A Look at Lived Hierophany: Eroticism, Ethics and the Eucharist in a Greek Orthodox Hermitage

Lucas Kane

Abstract


Based on two months of research in a small monastery in Northern Greece, this paper explores the conceptions, definitions and practices of Orthodox Christianity as understood by Father Makarios, the monastery's abbot. I describe his emphasis on the sensuality of Christian practice, first examining how his definition of Christianity revolves around an individual’s pursuit of Christ, a pursuit which rests upon both Christ’s love for humanity (demonstrated in the Crucifixion) and humanity’s seeking love for Christ. I go on to analyze this sensuality of monastic daily life, arguing that Makarios’ definition of Christianity informs the ideal of his own pursuit of God (in which he seeks union with Christ). This definition and pursuit are mirrored in two daily examples: the consumption of the Eucharist, and Makarios’ relationship with his disciple. I contend that in this monastery, sensuality is the medium and technique through which Christ is sought and the ineffable is made tangible in the everyday practices of the monks. Sensuality becomes a lived hierophany – a manifestation of the sacred.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15273/jue.v6i2.7066

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The JUE is a peer-reviewed online journal that publishes original ethnographic research by undergraduates working in a variety of disciplines. Submissions are welcomed. Contact the Editor, Martha Radice.

ISSN 2369-8721