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    STUDIA THEOLOGIA ORTHODOXA - Issue no. 1 / 2009  

  Abstract:  Ecclesiology, as we call the study of the mystery and the reality of the Church, has been at the centre of theology in the 20th century, mainly because of the emergence of the Ecumenical Movement in which the Orthodox participated actively from the beginning. The theological debate between the various Churches and confessions in the context of this Movement made it necessary to clarify the meaning of the Church. What is the Church? What are her characteristics, her essence and her boundaries? The Church is not simply an institution; she is above all a way of being, there is a way of relating the human being to God, to the rest of human beings and to creation. This is the essence of the Church. In the Church, the human being is placed in a specific relation with all these three factors that make up human existence, namely God, society and nature. The Church is a Eucharistic community, and the Eucharist has, as already the Fathers have shown, a social and a cosmic (and therefore ecologic) dimension. But in order to respond properly to the most recent challenges, the Church has to listen to the existential problems of modern man and to be less conservative.

Keywords: orthodox ecclesiology, Eucharist, communion, modern society, conservatism.
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