The aim of our repentance is to partake in God—Metropolitan Shio, Locum Tenens of Georgian Church

Tbilisi, April 1, 2024

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When we live in pursuit of direct participation in God, then we reach great spiritual heights, His Eminence Metropolitan Shio of Senaki and Chkhorotsqu of the Georgian Orthodox Church preached yesterday.

Met. Shio was appointed Locum Tenens by His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II in November 2017, meaning he would govern the Church in the event of the death of the Patriarch until a new Patriarch is elected.

His Sunday homily was published by the Church’s Public Relations Department.

This Sunday is dedicated to St. Gregory Palamas, who, as Met. Shio noted, “left us the teaching recognized by the Orthodox Church about how the image of God is revealed in us. He directly says that man is a partaker of God. This is the image of God, which is revealed in man through the path of repentance and makes him, us, all of us partakers of God.”

St. Gregory’s teaching of hesychasm refers to the practice of the Jesus Prayer, which, when offered from a place of special silence “changes the color of a man’s whole spiritual life, his soul and heart.”

The Metropolitan continued:

St. Gregory Palamas teaches that God is present in the world through His energies. When a person prays the Jesus Prayer from the depths of silence, praying correctly, then he becomes subject to the action of these energies, which unite him with God and make him a partaker of God. Behold, what a marvelous result the Jesus Prayer has when it is performed as St. Gregory Palamas teaches us.

And when a man lives this way, he reaches unimaginably great spiritual heights; in him is realized this partaking, the partaking with God (which I mentioned), to such an extent that even the body of the man changes its appearance and becomes worthy to receive that Uncreated Light, which the Lord Jesus Christ revealed on Mt. Tabor. A man becomes worthy of beholding this Light; he becomes worthy to manifest it, which is confirmed by the lives of many saints.

The basis of our repentance is the faith that only a Christian can have, Met. Shio said. And the aim of our repentance is to partake in God, “which the Holy Church testifies to during the first and second weeks of Great Lent,” Met. Shio concluded.

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