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Orthodoxy has a number of “favorite” words – all of which fall outside the bounds of normal speech. Though we commonly use the word “mystery” (for example), popular speech never uses it in the manner of the Church. I cannot remember using the word “fullness,” or even “fulfilled,” in normal speech. More contemporary words have come to replace these expressions. This doesn’t mean that an English speaker has no idea of what the words mean – but, again, they do not understand these words in the manner of the Church. There is a reality to which words such as mystery and fullness refer – a reality that carries the very heart of the Orthodox understanding of the world and its relation to God.
In popular usage, the word mystery has become synonymous with puzzle. Thus a mystery is something we do not know, but something that, with careful investigation is likely to be revealed. In the Church, mystery is something which by its very nature is unknown, and can only be known in a manner unlike anything else.
Words - Fullness - Language - Church - Meanings
Words such as fullness and fulfilled are equally important and specialized in the language of the Church, but whose meanings bear little resemblance to popular speech. Fullness (pleroma), occurs a number of times in the New Testament. It was also a favorite word in the writings of the gnostics. In Christian usage, it refers to a spiritual wholeness or completeness that is being manifested or revealed in some way. It is more than a Divine act – it carries with it something of the Divine itself (God Himself is the Fullness). It is not simply the action of God, but is itself God. Prior actions and words may have hinted at the fullness, but in the revelation of the fullness all hints will have...
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