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Hope for the Suffering Ecosystems of Our Planet

The Contextualization of Christological Perichoresis for the Ecological Crisis

Iohanna Sahinidou

The author reclaims the patristic Christological use of perichoresis by showing how in bringing together different entities, such as God and Nature in unity as the one person of Christ, we can acknowledge the perichoresis between divine human and nature. Christological perichoresis supports the idea that the whole creation is included in God’s recreated cosmos, in response to the redeeming power of Christ who entered the web of life as a creature. Trinitarian relationships bear a Christological message for intentional openness towards the «other». Thus ecofeminism can be considered from a Christian view, realizing Christ’s «cosmic» role in the salvation of the entire cosmos.
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Chapter Four

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Trinitarian Perichoresis

Introduction

First used by the eastern church fathers, the concept of perichoresis offered a way of attempting to express the mutual indwelling or co-inherence in Christ, of the incarnate Λóγος of both human and divine natures. Later, the fathers described the personal triune relationship of Father, Son and Spirit as perichoresis. This concept expressed how the unity and distinction are combined in the persons of the trinity, in the natures of Christ, as well as in creation as reunited with God.385

One of my motivations for focusing on perichoretic relations especially as the co-inherence in Christ of the human and divine natures is that it illustrates the relationship between God the Creator and the creation. My goal is for a healed relationship among humans and between humans, the earth and its beings, which will lead to a holistic perichoretic consciousness and a culture opposing domination-systems and the exploitation of nature. The eco-theological problem is one of humanity being in non-perichoretic relationship within itself, God, and the rest of creation. To heal this rift is a process of cultivating perichoretic relations between God, humanity and creation through Christ. In this chapter I present the historical development of the concept ‘perichoresis’ in the works of the early Eastern Church Fathers. I trace the development of key moments in the concept ‘perichoresis’ as a preliminary to studying its promise, potential, and implications for contemporary ecotheology.

A Brief History of Trinitarian Perichoresis

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