The development of the concept of authority within the Romanian Orthodox Church during the Twentieth Century
Adopting the presupposition that religious authority is a relational category, both its nature and forms of expression are explored within the context of the specific goal of the ecclesial community as defined by the Orthodox paradigm of revelation-communion-deification. Accordingly, the role of authority in Orthodoxy is to enable the people of God and the entire creation to grow towards eschatological self-realization, that is, theosis. The key to understanding authority from a relational perspective is the concept of 'space', which provides for both freedom and relatedness between the elements involved. However, since the concept of space is a dynamic category due to its organic link with concrete historical communities, it follows that every community is challenged by both internal and external factors to re-evaluate its approach to the question of authority. Such a process has taken place within the Romanian Orthodox Church during the twentieth century. More precisely, four events have influenced the Romanian Church's view of authority: the translation of Scripture into modern Romanian by Fr. D. Comilescu; the tension between Scripture and Tradition emphasized in the work of Fr. T. Popescu; the emergence of the 'Lord's Army', a renewal movement founded by Fr. I. Trifa; and, finally, the encounter between the Church and dictatorial Nazi and Communist regimes. The thesis falls into four major sections in an investigation of the impact of these events on the Orthodox approach to the question of authority of : (a) Scripture, from the perspective of the space between episteme and praxis ; (b) Tradition, from the perspective of the space between the Apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions; (c) the Church, from the perspective of the space between both the 'Head' and the 'Body', and the 'Spirit' and the 'Institution'; and finally, (d) the Church and the State, from the perspective of the space between history and eschata. The mode in which such a 'space' is conceived in each set of relations leads to the development of either specific or general authority, that is, to either an oppressive or an enabling authority.