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Gregory of Nazianzus Church. Personalities John of Damascus

St Maximus the Confessor (Μάξιμος ὁ Ὁμολογητής)

Born: c. 580; Constantinople
Died: 13 August 662; Tsageri, Georgia

Maximus the Confessor was a Christian monk, theologian, and scholar.

In his early life, Maximus was a civil servant, and an aide to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius. However, he gave up this life in the political sphere to enter into the monastic life.

As a student of Pseudo-Dionysius, Maximus was one of many Christian theologians who preserved and interpreted the earlier Neo-Platonic philosophy, including the thought of such figures as Plotinus and Proclus.

God is present in all creatures

The Holy Spirit is present in all creatures and most of all in those who have participated in any way to reason. Because He is who holds and unites the knowledge of all creatures, since He is God and God's Spirit, going into everything according to the potentiality that He foresees, and He enlivens and moves the natural reason of all, this way leading him, who senses and has his will ready to receive the correct and natural thoughts, to feel those of his acts that don't comply completely with the customs of nature.

God is Thinking

All thinking denotes multitude or dyad at any rate, because it is a relation in the middle of certain extremes, conjoining the one who thinks with what is being thought. And none of them by nature saves simplicity entirely, since the one who thinks is some subject, having necessarily as a constituent the power of thinking. And what is being thought is at any rate a subject or into a subject, having as a constituent the potentiality of being thought or having underlying the essence of that, of which itself is the power. There isn’t any being at all, that is in itself a simple essence or mind, so that to be also indivisibly one. But God, whether we may call him essence, He doesn’t have by his nature as a constituent the power of being thought, because He is not composite, or (if we call him) thinking, He doesn’t have by his nature an underlying essence receptive of thinking.

But God himself in his essence is thinking, and He is thinking and only that, and himself according to his thinking is essence, all of Him essence and only that, above essence all of him and above thinking all of him, because He is also indivisibly one, partless and simple. Therefore, whoever in whatever has thinking, has not yet left the dyad, but whoever abandonded thinking perfectly has become totally into the one, having left aside excellently the power of thinking.

Maximus Confessor
God is Thinking

πᾶσα νόησις, πλήθους· ἢ τουλάχιστον, δυάδος πάντως ἔμφασιν ἔχει. Μέση γάρ ἐστι τινῶν ἀκροτήτων σχέσις, ἀλλήλοις συνάπτουσα τό τε νοοῦν καὶ τὸ νοούμενον. Οὐδέτερον δὲ διόλου τὴν ἁπλότητα πέφυκε σώζειν. Τό τε γὰρ νοοῦν, ὑποκείμενόν τί ἐστι, πάντως συνεπινοουμένην αὐτῷ τὴν τοῦ νοεῖν ἔχον δύναμιν. Καὶ τὸ νοούμενον ὑποκείμενόν τι πάντως ἐστίν, ἢ ἐν ὑποκειμένῳ· συνεπινοουμένην αὐτῷ τὴν τοῦ νοεῖσθαι δύναμιν ἔχον· ἢ προϋποκειμένην τήν, οὗ ἐστι δύναμις, οὐσίαν. Οὐ γάρ τι τῶν ὄντων τὸ σύνολον αὐτὸ καθ᾿ αὑτὸ ἁπλῆ τις οὐσία ἢ νόησίς ἐστιν, ἵνα καὶ μονὰς ἀδιαίρετος. Τὸν δὲ Θεόν, εἴτε οὐσίαν εἴπωμεν, οὐκ ἔχει φυσικῶς συνεπινοουμένην αὐτῷ τὴν τοῦ νοεῖσθαι δύναμιν, ἵνα μὴ σύνθετος· εἴτε νόησιν, οὐκ ἔχει φυσικῶς δεκτικὴν τῆς νοήσεως ὑποκειμένην οὐσίαν·

ἀλλ᾿ αὐτὸς κατ᾿ οὐσίαν νόησίς ἐστιν ὁ Θεός· καὶ ὅλος νόησις καὶ μόνον· καὶ αὐτὸς κατὰ τὴν νόησιν οὐσία καὶ ὅλος οὐσία καὶ μόνον· καὶ ὑπὲρ οὐσίαν ὅλος καὶ ὑπέρ νόησιν ὅλος, διότι καὶ μονὰς ἀδιαίρετος καὶ ἀμερὴς καὶ ἁπλῆ. Ὁ τοίνυν καθ᾿ ὁτιοῦν νόησιν ἔχων, οὔπω τῆς δυάδος ἐξῆλθεν· ὁ δὲ ταύτην πάμπαν ἀπολιπών, γέγονε ποσῶς ἐν τῇ μονάδι, τὴν τοῦ νοεῖν ὑπεροχικῶς ἀποθέμενος δύναμιν.

Μάξιμος ὁ Ὁμολογητής
νόησίς ἐστιν ὁ Θεός

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