On Being Hot, Cold or Lukewarm

Archimandrite Vasileios of Iveron

As it says in the Book of Revelation: “I wish you were cold or hot. But because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Rev 3:16- 17). Dostoyevsky is hot. So he says, ‘…I believe in Christ, and if it turns out that Christ is outside the truth, I want Christ, not the truth’.

Another person, for example, who is not lukewarm but cold is Nietzche. He does not write about Christ, but the Antichrist. However, since he is honest, once he found a single book by Dostoyevsky, which was Notes from the Underground, and not knowing who the author of that title was, he opened it in the bookstore and said, ‘This one is mine.’  So, a true encounter occurs between the Christ of Dostoyevsky and the Antichrist Nietzsche, because they are both true in their respective domains, hot and cold; neither of them was lukewarm. This is a testimony of true Orthodoxy which unites opposites. Orthodoxy is not lukewarm. Lukewarm things are the ones that man can make of his own accord through his human reasoning and sophistry. So, Orthodoxy is not easy, it leads us to the heaven of freedom and unification of opposites, but the ones that are true. (The Thunderbolt of Ever-Living Fire: American Conversations with an Athonite Elder, [kindle version])

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