Fr. Divry’s Explanation of the Tabor Light 2

Originally posted 2/16/2011.

The following is VERY roughly translated from pp. 503-505 of Fr. Édouard Divry, O.P., La Transfiguration selon l’Orient et l’Occident:
8. Is the hypostatic property, defined above, created or uncreated?
Applied to Christ, the question offers an inept alternative response. In fact, “created” and “uncreated” qualify the natures, human and divine respectively, of Christ. A created personal property, and thus driven by the human nature alone, pertains to the Person of Christ; it is therefore defined as hypostatic. A personal property, innate in the divinity of Christ, also belongs to His Person, and is therefore also hypostatic. By the theological axiom of the communication of idioms, the prime unity of the Person with His divine or human properties that exist in the unity of one ontological subject.1518 In other words, these concrete properties all depend on the same supposit, the Person of the Incarnate Word.

In the case of Christ’s illumination on Tabor, the Orthodox see in this light an uncreated energy, the Latins a light created by a miracle. However, the two sides, Latins and Greeks, could recognize in this light a certain hypostatic property of Christ.

We think of the metaphor of a two-sided reality in order to speak about grace: a presence of the light of glory visible to the witnesses’ eyes of faith, and a reality visible to the senses, produced by a miracle with the help of a form that could be a pre-glorious quasi-habitus that participates in the uncreated divine light. It is perhaps worth reminding the reader that “quasi” is understood here in the sense of providing certain exceptional characters of the habit, and not in the clearly inadequate sense of “almost.” The two aspects, created and uncreated, of this light include a certain original Personal property, that of Christ illuminated in His divinized corporeal humanity. It is thus that our theological effort interprets, with regard to the Transfiguration, the laconic expression of the Ecumenical Council Constantinople III (681): “two natures irradiating in His one hypostasis.”1519 This hypostatic irradiation makes perfect sense in its application to the Transfiguration.

In applying this doctrine to the saints with all the necessary modifications, one should answer the demanding initial question in affirming that any created effect comes from the Triune God considered consubstantially as One. However, if it is admitted, with St. Thomas Aquinas, that the personal procession in the Trinity is the reason for the procession of creatures, then “something personal may also be signified with a relation to the creature.”1520 A necessarily hypostatic relation, even as weak as a relation of reason between God and His creature, may therefore intervene in the case of the procession of creatures.1521

Yet the hypostatic property in the saint is defined very precisely in the right respect of a real relation of the created to the uncreated, and not vice versa.

The following is VERY roughly translated from pp. 507-509:
11. What ecumenical value can we expect from the hypostatic property?
Within a framework of dogmatic theology, it seems difficult to speculate on what could happen upon the reception of this simple theological hypothesis formulated during research that concentrated an immense Patristic and hagiographical heritage. The main part of this research already consists in the creation of an intellectual space of meeting and discovery of two traditions that often ignore each other. This is certainly the beneficial aspect that one should retain in this effort of ecumenical theology, even though the work of Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has largely cleared the way thanks to his treatise on the icon of Christ.


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