In Orthodox Spirituality Chapter 4, Metropolitan Hierotheos has a slightly different explanation for the order theologiae, which I find confusing:

“Talking about the Triune God, the Holy Fathers say that there are in God essence or nature, energy or divine grace, and the persons. Each Person of the Holy Triity has essence and personal attributes. The personal attributes pertain to each Person. Essence is common in the three Persons as is energy. Creation and recreation of man and the world is the common action of God the Trinity. Man’s salvation is an energy of the Trinity God, yet “in the person of Jesus Christ”, since Christ was incarnate “by condescension of the Father and the synergy of the Holy Spirit”.

It must be noted that God’s energies are “natural”, they are linked, that is, with God’s nature; yet at the same time, they are hypostatic. In order to grasp this concept one should refer to the teaching of St. John of Damascus, where he states that energy is the potent and essential activity of nature. It is another thing the nature from which energy derives; and the hypostasis who makes use of the energy, whereby one acts as well as the effect of the energy.

This means that divine energy is the activity of divine nature through which man participates in and is united with God. There is no essence without energy, neither is there energy without essence. Yet, this divine energy is revealed in man and by his participation in the hypostasis, since he who acts is the hypostasis, the person. Thus, the energy of God is natural and not self-existent. Although it is not self-existent it is enhypostatic, in other words, it acts upon and is participated in by man through the hypostasis. Thus, we know God, come into communion with Him and participate in His uncreated grace and energy through the Revelation and Incarnation of Christ.” (p. 45,46)

Firstly, the grammar in the middle paragraph explaining St. John of Damascus is very hard to follow. Secondly, it seems he is saying grace comes from God’s nature, but also grace comes from person. This neither agrees with the western model: essence, activity, person; nor Dr. Farrell’s formulation of the eastern model: person, activity, essence.

It just occurred to me that I may need to deal with the term, “uncreated grace”. If Person is first, does His giving of grace make grace created? Is grace thus given to man as an incidental choice by God, or is it an ever-existent atmosphere around God that one experiences as one draws nearer to Him? hmmm.

Grace seems more personally given in his later statements in the chapter:

“The stage of purification (that of the beginners) in the “warfare” for godliness is closely linked with repentance. By repentance we mean, on the one hand the discarding of the old, earthly man, and on the other hand, the “putting on” of the new man, who is restored by the energy of the Most Holy Spirit.” (p. 49)

“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12, 1-9).” (p. 57)

But I could be wrong.

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