguarding children’s' rights has started by the initiative of the members of the Executive Committee for the Year of the Children. Of course we say this on condition that there will be children in the family - their number is irrelevant in the Western World at least. There is a tendency towards decreasing birth rates. The decision of the Greek state to protect and help families with many children illustrates this- families with many children are considered as those having at least four.

We must also ascertain the expected tendencies towards voluntary planned childlessness, marriages without children, couples who exclude the reproductive function from their perspectives and this not only when one or both consorts have physiological difficulties in conceiving children. Here we are talking mainly about the challenge constituted by the denial of children’s place in marriage which makes some people affirm that we are advancing "towards a society without children".

The advances in the field of genetics will have more and more importance in the decisions of future consorts or parents, as will science in general and particularly that which concerns reproduction, rational family planning, considered at present as an inalienable right of human beings. Scientific progress is not only used for birth control but also for regulating fecundity so as to allow sterile couples, or people with genetic problems, to conceive and give birth to children. Artificial insemination also constitutes a challenge together with the test-tube babies and "genetic surgery" which over-comes genetic defects. We are thus faced with two existing attitudes; complete, absolute denial of children and their acquisition at any expense by any possible way. All other attitudes vary between these two. Another challenge, this one extreme, is the existence of children outside the institution of marriage; not the children of "integrated" couples, or those of "unfortunate" mothers or unmarried mothers, but the phenomenon of voluntary unmarried maternity, women who deny marriage and companionship and will even resort to artificial insemination.

It is foreseeable that for all these issues and problems there will be corresponding legal, social and financial adjustments and accommodation. These measures will reflect the plurality and diversity of ideologies, mentalities and credos which exist in contemporary Greek society and life, with all the possible internal and external influences.



Owing, however, to the complexity of these problems and their adjustments, man in the l980s, having lost his traditional field of advice (such as the family in older times), will have to turn elsewhere for counsel and help.

We have pointed out the continually educational and counselling role of the State with the creation of consulting centres for matters relating to marriage and the family, with the forming of experts for educative purposes for the people. As well as the State, other institutions such as Family Planning Committees, the Hellenic Society of Eugenics and Human Genetics, Women's Movements, communities and municipalities, politically-coloured clubs, Christian movements, etc., have undertaken similar advisory tasks.

It would be a pity therefore, if the church did not continue her pedagogic, pastoral and advisory work, close to the people on subjects concerning marriage and the family. With its discreet and discerning presence and the adequate preparation of its staff, it would help people who have negative, hostile or indifferent attitudes towards it, to clarify the various opinions that exist about family education and sex education - illuminating them from another viewpoint which might prove salutary for the isolated individual, marriage, the family, society and the State.

 


 

Alexander Μ. Stavropoulos
Professor of the University
οf Athens

Marriage and the family: Models and comparisons within the orthodox tradition

Paper presented at the IVth Hellenic-Iranian Symposium, which took place in Athens in the Old Amphitheatre of Athens Medical School, University of Athens, 12-13 November 1997 with the title: “Family and Family Values in the Islamic and the Christian (Orthodox) World” (english translation: Marina Robb). For the needs of the symposium I transcribed composed thoughts that
Ι have set down from time to time developing the Orthodox teaching about marriage and the family.

Models and Comparisons
Man moves through life always having need of examples, models, standards, ideals, and comparisons. He has to find support somewhere in order to see or understand something else. From the familiar he proceeds to the dissimilar and gradually draws near to and perceives that which is distant. He uses this way of his own accord. Man attempts to perceive the unknown through the known that which is distant through that which is near.
Τhe phrases: as, as if, such as, like, in the manner of, are the order of the day. He uses the same methοd when he wants to make the same things understandable to others. The meaning of the model or of comparisons does not only serve the understanding of another thing but it is laid down as a target to be aimed at and accomplished. In addition, in the latter case, we are obliged to find the suitable means to achieve it.

That is to say, when we, in the Orthodox tradition, want to determine what marriage and the family is we may speak of and use the expression where, marriage and the family is defined as a little church or as a mystery of love. St. John Chrysostom says «and the home is a little church» or «also a mystery of love». Confirmations simply do n
οt remain. 1t is either one thing or the other. At the same time an order, a command, an intention is raised. «Make your home a church». «The home is a Church made up of men and women». The way the matter is dealt with does not allow for objections: «Do not think that for you the man to be alone or for her the woman to be alone is an obstacle». “Wherever there are two gathered together in my name,” He says, “I am there in the midst of them”. If some one becomes hesitant or surprised by the height of the thing put before him, despite this the surprise is turned into a demand, to a disposition of will to find the means, the way. He heard that marriage is a «mystery of love» and that St. John Chrysostom locates the mysterious character of marriage within love. He is not satisfied with this he is perplexed and asks: «We have heard that we should love; we seek to learn how to accomplish this» (St. Basil the Great). Τhe comparison proves him to the likeness and he asks himself how he will manage it.

Alternation
I am obliged at this point to point out that the models may alternate and one may indicate the other and vice versa. 1n all that we have said thus far it seems that the type, model of marriage and the family is the Church and therefore worthy of imitation. At the same time marriage is a «mystery and type of a great thing». « 1t is a type of the Church and of Christ» stresses St. John Chrysostom. He even reaches the point where he argues that when a man and a woman come together, «when they congress they are not an image without a soul, neither an image of something on the earth, but that made by God», they depict God himself. This alternation of models is wonderfu1. The above can also be found in the Old Testament. Marriage in the Old Testament symbolises God's relationship with his people, « ... the comparison of the relations between God and people, with marriage» are commonplace. (Hosea, Jeremiah, Isaiah and others).
It is characteristic that while in the Old Testament marriage symbolises the love and relationship of God towards Israel, in the New Testament the love of Christ towards the Church constitutes the model (image) of the love of a husband towards his wife. It is this that is characterised as alternation. Besides, the procedure of the coming and going of models is well-known.
Α two-way communication functions so that one model can be transferred and applied in another area, on another level. Thus, we move from the material to the spiritual, from the soul to the body and so on. The same thing occurs with the concept «father». We are usually flattered to think that the concept of God the father was founded on natural paternity. Whereas St. Paul the Apostle is categorical. Α genuine paternal model is the manifold form of God-the Father «from whom the whole family (Gk. patria) on heaven and earth is named» (Eph. 3:15). The examples could be greatly added to from other areas of life apart from marriage.

The two unions
Let us return to the two unions that we mentioned: man-woman, Christ-Church. One unity surrounds the other. The mystery of the union of a man and a woman anticipates the great mystery, at the same time both a secret and enigma, which, as we saw, in the Orthodox tradition is called a «mystery of love».

Living within marriage that is a mystery of love, the man and the woman are called to open up to the dimensions of the Church and to build their own little church together. This opening is an interesting proposition that can mark out many paths in the area of the family. In this area of life, the Church realises the characteristics of herself in a particular way. In the Creed they are defined is a distinct way. «I believe» we say, «in one, holy, apostolic and catholic Church, since we have declared the same faith in God in Trinity. This is not a chance bond, but it depicts deep states, such as unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity, which do not only define the Church, but marriage and the family too, since marriage is a «little church». In this way the couple is called to be marked out in a many dimensional being.

The dimensions of the Church, i.e. unity, holiness, apostolicity and catholicity, become openings of the little church, with targets the deep unity of man and wife, the close bond between the couple and God (holiness), which does not have just a moral meaning here. We should understand holiness at this point by its biblical meaning, where holy is that which is set apart to be dedicated somewhere. That is to say that it has an ontological import and not a moral one. Besides, that is why the people of God were set apart. Thus the couple is holy, since they are set apart. This special twosome is bound to another union, as happens with the Holy Trinity. With the concept of catholicity we define the couple's connection with all the other couples, when they create another type of relationship within the framework of deep unity. Finally, with the concept of apostolicity we denote the couple going out into the world, when the produce children and other works of love, thus utilising, and not hiding, the talent of love which they hold. I would like us to hold on to the concept of a marriage as a «little church».

Marriage has, then, four basic targets, unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity, which are a whole life program. Α program that is not theoretical, but rather has much engagement in the personal life of the couple, as well as with others. This opening- attainment is not something that is achieved in just one single moment, «once and for all» that is automatically accomplished by the reading of a church service, neither does it depend on the disposition of the two participants. It is a life program, as I said, a long-term one, which never ends at any time or in any place and its beginning, should be found well before the point that looks like the starting point. That is to say, it is a struggle as the ancient sophist Antiphon said: «marriage is a great struggle (Gk.agon) for man». That is to say it concerns a mobilisation to exertion, where we must achieve certain things struggle that does not only have rights and demands, but obligations too.
Married saints and monastic ideals
This theological truth is not an empty letter, without a response on the part of the faithful. This theology becomes a truth incorporated and lived out first and foremost with the existence of married saints. The whole history of the Church and especially our Orthodox hagiography makes us see that their marriages in one way or another became «a place of theology» and theophany.

Throughout all the centuries of the pastoral practice of the Church occupied itself with showing the couple that path, accompanying them in the manifold relations in that they should open themselves to. The truth in the Church is always proposed in order to be lived out. That is why marriage and the family is a pre-eminent object of ecclesial pastoral care. «Flesh from her f1esh,» the little Church is incorporated within the Church like a living cell. Thus it is rediscovered by its natural surrounding of increase and propulsion. Placed within the great mystery of the Church by means of the sacrament (mystery) of marriage, the little church is developed and grows within the life of the Church, which is given life by the Holy Spirit. Thus the couple has the ability to advance day by day in their spiritual life that is not a life immaterialised but is lived out right before the Holy Spirit. And surely preserves all the characteristics of traditional Orthodox spirituality. They participate in the life of the Eucharist and of worship, exercising the virtues within the whole breadth of human dynamism having a feeling for the presence of God. They have an intense consciousness of the relative and non-absolute character of their bond and foretaste the Kingdom. They leave no aspect uncultivated. Neither the liturgical, mystical aspect, nor the ascetic, nor even the eschatological aspect.

They may even adopt the principles of the so-called monastic virtues: of obedience, as obedience to everydayness, of virginity, as moderation and of poverty as being poor in Spirit. It is easily understood that within such a spiritual climate ah aspects of married life: social, biological, sexual etc. are sanctified in their fullness. Certainly we should ask ourselves here if this «manifold opening» of the couple constitutes a real propulsion or burden?

The undertaking is difficult; the targets have no end. How can you put unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity of your marriage and your family into practice? You are bound to a task whose aims are unlimited.

Ecclesiality
However, this task is familiar; it is not alien to us. Now is the time to remember that by proposing the Church as a model for the little church we touch upon the fundamental ecclesiality of marriage, which is considered to be a symbolic image of the Church. Tradition does not propose that spouses attain an objective goal outside of themselves. They are invited to build their little domestic Church. It is more important to keep the dynamic view of the model, a view that presents the Church as an unfinished building, i.e. as something still happening, extending itself into time and space. The acquisition of the characteristics of the Church by the little church is obviously a long and continuous process. On their journey the spouses will always achieve temporary goals. Here the image that is put before us by the etymology of the word «telos» (
τέλος, i.e. end, goal, fulfilment, completion, perfection) in the ancient Greek language could give us some idea about these ends within give us some idea about these ends without ends, the unending end. The word «telos» comes from the root word that defines the point in the field where the farmer makes a half turn in order to open a new furrow. The image speaks for itself. It allows us to see a wealth of terminals, which are at the same time new starting points.


 


Such a dynamic view of the model may certainly make as more realistic when confronting various difficulties and more optimistic in our tendency for the better on our journey. Whereas, contrarily, a static view of the ideal could even discourage us from taking the first step.

Certainly is not the time right now •to talk about the difficulties in the realisation of the model. Difficulties on the one part that are a consequence of the spreading of the Orthodox message about marriage; and on the other part difficulties obstacles that the couple must jump over to receive that message and to transcribe it to everyday life. They are hindered by pressures of a personal order and by ties to the social surroundings that they belong to.

It is true that couples undergo some difficulty in recognising the dimensions of the Church and their indicators within their own marriage. From one point of view the situation within society has become annoying for all those who want to work towards the little church; the state sometimes burdens this hazard by promoting various law proposals, whose seriousness is questionable.

Familial-ecclesial model of pastoral care.


Here the Church can play a primary and leading role, which, when it calls the family a little church keeps the role of the great family for itself. Whether we want it or not the ecclesial model is, if you will allow me the expression, «familial- familiocratic».

God is Father, the Logos of God is Son and the Church is called «Mother Church». The Virgin Mary is not only the Mother of God but also the mother of us all. The priest is called father, the abbess as mother and the presbytera (priest's wife) is known in Russia as «little mother» (matushka). We do really find ourselves before a «family constellation» when we want to describe the relationships between Christians within the Church. Besides, it is not by chance that we are called brothers and sisters in Christ, with Christ himself as the first-born brother, who is the Way leading us to the Father. Our Lord Himself said «Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother» (Math. 12:50).

Complementarity

This, of course, entails various obligations but also rights. The bishop, the priest and the members of the parish must take on, even supplementary, the role of the family. This great big family takes it upon itself to cure the weak and sick and to supplement that which is missing from the little family. This does not mean that it replaces or substitutes the natural family. It will try to add to, but also to remind, the little family, that its place is with the great family of the Church. From this viewpoint whatever offer of help and pastoral support is established ecclesiologically and opens itself to the dimensions of the Church.

Certainly, at the end of this paper, and having analysed in succession, as much as the timescale of our symposium allowed for our subject, we should ask ourselves how much we can explain a world that becomes more and more complicated, remaining with the old models. It is a difficult question. The answer is indubitably eased when the necessary attention is given to the f1exibility and the dynamism of the model put forward by tradition. Something that is demonstrative as shown by its history of after types and comparisons.


 

Alexander Μ. Stavropoulos
Professor of the University
οf Athens

«VERITATIS SPLENDOR»: an Orthodox reaction

This article is translated from the French, Language Service, WCC. Published in “The Ecumenical Review” Vol. 48, No 2, 1996, p. 155-157.

Besides the traditions which it shares with other churches, each church has its own tradition and its own way of linking the gospel message to the application of God's commandments in everyday life. It also has different means of making its teaching known. The Roman Catholic Church's preferred way of doing this is by encyclical letters from its supreme pontiff to the bishops or to the clergy and the people of God as a whole.

There are occasions when the conduct of Christians is falling short of what God commands. The church then declares its intention to set forth the truths of the gospel so that those truths are not lost. The Greek word for "truth" (aletheia) consists of a privative prefix "a" followed by a derivation from the word for "forget" (lethe): truth is thus something that we do not allow to be forgotten. It is a basic duty of bishops to remind people of truth.

Each church judges for itself when it is appropriate for it to issue such a reminder. It then acts according to its traditional procedures for evaluating situations, individuals and their actions. Bearing in mind the particular way in which the Roman Catholic Church habitually expresses itself, other churches should not expect from it an Orthodox, Anglican or Protestant document. Difficulties are no doubt to be expected if one church takes up a position different from that of other churches on a moral issue such as the morality of the family, for example -- all the more so if a particular document in which it takes such a position also includes criticism implicitly condemning the position of other churches which do not follow the same line.

In any case it would be desirable if, in questions of morality, which usually generate tension, preliminary consultation could take place so as to reduce the possibility of opposing positions. This would avoid giving the impression to the world that there is deep disagreement between us as churches, despite the fact that we all have the gospel as our common starting point. I make this suggestion of preliminary discussions before the publication of a document such as an encyclical out of the concern that there should be a common witness irrespective of our divisions as separate churches.

Existing divisions due to doctrinal differences may also be affected, because of the close link between doctrine and ethics. Human ethics are based on the doctrinal truths of the faith. It is thus in a way natural that churches which differ on doctrinal issues should differ in their approach to moral and ethical issues as well. But differences which are not inevitable should be avoided or eliminated.

We should note further that differences and opposing positions can exist within one and the same church. We must not forget that the encyclical Veritatis Splendor was published in order to give concrete guidance in confronting dissensions and differing opinions on moral issues, and particularly on issues of family and sexual morality. Of course, the positions of the Roman Catholic Church are not criticized only by Roman Catholic theologians: they are also criticized by theologians of other confessions. However, it does not seem to me that the encyclical is aimed at them. Veritatis Splendor is addressed to an internal, Roman Catholic readership, although its message is for the whole world.



The encyclical is concerned to base human conduct on "natural law" and on "conscience", and it does this by referring to the close relationship between "freedom and law", "conscience and truth", by distinguishing between "mortal sin" and venial sin", and by distancing itself from a position which gives priority to "fundamental choice" regarding "specific kinds of behaviour". By doing this it emphasizes the concepts of "intrinsic evil" and "universal and unchanging moral norms". All these are key concepts in the traditional moral teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.

A consistent approach to moral issues does not and cannot change from one moment to another. It seems that concepts such as "natural law" and "conscience" can find positive acceptance in wider human societies and groups who live without revelation and can in a certain way broach moral issues through logical thought and intellectual reasoning. That is why the Roman Catholic Church is careful to maintain arguments of this kind in its approach.

In any case, such a way of thinking does not narrow the foundations of morality. Moral conduct is strengthened by an appeal to revelation and can in a certain way broach moral issues through logical thought and intellectual reasoning. That is why the Roman Catholic Church is careful to maintain arguments of this kind in its approach.

In any case, such a way of thinking does not narrow the foundations of morality. Moral conduct is strengthened by an appeal to revelation and by stressing the Christocentric nature of all morality.

It is helpful to note at this point that the church as a whole has a sure conception and also a deep conviction of what is right and true in doctrinal and moral issues. Arguments may be different or may change from one age to another, but that does not mean that a change in argument may diminish or change doctrine or be regarded as a retreat to earlier positions. Following on from that, after using logical and other forms of argument, the church puts forward motives, incentives and support to help people to conduct their lives aright. It suggests resources from where the faithful may draw strength which will subsequently reinforce decisions and their implementation.

We find this tactic in the encyclical Veritatis Splendor. On the one hand, it presents logical, rational arguments giving a foundation for moral conduct and refuting the arguments of moral theologians who take up a contrary position. On the other hand, we see an attempt to edify and reinforce moral behaviour by its Christocentric perspective, by its reference to martyrdom and by its insistence on the need for morality in the renewal of social and political life and in responding to the demands of the “new evangelization”.

The encyclical as a whole is a presentation of basic Christian truths, and it is satisfying to find in it the gospel message addressed to an age which has largely abandoned gospel ideals. Its contents offer an opportunity for detailed study of the biblical texts and of the opinions quoted from the great fathers of the church who are universally accepted, such as St Augustine, St Gregory of Nyssa, St Cyril of Alexandria, St Ambrose of Milan, St Andrew of Crete and others.

Despite these positive elements, one does have the impression that in the encyclical all moral problems seem to have been given once-and-for-all solutions. Such an all-encompassing approach does not leave sufficient room for different ways of tackling these issues.


 


However, the pastoral sections, with their edifying exhortations, do leave room for hope, although the pastoral approach finally yields to the all-too-evident inflexible logic. All this does not mean that the decisions of the church should be labelled as unduly lax or unduly rigorous. Law is not opposed to gospel, to grace: it is expressed in the spirit of the gospel, of grace, just as the human mind (nous, logos) does not act independently but within the human heart (kardia) itself.

The truth of the gospel finds bodily expression in each human being according to the gifts and talents which have been given to each of us. The church, through oikonornia, that “extraordinary weapon of salvation”, acts “economically” (kat’oikonomian) in a benevolent way to reconcile and settle differences. In such cases the church does not leave the faithful alone to solve these problems by themselves. It refers them to their spiritual fathers and confessors, who, with the discernment which is distinctively theirs, carry out their pastoral work with knowledge and intuition, an intuition as to what is possible, improbable or impossible.

As a basic principle there remains the saying of our Lord that “the sabbath was made for humankind and not humankind for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27). For Jesus, the law is to be at the service of human life. We are fallen human beings from the beginning and we continue to fall. But by the grace of God it is also possible for us to rise again after each fall. We may claim that human beings are rational, reasonable animals, and also animals on the way to becoming divine (zoon theoumenon), created in the image of God and consequently to be like God (Gen. 1:26).

These last remarks are an attempt to outline an Orthodox approach to moral issues and a way of thinking that reflects the thoughts of the fathers on morality. However, the aim of this brief survey has not been to give a detailed description of this way of thinking, but rather to offer some comments from an Orthodox point of view on a first reading of Veritatis Splendor, which sheds light, the light of Christ, on some decisive points concerning family and sexual morality. My concern has been to read and react to it in a spirit of truth and love (Eph. 4:15).

 

Σάββατο, 24 Μαρτίου 2012

Ορθόδοξη Συμβουλευτική Ποιμαντική


ΟΡΘΟΔΟΞΗ ΣΥΜΒΟΥΛΕΥΤΙΚΗ ΠΟΙΜΑΝΤΙΚΗ
Ἀλέξανδρος Μ. Σταυρόπουλος
ISBN: 978-960-527-696-6
Σελ. 280 τιμή: 20,00 €\

Ἡ Συμβουλευτικὴ Ποιμαντικὴ ἔχει ὡς στόχο νὰ μελετήσει καὶ νὰ οἰκοδομήσει πάνω σὲ στέρεες βάσεις
τὴν ἀνθρωπολογία ἐκείνη, βάσει τῆς ὁποίας θὰ συμβουλεύσει ποιμαντικὰ τὸν
σύγχρονο ἄνθρωπο, καθὼς καὶ νὰ
ἐπισημάνει τὰ σημεῖα ἐκεῖνα πρὸς τὰ ὁποία θὰ ἀντιπαλαίσει: τὸ χάος, τὸ
θάνατο τὴν ἀρρώστια, τὰ πάθη.
Ὅλα δὲν εἶναι δεδομένα. Χρειαζόμαστε μία ὀρθὴ ἐκτίμηση τῶν στοιχείων
τῆς παραδόσεως καὶ ἐκείνων ποὺ προσφέρονται ἀπὸ τὶς ἐπιστῆμες τοῦ ἀνθρώπου
γιὰ νὰ υἱοθετήσουμε στάσεις καὶ πρότυπα ποὺ θὰ ἀποβοῦν ἀποτελεσματικὰ σὲ
ὁποιαδήποτε συμβουλευτικὴ ποιμαντικὴ ἐπικοινωνία, ἀκόμη καὶ σὲ εἰδικὲς
περιπτώσεις τὶς ὁποῖες καλοῦνται νὰ ἀντιμετωπίσουν καὶ νὰ παρέμβουν κληρικοί,
θεολόγοι καθηγητὲς ἀλλὰ καὶ λαϊκοὶ συνεργάτες τῆς Ἐκκλησίας.
Τὰ κείμενα ἀντιπροσωπεύουν τὴν προσπάθεια γιὰ σφυρηλάτηση βασικῶν
ἀρχῶν, στάσεων καὶ ἤθους μιᾶς συμβουλευτικῆς πρακτικῆς καὶ ὑποδεικνύουν τὴ
διαχρονικότητα τῆς Ὀρθόδοξης Συμβουλευτικῆς Ποιμαντικῆς. Θίγονται ζητήματα
ὅπως οἱ διαπροσωπικὲς σχέσεις, ἡ διαφορετικότητα, ἀλλὰ καὶ γενικότερα
κοινωνικὰ θέματα ὅπως τὸ περιβάλλον, ἡ οἰκολογία, ἡ τροφὴ καθὼς καὶ οἱ μορφὲς
ἀσκήσεως τῆς ἀγάπης στὸν σημερινὸ κόσμο.


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Σάββατο, 2 Απριλίου 2011

Γάμος & Οικογένεια στον Ι. Χρυσόστομο



ΓΑΜΟΣ ΚΑΙ
ΟΙΚΟΓΕΝΕΙΑ ΣΤΟΝ ΙΕΡΟ ΧΡΥΣΟΣΤΟΜΟ
*



ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ
Μ. ΣΤΑΥΡΟΠΟΥΛΟΥ



μ. Καθηγητοῦ τοῦ Πανεπιστημίου Ἀθηνῶν







Ὁ ἱερὸς
Χρυσόστομος διδάσκαλος «παντὸς καιροῦ»



Μὲ
πολλὴ χαρὰ ἀποδέχτηκα, τὴν τιμητικὴ γιὰ μένα πρόσκληση τοῦ Σεβασμιωτάτου
Μητροπολίτου σας κ. Ἀνθίμου, νὰ μιλήσω ἀπόψε στὴ Σχολὴ Γάμου τῆς Ἱ. Μητροπόλεως
μὲ θέμα: Γάμος καὶ Οἰκογένεια στὸν ἱ.
Χρυσόστομο
. Τὸν εὐχαριστῶ θερμὰ ἀπὸ βάθους καρδίας. Εὐχαριστῶ ἐπίσης τὸν
Πρωτοσύγκελλο τῆς Ἱ. Μητροπόλεως Ἀρχιμανδρίτην π. Εἰρηναῖο Λαφτσῆ, Δρ.
Ἰατρικῆς, μὲ τὸν ὁποῖο, κατ’ ἐντολήν τοῦ Σεβασμιωτάτου, καθορίσαμε τὶς
λεπτομέρειες τοῦ ταξιδίου μου καὶ τῆς διαμονῆς μου στὴν πόλη σας καὶ στὸ Νομό
σας καθὼς καὶ τὸν ὑπεύθυνο τῆς Σχολῆς Αἰδεσιμολογιώτατο Πρωτοπρεσβύτερο π.
Γεώργιο Βασιλειάδη ποὺ ἀποτελεῖ τὴν ψυχὴ τῆς ὅλης προσπάθειας. Εὐχαριστῶ καὶ ὅλους ἐσᾶς, ποὺ παρευρίσκεσθε ἀπόψε στὴν
ὁμιλία μου.



Συγχαίρω ἐκ βάθους καρδίας τὸν
Μητροπολίτη σας καὶ ὅλους τοὺς συντελεστὲς ἐκείνους ποὺ συνέδραμαν στὴν ἵδρυση
τῆς Σχολῆς. Ἡ Σχολή αὐτή ἀποτελεῖ ἕνα πρωτοποριακὸ θεσμὸ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας καὶ
ἡ πρωτοβουλία αὐτὴ συνιστᾶ ἕνα σταθμὸ στὶς προσπάθειες τῆς Ἐκκλησίας μας νὰ
ποιμάνει τὸ σύγχρονο γάμο καὶ τὴν οἰκογένεια καὶ νὰ συνοδεύσει ἰδιαίτερα τὰ νέα
ζευγάρια στὸ δρόμο ποὺ ἀνοίγεται μπροστά τους. Ὅπως ὅλοι γνωρίζουμε, τὰ
συγκεκριμένα ζευγάρια καὶ ὄχι μόνον αὐτὰ ἔχουν νὰ ἀντιμετωπίσουν καὶ νὰ λύσουν
μύρια ὅσα σύγχρονα οἰκογενειακὰ προβλήματα καὶ ἄλλες τόσες δυσκολίες στὴ
σημερινή συγκυρία πολλαπλῆς κρίσεως τῶν θεσμῶν καὶ ὄχι μόνο οἰκονομικῆς.



Ἕνα
ζήτημα ποὺ συνήθως τίθεται εἶναι τὸ ἀκόλουθο: Στὶς ἀρχὲς τοῦ 21ου
αἰώνα μπορεῖ ἄραγε ἡ Ἐκκλησία νὰ δίνει ἀκόμη ἀπαντήσεις στὰ ἐρωτήματα τῶν
σύγχρονων κοινωνιῶν καὶ ἰδιαίτερα σὲ αὐτὰ ποὺ ἀφοροῦν στὸν γάμο καὶ στὴν
οἰκογένεια; Μπορεῖ, δηλαδή, γιὰ νὰ ἔλθουμε στὸ θέμα τῆς ἀποψινῆς μας ὁμιλίας, ὁ
ἱ. Χρυσόστομος νὰ γίνει ὁδηγὸς σὲ θέματα γάμου καὶ οἰκογενείας;



Μποροῦμε
νὰ ὑποστηρίξουμε βάσιμα καὶ χωρὶς νὰ θέλουμε νὰ προκαταλάβουμε τὸ ἀκροατήριό
μας, ὅτι ὁ ἱερὸς Χρυσόστομος, ποὺ ἔχει χαρακτηρισθεῖ βάσει τοῦ ἔργου του ὡς
«ὑπερασπιστὴς τοῦ γάμου καὶ ἀπόστολος τῆς παρθενίας»[1],
μπορεῖ ἄνετα καὶ μὲ τρόπο διαχρονικὸ νὰ
ἀπαντᾶ στὰ ἐρωτήματα τοῦ σήμερα καὶ τοῦ αὔριο καὶ ὄχι μόνο τοῦ χθές...



Μπορεῖ,
δηλαδή, νὰ γίνει καθὼς λέει καὶ ὁ ποιητὴς «σηματωρὸς καὶ κήρυκας». Νὰ μᾶς
βοηθάει, δηλαδή, νὰ διακρίνουμε τὰ σημεῖα-σημάδια τῶν σημερινῶν καιρῶν καὶ νὰ
κηρύσσουμε τὴν οὐσία αὐτῶν τῶν πραγμάτων. Μ
αὐτὸν τὸν
τρόπο ὁ Ἅγιός μας γίνεται διδάσκαλος «παντὸς καιροῦ». Ἡ μακρά του θητεία στὸ
κήρυγμα καὶ στὶς ἑρμηνευτικὲς ὁμιλίες μᾶς ἔχουν ἀφήσει ἕναν ἀδαπάνητο θησαυρὸ διδασκαλίας
γιὰ τὸ γάμο καὶ τὴν οἰκογένεια.



Ὅπως
μάλιστα μὲ τρόπο εὔστοχο ἀποφαίνεται ἄνδρας ποὺ ἔσκυψε στὴ μελέτη αὐτῶν τῶν
ὁμιλιῶν ὅσο λίγοι: «τὰ ρήματα τοῦ
Χρυσοστόμου ἐδόθησαν ὑπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἵνα ἀκούωνται μέχρι συντελείας τῶν αἰώνων,
κατάλληλα διὰ πᾶσαν καρδίαν καὶ διὰ πᾶσαν ἐποχήν, διατηροῦντα καὶ σήμερον ἐν τῇ
ἀναγνώσει καὶ προωρισμένα νὰ διατηρῶσιν ἐς ἀεὶ ὅλην τὴν δύναμιν καὶ τὴν χάριν
τὴν ὁποίαν ἐνεῖχον, ὅτε ἐξήρχοντο ἀπὸ τὸ μελίρρητον στόμα τοῦ Ἰωάννου καὶ
εἷλκον πρὸς αὐτὸν ἐνθουσιῶντα πλήθη τῆς Ἀντιοχείας καὶ βραδύτερον τῆς βασιλίδος
τῶν πόλεων»[2].



Οἱ
ὁμιλίες αὐτές, ὅπως ὁ ἱερὸς Πατὴρ ὁμολογεῖ, εἶχαν μεγάλη ἐπίδραση πάνω στοὺς
ἀκροατές του:



«Διότι ὅταν διὰ πολλῶν (λόγων περὶ γάμου)
σᾶς ἀποδεικνύαμε... εἶδον πολλοὺς νὰ κύπτουν πρὸς τὰ κάτω, νὰ κτυποῦν τὸ
πρόσωπον καὶ νὰ μὴ ἠμποροῦν νὰ ἀνυψώσουν τὴν κεφαλήν. Τότε, λοιπόν, εἰς τὸν
οὐρανὸν ὑψώσας τὰ βλέμματά μου εἶπον· Δοξασμένος νὰ εἶναι ὁ Θεός, διότι δὲν
ὁμιλοῦμεν εἰς νεκρὰ ὦτα, ἀλλὰ φθάνουν εἰς τὴν διάνοιαν τῶν ἀκροατῶν οἱ λόγοι
μας μὲ πολλὴν σφοδρότητα»[3]
.







Ὁμιλίες γιὰ τ γάμο καὶ
τ
ν οἰκογένεια



Τὶς
εἰδικὲς περὶ γάμου ὁμιλίες ἔχει ἀποδώσει σὲ νεοελληνικὴ γλώσσα μὲ εἰσαγωγὴ καὶ
σημειώσεις ὁ Θεολόγος Γυμνασιάρχης Παναγιώτης Γ. Στάμος μὲ τὸν τίτλο Ἰωάννου τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου, Γάμος καὶ Συζυγία, Ἀθήνα 1963, 93 σ.



Πολλὰ
κείμενα τοῦ ἱ. Χρυσοστόμου γιὰ τὸ θέμα ποὺ μᾶς ἀπασχολεῖ ἔχουν περιληφθεῖ στοὺς
Β
΄ καὶ Γ΄ τόμο τῆς Παιδαγωγικῆς Ἀνθρωπολογίας Ἰω. Χρυσοστόμου,
τοῦ Θεολόγου καὶ Παιδαγωγοῦ Βασ. Χαρώνη μὲ τὴ συνεργασία τῆς Φιλολόγου Οὐρανίας
Α. Λαναρᾶ, Ἀθήνα 1994, ἀρ. 112 Γάμος, σ. 21-87, Ἀθήνα 1995, ἀρ. 316 Οἰκογένεια,
σ. 546-553.



Γιὰ
τὸ Γάμο, τὴν Οἰκογένεια καὶ τὰ Προβλήματά
τους ἔχουμε ὁμώνυμο βιβλίο στὴ διάθεσή μας σὲ τρίτη ἔκδοση τοῦ 2003 (2000), τὸν
Γ
΄ τόμο τοῦ «Χρυσοστομικοῦ Ἄμβωνος» ἀπὸ τὸν Ἱερομόναχο
Βενέδικτο, τῆς Συνοδίας Σπυρίδωνος Ἱερομονάχου στὴ Νέα Σκήτη Ἁγίου Ὅρους, 401
σ.




ὁμότιμος Καθηγητὴς τῆς Θεολογικῆς Σχολῆς Ἀθηνῶν Στυλιανὸς Παπαδόπουλος ἔχει
συγγράψει ὡραιότατη πραγματεία γιὰ τὸ γάμο
σὲ σχέση μὲ τὴν παρθενία στὸν ἱερὸ Χρυσόστομο, Ἐκδ. Ἁρμός, Ἀθήνα
1996, 106 σ.



Διδάσκαλος,
λοιπόν, «παντὸς καιροῦ» ὁ ἱερός Χρυσόστομος; Ἂς τὸ δοῦμε ἀπὸ πιὸ κοντά.



Μυστήριον
ἀγάπης
ἐκκλησία μικρά




ἱερὸς Χρυσόστομος σὲ μία ἐποχή, ὅπως ἡ σημερινή, ποὺ οἱ περισσότεροι –νεώτεροι
καὶ μεγαλύτεροι σὲ ἡλικία– ἄνθρωποι δὲν ἔχουν μία συγκεκριμένη εἰκόνα γιὰ τὸ τί
εἶναι γάμος καὶ οἰκογένεια, ἔρχεται νὰ μᾶς προσδιορίσει τὴν οὐσία αὐτῆς τῆς
κοινωνίας, αὐτῆς τῆς σχέσης στὴν ὁποία εἰσέρχονται.



Στὴν
ὀρθόδοξη παράδοση, ὅταν θέλουμε νὰ καθορίσουμε τὶ εἶναι γάμος καὶ οἰκογένεια
χρησιμοποιοῦμε τὴν ἔκφραση ὅτι ὁ γάμος καὶ ἡ οἰκογένεια ὁρίζεται ὡς μικρὴ
ἐκκλησία καὶ ὡς μυστήριο ἀγάπης. Καὶ οἱ δυὸ διατυπώσεις εἶναι χρυσοστομικές.



Ὁ ἱ. Χρυσόστομος λέγει: «καὶ ἡ οἰκία γὰρ ἐκκλησία ἐστὶ μικρά»[4]
(«τ
σπιτικό σας εἶναι μικρή
ἐκκλησία») ἢ «ἰδοὺ πάλιν μυστήριον ἀγάπης»[5]
(νάτο πάλι τ
μυστήριο ἀγάπης»).
Δὲν παραμένουν ἁπλῶς διαπιστώσεις. Εἶναι ἐτοῦτο ἢ τὸ ἄλλο. Προβάλλεται
ταυτόχρονα μία ἐπιταγή, μία ἐντολή, μία σκόπευση. «Ἐκκλησίαν ποίησόν σου τὴν οἰκίαν»[6]
(κάνε τ
σπίτι σου Ἐκκλησία»). «Ἔστω
ἐκκλησία ἡ οἰκία ἐξ ἀνδρῶν καὶ γυναικῶν συνεστηκυΐα» (νὰ εἶναι τὸ σπίτι
ἐκκλησία ποὺ ἀποτελεῖται ἀπό άνδρες καὶ ἀπό γυναῖκες»).
Ὁ τρόπος ποὺ
διαπραγματεύεται τὸ θέμα δὲν δέχεται ἀντιρρήσεις: «Μὴ γὰρ ὅτι σὺ μόνος εἶ ὁ ἀνήρ, μηδὲ ὅτι αὕτη μόνη ἐστὶν ἡ γυνή,
νομίσῃς κώλυμα εἶναι. Ὅπου γὰρ εἰσὶ δύο εἰς τὸ ἐμὸν ὄνομα, φησί, συνηγμένοι,
ἐκεῖ εἰμὶ ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν»[7]
νομίσεις ὅτι ἐπειδή ἐσύ ὁ
ἄνδρας εἶσαι μόνος καὶ αὐτὴ ἡ γυναίκα
εἶναι μόνη αὐτό εἶναι ἐμπόδιο. Γιατί, ὅπως μᾶς λέγει ὁ Κύριος, ὅπου εἶναι δύο
συναγμένοι στὸ ὄνομά μου, ἐκεῖ βρίσκομαι ἀνάμεσά τους»).




γάμος ὅπως μᾶς διαβεβαιώνει ὁ ἱ. Χρυσόστομος εἶναι «Μυστήριον καὶ τύπος μεγάλου πράγματος», δηλαδὴ, «τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τύπος
ἐστι καὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ»[8]
(τύπος εἶναι τῆς Ἐκκλησίας καὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ)
«τύπος καὶ μυστήριον τῆς αὐτοῦ παρουσίας»[9]
(«τύπος καὶ μυστήριο τῆς παρουσίας του»)
.



Μάλιστα
τολμᾶ καὶ τοῦτο νὰ μᾶς ξεκαθαρίσει: «Ὅταν
δὲ συνίωσιν οὐκ εἰκόνα ἄψυχον, οὐδὲ εἰκόνα τινὸς τῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ἀλλ’ αὐτοῦ
ποιοῦντες τοῦ Θεοῦ»[10]
(«ὅταν συνέρχονται -ὡς σύζυγοι- δὲν παριστάνουν κάποια ἄψυχη εἰκόνα, οὔτε
εἰκόνα κάποιου ἀπὸ ἐκείνους ποὺ βρίσκονται πάνω στὴ γῆ, ἀλλὰ ἀποτελοῦν εἰκόνα
τοῦ ἴδιου τοῦ Θεοῦ»)
.



Δὲν
παύει νὰ ἐπαναλαμβάνει τὴ γνωστὴ ρήση του γιὰ τὸ μυστήριο τοῦ γάμου ὡς
μυστηρίου τῆς ἀγάπης. «Ἰδοὺ πάλιν ἀγάπης
μυστήριον»
[11]
(«Νάτο πάλι τὸ μυστήριο τῆς ἀγάπης»).
Ἐντοπίζει κατὰ ταῦτα στὴν ἀγάπη τὸν μυστηριακὸ χαρακτήρα τοῦ γάμου. Μία ἀγάπη
ποὺ ὑπερβαίνει τὰ ἀνθρώπινα καὶ δὲν προέρχεται ἀπὸ ἀνθρώπινη πρωτοβουλία.
Τονίζει μὲ ἔμφαση: «Δὲν εἶναι ἀνθρώπινο
κατασκεύασμα ἡ ἐρωτικὴ ἐπιθυμία ποὺ ἀναπτύσσεται ἀνάμεσα στὸν ἄνδρα καὶ τὴ
γυναίκα ποὺ ἔρχονται σὲ γάμο, ἀλλὰ ὁ Θεὸς ἐφύτεψε τὴν ἐπιθυμία αὐτὴ μέσα στὴν
ἀνθρώπινη φύση»[12].
Ἡ Ἐκκλησία στὴν ἀκολουθία τοῦ γάμου συνηγορεῖ καὶ εὔχεται «ὑπὲρ τοῦ καταπεμφθῆναι αὐτοῖς ἀγάπην
τελείαν» (νὰ τοὺς χαριστεῖ ἡ τέλεια ἀγάπη).



Δὲν
ἀναφέρεται, ὅμως, μόνο στὴν οὐσία, τὸ τί εἶναι ὁ γάμος καὶ ἡ οἰκογένεια, ὅπως
εἴδαμε πιὸ πάνω. Ὑπεισέρχεται σὲ θέματα καθημερινότητας ποὺ ἀπασχολοῦσαν ἀλλὰ
καὶ ἀπασχολοῦν τὸ γάμο τῶν ἀνθρώπων. Γιὰ ὅλα σχεδὸν τὰ θέματα ἔχει μιλήσει καὶ
κατευθύνει σὲ καίρια ζητήματα τῆς ἀνθρώπινης συμβίωσης μέσα στὸ γάμο.



Ἂς
δοῦμε κατ’ ἀρχὴν μία σειρὰ θεμάτων.
Θὰ ἀπαριθμοῦμε τὰ ζητήματα ποὺ
θίγονται στὰ συγγράμματά του καὶ τὶς
θέσεις του
καὶ ὅπου χρειάζεται θὰ ἐμπλουτίζουμε τὴν ὁμιλία μας μὲ παραθέματα ἀπὸ δικά του κείμενα. Στὴν
επιλογή τους βοηθηθήκαμε ἀπὸ τὴν ἔκδοση τοῦ Β.Δ. Χαρώνη ποὺ ἀναφέραμε στὴν ἀρχὴ
τῆς ὁμιλίας μας. Τὰ κείμενα αὐτὰ παραθέτουμε στὴ γλαφυρή μετάφραση τοῦ ἰδίου.





Ὁ γάμος εἶναι
μυστήριο




γάμος κατὰ τὸν ἱ. Χρυσόστομο εἶναι μυστήριο καὶ χρειάζεται εὐλογία ἱερέως.
Εἶναι μυστήριο τῆς σοφίας τοῦ Θεοῦ: οἱ δύο ἑνώνονται σὲ ἕνα.



Γιατί
εἶναι μυστήριο;



«”Τὸ μυστήριο αὐτὸ εἶναι μεγάλο” (Ἐφεσίους
5, 32). Πές μου, πῶς εἶναι μεγάλο; Γιατί ἐνῶ περνοῦσε ὅλο γενικὰ τὸ χρόνο ἡ
κόρη στὸ δωμάτιό της, καὶ δὲν εἶδε ποτὲ τὸ γαμπρό, ἀπὸ τὴν πρώτη ἡμέρα τόσο
πολὺ τὸν ποθεῖ καὶ τὸν δέχεται σὰν δικό της σῶμα. Ὁ ἄνδρας ἐπίσης ἐκείνη ποὺ
ποτὲ δὲν εἶδε, ποὺ ποτὲ δὲν συναναστράφηκε, αὐτὴν καὶ ἐκεῖνος ἀπὸ τὴν πρώτη ἡμέρα
προτιμάει περισσότερο ἀπὸ ὅλους καὶ ἀπὸ τοὺς φίλους καὶ ἀπὸ τοὺς συγγενεῖς καὶ
ἀπὸ αὐτοὺς τοὺς γονεῖς τοῦ»[13]
.



Διαπιστώσαμε
ὅτι ὁ γάμος ἱδρύθηκε ἀπὸ τὸ Θεὸ καὶ εἶναι θεόσδοτος ὁ συζυγικὸς ἔρωτας καὶ
ἔμφυτη ἡ ἕλξη τῶν φύλων. Δὲν παύει νὰ διακηρύττει ὅτι ντροπὴ εἶναι ἡ ἀκολασία
καὶ ὄχι ὁ γάμος ποὺ ὁ Θεὸς ὅρισε. Ἡ συζυγικὴ σχέση δὲν κάνει ἀκάθαρτους τοὺς
συζύγους.



«Ἂς εἶναι», λέγει ὁ Ἀπ. Παῦλος, «καθόλα τιμημένος ὁ γάμος καὶ τὸ συζυγικὸ
κρεβάτι ἂς φυλάσσεται ἀμόλυντο»
(Ἑβραίους 13, 14). «...Γιατί, λέγει, ὁ γάμος
διατηρεῖ τὸν πιστὸ ἁγνὸ ἀπὸ ἀνήθικες σχέσεις»[14].



Δὲν
ἀρκεῖ βέβαια ὁ σαρκικὸς δεσμός, χρειάζεται καὶ ὁ πνευματικός,
εἶναι συνεπῶς ἀναγκαία καὶ στὸ γάμο ἡ πνευματικὴ ἄσκηση.



«Χρησιμοποίησε τὸ γάμο σύμφωνα μὲ τὸ μέτρο
καὶ θὰ εἶσαι πρῶτος στὴ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν»[15].



Δὲν
ἀποτελεῖ, λοιπόν, ἐμπόδιο ὁ γάμος γιὰ τὴν πνευματικὴ ἄσκηση. Ἀναφέρεται στοὺς
Πατριάρχες καὶ τοὺς Προφῆτες τῆς Π.Δ. ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸν Ἀπ. Πέτρο καὶ στὸ βίο τους
για νὰ βγάνει τὰ συμπεράσματά του.



«Ὁ προφήτης Ἡσαΐας δὲν εἶχε γυναίκα; Καὶ
ὅμως δὲν στάθηκε ἐμπόδιο στὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον ὁ γάμος, ἀλλὰ καὶ συνουσιάζετο μὲ
τὴ γυναίκα του καὶ προφήτης ἦταν»[16].



«Γιατί ὁ γάμος δὲν εἶναι ἐμπόδιο, γιὰ νὰ
ἀνεβεῖ κανεὶς στὸν οὐρανό· γιατί, ἂν ἦταν ἐμπόδιο καὶ ἐπρόκειτο νὰ σκευωρεῖ
ἐναντίον μας ἡ γυναίκα, δὲν θὰ τὴν ὀνόμαζε βοηθὸ ὁ Θεός, δημιουργώντας την ἀπὸ
τὴν ἀρχή»[17].



Ἐρχόμενος
τώρα στοὺς σκοποὺς τοῦ γάμου μὲ πολλὴ σύνεση ἰσορροπεῖ τὰ πράγματα.







Σκοποί τοῦ
γάμου



«Δύο εἶναι οἱ σκοποὶ γιὰ τοὺς ὁποίους ἔχει
θεσπισθεῖ ὁ γάμος, καὶ γιὰ νὰ σωφρονοῦμε καὶ γιὰ νὰ γινόμαστε γονεῖς, ἀπὸ τοὺς
δύο ὅμως αὐτοὺς σκοποὺς ὁ πρῶτος εἶναι ἡ σωφροσύνη»[18].





Καρπὸς τοῦ
γάμου



Καρπός
του ἄλλωστε κατὰ τὸν ἅγιο πατέρα εἶναι ἡ ἀλληλοσυμπλήρωση καὶ ἡ διαδοχή.



«Γι’ αὐτὸ παρέχεται ὁ γάμος, ὥστε αὐτὸ ποὺ
λείπει ἀπὸ τὸν ἕνα νὰ συμπληρώνεται ἀπὸ τὸν ἄλλο, καὶ ἡ ἀνθρώπινη φύση ποὺ
εἶναι ἀτελής, νὰ γίνεται ἔτσι αὐτάρκης, ὥστε νὰ ἔχει τὴ δυνατότητα, ἐνῶ εἶναι
θνητή, νὰ διατηρεῖ μὲ τὴ διαδοχὴ γιὰ πολὺ χρόνο τὴν ἀθανασία»[19].





Οἱ ὠφέλειες
τοῦ γάμου



Ἄλλωστε
εἶναι πολλὲς οἱ ὠφέλειες τοῦ γάμου, εἶναι πηγὴ πολλῶν ἀγαθῶν, παρέχει ἀσφάλεια,
ἀναιρεῖ τὴν πορνεία, ἐκτονώνει τὴ γενετήσια ὁρμὴ καὶ εἶναι ἕνας ἀπὸ τοὺς
δρόμους ποὺ ὁδηγεῖ στὸ Θεό. Ἀκοῦστε πῶς τοποθετεῖται ἀρχίζοντας μὲ τὸν 1ο
στίχο τοῦ 127ου Ψαλμοῦ:



«“(Εἶναι εὐτυχεῖς) ὅσοι βαδίζουν τοὺς δρόμους
τοῦ Θεοῦ”... Καὶ δὲν εἶπε δρόμος, ἀλλὰ δρόμοι, γιὰ νὰ δείξει ὅτι αὐτοὶ εἶναι
πολλοὶ καὶ διαφορετικοί. Γιατί γι
αὐτὸ χάραξε
πολλοὺς δρόμους, κάνοντας μὲ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν δρόμων εὔκολη τὴν εἴσοδό μας στὸν
οὐρανό. Δηλαδή, ἄλλοι μὲν ἀπὸ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους λάμπουν μὲ τὴν παρθενία, ἄλλοι
διαπρέπουν μὲ τὸ γάμο, ἄλλοι δὲ κοσμοῦνται μὲ τὴ χηρεία. Καὶ ἄλλοι μὲν
ἀπαρνήθηκαν τὰ πάντα, ἄλλοι δὲ τὰ μισά καὶ ἄλλοι μὲν ζοῦν ὀρθὸ βίο, ἄλλοι δὲ
μετανοοῦν γιὰ τὰ ἁμαρτήματά τους. Γι' αὐτὸ λοιπὸν χάραξε πολλοὺς δρόμους, γιὰ νὰ
βαδίζεις εὔκολα»[20].




γυναίκα
, μαζὶ μὲ ὅλα τὰ ἄλλα, ἀποτελεῖ πηγὴ εὐθυμίας καὶ λιμάνι
σωφροσύνης.





Ἡ προετοιμασία
τοῦ γάμου



Ἄν,
λοιπόν, εἶναι τόσο σπουδαῖο πράγμα ὁ γάμος θὰ πρέπει νὰ γίνεται ἡ προετοιμασία
του σωστὰ καὶ νὰ πρυτανεύουν κατάλληλα κριτήρια ἐκλογῆς συζύγου. Ἀπευθύνεται
κατὰ πρῶτον λόγον εἰς τοὺς γονεῖς κατὰ τὶς συνήθειες τῆς ἐποχῆς ἀλλὰ καὶ πρὸς
τοὺς ἴδιους τους νέους. Ὑπάρχει μάλιστα καὶ εἰδικὴ ὁμιλία: περὶ τοῦ ποίας δεῖ ἄγεσθαι γυναίκας (ποιὲς
γυναῖκες θὰ πρέπει νὰ παντρευόμαστε)[21].



Ἀκοῦστε
τί λέει πρῶτα γιὰ τὰ κριτήρια ἐπιλογῆς τοῦ γαμπροῦ καὶ
στὴ συνέχεια γιὰ ἐκεῖνα τῆς νύφης.



«Ἂν θέλεις νὰ περάσει ἡ θυγατέρα σου
εὐχάριστη ζωή, μὴ ζητεῖς γαμπρὸ μὲ μεγάλη περιουσία, οὔτε μὲ ἔνδοξη καταγωγή,
οὔτε μὲ μεγάλη πατρίδα, γιατί ὅλ΄ αὐτὰ εἶναι περιττά, ἀλλὰ νὰ ἐπιδιώκεις γαμπρὸ
μὲ εὐλάβεια ψυχῆς, μὲ καλωσύνη, μὲ ἀληθινὴ σύνεση, μὲ φόβο Θεοῦ. Γιατί, ἂν
ζητεῖς πλουσιότερο ἀπὸ τὴ θυγατέρα σου, ὄχι μόνον δὲν θὰ τὴν ὠφελήσεις, ἀλλὰ
καὶ θὰ τὴν βλάψεις, ἀφοῦ θὰ τὴν κάνεις δούλη, ἀντὶ γιὰ ἐλεύθερη γυναίκα. Γιατί,
ἀντὶ νὰ ἀπολαύσει εὐχαρίστηση ἀπὸ τὰ χρυσὰ κοσμήματα, θὰ εἶναι δούλη στὴν ἀηδία
τῆς φιλαρέσκειας. Μὴ ζητεῖς λοιπὸν τέτοια, ἀλλὰ κυρίως ἄνδρα ἰσότιμο· κι' ἂν
δὲν εἶναι δυνατόν, καλύτερα φτωχότερο, παρὰ πλουσιότερο, ἂν βέβαια δὲν θέλεις
νὰ δώσεις τὴν κόρη σου σὲ δυνάστη, ἀλλὰ σὲ στοργικὸ ἄνδρα. Ὅταν ἐξετάσεις μὲ
προσοχή τὴν ἀρετὴ τοῦ ἄνδρα καὶ πρόκειται νὰ παραδώσεις τὴ θυγατέρα σου,
παρακάλεσε τὸ Χριστὸ νὰ παρευρεθεῖ· δὲν θὰ ντραπεῖ νὰ τὸ κάνει, ἀφοῦ ὁ γάμος
εἶναι μυστήριο τῆς παρουσίας Του. Πρὸ παντὸς, λοιπὸν, τότε νὰ παρακαλεῖς, ὥστε
νὰ στείλει τέτοιο μνηστήρα...· Ὅταν περιεργάζεσαι καὶ ἀναζητεῖς ὑποψήφιο
γαμπρό, νὰ προσεύχεσαι· πὲς στὸ Θεό· ὅποιον θέλεις ἐσὺ στεῖλε· ἀνάθεσε σ' Αὐτὸν
τὴν ὑπόθεση, καὶ ἀφοῦ τὸν τίμησες μ' αὐτὴ τὴν τιμή, θὰ σὲ ἀνταμείψει. Δύο λοιπὸν
πράγματα πρέπει νὰ κάνεις, καὶ νὰ ἀναθέτεις στὸ Χριστὸ τὸ θέμα καὶ νὰ ζητεῖς
τέτοιο γαμπρό, ποὺ Αὐτὸς θέλει, δηλαδὴ σεμνόν, σώφρονα»[22].



«Ποιός, ὅταν πρόκειται νὰ νυμφευθεῖ, ἐξετάζει
τὸ χαρακτήρα καὶ τὴν ἀνατροφὴ τῆς κόρης; Κανείς· ἀλλὰ ἐξετάζει ἀμέσως χρήματα
καὶ κτήματα καὶ μέτρα περιουσίας ποικίλης καὶ διαφορετικῆς, σὰν νὰ πρόκειται νὰ
ἀγοράσει κάτι ἢ νὰ κάμει κάποια συνηθισμένη συναλλαγὴ ... Μάθετε πῶς ἔκαναν τὸ
γάμο οἱ παλιοὶ καὶ ζηλέψτε. Πῶς λοιπὸν ἐκεῖνοι ἔκαναν τὸ γάμο; Ζητοῦσαν
χαρακτῆρες καὶ ἦθος καὶ ἀρετὴ ψυχῆς. Γι' αὐτὸ αὐτοὶ δὲν εἶχαν ἀνάγκη ἀπὸ
συμβόλαια, οὔτε ἀπὸ τὴν ἀσφάλεια τοῦ χαρτιοῦ καὶ τῆς μελάνης· γιατί τοὺς ἦταν
ἀρκετὴ ἀντὶ ὅλων αὐτῶν ἡ διαγωγὴ τῆς νύφης»[23].



Μεγάλη
σημασία δίνει ὁ ἱ. Χρυσόστομος στὴν ἁγνότητα τῶν νέων ποὺ προσέρχονται
εἰς γάμου κοινωνίαν, γι’ αὐτὸ καὶ συνιστᾶ νὰ φροντίζουμε γιὰ τὴν ἁγνότητά τους
καὶ γιὰ σύντομο γάμο.



«Πρὸ πάντων πρέπει νὰ διατηροῦμε τοὺς νέους
σώφρονες, γιατί ἡ ἀνηθικότητα τοὺς μολύνει περισσότερο ἀπὸ ὅλα. Γιὰ τὸ σκοπὸ
αὐτὸ χρειάζονται ἀπὸ μέρους μας πολλοὶ ἀγῶνες, πολλὴ προσοχή. Νὰ τοὺς ὁδηγοῦμε
γρήγορα στὸ γάμο, ὥστε νὰ δέχονται τὴ νύφη μὲ καθαρὰ καὶ ἁγνὰ σώματα· αὐτοὶ οἱ
ἔρωτες εἶναι οἱ θερμότεροι. Ἐκεῖνος ποὺ εἶναι ἁγνὸς πρὶν ἀπὸ τὸ γάμο, θὰ εἶναι
ἁγνὸς πολὺ περισσότερο μετὰ τὸ γάμο· ἐνῶ ἐκεῖνος ποὺ συνήθισε νὰ πορνεύει πρὶν
ἀπὸ τὸ γάμο, θὰ κάμει τὸ ἴδιο καὶ μετὰ τὸ γάμο. Γιατί, ὅπως λέγει ὁ σοφὸς
Σολομῶν, «στὸν πόρνο κάθε γυναίκα φαίνεται γλυκειά»
(Ἐκκλησιατής 23, 24). Γι' αὐτὸ τοποθετοῦμε στὰ κεφάλια τῶν
νεονύμφων στεφάνια, ποὺ εἶναι σύμβολα τῆς νίκης, γιατί, ἀφοῦ ἀναδείχτηκαν
ἀνίκητοι, προσέρχονται στὸ συζυγικὸ κρεβάτι ἁγνοί, χωρὶς νὰ νικηθοῦν ἀπὸ τὴν
ἡδονή»[24].





Καθήκοντα καὶ ὑποχρεώσεις τῶν συζύγων



Δὲν
ἀρκεῖ, καίτοι εἶναι πολὺ σπουδαία, μόνη ἡ προετοιμασία. Στὸ γάμο ὑπάρχουν
καθήκοντα καὶ ὑποχρεώσεις τῶν συζύγων. Ὁ ἱ. πατὴρ παραθέτει μία σειρὰ ὀφειλῶν,
ὅπως οἱ ἄνδρες νὰ ἀγαποῦν καὶ νὰ ἀνέχονται τὶς γυναῖκες τους ἀκόμη καὶ τὶς
κακότροπες, νὰ μὴ βιαιοπραγοῦν, νὰ εἶναι ἐπιεικεῖς καὶ νὰ ἀνέχονται τὰ
ἐλαττώματά τους καὶ νὰ τὶς παρηγοροῦν στὶς ἀποτυχίες. Ἂς μὴν ξεχνοῦν ὅτι ἡ
συζυγικὴ ἀγάπη εἶναι ἡ βάση τῆς οἰκογενειακῆς εὐτυχίας.



«Πραγματικά, αὐτὸ εἶναι ἀληθινὸ συνοικέσιο,
ὅταν ὑπάρχει ἀνάμεσα στοὺς δύο συζύγους μεγάλη συμφωνία, ὅταν ὑπάρχει στενὸς
σύνδεσμος, ὅταν εἶναι πολὺ σφιχτὰ δεμένοι μὲ τὴν ἀγάπη. Ὅπως, δηλαδὴ, ἀκριβῶς
τὸ σῶμα δὲν μπορεῖ ποτὲ νὰ ἐπαναστατήσει ἐναντίον τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ του, οὔτε ἡ ψυχὴ
ἐναντίον τοῦ ἑαυτοῦ της, ἔτσι καὶ ὁ ἄνδρας καὶ ἡ γυναίκα δὲν πρέπει νὰ
βρίσκονται σὲ διάσταση καὶ διαμάχη, ἀλλὰ πρέπει νὰ εἶναι ἑνωμένοι. Γιατί τότε εἶναι
δυνατὸν νὰ συγκεντρωθοῦν σ' αὐτοὺς ἀναρίθμητα ἀγαθά»[25].



Μὲ
τὴ δύναμη τῆς συζυγικῆς ἀγάπης ὑπερνικῶνται τὰ ἐμπόδια. Ἐξάλλου ὁ ἕνας σύζυγος
ὀφείλει νὰ ἐπιδιώκει τὴ σωτηρία τοῦ ἄλλου καὶ τονίζει ὁ ἱ. Χρυσόστομος τὴν
ἀνάγκη ἀνοχῆς, ὁμονοίας καὶ ὁμοψυχίας. Πρώτιστο καθῆκον τῶν συζύγων εἶναι οἱ
εἰρηνικὲς σχέσεις ποὺ διευκολύνουν πολὺ τὴν πνευματικὴ ζωή.



Μπορεῖ,
βέβαια, ὁ ἄνδρας νὰ θεωρεῖται κεφαλὴ τῆς γυναικὸς καὶ ἡ γυναίκα νὰ φοβᾶται, νὰ
σέβεται καὶ νὰ τιμάει, δηλαδή, τὸν ἄνδρα της, πλὴν ὅμως ἡ ὑποταγὴ τῆς γυναίκας
στὸν ἄνδρα γίνεται πηγὴ πολλῶν εὐλογιῶν.



Δίνουμε
ἕνα μικρὸ δεῖγμα γραφῆς τοῦ ἱ. Χρυσοστόμου γιατί εἶναι ἀδύνατον στὰ πλαίσια τῆς
ἀποψινῆς μας ὁμιλίας νὰ ἀναπτύξουμε στὴν ἐντέλεια τὸ ζήτημα αὐτό. Ἀπὸ τοὺς
νεωτέρους Πατέρες ὁ Ἅγιος Νεκτάριος ὁ ὁποῖος διετέλεσε καὶ ἱεροκήρυκας, ἐδῶ,
στὴν Ἱ. Μητρόπολη Φθιώτιδος, ἔχει κάμει πολὺ ὡραία ἀνάπτυξη τοῦ θέματος σὲ
σχετικὴ ὁμιλία του[26].



«Οἱ γυναῖκες νὰ ὑποτάσσεσθε στοὺς ἄνδρες
σας, σὰν νὰ ὑποτάσσεσθε στὸν Κύριο» (Ἐφεσίους 5, 22). Γιατί τέλος πάντων; Γιατί,
ἂν αὐτοὶ εἶναι μονοιασμένοι, καὶ τὰ παιδιὰ ἀνατρέφονται καλὰ καὶ οἱ ὑπηρέτες
εἶναι πειθαρχικοὶ καὶ οἱ γείτονες ἀπολαμβάνουν τὴν εὐωδία καὶ οἱ φίλοι καὶ οἱ
συγγενεῖς· ἂν ὅμως συμβαίνει τὸ ἀντίθετο, τότε ὅλα γίνονται ἄνω κάτω καὶ
ἐπικρατεῖ σύγχυση»[27].





Προσοχή καὶ
ἀμοιβαιότητα



Χρειάζεται
ὅμως πολλὴ προσοχὴ καὶ ἀμοιβαιότητα. Γιατί ἂν ἡ γυναίκα ὀφείλει νὰ ὑπομένει τὸν
ἄνδρα καὶ ὁ ἄνδρας ἀντίστοιχα θὰ πρέπει νὰ μὴν κακομεταχειρίζεται τὴ γυναίκα.
Μπορεῖ βέβαια βάση τοῦ γάμου καὶ πολυτιμότερο ἀγαθὸ νὰ εἶναι ἡ ἀγάπη τῆς
γυναίκας πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα της γιατί χωρὶς αὐτὴ ὅλα ἀνατρέπονται: Ἐξίσου ὅμως
πολύτιμη εἶναι καὶ ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ ἄνδρα πρὸς τὴ γυναίκα του. Ὡς ἔμπειρος
οἰκογενειακὸς σύμβουλος ὁ ἱ. πατὴρ νουθετεῖ τὸν ἄνδρα γιὰ τὸν τρόπο μὲ τὸν
ὁποῖο ὀφείλει νὰ συμπεριφέρεται πρὸς τὴ γυναίκα του ὅταν μάλιστα πρόκειται νὰ
τῆς ὑποδείξει κάτι. Εἶναι πράγματι πολύτιμες οἱ συμβουλές του.



«Λόγια ἀγάπης νὰ τῆς λές:… Ἐγὼ
ἀπὸ ὅλα, τὴ δική σου ἀγάπη προ­τιμῶ καὶ τίποτε δὲν μοῦ εἶναι τόσο βασανιστικὸ ἢ
δυσάρεστο, ὅσο τὸ νὰ βρεθῶ κάποτε σὲ διάσταση μαζί σου. Κι ἂν ὅλα χρειασθεῖ νὰ
τὰ χάσω, …κι ἂν στοὺς ἔσχατους βρεθῶ κινδύνους, ὁτιδήποτε κι ἂν πάθω, ὅλα μοῦ
εἶναι ἀνεκτὰ κι ὑποφερτά, ὅσο ἐσύ μοῦ εἶσαι καλά. Καὶ τὰ παιδιά, τότε μοῦ εἶναι
περιπόθητα, ἐφ’ ὅσον ἐσύ μᾶς συ­μπαθεῖς… Ἴσως κάποτε σοῦ πεῖ: Ποτὲ ὡς τώρα δὲν
ξόδεψα ἀπὸ τὰ δικά σου, ἔχω ἀκόμη τὰ δικά μου, πού μου ‘δωσαν οἱ γονεῖς μου.
Τότε πές της: Τί λὲς καλή μου; Ἔχεις ἀκόμη τὰ δικά σου; Ποιὰ λέ­ξη μπορεῖ νά
‘ναι χειρότερη ἀπὸ αὐτή; Σῶμα δὲν ἔχεις πιὰ δικό σου κι ἔχεις χρήματα; Δὲν
εἴμαστε δύο σώματα μετὰ τὸ γάμο, ἀλλὰ γίναμε ἕνα. Δὲν ἔχουμε δύο περιουσίες,
ἀλλὰ μία… Ὅλα δικά σου εἶναι, κι ἐγὼ δικός σου εἶμαι, κορίτσι μου. Αὐτὸ μὲ
συμβουλεύει ὁ Παῦλος λέγοντας ὅτι ὁ ἄνδρας δὲν ἐξουσιάζει τὸ σῶμα του, ἀλλὰ ἡ
γυναίκα. Κι ἂν δὲν ἔχω ἐγὼ ἐξουσία στὸ σῶμα μου, ἀλλὰ ἐσύ, πό­σο μᾶλλον δικά
σου εἶναι τὰ χρήματα… Ποτὲ νὰ μὴν τῆς μιλᾶς μὲ πεζὸ τρόπο, ἀλλὰ μὲ φιλοφροσύνη,
μὲ τιμή, μὲ ἀγάπη πολλή. Νὰ τὴν τιμᾶς, καὶ δὲ θὰ βρεθεῖ στὴν ἀνάγκη νὰ ζητήσει
τὴν τιμὴ ἀπὸ ἄλλους… Νὰ τὴν προτιμᾶς ἀπὸ ὅλους γιὰ ὅλα, γιὰ τὴν ὀμορφιά, γιὰ τὴ
σωφροσύνη της, καὶ νὰ τὴν ἐγκωμιάζεις. Νὰ κάνεις φανερὸ ὅτι σ’ ἀρέσει ἡ
συντροφιά της κι ὅτι προτιμᾶς νὰ μένεις στὸ σπίτι γιὰ νά
σαι μαζί της ἀπὸ τὸ νὰ βγαίνεις στὴν
ἀγορά. Ἀπὸ ὅλους τοὺς φίλους νὰ τὴν προτιμᾶς, καὶ ἀπὸ τὰ παιδιὰ πού σοῦ χάρισε,
κι αὐτὰ ἐξαιτίας της νὰ τὰ ἀγαπᾶς»
[28].





Δυσκολίες στὸ γάμο



Αὐτὴ
ἡ ἀμοιβαία ἀγάπη εἶναι ἀπαραίτητη γιατὶ ὑπάρχουν καὶ οἱ δυσκολίες στὸ γάμο ποὺ
πρέπει νὰ ἀντιμετωπισθοῦν. Σὲ ἕνα «ἀπαισιόδοξο» κείμενο περιγράφει μὲ ἀναλυτικὸ
τρόπο αὐτὲς τὶς δυσκολίες. Δὲν τὸ κάνει γιὰ νὰ κατηγορήσει τὴ φύση τοῦ γάμου
ἀλλὰ γιὰ νὰ φανερώσει τὶς συνεχεῖς ἀτελείωτες φροντίδες τῶν ἐγγάμων.



«Γεννήθηκε κάποιο κορίτσι; Ἐπειδὴ δὲν
εἶναι ἀγόρι, ὁ σύζυγος γίνεται σκυθρωπός. Προστέθηκε καὶ ἀγόρι; Γεννήθηκε τὸ
παιδί, ἀλλὰ δὲν εἶναι ὄμορφο. Εἶναι ὑπερβολικὰ ὄμορφα καὶ τὰ δύο; Ἐπειδὴ εἶναι
ὄμορφα, ἡ φροντίδα εἶναι πικρότερη. Ἔγινε ὁ ἀποθηλασμός; Πάλι διαδέχεται τὸν
θηλασμὸ ἡ ἀγωνία τῆς ἀνατροφῆς. Ὅταν εἶναι ὑγιῆ, ὑπάρχει ὁ φόβος μήπως
ἀρρωστήσουν· ὅταν ἀρρωστήσουν, ὑπάρχει ὁ φόβος μήπως πεθάνουν· ὅταν πεθάνουν,
ὑπάρχει ὁ φόβος νὰ περιφρονεῖται ἡ γυναίκα ὡς ἄτεκνη· ὅταν δὲν πεθάνουν, ἡ
φροντίδα τότε γιὰ τὴ ζωὴ τους εἶναι βαρύτερη. Ἀπὸ ποῦ νὰ βρεθοῦν τὰ χρήματα γιὰ
τὴ μόρφωση τῶν παιδιῶν; Ἀπὸ ποῦ νὰ μαζευθοῦν τὰ χρήματα γιὰ τὸ γάμο τους; Πῶς
νὰ εἶναι καλαίσθητη ἡ ἐνδυμασία τους; Πῶς νὰ διανείμουν τοὺς ὑπηρέτες στὸν
καθένα; Ποιὰ ἀπὸ τὰ ὑπάρχοντα νὰ δώσει στὸ μεγαλύτερο; Πῶς νὰ ἱκανοποιήσει τὸ
μικρότερο, ὅταν φθονεῖ; “Η ἄγαμη ἐπιμελεῖται ἐκεῖνα, ποὺ ἀρέσουν στὸν Κύριο καὶ
προσπαθεῖ νὰ εἶναι ἅγια καὶ στὸ σῶμα καὶ στὴν ψυχή” (
A΄ Κόρ. 7, 34). Δὲν κατηγορῶ τὴ φύση τοῦ
γάμου (γιατί ὁ γάμος εἶναι κοινὴ πρόνοια γιὰ τὴ διαιώνιση τοῦ γένους μας), ἀλλὰ
φανερώνω τὶς συνεχεῖς φροντίδες τῶν ἐγγγάμων»
[29].



Μὲ
ἀντικειμενικότητα διαπιστώνει τοὺς πολλοὺς πειρασμοὺς τοῦ ἐγγάμου βίου καὶ τὸ
ἐνδεχόμενο νὰ γίνει ὁ γάμος ἀντὶ λιμάνι ναυάγιο. Γνωρίζει τὰ ἐπιχειρήματα ποὺ
συνήθως προβάλλονται ὡς πρὸς τὰ πλεονεκτήματα καὶ τὰ μειονεκτήματα τοῦ γάμου.



«Ἐκεῖνος ποὺ ἦρθε σὲ γάμο, ὑποστηρίζει
ὅτι δὲν ὑπάρχει τίποτε χειρότερο ἀπὸ τὴ γυναίκα καὶ τὶς οἰκογενειακὲς
φροντίδες. Ὁ ἄγαμος λέγει ὅτι δὲν ὑπάρχει μεγαλύτερη σκλαβιὰ ἀπὸ τὸν ἄγαμο βίο,
γιατί στερεῖται κανεὶς καὶ σπιτικὸ καὶ τὴν ἀνάπαυση ποὺ χαρίζει ἡ γυναικεία
παρουσία»
[30]



. Τὸν ἀπασχολοῦν
ἐπίσης
τὰ αἴτια τῆς ἀποτυχίας τοῦ γάμου καὶ τῆς οἰκογενείας ποὺ μπορεῖ νὰ ὀφείλεται σὲ σφάλματα τοῦ παρελθόντος, ὅπως ἀνάμεσα σὲ
ἄλλα ὅταν οἱ νέοι δὲν ἔζησαν μὲ ἁγνότητα. Ἡ διχόνοια τῶν γονέων μπορεῖ ἐπίσης
εὔκολα νὰ ὁδηγήσει τὴν οἰκογένεια στὸ ναυάγιο καθὼς καὶ ὁ κακὸς ρόλος τῶν
συγγενῶν.







Ἡ καλλιέργεια τῆς πνευματικῆς
ζωῆς



Γιὰ
νὰ μπορέσουν ὁ γάμος καὶ ἡ οἰκογένεια νὰ διατηρηθοῦν στὸ ὕψος τους καὶ στὴ
συνοχή τους ἀπαιτεῖται ἡ καλλιέργεια τῆς πνευματικῆς ζωῆς. Ὁ ἱ. Χρυσόστομος
θεωρεῖ χρήσιμο, γι’ αὐτὸ καὶ προτείνει, δίπλα σὲ ἄλλα μέτρα, μία πνευματικὴ
εὐκαιρία τὴν ἑβδομάδα.



«Ἂς γράψουμε καὶ ἂς θεσπίσουμε γιὰ τὸν
ἑαυτό μας ἕνα νόμο ἀμετακίνητο καὶ ἀπαράβατο, καὶ γιὰ τὶς γυναῖκες μας καὶ γιὰ
τὰ παιδιά μας, δηλαδὴ, μία μέρα τῆς ἑβδομάδας ὁλόκληρη νὰ τὴν ἀφιερώνουμε στὴν
ἀκρόαση τοῦ λόγου τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ στὴν ἐμβάθυνση σ’αὐτὰ ποὺ ἀκούσαμε»
[31].



Συνιστᾶ
ἐπίσης, ἡ οἰκογένεια νὰ εἶναι παλαίστρα καὶ γυμναστήριο.



«Ἂς γίνει τὸ σπίτι σου στίβος καὶ παλαίστρα
ἀρετῆς, ὥστε, ἀφοῦ γυμνασθεῖς ἐκεῖ μὲ ἐπιμέλεια, νὰ ἀντιμετωπίσεις μὲ πολλὴ
γνώση καὶ τέχνη τοὺς ἀνθρώπους τῆς ἀγoρᾶς»[32].



Ὁλοκληρώνοντας, θὰ ἤθελα νὰ
τονίσω ὅτι ὁ ἱερὸς Χρυσόστομος, ἐξέχων ὑπέρμαχος τοῦ γάμου, διαβλέπει τὸ τέλος
καὶ δίδει τὸ μέτρο καὶ τὴν καταξίωση κάθε κόπου καὶ προσπάθειας πρὸς αὐτὴ τὴν
κατεύθυνση καὶ βγάνει τὰ χρήσιμα συμπεράσματά του:



« Ἂν μὲ τέτοιο τρόπο ἀγωνιστικὸ
τακτοποιήσουμε τὰ τοῦ γάμου μας... δὲν θὰ συμβεῖ κανένα δυσάρεστο στὸ σπίτι
ἐκεῖνο, ἀλλ’ ὅλα καλὰ θὰ πηγαίνουν, ἀφοῦ οἱ ἄρχοντες τοῦ σπιτιοῦ θὰ βρίσκονται
σὲ τόσο καλὲς σχέσεις. Ἔτσι θὰ μπορέσει ὁ καθένας μαζὶ μὲ τὴν οἰκογένειά του,
δηλαδὴ, τὴ γυναίκα του, τὰ παιδιά του καὶ τοὺς ὑπηρέτες του νὰ διέλθει τὸν ἐδῶ
βίο εὐχάριστα καὶ νὰ εἰσέλθει στὴ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, τὴν ὁποία ἂς εὐχηθοῦμε
ὅλοι νὰ πετύχουμε»[33].













* Ὁμιλία στὴ Σχολὴ Γάμου τῆς Ἱ. Μητροπόλεως
Ἀλεξανδρουπόλεως, στὶς 2 Φεβρουαρίου 2011. Τὸ
κείμενο βρίσκεται στὶς Ἐκδόσεις τῆς Ἱ. Μητροπόλεως Φθιώτιδος, Σειρὰ
Γάμου Κοινωνία I, Λαμία, 32 σ. Μερίμνῃ τῆς Σχολῆς
διανεμήθηκε στοὺς συμμετέχοντες.







[1] Anatole Moulard, Saint Jean Chrysostome. Le défenseur du mariage et l’apôtre de la
virginité,
Paris 1923, 322
σ.







[2] Μ. Γαλανὸς στὸ Π.Γ. Στάμου 1963, σ. 9.







[3] Ἐγκώμιον εἰς Μάξιμον στὸ Π.Γ. Στάμου 1963, σ. 28.







[4]
Εἰς Ἐφεσίους, Ὁμιλία 20, 6.







[5]
Εἰς Κολοσσαεῖς, Ὁμιλία 12, 5.







[6]
Εἰς Γένεσιν, Ὁμιλία 6, 2.







[7]
Εἰς τὰς Πράξεις, Ὁμιλία 26, 4.







[8]
Εἰς Κολοσσαεῖς, Ὁμιλία 12, 5.







[9]
Εἰς Κολοσσαεῖς, Ὁμιλία 12, 6 καὶ 12, 7.







[10]
Εἰς Κολοσσαεῖς, Ὁμιλία 12, 5.







[11]
Εἰς Κολοσσαεῖς, Ὁμιλία 12, 5.







[12]
Ἐγκώμιον εἰς Μάξιμον, 3.







[13]
Περὶ τοῦ τὰς κανονικὰς μ συνοικεῖν ἀνδράσι, 9.







[14]
Εἰς Ἑβραίους, Ὁμιλία 33, 3.







[15]
Εἰς Ἑβραίους, Ὁμιλία 7, 4.







[16]
Εἰς Ἡσαΐαν, Ὁμιλία 4, 2.







[17]
Εἰς Ἡσαΐαν, Ὁμιλία 6, 1.







[18]
Εἰς Ρητόν «Διὰ δὲ τὰ πορνείας», 3.







[19]
Εἰς Ἰωάννην, Ὁμιλία 19, 1.







[20]
Εἰς Ψαλμόν, Ὁμιλία 127, 2.







[21]
Ἐγκώμιον εἰς Μάξιμον... 3.







[22]
Eἰς Κολοσσαεῖς, Ὁμιλία 12.







[23]
Εἰς Ματθαῖον, Ὁμιλία 73, 4.







[24]
Εἰς Α
΄ Τιμόθεον,
Ὁμιλία
9, 2,







[25]
Εἰς Γένεσιν, Ὁμιλία 45, 3.







[26] Ἁγίου Nεκταρίου Πενταπόλεως, Περί τοῦ
τὶς ἡ ἀληθής ἑρμηνεία τῆς ρήσεως τοῦ Ἀπ. Παύλου: «ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἵνα φοβῆται τὸν
ἄνδρα»
(Ἐφεσίους 5, 33). Δημοσιεύτηκε στὸ περ. «Ἀνάπλασις» στὶς 14
Νοεμβρίου 1902 καὶ ἀναδημοσιεύτηκε στὸ περ. «Ἐφημέριος» τοῦ ἔτους 1988, σ.
42-43, κυκλοφορεῖ καὶ ὡς ἀνάτυπο.







[27]
Εἰς Ἐφεσίους, Ὁμιλία 20, 1.







[28]
Εἰς Ἐφεσίους, Ὁμιλία 20. Ἡ μετάφραση ἀπό:
Παναγιώτη Νέλλα,
Ζῶον Θεούμενον,
Ἐκδ. Ἁρμός, Ἀθήνα 1992-3, σ. 85.







[29]
Εἰς
Θέκλαν, Ὁμιλία
1.







[30]
Εἰς Β
΄ Τιμοθεον,
Ὁμιλία 1, 3.







[31]
Εἰς Ματθαῖον, Ὁμιλία 5, 1







[32]
Εἰς Ματθαῖον, Ὁμιλία 11, 8.







[33]
Ἐγκώμιον εἰς Μάξιμον στό Π.Γ. Στάμου
1963 σ. 47.