[b-greek] Re: oikonomia as "incarnation"?

From: Steve Puluka (spuluka@hotmail.com)
Date: Sat Oct 21 2000 - 19:53:24 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Karen Mendez" <karen_mendez@gotmail.com>
> "John, the most reverend bishop and legate of the Eastern high priests
> said: This heresy is the worst of all heresies. Woe to the iconoclasts! It
> the worst of heresies, as it subverts the incarnation (oikonomian) of our
> Saviour."
> I don't have access to the Greek text, but I wonder whether the
> "incarnation" for "oikonomia" is usual and I would
> appreciate if someone could suggest an alternative translation.


OIKONOMIA is the Greek term taken over by the Patristic writers for the
actions of God in the world. Economy, as we render it in English, pertains
to anything where God acts in the physical world. The chief example being
God becoming man in the person of Jesus. But the concept also applies to
the actions of the Spirit as well. In the passage above the incarnation is
the particular type of economy in question.

The iconoclasts destroyed Icons in the Churches based on the ten commandant
order to make no images of God. The use of Icons prevailed at this council
based on the argument that the incarnation brought God to a visable form
that could be depicted. By not allowing Icons of Christ, the iconoclasts
were denying the true Divinity of Christ

SARKWSIS is the word typically used in Patristic Greek for the incarnation

For a brief discussion on the Divine Economy see Vladimir Lossky's "The
Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church" St. Vladimir Seminary Press, 1976.
Chapter 7 covers the Economy of the Son and Chapter 8 the Economy of the

No doubt Lampe's Patristic Greek Lexicon would also yield further
information and references for you, but I don't have access to that work

Steve Puluka
Chair of the Adult Education Committee
Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh

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